Castles & Crusades: The Barrowmaze Campaign, Session 32.

Group discovers Monk trapped in sealed dungeon and battles insulting skulls and necromancers.

I’ve decided to number these entries to better keep track of the grand journey through the Barrowmaze. Technically this Tuesday campaign is on session 52 (if you include the adventures that began this campaign back in August of 2018). But we didn’t arrive at the Barrowmaze until August 2019, so I chose to use that as the start point.

When we left off last time the monk had been teleported by a crypt thing into a sealed crypt with 77 burial alcoves, a stone pedestal with a mirror that distorts your light sources and vision with a bottomless pit in front of it. There was also a runic golem that attempted to attack the monk, but using the mirror to confuse its visual capabilities, it tumbled into the bottomless pit…forever. With only one torch, two days water, some irons spikes and a small hammer, the monk got to work trying to chisel his way out of the entrance that had been bricked up (in pitch darkness after his light source went out).

Not knowing where their companion was, and unable to make use of divination magic that might assist, they looked at their dungeon map fragments and randomly chose one of the three dungeon entrance locations that they were aware of. What surprised me was that they chose the correct one and unbeknownst to them were only a half dozen rooms away from the monk!

It took some time to make their way through hidden crypts, and hidden rooms where skeletons burst through the walls to attack. They could do this because their skeletal frame had been hardened due to a collection of lime deposits that had leaked onto them from the crypt ceilings over centuries (the Barrowmaze is located under a swamp). The group also hammered through a bricked up wall, but as the bricks fell through to the other side it triggered spores from a yellow mold and one character nearly died as the spores coated his lungs and began turning his face into a yellowish/orange mold. The group fortunately had some cards they could use from the Deck of Dirty Tricks and saved the character at the last moment.

Eventually the group entered a large chamber with a portcullis to the south, opened it, and then followed the 100+ foot corridor, arriving at their friend’s bricked up crypt. However, during the time it took them to break into the crypt to free the monk and explore the crypt with the bottomless pit and mysterious mirror, necromancers of Nergal had entered the large 70 x 70 foot room to the north, shut the portcullis, and laid out an arc of skulls on the floor leading out of the room to the west. The PC’s have a paladin, barbarian, and berserker, so they had the strength to lift the portcullis, but as they did so the array of a dozen skulls insulted them (taunting them and having comical conversations with themselves). This irritated some characters, so once the portcullis was pushed up they rushed toward the skulls to crush them. But the wizards had greased the area in between the southern portcullis and the skulls in the center of the room. So for round after round the party members slipped and fell. The exit to this large room was a western corridor, and lurking in the shadows of this corridor the Nergal necromancers watched the PC’s slip and fall and then launched magic missiles at them.

As some of the group remained at the portcullis and knocked off the skulls one-by-one with their ranged weapons, the other half struggled to get through 20 x 40 feet of greased dungeon floor. The monk got to the necromancers first, but just as he got within reach of them a sleep spell caused him to slide to the ground into a slumber, and since they had filled that area with oil, they simply stepped back and dropped their lantern, lighting the place up! Catching on fire obviously woke the monk up the following round, and then the paladin charged through the fire toward them, but the necromancers had disappeared. Was it through one of three hallways that branched off from this corridor, or perhaps a secret passage? Next week the adventure continues!