Last Saturday, February 13, Nerdstrong Gym hosted the second Chapter in our new Campaign, Night of the Zombie King, a 5-week combination roleplaying game story and workout. The story of the first chapter can be found here. The story of our second chapter is below. And, don't miss our third chapter, tomorrow, Saturday Feb 20 at 9 & 10AM!
Night of the Zombie King
Chapter 2 - Race to the Mausoleum
After the unexpected attack on the local inn by a creature calling himself “Azerak, the Zombie King," who was distressingly wearing the body of your fallen commander, Dan Jenkins, you escaped into the forested hills outside Dunhearst. By midnight, the last of you staggered into the old guardpost above Dunhearst, where you’d agreed to meet.
After a brief rest, a few of you climbed to the top of the rickety guardpost. From your vantage you could see the undead swarming the town. At the center of the town, you discovered the source of the undead mob: the Great Graveyard surrounding the Fallen Keep - both relics of the Great Gnoll War that ended five years before, in which you all served. Many good, brave companions are - were - buried in that graveyard. The sky above the Fallen keep glowed red, and a gossamer thread of golden power reached from the heavens down to the Fallen Keep’s courtyard.
“He’s opening a portal,” Meg whispered. Of all of your group, Meg knew the most about necromantic magic. “He’ll have taken any villagers who still live there - their lifeblood will provide fuel for his ritual.”
You climbed back down to the guardroom, where the rest of you were recuperating and caring for the villagers you managed to help escape. You relayed what you knew: This Zombie King, who stole Commander Dan Jenkins’ body, and quite possibly his soul, was using foul magic to control the hordes of the Negative Material Plane. You must fight your way back to the Keep, defeat the Zombie King and his minions, and stop whatever dark ritual is being performed within before the sky opens up and the world is overrun with the Walking Dead.
Jason pointed out that, actually, while the Fallen Keep is in poor repair, it’d still be nearly impossible to overwhelm with just your small party - you were too few to assault a keep. But Caitlin was briefly garrisoned there, and knew of a secret passage below one of the Mausoleums in the graveyard that leads to the catacombs and, it was rumored, into the keep. You all agreed that would be your best point of entry.
Under cover of darkness, you moved quickly through the town to the Great Graveyard. As you approached, the bright tendril of energy above the keep pulsed, and as you got even closer, you could hear screaming and wailing from inside the keep - no doubt the villagers you left behind, whose souls the Zombie King was using to fuel his ritual.
From behind a small shop at it’s edge you could better assess the Graveyard - only a few undead remained: scavengers, Ghouls and Wights, picking the bones of those creatures who could not be raised. They were few at the edges, but more near the center of the graveyard, around the mausoleum.
But there was another problem - the walls of the keep were thick with skeletal archers, patrolling back and forth, bows over their bony shoulders, and piles of arrows next to burning brasiers every dozen meters. You could see the mausoleum a few hundred meters ahead, but to get there you had to cross a lot of open ground, fight the undead scavengers, and dodge flaming arrows from those archers!
Bracing yourselves, you raced across open area (230m run with steel clubs), crashing into the first group of undead: lightning-fast ghouls with wicked claws and a paralyzing bite (20x runner's lunge) and terrifying wights whose touch drains life (fought with 20x alt. steel club swings to guard), all while dodging flaming arrows from the keep (20x jump squats). Then you ran across more open area and fought more undead, the number of the hideous creatures increasing with each wave (2x through, then 3, then 4).
When finally the first of you broke through the final wall of undead and rushed to the Mausoleum (Liz in the first class, Aaron in the second), you realized the door had fallen open - someone had arrived before you. From the blackness inside the crypt, two tall figures emerged, dressed head to toe in scarred black plate mail, glowing eyes burning inside their helmets. One was impossibly tall, and wielding a giant maul. The other was shorter, but still taller than many of your companions. She dragged a wicked scythe behind her on a long chain. From their armor and weapons you recognized them immediately - the Zombie King had animated the corpses of two more of your fallen friends, Tyler and Cate King.
The creature who was once Cate called out in a raspy voice, as she began swinging her scythe on its chain. “Dan has returned to lead us again. You do not need the passage below this crypt - embrace your death and join us in eternal battle with him!”
Uncharacteristically silent, Tyler raised his huge maul above his head and brought it down toward you. You barely dodged, and it crashed into the earth, shaking the ground. No sooner had you danced aside than Cate’s scythe grazed across your leg, sending you spinning. You grasped your club and rushed toward the door, hoping your companions might reach you soon.
As you spun and fought the two death knights (Cate was fought with push-ups, Tyler with sprawls), more of your companions broke free of their hordes of undead and joined the fray - soon, dozens of you surrounded the horrible creatures, spinning and smashing with your clubs, as they crushed your limbs and sliced your skin. First Cate fell, then Tyler and, just as another wave of undead crested the low hill, you pushed inside the mausoleum, staggering over the mangled corpses of the creatures who were once companions, and pulled the heavy granite door closed behind you.
In the darkness, Brittany lit a torch - a few minutes of searching revealed a secret passage at the back of an alcove. A wet, cool breeze emerged from the passage. You gathered yourselves and plunged forward, determined to stop the ritual and thwart the Zombie King.
Join us this Saturday (February 20) at 9 and 10AM for NOTZK Chapter 3: Through the Catacombs.
~ Coach David