d told us of the dire legends of the barrow mound and the ruins of the original castle there which was known as Castle Grimspire. When we asked him what manner of undead might reside there, he replied grimly, all manner of undead dwell in its dark depths and the Gravemoor swamps as well. Lucias asked him what caused the castle and barrow mound to become such an accursed place and he replied that its ancient lord had truck with certain devilish powers which remain as a curse upon the place to this day.
With that, he pointed to the forbidding mound, turned around and walked away down the road. The road ended there so we had to trudge through the cold and slimy muck which was up to waist deep in spots. Arseus led the way with a rope tied to him since he was the only one of our group who wasn’t wearing plate mail. Tok and the other first level henchmen weren’t with us but we did have both Cyrcla and Tarus with the group. We cursed the mud and plodded forward to the sinister mound. The cold of the swamp and the fetid decay that was all around us sapped our strength and we all had to make fortitude saves to keep from losing strength temporarily. The dwarf was the only one affected by the cold which was inconsequential because he isn’t very strong to begin with.
We arrived before the gate and none other than Richard Dirklok himself sprang from a hiding place in the morass and challenged us cursing our benefactor Oldevan for sending us into his hiding place to find him. We started fighting and many strong blows glanced harmlessly off of his armor until Lucias hit him hard with the demon blade Hope Blighter followed by a magic missile from Cyrcla. Dirklok cursed us and kept fighting. We kept pounding on him and did more than 40 hit points of damage without suffering any blows from his sword and then he spouted off something about bringing his lost love back to life and bringing doom to us all and king Oldevan and his kingdom for bringing him to such a sad state. Brummbar fired his crossbow at him as he made his escape, but the bolt bounced harmlessly off of his armor. It seemed odd that a mere human could only be hit with magical weapons for the crossbow and its bolt were not enchanted but its aim was true and the bolt should have struck home. “What deviltry is this?” Brummbar cried aloud.
We proceeded into the open portal of the mound and entered a chamber which had several suits of armor in the hallway with stone gargoyles perched above in the tracery of the gothic ceiling above. Then one of the gargoyles sprang to life and gave a hideously loud and ear splitting shriek - AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! To our dismay, both Cyrcla and Tarus immediately froze and appeared to turn to stone! “What madness is this?” shouted Lucias! We fought the evilly grinning winged and horned creature and hit it with many mighty blows and eventually it shattered into hundreds of stone bits to fall harmlessly on the floor. We started to despair at losing two of our comrades but then, slowly, ever so slowly, their color began to return to normal and they started to move one muscle at a time.
Once they had fully recovered, we proceeded down the dark and eerie hallway when suddenly both Lucias and Lykaos appeared to fall into the floor! It looked like they fell into a pit trap but the trap door closed up very quickly and the group didn’t hear another sound of them falling or anything else after that. As they went down, a small eerily glowing stone was kicked into the pit with them which provided them with a little bit of light as they hit the hard and cold stone floor of the pit forty feet below. Both warriors were wounded gravely from the fall but that wasn’t the worst thing. Lucias landed on what at first seemed to be another victim of the trap, a moldering old corpse. After he regained his feet, and much to his horror, the thing got up and attacked! It was no corpse but a soul sucking Wight of great and malevolent evil! The wounded paladin and fighter reeled in terror and began battling the horrid creature and Hope Blighter hit home with a sickening crunch while the evil thing lurched horridly for their life essence. “I’LL SWALLOW YOUR SOUL” it shrieked…
Meanwhile, back in the hallway, the group was at a loss as to where their companions had gone. They were there walking one second but then appeared to fall through a trap door which quickly closed and then all was silent as if nothing had happened (we found out later that there was a silence spell and illusory floor halfway down the pit). Brummbar, fearing the worst decided to find out where they had gone and walked forward to intentionally trigger the trap door and join his comrades wherever they had disappeared to. The trap door opened up and the dwarf did his best swan dive for the judges (the judges held up their cards: 9.0, 9.5, 8.5, and 10 from the scoring table LOL). While the desperate battle was raging below, suddenly, a falling dwarf landed amongst the combatants to hit hard on the cold stone floor with a crash. Once he regained his feet and saw what was happening he pulled out his holy symbol and screamed “BY THE POWER OF MORRIDIN BE GONE BACK TO HELL DEVIL SPAWN!” The Wight cowered in the corner and then Lucias struck home with a powerful blow and Lykaos finished off the abhorrent creature with his enchanted blade.
It was at this point that we noticed something moving in the pit out of the corner of our peripheral vision. It was a rope apparently lowered by our comrades above. After Brummbar went into the pit, Arsues quickly moved to try and keep the trap door from closing. He was then aided by Teth-en-Aire, Tarus and Cyrcla who managed to hold the trap door open long enough for Arseus to slip a rope through for their trapped comrades to climb up on. At this point, the three who had been in the pit were hurt badly so the cleric attempted to heal the other two. Much to his surprise, his healing magic was only partially effective – we found out much to our chagrin that healing spells only healed half of the hit points that we rolled for them! It was at this point that we decided to call it a day and get out of this accursed place before anything else bad happened to the group.
After trudging through the freezing moors again, which further sapped our strength, we finally made it to the road and safely back to the warmth and comfort of the inn at Spirythol. Needless to say, the villagers were surprised to see us return, as all others who had ventured to that accursed mound were forever lost and had never been heard from again.
TO BE CONTINUED…