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Many Alternate Doors, No Exits in Sight (MADNES) 30: Necromancy: The Art of reusable Materials

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

When you're a builder, you have to use the construction materials available to you. That may be mud and straw, turned into quite possibly the best armored houses in the world. It may be baked red clay. In higher tech areas, it might even mean metal. But, if your a necromancer, there's only one pure building material.

And some of them see themselves as more than just construction engineers; they are artists'! And an artist' does not follow the plans laid out by some unimaginative deity who was clearly bored with his homework. No, the artist' sees the potential, the what might have been. And makes it a reality.

A reality the Cupcakes soon came face to face with after reentering the material plane. Recall, that last week they'd been set on the trail of the specter of a once revered paladin. That path had led them back to a specific graveyard, and a somewhat terrifying encounter with its keeper. They'd then paid their respects, and been warned against removing any of the dead's property, whether they were using it or not. Very disrespectful, that . . .

Needless to say, they were actually quite happy to be out of that area again, and back into the tomb of their spectral quarry. That did not last.

Their first sight was of Grave T. Robber, the Gnoll follower of the Raven Queen who, ironically, was very against robbing graves. I don't know, maybe he got that name from exploits earlier in his life.

He was standing at the entrance of the tomb with his back turned towards them. They could tell that something had his hackles up immediately; the fur on his back was standing almost straight up as he stood rock still, eyes focused on something in the graveyard.

Hazel aske him what was wrong, only to be immediately shushed. Shrugging the rude behavior off, she stepped up to see what had the Gnoll so transfixed, followed by Thor.

And froze. The amalgamation of bones floating over the cemetary to the right had no analog in life. It was as if a demented child had treated the bones of an unknown number of creatures like legos, sticking various vertebrae and limbs wherever they chose. The body was comprised of several humanoid torsos. It had two massive skeletal wings, each attached to its own vertebrae. Those vertebrae joined three others, before separating into five necks, each with a skull on top. It floated five feet over the ground, without so much as a twitch of its wings.

It had five arms and no legs. Each arm carried a different tool. One held a book. One held an incense burner. One held a scythe. One held a lantern. And the last held a staff.

As they watched it slammed the staff into the ground, emitting a pulse of light that rose out of the ground one and a half feet high, at a radius of thirty feet. Whenever that wave of light intersected a grave the headstone would crumble and a light would erupt from the ground and fly into the lantern. The glow would then remain, fading almost imperceptibly with time.

Hazel backed off and informed Steve and Frank of what she'd seen. Grave also backed off, opening a book and starting to sketch what he'd seen.

Meanwhile, The Plan reared its ugly head. It was apparent that they did not want to get caught by the pulse of light. They were also fairly certain none of them wanted to be caught in the blue pulse of blue light from the staff. The were also a bit leery about standing in the afterglow from the pulses.

So, Frank would take Hazel's broom up to land on the roof of the tomb they were currently inhabiting where he would target the creature's items. After which, Hazel would call the broom back to herself. Thor would fly five feet off the ground up to the creature and do what Thor does best. And Steve . . . Steve would try his damnedest to not get hit with that glow.

Initially Frank was going to hit the staff first. But on it's first turn (yes it went first) the . . . undead Amalgamation (we'll call him Roy) moved up to Thor, opened the book, and cast Darkness. Frank immediately agroed on the book.

Not that that helped at all, as he missed two of his three shots. Fortunately, Thor had it; he pulled that wand of daylight out and cast daylight on his hat. (You can take the gnome out of the brother, but you can't take it out of the player)

Roy then attempted to cast darkness a second time, to no effect. Seeing this display of blisteringly low intellect, Steve charged into the fray.

Frank's next turn didn't start out any better than his last. He crit failed a shot at the book, which would have resulted on a critical hit against a friendly target. Fortunately his rifle had the Lesser Lucky enchantment, allowing a reroll. This second roll was a 2. The last shot missed again. On a perception check, he was able to see that the hole from his first shot was slowly getting smaller.

Thor started hammer time.

On the next turn Roy hit Steve -an unconfirmed crit- for a good chunk of life, prompting Hazel to fly out of her hiding place and channel.

{Player's Note: The DM dislikes the idea of having to choose between healing and harming undead with channels, and so allows both to happen. Which turned out to be just part of his evil plot . . .}

As Hazel's channel hit the creature, it was absorbed by the incense burner.

Frank dropped his rifle, drew his revolver, and split the book in two. Thor continued pretending that Roy's various bones were spikes and that he was working on the railroad.

The next turn, Roy tried to reciprocate against Thor with his scythe, missing horribly.

Steve continued his attack.

Hazel healed Steve.

Frank finally got his shit together, destroying both the staff and the incense burner with his three shots.

At that point, Roy decided that discretion was also the better part of nefariousness, and turned himself invisible. Sadly for him, he'd also cast darkness on himself, and as he exited the area of daylight caused by Thor's hat, the darkness reemerged.

Frank took aim and fired, missing all three shots. Thor followed that spectacular round up with his new standard, hurling charge. After he hit the creature with both attacks it dismissed the darkness spell and flew away.

Having put in a long full day, the Cupcakes decided to report and get some rest.

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