Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 80


Character Class Description
Derennan Dwarf level 3 A dwarf hailing from Western Wastes.
Llyfed Elf level 3 Thin and balding elf whom also happens to be Rashomon's friend.
Tarkus the Promising Cleric level 2 Follower of Bachontoi, God of Red Wisdom.
Oberon Fighter level 3 A tall, supple hunter adorned with bones and horns of his prey.
Nolmbork Dwarf level 2 Portly, bald, red bearded, with an epic nose. On a mission to have a drink in every settlement in Wilderlands.

Thawmist 3rd, Earthday

“Let's inspect that pillar more closely...”

The party was in a most curious room. It was thirty by thirty feet, with low ceiling. A raised platform with unfamiliar symbols dominated half of the room. A two feet tall pillar was in the center of the chamber.

Upon the closer look the party could see it had a circular depression that would fit a spherical object. Around the hole was a ring with arrow-like pointer pointing towards north-east. Four symbols were etched on each cardinal direction:

“Let's return here later and bring the silver orb with us.”

Indeed, the party abandoned these two secret chambers and backtracked. This time they took the right door in the large chamber with pillars. This led them to another doors that were difficult to open.

After the dwarves failed to force them open, Oberon the Ranger came forth and burst through the doors straight into the jaws of a giant lizard. Nolmbork stunned himself in excitement, Derennan impaled the lizard, Llyfed cut off a chunk, and Oberon finished it off.

Illustrated by snoop

An alcove in the southeast corner had several incomplete skeletons, gnawed bones, and three sacks of coins totalling 300 gold coins and 300 silver coins.

Following a brief discussion, adventurers decided to head out, find a safe spot to hide their treasure, rest for the night, and return next morning. And so it was! Llyfed found a toppled tree and buried the sacks into the roots.

Thawmist 4th, Fireday

Party returned into the dungeon beneath the ruined tower. They went back into the corridor where stench of death was strong.


Adventurers huddled in tight formation and bravely proceeded forth, into darkness, into stench. A little over a hundred feet later they found two T-shaped junctions.

The first led into another dark corridor. One the entrance to it was a familiar primitive banner with hyena-like head on it. The banner was all tattered and torn.

The second T-shaped junction was flanked with two tall plaques.

Llyfed the Linguist gingerly approached them.

There were over twenty lines of text, all different from each other. Those in Common, and Elvish said:

“Suicide Corridor”

Derennan and Nolmbork could read the same in Dwarvish and Gnomish.

Smell of death was most intense down that corridor.

The Company of Wise Adventurers decided not to explore this corridor.

They decided to continue down the long, dark corridor instead.

Another hundred feet later the reached a turn and doors completely different from all they've encountered so far in this dungeon.

To call them doors would be perhaps and overstatement. This was more of a framed stone slab without anything resembling a handle or keyhole.

Dwarves stepped in to investigate. Lo and behold, on the each side of the doors was a single depression four inches wide, eight inches tall, and two inches deep.

Derennan and Nolmbork nodded to each other and pressed a hand into the depression—simultaneously.

It worked!

The doors slid ajar, revealing another curious chamber.

A chest on top of stone plinth rested in the middle of the room. Another slab like doors were in northwest corner, and lowered portcullis blocked the exit in northeast corner.

Closer inspection of the chest revealed that it was in fact made of stone, not wood! The thing seemed either fused or chiseled straight out of the pillar.

On the front of it was a large, keyholeless, padlock. A grid and vertical lines next to it were etched onto the padlock:

“I'm stupefied.”

“Is this a riddle? A trap?”


“I know what this is.” Derennan announced.

“Nolmbork, poke the middle field with your spear.”

One dwarf obliged the other.

A cross hatch appeared on the middle field.

“Aha! Now touch the field on the first row and first column.”

Another cross-hatch pattern appeared.

“Now second row, second column...”

And Derennan continued giving orders, forming an X shaped pattern on the grind.

Once completed the padlock popped open, revealing a chest filled to the brim with silver coins and three exquisite necklaces.

“Are these magical?”

Tarkus the Experimenter tried on all three. Despite being covered in bling, he did not discover any additional powers.

“I think we should get out and back to Hara!”


Encumbered by all the treasure, the party took twice as long to return to their current base of operations.

Thawmist 12th, Waterday

As promised, the adventurers had returned to the dungeon. Freshly recruited porter, Deidamamina, was carrying a bowling-ball sized silver orb.

Recent hiring spree by the Invincible Overlord has driven the wages of hired help into the stratosphere. Worse than that, Hara's general of forces has also been recruited, as well as two thirds of the fighting-fit population.

“Hara is understaffed. Forces of Chaos are mounting. Gnoll warbands, Altanian barbarians, internal strife. Ahyf will be sacked any day now. We should consider leaving Hara.” Derennan theorised.

“Should we move further north?” Oberon pondered.

“Nope, running is too easy.” Llyfed muttered.

“I think we should stick it out for a while but having an exit plan can't hurt.” Derennan concluded this train of rational thought.

The party returned to the secret chamber with low ceiling and hexagonal pillar.

They placed the orb inside the depression.

It fit like a glove.

Nothing happened.

“Try turning the ring.”

That worked.

They set the arrow pointing towards the X.

It lit up with dim light.

And so did all Xs on the rim of the platform.

One of them threw a portion of rations on the platform.

It disappeared.

“This is a teleporter.”

“Should we tie a rope around one of us and test it out?”

“What if it is a one way teleporter?”


“All or nothing friends.”

Adventurers stepped next to the platform, forming a line.

Then they stepped on the platform, holding each other's hands.

And then they vanished.

Screams and shouts reverberated of the stone tomb walls as five adventurers fought for their lives.

An endless mass of giant rats was all over them.

They crawled; they gnawed; they sought orifices; they brought disease.

They bit and they scratched and they squirmed and they hissed and they squeaked.

The adventurers swung and stomped; cut and crushed; heaved and hulked.

There was nowhere to move.

There was nothing to do.

Nothing but to fight for their lives.

Illustration by kickmaniac

Adventurers stood victorious, sixty-four dead giant rats beneath their feet. None of them went unscathed.

Solid walls surrounded them. No doors, no embellishments that would indicate secret doors.

With all the time in the world, the party closely inspected all the walls.

Their tomb was L-shaped, with twenty feet extending to the left and right from the central ten-foot square.

Ceiling was twenty feet high, slightly arched and embellished. Each “square” had an extruded X pattern, with a different scene in each quadrant.

Derennan closely studied them. After some time he found that one pattern is repeated in all Xs, albeit in different place.

“It might be leading us towards something?”

Indeed, following the repeating scene led them to a wall portion that sounded hollow, compared to others.

Hours of inspection revealed no secret mechanisms.

“Anyone has a pickaxe? No? How about iron spikes and something blunt?”

With all the time in the world, the party took to breaking down the wall.

Nolmbork and Llyfed worked on it for eight hours straight.

Derennan worked for the next eight hours.

Tarkus and Oberon took the next shift.

Rations and light sources were rapidly depleted.

“From now on, only humans work in light.”

Nolmbork and Llyfed did another eight-hour shift.

Derennan followed.

Tarkus and Oberon did their best.

Cleric got progressively worse. At then end of this shift he went down with fever and tremors.

Nolmbork and Llyfed worked their third shift. With ill equipment the best they could hope if making a tight crawlspace.

Derennan achieved a major breakthrough, opening a hole into another dark chamber.


The cruelty of their desperate situation became apparent in few moments.

They chamber they've broken into was thirty by thirty feet, with same barren walls as the tomb they've just broken out.

No doors, nothing.

The ceiling was adorned with same X divisions, with the scene of dancing dead making a circular pattern round the chamber.

“Let's dance!”

And indeed, four desperate adventurers covered in sweat, gore, and festering wounds, danced their hearts out in a dark chamber deep, deep underground.

Tarkus sat in the corner, saving his strength for walking.

Nothing happened.

Adventurers' disappointment was palpable.

“Let's search all the doors...”

It's been several days since they teleported into the tomb.

Their rations were almost gone, and light sources were very few.

“Wall here is hollow!”

Pushing it revealed a secret corridor.

It led into a small chamber with stone desk on which an assortment of silver figurines of various animals and denizens of Wilderlands laid.

Child-like giggles could be heard coming from around the corner.

“This is not creepy at all...”

Without much other options, the party formed a tight formation and stepped out the the secret passageway and into the chamber whence the sound cometh from.

As soon as they entered the voices stopped and three figurines that were floating mid-air dropped to the ground.

“Hello good ghosts” Derennan spoke in Dwarvish “we are just seeking a way out and mean you no harm. Can you tell us the way out?”

“Oh, we gave up on finding the way out long time ago.” a child-like voice replied in Dwarvish.

“Would you like to play with us?” it asked.

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