Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Session 8: Into the Barrowmaze

I've been remiss in keeping up with session reports; I'm already two behind, with another session this evening, so I'd best get a quick summary posted before I forget too many details.

Recently returned to Catapesh, the survivors of Black Goat Wood made the acquaintance of a thief who had obtained a map that revealed an entrance to the catacombs beneath the necropolis.  Pooling their resources, they hired a couple of crossbowmen from the Armsmen's Guild, purchased crowbars and sledge-hammers, then followed the map to a long-abandoned crypt where they found a rope descending from a block-and-tackle into a hole in the crypt's floor.

After first dropping a torch down the hole to illuminate the chamber below, the party descended the rope one by one, into a room whose walls were adorned with frescoes depicting an ancient Atlantean burial procession, and they soon became aware of a total, almost oppressive, silence in the catacombs.  They heard none of the familiar subterranean noises, such as dripping water, or chittering of rats.  Steeling themselves, the party carefully proceeded into the preternatural stillness beyond, while Balinor probed the floor ahead with his ten-foot pole.

This turned out to be a wise precaution because, as he probed the floor beyond the first doorway they came to, he triggered a pressure plate that caused a stone wall to descend from the ceiling, bisecting Balinor's ten-foot pole into a five-foot walking stick.  Had anyone passed through the doorway they would have been trapped in the chamber beyond.  After a quick return to Catapesh for a new ten-foot pole, the party continued their exploration, this time opting not to explore any doorways.  Instead they stuck to the corridors, and chose to spend their time mapping out the dungeon area to get a better feel for its layout before risking ingress into any more chambers.  Consequently the remainder of the session yielded little treasure - only a few hundred gold pieces gathered from some burial niches - and the party devoted themselves to exterminating vermin such as rats and stirges that occupied the catacombs, though they did encounter some zombies roaming the halls, and had a very tense encounter with a band of rival tomb-robbers who decided to eliminate their competition and help themselves to some pre-looted treasure.  Despite being outnumbered the party gave a good account of themselves, slaying several of the tomb-robbers, causing the rest to flee the dungeon.

After a fairly conservative evening of exploration, the players decided to call it a night and return to Catapesh  to spend their loot on a good carouse.  Ebbin furthered his reputation as a lucky gambler, winning big at the gaming tables and increasing his stake.


Tom said...

Nice to read your adventure log about the Barrowmaze and how that compares to the group Im running through that just entered. I posted my adventure log on my blog. Needless to say, they didnt enjoy their first go of the Barrowmoor....

Sean Robson said...

Hi Tom, I read your session report and the player's feedback; it is a pretty big adjustment for many people when they play an old-school style game like this for the first time, especially if they are used to newer games like 3E/4E/Pathfinder. The biggest shock is that old school campaigns challenge the players instead of the characters and the learning curve can be very steep. Players who think with their swords tend to die quickly, then complain that the scenario was too hard. But stick with it and the players will learn the ins and outs of old-school play. Who knows? They might even come to love it!

kiltedyaksman said...

Yeah, one of my guys had his fighter cut off there - and he lived to tell the tale! lol

Dan/Baromir said...

Hehe, I've been making good use of those ten foot poles!

burnedfx said...

I read over that section each time we played, so I could run the closing door smoothly. As you know, it's right there in the beginning.

The Delvers passed that passage several times before they decided to finally check it out.

They even managed to save their pole with a Dex check, which was like them rubbing it in my face.

@Tom: I looked over your posts too. It looks like Greg jumped in there with some good advice.

I would add that it might not be their style of game.

I admit to chuckling at the complaints about micromanaging torches, yet clamoring for individual initiative. Heh.

And for that player who wanted to focus on "the story," well the title of that story was "Greenhorns versus Green Frogs." The story is right there! ;]

@Sean: I didn't mean to derail the comments, but Tom doesn't allow anon comments.

Tom said...



Yes there has been quite a bit of banter back and forth between me and the players. They think I need to take their issues to heart ( or they may bail- which sucks because I cant seem to find anyone locally who will play anything other than Pathfinder or 4th edition). I am working on finding a common ground, but I think Greg and I see totally eye to eye- maybe because Im a DM.

@Sean- I hear what you are getting at with regard to 3rd edition players- well only myself and the Cleric play 3rd/pathfinder - and he isnt the one doing most of the complaining. Its they few players that never played beyond AD&D. Im not even sure I can blame it on computer/gamist mentality because I know a few of them dont play computer games at all either. I think what it comes down to is new people, new mode of play ( online), many havnt gamed in a very long time, and were all older and crochety so things frustrate people more now than they would otherwise

Thanks for the feedback, Please feel free to apply any feedback to my blog directly- in the hopes my players may see it and give it some thought

Tom said...

@ Greg

I left you a note on one of your sites about my contact info and maybe checking out one of your online games. I just got google+ but dont know how to work it just yet. Hit me back when you get a chance Id be interested in shooting you a character and playing a session.

Dan/Balinor said...

lol, I just noticed I renamed my character "Baromir" in my previous comment. Should have been Balinor of course.

Anyway I've really been enjoying exploring Barrowmaze. Nice to finally be above 1st level... :)

Sean Robson said...

Anyway I've really been enjoying exploring Barrowmaze. Nice to finally be above 1st level... :)

It hasn't claimed any lives yet, though. Greg, you need to amp up the lethality for BM II! :D

Dan said...

Ah but theres been a couple of encounters that could easily have ended very badly for us...and I have that slowly-expanding dead spot to worry about now too. :eek:

Alex said...

I think BM I is PLENTY lethal. that's first hand experience right there. yea it seems like most people manage to avoid that room with the sliding door... really should have seen it coming when I marched my fighter right in there haha.

Also your players seem to be good strategists. I never would have thought about navigating the corridors first... though it does leave them open to attacks from behind.

@Tom I think it would be awesome if you played with us! just be wary, Greg is fond of level draining characters with wights.

Tom said...

@ ALex

Yea I have been trying to get Greg to contact me to get in on a game. I downloaded Google+ but have yet to use it ( we use Skype in my online game).
Yea, level draining wights- isnt that what the Red Shirts are there to absorb? :)

mbeacom said...

This sounds amazing. I can't wait to try to run it for my group. Keep the updates on this section coming. :)

Sean Robson said...

Will do. I'm still two sessions behind, though!