Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 34

[The Revengers finally get some revenge on some mummies, find the back way in to the Temple of Set, get cocky about it, and then regret doing so.  Near-TPK experience ahead!]

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

PCs (The Revengers)
Godric – male Dwarven Craft-Prelate (7th level Craftpriest)
Adam the Hesitant – male human Sorcerer (7th level Mage)
Boris the Fighter – male human Epic Hero (8th level Fighter)
Daphne – female human Blade-Priestess (8th level Bladedancer)

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
Verya [pronounced Vir-uh] – female human Exemplar (5th level Fighter), hired for 1/3 share of any treasure
Vorgand – female human porter, a university student earning coin, hired by Daphne
Dhekeon – a revenant seeking redemption
Scorpie – charmed giant scorpion following Daphne

Out for Bedrest
Hrglclxin – male human Pathfinder (7th level Explorer) [Out until 20 September]
Sir Pelinore – male human Paladin, bound to serve the Revengers for 1 year [Out until 12 September]

Cromsday, August 29th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The Revengers spent the day healing from their last expedition to Barrowmaze.  Daphne cast Restore Life and Limb on Sir Pelinore to restore his damaged knee.  The casting was intense and Sir Pelinore needs two weeks of bedrest to fully recover from the experience.

Freysday, August 30th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The Revengers gathered their hirelings and followers at the Mercenary Guild building and then headed south, into the Barrowmoor.  Along the way, the group noticed a wyvern circling overhead.  Not wanting to mess with it, they took evasive action and eventually left it behind.

At the field of barrows, the adventurers decided it was finally time to get some revenge on the mummies and whatever was in that white marble sarcophagus in Barrow 34.  [Revenge for what?  Making them flee in terror.]  The group headed over Barrow 34 and entered it.  Little had changed since their last time in this barrow.  Godric cast Bless on the group before Boris opened the door to the partially flooded room that was their target.

The mummies that attacked them in the past were leaning against the wall to the right of the doorway.  The white marble sarcophagus was closed again.  After some hushed discussion, Boris, Daphne, and Godric waded across the room and climbed the stairs to the dais the sarcophagus lay on.  As they approached the white marble sarcophagus, the three mummies reanimated and moved to attack.  Ready for this, Godric and Daphne presented their holy symbols and turned one mummy each.  Before the third mummy could reach them, Godric turned it as well.

Meanwhile, Boris and Daphne were waiting for the sarcophagus to be opened by its occupant.  When that happened, Boris struck it and nearly destroyed the barrow mummy inside the sarcophagus.  The barrow mummy activated Platinum Neshralk Funerary Figure buried with it [which grew into a golem and attacked] and then pulled the sarcophagus closed again and Daphne turned it.

Boris quickly dispatched the golem while Daphne and Godric handled the mummies.  Boris then pushed open the white marble sarcophagus and ended the barrow mummy.  The group looted the barrow afterward, recovering a Platinum Death Mask in the form of a skeletal raven, a Terra Cotta Funerary Figure, and four Ivory Canopic jars with gold lids in the form of mythic creatures.

Feeling properly revenged, the Revengers left Barrow 34 and went over to The Pit [Barrow 47].  There they climbed down into Barrowmaze and started exploring to the north again.  Just past the now-collapsed enormous chamber [Room 256] was a door on the right-hand wall.  Boris opened the door and found a triangular room.  On the far wall was a door out, flanked by two tapestries.  Both tapestries were in good condition, making them the best tapestries the group had ever seen in the dungeon or any of the barrows they had explored so far.  Suspicious of things that hide behind tapestries, they threw a rock at each tapestry to see if they could provoke anything that might be hiding behind the tapestries.  When nothing happened, Godric approached one of the tapestries to investigate it.

[At this point, Boris’ player joked that it was really a mimic and its tongue rolled out to attack Godric.  Both players laughed.  Godric’s player even referenced the meme about “I laughed, the bartender laughed, the table laughed”.]

As Godric lifted the left tapestry aside to see what was behind it, a large pseudopod rolled out of the mimic and it attacked him.  [The expression on the players’ faces was priceless.  Actual jaw-dropping surprise!]  When Boris stepped up on Godric’s right to help him fight the mimic, the other tapestry also attacked, it also being a mimic.  The fight was intense but short as the adventurers quickly cut down the mimics.

Boris opened the door the mimics had been flanking and discovered an empty room with two other doors leading out.  He immediately closed it and said, “Nothing worthwhile in there.  Let’s go back to heading north.”  [He recognized a distraction when he saw one.]

The Revengers were about to turn back as the corridor they were following turned east ahead, which was not the direction they wanted to go.  They decided to at least take a peak and found there was an intersection just around the corner that offered a path north, so they continued in that direction.

There was a door on their immediate left once they turned north again.  The room beyond the door was empty except for some piles of rubble along the walls.  There were no other exits, so the Revengers closed the door and continued north.  They ignored a side passage to the east, but took the passage to the west just beyond it.  This passage turned north again and they could see there was a lighted side passage ahead.  As the only self-lit portion of the dungeon they had found so far was the Temple to Set area, this excited them.

At the T-intersection, the long corridor to their left was lit by torches while the corridor to their right led to darkness.  This seemed to match up with part of their map, enough so that Adam started repeating his new catch phrase, “Set commands and I obey.”  Part way down the lit corridor, a secret door popped open in response to Adam’s words.  The adventurers grinned.

Beyond the secret door was a 10x10 chamber.  The secret door on the other side opened when Adam said the code phrase again and the group entered a lit hallway.  A short passage to their right ended in a doorway, while the passage ahead went a short distance before turning left.  The adventurers went right and Boris opened the door.  The door led to a 20x30 room that was the bedchamber of a necromancer of Set, who was in the room and very surprised by the adventurers entering his private room!  [Room 214A]  Boris talked with the necromancer, asking after mongrelmen.  The necromancer told Boris he knew where the mongrelmen were, but there was an issue.  It was an issue easier to show than explain and he offered to lead the adventurers to where the mongrelmen were.  The adventurers were suspicious, but accepted this proposal.

The necromancer led them past a curtain to another door.  He opened the door and entered the room, closely followed by Boris.  This room was the private room of another necromancer who was present.  Being closer to the door out of this room than Boris or the other necromancer, this necromancer quickly ran through the door behind him.  The captive necromancer offered to go after him and quiet down any alarm he might be raising and Boris responded with, “Yes, please.”  The captive necromancer calmly walked to the door, but once through could be heard crying out, “Alarm!  We are invaded!” as he ran away.  Boris sighed.

The adventurers proceeded forward, through the doorway the necromancers had fled through.  The next room was more of a three-person barracks, but no one was present.  [Room 219]  The doorway on the far side of the room was partially open and Boris could see a corridor running left and right beyond it.  Pressing forward, Boris went through the door, looking both ways to see if he could determine which way either necromancer had fled.  To the right, the hallway made a turn to the right.  To the left the corridor went a long distance with a couple doors on the left side.  Boris could hear commotion behind the first door, which was only a short distance down.

Boris led the adventurers to the left and opened the first door.  Behind it was another barracks room with four necromancers hiding behind an overturned bed in the back corner.  They immediately cast magic missile at Boris and he was struck by four missiles.  He, Dhekeon, and Godric charged into the room and Boris cut down all four necromancers with cleave attacks.  Daphne and Adam were still in the hallway when two necromancers in very ornate robes came around the corner behind the group [Nathalas and Thala-Kul].  With these necromancers were two steel skeletons, two brass jackals, and six black skeletons, all ready for battle.

Asking for healing when it became possible, Boris quickly stepped from the room he was in out into the hallway, stepping between Adam and the necromancers where he waited for the skeletons to attack.  Godric followed Boris, taking position next to him while holding forth his holy symbol to turn some of the skeletons.  He was only able to turn two of the black skeletons, which was slightly disheartening.  Daphne cast Sword of Fire to arm herself for the coming fight.

Before anyone else could go, the necromancer High Mage cast Minor Globe of Invulnerability, protecting both himself and his number two from any spells of third level or less.  Adam cursed and fled back into the room where Boris had slaughtered the four low-level necromancers.  The most effective spells he had in his repertoire were third level or lower and the High Mage had just blocked him from casting them on the necromancers.  [Adam would spend the rest of the fight in the doorway, leaning out to snipe skeletons with his spells.  This turned out to be very fortuitous for him.]

The remaining four black skeletons advanced to engage in melee with the Revengers, allowing Boris to use his saved attack on the first one.  Despite the impressive damage dealt, the black skeleton kept standing and attacked back.  The brass jackals and steel skeletons stayed back with the necromancers, protecting them.  

Then the lesser necromancer cast Lightning Bolt.

Luckily the bolt was relatively weak, but it struck Scorpie [clinging on the wall by Boris to help fight the black skeletons], Boris, and Daphne before racing down the corridor and expending itself.  Adam received a very close view of the bolt as it raced past him, but being in the doorway took him outside the bolts area of effect and spared him the damage.

Being on the front line, Godric had to attack with his enchanted hammer, which kept him from casting for several rounds.  As the adventurers slowly destroyed the black skeletons, the steel skeletons moved forward.  Godric took a chance and cast his lone Flame Strike spell on the necromancers.  The divine column of flame dropped the lesser necromancer, destroyed the brass jackals, and injured the High Mage, but not fatally.  The High Mage dropped a Stinking Cloud to little effect [everyone made their saving throws], but followed it with a Lightning Bolt of his own that dropped Scorpie, Boris, and Daphne in one go.  Once again, Adam missed being hit by the spell because he was in the doorway and not the corridor.  He counted his blessings.

Godric responded by casting Cure Serious Wounds on Daphne to get her active again.  Adam took his own chance and cast his last spell, a Fireball he dropped on the steel skeletons.  He slagged the steel skeleton that had been previously injured, the last black skeleton, but not the second steel skeleton.  In response, the High Mage summoned a fire elemental that filled the corridor in front of him.

In a desperate ploy, Dhekeon and Godric charged forward around the last steel skeleton, through the flames that comprised the fire elemental [getting burned by doing so], and attacked the High Mage with their weapons.  Their combined attacks were enough to kill the High Mage, releasing the summoned fire elemental while Verya held the last steel skeleton at bay so Daphne could heal Boris and then Scorpie.

The battered adventurers dog-piled the last steel skeleton to bring it down.

Knowing that the rest of the necromancers would show up soon, the adventurers quickly looted the bodies and fled back the way they had come to the surface.  There they took some time for additional healing [using healing proficiencies and finally rolling on the Mortality Table].  Boris ended up losing 2 fingers, Daphne lost her left hand [needs one week bedrest], and Scorpie lost one of its eight legs [needs two weeks bedrest].

They then marched north into the Barrowmoor and back to Helix.  Along the way they had to evade a manticore as none of them were in any shape to fight it and all of their spellcasters were depleted of spells.  Once safely back in Helix, those still injured made donations to the Shrine of St. Ygg for additional healing.  Lots of additional healing.

End of Session

[The fight with the necromancers went long, so after it was done we wrapped up.  This meant we did not assign experience or work out the value of the treasure they had, something we’ll do at the beginning of the next session.]

[Minor Globe of Invulnerability is in the Player Companion and not the main ACKS rulebook and would not normally be available based on the campaign rule of “only the main rulebook”.  This rule was instituted when we first started as none of us had played these rules before and we wanted to reduce the number of variables we had to learn.  I’m running Barrowmaze as-written, so I did not change the spell when it came up, despite it not being available to PCs.  I’ve decided that I’m going to introduce the Player Companion spells as the players find spell books containing them, representing those spells as lost lore.  The group of us are familiar enough with the ACKS system now that I feel comfortable adding things from the Player Companion.]

The Motley Crew
Session 1: The Start

Session 11: TPK

The Revengers
Session 12: Rise of the Revengers

Session 22

Session 32
Session 32A
Session 33

Session 35


  1. What a difference a few levels makes! The Motley Crew got curb stomped at levels 2 and 3, but the Revengers avoided that fate at levels 7 and 8. Of course better choices during the fight and better planning helped too.

    Thanks again for keeping this up, Mr. Walsh. I bought Barrowmaze thanks to your posts and will be slowly trying to run it with Mythic. I'm going solo because my current group is the middle of another campaign and I don't want to wait!

  2. Also, character mix makes a difference. Having two characters able to turn the undead at relatively easy numbers means fewer enemy to fight faster. As the PCs leveled, their fear of undead dropped off noticeably. Even ghouls, which triggered the first TPK, became less fearsome.