Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 24

[A short encounter on the way to Barrowmaze.  Includes a ruling relating to potion creation.]

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

PCs (The Revengers)
Daphne – female human Blade-Sister (5th level Bladedancer)
Boris the Fighter – male human Exemplar (5th level Fighter)
Adam – male human Magician (4th level Mage)

NPCs
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
Verya [pronounced Vir-uh] – female human Woman-at-Arms (1st level Fighter) , hired for 1/3 share of any treasure


Moonday, July 21st, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
While several members of the Revengers chose to take some time off to rest and enjoy their wealth [read: the players could not make the game], Daphne, Boris, and Adam wanted to continue their quest to rescue the mongrel men leaders.  Daphne tacked a piece of parchment to the front door of Turgen’s Trade Goods, requesting comfrey be set aside for her purchase in the evening [the shop was not yet open for business for the day].  Daphne suggested to the other two adventurers that an additional fighter-type would be wise.  Boris and Adam agreed, so the trio went over to the Mercenary Guild to see if anyone was available.

The usual morning crowd of hopefuls was loitering around the building, along with Dergos, ‘Len and, Vorgand, who were ready to head out with the Revengers.  Boris talked with Guildmaster Osen and hired Verya, a woman-at-arms with chainmail, a halberd, and extensive burn scars.  Due to her skill level [she’s actually a classed character, not a 0th level NPC], the Revengers agreed to her pay being a one-third share of any treasure taken, rather than a flat fee.  [The players were iffy on this until I clarified it would not affect their XP for the session, then they were immediately onboard.]

With party bolstered, the adventurers headed south, Dergos leading them through the moors.  Along the way, the group spotted a small group of three trolls approaching them.  Daphne perked up at this as she needed troll blood for brewing healing potions.  After a quick discussion [while the trolls rapidly approached the party], the group decided that THREE trolls might be more than they could handle and attempted to evade.  Unfortunately, they had waited too long and the trolls caught up with the group during the chase.

Daphne cast Bless on the adventurers, who formed up a fighting ling with the porter, guide, torchbearer, and mage behind the line.  Boris and Verya threw military-grade oil [read: Molotov cocktails] at the trolls, concentrating on the lead troll.  Adam repeatedly cast Magic Missile at it [doing fire damage due to his Elementalism proficiency].  Daphne ordered Vorgand to hand out the military-grade oil in her pack to anyone who could use it on the trolls and Boris and Verya made use of it.  When the trolls were within melee range, Boris and Verya advanced on the trolls to attack.

The lead troll went down to Boris’ initial swing [plus all the fire damage from the oil and Adam’s fiery Magic Missiles].  Boris and Verya concentrated their attacks on the next troll while the trolls concentrated their [mostly ineffectual] attacks on Boris [Verya was attacking at range with her halberd, making Boris the only valid target, but his high AC and my low rolls to hit meant they did not hit as often as expected].  Daphne cast Spiritual Weapon and sent forth the Saber of Inanna to attack the trolls.

The liberal use of burning oil and big damage from Boris’ axe [along with the damage done by Verya and Daphne] knocked down the trolls.  All three trolls were heavily burnt, but regenerating.  Daphne quickly stepped forward, emptying her waterskin of water to capture troll blood in it from the regenerating trolls.  Boris and Verya periodically attacked the trolls to keep them down.  After a very tense period [about 30 minutes], Daphne collected a total of three waterskins worth of troll blood [she borrowed Adam and Boris' waterskins], enough to make an attempt at brewing her first Potion of Healing.

Once Daphne was done harvesting all the troll blood she could carry, Boris and Verya dragged the troll bodies into a pile and poured three flasks of common oil from Daphne’s equipment onto the pile and ignited it.  The fire damage from this pyre finally killed the trolls [although it took a while for the last one to stop moving].  Verya took the opportunity to take a troll claw as a memento.

At this point Adam was completely out of spells, Daphne was down to two spells, all of the oil was gone, and Boris was noticeably injured.  Rather than push their luck, the group returned back to Helix early.  With no treasure [beyond the troll blood] from the expedition, Daphne paid Verya 3 gp and offered to extend the contract to the next outing.  Verya accepted.

In addition to picking up her order of comfrey from Turgen early, Daphne bought more oil to replace the military-grade oil used against the trolls.  Boris and Adam also bought oil, Adam buying 7 flasks and storing 5 in Daphne’s gear for her porter to carry and hand out as needed.  Adam also sent a letter to the bookshop in Ironguard Motte, requesting they locate and hold a scroll of Fireball for him to purchase [he is close to 5th level and wants to be ready].

End of Session


[We could have run the group resupplying and going back to Barrowmaze the next day, but they would have only a little over an hour of game time at that point, which would have forced the PCs to leave the dungeon early for metagame reasons, not in-game reasons.  Therefore we wrapped up early and handled healing and supply purchases.  The players greatly enjoyed the troll encounter and were happy with what they achieved.]

[Daphne’s player was very pleased to find the reagents she needed to start crafting potions of healing, something she’s wanted to do since reaching 5th level.  When asked about how much blood she needed, we looked at what was described in the rules and discovered that it suggests “Blood of 1 troll”.  Is that all the blood from one troll, you need blood from different trolls to make more than one potion or what?  I decide that for the purposes of developing the formula for creating the potion, the caster needs a troll’s worth of blood and that Daphne had enough for one try at this.  After success, then she will need at least a waterskin’s worth for each potion.  The amounts might be low, but the players took the time and effort, so I don’t want to penalize them – in fact I want to encourage this behavior.]


[Also, I found an error in my links for back episodes, which I’m in the process of correcting.  By the time this goes live, that should be fixed. Thank you to Rafael Beltrame for bringing it to my attention.]

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 22
Session 23

Session 25 [Not yet written]

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 23


[This is the first time we’ve done a two-part session, 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 Two.]

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

PCs (The Revengers)
Rhun Thruu – female elf Theurgist-Torturer (3rd level Elven Nightblade)
Daphne – female human Blade-Sister (5th level Bladedancer)
Boris the Fighter – male human Exemplar (5th level Fighter)
Adam – male human Magician (4th level Mage)
Hrglclxin [pronounced her-gull-klack sin] – male human Outrider (2nd level Explorer)

NPCs
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 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
[Starting immediately where Session 22 ended.]
After concluding their arrangement to rescue to supply a guide to The Revengers in exchange for the rescue of their leaders from the necromancers, the mongrelman leader The Horned One, asked the adventurers to do one more thing.  A lone adventurer was rescued in the dungeon by the mongrelmen.  This adventurer needed an escort out of the dungeon and back to the surface lands.  The Horned One asked Boris if the Revengers would take this elf back.  Boris agreed, and the group was introduced to Rhun, whose gear was battered but functional.

With that taken care of, one of the mongrelmen stepped forward as their guide and led them north.  They followed the path they’d recently discovered from the mongrelmen room [Room 100A] to the diagonal grand hallway [Room 110].  From there they went north, through two secret doors to the other grand hallway where Dr. West fell into the teleporting pit and was never seen alive again.  Their guide walked the group up the eastern wall to the far end of the hall and opened a previously unseen secret door. 

Beyond was a corridor that 20 feet in was a four-way intersection.  Their guide said, “Take the left passage and follow the left wall until you get to a door.  Beyond that door is death.  That is where you are going.  Return when you have freed our leaders.”  He then left, heading south to presumably return to the mongrelmen lair.

Somewhat nonplussed by this, the Revengers entered the corridor.  They noted the passage forward ended 20 feet past the intersection and the passage to the right [south] went further than their light illuminated.  They turned left [north] and followed the corridor to a right-turn.  The corridor around the corner was empty, so they continued, following the left wall.  Just as Boris’ glowing sword illuminated a Y-intersection ahead, Rhun’s keen elven eyes noticed a secret door on the south wall.

Curious, and hoping for some treasure, the Revengers decided to make a slight detour and opened the secret door.  In a small chamber beyond were 6 skeletons, each with a sapphire gem embedded in their forehead.  Sensing loot, the Revengers engaged the skeletons in combat in the doorway [to keep the skeletons bottled up and fight as few as possible at once].  The skeletons were a little tougher than expected, which did not concern the revengers at first.  It took two blows from his sword for Boris to drop the first skeleton.  As he and Daphne were fighting the next three skeletons, the first one stood back up, all damage from Boris’ sword gone!

Realizing that time was not on their side, Boris switched from his sword to his great axe and started targeting the blue gems in the skulls.  This time when Boris dropped the first skeleton again, it stayed down.  Calling out this information to the others, the group started targeting the gems specifically.  Adam discovered that the sapphire skeletons were also immune to fire attacks when his fire-based Magic Missile spell harmlessly splashed on one of the skeletons.  [Adam has the Elementalism proficiency and chose fire as his element.  He invoked the option to make his Magic Missile spell fire-based.]

It was a hard fight and several adventurers were injured, but eventually all the skeletons were down and their sapphires broken.  Daphne gathered up the sapphire fragments into the loot bag while Boris drank a healing potion.  Everyone else who was injured ate some comfrey to heal up some.  The chamber the skeletons came out of was a dead end with no treasure, which was slightly disappointing to the adventurers.  [The map shows an attached room, Room 124A, but there is nothing in the text that even mentions the room exists.  With nothing to go on, I just eliminated the room.]

Side trip done, the Revengers advanced, taking the left turn at the Y-intersection.  Thirty feet past that, the corridor ended at a doorway, beyond which the mongrelmen claimed was death.  Boris opened the door and found a 30x30 room with an open corridor out in the center of the north wall and a closed door in the far corner on the east wall.  The room was otherwise empty, so the adventurers moved in.  Rhun noticed a secret door on the south wall [because who can hide things from elves?] and pointed it out.  The door was examined and pronounced clear [despite no one having Find Traps as an ability and Adam not casting Detect Magic].  Boris opened it…and triggered the explosive rune hidden on it.  He was able to dodge part of the blast [made his save], but was still heavily injured.  Based on the size of the blast, Adam estimated a high-level Patriach was necessary to place that rune [Level 12 Cleric].  This gave the adventurers some pause.

Having triggered the trap, the adventurers went through the secret door.  Beyond was a short passage east to another room.  Eight [ravenous] zombies rushed out of this room to attack.  Daphne brandished her holy symbol in the name of Inanna and turned them.  While Daphne maintained concentration, Boris chopped up the cowering zombies.  [These were Ravenous Zombies – think piranha zombies – but they were turned before they could demonstrate what made them different from other zombies.]

Looking around the zombie room [Room 206], Rhun located another secret door, this one again on the south wall.  Cautiously opening this secret door, the Revengers looked through.  The room beyond was 20x30 feet, with two wooden doors taking up the south wall and two more doors and a portcullis on the eastern wall.  Peat-colored water was leaking in and had obviously swollen one of the doors on the south wall and one on the east wall.  The other southern door was open and the remaining door on the eastern wall was ajar.

The adventurers entered the room and started looking around.  The open crypt was bare and obviously looted.  The portcullis opened onto a larger [30x30 feet] room, where the mechanism to raise the portcullis was visible on the opposite wall, next to a door out.  The partially open crypt had a stone tablet on the floor at the far end.  Boris went in and stuffed the tablet into his loot bag without reading it…which is when the ochre jelly on the ceiling attacked.  [Ironically, this was the first time in quite a while that Boris had not checked the ceiling when walking into a room.]

Despite attacking from surprise, the ochre jelly was quickly dispatched.  Daphne and Adam performed healing checks on Rhun and Boris, respectively, while Hrglclxin used Boris’ axe to chop down the stuck door on the south wall.  Both healers failed at their efforts.  Beyond the stuck door was a crypt with some normal skeletons and no treasure.  After another 10 minutes of chopping to open the other swollen door, they found the same.

Disappointed and with no ideas on how to open the portcullis, the adventurers backtracked to the room with the exploding rune.  From there they went through the corridor to the north.  They took a left at a T-intersection and kept on that path around a corner, where they found stairs going up!  They went up the stairs, emerging from a large pedestal in what was clearly a barrow.  Next to the pedestal was a toppled and defaced statue of Negal.  Ahead of them, on the far side of 50-foot circular room was another set of stairs to the surface with light streaming down them.  There was a well-worn path between the two sets of stairs.

The group climbed to the surface and found the barrow was not in the field of barrows, but in the moors nearby.  They climbed on top of the barrow mound and looked around to work out where they were on their map.  They discovered they were just off the top of their map [Barrow 35].  Having brought Rhun to the surface and with several adventurers wounded, the group decided to walk over to Barrow 20, pick up Dergos, and return to Helix.  Rhun was all for this plan.

On the way back to Helix, a giant python dropped on Adam and squeezed him hard enough he nearly passed out [he went to 0 hp, but made a roll against his CON to stay conscious].  In the rush to get the snake off Adam, Rhun bounced her sword off Boris and into a deep puddle nearby, where it started to sink into the mud [Natural 1 on the d20].  She dove after it before it was lost.  By the time she had it again, the python was fleeing and she had to drop it [on more solid ground] to free her longbow to shoot [and kill] the python.

Back in town, much healing was done.  Rhun went to the newly opened Shrine of the Green Man [built by Quillian on his property].  Daphne used the last of her magic to heal Boris a little, but he had to go to the Shrine of St. Ygg to get healed the rest of the way.  Daphne made use of the magic cup [from Barrow 24] to heal her wounds.

End of Session

[So I didn’t mention it in my notes, but Boris actually took more damage from the party making critical failures – rolling a “1” to hit – than he took from the actual monsters.  Daphne hit him at least twice and Rhun hit him once.  Adam’s player could not roll above a 9 on a d20 for the entire game except once, when he needed to roll low and then rolled high.  The laws of probability seemed to be making up for previous sessions.]


The Motley Crew

The Revengers

Session 24 [Not yet written]


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)

NPCs
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

Monday, September 24, 2018

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 21

[The Revengers spend some time looking around the newly accessible area in the Barrowmaze before peeling the filigree from some sarcophagi.]

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

PCs (The Revengers)
Daphne – female human Blade-Sister (5th level Bladedancer)
Godric – male Dwarven Craftpriest (3nd level Craftpriest))
Boris the Fighter – male human Exemplar (5th level Fighter)
Adam – male human Magician (4th level Mage)
Hrglclxin [pronounced her-gull-klack sin] – male human Scout (1st level Explorer)

NPCs
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
Proximo – male human Footpad, Godric’s henchman
Vorgand – female human porter, a university student earning coin, hired by Daphne


Evening, Cromsday, July 17th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The Revengers, just back in town [see Session 20], spend time healing up from their adventure through the use of Healing proficiencies and application of the Comfrey herb.  It helps, but they are not completely healed up.

Freysday, July 18th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Not wanting to explore the Barrowmaze still bearing the wounds from their last expedition, the Revengers use healing magic from Daphne and Godric to finish healing up.  They re-provision and make arrangements at the Mercenary Guide for their regular guide, torchbearer, and porters for the next day.

Yggsday, July 19th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
In the early morning, the Revengers meet up with their hirelings at the Mercenary Guild building and then headed south into the Barrowmoor.  While hiking through the moors, the Revengers came across two coffer corpses and destroyed them in less time that it takes to read this sentence.  [I didn’t even bother having the players roll dice – coffer corpses are not a mystery to them and the PCs can quickly take them down.  We were running a bit late, so doing this avoided wasting time.]

Arriving at the field of barrows nearly an hour before Noon, the Revengers walked straight to Barrow 20, their new “shortcut” into the dungeon below the barrows.  Leaving Dergos on top of the barrow, the rest descended into the barrow, released the catch on the sarcophagus, pushed it aside, and descended the exposed narrow steps into the dungeon itself.

At the main corridor they went north, their goal to explore off the grand hallway [Room 92] before settling down to strip gold off some sarcophagi [in Room 90].  The room with the pyramid of stones [Room 56] also had some zombies this time.  Daphne turned them in the name of Inanna, allowing Boris to safely and quickly destroy them with his enchanted greataxe.  The revengers checked the zombies for lot but found none.

The next room [Room 57] was empty [except for the three mongrelmen corpses].  Passing through the two secret doors, the Revengers entered the grand hallway [Room 92].  The Revengers first investigated their actual target room [Room 90] to verify it was still empty of undead.  With that room verified clear, they went down the short hallway just north of it to investigate at its end.  Godric and Proximo spent time examining the door before pronouncing it safe to open.

The room on the other side was 30x30 feet, with a second door on the north wall.  Looking around the room from the doorway, pressure plates were noticed in the center of the room with a cage, recessed into the ceiling, suspended over that section of floor.  The Revengers entered the room, carefully avoiding the pressure-plated center of the room.  Boris and Adam went over to the door on the north wall and discussed possibly exploring further north instead of just exploring off the grand hallway for today.

While that conversation was happening, Godric retried a stone from the debris in the grand hallway and threw it onto a pressure plate in the center of the room, triggering the iron cage trap.  The cage dropped from the ceiling with a shriek [it was on rusted runners] and clanged to the floor extremely loudly, making Boris jump from surprise.  The group, as one, gave Godric a dirty look and took up a defensive position to see if anything showed up to investigate the noise.  After waiting a couple of minutes and nothing showing up [I couldn’t believe it either, but the extra random encounter dice I rolled all said “Nope!”], the group took a rest, during which they decided to open the northern door to see what was beyond it before deciding which way to explore next.

After packing up from their rest, Boris opened the door on the north wall.  Beyond was another corridor heading north with a branch to the west just at the torch limit.  Rather than going deeper into unexplored territory, the group decided to close the door and go back to the grand hallway.  Walking across the grand hallway, the group formed started exploring past the bashed in door, to the next chamber east [Room 100].  Here they were attacked by a group of mongrelmen waiting in ambush, one of which landed a perfect blow on Boris [natural 20 on the die].  Boris saw three of the six mongrelmen head south to possibly try a flanking maneuver.  He called a warning back over his shoulder to the rest of the group.

The other three mongrelmen were indeed attempting a flanking move, and Hrglclxin fired arrows at them as they charged.  The fight was brief but fierce, as one of the flankers scored a perfect hit on Godric before dying.  Searching the bodies afterward, they found two keys: one a strange metal key that ended in the shape of a pentagram and the other a key engraved with a book.  Daphne made the connection between the first key and Barrow 7’s sealed bronze door with the pentagram keyhole.  Both keys were safely stored away.

From this room [still Room 100], the Revengers shone light down both hallways leading away.  They confirmed the south hallway contained a connection to the grand hallway as well as going further south.  The east hallway went further than their light pierced, but they could see a door on the left wall.  Estimating that they had time to peel the gold filigree but would then need to return to town, the Revengers back tracked to the room with the gold filigree [Room 90].  After another rest, during which Godric attempted to heal himself and failed, Godric pulled out his tools and started carefully removing the gold filigree from the sarcophagi.  This took two hours, during which the group was attacked by a small swarm of stirges [4 of them] and a slightly larger herd of fire beetles [6 of them, which sadly do NOT shoot actual fire – I plan on fixing this and have warned the players].

When Godric finished, the group down hit points but 1700 gp richer, everyone packed up their gear and the Revengers returned to the surface.  There they collected Dergos, who was starting to get worried as it was now past the time the group normally leaves.  On the way back to town two zombies approached the group, but Daphne sent them fleeing with a stern glare.
[Something like this]

Back in Helix, Boris made a donation to the Shrine of St. Ygg and received a cure light wounds for his donation.  Daphne cast cure light twice on herself to fully recover from her wounds and stirge-induced blood loss.  Adam and Godric used their healing arts to restore the remaining damage the Revengers had taken in the Barrowmaze.  Then the group retired to the Brazen Strumpet for drinks and the telling of tales.

Godric located Tripp and contracted Tripp to be his agent in locating a set of enchanted plate armor [looking for +1 plate armor].  Tripp agreed to the commission for a percent of the sale and half of whatever discount he can arrange.  Godric accepted those terms and they wrote up a contract to that effect.

End of Session


[One of the things I need to do for future sessions is put together some generic NPC Tomb Robbers that I can use at a moment’s notice, like when they show up as a wandering monster.  Barrowmaze has a monster entry for them, but most of it is “put together something that matches your party’s capabilities”.  This is something I can’t easily do on the fly without pausing the game too long, so I need to prep for this.  I also need to bring back the Norse Whisperers with a couple of additional levels and work out which areas they’ve been exploring.  The balance here is between verisimilitude and depriving the PCs of treasure they’ll need to level up.]


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 22

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 20

[The Revengers follow a treasure map and find a shortcut…eventually.]

[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)
Godric – male Dwarven Craftpriest (3nd level Craftpriest))
Boris the Fighter – male human Exemplar (5th level Fighter)
Daphne – female human Blade-Sister (5th level Bladedancer)
Hrglclxin [pronounced her-gull-klack sin] – male human Scout (1st level Explorer)

NPCs
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
Proximo – male human Footpad, Godric’s henchman


Cromsday, July 10th, through Magusday, July 16th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Adam hosts an open party in Helix.  While good, it is nowhere near the scale of previous celebrations and got poor reviews as a result.  Many partiers leave Helix and go back to either Ironguard Motte or Bogtown.

During that week, the Revengers paid Tripp to make copies of all their maps of the Barrowmaze.  They realized that if something fatal happened to Boris [who currently handles the mapping], they would lose all their stored knowledge of the dungeon.  The copies are deposited in Daphne’s storage chest at Turgen’s Trade Goods.

Comparing the one of the maps they were gifted by Felix [who appeared only in Session 17 and is now off on a quest], Boris worked out that one of them connected areas they knew about to another surface entrance, one they had no knowledge of.  Boris discussed it with the other Revengers and all agreed that it was worthwhile to investigate another potential entrance.

Magusday, July 16th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
As the week-long party wound down, several members of the Revengers arranged for their favored hirelings to be available and Daphne decided she needed a porter of her own.  Boris hired Durgos as guide and ‘Len as a torchbearer.  Hrglclxin re-hired Nolig as porter and Daphne hired Vorgand, a university student using working the summer to pay for her admission fees [she may also have been very drunk at the time].

Cromsday, July 17th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Early in the morning the Revengers formed up at the Mercenary Guild building, meeting their hirelings there.  They headed south into the Barrowmoor, on their way to the field of barrows.  Along the way they ran into a pair of giant toads, but quickly dispatched them [only 2 rounds of combat].

Shortly before Noon, they arrived at the field of barrows and made their way to Barrow 12.  They found the rope down, indicating that someone else might be in the dungeon.  On their guard, they descended down the rope, one at a time.  Boris was first, and when he stepped off the rope, he noticed some of the shadows in the room moved in ways they shouldn’t.  He was calling up to ‘Len to hold the light steady when three of the shadows detached from the walls and attacked him!

Daphne and Godric shimmied down the rope to help Boris defend against the shadows.  While Boris was nigh-invulnerable due to his magic plate armor, Daphne was hit twice and Godric once by the shadows before they were defeated.  Luckily, the amount of strength drained from the two of them was minimal [because my dice rolls were low].  They knew their strength would return, but it would be a while [8 Turns or 80 minutes], so Daphne unloaded some of her equipment onto Vorgand to lighten her load.

From there they moved down the long corridor to the 2nd door on their left [Room 5], which was still empty.  With a small sigh of relief they walked across the room and peeked through the door on the other side.  The hallway and room they could see [Room 20] appeared to be clear, so they walked through, and then Boris checked the ceiling and spotted four giant centipedes on the room ceiling.  Boris called a warning to the rest of the Revengers and then charged the centipedes, cleaving through them quickly.

With that “threat” dealt with, the Revengers went east, following the treasure map past the stinky room [Room 19] to secret storage room [Room 16], which Boris pointed out to the new members of the group.  Just past that was an empty room [Room 18], which was the furthest the Revengers had explored in this direction.  The treasure map they had showed a long corridor behind the door in the east wall, with doors and side passages.  Near the end of the corridor a side passage lead [eventually] to a set of stairs that appeared to lead to the surface.  This was their goal.

Boris opened the door at the back of Room 18, beyond which was the long corridor the treasure map showed.  Thirty feet down the corridor was an open pit, that was not shown on the map.  The Revengers discussed how to bypass the pit and settled on rigging a rough rope bridge using spikes driven into the walls.  Proximo climbed across to set the spikes on the far side while Hrglclxin provided cover with his bow.

Once the adventurers bypassed the trap, they came to an intersection.  The passage north was indicated on the treasure map, but not explored.  There was also a bricked section, possibly cutting off a southern passage or room.  The main corridor considered east, as shown on the treasure map.  On the floor of the intersection were some chalk symbols.  An arrow pointing east was marked out, a second mark pointed west.  The chalk marks seemed recent and they suspected Dr. Venom West might have made them.

The adventurers continued east [planning to come back later to investigate the northern passage and the bricked off area].  The next door along was ajar.  Peeking in, Boris observed several giant flies, feeding on strangely preserved corpses [Room 41].  Boris rushed in and slaughtered all of the giant flies by cleaving them.  After some discussion, the group searched the burial alcoves lining the walls, finding platinum coins, a potion of unknown power, and a large ruby.  All these were placed in the loot bag and the group went on.

The corridor continued east, past a set of double doors to a room that was more a widening of the hallway on the left, where a broken and defaced statue sat.  There were doors on the southern wall, but the map indicated whatever was behind them was dangerous.  The adventurers debated whether clearing the rooms was more important that getting to the stairs on the map.  They eventually decided that getting to the stairs was more important and they could come back to clear the rooms once they establish where the stairs go.

The adventurers continued east to another intersection.  They looked north and east to verify what was on the map before turning right to head south.  Forty feet on they found the narrow side passage the map indicated led to the stairs up.  The dust and cobwebs here were disturbed, showing people had passed through here, probably in the past month or so.  [The players recognized where their characters were, even if these particular characters have never been here before.]  They followed this side passage to a set of stairs up.  At the top of the stairs was a rock slab with grips carved into it and a mechanism release.  Triggering the release allowed the slab to be moved sideways, exposing the interior of a barrow [Barrow 20].  To the side they could see stairs lit by daylight. 

The adventurers entered the barrow and discovered that the stone slab was the bottom of a broken sarcophagus decorated in bas relief with skeletons dancing in the Underworld.  Godric and Proximo investigated the sarcophagus to discover how to open the secret passage from this side while Boris and Daphne went up to the surface to see where they were.  On the surface the two of them climbed on top of the barrow and looked around.  They spotted Durgos sitting on top of Barrow 12, several hundred feet to their west-northwest and waved at him.  He waved back, somewhat confused about how they got there.

Satisfied they had a solid shortcut into the Barrowmaze, the adventurers descended again to investigate some of the side rooms with odd labels on the treasure map.  They went north to the last intersection and turned right to investigate a room to the east labeled “Teeth” on the map.  There they found an octagonal room lined with burial alcoves and with eight human teeth in the center of the floor, arranged to form an arrow pointing east, back the way they came from originally [Room 55].  They decided to not mess with the teeth, but searched the burial alcoves and found a number of platinum coins.

They next investigated a trapezoidal room down the north passage [Room 56].  The found a pyramid of stones along the northern wall, some graffiti on the wall stating “Don’t go on!”, and a door in the northeast corner.  The map did not indicate what was beyond [the previous explorers took heed of the graffiti perhaps], but the Revengers were not going to let that stop them – although they did knock first.

Boris opened the door and saw what appeared to be an old woman crumpled to the floor.  She weakly called for help, which seemed to make Boris quite suspicious.  He looked around and spotted the mongrel men waiting in ambush as they attacked!

There were only three mongrel men facing the seasoned adventurers and the fight was soon over.  Examination of the room showed piles of coins the mongrelmen had been sorting.  The adventurers scooped up all the coins into the loot bag, along with four emeralds of good size.

Having linked in their minds that mongrelmen indicate secret doors nearby, the Revengers searched the walls for secret doors, finding one in the southeast corner.  Beyond the secret door was a ten foot by ten foot empty room.  They searched again and found another secret door on the far wall.  This door opened to a grand hallway running north and a little bit south [“Room” 92].

The Revengers explored the grand hallway, finding two doors and two corridors leading out of the grand hallway.  Proximo also found a concealed pit when he fell into it, but quick reflexes on his part kept the damage he took to a minimum as he got his feet under him before he hit bottom [I rolled a “1” for damage].  On the western wall was first a door that had been smashed in long ago [Room 90] and then one of the corridors out, which lead to another door, this one closed [to Room 89].  On the east wall the corridor and bashed in door both appeared to lead to a room and parallel corridor that connected [Room 100].

Aware that their planned departure time was approaching [they always leave the area around 4:00 to have enough time to make it back to town with the sun still up], they investigated the bashed door on the western wall.  The long narrow room beyond was covered in thick dust with destroyed funerary baskets and three broken stone sarcophagi inside.  Proximo and Godric started searching while the rest of the party rested.  Proximo found little, but Godric was investigating the sarcophagi and after clearing off some of the dust, discovered that the sarcophagi were covered in gold filigree.  He had the tools to remove the filigree [being a craftpriest], but it would take a couple hours to collect it all.  Two hours was more time than the Revengers felt they had left to spend on this trip, so they scattered some of the dust to hide the exposed filigree and left, returning to the surface through their new shortcut.

On the surface they walked over to Barrow 12 and collected Durgos.  On the way back to Helix, a walking pile of plant-matter approached them.  At first they thought it was a shambling mound, but then Hrglclxin noticed the stone fists peeking out of the plants arms.  Every adventurer in the duchy had heard tales of the animated statues released from the barrows, seeking the glowing sword stolen by the Motley Crew – the same sword Boris sheathed at Boris’ hip!  Boris attacked with his enchanted axe, but the axe was ripped from his hands as it got tangled up in the plant-matter wrapped around the statue.

The rest of the Revengers pressed the attack and brought down the animated statue.  Boris retrieved his axe from the vines while Hrglclxin knocked the fists off the statue to take back to town as trophies.  This left two more statues still wandering the Barrowmoor.
End of Session


[So work and life got very busy and I did not get this typed up last week due to lack of time.  I think I need to do another edit to check for tense and grammar, but I’m still pressed for time and want to get this posted before I have three sets of notes waiting to be typed up.  I might get last week’s session typed up later this week, but I can’t 100% promise that right now – we’ll see how much time I have.]

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 21

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

No Barrowmaze This Week

Last week, we were down two players and my wife had food poisoning, so there was no game.  With no game last week, there is nothing to post this week.  In the meantime, I'll tell you about the other campaign I'm prepping.

I play in a monthly Rise of the Runelords game using the Artesia game system.  The GM for that is out of state for several months training for his new job.  Rather than risk having the group disperse from inactivity, I volunteered to run a game to fill the gap.  I call it HRE 1650: The Miniseries.

Set in a version of the Holy Roman Empire, just after the Thirty Years War, the PCs will be the friends and hangers-on of the 4th son of a minor barony - low-lifes.  The game starts on the 19th birthday of their patron and all are at a shady tavern just across the border, celebrating.  Then events happen that catapult the 4th son of the Baron into suddenly being the Baron (assuming he and the PCs survive the night).

The new Baron needs to find out who just tried to take over his barony, but cannot leave or the barony will fall apart and be consumed.  He turns to the PCs to be his trusted [and potentially disposable] agents, asking them to dig into the conspiracy and "fix things".

There should be enough for the players to do to cover 4-5 play sessions with this setup, including a "level boss" for the players to defeat.  If our original DM ends up not returning to Houston to work (which is a possibility), I can switch to HRE 1650: The Series and run it as a longer campaign with a final boss stepping out of the shadows.

I'll be using the Adventurer, Conqueror, King System including the ACKS Player's Companion, Domains at War, and Guns of War supplements.  I've been diving into the history and maps of the Holy Roman Empire to find an appropriate place to tuck a barony.  I've also been making notes how history is different due to the fantasy races.  Pagantry is recognized as a religious category in the Empire and covers just about anything not Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism.  [As Terry Pratchett pointed out in his Discworld books, it's hard to deny the existence of gods when they can come by and throw rocks at your house.]

I'm creating a map in Adobe Illustrator using a map of the HRE from 1400.  My assumption is that the added issues of a fantasy world would slow down the historical consolidation of lands.  Plus, I like the look of the map in 1400.

That's about where I am right now, still collecting data and warping it to meet my campaign needs.  The German Wikipedia has been extremely useful for this (as you might expect) and Chrome's translate capability is good enough that I can understand the articles.  I'm filling up my own wiki with the results (using WikidPad) for hopefully quick access during play.  I'll also produce a small gazetteer of the immediate environs and anything major the players will need to know.

That's it for this week.  There will be a Barrowmaze session report next week and I'll do occasional updates on the HRE 1650 campaign, which starts at the end of this month (September).