Thrown together haphazardly in the circumstances of war, the group is an odd mix of a dozen or so. Among them are species to odd to be fighting side-by-side, yet they are determined mercenaries. They find themselves together in the vanguard, fodder for the hungry horde. They fight desperately against the pressing surge of undead bodies. Gryphon warriors soar overhead, screeching their war cries as they twist and attack snarling wyverns. Arcane thunder crackles nearby and the concussive force staggers everything in a sixty foot radius. An armored rider on a skeletal horse stabs through the walking corpses, black hooves crushing enemy and ally alike.
Gone in darkness and pain. A young man named Francis, clad in blood-slicked armor, stirs and opens his eyes. A horrid stench assails his nostrils and even as he recoils a suffocating weight presses down on his chest. Panic surges through him and with a cry he claws his way out from under the burden. The corpse does not claw back as he expects. Standing, the acolyte of light feels his heart drop into his stomach as he surveys his surroundings.
His horror doesn’t have much time to build. The small green-skinned form of the goblin stirs, startling the human into clutching at his symbol of Pelor. Then another body groans as it sits up, but not with the rigor of the undead. With a small cry Francis lunges forward and pushes a heavy armored half-orc off of a feebly kicking legs, revealing another survivor. In a grim silence, the four survivors cluster together uncertainly.
Moonlight illuminates the pile of corpses. Discarded, left afield and reclaimed by the enemy as a valuable resource, the bodies are piled high enough to give Francis a hill to stand upon. Like gruesome kings, the survivors look over a domain of blood, buzzing vermin, and the stench of viscera. Worst yet, all the faces that they can make out in the silvery light are ones they know. Some horrid mistake has placed them here: rare survivors among the casualties. Then the corpses move again.
The dark energy of necromancy lights the eyes of their earlier companions-at-arms. No groans or growls, undead stumble forward quietly and grasp at the only living flesh within reach.
I’ve started up a new home campaign that plays about twice a month. The first session was intentionally abrupt in its introduction and horror-themed. I led the group through a couple of undead encounters to set up the history of the Rift War by making them participants in it. The real campaign begins in the next session: picking up a year after the war ended
In previous campaigns I’ve written up journal entries of each session to document the party’s progress and refresh memories. I found it also really helps me focus on preparing for the next session. Normally I would post these on Obsidian Portal in the campaign’s private journal for only the players to read. I’ve decided to instead post them here, along with notes or insights I have about the session. Hell, maybe someone will get something useful out of it, at the very least be entertained by it.