This is a brief, truncated version of what occured during our first session in my Homebrew AD&D campaign. If I recall correctly, we had eleven players: 7 adults, 2 teenagers, and 2 kids. Life kicked in during the session, and several people had to leave. One of the kids lost interest during role-playing encounters. But all in all, it was a lot of fun for me to tell the story. I hope all the players had fun too.
1. Arriving in Milbourne
- Characters became aware that the town was being raided from time to time by bands of orcs and goblins. These creatures are well organized, larger than normal, and well armed. Milbourne gives no resistance. The raiders usually steal some cattle or pigs, and then go on their way.
- The arrival of the Prince met with much fanfare. However, he and his company have been missing for nearly 12 days. The Mayor wants to keep things hush hush because he doesn’t want to be the one who has to report to the local Lord that the Prince is mission or possibly dead.
- The only survivor of the original company is a bard named Trisdan. He not only seems to be less than injured, but also is bragging in bawdy songs that he is an outright hero. Additionally, he’s using his magic to charm the folks of the small town into believing his boasts.
- The party decides to capture the bard and interogate him. He attempts to charm them as well, and fails. He is dragged to the Old Grizzled’s barn for some old fashion heart-to-heart chit chat enforced with a hot branding iron. Barely escaping beheading from the Fighter named Den, the bard spills his guts. Apparently, he fled at first sign of combat with the Goblins at the Tomb of Xagyg, and returned later to find the company killed, the Prince missing, and all their belongings piled up near the Tomb. He took the Prince’s necklace, ring and dagger for “Safe Keeping.” He then retreated back to Milbourne making up lies to cover his shame.
- Keeping the bard on constant watch, the party decides to get some rest before making the trek to the Tomb. Through the night, the bard tries to convince his captors to release him. The closer it gets to Midnight the more he turns from asking to begging for release. It becomes obvious that something is going to happen at Midnight, or in the early morning.
- They discover a small band of Goblins drifting on the nearby river, shooting flaming arrows from time to time into the air to signal the bard to come to them. The bard is goaded into revealing that he has accepted payment from a “priestess of the Lord of Skulls” to hand over the Royal artifacts and lead the bad guys to the Tomb. Trisdan revealed that the leader was a woman named Murdergrave, but this was only a nickname roughly translated from the Goblin language. Trisdan also bragged that Murdergrave planned to use a “powerful spell” to teleport the bad guys to the Tomb.
2. The Ambush
- The party gathered by the river, cloaked in darkness. The druid stepped forward and called out to the boats (after having Ventriloquism cast on him by Seraphina Knights, the female elf mage.) Murdergrave shouted out angrily, and ordered the boats to shore to collect the druid. That was when Tathar tossed a Fireball in the midst of the boats, and almost everyone else started firing missiles into the surprised Goblins who found themselves rattled, flailing in the water with magical fire licking at their flesh with a hail of arrows tearing into them. Den stood at the shore, pulling any creatures who made it to shore out of the water, and ending their pitiful lives with the stroke of a sword. One of the Elf Fighters, Gaelion Ranor, scored a perfect hit on Murdergrave. Her body was pulled from the river, an Elven arrow lodged cleanly in her throat. A quick search of the bodies revealed no treasure, a few weapons of average make, and enough provisions to last about a week. Murdergrave’s body had a small dagger, a silver amulet engraved with the symbol of a skull, and a leather case containing a single Scroll of Teleportation.
3. Teleporting to the Tomb
- The party donated the weapons liberated from the Goblins to the Milbourne Militia, and confiscated a moderate sized fishing boat. Etienne Navarre, the Ranger, proudly navigated his horse into the middle of the boat and the rest of the party crowded in around the Warhorse. Seraphina Knights managed to muddle through reading the scroll, and the group was teleported into a deep crater that resembled an open-pit mine. At the base of the crater sat the entrance to the Tomb of Xagyg. It had to be an amusing sight to see the party teleport into the mine crowded into a fishing boat with Etienne and his horse stuck right in the middle.
- The party found that the area they teleported into was the scene of a mighty battle. The bodies of Goblins, Humans, and Elves littered the ground. After some investgation, they located a magical key hidden in the base of a statue of Xagyg himself. This key unlocked the Tomb’s large iron doors, and then the key teleported itself back into the base of the statue.
4. Entering the Tomb
- Den pulled on the iron rungs of the large doors, dragging them open by a few inches. Immeadiately, the corpsified hand of a Zombie thrust out raking at the air in front of the Fighter. Within seconds, ten Zombies were at the door trying to force their way out while the party attempted to force the doors shut. With coordiated effort, they managed to work together to destroy the Zombies. The only casualty of the attack was Etienne’s leather armor which was torn and tattered by Zombie claws. (Although Den did manage to drop his sword a few times during the fight, and Etienne managed to shoot the doors more often than he shot the Zombies.)
- Defeating the ombies revealed another lurking threat standing just inside the door shrouded by darkness. They watched as the man-sized being lurched side to side, moving as if drunk. Within moments, they recognized the fine clothing and the tabard worn by the creature in front of them …. the Prince was a Zombie!
- Closing the doors, they gathered their wits and decided what to do. Kill the zombie? Bring back its head as proof that the Prince was now undead? No … they would capture the zombified Prince and take him back. They devised an elaborate plan to capture the Prince, only to have the doors fly open and reveal the true threat: a hovering Mindflayer.
5. Battle with the Mindflayer
- Although most of the party did not want to fight the Mindflayer, Den charged the monster. Lucian grabbed Den, stopping him for long enough to allow Tathar to cast Sleep on Den. However, Den shrugged off the spell and pushed Lucian away. With Den rushing the Mindflayer, the other Fighters followed suit to attack the creature. The others provided support with their missile weapons and spells.
- In the end nearly half of the party was on the ground near death, but the Mindflayer was defeated. When the beast collapsed dead on the floor of the Tomb, the Prince was released from its psionic powers. He collapsed on the floor, alive but severely drained of both physical, mental, and spiritual energy. Wait … the Prince was NOT a zombie!
- The surviving members of the party treated the fallen, stablizing them the best they could using their meager medical supplies and a few of the Druid’s remaining Cure Light Wound spells. They rigged the boat to the warhorse, loaded up the wounded, and headed out to find a suitable place to make camp in the shelter of the wooded hills near the Tomb.
- They would return the body of the Prince to Greyhawk City as they had been ordered.