I hope everyone had a great holiday, filled with plenty of gaming goodness, be it gifts or time at the table. I got a healthy serving of both. My oldest daughter saved up chore money from her grandparents to get me the Citadel Miniatures laptop Paint Station, which was one of those things I always lust after at the Fantasy Shop but would never shell out the cash for. My other daughter got me three new Reaper minis to paint. My in-laws got me a pair of Darth Vader boxers, which came in an excellent Darth Vader-shaped tin, which now houses all my gaming dice and has me itching to run some kind of Star Wars game with the kids. I know there was a Microlite20 Star Wars mod... Anyways, the in-laws also gave me a gift certificate to the Fantasy Shop as well, which, I have since learned, can be used at their up-coming bi-annual Used Gaming Auction. Hopefully, somebody will be auctioning off a lot or three of some old-school D&D materials.
A week ago, the wife and I took the minions out to their grandparents, and we wrapped up the Keep on the Shadowfell adventure. They were close to the end and had just the final two encounters to go.
I was a little worried, going in, about how the kids would handle the grisly and frightening nature of the endgame of this dungeon. Giant pools of blood, evil dude trying to open a portal to the Shadowfell, undead beasties galore... But they were troopers. Well, except the youngest one. He's six and is normally pretty resolute in understanding it's just a game, but for some reason the possibility of his elf fighter (who he has renamed twice) getting sucked into the Shadowfell was more than he could bear.
So he went with Mom to get McDonalds for lunch.
Anyway, first was the cathedral above the room with the portal. There was a cleric conducting a ritual of some sort on the altar at the far end, a few cultists helping with all the evil chanting, and a couple of big bodyguard types to deal with, and the kids made short work of all of them, although not without taking a few lumps. The wizard was still flying around thanks to the potion he had imbibed the previous encounter. Once they cleared out the cultists, they investigated the pit in the middle of the cathedral, where more weird chanting could be heard. Also, thick streams of blood were running from the altar into the pit, and there were no other doors. A torch was tossed down the pit, with vials of oil attached to it, but it was snuffed out in a larger pool of blood below. So, with grappling hooks and rope, they descended the pit into the room below.
The still-flying wizard went first.
Kalarel was not surprised, and he blasted the wizard, who failed his saving throw and lost his flying enchantment, and fell into the pool of blood. Skeletons hacked into him quickly and he was out.
The rest of the team followed quickly. The undead monsters in the room consisted of a half-dozen skeletons, a wraith the the power to raise 1d4 of those skeletons on its turn, a big zombified drake, and Kalarel, the villain himself.
Oh, and there was the Thing in the Portal, which chose a hero at random every turn to pull towards it a few squares.
With the wizard falling in the first round, this fight was an instant nail-biter. The cleric went down soon after as well. I even adopted a house-rule (on the fly) that an unconscious character who gets a crit on their fortitude save (to avoid more body-point damage) could pop up with 1 hit point. This happened twice, once with the cleric and once with the wizard, and both were quickly dropped again.
Did I mention the wraith kept bringing the skeletons back?
In the end, it was a good thing the youngest boy's elf fighter was weilding Aecris, Sir Keegan's sword, as its bonus vs undead really wound up carrying the day (even if the boy wasn't there to make his own rolls).
This was one of those battles with a ridiculous amount of critical hits. A natural 20 was rolled just about every round. The intensity of the combat was great. I think I've grokked the Microlite system pretty well at this point; I scribbled the monster stats on an index cards moments before the battle ensued.
This session further solidified Microlite as my go-to D&D game from here on out. Now, to prepare for the next session! They've gone back to Winterfell, healed their fallen comrades, and are about to have dinner with the old town hedge wizard.