Session 14: Kardak’s Tomb
Players: Lakima (Magic-user), Eathwund (Fighter), Stjarnhvitr (Thief), Daen (Dwarf Fighter NPC).
The players awaken in their home the day before the Harvest Festival in Edgerton. With no plans for the day, Lakima, Eathwund, and Daen head over to the Church of St. Cuthbert to visit their adventuring companion Marta. They found that the Church is a hive of activity with preparations for the Harvest Festival procession. They are directed to Marta who is in bed and looks quite ill. They are told that he has been stricken with Lycanthropy. They ask about a cure or divine intervention. The latter Abbot is working on. (Note: the player for Marta was with us from Session Zero but disappeared a few adventures ago.)
They head back to their Shoppe in a more somber mood. The Town square is being laid out with reviewing stands and a layer of dirt for the games. Lakima goes to the Alayna's alchemist shop asks her about a cure for lycanthropy. She promises to do some research and consult with some of her mentors.
While relaxing they hear a commotion outside and see a fight has broken out between men wearing the badges of the Radu family and men wearing Longbardi. The Town Guard is nowhere in sight. Local shopkeepers move their wares inside to avoid damage. They watch for a while until they see one older man gets tripped to the ground and repeatedly kicked. Lakima decides he has seen enough and casts a Sleep spell putting the entire crowd to sleep. The Town Guards immediately appear, thank them for their help, and beginning dragging away the combatants.
Lakima invites the old man who they rescued into the shop to recover. The man introduces himself as Stjarnhvitr. Lakima and Eathwund struggle with pronouncing the man’s name. Stjarnhvitr tells them it roughly means "Star White" in his language. So they settle on calling him, Starry.
Lakima and Eathwund tell Starry about some of their adventures. Starry tells them he is also a long time adventurer. The Adventurers look at him somewhat skeptically. But when Starry indicates he is a specialist at delicate tasks they take an immediate interest. Lakima has been determined to get a good rogue in the party. A messenger knocks at the door and drops off a message asking them to come to the apothecary immediately.
Lakima, Eathwund, Starry, and Daen head across town to the Apothecary (Malyn’s Magic shop) and find it locked with a closed sign on the door. They knock and are let in a minute later by a Malyn who appears injured and who has aged 20 years since they last saw him just two days earlier. He thanks them for coming and asks them into the back room of the shop. He leads them into an old abandoned temple that backs onto the shop. He points out an unexpected visitor he just had, a skeleton lies sprawled on the floor of the church. Malyn tells them he is the custodian of the old temple and that there is a crypt below that was used to bury many members of the church. Many of these former members were powerful mages. Precautions were taken when they were buried to prevent them from being raised as undead. The more powerful individuals being buried wearing a gold death mask called the Mask of Peaceful Repose. Malyn tells them that the skeleton he fought was that of Kardak who should be interred below. He asks them to find the tomb of Kardak and search it for clues. Malyn tells them he will follow their progress with a Wizard Eye spell.
They do ask Malyn some questions about the crypts and he is evasive. He claims to have been in the Crypts but tells them his memory is not what it used to be. He gives Lakima a key to the gates that lead into the crypts from the Temple cellar. For their investigation, Malyn agrees he will pay them 1,000 gold coins.
The four adventurers enter the cellar and locate the entrance to the catacombs. The gates open easily but the area beyond looks like it has been undisturbed for a very long time. As they descend steps into the first chamber, flames spring to life in wall-mounted braziers illuminating the room. At the edge of the light, they see the unmistakable form of a grey ooze advancing toward them. They throw some fire at the ooze to keep it at bay. They head south and find the first few stone coffin tombs. One of the tombs is open and inscribed with “Wormrick, faithful servant.” At a distance, they spot a gelatinous cube but it is moving away from them. The heroes carefully follow the cube down a corridor that is headed west. They come to a curved passage with a large number of sarcophagi standing upward. A quick examination of the names reveals that Kardak’s is not here.
As they move further west they come to a chamber with four stone coffins. One coffin is open and a ghoulish figure is leaning into the coffin. The figure hears them and turns, it says “So, you would disturb old Wormrick”. They realize it is a ghast a more intelligent version of a ghoul. As the ghast moves to attack, Daen and Eathwund are affected but they sickening smell it exudes. But they manage to hit it with their weapons. The ghast strikes Daen severely but he manages to fight off the paralysis that ghouls can inflict. After a brief fight, they put it to rest. Lakima hands Daen a healing potion.
They continue west and find a single sarcophagus with the name Corpsemaker on it and several death dates. The sarcophagus is wrapped in chains and something thumps against the lid repeatedly from inside the coffin. Lakima takes some time to search for secret doors but finds none. Guarding the rear of the group, Starry notes that the grey ooze is following them.
They turn and head north and encounter an enormous 20-foot long snake, Eathwund is struck but the poison is not injected into his body. Eathwund and Daen strike the snake and Daen chops off its head. After the fight, Lakima gives a potion of healing to Eathwund. From this round chamber, there is a narrow passage leading east to a room that looks undisturbed for a hundred years. Starry is persuaded by his new friends to venture into the passage to the room. He finds a room with a checkerboard floor in alternating blue and grey flagstones. Starry borrows Eathwund’s polearm and uses it to test the floor. Finding the grey stones safe he skips across the floor to a pair of upright sarcophagi.
|The Flagstone Golem attacks|
Meanwhile, the grey ooze approaches the other three adventurers waiting down the passage. Again they ward it off with fire. Eathwund and Daen drive the ooze south down the passage. Starry finds iron rods on the two sarcophagi that can turn. He twists each about a quarter turn and all of them hear a rumbling noise directly to the east.
Starry rejoins the other three and they drive the ooze south until it climbs up the wall and moves onto the ceiling over their heads. They struggle to drive it further away but eventually with torches held high they drive it south. Eathwund uses a torch to finally kill it.
The group now retraces their steps east cautious of encountering the gelatinous cube again. They head north and find another lit room. In this room they see a human thief trying to pry open a stone coffin that has a brass lid. They surprise the man and interrogate him. The man claims to be Tamil Tarkon, a thief who came to put an old partner to rest. He claims his partner died recently and was interned here. He has since risen as a ghost. The story is greeted with skepticism from everyone, especially Starry. A short distance from the chamber they find the now open secret door. They ask Tamil to scout ahead and he takes off on a run. They follow Tamil into a chamber with an open stone coffin. Tamil reaches into the coffin and pulls out a parchment and threatens to burn it. Lakima walks up to Tamil and snatches the parchment from his hands. It is a cryptic note. The stone coffin is inscribed Kardak the Cruel. The note reads:
I can reach out and find you anywhere. There is nowhere to hide. Take Kardak’s visit as a warning.
Bring the Black Ring to the Standing Stones or damned servitude awaits.
It is signed with the sigil of a mage.
Feeling they have fulfilled their mission, the heroes decide to leave. But one more challenge awaits. As they step down the corridor a Golem made up of the very flagstones of the floor rises up and attacks them. Both Daen and Eathwund who are in the front of the group, are struck solidly by the creature's stone fists. At this moment Tamil draws his dagger and tries to stabs Eathwund in the back. But the surprise blow bounces off Eathwund's armor. A tightly packed melee occurs. Tamil proves deft at avoiding attacks and Lakima resorts to using up 2 charges of his Wand of Magic Missiles and he casts Mirror Image. But it is Starry who finally kills Tamil using a borrowed polearm like a club. Meanwhile, Daen has been keeping the golem at bay while Eathwund had turned to attack Tamil. With Eathwund now back in the fight against the Golem they manage to defeat it.
Back upstairs they meet with Malyn and brief him on what they saw and heard. Malyn could see what was happening but not hear it. To no one's surprise he admits that he is the holder of the Black Ring.and he knows the person who uses the sigil they found. He ponders these facts and tells them he must think on this. They get paid and say goodnight.