We exited the keep into a cliff side courtyard. Recent renovations over the last 200 years have turned it into a graveyard, a very active graveyard. Even as we entered through the rickety gate we heard the stirring of fresh earth and smelled the aroma of undeath. Staying in formation we picked our path through the graveyard, but upon reaching the center the trap was sprung. From a two nearby mausoleums and a larger stone house undead foes began swarming towards our party, frozen corpses began rising from their graves. And the ringleader of this zombie circus… was our old friend Nidoran. I think this was the part of the fight that hurt the most, seeing that crazy elf, whom I knew, KNEW, was a spy, but somehow managed to escape us once before, return to challenge us.
We chose to act as a unified force allowing the undead an opportunity to maneuver towards and around us. This was a risky move, within seconds of the fight starting half our team was bloodied and in need of healing. Utilizing an excellent combination of area effect attacks and tactical movement we repositioned the party inside a nearby mausoleum and using that as a defensive position proceeded to exterminate the zombie horde spell by spell and shot by shot. One zombie in particular gave us a run for our money, a battle wight. The chillborn zombies seemed hellbent on some teifling ice-cream because I spent the entire fight frozen in place by their relentless frosty slamming limbs. Luckily Bison helped free me from the ice just in time for me to place a crossbow bolt into the battle wight’s face, ending his second life for keeps.
Ultimately we proved victorious in our battle, but the wounds were grievous and we needed rest. We discovered the man Lernum who had gone missing from town strapped to a table inside the small house. Apparently he was being prepped for an unholy ritual that would transform him into an undead. Summoning the local nature spirits we created a campsite and spent the night safely locked inside a mausoleum.
In the morning we searched the area and found a shaft leading into the cellar of the keep. Lowering ourselves down we continued our search for the keep’s evil master. No sooner had we entered the first chamber of the cellar than we were attacked, this time by a band of skeletal warriors and a deathjump spider. The skeletons proved a minor annoyance, by the spider’s ability to leap huge distances and deliver multiple poisonous attacks made for a nearly deadly encounter. Zeroing in on Skye and myself the spider mercilessly tore into us. We finally wised up and spread out across the room, forcing the spider to focus on only one of us at a time. Eventually we were victorious.
As we pressed on several paths lay before us, but Sir Keegan knew the way to the inner sanctum of the keep’s cellar, and with him as our guide we entered a room I have affectionately named, “Paranoid much?” You got the “giant statue hitting everything in the room” trap, the “forcebeam breathing dragons statue duo” and, should you somehow make it to the door on the other side, the “haha trapped you in a magic fish tank full of water and whirlpools trap.” It was not a total disaster, and Skye’s familiar, Rimefrost, managed to take out the whirlpool trap before triggering the statue and being smashed. Sir Keegan boldly triggered the room’s remaining traps while the rest of the party attempted to hotstep it from safe zone to safe zone. This room had the potential to be extremely deadly, so we made out pretty well with a few scrapes and bruises. On the other side of this doorway lies the last defenses of the evil vampire priest and beyond those… the inner sanctum of the keep and the unholy fiend himself…