Joining for this session were:
This campaign's still going strong, I just haven't written up a session report in a while.
The session starts with the party facing off against the legendary Blackbriar Knight. They huddle and consider their options. Hireling Pineleaf (a pinecone knight) is asked whether he'd object to dishonourable methods, and replies that he has long since stopped expecting their conduct to be honourable. A combined approach of magic and surprise is settled on.
Ibrahim steps up to the bridge and is warned by the Knight that only death awaits the unworthy beyond the bridge, and is challenged to a duel to cross. The Knight is acting as a filter for the unworthy.
Displaying prudent self-preservation and a good memory, Ibrahim calls on the laws of pinecone duelling I'd established back in session 1, and as the challenged declared the weapon of their duel to be wrestling.
The Blackbriar Knight swiftly overpowers Ibrahim and starts to haul him over to the edge of the bridge. Velasco taunts the Knight to throw him off his game. This taunting is quite creative and contextually horrible, as Velasco declares a love for pesto sauce made from pine nuts, which must be the pinecone equivalent of telling someone you eat babies.
As Ibrahim's being pushed over into the raging river below, he uses the most powerful move known to martial arts: he goes limp. With his slithering snake mage cantrip this gives him enough leverage to pull free from the Knight's grip, while Velasco gets him from behind with a surprise stunning strike. Ibrahim then hits the prone knight with an Anklebreaker spell, mangling his legs in the bridge's stones.
A dreadful voice from beneath the bridge asks if the Blackbriar Knight needs help, though the Knight can only scream from the pain. An uncannily long, green-black arm stretchs up and over the bridge, preparing to sweep it clear. Ibrahim is able to slither under its attack with his snakey tricks, but Velasco braces himself, takes the hit, and allows the arm to impale itself on his spines. While the bridge-troll is shocked and reeling Velasco takes the opportunity to rush the rest of the party across the bridge.
The Blackbriar Knight calls off his bridge-troll, and is interrogated. The party learns, among other things, that the Daunt has a vacation home on the shore of Lake Resin far to the north.
Believing the Countess to be in the King's palace in disguise, the party heads there. Along the way they encounter a pair of swaggering rust-men bravos. Again, Velasco breaks out the taunts and intimidation, and manages to make one of the rust-men lose their nerve, though the other is only emboldened by the challenge. He swings at Ibrahim, misses, and in return gets a gout of flame breathed on his face, followed up by a flesh-melting dissolve spell as he tries to put his ignited clothes out. When even this fails to break the rust-man's spirit Velasco knocks him out.
Further along their pastoral path, the party encounters a squad of pinecones beating back animate piles of snow with red-hot iron rods, returning to a bonfire periodically to reheat them. Their companion Silverfrost explains that the piles are snowdrifters, bestial invaders from the mountains which block the way to Idyllium to the west.
The party goes to talk to the pinecones at the bonfire about the Knight and the King's upcoming wedding. These pinecones are revealed to be not knights as most of them seem to be but lowly labourers who didn't make the cut. They also learn that instead of sweating as mammals do, pinecones open or close in response to temperature.
Hoping to help out these harried vegetables, Ibrahim meditates to commune with the spirit of the bonfire. To his spirit-vision it is a huge lady with billowing smoky hair, sitting cross-legged. He begins to bargain with the spirit to get it to help directly in the battle against the snowdrifters. The hungry flame asks to be fed Pineleaf, who quails at the request. Ibrahim and Velasco instead offer some mummified remains (which the rogue mage had apparently had been carrying all this time), and some leftover eel from the beach. This offering incites the spirit to toss some firebolts at the distant snow. Ibrahim asks the spirit about frag frogs, and whether there were any in the area, and is warned that the longer he went without satisfying his pact with the spirits of the frag frogs the more dangerous his mark would become to him.
The pinecones thank the party for saving them time and effort, and give them more info on the Daunt and the Duchess of the Falling Star (who had hired the mannequettes who kidnapped the Countess), and warn them that hundreds of people had already massed at the palace's outer gate, trying to get into the wedding without an invitation.
The party discusses their game plan, whether they'd like to get into the palace, how they'd go about doing it, and how they'd be scanning the crowds there with Mazlo's glove to find people from the own world. Ibrahim muses that he might be OK with staying in the armoire's world, as not much waited for him back home but persecution and death.
Was the Blackbriar Knight too much of a chump for his legend? Is pesto a crime against pineconenity? Can the tangled plot of the Duchess be unraveled? Find out next time, on Beyond the Bizarre Armoire!