Crypts of the Barrowmaze

Session 13 - July 2018
Escape from the Black Chamber

CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 13, July 2018

In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Brett (Clondya the Pale), Julian (Vydar)

Bronzeday, Week of the Sage, MY 269

  • Rested and recovered, the adventurers are making ready to move on with their explorations when Hanah’s sharp ears detect sounds of people moving around and talking in the Black Chamber.
  • Investigating, they discover that a “rescue party” from the Snake Cult has come in search of the sorcerer they slew yesterday and become trapped in the Chamber. They use the dungeon key to open the South door of the Chamber hoping to lure the visitors into a trap using the ghouls sealed into one of the tombs and the other hazards of the south corridor, but it does not prove terribly effective, as the cultist prove to be stalwart and canny fighters. However, the adventurers’ own skills and superior gear allow them to prevail over the cultists despite the dark sorcery of their leaders.
  • They debate where best to explore next, and Silas attempts once more to commune with the elemental spirits of Barrowmaze. He is very successful, actually making direct and lucid contact with the powerful Earth elemental known as the Master of the Dungeon and learning that it has been dismembered, its legs, arms, and head hidden to destroy its power. If its parts could be found and returned, it could fight against the dark power that enslaves the elementals of Barrowmaze. However, he also senses that the defenses of Barrowmaze are increasingly active – the Archon Osric has stationed his undead sentries throughout the area, including right outside the North door of the Black Chamber. The group may have to fight their way past them unless Clondya can somehow convince them to allow the adventurers to pass.
  • Opening the door, they confront not simply a couple of skeletal sentries, but a whole platoon of them, led by an officer of some kind and commanded by a terrifying wraith. Clondya’s negotiations go poorly, though – it seems that entering the Black Chamber is forbidden even for the servants of Barrowmaze, and the penalty is death! Clondya may be spared due to her pact, but none of the others will be permitted to leave. A desperate plea from Clondya offers to barter directly with Osric for the party’s freedom, and the wraith departs to commune with its master. While it is absent, the adventurers make a last-ditch press to escape.
  • They fight effectively against the skeletons, with Clondya’s magic driving most of them away and the warriors smashing the rest swiftly, but before they can make good their escape, the wraith returns! Vydar and Clondya bravely and desperately try to hold it off long enough for the others to escape, Vydar battling for a while alone against the creature before Hanah’s magic axe turns the tide! The wraith is defeated, and the party runs for their lives back to the safety of Slowbrook.

SESSION REWARD SUMMARY

TREASURE: 505 gp ?

  • 130 gp
  • 3 vials golden hell-venom = 300 gp if sold
  • 1 serpent rod = 75 gp if sold

COMBAT: 1,700 xp

  • 4 Snake Cult Warriors = 200
  • 2 Snake Cult Acolytes = 150
  • 1 Snake Cult Sorcerer = 150
  • 1 Snake Cult Giant Rattler = 400
  • 2 Snake Cult Cobra Swarm = 70
  • 10 Legion Warriors = 150
  • 1 Legion Musician = 25
  • 1 Legion Bannerman = 30
  • 1 Legion Officer = 25
  • 1 Wraith = 500

TOTAL = 2,205 XP

  • Split 3 ways = 735 each

    • Clondya, Silas = 735 × 1.1 = 808 xp
    • Vydar = 735 × 1.05 = 772 xp

      • Vydar 75% share = 579
      • Tembo 25% share = 193

OTHER REWARDS/EVENTS

You have violated the seal of the Black Chamber and been Marked for Oblivion.

You have learned the Secret of the Dismembered One.

When we resume, it will be the Week of the Tiger, and you will be back at your houses in Slowbrook.

This will be the last Barrowmaze for a few months – we are moving to our new house in September. We’ll be back in action at the new place for November, hopefully.

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Session 12 - June 2017
The Black Chamber

CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 12, June 2017

In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Brett (Clondya the Pale), Julian (Vydar)

Week of the Ploughman, MY 269

  • The adventurers hole up at the tower in the swamp, keeping watch on the Barrow Fields while they recover from their battles.
  • Everyone is fully recovered. The Barrow Fields seem quiet, with even the increased hyrakitoi activity now subsiding.

Copperday, Week of the Sage, MY 269

  • Late at night, they see lights in the swamp near the island of the Maw. Quickly, they dispatch boats to observe and possibly intercept. Aris & Oriah remain behind to hold the fort.
  • The light prove to be boats full of Red Maw cultists, conveying a prisoner to the island – presumably a sacrifice! The party ambushes the cultists and eventually defeat them, rescuing the prisoner. The cultists are priests of some sort, and possess the ability to transform into – and possibly summon – the huge leech-like creatures they have seen at the island before.
  • During the battle, Silas rouses the elementals to the party’s aid – water elementals carry their boats to stop the sacrifice at great speed, and hamper the leech-men’s attack. After the initial confrontation, he decides to try to rouse the elementals against the Shadow Maw of the island. It is a hard and dangerous battle, but he is able to rally the earth elementals and with his aid they defeat the Maw and seal the breach permanently. A great victory against the Maw!
  • Clondya is able to convince the prisoner they rescued to trust her, posing as a Snake Cultist. He is Svim Kthar, an emissary of the cult who had been sent out to recruit in the cities of the South. The cult is depleted of manpower and besieged by the Maw cult, but has used a hidden exit from the Barrowmaze to slip agents out and bring new cultists in. Soon they will be ready for their counterattack! He reveals the location of this secret entrance to Clondya, and is rewarded with execution.

Tinday, Week of the Sage, MY 269

  • Investigation of the secret entrance discovers traps, meant to attract the vicious giant scorpions that hunt the swamp margins. Fortunately, Hanah is easily able to find and disable them.
  • Within a forest of cattails, they find an almost invisible mound. Inside, a bare chamber contains two canoes and a large broken statue of a warrior. The statue hides a stairway that descends into the Maze.
  • They decide not to try to intrude into the heart of the cult’s domain and withdraw.
  • Instead, they head back to the original entrance they had used near Mound 11. The dungeon appears tidier, with debris cleaned up and some fallen brick walls reconstructed. There is little sign of Snake Cult or Red Maw presence. Clearly the Legions have consolidated their hold on at least this area.
  • They make their way to the sealed door where Clondya vanished some time ago. She has learned new magic since, and it proves effective in forcing the door to open. Within, they find a Snake Cult priest and his 8 venom zombies, who are defeated after a short but vicious fight, in which Hanah is nearly slain. As the priest dies, Clondya can sense that he will not pass to the Shroud – his soul is sucked away into the Barrowmaze by the forces at work in this chamber. Clondya gains control of one of the Venom Zombies for herself.
  • Examining the chamber, they find that it has a very high ceiling, decorated with the four skull faces of Nergal, and that in the center there is an obelisk similar to the one on the surface. A malign presence seems to permeate the chamber, and a terrible hunger. It is not a pleasant place to linger.
  • The priest has a metal rod which proves to be a key to the circular locks they have seen. Each cardinal point of the chamber has a door with such a lock, and they begin cautiously exploring what is beyond.
  • To the west, they find a corridor with 6 side corridors full of small niche tombs. The floors of these side passages are scattered with bone fragments and small items such as coins and jewelry. They must elude several pit traps concealed by illusions – interestingly, the zombie does not trigger them, only living explorers! When they venture into the side passages, the skeletal fragments become a horde of 24 skeletons, but they are able to bottleneck and destroy them without much trouble. At the end of one passage, there is a hand-dug tunnel which leads to what is apparently a completely buried small chamber containing a coffin and a plinth containing a hidden compartment, now empty. This seems to be the resting place of a Coffer Corpse, like the ones who guard the main entrance to the Maze. Someone has taken the jar that would have been in the hidden compartment and presumably holds its heart.
  • Exploring the south doorway next, the one the priest was fleeing toward, they find a long corridor with 3 doors on each side. Exploring carefully, they find nothing of value and several dangers, including a chamber full of yellow mold, another in which hunger-ghouls have been imprisoned, and another with four open sarcophagoi, each filled to the brim with dark brown liquid. They avoid the dangers, eventually entering the last room, where a partially open sarcophagus hold two sacred cobras and some treasure, which they extract safely and then close the sarcophagus with the snakes inside. It looks like this is where the snake priest was camped out.
  • Tired and battered, the adventurers decide to rest.

SESSION REWARD SUMMARY

TREASURE: 646.12 gp

  • 19 pp
  • Dungeon key
  • A spellbook bound in yellow silk and red leather, with a copper two-headed snake on the spine, the Book of the Cunning Asp
  • 72 cp
  • 54 sp
  • 3 gold chalices, 150 gp each
  • A jug of wine
  • A scroll case, containing several magical scrolls

COMBAT: 2,640 xp

  • 2 Red Maw flunkies = 200
  • 2 Red Maw Favored Initiates = 600
  • 1 Red Maw Red-Marked Priest = 500
  • Shadow Maw = 500
  • Kelmok, Serpent Priest = 200
  • 8 Venom Zombies = 400
  • 24 wretched skeletons = 240

CHECKPOINTS: Silas +750, Vydar +350, Clondya +350

  • AN ELEMENTAL CHAMPION: Silas +500; Others +100
  • THE BLACK CHAMBER UNSEALED: +250 each

INTERACTION: Clondya +100, Vydar +100

  • Interrogation of Svim Kthar: Clondya & Vydar each +100

TOTAL = 3,286 (Clondya +450, Silas +750, Vydar +450)

  • Split 3 ways = 1,095 each

    • Clondya = 1,095 + 450 = 1,545 × 1.1 = 1,700
    • Silas = 1,095 + 750 = 1,845 × 1.1 = 2,030

      • Hanah has leveled up
    • Vydar = 1,095 + 450 = 1,545 × 1.05 = 1,622

      • Vydar 75% share = 1,216
      • Tembo 25% share = 406

OTHER REWARDS/EVENTS

You have discovered the Serpent Mound.

The Black Chamber is open to you.

The Legions hold the Green Zone securely.

The Slaughtergrove has been exorcised.

When we resume, you have all managed to get a good rest in and recover some HP, Luck, and spells. It is Bronzeday, Week of the Sage, and you are in the snake priest’s hideout south of the Black Chamber.

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Session 11 - April 29th, 2017
Daemonic Forces

CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 11, April 29th 2017

In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Brett (Clondya the Pale), Ryan (Aris)

Copperday, Week of the Lizard, MY 269

  • Marla Ironthighs comes to Silas to tell him that Stinky has taken a turn for the worse and is dying. Silas sees the extent of the creature’s degeneration and decides to ask Lady Olathoe for her assistance. He also convinces Marla to leave town and keep quiet about what happened here.
  • Aris is beset by constant hunger and increasing irritability and violent urges. When he goes to pick up his boots at the Trading Barge, a loose nail wounds him and he terrifies the Traders so much that they flee from him – in fact, the next day the Barge is gone! Worse yet, Aris learns the nature of his affliction. It appears that he is becoming a vampire-like creature. He seeks the assistance of Lady Olathoe.
  • Vydar is delirious, being watched over by Tembo as he mutters unintelligible conversations with himself – or Palantis?

Tinday, Week of the Lizard, MY 269

  • Lady Olathoe’s analysis of Stinky goes very badly – Stinky dies horribly, the elemental magics uniting his disparate parts failing, and Olathoe’s servitor elementals are corrupted by the dark magic within Stinky, turning on Olathoe and Silas until they are able to contain and destroy them. Clearly the magic of the World Wound – if that is indeed what created the mongrelmen – is corrupting of elementals and begins to fail away from Barrowmaze.
  • Aris is waiting for his own appointment with Olathoe when this all goes down, and storms off in an ill temper when it is postponed. Learning the nature of his problem, Silas decides that the best thing to do is to place Aris and Vydar in quarantine at the team’s houses in Slowbrook until a cure can be found.
  • Lady Olathoe reveals that Acanthus Rho knows a great deal about vampirism and blood magic. Perhaps something can be found in his laboratory? She gives her permission to Clondya to proceed with such research.
  • Dark rumors about the party are spreading, and the people of the area seem fearful and hostile. Aris’ outburst and vampiric symptoms have become common knowledge.

Bronzeday-Jewelday, Week of the Lizard, MY 269

  • After several days of work, Clondya believes she has found a serum that can purge the vampiric blood from its victims, although they may suffer greatly or even die in the process. They decide to attempt the cure, and fortunately it works! Aris suffers badly, his health permanently damaged, but Vydar seems to be making a good recovery.
  • With all the troubling rumors around the team, they decide to leave town for a little while to give it time to cool off. Vydar is still too weak to join them, and Tembo stays behind to care for him.

Copperday, Week of the Ploughman, MY 269

  • They decide to check in on the situation at the island with the Maw beneath it, the one the cultists refer to as the Slaughtergrove. They find it much changed – all the trees have been cut down, and the enchanted stone snake statue that once stood in the Fallen Tower ruins sits in the center of a pool of red, liquid mud. They examine the situation, learning that the trees seem to have been cut by the kind of axes used by the Legions of Barrowmaze, but the Maw is still present and active beneath the mud pool. The snake idol is drawing creatures from the swamp to the pool, where they are consumed by the Maw.
  • The group try to come up with a way to remove the idol from the pool without being attacked by the Maw. As they work out a plan to lasso the idol and drag it out, they notice something large swimming around near the island – they look like some sort of huge leech or something, closely resembling the Maw itself. They do manage to remove the statue, but all except Aris are battered by the assault of the astral Maw as it strikes out at them, and only escape because Clondya’s colour spray spell drives the creatures back.
  • They head for the intact way-tower that they have used to observe the area before, hoping to camp there. Observing the area, they see that much activity continues at the Barrow Fields. It appears that the Legions are in control of the area immediately around the entrances they know of and the Stele, but there are Red Maw forces active in the northern part of the fields near the Mound of Lions, and the hyrakitoi continue to engage in their inscrutable aerial wanderings in the eastern part of the Barrow Fields. The area of the old Camp #3, where the Snake Cult had their encampment and the team intends to create their own compound in the spring, seems deserted.
  • Late that night, 5 hyrakitoi approach the island, encircling it. At first, they do not attack, and do not cross the barrier of the warding skulls, but one of their number – perhaps a leader – rises into the air and heads for the TOP of the tower. It seems that the barrier does not extend high enough to provide complete protection. A fight ensures, and several of the company are injured before the creatures are banished or driven off. Hanah, in particular, is lured into the water and nearly drowns before she is rescued.
  • The team must hole up and recover, or head back to Slowbrook and Castle Blackmoss.

SESSION REWARD SUMMARY

TREASURE: NONE

COMBAT: 2,100 xp

  • 5x hyrakitoi = 1,200 xp
  • 4x giant leech = 600 xp
  • 1x shadow of the Maw = 300 xp

INTERACTION: Aris +250, Silas +150, Clondya +200, Vydar +50

  • Confrontation with the Traders: Aris +200
  • Farewell to Marla: Silas +50
  • Stinky’s Fate: Silas & Clondya +100 each
  • A Cure?: Clondya +100, Aris & Vydar +50 each

TOTAL = 2,100 (Aris +250, Clondya +200, Silas +150, Vydar +50 (no share))

  • Split 3 ways = 700 each

    • Aris = 700+250 = 950 × 1.1 = 1045

      • Aris 75% share = 784
      • Oriah 25% share = 261
    • Clondya = 700+200 = 900 × 1.1 = 990
    • Silas = 700+150 = 850 × 1.1 = 935
    • Vydar = 0+50 = 50 × 1.05 = 53

      • Vydar 75% share = 39
      • Tembo 25% share = 14

OTHER REWARDS/EVENTS

Clondya has delved into the Mysteries of the Blood.

Vydar & Aris have been purged of the vampiric curse.

Marla Ironthighs has left the area, never (?) to return.

Stinky is dead.

Dire Rumours circulate in Slowbrook, Helix, and the Helbend generally. While the party are not yet pariahs, many of the locals fear them and consider them a danger.

Lady Olathoe has seen the danger represented by the Barrowmaze. She believes it must be contained. She has sent word to the Temple of the Five Elements and will soon depart herself to testify before the assembled priesthood.

Acanthus Rho is still away on mysterious errands.

You can choose whether to return to Slowbrook, or have Tembo and Vydar join you in the swamp in a few days. Either way, we will begin next session on Copperday, Week of the Sage, and all party members will recover from their wounds.

 

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Session 10 - March 25th, 2017
The Coming of the Seven

CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 10, March 25th 2017

In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Julian (Vydar), Brett (Clondya the Pale), Ryan (Aris)

Week of the Hawk & Copperday, Week of the Dragonfly, MY 269

  • Vydar & Silas researching cult of Zuul and Companions of Palantis. Minimal revelations so far, but tantalizing clues.
  • Lady Olathoe & Silas discuss the Talisman of Law. She believes it to be a powerful daemonic artifact, almost certainly not benign or helpful. If it exists, it should be placed in the hands of the Temple for safekeeping, not used.
  • Aris tries to procure new boots. He deals with the Trading Barge, who offer to get him some marvelous boots that will always be clean and protect against all manner of dangers. He pays them a large deposit and awaits the arrival of his boots… (he was UNLUCKY – the boots will be a swindle in some way)
  • The group is planning to construct a base of their own in the swamp come spring, at the site where the Snake Cult used to have their camp. In the meantime, they have rented two houses adjacent to each other in Slowbrook, and staffed them with servants and security.
  • Seven armored figures march slowly down the viaduct from the north, killing anyone who interferes with their progress. Eventually, Clondya confronts them near the bridge at Slowbrook, using Command Undead to force them to acknowledge her. They are vampires, allies of “he who was Imhotep”, who have been summoned to the Barrowmaze because “the time is near when the tides of blood and slaughter will rise and all will drown”. They offer Clondya the chance to accompany them and share in the harvest of blood, but she politely refuses. The armored strangers march on into the swamp. The adventurers decide that they should try to get to Barrowmaze ahead of the vampires and see what can be done to interfere with whatever is afoot.

Tinday, Week of the Dragonfly, MY 269

At the Barrow Fields, Clondya speaks with Osric. For some reason, he is accompanied by his wife Breena when he appears to the sorceress. He agrees to marshal the forces of Barrowmaze against the traitorous cultists of the Maw, but warns the party to avoid their usual regions of the dungeon since that is where he plans to make his stand against the vampires. He goes to consult with “the Keeper” in hopes of gaining reinforcements. While he is gone, an earthquake shakes the Barrow Fields and Silas sense a “disturbance in the force.” Hyrakitoi are very active above the eastern parts of the Barrow Fields.

A spectral light leads the adventurers to the mound with the lion-headed warriors on its doors. They force open the doors and descend to the crypt, where a black sword lies on a plinth. Aris senses trouble, and the party makes a plan to snatch the sword only on their way out. The light leads them to a hidden door that leads into the Maze, just north of the grand corridor where they encountered the forces of the Maw and the Serpent Cult fighting one another a few months ago.

Exploring cautiously, they encounter a stuck door that seems to be partly calcified by mineral-rich water that seeps under it. Forcing the door open is noisy, and attracts some plague-cursed huecuva who are easily dealt with by the heavily armored fighters. Within the chamber they find a nightmarish array of stone-encrusted skeletal remains, jumbled around another door which seems entirely permeated by the mineral-rich water. They decide not to investigate further, as Aris has a bad feeling about the skeletons.

They next find a portcullis with a tattered yellow curtain beyond it. Despite uneasy feelings from Hanah, Clondya is determined to investigate and has the fighters force the gate open for her. Peering through the curtain, she sees her reflection in a huge mirror – and vanishes!

Within the mirror, Clondya must battle against herself – or rather, another self, one who has embraced the daemonic destiny that she rejected. Hard-pressed by the vicious duplicate, she desperately puts on the Serpent Circlet… and is saved. The mirror shatters, and Clondya is returned… but the crown will not come off, and its whispers are insidious.

Further exploration finds two rooms next to each other. One has had the door forced, and within a skeletal corpse lies amidst a pile of shattered runic tablets. The other is still locked, but they decide to use the word of opening spell that Clondya recently learned to open it. Within, a skeleton in robes holds a golden bowl as it lies in state on a plinth. The back wall is covered with cabinet doors of dark wood below a fresco showing Nergal in his lord of undeath form. Behind each door is a single runic tablet.

A little more exploration reveals a crude stone table or altar. Blood wells from its surface and drips from the edges before vanishing. A palpable aura of daemonic blood-lust emanates from it. Enraged, Vydar encourages the others to help him destroy it. The altar is smashed and cast down, but Aris & Vydar are both splashed with the blood… which awakens an unnatural hunger within them.

Feeling that time is growing short, the group decides to withdraw. On their way out, they use a long rope to snatch the black sword from the plinth in the Lion Tomb before re-sealing the doors.

Above, they see that ranks of skeletal warriors have been marshaled near the Obelisk, presumably to await the arrival of the vampires. They also see that a curious hyrakitos stands above the scene, keenly observing the emergence of the adventurers before striding off to the east. It is nearly dusk.

SESSION REWARD SUMMARY

TREASURE: 4,240 gp

  • 3 pieces jewelry, total value 340 gp
  • 24 runic tablets, unidentified = 2400 gp
  • ornate gold and platinum ritual bowl, 1500 gp

COMBAT: 450 xp (Clondya +250)

  • 3x cursed huecuva: 450
  • Clondya: Daemonic Doppelganger: 250

INTERACTION: 400 xp (Aris, Clondya, Vydar +200, Silas +100)

  • The Armored Strangers 100 (Clondya +100)
  • Doubts About the Talisman of Law (Silas +100)
  • A Dark Bargain, Honored 100 (Clondya +100)
  • An Unnatural Hunger (I) 200 (Vydar, Aris +200 each)

CHECKPOINTS: 300 xp

  • Leaving the nest 150
  • Arrival of the Seven 150

TOTAL = 5,390 (Aris +200, Clondya +450, Silas +100, Vydar +200)

  • Split 4 ways = 1,348 each

    • Aris = 1348+200 = 1548 × 1.1 = 1703

      • Aris 75% share = 1277
      • Oriah 25% share = 426
    • Clondya = 1348+450 = 1798 × 1.1 = 1978
    • Silas = 1348+100 = 1448 × 1.1 = 1593
    • Vydar = 1348+200 = 1548 × 1.05 = 1625

      • Vydar 75% share = 1219
      • Tembo 25% share = 406

OTHER REWARDS/EVENTS

The Seven  are arriving at Barrowmaze.

Osric has roused the Keeper and leads the Legions of Barrowmaze against the Seven and the Red Maw Cult.

Clondya has called upon the aid of the Mara and is now in their debt. What form this will take is yet unknown.

Vydar has been afflicted by an unnatural hunger. This has displeased the shade of Palantis that haunts his gauntlet.

Aris has been deceived by the traders of the Water Temple. Soon he will receive a pair of boots that are not what they seem.

Aris suffers an unnatural hunger.

The group has claimed a lair of their own in Slowbrook. They have well-paid servants and armed guards.

They have selected a site for a base in the Helmire. Come spring, they will begin construction.

Acanthus Rho is still away on mysterious errands.

 

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Session 8 & 9 - Nov 26th 2017, Jan 28th 2018
The Very Worm That Gnaws...

CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 8, November 26th 2017; Session 9, January 28th 2018

In attendance: Kathy (Silas & Hanah), Julian (Vydar & Tembo), Brett (Clondya the Pale, Ulf), Ryan (Mynes/Aris & Oriah)

Week of the Dowager, MY 269

Back in Castle Blackmoss, several developments are afoot as fall turns to winter.

  • Silas must spend time recovering from the madness brought on by his visions of the Master of the Dungeon.
  • Vydar, filled with a new sense of purpose from the influence of Palantis, spends his time doing good deeds and aiding the poor and sick around Helbend. This attracts the notice of Rhygar, one of Duke Rana’s sheriffs.
  • Vydar also convinces Tembo to join his quest! Tembo becomes a Companion.
  • Klondya continues her studies, consulting with Acanthus Rho to learn more magic and unlocking new secrets of her magic items.
  • A fierce old woman, Lady Olathoe of the Water Temple, arrives at Castle Blackmoss. She is one of Duke Rana’s sponsors, and much involved in Four Cities temple politics. She takes a great interest in Silas’s involvement in Acanthus Rho’s project. She also brings with her two slaves who she gives to Acanthus Rho to aid in his work – Aris & Oriah.

Week of the Scorpion, MY 269

All have recovered from their various difficulties and are ready to venture once more to Barrowmaze. As they make ready to depart, they learn that Acanthus Rho has departed the Castle on an errand of his own in the South and may be some time. He has left Lady Olathoe in charge of the Barrowmaze project in his absence.

Returning to the Barrow Fields, the party finds that new guardians have been set at the central mound – shrouded, skeletal corpses tethered by spectral chains that sink into the ground. These Coffer Corpses prove quite formidable, for they cannot be put down by any normal means – when slain, they spring back to life in moments. Only Vydar’s Gauntlet of Palantis seems able to sever the spectral chains that bind them. Klondya believes that the creatures are linked to a physical focus – perhaps a funerary jar or other relic – in the possession of a master within the dungeon. Forced to retreat, the party enters the dungeon through their usual route, the hidden stair in Mound #11.

The group decide to follow Silas’s advice to seek out the Master of the Dungeon, which he believes can be found in the Southwestern corner of the map. They methodically explore each door they know of that leads south from the central East-West corridor. At first, they meet little real opposition, only strange phenomena:

A pit trap in which nothing ever hits the bottom – it is filled with impenetrable shadows 10’ down, and nothing dropped in seems to strike a solid floor. They suspect it may teleport or disintegrate things that fall in. This proves useful when an acidic, watery mass comes flowing out of a crack in one of the tomb-niches.

A hidden secret crypt that seems to hold the remains of people who resisted the rise of King Nergal’s Archons. Most were seemingly scholars and bureaucrats, but two remarkable individuals are entombed at the end of the crypt – a warrior woman in silver and white, and a black-clad sorcerer. They retrieve the armor, shield, axe, and spellbook from these bodies for their own use.

The worm-infested remains of two thieves, pinned to the wall of a room by crude spears. They appear to have been tortured and disemboweled.

They deal with another of the acidic oozes, this one infesting a wall-tomb full of scroll-case-like reliquaries. Aris is badly burned on his legs by the creature as he attempts to reach a gem that glitters in the reliquary sockets. His boots are ruined as well.

Venturing deeper into this area, they discover a number of dangerous hidden chambers along with signs that the thieves may have entered them and then fled in terror. The most forbidding of these also holds a sort of “lobotomized” air elemental that Silas is able to commune with. It warns him away from the door and conveys vague concepts of cold and stars.

Another hidden area holds three skeletons wired into niches in the wall, and a counterweighted pedestal holding a stack of coins and a strange black stone. Aris & Klondya unravel the danger – the trap is meant to seal would-be thieves into the chamber with the black stone, which slowly steals the life from them until they fall into dust, changed to spectral undead. They carefully take the jewelry from the skeletons but leave the treasure on the pedestal behind.

The last area in this section holds a fallen skeletal body that seems to be haunted by an angry spirit, which screams horribly and bombards Aris with thrown crockery. Nearby, another cobweb-choked tomb proves deadly, as Dopey is asphyxiated by virulent mold spores.

Moving on to the other unexplored Southern door in their area, they discover that this one too has been nailed shut. It seems that other explorers found whatever lurks in the Southern reaches of this area too dangerous to confront. They press on regardless, and find three more worm-riddled dead thieves beyond. Some of the ghoulish undead berserkers lurk nearby, but the party detect the intended ambush and make short work of them. They learn that the ghouls likely came out of a tunnel that opens in the side of a pit nearby.

They now see beyond the pit a strange glowing multi-colored mist fills the corridor. It is seething with elemental power, and seemingly appeared in response to their approach. While Klondya and Hanah climb into the pit and inspect the tunnel – a low, apparently hand-dug twisting burrow, Silas approaches the mist to inspect it more closely.

It is then that a chilling apparition confronts them – in a side niche, a carpet of squirming grave-grubs coalesce into two human-like figures that approach the party, forbidding them to proceed and gesturing menacingly. Clondya invokes her power to command undead and forces the creatures to parlay, but she cannot deter them from forbidding the party to go any further. They call themselves the Children of Gaxx, chosen beings blessed by Nergal to do his bidding until the time of his ascension. Clondya can sense that they are powerful beyond any other undead you have encountered (save two others only Clondya has met). The party wisely choose to retreat…

SESSION REWARD SUMMARY

EXPERIENCE AWARDS

TREASURE: 1440 XP + ???

Cash-convertible

  • 97 ep = 19.4 gp
  • 350 sp = 35 gp
  • 30 gp
  • Diamond, 80 gp
  • Platinum circlets (3), 250 gp each = 750 gp
  • Pearl necklaces (3), 75 gp each = 225 gp
  • White jade idol of the four-faced god, 300 gp

Do you want to sell these?

  • Glorious Armor, 1200 gp ?
  • Glorious Shield, 600 gp ?
  • Antlered Axe, 1800 gp ?
  • Book of Spiders, no offer, could try to find a buyer with downtime

COMBAT: 1025 XP

  • 4x Coffer Corpse (party defeated) = 800 x ¼ = 200
  • 2x Grey Ooze (evaded) = 480 x ½ = 240
  • Poltergeist (party fled) = 50 x ¼ = 12
  • 4x Unworthy Ghoul = 240
  • 2x Child of Gaxx (inconclusive) = 1000 × 1/3 = 333

INTERACTION: 300 XP (Aris +150, Vydar +50)

  • Tricks & Traps 300 (Aris +150)
  • Vydar the Knight (Vydar +50)

CHECKPOINTS: 200 XP

  • First Defeat: 200 XP

OVERALL XP TOTAL = 2965 base, Vydar +50, Aris +150

Split 4 ways = 741 per PC

  • Clondya, Silas = 741 × 1.1 = 815
  • Aris = 741+150 x 1.1 = 980

    • Oriah 25% share = 245
    • Aris 75% share = 735
  • Vydar = 741+50 x 1.05 = 831

    • Tembo 25% share = 208
    • Vydar 75% share = 623

OTHER REWARDS/EVENTS

Dopey & Doc have died.

Hanah has received the Antlered Axe.

Clondya has claimed a book full of spiders, which she must spend a downtime action to unlock the contents of.

The party has suffered its first defeat in battle.

Acanthus Rho is On Mysterious Errands. Where has he gone, and when will he return?

Vydar is Under Suspicion. The Duke’s men seem ill-disposed toward his change in habits and his preaching of the beneficent Palantis’s creed.

Olathoe has taken A Disturbing Interest in Silas’s adventures. How much does she suspect about what he has learned regarding the elemental forces at work in Barrowmaze?

As you return to Castle Blackmoss, a heavy wet snow begins. This will make travel in the swamps difficult for at least a little while.

Aris needs to buy some new shoes. Perhaps a visit to the Trading Barge in Slowbrook, or to Vegt the Cobbler in Helix is in order?

Oriah sees the necessity in the Glorious Armor, but is disgruntled by its ostentatious design. Perhaps it should be replaced with something more utilitarian…

View
Session Seven - October 22nd 2017
Gauntlets & Gargoyles

CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 7, October 22nd 2017

In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Julian (Vydar), Brett (Clondya the Pale), Ryan (Mynes)

Bronzeday, Week of the Drunkard, MY 269

After resting for several hours, the party sets off northward to where Silas has scryed for the location of Clondya. They choose to bypass a side passage that might lead to one of the “places of power” Silas detected earlier, and enter a large pillared chamber with a large pile of refuse, bones, and rubble in the middle. The walls are daubed with snake cult symbols in yellow paint. A giant rattlesnake, also painted with cult signs, guards the chamber and nearly does in Mynes before it is slain. A search of the chamber finds little of interest, although a purse containing a number of valuable gems does turn up in the rubble pile.

Pressing onward, they pass a side hall with one of the locked “skull doors” that they have seen elsewhere, but don’t stop. Listening at the next door, they hear sounds of a fight in the distance. Vydar quickly discusses a plan of attack with the party, and they move through the door ready to ambush whoever lies beyond. The first thing they come upon, though, are a group of frightened rabble – Helix ruffians in the employ of the snake cult, some of the same ones Vydar frightened yesterday. The tomb robbers throw themselves on the mercy of the party.

According to the tomb robbers, they were drugged at a roadhouse outside Helix and found themselves being led through the dungeon by men in cult robes. They have been forced to serve as bearers and scouts for the cultists ever since – for several days at least, although they are not sure. Their cultist masters were ambushed by a group of other cultists, savage berserkers who the party suspect are the Red Maw cult. The tomb robbers fled from the melee and hid here, trying to figure out how to escape the dungeon.

The party scouts ahead, towards the sounds of battle. Warned of a pit trap by the tomb robbers, they skirt it and make sure nothing is lurking in side passages, before coming to a grand hallway where a standoff proceeds between two groups. Nearer to the party, several wild-looking half-naked cultists and some strange charred zombies – at the far end of the hall, some Writhing Serpent acolytes and their venomous zombies. As the scouts plan their attack, a cold wind blows through the hall and a bewildered Clondya suddenly appears between the two opposing forces!

THE DEATH OF MYNES

A three-way battle ensues, as the main party fights to get through the Red Maw forces towards Clondya as she tries to fend off the zombies each force sends after her. Thanks to the Serpent Circlet, she is able to take control of the Venomous Zombies and send them back into the ranks of the Snake Cult, putting them to flight, but the Red Maw turn out to be dangerous combatants – while they have trouble hurting the heavily armored Vydar, their zombies are much more dangerous than the Venomous Zombies. The strange charred zombies are fast, and as the party soon discover they burst into raging flames when damaged, damaging anyone nearby!

Vydar, Mynes, and Clondya soon put down the Red Maw, and Vydar rushes to pursue the last fleeing Snake Cultist. The straggler burning zombies claim an unfortunate victim, as Mynes’ luck at last runs out and he is slain by the roaring conflagration on legs that shambles toward him before it can be killed.

Assessing the situation, the party reclaims a few small coin purses from the cultists’ remains, but Vydar’s pursuit of the fleeing Snake Cult priest quickly leads to a web-filled room that he chooses not to enter.

CHAPEL OF PASSING INTO DEATH

The group decide that they should withdraw – without their thief and deep in unexplored areas of the Barrowmaze, the danger is too great to press onward. Falling back the way they came, they come to the side passage with the skull-faced door. Magical examinations suggest that the door is locked but not warded, and that some magical power lies beyond. They press one of the tomb-robbers, a nervous lad named Hapel “Happy” Duckwort, into service as a lock-whisperer. And after long fiddling about with the rotating mechanism of the door lock, seemingly without avail… it suddenly unlocks.

Within they find a chapel, with frescoes depicting the same world of death as seen elsewhere. Five grim god-figures look on from the wall behind a simple altar table on which rests a steel dish or plate. The figures seem to be representations of Nergal and his 4 Archons – skull-headed Nergal, Lion-headed Imhotep, Vulture-headed Moniphine, Snake-headed Ram-Seth, and Jackal-headed Osric. In front of the altar, a pit sits in the floor, its stone cover broken and a dead man in snake cult robes lying among spikes at the bottom.

Exploration yields little else of note. The dead body has no treasure or clues, and magical examination reveals only that a great many dead spirits have been sealed within the stone beneath the altar, bound by elemental magic and almost completely “digested” into identity-less necromantic remnants.

When they touch the plate on the altar, a voice rasps “Make a worthy gift and receive our wisdom.” They experiment with placing a few coins on the plate, which glows slightly, but there is no other effect and they decide to leave. As the last of them exit the side hallway, a click is heard – the door has re-locked itself.

THE CHAMBER OF REPOSE & THE WAY OUT

The group returns to the pillared chamber with the rubble pile, which they now believe was a “chamber of repose” where remains would be held prior to interment in a crypt. They organize a thorough search of the room and the rubble, but find little new. Investigating the other door out of the room, they confirm what they had suspected – it leads, via a short series of connecting chambers, to the exit at Mound #15. They have their exit route.

Before they leave, though, Silas wants to investigate the “place of power” he scryed just east of their current location.

THE LEGIONS YIELD

As they complete their exploration, a patrol of skeletal legionaries approach form the south corridor. Advancing on the party, they stop at the intersection where Silas wanted to go. The leader nods to Clondya, and the troop marches away to the east! Clondya explains – relating that she was taken by Osric who extracted a promise from her to attack the Snake Cult in return for the Legions leaving her party unmolested. Nervously, the party moves east down the hall where the skeletons departed…

VISIONS OF THE GARGOYLE KING

They soon come to an intersection, where two corridors head north and south and the east corridor continues towards a northerly bend. To the north, they can see some doors set into deep niches in the wall, and two large glass statues of warrior women flanking the last of these. Beyond this, the corridor ends amid a number of side doors, outside which the skeletal legionaries stand guard. To the south, a long chamber opens, its floor scattered with rubble, a giant stone head in the form of a crowned skull amidst the rubble.

They decide that the room with the statue head seems less immediately scary, and enter. They find little of interest, although it seems that some sort of violent battle must have taken place here long ago. Silas uses his elemental powers to try to learn more, and sees a vision of two huge beings of stone battling each other: a winged and horned gargoyle some 30’ tall, and a living statue of Nergal of somewhat lesser size. Both were terribly wounded – the gargoyle’s right arm was torn off and thrown into the distance; and the statue was cracked and maimed even before the vision ended with its head being torn off. Silas believes that this battle took place only partially in the material world – it was a struggle occurring also within the Dragon Lines. The gargoyle must have been an extremely powerful elemental.

THIS ISN’T A DOOR

Moving on to investigate – carefully – the various doors, the party’s new designated door-examiner Happy deftly avoids the traps in front of them, but then discovers… “Hey, guys, I don’t think this is a door…”. All three doors are fakes, clearly meant to bait explorers into the pit traps that are in front of them. Which definitely makes those glass statues suspicious…. and in fact, the statues’ heads turn to watch the party as they approach. Whatever is down that third niche that the two statues guard must be important. Also, they don’t look like the rest of the statuary around here – they’re warrior women, in an art style that Silas dimly recognizes as being associated with the remote city-state of Ironhold.

THE GAUNTLET OF PALANTIS

As they carefully approach the statues, Silas attempts to reach out to them magically. If they are elementals of some kind, perhaps he can control them or at least negotiate with them. But no! They react violently, stepping from their niches and advancing with razor-sharp hands to attack. Worse yet, they are difficult to hurt and when they ARE harmed glass shards spatter those nearby. The reflections of lights in their moving forms are dazzling. Something has to be done, or they’ll make short work of the adventurers.

Brave Vydar trusts in his heavy armor, dashing past the statues and braving their attacks as he runs into the chamber they guarded. While the rest of the party tries to keep the statues occupied, he sees a polished steel gauntlet set on a low pedestal, illuminated in a shaft of light. An inscription reads: “Those who would follow the path of the hero and take up the cause of fallen Palantis must be humble and brave. Approach with reverence, pilgrim.”

Thinking quickly, Vydar ducks low and approaches the pedestal on hands and knees. It’s wise to do so – when he takes the gauntlet from the pedestal, immense circular spinning blades roar across the chamber at chest height!

Donning the gauntlet, which begins to glow and hum with a high, keening note, he returns to the hallway. The gauntlet’s whine reaches a terrible crescendo, and the statues shatter into dust. Vydar is overcome with a strange emotion – a sense of purpose and righteous determination.

At the end of the hallway, the doors to the tombs open and the captain of the skeleton patrol looks on dispassionately. His troops form up and stand ready.

The party decides it is time to leave.

RETURN TO CASTLE BLACKMOSS

The group makes its way back to Castle Blackmoss without incident. They offer the tomb robbers a choice – return home, where the snake cult will probably find them and punish them, or join the work gangs at Castle Blackmoss. They also contemplate what they should do with their treasures and how much to tell Acanthus Rho about their latest adventures.

It is the beginning of the Week of the Dowager.

SESSION REWARD SUMMARY

TREASURE RECOVERED

TOTAL = 3860 for sure, +2500 if you accept AR’s offer for the Gauntlet.

EXPERIENCE AWARDS

TREASURE: 1636 XP + ???

  • 6 jewels – 10+25+50+100+500+750= 1435
  • Red Maw treasure (coins) – 183
  • Snake cult treasure (coins) – 18 gp
  • Gauntlet of Palantis – !!! – 2500 gp offer

You also have the following treasure left from the previous session (this will not count toward this session’s XP total, it is included for convenience)

  • Jewelry from plague-cursed, 9 pieces, total 1830 gp
  • Coin purse, 230 gp
  • Lady’s ring, 800 gp
  • Silver & other valuables stripped from ornate door, 1000 gp
  • Blue gauntlets, ??? – offer 600 gp from Acanthus Rho
  • Runic tablets (#5, #9) ??? – offer 200 gp each
  • Scroll case containing devotional chants to “Nergal, Lord of Life In Death”, !!!, offer 800 gp
  • Locket containing note from Moniphine of Shin-Tal to a young nobleman of the Court of the Eastern Gate, ???, no offer.

Items with ??? indicate that this item is rare, unusual, or difficult to appraise. To get full value for it, you will need to invest Downtime Actions in finding a buyer. However, some of these items may also have magical properties useful to you or provide valuable clues, so be cautious! Acanthus Rho may offer to purchase these items from you, but his offer is probably slightly or even seriously below what you could potentially get.

Items marked with !!! invoke Acanthus Rho’s first refusal clause. He will insist on purchasing them from you if he is told about them. His offer will probably be fair or even generous, but what is his motive?

COMBAT: 2165 XP

  • Cult rattlesnake 400
  • 8 tomb robbers (surrendered) 140
  • 1 snake cult priest (fled) 150
  • 3 snake cult acolytes 225
  • 4 venomous zombies 200
  • 1 Red-Marked Priest 300
  • 3 Maw Acolytes 300
  • 4 Burning Ones 300
  • 2 crystal guardians 150

INTERACTION: 125 XP (Clondya +50, Vydar +25)

  • Tomb Robbers rescued safely – 50 XP
  • Tomb Robbers recruited – 50 XP
  • Happy becomes a scout – 25 XP

    • Happy has revealed a Talent – Door Knocker. When Happy examines a door, he can identify whether it is locked, trapped, false, or otherwise unusual. He gains a bonus to opening locks and disarming mechanisms.
  • Clondya’s adventure – +50 XP to Clondya
  • Vydar in hot pursuit – +25 XP to Vydar

CHECKPOINTS: 350 XP (Clondya/Vydar/Silas +50, Ryan +100)

  • Red Maw Cult encountered – 50 XP
  • Visions of the Gargoyle King – 50 XP
  • The Gauntlet of Palantis – 100 XP
  • The Chapel of Passing Into Death – 100 XP
  • Osric & Breena – 50 XP
  • First PC Death – +50 per surviving PC, +100 to new PC

OVERALL XP TOTAL = 4276 base, Silas +50, Vydar +75, Clondya +100

Split 3 ways = 1425 per PC

  • Clondya = 1425+100 x 1.1 = 1678
  • Silas = 1349+50 x 1.1 = 1623
  • Vydar = 1349+50 x 1.05 = 1575

Ryan’s new character can start at ½ the XP of the highest-XP PC (after applying this session’s XP gains), rounded up. Alternatively, he can choose to adopt an existing NPC, who will likely start at a somewhat lower XP total but will have some additional special abilities.

OTHER REWARDS/EVENTS

Grumpy, Dopey, and Sneezy are all available to hire as men at arms.

The other 5 tomb robbers (Bashful, Doc, Sleepy, Happy, Snow) are available to hire as flunkies.

  • Sneezy (F) is allergic to dungeon molds, and reduces the party’s stealth while in the dungeon (more random encounters will occur)
  • Bashful (M) has Morale 3 unless in a group of 7 or larger (his Morale is +3 in that case). His Morale is not affected by pay or equipment modifiers.
  • If Sleepy (M) is placed on lookout or guard duty, or is used to scout, monsters and traps have a much higher chance of surprise. He always goes last in the initiative order on the first round of combat.
  • Grumpy (M) imposes a -1 Morale penalty on the entire party.
  • Snow (F) has a talent – Animal Buddies. Small harmless animals think she is the bee’s knees. They like being around her, want to please her, and can even communicate with her a little – although they’re still just animals and not too bright.
  • Happy (M) has a talent – Door Knocker. He can detect the nature of doors, door locks, trapped doors, etc. He also has a bonus to unlocking them or disarming their mechanisms.
  • Doc (M) has a talent – Rub Some Dirt On It. Once per battle, Doc can get a Taken Out character back in the fight by using an action. The character is set to 1 HP and can act normally.
  • Dopey is extremely gullible and thinks the PCs are super cool. He’ll pretty much do whatever you tell him to, no matter how foolish it might seem. Treat him as having Morale 11 in all situations, regardless of modifiers.

The Legions of Barrowmaze seem to be leaving you alone.

Clondya has made a Fateful Pact.

Vydar has acquired the Gauntlet of Palantis. It has imbued him with a newfound sense of purpose.

Silas has been Marked by the Master. A powerful elemental entity within Barrowmaze has sensed his presence and may attempt to communicate with him.

Yaromir has learned what he came here to learn about himself. He will depart the area and no longer be available to hire.

Ulf has gained confidence in the party and enjoyed his adventures with you. He has decided to come out of retirement and become a 1st-level Fighter. He will now cost a ½ share to hire as a Retainer.

Dells has had another taste of the dungeon life and regrets his decision to venture into the dark again. He wants to take his money and go see if he can find a wife. He is no longer available to hire.

Tembo is inclined to follow Dell’s example, but he is also inspired by the party’s bravery. You can choose to encourage him to settle down, or call upon the bonds of shared experience.

  • encourage him to settle down: Tembo becomes a town-bound hireling like Marla. He can still be enticed to adventure with an offer of a ¼ share on an adventure-by-adventure basis, but he cannot be hired as a man at arms.
  • call upon the bonds of shared experience: Choose a PC who makes an overture to Tembo. That PC may sacrifice 50% of this session’s XP gained to turn Tembo into a 1st-level Fighter Companion. A Companion is a full character who is personally loyal to the PC. They get a minimum of 25% of that character’s share of experience for adventures they go on, and the PC may choose to give them additional XP, up to 50%.
View
Session 6 - September 24th 2017
The Lady Vanishes

CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 6, September 24th 2017

In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Julian (Vydar), Brett (Clondya the Pale), Ryan (Mynes)

Week of the Frog, MY 269

Hanah & Vydar are treated for Nergal’s Curse, but the treatment can only arrest the progress of the disease – it is not cured. To cure it, Acanthus Rho says he needs a sample from the undead horrors that inflicted it.

Mynes spends his time researching Klexx the Maligned. At first his progress is slow, since he must send to libraries in the City of Water and Ironhold for answers to some basic questions. But by the end of the week he has some good leads – leads that point right back to Castle Blackmoss!

Clondya recovers from her exertions and works to unlock more secrets of the Crystal of Continual Light, while Silas consults with a correspondent in the Temple of the Elements, hoping to understand the elemental corruption that infests Barrowmaze.

Week of the Ox, MY 269

Vydar is feeling better, and goes off to spend some of his plunder in the roadhouses of the Viaduct, but apparently his reputation has preceded him and he gains little new notoriety.

Hanah goes home to visit her family and recover from her illness.

Mynes’ researches are completed, revealing the story of Horus Klexx and his execution.

Silas attempts to build on his research with another scrying of the Barrowmaze. He beholds the Pit of Chaos, a seething wound punched straight through the world, the Shroud, and the Elemental Sea into the Outer Dark. This is what all the elemental workings here must be in service of – holding this horror open, bleeding corrupted power into the world. It is an utter blasphemy.

Clondya continues her studies.

Tinday, Week of the Drunkard, MY 269

The party returns to Barrowmaze – without Hanah, but with some old friends as Tembo and Dells have decided to return. Entering the Barrowfields, they see signs that two groups of humans have had a battle near Mound #15 (the hole in the floor entrance) recently – perhaps 30-40 people total between the groups. Their secret entrance remains undisturbed.

Within the Barrowmaze, they again see some signs of the mysterious “cleanup crew” in action – rubble has been neatly stacked, bloodstains removed from the floor, bodies absent.

Proceeding to the crypt where the diseased undead were entombed, they make use of the tower shields acquired for this purpose – trapping most of the creatures in their funeral niches until Vydar can destroy them. There are a few tense moments, but all 4 are defeated with no harm coming to the party. A rich haul of jewelry is recovered from the deliquescent remains, along with the needed samples to cure Nergal’s Curse.

Spirits buoyed by their easy victory, the party continues their explorations. They discover signs that another group has been exploring the dungeon – bricked-up archways recently knocked down and the bodies of four cultists stashed in a tomb – one of whom Dells recognizes from Helix! He is Grigor, a laborer from the Vineyards. This is the estate of Madame Rayburn, who is working with the snake cult and the Sons of the Swamp.

They also find a strange skeleton-decorated door with a lock that has recently been used. Mynes rigs the lock, leaving whoever it is hopefully locked in while they explore further. Pressing on westward, they come upon another of those slate-floor pit traps which they carefully edge around using the tower shields as catwalks. Beyond they find a tomb given over to many tiny niches which Mynes believes were meant to house the remains of pets – but all are bare and empty. Nearby, a door awaits, but as Vydar and Tembo breach it they are surprised to find another group of explorers on the other side, about to do the same!

The tomb robbers flee in panic, pursued by Vydar & Tembo, but they quickly outdistance the heavily-armored warriors. Concerned about the noise attracting danger and the possibility of an ambush, the party retreats, spikes the door shut, and moves on. They have concluded, though, that the area beyond must be quite close to the area reachable from Mound #15.

The group return to the locked door to see what might lay beyond. They hear a faint sound through the door and fearing undead ask Clondya to peer through the Shroud to see what it might be. She does so, but again feels the eyes of whatever it is that commands Barrowmaze’s dead upon her. Beyond the door, she senses several daemonic undead, creatures cursed with unquenchable hungers for flesh and sensation. She drives them away with the Banishment, but they are still lurking in nearby tombs.

Opening the door, they find a long hallway elaborately decorated with skull and skeleton motifs. A decorative archway depicts skeletal figures representing all the many classes and ranks of Gaxxic society climbing stairways leading to the keystone of the archway, where they march into the yawning mouths of the four-faced skull that seems to be a recurring motif in the Barrowmaze.

On the other side of the archway, tomb doors line the sides of the corridor, the hungry undead waiting within. Battle is joined, and quickly goes in favor of the party. The creatures are ferocious, and the wounds they inflict with their filthy nails send a surge of strange sensations through Vydar, but he is able to fight it off. The tombs are utterly wrecked, and almost everything of value has been destroyed, but the party does recover a runic tablet and a set of strange blue-green gauntlets.

The runic tablet gives some pause – these black-painted clay tablets bear hidden messages that are revealed by rubbing off the black paint that covers them, but often those messages are curses meant to strike down unwary tomb robbers. Other stories, though, tell of tablets that contain secrets of sorcery or bestow magical powers on those who decipher them.

As they are searching the tombs, Yaromir spots a diminutive figure slipping out of one of the doors further down the hall and scuttling away. He gives choice, but the creature has a good head start. It doesn’t save the creature, though. Vydar emerges from the tomb and strikes it down with a fatal arrow. It proves to be another of the mongrel mutants like Stinky.

In one of the other tombs, the only one that seems to be unopened (due to a stuck door), they discover a half-dozen shambling, mindless walking corpses – the unquiet dead of Barrowmaze. The creatures are stupid and not that hard to destroy, but their numbers in the close quarters allow them to overwhelm Dells and Vydar before they can all be dealt with – the fallen warriors are rescued before they die, but it was a close call. Interestingly, although Clondya twice attempts to Banish the undead, her powers seem to be weakening. The dark presence draws closer…

While searching the remaining tombs, a single stray venomous zombie approaches from the south. It is quickly dealt with, but its presence suggests that the snake cult may be near…

In the tombs, they find some mostly ruined and despoiled remains, but a few valuable items do come to light. They find another runic tablet, a case full of devotional chants addressed to “Nergal, Lord of Life in Death”, a vial of strange brown liquid that seems to grant a form of Silas’ astral projection ability, and a locket within which is a tiny folded note addressed to some minor nobleman written by Moniphine of Shin-Tal – Klexx the Maligned’s duplicitous wife.

At the end of the corridor, a huge ironbound door decorated with elaborate silver and brass patterns awaits, a locking mechanism set into the center of it. It is not clear how it could be opened. Silas senses some kind of warding magic built into the door – it may be dangerous to tamper with the lock or attempt to break through. As Vydar and the men begin to strip the decorative silverwork from the door, Clondya considers stepping into the Shroud to see if she can sense what lies beyond the door or perhaps counteract whatever enchantment has been placed here. She does so….

And does not return. The group waits for some time, but it becomes clear that something has happened to the sorceress. Silas uses the potion in an attempt to search for her astrally, but all he can do is follow her traces north and west for some distance before the potion wears off and he is snapped back into his body. Unwilling to abandon Clondya to her fate, the party decides that they will fortify themselves in the chamber once occupied by Stinky and the mutants to rest while Silas uses the “interference-free zone” of Klexx’s tomb to attempt a more prolonged scrying.

The scrying does allow him to trace Clondya further. She seems to be located in an octagonal chamber, well to the north, near the Pit of Chaos. His scrying suggests a route by which the area could be reached, but what dangers might await? And what HAS become of Clondya?

SESSION REWARD SUMMARY

TREASURE RECOVERED

  • Jewelry from plague-cursed, 9 pieces, total 1830 gp
  • Coin purse, 230 gp
  • Lady’s ring, 800 gp
  • Silver & other valuables stripped from ornate door, 1000 gp
  • Blue gauntlets, ??? – offer 600 gp from Acanthus Rho
  • Potion of elemental visions, ??? (used)
  • Runic tablets (#5, #9) ??? – offer 200 gp each
  • Scroll case containing devotional chants to “Nergal, Lord of Life In Death”, !!!, offer 800 gp
  • Locket containing note from Moniphine of Shin-Tal to a young nobleman of the Court of the Eastern Gate, ???, no offer.

Items with ??? indicate that this item is rare, unusual, or difficult to appraise. To get full value for it, you will need to invest Downtime Actions in finding a buyer. However, some of these items may also have magical properties useful to you or provide valuable clues, so be cautious! Acanthus Rho may offer to purchase these items from you, but his offer is probably slightly or even seriously below what you could potentially get.

Items marked with !!! invoke Acanthus Rho’s first refusal clause. He will insist on purchasing them from you if he is told about them. His offer will probably be fair or even generous, but what is his motive?

TOTAL = 3860 for sure, +1800 if you accept AR’s offers.

EXPERIENCE AWARDS

TREASURE: 3860 XP + ???

COMBAT: 1135 XP

  • 4 plague-cursed huecuva 600 XP
  • 6 tomb robbers (fled) 30 XP
  • 6 unworthy vessels 360 XP
  • 6 unquiet zombies 90 XP
  • 1 Grr-Woof-Nub 20 XP
  • 1 venomous zombie 35 XP

INTERACTION: 0 XP (Silas +50, Vydar +50, Mynes +50)

  • Silas desperately uses the potion, 50 XP bonus
  • Vydar recklessly pursues the tomb robbers, 50 XP bonus
  • Mynes continues to be absolute rubbish at rolling dice, 50 XP bonus

CHECKPOINTS: 400 XP

  • Connected to Mound #15 entrance, 50 XP
  • Snake Cult connected to Helix, 100 XP
  • Clondya Snatched!, 300 XP + 100 bonus for Clondya
  • Silas sees the Pit of Chaos! +150 XP

OVERALL XP TOTAL = 5395 base, Silas +50, Vydar +50, Clondya +100, Mynes +50, additional sold items +???

  • Split 4 ways = 1349 per PC

    • Clondya = 1349+100 x 1.1 = 1594
    • Silas = 1349+50 x 1.1 = 1539
    • Vydar = 1349+50 x 1.05 = 1469
    • Mynes = 1349+50 x 1.05 = 1469

OTHER REWARDS/EVENTS

Clondya has been taken by some ghostly force that seems to command the skeletal legions you have encountered. She is alive, and you & she will find out what has happened to her.

You have the samples that Acanthus Rho will need to cure Nergal’s Curse.

You have learned that tomb robbers from Helix – at least some of whom are from the estate of the noble who is harboring the snake cult – are actively exploring the area.

These tomb robbers seem to have had at least one confrontation with another group hostile to them.

Someone has a key to the locked area you found, and they seem likely to be associated with the snake cult.

 

 

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Session Five - August 27th 2017
Tombs and Tall Tales

CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 5, August 27th 2017

In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Julian (Vydar), Brett (Clondya the Pale), Ryan (Mynes)

Week of the Rooster, MY 269

While Clondya transcribes spells from the scrolls found last time into her spellbook and studies the working of the crystal of continual light in order to better control it, Mynes & Vydar go out on the town in Helix and Slowbrook as well as some of the other nearby settlements, spreading the word of their adventures and exploits. Mynes’ stories are better received than the taciturn Vydar’s.

However, they do learn more about what’s going on with the Sons of the Swamp and the attempt on the Duke’s life at the New Year’s Progress. It seems the locals are less unwilling to talk about the Sons of the Swamp now that the Duke’s men are hunting them down; they reveal that the Sons have mostly stopped extorting protection money from local merchants and farmers, but they’re hiding out at the estate of one Madame Eliza Rayburn outside Helix. A foreign-looking woman and a man they think is her servant are also staying there. Vydar & Mynes share this information with Duke Rana, who seems quite pleased – it also seems that he has a grudge against Madame Rayburn over something.

Silas spends the week sending messengers to the City of Water’s agents at Slowbrook in search of specialized swimming and diving gear to use in the swamps. His inquiries bear fruit, but prove somewhat expensive. 5 sets of diving gear will be delivered sometime in the Week of the Frog.

Copperday-Tinday, Week of the Moth, MY 269

After recruiting some new hirelings with the help of Mygdo Keelish, the party returns to the Barrow Fields. With the scary tales told by Dells and Tembo about their expedition with the party, it seems that Keelish is having to send further afield to find recruits, and many of those he does find are foreigners who are unfamiliar with the reputation of the Barrowmaze.

The party hire Marla Ironthighs, a pretty and ferocious-seeming mercenary; Yaromir, a tribesman from the Icewind Steppes on a quest for meaning with his pet squirrel; Ulf the Widower, a garrulous old Northman who tells lots of stories; and of course the loyal Hanah, whose improved skills have made her a valuable part of the team and earned her a half-share in the treasure.

On the way to the Barrowmaze, they stop at the campsite where the Serpent Cult had been encamped, finding it completely abandoned but with traps set among the abandoned refuse of the cult’s encampment. That night as they get ready to set watches, Ulf shares a scary tale of the Death Moth Queen, a supposed haunt that prowls wild places during the Week of the Moth, luring unwary travelers with its glowing red eyes in the dark. Hanah, inspired by the tale, sneaks out into the swamp with two torches and plays a prank on the first watch (Mynes and Marla) by making it appear that two red glowing eyes are out in the dark of the swamp.

Later that night, though, Vydar hears what seems to be a human scream from out in the swamp that is abruptly cut off. The next day, they find an empty skiff floating by the path. The occupant seems to have simply stepped out of the boat into the swamp, leaving all his supplies behind.

Bronzeday, Week of the Moth, MY 269

The group arrives at the Barrow Fields and descends into the necropolis via the hidden stair they located last time. They discover that the pit that claimed Kyra’s life has mysteriously become covered over by the sheet of stone that hid it before, and Silas’s elemental inquiries suggest that it has never been disturbed since it was placed here centuries ago. A thorough search of the room full of statues discovers no additional secrets or treasures, until it comes to an end as a pair of shambling, decrepit walking corpses approach from the North passage. These are quickly dispatched, proving to be much slower and less coordinated than the venomous zombies used by the Serpent Cult. These must be poor souls who died in the Barrowmaze and found no rest in death.

Once the zombies are dealt with, the group investigates the small chamber to the East of the stairs, where a pile of stacked bricks is all that remain of the bricked-up doorway. Careful searching shows that another bricked-up doorway is concealed by a thin coat of plaster, but a nest of giant red centipedes must be dealt with before it can be explored. Clondya’s new burning hands spell easily exterminates the many-legged horrors, and the party decides to explore elsewhere nearby before attempting the noisy work of breaking down the bricked-up doorway.

Moving North, the party discovers a long-dead body missing one leg slumped by another pile of bricks. Nearby graffiti reads “No more food. We should not have come.” Vydar hears noises behind the nearby door, and the party readies to ambush whoever is in there. That proves to be three diminutive, misshapen mutants with mismatched animal body parts. They are easily defeated, and one is captured alive – Stinky. They have amassed a small hoard of “shinies” nearby – many silver and copper coins plus a few small emeralds.

Interrogating Stinky about the dungeon, they learn that he and his deceased friends (Pickles and Meatboy) lived furtive existences in the necropolis, avoiding the patrols of undead and other unspecified dangers. Stinky seems to know little, but he does give some warnings about the doors to the West.

The party next begins searching an octagonal room filled with small burial niches. Most have been looted already, but those highest up the walls still hold some treasure. Before it can all be collected, though, a large troop of skeleton warriors approach from the West, led by an “officer” of sorts who orders them to the attack.

A pitched battle breaks out at the corridor intersection, with the skeletons forcing the group back with cunning tactical maneuvers and ferocious spear and sword strikes. Vydar and Yaromir nearly fall victim to the monsters before Clondya’s arcane might breaks their will and drives them back. The surviving skeletons retreat in good order, and then seem to receive new commands – they march away to the West. Clondya has sensed that a greater intelligence controls the skeletons and makes them hard to influence with her own magic.

Fortunately, a few swigs of strong drink see the wounded right again, but the worst casualty is Marla’s nerves. She has been growing increasingly frightened ever since the “Death Moth” story at camp the night before, and now she is almost useless with fear, reduced to simply keeping Stinky’s leash secure and carrying things. Clearly whatever her martial skills, she was not prepared for a place where the dead walk.

Thinking to do a little more exploring, the group erect a makeshift barricade across the corridor South of the intersection and break into the hidden chamber they detected earlier. Within is a large tomb with a massive black stone mausoleum in the center and many small urn niches in the walls, each with a coin and a black clay urn in it. Mynes examines the mausoleum, which proves to be decorated with an image of a man being tormented by wire hooks tearing his flesh and inscribed with curses promising eternal suffering to the occupant – one “Klexx the Maligned”. Mynes knows that name from his studies – he was a courtier of Gaxx who led an unsuccessful rebellion against King Nergal shortly before the Fall of the Green Star. The urns in the niches contain the remains of his accomplices, each with a scarred silver coin representing the “traitor’s price”. Twelve urns surrounding the doorway to the tomb lack this mark of shame – perhaps the remains of those who constructed the tomb and had to be killed so they could not reveal its location.

They consider breaking into the mausoleum, but with Marla’s shattered morale it seems unwise. Interestingly, Silas discovers that this tomb seems free of the dark magic that interferes with his elemental senses elsewhere in Barrowmaze, and he undertakes to scry for places of power nearby, getting a good sense of several directions and distances along with a general sense of what might be found there.

  • To the Southeast, moderately close, a diffuse region of strong elemental magic of all 4 prime elements, but commingled with the dark taint that seems endemic to Barrowmaze.
  • To the Northwest, moderately close, a source of non-elemental power, seemingly pure and bright, untainted by Barrowmaze.
  • To the South, somewhat distant, another non-elemental power, dark and malignant.
  • To the North, somewhat distant, elemental nodes of Earth and Water.
  • To the North, distant, a powerful source of chaotic and dark magic, the influence of the Outer Dark.
  • To the Northwest and Northeast, distant, a smattering of elemental sources – nodes or something similar.

They ask Stinky about the two doors in the East hallway, and he tells them that the mutants have not dared to loot them for “shinies.” One is haunted by a voice that growls and demands “blood and bones.” The other contains horrible undead things that stink of rot and disease. Undeterred, the party undertakes to raid these rooms. First, however, they must decide how to deal with the cat-sized gray moths that cling to the walls nearby. The moths don’t seem to be aggressive, but when approached they release a dust from their wings that appears to be a drug or poison of some kind.

They keep their distance from the moths at first, entering the closer of the two tombs in the East hall. As related by Stinky, a disembodied voice gives an animalistic growl and voices its demand… “blood and bones”. The tomb is in complete disarray, with fragments of bone scattered about the floor, some cracked as if to get at the marrow. It looks like all the burial niches have been torn apart to get at the contents. A little experimentation shows that whatever is haunting this crypt will attack whole bones, but not a living moth… probably not worth risking, though, so they close it back up.

Entering the next tomb, though, requires some attention to the moths. They drive them off with torches and fire, and then open the tomb. Within, several low niches hold wrapped bodies adorned with jewelry and show elaborate carvings of courtly life in ancient Gaxx. Stinky has warned them that the dead here do not rest, and this is proven when Vydar attempts to winkle out a bit of jewelry from the corpse nearest the door. An attempt is made to draw the creatures to the doorway, where they can be fought one by one – but all goes wrong when Vydar is grabbed by the throat, pulled forward into the room, and thrown to the floor. A desperate struggle ensues, with both Vydar and Hanah mauled by the creatures before the door is closed once more. The rewards are great, with valuable jewelry recovered… but Vydar and Hanah can feel a horrid disease already working within them where the creature’s bony hands touched them.

This being the last straw, the party withdraws to seek medical care for the injured and sick and count their haul.

SESSION REWARD SUMMARY

TREASURE RECOVERED

  • 1900 sp from mutant shinies 190
  • Emeralds from mutant shinies (75+100+200+400=775) 775
  • Jewelry from huecuva 610
  • Silver from traitor tombs 131
  • Platinum from octagon tomb (41) = 410

TOTAL = 2116 GP

EXPERIENCE AWARDS

TREASURE: 2116 XP

COMBAT: 915 XP

  • 2 Barrowmaze Zombies 60
  • 6 Giant Red Centipedes 60
  • 3 Barrowmaze Skeletons 60
  • 1 Barrowmaze Skeleton Lieutenant 30
  • 8 Barrowmaze Skeletons (turned) 80
  • 2 Mongrel Mutants [Pickles, Meatboy] 20
  • 1 Mongrel Mutant [Stinky] (defeated) 5
  • 2 Huecuva 300
  • 4 Huecuva (turned) 300
  • 6 Death Moths 300

INTERACTION: +25 XP to Hanah

  • Hanah receives 25 XP for her practical joke

CHECKPOINTS: 350 XP

  • Tomb of Klexx the Maligned Found 200
  • Legend of the Death Moth Queen 50
  • Camp 2 reclaimed 100

OVERALL XP TOTAL = 3381

  • Split 4.5 ways = 751 per PC, 375+25 for Hanah
  • Clondya, Silas = 826
  • Vydar, Mynes = 789
  • Hanah = 440

OTHER REWARDS/EVENTS

Duke Rana has learned who is sheltering his enemies in Helix. He will take action soon.

Vydar and Hanah have contracted the Curse of Nergal. This disease will cause them to lose CON each day until treated. When you return to Castle Blackmoss, each has already lost 2 CON.

You have hidden Stinky away in a shed near the swamp path that Keelish told you about. Marla volunteered to guard him – you can hire her or someone else, or delegate one of your PCs to do it.

You could also turn him over to Acanthus Rho – he was most interested in your description of the mutants. You suspect he would reward you.

Ulf and Yaromir are well-disposed toward you. While the adventure was dangerous and frightening, they respect your bravery and skill. You can hire them again.

Yaromir gained experience and revealed a talent. He has Die Hard – when reduced to 0 HP, he may take one action before being taken out.

Ulf gained experience and revealed a talent. He has Good Company – each time you camp for 4 or more hours, he can lift the party’s spirits with his stories, restoring 1 Morale to each NPC whose morale is less than his own. He gains 1 permanent base Morale.

Marla is frightened by what happened while adventuring. She does not want to return to Barrowmaze. However, she also is impressed with the party and will happily work for them as an agent in town or on missions. You can order Marla to undertake some Downtime Actions on your behalf while you are adventuring. She may regain her nerve in the future.

Dells has recovered his nerve. He is available to hire again.

Tembo has recovered his nerve. He is available to hire again.

You collected enough Death Moth Powder to create 6 doses of the drug. What it does is currently unknown.

 

 

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Session Four - July 23rd 2017
Some Excavation, A Visitation, and a Defenestration

CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 4, July 23rd 2017

In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Julian (Vydar), Brett (Clondya the Pale), Ryan (Mynes)

Copperday, Week of the Young King, MY 269

The adventurers refuse an invitation to accompany Duke Rana on his progress through the settlements of Helbend to celebrate the New Year. They decide that it is more important to return to the Barrow Fields before the Snake Cult can recover from the blow they recently dealt to it than to curry favor with the Duke and possibly protect him from an assassination attempt or other action by the Sons of the Swamp. Gathering Hanah and Dells, along with the old duelist Kyla, the party travels into the swamps. They stop by to check on Camp Sweetwater, finding all in good order, but there are still sightings of mysterious boats near the camp in the night. Pressing on to Tower Island, they likewise find signs that a boat has been here, and a crude trap has been left at the top of the stair.

Observing from the top of the tower, they can see that the Snake Cult’s camp seems to have been abandoned. They see no signs of excavations or torch-bearing parties in the Barrow Fields by night.

Tinday, Week of the Young King, MY 269

Advancing to the Barrow Fields, they briefly encounter some rotted zombies beneath the waters of the swamp, but Clondya proves able to command them to depart. On the Barrow Fields, they begin examining mounds near the “places of power” that Silas had mapped during his astral venture. They also discover a Snake Cultist’s corpse, mutilated and hung from the top of the Stele. Signs of some sort of ritual dance appear near the base of the Stele, apparently made by both crab-like feet and bare human feet – the hyrakitoi! The sight (and the conversation that accompanies it) unnerves the hirelings.

Silas’s efforts to commune with the elementals and learn where the best places to excavate might be are frustrated – the elementals of this place are hostile and oppressive, impossible to communicate with. All he gets are glimpses of leering, demonic faces.

As they work at breaking into Mound #12, a Giant King Scorpion approaches, but they keep it at bay with arrows until another emerges from the fog and attacks it. It seems the creatures are very territorial. The scorpions depart into the fog, embattled. Breaking into the mound at last, they find a peaceful tomb that seems to be the last resting place of a craftsman. Beautiful and delicate painted jars are arrayed on shelves around the tomb. They carefully remove 21 jars and pack them away.

They next choose to excavate Mound #10, an endeavor that occupies much of the afternoon. Entering the tomb, they find two skeletal bodies atop wooden biers. As they search the cabinets under the biers for treasure, the skeletons attack and are soon defeated – but more approach from outside. Remarkably, Vydar holds them off almost single-handed while the others plunder the tomb, retrieving jewels, a silver knife, and a magical scroll. Unsettlingly, the attacking skeletons outside seemed to use intelligent tactics, and even stopped to apparently “receive new orders” from the direction of the Stele. They realize that the soil of the Barrow Fields is permeated with bone fragments, and that the sheer necromantic energies of the place might be capable of producing a nearly infinite supply of animated skeletons if roused to do so.

Exploring around the area in the last hours of daylight, they hear a bizarre and unsettling song from high above among the rain-clouds.

Examining Mound #6, they find it is uncovered, with its paired slab doors carved with bas-reliefs depicting lion-headed soldiers. An aura of menace seems to radiate from it. They decide not to attempt to enter. Retreating to the Fallen Tower, they make camp.

Late that night, they have a visitor… a hyrakitoi walks down through the air to their camp, and dances just outside the wards. They quickly discover that its song and gaze combine to bend the minds of those who are snared by them, causing them to attempt to leave the protection of the wards and approach the creature. They attempt to parlay with the creature, as Mynes can comprehend a little of its speech, but all that they can learn is that it seems to be curious about them, a new force that is disturbing the balance of powers at the Barrowmaze. It departs as it arrived, with the party little wiser but seriously frightened.

Ironday, Week of the Young King, MY 269

The party manage through dedicated efforts to restore at least some of the nerve of their hirelings, and venture back into the Barrow Fields. Today they venture into Mound #11, where they find a dusty and cobwebbed tomb with a large stone sarcophagus within. The sarcophagus has had a hole smashed into the top, and only withered remains are to be found within, but Mynes detects a hidden mechanism triggered by a switch among the carvings of dancing skeletons that ring the sides of the sarcophagus – the sarcophagus slides aside to reveal a stairway going steeply down, with footprints showing that it has recently been used.

Below, they enter the necropolis, finding surprisingly non-dusty corridors and a faint stench of rot. They explore for a while, finding little of interest until they enter a strangely-shaped room with several alcoves holding clay statues of animal-headed figures – perhaps some sort of Gaxxic household familiars? Several of the statues have had holes smashed into them, presumably by earlier tomb-robbers seeking hidden treasure, but one proves to contain a hidden lever that reveals a secret door when pulled. Rather than go further, they continue to search, but tragedy strikes when an undetected pit opens beneath Kyla, who falls to her death!

Chastened, the party resolves to withdraw from the Barrowmaze and return to Castle Blackmoss with Kyla’s body and their meager treasure.

 

 

SESSION REWARD SUMMARY

TREASURE RECOVERED

  • 21 jars worth a combined 823 gp
  • Silver dagger worth 70 gp
  • Scroll with three spells worth 300 gp

EXPERIENCE AWARDS

COMBAT: 405 XP

  • 7 skeletons = 105 XP
  • 1 giant king scorpion (driven off) = 300 XP

TREASURE: 1193 XP

INTERACTION: 160 XP

  • Hyrakitoi 100 XP
  • Hirelings 60 XP

CHECKPOINTS: 150 XP

  • Discover “infinite skeletons” directed by intelligent force 100 XP
  • Find a new Barrowmaze entrance 50 XP

TOTAL XP

  • 1908 XP
  • divided 4 ways = 477 XP per PC
  • —after bonus experience for ability scores: Vydar, Mynes = 501; Clondya, Silas = 525

OTHER REWARDS AND UPDATES

Hanah has become a 1st-level Barbarian. You can hire her as a Retainer.

Dells is pretty worried about what happened this time, and doesn’t want to end up like Kyla. He will not be available to hire for your next adventure.

Tembo hears about what happened and is glad he didn’t get involved. He is not available to hire for your next adventure.

Thanks to Coran and Swamp Hoss, an attempt to release a clutch of deadly swamp vipers at the Duke’s Banquet in Helix was thwarted. Only a couple of kitchen staff were killed, but the perpetrators got away. Each of those characters gains 50 XP. Duke Rana has vowed to root out the Sons of the Swamp.

Acanthus Rho is frustrated by Duke Rana’s new devotion to hunting the Sons, as it is taking resources away from the viaduct project.

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Session Three - June 25 2017
So Much Winning

CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 3, June 25th 2017

In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Julian (Vydar), Brett (Klondia the Pale)

Week of the Otter, MY 268

The adventurers rest and recover, each pursuing their own ends. Klondia recovers from her wounds and records a new spell, sleep, from a scroll into her spellbook. Vydar haunts the inns and roadhouses of Helix and Slowbrook, regaling the locals with tales of his adventures. And Silas negotiates with Acanthus Rho to use his Elemental arts and scout the Barrow Fields magically. Leaving his body, he flies through the Dragon Lines to the Barrow Fields, where he is able to learn much about the layout of the mounds and where items and places of power may be found. Rho is so pleased with this intelligence that he agrees to waive monthly maintenance costs and pay out a bounty.

Meanwhile, Mynes and Swamp Hoss are off doing some kind of mischief, and poor Coran is locked beneath the East tower, whence screams and other less wholesome sounds sometimes emanate. Acanthus Rho visits him often.

Copperday, Week of the Turtle, MY 268

Ready to dare the swamps again, the adventurers have asked Mygdo Keelish to help them find some likely hirelings. They dismiss one of the candidates he finds after catching him trying to peek up Klondia’s skirts, but hire 3 brave souls: Hanah, Dells, and Tembo. They pay to equip their hirelings well, boosting their spirits. The group heads into the swamp, spending the night at Camp Sweetwater, where the maddening chorus of the frogs saps the bravery of the hirelings, but all are still ready for action.

Tinday-Ironday, Week of the Turtle, MY 268

The group travels to the abandoned viaduct tower where they had encountered centipedes before, armed with a plan to clear them out using smoke and fire and Silas’s elemental abilities. While the plan is successful, it is also time-consuming. The party spend several days on the island working on it before they are able to reach the top of the tower. In the meantime, they detect a boat approaching the island by night, but they retreat and do not land.

Jewelday, Week of the Turtle, MY 268

Reaching the top of the tower, they can now get a good look at the Barrow Fields as well as Camp #3. They learn – as they suspected – that the Cult of the Writhing Serpent has occupied the camp in large numbers. By night, the cultist send teams into the Barrow Field, where they seem to be excavating buried mounds. During the night, though, something attacks the digging teams and the cultists retreat to their camp.

They also discover a dead body atop the tower, and after some searching they find treasure this person had attempted to hide before they died. Among the items is a small black onyx statuette of a hideous crab/woman creature, which Klondia recognizes as a little-understood breed of demon, the hyrakitoi of the Green Star. These horrid creatures have a hypnotic sensual power over humans, and seek out pain and depravity to feed upon.

Copperday, Week of the Smith, MY 268

The group stay one more day at the tower, spying on the cultist camp and the Barrow Fields, while they decide on next steps.

Tinday, Week of the Smith, MY 268

The group venture onwards to the island of the Slaughtergrove, where dead bodies are lashed to cypress trees surrounding a mound of fresh earth. The hirelings are terrified by the psychic screaming of the corpses, triggered when the perimeter is passed. They refuse to leave the boat.

Klondia steps into the shadows and can see what has happened here – there is a hideous demon maw where the mound of red earth sits within the circle of trees, and tormented souls slowly being devoured as their bodies rot away. This being must be a powerful demon, probably worshipped by a cult that is feeding it souls to bring it closer to our world.

Meanwhile, Vydar has found another of the onyx hyrakitoi under one of the trees where a nearly skeletonized body hangs. Further searches ultimately reveal 10 of the items. These are the “soul anchors” the cult must use to keep the souls of their victims bound to their bodies for the maw to feed upon.

The group resolve to destroy this place of evil, and begin cutting down the bodies, felling the trees, and creating a bonfire to scorch and scour the red earth mound. It takes until nearly dusk, but they are able to do so without further incident. As the blaze rises, though, all sense a terrible moaning bellow of pain and rage from under the earth. The thing that was worshipped here knows what they have done, and its hunger will not be so easily defeated. All feel a terrible dread that this is not over.

Later that night

The group camps at the Fallen Tower near the Barrow Field. As night falls, a band of Snake Cultists and a large number of zombies approach the Barrow Field. The party can easily eavesdrop on them while remaining hidden. Noting the pyre burning at the Slaughtergrove in the distance, the cultists debate what to do. Some want to retreat to their camp, others want to press on and continue their excavations, and yet others want to investigate the blaze and then decide.

It appears that the cult is on some kind of timeline: “the Mistress” will be displeased if they have not had results from their excavations in the next few days. On the other hand, they also fear the “Daughters of the Red Maw” who will surely be roused to action. Eventually, a small group of 4 cultists are sent into the swamp to investigate the fire, while the rest remain at edge of the Barrow Fields.

The party ambushes the cultist scouting party, making short work of them, and then return to the Fallen Tower. There, they are also able to get the drop on the rest of the cultists, taking most of them out before they even know what is happening. Klondia steals control of their zombies using the serpent circlet, and that is the end of all the cultists.

VICTORY!

The party returns to Castle Blackmoss to plan their next moves.

SESSION REWARD SUMMARY

TREASURE RECOVERED

  • 34.9 gp
  • hyrakitoi Soul Anchors (sold to Acanthus Rho)

EXPERIENCE AWARDS

COMBAT: 480 XP

  • 12 cultists 180 XP
  • 36 zombies (*0.5) = 300 XP

TREASURE: 954.9 XP

INTERACTION: 150 XP

  • Drive a hard bargain with Acanthus Rho 50 XP
  • Hirelings 100 XP

CHECKPOINTS: 550 XP

  • Clear Waystation Tower 100 XP
  • Destroy Slaughtergrove 250 XP
  • Strike a blow against the Snake Cult 150 XP
  • Discover Red Maw & hyrakitoi  50 XP

TOTAL XP

  • 2135 XP
  • divided 3 ways = 712 XP per PC
  • —after bonus experience for ability scores: Vydar = 748; Klondia, Silas = 783

OTHER REWARDS

Hanah has revealed a special talent (Tracker). She remains well-disposed to the group and in particular to Silas. If she survives one more expedition, she will be eligible to become a Retainer and a 1st-level Barbarian.

Tembo has gone home to think about what he experienced. He will not be available to hire for the next adventure, but might become available again.

Dells likes the money and thinks you are good employers, but all this supernatural stuff is pretty scary. His base morale has improved by +1. He now costs 1 gp as his base rate to hire. He has not yet revealed any special talents, nor is he eligible to become a Retainer.

Acanthus Rho is well-pleased with your progress and has agreed to waive your maintenance fees for the next 2 months. He is working on creating new warding totems from the cultist skulls you brought back with you.

DOWNTIME RESULTS for inactive characters

Mynes looked for Dishonest Work. He was very lucky, falling in with a crew of local toughs to redress some local vendetta in Helix – leaning on one rich toff to pay his debts to some other local Importance, somebody the rest of the gang just call “Ma’am”. It went so smoothly that they doubled his share of the take – he gains 200 GP.

Swamp Hoss tried to line up some Dishonest Work as well, but the only thing that he could learn about was the job Mynes got involved with, and that was Vineyards stuff – not something he dared to get involved in after that little misunderstanding with Ma’am last summer.

Coran was locked away for a couple weeks while Acanthus Rho worked to Purge the Mutations.  At first it didn’t go well at all. He doesn’t remember much except the screaming. But as the days went by, he could feel himself growing stronger and more in control. He gains 50 XP and a Gift of Mutation.

SPECIAL ITEMS

Gift of Mutation – Marrowsteel

Once during your next adventure, invoke the Gift of Mutation to convert all CON damage from a single attack into points of Corruption. If you do not use the Gift, gain 50 XP instead.

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