They searched the room pretty thoroughly, and found a secret door. After some very careful dungeoneering, checking for all manner of perils, they went through. There, they discovered a room with what seemed to be both the contents of a warlord's field tent (camp chair, pallet,etc.) and an arcane circle with a bier in the center of it. Upon the bier rested the dessicated remains of the warlord in question. He was dead-dead, not un-dead, though some of the party feared he might rise to begin smiting them. Given how well they'd managed the previous encounter (awesome die rolling, despite a magic missile misfire almost killing the party's thief. Again.), I probably should have done something fun with the corpse, but it was approaching the end of the session, and both they and I were battle-weary.
The wizard with the crystal ball soon figured out that one might place said item in a concavity at the foot of the bier. Though there was some trepidation, they ultimately "pressed the Big Red Button" by inserting the crystal sphere. The result: A potential patron:
Gazing into the crystal ball, you see an endless field of bright stars on a faint gray background. A ghostly image of the warwizard drifts in the star-strewn ether, perfectly still. Then a harsh goat-like face fills the full sphere, staring intently at you. “I have waited a long time for someone to take the warlord’s place,” says the strange goat-man in a deep voice. “His astral voyage was cut short before he could rekindle the spark of his mortal coil. I am still in need of an ally on your world. Fill this copper brazier with wood from a dryad’s tree and ignite it with the spark of a living fire. The blaze will reveal the location of the other half of the rulership rod. Find that for me, and you shall be rewarded.” Then the globe dims to mere crystal. (DCC Core Rulebook, p. 456)I believe they intend to follow through on this quest at some point, but first they had a golden monolith to deal with.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of Harris Patter's spells has the mercurial effect of turning one random item to lead and another one to gold. I altered the function a bit for dramatic license, and had it affect two standing stones of immense girth and heft. They clearly couldn't carry the whole thing, given their rickety cart, which conveyance they'd brought from Hirot. So, after emerging from the dungeon, they discussed what they might do, ultimately deciding to hack off chunks of gold from the former megalith. It is, of course, sacred to the native peoples of this land, whose shamans will, no doubt, attempt to trigger a holy war of some kind against this outrage. That should be fun. I may need some mass combat rules...
After some discussion, I allowed that they could probably carry (and still be able to hide) about three hundred pounds of gold (leaving some 21,700 pounds behind, unattended in the barrowlands, soon to be found by natives). I recon that the gold coins of this realm aren't particularly large, and run about 20 coins to the pound. They have, then, roughly 6,000 gold pieces, should the gold be minted into coinage. That's a lot of gold. However, given that this is a silver standard economy, it's a stupidly large amount of gold, and it's not already in coin or bar form. They will need to get someone to exchange it for credit, equivalent value, or to mint it into bars or coins. That could prove both tricky and dangerous, and might draw the attention of many, many people in Magyaru, some of them powerful, some dangerous, and some... both. It will be a miracle if the party manages to hold onto their booty, and their necks.
Further, it may soon be revealed what happened out in the barrowlands, and why the natives are restless. They may soon lay siege to the city, coming with their war chariots, painted in woad, ready to burn and pillage, their holy men primed for revenge against those who would trifle with the very spirits of the land and sky. It might get pretty tricky for a group of low-level adventurers caught up in a situation like that. It certainly might... We'll have to see how that works out, because they've decided it's time to make the final steps of their voyage to Magyaru. They're all free people now, with no records of slavery or indenture to bind those laboring under such things. They have plenty of wealth, and a lust for power and glory. We shall see what is possible in Magyaru. It certainly won't be what they expected, in the end, though it may seem so to begin with.
On top of it all, I'm actually running a new game on Sundays, with a whole different group of people. It's set in the same world, and I've decided that the different groups will have to live with the consequences of actions of both. It should prove most amusing to watch how the chips fall. Mua! Muaha! Muhahaha! MUAHAHAHAHA! <--That's supposed to be my evil laugh.