Last Wednesday was the culmination of the PC’s incursion into the Wizard’s Tomb, a small old tomb just outside Ubersreik, situated in the middle of an orphan’s graveyard and defended by zombie children. The PCs had already explored all the major rooms, and only two remained – a large room on the southern edge of the complex, and a large room reached by a set of stairs to the North. They decided to investigate the southern room first. But first…
Our First Experience of Career Advancement
In their previous incursion the PCs got enough experience points for Mr. 123 to advance his Initiate, Suzette, to her next career, Disciple. He spent 1xp for a Dedication Bonus, which enables Suzette to retain her Initiate’s special talent when she becomes a Disciple, as well as to choose a specialization in every skill she trained during her first career. So we have our first character at the next level. Mr. Shuto chose not to advance, because he wants to use the non-career advances available to his apprentice wizard to enhance toughness and get some extra training. Mr. Shop Owner chose not to advance because a) he was indecisive about where to go and b) he wants to spend some accumulated xp on increasing toughness. So we currently have one PC in their second career, meaning they can purchase higher-level spells and more skill training. Will this lead to an invincible party? I’m not sure yet, but stay tuned…
The Demon Tomb
The PCs entered the Southern room using the standard method – send the thief in first and wait for the sounds of frenzied slaughter. The Thief found himself in a large room with a raised plinth at the far end on which stood a huge, faintly glowing statue of a demon. This statue loomed over a tomb – the wizard’s grave – and the rest of the room was largely empty except for some decaying boxes near the door, and in one corner.
The thief hid behind the boxes to survey the room. A group of 3 imps burst from these boxes and attacked him, and combat was joined. Everyone else rushed up to help him, and from the shadow-enshrouded roof there emerged a fury, a much larger, winged demon-like creature, that went straight for the Roadwarden.
These enemies were supposed to be much stronger than the zombie children, but they went down like hapless rags. The thief slaughtered the imps with two arrow shots, and after one vaguely effective strafing attack, the demon settled in for a good melee stoush, only to be destroyed by the roadwarden and Suzette the Disciple. The whole battle was done in two rounds, with very little damage for the characters. I think I may have mishandled the surprise element of the imps’ attack, but basically the fury is a poorly-named monster, doing very limited damage and not being all that much cop. So the PCs left its steaming body near the door and searched the room. They lifted the lid off the wizard’s grave and found his corpse, along with its magic items:
- A robe (+1 defense)
- A gold-plated wand, not magical but designed to be easily enchanted
- A book, which if read successfully will grant the reader a new spell, probably Dark Magic (but carries a risk of madness)
- A bottle of superior healing potion
They fully expected the wizard’s body to come to life and attack them but it didn’t, it just crumbled to dust. Why?
When they explored the room, the mysterious silver key they had picked up earlier began to glow when held near the crates in the corner, and to emit a soft sound. They searched carefully until they found a key hole and opened a secret door to a final room. This room was reached by a short corridor, and was empty but for a large, shallow pool in the centre of the room.
Breaking the Wizard’s Enchantment
The pool glowed with the same vague light as the statue, and in its centre was a small coin held inside an obviously magical circle of some kind. They debated for a while but, eventually, it had to happen – the thief took out the coin. Immediately, the glow that suffused the pool (and lit the room!) snuffed out, as did the glow on the nearby statue in the main room, and the PCs were plunged into complete darkness. Aruson the Thief started scrabbling around in the pitch black for a light for his lantern, but the walls and floor had started to shake and he couldn’t get it to work. In the distance they could hear something falling. In desperation, Shultz the wizard called forth a cantrip of light, and they realized that the walls and floor of the tomb were quaking and making a bad noise.
They decided to run. As they exited the main room the quaking got worse, and they suddenly found themselves in a race against time, as parts of the tomb began to collapse around them. Staggering on the shifting earth, they helped each other through the gathering dark, Suzette preying to Morr to protect them from the worst of the rubble and Shultz using his celestial magic to predict the safest path through the quaking. In the end, near the entrance, they just had to burst into a run and so they emerged from the crypt into the frigid outside air, Aruson dragging Suzette through just as the entrance collapsed and the entire tomb was swallowed up by the uncaring earth.
Save or Die
That’s right folks, that was a save-or-die scenario, played out against the progress tracker. This is another skill check/technique I came up with on the fly, and I’ll explain it separately. I might not have actually killed the entire party (I am not so wrathful) but I put myself on the spot and that’s how it worked out. They really had to scrabble through all their abilities to get out too – Suzette burnt all her available favour points, Schultz used up his magic points, and two characters used their one-time-per-session skill bonus to get through it. It gave a nice sense of panic to the ending!
The characters returned to town, and paid a local magician a lot of money to identify their magical items. They’re now ready for a few days rest before they look for something else suspicious to get up to. They’ve survived their first ever Warhammer dungeon incursion in typical contrary style, being nearly slaughtered by the easy monsters and destroying the hard ones in the blink of an eye. Continual surprises for the GM, and further ponderings on how to balance monster power for encounters in such an unfamiliar system.
The Coin: “Wizard’s Last Wish”
The coin the PCs grabbed from the pool turned out to be the key ingredient in a ritual to bring the wizard back from the dead, perhaps as a lich or other undead. One side was blank, the other side inscribed with the invocation “Do not Die” (shinu na – this comes out better in Japanese I think). Unfortunately, the wizard lacked the power to make his ritual work and so after he died he just crumbled to dust – but all the servants he had prepared for himself remained around forever to guard his crumbling remains.