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
- 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
— 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
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.