We had a great game last night - it was one of those occasions where there’s enough cheering in combat, laughter during role playing, and a sense of accomplishment at the end that make for a memorable session.
At the beginning, there were some chuckles when the players discovered that the abbot and priestesses were a lusty bunch, and exactly what transpired during some of the regular holy services. They were rewarded with hundreds of gold pieces for the holy relics they’d most recently recovered, and promised the aid of two of the church’s lowest ranking acolytes.
After this there was some re-equipping and role playing with the merchant who’d previously hired them, and some vague plot hooks thrown out. Then followed some debate about what to do next. There was still the last bit of the basement below the abandoned temple to explore, but Wagstaff thought it too dangerous and that they should move on to greener pastures considering their new found wealth. Gulch disagreed, saying that the rewards had grown as their previous explorations had progressed, and that surely they were on the verge of a great treasure. The others in the party were ambivalent, with only Aleger the dwarf saying that if they went anywhere they should travel downstream further and follow the branch that became the Dordogne - his father had owned a stake in an abandoned mine down that way. I was glad to hear that there was some interest in this, as the Dordogne campaign I’ve been developing for my wife’s solo game has been barely used and I’ve been hoping to merge the two games. Agnal the cleric didn’t care what they did, as long as they didn’t travel south to the town where he'd previously been cast out.
Gulch’s argument won the day. Eventually they learned that Frederick, their former hireling, had decided that he would try to lead an expedition of his own to the temple. The party found him running screaming from the cellar with a tale of how he’d encountered their other former hireling Charles (who’d died and been buried a while back). Ironically, the new local legend and martyr seemed to have developed a taste for human flesh. The two fishermen Frederick had convinced to go with him of course had been killed.
With a lot of cajoling, Frederick was convinced to join their party once again. They crept through the passageways they’d previously explored with no new surprises or encounters, slowly realizing that many of the bones of the animated skeletons they’d destroyed earlier were missing - nothing but broken and splintered bones remained.
There was a final showdown with a necromancer’s apprentice, and a wight/lich-like being who spilled out of a barrel of strange chemicals, as well as a few more skeletons, a ghoul, and the reanimated Charles. The barrel creature seemed to think it had a connection with Agnal and even knew his name. Without fully deciphering what they were seeing, they did manage to destroy the thing, as well as his apprentice and their few remaining undead creations. There was some testing of a marble coffin filled with acid (to obtain a treasure visibly submerged there) and a number of strange objects were recovered, perhaps the most interesting being what appeared to be a necromancer’s spellbook.
In the process, one of the local clerics who’d accompanied them there died. It was a rather pitiful turn of events, given that the poor fellow had literally pissed himself and then recovered and charged the vile creature from the barrel, only to have it reach out and grab him by the neck, sucking the life and moisture (what remained of it) from his body completely. Frayse the fighter fumbled his weapon at the feet of the creature, and was similarly killed as he tried to retrieve the sword. Still, the party did remarkably well considering their rolls - truth be told, they’d defeated most of the undead guards in previous sessions. The last few skeletons they had to best had been reassembled by the necromancer’s apprentice from the previously unbroken bones of different owners. Consequently they were clumsy and weaker.
They then returned to town in the rain, carrying the remains of the formerly undead great local hero Charles, whose body had been bundled into two burlaps bags and tied tightly with rope. Their original mission was finally fulfilled - after several trips, they’d fully cleared the old temple. Now it could be re-consecrated and dedicated to the dead god’s sister, the goddess worshipped in town, and the abbot there would surely handsomely reward them.