The party was led up the stairs of Stonehold Tower, and their savior turned to face them. She appeared to be a middle aged woman who had been elected leader of the rag-tag band of refugees who had made the tower their home. She inquired about the travelers and then gave a detailed explanation of how the zombie outbreak started.
About three weeks ago, goblins had launched a raid on the city, as they do every other month or so, but instead of the normal band of roving soldiers, a shaman in crimson robes had been spotted with the group. As the goblins were driven off, he shouted at the defenders, raised his staff, and appeared to cast a spell in their direction. Every man who had been wounded in the fight was branded on the neck with the symbol of Orcus, Prince of Undeath
Within a few days, all of those who had been marked were dead. At the funeral for the fallen soldiers, the dead rose out of their freshly dug graves and either killed or wounded most of the mourners. People fled the city as the infection spread, and most of the civilians either escaped, or are now infected. A few bands still survive in safe houses throughout the city.
When the woman finished her story, she grew silent and pale, this whole disaster had taken a lot out of her. A man stepped out of the shadows and introduced himself to the party as the woman took a seat against the wall.
Rathis Slendor is a rogue who has lived in Stonehold his entire life. He told the party what he knew about the disaster, and asked to join them, as his family had been killed in the past week and he had nothing tying him to the area anymore.
After receiving directions to a safe house near the town gate, the party set out. Adolannan took to the roof tops, everyone began running through the streets as zombies started showing up in increasing numbers behind them. Erar and Feanari managed to use the debris littering the road as a barrier of projectiles to keep the undead back while Rathis guided them to the safe house. They found a handful of survivors huddled in a wooden building next to the north wall, and since they had a few days provisions on them, the party decided to leave them behind and keep investigating.
The roof of the building led directly to the city wall; Everyone scaled down and shut the gate which /somebody/ left open when they first arrived at Stonehold. Their investigation led to the graveyard, which showed the freshly disturbed graves of the men who were first inspected. After finding nothing of interest, the party rode towards the mountains to the west.
They rode for two and a half hours, and did not make much progress towards the ring of dark, stony peaks.
About this time, the sky darkened, and lighting started to strike the town, and more often, Stonehold Tower. The party rode back to figure out what had happened, approaching by the south wall so that they could reach the tower as fast as possible. With Rathis being the only skilled party in the group, he was elected to scale the 20 foot wall around the city. He began his climb…
And tried again.
Laughter erupted from the party.
This continued for a while, and after eight tries, he managed to reach the top of the wall. Both his body and his pride had been wounded, and Rathis took a long moment to flip the party off before he lowered a rope and let them into the city.
They encountered more zombies in the marketplace outside the tower, and after killing a few of them, saw the goblin shaman emerge from the tower and urge his undead minions on to victory. After a few rounds of combat, lightning struck repeatedly over the courtyard, vaporizing the zombies, and narrowly missing the party. The shaman disappeared in the commotion, but his cackling laughter could be heard emanating from the top of the tower. The party began in hot pursuit, and in their rush back up the tower, they saw the slain bodies of the refugees who had saved their lives the previous night, covered in what seemed to be burn wounds from a magical energy.
Once on the roof, everyone observed the shaman conducting some sort of summoning ritual. They promptly rushed into combat, and Feanari managed to magically knock the shaman unconscious before the summoning could be completed. The demon-looking monstrosity which had been forming in the circle crashed to the ground, and the gel-like remains began slithering the party.
Throughout the insuing fight, Andolannan tripped the gel monster, Rathis told it to kiss his ass, and Feanari was taken down.
All the monsters were killed except the shaman, who the group captured for questioning. The only answer they were able to get out of him was that he served Orcus, and could not reverse the undeath curse he had cast. Rathis promptly stabbed him repeatedly in the face. Feanari retrieved an iron star pendant from the goblin’s neck, which appeared to be a way to locate the goblin fortress. On the way down the tower, the party discovered the town armory, and received new weapons.
- Erar got a Symbol of Life +1 (PHB1 p.237) The three-pronged symbol of a raven’s claw seems to radiate a small amount of warmth when held.
- Rathis got a Vicious Weapon +1 (short sword, PHB1 p. 236) This weapon has been warded against undeath and seeks actively do destroy it. It will magically propel itself further into the target if you hit true wit it.
- Feanari got an Orb of Inevitable Continuance (PHB1 p. 238) It glows with a purple light, and images of flying ravens can be seen inside of it.
- Adolannan got a Flameburst Weapon +1 (PHB1 p. 234) This long spear had a raven’s head at the base of the tip, and the eye of the raven has a burning flame within it.