Classic Fantasy Adventures in the Argosian Empire
Rules: Blueholme (Holmes Basic D&D Retroclone)
Setting: Fantasy World with many humanoid races.
Characters: Thuruz, Dwarf; Flaktix, Elf; Kerawun, Human Cleric

DM: Adventuring life is hard. Or so you imagine, if you could get started. For the last month, you have been frequenting the Gilded Goose tavern, waiting for a buxom princess to need saving, or a dragon invasion to be repelled. Instead, you have slowly watched your meager savings disappear into the coffers of the barkeep. While you have discovered several new ales you hadn't been aware of, this isn't the life of adventure you had envisioned.

Tonight is the last night you are paid up at the tavern, and you have decided enough is enough. You have purchased provisions for the next week, and tomorrow you will set out for Argos, the capital city of the kingdom. Surely you will find adventure there.

DM: Please make a constitution check to see how you are holding your ale.
Thuruz (CON 15)

18 = 18[d20]

Kerawun (CON 15)

18 = 18[d20]

Flaktix (CON 7)

17 = 17[d20]

DM: It appears none of you are doing well tonight. As the last night of debauchery before a long trip to Argos, you are throwing caution to the wind and getting good and drunk. Even the usually hearty dwarf and cleric (who has seen plenty of sacramental wine) are starting to feel their stomach rebel against the alcoholic onslaught. This is nothing new for Flaktix, the elf, as he doesn't have nearly the stamina of the other two.

DM: Just as you are about to give in to the frequent head nods that are telling you sleep is about to happen whether you choose it or not, you hear the sound of the tavern door opening behind you. You turn to see a gnome, an unusual site for this area, dressed in a shabby brown leather cloak enter the tavern. He removes his hood and slowly looks around, then makes his way to the bar. He has a brief conversation with the bartender, and after a few words, you see the bartender point over to your table.

The gnome looks at you with raised eyebrow. "Them?" He asks the bartender. "Are you sure?"

The bartender laughs, shrugs, and says, "You could always try Argos."

The gnome sighs and approaches your table with a look somewhere between resignation and desperation. "Hello gentlemen. May I join you?"

Flaktix: You are welcome to, but we are not very good company, I'm afraid."

Gnome: "Yes, I see that. Unfortunately, I have nowhere else to turn. I'm looking to hire some strong adventurers to help my master with a problem."

Thuruz's bleary eyes light up. "Work? What do you propose, gnome?"

DM: The gnome clears his throat, looking the three of you over again quickly before he continues. "I am Egglik, the house servant of Duke Appleby, who you may have heard of. You may not have, as his family has sadly declined over the decades. Only Duke Appleby is left, and I am sworn to care for him until his last breath, which I fear is coming any day now."

Kerawun: "I'm sorry to hear that, Egglik. What could we help you with? I'm guessing it's not just the funeral rites, although I can help with that." He touches his holy symbol on all three corners in the common gesture of honoring Zos, the kingdom's prime deity.

DM: Egglik says, "No, I'm afraid it is more complicated than that. Duke Appleby has made it clear he is to be buried with the rest of his ancestors in the family mausoleum on the estate. The problem is, I have been a bit remiss in my duties of upkeep. I haven't entered the mausoleum in 25 years, because of what happened the last time I tried."

Flaktix leans forward, intrigued. "Go on, what happened?"

DM: Egglik says. "At the time I had been entering the mausoleum once a month, on Zos's holy third day of course, to make sure there were fresh flowers, shoo away the rats, and clean off the dust from the family's burial vaults. You know, pay proper respects to the family I was sworn to take care of." He looks down, unable to look you in the eye as he continues. "This time, I opened the door to the mausoleum, and immediately the stench of death overcame me. As I coughed and peered ahead, waiting for my eyes to get used to the darkness, I began to see shapes moving. There was at least one skeleton looking back at me, moving forward. I had clearly gotten their attention. I leapt back and slammed the door shut. I - I haven't been back since."

DM: Egglik's eyes begin to tear over. "Now the mausoleum is overgrown with vines and I couldn't get in if I wanted to. I still hear the unholy sounds of - of *something* moving around in there when I do work up the nerve to get close enough. So here is what I ask. While I have been a failure at tending the family's mausoleum for the last 25 years, I must make it right. The only way I can see to do that is to have it cleared out and re-sanctified. Will you do this for me? I will pay as well as I can, which is admittedly not as much as I would like."

Thuruz stands up, knocking his chair backwards and tipping it onto the floor. "We'll do it!"

Kerawun and Flaktix exchange glances, checking that there is no dissent, and they nod their agreement. "No sense arguing with a drunken dwarf!" Flaktix says as he raises his mug in a toast.

DM: Egglik, clearly relieved, joins you in one last round of ale. He gives you directions to the Appleby Estate and you agree to meet him there in the morning. Not too early though. You fall into your beds, and you dream hazy drunken dreams of adventure and glory.
[Session 2] (Note: I have changed the rule set to Basic Fantasy, as it is the system I will probably run in the near future and I want to test this adventure. Characters and story are the same)

DM: The next morning, after a cold bath to try to clear your heads, you arrive at the Appleby Estate. Egglik serves you a hot breakfast in the manor dining room, a well-apportioned if old-fashioned wing of the estate. With full stomachs, the previous night's indulgence starts to feel like a distant memory, and you set off into the wood behind the estate with directions where the family mausoleum is located.

DM: After almost two hours of hacking your way through years of overgrowth, covered in sweat and more than a few bug bites, you finally see the shape of the Appleby mausoleum, exactly where Egglik described it. As you clear a path to the door and stop to catch your breath, you notice that the sound of bugs that had been constant is now completely gone. An ominous silence permeates the area, as if the birds and insects are avoiding this old tomb.

Kerawun: "Wait - listen...nothing"


Flaktix grinned, seeing his companions stare nervously around, clearly terrified at the nothing they had encountered. "You know, they say the undead don't make any noise. Since we don't hear anything, it's obviously zombies."

1 = 1[d6]

Thuruz reacts - does he think Flaktix is funny? (unlikely)


Thuruz looks over at Flaktix, unimpressed by his attempt at a joke. "Listen elf, this is no time for your foolishness. We have a job to do here. I suggest we get this door open while there's still daylight. No telling what's on the other side."

Flaktix: "Of course, my dour friend. I'll get you to appreciate a little levity if it kills me." They all stopped and turned to the stone door of the mausoleum. Even Flaktix felt a chill down his spine at his choice of words. "Why don't you do the honors. Show that door who's boss!"

Kerawun raised his holy symbol, ready to react if anything dead or otherwise emerged from the door, and Thuruz stepped forward. He grabbed the iron ring attached to one of the stone doors and gave it a quick test pull. Nothing. He then heaved with all his might and...
DM: Open Doors on a 1 in 6 (18 STR so +3, making it 4 in 6 for the sinewy dwarf).

1 = 1[d6]

DM: The door easily swings out, and dust billows out as air escapes the long-sealed tomb.

Thuruz deftly switches back to his battle axe and shield, waiting and listening. Flaktix draws an arrow and watches, aiming above the dwarf's head. Kerawun continues to hold his holy symbol high, his other hand on the handle of his mace.

Kerawun: "Anything? I can't see in the dark like you can."
Thuruz: "It doesn't work that way, cleric. It's pitch black in there until we get in and get our eyes used to it. Come on."

Kerawun: "Or I could light my lantern"
Flaktix: "Save it human. I'll let you know if you should be terrified."
Kerawun: "Great, thanks."

The three now-official adventurers stepped into the darkness of the tomb. Just enough light spilled into the tomb to prevent the dwarf and elf's darkvision from revealing anything, but not enough for regular vision to help either.

Kerawun: "Want me to close the door so you can -"
DM: Before Kerawun can finish his suggestion, Thuruz notices movement in the short corridor ahead. The pale white of aged bone emerges from the darkness and you see two skeletons moving toward you. You are not surprised, roll for initiative!

Party roll

4 = 4[d6]

Skeletons roll

1 = 1[d6]

Thuruz moves forward and swings at the skeleton in front of him. (Skeleton AC11, Thuruz AB +1, +3 for STR, +1 for Battle Axe specialization for +5)

1 = 1[d20]

Flaktix moves forward and swings at the skeleton in front of him (Skeleton AC11, Flaktix AB +1, +2 for STR, +1 for Long Sword specialization for +4)

20 = 20[d20]

Check for crit

14 = 14[d20]

Crit successful! Damage roll for longsword 1d8, x2 for crit

3 = 3[d8]

Flaktix does 6 points of damage and the skeleton crumbles to pieces, skull shorn clean off from his spine. Thuruz must roll a save vs Death Ray with dex bonus applied to keep from fumbling.

10 = 10[d20]

DM: Missed by one. You swing wildly at the skeleton and in your excitement at first combat, you lose your grip on your battle axe handle, and it drops to the floor. As you stoop to grab it, Kerawun now has a clear shot to shoot at the skeleton with his sling.

Kerawun decides to turn the undead instead of taking a round to switch to his sling. He raises his holy symbol and exclaims, "In the name of Zos, return to the realm of death where you belong!"

1 = 1[d20]

DM: The cleric's attempt at turning fails, and the skeleton swings at Thuruz. (Thuruz AC18, skeleton AB1)

17 = 17[d20]

The skeleton swings with his bony clawed hands and does

4 = 4[d4]

4 damage to Thuruz. The round ends, roll initiative.
Party initiative roll:

1 = 1[d6]

Skeleton initiative roll:

6 = 6[d6]

DM: The skeleton swings at Thuruz 1-3, Flaktix 4-6.

1 = 1[d6]

9 = 9[d20]

He misses. Thuruz spends this round picking up the Battle Axe he dropped last round. Flaktix swings at the skeleton:

16 = 16[d20]

He hits and does

1 = 1[d8]

1 damage, his sword blade making contact with its right arm, but only flaking a bit of bone. Kerawun spends this round switching to his sling. The round ends, roll for initiative.
Party initiative:

1 = 1[d6]

Skeleton initiative:

6 = 6[d6]

The skeleton swings at

3 = 3[d6]

Thuruz again.

16 = 16[d20]

And barely misses, his hand swinging at the spot where Thuruz's head was just about to be as he stood up! The party now goes. Thuruz, a murderous gleam in his eye, swings his battle axe.

20 = 20[d20]

Check for crit:

7 = 7[d20]

He does not crit, but does

2 = 2[d8]

2 damage, enough to crush the skeleton's rib cage, and his bones clatter to the floor, dead. The party is quiet for a moment, the dwarf and elf's vision finally beginning to adjust to the darkness. No more skeletons are visible. Kerawun breaks the silence. "I think I can heal all your wounds, but that would leave me with no more spells."

Thuruz: "Since we're barely inside the front door, let's do that and go back to the manor and let the gnome know what we've found. We can rest up and do this again in the morning."

The other two nod, and for once, Flaktix doesn't have a witty retort.

Kerawun casts his 4 Cure Minor Wounds spells he can cast today (level 0 orisons that restore 1 hp each) and Thuruz is fully healed.

Flaktix grabs the two skulls of the skeletons they killed, and the party makes their way back to the manor. The sunlight raises their spirits, and the conversation moves to some gentle ribbing of the dwarf for dropping his battle axe, and the cleric for not being able to turn the skeletons. They return to the manor and find Egglik nervously pacing in the kitchen, cooking a large pot of stew.

"Ah, gentlemen? Back so soon? I've got a pot of stew on the stove."

Flaktix reaches in to his bag and dramatically sets the two skulls on the table. "It appears your fears were well-founded. We were attacked by these two as soon as we entered the tomb." The party goes on to briefly describe what they saw, and their reasons for returning to regroup and regain their meager healing abilities.

"Yes, yes, I see," the gnome responds. "It is the sensible thing." He pauses and looks again with the same appraising look he had at the tavern when he first met you. "Here, take this. These are healing potions." He reaches into the back of a cupboard and pulls out two vials of a swirling purplish-gray liquid. "These will heal similar to a cleric's cure light wounds spell."

Thuruz's eyes grow wide. "You had these and you let us go in there without them?"

Egglik takes a step back. "Well, I had to know that you had any chance of succeeding. If I gave you these and you never came back, what good would that do?"

Flaktix steps forward and claps his hand on the dwarf's shoulder. "Easy my friend, no harm done. We are all in one piece and have proven ourselves to our employer. That's what we're here for, after all. Save your ire for the undead we will fight in the morning."

Thuruz takes a deep breath. "Yes, you may be right. And I could be persuaded to agree with you completely with a belly full of ale."

Egglik smiles and produces a small barrel of ale from a nearby pantry. "I can't promise it is the freshest ale you have ever tasted, but -"

Thuruz grabs a mug and begins to fill it from the barrel before the gnome can even finish. "To tomorrow's battles!" He drains his mug as the others are filling theirs, and suddenly their prospects seem a lot brighter. After several mugs of ale and a belly full of stew, they all retire to rooms prepared by Egglik to recharge for another attempt at the mausoleum in the morning.

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