Session Report #10 – The Sword of Virtue

Players: Tre/Tienarth, Henry/Ferris, Nick/Azrak, Jeff/Ghevont, Sam/Gladnir, Bob/Steron

As the past weeks have shown, there are regulars and there are occasionals. The core of what has become Tienarth’s Raiders keep coming back for more, while a wider gallery of hooligans show up perhaps a third of the time. This certainly adds variety to the sessions. Tonight’s session was one of the calm, deliberate adventures.

The party started by exploring the central room into which previous adventurers had fallen through trap doors. Their suspicions of gray ooze suggested by damp spots of slime were confirmed. The hapless grey ooze burned to death in a hail of flaming oil. Grey ooze moves at 1′ a round. It really had no chance against a party that spotted it from 50′ away.

The party also searched the former lair of the gnolls who ambushed them last week. Under a pile of rags, they found a chest full of mixed coins. “I can carry it,” announced the ever-confident cleric, Ghevont. With both arms wrapped around 300 lb of precious metal, he could barely take a few steps. So, he and Azrak shared the load and the party returned to the fort. After paying their tax and cashing in the coins, the party hired two dwarf porters, Rino and Rohu. They agreed to carry loot for a 15% share in the take. They made it clear, they were in no way prepared to fight in battles or otherwise put themselves in undue harm.

Back to the dungeon again, the party headed for the last unexplored part of the map. In the first room, they found a locked cabinet and a couple of chests among many decayed and ruined weapons. The locks on these containers were rusted beyond operation, so Azrak bashed them open. Inside, they found a suit of chain armor and a sword, both in perfect condition. They also found several other weapons. The armor was quickly identified as magical when Steron tried it on: chainmail +1. The sword, too, was magical, as it glowed blue when he gripped it: longsword +1. The 1st level fighter already with remarkable abilities took another step up. The party would certainly need his muscle for the fights to come.

The noise of the cabinet-bashing alerted the five ghouls roaming the corridor to the west who came up with a clever ambush plan. Suddenly, two ghouls appeared in the doorway and taunted the party with expectations of a meal. Naturally, the party stepped up and dropped these two ghouls without suffering a scratch. Then, a third ghoul at the far end of the hallway cried out in anger and surprise at his comrades’ quick death. Ghevont marched purposefully down the hall towards the ghoul, holy symbol held aloft. His attempt to turn back the undead beast failed, but it also did not rush forward to attack.

Suddenly, secret doors slid open and ghouled reached out to slash and bite at Ghevont while the rest of the party remained many yards behind. A scratch across his cheek instilled the icy wave of paralysis, and his limbs soon seized up. With ghouls on either side of him, he seemed to teeter on the edge of death.

The next instant, the party surged forward. Ferris and Gladnir could not get a clear shot without risking an errant shot striking a friendly comrade. The ghoul at the far end of the passage, overcome by hunger but wary of making an attempt on the prey of the two dominant ghouls, rushed past the front line to the dwarf. Azrak dropped that ghoul, then shoved Ghevont, spilling him onto the floor to gain access for a swing at a ghoul. Soon after, he and Steron cut the two larger ghouls down. Ghevont remained paralyzed for more than an hour while the party explored further.

The next room contained a brass censer on a stone pedestal. ¬†Aromatic incense chunks were left in a tiny shelf. Murals on the walls showed many barbaric warriors facing west in reverent poses. Ferris examined the censer carefully and then lit a chunk of incense. As the strong fragrance filled the room, the partying noticed the mural begin to move. The figures seemed to grow lifelike slowly and push out of the wall. Anxiety gripped the party with indecision. Disturbed, Azrak attempted a blow to one of the figures. His axe clanged off the stone and a wave of magic passed through him as if he’d narrowly avoided a curse. Meanwhile, the figures continued to emerge. Remaining in mostly stunned silence, the party watched as the figures popped out of the wall, fully-formed barbaric warriors, still in their poses. Then, just as suddenly, they fell into dust.

With Ghevont still incapacitated, the party went further west down the passage to find two large, brass doors. The archaic lock was no trouble for Ferris to pick, but the doors would not budge. Concluding they were magically locked, the party set about smashing the hinges to free the doors.

Meanwhile, Gladnir cast a spell to read the text on the doors written in some ancient barbarian script. This confirmed the room beyond as the tomb of the barbarian chief named Virtue in his native tongue. “The Sword of Virtue” the party realized was the primary sword of this ancient barbarian chief.

They were briefly interrupted by a pack of goblins who yelled out a query as to what the party was doing. Gladnir responded by tossing a burning oil grenade. Although the oil exploded harmlessly well short, the goblins turned and ran. Even a stupid goblin knows to run from a fire-mad elf with several strong friends.

Eventually, the party pulled the right hand door off to reveal another room with murals, but they didn’t spend much time noticing the menacing figure or the painting of weapons. The sarcophagus in the center of the room held their attention. Reasoning a battle with an undead monstrosity was imminent, Ghevont read from a scroll promising protection from undead. He warned the party not to engage in battle with any undead while the spell was in effect, else it would be dispelled.

The party huddled together to keep the 10’x10′ sphere of protection over them while they pushed hard at the sarcophagus lid. It tumbled to the floor. Simultaneously, the primary figure of the ignored murals sprang from the picture into the room. Before them was a gruesome warrior with a short sword in each hand, fully armored. Glowing red eyes were all they could see of his face beneath an iron helmet.

Steron stepped up to the warrior but hesitated to attack, heeding Ghevont’s warning. The warrior immediately attacked, striking Steron and Azrak. Ghevont refused to believe the warrior was not undead and hurled a flask of holy water, which flew left and smashed against the wall.

Unable to hold back after suffering damage, the party piled on. The warrior was strong and able to avoid many blows while dealing much damage. Meanwhile, Tienarth was looking closely inside the sarcophagus. The chieftain’s body remained as fresh as the day he died, dressed in finery and a beautiful ruby ring on his hand. Naturally, Tienarth poured oil over the body and lit it on fire.

Battle with the magical warrior continued. Many blows rained down on him, and a few were landing. Perhaps the attacks from all directions were confusing because he then failed to counter attack. And then just as the chieftain’s body burned up, a last solid blow crashed down on his shoulder. He crumpled, then burst into dust. Immediately after, the weapons in the murals flung down on the party, striking Azrak and Steron.

And now, the room was quiet. The party expected another surge of violence that did not come. Most of the items that flew out of the mural faded to dust, but some remained. There was a suit of leather armor, quickly identified as magical when Ferris put it on. There was a short sword of magical quality, too.

Was this short sword the Sword of Virtue, the party wondered. They concluded it was unlikely. Ghevont suggested pushing the entire sarcophagus. This revealed a small area underneath that contained what was certainly the true sword, a golden longsword with ancient runes inscribed along its length.

The party left the dungeon and camped in the fields near Morgansfort. The next day, Gladnir cast another spell to read the runes. Ignus Malatuum appeared to be the name and the command word for the longsword. Ghevont spoke the name holding the sword and it lit on fire. Saying it again, and the fire ceased. Clearly, this was a legendary flaming sword and the sword of Virtue, ancient barbarian chief.

The short sword also had a name, Morto im Morto, though the name was not a command word. It appeared to be a +1 blade, though perhaps some other secrets about it remain.

Now the party had an interesting problem to debate. If they went back into the fort, they likely would be expected to give the longsword to the general who had provided a map and asked for the sword. However, no deal was made previously, except that the fort always demanded a 10% tax on entry. This question weighed heavily on the party who decided to mull it for a day or more.

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