[Also? SPOILERS! This series will spoil what’s in Barrowmaze, so take that into consideration before reading.]
Brock – male Dwarven Vaultguard, 2nd level
Harkyn (the Hare) – gender fluid Elven Nightblade, 2nd level [the nickname is GM-granted, but seems appropriate]
Boris the Fighter – male human fighter, carries a big axe, exploring Barrowmaze for the loot
Jersen the Frail – male human cleric of Herne the Hunter [you know why he’s here]
Quillian the Green – male human mage, exploring Barrowmaze for the loot to establish a chantry [but mostly for the loot]
Norman – male human guide, hired to lead the adventurers to Barrowmaze but not fight
Chick-Magnet – female war dog (0-level), actually a male man-at-arms cursed into a different form
April 20-21, 23rd year of the reign of King Shurik the Nimble
Harkyn and Chick-Magnet spent a day each getting treated for their centipede poisoning by Eldgrim Bronzeshield, traveling physiker. Eldgrim travels to Helix during adventuring season and rents a cottage. Once adventuring season is over [usually in September when the rains start becoming more regular and heavy], Eldgrim packs up and heads back to the town he normally lives in as the locals in Helix really cannot afford his services.
During the same time, Quillian looked into purchasing or building a cottage in the area for disabled members of the group to rest in while healing up [or waiting for the group to gather enough money to get a Restore Life and Limb Cast]. It would also be a place for Quillian to stay when in town without renting a room. Having retired adventurers there as security would be a pleasant bonus. Honestly.
After Harkyn and Chick-Magnet were cured, the group discussed waiting two more days for Brock to return. Having a Vaultguard in a group that was becoming spellcaster heavy had value and the group decided to wait two more days. They let Norman and Chick-Magnet know to be ready on the 24th.
The Boon Companions [a rival adventuring party] took every opportunity during this time to disparage the player characters and their inability to maintain a stable roster. To get back at the Boon Companions, Harkyn and Tripp [who was still on the retired roster] took to discussing Barrow 19 and the treasures found there out loud, near the Boon Companions, but not at them. Harkyn mentioned to Tripp that the exploration was incomplete as there were areas behind the secret door not explored. Harkyn did not bring up the three animated statues behind that secret door nor why the group had stopped exploring it. They did mention they were waiting for Brock to return on the 23rd so he could share in the looting.
Hernesday, April 23, 23rd year of the reign of King Shurik the Nimble
The Boon Companions were observed heading south into the Barrowmoor in the morning.
Late in the afternoon, Brock arrived in Helix along with a cluster of other travelers from Ironguard Motte. Brock introduced Boris the Fighter, a fellow adventurer who was interested in adventuring into the Barrowmoor for loot. An extra combatant was welcome. The group spent the evening bringing Brock up to speed on what had happened over the two weeks of his convalescence.
Magusday, April 24, 23rd year of the reign of King Shurik the Nimble
Picking up Norman and Chick-Magnet at the Mercenaries Guild, the group headed south, into the Barrowmoor. [We were running a bit behind, so I skipped the encounter on the way in.]
Arriving at the field of barrows, the group made their way over to Barrow 21. It was completely covered in soil and plants. Instead of digging, they climbed up on top and scouted out what other barrows were nearby. They discovered that the map they had been using was not so accurate on this side. There were barrows not on the map and some of those on the map were clearly in the wrong place. The group took the time to update and add to their map.
The group marched over to Barrow 18 and found it long open to the air. They started down the stairs to investigate and discovered that the main chamber was covered in peat-colored water up to a human’s waist. They lit Quillian’s lantern to see if there was any obvious reason to explore any further. There did not appear to be. Not liking the look of the water, or what might be under its surface, they decided to move on.
The next mound [#17] was completely covered. This was the fourth mound discovered that needed digging to get to and the group finally decided that the next time they returned, they’d hire diggers to quickly clear the entrances. As that was not going to be now, they continued walking over to the next mound to the north.
This mound had a sealing stone. Boris, being new to the group, was given the job of smashing it open. The noise from his efforts drew the attention of five giant toads [possibly from Barrow 18]. The adventurers noticed their approach and formed up into a battle line to face the toads. Harkyn and Brock fired arrows at the same toad, clearly doing a great deal of damage, but it just seemed to anger the bull toad. The next volley of arrows completely missed, and then melee started. The smallest of the toads used its tongue to pull Chick-Magnet to it and tried to bite Chick-Magnet. Chick-Magnet wasn’t having any of it and laid into the toad with his bite, quickly dispatching the toad.
Boris killed the toad with the arrows in it, but two other toads hopped up and attacked Quillian and Jersen, dropping the two spellcasters. Brock moved in to attack and missed. That toad opened wide and swallowed Brock in return, while Boris and Harkyn killed the other two toads. Brock cut his way out of the offending toad, killing it in the process.
With the fight over, Harkyn rushed over to Jersen and gave Jersen their sole healing potion. This revived Jersen, but it was not enough to save one of his arms. Jersen used his healing arts to stabilize Quillian, but was unable to save Quillian’s right hand. [This led to me observing, “Avoid rolling a 3 on the d6 on the Mortality Table. It’s nothing but lost arms, hands, or fingers.”]
After resting, the group entered Barrow 16. They found a sword displayed on a podium in a room with six armed and armored skeletons propped up in wall niches. Recognizing a trap when they saw one, the group pounded the skeletons to splinters before even touching the sword. The sword turned out to be magical and was scooped into the loot bag for later resale, as were the spears and shields from the skeletons.
Harkyn spent some time looking over the chamber for secret doors. They did not find a secret door, but they did find the brick wall in one of the niches sounded hollow [made two detect secret door rolls, back to back]. Boris used the sledge hammer and pounded the brick wall. He almost immediately broke through the bricks, exposing a staircase leading down.
Forming up a new marching order, the group descended below the barrow. The stairs ended at a t-intersection. There was a door close to the right, ending the hallway in that direction. To the left was a side passage and another door before the light failed to illuminate any further. Normally, the group would have gone left, but with a lone door to the right, immediately by the stairs, they went right.
The door opened into a large room lined with burial alcoves. There was a passage and a partially open door on the right wall. The walls dripped with moisture from the moors above, with calcification apparent on many of the alcove occupants, seven of which animated and started climbing out of the alcoves.
The adventurers formed up in the doorway, with Boris and Brock blocking the skeletons from going any further, plus limiting the number of skeletons attacking to two at a time. This was enough as the fossil skeletons were much tougher than normal skeletons. Boris took a major hit and stepped back, Jersen stepping up with his shield to hold the line. It wasn’t enough and Jersen went down in the next round. Harkyn was able to drop one of the skeletons with two arrows, but the one Brock was fighting was tougher and kept fighting after suffering the same amount of damage. When Chick-Magnet went down the following round, the group went into full retreat, slowing only to grab Chick-Magnet’s body [it was more portable than Jersen’s].
Fleeing through the Barrowmoor, the group ran across two giant toads. Harkyn and Brock took them down quickly, Brock claiming his new knowledge of toad anatomy made it easy. [He rolled two natural 20s in back to back attacks, flat out killing one toad and finishing off the second one.]
Back in Helix, Chick-Magnet and Brock received the last two castings of cure light wounds available at the Shrine of St. Ygg that day. Chick-Magnet ended up losing a tooth to the experience, but was otherwise ready to go back out.
Cromsday, April 25, 23rd year of the reign of King Shurik the Nimble
The loot was sold off and the proceeds split amongst the party. [Boris leveled, and Quillian and Brock each ended within 200 xp of leveling (2nd for Quillian, 3rd for Brock). Both are now highly motivated to survive the next outing.]
End of Session
[So the party has discovered and used three different entrances to the Barrowmaze at this point. They are not confident in their readiness to explore the dungeon under the barrows yet. Each time they’ve gone one room in, got their noses bloodied, and fled. They are close to all being 2nd level (or higher), and the additional hit points that grants will boost their confidence. The players are enjoying the game so far, as am I. I have some technical nitpicks about the PDF, but Barrowmaze really does run “out of the box” – I’m well pleased with the money spent purchasing the PDF.]
[The Roll of the Dead now consists of the following:
- Brother Thaddeus, Jersen the Frail (same player)
- Hyles (also Tripp's player, who is retired after taking a pterodactyl to the knee)
- Marcus the Black
Session 6 [Not yet written]