Rc’s expedition to castle ravenloft ic – page 4 gas density

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The remaining zombie in the house on the left limps closer to Cedric, extremely badly flayed by Ekius’ holy energies. It can’t get through the doorway because of another zombie in the way but it lashes out anyway, coming dangerously close to gouging Cedric’s throat despite the interference of the door frame. Its friend has the same… well, not idea, because zombies don’t have ideas. And not friend either because zombies don’t have those. Anyway, the zombie standing in front of Cedric has the same imperative to gouge the flesh of the living and so also flails at him with its barely functional limbs. It too finds its blows turned aside by Cedic’s mithril shirt.

Trux floats a little bit southwest! The most wounded-looking creature Trux can see is probably the carcass eater duelling the badgers, but it’s a little bit far away from his elevated position so he targets the zombie in the open in front of Cedric. He does it a real big blast! But hits only the cobbles 5ft behind it.

Kaylee decides the time for magic is over! So she moves forward behind Alice. She has a slightly better angle on the zombie attacking Ekius, so she slashes it! The blade looks less effective on the zombie than it should be but Shota’s dragonfire inspiration chars skin and boils its flesh. It’s still standing but only just.

The only uninjured carcass eater continues to assail Alice, totally oblivious to the massacre of its pack! It must be really mad or something. It misses, gores its own left paw with its right, then breaks a tooth on Alice’s armoured vambrance. That wasn’t very effective.

Sylva’s badgers utterly immolate the last carcass eater and zombie they were fighting and take running tackles at the creatures still left fighting the party. A badger dodges past Cedric’s zombie’s swipe but fails to latch on. Another badger is protected from the zombie fighting Ekius by its thick hide and briefly gets a grip but the zombie shakes it off. Another badger is unchalleneged by the carcass eater it attempts to tackle and also briefly gets a grip but the frenzied ratwolf thing shakes it off. The final badger is unchallenged as it closes with Ekius’ zombie but it fails to get a hold.

The heroes get a chance to catch their breath! Apart from a few scratches on Cedric’s ankles the party has suffered no significant injury. A cursory examination of the scene reveals seven unopened doors, but Aliza and Ekius detect no evil or undead remaining. The centre of town is in a westward direction and roads also lead North and South.

Looking at his ripped boots and bloody ankles, Cedric shakes his head. "I keep having this feeling that I should make a ‘bite your legs off’ joke for some reason…" Since Aliza is checking on Ekius, he decides to check on Shota to make sure it’s just battle weariness and nothing more serious. After making sure the halfling is unhurt, he gestures for people to gather around. "Well fought, everyone, but this is probably just the beginning. We have to assume our original mission has been compromised; either our sponsor is dead, besieged by undead, or there never was a mission in the first place and the letter was just a decoy to lure some new victims here. Our priorities should be to first locate and rescue any survivors, second to find shelter – any reinforced building should do, as long as it has solid doors, and third to find out what has been happening here. Ekius, you are familiar with the area, how big is the village? Assume in a best case, half of the inhabitants are infected, what numbers are we facing? Kaylee, Sylva, what level of magic are we talking about to create a spell that would cause undead to behave like this?

Finally, keep your guard up, even more than the situation may seem to warrant. This reeks of magic, so be aware that any survivors you find could well be illusions or disguised enemies. So stay together and stay safe! Alright what’s everyones take on tactics?"

Ekius, you are familiar with the area, how big is the village? Assume in a best case, half of the inhabitants are infected, what numbers are we facing? Kaylee, Sylva, what level of magic are we talking about to create a spell that would cause undead to behave like this? DM

Ekius is aware that the village of Barovia has undergone somewhat of a decline even before whatever damage this apparent zombie outbreak has caused. Fifty years ago the village had a population of roughly five hundred. The last time Ekius heard from Barovia several years ago that number had fallen to circa 200 or so. He’d be surprised if the number of zombies was worse than that, although it could be if the invasion originated from an external source. Looking around it’s apparent that many of Barovia’s buildings are suffering from a long term lack of maintenance that’s clearly not on the same timescale as recent invasion.

As to the specifics of the necromantic infection, the party can only speculate. This could be from an arcane or divine source. The necromanticly inclined party members concur that a pretty significant number of undead creatures could be created with the third level spell Animate Dead with some time to prepare and a second level Desecrate spell would certainly help, so long as whoever was casting wasn’t too worried about controlling their creations. And though Contagion is also a third level necromantic spell that confers disease it would take some extremely clever research or something more powerful to make a necromantic plague that was actually contagious. Enervation is a fourth level spell that could result in a plague of wights and although that doesn’t seem to be what the party is facing there is potentially scope for a variation. Of course with higher level spells the permutations become much wider. It takes a lot of skill to make a meagre amount of arcane spell power do exactly what you want, or a great deal of faith and prayer for a deity to grant a cleric a specifically tailored divine spell. But it wouldn’t take much effort for an epic spellcaster to craft a necromantic plague like this. So the source is likely to be clever, favoured, or powerful. Potentially all three. Beyond that it’s hard to say. The party needs more evidence.

Alerted by various shrieks, a zombie in a building close to Ekius forces open the door but he doesn’t have time to respond before a maggot has crossed the distance between them and bites him twice! Ekius takes 9 and 3 damage, but shrugs off the effect of the poison.

Another maggot slithers up to bite Alice, and a zombie runs out of the south building to pile on too, but all three blows are deflected by her armour. Another vargouille appears over the roofline near to Ekius. It shrieks, but the party remain unaffected having endured a similar shriek from its companion.

Cedric summons a celestial bison! He places it to make it harder for zombies and maggots to move around to the south. Then he moves up to defend Shota and Ekius with his shield (and by extension Alice. Trux is out of reach and Aliza can take care of herself. The bison attacks a zombie in the doorway, but misses with its gore attack.

Ekius casts Condiut of Life on himself, and making a judgement that Sylva’s side of the party is slightly more vulnerable and that Alice and Shota have probably got the northern half covered, he 5ft steps south and breathes a line of fire through a zombie and a maggot. Neither the zombie or maggot manage to dodge out of the way and both catch on fire.

The first zombie that the party spotted moves up behind the maggots but is too stupid to go around them, so it waits gormlessly below the vagouille above it. More zombies appear from the northern street, and another vargouille appears but its shriek is by now totally ineffective.