So, a good five or so years back, I played in one of the best worst DnD games I have ever been in. The DM had bought the Libris Mortis book, which, if you were unaware, was a 3.5 splatbook adding in a lot of undead stuff, including some monsters and undead player races and stuff. Wanting to try it out, me and my gaming group decided to play things from it, our then DM deciding to run a completely homebrewed session. This proved to be a...
(for the uninitiated, never homebrew something you do not fully understand unless it's just cosmetic. If you want to make all elves worship the god of garlic bread, Ultimo-Metatron-Omega, go ahead, but unless you know how the game works, don't make mechanical changes). So we all picked stuff from the books-one player played a skeleton Sorcerer who in life was a tribal shaman, but an attempt at healing went wrong, turning him undead as his life energy was replaced with negative energy, explaining why most of his spells were necromancy and suchlike.
Another player played Krug, an antipaladin in very spiky full plate. He was a zombie made by a necromancer of a paladin who was fighting him, but his allies killed his would-be master before he could assert control, and not wanting to just off him, his allies just...yeeted his body into a portal and hoped it'd re-kill him. It did not kill him hard enough. It did, however, explain his stats which...oof. He had already got debuffs to some stats due to being a zombie, and rolled abysmally. Fortunately for the player, he played mostly to socialise, so didn't much care.
I played... Count Nox Feratu, the Campire. As in, a vampire with a very camp German accent, which I did not break for the whole time I was playing him. To the point where "ach, nein, I haf bin heet! Heal me, meine freunde!" was par for the course. My overly camp vamp was a wizard, but due to level adjustment was a bit of a shoddy one. For backstory, he'd been ousted from his clan for ineptitude, and had sworn revenge. I was going for a swordmage build but never got there. All his spells were utility or just necromancy spells.
Our last player played...sigh...Damien Bloodmoon, cleric of Nerull, God of murder and undeath. He was one of the clerics from the book's murder Domain, meaning that he got buffs to damage. He was a vicious arse both in character and out of it, and was so dripping with edge compared to the paladin with the same IQ as a horse after its trip to the glue factory, the shaman who thought killing fixed people and the Campire that if you gave him a pat on the back you'd have finely diced your hand into a red mist. Not going too outlandish with his backstory of wanting to dominate the world as his undead thralls, Damien F***ing Bloodmoon had only taken spells which either charmed live people, dealt negative energy damage or messed with ability drain and suchlike, which he used with aplomb on townsfolk on our way to our objective. He was also, importantly, playing an elf of some sort, I forget which kind. Meaning that of the party, only one was alive.
So, just as an aside, for those of you that haven't played 3.5e DnD or have only played 5e, in Libris Mortis, undeath was gone over in detail, and had a litany of pros and cons. For one thing, undead had only the HP they had-folks like Damien F***ing Bloodmoon could be 'dying', and had some time to be stabilised before meeting the reckoning of Papa John and dying proper. Undead did not, it was just how much you had and if you ran out, poof, you're dust, bones and fertiliser again. You were also harmed by positive energy, so healing spells hurt you, as did potions of healing. However, undead were kind of hardy - poison immunity, some had resistance to non-magical melee damage, stuff that drained your ability scores and levels didn't work on them, some crits wouldn't do extra damage, and the best part- negative energy healed undead. Meaning all the spells our party had which damaged others like the living Damien Bloodmoon were curative ones for us. Keep this in mind.
So, we began our quest, learning of a necromancer a nearby town was plagued by. After using our skills (to whit: Damien Bloodmoon charming and drawing the life force out of random villagers and the only potion seller in the town whilst we went shopping. Krug got a snazzy hat, which we put on top of his helmet, and we chatted to townsfolk as I looked alive enough to pass as human and the shaman had a fake beard and toupee that people were too awkward to point out was fake so went along with it) we learn that the necromancer has a base of operations in the cemetery. "Oh ja, zo original, dahlink. Ve vill need to educate zis guy on vhat is chic and vhat is just shabby!"
So we head there and the nightmare begins. Damien Leads the charge, using all of his knowledge to deduce that the shambling horde moving towards us were stronger-than-your-average-bear undead, and he was right. These were powerful armoured zombie mages of some sort, casting ability draining spells, negative energy ray spells and even having auras of negative energy that dealt damage on a failed Fortitude save. Even their punch and quarterstaves did negative energy damage as well as the usual bludgeoning or unarmed. However...only one of us was really in danger and the DM's face fell when the squishy casters walked up and began shanking their super-special homebrew zombie wizards, being healed by the damage of their attacks as we cut them down.
Like I said, one of the benefits of undeath is that negative energy actually heals you. So the strikes of the magic staves and punches that hit us did some basic damage. Which was then immediately healed by the negative energy their weapon strikes and spells were doing.
However, you'll recall that Damien Bloodmoon was an elf. And not dead. Being a Cleric of a death god doesn't mean that you have the abilities of an undead. That meant that even with the DM being merciful, by the end of the first fight he was covered in blood, mud and withered away to just above half his original strength and constitution. More were patrolling, so we had to run. But that posed a problem.
Remember Krug had heavy armour? And recall his awful stats? He in fact, hadn't got enough strength to wear the armour he'd been given for backstory. He didn't, according to the DM, have enough to remove his own armour. And we attempted to, but also failed our checks according to the DM. And Damien Bloodmoon refused to help, simply blaming Krug and his player. Krug's player thought it was hilarious, and Krug only had enough Intelligence and Wisdom to say his own name, so saw no problem. And Krug, Nox Feratu and Shaman realised that there really...wasn't a problem.
For us, at least.
We slogged through three combats dragging Krug and wading through the mud with him. His speed was so slow that for every step he took, we took about ten. The DM was confused and infuriated that his encounters weren't working, but refused to change them. So we had fun role-playing. Or at least three of us did.
Damien Bloodmoon refused to roleplay, and none of his ranged spells could affect the zombie mages. When he went into melee, he came out wounded as all hell. He went down twice, and it was only the healing supplies of the shaman that saved him.
All the while, he was... Let's say not best pleased. Damien Bloodmoon was getting increasingly wounded, exasperated and longing for the sweet embrace of death as reprieve from the humiliation. His player was getting increasingly redder and rage-filled as time passed. Each fight ended with our characters stronger than ever and his a bloody pulp on the floor, with poor in-character knowledge (and terrible rolls) preventing him from realising why.
Eventually, we reached the final boss, pausing only to paint Krug's armour in contact poison just in case, and to find a stick to help the now-partially-crippled Damien Bloodmoon, cleric of death and murder, walk after being beaten up by angry zombie wizards for hours. And it had, indeed, been hours. Among us, only Damien had a bonus to strength, and we had two swords, a mace and a staff between the four of us. Meaning it was re-death by a thousand cuts for the enemy and a slog and a half for us.
We reach the necromancer and, having taken so long due to dragging the oblivious Krug with us, his big ritual is complete- he raises a fist-sized black onyx egg aloft, crackles with arcane power and causes the bones around him to coalesce into one massive creature - an undead, giant-sized rust monster, radiating an Aura of pure negative energy. Krug opened his arms wide, eager for the metal-eating monster cockroach to free him from his poison-painted metal prison. It ignores him as he's still very far away. Me and the others have our weapons and armour devoured.
Our DM was very much a stickler for note-taking. So because Damien Bloodmoon hadn't written 'clothes' on his sheet, his armour being eaten by the monster left him naked and afraid.
It became clear that the DM had done another f***y-wucky. See, the Aura of negative energy healed me and the Sorcerer by more than its other attacks did. So whilst Damien Bloodmoon was naked, soaked in mud and bleeding to death almost crushed to a pulp in the fetal position, rocking backwards and forwards as his player seethed with hatred, the Shaman and the Campire set about beating the thing to death with our bear hands and a stick.
The session ended once we killed the necromancer, or rather when Krug walked up to him, closed his arms and just crushed the noodle-armed bad guy to death with the weight of his ridiculous armour and poisoned him with its paintwork.
We never revisited the game afterwards. We were told later on that the DM wanted us to use the non-undead races. But at no point had he said as much, even when we asked him about our characters and the restrictions on them. We also learned a valuable lesson. DM for the players who are there, not the ones who you have an idealised mental image of. Tailor your game, otherwise you'll get a sitcom featuring a camp nosferatu, a shaman with no healing, a paladin who could barely move and a Cleric of murder who was ironically the only one at risk of actually dying.