Saturday, April 4, 2020

Forest of Wyrd Session #5 - Below the Sepulchral Earth


Baihu Cerrit (Magic User 1)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 1)
Jonesomon (Specialist 1)
Ethanna Brightward (Wyrd Paladin 1)
Vergarious (Changeling 1) [NPC]

The night passed without incident under the watchful eye of the fountain guardians. While the rest of the party gathered the last of their food for breakfast, Ethanna decided to challenge the satyr Latreus to an arm wrestling contest. He agreed, with the stakes being a 10sp offering to Pan should the paladin lose. Should she win, Latreus promised the help of his folk should she encounter them in a time of need. In the end, the satyr emerged the winner and Ethanna ended up 10sp poorer. 

Martial games and breakfast complete, the party bade farewell and followed the satyrs directions back to the stream and pool, thence north to the barrow. While climbing a low rise about an hour later, they encountered a scurry of huge black squirrels moving through the trees along side them. Gnarl cast speak with animals and entered into conversation with a couple of the critters who had moved down onto the trail in front of them. He learned another group of men had passed this way the day before, armed with bows and weapons. Of the barrow the squirrels could tell little. The two groups parted ways amicably (though Baihu was miffed to find latter that the furry rats had stolen her coin purse.) Gnarl was able to find the trail of thearlier group, which led to the clearing with the stream and pool. That trail headed back east though, whereas the barrow was to the north. So north they went. 

Less than an hour later the party emerged into another clearing next to the stream. This was quite extensive, and featured at their end a dolmen and lintel gate facing east/west. Beyond it was a low hillock, obviously the barrow of Guri Bin Gur. It featured a tall willow tree growing on it's eastern side. Remembering the hint from the satyrs, everyone piled in the donkey cart and had Ethanna led them through the gate twice. Emerging the second time, they suddenly found themselves not under the noon sun, but at sunrise. In fact, looking at where the sun was rising they figured they were well away from their starting time. They were at the spring equinox, probably this springs' equinox as the rest of the barrow and foliage looked pretty much the same. They now climbed the barrow to look for the entrance, which based on the satyrs story should now be obvious. Well it wasn't, but after a while Baihu made note of the shadow cast by the willow tree. It should have been much longer thanks to the low angle of the sun, but in fact was truncated to end exactly at a point at the west side of the barrow. While Gnarl stood watch from atop, everyone else headed over to start digging, there being no obvious way in. They didn't get far before someone glanced up and noticed Gnarl was not alone; a ghostly looming humanoid figure, cloaked in rags with a stag skull and antler head and bony claws, stood at the top of the barrow watching them. As it started to move towards them, everyone stopped digging and prepared for battle. At which point the figure stopped again and stood there watching. They figured it was a guardian, placed there to prevent the barrow from being desecrated. No one really wanted to fight it, so Ethanna set a protection circle around the dig to protect them. The creature came right up to the edge of the circle but could not enter, instead standing there and watching eerily as they continued their digging.  

It took quite a few hours (since no one had a shovel), but eventually they broke through. Clearing away the last of the dirt, a narrow 5' passage could be seen leading into the hill. It was built of stone slabs but with large patches of loose soil and roots poking through. Still worried about the wraith, Ethanna elected to stay on the surface to maintain the circle, while Jonesomon led the rest of the party inside. Reaching a T-intersection, they turned left into a chamber that was empty except for some smashed stone slabs.  Turning back they stopped at an alcove with a rusty chain hanging from the ceiling, which Jonesomon carefully yanked at using his whip, bringing the whole ceiling crashing down. 

Worried now that they might get trapped underground by the wraith, the delvers headed back up to join Ethanna to discuss how to proceed. The wraith was now barely visible in the bright sun light, so best bet was to wait until almost dark. When they could see it clearly, they'd break the circle and try to overwhelm the spirit with a flurry of attacks. In particular, using their small supply of cold iron (Jonesomon's dagger lashed to Ethanna's spear, and his cold iron medallion which Baihu would use as a sling stone) to strike telling blows. And when the time came, the plan worked perfectly. The spirit was banished without even getting a chance to strike a blow, and the party could rest easy. And it being nightfall, they moved over into the woods to set up camp and rest for the night. 

Next morning was spent hunting, the party having run out of food the previous day. They had much success, obtaining enough food to get them through the next couple of days. That done, everyone headed back into the barrow, this time heading along the right hand corridor. They didn't get far before being brought to a halt by a thick mass of waxy white roots  blocking the way. Ethanna tried to push them aside, but they were solidly immobile and coated in a thick layer of acidic sap. The paladin hauled out her spear and started to hack away, but the roots would move out of the way making progress difficult. They also proceeded to wrap around her arms and legs, trying unsuccessfully to pin her in place. Baihu summoned an unseen servant to help hold the roots in place; thus assisted the paladin was able to hack through.  But as she reached the end of the roots, they had already started regrowing back at the start. So everyone rushed through behind her, finding themselves at a hairpin bend in the corridor, which now started to descend ...


2 Glossy Black Gems [2x 500sp]

1 Antler Wraith


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