Castles & Crusades: Barrowmaze, Session 49

Summary:
The Army of the Light is ambushed by a tactically organized horde of ghouls on the ground, inside a pit, and on the ceiling. A shaft out of the Barrowmaze to the surface via a magically sealed shaft of water leads to a chaotic evil undead shrine to Nergal. A giant 12 ft. mantis brings a dwarf to -6 hit points in a single round!

Ghoul

Game Diary:
It can be a risky venture to remain in a dungeon for the night. The Army of the Light is bold, though, and chose to give it a chance. They hunkered down in a room where the door to the corridor was a secret door with a concealed pit trap in front of it. Surely a way to prevent entrance from others, no? However, during each of the three watches they took throughout the night, the oathsworn detected growing evil building up in the corridor outside, the cleric could detect that they were undead, and Gnoosh, the gnome rogue/illusionist with his helm of telepathy could hear the thoughts of a raging undead hunger, a hunger to devour him! But how did they know he was there?

They were able to get their sleep uninterrupted and readied themselves for the battle awaiting them. They opened the door. They could see 5 ghouls awaiting them in the pit below the open door. They saw another 5 ghouls in a semi-circle around the pit facing the door with lassoes waiting to pull the adventurers into the pit, and via the oathsworn’s detect evil they knew there were 5 more ghouls out of sight above them in the corridor between the door frame and the corridor ceiling. The adventurers dropped oil in the pit followed by flaming arrows, lighting them up. Magic missiles and arrows hit the ghouls in the hall. All was going well for them, but when Ria, the pacer, used her slippers of spider climbing to exit the room by walking on the wall (to avoid the pit), she was grabbed and bitten by two ghouls lurking above the door. Failing one of her saving throws, she collapsed in a state of paralysis and they pulled her up towards them. But the Army of the Light continued their attack by throwing a web on the ghouls on the floor and ceiling to the right of the door, and another threw out a couple burning hands. The ghouls were weakened; and then, they were destroyed.

Ria recovered from her paralysis in about 10 minutes and they then proceeded to explore more of the Barrowmaze. After exploring another half dozen rooms, they ascended a 30 foot stair where they discovered an opening that would lead to a Barrow Mound and thus a new exit/entrance point to the Barrowmaze. The challenge, however, was that the 10ft. x 10 ft. shaft which opened upward to the barrow mound had a carving in the ‘Black Tongue’ (the chaotic evil alignment language used by the Necromancers of Nergal) which said “life in death” and was filled with water with a magical force holding it back. The group asked themselves: how can they find their way up this water shaft held back by a magical barrier? The clerics and wizards in the group who managed to work out the black tongue managed to properly pronounce the words and one by one they passed through the barrier and swam up the shaft into the center of a hexagonal barrow mound 30 ft. on a side with four pillars with perpetually lit torches mounted on them. Pentagrams and imposing skull imagery covered the walls, especially the door which would lead outside into the Barrowmoor and freedom. But detect magic revealed to the wizards that they might not be able to successfully dispel the magic on that door. They were so close to leaving! The problem was enhanced, however, because not everyone had managed to properly pronounce the words of the Black Tongue and pass through the barrier into the room above and thus part of the group was still stuck below. So they chose to attempt dispel magic on the pool instead and then ride the rushing water back into the Barrowmaze and leave from one of the exits they normally use. The spells were cast and down they went!

After making their way wet through the corridors of the Barrowmaze they finally made it out and were immediately attacked by an immense 12 foot tall giant mantis! In a single attack its giant claw picked up Aturash, the dwarven berserker, and pulled him to its mouth for a powerful bite. The devastating claw and bite attacks took the dwarf to -6 hit points! He was unconscious and at death’s door (at -7 he would’ve lost one hit point a round until he died at -10). The group could see that the mantis was about to fly away the following round and devour the dwarf, so they swarmed in and attacked with everything they had and managed to kill moments before the dwarf’s death.

Exhausted and out of spells, the group returned to Ironguard Motte for a proper rest and healing.

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