Castles & Crusades Diary: Dragonclaw Barony, Session 20.

The adventurers find the Tomb of barbarian-prince Thorin Zuse, encounter traps, and due to good rolls on their part and poor rolls on my part, successfully march through room-upon-room slaying stirges and goblins in their path!

Game Diary:
Last session the group defended two centaurs from a pack of wolves. After defeating them the female centaur gave birth and other centaurs and satyrs entered the sacred site and drums and pan pipes filled the night with music and dancing in celebration. The next morning the group awoke weary from the festivities and headed north where they thought the Tomb of Thorin Zuse might be.

The barbarians and druid in the party came across trapped animals. The druid used his empathy with animals to learn what had set these traps and learned from the empathic exchange that goblins had been hunting them. The dwarves perked up (goblins are a corruption of the dwarves in my world). Searching further they discovered an opening into the earth shrouded by bushes and brambles. Brushing it aside they saw a shattered stone door and two pillars on either side with engravings indicating that a great man was buried within and that orcs should not enter (Thorin Zuse was a barbarian prince who lived 500 years ago during the Orc Wars who allegedly fought off 2,000 orcs before succumbing to his wounds, he was buried in a hidden tomb so that future orcs could not desecrate it). Lighting torches they descended the steps.

The first three rooms of the Tomb of barbarian warrior-prince Thorin Zuse.

Entering a room empty except for four pillars in the corners (1), the rogue Anne (elven rogue) examined the perimeter as Rok (half-orc fighter) stepped into the center of the room. Rok triggered a pit trap and fell 20 feet into the earth where three dead goblins lay. While he was getting hauled back up, Anne noticed a 1 foot diameter hole in the ceiling with the sound of bat-like wings fluttering inside. Most characters braced themselves and held their attacks, but Sir Sandwyche (paladin) and Gwar (half-orc barbarian) threw oil up into the hole followed by a lit torch. I had the player roll damage just as the creatures were emerging, he rolled a 6 which was the maximum hit points for these creatures – stirges – and the four that were about to come out and attack fell from the hole above charred and dead!

Entering the southern corridor from room 1 Sir Sandwyche and Gwar could hear the clanging of shields, indicating that there were goblins in room 2 below setting up a shield wall (the goblins had heard the pit trap go off above and the dying of the stirges by fire). Descending the stairs towards room 2, Malcolm (Wizard/Bard) cast sleep and immediately heard the banging sounds of soldiers in a shield wall falling to the side like dominoes. The group descended and dealt with the sleeping goblins swiftly.

Anne went to examine the corridor leading out of room 2 toward 3 and failed to notice a scythe trap that sprung out from the side of the wall cutting her and then sliding back in and re-setting. Characters pounded some iron spikes into the walls to block the scythe from springing out again and moved ahead.

Entering room three they saw a room 30 x 50 foot with four pillars in each corner (just like room 1), with the only difference being a coffin in the southern portion of the room. Characters entered and goblins with crossbows peaked out from behind each of the four corner pillars and attacked them with their ranged weapons. My rolls were bad and my surprise round was a disappointment (for me!). With initiative rolled the players broke up to address each of the four goblins. Since there were 7 players in my group this session with a total of 10 characters and 1 NPC, there were plenty of options for clusters of 2-3 characters to attempt to flank the goblin behind each pillar from either side (although the goblins were still got between 1/4 to 1/2 cover AC bonuses from their positioning). I continued to mostly miss with my goblin attacks and the players mostly hit, and one-by-one the goblins fell, with only one managing to remain alive long enough get a couple wounds in.

With time now available to examine the room, they learned that the goblins had turned the coffin into their toilet, using the bones of the barbarian who had been buried here 500 years ago as a toilet seat. Disgusted by this they looked behind the coffin on the south wall and saw a 3 foot by 4 foot circular opening that could activate a secret door opening deeper into the tomb. Both rogues failed to find a way to open it, so Magnus (gnome druid) and Juhraveal (half-elf rogue) carefully slid through to the other side to find a way to open the larger secret door from the other side. Juhraveal found the mechanism and began activating it, but Magnus found four goblins ascending a stairway to attack them from behind. These goblins could apparently attack (my dice finally co-operated) and Magnus had three goblins attacking and hitting him and one got to Juhraveal just as she managed to trigger the opening of the secret door to allow her companions to enter.

Her companions came charging in and a couple goblins went down, but Rok was a bit too excited by the combat and when he rolled a critical fail of 1, the critical fail die that was then rolled said he hit an ally, and upon striking Magnus, knocked him aside to the stone floor with his damage roll unconscious at -5 hit points (-7 is when you begin bleeding out each round and die at -10). More goblins began ascending the stairs from rooms 4 and 5 below, but the characters got their successful die rolls back and I didn’t, and the goblins were struck down and the worst injured adventurers were given good berries and heals. The group now descended into room 4 (a food preparation room) and room 5 (a room where the goblins had shattered barbarian statues and used the fragments to bury a couple of their dead).

Our session had now reached its end. In two weeks the group will descend further into the earth – how many more goblins are there? What barbarian remains will they find in the deepest levels of this tomb?