Like I mentioned earlier this week, I’m the newest DM attempting to fumble her players through an adventure. I’ve never DM’d before, and I’ve always wanted to. I decided to go with an already-created adventure (I’m not quite ready for campaign level stuff yet) and so I searched around online until I found The Tomb of the Ghast Queen. This post does include spoilers to the adventure, so if this is something you’re currently playing or want to play in the future you may want to skip on by.
Our first session was spent creating characters. Right now our group is only two plus myself as DM. Not a huge problem, I decided to play an NPC alongside, I’m pretty flexible and I believe that the rules are more of a guideline than absolutes. Myndi, the halfling rogue, and Borrik, the dwarf warlock, soon emerged. It was time to adventure in the second session.
The story began easily enough. Borrik was known as the chef aboard a ship of pirates. The captain, crew, and his pet goldfish were all brutally murdered. He was spared, but heartbroken about his beloved pet. He decided to make a pact with an entity who gave him magical abilities in exchange for his loyalty. The entity also revived his goldfish in the form of a clockwork goldfish, which Borrik carries around with him in a small glass orb attached to his belt. He’s often seen talking to his little companion, and when his ship finally docked, dead crew aboard still, he disembarked into a sea of people that were in some sort of altercation on the docks. Guards were everywhere, and he had no idea what was going on. He got swept up in the incident, and taken away to jail for treason.
Myndi on the other hand, grew up in the town that Borrik landed at. The land is ruled by the Ghast Queen, formerly known as Queen Esmerelda the III, she gave up her life to rule in immortality, and that’s where things went wrong. She rules over the land with an iron fist, and her guards seek out people to enslave to work in her mines on a daily basis. Myndi happened to be a guild merchant, and a very good one. She always knew which masonry items were worth a lot of money and which were useless. She made her living by buying and selling these items to other people. Sometimes shady people. She made one of the guards that day angry by quoting him a price he didn’t like, and so she was one of the 20 people or so hauled away to work in the mines.
5 years pass, and our potential heroes have been working as slaves in the mine ever since. Stripped of their belongings, they keep mostly to themselves. Borrik notices the blue eyed halfling on a number of occasions, but she’s always looking at the ground and staying out of trouble, which is almost unheard of for her race. One day the guards round up 20 of the slaves and chain them together, leading them outdoors. They make their way out of the mines and up the side of a nearby mountain, then take an elevator shaft down into the dark once more. Everyone is rounded up in a single room, and the guards read from a parchment about a game called ‘The Gauntlet’. The rules are simple. The team that brings together all 4 Hand of the Lich gems, hidden within the tomb, will be granted freedom. The 20 slaves gasp – and as the guards continue reading, they slowly one by one drop off into unconsciousness.
Borrik and Myndi wake up and realize that they’ve been paired into a team. They’re supplied with a backpack, a handful of their personal belongings from when they were arrested, and not much else. Myndi is impatient and wants to begin hunting for the gems right away. Borrik has other ideas, and wonders if the pool of water in the room they woke up in is acid. He decides to take one of the old rusty tools that are laying around scattered on the ground and tosses it into the water, which does absolutely nothing. Myndi thinks Borrik is a bit odd, but imagines it’s not unusual for people in their particular situation.
They continue South even though entrances lead north, east, and west as well as south, and soon notice an archway on the right hand side. Borrik tries to peer around the corner but he doesn’t see anything except a rather large room, a statue on one side, and 5 treasure chests in the middle. He tosses a torch into the room about two feet, and a small click is heard. As he approaches the torch, the floor gives away, but at the last second he is able to jump backwards and avoid falling into a pit. He and Myndi creep along the side of the pit, and he directs Myndi to the statue, indicating that she should examine it while he checks out the chests. Throughout the room he can hear the other slaves exploring, and occasionally a scream breaks out. Myndi notices the statue has a black gem in its outstretched hand, and as she reaches forward a stream of acid hits her directly in the face. She crumple to the ground, her body wracked with spasms. Borrik is a quick thinker and pulls out her healing potion that each slave was given before they began. After a short rest, she is feeling much better. She apologizes, and explains that her skills of finesse must be rusty after so much time in the mine.
Borrik and Myndi walk back to the chests in the center of the room, ignoring the statue. They each select a chest and try to open the lid at the same time. Neither one succeeds, and they realize the chests are locked but not before they fling themselves backwards and into each other, sending one another sprawling. Myndi attempts to disarm them and unlock them with her thieves tools, but she has little luck. Borrik decides he should just wail on one with his club which does absolutely nothing. They spend a few hours working the locks on the chests, and eventually (through sheer luck) manage to open two of them. One contains 1,000 silver and 50 gold, and the other has 3200 copper. Myndi starts to get impatient that they haven’t found a single Hand of the Lich gem yet, and the two agree that it’s high past time they go on their way. They choose to leave through the north east arch, but before they do, Borrik senses something is off about a nearby pillar, and he disables a sleeping spell. Myndi is impressed, and together they leave through the arch. As they do, a heavy scimitar blade comes swinging down, striking each of them across the arm and upper chest. Their wounds bleed quite a bit but don’t seem too deep. They collapse in the corridor and bind their wounds with rags found in their backpacks while they recuperate a bit. Neither one wants to use the healing potions they have left. Down the hallway they can hear the cries and screams of more slaves, but the sounds are fainter, and more spread out. We leave our adventurers there for now, as they rest and reestablish themselves.
(Details: Succeeded in a check vs. detecting the first trap, didn’t manage to disarm it, but did manage to jump backwards in time. Failed discovering the acid trap, and failed in preventing any of the damage. Also failed opening any of the chests, numerous times through numerous methods, eventually succeeded at two of the five. Succeeded in detecting the sleeping spell on the pillar, failed in disarming it, but succeeded in resisting the spell. Failed at detecting the scimitar trap, failed at dodging any damage, no mob encounters in this room..)