Castles & Crusades: Barowmaze Campaign, Session 39

Summary:
The Army of the Light finally enter the Pit of Chaos and begin the battle against undead and the forces of Chaos!

Game Diary:
The Army of the Light had been preparing for this Barrowmaze milestone for a long time and in tonight’s session the epic battle began!

The Pit of Chaos (slightly edited map from Barrowmaze Complete, by Greg Gillespie)

The adventurers made their way through one of the Barrowmaze entry points and fought a variety of zombies as they made their way through rooms leading to the grand Temple of Nergal, where the Pit of Chaos was located. Upon entering a long corridor their senses were assailed with the scent of death, rot, and decay – the hallmarks of Chaos (the bottom half of the corridor is snipped off in the above map fragment). They approached the 15 foot high double doors, cast spells upon each other, and then pushed open the doors. They were taken aback by what they saw!

The Pit of Chaos (art from Barrowmaze Complete, by Greg Gillespie)

A green haze emerged from the pit, columns were filled with the images of tortured souls. A massive 20 foot tall statue of Nergal, a god of the undead sat cross-legged, two black stained altars with symbols of the underworld and death lay in front of it, and statues of his lieutenants filled the remainder of the room. One observant player noticed the orb-like creature with an open mouth, large central eye, and multiple other eyes located on stalks hovering next to the Nergal statue. The characters were mostly at a loss as to what that creature might be.

The players had been given random Deck of Dirty Trick cards at the beginning of the session and they immediately used two of them, for they new that the sooner they could act, the better their chance of success would be. One card was to ask the GM one Yes/No question (was it possible that Cobalt, the paladin with the lawful artifact known as the Fount of Law could make it to the pit before the creatures in the temple got to him and hurl it in causing its collapse?). The answer based on how they worded the question (i.e. was it possible) was “yes.” From my point of view it all depended on initiative order. The players then used the next Dirty Trick card (automatic surprise for your character only), and with that tricky use of a free surprise round for Cobalt, the paladin rushed forward 30 feet into the Temple, skeletons and zombies which lurked nearby by recoiled from its lawful power, and upon reaching the edge he threw the Fount of Law into the pit. There was an immense discharge of energy, and the blast knocked everything in the room prone on their backs. The area north of the pit was enveloped in a green mist from the ground to the ceiling nearly 30 feet above. The orb-like aberration, as well as most of the zombies and skeletons were unable to be seen through the impenetrable haze.

The characters awaited the zombies and skeletons that began to emerge from the greenish mist and the 12 of them launched their ranged weapons taking them down (clerical and paladin abilities to turn/destroy undead were suppressed by the great powers of chaos and undead in this temple). It all seemed like they would only have to worry at some point about that orb (no one could tell what the explosion might have done to the levitating aberration with eyes). But then things became more complicated. The pit may have been closed, but what was already in the room? And before the Pit of Chaos was shut down, were some final creatures hurled out of it? Two statues in the south east and south west corner of the temple (near the doors) that had overly long right arms, a tentacle for a left arm, and strange distorted faces, appeared to come to life and head toward the paladin. At the same time the characters heard a cackle, which one character thought might be a witch, and another speculated could be some type of hag. There was clearly more things about to happen – but we had run out of time! And so the adventure ended on a cliffhanger. Next session this great battle will continue. The players still have three more Deck of Dirty Trick cards left (i) take back one action, (ii) spell has maximum effect(s) or duration, (iii) Raise dead (as per the spell). These will all be very useful and may all be needed next time. I cannot wait!

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