Anyhow, when last we left our adventurers, the town of Hirot was in an uproar. The peasants were revolting!
The genius of Mel Brooks continues to astound.
The Yamash and his bodyguard had returned to the longhouse to armor up and 'get swole' in preparation for some good ol' fashion oppression (Iron Fist included!). The town's uppity merchants determined that three feet of steel through the brisket was not particular fun or healthy, so they decided it might be better to attempt negotiation. Accompanied by some of the PCs they held parley with the Yamash.
They had high hopes to instill some of this new "democracy" thing into Hirot's political order, but the Yamash was not having it. He explained, very succinctly, that it wouldn't be happening. First, he would go down fighting. Then, he explained, rumors would make their way to Magyaru. The Governor would be obliged to send troops to quell the uprising. The leaders would be found, and summarily executed for treason. A new yamash would be installed, and it would be one less reasonable than himself. So, whatcha gonna do? Cometh thou at me, bros!
Still, he allowed, he would be willing to take advice from the wisest of these elders, and consider their council. The Yamash permitted that three of them would be assigned to such a body. These selfless merchants, seeing how such an arrangement could benefit them (and, of course, 'trickle down' upon the peasantry--like a good piss), knuckled under and proclaimed his wisdom.
The PCs, of course, now found themselves on the outside of this arrangement. They also were not well rewarded for the killing of the Hound, having participated in the aborted rebellion. Tough luck, people. Tough luck. So, they decided to venture into the Barrowlands to seek fortune. They also hoped, perhaps, to find that scoundrel Sylle Ru, who had scarpered off to parts unknown when his political fortunes had gone pear-shaped. I have a feeling we'll be seeing him again...
First, though, they had a date with the witch Ymae. For honoring the agreement, one PC received a nifty, golden shirt (as chainmail with fire protection) before the old lass went and broke his heart. He will soldier on, somehow. That done, they did their best to arm up, provision themselves, and the players leveled their zeroes up.
Leveling up took a while (two wizards and a cleric), and the mercurial magics thus gained were more of the "annoying and funny" type than the "awesome" or "oh, hell no" varieties. One such case would prove consequential later, in the Barrowlands. Thus fortified, they marched out of Hirot, bound for gold and glory. Or at least gold, they hoped.
The PCs marched into the hills and mounds of the Barrowlands, bypassing one obvious adventure hook (the Tomb of the Ulfheomar), before finding a Shiny Red Button. The Button in question was found in a narrow defile leading up to the cliffline, well north of Hirot. A causeway led toward the cliffs, barrows on each side. At the cliffs themselves they found a circle of standing stones and an altar (most likely used for terrible rites by the demonic, pale-skinned devils who inhabit this land). Above the altar was a weird carving, embedded with seven colored stones, in various parts of the design. One of the PCs, an astrologer by trade, figured out that this represented a constellation. This particular configuration of the constellation in question didn't quite match what was in the sky. However, being far from the shores of the Empire proper, the stars were not quite the same. Nonetheless, he determined that the stars were not quite "right," in comparison to the design. However, by their colors, the stones were misplaced. They needed to be shifted in the design to match the constellation in question. So, of course, they fucked with it.
Pretty quickly they found that touching the stones resulted in a point of ability drain (five of them, one for each ability). They took turns. They also found one that drained 1d3 hit points. Then, feeling optimistic, the party's thief climbed to the top part of the design, to seize the final stone. It zapped him for 3d6 hit points (hehe, silly thief). Your humble Judge, naturally, given his proclivities with dice, completely failed to kill the erstwhile character, rolling only five damage and bringing him down to two hit points. Stones in hand, they reinserted them, arranged them in the proper order, and a magical portal opened in the cliffside.
Oh, I nearly forgot. One of the party's wizards, one Harris Patter, has this mercurial effect for one of her spells:
Accidental alchemist. Each time the spell is cast, one random item within 20 feet of the caster is turned to lead and another is turned to gold. Both objects probably weigh more than they previously did, and the gold object is worth twice its normal cost or 1gp, whichever is more.She decided to cast that spell (I forget exactly which). I determined that her spell had affected two of the standing stones, turning one to lead and one to gold. Some work with the calculator suggested that something in the order of 22,000 kg of gold, all of one piece, stuck way the fuck out in the hinterlands. Good luck getting that back to town. Good luck getting any more of it, once the natives discover you've been desecrating their sacred circles. Dickish? Nope (okay, maybe). Anyway, this is DCC RPG, and this is how we do that shit.
They entered the portal and found a short hallway and a door. They opened the door, leading to a room beyond. Four iron statues with spears attacked the doorway, but only one character was wounded. They gathered up the spears and stripped the statues of their elaborate, enameled scale mail (That shit looked pretty tight, ya see). Thus equipped, they entered the next room.
There, they found a large (30' tall) statue, its finger pointing toward the doorway (J'accuse!). Long story short, they figured out pretty quickly that attempting to leave the room meant getting doused with flaming oil. Several of them were thus attacked, but none died (much to my chagrin). Eventually, they bum-rushed the northern doorway and found a long room with a pool of water. They also found several weird humanoids, who approached their light sources, but otherwise seemed uninterested in them. They (wisely) did not attack.
One of the PCs noticed that the bottom of the pool was studded with "glowing" crystals. He decided to remove a few, and then a few more. At one point, the floor began to buckle, so he curtailed his activities. The party had found a door in the northeast, at that point, so they moved on. A stairway led downward, into a room with a big table with a host of martial figurines upon it, and in alcoves and on shelves in other parts of the room. A search revealed that several of these were made of solid silver, with a sheath of clay. They got a bit richer.
Then, they moved into the next room. There, they encountered an army of clay, a clay warlord, and seven clay generals. The host attacked! That's when things went haywire. Fucking wizards. Fucking mercurial magic. One PC wizard has a mercurial that causes terror. The warlord got skeered, and went to hide behind his throne. Much of the clay army had been degraded by the leaking ceiling (from the pool above, with its missing crystals), but there were far too many to fight. The party dropped back to use the doorway as a choke point. One of the PCs ran back up the stairs to attempt to collapse the ceiling/pool bottom into the clay army. Some good rolling ended in success, and about 30 of them were crushed outright. Others dissolved in the water. Still something like 26 of he statues managed to get out of the low area in which they stood. Their generals are still standing, and the warlord remains cowering behind his throne. Soon, though, he will recover, and then they will be fucked, well and truly.
That's where we ended last time.