Dungeon Crawl Classics - Rise to Glory

Rise to Glory II, Session 1 - The Well of Souls

0-Level Funnel

The Well of Souls (Session 1)

A band of eighteen peasants from the Southern Province hoped to escape the drudgery of their lives by assembling the long-lost Tablets of Fate and entering the Well of Souls, which was located in a cave in the Sentinel Mountains between the Southern Province and Ghetrian Desert. Many had entered the well before, but supposedly none had ever returned. A guide named Farid escorted them into the mountains to the hidden cave, and volunteered to wait a couple of days to see if they emerged (and to watch a cow that one of them had brought along, but could not take into the dungeon).

The hapless peasants were:

Tovah the Shaman (m.) Chaotic Phil
Noranje the Dwarven Herder (m.) Neutral Phil
Kaff the Mercenary (m.) Neutral Steve
Douglas the Tax Collector (m.) Chaotic Steve
Gwenneth the Elven Sage (f.) Neutral Amy O.
Brock Samson the Soldier (m.) Chaotic Amy O.
Magpie the Cutpurse (f.) Chaotic Amy S.
Dove the Herder (f.) Chaotic Amy S.
Thraa the Jester (m.) Chaotic Tanya
Loden the Con Artist (m.) Lawful Tanya
Katherine the Elven Sage (f.) Chaotic Lizzy
Joey the Dwarven Stonemason (m.) Neutral Lizzy
Savinar the Orphan (m.) Chaotic Cheyanne
Blair the Wheat Farmer (f.) Neutral Cheyanne
Martyr the Hunter (m.) Chaotic Alex
Logan the Halfling Dyer Lawful Alex
Cheese the Mendicant Lawful Yahsenia
Dip the Cooper Chaotic Yahsenia

The characters were wary about lowering themselves into the Well of Souls by the old bucket rope that was there, and instead used the 100’ rope that Savinar was carrying. They had a torch and lantern. Realizing they might need another torch, they bargained with Farid for his staff. He sold it to them for 60 cp.

Once in the cavern, the ones with the power to see in the dark noticed several Cave Lurkers with many eyes crawling on the ceiling. They saw a manmade tunnel to the north and another cavern to the south. They gathered up copper coins from the water (some of recent mint in the Southern Province, others ancient copper coins of the Khonsurian Empire and its successor states).

There were 3 flat-bottomed boats waiting here, each of which could hold six people, so all 18 of them loaded into the boats and paddled down the northern tunnel. The narrow tunnel opened into the wider Halls of Sacrifice, supported by pillars carved with scenes of noble self-sacrifice. This place was sacred to Ningizzia, the God of Present Truths. The walls in this area were covered in niches containing the skeletons interred here in ancient times. The tunnel ended at some steps up to a chamber. The would-be heroes pulled the boats up onto the steps and climbed up into the chamber. More dead were interred here, and a locked door lead to the east. There were stones representing the numbers 1-8, and representing mathematical operations of division, addition, subtraction, and multiplication. There was a cylinder marked with numerals in the center.

When they entered the room, a portcullis clanged down, cutting off their retreat. The cylinder was spun, locking in at the number 31. At first, not knowing the symbolism, they tried pushing stones randomly, which animated some skeletons which they had to fight. Then Douglas the Tax Collector figured out the nature of the symbols, and were able to push a sequence creating a mathematical formula for 31, which opened the doors.

In the next room was a river flowing south, and three bronze cauldrons. The first seemed enchanted to cause fear, and both Dip the Cooper and Logan the Halfling Dyer were lost because of it – they fled to join Farid on the surface. The second cauldron was used for scrying. The third seemed unenchanted. The surviving members of the party loaded up into the two boats to head south, with four characters forced to walk – Dove the Herder, Thraa the Jester, Katherine the Elven Sage, and Brock the Soldier.

Following the tunnel south was easy at first, but then it began to slope downward and led to a waterfall into a pool below. Katherine the Elven Sage was killed by the fall, most of the others were able to brace themselves, prevent the boats from going over, or survive the drop. They had roped the boats together, and managed to lower a rope down to the grotto.

The grotto was open to the stars above, and contained a model of the relatively nearby island of Kalmatta and the lost city of Zadabad (founded by successors of the Khonsurian Empire). The model was made of about 200 gp. worth of precious stones. Atop the pyramid at the center was the Rod of the Crescent Moon.

Thraa the Jester climbed up to claim the Rod of the Crescent Moon, but this caused a bronze crocodile to arise from the waters and animate to attack. The bronze crocodile apparently represented Sophet, the Crocodile God of Future Mysteries. It seemed to kill Thraa with a blast of blue fire, but he later proved to be alive, though badly burned. There was a door without a handle leading out of the grotto, but it was held in place by 4 bolts. They realized that the bolts matched the Rod of the Crescent Moon and hurried to open it, even as their companions battled the terrible bronze crocodile. Finally, Tovah the Shaman managed to crack it wide open with a single blow of his mace, releasing a djinn trapped within – Urhatta the Worldwalker! She offered to answer any three questions for Tovah and to become the Patron of any characters who become wizards or spellcasting elves.

Tovah used two of his questions to ask Urhatta the Worldwalker about the locations of treasure and dangers in the Well of Souls. He decided to save his final question.

Having used the Rod of the Crescent Moon to open the door, the would-be heroes climbed stairs the the Cavern of Secrets, where a statue of Ashkari, the Bat Goddess of Past Secrets, held the legendary Phoenix Shield in its jaws. The would-bve heroes had been warned by Urhatta the Worldwalker of the pit traps at the base of the statue, so they raided these for the treasures left by unfortunate past victims. Then Loden the Con Artist and Dove the Herder tried to climb up to get the Phoenix Shield, but Dove fell and died, triggering a bat swarm.

As the characters were fighting the bat swarm (and Martyr the Hunter died, his face eaten by bats), some decided to run and climb the bucket rope to escape. A couple made it to safety, but they triggered the swarming of the Cave Lurkers, and then an attempt by two characters to climb the bucket rope at the same time caused the rope to break. Tovah nearly died from this, and then was killed by the Cave Lurkers.

Cave Lurkers also killed Brock Samson the Soldier, Joey the Dwarven Stonemason, and Savinar the Orphan before they were defeated and the bats dispersed. The rope was retrieved from the waterfall to the grotto, and a way to get the rope connected to the surface was devised.

And so the heroes survived the Well of Souls and went on to become adventurers. They divided the treasure (the sale of bronze cauldrons and gems) for a total of 21 gp. each – a fortune to peasants who had never before so much as held a gold coin! They tipped Farid handsomely for his trouble, and then set out on their quest to find the lost Treasure Vaults of Zadabad on the Isle of Kalmatta!

The surviving heroes were:

Noranje the Dwarven Herder (m.) became a Dwarf Neutral Phil
Kaff the Mercenary (m.) became a Warrior Neutral Steve
Douglas the Tax Collector (m.) became a Thief Chaotic Steve
Gwenneth the Elven Sage (f.) became an Elf Neutral Amy O.
Magpie the Cutpurse (f.) became a Thief Chaotic Amy S.
Thraa the Jester (m.) became a Wizard Chaotic Tanya
Loden the Con Artist (m.) became a Cleric Lawful Tanya
Blair the Wheat Farmer (f.) became a Wizard Neutral Cheyanne
Logan the Halfling Dyer became a Halfling Lawful Alex
Cheese the Mendicant (f.) became a Thief Lawful Yahsenia
Dip the Cooper (m.) became a Wizard Chaotic Yahseinia

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