Barrow of the Forgotten Story Hour - Complete! 8/13/08





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    Barrow of the Forgotten Story Hour - Complete! 8/13/08

    Barrow of the Forgotten King Story Hour.

    As the title suggests, I’m starting a story hour for our Thursday campaign to recount our adventures through the Barrow trilogy. I’m not a writer by any stretch of the imagination, so I apologize in advance for all the typos and horrific grammar.

    The 1st game saw 4 out of 5 players with a placeholder for the 5th to join in next time. We play (about) every two weeks so updates will be at about the same rate.

    Characters are

    Wencis – Aasimar Incarnate (1)
    Celtir – Elven Cleric (2)
    Frankarian Steelhaft (Frankie) – Dwarven Barbarian (2)
    Bootsy – Gnome Sorcerer (2)
    ??? – ???

    It is assumed Kingsholm is the (primarily) human version of Hobbiton, a community separated from the rest of the world by distance and the bravery of others unknown to an oblivious populace.
    Last edited by Abciximab; Wednesday, 13th August, 2008 at 03:18 PM.

 

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    The Beginning.

    The Beginning.

    Four strangers, simply looking for a comfortable place to rest in this sparsely populated area, find themselves in the middle of an emergency town meeting.

    Wencis – Aasimar Incarnate (1) (+1 LA)
    Celtir – Elven Cleric (2)
    Frankarian Steelhaft (Frankie) – Dwarven Barbarian (2)
    Bootsy – Gnome Sorcerer (2)

    Ian Turbrand, owner of the Coronet and Cabbage Inn and town councilor, stands in the middle of the common room speaking loudly about the apparent doom that has fallen upon the town. “Never! Never in our life time have we had any serious trouble in this community and now it would seem, evil has found its way into our midst!”

    “'Midst?'” Celtir whispered to one his fellow travelers, “I thought the graveyard was almost a mile away?”

    “When you live your life in blissful ignorance of the evils that are kept at bay by the non-human nations around you, a mile is far too close,” answered Wencis.

    The others also looked on with some doubt in their eyes. All were members of the border kingdoms, the (mostly non-human) kingdoms that kept this region safe, often at the expense of their own lives. This small human community was kept safe by an old pact made long ago by a long lost king, still honored by the nations that live on.

    “Now is a time of heroes! Who among us will step forth and save the community from this evil?” asked Ian.

    Many an eye was downcast, feet were nervously shuffled, throats cleared. “But… but you sent two sentinels, and neither have returned. We aren’t warriors,” answered Ol’ Jake, a farmer from the eastern edge of town. “Maybe you should send more of the guard, you know, like… maybe the rest of ‘em”.

    “And who will guard the town? There is crime here in town, you all know this…”

    A voice interrupted from the back, “I thought he was arrested…”

    “… and what if the evil comes here while they are away?” Ian continues, ignoring the comment and the nervous laughter. “Maybe this is just a distraction, to draw our protection away from the town itself!”

    Frankie, always having a low tolerance for foolishness and drama, finally stepped forth, “What, exactly is it that has moved into your graveyard that has brought about the end of civilization as you know it?”

    Ian looked upon the strangers as if noticing them for the first time. “Two days ago a family of three went up to the graveyard and did not return. Two sentinels were sent to inspect, a human and one of your hearty race and they also have yet to return. This place has always been safe. We… we simply have no experience with this type of thing.”

    They all saw the exact moment of Ian’s epiphany and knew what was coming. “You… You all look like seasoned travelers. You sir elf, that is the holy symbol to the Elven god of war unless I miss my guess, could you help us? There is a reward you know.”

    This peaked their interest. “How much?” asked Bootsy skeptically.

    “50 pieces of gold,” Ian answered quickly, eager to set the hook.

    The lack of response got Ian’s wheels turning, “Each!” Still nothing.

    “And another 250 gold if you catch or destroy whatever it is that has defiled the place. Each,” he quickly added.

    “The 50 up front?” Bootsy asked just as quickly.

    Ian thought for a moment, “Yes… though we could give you the equivalent worth in supplies, or healing drafts.”

    “We’ll take a little of both, gold and goods to get us started,” answered Wencis.

    “Will none of you come with us?” asked Celtir.

    Again, all looked about nervously. Ian finally answered, “We’ll send someone with you, as a torch bearer or some such. He knows his way around a blade as well if you’ll trust him with one.”

    “Can’t say as I like the sound of that,” answered Celtir.

    “He’s a small time crook. Never actually killed anyone, spends his days performing petty theft and swindling and after a visit to the pawn shop and the tavern, he spends his nights with Hairy Helga, the Half-Orc Harlot.”

    “What was he arrested for?” asked Bootsy always the skeptic.

    “Assault,” answered Ian. Seeing they were expecting more he added, “He beat Gerren Landros, the nephew of the Town speaker, to within an inch of his life. Caught him bad-mouthing Helga apparently.”

    “Great,” answered the four strangers together with little enthusiasm.

    And with that, the adventure begins.
    Last edited by Abciximab; Friday, 4th April, 2008 at 01:00 PM.

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    Descent.

    “The gate is open, that isn’t a good sign,” stated Mia. The captain of the town guard was “escorting” them to the graveyard. The adventurers assumed she was just making sure they didn’t run off with the 50 gold without investigating. As they passed through the gate, they saw the bodies lying on the steps of the mausoleum. “This is as we feared, I must run back to town to let them know,” Mia said, before almost running back the way they had come.

    “Coward,” Celtir whispered harshly.

    “Ah, don’t judge them too harshly,” answered Wencis, “they are simple folk unused to conflict, let alone violence.”

    “No, I assumed she saw the wolves hiding behind the statues and another darker one further back,” said Celtir.

    At this, the remaining companions stopped and looked up toward the mausoleum. “Damn, we can’t even get inside without something attacking us,” grumbled Bootsy.

    As one, they rushed up the hill and were met by all three wolves. Using his soul magic Wencis summoned a magical war hammer and struck one of the wolves a glancing blow. A swipe from Frankie’s great axe finished it and another was wounded by Bootsy’s crossbow. The two remaining wolves seemed to take exception to Wencis and attacked him, biting at his legs. One grabbed his foot and pulled him off balance dropping him onto his back. Blades flashed, bolts flew and the remaining wolves were quickly killed.

    “This one is different,” Celtir observed pointing to the dark wolf, “a young Worg unless I miss my guess.”

    “Nah,” observed Bootsy, “they’re all the same. Dead.”

    They moved up to inspect the dead bodies on the steps. “It’s the guards. The Dwarf and the human,” stated Celtir. They all glanced at the bodies then over at Bootsy who seemed to lean in for a moment. They noticed a little blood on one of his fingers.

    “Don’t look at me,” he said, “I got nothin’.”

    Moving quickly they stepped up to the doors and followed the blood trail inside, ready for anything. There was nothing. The room was obviously used to prepare bodies for internment and had already been ransacked by someone else. They all moved to a door that stood at the back of the room. It opened easily and they followed the stairs beyond down into the… light.

    The room beyond was well lit with guttering torches mounted along the walls. At the bottom of the stairs they saw the bloody corpse of a human woman. The statue of a winged celestial stood to one side of the room. Seven tables lined the east and west walls, all but two holding corpses and a pile of broken stone separated this end of the room from the other. Rows of vaults filled the far wall.

    “Those two bodies are relatively fresh,” noted Celtir, always observant. “And one of the vaults has been spiked shut.”

    “You can see that from here?” questioned Wencis as he squinted his eyes and tried to examine the far wall.

    Celtir just smiled and walked across the room, intent on inspecting the vaults. As he stepped beyond the rubble, a volley of arrows flew from the east, all missing their target. “Skeletons!” he shouted, alerting the others. As they moved to help, two of the bodies on the tables stood up.

    “We got zombies!” shouted Frankie, swinging at one of them with his axe. Wencis approached the other, striking with his war hammer. It seemed to shrug off some of the damage and flailed back at him, striking him a solid blow on his arm. Celtir ran to confront the skeletons, shattering one with his weapon. The remaining two dropped their bows and clawed at him, one struck him twice. One claw left just a scratch, the other gouged deep. Bootsy approached one of the zombies and hurled a vial of holy water. Shattering on the head of the creature the liquid ran down over the side of its head and neck, burning away rotted flesh like acid as it went. Frankie struck at the feet of the zombie in front of him, cutting away one of its legs. It dropped back onto the table but still struck at him. He barely noticed the blow.

    The other zombie fell beneath the combined onslaught of Wencis’ war hammer and yet another vial of holy water from Bootsy. Wencis quickly moved to scramble over the rubble. A number of strikes from both skeletons missed Celtir, but his own strikes were no more effective then those of the undead before him. Frankie brought his axe down onto the skull of the zombie in front of him, finishing it off. He then stumbled over the rubble to join the others, with Bootsy following close behind. Wencis and Celtir had things well in hand by the time they arrived, dispatching the last two skeletons quickly.
    Last edited by Abciximab; Friday, 4th April, 2008 at 01:01 PM.

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    Puzzles

    “Ok, good or evil, it’s obvious something has been sealed in there,” said Celtir as he examined the sealed vault. “The question is, do we open it?”

    “We open it,” Wencis answered.

    A couple quick tugs showed it was firmly set. As they pulled and levered, they heard a short squeak from within. Sharing a puzzled look, Frankie and Celtir stepped to either side of the door. The two of them worked at the door for a couple of minutes before finally levering off the door. A young girl tumbled out, disheveled and frightened.

    “Little Miss Yurling, I assume,” said Celtir. A brief examination showed she was frightened, hungry and thirsty but otherwise ok. “We should take her back.”

    “Bah, it’s a 15 minute walk though the safest place in the realms, we have more important things to do here," said Bootsy.

    A short discussion and it was agreed, she would walk back alone. She would run back, as it turned out.

    Celtir and Wencis shared a guilty look and then moved to the east where there was another door. Beyond was a passage with the statue of a woman. There were small fountains on either side of her set in niches along the northern wall. A closed stone door stood opposite and more vaults lined the east wall, all obviously looted. Beyond the second fountain was a hall leading off to the north. As they stepped in, they noted the hall smelled like rain. Bootsy moved to inspect the fountains and the statue while Celtir moved beyond to look down the hall. The others inspected the stone door.

    “Nothing exciting here,” said Bootsy as he walked around the statue. “What’s everyone else got?”

    “Seems like a simple stone door here,” answered Wencis, with a shrug.

    “Well, I’ve got something interesting,” answered Celtir. The others moved to look. Two short sets of stairs led down to a stone door with no obvious handle and a strange carving. Engraved into the door was a Beholder, also known as an eye tyrant, with words carved beneath.

    Magic Dies, Fast Men Slow, The Passage You Seek is not Below.
    Eye of Death, Eye of Stone, The Key to Passage They Haven’t Shown.
    Fear and Mind, You Can Say, Will Move You Around in the Wrong Way.
    Friends are Shy, Sleep in Rest, Neither Points to the Passage That’s Best.
    Enemy Friend, Painful Wound, Oblivion Aids it is Runed.


    Bootsy had to look twice to make sure he was seeing the same thing as everyone else. “Well, the images seem to indicate the different effects of the Beholders eyes. Oblivion aids? What the nine hells does that mean?” he asked.

    “Maybe it has something to do with opening the door,” Celtir answered, as he pushed on the door. “It won’t budge.”

    “Well let’s check the other stone door,” said Wencis.

    They all moved back to the other door and Frankie stepped up and pulled it open. Three steps led down to a large vault. As he stood there he heard a low whirring sound that quickly faded away. A statue stood to the east, a man in robes holding a book, eyes downcast. Two sarcophagi sat at the base of the stair, small niches were built into each of the walls in no particular pattern. The entire place looked as though it had just been cleaned.

    “Well, this doesn’t seem the slightest bit suspicious,” Bootsy stated sarcastically. “Stand back, I’ve an idea.” He spread his arms before him and summoned forth a dog within the room. The moment it appeared, four small mechanical creatures that resembled wasps flew from the niches and struck at the animal with sharp proboscis. The animal started stumbling about, biting one of the creatures and crushing it within its jaws. The dog was obviously affected by something more then just the obvious wounds as it clumsily lashed out again before disappearing back to its home plane. Bootsy slammed the door shut.

    “How many more times can you do that?” asked Wencis.

    “Bah, waste of resources, everyone ready a missile weapon. Frankie, get ready to open the door,” said Bootsy as he loaded his crossbow.

    Once they were all ready, they pulled open the door. Bootsy threw in his pack and, as the creatures came out to inspect the disturbance, bolts and arrows flew and two more of the creatures fell to the floor. As the last turned toward the doorway, Bootsy stepped forward and slammed the door shut. “One more time ought to do it,” he said as he smiled and stepped back to reload his crossbow.

    Less then 20 seconds later they were all within the vault, inspecting its contents. “There’s nothing interesting about the statue, nothing written in the book. He is looking down though, wasn’t there something about a ‘passage below’ on that other door?” Bootsy asked.

    “I think it was ‘not below’,” answered Wencis.

    “The sarcophagi don’t move,” said Celtir. ”Let’s see what’s inside. Frankie, give me a hand here.” After a brief struggle the two of them forced open the two sarcophagi. “Well nothing obvious. I hate to do it but…” He leaned over, slicing at the linen and burial robes of one of the bodies. Beneath was a small metal tube with a striker. He lifted them out and, with a quick look at those gathered around him, shrugged and hit the metal tube with the striker. A short crystal clear chime sounded for a moment and then faded away. Nothing happened. “Ok, back to the other door.”

    Standing once again in front of the “Beholder Door”, Celtir sounded the chime once again. Again the chime rang for a short time but then disintegrated into dust. With a doubtful look back at his companions he pushed against the door. The door slid back, then to the side, revealing an oddly shaped room beyond. Bright white light illuminated a room that was divided into four distinct areas with tiled floors. Each octagonal area was roughly the same size. The closest had a stylized eye carved into the center tile. As they entered, they spread out, each going to a different area. Bootsy stepped up to the eye and cast Detect Magic. “This whole area radiates a strong aura of magic, I can’t differentiate any part of this place from another,” he stated. Then, shrugging, he stepped onto the eye. He felt magic wash over him, dispelling the Mage Armor he had cast earlier as well as the Detect Magic he had just cast. “Damn”, he swore as he stepped away to renew his Mage Armor.

    Wencis went to the North. There he saw 3 tiles with carvings, 2 of them were not firmly set into the floor. “Oblivion aids…”, he said quietly. “There’s a carving of a man being disintegrated here.” He looked closely at the tile, and then stepped upon it. “Nothing here,” he called back to the others.

    Frankie was investigating the three carved tiles to the east, while Celtir made a quick circuit throughout the areas. “The images are in a different order if you follow them left to right. Look, some of them can be moved.” He reached down and lifted two of the tiles from the western room. “Drop this one back one…” he started, thinking out loud. Making a few trips back and forth, he placed the tiles in the same order around the rooms as they were on the door. They heard a brief yell from Wencis, who was still standing on the tile in the middle of the north room. Frankie in the east and Celtir in the west looked to Bootsy, who was still standing in the central area. “It’s ok. The tile just disappeared below him. Judging from the short duration of his scream, the drop couldn’t have been that far.”

    They all moved to look down the newly opened exit in the floor of the north room. Wencis looked up at them looking a little sheepish. “Wasn’t expecting that,” he simply stated.

    As the others climbed down the ladder into the small space, Wencis moved down the stairs to the east to make room. Five feet down there was a landing where the stairs turned to the south. As he started down, he noticed some movement in a pile of bones on the next landing. At almost the same moment a distant howl sounded as two doglike skeletons rose from the piles. “More skeletons,” he shouted over his shoulder as he moved down to strike at the wolves with his hammer. The others came down quickly, squeezing around one another in the small space, trying to get to a position where they would be most useful. Frankie moved to the front, striking at them with his axe. He found it hard to find a good place to strike the hollow creatures, but with his strength his blade still did significant damage. One of the creatures bit Frankie on the leg, but the two were no match for the companions organized offence and fell quickly.

    As Wencis stepped down the last flight of steps to the west, a huge rotting creature stepped forth and swung a meaty fist at him. He managed to dodge the attack even in the narrow stair and again he called out, “Undead… uh, I think it was once an ogre, it’s big whatever it was!”

    Once more, there was a rush through the cramped space as Frankie and Celtir fought their way to the front, each slashing at the creature and damaging it somewhat. Bootsy, now out of Holy Water, broke out the acid. The effect on the undead was about the same, though his allies did not appreciate the splashing drops that pitted their armor. The large creature lashed out at those moving around it, though the cramped quarters seemed to be working against it. As Frankie dug his axe into the creature’s leg, the creature finally made contact. It struck Frankie with a solid blow across his head, though this proved to be the zombies undoing. Frankie was stunned for just a moment and then grew enraged. Frothing at the mouth, he lashed out again, this time burying his axe deep into the chest of the zombie. The creature fell to the ground with a loud thump.

    “I think we need a break,” said Bootsy. “Our resources are sapped. How long have we been at this?”

    “Uh, about 45 minutes…” answered Wencis.

    The companions looked at each other and, shaking their heads, headed back up the stairs.

    End of Session 1.
    Last edited by Abciximab; Friday, 4th April, 2008 at 01:10 PM.

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    Session Notes.

    I was wondering how things would go, I've read about a number of problem with the difficulty level of the mod, so far it seems right on target for a party of 4. Getting past the sealed Beholder door presented a challenge, so I made some changes.

    Players did well (Some good rolls, especially spot checks), as I expected and moved very quickly. Short sessions (2 1/2 hours or less) so keeping the game going is important. A lot of humor around the table as well, I don't think that aspect is reflected in the story, but I'll try to see if I can work it in more in the future.

    Typing from memory (Time for notes? Ha!) so there are a few details missing (I remembered after the fact the gnome summoning a dog for the 1st encounter).

    Player and outside comments are welcome (Please keep future spoilers out of this thread).

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    A comment from the party's cleric

    Very accurate portrayal and very well written, especially capturing just how someone would act when the floor disappears underneath them! LOL.
    I think you have captured the players traits in the PC's pretty accurately.

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    Over the Bridge

    “So… Back at it?” Wencis asked, stretching as he pushed himself away from the remains of his morning meal.

    “Yeah, I think we’re ready,” answered Celtir. “Anyone need any more healing before we go?”

    The others shook their heads. Bootsy was unscathed yesterday and though Frankie had come very close to being killed by the large zombie, Celtir had healed most of his wounds the night before. He was left with a few minor cuts and bruises but felt well enough to continue.

    They had returned to the Coronet and Cabbage to rest for the remainder of the day and overnight. As they had come down for the evening meal they had found a well dressed elderly lady waiting for them, the little girl they had rescued close to her side. As they crossed the room, the gray haired lady moved to meet them. “My granddaughter tells me you rescued her and showed her some kindness and I thank you. We Yurlings try to pay our debts and though there is nothing I can give you that is worth the life of my granddaughter, I hope you will accept this small token as a thank you.” With this, she had handed a small pouch to Wencis that was obviously filled with coins.

    Noting Frankie was not yet present, Bootsy smiled, greedily rubbed his hands together and squealed, “Three way split!” With the others giving him a disbelieving look, he added somberly, “Just kiddin’.”

    During their morning meal, they had talked a little about preparations for their next foray into the mausoleum. Pushing away empty plates, they divided the reward and agreed to meet back here once each had run their individual errands. A short time later, they had all returned and, with a grim look on their faces, headed off once again to the graveyard. Wencis was followed closely by what appeared to be a little flying ball of energy.

    Approaching the mausoleum after the short walk to the graveyard, Bootsy commented, “Good thing we shut the gate.” The others looked at him questioningly and he continued, motioning for the others to look around the graveyard, “No wolves.”

    Returning to the “Beholder Room” through the door they had wedged open, they we’re surprised to see the puzzle had reset, the tiles once again in the wrong order.

    “Looks like we do it again”, said Celtir.

    “Do you think I have to be standing on the ‘Disintegrate’ tile again for this to work?” Wencis asked, with some apprehension.

    With a bemused look, Celtir answered, “Uh, no I don’t expect so, let’s just try rearranging the tiles and see what happens.” Once again they placed the tiles where they belonged and the entry tile disappeared revealing the ladder down. Forming a short cue, they descended into the dark, returning to the small room at the bottom of the stairs. The smell of rot filled the small space as the corpse of the zombie continued to decay. Celtir stepped forward and opened the door.

    Beyond was a narrow rope and wood bridge, spanning what looked like a natural crevasse filled with gray water. At the far end they could see a small room with two exits. After a quick inspection of the bridge, Celtir turned to his companions, “Well, there’s only one thing for it,” he said and then moved cautiously out onto the span. About halfway across, his sharp eyes noticed the ropes at the far end quickly unraveling. Muttering a brief expletive, he tried to run forward and leap the rest of the way. Unable to find solid purchase below him as he jumped, he found himself tumbling down into the water. Coming to the surface quickly he sputtered and wiped the water from his face. Discovering the water was only four feet deep, he stood and started to make his way back toward his companions who were stifling laughter. The snickering quickly turned to surprise when, within arms reach of the nearside, they saw a gray glob rise from the water and grab Celtir from behind. Their surprise was reflected tenfold in Celtir’s face as he was pulled over backwards into the water. Wencis quickly jumped down to help him as he thrashed below the surface, struggling to escape. He broke the surface, for a moment coughing and sputtering to Wencis, “Kill it!” Once again, he was jerked below the water.

    “Kill it? I can’t even see it!” he answered as he slammed his hammer into the water where he thought the creature might be, but struck nothing more than water.

    Bootsy, up on the landing, pushed Frankie aside. “I never thought I’d get to summon one on these,” he said, giggling and rubbing his hands together in anticipation. Focusing himself, he started to cast.

    Wencis kept flailing away as his Soul Spark fired little balls of energy into the water, trying to find the creature that was all but invisible within the water. Celtir struggled to hold his breath while being buffeted and slammed by the creature. His feet slid on the algae covered walls and floor as he tried, unsuccessfully, to escape the creature that held him. A fin suddenly appeared in the water beyond where Celtir thrashed and, for a moment, Wencis thought things had gotten worse. Looking more closely, he realized the creature was a porpoise and hearing Bootsy laughing and clapping his hands together with glee, knew where it had come from.

    A few short clicks allowed the porpoise to zero in on the threat and it swam forward, slamming into the creature holding Celtir. The strike loosened the grip of the creature for a moment and Celtir was finally able to break free. He quickly moved past the porpoise to get away from the ooze and get his bearings. A crossbow bolt flew overhead, flashing into the water and seemed to strike something within the water. Wencis continued to splash away with his hammer, shaking his head as he failed to strike anything but water, not wanting to believe a sorcerer with a crossbow could be more effective at fighting then he was. He heard Bootsy’s mocking voice from above, “Firing into combat at an invisible creature and I can still nail it! Ha! And that was with both eyes closed while standing on one foot!” he taunted. Wencis just shook his head once more, sure that there was something wrong with the world.

    The porpoise lunged again but missed just before disappearing, returning to its home plane. Wencis and his Soul Spark were just as ineffective, water splashing into his face as he struck at the creature. Finally, Celtir fired an arrow that lanced into it and the water grew still, the ooze losing cohesion and dispersing in the water.

    “Right,” said Bootsy, “Let’s find a way across that doesn’t involve me getting my feet wet.” Wencis and Celtir, both completely soaked, shared a bemused look.
    Last edited by Abciximab; Friday, 4th April, 2008 at 01:04 PM.

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    Great start! I'll be DMing this myself in a few weeks, so it's a great resource to see what other groups get up to

    Looking forward to more episodes of this hilarious journal!

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    Quote Originally Posted by carborundum
    Great start! I'll be DMing this myself in a few weeks, so it's a great resource to see what other groups get up to

    Looking forward to more episodes of this hilarious journal!
    Thanks for the encouraging words! There's more to come from this session, I'm working on the write up of three more areas they covered. Some interesting encounters ahead.

    I've been looking for write ups from other players for this trilogy, but haven't come up with much, though I read a lot of feedback about potential stumbling blocks for the party. So far, I think the mod is fairly well balanced for a party of 4. We'll see what happens if our 5th party member ever decides to show up. Hope you have fun with your adventures though the Barrow.

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    Death's Door

    “It’s freakish the way he never seems to miss,” Wencis whispered to Celtir. “Don’t mages have to spend all their time in study and research to master their magic?”

    “Bootsy’s magic comes from within, not from spell books. Perhaps that leaves him more time to practice with the crossbow,” Celtir answered. “He has certainly mastered reloading it quickly and that is no easy feat.”

    They had struggled across the water, each refused to carry Bootsy, who finally had to jump down and try to swim across. Watching him do a poor version of the dog paddle, Wencis finally took pity on him and pulled him to the far side, where Celtir had already climbed up and fastened a rope. Soon the companions were standing together in the small chamber, wringing out their clothes and drying their equipment as best they could.

    Two doors stood on opposite sides of this chamber. The one in the south was cracked and broken and had obviously been broken down, dirt and rubble covering the floor before it. The other door seemed sound as the companions moved up to it. Once again it was Celtir who stepped forward and opened the door.

    Beyond was what appeared to be a hexagonal room, though it was hard to be sure since it seemed to be divided by a number of interior walls. The outer walls were covered in scenes of men and women of all races carousing in a tavern. One scene showed a Golden Dragon defeating a great Red Dragon. Two statues stood along the south and east walls, one a knight, the other a beautiful princess. Celtir and Wencis moved in opposite directions to inspect them both, while Frankie and Bootsy waited outside the room.

    As Celtir arrived at the statue of the woman, he heard a shuffling sound behind him. Turning around quickly he saw a fast moving creature, obviously undead, with horns on the top of its head and long arms that almost dragged on the ground. Held in its rotting grasp was a scimitar. With cat-like reflexes, Bootsy shut the door. Both stifling a curse, Celtir and Wencis drew their weapons. The creature lunged forward, moving faster then any zombie Celtir had ever seen and slashed at him. The zombie’s weapon opened a shallow wound down his right arm. Celtir stepped back and fired an arrow into the creature as Wencis came up behind it and, with hands wreathed in gauntlets of glowing energy, punched the creature. The energy seemed to wash over the zombie’s back, causing it some small injury.

    Out in the hall Frankie looked incredulous. “Don’t you think they might need our help in there?” He asked harshly.

    “Sorry,” answered Bootsy as he loaded his crossbow, “Just a reflex.” Frankie opened the door once again and Bootsy fired into the melee across the room. Wencis was startled by a bolt whizzing past his left ear, past the zombie and hitting the far wall. Bootsy looked nonplussed, “Huh, guess you can’t hit ‘em all.”

    Calling on his Deity, Celtir’s hand glowed with positive energy as he stepped forward, touching the zombie on its arm. The bright energy burned at the undead creature angering it further. Lashing out once again, the creature sliced into Celtir’s shoulder. Wencis once again punched with his gauntlets, burning the creature with his soul energy.

    Two more of the creatures stepped out from behind the walls on opposite ends of the room, though these were obviously alive. One ran up to Celtir, striking him with a scimitar and running back to where he had started before Celtir could even react to his presence. The other creature fired an arrow that glanced off Wencis’ armor.

    Bootsy, focusing his attention on one of the new arrivals, drew a bead on its head, “Hey!” he shouted to get its attention. As the creature turned to look at him he fired, the bolt burying itself in one of the creatures eyes. Amazingly it still stood, dropping its bow and drawing a short sword as Frankie stepped forward, slashing with his axe but missing the creature.

    Wencis and his Soul Spark continued to strike at the zombie, as Celtir fired at the other living creature, striking him in the arm. Once more the goblinoid ran forward and, with a snarl, drove its scimitar into Celtir’s chest. The creature laughed mockingly as he withdrew the blade and once again ran back. Celtir, his bow dropping from his hands, fell to his knees, then pitched forward to onto the floor, his life blood pooling around him.

    Bootsy quickly reloaded and fired once more. Amazingly, the bolt pierced the creatures other eye and it fell over backwards onto the floor. Frankie ran forward and hacked at the zombie, his axe biting deep into its back. Turning, the zombie slashed at Frankie, the scimitar glancing off his stiff leather armor. Running forward once again, the remaining goblinoid attacked Wencis, but his blade flew wide of its mark. Another bolt from Bootsy also missed its intended target as Frankie wound up and buried his axe deep into the chest of the zombie. Pulling his axe from the creature, Frankie watched it fall to the ground. Wencis struck the remaining creature a solid blow to the head and it finally dropped to the floor as well. Running forward Bootsy quickly frisked Celtir, looking for a potion but finding none. “He still lives,” he said. ”Perhaps he’ll stay that way if we work fast. Anyone got any potions?” Everyone made a quick check and indicated they had none left. The scramble was on as each of the companions worked to stop Celtir from bleeding out. Wencis was finally able to pack the wound and stop the bleeding just in time. Celtir was deathly pale, but still lived.

    The room and its former occupants were quickly searched. Bootsy found two potions on one of the goblinoids. Pocketing one he checked the other. “Here’s a healing draft”, he said. “But it’s a minor one.”

    Frankie stepped forward, “Here’s a vial I found on the other one. Can you tell what it is?”

    “Here, let me see it,” said Bootsy as he took the vial and inspected it. “Yeah, that’s the one to get him off of death’s door.”

    Wencis knelt to help Bootsy administer the potion to Celtir. Soon, the color was returning to his cheeks and his eyes opened. “See what happens when the God-Botherer goes down?” Bootsy said with a smirk. “Ya’ have ta use up yer non-renewable resources.”

    “I’ll keep that in mind and try not to almost die in future encounters,” answered Celtir dryly.

    After healing himself and the others, Celtir asked, “So which way, the broken door or the double doors to the west?”

    A short discussion brought the companions back to the broken door. Frankie braced himself and lifted the door, moving it off to the side with a crash.

    Beyond was a chamber that was probably part of the tomb, but was covered in piles of dirt and rock. A small pool of water had accumulated to one side. Right next to the door a rope ladder was hung, disappearing up though a hole in the ceiling to who knows where.

    Frankie and Bootsy entered the room and looked around at the rubble. As Bootsy moved closer to the ladder, a long rubbery arm lashed out of the hole striking Bootsy in the head. He ducked aside, to escape from the grasping hand. Quickly loading his crossbow, he fired a shot that stuck into the earthen ceiling around the hole.

    Wencis heard the commotion and entered the room to see what was happening and if he could be of any help. Not knowing what had happened, he was not expecting an attack from above. The arm lashed out and a strong hand grabbed him by the throat, lifting him off the ground and pulling him toward the ceiling. With his feet thrashing a few feet off the floor he was unable to free himself from the grasping hands as they started to choke the life out of him. Jumping forward, Frankie tried to help pry him free, but was unable to get a good grip on Wencis. Stepping closer, Celtir fired an arrow up at the rubbery creature, striking it in the shoulder. He soon regretted stepping forward as Bootsy hurled a flask of acid at the creature. The vial struck the ceiling right next to the creature and everyone recoiled as they were showered with acid. The companion’s actions became more desperate as they notice that Wencis had stopped thrashing around.

    Frankie leapt up and grabbed Wencis around the waist, the sudden pull worked as the gangly creature lost its grip and Frankie and Wencis landed in a pile at the base of the rope ladder. Seeing an opening, Celtir fired his bow, piercing the creature through the throat. With a wet gurgle it fell to the ground. Bootsy calmly walk over and kicked it in the head a couple of times for good measure.

    “He’s still alive,” said Frankie as he stood. Celtir knelt down and poured healing energy into Wencis. He awoke and tried to stand but he was still feeling weak. Grumbling a little to himself, Bootsy pulled out the healing potion he had tucked away, and gave it to Wencis. “This’ll get ya up and going lass ('lad') uh, sorry... lad.”

    “I see daylight”, Celtir commented, looking up through the hole. “We could use this to get in and out instead of having to get over that crevasse every time we come and go.”

    “We should scout it out”, said Frankie as he picked up his axe. Celtir nodded, shouldered his bow and started up the ladder.

    After a considerable amount of climbing, they finally reached the top. Celtir climbed out and turned to help Frankie. They found themselves in a wooded area and standing before them was the Statue of the Forgotten King. The statue was slightly weathered but there were no marks or significant blemishes to be seen on it. Before they could even move to look more closely, they heard a low, gurgling growl.

    Looking through the brush they saw a horrendous sight. The abomination looked like it had the body of a dog with a long serpentine neck growing out of the middle of it’s back, at the end of which there was what passed for it’s head, but in truth just appeared to be an oversized maw full of teeth. Green bile filled its mouth as it ran toward them. When it got closer it spit a slimy green ball of acid at Frankie. He tried to dodge, but it splattered onto him. He could feel the acid burning away his skin as it seeped through the cracks in his armor. A look of determination crossed his features and he surveyed his surroundings. Despite his pain a small smile appeared on his face as he got an idea. A wonderful, awful idea.

    Celtir unshouldered his bow and fired at the hound, striking it a glancing blow. The wound was already healing as the hound approached. The creature snapped at Frankie, its teeth sliding over his armor. Frankie dropped his shoulder and bull rushed the hound, trying to drive it back. The creature lashed out again, biting Frankie in the leg as he approached, causing him to stumble and fail in his attempt. Frankie stepped back to try again and Celtir, seeing his intent, did the same. Together they rushed the creature and slammed into it. The hound gnashed its teeth, trying to find an opening to sink its teeth into one of them, but was unsuccessful as they pushed it back. The hound stumbled as two of its legs went into the large hole. It scrambled trying to regain its balance but the dirt fell away and it could not find purchase. With a howl, the hound fell into the two hundred foot deep hole. They heard a few yelps of pain as the doglike creature hit the walls as it fell.

    At the bottom, the other two were wondering what was taking so long and were just about to step forward to call up, when they heard the howl and the yelps. A cascade of dirt and rock fell from the hole and they all stepped back. There was a loud meaty thump as the body of the creature slammed into the stony pile of rubble below the hole. As one, they reflexively brought up their arms to try to cover themselves from the spray of blood and gore that splattered the entire room.

    Bringing down his arms, blood and entrails dripping from his hair, Bootsy looked at Wencis, who was also covered in gore. “I’m thinkin’… Yeah, I’m thinkin’ it’s time to head back to town and get cleaned up.” Wencis, despite his reluctance to go along with a suggestion from the gnome, couldn’t help but agree with him.

    End of Session 2
    Last edited by Abciximab; Friday, 4th April, 2008 at 01:05 PM.

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