front cover of the RPG adventure The Curse of Ravenmere

Double report today, as I didn’t have time to throw up a report of the game. This covers parts 2 and 3 of the Curse of Ravenmere sessions, ending in the removal of the curse and a close-call that was but a throw away from a TPK.

Part 2

In the morning, the tension between the party members was still strong. Alf, Callum and Magnus, together with Horace and Jacob headed back to the village, leaving Old Man Willow looking after their trussed up and now silent blacksmith. The five adventurers made their way to the well first, watched by the ever-present ravens (over a dozen now, all watching from the surrounding rooftops). Alf was lowered down, so that he could see what was there: a rusty iron door on the other side of a cold underwater stream that served as the source of the well’s water.

As he started back up, the ravens suddenly took flight and swarmed towards the party, cawing loudly. They swooped down, pecking and clawing, before Magnus incinerated most of them with a timely burning hands spell. The few remaining ravens screeched away and returned to the rooftops. Leaving the well for now, they headed to the hole in the small lake. Tying a rope around a steel rod looted from the smithy, they descended into what turned out to be a barrow.

The barrow spiralled down, alcoves on every turn, where a stone table lay, a skeletal figure in ancient chain and holding an ancient rusty sword, and smaller alcoves where offerings or funeral gifts had been laid. They left the corpses alone, and followed the narrow, limestone tunnel to its end: a larger barrow tomb, where a skeletal figure lay on a black marble table, its hands clenched as if once holding some long item, such as a two-handed sword or perhaps a spear.

They returned to the surface, not wanting to disturb anything. As they climbed out, they heard a scream from where Old Man Willow and the smith had camped. They went to investigate and found that the smith was dead, Old Man Willow having ‘executed’ him for ‘justice’. Completely out of character for the older man.

As they decide what to do next, Jacob still bickering, Magnus hearing the cawing of ravens everywhere, and Horace jumping at his own shadow, Magnus went into the church to see if there were any papers they missed, and found the church book of rituals, which he stole.

Back outside, they decided to investigate the well. One-by-one they climbed down, and forced the rusty door open. Water flooded a small chamber, the floor littered with bones. A series of steps led up on the other side to another door. They entered the room, wading through the waist-deep water. Jacob hung back by the door, leading to Alf accusing him of wanting to shut them in. Jacob snarled, not happy with being accused. Magnus climbed the steps and pushed open the door…

Part 3

…and a foul wind blew out their lantern, plunging the room into near-darkness, the only light from the sunlight filtering down the well. At the same time, Jacob tried to shut the door, and the bones in the water assembled themselves into skeletons that rose up to attack!

The battle was short but frantic. Callum found himself fighting off a skeleton that was trying to drag him underwater, while Jacob managed to slam the door shut, but failed to hold it when Alf and Callum forced it open. Magnus proved quite capable of destroying skeletons, whacking their skulls with his staff, after he illuminated the room with his mage light. He did, however, find his mage armour evaporating as the skeletons struck him with their cold, skeletal claws.

As Alf and Callum forced the door open, they confronted Jacob and after a brief exchange of blows, ordered him to leave. He did so, taking Horace with him. The others opened the inner door and found another tomb, rusty strongboxes and chests filled with minor treasures that they looted. A corpse, desiccated and probably a thief judging by the tools in his belt, his neck broken, was curled up in a corner. A plain sarcophagus stood at the back. Prising off the lid they discovered it was empty, but with scratches on the inside of the lid. There was nothing else, so they climbed back out and decided to return to the barrow, intending to put the spear that they found in the church back into the hands of the corpse in the end room.

Back down the spiral they went, scattering the bones of the dead as they went, until they reached the final room. Positioning themselves around the room in case of a fight, which they presumed would happen when they returned the spear, they placed the spear into the corpse’s hands: it came to life, a red light flickering in its cold dead eyes. It declared itself chief of this land and demanded they knelt and paid fealty to it: they refused and battle was joined; with included a dozen skeletons that had reformed from the scattered bones and marched down the spiral to defend their chieftain.

This battle was a close one, with Old Man Willow falling to the swords of the skeletons within seconds of their assault. Callum too fell, taken out by the chieftain, and both Alf and Magnus were beaten back, almost knocked down too. But they prevailed, and Magnus took out the chieftain with an arrow; as soon as it fell, the skeletons collapsed.

They tended to the wounded and carried them outside. They camped on the outskirts of the village, and in the morning, once the unconscious men were awake, found Jacob and Horace returning, apologetic and back to their normal selves. The curse seemed to have been lifted.

With his new spear (looted from the chieftain’s corpse once it had been destroyed), Alf led the others to burn the dead, and they returned to their home of Gallows Hill and told the elders and local priest what had happened. They then rested.

End of Sessions

Note: Callum and Alf both advanced to Level 2.