Castles & Crusades Diary: Barrowmaze, Session 63

1. The Army of the Light seek a way to bring Cobalt back from his catatonic state.
2. New characters join the Army of the Light.
3. While in search of the scattered body parts of their skeletal friend Dhekeon, the session ends on a cliffhanger with animated caryatid columns and cockatrice!

Gnoosh, Gnome Rogue/Illusionist of Baravar
Llewelyn, Elf Cleric/Wizard of Sehanine
Astrid, Human Skald of Hel
Ria, Human Pacer of Loki
Remi, Gnome Harlequin (Rogue/Illusionist) of Hermes
Tiberius, Human Paladin of St. Ingrid
Roulf, Half-Orc Drachentoten (i.e. Dragonslayer) of Crom
Edward, Human Bard of St. Cecilia
Aturash, Half-Orc Berserker of Odin
Orwin, Half-Elf (human lineage) Fighter/Drachentoten of St. Agathos

Inaros, Human Cleric of Osiris

Game Diary:
Last time the Army of the Light saw their paladin Cobalt go insane from the gaze of a barrow wight Chosen of Nergal named Rendar Serouc. The shock put him into a catatonic state. The first part of this game session saw members of the party seek out an elven apothecary who lives across the street from them named Eleanor Codington, as well as heading to the castle ward of Ironguard Motte and consult with Sir Ecbert and Brother Aethelstad of the church of St. Agathos (the same as Cobalt). Each had ideas of what they might be able to do to try and cure the paladin, but it was going to take time and cost money. The group chose to give the body of Cobalt to the church of St. Agathos and hope the clerics in the church could find a way to bring him back.

Most of the players had their characters off training for several months after leveling up, as well as recovering from encountering Barrowmaze undead (characters get a tick mark next to their Wisdom for each undead encounter, and if they get as many tick marks as their wisdom, they will go insane. Recovering wisdom takes 1 week per undead encounter).

The group was coming to realize that they can’t keep taking months off at a time between forays into the Barrowmaze, since the two necromantic factions (of Nergal and Orcus) are now well aware of them, and when the group takes time off to train and gain new abilities, the enemy is doing the same, and this will only make things more difficult for them in the future! The solution the group has come up with is to bring in more characters! For this game session we had Orwin and Edward join the group, followed by Tiberius who had joined the session before. These three characters are also lawful good worshipers of different saints. It was pointed out that of the previous 31(!) members of the Army of the Light that rotate in and out for adventuring, that only about 4 were of good alignment and only one was lawful! In the long-term this had a great possibility to play into the hands of the forces of Chaos and undeath in the Barrowmaze. It was also getting noticed with the knight factions in Ironguard Motte who were beginning to look at the group with some concern. With these three new lawful and good members, the group will have new opportunities to resist the forces of chaos and undead, as well as regain some station in Ironguard Motte.

With this done, the group headed out to the Barrowmaze mere days after their previous incursion. They had more urgency, for Dhekeon, their fallen paladin skeletal companion, had been dismembered and his body parts had gone missing. They previously had discovered that when he “dies” he reassembles slowly over time (sometimes it takes days), and his accursed undead status continues since he is unable to pass on to the afterlife. Apparently he can sense where some of his other body parts are, and through pointing he can help them find his missing limbs. Dhekeon has been a powerful ally as he seeks redemption and has provided them with lore of the dungeon. They currently had his left and right arms, and when they addressed Dhekeon he has sometimes been able to point where other body parts are so that he could reconnect with them.

In game time it is mid-June, and adventurers – local and from afar – are taking advantage of this seasonal opportunity to take their chances and delve into the Barrowmaze for fame, fortune, and power. Some, it seems, are even trying to set themselves up as rivals to the Army of the Light in the Duchy of Aerik. As the Army of the Light entered the swampy Barrowmoor towards one of their entry points to the Barrowmaze, they saw one of these groups as they were trying to break into a barrow mound with sledges. This new group paused in their hammering and watched cautiously and silently with their hands on sheathed weapons until the Army of the Light passed by, before resuming their pounding on the heavy sealed stone doors.

Upon entering the Barrowmaze, Dhekeon’s arms gave some indication as to where they could find more of his body and they headed off into new, unexplored areas. They had previously been in the Death Vault of the Chosen of Nergal, but now they were heading east, and the atmosphere of that area was about to change.

Sapphire Skeleton art from Barrowmaze Complete

They worked their way through several rooms battling a coffer corpse, and multiple sapphire skeletons. The unique feature of sapphire skeletons is that they re-assemble after they are brought to under 0 hit points. The group has learned that the sapphires imbedded in their heads need to be destroyed to ensure the skeletons can’t continue fighting. This gave the group opportunities to practice their called shots to the head!

All seemed well until the group came to the north doorway of a room that had the smell of guano as well as four large statues in the corners (two were broken). As several players bent to place their torches on the guano to burn it up, some of the more nature-based characters realized upon closer inspection that this wasn’t normal bat guano. They then heard a noise and looking up they saw the two still intact statues come to life in the far corner of the south wall of the room and through an entry way in the south wall two strange rooster-like beasts with reptilian were bounding toward them with great speed and determination! Since our game session was at its end, I gave them this as a cliffhanger, I can only hope they are not petrified in fear for next week!

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