Fortunately, Dan (our DM) has started up his own blog with a summary of the events of relevance in Sidrea, so I will refer you to that for the blow-by-blow of our party’s adventures, and stick with some general overview and analysis.
This adventure ran much more smoothly for me than the last one. Kim pointed out to me that the stereotypical D&D adventure went through phases of being “in town”, i.e., gathering information, recovering, buying equipment, generally being “safe”, and then in the wild, actually adventuring (she brought this up because the bounty hunter tracking us last time made a point of confronting us outside the town, rather than in, say, a bar, which seemed to emphasize the pattern). I felt that we as a party struggled with the town portion last time, spending too much time on less-interesting activities. But things picked up quickly this time, as we actually found the tomb containing the lost artifact, bypassed the security system, battled hordes of various Undead, and escaped with zombies on our tail.
The artifact we recovered now causes some further problems. It is obviously of exceptional power, probably dating from a mythic time when gods roamed the earth. So do we hand it over to the archeologist, or keep it? We made a deal to turn it over, but we had no idea it was so powerful at the time. We are unsure of the archeologist’s motives, although we feel she is sincere. It’s almost certainly too powerful for low-level characters like us to be toting around. An interesting quandary, and one we had not yet resolved when the session broke up.
Our characters went up from 4th to 5th level after this session, which was good – 5th level is a big breakpoint for my Wizard, as he gets a big, area affect spell (Fireball) for the first time. It also reminded me just how broken certain elements of D&D are … for background reasons, my character is an Abjurer (Elves are somewhat oppressed by Humans in this world, so he wants to gain the power to protect himself and his people – think Melian or Galadriel). Unfortunately, from a gameplay perspective, most specialties other than Diviner or Evoker are designed for morons. Specializing has some restrictions as well as benefits, and the costs are the same whether you specialize in Abjurer (a comparatively weak school with only a few generally useful spells) or Evoker (the overwhelming majority of the combat spells). In D&D 3.0, specializing in powerful schools like Evoker was much more expensive in terms of what you had to give up – but now they’re all the same. Fairly odd that WotC would have gotten in right in 3.0, then broken things rather badly in 3.5. Unless you are playing in an unusual D&D campaign in which combat situations are the exception, any Wizard who doesn’t specialize in Evoker (or Diviner, which is the only school to have a slightly reduced cost associated with it) is an idiot.