Friday, January 4, 2019

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 32

[The Revengers talk with a chatty dungeon resident and get better directions.]

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

PCs (The Revengers)
Godric – male Dwarven Craft-Vicar (5th level Craftpriest)
Boris the Fighter – male human Champion (7th level Fighter)
Adam – male human Enchanter (6th level Mage)
Hrglclxin [pronounced her-gull-klack sin] – male human Guide (5th 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, hired by Hrglclxin
Proximo – male human Burglar, Godric’s henchman
Verya [pronounced Vir-uh] – female human Hero (4th level Fighter) , hired for 1/3 share of any treasure
Dhekeon – a revenant seeking redemption
Sir Pelinore – male human Paladin, bound to serve the Revengers for 1 year

Sunday, August 25th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Adam spends the day in bedrest while the rest of the Revengers party, waiting on him to recover from the previous expedition.  Luckily for them the Grand Party is still in full swing.

Moonday, August 26th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The Revengers [and their hangovers] gathered at the Mercenary Guild building and then headed south, into the Barrowmoor.  On their way south, they noticed a shambling mound approaching them.  Having heard bad things about these monsters, the group decided to avoid this one and Hrglclxin routed them around it.

The group arrived at the field of barrows a little before Noon and made their way over to The Pit [Barrow 47].  They climbed down to the dungeon using a rope, just like their last several trips, tense for an attack.  For the first time they were not attacked by harpies or vultures during their descent, much to their relief.

Once they were all in the dungeon, they decided to head west, down the corridor as far as they could go, hoping that it would either connect to the back side of the Setite area.  They ignored several side passages until the corridor stopped at a T-intersection.  The north passage went off into the darkness, but the south passage became another T-intersection, one passage continuing south and the other heading west again.  This is not what they were hoping for at all.  After discussing options and where they might be in relation to their primary map, the group chose to continue south.  They passed a bricked entrance on their left and then rounded a corner to the right.  The passage ended at a door shortly past the corner.

Boris opened the door [while Adam was back cowering around the corner] and the death-stench of the room beyond [Room 265] rolled over the group, turning their stomachs.  Sir Pelinore lost his breakfast, but the rest were able to get their stomachs mostly under control.  A number of undead occupied this room, including one ghast woman stirring a pot containing things the adventurers did not want to think too hard about.  Godric pulled out his holy symbol and turned a four of the ghouls in the room before the ghast woman, Grizelda, admonished him and told him, “Stop that, it’s rude.”  This forced a conflict between the adventurer's Righteousness and their Manners.

Having learned that some things in Barrowmaze can be reasoned with, Boris stepped up and started talking with Grizelda about where they were located and where the temple of Set might be.  He drug out the conversation as much as he could, buying time for Sir Pelinore to concentrate and detect evil [all of the adventurers wanted to be certain the undead were actually evil as Dhekeon, who travels with the group, is clearly undead but not evil].

As it turned out, the Revengers were heading in entirely the wrong direction to get to the Temple of Set.  Grizelda suggests they backtrack and take the first passage north along the western passage from The Pit as what they sought was generally north of where they were.  [She actually pointed to the passage on their map, which was much more clear than what I typed.]  A sharp intake of breath drew Boris’ attention over to Sir Pelinore, who was visibly pale in the face and resting his hand on the hilt of his sword.  With that confirmation of the alignment of the undead in this room, the undead that outnumbered the adventurers easily, Boris decided to wrap things up and get out of there.  On the way out, he asked Grizelda if she knew the answer to the sphinx’s riddle.  Grizelda admitted she did know it and agreed to tell it to Boris if he came back and told her when the adventurers killed all of the Setites [with strong indications that the bodies of the Setites will go into her larder].  Boris agreed to this and hustled the paladin out of the room before anything untoward was said or done.

The adventurers retreated back to the first plus-shaped room [Room 263] to rest.  After the rest, the group followed Grizelda’s directions, pausing to check an empty room along the way [Room 259].  Past that room was a complicated set of T-intersections, providing multiple paths north.  Rather than try that tangle of passages at that moment, the group backtracked to the bricked-up passage near Grizelda’s chamber [Room 260][There was some meta-planning going on here - it was getting late and they felt they could clear one more room before we had to call it a night.]

It took 10 minutes to knock down the bricks.  As the wall finally collapsed, a group of hasted crypt knights attacked from the other side.  The sight of the crypt knights triggered something in Sir Pelinore and with a cry of “No!  No!  Not again!” he turned and fled back to the surface.  [He was the only one to fail the save versus the crypt knight fear effect.]  Boris fought the crypt knights with Dhekeon at his side.  The rest of the adventurers moved up as they could due to the relatively tight quarters.  As the first of the crypt knights finally dropped, Boris was hit by multiple magic missiles cast from further back in the room!

Adam maneuvered to where he could almost see the enemy spell casters and then cast fireball in their vicinity.  The explosion of fire was effective and reduced the number of incoming spells.  Boris and Dhekeon finally killed the last of the crypt knights and Boris charged in to slay the enemy spellcasters.  Boris also discovered that the room beyond the bricks was a library of sorts and that Adam’s fireball spell also set one of the five aisles of tomes and scrolls on fire.  Boris, Godric, and Adam fought the fire to save the remaining books and scrolls, losing about half the row before they put it out.

Once the fire was put out and Boris received some healing, Boris and Hrglclxin backtracked to the surface to find Sir Pelinore.  Adam and Godric searched the remaining library while Boris and Hrglclxin were gone, locating several scrolls and tomes of great value.  When Boris and Hrglclxin returned with Sir Pelinore, the group had to take a rest.  After the rest, they finished their search of the library and started packing up the remains of the burnt row, spreading the books and tomes across all of their available backpack space.  This activity took a while and they had to take another rest before heading back to the surface.

On the trip back through the Barrowmoor, a pack of carnivorous apes caught the scent of the party and moved to attack.  Adam cast fireball on the pack, barbecuing all of the apes.  The rest of the march was uneventful.  In Helix, the adventurers sold off most of the books and scrolls they found, but not the Manual of Martial Skillfulness.  Much debate went into whether to sell that or use it to no resolution.  [I had to do research to work out a value for it.  It turns out to be worth quite a lot.]
End of Session

[Point of note: fireballs in ACKS are smaller in radius that I was expecting.  I was expecting the entire library to have been torched, but the effect was quite limited - only a 20-foot diameter.  I’m more familiar with 1E D&D than Basic/Expert, so I don’t know if this is new to ACKS or fireballs in B/X have always been localized.  Lucky thing for the players either way as they almost burned up all the loot for this run.]

[I noticed I had not upped Verya’s class title as she has leveled and corrected that at the top.  She has been 4th level for a couple expeditions.]

[Next session was very short as most of the group was not available.  I ran a very simplified session that covered an expedition to pack out the rest of that library.  And then we played board games.  I'll still write it up, but it was not big enough to get a separate number and I refer to it as Session 32A, making it a continuation of this session.]

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 28
Session 29
Session 30
Session 31

Session 32A


  1. Thx again for sharing!
    You are playing this campaign for 10 months now - how far do you think has your group progressed, sofar? And how much more time will it take to get to the finishing line? Do you still enjoy the Barrowmaze adventure and does your group, too?

  2. I'd say they have explored less than a third of the entire dungeon so far. So at this rate, it will be quite a while. They still need to level up their characters more to be able to "solve" Barrowmaze, so that distance will help.

    I am enjoying Barrowmaze and the group still reports they are enjoying it. I think that as they get deeper and things unfold, their but-in gets deeper as well.

  3. Sounds cool. Are you only playing the Barrowmaze Campaign with this group? Or are they running a 2nd campaign, too?

    Could you explain where I could find the "party rules" your group / your groups charakters are living by?

  4. This group meets weekly and we periodically switch games/campaigns. Prior to this Barrowmaze campaign using the ACKS system, I and one of the others alternated running Shadowrun 5E for the group. Prior to that was a pirate campaign loosely based on One Piece using the HERO System. Before that it was Mouse Guard. Most of the group is relatively new to RPGs and are willing to try new systems.

    That said, I have a monthly group that shares three of the players with this group. That group is playing in my Holy Roman Empire campaign that also uses the ACKS system. The campaign is a "miniseries", meaning it will run a fixed number of sessions to tell a story where the PCs are primary characters. It was supposed to be a stop-gap while our GM was in another city getting work training for a couple months, but now he's been assigned to another state for work, so I'll need to re-tool for a full campaign after the current arc finishes.

    The group doesn't have a fixed set of "party rules". Basically, who ever is available for the run gets to play and gets a share of the treasure at the end of the evening. The group has held off selling things for experience in the past, especially if a player missed a session due to illness or unplanned work. The reasons are usually a bit more meta than roleplay, but it's worked out. I hope that answered your question. If not, let me know what I missed and try better. :)

  5. Thx for your feedback, Patrick!

    Actually I meant the rules behind "the PCs gave a 1-month-party in Helix for 1000+ gps". I remember that you wrote a short note in one of the posts about it but I can't remember where and what and how detailed it was.

  6. Ah! Now I understand. So the ACKS rules allow PCs to "spend coin to no benefit" and 90% of it will count as experience points for the players next character. It is one of the methods to avoid having to start with a level 1 character when your current character dies [The other being taking over a henchman the PC had prior to dying].

    I've ruled that spending money on a huge party counts for this. I don't have any hard and fast rules on how much money pays for how much party as that's not the point. I just estimate that about 5000 gp will make for a good party for a week and go from there.

    Back in Session 28, three of the PCs spent a combined 21,000 gp on a party. There was no way a few days worth of party would burn through that amount of money in Helix, so they hired Tripp [an ex-PC] to arrange everything and that became The Grand Party - a month long celebration where everyone who wants to gets to eat and drink for free. They can also pick up handfuls of chips at the gambling house to gamble. This all played into the vices of Krothos Ironguard, the skeevy son of the Earl who is supposed to run the town, so it has happened without any government intervention. I'm also assuming several "interested individuals" have been skimming money off the whole thing as well.

    This event will warp Helix between Adventure Seasons as the amount of money dropped by the PCs is at least an order of magnitude larger than the local economy, so there will be consequences, some good, some bad. If the PCs stay in Helix during the rainy season and winter, some of the changes will be permanent, like a larger population looking to sponge off adventurer largess, a larger market (as more money is flowing), even more adventurers as word spreads about the crazy amounts of wealth coming out of the dungeon - that kind of stuff. If Daphne builds a shrine or temple to Inanna, the Church of St. Ygg will have to respond in some way. That wh I need to take a break between seasons - to plan that stuff and be ready for Season 2.

  7. Ah, thx for making this clear to me. It made me grap my ACKS rulebook and reading the part about experience and charakter death for the very first time. This ist such a great rule that I will use it 100% in our next Castles & Crusades Campaign.

    I really like the way you count in the impact to the economy of Helix and how this is going to fire back on the adventurers one day. So many possibilities....

    Thx again Patrick!