[The Revengers return to the barrows to investigate the barrows and get some critical experience, but at what cost?]
[Also? SPOILERS! This series will spoil what’s in Barrowmaze, so take that into consideration before reading.]
PCs (The Revengers)
Jaxby – male Elven Theurgist-Swordmaster (3rd level Spellsword)
Godric – male Dwarven Craft-Acolyte (2nd level Craftpriest))
Boris the Fighter – male human Hero (4th level Fighter)
Daphne – female human Blade-Weaver (4th level Bladedancer)
Adam – male human Seer (2nd level Mage)
Recovering from Injury
None [This will change…]
Dergos – male human guide, still sold on the glory of adventuring, hired by Boris
Morgullen – professional torchbearer, prefers to be called ‘Len, hired by Boris
Colemore – professional porter, hired by Jaxby
Thesa and Hyrion – female human and male elf bodyguards, hired by Jaxby
Moonday, June 3rd, through Hernesday, June 11th, 23rd year of the reign of King Shurik the Nimble
Daphne hosted the funeral games she and Adam funded in honor of the fallen Norse Whisperers, Rollo and Ivar. Jaxby traveled to and from Ironguard Motte, purchasing spell scrolls to later add to his spellbook. Upon his return, he and Adam holed up in Quillian’s mostly complete manor house to scribe a spell each into their spellbooks.
Godric took advantage of the temporary influx of people into Helix [due to the funeral games and the free food and booze, word got around and anyone in Ironguard Motte or Bogtown with time traveled to Helix for the party] to recruit a henchman. As the Revengers seem to have a problem locating traps, he recruited Proximo, a footpad, for 25g per month and a fifth of Godric’s share of any treasure gained while adventuring.
On Sunday, June 9th, Boris picked up his enchanted [+1] shield from Karg. Daphne also picked up her inscribed leather armor [which in no way could now be identified as previously belonging to Rollo of the Norse Whisperers].
As a test for his new spell, Jaxby cast Continual Light on Daphne’s saber. It worked and now her sword glows [and just barely counts as a magic item for creatures requiring one to be hit].
Magusday, June 12th, 23rd year of the reign of King Shurik the Nimble
Early in the morning, the Revengers and their hirelings (Dergos, ‘Len, Colemore, Thesa, and Hyrion) assembled at the Mercenary Guild building [the Norse Whisperers were still sleeping off the aftereffects of the funeral games and week-long party]. Godric introduced his new henchman, Proximo, to the group. The party then headed south into the moors, following their guide, Dergos. On the way to the field of barrows, a python dropped out of a tree and attacked Godric. The python was quickly dispatched and Godric and Daphne took the time to skin the giant snake, gaining 10 feet of snakeskin, its head, and some snake meat they might be able to sell back in town. This delayed the groups arrival at the barrows until just after Noon.
Looking at their map, the group went over to Barrow 26. It was already open, so they descended, finding a large, circular chamber supported by four large pillars carved with screaming faces. A large brazier was on the floor by the base of the stairs. Godric examined the runes on the brazier and stated the brazier summons something nasty to answer questions. After searching the rest of the chamber and finding nothing of value, the adventurers left this barrow and went over to Barrow 27.
They found Barrow 27 completely covered with dirt and grass. They marked it as such on their map and then walked over to Barrow 32 to investigate. This barrow was open but appeared only recently opened [they suspected the Norse Whisperers]. The ceiling of the entry chamber was very unstable and prone to dropping stones. There were three passages out of the entry chamber and all three clearly ended with a partially open door. The Revengers checked the passage on the left first.
The chamber contained an opened and empty sarcophagus. Looking around and finding little, the Revengers decided that whatever treasure was kept here, the Norse Whisperers probably looted. Passing through the entry chamber to investigate the next passage, Boris mostly dodged a chunk of the ceiling that fell on him [he made the save for half damage].
The next chamber contained many burial alcoves…that had clearly been searched and looted. Disappointed, the group returned to the entry chamber on the way to check the third and final passage, this time Godric barely jumping out of the way of a falling piece of ceiling [again, he made the save for half damage].
The last chamber was circular and contained a single stone sarcophagus, still closed, with four white marble statues of women arranged around the room. Proximo noted that there were signs on the floor of a fight and one of the statues seemed to have dried blood on its knuckles. Familiar with animating statues, the group stayed out of the room. Boris entered alone, staying close to the wall on the left, with his axe at the ready. He attacked the statue with his axe, damaging both his axe and the statue. Not wanting to destroy his axe, he switched to the sledgehammer and proceeded to demolish the statue. When none of the other statues animated, he followed the walls around to each statue and demolished them in turn.
Once the statues were destroyed, Boris carefully approached the sarcophagus and opened it. Some of the statue rubble twitched, but then stopped moving as the magic attempting to animate it failed. Satisfied it was safe to enter the room, the rest of the Revengers stepped in and looked around. Other than the person interred in the sarcophagus, there was a tablet with runes on it. Godric attempted to identify the writing on the tablet, triggering the magic in it. The tablet attempted to steal his strength [per Ray of Enfeeblement], but he resisted successfully.
With still little to show for their efforts, the Revengers moved on to Barrow 40. The sealing stone on it had clearly been attacked by a sledgehammer but was only partially damaged and there were signs of a fight in the grass around the entrance. The Revengers worked out this was the place the Norse Whisperers had been attacked by the ghasts. Boris pulled out his sledgehammer and finished the job of opening the barrow while the rest of the Revengers rested.
The stairs down led to a 20x20 square room with two giant statues of Set, both with emerald eyes, taking up half the chamber on the left. A door was at the end of the two passages out. Proximo carefully searched the room for traps [during which, Boris rested]. After 10 minutes of investigation, Proximo announced the chamber safe and the rest of the group descended the stairs into the chamber.
Deciding it would be best to grab the emerald eyes now, Godric asked Proximo to climb up on one of the statues and pry loose the emeralds. After popping out the first one, Proximo announced he was now blind! Godric cast Detect Magic and saw Proximo and the other three emeralds were cursed! After a short discussion, Proximo was asked to remove the other emeralds [after all, he was already blind]. Proximo warned that without his sight, he might break the emeralds and was told that would be OK. He removed the other three emeralds, but broke all three of them, significantly reducing their worth. [Proximo was assisted by Boris when he needed to climb down and move over to the second statue.]
The Revengers next investigated the door across the room from the entry stairs. The bronze door was sealed, the handles tied and sealed with wax bearing a scarab sigil imprint. Not liking the look of this, the adventurers moved along to the door to the right of the entry stairs. This bronze door was merely locked, which was more to their liking. Proximo attempted to pick the lock by touch but broke his lock picks in it. Boris pulled out his sledgehammer and attacked the part of the wall the door was attached to, smashing that area to rubble in ten minutes. The door fell in with a loud gong sound.
The Revengers entered the octagonal-shaped room. In the room was an altar to Set with four black funeral urns resting on it. Just as the group started to search the room, Dergos came running down the stairs from the surface, stating that five giant toads were approaching and looked hungry. The adventurers moved to the top of the stairs to fight the toads, with Jaxby holding back and directing his bodyguards (Thesa and Hyrion) to protect Proximo. After a short fight, the adventurers killed the toads and returned to the chamber with the altar to Set.
Looking at the altar closely, Godric noticed one of the urns sat on a pressure plate. Boris carefully removed and examined the other three urns, finding them each full of ashy remains and not worth the effort to haul back to Helix. The adventurers and their entourage backed out of the room before Boris investigated the fourth urn. [At this point, Godric asked if he should check the rest of the room for traps, but never got an answer from the other players, so he didn’t.] To keep the pressure plate from moving, Boris hammered in two spikes along the edges of the pressure plate and then lifted the urn off the pressure plate. The pressure plate held in place for a second or two before cracking and splitting, allowing the trap to trigger. A poison needle shot out of a wall and stuck Boris, who quickly succumbed to the virulent poison and died. [There was an attack roll involved and I rolled exactly what it took to hit Boris.]
Jaxby, Adam, and Godric, all three expert healers, stepped up and attempted to neutralize the poison using their healing arts. All three failed. [On a d20 they rolled a 4, a 4, and a 6, respectively, while trying to make their proficiency check.] The urn in question contained 900 electrum pieces, which the adventurers took. They then packed up Boris’ body and headed back to town.
Along the way back, the Revengers came across a Neanderthal hunting party. The adventurers attempted to evade the Neanderthals, but the four hunters had the scent and closed on them. The Neanderthals dropped Jaxby in the early stages of the fight, but Daphne returned the favor four-fold, cutting down all four Neanderthals in a frenzy of cleave attacks [she rolled a low initiative followed by a high initiative in the following combat round, allowing her to get in back-to-back attacks]. She then cast Cure Light Wounds on Jaxby to get him up and walking again, but he will need a week of bedrest to fully recover.
Cromsday, June 13th, 23rd year of the reign of King Shurik the Nimble
Boris’ corpse was taken over to the Temple of St. Ygg in Ironguard Motte for a casting of Restore Life and Limb [after securing funds for it from his stash chest]. The restoration was intense and Boris remembered little of the ordeal. He will need two weeks of bedrest to recover. Additionally, the magic that now courses through him frightens horses and he may no longer ride them. When it was suggested that perhaps elephants will not fear him, he immediately started planning on how to purchase one.
End of Session
[Once again, I like the addition of the Mortality Table to the B/E ruleset in ACKS. Character death would be more devastating and less acceptable to the players without it, especially with “Roll 3d6 in order” character generation. The Tampering with Mortality Table also adds good flavor to what could easily become a mechanical procedure of having dead characters brought back to life. It adds excellent story effects and mandatory downtime for characters to recover.]
[Also, this is at least the second time the "intense experience" result was rolled on the Tampering with Mortality Table. It is starting to make me wonder what the clerics of St. Ygg are doing and if there is a story hook in there I might want to use at some point.]
The Motley Crew
Session 1: The Start
Session 11: TPK
Session 12: Rise of the Revengers