Leaving the kobolds, the characters immediately dove into Bone Shaker’s cave. The dark halls were no more populated then they had been previously. They went south, to examine the chapel and make sure that it was empty. They found that it was much as they’d left it, though the tapestries were gone and only dried blood stained the floor. There were no corpses.
Moving north, they came across the burnt remains of the barricade. Some skeletons had been charred into fragments and were strewn about with the blackened wood. The party found the missing gnolls there, animated as zombies, so they killed them again. Long Tom choose not to turn them out of fear they’d run north and warn others.
After dispensing with the zombies, they continued northwards. The tunnel opened into a large room, too large for their torchlight to fully illuminate. It had more tapestries on the walls, and a door on the east wall. Alfric bashed it open to have a quick look.
And stared into the empty eye sockets of rows and rows of skeletons.
Showing an unusual amount of foresight, they tried to slam the door and spike it shut. They even managed to do so before the skeletons and other undead in the room could pour out. Unfortunately, a door to the north beyond the range of their light also opened and more skeletons and zombies poured out.
Realizing the door was a lost cause, they withdrew and formed a defensive line, four stood across the twenty-foot tunnel, prepared to hold the undead at bay. Cronyan activated his innate shield spell, and a glowing suit of plate armor surrounded him. Wielding the undead slaying blade, he waded into the skeletons, shattering one after the other, the blade steadily glowing brighter with each kill.
Thorwell and Thorcigar stood at the edges, striking at the skeletons that came near, while Alfric and Cronyan held the center. Long Tom attempted to turn them, only to feel his connection to Sethi cut off in this temple of darkness (essentially the temple is a Sink Hole of Evil and as he is only 4th level, he effectively has no turning ability within it). When that failed, he started a holy chant that singing a song of grace and courage that bolstered his companions spirits and leeched power from the undead. That spell proved worth its weight in gold.
Row after row of skeletons surged against them, but they held the line, shattering them as they came. The skeletons only landed the occasional blow, but nothing telling. Even with the vast number, it seemed they would hold the line.
Then the zombies came.
Anika screamed for them to use fire and the party started laying down burning oil that the undead just continued to march through (and then get consumed by).
Unknown to the party, they were, physically speaking, not that far from Bone Shaker’s chamber. He heard the yells and the stamping feet of his marching undead. So he began casting spells on himself and his fellows.
Bone Shaker, his five zombie guards, and the chief of the Ash Goblins (i.e. a bugbear) came out behind them from a secret door.
At this point, I was trying to figure out how they could escape a TPK. If they’d avoided the door, they might have avoided triggering the undead army, but now it was too late. And I couldn’t see Bone Shaker ignoring this opportunity. Luckily for the party, they weren’t surprised as the villains came upon them from behind.
Boneshaker gloated over his victory, while cursing them for daring to invade his temple.
A giant Ash Goblin fell upon injured Thorwell and smashed him down and wounded Anika. She managed to sleep the monster, but then fell to the claws of a zombie as she tried to flee. Long Tom danced amongst the attackers and went straight for the Necromancer and the two priests locked weapons. The Necromancer’s mace hummed with enchantment, and a blow that should have smashed Long Tom’s head instead shattered a hole in the wall.
Alfric left the front line to tackle the priest, and soon the zombies were clawing through the flames. Thorsigar, Cronyan and Anara managed to kill the burning horrors before they hurt anyone else.
Then everyone surrounded the priest. He seemed very certain of himself, untouchable in his sturdy armor. But Alfric and Cronyan proved him wrong, Alfric swinging with wild abandon, while Cronyan screamed in rage at the loss of Anika.
Fear flickered across the priests face, and they could tell he was about to flee. But in that moment of hesitation, Long Tom danced beneath his mace and struck true.
Shock and pain crossed the priest’s face as he slid to the floor, leaving Long Tom’s blades glistening with blood.
When the sound of metal striking stone ceased to echo in the hall, all was quiet, but for the ragged breath of the survivors, and the guttering flames consuming the sixty or so undead that clogged the passage.
Wow… what a session! That one was crazy at the end and kind of rushed. It was the longest fight we’ve had in ACKS, but way faster than a similar fight would have been in 3rd or 4th Edition (though man did I miss Minion rules with all those monster hps to track!). I ended up just resorting to average damage, especially the fire, because I didn’t feel like rolling damage on 8-10 monsters a turn and then trying to track their HP. Really sad to see Anika get dropped, but uncertain what her fate is. We haven’t rolled on the mortal wound table yet…