20th Ready’reat, 591 CY
After a damp night’s sleep, sheltering from rain and wind, the party once more venture into the crypt, this time with more caution. Still suffering from their wounds– and appreciating the aid their clerics gave them– Ungrid and Corvin take point, with Sidni following with her spear ready, and Smee and Xellos bringing up the rear. They pass the thawing chunks of flesh that were the rival party’s zombified bodies, and the still frozen flakes that were the desiccated bodies of the extraordinary tough zombies. They turn south, passing through an open chamber full of torn shrouds, broken urns and crates, now empty. Then, on a pair of shelves waist-high on the wall of the gargoyle-held-up ceiling, they spy a pair of mummified bodies. Corvin checks the area around them, looking for potential traps, then looks at the bodies hoping to see a glint of jewels or gold: he prods one with his sword, and– as expected– the corpses rise to attack!
The mummies prove tough opponents, packing one hell of a punch and managing to shrug off blows from most attacks; the adventurers swiftly discover that non-magical weapons are useless; Corvin’s arrows pierce the mummy’s hide, but the wounds it leaves seal up instantly. Xellos gets smacked in the face, leaving a black mark of rot behind; and Ungrid receives a similar blow. Even hasted by Smee the fight forces them to withdraw, drawing the mummies into a better position. As the fight progresses, more of the tough zombies walk into view, stepping out of the shadows behind the mummies.
The first mummy is cut down by Xellos, his red-glowing magic great axe proving an excellent weapon to cut down the undead. Ungrid and Xellos form a makeshift ‘shield-wall’ against the onslaught of zombies, allowing Sidni to stab from behind them, and Corvin to let loose his arrows, aiming at the zombies he can cut down. As the undead shamble up, Smee calls out for everyone to drop: as Xellos and Ungrid fall to the floor, Smee points his staff of power over them and blasts the undead with a powerful cone of cold that freezes the enemy in place, destroying them all.
With the mummies off the shelves, two secret doors had opened: in one was a treasure vault, that they quickly looted, leaving the larger crates and chests to collect on their way out (lots of coins, gems, jewellery, magic items for later identification); the other led into a larger chamber, with an arched ceiling and a huge demonic statue clutching a staff: the very staff that they had been sent to find. A sarcophagus lay before the statue, and crates and urns and chests laden with treasure lay scattered around.
The party entered, and were soon confronted by the undead leader of the cult: the Mad Monk himself. Battle was swiftly joined, and with the use of swords and axes, spells, Xellos’ Cube of Frost and Corvin’s scroll of Ward Against Undead, they managed to ultimately defeat the lich-like Mad Monk, but at a price: a lightning bolt virtually incinerates Smee. More of the zombies enter towards the end, but with the Ward and Xellos using Smee’s staff of power, they easily dispatch the remaining zombies.
With the dead dealt with, and nothing more to do than loot the crypt and take the relic, the party pick up Smee and head out, collecting the treasure on their way out. They load the cart and chests that the rival party had with them, and make their way slowly back to Loftwick.
End of Session
Kills: 20 zombies, 2 mummies, 1 Mad Monk.
KO’d: Smee (mortal wounds to be rolled next session).
Notes: it has been decided, subject to last-minute changes of mind, that Xellos will replace Zarkov, and that Smee (if he survives) will join as a henchman to Halmary. The party have a decent collection of magical items, including scrolls and potions, and everyone now has a magical weapon. Some of them may also have levelled up; we’ll find out for sure next session.