Castles & Crusades Diary: Dragonclaw Barony, session 22.

Summary:
1. The adventurers battle black orc skeletons wielding shadow blades that drain strength!
2. Characters make offerings and get blessed by the gods in a shrine.
3. Juhraveal, beloved rogue, dies from falling into a deadly pit.

PC’s:
Juhraveal, Half-Elf (human lineage) Rogue of Bast [now deceased]
Magnus, Gnome Druid of Belenus
Sir Sandwyche, Human Paladin of St. Agathos
Gwar, Half-Orc Barbarian of Crom
Endur “the Thick”, Human Fighter of Gobniu
Malcolm, Human Wizard/Bard (class-and-a-half) of Arcanus
Homonoea, Human Dragonslayer/Giant Killer (class-and-a-half) of Athena
Bitters Forthill, Dwarven Cleric/Fighter of Thor
Rok, Half-Orc Fighter of Crom
Anne, Elven Cleric/Rogue of Laeroth

NPC:
Thorthic Norain, Dwarven Barbarian/Cleric of Thor

Game Diary:
When we last left off the adventurers had passed through a portion of the Tomb of Thorin Zuse (a barbarian prince that had held off thousands of orcs during the Orc Wars 500 years ago) that had been taken over by some goblins. They then discovered a secret passage behind an altar and made their way into an area untouched by the last half millennia.

The group continued to head deeper into the earth (they were now 13 rooms in and well over 200 feet underground). They came upon a room filled with seven statues that were on 8 foot diameter pedestals and rose 8 feet high. There was also an offering bowl in front of each statue with a variety of gems, gold, magic items, and broken weapons. The main statue was of Crom, the god Thorin worshipped 500 years ago. The other statues included the Celtic god of blacksmiths, Gobniu, and the Celtic god of hunting, Cernunnus, amongst others. Gwar charged forward and punched the statue of his god, demonstrating his strength and then smashed a weapon into the offering bowl. Crom bestowed upon him the ability to speak the language of the Giants. Rok made an offering to Crom (who was also his god) and Crom gave him a bloodstone gem. Endur made an offering to his god Gobniu and was given a +1 to his Wisdom (this raised it from 12 to 13, so he now has a bonus to his wisdom checks, however, he is known as “the thick” due to his 4 Intelligence, so his nick name is not changing anytime soon!). These characters then left the room, choosing to respect these gods by not to taking the offerings. However, Anne and Malcom remained in the room and did grab the magic items and gems from the offering bowls and hid some of them away. Anne grabbed items since she is a rogue of the Elven god of outcasts, and Malcolm because his god of Arcanus is all about collecting magic.

They then made their way to a room with a passage to the west, and a passageway to the east, however, it was the two double doors to the south made of steel and with a carving of a mighty barbarian 6 and-a-half feet tall that caught their attention. Normally the group chooses to check all rooms in a methodical order to ensure that nothing can come at them from behind, but the double doors were too enticing. Rok rushed forward along with the two rogues. They rogues tried and failed to pick the lock to the door, so Rok attacked it with his two-handed axe. With several mighty blows the lock broke and he could push open the door. It so happened that Crom had come to Rok in a dream and challenged him to open or destroy a door and he would bestow the ability to double a Dexterity or Constitution check. Since Rok had open these mighty steel doors, he felt a rush of reserve energy enter his body!

Orc skeleton (art by Mehran Mehrabi, artstation.com)

They entered the room and saw the coffin of Thorin Zuse. It was large, clearly made for a man nearly 7 feet tall. It was also surrounded by skeletons – blackened orc skeletons. Malcolm detected magic from the skeletons and from inside the coffin, and Sir Sandwyche detected evil from the skeletons. Rok moved in and the skeletons sprung to life. Magic missiles were launched from a recently found wand. Sound burst was cast. And Bitters drew upon the power of his god Thor and summoned the Hammer of Thor. In the 30 foot high chamber clouds formed, lightning flashed, and a hammer descended from the sky and destroyed the top and sides of the coffin of Thorin Zuse spraying the fragments into most of the skeletons (also weakened from previous attacks). The coffin, now with the top and sides splintered and embedded in the skeleton’s bodies lying on the floor, began tilting forward and Thorin’s two-handed sword began sliding forward onto the ground. Gwar, Rok, and Endur charged forward to destroy the remaining two skeletons. Along with attacking, Gwar tried to reduce the skeletons movement and combat abilities by spilling marbles on the floor before them.

At this point the two remaining skeletons pulled out wispy, shadowy short swords to attack. The warriors fighting them were armored well and had proper stamina to endure bodily harm, but these orc skeletons were clearly enhanced with these mysterious weapons. Each of three warriors were struck several times, and each failed a Constitution save once (Rok actually failed twice, but he used the reward Crom had given him to double his Con save and that ensured he passed one of the checks). The failed Con saves meant they each lost one point of Strength – this was not good! Thorthic and Bitters both hurled their hammers at the skeletons. Thorthic’s hammer fell to the ground, but Bitters’ hammer lodged itself within the rib cage of a black skeleton!

Homonoea lunged forward and picked up the mighty two-handed sword from the dead hands of Thorin Zuse. The sword spoke to her telling her to plunge the blade of the sword into the earth and summon a chasm. She did so and the earth cracked open before her, creating a chasm 10 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and 60 feet long, breaking right through the back wall of the tomb. Gwar, Endur, and one of the two skeletons fell into the chasm taking falling damage. The subsequent battle in the chasm was difficult, not only because of the uneven ground, but also because there were loose marbles rolling around from when Gwar previously dropped them on the ground!

The warriors finally got a grip on the situation and with mighty swings of swords and axes sliced into the black skeletons and they crumpled from the blows. The characters were healed and brought back up out of the chasm. It had been one tough battle! Anne was now out of spells and wanted to rest, but many of the others must’ve still had the rush of the battle still surging through them and wanted to go on, for there were still more things to see. A secret door was discovered on the east wall of the tomb. Most of the group wanted to go through it. Anne and Juhraveal (the two rogues) opened it. Anne passed through first and Juhraveal held onto to her clothing close behind to be safe.

A pit trap opened before them!

Anne made her saving throw and managed to turn her body so as to hang onto the ledge hanging above the pit below, but Juhraveal failed her save and when Anne managed to turn and grab onto the side of the pit, Juhraveal went hurling head first into it. The pit trap was 30 foot deep and had spikes at the bottom. The damage took her well below -10 hit points and she was impaled multiple times on the stakes. Dear Juhraveal was dead. She had made it to 3rd level as a rogue and was among only three others that have gotten that high. She had been great fun.

Our game session had reached its time limit. This game is on Discord and is played with people from the US, Canada, and Europe, so although some had to leave at this point, others stayed on and we talked for another couple of hours. The player who had used Juhraveal discussed his next character and we talked about future sessions. This is a really fun group! There is growing amounts of role-playing as we get to know each other better, and the characters – who had already done favors on behalf of the local town – are now poised to return as heroes in a very new way. I think the players can see the group transitioning to something much greater. The group should probably begin considering a name for their adventuring company.