D&D: Caves of the Fallen Pheonix

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Boss Frost

Original poster

At the foot of the mountains, what was once a village is torn apart - sacked by Scorpion troops, those that have died by their hand left where they lay. Ravens, rats, and other scavengers swarm the area, growing fat from the meat left behind. At the sight of the party, they fly or skitter away, eyes glowing malevolently from the village's wreckage.

It is horrifyingly quiet, and a great feeling of unrest is clear. Then, a wave of heat - wind down from the mountain - washes down upon the party... a crumbling sound could be heard.

A massive boulder rushes down from the mountain, though it crashes into a house far enough from the party for it not to be a problem. The house stops the boulder, which splits open with a loud 'crack', releasing a green-looking gas.

...A moan could be heard. The ravens quickly take flight, creating a grand cloud of black, feathers falling from the sky. The rats hiss pathetically, likewise fleeing the scene...

As the corpses near the boulder stir, picking themselves up. The sound of a crying woman is clear in the distance, as plenty of the other partially-decayed creatures rise. Slowly, the green gas spreads, and the reanimated remains of the townsfolk slowly creep towards the party.

-Encounter: Zombie Villagers-
Every round, 3 zombie villagers will join the fight, to a total of 26 zombies, before they stop. It is 300ft towards the Caves (5 rounds of movement, half that for double-movement).
Post this round in whatever order you'd like, then roll initiative - use that order to post for this encounter after that.

Enemy: Zombie Villager
HP: 5
AC: 10
Attack: On any melee-range miss, the zombie villager counterattacks for 2 damage.
I have dwelled so long in the company of anger.
It was all that stayed with me in those nights at
the monastery, where I fought to become
something more than what the bandits had left
on the roadside of my burning village. I swore
oaths to myself and to the people, becoming
Paladin, Champion, Servant to the cosmic order.
And yet for all this... despite all that I had
promised... it was anger that first moved me
that day. I had come full circle, any my
journey had only just begun.
Diary of Darius Castablane, end of Day One​


The word came from beneath his breath, releasing in a savage hiss like some entity he could not control. And those who moved behind Darius across the razed ground might have seen the tremor in his hands, the rage that shook him as he holstered his warhammer and slung his shield across his back.

The Paladin quickened pace, kicking rubble aside, and in a single resolute move he drew his falchion in both hands. The weighted blade caught the morning sun, glinting like his seething eyes.

"I do not ask any of you to follow me," he said loudly, not looking back to his comrades as he addressed them. "Get to the caves if you must. But I cannot permit this desecration."

And with that he lunged forward, vaulting the wall of ruined house and bringing his falchion down on the leading Zombie.

But he landed short, the blade missing the bridge of the creature's nose and doing nothing to halt its shambling approach. The Zombie's rancid fingers lashed out, the nails tearing through the weaker underside of his arm-guards.

Darius hissed in pain, but his fury was mounting.

How many fiends would come and how few allies would aid him, it no longer mattered. He had chosen his place this day...

Ayumi looked over the ruins of the town. This is what got to her more than anything else. Why did these people die? What did they do to deserve it? What did the scorpion soldiers have to gain from killing them? Leaving the bodies in the field where they had fallen was the standard treatment given to monster corpses, not those of living people.

It irritated her.

The zombies provided a nice thing to relieve her irritation on. When Darius rushed off to fight the zombies, she was at his side.

Her morning star went thudding into the chest of a zombie, cracking a few ribs but failing to do any real damage to the undead monster. The zombie brought it's arms down to scratch her, but she raised her arms up to block. This only held them in place long enough for the monster to bite down on her arm with it's few remaining teeth, a painful attack even through the chainmail she was wearing.

((HP=16. Mayhaps defending is a better idea.))

I barely knew him. We had spoken only briefly on the journey
through the forest, and this much I knew... he was the most
cheerful of us all, the one who smiled and chuckled. In this
dark world, I suppose there is no finer thing. He was perhaps
the best of us. I wish I had known him better.

Diary of Darius Castablane, End of Day Two​

"Be gone!" yelled Darius, swinging his falchion with zealous faith and cleaving the Zombie apart at the waist. Behind him, Ando Reyer had arrived to help Ayumi wrench the second Zombie away. They tripped the creature into the rubble, where Ando impaled it with his longsword.

Darius and Ayumi's arms were bleeding freely. Clutching their wounds they retreated, Ando covering them as the ruined dwellings began to swarm with villagers. Like insects massing on a corpse, the zombies spilled into every street, their piteous moans joining with the carrion cry of ravens and other vermin.

"There's too many..." muttered Darius as he pressed his back to Ayumi's and covered the opposite flank.

"Where's that bastard of a guide we were promised?" spat Ando.

"Dead, I'd wager," replied Ayumi. "We underestimated the Scorpion."

The three squared their backs to each other, forming a triangle as the Undead closed in on every side and the ravens circled overhead.

Then a great tremor shook the ground once more. Ando glanced to the mountainside. "Shit!" He spun, pushing the others ahead of him. "RUN!"

The party broke into a run as the mountainside behind them became a wave of tumbling boulders, rock after rock crashing down through the trees and foothills. The houses on the outskirts were obliterated, whilst smaller boulders crashed into the streets and tore through the lines of the Undead.

"Forest!" shouted Darius as he sprinted after Ayumi, "Get to the forest!"

The ruins to his right vanished in a shower of dust and sickly light, and then a hail of boulders careered towards him. The Paladin leapt aside, landing hard on the ground and rolling beneath the shower of debris. And as he came up he caught the last glimpse of Ando Reyer. The fighter was a few feet behind him and was caught in the path of the largest boulder. Ando Reyer vanished in a haze of dust, his body swept away on the landslide.


Darius flattened himself as more rubble bounced over him, denting his armour and scratching his face. His lungs were clogged with dust and he keeled over, coughing and spluttering.

He must have lost consciousness for a moment. The world seemed to spin, before the crashing of the rocks gave way once more to the horrid groans of the Undead. With the shadows of further Zombies upon him, Darius pushed back to his feet and stumbled forwards, scooping up his falchion.

The rockslide had struck both behind and in front of him, carving pathways of ruin through the village. As he staggered over the rubble he caught sight of Ayumi, a sorry-looking heap on the floor, covered in debris. It was only the red streak of blood from her arm that allowed Darius to find her.

"Ayumi, hold on!"

Darius toppled beside her, his armour scratched in a dozen places. He gave one last glance behind him, in the vain hope that Ando was still coming. But it was for naught.

Their stalwart warrior was gone.

Trying to swallow, Darius sheathed his weapon and began digging through the wreckage around Ayumi. He got his hands around her legs and shoulders and with painful grunts he wrenched her free from the cocoon of rock.

Reeling to his feet, the Paladin staggered to stay upright, tightening his grip around the cleric's conscust body. He reeled as one of the Zombies crawled over the ruins and slashed at them. Then he dodged another lunge. Weaving through the shambling crowd of Undead, Darius carried Ayumi towards the forest.

His mouth was like sandpaper, his lungs choked, his heart racing.

They had failed. The Phoenix Caverns were overrun and the foothill villages were doomed.

The others... he had to find the others...

With the snarls of the Undead on his heels, Darius carried Ayumi into the undergrowth. And what little strength he had left from carrying the cleric was given over in full to the parting prayer for Ando Reyer.