Crown of the Dead [D&D v.3.5] – Part 7

This adventure was Friday March 20, 2015. Only E.G. and C.H. were present.

Barbarian Gnome Wee Jack has minced up the zombies to his satisfaction. A considerable haul of goods was taken off the undead; Jere Collado and Raygar Brightblade decide to lug it back to Riddley’s Crown. Noomfoodle Gobbliegook Pann goes with them, eager to jer…have a brief nap.

Jacob Light-Bringer, Pfriem Darkstrong, and Ariana are still on guard duty at the enclave. Half-Orc Ranger Xorn and Wee Jack are alone on the open plains. Far from worried for their safety, the two adventurers hike south to the low hills at the edge of the bog. Off to the east are unexplored farmsteads and a mysterious old church. Wee Jack and Xorn want to go there today, and staying off the plains may help them avoid zombie encounters.

The duo covers about three kilometers in the next hour. They cross a muddy creek trickling into the bog. Then, a while later, they come upon another shallow stream. After they pass it, Xorn makes a Spot check that Wee Jack does not – the Ranger notices a humanoid figure spying from the foliage to their right. When Xorn ducks into the bushes to Hide, the humanoid emerges to attack.

It is a Ghoul. The foul creature rushes Wee Jack but is intercepted and cut down by Xorn. Two more ghouls tentatively attack from the treeline, and are quickly dispatched. A Spot check reveals to Wee Jack another lurker in the shadows of the bog. When the adventurers move in, they are nearly Sickened by the stench of a Ghast, their hidden foe. This gruesome being is slain with unexpected ease. Xorn and Wee Jack make Spot and Listen checks against the oppressive stillness of the deeper bog, but locate no other threat.

They have probably traveled far enough. Wee Jack estimates about an hour before they must turn back. This far east, the plains and edge of the bog almost converge – it is a short walk out of the hills and onto flat grassland.

To the west is a gentle slope down to the creek-bed. Ahead about four hundred meters is a farmstead, abandoned and decayed. In between that and the two adventurers, a band of seven zombies. These zombies wear Hide armor and appear to have been Barbarians in life; now they shamble towards Wee Jack and Xorn, weapons held limp but ready.

In a daring move that generally fails in horror situations, Wee Jack and Xorn split up. The Gnome Barbarian dashes to the left; Xorn the Ranger hustles to the right. The witless zombies shuffling through the grass take the bait. Two rotted former Humans, a male and a female with great-axe and maul, veer off towards Wee Jack. The other four Humans and reanimated Dwarf follow after the half-Orc.

The Barbarian and Ranger have split their opponents and put distance between them. Running back to Xorn, Wee Jack leaves his zombie hunters a couple hundred meters behind. A five-on-two fight is more manageable. The Gnome readies his axe; Xorn his sickle and dagger.

Even with odds slightly improved, the adventurers have a tough go of this encounter. The Human zombies are a decent threat but it is the damnable zombie Dwarf that consistently lands hits and seems to shrug off the most damage. Xorn inadvertently collects the most kills, even fighting alone against the decomposing attackers so that Wee Jack may step back and drink a life-saving Potion of Cure Light Wounds.

Ready to flee once the last zombie of this group was dropped, Xorn and Wee Jack Spot that the remaining two dead-walkers of this pack have forgotten about their clan and the Gnome they briefly chased. Now they absently wander toward the farmsteads.

The adventurers have ample time to properly search the remains. They take a lucrative haul from the re-dead. It would seem that the challenge and the rewards are greater the further one ventures from the safe haven of the enclave.

The Ranger and the Barbarian took on a superior force, yet won the day. Wee Jack was hit five times, four by the zombie Dwarf alone. Xorn was slashed twice, one of those the Dwarf’s doing. The Fort saves against infection are easily accomplished.

Time and health do not favour investigating the nearby structures. The two adventurers retrace their path along the bog’s boundary, wary ever of ghouls or ghasts that may lurk therein. It is an uneventful hour of hiking and cautious observation.

They are most of the way back to Riddley’s Crown, with time yet to spare before sunset, when they see a gang of zombies cresting a nearby hillet, intent on intercept. Wee Jack’s health is not great; neither is Xorn’s confidence. A fight seems more likely than successful flight.

 

(end of Part 7)

 

Wee Jack is now Level 3.

Xorn is now Level 3.

 

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About d20horizons

D&D player.
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