This party began the session with Ta’sara tending to the wounds of the unconscious half-elf that they had discovered bound last session, the rest of the party was beginning to work at making the room more defensible while they had the opportunity to rest up. The young woman, Leera Scornbul, woke quickly and her story was not what the party expected – though it would be hard to say what exactly that would have been based on the current circumstances.
A sage who had studied at the University of Navarre, Leera had been hired by the group before realizing just who and what they were – which even somewhat obscure to her as well. But the presence of the khazan and the goblins, as well as the repellant nature of the sorcerer Xeron spoke volumes even if their exact motives – beyond the contents of tomb of the Forgotten King – were unknown. Her information was enough to let the party know that the tomb-robbers had been in conflict with themselves, that they had faced most of them already, and that it was the leader, Xeron, and his main lieutenant, a khazan warrior named Jerog, that were left for the party to deal with. Leera was also able to give the party more information on the history of the Forgotten King himself, his rise, and his betrayal and fall.
While the Ta’sara was gathering this information, Devon was moving rubble and reached down to pick up a small Argentos he found there – and the party was granted a winged, celestial Visitation!
“Fear not! You must make haste, evil has come to the this place and seeks to work more evil still. Beware the Age of Worms and move quickly lest you lose your chance.” Drawing His sword, the light of the angel’s word was like the dawn of new day, renewing the party as if they had been fully refreshed – full of life and energy. He stared at the group, then at Devon in particular “In this war as all others, you must choose a side, so go forth and vanquish the evil ahead of you or perish and fall, with the world, into darkness.”
With a bright flash, the angel was gone with a clap of it’s wings.
Emboldened, the party girded their loins and pressed on into the next room. It was eerie, the air was damper then elsewhere, and the room was draped and wrapped in webs. The party moved in to investigate a statue (much as the tracks suggested the tomb-robbers had done) only to be attacked by hordes of large, fist-sized black-and-red spiders that swarmed over the group – as well as a web-wrapped body of some sort that spilled forth another swarm of spiders when it was attacked. As the party struggled to vanquish the venomous arachnids a giant horse-sized spider attacked the group as well. The cold chill that passed over those bitten pained them deeply, with Leera being overcome almost instantly, and Wren being struck down by the giant spider before the party slew it. Much to the Ta’sara’s dismay attempts to revive the two met with not only failure, but seemed to provoke another round of poisoning that damaged them further. Unsure of what to do but knowing that they needed to press forward, Jarvic cast Gentle Repose upon both of them in the hopes that they could come back and recover the bodies to revive later with more puissant magic.
Sobered by the loss of their new companion and Fonkin’s cousin, the party continued to onward to the next room – which seemed to be the final resting place of the Forgotten King. It was a large, square room, with fountains that poured out of each cardinal direction, the water running through carved channels in the floor to empty into a large well in the center of the room. Across from entrance, a figure sat on a throne, flanked by the bodies of warriors along the wall – with another figure sitting at the it’s feet.
There was no sign of the tomb-robbers, nor any sign of another exit.
Carefully, the party made it’s way across the chamber skirting the wall and focused on the figure on the throne – though some could faintly hear the sound of picks or stone breaking emanating from the well. Upon drawing close to the throne, the figure spoke, inquiring as to if it was time for the Forgotten King to return? If the Age of Worms was upon the world? The beautiful woman at the figure’s feet nodded along, smiling at the party. Confused, but curious and not wishing to give offense, the party tried to understand where the tomb-robbers had gone, while the figure on the throne continued to inquire as to why the party was there.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Jarvic struck out – sensing that something was wrong – much to horror of the rest of the party. Roaring up in rage, the figure revealed itself to be hideous, fused to it’s armor, with crazed and lidless eyes gleaming forth from beneath it’s helm. The beautiful woman became a bloated, stumbling corpse, and the bodyguards were equally repulsive, eyes burning with hate and resentment. As one, they advanced upon and engaged the party in combat.
The fight was short, brutal, and devastating – though no more members of the party were slain. The Betrayer was able to turn Dhagri against the party for much of the fight, Fonkin and Ta’sara found much of their magic was useless against the undead, the hideous consort exploded causing much damage, and Devon and Rhys were barely able to take down the Betrayer at the very last. Drained by the fight, wary of the magic of the tomb after such a battle, Rhys used a hoarded piece of magic and dropped a globe from a Necklace of Missiles down the well to take of what they were certain was the tomb-robbers rather than try to figure out how to get the party down without being picked off one by one.
When no more noise was forthcoming, the party eventually investigated – finding the charred bodies of a human and a khazan, a series of broken sarcophagi, and a still-active leygate in the corner. As they decided what to do, knowing that they needed to decide soon if they chose to go through the leygate (because they did not know how long it would last), Devon was granted yet another spiritual visitation!
The spirit of the Forgotten King rose up, explained that the tomb-robbers had taken not only the equipment of his companions and champions, but his own bones well! Charging Devon with returning his bones and stopping the Vangard the king reached down into the stone underneath his tomb and drew forth an adamant longsword scribed in Aleph with the name Merthuvial, or “Kingmaker” and handed it to the surprised noble.
With this, as well as the realization that they didn’t know how to return the way that they had come, the party gathered up what loot they could, the bodies of their companions, and passed through the leygate – hoping that it wasn’t leading to a murder room in the fortress of the Vanguard…
- So, this marked the end of the Barrow of the Forgotten King. It was a decent enough module, through it was far too linear and tried much to hard to be clever. This last session was almost entirely rewritten though I kept the monsters from the module I staged them differently and come up with an entirely new map.
- My apologies for taking so long to post this, it’s been a busy few weeks – in all I think it has given me a better pace of prepping for the next stage of the campaign. I’m still running the group through the Age of Worms, but I’m tweaking it significantly to fit my campaign world as well as the 5E engine.
- The angel replaced an utterly and ridiculously out of place fossergrim from the module, though it’s spring was kept “in spirit” with the fountain and wells in the Betrayer’s chamber. It was used to what I think was much better practical and dramatic effect. It certainly worked better for my game at least and fits the narrative about a million times better.
- From here I’m proceeding to The Sinister Spire, though I’m changing it significantly to better fit my campaign setting. One of the things I like about is that it seems much more role-playing and much less combat oriented. This module turned into a bit of a slog because of the linear nature of the single-path tomb-complex.
- This module trio was written, to the best of my understanding, to introduce Legacy weapons to 3.5E. I certainly like the idea of magical items that get better as the character levels up, but the feat investment is way out of place in 5E. I’ll write up my version of Merthuvial in a couple of days, and it is pretty much spot on. It also included a single piece of a magic item set, the Vestments of Divinity, I’ll include my 5E interpretation of that as well.