Leaving the smoking remnants of the last three farmsteads behind them, the party advanced towards the Renson family land. The sound of battle could clearly be heard before the farmstead in question came into view. After taking a moment to listen further, the party determined that the metallic clanging was a bit too rhythmic for a proper battle—this sounded like training. Scouting the farm revealed that a skeletal squad of militia-men were performing sword and archery drills with the discipline of undeath.
The party stealthily made their way toward the only entrance of the camp, aiming to get behind some conveniently placed cover when the cleric stepped into a tripwire. A couple hundred pounds of rock and dirt plummeted from the foothills on either side of the entrance to batter the poor, poor cleric, but more importantly gained the attention of the skeletons. The battle was quick and dirty, with the skeletons exhibiting a level of tactics not shown by their zombie counterparts. The rogue took a fair amount of damage from the archers that waited for him to come out of hiding as he attempted to ignite the barracks with a spell. The barbarian proved EVEN MORE valuable in combat as her bone greatclub proved to be especially deadly against the skeletons. The bard sat high and dry, taking carefully aimed potshots at important targets.The warlock fell to the combined assault of several of the footmen, yet managed to escape with her life thanks to the quick casting of the cleric.
The battle over and all the skeletons reduced to scattered piles of bone, the party searched and burned every single structure within sight to the ground. After a lengthy rest, they set out for the Kenson farmstead, four trails of smoke now behind them.
The terrain grew even rockier, with enormous boulders not even the strongest of men could hope to move. However, dozens of these boulders evenly dotted the path marking the road towards the Kenson land. Hundreds more lined the edge of the farmland itself, which was the largest of all the farms the party had encountered yet. Far off in the distance two hulking forms could be seen milling around along with a clump of smaller, humanoid-sized ones. The rogue elected to sneak up and assess the situation. Upon closer inspection, the larger forms were revealed to be ogres—at least, they were in life. These creatures were missing an extremity or two, gave off the now-familiar sweet, cloying smell of a corpse sitting overlong in the sun, and mindlessly ambled about.
After the rogue rejoined the party, a plan was quickly formed. The party backtracked to a position that was just within arrow and bolt range, set up a firing line, performed their ritual of choice at the prospect of imminent death, and began to fire. The first salvo did not seem to mind the first ogre. In fact, he did not seem to take notice of the trio of projectiles protruding from his ample gut except to turn his dead gaze toward their owners and start lumbering over at a gait noticeably quicker than the average-sized zombie. The rest of the zombies began to take chase as well, the smaller ones quickly dragging behind the two giant ogres.
The party began perform tactical retreats. Fire, move back a set distance, reset firing line, fire again. In this way they managed to get off enough salvos to bring down the first ogre before even his stench reached them. This was indeed a good thing, as the ogre in question erupted into necrotic energy, showering tendrils of violet light that lanced outward in an enormous radius around him. The only other target within range was the second ogre. Instead of withering away and melting as the foliage did, the violet light began to course and arc through the giant zombie until its bare sockets burned indigo and pieces of it’s flesh began to flake off. Far from being destroyed, the ogre began to move blindingly quickly and made short work of the distance between it and the party.
After a desperate round of spells and attacks the ogre closed with the unfortunate warlock, whom had landed a particularly devastating blow against the creature. Thanks to a handy spell tossed out by the bard, the ferocious lunge missed by a hair. The party swiftly brought down the dangerous foe with a combination of good tactics, proper planning, a a little bit of luck. The resulting necrotic explosion brought many to their knees, and a couple to the ground. The zombie stragglers were dealt with easily, and the party recovered from their wounds before tending to the arson.
Collecting themselves after another rest the more experienced party set out for the final homestead. The day grew shorter as the path became more and more overgrown with thick, dark roots twisted and contorted by the darkness in the soil—one could have sworn that a few of them had moved…