Veil of Whispers 10: Tomb of the Necromancer

Posted on Mar 23, 2024 in Tales from the Table. Last updated on Apr 5, 2024.
Part of a series called Veil of Whispers.

Twenty years later, not much has changed.

Date: March 23, 2024

Characters present:

Character level: 11

Session Zero Two

After the disastrously bad luck we had last session, we were told there’d be a twenty-year time skip and to roll up new characters at level ten, which changed to eleven at the last minute. The dark lord Valdemar had won, taking over several cities with his skeleton army and killing all the inhabitants. We were to play as a strike team hunting down Valdemar’s living phylacteries containing his soul in a sort of boss rush. It was going to be very deadly so we had to make our characters powerful, and we were given quite a bit of gold to go shopping for magic items. We spent the first half of the session rolling up our new characters. The others scoffed at my suggestion to play as the good guys this time. Oh well, cowabunga it is.

My character was named Caeus Ashbone. He was a half-elf loosely inspired by Ash Williams from Evil Dead. A jock who peaked in fantasy college as a chariot racer, he’d settled down into a disappointing existence and accomplished very little, living in a shabby forest cabin drinking dwarven ale all day. He wasn’t very good at anything useful except, as it turns out, killing skeletons. All he wanted was some peace and quiet, but wherever he went, the skeletons would show up to fight. Now he’s joined the strike team to stop the bothersome undead once and for all. I haven’t quite decided what he looks like yet.

I’d built him around the Oathbow, which gives advantage on attacks against a single enemy per day and also deals an extra 3d6 damage against them. Perfect for slaying bosses! Combined with the champion fighter subclass and the sharpshooter and elven accuracy feats, he got to do attack rolls with three dice1, critting on a nineteen or twenty. On a hit, he’d deal an average of thirty damage, not counting criticals. He’d do this three times per round, or six with action surge.

Next up was Morwyn, by the player who previously played Sorigash. Morwyn was originally supposed to be a warlock, but her player changed to wizard upon realizing that there were already two other warlocks. Being created somewhat in a hurry, she didn’t get much of a description or backstory. Maybe next time.

Then there was Ophelia, the goth warlock. Her powers came from Myrkul, the god of death. In fantasy high school, she hung out with a crowd that worshipped various death-related deities. Ophelia eventually realized that they were all preps and that the cool kids worshiped Myrkul. She had long, dark hair, because duh, and her skin was pale and slightly translucent. She was very thin, almost skeletal. She was played by Nessie’s player.

Rosa and Cut’s player rolled up Pi—a goblin genie warlock. She’d stolen a magical ring with a fire genie in it and ended up forced into a magical contract where she had to fulfill boring wishes. She was a former criminal who was trying to be a good person. Trying, and failing. She was also a cleptomaniac.

Last but not least was Sander, from the mind that brought you Findus and Theelf. Sander was a cleric of Lathander; god of the dawn and other pleasant things. Sander was a proper good guy, which was nice. He was a halfling.

A Hunt for Phylacteries, Continued

The DM had told me that we wouldn’t be seeing the greasard again. I figured he was finally done with the joke, realizing that it stopped being funny long ago. The second part of the campaign, after the time skip, hadn’t sounded so silly when he described it. I had allowed myself to become a little hopeful. Unfortunately, the campaign started with the greasard’s former girlfriend—a tiefling named Lilith—briefing our characters about the mission and handing them holy grease grenades. She told the party that there were eight phylacteries. Destroying them would reduce Valdemar’s power enough for the group to fight him head-on. Caeus was happy to get going: “Alright, we’ll take a road trip, do some sightseeing, chop the heads off a few bad guys, and stop the skeleton army once and for all!” Lilith gave the group an airship, and they set off toward the Starmounts—a mountain range where a necromancer lived. The necromancer had a magical rod2 which was the group’s target. They also had a compass that pointed toward the rod, which they used to navigate.

After a few days of travel, as they arrived at a nondescript mountain, the compass started going haywire, spinning out of control. They had to be close. There were four tunnels in the mountain. The party picked one at random and entered. Walking into the darkness, they found a room with four corpses next to a magic circle. Pi rushed up to the corpses to take their stuff, finding some gold. Ophelia cast a spell to turn them into her loyal skeleton followers. Sander objected to this at first but backed off after Ophelia promised to put them back into the ground once she was done. Leaving the tunnel and entering another one, the party came across a flight of stairs leading down. They followed them to a landing with corridors branching off to the left and right. The left one had collapsed, and two dwarven legs stuck out from under the rocks. Pi took the shoes. They were red dwarven boots and did not fit in the slightest.

To the right was a locked door. Through the keyhole, Pi saw an altar covered in blood. She used mage hand to open the door from the other side and hurried into the room, a red gemstone on the altar catching her eye. It was a diamond covered in blood. With a very high arcana roll, Ophelia determined that it had been used to merge a bunch of bones into a giant monstrosity.

Continuing down the stairs, the party entered a large hall, its sides lined with wooden coffins. At the far end was a raised altar with another coffin on it, this one decorated with gold. By its side was a glass display case containing four staves. On the floor, closer to the center of the room, lay a pile of bones in a monstrous configuration. The compass pointed right at the golden coffin in front of them. “Hey, necro-nerd! Come get some,” shouted Caeus, but there was no reaction. Morwyn sent one of her skeletal thralls—one she’d named Eric—to push the lid off of it. Inside was a skeleton with a golden amulet and a wooden rod adorned with a skull at the top. He sat up. If skeletons had facial expressions, his would be a puzzled one. He looked at Eric and asked, “Why’d you wake me?”

“Hey, skinless!” It was Caeus again. “Surprise!” He fired six arrows at the presumed necromancer, two of which were critical hits. The rest of the gang followed up with fiery explosions, rays of magical energy, and tolling magical bells. The lids on the rest of the coffins began sliding off. As they fell to the ground, the party saw what was inside— mummies, crawling out to attack. The party ignored them for the most part, focusing on the necromancer. The monstrous pile of bones came to life too; a hideous amalgamation of the bones of numerous corpses. They ignored him too. The necromancer went down, and the party decided to grab the rod and run. Sander used his holy powers to strike fear into the mummies, forcing them to run away from him. Pi grabbed the rod and the amulet while Morwyn rushed to grab the staves.

The group, minus Sander, were running up the stairs. They were followed by the mummies, who weren’t chasing them so much as running away from Sander. Sander was following behind the mummies, hoping to get back to the ship before the effect wore off and the mummies started attacking again. Last—and indeed least—was the group of Ophelia’s skeletons, minus Eric who had been caught in a fireball.

The group climbed back aboard the ship just as the mummies overcame their fear, and Pi used her magic to convince them and Ophelia’s skeletons to dig their own graves. While they did this, Morwyn sprouted luminous, translucent wings and flew to pick up Sander. They had the rod, and they’d made a clean getaway.

The staves from the display case turned out to be joke items. One was a mimic, another let you fly as long as your eyes were closed, et cetera. Pi took a look at the rod with the skull on top. She threw one of her shoes at it. the skull broke off, started floating in the air and attacked Pi. On that cliffhanger, we ended the session.

  1. Technically he rolls two and can choose to reroll the lowest one, but it’s the same result. ↩︎

  2. Same rod the old party found two sessions ago↩︎