Fatima, a wizard and at this point a veteran of the the campaign
Gearheardt, a specialist (that's a thief/rogue type in the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rules)
Brother Pardue, a cleric. I grabbed Brother Pardue from the premade henchmen section of the Barrowmaze book. It had been a while since the player had last played, and I lost his last PC! It was a very sad realization. The poor guy had been created in 4th Edition as a Dragonborn and had been grandfathered into the old school rules we're using.
Brass the Sellsword, a fighter, also from the Barrowmaze book, who was played by a friend/relative visiting from out of town. He didn't arrive until close to the end of the night.
Fatima, Gearheardt and Brother Pardue started the session camping in the cold, misty hills near the main entrance to the Barrowmaze. There was some reminiscing about the last time Fatima and Gearheardt were together, when they investigated the crypts of an ancient death cult under a frozen mountain. Some difficult and maybe indefensible moral calls were made that day, and now there's a zombie horde up north. Fatima said, "I saw what I was made of and it was not that great. Now I'm just waiting for the sun to explode." She is also gathering all the treasure and magic she can get her hands on, I think.
In any case, the group decided to see if they could find some gold and glory in the Barrowmaze. There's a shaft in the main barrow that leads down to the complex, and a tripod at the top dangles a length of rope into the darkness. Fatima knows from experience that this is the main entrance, that it's silent down there, and that I roll wandering monster checks when they make any significant noise. She looked into long shaft and yelled "Hey scumbags!" Then she lowered herself down.
As she neared the first room, she was able to see in the torchlight...a skeleton! A creepy skeleton, wearing a tattered, hooded robe. Bits of skin clung to its bones and seemed to crawl and move. Fatima reported the situation to her compatriots up the rope, and Gearheardt decided to start climbing down as soon as Fatima let go of the rope.
Fatima jumped off of the rope, landed rather clumsily, and ducked an oddly graceful swing from the skeleton (the technical name is huecuva- freaky undead monster whose touch causes a flesh-eating disease that will kill you within a couple days. A minor issue I'm having is describing these different types of undead in ways that makes them clearly distinct to the players.) Fatima drew her rapier, took a stab and missed. Gearheardt was down the rope by this point and he attacked with his dagger, also missing. After another round in which everyone missed, Brother Pardue arrived, did a cinematic roll, and blasted the thing apart with a blow from his mace! It was wild and statistically improbable- he needed to roll a dexterity check and an attack roll and rolled a 1 and a 20- the best he could possibly have done.
After celebrating and writing down experience points, they walked through the archway in the east wall of the room. Fatima had previously opened many of the doors that led off the hallway and wanted to continue on. They opened the door at the end of the hallway, which was crazily intricately carved. Someone posted an image that I used to an OSR blog a few weeks ago, and I downloaded it. Unfortunately I don't remember who, but if someone knows I'd love to credit them.
|The door looked kind of like this.|
Fatima opened the door and found a large room with candelabras on the walls and a spiral mosaic on the floor. Gearheardt found that if he stared at the pattern for a minute, it seemed to spin, almost like it would pull him in. Fatima grabbed some candles and they left. In the next hallway, Gearheardt found a pair of earrings and a magical silver dagger in an alcove in the wall, which makes two magical daggers found in undead-filled crypts for him. He gave the earrings to Fatima, and was a little hurt when she didn't put them on at first.
They found a room whose walls were covered in idyllic scenes of nature, done in beautiful tiles. They were very suspicious and spent a while breaking the tiles off the walls. They were concerned about the noise that they were making, so Brother Pardue put a net that he was carrying on the floor to catch tiles so they wouldn't smash. Very smart. Unfortunately for them, there was nothing behind the tiles and they had just destroyed one of the only beautiful things in the whole dungeon.
On the next door, they noticed a message scrawled: "TOBLF!" Luckily, they remembered the code from the week before, so they knew that in the next room they could expect a "SNAKE!". They cautiously entered the room, which was large and lined with pillars. They figured that the snake was hiding in a pile of rubble in the opposite corner- the one with gold glinting in it. Fatima led the charge with a magic missile, which wasn't enough to kill it. As the snake slithered within striking distance, Gearheardt shot a crossbow bolt at it, which missed, and Brother Pardue attacked with his sling, also missing. At this point, Brass the Sellsword came outta nowhere (the player had just arrived, in the middle of the fight) and took a whack with his sword, which wasn't able to break through the snake's tough skin. The snake struck twice, going after Brass, who was closest. It missed both times, and Fatima hit it with a web spell. After that it was stuck to the floor and everyone hacked away at it until it was dead. Fatima felt pretty bad about the whole thing, but everyone was cheered up by the 1,435 gold pieces that they found in the pile of rubble. Split four ways that's like...a whole lot of gold. And also experience points, since I do XP for gold. Gearheardt leveled up! He's now level 2. It was a proud moment. Fatima went back and crossed out "TOBLF" with chalk, and also filled a water skein with snake venom.
They continued up the hallway and heard a faint Dwarf voice crying for help from behind a door! After some debate, they went into the room, where they saw an ominous demonic altar and an open pit trap in front of it. Gearheardt looked into the pit and saw a miserable Dwarf at the bottom. He informed the party that his name was Arnd Cobblestone and that he had been searching for treasure but that when he fell into the pit, his party had abandoned him. They were skeptical, but decided to rescue him anyway.
He then told them of some highly interesting things: Deep in the Barrowmaze is something called the Pit of Chaos, which spawns monsters and may be part of why this quiet burial ground has become such an evil place. Arnd says that they spoke with the ghost of a holy warrior who was part of an expedition to close the Pit, and that they carried an orb with them. It's lost somewhere in the Barrowmaze now...
Brass wanted to know what the deal was with the statue. Arnd informed him that his companions had been under the impression that if one put 500 gold pieces worth of treasure into the offering bowl in front of the statue, it would animate and answer a single question. He also told Brass that the statue was of Nergal, the former god of the underworld. Brass said, "Former is always better! You always want to talk to the former mayor or councilman- they know where the bodies are buried!". Brass's player is a journalist.
Everyone was convinced, and they placed an offering in the bowl. The shadows deepened and a strange buzzing sound rose in the room. The gold went up in smoke and the statue growled, "Ask your question". They ended up asking it where the orb is (the one that can close the Pit of Chaos). They learned that it was in a tomb in the Barrowmaze to the south.
And then it was time for them to leave! Almost. Fatima stopped on her way out to cut her some giant snake steaks and grab some large scales for decoration. They're now back to camping in the hills, which is where whoever plays next time will start.