BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

To save the kingdom from destruction, they must challenge a god.
Lewis's D&D 3.5 campaign set in the Principality of Corwyn in the mythical world of the North Kingdom. Evil yuan-ti conspire to destroy a kingdom using dark rituals and the bones of a long-dead king. To win the day, heroes must storm the yuan-ti fortress and wrest the bones from the cultists' clutches before they complete their rituals and unleash a far greater menace upon the world.
User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

Postby Lewis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:12 pm

The Chronicles of Corwin - Book Three - Chapter One - ”Trouble in Kingsholm”

The grateful citizens of Newkeep thank Sylvar, Grimm, Alun, Jomak and Awvry for resolving the Ettin’s riddle. On behalf of the townsfolk, Aranda presents our heroes with a locally-made travelling set of GWYDDBWYLL (The Tables). The party cross the newly-repaired bridge and ride north towards Kingsholm.

Meanwhile, in the prosperous town of Kingsholm, Desiree, Morgan and Tyra of the prosperous Yurling family fail to return from the cemetery after going to prepare the recently deceased Gunnar for burial in the Mausoleum.

Around lunchtime, our five heroes come across an elaborate road-side picnic, set out for them by ... Father Invictus. The aasimar cleric of Heironeous greets them and makes sure they and their mounts are well fed. He thanks them for their brave and honourable efforts in saving Kyrnyn from his curse. However, Invictus warns them that, even though he only gave them a gentle nudge and minimal aid, unfortunately, their involvement with him has started to attract the attention of dark powers, specifically Hextor. The cleric offers the heroes some vials of Holy Water to help them in the trials ahead, but with the caveat that the more help they had from him, the more Hextor may aid his agents in future clashes with the heroes. Awvry understands this balance well, as it is central to her Druid teaching, so she politely refuses the offer, the only member of the party so to do.

In Kingsholm the Yurling family servants report their three employers missing, and the captain of the towns guards (Sentinels) Mia Desarna, decides to send a couple of these Sentinels to investigate.

The five heroes take their leave of Invictus and travel on towards Kingsholm, keen to investigate for clues of whatever the Vanguard agents’ interest in the town may be.

Meanwhile, sentinels Dornal and Zeera fail to report back to Mia in Kingsholm. Unwilling to risk any more of her small, inexperienced force to an unknown threat, Captain Desarna sends out a couple of sentinels along the trade road to look for travelling heroes or mercenaries who may be able to help. A young elf Scout, called Gavin, is sent south...

... where he soon encounters Sylvar, Grimm, Alun, Jomak and Awvry (and Mr Wolf). Gavin briefs the heroes on what little is known and they quickly decide to help the townsfolk of Kingsholm to investigate what has happened at the cemetery. Gavin leads them to the Coronet & Cabbage in where Mia and Ian Trunbrand, innkeeper and leading citizen, brief them further.

Sylvar establishes that nothing else unusual has been happening, so the disappearances at the ancient graveyard are as good a place as any to start looking for clues to the Vanguard’s activities.

A few questions soon establish that the mausoleum and surrounding graveyard are ancient, like the statue of an unknown king to the north of the Mausoleum. These antique constructions are many centuries old, predating Kingsholm itself, which is one of the oldest settlements in Corwin.

Mia assigns Gavin to guide the ‘professionals’ and gives the young scout a key to the cemetery gate and doors of the mausoleum. Rather than wait, the adventurers head straight for the ancient graveyard. Arriving at the cemetery gates, Gavin is disturbed to see that the gates have been left unlocked.

Gavin’s concern proves to be well-founded. As the six investigators cross the manicured graveyard they are suddenly ambushed by a pack of large wolves! Despite Gavin’s skilful bowshot burying an arrow deep in one of the wolves, the elven scout is targeted by three of the shaggy ambushers which bring him down. The young sentinel is in <ahem> ‘grave’ danger from his lupine attackers. Fortunately he is not alone - and Jomak, Grimm and Alun pile in to save him. Enchanted blades flash in the late afternoon sun and soon two wolves lie dead and a roundhouse kick from the monk Jomak lays out another cold.

But all this has been a cunning diversion so that the true leaders of the pack, a mated pair of Worgs can sneak up and attack Awvry.

Soon the druid and her faithful lupine companion are in peril themselves from the snarling magical beasts. Fortunately, Sylvar and her other companions are able to intervene in the nick of time. Once they have slain one of the worgs, its mate flees. Despite her wounds, Awvry is able to use her druidic powers to convince the last conscious wolf to stop fleeing and ‘talk’ to her...

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Re: BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

Postby Lewis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:13 pm

Chapter Three

“What’s Green and goes ‘Zap, Arrghh’?”

After an effort of will, most of the party are able to see the picture of the Beholder and some obscure verses below, which Alun determines are clues to a puzzle that will allow them to proceed deeper into the tomb complex.

However Sylvar sees none of this, and while his comrades spend half an hour trying to solve the puzzle, the elven rogue quietly and painstakingly unlocks the door.

Inside there is a strange, four-chambered room, with some of the floor tiles decorated with images matching the cartoon-like pictures of victims of the Beholder’s eye rays.

*Eventually* the five remaining explorers move the tiles into the correct order. A patch in the ceiling glows green. Alun recognises it as a Disintigration ray. The Duskblade and Jomak bolt for the door, but collide just as the ray destroys the flagstone at their feet. The hapless monk falls into the hole and plummets out of sight...

... or would have done if it was more than 10’ deep and he didn’t have trap-thwarting monkish powers to fall, like, really slowly, man.

In the tunnel that the monk has discovered, the party find a series of staircases leading further underground. For some baffling reason, they decide not to use the vials of holy water given to them by Invictus, even though they face more deadly undead, presumably left behind by the cleric of Hextor to slow them down.

Having fought their way past three nasty skeletal wolves, the party encounter a more dangerous challenge, a surprisingly fast zombie ogre. The vile undead giant wounds Sylvar. Grimm tackles it head on in a Barbarian rage. Although the fearless half-orc carves chunks out of the huge creature’s rotting flesh with his greataxe, he receives a greivous wound that would surely prove fatal...

... but Alun is able to pull Grimm to safety and pour a healing potion down his throat just in the nick of time.

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Re: BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

Postby Lewis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:16 pm

The Chronicles of Corwin - Book Three: ‘Barrow of the Forgotten King’ - Chapter Five - “I prefer to think of it as ... a truce”

And so, battle is joined in the large octagonal room. Gavin and Alun are first in. The scout tackles the larger of the two Blood Chasers and the duskblade takes on the smaller one. Alun casts a Ray of Enfeeblement spell, which proves to be a good choice, later saving him from serious harm when his opponent scores a critical hit. Grimm joins Alun and most of the other heroes pile in against the larger creature. Awvry tries to keep all her comrades in view, hampered by the various internal walls, but she manages to use her auras to good effect.

The smaller - female - blood chaser, despite landing a good blow, is soon beaten down by the two main fighters. She tries to surrender. However, Alun is carried away by his bloodlust and tries to hit her again, claiming that – as a hero - he is entitled, if not required, to slay evil monsters. Awvry intervenes, entangling all three combatants with fast-growing vines. Despite this, the blood chaser manages to escape as Grimm grapples Alun, and flees the room back the way the heroes came.

Meanwhile, the larger – male – blood chaser manages to more-or-less hold his own against Sylvar, Gavin, Mr. Wolf and Jomak. The rogue in particular is dismayed to find his trademark offside sneak attack simply does not work against the highly experienced and well-armoured monster. The Monk’s trip speciality restricts the amount of damage the blood chaser can dish out, but the party struggle to land convincing blows on him.

Finally, the female returns with a frightening aberration in tow. The ceiling-hugging nightmare with snake-like limbs and a huge mouth full of dagger-like teeth is identified by Alun as a ‘choker’. The female threatens the party into disengaging. Oddly, the duskblade is now the keenest to break off combat.

An uneasy ceasefire is reached. Jomak persuades the blood chasers that the party will not attack and Awvry demonstrates good faith by including the (mated) pair of monsters in her healing aura. The male returns the gesture with a bottle of healing potion. The male chaser explains that the tomb robbers are led by a humanoid sorcerer called Xeron and a Hobgoblin cleric – Krootad of Hextor. They did have a large party of Varag and Hobgoblins, but are impatient and careless with their underlings, allowing many to fall victim to the tomb complex’s traps and resident denizens. The creature warns the adventurers that Xeron will happily throw away the lives of his employees to kill the heroes. He explains that Xeron is working for someone else, desperate to carry out his task to find weapons and ‘a king’ in the tombs. The monsters leave together and head for the surface, taking the ‘choker’ with them.

The party, wounded and tired and low on magic, decide to rest up in this large room. With two elves and two animal companions to keep watches, most of the heroes manage a good eight hours kip.

In the "morning", as the party awake Alun realises the pictures on the wall refer to [/i]Bright Steel having [i]powers. Plural. Meanwhile, something more significant happens to Jomak. As the young monk concludes his morning meditation, he has a vision of his god Pelor, empowering Jomak to become a cleric and perform miracles in his name. However, the Shining One also charges his worshipper with a mission – to solve a puzzle somewhere close by, find a treasure, use this to defeat the undead and then carry it to the mother church on the surface...

Sylvar examines the frescoes adorning the walls. In one, of a knight slaying a black dragon, he recognises the knight’s sword as Bright Steel. The blade currently wielded by Alun is also represented in one of the statues. Alun admits that he knew Bright Steel had a long and distinguished history of monster-slaying before it was stolen by Garok. Perhaps the vorpal blade is one of the weapons the tomb robbers expected to find here? Meanwhile, Jomak (and to some extent the other companions) voice their disapproval at Alun’s behaviour, and their concern that the Chaotic Neutral duskblade may be slipping towards evil.

Pushing on, in the next chamber the adventurers discover a short visible section of an underground canal or river. By it lie the remains of blood chasers, apparently frozen to death. As they try to cross a bridge over the water, the party are challenged by an unearthly elemental water being. Fortunately, Awvry and Jomak convince it to let the party pass, in order to pursue their common enemy – the tomb robbers. The heroes push quickly on..

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Re: BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

Postby Lewis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:17 pm

The Chronicles of Corwin - Book Three: ‘Barrow of the Forgotten King’

Chapter Seven – “Let he who fights monsters beware lest he become a monster”


In which the stakes get higher, and, faced with the temptations of awesome power, the party threatens to fall apart...

The rogue and the scout carefully examine the side chamber. Sylvar is unable to open a door he has discovered. However, there is also a statue of an old man, holding an open book. To Sylvar, the book’s pages appear blank. But Gavin is able to read a verse on the carving of the book: ’Two as one can win the day, The one with two shows the way, Brave the blade to break the seal, Twist the knife it will reveal.’ Jomak quickly deduces that this refers to the statues of the twin elves in the hall above. He twists the dagger of the swordsman elf, and down in the side chamber, the vault door finally opens. This reveals a sarcophagus with the carving of a woman on the lid. Like all the statuary and carvings so far, it is life-size and life-like.

Within the sarcophagus, there is no corpse, but instead the heroes discover a message and five magic items. The message is in Draconic, but Sylvar and Alun are able to translate it. It reads, ’We who rest still long to serve. If you seek the same, take our goods and be blessed. If greed moved this stone and not a true heart, may our curse find you ere we awake.’ Four of the magical treasures appear to be items that could have belonged to the heroes depicted in statues and buried in the hall above. These are: an enchanted rapier, bracers of defense, the incredible multi-dimensional quiver of Ehlonna and (the item of which Pelor hinted to Jomak) the Ephod of Authority – a tabard-like garment which will increase the new cleric’s power to repel and destroy foul undead.

However, the final item is altogether different. It appears to have been stashed in the tomb to hide it away and certainly does not appear to be an item one would automatically associate with the heroes honoured in the hall. It is a crudely shaped heavy amulet of an unknown metal alloy. On one surface is an engraving of a simplified humanoid face, mouth caught in a silent ‘O’ possibly of a scream. The face is clearly humanoid, although the race intended by the artist is not clear. It has strong features, deepset eyes and appears bald. Around the outside of the face there are simple impressionist engravings of ten animals – a bear, a rat, a tiger, a cat, a wolf, a crocodile, a shark, a bat, a smaller boar and a larger boar. On the reverse is an unusual symbol in the most ancient form of Draconic. It is a combination of the symbols for ’body’ (or ‘corpse’) and ’weaver’ (or ‘craftsman’). The item gives off an overwhelming magic aura that temporarily stuns both Jomak and Alun.

Awvry uses the powerful magic potion to divine the secrets of the artefact. It is one of the fabled ‘Body Looms’, used by the Body Weavers in the era before history to change and shape humanoids into whatever they desired. In this case, the amulet would (painfully) inflict lycanthropy. On the plus side, it also grants the wearer various bonuses to control the lycanthropy, including the ability to keep their original alignment when changing into an animal or hybrid form.

Awvry correctly deduces that Alun is inflicted and from his knowledge of magic items and legends has recognised that the amulet will help him. However, the druid is not keen to let the duskblade have the amulet in addition to Bright Steel. With control over lycanthropy and a dragon-slaying sword of unknown power, Awvry is concerned that Alun would become unstoppable and a threat to the safety of the rest of the party. Despite the risk, she even contemplates using the amulet on herself, thinking her druid abilities might help her to understand and control the animal form better, and hence have powers equivalent to Alun, should the duskblade turn against his comrades for any reason.

The druid has a whispered conversation with Sylvar and Jomak, sharing her concerns. With a shock of horror, Jomak deduces that this very amulet is probably the original method by which the Body Weavers first created lycanthropes in the world. It is the source of all ‘weres’. The three companions agree that they should try to cure the duskblade rather than give him the amulet. Awvry knows of a method involving powerful but (dangerous) medicinal herbs – feeding the victim belladonna/wolfsbane – but she only has enough in her bag of herbs for one dose and it must be done within the next half-an-hour. Jomak knows of a religious ritual that could be performed at one of the larger churches or temples, again there is a window of opportunity, this time three days. The three heroes agree to try and cure Alun.

After Alun refuses to take the herbs voluntarily, the conspirators put their plan into action. Grimm helps by grappling the duskblade, who refuses to fight the comrade-in-arms he most respects. Sylvar forces the cloak of resistance onto Alun and finally Awvry forces the belladonna down his throat. Unfortunately, the toxic herbs fail to cure the lycanthropy, but all are relieved that Alun’s superior constitution throws off the potentially seriously debilitating poisonous side-effects.

The duskblade is NOT happy with this turn of events. Alun furiously demands the amulet to make up for the fact that he has just been poisoned by those he trusted. However, Awvry is adamant and refuses to budge. The arcane swordsman is left fuming and plotting his next move as the others dish up the recently acquired treasures.

Sylvar claims the cloak of resistance and the magic rapier and presents his magic longsword to Gavin. The elven scout also gets the Quiver of Ehlonna, which turns out to contain 60 arrows, 18 javelins, a bow and a spear! Jomak, in accordance with the wishes of the Sun-Father wears the Ephod of Authority (but only to defeat the undead and only until he can present it to the church). Despite Sylvar’s attempts to suggest ways to weasel around his vows, the monk/cleric refuses to wear the bracers. Therefore, Awvry convinces Mr Wolf to let her tie the bracers of defense around his forelegs, a rather bizarre sight.

Opening the northern door, with the key they found on the were-rat, Sylvar and Gavin scout out two corridors which meet up at the far end, one contains statues (and vaults) of four warriors and an axe-wielding minotaur. A thin wall cordons an oddly shaped inner chamber, inside which a statue of a gold dragon spits water into a clear pond. Nearby lies the skeleton of a massive honed humanoid. Beyond that are four more humanoid skeletons. A hobgoblin dressed in black breastplate stands near, just completing a chant and placing a black gem into the eye-socket of one of the skeletons. It would appear that Krootad, cleric of Hextor, has chosen this room to make a stand against his pursuers and meet them with multiple undead warriors.

The two elves report back to their comrades (giving Krootad time to start animating the minotaur skeleton, yay). Sylvar leads one group of his comrades via one corridor and Gavin the rest of the party via the other. Jomak senses that the whole area is infused with unholy energies. The heroes attempt to storm the inner chamber, but are blocked by the four skeletal warriors, which buy time for Krootad to complete his blasphemous prayers. After Gavin bombards it with holy water, Grimm finishes one skeleton. Then Jomak calls upon Pelor and channels the holy power of the Sun-Father to amazing effect. As he presents his holy symbol, the decorations on the Ephod rearrange themselves into the Shining One’s symbol – countering Krootad’s blasphemous desecration - and a bright glare of sunlight bursts forth. The remaining three skeletal warriors are utterly destroyed by this awesome display of holy power.

Awvry effectively uses one of the dwindling supply of drow spell-stones to inflict a swarm of spiders on the hobgoblin cleric, preventing him from casting further spells. Grimm and Alun tackle the undead minotaur after Gavin again throws holy water to good use. Under the cloak of a mist provided by Awvry, Sylvar sneaks up behind Krootad and deploys his newly-found magic rapier to maximum effect, killing the evil cleric immediately and ending the short battle.

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Re: BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

Postby Lewis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:17 pm

The Chronicles of Corwin - Book Three: ‘Barrow of the Forgotten King’

Chapter Eight – “Am I Evil?”


OR... “Let he who fights monsters beware lest he fall off a bridge into an abyss”

The rogue and the scout search for an exit from the area. Meanwhile, Alun has detected magic on some of Krootad of Hextor’s possessions, a potion (transmutation) and a flail. Also very magical is the statue of a gold dragon and the pool of water it generates. Eventually, some of the adventurers decide the water is safe to drink, discovering that it refreshes them. However, the extent of this seems to vary from hero to hero, with Brother Jomak benefiting most of all. The ambassador of Pelor feels like he has had a night’s sleep and is fully recharged. The newly-minted cleric immediately prays to the Sun-Father to regain the spells and turning attempts he has already used this day.

Realising that Awvry will never help him control the curse of lycanthropy, Alun bravely decides to take a risky gamble. Once everyone who wants to has drunk and filled their waterskins, he strips off (despite arguing about who will guard his belongings to ‘stop Awvry stealing them’) and then bathes in the shallow pool, swallowing more and more of the magical water. All the while, the duskblade is fervently wishing to be cured of his ‘curse’. The argumentative young swordsman is apparently rewarded when the pool seems to react to him, heating up and giving off a flash of light. Alun climbs out, confident that the holy magic has removed the curse of lycanthropy, and he even says he will dedicate himself to slaying evil dragons. Well, at least if he does make a career out of that, he won’t have to worry about a pension plan.

Meanwhile, the two sneaky elves have discovered a recently-destroyed doorway behind a pile of rubble. A lengthy rope ladder leads down into a large natural cavern, too large even for the keen sight of the elves or the darkvision of Grimm to see the floor or walls.

Climbing down, the party find themselves on a sizeable ledge, above a precipitous drop into darkness. There is a narrow and slender stone bridge, spanning the abyss, across to another peak, like an island in the darkness. The keen eyes of the elves and the half-orc can see three blood chasers waiting patiently for them on the other side, possibly slightly amused at the party’s improvised method of transporting the put-upon Mr Wolf down the long ladder.

The largest Varag walks to the centre of the bridge, bearing a flag of truce. Well, okay, a dirty, smelly rag of truce. Sylvar improvises a flag by pulling a pair of silk knickers out of his pack (don’t ask). The rogue plays the role of party ambassador and meets the towering creature on the bridge. The elf has a moment of worry when the monster draws a scimitar... but it turns out he wants to exchange it for the rogue’s longsword. Suddenly, the previously-encountered blood chaser’s grudging gift of a healing potion starts to make sense. Being feral, the Varags have no written contracts. Being chaotic evil, they don’t exactly trust each other’s word of honour. So, a fair exchange of some sort must be how they temporarily establish enough trust to work together or to conduct a lengthier transaction for a specific purpose.

A strange negotiation ensues. It seems that the blood chasers have been ordered by Xeron to fight the adventurers on the bridge. However, they’d much prefer not to die just to buy the spellcaster some extra time. However, they are concerned that, if they survive they will be interrogated by agents of The Vanguard. Being chaotic evil, they are looking for a way to weasel around their orders and minimise their own casualties, whilst still not getting tripped up at a later date by spells that detect lies. Taking advice from the spellcasters, the Varag leader agrees to a non-lethal combat between single champions, no spellcasting, to take place on the bridge. He will fight for his people, but who will represent the adventurers?

There is much discussion about whether it should be Grimm, Sylvar, Jomak or Alun. Eventually, it is decided that Jomak’s specialised martial arts skills are more likely to win the day than brute strength or swordsmanship. The party’s diminutive pet religious fanatic edges out onto the bridge to meet the much larger Varag in combat. (while all this is going on, Awvry takes the opportunity to rid herself of a troublesome object).

Perched precariously on the narrow bridge, the two combatants trade blows until Jomak’s empty-handed fighting skills prove decisive. He knocks the blood chaser off his feet.. and watches with horror as the creature slips off the side of the bridge, towards the huge drop. The monk dives forward and grabs the monster, but is not strong enough to pull the varag back onto the bridge and is even slowly being pulled over the edge himself. Despite the risk to his own life, Jomak refuses to let go
of the unconscious varag. The two opponents have just seconds to live...

Grimm runs out on the bridge, but slips and ends up clinging to the side by his fingertips. Sylvar fares no better. One of the other blood chasers tries to help, but can only stop his leader and Jomak from sliding further towards doom. Soon, dangling heroes and monsters festoon the bridge, like fairy lights on a Christmas tree!

Eventually, Grimm hauls himself up and then rescues his companion and the blood chaser. The monsters are confused by Jomak’s actions. As the blood chasers prepare to head back the way everybody came to seek an exit, the adventurers warn them that the water spirit is still a threat. In fair exchange, the creatures warn them of strange flying monstrosities in the cavern that may attack if the heroes try to proceed further.

Ahead lies a series of peaks, like islands in the darkness. Each one is progressively lower than the last and varying distances apart. The first three are connected by ropes. As Sylvar braves the first rope, a number of bizarre flying aberrations – like meter-long bands of sinew with a huge eye at each end – attempt to attack him. Fortunately for the rogue, his companions are ready for the attackers. A combination of slingshots from Grimm, a ray of enfeeblement from Alun and two well-placed arrows from Gavin soon dispatch the flying horrors. Alun recognises them as creatures associated with one of the dungeoneer’s most feared opponents – the Beholder! Even more worrying, as the party descend to within 80 feet of the cavern floor, the keen eyed elves think they can see a shape on the floor, disturbingly similar to the picture on the door to the “Beholder room”. However, the shape, whatever it is, does not respond to their presence. Phew.

Everyone manages to climb safely down to the next peak, apart from Jomak, who is determined to get some free-fall practice in. The Pelor worshipper dispenses with ropes altogether and plummets 50 feet to join his companions.

The next traversal goes more smoothly. However, the final rope has been cut. Fortunately, Maxell (Alun’s overly-familiar raven) is eventually persuaded to fly across and drop a loop of rope around the remaining piton. Soon the party reach a ledge on the northern side of the cavern and find another ladder leading upwards and out of the huge dark space via a cramped tunnel...


One thing I’ve not included here is detail of the lengthy conversation between certain characters speculating on the possible reproductive cycle, mating habits etc of Beholders. Frankly, it was far too disturbing!

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Re: BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

Postby Lewis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:18 pm

Book Three – “Barrow of the Forgotten King” - Chapter Nine - “Are You Evil?”

On making their way out of the tunnel from the cavern, the heroes discover another vaguely octagonal room. There is a brief discussion about how far underground they are now (300’, 400’?) and if they are approaching Drow territory. Sylvar carefully searches the room before everyone else joins him. He discovers a pit trap in the north of the room that had apparently been triggered by a beautiful young half-elf in explorer’s clothes and who lies at the bottom, 30 feet below. Eventually, Grimm climbs down and discovers that the half-elf is still alive, although unconscious and in bad shape. Awvry extends her healing aura to the attractive dusky-skinned young woman.

Upon regaining consciousness, the half-elf is greeted by Alun with the shouted question “Are you evil?” Fortunately, more sensible questions follow. The young explorer explains her name is Leera and that because of her knowledge of ancient lore she had been recruited by an acquaintance called Teryl to join an expedition. However, she had been shocked to find herself amongst a band of murderous cut-throats led by Krootad and Xeron. Leera had to bide her time to escape, which happened when Xeron smashed a puzzle and door in the eastern section of this room, and the tomb raiders were attacked by constructs. However, in fleeing, she had fallen victim to the pit trap and would have died if the heroes had not rescued her.

Leera is able to confirm that Xeron... (a) has a map of the barrow complex, although it lacks detail; (b) is seeking weapons and ‘a king’; (c) is working for someone else; (d) is either part of an organisation, or hopes to join it if he succeeds; (e) is neither man nor elf but something... other. From the evidence available, the party conclude they are just a few hours behind Xeron’s remaining (and greatly diminished) forces. Looking at Leera as she answers his comrades’ questions, Sylvar recognises that she is actually half-drow and there is something very familiar about her... she seems awfully similar to the only other half-drow he has ever met... could there be a connection?

Leera offers to help the party, to make up for her previous unfortunate choice of employer. She is accepted into their ranks with a only a modicum of discussion and suspicion. Around the corner, the now seven-strong band of heroes (plus animal companions) discover a dead hobgoblin (and by ‘discover’, I mean ‘loot’) and a dead human. Leera is saddened to recognise the second body as that of her friend Teryl and she makes to check him. Unfortunately, this triggers an attack by six bizarre constructs.

Emerging from blood-spattered metal statues come four smoky humanoids, a metal dog with huge jaws and a bizarre mechanoid with vicious needle-like appendages for limbs. Leera takes serious damage but is rescued by Grimm and Gavin. Meanwhile, Sylvar bears the brunt of an attack by the iron dog. The smoky constructs harass and distract. Once safe from the other horror, Leera unslings her lyre and starts to play a rousing song, which lifts the spirits of her new allies and inspires them to fresh acts of courage.

Meanwhile, Jomak tries to help Sylvar with a summoned celestial creature. There is a brief moment of dog on dog action! (Celestial vs Iron). Alun seems initially more interested in picking up the remains of destroyed constructs than fighting. However, once he starts swinging Bright Steel, the renowned magic blade makes short work of the smoky humanoid constructs. Then, with help from Sylvar and Jomak, the duskblade reduces the iron dog to a pile of metal plates, cogs and springs.

Finally, encouraged by Leera’s song and protected by Awvry’s aura, Grimm and Gavin destroy the construct with the stabbing appendages, turning that also into scrap metal. The final smoky construct flees back into its statue hiding place.

Leera takes a couple of personal items from Teryl’s body to take back to his relatives. She insists they should honour his passing, as he was not an evil man, just misguided. So the party bury his body under a cairn of stones as they clear these from the rubble blocking the doorway out of the room. Meanwhile, the haf-drow bard and follower of Eilistraee (goddess of music among other things) sings a plaintive dirge and Jomak says an excellent mass, so he does.

Passing through the cleared doorway and down a long stairway the party emerge into a confusing maze of rough damp tunnels, much cruder than the polished octagons they had seen in the mausoleum above. Sylvar offers to lead the way, confidently saying that he can find the tracks of the tomb raiders. However, his confidence is sadly misplaced and the party are soon hopelessly lost. Then the foolish eleven rogue triggers a hidden rune upon the floor of the tunnel.

Soon they can hear disturbing chittering of dire carnivores behind them in the tunnels. Then Sylvar rounds a corner to find an odd, albeit impressive figure. A massively-built humanoid creature with the head of an intelligent dog calmly and penetratingly appraises the elf. Sylvar nervously bleats a hello and confesses he is lost. The muscular creature – that Alun recognises as an Archon, a type of celestial – questions what the party are doing. They explain they are pursuing the bad guys. Fortunately, the Archon believes them and is satisfied with their answers. He gives a loud whistle that seems to carry way beyond the bounds of this earthly prison.

As the disturbing chittering grows louder, the Archon unsheathes a massive greatsword slung at his back. Then a strange glowing ball of light appears. The Archon tells the party to follow this light and it will get them back on the track of the villains. Sylvar asks what is following the party. “Fiends from the pits of Hell!” is the less than entirely encouraging answer.

The Archon then charges back down the corridor, brandishing his huge weapon. The last the party hear of their rescuer is the sound of violent combat between the mighty celestial and his fiendish foes. The ball of light, emitting a strange musical chirruping, quickly leads the idio... sorry, heroes away from the battle and the sounds of smiting and back to where they can follow the tracks left by the tomb robbers...

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Re: BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

Postby Lewis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:19 pm

Book Three – “Barrow of the Forgotten King” Chapter Ten - “Do you want fries with that?”

Thanks to the time bought for them by the Archon and to Grimm and Mr Wolf’s tracking abilities, the party follow the tracks left by Xeron’s tomb robbers to an unusual cavern. The party find themselves on a cliff, about 20’ up from the floor of the cavern. A 15’ deep pool of cold, dark water fills most of the bottom of the cavern, apart from a narrow pebble beach leading round to the exit. A few spires of rock stick up through the water. The whole cavern is wet and slimy.

Jomak climbs (well, technically, falls) down the cliff and starts to explore. He soon discovers a magical trap. And by ‘discovers’, I mean ‘sets off’. The cavern rapidly fills with water, washing the monk/cleric away – a rope linking him to his comrades is wrenched out of their hands.

As the water recedes, Jomak is left dangling from a stone spire. He is now attacked by a giant fiendish leech, a horrifying crimson and purple worm-like creature hissing noisily as it attacks the Pelorite. His comrades spot another giant leech and swarms of smaller ones. Unable to climb up the slick spire to get out of reach, Jomak appears doomed.

Jomak doesn’t get eaten by the shrieking leeches at this time. The leech doesn’t get him ... I’m explaining to you because you looked nervous.

However, Awvry diverts most of the leeches by creating a mass of food & drink (blood and raw minced meat) and dumping it in the pool well away from Jomak. Alun then finishes off the leech still attacking the monk by sending Maxell to electrocute it. The huge blast of electricity also kills one of the swarms.

Sylvar Lightfoot now climbs (well, as you may have guessed, technically, falls) down the cliff and starts to explore as his comrades follow him. The elf uses his rogueish cunning to discover another magical trap. And yes, once again by ‘discover’, I mean ‘set off’. The cavern rapidly fills with water, washing the party away and depositing them all around the cavern. Some of the heroes immediately come under attack by leeches from the pits of Hell. Well, the River Styx in the Abyss, anyway. Only Gavin, still on the cliff is safe and is able to provide support with his bow.

Two further giant leeches are quickly dispatched and the party start to struggle their various ways towards the exit (causing the DM much hilarity with many failed climb and swim checks). Sylvar falls foul of the last leech swarm and suffers significant blood loss before Leera ec’Esril is able to help him. The attractive young bard pulls the leeches off the elf and stamps on them.

Meanwhile, Jomak has recovered something from the bottom of the pool. It is a strange crystal, about the size of his head, emitting a reddish glow. He struggles to get it to the shore, watched by a bemused Awvry. Eventually the monk/cleric heaves the glowing crystal out of the pool. Alun determines it has an aura of conjuration magic, and the runic traps have auras of transmutation magic.

There then follows one of our beloved heated discussions. The party determine that the crystal somehow summons the leeches from the Abyss to this cavern. However, they are split over what to do. Awvry is displeased with a faction consisting of Jomak, Alun and Leera who disagree with her and the larger faction. Eventually, Alun hurls the crystal back into the cavern, smashing it down onto one of the runic traps. There is a flash as something briefly activates and the severed half of a giant leech appears before the crystal cracks and the glow fades.

Finally, the band of waterlogged adventurers are able to exit the maze. Descending yet another long staircase (so they are now 500’ below the surface), they face a doorway partially blocked with recently piled rubble. Sylvar is able to sneak into the misty and damp room beyond, dominated by the steady roar of a waterfall. The rogue discovers three Varags, sleeping on bedrolls. The elf decides to wake the deadly creatures. After a tense standoff, the presence of Leera and the fact Alun can speak Goblin allows a dialogue to take place.

As usual with the blood-chasers, an exchange of valuable objects has to occur first. Alun reluctantly exchanges his quiver of arrows (including the flaming arrows) with that of the Varag leader, Magruug. However, the duskblade then brightens up, when he sees what types of arrows are in the quiver handed to him by the tall goblinoid. The negotiations proceed in fits and starts.

It appears that the Varags have been abandoned in their sleep by Xeron and the rest of his party. Leera is not surprised to hear this, as Magruug had been the most openly critical of Xeron’s tactics and leadership. Xeron, three hobgoblins, a goblin and a halfling must now only be an hour or so ahead of the heroes. The Varags offer an exchange – they have an enchanted handy haversack™. They are willing to give this to the party in exchange for getting them out of the dungeon via the waterfall ahead, which leads to the surface. However, there is a catch. The waterfall is guarded or inhabited by a strange man who apparently wields axes. The mighty Varags would appear to be sufficiently worried by this creature to get the party to do their dirty work for them...

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Re: BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

Postby Lewis » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:51 pm

The Chronicles of Corwin - Book Three - Chapter Two

“BRRAAINNSSSSS......”

The six heroes take a breather while Awvry uses her druidic powers to talk to the two surviving wolves. They had been recruited into a stronger than normal pack by worgs after a hard winter. They were led here by the worgs who had smelled the scent of ‘two-legs’ they used to hunt with. This promised plenty of easy pickings (the two legs in question tended to leave plenty of dead in their wake). But on arriving at the graveyard they discovered the scents were not good - something wrong and unnatural. So they started to tuck into the dead bodies the two legs had already left.

Meanwhile Grimm and Jomak determine that the two dead sentinels (Dornal and Zeera) had been killed in the mausoleum by weapons and then dragged out by the wolves and worgs.

Sylvar leads the way through a door and down a narrow staircase into the lower mausoleum. This is lit by everburning torches (identified by Alun). In the magically-lit underground chamber, there are a number of tables, bearing a number of corpses. To no-one’s surprise, two of the corpses suddenly attack - Zombies!!! Worse still, behind a barrier of rubble, four skeletal archers suddenly appear and bombard the party with flaming arrows.

Thanks to Mr Wolf’s excellent tripping, the zombies are kept down and neutralised quickly. The four skeletons are more of a challenge, as several of the party are using slashing or piercing weapons. However, the monk’s fists prove useful and Grimm has the oversized magical club he took off a defeated giant. The half-orc is able to smash 3 of the skeletons to pieces. Awvry finishes off the final undead warrior.

The zombies were the corpses of Gunnar and Morgan. The party then discover Morgan’s daughter, Tyra, who has been locked into one of the burial vaults. She is distraught but able to warn the adventurers about a party of murderous tomb-robbers. Led by a mysterious sharp-featured man and a hobgoblin cleric of Hextor, this group of villains included several powerful feral creatures vaguely resembling hobgoblins, but bigger and more powerful. Grimm calls them ‘werewolf hobgoblin devils’. Tyra believes the tomb-robbers sealed her in deliberately to slow down any pursuit, as they pushed deeper into the underground burial complex.

Gavin decides his duty is to take Tyra back to town and safety as soon as possible, promising to catch up with his new friends as soon as possible.

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Re: BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

Postby Lewis » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:56 pm

The Chronicles of Corwin - Book Three - Chapter Four

“All Flesh Must Be Eaten”

Returning from escorting Tyra safely back to Kingsholm, Gavin catches up with the party of adventurers as they help Grimm to recover from his near-fatal experience. Worryingly, the young elf scout reports that the ‘disintigrated’ flagstone sealed itself above him as he climbed down. Meanwhile, after Alun waves vorpal blade Bright Steel in his face, Sylvar realises the engraving on the blade looks vaguely familiar...

[to answer your obvious questions - no, I can’t remember (and don’t care) why Alun was waving a sword in Sylvar’s face, and, yes, it was probably a ‘heated discussion’]

Both Alun and Jomak volunteer to be first down the stairs to take on the ogre zombie. In the end, it is the monk who bravely steps out, armed only with a vial of holy water gifted to them by Fr Invictus. Jomak’s trained monkish instincts only just allow him to dodge the monster’s deadly attack. He then smashes the vial over the beast’s head, instantly destroying it.

Alun provokes outrage amongst his comrades by enquiring about consuming the flesh of the undead creature. Meanwhile Sylvar loots ... I mean searches the corpse, finding the remains of an onyx gem that crumbles to dust.

Pushing on, still heading vaguely North, Sylvar leads the way across a rope bridge over a small canyon. To no-one’s surprise the bridge has been sabotaged and the elf rogue falls into the water, where he is attacked by some kind of transparent (i.e. water-coloured) ooze. Ah yes, oozes, the GM’s little pets. Immune to poison, all sorts of magic and criticals. Can’t be flanked or sneak-attacked. Plus, frikkin’ difficult to spot in water. What’s not to love?

However, as several of the heroes attempt to battle the concealed creature, Awvry interposes herself as the ooze’s victim, allowing it to drag her underwater in Sylvar’s place. To her comrades’ astonishment, she does not drown. OK, hands up (and be honest).. who knew the aura-monkey could breathe water?

Finally driving off the ooze and extracting themsleves from the watery-pit-of-not-quite-doom, the heroes discover another octagonal chamber. This one has two further doors. In the first, Sylvar sees a rope ladder, possibly heading to the surface, but hears a noise, and so leaves.

After a loud discussion, the other door is opened, allowing the alerted zombie on the other side to bash Sylvar really quite hard. This undead is a creature unfamiliar to most of the party - a hairy hunched humanoid, with a face like a feral hobgoblin with horns curving away from its skull. It would be over 7 feet tall if erect, but runs with a strange ape-like posture. Despite its dreadful pallor and oozing wounds, it moves with amazing speed.

Sylvar is pinned behind the door as a crowded melee takes place in the doorway. Gavin, Alun and Grimm all land effective blows on the zombie, with a well-aimed vial of holy water and a slash from Bright Steel by Alun being particularly effective. Finally, after Jomak trips the monster, Grimm cleaves the undead monstrosity nearly in twain with a mighty blow from his axe.

The strange creature was protected by very high quality studded leather armour that would fit Grimm. It was also armed with a superior quality scimitar that goes to the druid. Once again, Alun relieves his constant ennui by revolting his comrades with a discussion about eating zombie flesh.

As there has been much noise, the occupants of the next room are prepared when Sylvar opens the door and surprise the elf with well-aimed arrows from their excellent shortbows, wounding the rogue again.

His ambushers are the same sorts of creature as the zombie the heroes have just defeated. But, crucially, for the first time since entering the mausoleum, they appear to have caught up with living tomb robbers!

Alun recognises the creatures from his studies at Swinescabs Academy of the Arcane. The duskblade identifies them as ’blood chasers’ in the Common tongue (or ’varagh’ in Goblin). They are a hybrid race, magically created by crossing hobgoblins with large wolf-like creatures (dire wolves? worgs?). According to folklore, such fiendish creations were carried out by a fabled and mysterious faction known only as ’The Body Weavers’

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Re: BOOK III - BARROW OF THE FORGOTTEN KING

Postby Lewis » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:00 pm

Chapter Six - “It’s a rat trap Billy, and we’ve been caught”

In a long hallway, the party of brave delvers discover a series of statues, including a female wizard, a dwaven cleric and twin elf warriors, as well as two halberd-bearing guardians of the door at the far end. However, Maxell the Raven alerts them to sounds from behind a door in the western wall.

As Sylvar investigates, a swarm of rats suddenly emerges and the rogue is bitten. Awvry simply entangles everyone, including the rats, the party and whatever is in the chamber behind the door. The entangling vines give Gavin and the other party members a chance to pull the rats off Sylvar and destroy enough of them to break up the swarm (well, I say ‘pull’, in Gavin’s case it was more sort of ‘convince them to swarm on him instead’).

Suddenly, a tall ratlike humanoid dressed in black leather studded with dark iron leaps from the shadows behind the door, a black cloak and long hair trailing behind. Its rapier and long fangs flash as it attacks, biting both Alun and Grimm. There follows a long melee, as it soon becomes apparent that the creature is very difficult to hurt with normal weapons and even magic. Alun recognises it as a were-rat (in some hybrid form between hobgoblin and dire-rat) and that silver weapons would defeat its protection. However, the party have no silver weapons. Oops.

Finally, Awvry is able to use one of the captured ‘spell stones’ to empower Grimm with extra strength. The half-orc barabarian also goes into a rage. The hobgoblin were-rat tries to escape, but is cut off by Jomak and damaged by Alun & Maxell with a powerful shock spell. This sets it up nicely for the barbarian’s mighty attack that pulverises the creature.

Upon the fallen body of the dead lycanthrope Sylvar discovers a masterworked rapier, light crossbow (with silver bolts!), tools and armour, while Alun is able to confirm that a bottle of liquid is a magic potion (divination?) and the cloak has the power of ‘resistance’. There is also a waterskin, food and a key.

Once again, Alun causes consternation amongst his comrades. The duskblade insists that he be allowed to collect blood from the were-rat and the swarm, even to the point of throwing away valuable water in order to use waterskins.

Meanwhile, Awvry and Jomak set about healing their companions. However, they are worried by the looks of Alun’s bite wounds. Could he be infected with some disease?

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)


Return to “The Chronicles of Corwyn”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest