Abraxas seeks the Barrowmaze to search for arcane lore
This session (Northern Reaches 27/Barrowmaze 11) was played on Thursday, February 23th, 2012.
Abraxas (Sean) the Level 1 Human Magic-User
Locke (Alex) the Level 1 Half-Elf Ranger
Sol the Bad Man (Dan D.) the Level 1 Human Fighter
Shaft (Dan B.) the Level 1 Elf Thief
Fingers McGilicutty (Chris) the Level 1 Halfling Thief
Kelg (Greg) the Level 1 Dwarven Fighter (NPC)
As Kelg, the lone survivor of the last foray into the Barrowmaze returned to Barrowcrest, he met up with Abraxas, who was desperate to search the Barrowmaze for arcane lore and secrets. The two knew they would need to beef up their ranks before heading out and exploring the dark tombs, so they assembeled the most rag-tag crew imaginable.
Two thieves were found skulking around the The Brazen Strumpet eager to find a clumsy group of adventurers who they could steal from adventure with. They were recruited immediately. Next they found a local fighter named Sol, who people referred to as "the bad man". The group then recruited some men at arms and a torchbearer. They also found an ugly ranger getting drunk at the inn who volunteered to brave the depths. Finally the crew hired a guide to take them to the edge of The Barrow Mounds.
They decided on a different strategy for this session. Instead of running headlong into a total-party-kill They decided to undertake a number of very short expeditions in the hope of keeping characters alive and improving their odds by staying (for the most part) above ground.
The crew scoured the mounds. Finding one mound after the next sealed or partially buried. They then found one mound that looked to have been plundered, but open. They investigated and found a burial chamber that contained some bones and a stone slab. They managed to find a gold ring in the dirt. The crew took the ring, but then several bones in the crypt animated and attacked the party. Locke had the presence of mind to douse the bones on the slab with oil while they were still looting. Thus, while some skeletons were cut and bashed down by the adventurers, others were easily set ablaze. The party had taken no casualties and had no minor injuries. Huzzah!
Now, the party decided to head back to Barrowcrest to appraise the ring (20gp). They also purchase sledged excavating equipment such as sledge hammers and shovels to gain access to the various mounds. These tools proved crucial for the lowly band of tomb-robbers.
Mounds Covered by Earth:
Their second trip to the moors was made without a guide, as Locke the ranger was able to navigate through the bog having been through it once before. The party this time quickly revisited the mounds that had been sealed by great stone slabs. Locke and Sol bashed them open while the rest of the party stood watch. Fingers cleverly found a perch up on top the mound to better survey the area (and more importantly, to stay out of harm's way). The stone slabs crumbled one after then next, as the party traveled from mound to mound, robbing as they went. Several times they were attacked by roaming bands of zombies and skeletons.
Sundry Grave Goods from The Barrow Mounds:
Of the more interesting mounds surveyed, they found a sarcophagus shaped like a beautiful maiden containing the bones of a long-deceased woman. Locke doused the corpse in oil, earning questioning glances from the party, until he explained that'd it be easier to burn if it rose up and attacked them. They looted several perfume bottles from the inside of the sarcophagus (and were not beset upon by the dead). Another tomb contained two amphorae and a coffin. Inside the coffin, they found a golden necklace, and a golden ring. The party squabbled over how they should deal with the brittle amphoras (if they should take them back to town or keep exploring) until it was decided that the magic-user, Abraxas would carry them while they explored a little more.
Decorative (and Brittle) Amphora:
While exploring, the party was beset by shambling zombies. Abraxas set the amphorae down and broke one. The zombies were slain, and Norda was nearly killed with a sucking chest wound. So, the party bound their injury and returned to town. On the way back, Abraxas determined the ring they found to be of a magical nature. Locke challenged Shaft to a game of high roll to see who would get the ring. Shaft won but still wasn't sure of the effect of the ring when he put it on.
Another quick foray back into the moor turned up eight more amphora in a desolate crypt. The party, having learned their lesson, headed straight back to town to avoid breaking them. Unfortunately, skeletons rose up from the fetid bog to attack them. This proved to be a dangerous situation as half the party was carrying fragile amphoras and could not partake in combat. The skeletons were still overwhelmed though, and the party returned to town.
They once again returned to The Barrow Mounds. They stopped at a tall standing stone. The party members who spoke Black Tongue deciphered an inscription on the base of the stone. It was about Nergul, a dead god of… the underworld. The read some of the faded runes and Abraxas took a chalk rubbing of the surface of the stone for further study. Apparently, The Chosen, an elite group of Nergals followers, are buried somewhere in the maze. Other than this there was nothing significant here (that the party could determine) [DM Translation: they didn't find any treasure].
Entering the final mound they would explore, they found a sarcophagus with no treasure. It was decorated with a bas relief of skeletons dancing in the underworld. The party discovered that, if they pushed in the eyes of one of the skeletons, the sarcophagus moved and revealed recently used stairs. The party spiked the sarcophagus to ensure it wouldn't close on them and descended carefully. [+1 for door spiking! Huzzah!]
Standing Stone of The Chosen:
Below, they ran into a group of skeletons immediately…excecpt these had bright sapphire gems burning in their foreheads. Kelg recognized them immediately, and shouted for a full retreat. There were no objections. On the way up the stairs, the party doused the passage with oil, then lit it ablaze. Moments later, the skeletons emerged unscathed from the burning tomb, with the gems embedded in their skulls burning brightly and eerily. This ordeal was enough to make the party spend a couple weeks in town, drinking away their memories. Kelg needed some extra time to recover based on his previous experience with these dreadful sapphire skeletons..
After several weeks of binge drinking, they returned though to the same crypt and staircase. there were no signs of the skeletons this time, and exploring the immediate area around the stairs they found a chapel with demonic statues. a bottomless pit opened up in front of Locke (who was taking point), but luckily he had been probing for traps with a 10 ft. pole. In the other direction they found several looted crypts, and one yet-to-be-looted crypt filled with burial alcoves. The party found therein 101 platinum pieces, and high-tailed it immediately back to Barrowcrest before you could say jack-the-bear they could be skewered alive by skeletons. Miraculously no one in the party died the entire session. They won D&D and it was Advanced! (well sorta).