Episode V: The Necromancer Strikes Back
It is a time of great trouble for the Rebellion. The Empire has chased the Rebel forces across the galaxy, to the ice planet Hot... oh, sorry. Wrong Episode V.
In our Episode V, things go nearly as badly for Our Heroes as they did for poor Han and Luke. Well, worse, actually. Since Degar the Dwarf Knight and Sarmek the Ranger were both killed. "WHAT!?! HOW?!?!?" I can hear you screaming those burning questions. No, really. Or is that just the kids fighting again?
Anyway, the adventuring day starts off swell. They travel the short distance to the old observatory in the morning. Just a short walk (or cart ride) from the center of town, really. Maybe a mile. Anyway, up the hill, to discover the doors are locked, and they've forgotten the lockpicks! And the rogue to use them! Degar offers to batter down the door, but the other party members convince him that perhaps the element of surprise may be a good thing.
So, up on the roof, and over to the (not locked) windows of the attached observatory tower. Into the necromancer's bedroom. Naturally, it is fitted with the finest in red linens, giant self-glorifying marble stautes, wax-crusted candlesticks, and mummified goblin statues bearing severed heads on silver platters. You know, the usual. Plus a desk covered in papers. "Papers? How interesting..." thinks our warmage, Wren. At the same time, Degar, never the subtle one, pokes the goblin. Which sets off the alarm, of course. Cries of alarm come from upstairs and an ominous cry of "Arise, my beautiful monstrosities, and defend your master!"
Upstairs the heroes slowly and carefully approach. Making sure, of course, to give the necromancer ample time to cast several spells, and for his worst creations to break out of their embalming tanks. And crowd the stairwell. Then we try shooting them with arrows. Which don't do much to zombies, especially big zombies like these four.
What followed over the next hour or so is a list of every bad thing that can happen to a party. First, the magic user goes down early, paralyzed. Then the cleric is critically wounded. Saved by a potion, he is almost immediately knocked unconscious again. The fighters split up. then manage to step into the gap between three enemies, so that all three can attack them simultaneously, flanking. the ranger keeps shooting arrows at zombies, which are nigh impervious to the things, and doesn't think to ask about his Knowledge skills that might help (like dungeoneering) him to realize what the monster's weakness is. A critical hit which could do a massive 36 points of damage, instead does all of 12. The mage recovers from being paralyzed (yes, the fight was still going on that long), and gets caught in a melee with a zombie. Loses a couple of spells - his better ones, too. Just... everything went wrong.
Add in that I made some fairly fundamental GM mistakes (like not reading the turning rules better), and you get the result. So, I told them as the mage limped away carrying the unconscious priest of Heironeous, leaving their two dying companions, that they suddenly woke from their terrible dream!
We're going to go back and revisit the tower, from the point at which the alarm was set off. I'm nice, and I want the boys to learn, but they don't get a total re-do. Maybe next time (a week from Friday, I think) they won't make such a total mess of the fight.