Barrowmaze in Arden Est

First descent into Barrowmaze. I didn’t take notes, so this may be a bit sketchy. Also, there were two brave adventurers who made the 0th descent into the maze, but their names have been lost to history. Four brave adventurers went to seek their fortune, Boris the Unkempt, a fighting-man; Roman the Forceful, also a fighting-man; Beradin the Dwarf, a vaultguard; and Eponymous the Nameless, an elven spellsword. Eponymous hired a mercenary named Wasyl as a henchman, and the five of them left for the moors.

They elected to start their graverobbing with the tombs above the surface. The first one looked promising, with four sarcophagi. However, as they moved to pry them open, 6 giant centipedes dropped from the ceiling. Sadly, the centipedes were unable to penetrate their armor, and they fell to the swords of the brave adventurers. After looting the tomb, they left, and were surprised by 3 giant toads. The toads also fell, but not before wounding Beradin. They looted a second tomb, which contained nothing but some amphorae, but in a third tomb, they found a secret set of stairs into the barrow.

The stairs led into a long hallway, at the end of which was a room with a number of statues and an altar. They cautious approached the statues, and when nothing jumped out at them, Roman went over to the altar. He didn’t notice the pit, and fell in, breaking one of his legs badly enough that he’ll be lame for life (or until he can find a restore life and limb spell). The party decided they should rest, and in a fit of generosity, I only rolled for six random encounters. Three were hits, but they were able to deal with the relatively easy encounters I rolled up.

So, I think I need to be harder on them if they’re resting in the Barrowmaze itself. At the very least, make them set up watches, and if no one sleeps, they take a -1 the next day from fatigue. Otherwise, they’ve generally been the beneficiaries of some pretty bad rolling on my part. With the centipedes, I rolled no higher than a 10 in their surprise round!

With respect to the pit trap, is there some check I should have made to see if the PC noticed it before he fell in?

If it’s an open pit that’s covered by an illusion, I’d say there’s not check. The players should use something (such as the standard 10’ pole) to prod ahead of them to avoid this kind of trap.

Also, in ACKS, everyone can search for traps, 18+ a d20 for most adventurers (14+ for dwarves, and thieves start at 18+ and get better as they gain levels). In other games, I like to borrow the secret door detection mechanics to allow everyone to spot traps.

And if it’s a covered pit, you could use the ACKS rules for traps triggering. Roll a 1d6 each time the person could trigger the trap; on a 1 and 2, the trap triggers. If they’re using a prod, they get two checks…one from the prod to see if they discover the trap that way and another to see if they trigger the trap on their own. I like to reward player caution by just rolling both checks and if either is a “trigger” result, let the prod find the trap.

Good to keep in mind! In this case, it was a covered pit, and he wasn’t looking for traps or really being careful in any way.

This week was time for the continuation of the expedition into Barrowmaze. I had forgotten that in ACKS, traps only get you on a 1-2 on a d6, so I had Roman make the roll. He made it, so retroactively was uninjured.

Heading north from the statue room, the party investigates a room on the right with a pile of rubble. For some reason, Roman thinks it’s a good idea to poke at, and 6 giant centipedes jump out! Due in some part to bad rolls by the DM, the party was easily victorious, though a few saves vs poison were made. Barengar was really hoping to get the final kill, but Caelwyn managed to sneak it away from him. Never trust an elf!

The party heads further north, and finds a room with a number of burial alcoves and an arrow on the floor made of teeth pointing west. The party decided to follow the teeth. They find a room with carnivorous flies, and make short work of them, finding the dwarf’s flying axe uppercut to be especially helpful. (Two flies on one jump!) The party turns south towards a group of crypts. Inside the first crypt are three ghouls. With a claw/claw/bite routine, those suckers are deadly! The party members not killed outright were paralyzed, with only Caelwyn surviving to flee, leaving the rest of the party to be eaten. Never trust an elf!

Caelwyn went back to town, avoiding any random encounters (this party got seriously lucky a few times on random encounters) and hiring a new group of compatriots. He got about 2400 experience just from the gold he recovered, but since elves take 4000 to leave, he was still a ways away. Caelwyn hired Ned the Doughy, Aragones the Nimble, and Roderick. Two thieves! Roderick also gest a henchman trained in healing, Bregwin. They stay above-ground this time, not daring to brave the dangerous underground, and instead digging out a tomb. Over the two hours it takes to uncover, Aragones is blinded by a Zombie and left unconscious, and Roderick is killed by a giant toad. Caelwyn convinces Bregwin to work for him, which Bregwin accepts despite being a dwarf. Ned is badly injured, and once the tomb is uncovered, he is killed by a treacherous magic missile from Caelwyn. Never trust an elf!

Inside the tomb are two bowls laid at the feet of two sarcophagi, and four statues. Caelwyn sends Bregwin inside, where he finds that the bowls are full of gems. As Bregwin starts to rummage around inside, two of the statues come to life. Bregwin and Caelwyn flee, with a couple gems, and the statues do not pursue. They head back to town, with Caelwyn looking for more stooges…