The Tomb of Durak
- Ambre Mangefer, dwarven fighter and jeweler.
- Elerossë Friedman, half-elven warlock and puppeteer.
- Koyaa Nisqatsi, human paladin.
All are level 3.
The entrance to the Tomb
Last time, we left the PCs at the entrance of the tomb of the dwarf warrior Durak Azad-Durak, which they found chasing the slavers who had sold a number of people to the goblins of the old silver mine. There, they defeated an ochre jelly and found the remains of two of its victims, carrying a big pile of gold pieces.
The PCs went ahead a little further into the tomb. They found a big room with a huge statue of a dwarf warrior (probably Durak), bas-reliefs all along the walls, and the ground inlaid with silver. There were four large sarcophagi along the walls, one of them broken and empty.
The PCs easily found the trail of one or several people leading to one of the two small stairways down from the hall. The PCs naturally went down the stairs and got to the entrance of an underground complex. There, they found the corpse of an orc impaled by a fallen portcullis. The orc looked and smelled like it had been dead for not much more than a few days.
After having a look around, the PCs went on into a huge hall lined with columns. While they had a look into the hall, they saw the shadows between the columns begin to move toward them. Before long they were fighting the shadows, which quickly dispatched Koyaa. The other two PCs managed to get him out of the hall, and the shadows did not follow them, but the fight was a close call. They decided to get out of the tomb, carrying a very weak and limping Koyaa between them.
The following day, the PCs went underground once more. They lifted the portcullis under which the dead orc had been pinned, and followed the corridor beyond. Before long, they encountered a couple of orcs pointing crossbows at them. The orcs called for a few of their fellows, who led the PCs to their leader a few rooms further.
The PCs soon found themselves drinking orc booze with a leader with no apparent interest in killing them. Even though a somewhat drunk Koyaa did his best to annoy the orcs, the PCs got away with their hides and a mission to find whoever was stealing food from the orcs. They also got a few hints about the layout of the complex: basically a string of corridors going around the hall of the shadows.
Undead and treasure
The PCs went ahead to find the rest of the complex full of undead; the fought orcish zombies (yes, the orcs had “forgotten” to talk about that), and ghouls, and most of all a dwarven wight with a big axe, which they assumed was the original resident of the broken sarcophagus on the ground level.
They also found a seemingly-unguarded treasure: thousands of copper and silver pieces (which they left there, as they had no way of carrying them), a few tens of gold pieces, a few gems, a spell scroll and a couple of potions.
Just when the PCs were beginning to wonder if they had not taken a wrong turn, they found a largish room which looked like a temple to Clanggedin Silverbeard, which was occupied by an exhausted and hungry man. He readily confessed to being the leader of the slavers and told them all he knew about the goblins of the silver mine.
After some negociating, the PCs accepted to get him out, but warned him he would be taken to justice in Daggerford. The slaver readily agreed, really wanting to get out. He had managed to cross the hall of the shadows coming in; he thought he was the only survivor, and he did not want to renew the experience.
The PCs gave some of the gold the slaver had with him to the orcs, to pay for the missing food; the orcs readily agreed to let the PCs take the man with them.
We called it a night at this point, with the PCs getting back to Daggerford by way of the small village where they had spent a night last time.
Everyone levelled up, and Ambre got the shiny magical axe of the dwarven wight.
The DM’s debriefing
With some help from Elerossë’s player, who has started playing D&D5 with another group, I tried to correct a few misreadings of the rules. On the other hand, I forgot a few things I used to know, mostly the extraordinary resilience of the zombies.
It was the first time I really used ghouls and wights in D&D5 (the first encounter with a wight being the undead priest the PCs did not really fight); they feel seriously underpowered to me. Coming from BECMI D&D through AD&D2, wights already had lost some of their terrifying potential in D&D3; they feel even weaker in 5E. Then again, maybe I should have played the dwarven wight a bit more aggressive; on the other hand it was a bit difficult to justify using its touch attack instead of a magical greataxe. I guess it is a sure sign its touch attack is seriously underpowered.
I also forgot about inspiration once more, even though I have a big card reading “INSPIRATION” pinned inside my DM screen. Sometimes I think I should learn to read a little better. Well, next time…
Finally, on a practical level, I also had a summary sheet with a few stats for each PC pinned inside my screen, mostly Stealth, Perception and Investigation skills and a few other figures. Even though it sounded like a good idea, my usual position standing up above the screen made it hard to read. I will try something else next time.