ITEM: An adventuring party led by the famous fighter FRUD THE FEARLESS recently arrived in town last week. Frud, resplendent in his lacquered-white plate armor and dashing blood-red ascot, rode on a magnificent black charger. The rest of his group followed behind in a colorfully-painted gypsy wagon drawn by a massive hound. Frud and his three companions spent coin freely at the Sea Devil Saloon, primarily to feed the gluttonous appetites of the party’s thief and the aforementioned hound, and bragged of their exploits in defeating a number of terrible foes. The party also boasted of their plans to put an end to the mysterious bandit attacks in Satur, but have not been seen in the five days since they went into the Old City.
ITEM: the renowned Viridian scholar JANURISH ZEM is in town for several days’ layover en route to the lower Padizan Peninsula. He is leading an expedition in search of ruins of the ancient Thracian civilization that once flourished on the lower peninsula before being conquered by the Orichalans. The priesthood of Hecate is interested in sending a representative on the expedition, as the worship of that deity was popular in Thracian culture.
ITEM: Fort Axilar has been attacked by the ape-man warrior MARROS and his bandit gang. They set fires, killed a number of guardsmen, and escaped with several crates of rare healing herbs that had been harvested from the jungle. Bounty for Marros has been increased to 1,000 gold pieces, dead or alive.
Making their way along the road northeast from Greenwax, the party passed through a bucolic landscape of farms and pastures before reaching their journey’s goal: a copse of trees at the center of which is a mighty Oak tree held sacred by woodland beastfolk, worshippers of Silvanus, and humans who cling to the Old Ways. There, seated on a carved menhir smoothed by time and the elements sat GRUNETHA, the Troll Witch.
Initially disappointed that these were not worshippers bearing a halfling-sized food offering, Grunetha offered the party the following information in exchange for a snack of human flesh (the severed hand they found in the Maze’s entry chamber):
- The answer to the mystery of Gnomee’s parentage lies in the DOLMENWOOD. “The Painter knows the way” — referring to a long-dead Orichalan painter (and resident of Satur) named ZEMNOTH IXEL. Grunetha gave the following cryptic warnings about the Dolmenwood:
- “The way in is not also the way out.”
- “Those who enter the Dolmenwood are changed.”
- Turning to EARTHANGEL, Grunetha informed the amnesiac Terran to seek the BLACK ZIGGURAT, a place of great evil and power found in the legends of all cultures of the Wilderlands. To find the Ziggurat, “seek the Shunned House.”
- Several times, Grunetha demanded that the party bring her Orange Mold, a rare fungus that grows in the “deep places.” After returning to Greenwax, the party was informed by Werbin that Orange Mold is highly prized by alchemists, and he would give 100gp for an ounce of the intact fungus.
The adventuring party for this session consisted of:
- GNOMEE, catlike Halfling Thief (Footpad);
- JUNIPER, Cleric of Hecate (Acolyte);
- EARTHANGEL, amnesiac Terran Fighting-Woman (Veteran);
- BALDWEN, Dwarf Fighter (Veteran); and
- MARGARITA, Lizardfolk Fighter (Veteran)
The party assembled at the Sea Devil Saloon and decided that the Barrowmaze was the place to go, considering that their last foray had met with such great success. With their faithful torchbearers (One-Ear Jim and Bald Pete) and porter (Owse) and a trio of men-at-arms in tow, they set off again to the great barrow field north of the Old City.
Their first trip of the session was focused on two side barrows (#12, 14):
- After a difficult excavation (interrupted by a wandering group of skeletons, which JUNIPER turned with her holy symbol), the party descended into the mound and found some decorative amphorae, which they decided to bring back to town before heading to the central barrow;
- Smashing through the stone door of the second mound, the party descended the stairs and were surprised by a group of giant centipedes lairing in the chamber. Fortunately, the group managed to avoid the poisonous bites and dispatch the insects. The four sarcophagi looked to contain members of a family (two adults, two children) — a well-to-do family at that, since the corpses were buried with several hundred gold pieces’ worth of jewelry and grave goods.
Back at the barrow field, the party made their way back into the Maze through the central barrow. In the entry chamber they found fresh bloodstains and a severed human hand, which they took with them. Returning to the junction where they had previously slain a horde of undead, the group continued their exploration…
- Two ghouls were slain, but not before sorely wounding BALDWEN and EARTHANGEL (who was also temporarily paralyzed)
- While resting and bandaging wounds after the fight, the group heard whispered voices talking: “…I’m pretty sure we stashed it right around the corner…” When the PCs ventured forth to parley, the opposing group (of at least three people) fled north through the door into the triangular room (“Oh crap, cultists! Quick, back through the door and spike it shut!”)
- The party then encountered a group of eight giant rats feasting on a recently-deceased adventurer. The party used fire to corral the rats into a corner, where the giant vermin were easily picked off with missiles. Examining the corpse, the party was thrilled to see a familiar signet ring on its hand — the missing son of the Viridian nobleman! After some debate, both corpse and ring were loaded onto poor Owse for return to Greenwax.
- On their way back up to the triangular room, the party was attacked by four flying creatures that looked like a cross between a bat and a giant mosquito. Attacking with their needlelike probosces, the bloodthirsty Stirges made short work of the three men-at-arms and badly wounded MARGARITA before being slain.
- The group smashed through the door into the triangular room and made their way back to town with no further wandering monster encounters.
Back in town…
- They returned the body of the young adventurer to his father, SHA-UMLEK. The Viridian nobleman thanked the group and rewarded them 500gp for their efforts. Before departing, he offered them a kind welcome and employment should they find themselves in Viridistan.
- GNOMEE received some disappointing news from Garzeth: although the town council greatly appreciated Gnomee’s generous “donation” of 100gp, Garzeth doesn’t see how a hireling life insurance company would be profitable. Leaving Garzeth, Gnomee then returned to his idea about opening a bank…
- Wanting to prove her hypothesis regarding GNOMEE’s possibly-otherworldly origins (given his unusual, vaguely-feline appearance), JUNIPER learned that a certain sage, the Troll Witch of the Great Tree, has knowledge of many worlds and may be able to help solve the mystery.
Sorry for the very belated writeup, apologies if I’ve forgotten anything in the meantime…
The assembled adventuring party this session consisted of:
- GNOMEE, downy halfling thief;
- CYRIANA, doomed elf magic-user;
- CSKILLET, lizardman fighter;
- EARTHANGEL, Terran fighting-woman; and
- BALDWEN, dwarf fighter
The group met up with a dwarf fighter, BALDWEN, during their downtime at the Sea Devil Saloon. With the Viridian nobleman’s son still missing (and presumed dead) and the specter of an evil cult operating outside the city, the party decided to undertake another foray into the Barrowmaze.
The group explored several areas in the main complex. Although they didn’t accomplish either of their primary objectives, they did manage to rid the Barrowmaze of a fair number of unpleasant denizens, including an epic battle against a score of zombies and skeletons which was decided by the PCs good tactical use of oil, caltrops, holy water, and missile fire to whittle down the opposing force before melee. None of the adventurers were slain in the Maze, but they did lose their men-at-arms — three of them, including the faithful veteran Luumo, were slain in the final battle, and the fourth (Gar) fled the fight, badly wounded and panicking, into the depths of the Maze.
The group returned to Greenwax with a nice haul of mixed coinage, several magicked items (a suit of leather armor, dragon-emblazoned shield, bracers, and mace) and a Runic Tablet. Cyriana, who had experienced mixed luck with these tablets in the past, stoutly resisted the urge to read the tablet whilst in the Maze, but succumbed to temptation once reaching town. Unfortunately, the tablet she read was of the cursed variety, and was immolated when the Glyph of Warding exploded in flames…
ITEM: The Ilmessa, a ship out of Viridistan bound for Rallu and Zothay, disappeared from Greenwax’s harbor along with its valuable cargo of spices. Captain and crew are all present in town, except for the four men left aboard to guard the ship whose bodies were found in the harbor. Local authorities have no concrete leads, but rumors swirl about the involvement of the Shadow Monkeys, a loose criminal organization that operates up and down the peninsulas (Antillian and neighboring Padizan Peninsula to the east)
ITEM: A traveler from Zothay brings news that the great monster-hunter, SARL THE SLAYER, is planning a new expedition to the Valley of the Ancients in search of the Palace of the Dragon Emperor, fabled lair of the most ancient of dragons.
ITEM: Messengers from Fort Axilar report that the feared beastman warrior MARROS and his bandit gang are again active in the Axilar Delta region. The Commander of the fort has posted a bounty of 500 gp for Marros’s head.
ITEM: A gang of bandits has been waylaying adventurers in the Old City. They are well-organized, with magic and monsters on their side. Mostly encountered in the southwestern part of Satur near the Old Docks and Tower of Birds.
ITEM: A sailor, recently arrived from Chim (in Ghinor), reports strange incidents from his voyage: two adjacent islands with freakish weather — one was cold and snowing, the other hot and dry — and another where the landing party narrowly escaped from an attack by a metal giant with ruby eyes.
ITEM: Exploring the countryside or delving into the ruins? Hard coin offered for the following regents, inquire at Werbin’s for more details:
- Sulfur Onion — 30 gp per bulb
- Emerald Honey — 100 gp per gallon
- Giant Frog tongues — 25 gp per tongue
- Giant Spider silk glands — various, depending on variety
Gathering for this expedition were:
- GNOMEE, golden halfling thief (1)
- CYRIANA, lady elf magic-user (1)
- EARTHANGEL, Earthling fighting-woman (1)
- CSKILLET, lizardfolk fighting-man (1)
For this foray, the party decided to augment their numbers with hirelings. After some negotiation (and with the contract witnessed by Garzeth, proprietor of the Sea Devil Saloon), the party hired:
- GAR, sellsword
- JERRELL, sellsword
- LUUMO, sellsword
- OWSE, porter
- ONE-EAR JIM, two-eared torchbearer
- BALD PETE, bald torchbearer
Emboldened by their greater numbers, the party decided to repeat their strategy of investigating smaller mounds before heading back to the Maze proper, beginning with the mound containing the “occupied” sarcophagus. Displaying the courage (or fatalistic indifference?) common to his race, CSKILLET boldly stepped forward and pushed the lid off. The zombie didn’t menace the party for long, as GNOMEE dispatched it quickly with some fine bladework. The halfling snatched up a gold necklace from the corpse, and EARTHANGEL claimed the zombie’s golden ring, which turned out to be a Ring of Protection +1.
Other activities of note:
- Not long into their delve into the Maze, the party defeated a group of 7 skeletons with relatively little injury apart from CYRIANA being knocked unconscious by a savage blow [saved by the d30!] The party retreated to a safe space and revived the magic-user, using healing herbs to restore her to a measure of vitality.
- After finding another Runic Tablet in a crypt’s treasure hoard, CYRIANA read it and was stricken by Feeblemind until the group returned to town and paid for a priestess of Seker to cast Remove Curse on the elf. Maybe the rumors weren’t entirely false, after all!
- A triangular room contained a statue of a giant gargoyle, missing its right arm at the elbow.
- In a room of the Maze, the party encountered a group of Mongrelmen — strange misshapen humanoids formed from the body parts of many different creatures. The adventurers made a peace offering of food and a cask of rum, both of which the creatures consumed with great relish. Communicating with the now friendly, boozy mongrelmen as best they could, given the sub-men’s strange pidgin of Common and other languages, the party learned that “arm” was south, “treasure” lay to both south and north, and “dangerous magic men” were to the north.
- Exploring further south, the party encountered a trio of skeletons with strange, glinting sapphires embedded in their foreheads. These skeletons proved to be much tougher foes, and before long CSKILLET and GNOMEE had both been knocked out. In addition, all the sellswords received wounds, with JERRELL failing his morale check and fleeing into the dark. The decimated party’s decision to flee was expedited when the bones of the smashed skeletons began to knit themselves together… Spiking the door between them and the sapphire skeletons, the party made their way back to the entrance bearing their fallen comrades and sizable treasure haul, then back to Greenwax without encountering any other wandering monsters.
- In town, the group paid off their hirelings, made some inquiries about the Barrowmaze and other interests, and retreated to their rooms to rest…
A group of adventurers, recently arrived in Greenwax and looking for adventure and profit, decided to try their luck exploring the Barrowmaze north of the Old City. The party consisted of:
- KASIA, human fighting-woman
- CYRIANA, elf magic-user
- GNOMEE, downy-furred halfling thief [Ready Ref Sheets‘ skin/hair color table strikes again!]
- EARTHANGEL, earthling fighting-woman
As part of their exploration of the Barrowmaze, the group accepted two commissions:
- To find the wayward son of a Viridian nobleman, Baron Varlokh, who was last seen heading towards the Barrowmaze with a ragtag adventuring company. Varlokh’s son is wearing a gold ring with a hematite stone inscribed with the family sigil.
- To help the Temple of Seker (Lawful god of light) investigate rumors regarding the Cult of Set (Chaotic god of death.) Sister Lorgi specifically asked for help verifying the cult’s presence in the vicinity of the Barrowmaze and, if, possible, determining the scope and purpose of their activities.
With their meager equipment, the group headed out the north town gate and set out on the west road, running parallel to the dilapidated stone wall of the Old City of Satur. After a few miles, they took the north-forking path that, after an hour or so of additional hiking, led them to the great barrow field… Recap of the first session:
- Rather than heading down the path to the largest mound, the party decided to investigate two smaller barrows first, both of which required smashing through the doors with a sledgehammer. The first yielded a small amount of treasure. While examining a stone sarcophagus in the second, EARTHANGEL used her stethoscope and heard faint scratching sounds coming from inside. They prudently decided not to disturb the occupant, and left the barrow empty-handed.
- In the entry chamber to the Maze, they found an annotated, partial map of the complex on the corpse of an unlucky adventurer, along with a still-serviceable suit of chain armor.
- A stone door unexpectedly slammed down while probing the floor for traps, but fortunately the only casualty was one foot of GNOMEE’S 10′ pole (now 9′ pole.)
- In one room, they found a helmet sitting on the floor with a head still inside, along with a wooden holy symbol of Seker.
- At a dead end, GNOMEE uncovered a Runic Tablet hidden beneath a loose stone in the floor. The party had previously heard a rumor that runic tablets curse those who read them, but CYRIANA decided to read it anyway. Lo and behold, the rumor did not hold to be true in this case: reading the runes granted her an automatic success on her next saving throw.
- The group had several run-ins with skeletons, once above ground as wandering monsters and again in the Maze itself. In the latter encounter, EARTHANGEL was felled in the melee but was fortunately only rendered unconscious. [Her player invoked the “d30 Rule” — which allows for substituting a d30 in lieu of the normal die for a single single in-game roll — and narrowly made her Save vs. Death… A very tense and exciting moment!]
- With one of their fighters temporarily laid low, the party wisely decided to retreat back to town to rest and plan their next expedition…