CRYPTS OF THE BARROWMAZE AFTER ACTION REPORT – Session 2, May 28th 2017
In attendance: Kathy (Silas), Ryan (Mynes), Brett (Klondia the Pale), Larry (Swamp Hoss), Kai (Coran Gorechosen).
Jewelday, Week of the Salamander, MY 268
Vydar the Fighter has taken ill after his battle with the venomous zombies last session, and must remain behind at Camp Sweetwater to recuperate. However, Acanthus Rho has sent some reinforcements, a couple of hulking warriors. One goes by “Swamp Hoss”, and the other doesn’t talk much at first, although we eventually learn his name is Coran.
The party decides that rather than try to get through by the path leading to Camp #3, where the snake cult seems to be patrolling, they will take boats and follow the route of the old ruined viaduct through the swamp to the ruined waystations.
They soon find the viaduct ruins, but one of the boats runs aground on it and Coran and Mynes end up in the drink – attracting a mob of vicious mutant frogs! There are some tense moments as the frogs maul them – one frog in particular is a bloated monstrosity the size of a man, with vile teeth and claws, and it soaks up two of Klondia’s powerful black magic missiles without dying! In the end, they escape alive, and with plenty of frog carcasses.
Tired and chastened by the strange horrors of the swamp, they decide to make camp at the first ruined waystation. Enroute, Coran snacks on the raw frog carcasses, and finds a shiny treasure within the gut of the largest one.
Camping at the waystation is fairly uneventful. They make an effort to climb the stair to the top of the tower for a look around, but it turns out that giant red centipedes infest the rubble, and only quick reactions save one of the explorers from a venomous bite. “Swamp Hoss” recognizes the red centipedes, but he’s never seen one nearly this large. They decide to leave well enough alone and just camp until the next morning.
Copperday, Week of the Dove
The next day, they set out for the final waystation, the traditional campsite for those who explore the Barrowmaze. Along the way, they pass by an island in the swamp with a ring of large cypress trees around the edge of it. Mutilated bodies are lashed up in the trees – closer inspection shows that the freshest ones have had cuts of flesh neatly removed as if by a butcher. Is this the domain of some cannibalistic swamp monster? Better not to poke around and find out – they move on.
Arriving at the ruins, they discover that the tower has completely collapsed, as if thrown down by an explosion. Huge chunks of masonry lie everywhere, forming a maze of rubble. The remnants of camping equipment litter the area. Silas senses a strong Earth Node somewhere within the ruins.
As they enter the maze, monsters appear! Two huge Giant King Scorpions, mottled purple-and-yellow things nearly as large as a pony, scuttle to attack. The creatures are deadly – nearly impenetrably armored, and armed with slicing pincers and a deadly lashing stinger. The party battles desperately against these horrors, but things are not looking good – Klondia is badly wounded, and even the fearsome Coran cannot harm the creatures due to their armored shells. Fortunately, Silas calls upon the elements and begins to radiate an intolerable cold, which forces the cold-blooded creatures to slow and ultimately lose consciousness. While he deals with the scorpions, though, more monsters appear – giant frogs again, and a huge viper. Something must be calling them to the attack.
Silas saw a gold snake idol at the site where the Earth Node was located within the ruin while he was chasing down the last scorpion – maybe that’s the problem. Once they deal with the snake and frogs, they quickly move the idol off of the Earth Node, reducing its power, and then roll it into the swamp.
Completing their search of the ruin, they salvage several items left behind by other adventurers and even find a treasure chest buried in the loose earth.
That night while they camp, they see torches moving on the Barrow Field – it looks like the snake cult is active in the area and visit the Barrowmaze by night.
Tinday, Week of the Dove
The next day, they decide to explore the nearest few mounds, relying on Keelish’s recollection of his own explorations 13 years ago to guide them. The nearest mound is buried, and it looks like some effort has been made to excavate it in the past but was interrupted by some danger that slew the laborers.
Silas speculates on how the Barrowmaze can exist in the midst of the swamp without everything sinking into the mire and flooding. He thinks perhaps that some sort of barrier has been set up by altering the flow of the Dragon Lines, keeping the water spirits from entering the bounded area. Perhaps the waystation tower was destroyed when part of that ward failed? He begins to keep careful notes of all he observes, hoping to understand what was done here.
The next mound they examine has been uncovered, and some marks on the stone slab sealing it show that someone has tried to break in unsuccessfully. It would take some time with tools and make a good deal of noise to break down the seal.
Next, they visit the towering stele they saw from a distance. Rising 70’ above the Barrow Field, it is made from seamless black granite and covered in tiny, worn inscriptions. The script seems to be some variant on that used in ancient Gaxx, but it makes no sense – perhaps it is a code, or perhaps the script is merely being used to spell out some alien language. At the top of the stele, four stone heads gaze out to North, South, East, and West. Respectively, they are a human skull, a vulture, a lion, and a viper.
Klondia’s serpent circlet whispers to her about the stele, calling it “the folly of Nergal” and prophesying “the serpent shall devour his brothers and all will come to ruin.”
The party moves on to the central mound, where Keelish says an entrance to the necropolis can be found. As they approach, they see that the mound is surrounded by a circle of low stone posts with bowl-shaped depressions in the top – perhaps lamps? They prepare to enter the mound, when out of the corner of an eye they see skeletal figures pulling themselves from the earth nearby – undead warriors guard this place! After a short fight, the skeletons are defeated and they descend the stairs into the dark. Within, a pillared chamber leads to a hole in the floor and an iron tripod with block and tackle. To either side of the path, piles of scattered bones fill the room. Looking down into the dark, Klondia’s light reveals a chamber and a foul smell of rot. They also learn that the floor they stand on is a thin sheet of stone suspended on a lattice of beams.
Unnerved, and with daylight flagging, the party decides to return to camp before night falls.
SESSION REWARD SUMMARY
- 500 gp ruby
- chainmail & shield
- 20 arrows
- crystal of continual light
- 150 gp
- 70 sp
- 3 carnelian gems, 20 gp each
- scroll of sleep
— COMBAT: 1750 XP
- 7 Small Monster Frogs 7×15 = 105
- 1 Large Monster Frog = 35
- 1 Giant Viper = 400
- 2 Giant King Scorpions = 1200
- 1 Giant Red Centipede = 10
— TREASURE: 717 XP
— INTERACTION: 25 XP
— CHECKPOINTS: 185 XP
- explore Waystation Ruin #2 (partial) 15 XP
- sighted (but did not explore) Slaughtergrove 25 XP
- explore Waystation Ruin #3 50 XP
- removed summoning idol from Waystation Ruin #3 25 XP
- explored 2 mounds (exterior only) 20 XP
- examined Stele of Nergal 25 XP
- explored central mound 25 XP
— TOTAL XP
- 2677 XP
- divided 5 ways = 535 XP per PC
- after bonus experience for ability scores: Coran, Hoss, Mynes = 562; Klondia, Silas = 589
COMMON SPELL (scroll): sleep (Klondia)
Spell Level 1 (Sorcerer, Gray Magic)
Duration 1 hour
This spell puts enemies into an enchanted slumber for 1D6 rounds. The spell affects up to 4HD of creatures, starting with the lowest first. For example four Nemons (1HD) are accompanied by a Priest (3HD). Rather than target the Nemon Priest and then take down another Nemon, the spell affects four Nemons. Player characters may Test their Luck and if Lucky completely ignore the effects of this spell.
Note this spell does not work on the undead or the demonic Others.
MAGIC ITEM: crystal of continual light (Klondia)
This transparent crystal sphere, about 2” in diameter, radiates light upon a mental command from a sorcerer. The light is as bright as daylight, but has no warmth or color. It illuminates to 120’ brightly, and up to 240’ dimly.
As a Downtime Action requiring one week and 100 gp in materials, a sorcerer can learn to control the light more finely, choosing one of the following skills for each Downtime Action:
- focusing it into a narrow beam that provides a “spotlight” of bright illumination up to 120’ away and up to 6’ in diameter.
- activating it as a blinding flash that dazzles all within 60’, giving them -2 To Hit for 5 minutes (PCs may Test Their Luck to avert their eyes and avoid this). Using the crystal in this way depletes its magic for the next 8 hours.
- changing the color of the light emitted at will
- varying the brightness of the light emitted at will, from candle-light to full intensity