Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 28

[Scorpions and harpies, oh my!]

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

PCs (The Revengers)
Hrglclxin [pronounced her-gull-klack sin] – male human Guide (5th level Explorer)
Daphne – female human Blade-Adept (6th level Bladedancer)
Boris the Fighter – male human Myrmidon (6th level Fighter)
Adam – male human Thaumaturge (5th level Mage)

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
Vorgand – female human porter, a university student earning coin, hired by Daphne
Nolig – male human porter, hired by Hrglclxin
Verya [pronounced Vir-uh] – female human Woman-at-Arms (1st level Fighter) , hired for 1/3 share of any treasure

Yggsday, August 3rd, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Flush with coin and a will to spend it frivolously [thereby applying 90% as starting XP for their next character, per ACKS rules], Daphne and Adam hire Tripp to arrange a legendary party.  Tripp looked at the coinage they wanted to spend [11,800 gp and 4100 gp, respectively] and realized there was not enough food and drink in Helix to be bought for that amount for a mere week and recommended a longer party, perhaps until three weeks in length.  That would allow for more supplies to be brought in and word to spread.  Daphne and Adam both agreed to that and entrusted Tripp with the money.  Tripp got busy planning and sending messengers for the supplies.  The Silver Standard Caravan Company was going to make some good money hauling in supplies over the next month, much to Billworth Turgen’s joy and benefit.

The Revengers discussed their plan of action.  Based on Daphne’s divinations the previous week, they decided to try and locate another way into Barrowmaze, preferably from the other side of the portcullis that blocks them.  They looked over their map of the field of barrows and decided to try excavating a Barrow 48.  To do this in a timely fashion, they decided to hire a large group of diggers again, along with guards to protect the diggers.  Adam contributed 15 gp to this.  Boris went to the Mercenary Guild and hired 16 diggers and 8 guards.  There was an additional fee for “missing the party” that was assessed, but Daphne easily covered the additional 2 gp.

The Revengers also contacted their regular crew of hirelings plus Verya, telling them to be ready in the morning to head south.

Sunday, August 4th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
In the morning, the Revengers and their small army of hirelings assembled at the Mercenary Guild.  Around town, other groups were already at work setting up feasting and drinking areas for the “Grand Party” that would start at Noon.  The sweet and savory smells of cooking foods were just starting to waft over the village when the group headed south, into the moor.

On the way south, the group drew the attention of six giant scorpions.  Unable to evade the scorpions due to the large number of people in the group [and the poor roll], the adventurers arranged themselves to face the scorpions.  The fight was tough, with the scorpions being quicker than expected.  Verya and one of the hired guards went down due to poison from scorpion’s stingers.  Two other guards dropped from scorpion claws.  Adam was taken to 0 hit points, but clung onto consciousness.  He cast Protection from Evil, which tilted the balance into the Revengers favor and Daphne cast Charm Animal on the last surviving scorpion, “befriending” it.  The group spent some time performing healing on those they could and bundling up those they couldn’t for eventual transport back to town [this included those dropped by poison and one of the guards ripped apart by the scorpions].

The slightly more sober group arrived at the field of barrows just after Noon and made their way to Barrow 48.  They set the diggers to digging and arranged the rest in a defensive ring around the barrow.  The diggers were highly motivated to be quick at their work and cleared away the dirt and debris from the barrow entrance in just two hours!  [I rolled low enough on the time and there were enough diggers that it would have only taken one hour if the minimum time was not set at two hours.]

Rather than explore the barrow immediately, the Revengers decided to excavate another covered barrow while they had the diggers here.  They went over to Barrow 47 and discovered that the mists had tricked their eyes – this barrow had collapsed into a sinkhole sometime in the past!  [The actual error was on my part as the map showed it as collapse but diggable, but the text explained it was a hole all the way down to the Barrowmaze.  I should have checked the text as the map indicates it is a Barrowmaze entrance and those should always be looked up.]

Curious to see if this let them into the back area of the worshipers of Set, the Revengers anchored a rope on the surface and then started climbing down, one at a time, Boris first.  As Daphne was climbing down [with her giant scorpion friend “Scorpie” climbing the wall next to her], a flock of barrow harpies dived out of the overcast sky and started attacking the adventurers and the hirelings.

Down in the sinkhole, the adventurers fared well against the attacking barrow harpies, but then the harpies injured Daphne’s pet giant scorpion.  With a battle cry of “For Scorpie!”, Daphne proceeded to kill one barrow harpy after another, cleaving through them multiple times [with repeated Natural 20’s on her die rolls no less].  Boris had to work to keep up.

Up on the surface, things were not going as well.  Adam went down under a pile of harpies almost immediately.  Hrglclxin lasted a little longer until the barrow harpies screeched, paralyzing him and many of the guards and diggers [barrow harpy “song” causes fear-based paralysis, not charm as standard harpies do].  Luckily, Daphne’s ferocity allowed Boris and her to climb back to the surface before the barrow harpies slaughtered too many of the guards.  [Boris climbs slow due to encumbrance, Daphne is quicker.  She could have reached the surface a round earlier if Boris had let her go first.  This was "discussed" at the table for a bit between the players. 😉 ]

Once the last of the barrow harpies were driven off [not killed, driven off], Healing checks were made and Cure Light Wounds was cast several times.  Adam’s leg was heavily damaged and lamed, but some of the guards died, so he considered himself fortunate.  Boris, Daphne, and Hrglclxin spent time searching the walls of the sinkhole, suspecting the barrow harpies nests were there.  They were correct and found a good deal of loot, including several magic items [see my notes below about this].  Hrglclxin claimed the 8 +1 arrows and Daphne the +2 sword [which turned out to be just barely sentient, see also below].

The Revengers decided to not push their luck any further and returned to Helix.  Back in town they sold two of the magic items found, but held onto two others [a +1 shield and a scroll of Invisibility, 10-foot radius].  They then split the loot, paid off the death benefits for the hirelings, and enjoyed the beginning of the Grand Party.  Boris contributed another 5200 gp to the party fund, extending the party to the end of the month.  Scorpie was “kenneled” over at Quillian’s place, back behind the graveyard and, most importantly, outside of where the townsfolk go.  Daphne cast Speak with Animals to explain the situation to Scorpie and brought it some food.  This satisfied the giant scorpion.

Moonday, August 5th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Adam traveled with Verya’s corpse to Ironguard Motte to get castings of Restore Life and Limb done.  Adam went first, using the only available casting on this day and the spell failed!  [He rolled very poorly on the d20, but well on the d6.]  He had to wait.

Hernesday, August 6th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Verya received the casting and was restored back to life, but now frightens horses due to the arcane energies inside her.  [She will bond well with Boris who suffers the same.]  She will need two weeks of bedrest.

Magusday, August 7th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Adam received the casting again and again it failed to work on him!

Cromsday, August 8th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Third time’s the charm – this day the casting takes and Adam’s leg is restored.  He will need one week of bedrest to be fully restored.

End of Session

[So the barrow harpies should not have had any of the treasure I gave out.  I handed out standard treasure for barrow harpies, Hoard Class: XX in Labyrinth Lord, as I could not see anything in the barrow description that said otherwise.  I think I found later that all their treasure is in a different room.  Also, other forces should have intervened in the fight, which might have tipped the balance, plus I missed the part about the pet vultures during the fight.  I remember reading about it during game prep, but forgot by the time the fight was happening.  This happened because the encounter description was split between two parts of the book - the barrows and the actuat dungeon and ~75 pages apart from each other.  I think I would have liked a complete encounter description in one place or the other with the other location saying "See page XX for this encounter."  It would also have been good to mention potential reinforcements in the encounter description in addition to the rooms the reinforcements come from.  The GM would know/be reminded to look for it.  This is an editing issue.]

[That said, the players were happy for the loot received and several of the items rolled up were exactly the kind of things the players were looking for.  Looking at the Sentient Weapon rules for the first time in a while, I had the players roll to see if any of the magic weapons they had just scored made the cut.  None did, but we were all curious what would have happened if one did.  Daphne rolled closest on her attempt, so we used her +2 sword as our example.  She rolled INT 7 (Empathic), Lawful, a low EGO (I don’t remember the actual number), and it Detects Metals.  This was not overpowered, seemed like it might provide some interesting role-play opportunities, and the other players were OK with it, so I decided to allow it into the game.]

The Motley Crew
Session 1: The Start

Session 11: TPK

The Revengers
Session 12: Rise of the Revengers

Session 22
Session 23
Session 24
Session 25
Session 26
Session 27

Session 29

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