OSR: Tomb of the Serpent Kings, Session 2

Continued from here. In which a toad loses a leg, everyone gets loot, and the party discovers secret passages do not always lead to treasure.

The Party:

A nameless human Paladin of the Voice. Not very bright, but unshakably faithful.
Thomas, a toadling elementalist wizard, formerly a shepherd. Accompanied by his last remaining sheep.
Franklin, the Iron Frog. A frogling, a knight, and a sensible man.
Antonia Barracuda, a fishling thief, and a sensible lady.
Tito. A toadling gambler and part-time assassin.

Art of the party.

Session 2:

Electrified, mangled, stabbed, and bludgeoned, the party prepared to rest. Antonia was still active, and spent another hour in the Tomb of the Serpent Kings. She returned to the room with the mummy fragments and explored the burial chamber previously opened by Thomas. Stepping carefully over the pressure plate and into the ornately carved room, she found four stone coffins. Three were closed, but one was opened and empty. The coffin lids were carved to resemble resting snake-people with emerald eyes. Antonia pried out the gems and pocketed them, then pried the coffins open using her sword. The rusty blade snapped in half in the process, but she did open all 3 coffins, but sadly, no further treasure was found. She did pry off the heavy electrum plate the lightning bolt had emerged from, and hid it under some rubble for later retrieval. 

Antonia had heard talk of "equal distribution of loot" and wanted nothing to do with it.

She returned to the surface. The party had neglected to buy tents, bedrolls, or any useful equipment whatsoever in town, so their camp was a sparse and uncomfortable affair. During the night Franklin and Thomas were briefly bothered by a mysterious crab-like creature that scuttled around the edge of their fire's light before vanishing into the trees. They agreed it was "the sort of thing that happens out here" and did not investigate further.

During the night, Tito disguised himself (badly) as a heavenly messenger and tried to convince the sleeping Paladin that "The Authority encourages you to heal the sick and the lame, particularly those wounded in the feet." The Paladin saw through the disguise and was confused as to why his friend Tito was telling him this, but accepted it. After all, the message was hardly offensive. Tito went back to sleep happy, convinced the Paladin would use his mysterious holy powers to restore his missing toe.

In the cold morning light, the party reconvened, lit torches, and prepared to enter the tomb once again. Thomas put on the magic ring the Paladin had retrieved from the tomb, and was startled to find that his fingernail grew into twin points. He suspected the ring's magic had turned it into a dagger, but little suspected the curse that waited within. They descended past the upper, false tomb and into the halls below. The large, statue-ringed room with the pool of black water was their destination. The two crawling arms had not reached the water. One had made it several feet closer, but the other was so badly smashed it could only twitch in the corner.

Antonia decided to investigate the pool. As a fishling, she could hold her breath for 5 minutes under water and see more clearly than a human. The rest of the party waited for her to finish and/or die, but she emerged unharmed. She dredged up a magnificent gold chain made of interlocking snakes, so heavy she could barely lift it with one arm. She also pulled out a black stone rod with a metal point on one end and switch on the side. Thomas insisted it was magical, and potentially quite powerful, though he had no idea how to use it. Antonia also retrieved a silver ring marked with eyes from the pool, but concealed the ring in her pocket.

The party briefly looked at the many chambers branching off the room, and chose the largest and most ornate one. This passageway lead downwards and was ribbed like a snake's gullet. The Paladin went first, followed by Tito. The rest of the party waited at the top of the stairs. Five steps down, the Paladin set off at trap. The stairs tilted to become a ramp, but both Tito and the Paladin slid down without losing their footing.

The large chamber at the bottom of the hall had walls coated in shields. Ancient wood, metal, and hide shields of a thousand tribes were gathered like scales. The far side of the room was open to inky blackness. In the centre of the round room stood a mighty tomb guardian. It was shaped like an ogre, tall and strong, but with a cobra's head and the armour of an ancient knight. It held a mighty iron broadsword in its stone hand. As the Paladin and Tito stared at it, the creature lurched to life.

The Paladin raced the wall to grab a shield, but with a gesture, the tomb guardian drew the shield off the wall. It flew through the air and attached itself to the golem's arm, nearly knocking the Paladin over in the process. Tito, meanwhile, had pried two shields off the wall on the other side of the room. The Paladin sprinted over to join him and, together, they prepared to face the monster.

It turned, slowly, but with the strength of a landslide, and swung at them. The paladin braced and deflected, but Tito was not so lucky. The golem shattered his shield and left him dazed and afraid. He shouted, "Oh splendid, no problems down here, just lots of treasure!" to try and lure the rest of the party down the stairs.

Franklin, Antonia, and Thomas, hearing Tito's transparent pleas and the sound of battle, hesitated for a moment and then descended. Franklin lost his footing but, once was on his feet, charged the golem with his sword held high. Thomas cast anklecrusher, which immobilized the tomb guardian for a few moments. Antonia stayed at the edge of the fight and fired arrows at the stone golem, doing no damage at all.

Immobilized, the golem could not turn to face these new foes, but instead vented its ancient rage on the two targets it could see. The Paladin once again deflected the golem's sword, but the second swing, aimed at Tito, was a deadly blow. Trying to save his friend, the Paladin reached out with his shield, but only succeed in shoving the scrambling toadling into the blade's path.

The sword sliced of Tito's leg, sending blood and toad liquids everywhere. Tito screamed and fainted. The Paladin, abandoning the fight, dragged Tito away and back up the stairs. The golem turned to face the knight and raised its sword for a devastating strike.

But Thomas and Antonia had not been idle. After some hasty debate, the wizard aimed the mysterious black rod at the golem pressed the switch. The resulting magical blast knocked Thomas ten feet backwards and flat onto the ground. The rod flew forwards and struck the golem in the chest. It kept its footing and tried to march towards the knight, but the inescapable power of the rod pushed it backwards towards the blackness beyond. With a screech of stone on stone it slipped and vanished. The party heard a distant crash a few minutes later.

Thomas and Antonia remained in the shield-room while Franklin and the Paladin tried to keep Tito from dying. The Paladin commanded him to "LIVE", using the Authority's voice. It didn't seem to work, but Tito did eventually stabilize slightly, and was carried to the surface along with his severed leg. Franklin noted that the severed leg was not the one missing a toe. 

Meanwhile, Thomas discovered that the darkness beyond the shield-room was a giant chasm. A narrow path lead to the north and south, but their torches illuminated nothing beyond the  used his elemental vision to speak with a few air spirits in the enormous chasm beyond the room. They warned him of many, many dangers in the vaguest possible terms. Antonia spent an hour prying gold and silver inlays off the shields and accumulated quite a tidy pile. The shavings were split evenly between the thief and the wizard. The rest of the party was not informed.

An hour later, the party reconvened on the surface. Antonia was not feeling well. Her immersion in the pool had left her bruised and aching. She crouched by the fire, warming her webbed hands. The party agreed to send Tito into town with their hireling, Albarich the Minstrel. He would earn two pieces of gold if he returned and Tito was confirmed to be safely in the hands of whatever healer could be hired in Bogrest.

The day was still young, so Antonia, Franklin, and the Paladin decided to explore more of the tomb complex. They decided to ignore the chasm and test some of the unexplored rooms.

The first room the entered contained a small legion of clay warrior statues. The statues were inert, merely clay and rusted swords. Only one was an archer, but the clay quiver contained 12 very real arrows that glistened with magical power. The Paladin smashed the statues methodically, searching each one for treasure. He found no treasure, but one of the statue's bases contained a secret passage. This narrow tunnel of cold, well-fitted stone ended in a pair of thick doors.

On the other side of the doors was a massive stone chamber, so large that the party had to throw a torch into the centre to illuminate the far wall. Stone pillars, most of them half-toppled, dotted the room. A chain hung from the ceiling and moved, slowly, in the torchlight. Franklin thought he saw something move in the shadows. Something big. Something scaly.

The Paladin ventured a few feet in and found several extremely well carved statues. Most of them were of small humanoids with oblong, lumpy heads and too many teeth. They had all been carved in positions of cowering terror. He also found several bat statues and a spider statue, all perfectly carved, all to scale.

Terrified, the Paladin retreated to the secret passage. Meanwhile, Thomas had gone the opposite direction, using all of his stealthy abilities (none) to move silently. He peered around a pillar and spotted a giant lizard-like creature. it was at least 20' long, taller than a horse, grey-scaled, and eight-legged. It had a brass and cogwheel device on its head and a thick collar around its neck, and huge sharp teeth.

Thomas jumped backwards in surprise and knocked over a statue. The beast turned to stare at him with its piercing blue eyes. Thomas felt his flesh begin to harden, and the breath freeze in his lungs. His warts became stone lumps. Panicking, Thomas cast anklecrusher. The stone hands that emerged from the floor to grasp the creature distracted it and caused it to look away for a moment. Thomas' flesh returned to normal, and he ran at full speed to the secret passage and back to the surface, abandoning his friends.

Franklin stowed his sword and shield, drew his bow, and fired one of his new magic arrows at the flank of the beast. The arrow curved upwards just before it hit, rising into the air and shedding flakes of black energy. It arced up, then curved and sped directly for the Paladin. The Paladin flung himself to one side but the arrow followed, striking the ground a few inches from his feet.

The giant lizard scuttled forward, its gaze flicking across the two adventurers. They ran and slammed the door to the secret passage behind them. One of the lizard's claws got inside and raked the Paladin, wounding him in the arm, before they managed to push the doors closed.

Once again, the party returned to the surface. Antonia had recovered from her illness completely. The party hastily discussed their adventure and agreed that the creature was a basilisk - a near mythical being that could petrify with a glance. They gathered around the campfire to plot their next foray into the
Tomb of the Serpent Kings.

Magic Item Notes:

The arrows are good-seeking arrows, and will curve to strike the nearest good target. The ring Antonia has is a ring of eyesight, which allows her to remove her left eye and still see from it, and replace it without harm. The ring that Thomas is wearing is a cursed ring of snake poison. His finger is now a poison dagger, but each morning, he will take 1d6 posion damage. If he ever takes 6 damage, his finger will turn into a crowned snake and slither away. He only has 6 HP. The black rod was a mobile rod, the opposite of an immobile rod.

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