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.
The party returns to Castle Blackmoss to plan their next moves.
SESSION REWARD SUMMARY
- 34.9 gp
- hyrakitoi Soul Anchors (sold to Acanthus Rho)
— 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
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.
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.