Taking Over Eric's Campaign (sort of...)

My brother and I discussed running the campaign he started a few weeks ago with rotating DMs, but I hadn't expected to take over so soon. I'm the only one in the group with any DMing experience and I had been itching for the chance to actually play, but putting the yoke entirely on his shoulders was probably not the best way for him to start out.  So when it came time to pick up where we left off, he handed the reins to me instead of continuing.

When last we played, we concluded the session by fighting a bunch of zombies and skeletons that were guarding a large sarcophagus.  Sure enough, when we opened the sarcophagus, we found the dead mage still holding tight to his staff even in death's slumber. Without thinking of the consequences, we began looting the room, and when our wizard Mendartis tried to take the staff the mage's spirit awakened and attacked.  We defeated the specter pretty handily, but instead of disappearing as we expected, he regained his composure and began to speak.

He told us of his imprisonment, mind control which he can break for short periods of time, and an imprisoned soul in a gem in the sarcophagus. The gem needed only to be broken for the soul to be released, so the party broke it and were joined by a new addition to the party, Marc the firesoul genasi swordmage (Eric's PC, now that he's not DMing). Note: I'll push Eric to fill in more of his character history soon. Then he suggested that we search for his former master in hopes of learning more about the source of this mind controlling and undead generating.

Thus, we searched and found his home, an extravagant one floor mansion in the wilderness. Something, however, seemed wrong. The area was silent. Not even the sounds of nature could be heard. A knock on the front door caused the door to slowly creak open, seemingly on its own, revealing an open room with two rows of columns. Unfortunately for the party, skeletal guardians were hiding behind columns at strategic locations, and Rantrix (our minotaur fighter) found himself surrounded as he led the group into the room.

But the fight was over quickly and only Rantrix suffered any real wounds. We paused for a short rest before continuing deeper into the mansion, wondering if the same undead foes had beaten us here or if the mage's master was the source of the problem himself.
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