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
- 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.
— 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
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.