Thursday, January 20, 2011

SR33: Adventurers Make Schliemann Look Circumspect

This session happened Friday, January 14, 2011, and was the only session I ran this past weekend. 

Adventuring Group:
Su Bel (human cleric)
– Dame Yasha of Bereste (Su Bel’s human cavalier cohort)
Mog the Doomed (half-orc barbarian)
Tycho von Helmont (elf alchemist)
Agnes Sunbeard (dwarf rogue)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorcerer)
 – Kainen (Thorngrim’s human fighter cohort)
Sal Ty (elf wizard)

Note: the list of player characters is in player sitting order, from my left and then clockwise around the table.

Having gained a great deal of wealth recently, Sal set to crafting magic items for the group of adventurers living at Drop-off Tower.  During this time, Su Bel sent off a message to a childhood friend of hers, describing what the adventurers were doing and the dangers they faced.  In response to this, her friend, Dame Yasha of Bereste, Knight of the Order of the Dragon, packed her gear and took the next ship south.  It was clear to Dame Yasha that her friend and her friend’s companions were doing good work clearing the wilds of monsters, but they needed stout companions to assist them.  Arriving mid-June, she received mixed greetings – the adventurers were happy to see another strong fighter join their group, but Drop-off Tower was now very crowded.  [Su Bel took leadership when she leveled last session and Dame Yasha is her cohort.]

Also during this time, Thorngrim started using illusory wall to model expansions and improvements to the Tower grounds at a 1-to-1 scale.  In the evenings, he and Sal would discuss varying design elements and building layouts, adjusting the illusions as necessary [sort of a “spell-assisted design” process].  Despite all this discussion and planning, no actual action was taken on the subject.

Once Sal was finished crafting the items requested by the adventurers [and after a long rambling discussion about where to go, resolved with a coin toss], the group decided to return to the Terrace of Fallen Horses.  Travelling by horseback, they were able to reach the Terrace in one day’s worth of riding.  Once there, the group camped using a slightly different camping routine: using rope trick inside a set of illusory walls (made to look like a hut) with a campfire adjacent.  This seemed acceptable until a pack of eleven ghouls attacked shortly before dawn.  Quickly raising the alarm, Su Bel, Agnes, and Sal held off the ghouls until the other adventurers could respond.  Thanks to a well placed fireball from Thorngrim, the fight was short and the adventurers escaped unscathed.

Once dawn arrived (and the spellcasters were prepared), the adventurers resumed exploring the tombs.  The entrances to the lower tombs were still exposed [Sal had never re-summoned Kazimir to place the dirt back over the entrances] and the adventurers continued searching from the left.  The third tomb was relatively small, with little treasure, but there were two things of note about it.  The first was the actual tomb chamber walls were decorated as if in the center of a wet forest with luminous figures back amongst the trees.  This creeped the adventurers out a bit.  The second notable thing was that the sarcophagus was made of a greenish marble with gold inlays.  Moving the lid was very difficult as the sides and top of the lid were a foot thick.

Inside was the skeleton of a human, covered in cinnabar.  Sal used prestidigitation to remove the cinnabar to a sack [there was three cubic feet of the material], exposing the skeleton and hundreds of beads, likely the remains of the skeletons burial clothes.  Certain this was the body of a king, the adventurers noted that no crown was buried with the body.  After removing the hand-carved beads, the sarcophagus lid was replaced and the adventurers left the tomb.

The next tomb had a longer entry hall, again showing the deeds of the person buried within, most notably showing skirmishes with dog-headed warriors.  The entry hall opened upon a pillared chamber.  The pillars had been carved to resemble trees similar to those shown in the previous tomb.  The walls showed the people living in or near a forest and the king being crowned by priests.  Sal and Agnes entered the room searching for magic and traps (respectively) and so were the first to notice the statues in the corners were not actually statues as the “statues” animated and attacked.  After the fight, Sal was able to identify the creatures as gargoyles, although a different type from that fought in Santa Fe.

At first glance this chamber seemed to be a dead end.  However, after Agnes performed a careful search, she was able to locate a secret door in the back wall, which led to the actual burial chamber.  Inside this chamber was another immense stone sarcophagus made of granite with a green cast and inlaid with gold.  After immense effort, the lid was moved aside, exposing another burial covered in beads and cinnabar.  Again Sal collected the cinnabar [another three cubic feet of the material] and Agnes collected the beads before the lid was returned.  Once again the adventurers noted that there was no crown buried with the king.

With a couple hours of daylight still left, the adventurers opened the next tomb.  The entry hall here led to a pillared room larger than the one in the last tomb, with two doors on the left wall and one large one on the back.  Suspecting the room contained a trap, Agnes carefully searched the floor for signs of one, but instead found a secret door on the left wall.  Behind the secret door was a hallway that immediately turned right and descended a long flight of steep stairs.  The walls were covered with scenes of the king descending into the underworld on a quest of some sort.

At the bottom of the stairs, the corridor resumed and then turned right, ending at a door.  Agnes checked the door and pronounced it clear*, so Kainen opened it.  It was actually trapped.  A solid iron portcullis dropped from a concealed position 20 ft back, locking into the floor and trapping half the party at the end of the hallway.  Then vents were knocked open as water started pouring into the area at a high rate.  The adventurers exploded into action: Mog and Kainen attempting to break the portcullis, Thorngrim reaching into one of the water jets to get an idea of where the water was coming from, while Agnes searched for a release mechanism.  Sal bought the group time by casting wall of ice along the left wall and the two ends where the water jets were (nearly trapping Thorngrim in the ice).

Agnes (among the trapped) was able to determine that the releasing mechanism was not on the trapped side of the portcullis.  Mog and Kainen strained mightily, but could not break the portcullis.  The ice wall creaked and cracked from the pressure behind it.  Sal then put his hand through the portcullis and asked Agnes to grip it.  He then cast dimension door and teleported the two of them five feet back up the corridor, freeing Agnes.  Agnes continued her search for the release mechanism on the free side while Mog and Kainen resumed their work trying to break the portcullis.  The cracks in the ice got larger, the ice starting to bulge where it covered the water jets.

Working her way back up the stairs, Agnes finally found the release mechanism (disguised as part of a mural) and triggered it, sealing the water jets, unlocking the portcullis, and opening drains in the floor.  Mog and Kainen were then able to lift it, freeing all those trapped (including Kainen himself).  Wet and bedraggled at this point, the adventurers returned to the upper chamber and checked the doors there.  All three were trapped false doors.  Agnes disabled them and they were removed for shipment back to Drop-off Tower.  Disgusted with a tomb of apparently nothing but traps, the adventurers left the tomb and camped for the night.

The next morning the group rode to the Iron Keep and sold off all the beads they collected from the tombs and spent the night at Spider’s Bar, enjoying an evening in “civilization”.  The next day they rode back to Drop-off Tower and unloaded their goods.

*End of session*

* Agnes’s player rolled a “2” when searching for the trap.  This gave her a total of “31” for her perception roll, which was one shy of finding the trap.  To say she has “skillz” when searching for traps really, really understates the issue.

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