The next installment of the B/X / OSE “Beast” campaign, online, via audio.
After gearing up with the items from Erin’s tomb, the group retreated and checked out the tomb of Sir Vincys the witch hunter. From up close it became clear that it had no actual entrance, only the weird area where the tree had fallen and water gushed out. It was a lot of water, a regular spring, creating a small river flowing away.
Obviously, no-one would build a grave mound on an existing spring, so the water must have started later. Reinaldo proposed the theory that the water came out of the magical cauldron. Follow the water, get the thing!
The others agreed that the theory held water (that phrase had to be used!), but nobody was happy to actually step into said fluid. What would live in it? What would it do long-term? Was the mound stable, or would it bury anyone foolish enough to go in?
Reinaldo’s next idea was digging into the mound from the top down, thus staying above the water at all times. Nah … too much work! That could take days.
No… the party returned into the main tomb, and, worried about the flying skull, went north from the helpful statue they knew. The room there housed nine statues, positioned more or less haphazardly all over the room. Just as if they had moved but had returned to a state of petrification at one point.
With relieve, Reinaldo noted that they were not extremely life-like, so apparently not poor adventurers.
As a test, Grimble shot at one of the statues from outside the room, and we ran away. Nobody followed us. The statue was a bit chipped, but had not reacted.
Emboldened, Grimble stepped into the room proper — and an inky black spirit flowed out of the gaps in the bricks to coalesce as a black shade in the rough form of an elf. “WHY ARE YOU DISTURBING OUR REST?”
Without waiting for an answer, one of the statues raced right at Grimble, ready to smear him like gelee across the wall. The quick storyteller danced to the side though, and the statue slammed into a wall, breaking apart into little bits and pieces. The party, once more, ran away. But nothing followed.
Coming back the eight statues were still there, staring at the broken remains of their earstwhile comrade.
Brothers of the Cloth
The spirit of the elf was also still here. Reinaldo talked to him to convince him to help us: “The Beast of Errinsford has returned! We are in need of the blessed weapons!” he tried it with a strong honesty tactic. But the creature did not react at all.
Colbin tried another shot at a statue, but missed with a javelin. Defre and Reinaldo tried to Turn Undead against the spectre… but both of them failed horribly! Reinaldo managed a 5, Defre only a 4 on 2d6. The spirit stayed! However — he got interested. Hearing the prayers of the faithful duo, he hesitated and stated: “YOUR MISSION IS HOLY! YOU MAY ENTER.”
We did just that, but this time he was ready to listen. Reinaldo and Defre explained once more: “The Beast of Errinsford has returned! We are in need of the blessed weapons!” And the spectre actually agreed to help! Some ghosts are, indeed, friendly.
At least to clerics.
Ink-spectre showed us the blessed bow and bid us goodbye. Grimble suggested interest in the bow, but did not want to impose, and offered to forego the weapon if someone else might be a stronger archer. Reinaldo had none of these city boy manners, he picked the bow up and presented it to Grimble. “You take it!”
They decided to take a look at the small, way too small, casket in the room, but there the inky black ghost became all shaky and rebellious and asked the clerics in no uncertain terms to let the dead rest and sod off. Who’s to argue with a ghost who has just handed us a big price for free? Not us! We let ourselves out.
Two exits waited: One corridor north into the darkness. The other corridor went westward and through a T-junction, going west again until we found yet another sarcophagus! Signs, and artwork, but most notably a big inscription, hinted at Sir Aelfred, the mighty cleric of old, bearer of the blessed mace.
The clerics Defre and Reinaldo were giddily happy, hoping to find the legendary cleric weapon, just to be near it, of course, not for any nefarious purposes. Clerics respect each other’s maces.
One exit to the north led into an adjacent room, but we piled into this room first, gazing in wonder at the spartan, very cleric-fitting, setup. The room had no furniture at all, and no fancy earthly things, apart from the stone sarcophagus, which got drip, drip, drip water all over its lid, all around it, and who knows if not in it too. A bit like above, in the chapel. And come to think of it, water had swamped the chapel too, and brought bad funghi. Would the inside of the sarcophagus be a mess of deadly spores?
Reinaldo suggested binding up the faces to avoid breathing noxious or even deadly spores. But opening the sarcophagus right here under the drip might damage the mortal remains of the dead hero.
“Let us bring it out of the dripping water,” suggested Defre, and they got ready to push.
Sweet little rodents
Alas! Rat claws scratching on the floor, up north!
Giant rats attacked! Huge like medium-sized dogs, aggressive, red-eyed, and fast, four of the denizens of dark spaces scuttled into the room, huge glistening teeth gleaming in our lantern light.
Grimble fumbled with the holy bow, the clerics went out to meet the oversized rodents in melee.
Eostre struggled with her conscience: Rats! She had no beef with rats! She desired nothing more than to avoid needless killing of innocent animals. Once more, her already legendary animal friendship reared its soft furry head.
Roaring and stomping, Eostre tried to frighten the sweet little bone gnawers into fleeing.
Grimble shot – and missed with a natural 1… but at least he felt the twang of magic and knew that the bow was indeed blessed and strong. The clerics swung their maces at the rat on the left, but both waved their maces around to no effect, while their foe hissed evilly. Ephre waved a spear to frighten them, like his mistress holding back a bit – but alas, he rolled too well, and gored his foe. Eostre kicked her attacker in order to shoo it away – but, alas again, she rolled a natural 20 and broke the little monster’s spine.
Three morale checks for the rats, for first death, for losing half numbers, and reinforced by Eostre’s shouting for a third roll. But the animals were undeterred and kept coming, succeeding all three times.
Do you have a moment for our Lord and Saviour, Clobrek, Mater of critical failure?
Two more rats scurried into the room to re-inforce the first wave, and fell upon us. One each on Colbin, Reinaldo, and Defre, but their attack rolls came out natural 1, natural 1, and again, natural 1! Praise be! Hail Clobrek, Lord of critical failures! May the ones roll ever in our Lord’s favour. Reinaldo, not as animal-friendly as Eostre, felt the hand of Clobrek shielding him from the little pests, and gleefully raised his mace to end the beasts.
Eostre was less lucky: One of the newcomers bit down into her calf with gusto.
Initiative for round two: Six again!
Grimble has the measure of the bow now, and his arrow kills another rat! Three down, three to go!
Colbin shoots, and misses. Dirk the acolyte and Jasper the goat man join the fray, but also miss.
Defre hits his rat with a 17! And seven damage crack the beast’s skull.
Reinaldo also hits with a 17, and 4 damage: Enough to kill his critter.
That leaves only 1 rat alive. Eostre rolls, and hits hard with a 19, while Ephre rolls a measly 11, most likely a miss! The damage that the beast would suffer remains a mystery though: Real life happens, and the session ends very suddenly, right there between hit and damage, next to the wet sarcophagus of Aelfred of Warbiswick, cleric hero of the struggle against the First Beast of Errinsford.
Holy Warrior by Jens Auer on Unsplash
Rat by DarkCalamari RedRavens on Unsplash