Decaying Lands 23: Bodies to Barter

PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter 3 (Just Yolks)
Claus, Magic-User 4 (Vegas)
Jewel, Really Good Dog 3 (Rudy)
  Buddy, ratter dog
Karl Gelt, Exiled Prince 1 (Helpful Waffle)
Tenkos, Cleric 3 [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 3 [bounty hunter kit] (Peanut Butter)

Last time the party skirted the skeletons, found a bunch of tombs, looted some of them, lost Wiebke to a trap (T_T), and faced off against a small crowd of skeletons fronted by one with a stag head.

We picked up from there, with the stag skelly once again demanding to know what they were doing here. Initial hesitation led into a quick explanation that they were just exploring, found this place, and now they just wanted to grab what's in the tombs and get out. Definitely they did not want to interfere with whatever the skeletons are doing!

They also offhand mentioned that there was a trap which triggered a "Do you have any bodies? Give them all to and you may leave" demand from the stag skeleton. Viggo asked what the skeleton wanted the bodies for and the only response was "HATE," which made them not want to give the bodies even more after reminding the skeleton of the murals they saw.

Jewel dragged Tenkos past the archway (their working theory is that the archway stops the skeletons). Stag took a step forward, offered Tenkos to join him, but Jewel and Tenkos ran away when it took a step into the hallway. When they stepped forward though (Jewel smelled more undeath and wanted the light) they saw another ten skeletons waiting in the darkness.

They didn't want to give the skeletons over because they don't want to help whatever is going on here but they also didn't want to die a horrible death and didn't think they could beat what they'd seen. They discussed their options, Claus' scroll of summon came up, and Claus said "That is not an option." When they explained to Claus about the staghead wanting the body his immediate reaction was "They can have 'em!" They were also worried that if they "desecrate all of the tombs" then the barrier that they think is there won't work anymore.

"What if they have some jewels? Maybe they can help us carry our stuff!"
"What's a good show of good faith on their part for giving them one body?"
"Our leverage is the bodies."
"How does turn undead work?"
"Do you think the tunneling saint has a secret tunnel out of their tomb?"

Claus went back into Emil the Sapper's tomb, poked around, held a torch to the satchel bomb in the mural, trying to light it. It didn't light but he held it to the bomb long enough that he noticed that the wall was glowing red with the heat, different than the stone wall. Some prying with a dagger and he popped open a hidden metal door and revealed a small tunnel leading into the wall! Claus was scared to put his torch near the tunnel (thought it might blow up) but nothing bad happened when he lit a piece of paper on fire and tossed it in from as far away as he could. Jewel trotted inside for a bit past the edge of the torchlight but didn't see an end and came back.

"Jewel should we go down this tunnel if skeletons are killing us?"
Vigorous shake of the head

I am the best at drawing in roll20. New tunnel with magenta! I wonder if anyone else can read this.
Meanwhile Karl, Viggo, and Tenkos crawled thru the blasted door of Saskia the Bookish's tomb to check it out. The walls were covered in bookshelves, floor to ceiling, and even her mural depicted her not on a battlefield but in an ordered study, reading.

Vegas (plays the magic user): "Wait so it is like a Library?"
me: "There are definitely a lot of books here, on shelves."
Vegas: "Okay guys we live here now."

They cracked open her tomb and pulled out a pair of fine scrimshawed whalebone eyeglasses. Karl put them on and suddenly felt a strong desire to look at the books on the shelves. They stood out to him, like they were all backlit. He looked for something useful to their current situation and pulled "Alchemy of the Divine by Excrutior Tarnackis" off the shelf. He opened it, started reading it, and was turning the pages super fast!

Unfortunately he couldn't stop. When they tried to leave him in the room, he followed the light but still didn't stop reading. They left him in a corner with some candles before deciding that they needed him to pay attention to other stuff. Caleb had to wrestle him down, rip off the glasses with a couple saves on top to get him to snap out of it. As they came off the knowledge of whatever he was reading went with them.

At some point during all this they noticed a few more (ten) skeletons show up. This brought the arrayed bones to:

Skeleton wielding its own arm as a club
Skeleton wearing a spiked helm
Skeleton covered in wax
Skeleton with charcoal burned bones
Skeleton with a shield on its back
Large quadrupedal skeleton with sharp claws and a terrible beak
Skeleton with the head of a large, many-pointed stag
Skeleton with a big gnarled, worked peg leg
Skeleton with the symbol of the Church fused to its skull
Another skeleton with charcoal burned bones
Skeleton with metal and chain pulling and shoring up its bones
Skeleton with a fine red sash
Skeleton that shifts back and forth on its feet
Skeleton with a bastard sword impaled through one of its spine bones
Skeleton with a pentagram made of wax on its chest with candles at the points
Skeleton with no head!
Skeleton with some kind of powder leaking from its skull

Few of the new skeletons to join the fray. Spent way too much time on this.

They loaded Caleb up with Karoline's plate mail, gave Caleb's old (less fancy) plate mail to Karl, and debated whether to break into Adelmar the Forthwith's tomb. Viggo made the point that between all the Molotov cocktails, two walking tanks, and a cleric with turn undead that they had a pretty good chance of fighting their way out even if the "barrier" failed, but Claus no way would it drop their protection so they planned to break into the last tomb.

Adelmar the Forthwith's tomb beckoned, but it was made of metal and covered in thousands of long metal spikes (like a bed of nails but bigger and longer). They tried to grab an individual spike to pull it out but it was fixed fast. They tried to get a look between the door and the wall for a hinge but saw nothing. Caleb, clad in plate mail, tried to slowly push into it and was rewarded with some bleeding for the effort (4 on a d4).

They weren't sure what to do so they actually went and asked the stag-headed skeleton for help! They told it they were trying to enter the tomb of Adelmar the Forthwith and it immediately responded with "Ah, the coward" and said that a body would probably jog its memory. Instead they grabbed Karoline's heavy sarcophagus lid and charged at the spiked door! Excitement! They smashed it over and crashed into the tomb.

Inside they found another mural, sarcophagus, and several candelabras. This mural was different in that, while they could tell that Adelmar was definitely running out in front of a large group of soldiers it was not clear if the soldiers were allies or enemies of the man. Busting open the lid they picked out a set of boots that seemed unbothered by the passage of time and Viggo immediately put them on. Jewel wanted him to wait until they got out of the tomb but she's a dog so it just came out "woof woof!" and the bounty hunter shoved his little feetsies right into the boots.

He immediately became super hungry and ate a ration! Yum! But why and what's next? It was late so we ended the session.

Lost some torches on the way. Torch Inventory:
  • Torch 1: OUT
  • Torch 2: Lit, Statue 4, d4
  • Torch 3: OUT
  • Torch 4: Lit, on the floor?, d6
  • Torch 5: Lit, Karl, d4
  • Torch 6: Lit, Tenkos, d8 (this thing refuses to be depleted)
  • Torch 7: unlit
  • Torch 8: unlit

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