Zombie plague?

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  • #32216
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    I’ve been trying to think up another little something to work into the game, and the thought of a good ol’ zombie horde keeps coming back. There’s a Conan-themed module out there called “legions of the dead” which features a nice zombie mash-up as the finale. I can picture it here in Markshire, too, quite easily.

    …Waves of undead pouring across the plains…Frantic PCs hacking and slashing as best they can against countless numbers of horrid moving corpses…Zombies and ghouls pounding at the gates…Dreadful moans filling the air…Some evil witch king/queen/sorceror/lich/etc. at the summit of a nearby mound, commanding its army of the dead…

    Any chance we can work something of this nature into the mythos of Markshire? Has this already been done before?

    I can see something like this happening from the East, originating possibly in the plains, but I’d like to hear some input (and clearance). Also looking for an origin that’s agreeable to everyone.

    Any thoughts?

    #50869
    BeyondThePale
    Member
    • Markshire PCs:

    I personally think a necromancer would find Gastlinyk Gate delightful this time of year. While keeping his own ass intact may be tough, and fighting through all the crap in the pass to get to the players may be tough, I like the idea. Perhaps they roll at the dwarven outpost nearby?

    #50870
    G_kinkaid
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    There’s plenty of fresh giant, kitty, dragon, troll, and ogre corpses in the pass as well.

    #50871
    Thrym
    Keymaster
    • Markshire PCs: Grottle, Gruzk, Ashimar

    Remember, the Vandrosku and Vandraska are nomadic “undead” from the desert.

    They are what happen to souls lost in the desert. They become ravenous beasts who race across the plains looking for people to join their ranks.

    #50872
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Thanks for the lore, Thrym. I was unsure as to how those creatures actually fit in to things.

    Okay…Foot soldiers can be zombies and ice ghouls. Lieutenants and officers (if you will) can be the Vandrosku and Vandroska. Any ideas for higher-ranking possibilities? Then of course there’s the HDIC: the Head Dead In Charge.

    Incidentally, I also wanted to revisit the idea of vampires in Markshire, though this might best be served for another thread. In doing bard research for Skalds and the like, I uncovered a great resource discussing the typical Norse viewpoints on many topics; this particular article includes restless spirits, the undead, and superstitions in which they believed. Here’s a link:

    http://www.florilegium.org/files/NORSE/Walking-Dead-art.html

    Very enlightening…And with all these dead bodies flitting around, Gastlinyk and all, it may be worth investigating.

    #50873
    G_kinkaid
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    I dig vampires as long as it’s not the way overdone

    *vampire enters the room*
    all females (and gay/bi-curious males) must make a will save dc 23 or fall on the ground writhing in extacy/suddenly forget their a cleric/pally/etc.

    #50874
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Nah, I was thinking more the “revenant” style of vampire, which correlates more with the historical data of how the Norse thought of the undead (at least, according to the online document I found). But in a different thread, perhaps a year or so ago, Thrym mentioned that he preferred the Reniassance style, cultured-but-still-quite-evil style of vampire.

    Just a thought. In any case, I think vampires would be a suitable addition to the ranks, depending on who’s in charge of the undead horde. It may be that a vampire itself runs the show.

    Keep generating ideas, folks! This can be cool.

    #50875
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    I like the idea, but make it a mid level thing. There are no good undead that challenge the higher levels. Well except maybe the Wendigo’s but them’s are like playing with fire, and jamming the throttle way up.

    – mule

    #50876
    Thrym
    Keymaster
    • Markshire PCs: Grottle, Gruzk, Ashimar

    Vandraska are badasses. use with caution.

    #50877
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    😛 someone’s been dreaming. They’re hard to kill but can’t hit ya.

    – mule

    #50878
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    I have a big-assed zombie horde in mind…not too terribly difficult or strategic a fight. I suppose asking about the upper level undead is losing the forest for the trees, literally. A mass of undead guys would do me right; I’m talking dozens and dozens…The reason I ask so much about the leader of the dead is that I’m simply concerned about how to fit it into the mythos and I’d like to disguise this as best I can so it’s not just written off as a waste of time.

    I did a one-shot event a while back, when some PCs found pirate zombies on one of the boats outside of Spinehold, but that was just for fun. If I can legitimize the presence of a much larger, much more impressive undead horde, then I’ve attained my goal for this one…Even if this is a one-shot event as well.

    Maybe I’m just thinking about it too hard. I dunno.

    #50879
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    yeah a bad bad necromancer might pop up and try some junk. I mean he’s seeing the turmoil and figures this might be his chance because resources are thin…

    Oh and be careful with the horde’s. I’ve crashed people with too many creatures before.. skeleton dolls in particular. Yeah, don’t spam the spawner.

    – mule

    #50880
    BeyondThePale
    Member
    • Markshire PCs:

    Enlist LT. Scrimdad could lead the legions. He was a pet for Sabitha, one of the 13. He finds a trinket that lets him raise the legions from the battlefields of old in Narlynwik.

    #50881
    Opinvu
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    I have done this once. A zombie plauge. But now I can’t recall to what scope and scale I dun it. Main one I recall was Zombies overtaking Yar as the Crypt under YAr was implimented. Sorta a Hello I’m here event. Set the stage for the Lich under Yar.

    The Lich is still in the minds of folks. It has been causing steam to bubble from the ground, and produce puddings, black ones. I was having them eat anything in the area and then have the bones come back to life undead.

    A tip, to create your own unquie undeads is to use the change appearance on other types of mobs.

    `~ this key the consule in game while you posses the desired creature/NPC type in SetAppearance Zombie

    There is also a list somehwere on these threads of all the tag names for the zombies and how the consule will recognize them. Zombie01, 02, 03.. or Zombie_01…

    This way you could have a few odd balls and varied difficulty/abilitied zombies. They move just like a zombie still. Do this int he Encounter zone and it’s cake to spawn em. Also that way you could have batteling faction zombies in the mix.. ones to fight the others showing their chaotic nature.? hehe

    I would tie it to a villan. MAybe someone trying to gain favor witht he SPider temple, or to Thrymm, or to Loki… or even the Lich. SOme mad man necromancer wants Vruruks bones in his collection of slaves…. The Zombies waves are the lure…

    I always try to link everything back to something that is hard written in the game. There has to be some possible tieindirectly if not directly.

    #50882
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Threw a couple (as in 2) groups like this in random locations of the Timeless Desert.

    20 zombie warriors
    2 giant zombies
    1 vandrosku/vandroska (the CR7 monster, not the CR10 one)

    [img][650:500]http://www.let-off.com/markshire/zombies_001.png[/img]

    #50883
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    I like that.. heh. Now to run them into some PC’s.

    – mule

    #50884
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Finally worked out a plotline for this, with a nod to the 1960 film Black Sunday/The Mask of Satan.

    The PCs are invited to assist an NPC in clearing out their newly-inherited family home of invaders of some kind. It is apparent the invaders sought items of power from within, as evidenced by their paraphernalia….I’m thinking wererats from Stonemark, Bugbears influenced by the lich, or Orcs of the Spider Temple are the culprits.

    The home holds a secret entrance, openable by a device carried by the invaders. If the PCs don’t activate this device, the accompanying PC will, insisting that the whole of the home is investigated.

    The secret entrance leads to (of course) an underground crypt. Within it is the burial mound of Azreh, a sorceress-priest of Loki who was sentenced to death in the time of Arik. Within a trapped chamber lies her stone sarcophagus, which is covered with runes. The crypt is protected by a flock of ravenous bats, which streak across the crypt to defent Azreh’s remains.

    If her sarcophagus is at all disturbed, a Stinking Cloud escapes, and Azreh is freed. The zombie plague begins and Azreh materializes, escaping into the night.

    At this point, zombies begin awakening along a path between the crypt and Thrym Pass…The reason for the disturbance is that Azreh’s lover from bygone times, Wrod Wulfskin, has also risen from the grave (as a particularly charismatic vampire) in an effort to be reunited with his lover. It just so happens that Foothold lies in the way of his path to Azreh, and he begins the trek westward.

    To set things right, the PCs must:
    1. slay Wrod
    2. bring his severed head and any possessions stolen from Azreh’s sarcophagus back to Azreh’s crypt
    3. this will lure the ghost of Azreh (a powerful form of banshee) back to the crypt, where she can be slain
    4. her grave must be consecrated, and
    5. the crypt must be sealed

    I’m thinking Skryme or Ryche can be the distributors of clue-by-fours to nudge things along if necessary.

    I’m planning on carrying out this event in October (but of course…), most likely a Sunday afternoon.

    Any thoughts? Questions? Foreseeable problems? Can anyone offer assistance or other feedback?

    #50885
    BeyondThePale
    Member
    • Markshire PCs:

    Are existing areas enough to pull this off?

    #50886
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    I think so. I’m in the habit of putting in walls and extra scenery quite a bit. This really isn’t to far beyond what I’ve done before, the way I see it. Those “carpet” transitions basically make everything work out fine.

    There’s a Yar house that can be used for the abandoned home, the Crypt under Yar or perhaps even one of the many cave complexes that can be used for the crypt, and the rest happens outdoors in pre-existing areas (such as Thrym Pass). As long as there’s a decently-sized chamber for Azreh’s crypt, then I’m cool with it.

    I do want to fine-tune the set dressing choices, but that will come in time. I’ll be fiddling about this Sunday, to start.

    #50887
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    clue-by-fours, heh I like that term.

    You could use Cona caves as the crypt. Very little foot traffic and lotsa areas to choose from. Just make sure to wall it off well.

    What happens if one of the PC’s who steals treasures disappears or refuses to return it? Does the curse continue? I see potential for some shennanigans..hrmm.

    – mule

    #50888
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Yeah, some joker may want to hang on to the stuff. But a constant barrage of zombies may encourage them to change their tune.

    If the player is mischievous and decides to do something particularly rotten, like log off, then they can keep the items; Ryche can chip in and do a major cleansing of the area to sort things out. I’ll give the PC hell, though, if they decide to hang on to the stuff after the event’s over. Humanoids wanted those items, after all, so it’s not like it’ll be unknown where they’ve ended up. Plus, they could always attract the attention of the Titan and his minions, if worse goes to worst.

    I really don’t think I’ll have to push it to that point, though…But I at least considered a plan B.

    #50889
    Opinvu
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    I would make a set of treasures. Easy to keep track of. Could put in the description state that those that steal such a treasure may become cursed, or to that effect.

    Gotta love them placeable transitions!! 😛 😀

    In Yar there is one house in the upper left corner by the graveyard. I have often reffered to that place as the gravedigger’s house. Just an FYI. Next zone West there is a crypt behind the homes near the Soup kitchen.

    #50890
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    As for the treasures, I like the idea. In fact, it would be a perfect occasion to insert some Chaos-aligned items, to bring home the fact that she was a priestess of Loki and all that. I’m thinking a necklace of prayer beads of some kind, a mace or heavy mace, and a breastplate wearable by women only. There was also this crazy mask in “Black Sunday,” the film that kick-started this whole train of thought for me, that I want to include. I may base it off the Lauskveld Reveler’s Mask picture, or something similar. If you’ve seen the film (directed by Mario Bava, 1960), then you’ll know what I’m talking about…It wasn’t a helpful item for the wearer, to be certain; rather, it was a burial mask, placed on its victims to make sure they were dead (there were spikes on the inside, and it was literally hammered into place…

    I’m a bit reluctant to blatantly state that “possession of said item = cursed,” but I will definitely follow your suggestion to indicate that it’s a foreboding item that seems to feel strange while it’s being held or worn, subject to the user’s alignment. Lawful and Good folks will be made to feel very uncomfortable with their use, while Chaotic folks will feel quite at home, Evil folks only a little less so. Also, only if these items linger beyond the initial session will I give them powers; when the players first see them, they’ll not have any special abilities when worn or wielded, in order to discourage any packrats. I may make them a little heavier than normal.

    Essentially, these things will give every game-mechanic-related reason for the players to not hang on to them. Role-playing will be “rewarded” however, for those who really want to go for that Chaotic/Evil character. I can then also tailor the item to the particular wielder, factoring level limitations.

    Also in the crypt will be a scroll that will give the back-story of Azreh and her burial. It will be of particular value to the Sage and folks like him, though it will have no special powers of its own.

    Your suggestions really have my head-gears turning, fellas…any more? 😀

    #50891
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    The whole point of bringing the severed head back to the crypt was to lure the ghost of Azreh. So it can be possible that that players slay the vampire, Wrod, and end the zombie curse, but the ghost still runs around, popping up periodically. Ryche or Skryme can fill players in on the notion.

    The ghost will be fully destroyed only after the items are returned to the tomb and she is destroyed/exorcised once and for all within that structure. Otherwise, the weird “level up” animation will be shown when she is defeated, and she’ll eventually pop up elsewhere.

    #50892
    Opinvu
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    When one hears curse, they think affliction, disease. A curse can be anything, a tag along child or dog that they must carry cause it can’t walk, or the chance that undead will seek that person out at random. A random anvil dropping form the sky on you or your comrade.

    A curse of unopertune embaressing events. Being it’s histpory of MArkshire, this curse might be well known. When it happens to these offenders NPC’s would know and yell and scream.. the Curse of Azhur! Theif! As they run for their lives.

    #50893
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Yeah, I like that…Undead chasing the wielder (well, as fast as their rotting legs can carry them, that is), murmuring the word “…Azreh…Aaaaazrehhhh…”

    Thanks for the suggestions and prodding my brain, everyone! If you have any more ideas, please put them here.

    #50894
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Small update…

    A couple key items for this module; more a to-do list for myself than anything else. But if anyone is able to help out on the 28th, feel free to read up on the following:

    –Wrod Wulfskin’s severed head. This item is to be brought to Azreh’s tomb as a ‘lure’ for her to be returned to her own grave. Only then can she be truly defeated and her grave consecrated.

    –Historical document. This is a book or scroll that tells the history behind the actions of Azreh and her courtship with Wrod.

    –Crypt key. The humanoid invaders to the NPC’s house will have this item, and it opens the hidden door to Azreh’s crypt.

    –Statuette. This is a statuette or bust or something of Wrod Wulfskin, found in Azreh’s crypt. If examined, cryptic runes will be seen written about the base. If examined closely, and a successful Intelligence check of 30 is passed, it will be revealed as a key to unlocking the crypt of Wrod (he, of course, sneaked out in gaseous form, so didn’t need to open the front door), as well as a way to guide the possessor to the crypt itself. I’m thinking a will- o’ wisp or something similar to guide PCs to the crypt entrance.

    Areas needed for this adventure:
    –NPC’s abandoned house
    –Azreh’s crypt
    –Wilderness area (Thrym Pass) where Wrod’s crypt is hidden.
    –Wrod’s crypt

    #50895
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Anyone available this coming Sunday? The event is scheduled to begin around 4pm Eastern; I don’t anticipate anything related to it happening later than 7pm.

    #50896
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    at 6pm my PnP group start but I could be there from 4pm until about 6pm

    #50897
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    It would be great to have your help, mule! There will be PCs trying to track down Azreh, while at the same time fending off attacks from the zombie hordes and eventually Wrod. Your help will be excellent!

    Anyone else?

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