THE CATACOMBS OF UMBRA
John was unable to attend last night’s session so there was a quick interlude as Sergeant Dobrescu led the rest of the party into the the catacombs beneath the fortress of Ochi Vanat.
Stretching for miles in subterranean darkness, the catacombs are believed to pre-date the fortress by a 1,000 years. No one knows who constructed them or how far they go; they have never been fully explored. Many however have risked its dangers to returned with treasure and artifacts. Others have ventured in and have never been heard from again.
“Why in the Seven Hells are we going down there, then?” the party asked.
“Because you lot need better armor and to learn to work together. It won’t be easy but any gear we find down there will be ten times better than what the quartermaster can scrounge up. Even what we can’t use will fetch a good price in town. So grab a torch and get moving.”
“Besides, Other Pat has to work out the bugs in his new character, (Staff Mage)” the Sergeant muttered as they descended. “Maybe then he won’t end up like the last one.”
Torches flickering, lamps casting a wane glow in the gloom, the party goes down a hall to an intersection to find a large room on the right and a passage on the left.
“Hey! What’s in here?” the Woodsman asks. “Shiny stuff and maybe something sharp!” he says, and charges in without a backward glance.”
“What did I just say about working together?” the Sergeant sighs.
The Woodsman didn’t hear him however, as he was set upon by four skeletal tomb guardians the moment he reached the center of the room.
A short, sharp fight ensues. Individually, skeletons are not formidable, but at 4:1, they can do real damage. The Woodsman is falls to the guardians’ ancient, rusty blades.
“We better go help him…”
His comrades come to his aide. The revive him after they finish searching the room for loot and find a few useful items.
“Nah, there’s nothing here,” the Dwarf Cleric declares to the groggy Woodsman.
“Unh, OK, but where’d you get that nice suit of armor?”
The Dwarf claps his hands and pretends he didn’t hear him. “Well lads, what do you say we check out where that the other passage leads, eh?”
To another room with even more tomb guardians, is where.
A second brief but nasty brawl breaks out. Several party members are wounded but the skeletons are shattered by repeated blows. They clatter into piles of age-gnawed bones and moldering rags.
A quick search reveals more useful kit, a few pieces of silver. And a locked door.
The Woodsman has a idea. “Hey! I’ll hit it with my hammer…”
The burly barbarian delivers a mighty blow to the door. It shudders in its socket but the surface ignites in coruscating blue light. The Woodsman staggers as half the damage is reflected back to him.
Injured, he’s thoroughly perplexed. “What is this new devilry?” But rather than stop and ponder, he hits it again. Harder.
He sags to one knee, nearly unconscious.
“One more should do it,” the Dwarf comments dryly.
“Maybe we need a key,” the Staff Mage says.
“What…. makes… you say… that?” pants the Woodsman.
The Staff Mage points below the door knob. “That lock.”
“Look! There’s a library,” says the Goblin, deftly changing the subject.
And so the party continues, entering what looks to be an ancient Library. Shelves line the walls filled with musty tomes and faded scrolls.
As they peer at the shelves, a Barrow Wight emerges from the shadows on the far side of the room.
“Ooooh… ” the Staff Mage says. “I’ve got a couple books waaaay overdue. I’ll ask him about my late fees.”
The Barrow Wight surges forward to slash at the Staff Mage. The fight is on.
Once again, the party moved in and finished off the Barrow Wight in a coordinated attack. The room cleared, the Search began.
“Now you’re getting the hang of this,” the Sergeant crowed.
The hour was getting late so we paused the action there. We’ll pick up again next week and finish exploring the second half of this section. More treasure and enemies wait in the shadows. Perhaps the Witch Hunter will see fit to join us.
Maybe they’ll find a key.