CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 15, October 2018
In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Brett (Clondya the Pale), Julian (Vydar)
Tinday, Week of the Bear, MY 269
The adventurers return to the Barrowmaze, intent on unlocking the mysterious tomb of Horus Klexx at last. While they easily fight their way past a cohort of skeletons guarding the area, their musician summons aid and soon the party is trapped inside the magic-null zone surrounding Klexx’s tomb. It’s clear that there is a stalemate – they might be able to fight their way past the skeletons easily, but the wraiths and their master Osric Steelwind, together with the ghostly Breena Steelwind, might easily be too much for them.
Despite dire pronouncements and threats from Osric, the group hold fast and soon they have unsealed the tomb. Inside they find a corpse transfixed by iron spikes, encased in an iron cage. Within the Shroud, Clondya discovers the tortured soul of Horus Klexx, eternally devoured by daemon centipedes. Her necromancy drives the centipedes away, and for the first time in two-and-a-half centuries Klexx is able to think about anything other than his fear and suffering. He is pathetically grateful to Clondya, all the more when she and Silas devise a plan to free him from the tomb by carrying away a piece of his fettering iron rods.
Talking with Klexx, they learn several things:
- Klexx wants to rest – to go on to whatever fate awaits his soul – but he also wants to repay the adventurers for freeing him and to strike some sort of blow against Nergal and the Archons. All except Moniphine: he still loves her, and wants to see her once more before he is gone forever.
- He has a very good knowledge of the earlier-constructed areas of the Barrowmaze, as he was held prisoner here for years and the various Archons enjoyed tormenting him with their plans for eternal dominion.
- He knows the Archons well, and has strong opinions about their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Osric (Air) is greedy above all else, motivated mostly by riches and power. He is not a creative thinker, but he is the most loyal to Nergal – not a plotter or politician. Klexx doesn’t think he and his wife Breena often see eye to eye – she harries him constantly.
- Moniphine (Earth) is vain and a lover of pleasure, swayed by whoever most entertains her and promises her beautiful things and new experiences. Klexx still carries a torch for her, despite her betrayal – he believes that she was misled and manipulated by Nergal and the other Archons.
- Ram-Seth (Water) is clever and a mighty sorcerer with many daemons in his command, but he is a little too clever for his own good – he loves his own cunning and labyrinthine plans too much to do something straightforward when something sneaky, complicated, and ingenious is available.
- Imhotep (Fire) is a mighty warrior and a ruthless commander, but he enjoys cruelty for its own sake and prefers to rule by fear rather than win loyalty.
- He thinks that Nergal will have hidden any items of power or great secrets within his various vaults – areas that were off-limits even to the Archons unless Nergal allowed it. Klexx knows of three of these:
- The Sepulchre of the Elements, where Nergal perfected his mastery of elemental magic and entombed his most favored courtiers to await the day of his ascension.
- The Black Chamber, where he entombed his apprentice sorcerers and daemonic slaves along with his vast sorcerous knowledge.
- The Vault of the Chosen, where his priests carried on the secret rites that assured his future godhood.
Bronzeday, Week of the Bear, MY 269
Emerging from the tomb, the adventurers find that Osric’s forces have departed. All appears safe, although they have been bricked in again. As they begin to break down the brick wall, they discover what has been set to guard them – a mighty golem made of stones, with devastating fists. Clearly the Undead have learned to fear Vydar and Clondya’s power over them, and have chosen to use elemental guardians instead!
Unfortunately for Osric, he hasn’t reckoned with Silas’ elemental mastery. He easily overcomes the will of the golem, forcing it away so that the party can proceed. They encounter another one – posing as the stone cover of the pit in the shrine room – but it likewise cannot defeat Silas. The party heads onward to investigate the hidden door to the east.
The wall is graven with a complex set of elemental glyphs in the heretical Zuulic system, seemingly some sort of fire-related ward. Again, Silas is able to unlock the spell and the wall disassembles into a doorway into a long corridor sloping downward slightly to the southeast. At the end of that corridor, another elemental seal awaits. This one is water-associated, and proves trickier to defeat, but with a little luck and a lot of sweat, Silas opens this one as well.
Beyond, they are greeted by a monumental statue some 15’ high of the supposed “four-faced god” Zuul, lord of life and death and soul of the four elements (at least according to the Zuulic Heresy). The statue holds a painted skull in each of its six hands, and with a grind of clockwork moves to present one of the skulls to Silas – the one marked with the glyph of water. Cautiously, they move past the statue and begin to explore the chamber. Faintly glowing stone inlays in four colors cover the floor, seeming to carry elemental energies from deeper into the dungeon.
Beyond a door to the north, they find a set of four octagonal tombs with a central vestibule, all but the first with various dangerous occupants or guardians. The first tomb holds the remains of a scholar, Raxias, who helped Nergal develop his necromantic arts. Here they find the Book of Nergal, a description of the special funerary methods used in the Barrowmaze. In the next tomb, two imposing Rune Golems stand guard over Nergal’s treasurer, Talbex, but Silas is able to bend them to his will long enough for the party to snatch a bagful of incredibly valuable jewelry! Hanah’s sharp nose detects the deadly mold infesting another tomb, and quick application of fire cleanses it. Unfortunately, all that can be salvaged is a large porcelain vase that appears valuable but fragile.
Within the last tomb, Vydar senses great wickedness and bitter cold – the tomb is occupied by a formless evil shade which stirs icy wind and batters the group with debris. Fortunately, Vydar thinks quickly, spotting a black sword that seems to be the focus of the entity. He snatches it up and thrusts it through the heart of the shade, destroying it instantly. The sword is clearly evil but powerful, and he decides the best thing to do is to leave it where it lies.
Worn and a bit unsettled by the greater power of the enemies they have faced in the Sepulchre of the Elements, the party decide to hole up in Raxias’s tomb and rest a while.
SESSION REWARD SUMMARY
TREASURE: 20,900 gp
- Crown, 1000 gp
- 2 Bracelets, 1400 gp each = 2800 gp
- Rites of Nergal Book, 1500 gp + research value
- Jewelry, total value = 11200 gp
- Large Porcelain Vase, 900 gp
- 3500 gp
COMBAT: 5,175 xp
- 15 Legion skeletons = 225
- 1 Legion musician = 25
- 1 Legion Captain = 25
- 3 Children of Gaxx = 1500
- 1 Wraith = 600
- 2 Flagstone Golems = 900
- 2 Rune Golems (circumvented) = 1100
- 1 Greater Crypt Shade = 800
CHECKPOINTS: 650 xp
- Horus Klexx Unleashed: 250
- Opening the Sepulchre: 400
TOTAL = 26,725 XP
- Split 3 ways = 8,908 each
- Clondya = 8,908 × 1.1 = 9,799 xp
- Silas = 8,908 × 1.1 = 9,799 xp
- Silas 75% share = 7,349 xp
- Hanah 25% share = 2,450 xp
- Vydar = 8,908 × 1.05 = 9,353 xp
- Vydar 75% share = 7,015 xp
- Tembo 25% share = 2,338 xp
When we resume, it will be Jewelday, Week of the Bear. You are still in the Sepulchre of the Elements, safely holed up in the antechamber.
Silas has worked out how to unlock the seals so you can come and go, and you have even managed to sneak out to the surface and send a message to Aris & Oriah using one of Silas’s earth elemental buddies.
The Legion seems to have pulled back their forces for some reason – perhaps they are having to deal with the Red Maw or the Snake Cult again? You did see signs of people coming and going in the swamp at night when you went aboveground to scout and send your message.
According to Aris & Oriah, the Good Folk continue to picket outside your compound in Slowbrook, but the size of the crowds seem to be dwindling – perhaps because you’re not there?
There have been streetfights in Helix and a couple of the smaller communities near it between bands of Shadow Brethren and Faithful. None have been conclusive.
Hyrakitoi are still being seen above the lake by night, performing strange aerial dances and singing ethereally. Several locals have been found floating in the Hel downstream, dead and mutilated but with rapturous smiles on their faces.