The big drive for this adventure was to go and get the magic weapons that had been commissioned by the former Tower Master (Cornelius) 13 years ago. The group now has them and spent some time playing with them in order to see what they might do. Most of them have been identified at this time to some degree and the party seems pleased with their haul.
They also came upon a broken cart called a Sky Chariot. It was here and was supposed to be worked on by Erazmus but hadn't gotten around to it before him and Ceril had their falling out and combat. What was great was watching the party in real time go around the table and brainstorm the various ways to fix the cart and to do so with the tools and skills available at the table and in the Castle. I don't like "one roll and the problem is gone" bull and prefer the older 1st/2nd edition way of talking out the problems and solutions so this was pretty wonderful to see the group do.
I hope they appreciate the potential greatness that the Sky Chariot could mean for them as I know for a fact that down the path, I have some situations coming up that this item would come in very handy.
Write up follows:
We carefully took the weapons out of the vault area and then in turn manhandled the chariot the same way. The chariot had the right wheel missing 3 spokes and 6 of them were split. Plus, the axle (3” diameter hollow pipe) had a split on the right side about 2 and a half feet long.
Once in the dining room we each spent some time practicing with the weapons and getting a feel for them. Three of them were sort of brutish, and three of them had a finesse to them. But we spent the time testing them out and doling them about the party. Firstly was the broadsword “Hew” which not only gave forth a white glow while wielded, but the glow could intensify as needed by the wielder. Steiner took this one.
The other broadsword, “Darkblade” was claimed by Avidius who not only felt the watery dark steel was preternaturally sharp, but on some practice cuts was able to dimension door himself up to 40’ away 3 times a day with the eldritch weapon. The spear, “Defender of Sparta” was adorned with markings of Zeus, Ares, and Athena and Erd put the weapon through its practices. He did note though that when he began practicing with the weapon defensively, that the spear leapt in place to deflect what few blows were aimed his way.
Geld was given the boar spear, “Garrund’s Breaker” and it was only after a few strong thrusts that Marcus’ henchman found out the spear played havoc on shields with punishing blows. Speaking of “Havoc”, it was the name of the battle hammer and Flimflam put the meteoric iron headed maul through its paces. It gave forth a green glow and even though it was heavy headed, the gnomish druid was able to handle it with ease showing proficiency with it that he normally didn’t have.
Lastly was “Night’s Father”, the short bow, which Tranis was given. He couldn’t seem to get anything from it but the group realized with its name that it might only work after sunset (it was about noon now) so we shelved it for later.
The chariot was going to need some work. It also had a dweomer to it, and with the carvings of Poseidon and Apollo adorning it, we wanted to make sure it would survive the trip so we started to look at what we could do to repair it. Some mending spells on the split spokes would help, but we were still 3 shy and the axle was going to need to be patched as well, and a mend spell would not suffice.
Taulib, Corane, and a few others started work on carving some new spindles from the remains of the chairs in the dining room while the party broke for lunch. From there we discussed every possible iteration on the chariot and how to fix it from a new axle to fill to carve to repair to whatever.
We took the busted wheel off (luckily between our henchmen and hirelings we had a number of carpenters, wheelwrights, and teamsters at our disposal) and took a better look at the broken axle. The axle was 3” in diameter, with the inner hole being a bit under 1”, meaning the wall of the axle was ½” thick and 7’ long. The decision was made to fill it.
We had tons of pewter dishes, bowls, and mugs in the dining room so the party took three of the largest cast iron cook pots, lit a hot fire in the stove, and loaded the pots on the stove with the pewter within so it would melt over time. We then went out in the snow (it was snowing, and quite a bit!) and pried up a few cobbles from the courtyard. From there we dug down until we hit a clay mixture and brought in buckets of the clay which we packed around the split to keep the eventual molten pewter from coming out.
We then dragged the axle and the one wheel still attached to the center stair, stood it vertical, and then built a number of wooden braces against it so it wouldn’t shift. We didn’t have a funnel so we took a double handled cooking pot and had Marcus pound the crap out of the bottom and then auger it until he managed to make a reverse dimple and a hole. Taking the pot up to the landing we made a platform at the bend in the stairs, attached the two chains to the pot to hold it in place and positioned the hole right over the hole in the axle. Perfect.
With everyone ready and the place cleared, we had three people bring the pots of molten pewter in one at a time and climb the stairs to the funnel held in place. Just before they started pouring, Steiner called out to Apollo and cast Heat Metal on the axle, raising the temperature of the iron pole and allowing the molten pewter to maintain its properties and make it all the way to the bottom of the pipe.
It worked wonderfully. We needed two pots of molten pewter to fill the axle and then let it sit and cool after it was completed. Instead of mending, Flimflam cast woodshape on the axles that were broken and fixed them that way, while the three others that had been carved were reset in the wheel. It was about 5:30 at this time and we all decided to let everything sit for a while and retreat out of the castle back to the tower with our wood and rest there tonight.
While the majority of the group got dinner going and warmed up, Tranis and Flimflam returned to Castle Sterling to hunt the lone cat still wandering the halls and test out the ranger’s magic bow. With the sun now down and the evening deepening, Tranis was able to feel the bow come to life. While holding it it gave him superior infravision and when they tracked the cat to the servant’s hall and laundry room, the arrows flew fasters, straighter, and truer. Plus, we killed the cat.
They took its body back to the tower and the party ate (not the cat) and then rested. We slept the night and awoke the next day to see over a foot of snow on the ground and MORE falling today. The temperature was in the low teens and might hit mid 20’s today tops.
Today the party wanted to test out the chariot so we dug a path from the doors, maneuvered it outside, and then hitched it up to our two mules. Steiner was on board as a priest of Apollo and Flimflam was as well as a druid to help inspire the donkeys to run. We had a few hirelings help to drive it as we puttered our way back and forth across the courtyard.
The mules did their best but were not inspired to really “run” so to speak. What they did though was move quick enough that everyone noticed little bits of flame and fire dance up from the sides and spokes of the chariot only to disappear again a moment later. We had to get faster.
So we cleared out a larger area of the courtyard coaxed the donkeys to the end, turned them around, and then everyone did all they could to cajole, coax, plead, and drive the donkeys to their top speed.
And it worked. They trudged and the cart made these chuffing noises and the fires grew more consistent and then there was a solid “WHOOSH” sound and the cart burst into flames. The flames rolled across the wheels and also seemed to spark out from under the donkey’s hooves. And the skychariot lived up to its name and arced upwards at a 30 degree angle and took to the sky, fire roiling about it.
This of course terrified the donkeys who slowed down and the cart chuffed loudly and from 8’ off the ground angled back down and crashed to the snow covered cobbled the two donkeys frightened and kicking their braces, and the right wheel made a snapping sound and two more spokes on that side busted (but the axle held!) and the fires extinguished.
Once we calmed the animals down and unhitched them, we dragged the chariot back inside Castle Sterling and basked in our good fortune but were now unsure how to get it to work for us since the donkeys don’t seem to run fast enough and were terrified enough to drop from the sky.