Ambush at the platform
As the introduction to the village, in first person version (tangent – let me know how that was!), as the party approach the pulley operated platform they are to be ambushed by a bunch of goblins.
As a cop-out I will say that the writeup from yesterday describes them adequately enough but lets talk about mechanics.
According to kobold fight club we can have 1 CR 2 and 5 CR1/4 creatures before this gets a bit too strong for our party of adventurers. Speaking of which, for this I am assuming our group is level 4. Or we could mix it up and just have a horde (12-13) of goblins (keeping to my hard encounter mantra) or if we want something to just break the narrative of travelling through marshland let’s do 8 Goblins – just on the entry-point side of Medium.
Forgotten Gods, Lost Guardians
“I wish Sid was still with us,” Ray said as he stepped into another hole of muck and filth, “he would’ve had us through this bog in moments, not hours”.
“Yeah, pity about what happened to him in the ghoul nest. Hope that bloody tome was worth it” mused Dusk, holding his beard above his head so it wouldn’t drag in the muck.
Mike and Zander beckoned the other, dare I say heavier, party members over to a set of tracks.
“These aren’t orcs.. I have tracked orcs before – these are human, or were human. It seems to drag its right leg. Maybe undead?” Zander explained to the others, noting a set of tracks in the mud heading towards some stone ruins about 300ft from where they are.
At the mention of Undead, Mike stood straight – gripped his swords hilt and strode off.
“Mike! My lady hasn’t mentioned anything dead this way. It’s not goi..” Dusk began, half hopping to get his enchanted boots out of the mud.
“IF there are dead in this bog they will burn.” Mike squeezed through his teeth. His allies sighed, still not used to his righteous vendetta against the dead.
As the party stepped onto the first solid stone of the day they sighed a breath of relief, Zander taking a moment and a wisp of magic to clean the parties garments from the filth of the bog.
Ray closed his eyes and channeled his divine might outwards – searching for those who would stand against his march. “I sense something old and dark, but not dead. Perhaps fiendish in nature” he began, pointing over the edge of a hole in the stone paving – where the tacky-muck footprints led.
“HELP!” a voice called from down the hole. “I think I broke my ankle when I fell. The statues, they wont stop staring!” A woman’s voice seemed to reverberate from the stone chamber.
Without a moment to waste the party moved to the edge of the hole and jumped, Zander reaching out and touching his allies he shot off a blast of air towards the ground – slowing their fall to something manageable.
Landing with a small impact, less than what it would have been if not for Zander, the party quickly sought the owner of a the voice.
A lantern, low on oil by the looks of it, burned not 10ft from where the hole led and a young woman lay there, part of her dress wrapped around her leg.
“One moment lass,” Dusk said, bringing forward his shield which proudly sported the symbol of the Raven queen, “will have you up in a moment” he said as divine magics washed over her broken limb.
Sighing Mike sheathed his sword and walked around the room. “Interesting, these statues. They look like they could leap right off the wall. Dusk you must see this stone work, its similar to some of the carvings we saw in the temple of Malar” Mike said turning around and looking back to the party, his musing taking him 30 or so feet from his allies.
“Mike!” Ray called, rust covered vines seemingly springing from his wrist to wrap around Mike – biting into his flesh and wrenching him towards his allies. Half the distance he had walk covered in a mere moment. The stone where he was standing seemed to explode as a shield sized hammer head pulverised the stone work where Mike was standing.
“Thanks for the help Ray,” Mike said, his hands glowing causing the multiple lacerations to close on his torso, the magical blade of Vex that Ray wielded still an amazing weapon and tool. “Zander, light them up will you” Mike said as he brought out his great sword, the guard of it magically shifting to represent two outstretched wings as Mike pulsed energy through the hilt as lightning crackled through the room. The harsh blue-white light of the magic revealing several large animated statues with various weapons striding towards the party. Lightning seemingly bouncing off their enchanted stone forms.
“Well they aren’t undead, but they will soon join their creator” Mike stated, cracking his neck to the side as he felt the magic in his three other allies surging.
Animated amour, easy enough to balance out with this party. One suit per party member of 4th level should make it a challenging fight, the darkness of the room, the helpless woman they have encountered as well as the magical resistance (whether imagined by the party or tacked onto the stat-block) will make it a fun fight.
Not all green things in trees are leaves
As the party retire from the tavern for the night, having secured accommodation with one of the villagers after helping them out of one of the forgotten jungle temples and saving them from the guardians of the ruins, Mike, the human paladin, adjusts his armour and great sword strung between his shoulder blades; never quite feeling safe without the enchanted blade and battle tested plate.
“Well, I can safely say that was not rabbit,” barked the Dwarf, Dusk, a Cleric of the raven queen and reliable ally, “but it went well with the ale, pity she didn’t have any of those mushrooms that make your tongue go numb though.” the dwarf mused as he ferreted for his pipe, finding it next to his axe that even now thirsted for battle.
“Sir Dusk, I don’t believe that partaking in those contraband substances is fitting of the noble heroes such as us” said Zandar, a man of powerful magics who could literally summon a storm in a teacup. “Besides that was definitely rabbit”.
“Rabbit or not, we have a busy day ahead of us. If it wasn’t for saving lady Esmereld we would have found the hideout of these green-skins that are causing a ruckus in this town and persuaded them to leave” Said Ray, a paladin who believed that total conquest was the only way to truly find peace.
“I agree,” Mike declared, stifling a yawn, “Let us go rest, I am sure that we are all short on magical reserve after that battle with the animated guardians of that temple. Let us not dishonor Lady Esmereld with our tardiness to take up her kind and generous offer” he stuttered the last part, a blush covering his cheeks.
Dusk, his head tilted to the side slightly, his lips moving and eyes staring at vacant space slowly raised his hand and pointed across the rope bridges that allowed travel from one side of the town to the other.
“My lady says that the search is over, that the quarry we seek stalk us now with death and menace coating their blades. Pity I didn’t get any of that mushroom. It would have made this fight a bit fairer.” Dusk said shrugging his axe from his shoulder, the head seeming to burn with a menace that would fill a lesser being with dread.
“Your patron seems to have taken a stronger interest in our activities since we freed her from her prison, Dusk. Can she give us more advanced warning in the future. I would have insisted we have a more substantial rest before fighting again” Zandar stated stormily, electricity arcing across his outstretched fingers and a sudden breeze ruffled his hair.
As the Orcs slunk from the trunks of the tree, the light from the crescent moon above making their ivory coloured masks seem to glow amongst the gloom.
For a moment the orcs sized up the party, their movement semi-erratic as they seemed to bounce from foot to foot waiting for some arbitrary sign to be given that announced a fight.
“Well, let’s get this sorted so we can get to bed then.” Mike said, gripping the hilt of his sword, Sky Chariot, as Raynor called upon his Patron and his blade – Vines made of rust spreading from his longsword to bridge the gap between the two parties and commence the bloodshed.
I hope my party won’t mind me using their characters as inspiration for the write up (names changed as it didn’t feel right to use their characters names without forewarning). But let’s break it down. Our encounter balance book says that we can have up to 7 Orcs for this size and level party, but feel free to adjust. Given the location any ranged attacker will have an advantage as the bridges are narrow and you could easily block movement of one or another of the forces by just sitting in the middle of a bridge. So if your party has a lot of ranged capability (like mine….) then throwing another 1-3 Orcs wont matter..
The bog drowned dead
After the last Orc had fallen and the party had finally been able to make it to Esmereld’s house the party had no trouble almost instantly falling asleep.
Through scattered dreams from Zander, fitful nightmares riddled with undead from Mike and the vision ridden thoughts (as if Dusk could sleep with the raven queen invading his thoughts constantly) Ray was the only one to really get any form of sleep. So when the town guard knocked on their door and Esmereld ran around waking the party they had barely managed to get any sleep. But instantly they could all feel the dead were nearby, and en masse.
Led to a few weight balanced ropes and platforms of wood they were advised that several of the guard were already fighting off a large zombie horde, and rumors’ of a dark wizard hidden in the mists were coming through from the guardsmen that made it back to the town – but they were missing a unit of men and women who went into the mists.
The party each went to one of the strange rope contraptions before leaping down – feet on the wooden beams and the rope zipping them all the way down to the ground, all except Zander who had a thing with flare, who jumped through an opening – the guardsmen gasping and rushing to watch him fall only to see a spark of magic cross his body moments before he hit the ground, summoning a gust of wind to gentle place him on the ground. The party, boots on ground found themselves surrounded by the dead, zombies were in states of breaking apart, their magic spent, and several more were walking at the base of the trees – pulling and clawing at the wood, as if trying to bring the town down from the roots. Given enough time and not opposition they would be successful. Drawing weapons and magic the party strode forward, separating heads from the dead as they defended the trees. Mike, stopping for a moment to let his divine senses stretch outwards found a particularly foul energy as the party defeated the last of the zombies assaulting the trees.
“This way, I think I found the dark magics. I think its some form of lesser necromancer. Remember that Ghoul king we fought. Cake walk compared to this thing.” Mike wheezed, swinging his massive enchanted blade around still gave him a workout.
“Aye, my lady also confirms that’s what is waiting for us, and she wants us to kill it. For once I agree with the raven bitch” Dusk muttered darkly, spitting on the last zombie to feel his axe. He did not have a good relationship with his deity.
“Well, lets get to it then” Ray said, lifting his shield higher and flicking some dark ichor of Vexing thorns, ready to send the rusting blade through some more undead.
“Should I just blast them with magic? If we know where they are we don’t even need to get into the mists” Zander said – already charging up a spell.
“No, there may be injured guardsmen in there. Their safety is just as important as the death of the dead and their master.” Ray said. Mike and Dusk nodding their agreements.
“Fine – well let’s see if I can’t shift this mist then” Zander whispered – his breath now directed to muttering the incantation to a spell to blow the mist away.
A shorter one, got to leave some surprises for the weekend now don’t I.
As for stats the below can do – but if you want a more imposing fight I would consider really pumping up the necromancers abilities. Something like the Goblin-Bosses reaction (where a zombie can take the attack for him as a ‘willing’ living shield would make the fight something to remember.