Castles & Crusades Diary: Dragonclaw Barony, Session 28

Summary:
The adventurers saw things they had never seen before: A zombie farmer’s family with undead ox plowing a field, undead chickens laying eggs, undead cows supplying milk, unliving seeds being planted in fields to grow undead plants. And our beloved Jabari (monk/cleric) gets level drained fighting a wraith.

PC’s:
Jabari Rajul-min Alshrq, Human Monk 1/Cleric 0 (class and a half) of Horus (Egyptian)
Magnus, Gnome Druid 2 of Belenus (Celt)
Endur “the Thick”, Human Fighter 2 of Gobniu (Celt)
Ser Sanwyche Gryffyn, Human Paladin of St. Agathos (Crusader States)
Gwar, Half-Orc Barbarian of Crom (Celt/Norse)

NPC:
Thorthic Norain, Dwarven Barbarian/Cleric of Thor (Norse)

Game Session Diary:
The group woke up in their secure warehouse in the abandoned village of Somber Grove. They had spent several days (and game sessions) exploring this town cursed by a witch and overrun by the swamp and strange creatures. They were now ready to head to the Zombraire estate. Somber Grove was once run by the Wrenwald family of magic-users until the head of the family upset a witch and she cursed the town. Now, decades later it is known as a haunted town and people largely stay away. But in a town once run by wizards, there is a lot of potential mysterious items to be found. They had already found many exotic and unknown – or long forgotten – spells on scrolls. Now they headed to the estate of the ruling Wrenwald family.

It was a 1 hour journey north through three miles of roads. As they traveled on this cloudy day the plants changed from living, to dead, to undead. The adventurers were disturbed by what they saw: grass going to seed, passing through an area of dead grass, and then arriving at an area of grass going to seed again, but with an eerie coloration and strange unliving properties that altered the nearby flora (by altering trees covered not with bark, but something resembling skin).

zombie mule, artist unknown

Then they arrived at the Zombraire estate. It was a complex with 15 foot high walls. At the entry point they saw a cart in a dirt circle with three dead men (cloth merchants) and a dead mule. When Jabari approached to take a peek inside the estate, they sprung to life and attacked. The mule shed its skin upon standing up and became a skeleton and it and the three cloth merchant skeletons attacked. Jabari used his powerful fists and the other members shattered the skeleton’s bones destroying them.

zombie farmer, art by Lauria Ahonen (ArtStation)

Looking inside the complex they found a field being plowed by a zombie ox with two zombie children playing/riding on top of it. A zombie male led the ox in its plowing, and four zombie females were planting undead seeds in the soil to grow an undead crop. The undead farming family had heard the commotion of the battle at the entrance and they all were making their way shuffling toward the adventurers. The clerical members attempted to turn the zombies and the oxen and two children turned to flee, but these zombies were not coordinated and one child fell off the oxen, broke its leg, and the huge oxen stepped on it and snapped it off. But the child felt no pain and crawled away as fast as it could with its brother(?) helping it flee. These were slow zombies and the group were able to pick them off with Endur firing an arrow deep into one zombie and Gwar’s two-handed sword slicing at others.

The noise of this battle alerted animals in a nearby animal pen – there were 30 chickens upset by what they saw! They began to cluck angrily and dart forward. Gwar sliced three away to their death with one swing, and Magnus cast entangle and undead vegetation (which the chickens had been feeding on) came to life and held them in place. They were even easier to kill after that. Looking into the chicken coop they realized these undead chickens were laying eggs, and the eggs were being collected. What strange place was this that undead animals were eating undead vegetation and reproducing?

Next they found a well with a bucket next to it filled with sludge. The paladin and his detection abilities told him that if this sludge were drunk, that they would be irreparably harmed (i.e. they would lose a level). A corpse was lying next to the well with a rusty sword in it, but Endur, a weaponsmith of Goibniu, knew that this was deceptive and that there was something special about this weapon, so they kept it.

Immediately next to the well was a stone barn with a thatched roof. Opening the double doors they found packed earth floor and five stalls. In the southern corner was the undead seed the zombie farmers had been planting. To the north was a pile of refuse with an amazingly shining pitchfork in it. Endur knew this was worth examining and went forward and pulled it out. Luckily he pulled it out with enough care (i.e. successful Dex save) for with the pulling out of the pitchfork a series of rot grubs fell at his feet (but luckily not on him!).

There was then a mooing sound and they realized that there were three skeletal cows and two zombie cows in the five stalls. The zombie cows were clearly being used for milking and it appeared that at some point once they were used for their meat they became skeletal cows! The strangeness of this estate continued to grow! But there was no time to ponder that for the three skeletal cows burst through their enclosure and butted their heads into Jabari, nearly killing him from their powerful blows. Another turn attempt was made and they ran back into their stalls. The group left the barn and closed the double doors, vowing to burn the place down once they were ready to leave.

It was now time to enter the manor house. They opened the main double doors to a 50 foot long Great Hall with a grand fireplace at the end. Along the length were two mead tables and benches, with 15 skeletons splayed about the area. Jabari expected them to all rise up as he entered and prepared for that, however, upon entering they remained dead and unmoving, but instead he heard a howl and cackle, and a wraith shot out from the fireplace and attacked him. It was a successful hit. The monk in C&C has Constitution as prime so one could expect him to have greater success in making his save – and he did! He briefly caught a glimpse of his knowledge as a monk and his adventuring life getting pulled from him, but he successfully resisted. Thorthic decided this was his time to turn the undead away with the power that Thor provided him. He succeeded and it fled back into the fireplace. Sir Sanwyche and Thorthic then surrounded the fireplace entrance with holy water to hopefully prevent its return. They also closed the two doors that opened into the Great Hall. However, there were three holes in the thatched roof and minutes later it came darting in from above, and after briefly surveying the situation attacked Jabari again. This time he failed his Con save and now many of his training and the memories of becoming a monk and an adventurer were pulled from him and he lost a level. Since he was a 1st level character, in my campaign that meant he became a 0-level character, going from his normal max d12 hit die to 4 hp, and losing his Con prime attribute bestowed upon him with that being his main class.

Gwar had pulled out his shadow short sword that could drain strength from its victim and hit the wraith, it failed its save and lost some of its strength. Thorthic stepped forward and did a mighty blow with his hammer, and the power of Thor obliterated the wraith sending it into the afterlife.

That is where we had to end the session. In two weeks they will be exploring the remainder of the manor and hopefully find the answers to the questions: is the witch here? Are any Wrenewalds remaining? Is there anymore great wizard riches to be found?

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