Dead Man's Hall

Cyrus, Jozan and Antonio have decided to get away from the battle lines and try to get more information. They head for the nearest large temple of Tyr in the city of Andressat. Along the way the stop in a small town and end up in an inn with bad food and worse ale. Cyrus spots a group of shifty looking characters led by a wizard and overhears them plotting to rob a tomb. The party takes turns eavesdropping on them and learns they are looking for the lost tomb of a powerful necromancer named Himmle. They decide to interfere and hope to destroy the necromancer's items before they can be turned to evil. Cyrus uses his psionic ability to turn into a ghostly ectoplasmic form and slips into their room when Antonio tries to open their door, pretending to be a lost drunk. He spies on the wizard and his warrior assistant, then steals the wizard's spellbook and returns to their room. Cyrus opens the book and an Explosive Runes spell explodes in his face, injuring all of them.

They flee from the inn, afraid the noise of the exploding book will bring the wizard down upon them. They move to another inn and Cyrus watches for them at night, but falls asleep. The next morning they return to the first inn and find out from a serving maid that after yelling at the innkeeper about thieves in his inn, the wizard's party saddled up and rode out on the north road. Cyrus and the dy Santiago brothers ride out in pursuit.

At the same time this was going on, a halfling thief named Hans was also in the inn. He too overheard the tomb robbers and followed them from town the next morning. Hans followed them out of town where they met up with four more thugs, road bandits by their look, and trailed them. Later in the day they stopped and headed off the road into the hills, blazing a trail. Hans followed them and tied his pony in the woods, following them on foot.

The rest of the characters ride up the north road, hoping to find some clue. They spot the trail leading off into the woods and find Hans' pony, and search its saddlebags. They follow the trail and encounter Hans who is unsuccessful in hiding from them. They interrogate one another and decide to join forces. Approaching the tomb site, Cyrus goes into ghost form and sneaks up to see them clearing rubble away from the tomb entrance. Two bandits are sent to check the noise the party is making. Cyrus watches them clear the last of the debris, exposing a glyph laden door. Down the hill, Antonio, Jozan and Hans have engaged the first two bandits and defeat them. Up at the tomb, they hear the combat and two more bandits are sent down the hill. The wizard stuns one of the remaining bandits, then slits his throat over the tomb door. The blood flows into the engraved glyphs, then drains inside, causing the tomb to unlock and open. Cyrus heads back down the hill, catches up to the second pair of bandits and frightens one off by pretending to be a ghost from the tomb. The other rushes on into the dy Santiago brothers' ambush and is cut down.

The party regroups and heals up, then rush to the tomb entrance and attack the wizard's party who are partway down the stairs. The wizard breaks free of the battle and rushes deeper into the tombs. the party attacks his followers and then encounters skeleton tomb guards coming up to defend the tomb. After destroying the two skeletons, the party follows the wizard's footprints into a dead end chamber with a sarcophagus and four more skeletons. They fight the skeletons but can't find the wizard. They realize he is Invisible and Cyrus tries to Psionic Blast him and fails, but does locate him. The rest of the party piles on, aiming for his footsteps and Antonio scoops dust from the floor and throws it on the invisible mage. They manage to kill him and his body reappears.

They force open the sarcophagus and find a skeleton dressed in dark robes, holding a wand with its head resting on a book. They sprinkle holy water on his items to see if they are evil, then take the wand, book and the jewelry on the body. They quickly search the rest of the tomb, close the entrance and then head out to get their horses and take the items for investigation at Tyr's temple in Andressat. They loot their enemies' bodies and gather their horses and supplies for sale later

The party arrives in Andressat and Jozan gives Antonio some gold and tells him to get some supplies "to make our journey easier." Cyrus takes the extra horses and equipment to sell in the market. Jozan reports to the local temple and asks for a meeting with a senior priest. Once he has and audience, Jozan relates their escape from the Marches, information about the Pargunese invasion and then how they encountered a group of tomb robbers and followed them the the necromancer's tomb and defeated them. Jozaqn turns over the necromancer's items for examination, but it turns out they are fakes, the tomb they uncovered was likely a decoy to lull tomb robbers into thinking they had recovered the only items of value. Therefore, the true tomb must lay somewhere else within the dungeon, Jozan is ordered to return and search again.
The temple has some additional news; unfortunately the Santiago province has fallen and the family estates have been captured. There is no news of casualties or what has happened to the brothers' family. In addition, an elven ranger from Lyonya called at the temple looking for them, he would like to meet with them and is staying at a nearby inn, the Broken Anvil. Jozan sends a messenger to the elf, that they will meet him for dinner, then goes in search of his comrades. Cyrus has handled selling the loot, but purchased an interesting Astrology text and wasted most of the afternoon reading in a park before remembering to show up. Antonio returns with a wagon laden with fine drink and cushions and a teamster, Haghen Stanoson, to drive it. Jozan protests, but gives in for now and the party heads to the Broken Anvil for their meeting.
The meet the elf, Daertherion, and he explains that he has come to give them his aid, for he hates Pargun and all they do. They acdept his offer and plan to return to the necromancer's tomb.

The journey back is delayed by the slow speed of the wagon, taking six days instead of four. On the day before their destination, they are attacked by a group of bandits, attacking with crossbows from ambush. The party fights and defeats them, Haghen is wounded in the ambush but Jozan heals him easily. They return to the tomb and discuss various means of reopening it and settle on Cyrus doing his ectoplasmic form to enter through the cracks in the door. Inside, he finds a lever that opens the door from the inside. The party searches the tomb, but with no luck. Antonio suggests holding a torch near the walls to watch for a draft from concealed doors and they locate a hidden doorway. Jozan detects evil on the other side and the party prepares themselves for combat. Jozan casts Bless on them and Light on his shield.
Entering the next chamber, they encounter a pair of wights. Antonio breaks past them to lure them to one side and the part lays into them, Jozan delivers a staggering double strike of sword and shield bash to one. The party defeats them, but Jozan's strength has been drained by repeated touches of the wight's unholy claws and he is not at his normal vigor. Examining the room, they see it is decorated with faded murals of a necromancer doing evil. Again, the party notices a control to open the secret door from the inside. Across the chamber is a plain black door that radiates a slight sense of evil. Cyrus attempts to open it and is struck by a Glyph of Warding that wounds him and drains his constitution.
Moving through the final door, they again find an opening lever on the inside. They realize that maybe the tomb was meant to be opened from the inside, perhaps the occupant is not really dead…A spiral staircase leads them down, and the party finds a final chamber holding a stone bier with a decayed body on it. Cyrus moves forward in ghost form and sees that the body is moving, the sightless eyes are open and twitching. When the party enters the room, it leaps to the floor and attacks them, cackling madly. It fights with great strength, striking with talon-like clawed hands. Powerful magic sustains it and the adventurers finally destroy it, taking many wounds in the process. Searching the monster's body and the room, they find magic ring, dagger, cloak and wand on the body, and a silvery long sword of elegant design hanging on the wall as a trophy. Concealed in the bier is a spell book, a coffer of coins and an enchanted ruby. They party concludes that the monster was the necromancer Himmle himself. he appeared to have attempted to transfer himself into a lich, but failed, ending up as an insane undead, too maddened by the failed attempt at lichdom to remember how to cast spells or even open the tomb to escape.
The adventurers destroy the body by burning and gather the magic items. They return to Tyr's temple in Andressat and have the items examined. The gem and spell book are destroyed, as are the Dagger of Ghoul Touch and the Wand of Shadow Bolts. The Cloak of Displacement, Ring of Phantom Armor and the sword, Vectaegladium are not tainted by evil and are turned over to the party as spoils of battle. Jozan takes the sword after some debate with Cyrus, Antonio takes the cloak and Cyrus the ring.