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Sunday, April 22, 2012

ADVENTURES IN THE NORTHERN REACHES #5

Session #5 (4-21-12): Into The Barrowmoor
(or Greenhorns vs Greenfrogs)

The group met up at the Flaming Troll in Theshold and Myra told them about her experience with the Wizard of ID (Here) and her desire to explore the Barrowmaze. Orien agreed as he was frustrated with the Caves of Chaos. So the group gathered up their hirelings Bryrig and Wargrim the torch bearers, Galdreel the elf man at arms and Brother Cadfael hired another porter named Ardo and Myra hires on a fighting man named Thad. Off to Barrowcrest the group went.


They arrived in the village of Barrowcrest without incident a few days later and visited the Brazen Strumpet to get food, rest and information on the Barrowmoor. The group got some rumors here and there from the locals. Mostly that it was always a place to be avoided, but as of late the undead have been reported in the area with number, strange creatures have been sighted and adventure seekers have gone in seeking wealth and few if any return. Cadfael decides to hire on two more porters and the group also meets a halfling named Callam ( a player character), who says he has been to the barrows and would serve as a guide ( well he actually knows the area where they are but that's about  it).


The next day they spend the morning equipping themselves and their hirelings and make sure to buy a few sledge hammers and iron wedges as suggested by the merchant at the trade goods store. Brother Cadfael goes off to the local church of Mitra and awaits for the morning sermon to be over so he can speak the local priest, Father Malloray. He doesn't learn much from the priest other than what the locals  had been saying- the undead are rising once again, strange monsters in the area etc. Although the priest did inform Cadfael he thinks someone or something is behind this- a malevolent force or evil cult of some kind. He thinks anyone entering the Barrowmoor is crazy, but is definitely willing to support them if they are going to be wiping out undead and dealing with what is causing the recent activity in the area. He gives Brother Cadfael a vial of holy water.


The group heads out late morning, eleven in number, and heads south into the Barrowmoor. As they draw into the area, they notice how quiet the Barrowmoors are.  No sounds of animals or birds, the trees are all lifeless and thick with lichens and molds, the spongy wet earth stinks as they make their way across it. And everywhere there is a heavy fog so dense in some areas the group cannot see much beyond 30ft.

It is very late in the day, almost to dusk when the group is surprised by a group of giant frogs. They leap out from all directions. One attacks and kills the porter Norman who was taking up the rear of the party, and the others attacks Myra, Thad and the halfling Callam.  In the battle, Galdreel suffers a mortal wound and dies as well. Myra manages to get a sleep spell off and the creatures are dispatched. Four giant frogs dead, two  hirelings and no treasure- and the group has just gotten to the moors, not looking good.



There is some discussion as to what to do with the bodies and since Wargrim is the only one who has a shovel, they decide to all stand around and watch while he digs two shallow graves. This takes an hour, and as they are just about finished and laying their friends in their graves, two dark figures can be seen shambling toward the group from the heavy fog.

Although it is hard to see them clearly in the dense fog, Orien's bow and Myra's x bow take down the shambling figures and Myra and Thad go up to investigate while the  others hold back. What they come upon are the rotting remains of two undead- zombies most likely. No sooner do they take this all in, when the zombies jump up and attack. Overwhelmed by a compulsion of fear, Thad drops his battle axe and flees into the fog. Myra also flees back to the party as two undead make their way toward them.


The group sets to attacking the undead. Brother Cadfael tries to turn them but has no effect and he feels somehow distant from his divine connection with Hearn. One of the creatures gets its hands around Oriens neck and begins to squeeze the life out of him, but a few hits and both the creatures go down. As the party begins to pull out oil and get torches lit to burn the zombies, they jump up once again, seemingly unfazed by their recent injuries. This time their overwhelming fear causes Myra and the two porters Parwick and Ardo to flee into the darkening fog as well. One of the creatures gets its hands around Bryrig's throat and strangles him until his body goes limp, the other attacks the Brother Cadfeal who once again tries to turn them with no affect. Little Callam sneaks around from behind the creatures and surpises them with a solid back attack that should have killed the creatures but they seem unfazed. At this point Cadfael and Callam use their holy water  and flaming oil to injure the creatures and they go down for the third time. Immediately they set upon the fallen undead with oil and torches in the hopes of preventing them from rising again.


The remaining group of Orien, Cadfael, Callam and Wargrim bandage their wounds and hang out and wait for the group to return. The fog is denses and it is getting darker as night comes on and it is nearly an hour before Thad returns to the area- having fled and become lost. It occurred to the group ( via divine DM suggestion) that they should call out to their comrades since they would have little hope of finding them in the fog otherwise. So the group sets to shouting for Myra and the others. Myra, who has also been wandering aimlessly about the moors, hears the shouting in the distance and makes her way toward it.
Along the way she spotted a group of figures in the fog she thought was the party hanging out by a burial mound, but as she drew closer she realized with horror, they were in fact more rotting corpses. She quickly laid some gold as an offering to the spirits of the burial mound ( they were told in town the spirits could be appeased with gold), and she fled.

Unfortunately, the shouting eventually gets the attention of a group of zombies and once more they are fighting for their lives. Brother Cadfael tries to turn the zombies again and again but to no avail for Hearn hears him not deep in the Barrowmoor ( and every attempt he was at a -1 cumulative and he had already tried to turn the previous undead 3 times). The zombies bludgeoned Wargrim to death and the rest of the group fled away. Callam ran into some overgrowth and hid as the zombies shuffled past him toward the rest of the group. Cadfael and Thad tried to keep their distance, while Orien climbed up on some rocks to gain advantage with his bow and keep the zombies  at bay for a moment.


Brave Callam layed into the zombies from the rear with his sling and in an attempt to draw one off of Orien, but ended up drawing off three of the undead  who cornered him in a outcropping of rocks. Meanwhile the rest of the group fled and left their new halfling companion there to defend for himself. Callam fended for his life and managed to take out one of the zombies and severely injure another.
About this time Myra heard the battle and came upon the group, it was now dark  and the thick fog was shrouding even the moons  light and making it hard to see. Thad went off to help out the halfling and the other followed. Thad got two solid its and took out the rest of the zombies, while the last was lost somewhere in the fog.

The group were thoroughly wiped out and overwhelmed by the nasty encounters the Barrowmoor had just thrown at them. They bandaged wounds, gathered their dropped weapons, and the few fallen hirelings and fled. The other hirelings were clearly lost to the moor. They traveled all night to Barrowcrest and then delivered the bodies of Wargrim, Galdreel and Bryrig to the priest for proper burial. To their surprise, Bryrig was in fact not dead, but gravely wounded, his throat having been crushed when the undead creature strangled him. It will be a few months before he can adventure again, but at least he made it out alive. The group retired to the Brazen Strumpet and brooded over what to do next.....

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