The Cinder King is coming.
Hordes of shambling undead, slavering ghouls, gibbering cultists, and reanimated skeletons mass on the west bank of the Tigeria, waiting for the enslaved survivors of Karlsberg to finish the barges needed for the crossing. Grotesque overseers spend these pitiful lives in lavish cruelty, whipping them to a feverish pace. The cacophony of hammering, sawing, screaming carries across the water day and night without ceasing. Bodies float down river. A stench rises off the dark waters. But there’s an unending supply of gaunt, manacled laborers and every sunrise sees more crude ships bobbing along the shore.
Looking across, you realize you need more troops, weapons, armor, supplies, food, fodder, raw materials… everything.
But most of all, in this time of despair and defeat, you need hope.
The survivors know all too well what they’ve lost and what they’re up against; they need reminders of what they’re fighting for. Symbols to orient them toward something beyond this moment, beyond themselves. Vision. Purpose. Meaning.
To that end, the Commandant has commanded you to locate sacred artifacts, relics, icons, anything that will give the troops faith and provide an edge against the Cinder King’s foul necromancy.
The Army has marched to Plainsworth and there is a legend of an ancient warrior’s tomb beneath some ruins in the foothills. “The Giant’s House” is what locals call the collection of tumble down granite walls and smashed pillars. That’s where you’re headed.
[A decent deployment roll lets our heroes set up anywhere they want along their starting edge, plus the enemy starts already deployed, in sight.]
There are three possible entrances to the tomb. All of them need to be investigated for the mission to be considered a success.
The first few turns saw the heroes advancing toward the ruins. The John’s Ranger and Tom’s Palace Guard take up sniping positions on the hill while Derek’s Cleric and Matt’s Wizard rush into the ruins on the left to engage the recently deceased villagers.
On the right, the Assassin and the Druid hope the dogs won’t see them and try to repeat the successful tactic of a flank run toward the objectives.
The ‘Blessing of the Measuring Sticks’ must have worked because the Forces of Evil are haunted by poor rolls: activation rolls, reaction rolls, combat rolls, kaiser rolls, cinnamon rolls, any kind of roll at all. Absolutely miserable.
Meanwhile, the Cleric and the Wizard are taking revenge for every insult and injury. Arrows and crossbow bolts are flying in too, finding their mark and dropping zombies like sacks of rotten meat. The Necromancer and his hulking body part bodyguard fail to activate and stop the abuse.
On the right, the Assassin and the Druid snag the first objective. The dogs mill about, sniffing for a bone or spot to piss. They do perk up at one point as the Assassin slinks toward the second objective, but only to make a bee line across the field toward the Cleric and Wizard. The area to the front of the Ranger and Guard becomes a ‘target -rich environment’.
Lazarus is in full zombie-stomping mode. The Wizard casts fire wall in case any undead want to slide past the Cleric to greet him with clammy hugs. The Necromancer and friend fumble and stumble closer but can’t manage to get close enough to actually make a difference. Things are not going well for Team Cinder King.
In fact, TCK is getting smacked upside the head. With a mace.
At this point, Lazarus against the undead is like a linebacker kicking puppies. No contest. Time to call PETZ. (People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies)
The big Ghoul charges with visions of revenge but Lazarus bashes his head in with his Blessed Mace with an added, spectacular flourish. (Gruesome Kill) The Necromancer winces, widdles his desecrated robes, and bolts toward the nearest exit.
The dogs are dead or scattered. The Druid is sauntering up the road past the Ranger and the Palace Guard. The Assassin snags the second objective and moves toward the third and final location.
The Forces of Light have triumphed. Darkness has fled.