Return to the Tomb of Theronna Onyxarm, Part 1
Earthday 20, 552 CY (50 AN)
(Session date: May 18, 2012)
Aerik Sellsword, Burdwulf the Greatly Challenged, Conrad the Black, Falrest Chisoud, and Hilda Giblets are far from home.
For different reasons, each booked passage on a ship to the port town of Sorgforge. Upon arrival, they realize they will soon be in need of work. Outside a watering hole, they find a bulletin board with a few jobs posted, among them a professor who needs a bodyguard. Inquiries are directed within.
The group goes into the tavern and asks the innkeeper. He directs them to an old, robed man, and the group goes to inquire about his job.
He introduces himself as Professor Phineas Q. Jorgensen with Morgrave University, and he explains that he needs bodyguards because he seeks to do business in a rough part of town. He’ll pay 500 gold pieces for their services, plus any hazard pay if such happens. After some discussion, the group agrees. They agree to accompany him that evening, after midnight. Until that time, they decide to get rooms and sleep.
They awaken around midnight, and prepare themselves to accompany Professor Jorgensen. As per his instructions, they are to keep him safe as he makes a foray into the Goblin Slums of Sorgforge.
They accompany him without incident. As they arrive at a crumbling tenement block, they enter and snoop around to find a room with hobgoblins. A single goblin, riding a bipedal drake-like creature, stands in the front. Professor Jorgensen and this goblin, apparently known as “Big Sendak,” discuss terms before making the trade — the professor gives the goblin a pouch of coin while the goblin gives Professor Jorgensen a map. Conrad peeks at the map to find it appears to be a map of the slums, and the “X” on the map marks something labeled “Ashurta’s Tomb.”
Before the goblins and hobgoblins leave, Big Sendak asks if they felt the earthquake earlier. He then explains that, as adventurers, they ought to check out the basement.
The group of goblinoids leave.
Reluctantly, the adventurers check out the basement to find that the floor has collapsed into some sort of cavern. They are interested, but decide to check it out tomorrow, after they have rested and received their payment.
Admittedly, the fact that Professor Jorgensen offers to pay them for any archaeological finds sweetens the deal.
The next day, they awaken and talk terms. Professor Jorgensen will give them another 500 gold pieces for surveying the site — likely a ruin, he expects — and returning with a reasonably accurate map. He’ll grant bonuses if the map is particularly complete, and he’ll also give bonuses for any artifacts that are recovered.
The group goes to the market to outfit themselves, largely to buy some more rope, some paper, and a couple of healing potions. They also decide to hire a linkboy and two laborers to carry anything they find. Properly outfitted, they return to the goblin slums with Professor Jorgensen and return to the building.
After using a torch to determine that the room descends roughly fifty feet into water, they manage to secure a line to the stairs and cast it to dry rock. They descend into the dark passages.
They find themselves in a large room. A single torch flickers beside a hallway leading into darkness — Burdwulf determines it to be an Everburning Torch, and grabs it. An empty fixture for another torch stands on the other side of the hall. The other side of the room is dominated by a huge statue, a dwarf carved from the rock itself. It plunges a sword into the bubbling water. Once everyone is assembled, they decide to travel down the hallway.
After a short distance, the hallway opens into another room. Bas-reliefs line the walls, and tunnels radiate outward in four directions. The center of the room is dominated by a statue of a dwarf woman holding a hammer. The hammer is constructed of a different material than the statue. Two corpses with smashed heads lie at the statue’s feet, and the hammer is bloody. The corpses appear relatively fresh, likely less than a day old.
Burdwulf indicates that the bas-reliefs describe Theronna Onyxarm, evidently some sort of folk hero who vanquished the giants. The group decides to ignore the statue, particularly since they cannot determine the mechanism that causes it to attack people, and they move to the right.
Another enormous chamber leads to a room with two Everburning Torches (both are grabbed). It dead-ends at a large statue carved from the rock; this depicts a dwarf laboring over a forge. Real lava appears to bubble in the forge, although the heat is not so intense as one might think. The arcane runes around the edge of the forge’s mouth may have something to do with that. Finding nothing of interest, the group returns to the previous room and goes to the right, being the chamber directly across from where they entered.
This room has an opening on the other side, and a statue carved from the stone of the chamber sits in the middle of the room. It depicts a dwarf laboring over an anvil. The group proceeds through the opening, traveling up the stairs.
At the top of the hallway, they find several corpses, which apparently attacked each other. Examination indicates that these were not adventurers but laymen in the tomb; they bear only a little silver and a few random items. The group notes an ornate door ahead of them and a plain door to the right. The ornate door depicts Theronna Onyxarm with her hammer held aloft. They decide to go right. As they open the door, they see a long room stretching past the light of their torches. The flickering light illuminates a few more corpses, apparently battered and bashed by an unknown force. As the group enters the room, they note several suits of armor depicting dwarves with hammers. The hammers are bloody.
The group begins to walk through the room, and make it part of the way through before the suits of armor move to attack. In the melee, Conrad falls, although he is revived by his comrades, and one of the laborers is killed by the animated armors. The three suits of armor are destroyed, reduced to scrap. A fourth pile of scrap sits near the rusted, broken portcullis that marks the exit of the room.
As the combat ends, the linkboy bolts, but Falrest manages to talk him down and keep him with the group (even after Hilda threw a knife at him, although he didn’t quite notice it).
The group exits into a short hallway. It stretches ten feet to the left before ending. It stretches ten feet to the right before splitting into two passages — one which doubles back, and the other which dead ends. The group moves to the left and begins searching the wall for secret passages. They find nothing, but as they are content that there is nothing hidden within the wall, footsteps mark the approach of several shambling, rotting corpses that clamber into the hallway.
The group prepares for the assault, and they fight well. Falrest manages to force four of the creatures to flee with his holy symbol and an invocation to the god Ragnock, while the other six are swiftly killed.
The group decides to return to the surface with what they have, taking a few of the armor pieces for Professor Jorgensen. Without incident, the group returns to the surface.