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end game, part i

The next two issues are a twopart conclusion to the Ashford Valley campaign. I started this campaign by writing 30 adventures in groups of 5. The sets of adventures should have advanced the PCs to higher levels. If played in order, the PCs should have reached 2nd level by the end of the High Bridge Road adventures, 3rd level for the Deep Forest Road, 4th for Ashford, 5th for Clifton, 6th for Tradetown and 7th for Sooton. That will make the PCs pretty powerful. However, I designed each adventure to be able to be played by 1st through 3rd level PCs, so it is necessary (and fairly obvious) that each adventure be increased in difficulty by the GM. All this was done to come to this pointthe necromancers end game. This issue will outline the plans and goals of the necromancer, while next issue Ill talk about the necromancer himself and some of his minions that the PCs havent met yet.

no plan survives contact with the enemy

The necromancer or his minions have shown up in the past (issues #5, 6, 9, 14, 27, 35, 36, 37, 38, 41, 43, 44, 45 and 48) and his plan seems to be bent on disrupting life in the Ashford Valley. Point of fact, he wants to take it over and use it as a base to attack and conquer the lowlands. Hes been working on this for several years now and his only serious opposition is the PCs. Theyve stopped some of his plans and made others difficult. Theyre also high enough level to go toetotoe with him. That he cannot have. The initial goal has been to make the Ashford Valley a more lawless place to exhaust the resources of Sir Raphel and his troops. The necromancer has funded several bandit groups (including the High Bridge Road bandits in issue #5) and has used smuggling operations to move weapons and undead around the valley (issues #35, 36, 43 and 44). His agents have corrupted individuals, either through spells or money, and he has gained useful intelligence on troop strengths and abilities, populations and developed many hidden bases from which his armies may sally forth.

blitz krieg bop

When he strikes, its going to be at Clifton first and probably during the wintertime (difficulties of winter travel do not affect his undead legions). He plans on controlling the only entrance into the valley and preventing aid (and news) from entering. The PCs have already encountered some of his tactics (issue #36) and there are many more undead waiting to attack. He has a wraith lieutenant who will lead the fight. The general plan is to seize the Lower Towers and the lower wards, then take the rest of the town. This attack will be brute force. The necromancers undead and his few live allies will storm the Lower Towers late one night, let in by a charmed squire. The fight will be short and bloody, with no survivors. After this blitz krieg, undead will flow from the Warrens to the rest of the town, with the hope that it will bring Sir Palomedes and his troops down from the Two Towers. With Palomedes troops thus engaged,

the wraith will lead a second force to the Two Towers from the Upper Cliffs ward and take

them. With both ends of the town under undead control, the slaughter will begin in earnestthe necromancer needs more dead to animate! The town will fall in a few hours with few survivors. After taking Clifton, the necromancer will regroup, animate a whole lotta the dead and march on Ashford. The city will be besieged and taken the first night, with the undead let in the walls by a hidden force waiting in the town. The slaughter will be horrendous. Then the rest of the valley will fall, with Tradetown and Sooton reduced to rubble and the rest taken as the necromancers armies mop up any resistance. If things go the necromancers way, the valley will be his in less than six weeks and the inhabitants slain and made into undead troops or slaves.


The force that can change this unfortunate scenario is the PCs. Theyre the heroes that have been forged in the 30 previous adventures to become the foil to the necromancer. Up to now, the PCs have been a minor annoyance. Theyve caused the necromancer to change some plans and improve some others. Its been a game of catandmouse, with the PCs not totally aware of the problem theyre facing. Now the gloves are off. The necromancer wants the valley and hes making his play. The endgame will seriously start in Clifton. The PCs may still be a cohesive group or they may have split up and gone to the different winds (from issue #48). In the event the PCs are no longer together, one of the PCs could be living in or traveling through Clifton. If hes in town, he can make some progress fighting the undead invasion but is hopelessly outnumbered. His only recourse will be to escape, maybe with Nikola and his updated flying machine. Then hell have to be Paul Revere, warning the countryside that Clifton has fallen and collect the rest of the PCs to fight a delaying action to allow Sir Raphel and his troops precious time to mobilize. From there, theyll be playing catchup on the invasion. If the PCs stayed together, having one PC visit Clifton to witness the invasion and surviving to tell the tale would also be good. The PCs have several advantages that the necromancer does not. Theyve actually traveled the valley and met plenty of people who will be more than willing to help them. People such as the Knights Valorous (issue #15), Binky the Blink Dog (#29), the Deep Forest Rangers and High Bridge Road Tree Elves (#5, 8 and 13), Grandfather Trout (#31), the dwarves Minder, Linder, Binder and Xinder (#14, 15, 41 and 42), Dennis and Eddy the watchmen (#28 and 35), Pink the Orc/Elf and Warren the tavernkeeper (#27 and 40) and Nikola the inventor (#34). Heck, if the PCs treated the some of the Bugbears (#8, 9, 13 and 16) fairly, they might show up with more Bugbears (whove all developed a deep and abiding hatred for undead). Not the most elite group but one that can provide plenty of intelligence, knowhow and some fighting prowess. It all depends, however, on how the PCs treated these individuals during the course of the campaign! Yep, what goes around comes aroundfull circle!

some days the bear gets you

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