Worn out and slightly hung-over from a lengthy carouse in Catapesh, the party was nonetheless eager to return to the catacombs beneath the necropolis to wrest even greater treasures from the cold, grasping hands of the dead. They chose to explore the southwest quadrant of the dungeon, beginning with a trio of crypts just south of the dungeon's main entry chamber.
The crypts contained giant rats and skeletons that needed to be put down before looting the grave goods, which included a mysterious runic tablet. From there they had begun to head south down a corridor when Balinor discovered a spike-filled pit trap with his ten-foot pole. The trap extended from wall to wall with no ledge to safely walk around, and none of the characters wished to try jumping across it, so the party elected, instead, to abandon this part of the dungeon for now and explore some rooms they had previously bypassed, including a bricked-up doorway.
Soon, the preternatural silence of the catacombs was disturbed by the sound of sledgehammer on stone as the party attempted to smash down the bricked-up wall and discover what lay beyond. Fearing that the noise would attract attention, the party posted their crossbowmen as lookouts while the characters were preoccupied with hammering. Sure enough, the sentries reported flickering torchlight approaching and soon after a band of tomb robbers showed up, drawn by the sound of the hammering. An uneasy standoff resulted as each side contemplated whether it would be easier to fight their rivals for pre-looted grave goods rather than having to confront the undead for them. The standoff was broken when the party thief told the newcomers that there was an unexplored section of dungeon to the southwest that they were free to investigate. He neglected, however, to mention the pit trap in the corridor. The party was very pleased with themselves as they imagined the rival band impaled on the spikes that lined the hidden pit. When the bricked up entrance was finally broken through, the party found a quartet of Shadows within.
From there, the party decided to explore to the east, and encountered a trio of Huecuva, one of which struck a telling blow upon Balinor, leaving a wound of blackened flesh. No sooner had the Huecuva been put down than four skeletons with glowing sapphires on their foreheads staggered down the corridor toward them. It became quickly apparent that these were no ordinary skeletons, for shortly after slaying one, it would rise again, whole, to fight once more. Finally, when one character was able to smash a sapphire, its glow faded and the skeleton did not rise again. Though they now knew the secret of how to defeat these sapphire skeletons, the party chose not to employ it, hoping, instead, to put all three remaining skeletons down, then smash their gems before they could rise again. This proved to be a futile tactic as they were not able to put all the skeletons down before the fallen ones rose. Finally, after a long battle that the party was slowly losing through attrition, they finally decided to aim their blows at the gems, instead, which ultimately proved successful.
Exhausted and bloodied, the party retired from the catacombs to the safety of Catapesh to rest and recuperate. While sniffing out rumours in the city, Brother Tohm, the monk, heard tell of a band of tomb raiders who had just come out of the necropolis with a trove of magical treasure, though they had lost one of their group to a pit trap. Incensed that this party of adventurers had the temerity to not only survive the pit trap, but to profit from their explorations, the PCs are now plotting to track down the rival band and steal their loot.
Meanwhile, Balinor discovered, to his alarm, that the patch of necrotic flesh surrounding the Huecuva wound was growing larger...
Welcome Back to the Labyrinth
"We have been away far too long, my friends," Ashoka declared, his face lit by the eldritch green glow of his staff. "But we have finally returned to the labyrinth whence our adventures first began."
"Just imagine the treasures that lie within," said Yun Tai, flexing his mighty muscles. "Wealth enough to live in luxury the rest of our days."
"And arcane artifacts of great power," added Ashoka his words dripping with avarice. "All ours for the taking!"
"Umm...guys?" Nysa interrupted. "Do you hear something dripping?"