Palin's Quest

Ulgar's Barrow

A Report on the Magical Barrow of the Witch-King Ulgar

And the Events, Objects and Creatures Witnessed Therein By Samtaz Deepgranite of Iron Forge

Prepared at the Request of Lord Greystone of Iron Forge

Background

Little is known about Ulgar the Witch King except that he was a powerful mage who employed his magic in a somewhat whimsical manner, and that he died centuries ago and was interred in a barrow in the Shadow Bog. Some of this information turned out to be less than accurate.

Location

The barrow marking the last resting place of the Witch King is located 7 leagues north of Dead Man’s Quay in the Shadow Bog, on an island in a lake. However, the barrow is not normally detectable on this plane. It seems to exist in an extradimensional space or pocket plane which coincides with the Material Plane only once per year. Hitherto, the barrow has appeared regularly on the eve of the winter solstice, only to disappear again at the next sunrise.

Entry

The entrance to the barrow was magically locked. Entry was effected using the extant portion of a multi-segment magical key which was obtained from Lord Greystone (see below).

Organization

Physical

The dungeon was designed with an asymmetric hub-and-spoke layout, allowing non-deterministic access to four branches, but not to the final room, which was magically locked.

The central room contained a large magical artifact in the form of an hourglass, which apparently regulated the barrow’s periodic appearance on the Material Plane, and also provided power for portable replenishment devices (see below).

Thematic

Ulgar organized his dungeon around negative emotions, specifically:

  • Darkness (intended as a metaphor for despair)
  • Rage
  • Fear
  • Deceit

It has been suggested that the underlying theme of the dungeon is “marriage”.

Challenges

Many challenges had to be faced and overcome throughout Ulgar’s dungeon. Foremost was the time limit: Anyone who remained inside the dungeon at sunrise would be swept away with the barrow when it disappeared.

In general, it proved to be prudent to employ detect magic sparingly, due to the abundance of artifacts with overwhelming auras.

Areas

Zone 1 – Darkness

Tactics: Be a dwarf or a warlock.

Room: Maze

After navigating this maze, it proved surprisingly hard to return in the reverse direction. The maze had not magically re-arranged itself, so some sort of intelligence drain is suspected.

Tactics:

  • Intelligence, wisdom
  • Breadcrumbs (alas, only realized in hindsight)
Room: High Narrow Walkways

Monsters: Gauth
Tactics:

  • Balance, jump
  • Ranged weapons, medium- to long-range spells
Room: Key Segment

Monsters: Shadow hounds
Loot: Segment of Ulgar’s Key

Zone 2 – Rage

Room: Spectral Arena

Monsters:

  • Orcs
  • Centaurs, minotaurs
  • Remorhaz

Tactics: Kill the monsters
Loot: Segment of Ulgar’s Key

Zone 3 – Fear

Tactics: If possible, cluster around a paladin to take advantage if his or her aura of courage.

Room 1

Monsters: Centipede swarm
Tactics: Cast fireball and hope the rest of the party keeps out of the way.

Room 2

Monsters: Nightmare, bearded devil

Room 3

Monsters: Mummy
Tactics:

  • Stand back and deploy the paladin
  • Use Evocation [Fire] spells

Loot: Segment of Ulgar’s Key

Zone 4 – Deceit

This dungeon zone contained many hidden traps and secret doors, not all of which were discovered.

Tactics: A dwarven rogue proved helpful in this area.
Loot: Segment of Ulgar’s Key

Ulgar

As expected, when all segments of the key were assembled, it was able to unlock the door to the dungeon’s final room. As might also have been expected, the Witch-King Ulgar, thought to be long dead, was there in undead form. Ulgar’s attack was preceded by a brief monologue, confirming that he was indeed the master of the dungeon.

Monsters:

  • Zombies, with arms and armour
  • Ulgar – primarily a spellcaster, but also armed with a black longsword

Tactics:
It seems that Ulgar’s main attacks were spells of the Necromancy and Evocation [Fire] schools, which he dispensed with childlike abandon. Unfortunately, this writer was not able to witness the entire battle, due to loss of consciousness. It happened that one member of the party dropped Ulgar’s Key on the ground during this battle.

Artifacts

Hourglasses

The central hub of the dungeon contained a large hourglass which regulated the annual appearance of the barrow on the Material Plane, and also seemed to control the passage of time within the dungeon.

There were also several small hourglasses magically linked to the large one, each of which could grant the holder instantaneous rest, healing and restoration of cast spells.

Ulgar’s Key

See Appendix A for details on the composition and function of Ulgar’s Key.

The key had been dropped on the ground when Ulgar’s dungeon collapsed and disappeared. Subsequently, the key could not be located, and it is presumed to be gone forever.

Aftermath

Immediately following the destruction of the undead Witch King, his dungeon collapsed and disappeared, returning the party members to the Material Plane among piles of weapons and treasure which, while of considerable value, were much reduced in quality from that which existed inside the dungeon.

Given the dungeon’s destruction, it seems unlikely that Ulgar’s Barrow will ever again return to the Material Plane.

Comments

Len17

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