Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: The Tomb of the Burning Priest

Recap from July 2010

Our first adventure started out in the town of Artemia. We were hired by a leader of the village to recover a lost artifact from the tomb nearby in the ruins of Old Artemia. The town used to be located there but was moved after the local priest and lord died and began haunting the town, the old temple and the priest’s tomb below. Our employer agreed to pay us 500 g.p. to retrieve a bejeweled golden goblet that had religious and historical significance for the town. He also asked that we give him half of the loot that we found which was kind of lame but we didn’t have another gig so we accepted his offer. It was said that the previous ruler was visited by the gods who told him to build the tomb. He went on to tax his villagers in excess in order to finance the construction of the elaborate temple and tomb below where he was eventually buried. As we found out later, the tomb and what was left there were not as wholesome as they might have seemed at first.

We heard a rumor in the local Inn that said that Father Thomas, the priest who built the temple and tomb, was still burning. We also heard that another group visited the tomb but were scared away upon entering and never returned. We had a few clues to go by – a drawing showing a foot resting on the goblet with several other symbols below including a hill, a tree, some eyes and a few others images but we didn’t know what they meant. As we entered the tomb, a ghostly specter appeared before the group – none other than Father Thomas himself! He was engulfed in fire and told everyone to leave his resting place or face certain death. Everyone in the group aside from the cleric failed their fear save and ran screaming in terror from the tomb. Brummbar stood there facing the ghostly apparition which then simply vanished. He went back outside and collected his terrified comrades who had scattered in several directions and waited until they regained their wits.

The group went back in and as we went further into the tomb we realized that the clues appeared to be coded messages to help visitors avoid the many traps and perils inside. The multiple eyes, for instance, showed the sequence that one had to step on the floor tiles found in one room, in order to avoid the traps set there. The riddle was that there were a bunch of letters on the floor, some of which were "i" so we followed the "i's" (eyes) and made it safely through. Because of all of the traps and riddles, the place had a very Indiana Jones feel. The room in the center of the complex had several murals painted on the walls depicting scenes of Artemia’s lost glory. We found a secret door on one side but couldn’t figure out the clues to defuse the obviously trapped door. Arseus checked the door for traps and didn’t find any but when he opened it he was hit with acid which burned him and some of his stuff but didn’t kill him.

The secret room held a suit of ornate field plate in the center. When we entered the room, the armor came to life and started attacking the group. Everyone was having a hard time hitting this animated armor within the room because it was field plate. We were also having a hard time hurting it when we could hit it and the group was sorely pressed. Things were starting to look grim for the group when Brummbar realized that there appeared to be a zombie inside. He started casting heal spells on the zombie which meant he only had to touch the armor the creature was wearing in order to channel positive energy through which caused it damage. He did this several times and finally killed the foul undead creature. Lucias claimed the field plate after it was cleaned up and we eventually found out that it had damage absorbing properties. This explains why we were having such a hard time killing the zombie within. The group had its first magic item and one still in use today!

We made it through a few more rooms, traps and riddles and eventually found a stone set into the wall of an open shaft with a well below that concealed a smaller shaft. Brummbar, being a stonemason, removed his armor so as not to drown if he fell into the well, and was lowered by rope with a hammer and chisel to remove the obstructing stone from the smaller shaft in the side wall. After it was removed, Arceus climbed through the shaft to end up in a rough dirt chamber that was filled with tree roots. That’s when the living tree attacked. Its roots came to life and grabbed ahold of Arceus, rending and tearing at his skin through his leather armor. Brummbar went in after him to render assistance but only one person could fight the creature at a time and we thought Arceus wasn’t going to make it. Things were looking pretty grim for him but then he rolled a 20 and killed the abomination. We later realized that the last clue on the sheet was a warning about the tree creature – the tree symbol. The creature was the guardian of not only the goblet that we sought but some other treasure as well. We met our employer outside of the tomb and gave him the goblet and half of the loot and he gave us our payment thus successfully completing our first adventure!

It was also here that we found the small locked box which has the ability to cast Protection from Evil once per day. We have ascertained that in order to open the box to find what's inside we need to have a cleric of named level do it for us (a 9th or higher level cleric). We have yet to find a cleric with such qualifications but eventually, we will unlock its secrets...


  1. I love that picture of a a burning priest!

  2. Google images is a wonderful thing - I found most of the pictures I post on this blog for recaps using Google image searches. That one just happened to match the story perfectly. I have found a few others that were perfect matches for the recaps using it as well (such as the Lizard Man attacking from the water from Tomb of the Lizard King for the recap of the Caverns of the Dweomerblade session).