Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 22

[This is the first time we’ve done a two-part expedition, where I’ve ended one session with the PCs in the Barrowmaze itself and picked up the next session still in the dungeon.  This is Part One.]

[Also?  SPOILERS!  This series will spoil what’s in Barrowmaze, so take that into consideration before reading.]

PCs (The Revengers)
Adam – male human Magician (4th level Mage)
Daphne – female human Blade-Sister (5th level Bladedancer)
Boris the Fighter – male human Exemplar (5th level Fighter)
Hrglclxin [pronounced her-gull-klack sin] – male human Outrider (2nd level Explorer)

Dergos – male human guide, still sold on the glory of adventuring, hired by Boris
‘Len – professional torchbearer, full name is Morgullen, but he never uses it, hired by Boris
Nolig – male human porter, a Helix local, hired by Hrglclxin
Proximo – male human Footpad, Godric’s henchman
Vorgand – female human porter, a university student earning coin, hired by Daphne

Sunday, July 20th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The Revengers met at the Mercenary Guild building and gathered their hirelings.  Boris hired Dergos and ‘Len as guide and torchbearer (respectively), Daphne hired Vorgand as a porter for her extra gear, and Hrglclxin hired Nolig for the same reason.  On the way to the field of barrows, the group [except Adam] noticed a knot of giant toads ahead and Hrglclxin routed group around the toads [a handy class feature Explorers have].

Along the way to the barrows, the group discussed what they wanted to explore.  They decided to see if the pentagram key they found actually unlocked the bronze door sealing Barrow 7.  They made their way to Barrow 7 upon arrival and tried the key.  It fit!  Boris turned the key and then stepped away from the door as the mechanisms inside the door came to a stop and the door unlocked with a solid “clunk”.  Behind the bronze door was a set of stairs down to the barrow.  The adventurers formed up a line and descended.

[There was a typo here that I had to interpret.  The description says the barrow is “a rounded chamber 40x4040 feet.”  I’m fairly certain that the “4040” should just read “40”.  I interpreted this room as being a 40 foot diameter circular room.  Other barrows have a map and this one could really have used one as some of the detail descriptions were unclear or missing.]

The barrow was a single chamber, 40 feet in diameter.  There were four columns supporting the ceiling and a 10x15 pool in the center of the chamber, full of oily black water.  There were stairs leading into the oily black water [the room description did not say which end of the pool and so I chose the opposite end from the stairs to the surface as most dramatic].  The adventurers were not certain what to make of this.  They stuck a sword and a lit torch in it to see what happened [the sword got wet and the torch went out].

Hrglclxin volunteered to wade into the pool.  The water rose to mid-chest on him and was murky enough that he could not see his feet at the bottom.  He discovered that the bottom was sloped to the center, where it felt much deeper.  He borrowed a staff from Adam and used it to prod the bottom.  He discovered that the center had no bottom he could detect.

Boris returned to the surface and picked up a chunk of stone.  He returned to the barrow and tied it to a rope, which the group then used to plumb the depth of the pool center.  It seemed to be about 30 feet deeper than the rest of the pool.  None of the adventurers wanted to go diving in the oily black water.  Hrglclxin climbed back out of the pool, the black water clinging to him.  As Hrglclxin dried off, Boris poured a vial of holy water into the pool.  The holy water reacted violently and boiled away.  Using a different vial, Boris took a sample of the water for further examination later.  Not ready to explore this anymore, the group left the barrow, closing and locking the bronze door behind them.

The Revengers headed southeast across the field of barrows to Barrow 20 and went in.  The opened the hidden passage under the broken sarcophagus and descended into the Barrowmaze.  They went north, then through the two rooms to the grand hallway [Room 92].  In the grand hallway, they went north again and entered the far passage on the left wall, entering the room with the metal cage [Room 89].  They found the cage was recessed into the ceiling again.  Based on a scrawl on their treasure map, the suspected that the mongrelmen reset the trap.  Boris threw a rock into the center, triggering the pressure plate, and the cage clanged down to the floor again with a great deal of noise.

After waiting a couple minutes to see if anything investigated the noise, the group went through the north door and followed the corridor.  The group turned left at the first y-intersection and ended in an empty room with a door on the north wall and a portcullis on the south wall [Room 86].  Looking through the portcullis, they saw another corridor with doors on either side.  They could not find a mechanism to lift the portcullis, so decided to go through the north door.

This door opened onto yet another corridor.  They followed it to a left turn and paused.  Beyond the turn were two doors, one immediately on the right and the other further down on the left.  The corridor ended 30 feet down where it was bricked up.  Carefully inspecting the door on the north wall, they noticed red light seeping under from the other side.  This seemed familiar, so they prepared for battle and opened the door.

The room beyond was 20x30 feet and contained 5 fire beetles.  The adventurers immediately attacked, Boris cleaving away with his axe.  Once the beetles were dead, Daphne harvested their light glands for sale later back in Helix.  She was only able to get a total of 5 whole ones due to Boris’ indiscriminate attacks.

There was a passage out of this room in the northeast corner.  Investigating this, the discovered they were in the diagonal grand hallway where they observed the fight between the Acolytes of Orcus and the Necromancers of Set [Room 110]!  Boris took a moment to combine his maps before the group decided to backtrack.

Returning all the way back to the corridor north of the cage trap, the Revengers took the north fork of the y-intersection.  At the next y-intersection, the group went east, which went only 10 feet to a door.  Behind this door was a 30x30 room, in the center of which was an ancient statue of a sphinx, broken and crumbling [Room 91].  The statue animated when they entered the room (of course) and addressed them.  It offered to answer any question about the dungeon, but only if they answered a riddle.  When Boris inquired what would happen if they answered wrong, the sphinx simply said, “You don’t want that to happen,” and flexed its claws.  They decided they wanted to hear the riddle and the sphinx recited it.  [No, I’m not going to put it here.  Run some characters into the Barrowmaze and get to this room to find out what the riddle is.  But don’t get the answer wrong…]

The adventurers discussed the riddle amongst themselves but did not come up with an answer they liked.  Then they asked themselves if they had a question they wanted to ask the sphinx and the answer to that was “no”.  They told the sphinx they were not going to answer now as they had no question they needed it to answer.  The sphinx was amenable to this as long as they closed the door on the way out.  When they did, it then went back to taking a nap.

The group then continued north until the corridor just ended.  At a deadend, they back-tracked all the way to the grand hallway [Room 92] and explored the eastern passage, where the mongrelmen had tried to ambush them [Room 100].  They opened the door in the southeast corner of this room, which led to a 20x20 room with more mongrelmen!  Boris immediately attacked, but [after a round of combat and a failed casting of Hold Person on Boris] a strong voice from a passage on the south wall called out for the fighting to stop.  Boris paused in his attacks and the mongrelmen were only too happy to stop fighting.

The strong-voiced mongrelman introduced himself as The Horned One [he had an impressive set of mis-matched horns].  He was not the true leader of the mongrelmen, but their leader and healer had been captured by evil men to the north.  The Horned One offered a guide to any location in the western dungeon if the adventurers would rescue their true leader, Crab-Claw, and their healer, Sayer of the Truth.  The adventurers, wanting to be heroes, agreed to this deal.

End of Session

[So this turned into a two-part expedition, which I wouldn’t normally do, but the players had just met the mongrelmen lieutenants and negotiated a deal to rescue the mongrelmen leaders.  In-game it was only an hour and 20 minutes into the day’s exploration, so there was no believable reason for them to head back to town for the day.  Meta-game, there were several reasons to stop here.  I as the DM needed to do some additional reading and work with the big map to locate where the mongrelmen leaders were being held.  Rather than do that at the table and essentially waste the rest of the evening for the players, we stopped the game for the night, about 30 minutes early.  Over the intervening week I read the relevant sections, printed out the map sections and key (from my PDF copy), and worked out the path the mongrelmen would use to get the adventurers to the Temple of Set area of the dungeon.]

The Motley Crew
Session 1: The Start

Session 11: TPK

The Revengers
Session 12: Rise of the Revengers
Session 13
Session 14
Session 15
Session 16
Session 17
Session 18
Session 19
Session 20
Session 21

Session 23

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