[The story so far]
Session 36 - Guards, Cultists, and Bone Golems - oh my!
Carefully, the party edged down the stairwell, light up ahead of them clearly visible and with a blue tinge. Although old and stained in places with mossy-mold, the steps were clean and freshly swept - there were even a pair of brooms to one side!
They readied their weapons and advanced grimly.
They blundered in through the doorway, setting off a magical alarm, into a chamber clearly carved and decorated in an intricate temple style. To their left (what had been labelled "catacomb" on the map they'd found) was an opening, to their right was the source of the blue light. The whole wall seemed to pulse and glow. Sections would billow outwards before losing shape and collapsing back to flatness with a high-pitched whistling sound.
There was no time to investigate, however, as, almost immediately, a group of guards alerted by the alarm hurled themselves at the group. Oiseau was practically disembowelled by one guard, requiring several saves against death* while the others fought off the remaining guards and poured all their remaining healing potions into him. Simultaneously, the three non-humans were investigating chanting from an adjacent chamber and saw cultists grouped around a table/altar. The (spectacularly unlucky and dice-cursed) halfling, Tybalt, snapped off an amazing crossbow shot at the lead cultist - who promptly yanked the bolt out of his own chest, sealed the hole with a glowing blue hand and then slammed his staff down on the bone-strewn altar, from which a bone golem rose.
In the next three rounds, the rescued captive was beheaded, Gwen (the dwarf) was reduced to 0HP and had her left arm severed. Twice. Two crits in a row from the bone golem took the arm below the elbow and then at the shoulder (randomised hit location for extra tension). Nausicaa (the elf) took a sword to the gut (also down to 0HP). We had to leave our session with Dumnorix (who got his shield cloven in two in the process) and Jean trying to drag the bodies of the dwarf and elf away under a hail of blows from the golem, while all the others just fled!
The bone golem suffered no hits at all...
* I manage damage and death as so: if a character suffers hit point reduction to exactly zero, they are unconscious and will remain so until they regain some (including by normal rest). If they go below zero, they save against death for each point of excess damage, not losing that hit point for each successful save. If that takes them below -current level in HP, they're dead. Otherwise they are just mostly dead. They then make a new save against death each turn (losing another HP if they fail) until they either die or are healed.
For example: Oiseau (lvl 3 cleric)was on 6HP. He suffered 10 points of damage, requiring him to make 4 saves against death (6HP - 10). He passed two, leaving himunconscious and on -2HP. Next turn he fails his save, taking him to -3HP. If he should fail another save before healing that will be -4 and, as a level 3 character, he'll be dead.