Castles & Crusades Diary: Barrowmaze, Session 60.

Summary:
1. Under a heavy downpour the Army of the Light are swarmed by trolls making burning them extremely difficult, but the druid Called Lightning. Weather conditions once again played a noticeable role in combat.
2. Dhekeon “the Disgraced”, the undead fallen paladin that travels with the group seeking redemption is discovered to have been nearly obliterated by some explosion with most of his body parts taken away (into the Barrowmaze?). The left arm that survives points to where the group needs to go to retrieve it.

PC’s:
Cobalt, Human Paladin of St. Agathos
Roulf, Half-Orc Drachentoten (Dragonslayer) of Crom
Gimli, Dwarf Berserker of Odin
Cyron, Human Cleric of Charon
Belden, Gnome Bard of Aengus
Rosaline, Half-Elf (Elven lineage) Druid of Daghda
Ria, Human Pacer of Loki
Elfgiva, Elf Cleric/Wizard/Archer of Sehanine
Martin, Human Rogue of Bacchus

NPC:
Conwrick Pimkin, Hobbit Ranger of Brandobaris

Game Diary:
Last session the group entered the Blackened Forest to hunt Bugbears where it had been rumored they were allying with one of the necromancer factions in the Barrowmaze. They defeated 20 bugbears that had tried to ambush them during the night. This session began with them finding the bugbear loot, and this made our Druid, Rosaline, quite excited: they found a glass orb with moving storm clouds within it, a silver torc with celtic knots on it, and several druid scrolls. Clearly the bugbears had previously killed an important druid, but who?

The next morning they chose to go hunting for trolls, but rain came in, heavily, and they chose to turn back. They had two choices, cut through the Barrowmoor where the rain would be heavier and the swamp would fill and slow them down, or stick within the forest where the rain would be partially broken up by the canopy. They chose the forest. Even with this route the going was slow as the roots were intertwined and they were going to trip if they had to run.

Troll (art by Tony DTerlizzi from the AD&D 2nd edition Monstrous Manual)

It was then that the ground began to move near their feet and six trolls emerged from the roots and moss – they were surrounded! Even with their three attacks each round my trolls somehow missed more than they should have (I rolled a surprising number of 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s on combat rolls). Still, the hits came in and the characters were getting battered down slowly. Conwrick had two vicious hits, one claw was about to take him down to negative hit points and a bite – which was clearly a critical hit – was going to tear his leather coat to shreds and rip open his chest. The group chose to use one of there cards from the Deck of Dirty Tricks to prevent the critical hit attack, and Conwrick instead collapsed into the soaked peaty ground.

Gimli entered Odin’s Fury, summoning his berserking power. Rosaline Called Lightning and using the glass globe with thunder clouds that had previously been discovered and learned that it enhanced her spell increasing the speed and damage of the spell. A lightning bold came down from the sky and struck two trolls, their bodies burned and even under the heavy downpour they could see smoke rise from their sizzling flesh. Gimli was also struck by the lightning, but he had previously acquired a Belt of Grounding with metal chains that dragged on the ground, and that sent all the electrical damage into the earth leaving him unharmed.

The group finally got most of the trolls down, but except for the lightning struck ones, these were regenerating, and the group could tell they were going to rise again. However, under the heavy rain and difficult terrain, it would be difficult to move to leave and nearly impossible to light a fire and burn them. One player managed to do so, but other attempts failed. Meanwhile, the other members of the group continued hacking at the severed heads, legs, and arms to prevent them from regenerating while Rosaline summoned another lightning strike from the storm clouds above. Most combats may only last 3-6 rounds, but due to the need to continue hacking at regenerating troll limbs while others tried to lite a fire under heavy rain and summon and control weather conditions, this took nearly 10 minutes. If the group would’ve had even one more challenge they would’ve been facing exhaustion and combat disadvantages. Fortunately, this was the end of their struggles.

Setting up the next adventure.
While this combat was taking place in the Blackened Forest, Cobalt was visiting the town of Helix and noticed a large crowd gathered around the Brazen Strumpet Tavern. Curious, Cobalt approached and saw an adventurer bragging inside about possessing an animated left arm of a skeleton which he held above him. Cobalt entered and interrogated the man about where he found it. He said there had been a large explosion near a lone willow tree and all that remained was this left arm (from finger tips to shoulder). Cobalt realized this was what remained of Dhekeon “the Disgraced”, for whenever the group is about to enter the Barrowmaze they pass by the willow tree where Dhekeon, the fallen paladin, rests and prays between the time he is needed (bringing him into to a civilized town like Helix or Irongaurd Motte would raise concern from the people frightened of the undead). Cobalt managed to intimidate the adventurer and get the arm from him.

It seems – from what the adventurers have noticed so far – that Dhekeon cannot be destroyed, for his god (St. Justus) has punished him to eternal un-life for betraying his paladin order 250 years before. Whenever he has been destroyed in the past he has managed to re-assemble himself (although sometimes it takes many days). Cobalt addressed the left arm he was holding: “where is the rest of you” and the arm pointed in the direction of the Barrowmaze. Cobalt knew they needed to retrieve and save Dhekeon and that it was time to return to the Barrowmaze.

When the group returned from their adventure in the Blackened Forest, Cobalt told them what happened and they prepared to head to the Barrowmaze. And that is where we will continue next time!

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