A couple of months ago, I started running a Barrowmaze game using the Labyrinth Lord / Advanced Edition Companion Rules (LL/AEG) over on the UnseenServant forum. Its a little difficult to do set recaps for the game as there is no definitive time period, but I figured the game has progressed enough that it might be time to post a recap for it here for those who are interested. I’ll be using the session recap template based off of Patrick Wetmore’s session recaps in Henchman Abuse.
Marcus, 1st level human ranger
Pyrrhic Aere Perennius, 1st level human fighter
Mortiganto Ruĝa, 1st level human fighter
Uto Keitel, 1st level human cleric of Wotan
Drendan Fallowbriar, 1st level halfling thief
Haldo, 1st level half-elf ranger
Hedric the Strange, 1st level human wizard
Gawain, 1st level elf fighter/magic-user
It was a beautiful day on the moors of the Duchy of Valnwall. The sun was shining clear in the sky and was beginning to burn off the haze that creeped in off the moor. The group had come to the little village of Helix in the hope of a chance to enter the fabled Barrowmaze, a series of burial mounds and underground tombs constructed ages ago by an unknown people who had settled in this area. Some of these people were buried in simple alcoves, while others were entombed behind sealed doors and guarded by deadly traps. Time passed and the settlement grew – and the underground passages became maze-like in their complexity.
This continued for centuries until the cult of Nergal, God of the Underworld, appeared. The evil cultists drove the villagers off and occupied the Barrowmaze. Legend has it that Nergal was deposed by his two sons, Orcus and Set. This sparked a war for control of the Underworld. Now leaderless, the cult of Nergal fragmented and abandoned the maze.
In time, the village of Helix was established north of the moor. The locals are aware of the burial mounds and share folk tales of the dead walking in the mist and riches buried under the ground. The locals refer to the underground labyrinth as Barrowmaze.
One by one, the characters entered the village. It was a small village with two roads meeting at the town square. One road travels south from the square while the other travels to the east. Both the Brazen Strumpet Tavern and the Shrine to St. Ygg share the square with a couple of other buildings. Though the Barrowmaze is known far and wide in Valnwall, few are interested in plumbing its depths and so the village has not prospered from its location. Still, the moor provides for those who are willing to work hard and the villagers here have scraped out a meager existence.
Mortiganto sauntered into town and immediately made for the Brazen Strumpet Tavern, where he ordered the cheapest ale he could get. He downed it quickly before heading to the center of the room and boldly calling out,
Mortiganto: “Friends! I seek my fortune in the Barrowmaze! What brave souls will join me?”
This request was quickly answered by Pyrric who was in the middle of a brawl with a local whose sister’s honor and purity Pyrric had besmirched. Seconds later, Mortiganto was approached by Dren who was seeking coins to pay to have his teeth fixed. Before long they were joined by Haldo and Uto, both of whom where in the tavern, stood up and pledged themselves to the goal of exploring the Barrowmaze with the others.
The five of them left the tavern after one last round, running into Marcus who was also interested in exploring the Barrowmaze. With Marcus accepted into the newly formed group, they were about to head out when Mortiganto noticed a young man across the square staring intently at the group. Concerned, he approached the young man.
Mortiganto: “Good day, sir! You seem somewhat grumpy. Is there anything I can do to lighten your mood?”
Young Man: “Mmmm, not grumpy. Bemused. Another group of fortune seekers come to town. Another group of wishful tomb robbers intent on making their fortunes. But like all the others who have come before you, you will find yourself content to walk away with your lives. The maze holds more bodies than just the ones buried there.”
Mortiganto: “Whu… um. Well, now I’m just sad. “You’ve thrown a cloud over my good mood. I hope you’re happy. You know, though. You seem to be familiar with the Barrowmaze, in a morbid fashion, at least. Might you offer us some rumors or advice (besides not going) that could aid us in sticking a thumb in the eye of the Fates and avoiding our untimely deaths?”
Young Man: “Not one of you is prepared. I don’t mean that in a harsh way. You are about to go poking and prodding in a place where the dead where interred. You know… in the ground or behind a wall. Not one of you has a sledge hammer or a spade. How do you think you are even going to get in there? And the maze is a half day’s walk from here. You staying out there or planning on returning here if you can? You’re going to need provisions for either one.”
Mortiganto: “Oh-ho! That’s my Grumpy! You know I can’t stay mad at you! Don’t worry, I’ll bring you back a skull or something. Grumpy says we need spades and sledgehammers and provisions, and I agree! To the market!”
Before the group could turn and head for the market, they were approached by a strange man who appeared to be nothing more than a beggar with an ornate staff. Introducing himself as Hedric the mage, he offered his abilities as assistance in their efforts to plumb the depths of Barrowmaze. Realizing that seven is a good omen, Uto lead the charge to include Hedric among their numbers.
With additional supplies procured, the group headed south to the barrow fields where the Barrowmaze proper was. Upon entering the fields, they found a number of small mounds. Making their way around the nearest mound, they found a stone door wedged into the frame of the entrance way. Attempts to budge the stone proved futile and the group resorted to using sledge hammers to knock it open. Luckily, the noise did not disturb the otherwise silent field and they were able to gain entry to the mound. Taking necessary precautions to detect evil, undead, and traps, the group investigated the contents of the tomb. Their search was brief but beneficial and they left the tomb with some gold in their pockets.
Scouting ahead, Dren was planning on checking the next two mounds when he spied an elf checking his gear. With Marcus as backup, Dren struck up a conversation with the elf. Dren learned that this was Gawain, an elf in search of fame and fortune, and a change from what he considered the monotony of life with the elves. He had arrived in the barrow fields earlier and had searched on of the tombs already however it appeared as though the tomb was emptied earlier so he moved on to the next mound. All together, they examined the mound but could not find an entry. With far more options available, they set out for another mound.
As the group moved to the next mound, they came in sight of a circle of standing stones. Intrigued, they moved about the circle of stones quickly realizing another mound lie in the center of the circle. Once they reached the southern portion of the field, they found a pathway entering the mound. Checking the path for traps, Dren and Gawain led the way towards the entrance. A large stone door rest face down, broken in two, in the long grass of the entranceway. The area was littered with skulls and bones. A foul smell emitted from the interior of the mound and the darkness beyond was black as night.
There are both booted footprints and other tracks which you cannot make out. Bones litter the floor. Four huge square stone columns support the structure. Between the pillars there is an old, rusty 6’ high tripod with a block and tackle suspended over a hole in the floor. A rope descends down into the darkness. Braving the darkness, the group entered the mound to find a staircase descending a short way into the tomb. Bones littered the floor. Four huge square stone columns supported the structure. Between the pillars there was an old, rusty 6’ high tripod with a block and tackle suspended over a hole in the floor. A rope descends down into the darkness.
Gains: 50 g.p. and 2 amphora