lvl 3 Wizard
lvl 2 Warlock (lvl adj. +1)
lvl 3 Druid
lvl 3 Barbarian
lvl 3 Scout
lvl 3 Fighter
lvl 3 Monk
lvl 3 Uknown (new character joining in this session probly gonna be a cleric judging on her personality)
they have pretty higher than average ability scores so i'm considering them as +1 aka ECL 4
Background: The PCs recently took a side quest from a small towns ruler (a wizard) to find her apprentice, that disappeared the day before she gave out this quest. All the PCs know is she went east of town and after that the wizard's scrying seems ineffective (no clear background story on why it's ineffective just so that i don hand out too much info) east of the town there's a lake wich is quite murky but is a fishing spot for the town (one of the towns main resources in terms of food). Next session is the time they can finally go and check out the apprentice's trail. The apprentice cheated on her fiance with a town guard at the festival that was going on when the PCs first entered the town, which was the same night she disappeared since the fiance found out and furiously left the town heading towards the lake to drown himself since he couldn't take the pain. As she found out what happened she went after him but once there, they were both intercepted by a coven of hags and naturally they didn't last long.
Encounter: When they approach the lake they will find a woman fitting the apprentice's description crouching on the edge of the lake sobbing over a dead male body if they approach her they will hear her say things like "i should have never cheated on you" "now i lost you forever" followed by agonaizing screams of sorrow and so on... The woman is actually the most powerful of the hags the Annis disguised as the apprentice trying to lure more victims. The other 2 hags have been casting animate dead on the corpes laying in the lake since before the PCs made their way to the lake, so as soon as they make contact with the disguised Annis zombies (4 human zombies 4 bugbear zombies n 2 ogre zombies) start walking out of the water to attack the party (including the body of the fiance).
Now here's a dilemma i have: should the Annis reveal herself immidietly or half way through combat after she has done some internal sabotaging of the fight blaming it on the apprentice's inexperienced use of magic?
For CR requirement the party is made of 8 PCs lvl 3 (that's why the big number of CRs) the fight might seem pretty hard for them but they actually deafeated a bugbear wereboar with tactical advantage and his dozen of goblin minions in cover and at a distance who were readying attacks against the spellcasters pretty easily so don think it's too hard on them.
Opinions? Corrections? Impressions? Let me know what you think of it overall.... Thanks
Also was thinking of adding heavy rainfall to harden ranged combat and to set a gloomy and dark mood to the encounter, should i?
If u're wondering about the other coven members (aka giants n ogres) i have them set up allready they're in the vicinity in a cave not too far but will not engage in the battle as they are unaware of it, the other 2 hags are underwater in the lake and will also stay out of the battle unless the Annis falls which means they'll come out n take her back underwater before her hit points hit -10. Since i'm planning the coven make an attack on the town as an act of revenge at some later stage. Also was thinking of adding some skullcrusher ogres along with some bugbears to the coven for variation and to make the attack on the town more cinematic with all the different creatures.
The story behind the zombies is humans are fishermen who fell to the hags, the bugbear and ogres are fallen coven members.