Decaying Lands 14: The Tower of Bremmlecht 03

PCs Present & Played:

Barthelm Schade, Specialist 4 (James)
Caleb, Fighter 2 [farmer kit] (Just Yolks)
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 4 (Vegas)
  Wiebke Bott, linklady from Bremmlecht
  Sandra Schöll, guard from Bremmlecht
Jewel, Really Good Dog 2 (Rudy)
  Buddy, ratter dog
  Grizzle / Shado, grizzled mongrel
  Wimpy / Cpt. Foofamaloo, escaped housedog
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 2 [bounty hunter kit] (Peanut Butter)

Full house tonight! Ended off last session with the party discovering a secret room in the corner of a room with a bunch of skeletons and spellbooks in footlockers. The door handle that opened the secret door was in the bottom of a screaming chest, in a false bottom. They opened the door and peered carefully inside. There was a luxurious rug; a desk and chair; and a basket with some tubes in the back.

Jewel picked Grizzle to go in. She definitely liked him the least but also happened to be his turn. They figured odds were high of awfulness. She told the mangy cur to enjoy himself and he did, rolling about and jumping up and down on the finely embroidered rug. It was really nice and looked like a ton of fun until he got closer to the chair. That's when they heard the snickt sound as a large metal spike shot thru the rug, into the dog, and right on out the top. He was transfixed, twitching in his death throes.

Barthelm traced a safe path to the dog and put him out of his misery with an axe. He lifted the desk off the rug so that Viggo could pull it out of the room, Grizzle still impaled by a trap and a second, still untriggered trap over in front of the basket. Barthelm's trained eye identified a really fancy bear trap!

Barthelm: "Did you just give us the greatest treasure of all? As far as Barthelm's concerned we can probably leave now." Choice quote from Barthelm but in general they are all so fucking pumped.

Viggo: "What would someone be doing in here with a secret door and traps and secret rooms?"
Barthelm: "Probably experimenting with awful worm creatures in bottles."

Once the "OMG more bear traps!" exuberance had subsided they examined the desk a bit more. It looked to be of exquisite construction with more ebony inlay on the top surface. There was a single drawer slung underneath the desktop with a pair of handles and a large arc of ebony on the bottom middle.

Desk, front view. Circle things are handles, ebony wood in the curve at the bottom.
Viggo attached his chain to one of the handles and pulled slowly, keeping his distance. The ebony portion of the drawer stayed put while the lighter wood of the drawer pulled out. They could see the dark wood in the back of the desk, full of papers. The light wood of the drawer that got pulled out had some writing on it but they couldn't read it from this distance.

Viggo went up to the desk to try and puzzle out the writing. As he read them he could feel himself getting sucked in for a moment, transfixed, before they exploded in his face and lit the desk on fire! Viggo stumbled back, nearly dead (2hp) while Claus rushed forward to try to save the papers. Unfortunately the wizard was not quick enough and ended up with some scorched hands for his trouble. 

Sidebar: Explosive runes! I have encouraged my players to use their knowledge however they can because the game is hard and unforgiving. After Viggo almost died both Claus and Barthelm's players said "Oh yeah I totally thought that was explosive runes, why did you we say anything?" I don't know, but since Viggo didn't die it probably didn't weigh too heavily on their minds. I'm thinking Claus' player is probably more upset about losing the papers and they should all be upset about losing all these very fine and expensive furnishings.

Once they had healed up Viggo a bit (hey they've got a cleric now!) they got to theorizing. "If this person was a great wizard, why was the secret room in the apprentice area? Was this a secret apprentice who was way more powerful? WTF is the wizard floor going to be guarded by?!" They all cast a meaningful sidelong glance at the remaining dogs (the henchdogs not Jewel, probably).

The only thing they had left in the room was a trio of scroll cases in the corner basket. Two were normal sized but one was around three feet long. They opened the first regular one and it was full of strange and intricate drawings, even more impressive than the ones that were found in the other chests. Sandra seemed ready to kill Claus if need be based on how excited he was about the possibility of new magic (what is obviously an evil thing) but Barthelm got up in her face with a threatening stare.

The second case had a small bottle, a dropper, and what looked to Tenkos' trained eye to be a dosing chart. They just couldn't tell exactly what the dosage was for. Jewel growled at the long case so they avoided opening it for the moment. She also nudged one of the party members to give Foofamaloo a bit of meat to shore up the dandy dog's motivation a bit.

Barthelm went to one of the other rooms and peeked out the window get a sense of time. They'd been in the tower for a full two hours already (maybe more? I dropped the ball on accurate time records) and had a few more to go before dawn. They decided to press on, continuing up the stairs to the next landing. On the way they found three more corpses in chain mail, scrounging what silvers they could from the bodies.

At the landing they all stared at the door. They knew from their outside observation that this was the top floor; the stairs up past this led to the roof. Claus, after a moment, continued on up the stairs around the corner to wait for everyone else to open the door. 

Jewel, hoping to put Sandra more at ease after the confrontation, told Foofamaloo to go lick her hand. When she rebuffed the dog the party decided that she would be the one to open the door. Barthelm checked it for traps without finding anything, Foofamaloo ran up to Claus, and Sandra opened the door.

Bodies, a bunch of bodies. Eight tossed around the room, with one all by itself at the other end of what looked like a highway. Four of the bodies were all burned up, clustered around a charred metal door. The other four didn't have obvious wounds from where the party stood.

Sandra moved into the room and the rest of the party followed. The floor was covered almost completely by another thick rug with intricate geometric designs, similar to the one from the secret room. The hallway straight ahead led to an open door blocked by curtains.

The most impressive feature of the room was the giant statue of a naked, incredibly muscular man standing next to the door. It was posed like a wrestler or a body builder might be and had an incredibly level of detail for a sculpture, similar to the cowled figure near the tower entrance.

"Get the big key! Check alllll the spots"

Sidebar: Hey, HEY, it's another dick joke. This is apparently the kind of game I run. I'm okay with that.

Obce they determined that the  statue wasn't going to come to life and murder them in the immediate future they commenced their usual rummaging around the bodies, taking what they could find. Most of the corpses seemed like normal soldiers but the one closest to the doors had much nicer equipment, including a metal helmet that was completely bashed in and crushing the skull.

They also grabbed a bunch of money, a fancy greatsword, and an intricate eyeglass shaped in the likeness of a yellow cat's eye. Claus immediately put on the monacle and thought it's awesome!

Sidebar: I had been describing all of the corpses as skeletons up to this point when Vegas, Claus' player, started asking me about states if decomposition and skin and evidence of bugs and all sorts of stuff. He thought there would be sunken skin or something if there was no bug evidence (my mistake) and I said nah man been here a long time, just bones. (MAYBE DON'T CLICK THESE) A couple hours of bubbly body research (body farms!) and I feel fairly confident that a tower with open windows would have skeleton corpses instead of mummy corpses. Maybe there would still be bug evidence but I bet even that stuff decomposes after long enough.

As soon as they opened the curtain Claus started to hear a voice in his head. He didn't share this with anyone but went forward in the room, holding a torch and moving towards the large brazier. Barthelm was close behind, and Jewel was near Weibke. Both Claus and Weibke were talking about lighting the brazier to try and make it easier to see. In addition the the brazier there were some bookshelves in disarray, a desk, a chest, and a robed corpse half covering a large summoning circle.

Even a summoning circle was not enough to draw attention away from this brazier, however. Claus got to the brazier and tried to light it.

Sidebar: I think Vegas said something like "Well if no one stops Claus then I am definitely lighting this up." Bless your heart Vegas.

Barthelm stopped Claus from putting the torch in, Weibke tried to throw hers in but Jewel beat her out at initiative, grabbed her, stopped her from throwing. Viggo jumped in and grabbed the torch, put some manacles on her. All this time the voice was trying to convince Claus to light the brazier.

Then Barthelm dumped the brazier contents on the floor. This didn't stop the voice.  It started talking to Jewel but she growled. Started trying to get Caleb too, he seemed tempted by whatever it was saying to him but couldn't quite push him over the edge in that moment.

Sidebar: Managing all of these mental communications with instant messaging instead of just telling them out loud was really cool but became unmanageable the more people I added to talk to individually.

Barthelm exploded further into the room after they had secured the torches from Weibke and Claus. He noted a cell with some kind of child-sized skeletons seemingly fused together. The robe on the corpse on top of the symbol was very fine and Claus confirmed once again that the summoning circle was an intricate, powerful one. All this time the voices continued to Weibke and Claus. Oh and Barthelm threatened to brutally kill Weibke if she even so much as looked at a torch in this room.

"Maybe we can research some way to consecrate the ashes." I don't remember who said this but my response was something along the lines of: "Hey, research! That's a really interesting word that you all have never said before." I need bigger things to hit them on the head with, I guess.

They grabbed a chest in the back of the brazier room, Claus snagged some books off the shelf, and they all got the hell out of dodge as quickly as they could.

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