Session 25

After the worgs disappeared back to the ruined keep, the party broke camp and decided to simply skirt around the ruins on their way to the tomb of the Lord Inquisitor. They hiked a couple of miles and camped for the remainder of the night, then travelled through the surrounding hills, avoiding the ruins, and made their way back to the river and the crumbling Wall that crossed it. Remembering the griffon they encountered last time they passed this way (venturing to the Old Watchtower) they kept an eye out as they climbed over the wall (after hauling their mule up) and with their weapons ready they crossed the river, and continued on their way. They did spot the griffon, but it avoided them, perhaps remembering the sting of their arrows from last time.

A week later, since they left Gallow’s Hill they came across the tomb they were looking for, partly thanks to the directions they were given and what ancient history Magnus recalled. The tomb jutted out of the sloping side of the mountains, hidden by trees and bushes, crumbling pillars festooned with vines. An archway led into a chamber where a pair of statues stood before a large stone door. They made camp, and in the morning carefully approached the entrance.

The statues were of a lordly figure (which Magnus recognised as the Lord Inquisitor from the history books) and his wife. The lord was dressed in scale armour and wielded a large sword, his wife in flowered dress and a mask. The door had the words “Hail Friend and Welcome” above, and runes to either side: the numbers 1 to 9 on the left, and 10 to 18 on the right. Callum decided to simply try the door, after Magnus sensed strong magic from the stone. He got a shock, literally, as lightning erupted from the doorway and arced over the entry hall, zapping Callum, Jacob and Alf. No one collapsed, but all were a bit frazzled. They backed away, tending to their wounds as best they could, while they tried to figure out how to open the door. Magnus realised that the runes matched letters (A was 1, B was 2 and so on) and concluded that if they traced ‘Hail Friend’ the door should open. Again, Callum volunteered to give it a go: he traced the runes and when the door didn’t swing open, he gave it a good push: and got zapped again, although thankfully he weathered it well and didn’t immediately fall over.

“Maybe it’s just friend,” said Magnus. They sent Old Man Willow in to try it out: and, thankfully, it worked! As soon as the runes were traced the door swung open, revealing a short corridor and stairs leading down. From below they saw flashes of blue-white light, accompanied by a crackling sound, very much like the one that they all heard when Callum got zapped. They descended the stairs, and found a large chamber of copper-bound pillars, with lightning arcing between sets of five every few seconds, seemingly at random. In between the flashes they could make out a hall leading off on the opposite side, and a smaller doorway or passage to the left, in the middle of the wall.

Callum secured the mule outside, carried their supplies inside the doorway and jammed the door open using stones and rocks from outside. Then they assembled along the edge of the chamber, hair standing on end as the lightning played between the pillars. Magnus volunteered to cross, and step-by-step he hurried across the left-end wall, reaching the small passage without being zapped. Inside was a shrine, with a statue of an old hag, a plain and dusty altar, and murals showing different aspects of the Lord Inquisitor and his wife. Nothing else appeared of interest, so he carried on crossing, and reached the hall opposite without incident. That was a mirror of the entry hall, with two more statues, their positions switched, and another door that he sensed strong magic within. More words and runes: “The Enemies of my Enemy“, and the numbers 1 to 10 to the left, 11 to 20 on the right. He called out to the others that it was safe, and one-by-one they crossed safely over, although a few times the lightning was close enough to singe their eyebrows.

Whilst everyone else hung back, Magnus traced the runes to spell ‘Friends‘ and tried the door, getting zapped, quite painfully. Willow tried next, tracing just ‘friend‘, but he also got zapped. Everyone but Ratkin was feeling frazzled, and Willow was barely standing. Ratkin suggested that maybe it was another word that meant ‘friends’ and they figured out that it was Allies. Alf stepped up and traced the runes, and the door opened!

Almost immediately afterwards, as they prepared to enter the corridor behind the door, they heard a series of clunks, heavy stone striking stone. Then, from alcoves along the walls, shambling into the shadows cast by the flashes of lightning, three mummified lords stepped forward. One of them spotted the party, and in an older but recognisable speech, called out to the mummy at the back: “Inform the Lord, we have intruders!” Then the other two advanced on the party, moving quickly for a walking, mummified corpse.

Alf stepped back and quaffed one of the Red Haze potions, and was filled with a rage that propelled him forward to attack one of the mummies; the other managed to slip back, freezing Ratkin and Jacob with fear, and reached out to grasp Magnus: its touch was painful, burning, but the mage struggled free from its grip and cast his Evade the Dead spell and vanished from the sight and minds of the mummies. He followed that with a mystic shield as Alf and his opponent exchanged blows…

End of Session

Stopped as the battle began, since we ran out of time. We often end on a cliff-hanger. Works well for us, most of the time. Ratkin gave them a GM hint, as they were over-thinking the second door, and maybe it was not clear enough. I’d change that if I ran it again.