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Monday, July 23, 2012

Rappan Athuk Castles & Crusades Campaign - 4

The fourth session had only one player able to show up, but we decided to trudge along anyhow.  I made the decision to give him a bit of a mini-adventure that I could tie to the goal of the entire group. Lucien got word that orcs had recently been seen west of the settlement, near an ancient graveyard, dating back to times in which a great empire, supposedly, ruled over the region.  This, of course was the opposite direction of the known location of Gritznak's hideout.  Lucien's interest was peaked, and as he could not find any of his companions (who were out looking for other clues at this time) he headed west himself.  

Lucien came upon the ancient graveyard and hid himself to wait and see where the orcs would come or go from.  After dark two orcs appeared, coming in from the moor.  Lucien watched them as they descended into an ancient crypt, waited for  a bit, and followed after.  He descended the stairs into a room covered in soot and followed the only exit into the hallway.  The assassin was so busy searching ever nook and cranny for traps that he missed one directly under his feat, and was slashed with scythe blades which sprung forth from both walls and the ceiling.  Cut and bruised, Lucien carried on down the hall.

Rounding a corner he came to a hall containing three paths.  He took the first of three, listened at a door and, hearing nothing, entered.  Within was naught but dust, cobwebs and debris.  There was a second exit from this room, before him stood a door.  He cautiously approached.  Lucien's keen elven sight allowed him to spot something that most men would have missed.  To his left the elf saw a tiny crevice in the wall that should not have been there.  He pried at it and discovered a small treasure hoard of silver.  Lucien took this treasure and proceeded to the door.

He opened the ancient door with a creak.  Peering in side his elf eyes caught a glimpse of six sarcophagi and lords from a time in antiquity when the empire of this now forgotten realm was vast.  He took a step into the dark and musty tomb and stopped, for his elf ears heard rattling coming from inside of the sarcophagi.  He picked up a fallen stone from the previous room and tossed it in. It hit the floor with a crack that echoed through the ancient hall like thunder.  Suddenly all six sarcophagi burst open and six skeletons of the former lords shambled toward Lucien.  He positioned himself in a small hallway between the rooms so that no more than one of the skeletons could reach him at once, reducing the effectiveness of their number.  Luck, as it would happen, was not on his side.  Lucien quickly dispatched one of the dead lords, but could not hit the second one (at this point the player was rolling consistently four or lower on the attack roll.)  This skeleton had greater fortune on it's side as it struck Lucien twice, knocking him unconscious and sending him to the ground.  The skeletons, being unintelligent animations, let him for dead and returned to their slumber.

Several days later Lucien awoke, snuck to the previous room, barred both doors, and for the remainder of a week, nursed himself back to health in the small hidden treasure room that he had discovered.  Lucien tried his  luck again, throwing a stone into the crypt.  The same occurred.  Lucien struck down two skeleton's before falling.  He again nursed himself back to health over the course of a week.  A third time he entered the room, and fell to the first skeleton he fought.  Time was getting to be an issue now.  He could not keep risking this, so he returned to Malforten and procured healing potions from the retired cleric, Griffy.  He then returned to the crypt and promptly dispatched the remaining skeletons.  Discovering nothing here, Lucien moved on.

He next went to the end of the hall, skipping over the central chamber, which was locked.  he overheard several voices within, speaking about keeping an eye on Gritznak and reporting to Tem.  Zanzer Tem was somehow involved in all of this!  The pair of orcs that he had originally witnessed enter the tomb (several weeks ago, and now had come and gone several times) now moved toward the door to leave the room.  As the knob turned he ducked down the nearest passage and kept out of their sight.  Being certain that he heard a voice that was not orcish within the chamber, he proceeded back to the door.  Within he found a priest beginning a perverse ritual at a black altar to a blacker god.  He recognized the idol upon the altar as Orcus, Demon Prince of Undeath, a god that Lucien's own God of the Dead had no love for.  The weapon of the priest was on the opposite side of the room, so Lucien took it upon himself to dispatch the vile cleric as quickly as possible.  Though a killer for hire, Lucien had a certain level of honor, and such dark practices as these could not be tolerated.  Lucien slew the cleric and destroyed the idol, then moved on.  He made his way to the central crypt, the Tomb of Sigyfyl.  He knew that if the cleric were able to animate skeletons from the corpses of the lesser lords, the man for whom the crypt was built must be something far worse at this moment.

Lucien picked the lock to the central camber.  He walked into the larder cold crypt and noted the large sarcophagus in the center of the room. Surrounding the room were statues of demonic beings.  Truly, the civilization that once inhabited this land was vile indeed!  Lucien, knowing that some undead creature was in the sarcophagus, but also knowing he could not let it "survive," gingerly pushed the lid open with his ten foot pole.  Immediately a foul rotting body sprang forth.  It was zombie-like, but moved much quicker.  Lucien suspected it to be a ghoul.  Already nearly ten feet from it, Lucien got the jump on the creature.  He ran back and fired upon it and again and again.  He was constantly ten feed ahead of it as the ghoul ran after him through the halls.  At last it caught up to him and swiped with it's claw-like hand.  It struck.  Lucien bled out, but was immune to it's paralyzing touch.  He dropped his crossbow and swung at the creature with a mace, crushing it's skull.  The undead thing lay at his feet, at rest once again.  He returned to the sarcophagus, knowing that rulers are often buried with their belongings and found a fist size gemstone.  Satisfied, the assassin departed for Malforten once again.  He had found a great treasure, destroyed the altar of an enemy of his Patron and learned that his mark was somehow involved in all of this.  Today had been a good day.