View Full Version : some help please?

2009-08-19, 06:35 PM
Hi everyone, I recently started DMing a new 3.5 game. Right now the PCs are on the trail of a small horde of undead that have been traveling the land, attacking towns and taking the villagers as prisoners (including the brother of one of the PCs).

I want it to be more than just a simple “chase them down and beat them up” session, but I’m having trouble coming up with ideas… :smallredface:

If anyone could help me out I’d be very thankful.

Mr. Mud
2009-08-19, 06:42 PM
More details would be helpful (such as setting, character levels, who the brother is, et cetera)The brother could be searching for his (and the PCs) mother/other family member? PC's just find this out, and rush to the town they are targeting next, to intercept the brother and his the incoming zombie horde?

The PC brother could be confronted by his Undead brother, and persuaded into joining the darkside horde?

Give me some time, and I'll PM you some more ideas :smallbiggrin:.

2009-08-19, 06:42 PM
Can you tell us a bit more? What level and classes are the PCs? What type of undead (or have you not decided?) Is there anything unique or interesting about the area you'd like to involve?

Edit: Blasted ninjas!

2009-08-19, 07:17 PM
Thanks. Here's some more info.

My players are a monk/ranger, a Cleric, a Paladin, a Druid, and a Bard. All levels 8-9.

After visiting the Bard's home town she found everyone there dead or missing. They learned (from speak with dead) that the missing people, including her brother were taken.

What they don't know is that the undead came to steal a magic artifact the town wizard had for their master. They took the townspeople that survived as slaves for him and on their way back have been hitting towns they come across for more slaves.

Haven't decided what kind for sure but I'm thinking a mix of zombies, skeletons and a couple of ghouls.

The area is mostly forest with small towns sprinkled throughout. There are also lots of caves in the area where the undead stay during the day as they don't want to travel in sunlight.

2009-08-19, 08:04 PM
As a DM, the first question I would like to know if I was told to run this is: why are the undead taking them? Why not just kill them?

Some of them (skeletons, zombies) are mindless, so there has to be a mind behind it, controlling them. The ghouls are a little more problematic though - why aren't they killing some of the hostages and turning them into more ghouls? Or are they?

It is possible that they are taking the people to be sacrificed, but why all at once? Is the route that the undead are taking important - specifically, are they running towards something or away? It could very well be that the leader of this undead band (say a vampire) is using the people as a mobile food source while it runs away.

Of course, the question is, from what?

It is possible (although unlikely) that the undead do not have some horrible scheme in mind. But because they are undead AND because they descended on a village without warning pretty much makes them the bad guys.

Frankly, I would go with the leader of this band of undead being something nasty, but that it is running from something even nastier. When the undead leader realizes that it is being tracked, it sends out skeletons lead by a ghoul or something to ambush the party (making pits covered with leaves and filled with sharpened stakes, deadfalls, rockslides, etc.). More astounding for the players is when the vampire charms or tricks a bunch of clerics and paladins into thinking that there is an evil FOLLOWING the undead which must be stopped. Hence, the PCs will get attacked at night by several good-aligned people who attempt to use protection vs. evil, holy water, and other instruments as if THEY, the HEROES, the PCs, were the undead.

Even more obnoxious is when the party gets ATTACKED FROM BEHIND by the minions of the really BBEG, who also mistakes them for the targets.

What's going on?

Why are the PCs the targets?

Where is the undead horde going?

As a final note, they might be pissing off a lot of the locals, sort of like kicking a hornet's nest and then running away so that the people right behind encounter the angry insects instead.

2009-08-19, 08:33 PM
Known: Undead came into town, killed villagers, took the survivers with them.

Unknown: Undead to a magical doohickey with them. Magical doohickey was the reason for the attack.

Likely: Leader was at the attack, directing the undead.

Likely: Leader needs the villagers for some purpose.

Likely: Leader is in a hurry.


So, I'm thining that the Leader was probably at the attack, directing his undead to assault the town. Once he got his hands on the town trinket, he had the undead round up the remaining villagers and march then off with his army. This makes a bit more sense than ghouls keeping prisoners, as they'd be more inclined to eat them otherwise.

The first thought is that the Leader doesn't quite know how to work the magitrinket - perhaps he's only familiar with legends. Hence his desire to keep the remaining villagers alive - perhaps one of them knows, and watching their fellow villagers get torn apart and eaten alive night-by-night will convince them to talk.

Secondly, wherever he's going seems important. It was certainly important enough to risk killing the people who knew how the doohickey worked, not to mention not sticking around to cast Speak with Dead on all the corpses in town. Perhaps he's being chased by someone? Perhaps he needs the other matching doohickeys in the set, or has a timeline?


My first thought is that the Leader is a cursed Zombie Lord, damned to eternal, rotting life. He'd heard of the magical staff in town which is supposed to return the undead to life, and plans on using it on himself (and promptly dying). As such, he created a small army or zombies, marched into town, and took the staff.

He doesn't know how it works, so he's keeping the townsfolk alive long enough to tell him. He's on a schedule, and needs to get to X before the next full moon. (X can be anything, but is probably the location he was cursed and rose from the grave.) If he can't find out, he'll try to get some of the townsfolk to use the staff anyways. If that doesn't work, he'll just kill everyone and hope that activates the staff's properities.

He's eager to get things done, as the townsfolk aren't going to remain contained for another 30 days. He would have no problem disappearing if the ritual fails, although he'll need to return to the same spot later to complete it. He's a bit crazed from his curse, and won't listen to reason beyond the party helping him to permanently die.

2009-08-19, 08:34 PM
The players could encounter some dwarves that were chased out of the caves by the undead. The dwarves lived in tunnels connected to the cave. The dwarves may know a way of destroying the roof of the cave, which would either crush the undead or expose them to sunlight. They tell the players how to go about doing that.

Possible ways to destroy the cave-

Sneak in and plant an explosive the dwarves gave them at a certain spot, then escape.

Remove key support beams throughout the tunnels, then run.

Protect the dwarves until you can get them to a certain spot where they can destroy the cave's roof.

Anyway, those are the best ideas I can come up with.

Also, if the players and dwarves get stuck in the tunnels after the cave is destroyed, the dwarves could take the players deeper into the ground until they arrive at a dwarven town. You could take the campaign in a direction involving some dwarven community that needs help.

2009-08-20, 01:37 AM
Thanks for the ideas guys. :smallbiggrin: I'm really liking them, especially the parts about the leader being with them; and the dwarves from the caves.

2009-08-20, 01:41 AM
Seeing as they took the villiagers alive, there's likely a good reason behind it. Since they're not venturing out in daylight, perhaps make the leader a vampire? By bringing people along he/she gets an easy meal whenever needed, and if the vamp goes overboard, a vampire spawn to fight will tell the PCs they're on the right track, and give them some clue as to what they're going to be encountering.