The Dungeon of Graves - Session 6

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The Story So Far

October 10th 2021

  • Grudge, Fighter 2
  • Radish, Druid 1
  • Bogomir Gotfridovich, Dwarf 1
  • Ganon, Magic-User 1
  • Sorbus, Half-Elf 1
  • Kip Kilgaughan, Halfling 1
  • Naemo Scales,  Outlaw 0, Retainer
  • Pumba, Young Boar, Pet

It was 27th of Figver, year 789 CL. 10th day since Grudge and various other adventurers started exploring the area around the Zelkor's Ferry. After a day of recuperation following their night raid on Castle Calaelen, they party has awoken to a sunny day with clear weather. Only thing ruining their breakfast was loud complaining of Gaebriel, the elven adventurer, about the quality of their porridge. Odo, the barkeep, was nowhere to be seen and as such Gumbel, the cook, had to bear the brunt of the Gaebriel's derision.

As they found out, Odo was handling a bit of an situation. Duke's men doubled down on hunting outlaws in the easternmost parts of the coast, closer to the Coast Road. Some of the outlaws managed to flee westwards and a group of them arrived at Zelkor's Ferry. Odo allowed them to stay for now and oversaw them setting a small tent camp for themselves. Party hired on one of the newly arrived outlaws, certain Naemo Scales, tall mohawk sporting man.

Their order of distilled acid being ready, party bought 4 flasks from the Old Ulman. Grudge and Radish split the cost as the most senior adventurers in the party. They were ready to tackle the iron construct guardians barring the way to the second level of the Mouth of Doom.

Before they headed out Sorbus managed to greatly upsell his old leather armour, convincing Rasmus it's a masterwork elven armour. Paying handful of gold pieces on top, he managed to trade it for a suit of plate armour.

Trip to the dungeon was uneventful. As the party descended into the entrance room with six doors, Grudge and Radish agreed the path through the southwestern door is shortest to the iron cobra guardians. As Grudge and Sorbus entered the alcove in front of the door, the flagstone floor gave way beneath their feet. Sorbus managed to jump back just in time, no doubt thanks to his elven reflexes. Grudge clattered down 10', landing on a pile of stone debris. Thankfully the fall wasn't fatal for an experienced adventurer such as himself. As he was getting up to his feet, Grudge saw a faint outline of a door on the western wall of the pit.

Party threw down a rope and Kip climbed down to carefully listen at the stone door. There was nothing but silence. In the meantime, Bogomir went around the room, checking the other alcoves for similar pit traps. And he found one, in the northeastern alcove. Judging by the sediment deposits at the edges of the pit, it was at least couple centuries old, so not a new addition to this room.

Stone door in the southwestern pit led them into a very narrow tunnel zigzagging south then west again. After some careful scouting, they discovered it ends in a wooden staircase. Party carefully poked every step. They found nothing, after they pried one of the squeaky steps but at least replaced it in such a way it didn't make much noise.

Coming back up from the narrow tunnel, they followed a wider corridor leading north. Coming up to an alcove, they found out it was likewise trapped. A seemingly recurring theme in this dungeon. Radish used several ten foot poles to create an improvised platform spanning the pit. Bogomir stepped on it and checked for secret doors on the far wall but found nothing.

Moving further north, the party came upon a short dead end corridor splitting off the the east. They checked for traps and secret doors but all seemed mundane. Kip however could hear voices coming from the other side of the wall. Speaking in halfling no less. He could overhear only some words but he got the gist that they were talking about exploring the dungeon and that they were looking for some altar.

Not being able to get through the wall, they continued northward. Soon the corridor turned east and started  zigzagging south and north. This continued for over a hundred feet before the party started checking their maps and concluded they're way of the mark and need to backtrack if they want to get to the iron cobras at all. So they backtracked all the way to the entrance room and from there went through the northwestern door.

They stopped after a short while and discussed leaving a message for the halflings they heard from the other part of the dungeon. As they were writing it, they heard sounds of bowstrings being drawn and saw shadowy figures of several haflings aiming their bows at them. After a bit of a tense standoff, Sorbus' natural charisma and sharing the location of the altar the party has found in one of their previous expeditions improved the relations between the two groups a little bit. After some introductions and small talk, the hafling adventuring party was happy for everyone to go their own way.

Now being in the familiar part of the dungeon, the player party headed westwards. Beyond a closed door they heard faint buzzing and shouts and grumbling in a language they didn't not recognise. Kicking the door down, they saw a group of albino monkey-folk trying to smoke out a wasp nest. Having the advantage of surprise party made a short work of them. Near their backpacks and ratty bedrolls, the party has found a marble bust of a noble woman, wrapped in linens. No doubt of some value.

As they were prying open last few stuck doors between them and stairs to the second level, they were stopped by a commandeering voice coming from behind them. A man dressed in black robes, flanked by a zombie and a skeleton, demanded to know what they're doing down here. In his hand he was holding a metal rod. Party attempted to bluff and pass as fellow worshippers of orcus but the man started speaking in what they presumed was the cant of worshippers of chaos. Since the jig was up both parties attacked.

Player party seized the initiative but couldn't cut through the necromancer's undead servants fast enough. He finished casting his spell and the whole party felt a weight of supernatural drowsiness wash over them. When they woke up, they were lying on the ground held down by shadowy arms coming from the ground. Rod in the necromancers hand was exuding similar shadowy wisps. He introduced himself as Nerael of the Grey Ashes and gave the characters an ultimatum. Pledge their allegiance to Orcus and take up his mark or perish.

After some pleading and deliberating, they manged to convince Nerael they would be more useful as spies, if they were not marked. Nerael relented and said they may choose three amongst themselves who'll take the mark. In the end Sorbus, Bogomir and Ganon agreed. Nerael touch the end of the rod to their forearms and a black tattoo-like mark in the shape of skull appeared there. For a moment their minds were filled with the presence of Orcus and they were promised great power should they server faithfully.

Pleased with the outcome Nerael departed, leaving the party to their own devices. Since we were going overtime already, we quickly wrapped up with party making their way back to Zelkor's Ferry.

Treasure acquired: marble bust (80gp)
Monsters defeated/dealt with: 4 monkey-folk
Deaths: none

DM Thoughts

I think this session went about as well as it could.

Despite this being their fourth expedition into the dungeon (for Grudge at least), the players are still little confused about which door is which in the entrance room. Bless their little hearts.

They were similarly little confused after the secret tunnel didn't take they where they expected.

By charging the monkey-folk while they were still surprised, they "wasted" a perfectly fine 12 on a reaction check. Well they had no way of knowing that, since they chopped the monkey folk to pieces before they could react properly. Such is the price of aggressive approach.

Mark of Orcus cursed affected character with having their alignment forcefully shifted to Chaotic. I think some players saw it as an opportunity to gain more power (or are at least role playing it as such) but some certainly want to look into some options on how to remove curses.

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