The Chisel is More Valuable than the Sword
This session (Barrowmaze 17/Northern Reaches 33) was played on Friday, March 30, 2012.
This sessions featured:
Sol and his trusty man-at-arms Caldwell and later the dwarven man-at-arms Durdir
"Killer" Kelg Barrelgut
Cromwell and his man-at-arms Alson and torch-bearer Darmore
Serge!!! and his man-at-arms Gums McGee
As the party gathered in Barrowcrest, Sol exclaimed that they needed to remove and sell the gold filigree from the sarcophagi they found during their last expedition. The party agreed with Sol's proposal and bought several small chisels and specialized tools to get the job done (costing 100gp). As the party set out towards the maze, they turned their eyes skywards scanning for pterodactyls, but saw none. Thus they continued on to the barrow mound containing the recently found hidden entrance to Barrowmaze.
The party descended the pitch black maw of the mound, guided by torchlight. Soon though, they noticed a break in the eerie and oppressive silence. The shuffling and cackling of skeletons was about and soon they were beset by sapphire skeletons! The party fought valiantly, Cromwell tried summoning a spiritual hammer made of pure force, but was unable to strike the gems on the skeletons forehead. Kelg managed to strike down three of the abominations and then the last one was slain by the party. Unfortunately, Caldwell was taken down by the unholy creatures. Sol who is becoming increasingly known for his cruelty to his retainers, forced Caldwell into the front while he stayed safely behind, even despite his being superior in skill and arms. His loss was greatly lamented, and the acquisition of sapphire chunks (400gp in total) from the skeletons was bittersweet for Sol…but mostly sweet.
On their way to the tomb, they passed through a room where a giant cage had been spotted. In this room, they were beset by two Coffer Corpses! Luckily, one of them triggered the cage and trapped itself inside. The Coffer Corpse that was free got a stranglehold on Sol, but was quickly subdued by Kelg. It was doused with holy water to prevent this particular abomination from raising again. The remaining, trapped undead was taken care of quite easily through the bars of the cage.
The party moved on to the room with the sarcophagi. The party gathered there, and Sol barked out positions to the party, most would be handling torches and chiseling the gold filigree off the sarcophagi, while Kelg and Sol stood guard at the entrance way. Kelg also placed several vials of holy water and oil behind Sol and Kelg for easy throwing access. After a few hours work, The party was beset by more skeletons! This time though, they did not posses any of the necromantic jewels. The party fought them off quite easily, until Cromwell grew weary of the creatures who had become more of a nuisance than a threat. He exclaimed "The power of Ygg compels you!!!" and the skeletons fled in terror before his righteous wrath. [The skeletons really had become something less than a threat to the party at this point, given our current level. Also, Cromwell is able to turn them at a 100% success rate. They can still dice up hirelings fairly well though ;)]
Thinking the danger over, the party continued their work, though they still braced for another inevitable onslaught. After a few more hours, the party heard the sounds of footsteps coming towards their room. They hushed and awaited the slow footfalls of the unknown that drew closer to them in the silence. Then, several acolytes of the dark god Orcus and an evil ghoul were upon them! A fierce battle ensued. The ghoul attacked Sol fiercely but missed, and was then chopped down by Kelg! (a good thing to as paralysis can really make things go awry fast). Amongst their dark ranks, one cleric stood out as more potent threat. He sported a fine shield and chainmail, and stood a full head above his other dark brethren. Cromwell immediately noticed the foul symbol of Orcus and a divine blood feud was ignited in his veins. Cromwell shouted the name of St. Ygg and let righteous clerical energy wash over the foe. The dark cleric merely laughed and shook off the magical assault, then spat on the name of St. Ygg as he prepared his own incantation! Cromwell, feeling the righteous rage of St. Ygg would not allow this, he looked inward and summoned his last spell, a simple blessing of light, and cast it at the evil cleric's eyes! A great white light shone forth from the unholy man's head panicking him and ruining his spell! Cromwell praised St. Ygg in triumph. This also allowed the party to see there were about 5 other evil acoltyes as well as their severely crippled leader. Up until this point the fighters had done a great job of holding the fiends back but had done little to damage them. This changed swiftly as Sol executed a full chain of cleaving and quickly dispatched three of the evil clerics in a single round of combat! Then Kelg, not to be outdone by Sol's cleaving, took out two more in his turn! Their leader swung wildly with his mace, but was rendered quite useless due to the blindness. He was chopped down by the party. Cromwell approached the foul figures and sprayed their bodies with holy water to prevent whatever necromantic force at work in the Barrowmaze from raising them. He also took the Shield +1 as a trophy from the fallen cleric. It should also be noted that during this time Alson was trying desperately to help the mighty Serge out of his armor so he could use his magic. If the party were not in such mortal danger, they may have laughed, as Serge tripped, clambered and flailed around in his armor shouting "to hell with this, to hell with magic, just let me hit em with the mace, gah, wheres my magic when I need it!!" all the while Alson nervously tried to assist the raving lunatic.
After this, the party managed to obtain some gold filigree worth 566 gold! not a bad haul altogether. The party went back to Barrowcrest, rested and replaced Caldwell with the dwarven man-at-arms Durdir. They returned to the tomb after this. The party then entrenched themselves again. All was quiet on the frontline until unexpectedly, they were beset by two stirges!!! The party pegged them off extremely easily and continued their work. The party, growing weary of the constant assaults urged the workers to finish. Before this happened though, four Coffer Corpses attacked the party. The party fought wildly and Cromwell attempted to turn the creatures with no effect. In the end, it was Kelg who saved the day. He cleaved through nearly all of them at once! and the remaining one was destroyed by Sol. the party quickly threw down holy water on their bodies to prevent their return.
Finally the party pried off the remaining filigree (about 1132 gp worth), bravely retreated to town and called it a night!
A Postscript: If you've been paying attention, or read our wiki, you'll know we have been experimenting with cleave attacks for fighters. To some degree fighters get chinced (yes, we know all the arguments for leaving them alone, but we are experimenting anyway). Most of the time we forget to cleave if a fighter slays an opponent, but cleaves have happened more often since the party found a couple +1 weapons. Cleaving has become a little too beefy for this version of the game, so we are trying to find alternatives.
Also, this entire session was spent almost entirely entrenched in one room. This meant there was no exploring of new areas. However, Sol did level from the filigree (probably why he was so adamant about robbing it this session), making exploring in the next sessions a bit safer. As a side note, Serge really didn't get a chance to do much, but the predicament his character was in, trying to pry off his armor mid battle was great for a laugh at the table. Serge is currently rethinking his strategies to get more combat time, being a fighter/magic-user he's torn between his ability to cast, or get into combat with armor (requiring magical armour to cast spells)