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
— TREASURE: 1440 XP + ???
- 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
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…