Session Report: Uh, the Snow is Bleeding.

Campaign Date: July 15th, 1630 CE
Location: The estate of Baronet John Hotham of Scarborough, the surrounding countryside, and the Barrow of the Old King
Cast: Hernando de Pieza (Nic's Fighter), Roda (Ross's Halfling), Mystery (Bill's Specialist), Peter the True XXVII (Peter's Fighter), Carjek, "Mind of Light" (Anders's Magic-User), Thelgus (Brady's Dwarf), Ferdinand (Chance's Magic-User), and a few thus far nameless hirelings.

This is part 2 of The Barrow of the Old King. Part 1

Our heroes prepared to explore the mysterious barrow once again, heavy casualties be damned. Joined by a few more foolhardy murderhobo types, they visited Hotham again, and were given a stipend to buy supplies and hire personnel for their mission. This turned out to be what was necessary for them to finally take the Ref's suggestion that they might want some hirelings to carry torches and stuff like that. They hired a linkboy, an animal trainer/guide to protect the horses outside dungeons, and a doctor. Naturally the doctor would not accompany them directly to dungeons, but would be closer than a full day's ride and increase their chances of survival.

Feeling assured of success, the party set off once again toward the barrow. This time, knowing the path and accompanied by a knowledgeable Halfling, the journey was much quicker. They encountered the murder of crows and corpse again, now stripped clean of flesh. Peter tried to capture a crow by knocking one out of a tree with a branch. He was unsuccessful and the rest of the party warned him that two dozen supernaturally menacing crows were best left alone. Further down the road, Tarnach sensed a vague magical aura thanks to his Lore skill. He felt it had been moving about the countryside, but was unable to determine exactly what it was. Some thought it may be the Old King's ring, but that theory was dismissed. Unwilling to be distracted, the party pushed on.

At the mouth of the barrow the snow still held their old footprints, which filled with blood when they stepped on the snow. Hernando investigated this phenomenon using boot patterns to determine which ones were bleeding, and found that they belonged to their companions who had died within. Unnerved but resolute, the party ventured once again into the breach. 

Moving past the chariot, they opened a room on the right filled with large clay jars sealed with wax. Taking one outside they cut the top open, revealing a grey, gravelly substance within. They fetched the 700-pound slab that was the sword of Peter the True XXV the Lucky Idiot and dropped it on the jar. It utterly crushed a salt mummy interred inside. They examined what they could, reckoning that it had been slain by a slash to the neck and had sharpened teeth and some ritual scarring. They opened another jar with a hammer, taking a closer look at a full mummy. Hernando removed the mandible, examining its teeth and seeing that they had been chiseled into shape, leaving them cracked and uneven. We dubbed this style of play Lamentations of the Forensic Detective and continued the process. They also found clenched within its dried husk of a hand a necklace of polished stones. When Hernando removed it the mummy sprang to life, grabbing him by the leg and forcing its top row of teeth into his leg, dealing only a single point of damage but giving Hernando a fright before he summarily dispatched it. It had the same ritual scars, tooth modifications, and death wound, as well as signs that the jar had been built around it and then filled with salt, a bizarre touch. The party  methodically moved and crushed the jars, collecting more necklaces. The Ref probably should have ruled that they'd have to rest after this amount of labor, but he was off his game and rather impressed at their clever method of disposing of the threat and collecting treasure so efficiently. In all, 32 casks were looted.

Moving on, they explored a passage connected to the jar room with a small chamber carved in bas-relief and painted with a primitive red pigment. It depicted a battle scene familiar to Peter, who had briefly experienced it firsthand in his vision: an army led by a charioteer drawn by bears charged towards an army of giants and humans, an army of undead at his back. Traveling back down the passage, they opened a room to the left with a crucified skeleton covered in a shroud of solidified lead, an eerily calm visage still visible. This aside it was empty, and the party went across the hall to a chamber with three stone benches and golden skeletons in repose upon them. Peter used his hammer to knock a head from its shoulders, baseball style, and the other two skeletons moved into positions of fear, freezing in place once again. Careful examination revealed that the gold was plated on and the joints pinned in place, and the party broke another one, assuming attack was imminent. The remaining skeleton knelt down and froze in the position of someone begging for mercy, and they moved out of the room, confident it would stay put if they closed the door and went back later.

They found no more doors to explore, which confused them since the impressively accurate map they had drawn implied they had only found half of the dungeon. They grudgingly went back to the room with the castle diorama which had killed Leif the Unbroken (who very quickly became thoroughly broken in the previous session). Thelgus was the only one brave/dumb enough to check it out, and looked around carefully. He saw immediately that the moat was filled with mercury, and the party checked to see if they had flasks to store it in, but did not. They were still learning to be prepared like Ye Olde Scowte Lads. Thelgus stepped inside the castle once again, failed his save versus Magic, and was transported to the same vision as Peter and Leif. He was also crushed by a giant's blow, ragdolling across the room as Leif had a short time ago.

Thus ended the session.

The adventure continues in episode 17: The Horses are Made out of Bears


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