Recent play at my table.
The party has recently aborted their assault on the city of gold and after a return to the main camp they set off to check out the ruins that have been identified to them as The City of Ghosts or The Haunted Ruins depending on whom they asked.
They journeyed a short distance along the river from the main camp and set inland wisely camping well outside the ruins until the next morning.
The Party entering the Haunted Ruins and searched among the standing walls of many building of unbeknown purpose until they found a hole in a plaza with a rotted old ladder barely still standing in place going into the darkness. The dwarf Thorgrim was lowered into the hole after some light was dropped in an he noted 30 niches in a large circular chamber under the hole (a kiva), within each niche was a bundle of cloth and there was clearly a passage beyond one of the bundles through a niche. The entire party climbed down into the niche as Thorgrom insopected the bundle in the passage.
To Thorgrim discovered the remains to be a inanimate mummy of some sort bundled in a fetal position and when he fussed with it it toppled over spilling forth a host of little yellow scorpions.
Dealing with the scorpions caused some of the party to be surprised by a host of wraiths (30 in all) identified as shadows that did rise from the remains in each niche. Those that weren't surprised fled for the rope dangling down from the surface. The wraiths piled on those they surprised quickly overwhelming the bulk of the parties retainers and a low level mage. Thorgrim was trapped by the wraiths.
Now safely above and witnessing the carnage under him the Warlock Tasmetus fired a fireball into the kiva from his wand and killed a couple of the remaining retainers while Thorgrim endured the blast which had only limited impact on the host of wraiths. Up on the surface the parties rogue noted he could hear wailing and moaning coming from the ruins beyond their current position. With great haste an an insane amount of luck a fresh rope was dropped back into the Kiva and Throgrim escaped alive and with his levels and the party ran from the ruins.
Through all this the players assailed me with "30 ?!!!", I couldn't help but reply with the title of this post.
That ill fated expedition claimed the lives of 3 men at arms, 3 gentleman allies, 1 2nd level magic-user, along with Old Hook-eye, Rabid Dog and Fork Tongue (3 hillman savages that have been with the party for many months). It was a big blow to overall party morale.
The party returned to the main camp and spent a few days resting while they planned their return to the City of Gold and to avoid the haunted ruins. To some it's now a do or die mission as they are in desperate need of a telling victory and financial gain or their reputations will be put in so much jeopardy they may have trouble building future expeditions.