Friday, December 04, 2020

Chronicles of the Adventurers Guild #6

On the 28th Day of Lenzin,

Guild members Francis, Kelso, and Graves (see PC profiles here), with the bearer Lennard in employment, explored the underground complex via the entrance in barrow #16.

Entering a chamber to the north, they came upon a chamber with many burial niches, the remains within which were partly fossilised by the water that seeped through from the ceiling. When the party sought to recover the grave goods, the skeletons animated and began to attack them. Their magic having failed them, the party retreated, and returned to the Guild without goods.

Addendum: The twelve guild rangers sent by Guildmaster Hassel-Hoffa to secure barrow #35 reported it being abandoned.

On the 29th Day of Lenzin,

Guild members Kimly, Kelso, and Graves, with the bearer Lennard in employment, returned to the chamber the members had retreated from the day prior, and by luring the animated skeletons to a defile, vanquished them and recovered the grave goods.

Then, exploring to the east and then north, they ventured into a long corridor where the dragon hybrid was seen fleeing from. Here they found signs of a skirmish, and blood trails leading to the north. Following the trail, they came upon a chamber, within which was a stone altar, upon which were signs of a recent sacrifice. It is not known who was sacrificed, nor who performed the sacrifice.

Leave the chamber, they turned south and entered a blocked chamber, the floor which was flooded. Exploring the chamber, Kimly was attacked by three undead, their forms preserved by the peat-stained water, which disgorged leeches from their mouths. The party was forced to retire from the chamber, and was pursued by the undead, which they then defeated. Returning to the flooded chamber, they were confronted by an incorporeal wraith, which soon vanished. The party was able to recover grave goods from bodies found under the water.

Exploring then to the west and then north, the party came upon a pair of stone double-doors, upon of which was the relief of a man (god?) holding several javelins in one hand, and a tablet with inscriptions upon it in the other. The figures of many men, in apparel of warriors and priests, were depicted below.

Entering through the door, they found a chamber, within which was a stone statue of the same man (god) depicted on the door.  To the north was a blocked door, which the party did not seek to enter, for they had found a hidden door on the western wall. Entering through this hidden door, they followed a passage that led west and then north to anther blocked door, this one unadorned.

While they were attempting to break the door, they were assailed by skeletal warriors that emerged through doors hidden in alcoves along the passage. After defeating the skeletons, the party entered the chamber to the north, and found a single undead figure standing by a sarcophagus. The party was overcomes with fear, and fled.

Grave goods recovered were valued at 101 Gros, 33 Gros of which were disbursed to the members according to the terms of the contract.


Jeras, Guild Chronicler

Prepping and Running the Game

This session caught me a little off guard.

The first outing pretty much ended before it started, with the two spell-users in the party failing the spell rolls almost immediately, forcing the players to return to the guild empty-handed.

The next expedition was much more profitable, in terms of gold, XPs, and plot.

They chose to go up the corridor where the dragon hybrid fought the cultists in session 2. The dragon hybrid's party came off worse, so I decided that the losers were... recovered by the cultists, and brought to one of the rooms which had a sacrificial altar in it. I actually bought and painted a Reaper Bones altar, which is shown in the photo. There was little the players could learn about the identities of those who were sacrificed and who did the sacrificing, but it was clear to them that there were more than just the usual looters running around in the complex.

The flooded chamber was nearly a TPK, as somehow my players are still making the mistake of having one character explore the room while the rest waited by the door. The wraith is supposed to advance the plot too, but unfortunately none of those present was a worshipper of Kellos, which would have unlocked the plot point. I suspect the party will return here again.

After this encounter the players took me by surprise when they decided to move far north, to a part of the complex that is "above their paygrade". In general, the "level" of the dungeon increased as one moved further away from the western part of the main entrance - the great mound, or barrow #12; however, as Barrowmaze is a single-level dungeon, there was no easy way for the GM to signpost to the players that they were moving into a more dangerous part of the dungeon. I tried to do so by letting the players know that this part of the complex seemed unexplored, and I even had Lennard express reservations about passing through those imposing double-doors, on account of the fact that so far, it seemed that the more elaborate the door, the more dangerous what was behind it turned out to be. The players, however, seemed to take that as: the greater the risks, the richer the loot.

Combat with the undead in the last chamber would certainly have resulted in a TPK, so I decided to ask the PCs to make a Wisdom save, which thankfully two of them failed.

I had earlier planned to up the stakes of the campaign by revealing more of the metaplot this session, but one thing that I have learned is that the tone of the session depends a lot on the composition of my players. Some of my players are more "serious" and interested in the plot, and some are less serious and more interested in the loot. When the serious players are not in a session, I worry that any information I give about the greater threat lurking in the background may be lost on the players, so I tend to want to reserve them for the session when one or more of the serious players are present.

Next session will see two new players join the table and the Guild, so stay tuned for more.

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