Day 1, Month 9, 3 After the Night of Fire (ANoF)
While hoes and shovels are not normally dangerous to a trained fighter, the player characters are somewhat hesitant about killing the villager zombies. It is fortunate that Maila Arette is present, as she spurs them into desperate action, and the player characters and Maila makes short work of the creatures. Kiarra is beside herself, as she knows several of the undead villagers personally, but Maila tells her that she has to keep her emotions about her dead friends in check if they have any hope of defeating the evil Necromancer.
Avoiding the blood and gore, the characters follow Maila as she leads them deeper into the tower's depths. The characters quietly discuss how they are going to deal with the Necromancer as they travel on, cautiously keeping an eye open for danger. Their first sign that things are amiss is when they come upon the corpses of several orcs and goblins. They appear to have died in a terrifying manner, judging by the expressions on their faces. Teela expresses her concern that the Oruskans were killed by the Necromancer, but the others cannot fathom a reason for his having done so.
The characters and Maila continue on, and find several servants, humans that they do not recognise, dead in what appears to be a small dining room. An eerie, quiet pall rests over this level of the tower, as Teela confers with Devron and the others, while Barm and Maila keep watch. They come to a decision, and tell Maila to lead them to the stairs that lead up to the third level of the tower. She is hesitant to do so, but finally agrees, and the player characters set off. As they pass through a small art gallery near the area of the staircase leading up, the player characters are attacked, as two of the paintings of warriors come to life. The fighting is savage, but the characters are able to destroy the soldiers, who vanish and are seen once more back in the painting from which they arose. Teela tells Torvu that she is not sure, but she believes that it may well be the tower that is responsible for all that is occurring, rather than Andar Phaldern.
The player characters and Maila cautiously make their way up the stairs, and find themselves on the third floor of the tower, the living quarters of Andar Phaldern. Finding much of this level of the tower deserted and very little of value, the characters eventually find the bed chamber of the Necromancer. He is lying on the bed, his mouth covered in blood and gore, sobbing away into the dirty, filthy linens. Several of the human, goblin, and orc servants lie scattered around the room, their appearance almost like that of puppets. "Help me!", the Necromancer begs the characters.
Before the characters can respond, Maila says that they shouldn't listen to him, that he's dangerous. At that moment, the orc and goblins on the floor animate, and attack the player characters. The party easily defeats them, as they are partially dead to begin with, and then Andar explains the truth. He is actually a Sorceror of some mild ability who stumbled on and found the tower as he said, but it is the tower that controls him and all the others in the area. He doesn't understand how, but the spirit and mind of a powerful Necromancer were bonded to the tower somehow during the Night of Fire, and the Necromancer's will guides and controls the actions of most of those in the tower and its vicinity. He tells them that the spirit of the Necromancer seems to reside in a large crystal found in the observatory at the top of the tower, and that he believes that there is no way to kill the evil life taker. When the characters ask why they have not fallen under the tower's influence, Andar tells them that they successfully faced their fears, and that prevented the Necromancer, Halad Demolak, from controlling them. Teela and the others consult the Sorceror, and Andar tells them that he does not know how to kill the Necromancer, or to free the Oruskans and humans from the influence of the tower. The characters come to realize that Andar Phaldern is actually just a young spellcaster who made the best of what he had during the Night of Fire, and found himself embroiled in something way beyond his ken.
Andar takes the characters up to the observatory, so that they may see what they are dealing with. Teela, Kiarra, and Torvu are astounded by the sheer colours, sheen, and sparkly nature of the observatory. The crystal of which Andar Phaldern spoke is clearly visible to them, a huge, 15-inch multi-faceted orange hued stone that has an energy pattern coruscating through it. It rests on a large, green and silvered marble plinth and is supported by several dark metallic supports, almost skeletal-like in their nature and appearance. Andar speaks to the stone, and as it pulsates even more brightly, the ethereal voice of the Necromancer, Halad Demolak, speaks to them.
As the characters converse with Halad Demolak, they come to realise that he is somewhat mad, his imprisonment and tenuous containment in the tower having driven him somewhat insane. In his demented state of mind, the Necromancer refuses to make a deal with the player characters, stating instead that eventually they will serve him and the tower for all eternity. The characters attempt to exert their will against the spirit of Halad, but only Devron, Barm, and Teela are able to do so successfully. A horrified Kiarra and Torvu watch as the three player characters and Maila Arette slump to the ground. "It has begun," says Andar Phaldern.
As you can see, the player characters encountered a few surprises and had a twist and/or turn or two during this session. Kathy, Steve, and Tom said they rather liked the plot twist that they dealt with in this session, and Nick had a pretty good time "taking second stage" this session, as his character's been pretty involved in the scenario to this point. Joanne said that she's rather enjoying the "weirdness" of the tower, and our newbie to the group, Angela, said that she's really enjoying the Desolation game system and its "different"-ness from the D&D standard that she's experienced in the past. They were annoyed when I stopped for the night (or should that be the morning?) where I did. hehe