Wednesday, 15th February, 2012, 10:52 PM #1
Sic Pixie's Carrion Crown Adventure Path
I have been lurking on these boards for several years, reading wonderful synopsis of games by PirateCat, Jolly Doc, Sepulchrave and others. This is mainly being posted so the players can keep a track of what is going on and we don’t require a summery of what happened the last time we played before continuing with the game; but hopefully also entertain whoever reads this. I have been running games in England since 2nd ed D&D. I am now living in Sunny New Mexico in a small remote place called Hobbs where players are few and far between.
A word on characters:
Due to the nature of the adventure and its requirement for investigation and also due to the lack of players in the area I have made the somewhat radical decision to enforce multi-class for the player characters. So each player takes 2 classes and has to abide by the restrictions of each while taking the best of each. For instance you take the better HD of the two classes and the better skill points but you abide by amour restrictions of the most restrictive class. So a Monk/Sorcerer 3rd has 3 HD and the skills of a 3rd level char to split between the 2 classes. Seems to be working out so far; I’m guessing this might pose difficulties later on but we will see. I personally dislike using a DMPC or NPC’s for any length of time so this is the best we can make of this situation without each player running 2 characters.
Additionally I discourage 2 spell caster classes like Wizard/Cleric or Wizard/Sorcerer for obvious balance reasons. So far it makes characters more versatile and not overly powerful. Spreading your skills and stats over two classes seems to be the major problem. Later levels I’m thinking it will cause issues, at this time I think I will force them to choose one class to progress in past 10th while keeping the other class at a set level.
Hursk: Male Half Orc Barbarian/Cleric - James
Matthious: Male Dhampir Fighter/Bard - Another James
Sayuri: Female Half Elf Monk/Sorcerer - Zee
Players are running through the Carrion Crown adventure path, just had their fist major fight and came off pretty badly. That’s bad tactics for you …
When Harrowstone Prison burned to the ground, prisoners, guards and a host of vicious madmen met a terrifying end. In the years since, the nearby town of Ravengro has shunned the fire-scarred ruins telling tales of unquiet spirits that wander abandoned cellblocks. But when a mysterious evil disturbs Harrowstone tenuous spiritual balance, a ghostly prison riot commences that threatens to consume the nearby village in madness and flames.
Opening: Characters …
The scene opens; there is a speck on the horizon that slowly materializes as a lone rider; this rider is a burly half orc; while this would make many people start running a perceptive observer would recognize the more that bestial intelligence in the creatures eyes; the way it guides his shaggy horse around rocks which could harm it’s hooves and the soft smile the graces his tusked visage. There is one large tusk jutting from an otherwise pleasant face; the eyes look sorrowful but the smile seems to be from fond memories not impending violence. He is dressed in light amour and carries a worn greataxe strapped to his back; the armor is functional but looks to have been re-sized for him and the axe seems relatively old but still sharp and definitely leathal. His horse carries him onwards over the next raise and he fades from view and memory.
The camera spins to another road leading into a small sleepy town called Rovengro; another trail leading to the same location; along this trail rides another individual. He is whippet thin with long white hair hanging around his shoulders; his finely tailored jacket sits snugly around his well formed shoulders and waist, the sleeves stopping just short of his wrists so not to interfere with any sword work; Tight leather pants and finely tooled boots all of matching dark blues and black complement each other. The outfit is finished off with a broad rimmed hat with a fantastic feather stuck in the band. One could mistake this traveler for someone with money and prestige were it not for the lute strapped to his saddle; a traveling minstrel with illusions of grandeur would be a more accurate thought. Most traveling minstrels are a carefree bunch but one watching notices the eyes underneath the hat dart everywhere and his hand never strays far from the fine rapier tucked under his saddle. His complexion is curiously pale with eyes a curious deep black; darkness seem to trail after him as he passes through the shadows.
Our observer changes perspective and focus on the trail a few miles back where a figure riding swiftly towards the town; she seems to be in a hurry and is not an accomplished rider as her flapping elbows would suggest. Her hair streams out behind her as she pushes her horse onwards; from what you can see her slight lean frame moves with an uncommon grace; her forearms look to be well defined with hardly an ounce of wasted fat on her. Her face is decidedly elven but it has some curious human features which seem mostly oriental in origin. The final result is striking although the mis-matched eyes which flash occasionally with an inner red flame is very off-putting; her legs exhibit the same finely toned muscles as they grip the saddle; she does not appear to have much in the way of weaponry although there are a couple of sickle-like weapons strapped to her saddle alongside a crossbow. She obviously travels light and is in a hurry.
The half orc (Hursk) & Dhampir (Mathious) arrive at the gates of the graveyard at similar times while a couple of minutes later a lathered horse appears round the bend preceded by the sound of it’s hooves carrying a worried looking half elf (Sayuri)
The adventure begins in the graveyard while they attend the funeral of a dearly departed friend.
Last edited by Sic_Pixie; Wednesday, 30th May, 2012 at 06:30 PM.
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Girls and insects
The characters are summoned to an old friendís funeral in the lovely village of Rovengro in the country of Ustalav; a quaint little village of limited means. Famous only for the now abandoned prison which burned down some 50 years previously. The village grew up around the prison and this prison was renowned for holding some of the countries most heinous criminals.
The characters arrive on the day of the funeral and are quickly ushered into line. They are politely thanked for coming and asked if they wish to assist in carrying the coffin. Hursk and Matthious both wish to assist while Sayuri hangs back with the small group of mourners.
The procession winds through the Restlands; the large and well kept graveyard of Rovengro. While walking along they are apprehended by some irate locals who seem to be adverse to a supposed foul necromancer being interred next to their relatives. A brief scuffle starts and is quickly brought under control by the hulking Hursk and Mathiousís spells while Sayuri unleashed a flurry of flying fists and kicks knocking one out. The ring leader one Gibs Hephenus is discouraged from continuing and retreats. No fatalities occurred and the offending locals are healed up and sent on their way with just a few bruises to show for their stupidity. The local gravedigger Father Grimburrow a priest of Pharasma has a few choice words for the dumb locals as he tends to their minor wounds.
Each of the characters was invited to perform a eulogy in memory of the deceased; tell stories about their time with the Professor. The Bard strides to the podium confidently and starts telling a tale; a mediocre performance to tell the truth. The Ĺ Orc Barbarian shuffles onto the podium and delivers an oratory to shame the Bard and inspire the gods to shine a ray of sunlight through the clouds and illuminate the sorrowful Orc in golden light. Not a dry eye in the house & the bard is decidedly ashamed Ö Next Sayuri who delivers a short and unmemorable performance.
After the funeral the daughter of Professor Petros Lorrimor a stern looking young lady by the name of Kendra approaches the party. She introduces herself and asks the party to follow her to her fathers (now her) house for the reading of the Will.
The Will reading was pretty standard with everything going to Kendra. The party is tasked with remaining with Kendra for a month to make sure she is ok. Also they are tasked with the delivery of some books to certain people in another city. (Plot hook to the next adventure) This is to be performed after the month of sitting around twiddling their thumbs Ö. Or so they thought Ö
They sat around and looked through the books, the professor had left a journal of his last days and some items within there were somewhat interesting.
Circled Entries in the Professorís Journal
Ten Years Ago
The Whispering Way is more than just a cabal of necromancers; I see that now. Undeath is their fountain of Youth. Uncovering their motivation does not place me at ease as I thought it might. Their desire to be eternal simply makes them more dangerous.
Two Months Ago
It is as I had feared; the Whispering Way is interested in something here in Ravengro. But what could it be?
One Month Ago
Whatever the Way seeks, I am now concerned their goal is connected to Harrowstone. It retrospect I suppose it all makes sense-the stories they tell about the ruins in town is certainly chilling enough. It may be time to investigate the ruins, but with everyone in town being so worked up about them, Iíd rather not let the others know about my curiosity-thereís plenty of folks hereabouts who already think I am a demonologist or a witch or something. Ignorant fools.
Twenty Days Ago
It is confirmed, the Way seems quite interested in something-no strike that-someone who was held in Harrowstone. But who, specifically, is the Way after? I need a list of everyone who died the night of the fire; everyone. The Temple of Pharasma must have such a list.
Eighteen Days Ago
I see now how ill prepared I was when I last set out for Harrowstone. I am lucky to have returned at all. The ghosts, if indeed they were ghosts (for I did not find it prudent investigate further) prevented me from transcribing the strange symbols I found etched along the foundation-hopefully on my next visit I will be more prepared. Thankfully the necessary tools to defend against spirits are already here in Ravengro. I know that the church of Pharasma used to store them in a false crypt in the Restlands at the intersection between Eversleep and the Black Path. I am not certain if the current clergy even know of what their predecessors have hidden down below. If my luck holds, I should be able to slip in and out with a few borrowed items.
Seventeen Days Ago
Tomorrow evening I return to the prison, it is imperative the Way does not finish. My caution has already cost me too much time. I am not sure what will happen if I am too late, but if my theory is right, the entire town could be at risk. I donít have time to update my will, so Iíll leave this in the chest where itíll be sure to be found, should the worst come to pass.
The other books were dark but not particularly interesting. They retire to bed to be awoken in the morning to the delicious aroma of eggs and bacon
Most of the day is spent reading through books in the Professorís library, looking for clues on the Whispering Way and the local prison. As the day passes in the late afternoon they venture out into the village, visiting the local smithy they find a female dwarf called Jorfa resides there. Covering their surprise Hursk commissionís a throwing axe with the god of Warís symbol etched onto it. While they were at the forge Sayuri went to visit the Town hall looking for information on the Prison. Visiting a local bar owned by Zokar Elkarid called the Laughing Demon they ordered up the local fair of Vampire steaks and Wolf Balls and washed it down with a green glowing glass of liquid ghost. After expressing their appreciation to the barkeep they walk around the Village a little till they follow the sounds of music to another establishment called the Outward Inn. This basement based tavern is often filled due to the traveling musicians that frequently play here. Matthious was instantly drawn to the stage and also to the proprietor of the establishment, an attractive lady called Sarianna Vai who was some what impressed by Matthiousís singing and brought over a free round of drinks for Matthious and the party; Matthious invited her to stay and chat which she did. At the end of the evening Matthious was invited to remain while Hursk and Sayuri walked back to Kendraís house and discussed the events of the day with Kendra and do some more research in the area and the cult.
Matthious and Sarianna stopped up late talking and having generally a good time; however when he left in the early morning Sarianna was not feeling as fulfilled as she would have hoped. Apparently Matthious could talk the talk but could not walk the walk. Matthious returned to the house early the next morning to some humorous remarks from the rest of the party.
The next morning when they venture out the town was in uproar, one of the towns few monuments had been defaced with a large bloody ĎVí it looked like the remainder of the blood had been splattered all over the Monument to the brave souls killed in the Prison fire 50 years ago.
The party retreated to the house and started looking though all the books. Apparently the professor was looking into a cult called the Whispering way. The party had never head of this cult but they soon found references to this in the professorís extensive library. The reading of such was not a pleasant subject referring to a cult actively looking to revive an ancient evil wizard of some sort and they have the annoying habit of killing people and destroying their face so they canít be questioned under speak with dead. (the professor had been killed by a gargoyle falling on his head in the grounds of the prison (a normal ugly grotesque not the creature))
This causes the party to question the supposed accidental death of their friend and to begin an investigation into the events. First thing they wish to do is look into the site of the supposed accident. They head out after a nice lunch to take a look around.
Upon approaching the Prison they are awarded the sight of a desolate ruined building; itís large and partially collapsed at one corner. A small lake has developed at one side. The grounds are over grown and needing some serious attention. The surrounding wall has fallen in places and is mostly covered in vines and other climbing plants making it easy to scramble over. Towers peek over the walls at various points and seem to be empty while a small house sits just off the main path looking very sorry for itself.
The party climbs over the wall ignoring the obvious open and ruined gates into the compound; landing in the grounds they feel a shiver down their spine as if someone had just walked over their graves. They look at each other with questioning glances and like the intrepid adventurers they are they proceed onwards, ignoring the signs which would make lesser mortals quiver in fear and run screaming into the distance. They approach the house and the world wise master of all things civilized Barbarian notices that the house is quite possibly a death trap waiting to happen. The more cultured Bard does not seem to notice this (or care) and creeps into the house as dust rains down from above falling gently onto his head and shoulders, turning the poor unfortunate an unhealthy gray colour. This is no change to the already unhealthy pallor of the half vampire so he continues on non-plussed.
Sneaking round the house they find nothing of any interest and upon leaving the graceful half vampire accidentally nudges a wall, the sound of creaking and snapping timbers weakened by years of neglect and rot resound through the house and the upper floors start falling into the ground. The agile Bard however dives out of the house sustaining only a few bruises and another healthy coating of dust.
This exciting event is put behind the party as they approach the Prison proper; this large imposing building sits uncomfortably on the top of the hill like a bloated cyst on the behind of an unconscious troll. The party decides to investigate the outside first and start checking the building. Our esteemed Ĺ Orc Barbarian notices that the vegetation surrounding the walls has been pulled back and recently trampled while the Sorcerer having her attention drawn to this notices the symbols engraved into the base of the prison and painted red. These symbols all seem to say the same thing and it is the name of the former warden of this fine establishment one Lyvar Hawkran.
Not giving this much more thought the intrepid party decides to venture into the Prison and see what they can see; the first room gives them some pause. Matthious drawing upon his undead heritage casts Detect Undead. A mighty and devastating power; this shows trace residual emanations from the 4 doors in this room. Mentioning this to Hursk he strides into the room and uses his powers to fill the room with positive energy causing Matthious the half vampire to scream in agony as the positive energy burns away some exposed skin. Hursk whips out his huge 2 handed sword and confronts Matthious as he knows; even with his admittedly dim intellect that only those who draw upon negative energy should take damage from his righteous positive energy surge. Matthious being the suave fast talker explains the situation and Hursk is somewhat mollified. The doors in the room however no longer radiate as undead and Matthious removes his injuries by the careful application of a naughty cleric in a stick.
Considering the four doors before them they choose the left hand door first and open it to discover a short corridor with several doors lining it. Matthious sneaking along the corridor approaches the first door and pushes it open revealing an empty room; all these rooms were offices and contain various records of the prison when it was running. They quickly rummage through these and find several interesting pieces of information that they take with them to look at in more depth later. At the end of the passage is a solid door thankfully unlocked that leads to the Wardenís office. A quick search/ransack (greyhawked in my old adventure group) turned up some minor information and a well locked safe. They subtlety force the safe open finding some old documents, a bag of 500gpís and some potions which they swiftly stow away.
Finding no more rooms to ransack they returned to the main foyer and selected the next door. This led onto a long corridor with several doors; the end of which opened into an old infirmary. They stepped into the room and an incorporeal undead manifested before them, there was a scream and a warm feeling running down the leg of Matthious making a rapidly spreading puddle on the floor which Sayuri and Hursk quickly stepped away from. Matthious turned and ran out of the room leaving Sayuri and Hursk to deal with the poltergeist. Hursk started swinging wildly while Sayuri tried to pin point the location of the now invisible spirit directing Hursk to where she thinks it is. Sayuri throws some dust into the location she thought it was and notices the telltale shift in the dust as it falls. Hursk attacks the spot missing terribly and gets rewarded with more objects in the room bombarding him. This continues for several rounds and Matthious returns looking sheepish and somewhat damp and starts helping out with his rapier, The Poltergeist is eventually defeated though Hursk is damaged in the process. Greyhawking the room they turn up some potions which they put aside for later identification and pass into the next room.
Opening the door they discover a furnace room long disused dominating one corner was a huge stone furnace while in the other the wall has fallen revealing the outside world and the small lake that now resides there. This lake is now encroaching upon the room, a room where the temperature is starting to rise and the awful stench of burning flesh swiftly fills the room. The face of the furnace animates and a long tongue of flame flickers out and tries licking Matthious who without even knowing it avoids the pre-emptive strike. The party decides that the best thing to do is to leave the room. Hursk and Matthious retreat out of the door they came in by while Sayuri moves to another door and opens it to pass through. Only then realizing she is not getting followed and runs back to the others. Ember Maw damages Hursk with a lick of flame before they can get out of the room. Ember Maw was a constant threat to the prisoners here; they were constantly threatened with being pushed into the furnace while still alive. This only happened the once but the fear turned this once inanimate and innocent furnace into a Haunt.
Retreating from the evil and thankfully stationary furnace they stumble into the now disused Chapel, They could see through the dust and webs a cabinet which looked promising. However the three large spiders begged for attention prior to the cabinet; they were easily dealt with however as they came out of the doorway they were promptly given a smack down by the 2 handed sword wielding Hursk; pokes from a slender rapier and some serious stomping action from Sayuri (you know girls and spiders). Spider goo ended up everywhere. The cabinet yielded a wand and a bone scroll case; these again they put away for further investigation later. Several doors later and empty not very interesting rooms yielded a set of manacles that animated and threatened the party; they shut the door on this one figuring it could not open the door; they then found the laundry. The dreaded laundry gave little indication it would be dangerous. I mean who expects anything to happen in the laundry; the room was empty bar a pile of moldy laundry on the floor. This pile twitched like there was something small and weak trapped underneath; maybe a cat or some other innocent animal. However this turned out to be a possessed straight jacket, this proceeds to flail at the party until they beat it down with various weapons and missiles made from pure force. This was no real threat to a well oiled machine like the party; they will however fall foul of something much easier later on.
The next door needed some gentle persuasion to open; Hursk kicked in the door revealing a large room which used to be a workroom, tangled mounds of cloth eaten fabric, some wooden tables and workbenches scattered around. The arm of what appears to be a skeleton protrudes ignobly from beneath a stained heap of fabrics. The three members of the party cautiously enter the room keeping their weapons trained expecting the skeleton to jump up and attack. However the Blue translucent image of a woman with tears running down her ghostly face who did appear took them all aback. Hursk initially started to wind up to attack the ghost which would have most likely have been a really bad idea; thankfully Sayuri placed her hand on Hurskís arm forestalling his charge and attempting to talk to the ghost. The ghost turned out to be very loquacious as it had not had a conversation in 50 years. She is under the assumption they are the replacement guards; guards who locked her in the workshop prior to the fire to keep her safe from the riot; she unfortunately died due to smoke inhalation while the others burnt below. Vesorianna Hawkran knows a great deal about the events leading up to and after the fire; she also witnessed the murder of professor Lorrimor and informs the party of this after they admit that they are not guards and are there to investigate his murder. Vesorianna tells the history of the revolt at the prison, the riot and the fire in the dungeons below which killed off the prisoners and the guards. The sacrifice of the guards who cut the lift ropes while they were trapped below to prevent the escape of the criminals, the fire and the screams of the victims and they burnt alive. All this time she was locked in this room as it filled with smoke and then died. Her husband Lyvar Hawkran was trapped below and his ghost; his force of personality and drive to complete his job drove him to stay and prevent the malignant spirits trapped within the prison from escaping. She could feel him below but after the cloaked and hooded people who worked on the foundations and whispered all the time performed a ritual she could no longer sense him close. Vesorianna felt the weight of her husbandís responsibility settle on her shoulders and since that day she has strived to prevent the 5 major players from escaping the confines of the prison. She however is not as strong or driven as her husband so the more powerful spirits are finding they are able to manifest powers in the outside world. Vesorianna is a font of knowledge on the prison as she is intimately tied to the place.
The party decides they are not fully equipped for this and retreat back to the village to consider and re-supply.
Later on they went out to walk around town and re-visited the Outward Inn. They all ordered pie and it was served promptly, Matthiousís pie was served with a very ripe banana by Sarianna Vai, Hursk and Sayuri looked on and could hardly contain their amusement at this slight upon his Ö performance.
Following day; the troop have a late breakfast and travel to the local wizards abode called the Unfurling Scroll which is also a school for those lucky enough to have the gift and the intelligence to use it. They find the local wizard Alendru Ghoroven to be a grumpy old man who does not suffer fools gladly or quietly for that matter. After they explain why they are here he agrees to sell some of his scrolls and potions for a somewhat inflated price. They also commission a scroll of See Invisibility; while they bought some scrolls of resist elements. They are allowed to make use of his library after a substantial ďdonationĒ and try researching into the local history.
The party then proceeds to the Apothecary and procure several items to aid in their assault on the prison. Various items were bought ranging from vials of liquid ice to weapon black; the party is a very welcome surge of income for the village. They head to the Forge and Matthious orders a grappling hook to be made for the following day; the day is filled with remarks about bananaís and other limp objects much to Matthiousís annoyance. Leaving the Apothecary they wander close to a small group of girls playing a skipping rope game, they notice the almost perfect timing and the song they are singing; however none of them can speak Varisian so the meaning of the song is lost on them. This plot hook is carefully avoided.
The local temple is next on the list of things to do today; they walk around over the bridge to the temple of Pharasma and are welcomed by an accolade at the door. Hursk asks to visit their library but is informed that the library is off limits to those outside of the faith. As Hursk is a follower of Gorum lord of Battle he is welcome to visit the small shrine they have available to passing worshippers of other faiths but the library is off limits. Matthious however is able to talk his way into using the library but they are still unwilling to allow the hulking Hursk into there in fear of what damage he could do. (Diplomacy not being Hurskís strongest point) While Matthious is researching within the library and finding out many interesting things Hursk and Sayuri decide as itís getting darker out they will go and follow up on the hidden cache described in the professorís journal.
Hursk and Sayuri head to the Restlands and under cover of the gloom scale the wall avoiding the guards and make their way within. Once within they creep alongside the gravestones looking for the false tomb referenced in the journal. They easily avoid the lantern bearing patrols due to their ability to see in the dark and make their way to the location described. They find the lock already broken having had some alchemical acid applied to it previously so they open the door and swiftly slink inside. They find an empty room with two stone doors and a set of dusty footsteps leading in and then out again; inside these doors they both lead to a landing heading down into a crypt. Fervently hoping they found the correct crypt and are not about to desecrate some poor unfortunates eternal rest they reverently slide open the stone tomb and are very relived to find no horrible corpse within. They are however surprised to fine a large unlocked chest within; a few seconds later Hursk is surprised again as a giant centipede attempts to remove his foot with its mandibles. With a scream Hursk leaps back and pulls out his 2 handed sword swinging powerfully at one of the two Centipedes that have snuck up upon them. Hursk however misses badly and is sword hits the floor a foot or more away from the centipede sending up a shower of sparks. Sayuri however is much more accurate and promptly stamps on the centipede breaking itís carapace and causing itís insides to be outside. Not to the centipedes continued happiness; the remaining centipede having no moral compass or feelings of fear stays and tries vainly to convince Sayuri to lay down and be a quiet dinner by killing her but fails terribly by snapping on thin air. Sayuri swiftly convinces the centipede with a very diplomatic strike of her fists. The centipede not being as diplomatic as the Monk decides to lay down due to feeling somewhat tired and very dead as Sayuriís fists pummel it into submission. It seems Centipedes and Spiders do have something in common; if only being stamped on by an irate half elven girl who does not like creepy crawlies.
Grabbing the items from the chest they swiftly exit the tomb and leave the Restlands behind them. Forgetting in their haste to close the door properly behind them; they return to the Temple and meet up with Matthious. They all leave and decide to head back to Kendraís abode and have an early night; they discuss what they have discovered on the walk back.
Next Death of a member ....
Death in the Family
Results of Researching Harrowstone
Harrowstone is a ruined Prison; partially destroyed by fire in 4661; the building has stood vacant ever since. The locals suspect that itís haunted and donít enjoy speaking of the place.
Harrowstone was built in 4594. Ravengro was founded at the same time as a place where guards and their families could live and that would produce food and other supplies used by the prison. The fire that killed all of the prisoners and most of the guards destroyed a large potion of the prisonís underground eastern wing; but left most of the stone structure above relatively intact. The prisonís warden perished in the fire, along with his wife, although no one knows why she was in the prison when the fire occurred. A statue commemorating the warden and the guards who lost their lives was built in the months after the tragedy-that statue still stands on the riverbank just outside of town.
Most of the hardened criminals sent to Harrowstone spent only a few months imprisoned, for it was here that most of Ustalavís executions during that era were carried out. The fire that caused the tragedy was in fact a blessing in disguise, for the prisoners had rioted and gained control of the prisons dungeons immediately prior to the conflagration. It was only through the self-sacrifice of Warden Hawkran and 23 of his guards that the prisoners were prevented from escaping-the guards gave their lives to save the town of Ravengro.
At the time Harrowstone burned, five particularly notorious criminals had recently arrived at the prison. While the commonly held belief is that the tragic fire began accidentally after the riot began, in fact the prisoners had already seized control of the dungeons and had been in control of the level for several hours before the fire. Warden Hawkran triggered a deadfall to seal the rioting prisoners in the lower level, but in doing so trapped himself and nearly two dozen guards. The prisoners were in the process of escaping when the panicked guards accidentally started the fire in a desperate attempt to end the riot.
Research The Whispering Way.
The Whispering way is a sinister organization of necromancers that has been active in the inner sea region for thousands of years.
Agents of the Whispering way often seek alliances with undead creatures, or are themselves undead. The Whispering Wayís most notorious member was Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant, although the society has existed much longer than even that mighty necromancer.
The Whispering Way is a series of philosophies that can only be transferred via whispers-the philosophies are never written or spoken loudly, making the exact goals and nature of the secretive philosophies difficult for outsiders to learn about.
Exact details on the society are difficult to discern, but chief among the Whispering Ways goals are discovering the formulae for creating liches and engineering the release of the whispering tyrant. Agents often travel to remote sites or areaís plagued by notorious haunts or undead menaces to perform field research or even to capture unique monsters. Their symbol is a gagged skull, and those who learn too many of the Wayís secrets are often murdered, and their mouths mutilated to prevent their bodies from divulging secrets via speak with dead.
Research The Five Prisoners
Originally Harrowstone housed only local criminals, but as the prisons fame spread, other countries and distant lands began paying to have more dangerous criminals housed within these prisons walls. At the time of the great Harrowstone fire, the number of particularly violent or dangerous criminals imprisoned within the dungeons below was at an all time high.
The five most notorious prisoners in Harrowstone at the time of the great fire were Father Charlatan, the Lopper, the Mosswater Marauder, the Piper of Illmarch and the Splatter Man.
Father Charlatan (Sefick Corvin)
Of the five notorious prisoners, only Father Charlatan was not technically a murderer, yet his crimes were so blasphemous that several churches demanded that he be punished to the full extent of Ustalavic law. Although he claimed to be an ordained priest of any number of faiths, Father Corvin was in fact a traveling con artist who used faith as a mask and a means to bilk the faithful out of money in payment for false miracles or cures. He became know as Farther Charlatan after his scheme was exposed and his Sczarni accomplices murdered a half dozen city guards in an attempt to make good the groups escape.
The Lopper (Vance Saetressle)
When the Lopper stalked prey, he would hide in the most unlikely of places, sometimes for days upon end with only a few supplies to keep him going while he waited for the exact right moment to strike. Once his target was alone, the Lopper would emerge to savagely behead his victim with a hand axe.
The Mosswater Marauder (Ispin Onyxcudgel)
Only 5 years before his hometown of Mosswater was destined to be overrun and ruined by monsters from the nearby river, Ispin Onyxcudgel was a well liked artisan and doting husband. When he discovered his wifeís infidelity, he flew into a jealous rage and struck her dead with his hammer, shattering her skull and his sanity with one murderous blow. Wracked with guild and shame, Ispin became convinced that if he could rebuild his wifeís skull she would come back to life-but unfortunately, he could not find the last blade shaped fragment from the murder site. So instead, Ispin became the Mosswater Marauder. Over the course of several weeks, the cunning dwarf stalked and murdered nearly 20 people while searching for just the right skull fragment. He was captured just before murdering the daughter of a visiting nobleman from Varno, and was carted off to Harrowstone the same night.
The Piper of Illmarsh (name unknown)
Before he snatched his victims, the Piper taunted his targets with a mournful dirge on his flute. He preferred to paralyze his victims by dosing their meals with lich dust and then allow his pet stirges to drink the victimís dry of blood.
The Splatter Man (Hean Feramin)
Professor Feramin was a celebrated scholar of Anthroponomastics (the study of personal names and their origins) at the Quatrefaux Archives in Caliphas. Yet an accidental association with a succubus twisted and warped his study, turning it into an obsession. Feramin became obsessed with the power of a name and how he could use it to terrify and control. Soon enough, his reputation was ruined, heíd lost his tenure, and heíd developed an uncontrollable obsession with an imaginary link between a persons name and what happens to that name when the person dies. Every few days he would secretly arrange his victim to find a letter from her name written in blood, perhaps smeared on a wall or spelled out with carefully arranged entrails. Once he had spelled his victims name, he would at last come for her, killing her in a gory mess using a complex trap or a series of rigged events meant to look like an accident.
After a lazy morning and a late breakfast or early lunch the group set out for the Restlands to see about talking to the local head priest regarding accessing the Library and seeing if they could get some additional assistance with the undead in the Prison. Hursk being the only one of the group with any religious knowledge is voted to speak. They are invited into the Fatherís abode to have tea and cakes while Hursk attempts to convince him of the urgency of the situation; however Farther Grimburrow is not impressed with his diplomatic skills which seem to be less than expected since the esteemed Father was a witness to Hurskís inspiring oratory during the funeral of the Professor; he was expecting a half orc who had thrown off the constrains of his physical appearance and embraced his human side. Unfortunately this was not the case as Hursk stuttered through a thinly veiled threatening ďrequestĒ for assistance and the party were tersely asked to leave at once and no donít mind washing the cups or anything as they are politely ushered out of the door. (Results of a natural 1 on diplomacy)
Next onto the wizardís place of business at the Unfurling Scroll, Aalendru is there just as disheveled and grumpy as the previous day; Hursk is asked not to speak and Matthious concludes the transaction. He has the See Invisibility scroll they ordered and this time they donít annoy one of the higher members of the village hierarchy to the relief of the rest of the party. After a discussion about the prison and the history of the village they head to the Forge to see if the grappling hook is ready; Jorfa is there putting the finishing touches to a hoe and directs their attention to a side desk whereupon sits a completed grappling hook of fine workmanship. Or workwomanship I suppose. (Donít let the beard fool you)
After this busy morning they decide that a relaxing drink and meal might be in order. Making their way to the Outward Inn they find it mostly empty and the current performance by a local boy is sadly lacking in quality. When they are advised there is no pie ready today they leave in disgust and head to the Laughing Demon instead. While walking across the village square (which is round; go figure) they pass a young boy playing a set of pan pipes. Sayuri notices that the look in the boys face is unusually vacant as they pass. However as they approach to investigate they hear a scream from one of the passing locals as a Giant Stirge strikes Matthious; the Stirge manages to grapple Matthious and in a blind panic Mathious thinks quickly and casts a powerful sleep spell upon the Stirge not considering the fact that itís an area effect spell and that he would be in itís radius. Matthious however found the Stirge was more powerful than he thought and he promptly failed his save verses his own spell and fell to the floor snoring softly. Sayuri and Hursk look on in amazement as Matthious drops to the floor; both realizing the error of judgment performed and not believing Matthious had made such a mistake. While the other Stirge attacks Sayuri causing some light damage to her leg; Hursk grapples the Stirge on Matthious and pulls it off him and waking him up in the process; then he attempt to bite said Stirge and manages to impales his mouth on the Stirges Proboscis; much to Hursks amazement and the Stirges delight. Sayuri and Matthious look on in a sort of terrified amusement as Hursk looks like he attempts phillacio upon the confused Stirge then Matthious draws his rapier and runs the Stirge impaling Hurskís mouth through and it expires in a gush of blood. Sayuri slashed at the Stirge on her leg with her Kama and killed it outright. The villagers in the square all applaud but Hursk steps up to the child playing the pipes to snatch them away breaking them apart. The Child screams and runs away; he is no-where to be found and no-one knows who he was when asked. They checked for magic on the pipes and found none.
They retire to the Laughing Demon where they have food and drinks bought for them by happy locals. The rest of the day is spent relaxing in the Laughing Demon over indulging in the local specialty Liquid Ghostís which is a green glowing light ale. They stagger back to Kendraís in a bad state having over indulged in the ale and having lost some blood from the Stirges.
The Morning comes bright and sunny much to the disgust of the party as the over indulgence from the previous day makes its presence known in the form of hangovers and a low tolerance to light; Matthious is particularly affected as his already low tolerance to light is compounded by the hangover. A late breakfast is followed by a venture outside to investigate what all the commotion is about. There is a flow of traffic towards the Harrowstone Monument; upon approaching the monument they notice that a bloody ĎEí has been painted on the monument and the blood of a piglet has been used and then splattered over the stonework. The Party resolves to investigate the prison later on in the day after they have collected their gear and are feeling a bit better. (Nice to be a part time adventurer)
After a good lunch everyone is feeling significantly better and head to the Prison to investigate some more. They enter into the Prison and quickly move to the hole leading down where the lift to the lower level used to reside; looking down the hole they could see nothing down there that could cause them any problems. Tying off a rope and letting it down the hole Hursk descended first; holding the rope from the bottom Sayuri descends next, half way down both Hursk and Matthious are distracted by the Sorceress dangling from the rope (as a fine ass and boobs will do that) and
Sayuri is too busy climbing down so none notice the skeletons approaching around Hursk. The first anyone seeís is a bone hand reaching out of the darkness and scoring fine lines of blood on Hurskís back. Several more figures shuffle out of the darkness and Hursk is in deep trouble, Sayuri is dangling halfway up a rope while Matthious is standing at the top feeling somewhat impotent yet again. Hursk draws his sword and the damage he has endured triggers his rage and he vigorously waves his sword around to little affect. Sayuri unwilling to drop in next to the raging barbarian and his large sword hangs from her rope and casts a spell; a small ball of acid drops onto a skeleton and it looks up at her unable to do much about it they all descend upon Hursk and ravage him with their claws. Matthious in a brave attempt leaps into the hole into a space recently made by Hursk destroying one of the critters and falls prone onto the ground next to 3 skeletons; they look down in surprise at the victim now lying at their feet and descend upon him with their claws. Hursk smashes another of the skeletons receiving many wounds in return, blood pouring from him in torrents; staggering back almost driven to his knees by the unrelenting damage. Matthious casting a spell from prone infuses his hand with positive energy and touches one of the them causing it to fall to dust; rolling away from the skeletons to gain some space to act he draws attacks from several but they miss. Sayuri casts and two bright balls of force flash out and destroy two of them; turning them to just a pile of broken bones; Hursk smashes another and Matthious gets to his feet after healing himself. This draws another attack from the creature standing over him which mostly removes the damage he just healed. Drawing his mace he beats down the Skeleton and then goes to assist Hursk. Sayuri casts another spell and drops another one while Hursk drops to one knee from blood loss and swings low knocking one down. Matthious steps in and heals Hursk as the last one falls. They look around them at the carnage and heave a long sigh of relief as they were very close to being overrun. Sayuri typically took no damage while Hursk and Matthious were teetering close to dropping where they stood, pools of blood having formed around them.
Healing themselves up with potions and wands they regroup and start checking the room out; nothing much is found bar the obvious remains of the skeletons and 4 exits at each point of the compass. To the north is marked the Oubliette, East is Hells Basement, South is The Nevermore while to the west is Reapers Hold; all are worked tunnels leading off into the darkness bar Hells Basement which has mostly collapsed. The group decides to investigate Hells Basement first and is rewarded with a large room with a pool. Hover they donít find anything willing to jump out and try killing them much to their surprise so they spend several minutes wandering round refusing to go into the water; they head back to the main room and choose another way to investigate.
Heading south to The Nevermore they find the way blocked by an iron portcullis; the adjoining room which hold the portcullis winch is badly burnt making the winch unusable; Hursk tries pulling on the chains to raise the portcullis but he does not seem strong enough. Searching to room they find nothing of interest.
Back to the main room they decide to head north, while Matthious and Sayuri whisper along Hursk loudly stomps along the corridor alerting the creature in the next room. Out of the open door ahead steps a headless burning skeleton wielding an axe; (although how it heard them without any ears is anyoneís guess) Matthious draws his mace striking it while Hursk got his bow out and strings one of his undead bane arrows. Sayuri attempted to strike it with her Kama not wishing to hit it with her bare fists and found her weapon bounces off its tough bones. The headless burning skeleton which is the remains of the Captain of the Guards Called Gurtis Vortch swings its axe in a murderous arc and if Matthious was where Gurtis thought he was it would have easily cut him in half. However Matthious was not and his response was to crack his mace across his ribs shattering a couple; Hursk fired and caught Gurtis in the chest; the resulting blow broke several more ribs and extinguished some of his flames briefly. Gurtis struck out and Sayuri took a blow across her chest; a spurt of blood followed the track of the axe spraying it up the wall. Sayuri gasped and staggered back her legs feeling weak and almost falling to the ground while Hursk steps in drawing his sword and cracking Gurtis across his thigh. Matthious moves to flank and misses only just as Gurtis moves to the side erratically. Sayuri throws a ball of acid which impacts on Hurskís sword missing Gurtis and startling Hursk, Matthious attacks and strikes Gurtis on the backbone causing significant damage; several bones fracture. Gurtis swings around lashing out at Matthious and deftly severs his head from his shoulders in one powerful blow; as Matthiousís body drops lifelessly to the floor as his arterial blood arching against the wall in rhythmic spurts. Hursk cries out and summons his godís power directing it outwards as a blast of positive energy consuming Gurtis in a fire of holy revenge and anguish. Hursk runs to Matthiousís side and realizes itís hopeless as his head rests several feet away in a puddle of his blood with a surprised expression on his handsome features as the last of his bodily fluids drain out making fanciful patterns in the dusty flagged floor.
They swiftly wrapped Matthious is his cloak and retreat back into the village in a sorrowful procession to the temple of Pharasma; the accolades of the temple take over the body and clean it up. Hursk assisted while Sayuri went around the village informing those who would like to know that Matthious had been killed; Sarianna Vai took the news well apparently but inwardly she withered as she had treated him not as well as she could have. Hursk took away Matthiousís personal effects and Sayuri met him back at the Temple; they returned back to Kendraís and spent the evening in mourning as they considered the loss of one of their number. Hursk went outside to his tent in the garden where he stayed away from where the ďcivilizedĒ slept and Prayed extolling his merits to the Lord of War to accept him to his side; Sayuri Talked late with Kendra advising her of the death and discussing the events of the day.
The morning came and a sad procession walked to the temple of Pharasma. Hursk was not too sad as he has died in battle which to him assured his ascension to heaven; Sayuri was feeling the loss keenly as his rapier wit was uplifting. They brought with them his effects, dressing Matthious in his amour, arming him with his magical silver rapier and placing his traveling hat on his head. His favorite hat was given to Sairianna Vai to remember him by. They progressed to the Restlands followed by many of the villagers as their short time has impressed many of the villagers; there were more at this funeral than there were at the professorís who was a long time resident of the village. Sarianna Vai left a Banana on the coffin; Zokar Elkarid left a plate of Vampire Steaks and a bottle of Liquid Ghost. Several of the musicians left coins as Matthious was always free with leaving them coins when they performed. Hursk stood up and gave an emotional speech tears welled up in eyes all around as they recalled his friendly, easygoing nature. Sayuri stood up and gave a speech sufficient to stir emotions in solid rock and practically the whole assembly burst into tears; afterwards the funeral party went to the Outward Inn; free food and drinks were put on by them and from the Laughing Demon; most of the village turned up through the day to pay their respects, Hursk drank too much and sang a song in Orcish which no-one else understood. There was friendly bantering and drums playing in tune; it was a merry time in celebration of his life. All in all an emotional event and everyone went home at the end of the day feeling merry and sad at the same time.
The following morning Hursk comes to breakfast and there is a letter from the Temple of Pharasma asking if they would like a specialist of the temple to join them to help defeat this undead menace. Hursk shows the letter to Sayuri when she came down and she is also in approval to this plan. It will take a couple of days for this assistance to arrive. They send approval to the temple and then wonder what to do for the couple of days itís going to take.
Hursk gets beaten up by a 90lb girl ...
Written by Hursk:
The day after the funeral Hursk goes out into the "woods" looking for a few sticks. The first 2 are about the same lengths of Sayuriís forearms, the 3rd the height of her chin and the 4th his height. Then he goes back to town and politely asks if she'd like to go for a walk.
As they walk he talks about his childhood. His "father" was one of the Orcs that raided a small tribe of horse traders during an unusually cold, wet spring. The tribe lost many warriors and let's just say a few women survived and found themselves with burdens they didnít want.
The wet spring gave way to a lush summer and life went on for most of them. So, there was plenty of food but too few had to work. This is the main reason he's alive. As he puts it, "My mother was a hard, practical woman."
He grew fast and was fairly smart as most were concerned. About all he'll say about his "childhood" is that he was a good worker, rarely got beat but was almost always cold and hungry. Most he ever had to eat was when someone burned a pot of porridge to the point it was not fit for dogs...
The only kindness his mother ever showed him was the day he turned 9. On that day the same orcs decided to once again to raid the tribe for food. The only problem was, this time they were not cold and starving. During the first part of the fight Hursk did what he could but held back just in case he was "mistaken" for one of the raiders. This changed when one of the young orcs grabbed his mother.
While she wasn't much more than a name to him, she was still Mom. So, he attacked the bigger orc without a second thought. Bad thing is all he got for his efforts was thrown into a burning hut. When he came to the same orc had yet again grabbed his mother. This was when the tribe found out he could go into a battle rage.
He burst through the burning wall of the hut and a few moments later there was a raider lying dead on the ground.
That night as the tribe burned the "garbage" the raiders left behind his mother did a few things. She gave him a new blanket then said "Well boy, tomorrow you go sleep with the other young warriors. It was the kindest thing she'd ever done for him.
Now, as he finishes his tale I imagine they reach the clearing he scouted out earlier.
He picks up the longest length of wood, starts cutting the bark off with his knife and continues-
Yesterday I lost a brother. He fought well and didn't shy away from battle. So I sang a song for him so he'd find his way along the road of the dead.
I am a warrior and Battle Priest of my tribe. I've never run from a fight even thought I know I am not the strongest, not the smartest, of my people. That is my place in life and one day too, I will fall.
But, what kind of Battle Priest or warrior would I be if I didnít' honour my Sister as well?
You have many spells and I've seen that you are also good with your hands. A spell is good, but just like a handful of sand or a tossed dagger, it does little good when the foe is next to you.
You hold back too much
(he tosses the knife at a tree as flashy as he can to draw the eye)
He whips out with his staff barking, Now fight.
And for the next few days he drags her out to spar every chance he gets. Unfortunately for Hursk; Sayuri is well trained with fighting sticks and resoundly beats him down much to his vexation. They spend the remaining time mostly in the Laughing Demon eating, drinking and passing the time till their new companion arrives.
Enter Jack the Inquisitor
Enter replacement character:
Jack Deathseeker: Male Human Inquisitor/Rogue of Pharasma - The other James
Awaking early the next morning Sayuri is feeling very much the worse for wear due to the copious amounts of Liquid Ghosts she consumed. Over a late breakfast of eggs and sausages they are handed a letter from the Temple requesting their presence as their assistance had arrived earlier this morning.
After a strong coffee Sayuri feels up to venturing outside into the bright sunny day; upon exiting the house they find some commotion as they are soon told by random passer byís that another bloody letter has been found on the monument; a large bloody ĎSí apparently. They made their way to the Temple in barely constrained excitement to meet the new part member; upon entering they were directed to Father Vauran Grimburrowís office where they find a travel worn human sitting talking to the Father. Father Grimburrow introduces the traveller as Jack Deathseeker, an inquisitor of the church of Pharasma and a specialist in matters pertaining the fighting of the undead. He is of average height and carries a multitude of well used weapons and looks like he has some notion on how to use them; Sayuri and Hursk nod politely towards him and sit down facing the Father.
ďThe Temple is taking an active interest in the proceeds and this is our investment in your quest; we canít have an undead uprising on our watch. It looks bad to those higher up in the first instance and of course the terrible loss of life this would entail should be our main motivation in this endeavor. We do have a few items we could possibly part with if sufficiently reimbursed? Now you need to get yourself cleaned upĒ (directed towards Jack) ďwe have facilities here and a pallet for you to sleep upon; I suggest you take advantage of these and meet up later to discuss the history of the quest with your fellows here.Ē
The party agrees as Jack is a tad smelly and very dusty from his rapid travels of the past two days; they agree to meet up in the Laughing Demon in an hour or so to fill in the details of the quest they accidentally found themselves upon.
On the way back to the Laughing Demon Hursk and Sayuri drop by the Monument to look upon the bloody letter there. It seems someone bled a dog dry to use the blood on the monument; splashing a serious amount of blood afterwards upon and around the statue. They mill about asking whose dog it was and no-one knows yet tough the watch promise to investigate; they are advised whose pig it was that was stolen to paint the last letter however.
Close to two hours later; which would be about time for a late lunch; Jack finds his way to the Laughing Demon and is presented with a big bowl of Corpse Chowder and a Liquid Ghost to wash it down with by the happy barkeep. Seated in the corner in as private a table as they can manage are Sayuri and Hursk who have been chatting; drinking and picking at a bowl of spicy wolf balls to pass the time. Jack joins them and they fill him in on the proceeds to date while he fills his belly; this takes several hours (the tale not filling his belly) as they have a large amount of information to impart; more than they thought they had and this is a good time for them to reflect upon the recent happenings. Sayuri consumes more Liquid Ghosts than she should and feels decidedly detached from the world around her as it becomes more fuzzy than usual.
As darkness falls Sayuri is oblivious to the world around her; Hursk is too busy grunting out the story to hear while Jack is all ears. Jack hears what could be a muffled scream from outside in the village. Jack and Hursk go to investigate while Sayuri remains inside (being too intoxicated to do more than stagger around and get in the way) In the main square (still round btw) they see two figures obviously the worse for wear and probably even drunker than Sayuri judging by their staggering gait. They approach in the intention of asking them about the scream and when questioned they are horrified when the partially rotted and maggot infested face turns towards them. (Failed perception checks in the gloom) The pair of Zombies gurgle through partially rotted throats clogged with writhing maggots and strike out at Jack striking him resoundly across his jaw and sending him staggering back; suspecting his jaw has just been fractured in several places if not broken completely Jack responds and slams into it with his mace with a meaty smack and is rewarded by some intestines pouring into the street covering his nice newly clean boots. Gagging from the putrid stench Hursk turns towards the other zombie and promptly beheads it with one powerful swipe of his 2 handed sword; they quickly demolish the pair of Zombies and then clean off their weapons and boots; looking around for more enemies to lay the smack down upon.
Considering the poor populace and the effects of finding this pair of muddy; freshly exhumed corpses in the main square (circle) they gather up the respective pieces, having to recover the head of the second from several feet away and scoop up the brains of the first; they also beheaded this one to make sure it would stay dead. They quickly retire to the forge which looks to be the only place to still be open and not full of innocent people who would likely swoon if they found these rotting former members of the village. Banging on the door elicited some choice curses in a feminine dwarven tone followed by a gruff ďwho is itĒ from behind the door. After some quick explanations they were allowed in and presented their case to the less than impressed Jorfa who allowed them to drop the corpses in the corner after she doused them with a significant amount of perfume from her room. Hursk requested they be able to leave them here while they went to follow the muddy trail they found leading up the hill towards the Restlands. Jorfa after suitable recompense for her lost time and work advised them they should take them to the jail and leave them there; this would be the best place to deliver dead people to outside of the Temple. Walking all that way with two smelly and de-constructed corpses would have caused some raised eyebrows if they were discovered. Thankfully the jail was just across the village square (sigh) and they trooped across carrying their smelly burden.
The Jail is a large and soundly locked building close to the Laughing Demon; they bang on the solid iron bound oak door and small hatch opens to reveal a face peering out at them. A darkly complexioned fellow of suspicious character blinks at them trying to peer into the darkness outside of the lit room; ďwhat you want at this hour?Ē is the irritated demand. Hursk calmly informs that they have a delivery of two bodies that require looking after while they look into other matters; they are let in by the suspicious watchman and allowed to leave the ex-zombies in one of the cells which Hursk Consecrates; they promptly lock the cell just in case they decide to start wandering around again. The watchman is suitably disturbed to find he knew the two walking corpses and they were buried about a month previously; after giving them their names and respective professions he ushered them out locking the doors behind them with the click of finality.
They returned to the Laughing Demon and collected Sayuri who was sleeping where they left her drooling upon the tabletop and then proceeded to follow the muddy trail back to the Restlands. The iron wrought gates were bent and twisted here where they had been forced open from the inside; they cautiously enter following the trails through the spooky graveyard. Made even more so when they know there have been dead bodies wandering round; they find some of the graveyard guards lying off the track with one face smashed in by what appears to have been the result of being punched in the face repeatedly by something very strong; the other had been struck from behind his spine broken and he expired some time later from internal bleeding. They arraigned the bodies is a more respectful pose and covered them with their cloaks; and then proceeded to the gravediggers shack to look for records in the hope of identifying the gravesite of the recently exhumed. The shack is abandoned and they soon find the location of the recently deceased (again) and swiftly move to investigate; they find the graves with the evidence of them being forcibly opened from the inside; additionally they see five of these with another trail of mud and debris leading out of the apparently misnamed Restlands towards the other side of the village. Hursk does a quick reconnoiter of the gravesite looking for evidence of foul necromancies or an indication that someone has been doing rituals or some such but finds nothing out of the ordinary apart from the obvious absence of bodies.
They swiftly follow the trail out of the Restlands and towards one of the fancier looking mansions close to the Temple of Pharasma; noticing that the door had been recently burst open from without they follow the trail of destruction to the top floor where the servantís quarters are located. Noticing three zombies in the process of breaking down one of the doors they quickly move into action; Hursk opens negotiations by hurling a vial of holy water at the centre Zombie causing substantial caustic rents to appear in itís rotting flesh; the other two are caught in the splash and gurgle their maggoty displeasure. Sayuri unleashes some spheres of force, trying very hard to concentrate though the fog of her intoxication and working round her fits of giggles as they wobble home knocking the Zombies back. Jack looking to prove his worth to the party runs in and confronts them in melee; not the best of choices as two of them turn and start pummeling Jack with their iron hard fists causing him to stagger back a step as he feels his ribs protest under the onslaught; Jack responds valiantly however and scores a hit on the weakened Zombie and sends its body back into rest as it collapses. Sayuri tries to send some acid streaking towards another but somehow decides that the floor is in more need of a coat of acid; Hursk channels positive energy through his holy symbol causing another of the Zombies to gurgle in maggoty agony as it collapses into a pile of rotten flesh and bone while healing some of Jackís more serious bruises (much to Jackís relief as he feels cracked ribs repairing) Another smack down by Jack causes the last Zombie to collapse into another inanimate object of a stinky nature.
Opening the door reveals three very frightened people; two are obviously servants while one other is dressed in much nicer clothes. She identifies herself as Shanda Faravan a Council member of the village; she is questioned to determine if there was anyone who would wish her ill. She responds with ďNo not around hereĒ which elicits several questions as to who not around here would wish her ill. It appears she used to be a Royal Accuser (some type of Lawyer) in Tamran in the country of Nirmathas and those who might wish her ill were over 500 miles away. (Not an insurmountable distance to be sure) The party considers this as a possible suspicious location for future investigation and then continues to make sure the admittedly attractive council member is safe along with her servants. It transpires that the three Zombies used to work for the Council member as members of her household but died a few weeks ago from some unknown illness; the only thing the party can find that links these Zombies with the two in town was the closeness of their supposed final resting places and the fact that they lived in the same village. The other two Zombies were a carpenter and a farmer and neither had more than a passing friendship with the other. Hursk decides they should drop in on the Temple of Pharasma to arrange the disposal and re-burying of the corpses on their way back to Kendraís house.
They speak to an accolade in the temple and they quickly arrange a cart to go and pick up the corpses from the Jail and Mansion before first light to prevent disturbing the locals. The temple also commission Jorfa to repair the iron gates to the Restlands as two of them have been broken by the restless residents of the Restlands.
Hursk and Sayuri leaving Jack at the Temple return to the house they have a quick bathe to remove the stink of corpse and then to bed for a fitful nights sleep with dreams of walking corpses, ghosts and laughing a blood splattered scholarly looking man wielding a large war razor.
Novelty of a secret door.
Sayuri wakes with a hangover Ö again; ďwhy do I do this to myself?Ē She has to ask. Descending the stairs she is greeted by a large breakfast of Fried Eggs, Bacon, Sausages, Tomatoes, Beans and Toast; her stomach growls in apprehension and she passes with some dry toast and coffee. Hursk is busy cramming his plate with as much as it will hold and proceeds to consume it followed by copious amounts of coffee and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. The breakfast is finished by the loud proclamation of satisfaction which is Hursk belching to the tune of an Orcish war chant; they leave soon afterwards to pick up Jack.
Jack wakes in his cell at the Temple and proceeds with prayer and meditation; joining in with the temple morning service. When this is finished he notices the telltale lurking shadows in the entrance to the Temple. One large and hulking with a protruding tusk and the other small thin graceful and waiflike; he walks over to join his boon companions and they greet each other; wishing each a good morning.
They decide to take a look at what the temple could provide and visit the quartermaster; after he checks Jackís credentials he hands over a small package containing several vials of holy water and advises them that they have a small discount as worshipper and inquisitor of Pharasma. The party buys some healing and restorative potions; enquiring if there would be more powerful items available the Quartermaster sadly directs them to the head priest as he hold these items under lock and key. Father Vauran is happy to see them all this morning his pickled old face creasing in smiles as he motionís them to chairs; they pose the request for more powerful items and the Fathers face seems to crease even more as he thinks. Leaving the room he returns with a long heavy bundle wrapped in oilskins; this he presents to Jack. Upon unwrapping Jack finds a Silver Morning Star of exquisite workmanship. The head is fashioned into the shape of a grinning silver skull with spikes around its brow and over its head; the eyes and mouth glow with a lurid blue flame. Father Vauran advises ďJack; this weapon is on loan and will need to be signed for; if this canít be returned it will need to be paid for; if later you wish to take it with them you will have to stump up the funds. But for now it is on loan for the duration of your stay here; It has powers and if you call to Pharasma while wielding it you gain the benefit of a healing enchantment which can be applied to yourself or to whoever you strike with it. This is limited to only a few times a day but it could be useful; it might have more powers but these I donít know about and are barely even worth mentioning. Now unless you have more things you would like to buy I suggest you go and put it to good use.Ē With that he ushers them from his room; closing the door behind them with a sigh and a grin as they take the nasty weapon away.
Looking at each other as they leave they consider the uncommon generosity of the Temple as they walk to the Restlands to investigate the gravesite in the light of day. Upon reaching the desecrated plot they find that all the graves have already been re-dug and are awaiting the interment of the bodies again. If there were any signs of foul play it most likely would have been removed by the over enthusiastic grave diggers. They search anyway and find nothing out of the ordinary.
As its only late morning they decide to take a walk around the prison to see what else they can discover; walking the mile or so round the village they notice that the villagers are traveling in groups and looking around nervously. The party guesses that this is due to the mini Zombie invasion the night before; the villagers are happy to see the party and wave at them as they pass.
They soon find themselves standing before the gates of the Prison; the looming dark mostly abandoned structure standing before them. As they pass through the gates Jack is struck by the sudden fear of the place and its imposing presence; he soon shakes off this feeling and says out loud ďyup itís hauntedĒ With a smile to Sayuri and Hursk they proceed into the grounds. Sayuri and Hursk show Jack the markings on the base of the walls and he comes to a similar conclusion that these were used to somehow trap the ghost of the Prison Warden and take it away somewhere. They pass into the building entering the foyer and scanning around; they first take a look at the large and very solid metal door they were unable to access the last time they were here. This door defeats Jackís attempts to open it and causes them to turn away in disappointment; following this terrible defeat they return to the hole in the floor that leads to the dungeons.
Hursk decides to go first and checks down the hole making sure there is nothing obviously nasty awaiting him down there; deciding itís safe he expertly ties off his rope; grips it tightly making sure itís secure and then proceeds to climb down the hole. However Hursk is not a great knot person and it slips dropping Hursk 20 feet to fall on his ass and injuring his pride; to make matters worse Sayuri drops through the hole after him alighting upon the cold and dusty floor with an innocent expression as a 20 ft drop is nothing to a Monk. Smirking prettily at Hursk as he gets back to his feet while rubbing his lower back and ass; Jack ties off his own rope and making sure itís securely tied expertly clambers down the rope to stand for the first time in the lower prison levels.
Having already explored to area to the east and south they make sure Jack is aware of these areaís and proceed to creep stealthily to the north to where the many relatively fresh bloody decorations on the walls are evident from their previous incursion to this level. They make their way to the location of Matthiousís sad demise and find the remains of the headless charred skeleton that ironically decapitated Matthious; Jack felt a shiver down his spine as he looked upon the sharp blood smeared axe resting in the boney grasp of the remains of Gurtis Vortch and carefully bends to pick up the axe; easing it out of the grasp of now immobile Gurtis.
While Jack is inspecting the remains and the axe; Hursk and Sayuri investigate the room that Gurtis emerged from. The room is unremarkable containing only burnt remains of a cot, desk and other items which are less identifiable; they quickly proceed into the Northern prison where a dark Oubliette is waiting.
From where they are they can see all the doors are open and the iron grate covering the oubliette while closed is not locked and a rope is tied to the grating. Hursk leads the foray into the room and is rewarded by the emergence of a terrifying sight; a dark ghostly apparition rises out of the oubliette with a soul searing scream of pure anguish. The whole party feel the scream reverberate through their own souls; in horror they notice that this ghostly apparition in carrying a large hand axe which is swings at Hursk with a solid blow; Hursk cries out in pain as he feels the negative energy comprising the axe bites deeply into his flesh and stares in shock as a spurt of blood turns into mist and is absorbed by the grinning apparition with the glowing red eyes. Sayuri steps up and casts a spell, however she steps too close and the wraithlike creature before her strikes out thankfully missing, the spell goes off and two balls of force erupt from her hand and slam into the incorporeal creature tearing off its ectoplasm and casting it to the winds. The wraithlike creature turns and faces Sayuri its burning red eyes making her soul cringe inwardly while she grins impudently at it. Jack moves up behind Hursk and heals a small part of the damage inflicted and therefore stopping the bleeding damage the wraith inflicted. The Lopper (which is one of the 5 major evil spirits haunting the prison) strikes out again with his axe towards Sayuri but she gracefully dances out of the way and the wraith screams in outrage at the blood itís denied. Hursk yanking out his large sword swings a vicious blow at the apparition; Hursk feeling the intense cold through the length of his sword turning his fingers blue as they touch upon the grave while his sword whistles through the creature meeting some resistance and causing another small rent in the substance of the creature. Sayuri retreats into the corner and conjures some protective amour around herself while Jack moves around trying to gain a better position to attack, striking at the creature with his mace which connects and causes some minor damage. Hursk takes the brunt of the attack again as the Lopper swings his axe catching him on his shoulder, blood spurts and repairs the wraith while Hursk yells more to inspire himself than anything else. Stepping back Hursk summons a greatsword of force and directs it to attack the Lopper; Jack drops his mace and pulls out his new Silver Morningstar swinging it in a vicious arc and connecting with nothing throwing him off balance which the Lopper takes advantage of forgetting about Sayuri and slashes him across his arm; Jack feels the terrible cold of death as his skin ruptures in several long gashes and blood mists into the air drifting to the spirit repairing some of the damage it had received. Sayuri casts a spell and opens a rent in the fabric of time and space drawing through a powerful Demon which looks like a half melted candle; the Lemure lashes out at the spirit and tears a few small rents in itís fabric while Sayuri starts summoning another critter to assist. Hursk drinks a potion to restore his vitality and to stop the bleeding; Jack also summons curative energies to restore his health and to stop the bleed while the Lopper scores another slashing hit upon Jacks shoulder sending the coldness of the grave into his soul and wrenching out some more of his vital essences. Sayuri summons a rat faced hound and directs this to attack the Lopper much to its annoyance and then starts summoning another hound. Hursk Summons his godís power and directing it outwards in a positive burst healing up Jack and himself; stopping the bleeding damage and making the Lopper scream in pain as much of his form is ripped asunder by the powerful positive energies. Through summoning, positive bursts and general smack downs the Lopper is finally brought down and dissipates into red mist that falls to the floor in a bloody puddle.
The party stands around breathing heavily as the long combat closes; they look at each other. Hursk and Jack are covered in blood; mostly their own. Sayuri is as clean as she could be in this dusty dungeon without a speck of blood upon her. They all sit down for a few minutes to recover from the exertion and to heal themselves up. Exploring the Oubliette they find several items of interest in the bottom including a set of keys.
They set out again back to the main room and setting out west towards Reapers Hold; the portcullis before them is closed but the doors either side are open. They all try very hard to move silently down the corridor; they all fail horribly however tripping over imaginary cracks in the floor, kicking small boulders down the corridor and cursing loudly when they stub their toe or sneezing uncontrollably. They eventually examine the door on the right first cautiously listening at the door prior to opening it. (As if anything inside didnít hear them and would not be sitting quietly waiting for them) The door creaks open revealing a room empty of obvious problems; however they do see a winch in one corner which could open the portcullis. The rest of the room seems to be full of things less interesting than a goblins lunchbox so they pass over to the other door. Taking this cautiously again they bend to press their ears against the door and discover to their relief that rot grubs had not been placed in the door just for this eventuality. They hear nothing on the other side of the door nor in the rest of the prison so they cautiously open the door; seeing nothing of great interest inside bar a few skulls on the desk with a large hammer, a table and chairs with a cot in the corner Sayuri steps into the room and approaches the desk to investigate. As soon as she approaches the desk a few things happen; firstly she feels an intense pain in her head as if her skull is trying to break itself apart; secondly she notices that part of some skull fragments on the desk start vibrating as the pain started. Additionally there is a very dead Dwarf lying on the floor by the desk not in direct view of the door; Sayuri stumbles from the room grasping her head in agony. As soon as she left the room the pain faded though the memory of it was still there; Hursk Strides into the room and grunts in pain as his head explodes in pain. He approaches the desk and the apparition of a dwarf rises up from the floor grasping a huge hammer while the skull of a female Dwarf hovers nearby. The Dwarven skull is obviously female and is missing a wedged shaped sliver of bone from one side. This is the Mosswater Marauder; or at least the ghost of the insane Dwarven mass murderer previously known as the Mosswater Marauder. The Dwarf strikes Hursk resoundly on the head; Hursk staggers back stunned as the ghostly image of a wedge shaped sliver of bone wrenches itself from Hursks head and drifts to the floating skull of the Dwarfs murdered wife; this sliver tries to fit itself into the damaged skull, fails then fading away to nothing. Hursk staggers around as though drunk as the three skulls on the Desk rise up and streak towards him some of them crashing into him causing some light bruising. Hursk roars in anger trying to shake off the feeling of lassitude that comes from a nasty head wound and strikes out at one of the floating skulls smashing it into pieces. The Marauder screams in anguish as one of his pet skulls is shattered appearing as it to stagger back a step as if hurt. Jack wishing to avoid the pain walking into the room causes fires an arrow from the doorway at one of the skulls and misses horribly; Sayuri runs into the room around the Marauder and performs a spinning kick at one of the skulls catapulting it into the wall and causing a mini explosion of bone shards. Screaming in fury the Marauder swings at Sayuri missing by a large margin; Hursk brings his sword down upon the last remaining skull also obliterating that into a series of fragments. To their surprise the apparition is still standing as they assumed that by smashing the skulls he would be defeated. Jack not wishing to be left out moves up next to Hursk and brings his morning star down upon the skull of the dwarven corpse the apparition is hovering over; this causes the dwarven apparition to do nothing but grin wickedly at him causing his stomach to churn in disquiet. Hursk casting a curative spell reaches out and touches the apparition; its glowing red eyes turning towards him in surprise as the holy energies rend its tattered form consigning its soul to one of the many hells as it screams in frustration and fades from sight.
Doing a quick search of the room Jack discovers an irregularity in one of the walls; he is certain there is something hidden behind the wall; Sayuri and Hursk however are not convinced. Hursk especially is very convinced that Jack is making it all up (Hursk rolls 2 perception checks both a natural 1) and is quickly loosing patience with Jack; while Jack lights a torch and is waving it before the supposed entrance; allowing the soot to scorch and hopefully show the opening he discovers a minute hole that could possibly be a keyhole. He goes through the keys they found in the Oubliette and finds one to match. With a click and twist the wall turns into a door and Hursk is amazed at novelty of a secret door. Behind the door they find several sets of amour a number of weapons and a large iron bound oak chest; looking through the amour they make a note of the quality and find its all masterwork; the same seems to be with the weapons. This is a veritable hoard of valuable equipment and they dance around in happiness considering the estimated value of all these items. Jack starts examining the chest considering the value of these items he takes special care to look for anything set up for the unwary thief; finding nothing that should cause any concern he uses another one of the keys to unlock the chest and flipping open the lid discovers several bundles which radiate magic. Sayuri happily grabs these and lays them out on the table expressing that these will all be hers now; Hursk and Jack look at each other carefully and keep quiet for now. They quickly gather up the items and transport them in several trips to the entrance of the prison while Hursk runs back to the Village for some horses to carry the loot.
Back at Kendraís house; Kendra offers to identify the items for the party which they readily agree to. Sayuri is still under the impression that they are hers; this is an impression that is soon to be called to question.
They soon step out to the Laughing Demon for dinner having a round of Corpse Chowder and Liquid Ghosts to wash it down with. An early night follows to the surprise of everyone who has known them the last few days.
Where Jack annoys a red head
Next morning Sayuri and Hursk waken; Hursk prays for an hour while Sayuri prances around his tent poking him with a stick to distract him. Eventually Hursk picks up a pot of water hurling the contents over Sayuri. Sayuri giggling runs and hugs Hursk getting him wet too; laughing she runs inside to dry off before breakfast.
Jack awakens in his cell and joins the Morning Prayer; finishing he walks down to Kendraís house and joins Sayuri and Hursk for breakfast. After a breakfast of porridge; bacon and coffee they feel up to taking on the days trials.
They venture outside and load up a borrowed cart with the weapons and amour intending to find a market for these items. Traveling to the guardhouse they ask to see if they would be interested in buying quality merchandize; they are informed that their equipment is provided by the town council and they would have to talk to them regarding selling of these items. After some discussion they come to the realization that they recently saved a local councilor from a mini Zombie infestation and she may look upon this transaction favorably.
They walk their cartload of ďacquiredĒ goods round to the councilorís house and arrive just as some workmen are in the middle of replacing the front door that had been bashed in by the Zombies. Shanda Faravan is standing on the veranda overseeing the operation with interest; notices the party arriving with the cart and waves at them happily. They lead the cart in through the gates and greet Shanda warmly; asking if the council would be interested in buying their armor and weapons for their guards. She expresses interest if the price is right and takes a look through the assembled goods with an expert eye; with a quick calculation she informs the party that she will take the matter before the council this evening and provide them with an update in the morning. They thank Shanda and take their good back to Kendraís house leaving it there; they then decide to take a trip to the prison to see if they can get any further into the place.
Upon approaching the prison there is nothing changed; itís still as dreary and morbid as all the previous visits; the overcast day not helping at all.
The first order of the visit is to introduce Jack to the resident friendly ghost of Vesorianna; they stroll to the workshop and wander in as obviously ghosts donít have a social life and itís not worth knocking. Thankfully the ghost is present and not out partying at some ghostly event. Jack is introduced and somewhat nervously and politely greets the female ghost; they enquire as to the presence of the ghosts and are informed with a smile that they had defeated two of the five required to cleanse the prison. Also they did not as yet have the badge of office that would empower her to destroy the remaining ghosts. Asking Vesorianna where the remaining spirits were she informed them that there are two above and one very powerful one below; also she suggests that they try to find some items that might assist them in this. They summarize that the large steel locked door might be a good place to try to get into as it seems to be the place they used to store the prisoners personal effects which is confirmed by the hovering ghost.
Walking back to the steel door Jack gets to work on the lock and after several minutes of grunting and cursing they come to the conclusion that the lock is probably very high quality and will require the key. Hursk gives the door an annoyed kick before leaving and is surprised when it simply pops open. (Nat 20 on Str Check) They all look at each other as the door slowly creaks open revealing a dusty small room with shelves on all the walls filled with various odds and ends. Cautiously the creep inside and start looking around; Sayuri hopefully casts detect magic but nothing shows up much to her disgust; however when scanning the room she does notice a slight irregularity in the wall and the shelving that makes her investigate further. Finding a small hidden leaver she pulls it and the wall swings open to reveal a hidden storage area; upon the shelf here are 5 items all dusty and not been touched in the last 50 years or so. There is a handaxe, book, silver flute, 12 holy symbols in a tangled ball and a smithing hammer; the party assumes that these are all related to the five evil spirits inhabiting the prison.
Some discussion starts about where to head next; they conclude that heading upstairs to investigate the two weaker spirits would be the better plan and promptly head up the stairs. Faced with a pair of double doors at the top of the stairs Jack decides to sneakily put his foot against the door to kick them open. They open as they were not locked and they are awarded by the droning sound of some large insect creatures; Hursk gulps at the sight of them as they have experienced these critters previously in the town. Three Stirges; thankfully smaller versions of the ones met previously hum about the room and dive to the attack. They are swiftly dispatched without any strange incidents or biting by a tusky Hursk. Most of the rest of the upper floor is abandoned and empty; that is until they get to the west wing where Jack and Sayuri hear softly playing music from round the corner. Hursk at this point had got bored of empty rooms and wandered off to look around the rest of the floor to see if there might be something he could hit with his sword.
Turning the corner Sayuri finds some skeletons emerging from their cells and clattering down the corridor accompanied by the haunting tunes on a flute. Letting off some orbs of force they smash into two of them cracking some ribs and knocking them back a step. Jack shouting for Hursk charges in swinging his morning star wildly and aims a blow at the closest skeleton; somehow manages to strike himself on the back of his head knocking himself out. Sayuri through fits of nervous giggles as her one point of help in the vicinity collapses to the floor with blood from a nasty head wound pooling the floor backs up a step while lashing out at the closest skeleton with her fists and feet. Hursk not aware of the situation rounds the corner at a sprint and seeing their new companion on the floor in a pool of slowly spreading blood screams ďnot againĒ and rages running in and laying around with 4 ft of sharp steel immediately striking down one of the skeletons.
Hursk suddenly hears the haunting tunes and stops to listen to the melody as it overrides his rage and makes him pause for a few seconds; he sees further down the hallway a indistinct figure playing a flute while surrounded by flittering stirges. Mesmerized by the vision and the tune the skeletons claw at his face while Sayuri looks to her two companions who are both out of action; shaking her head she lays about with her fists and spells taking out another of the skeletons while taking some minor wounds. Hursk shakes off the effects of the spell while Sayuri is then affected by the music; she stops whirling and diving and stands as if in a trance while the music plays around her ears. Hursk flails about with his sword taking out another skeleton leaving just the one left; Jack chooses this time to rouse from his self imposed slumber and gets groggily to his feet while shaking his head to clear the bright lights. Seeing the situation he glances around and sees only the one skeleton; Sayuri is entranced and Hursk shouting about the shadowy flute player down the hallway. Jack however canít see the figure and knowing he has better senses than Hursk ignores the outraged Barbarian; Sayuri can now see the figure of the flute player down the corridor and mentions it as she comes out of her trance. Jack has to re-think his thoughts on the matter and considers that the flutist might be there and Hursk is not in fact insane. The last skeleton soon succumbs to the combined might of Jack and Sayuri while Hursk tries vainly to affect the figment only Sayuri and himself can now see. Jack after many attempts still canít see the figure; while Hursk uses some spirit siphons to damage the haunt of the piper and Sayuri causes its eventual demise with the predictable balls of force.
Exploring the rest of the floor takes a short time; they find nothing of much interest except the body of the Charlatan. The body is blessed and the skull crushed under the mace of Hursk to prevent it from arising. Finding nothing of any interest here they leave the room; however the insidious ghost of the Charlatan latches onto the last person to leave the room which in this case is Jack. They double check the rooms upstairs as the Ghost of Vesorianna clearly stated that two of them were upstairs they found only evidence of the one. Figuring that they can come back later they progress again down to the dungeons to explore these some more.
Passing into Reapers Hold they find it deserted; all the doors hanging open. They nervously pass through this area and walk into the once torture chambers of the prison. However the poor Warden spent his last hours in this room being tortured by the various ex residents of the prison; sadly he did not survive the experience and expired having had his hands severed, jaw broken limbs dislocated and many sharp objects inserted into eyes, ears and other parts of the body. This caused his eventual demise however his hands achieved a foul energy of their own and animated into crawling claws; these claws spring into action as the basket holding them was disturbed scuttling across the floor towards the group. They are soon smacked down with no injury to the party; The Iron maiden in the room hover has other ideas as it slowly creaks open and Jack sees inside the bound and gagged form of Kendra their sweet hostess. He swiftly throws off the illusion seeing it for what it is and drawing a dagger slams the door shut and wedges it closed; the iron maiden shakes for a while then goes silent.
The party searches the room and finds the Wardens Badge which had been used to break his jaw with was still inserted in his broken skull; they then wanders round the dungeon looking for another way into the Nevermore which is currently denied them. Eventually they start searching for possible hidden doors finally finding one in the torture chamber. Opening this they find a natural looking passage leading in the general direction they wish to go so they follow it. Jack in the lead finds the corridor opening to a larger room pauses as he notices water on the floor; they move cautiously into the room finding nothing but a puddle. They start to move on by but the Grey Ooze pretending to be a puddle has other ideas as it lashes out at the closest which happens to be Hursk; The pseudopod strikes Hursk in the chest knocking him back a step and burns with an acrid stench. Sayuri in a panic starts casting a spell but is too close as the ooze strikes out slapping her around some practically knocking her to the floor with the force of the blow while Jack jumps in striking the ooze with his morning star which connects and thankfully he wrenches the weapon out of the ooze shaking the residue off as it tries to consume the metal in the weapon. In retaliation the ooze lashes out at Jack striking him solidly in the chest knocking him to the floor as he apparently dies; Jack drops to the floor covered in ghostly chains in some kind of coma.
Jack awakes naked on a table with a pretty buxom red headed female leaning over him; she informs him that he died and this is three months later. His companions left months ago and his body was recovered a short while ago and just recently raised. Jack was not totally convinced and tries to get off the bier as very real agonizing pains run through his body leaving him gasping on the floor.
Hursk and Sayuri look on is shock unsure what to do to help as the amorphous blob turns towards them as Sayuriís balls of force strike it drawing it away from enveloping Jack as he lays there helpless wrapped in the chains. Hursk tries pouring oil over the ooze and lighting it but his nervous fingers seem unable to manipulate the flint and steel; The Ooze strikes out at Sayuri catching her soundly on the side of her head and sending her reeling to the floor. Hursk stops trying to light the ooze and strikes out in terror as it is looking like he will likely loose both of his companions this time.
Jack gets to his feet again and asks some questions of the pretty red head asking where he is and what happened to the party. The answers are not to his satisfaction and suggests he should be getting going; again pain rips through his body making him weak at the knees an drops him again to the floor. The pretty red headed girl helps him to his feet again her breast brushing up against his chest as she looks at him coyly with a small smile.
Sayuri slips a potion out of her belt and quickly gulps the contents while Hursk steps back and starts summoning a creature of the nether planes. The Ooze strikes out at Sayuri again but this time missing; Sayuri scrambles to her feet away from the creature.
Jack is mildly surprised to find himself naked in a room with a very attractive lady who is helping him back to a bier to sit upon; ďthis is not realĒ he mutters as he gets back to his feet. I have been present at a resurrection before and it was not like this. There was no pain; it was a glorious event full of glowing lights and joy; here there is pain and only you. Pain rips through his body and he is forced back to his knees.
Hursk finishes the summoning and a Lemure steps from the portal and goes to attack the ooze with its claws causing some superficial damage; the ooze strikes back wrapping itself around the Lemure and trying to burn it with its acid. The Lemure being resistant to acid is not overly impressed. Sayuri quickly moves round to Jack and digs in his backpack removing the collection of holy symbols and holding it in her hand. Jack moans in his coma state and the ghostly chains seem to tighten around his prone form.
Jack on his knees is still muttering ďthis is not real; this is not realĒ The red headed woman seems to loose her temper some and pulls apart her robe grabbing his hands and pressing them to her chest and shouts ďdo these feel real to you?Ē Still muttering ďthis is not realĒ as his hands remains where they are his eyes wide and a huge smile on his face. She pulls back her arm and punches his right across his face; searing pain rips through his body again.
Sayuri places the ball of symbols in his hand and starts smacking him round his face trying to rouse him to no effect; the Lemure seems to be enjoying itself as the ooze seems unable to harm it while it is able to cause it damage, Hursk casts some healing on Jack and thinks what he can do next.
Jack recovering from the blow to his face staggering back to his feet; by some force of will his hand is still placed firmly on her chest. Shouting ďTHIS IS NOT REAL!!!Ē and her face contorts into a face of true anger and her fist pulls back again and other blow falls and Jack is thrown to the floor; his face pouring blood and pain crippling him making him curl up into a ball, screaming.
Sayuri gives up on beating up Jack as he seems to be in enough trouble already and tries grasping the ghostly chains but her hands go right through them. Hursk pulls out two haunt siphons and unplugs them; the siphons fill with green smoke and the chains disappear; Jack wakes up from dreams of a buxom blonde to find a buxom dark haired half elf straddling him. He Smiles a wicked smile and Sayuri quickly removes herself from straddling Jack and turns to watch the amusing conflict between the Lemure and the ooze which ends predictably with the Lemure the victor. It returns to Hell with stories of itís single handed victory Ö.
They look at each other and scoping out their condition they decide itís enough for the day and retreat swiftly back to Kendraís where they spend the night discussing the day and what they plan for tomorrow.
That night they get to bed early; Jack taking the spare room Mathious used to sleep in. They awake in separate calls; bars on the windows lying in a bed of dirty straw with a solid iron barred door occupying the only exit. Sayuri checks the door while Hursk and Jack check the window. They both notice that they seem to be in the prison as they can see the light of the town of Ravengro below them; Sayuri casts balls of force at the wall to little effect while Jack starts screaming. They all notice their name appearing in large bloody letters on the wall above the bed. The bloody letter appearing slowly a letter at a time; Hursk tries removing the letters but they reappear as if seeping through the stonework. Just before the last letter appears they wake up in their own beds, Sayuriís room has a scorched hole in the wall from her balls of force. They all heave a sign of relief till they notice their name scrawled in fresh blood on their wall above their bed.
The End is nigh .. well the first part of 6 anyway ...
Getting up they seek out each other and find that they all had the same vivid dream and the same effects. They sit while having breakfast and discuss the night and the plans for the morningís activities.
They head to the prison and descend into the dungeons and pick up where they left off; the small puddle left by the ooze seems to have evaporated some and only a small pool is left. They follow the natural corridor and it exits into the prison behind the portcullis they could not open; the room is pretty much destroyed with walls fallen down and an oubliette in the middle filled with water.
Walking round the room Jack notices that a dark patch on the wall is forming into blood red letters, the first one looks to be a ďJĒ this causes him some worry as the dream last night and the history they know of the splatter man. He gets the uncomfortable and unreasonable feeling that this is stealing his soul if this whole name completes. Leaping to the wall he tries rubbing the letter off the wall but it just re-emerges as if seeping through the stone; Sayuri and Hursk also notice their names are appearing on the stonework one bloody letter at a time. They have the same unreasonable fear but manage to quash the feelings and act slightly more reasonably. Hursk tries channeling positive energy through the room which has little visible effect; Sayuri also tries rubbing out her name but as Jackís it just re-appears. Each of them feel their minds being assaulted as the letters appear; their resistances to mental manipulations are being effected as each bloody letter scratches itself into the stone. Jacks whole name manages to write itself on the wall and the whole party holds their collective breaths watching Jack for some indication his soul is being ripped out or wondering if he will suddenly implode. Nothing happens Ö. Then a bloody J appears on the walls and it starts writing out his name again. Hursk pulls out the last of the Haunt Siphons and opens them; they fill up with green smoke and the letters stop appearing. They all heave a huge sigh of relief as they think they have defeated the Splatter man.
With an ear splitting scream that chills the whole party to the bone a dreadful apparition appears out of the oubliette. Wailing like the winds of hell through a narrow ravine they feel their soul rebelling against the noise and throwing off the lethargy this seems to be trying to impose upon them. They turn to face the ghostly remnant of the once mass murderer the Splatter Man; he appears to be a scholarly old man covered in a work apron and gore. His lank hair writhing around his face in a wind they canít feel; dark fell energies crackling around his arms and focusing at his hands which he raises and casts a spell, ghostly missiles appear from no-where and streak unerringly towards each of the party. Sayuri recognizes the spell immediately as itís one of her favorites which is no consolation as the force missiles hammer home causing more damage than she thought possible. Hursk channels more positive energy which causes the apparition to scream at him in anger and pain; Sayuri returns the favor with the force missiles causing the ghost to scream in agony again as they strike even his wispy form. Jack pulls out his new silver morning star and closes in swinging hard; unfortunately it goes through the apparition without resistance and the ghost just screams at him and disappears through one of the walls. They scan the room; searching the adjoining rooms to locate the ghost but itís not to be seen. Suddenly it re-appears gliding out of a wall and casting more force missiles at each of them as they feel the pain of the blows the ghost grins as if enjoying the pain it is inflicting; they respond in kind, Sayuri with more force missiles, Hursk summons a floating magical weapon made of pure force while Jack swings his morning star as it connects he screams out Pharasma and unleashes a healing spell into the form of the ghost wracking itís insubstantial form with positive energy and causing it immeasurable pain. It turns glaring at Jack and Jack swallows in fear as it seems he has just become major enemy number one; the apparition slides through a wall and reappears several rooms down casting another force missile spell; itís form is looking ragged and more tattered than it was previously as much of itís substance has been rent and torn; ripped from itís body by the positive energy and the force effects. Its missiles hammer home on each of them while Jack gets the extra missile for his audacity of healing it. Hursk channels positive energy healing the party and causing the ghost some pain while his force spell slashes at the ghost; Sayuri typically fires off another couple of force missiles that rent the tenacious ghost some more. Jack heals himself some and readies himself for more abuse which comes in the form of yet more force missiles from the ghost. These ones look to be normal ones not the empowered or maximized ones it had been using. They soon deliver the smack down on the ghost who canít avoid the sustained assault of the party and itís too crazy to hide for long. Finally with a wail and a curse the ghosts form sheds apart and fades to smoke that is blown away on an errant breeze. The whole party heaves a sigh of relief and start doing a search of the room; they discover in the oubliette several items after Jack and Sayuri dive into the very cold water several times.
They are sure they have defeated all the ghosts in the prison; well the main ones they had to anyway. They take their loot and squelch their way back up to the ground level to talk to the ghost of Vesorianna she seems very happy to see them exclaiming that she felt the demise of each of the ghosts and that with the badge of authority of her late husband she can purge the rest of the minor haunts from the prison. They hand her the badge and with a smile she grasps it to her breast and a look of intense concentration crosses over her face. After several seconds a smile appears on her face that seems to bathe the party in a glow; they each feel her hand caress their faces and the feeling of wellbeing enters into their souls and minds are filled with praise and thanks as the ghost of Vesorianna fades from view and the badge clatters to the ground glowing faintly.
They each feel the atmosphere of the prison lift from the haunted depressing weight it previously had to a much more lighter feeling of plain abandonment; they pick up the discarded badge and troop out into the mornings sunlight which feels warm on their faces and uplifts their spirits. Walking back to town the notice people out of their houses as if waking from a dream they are smiling and laughing; the whole town used to lay under a miasma which emanated from the prison; now that is gone the results are evident to all. Several people walk up to them in the street and shake their hands; slapping them on their backs and thanking them profusely. They make their way back to Kendraís through the tumult of praise and enter the house smiling broadly.
Here ends the first book of six in the adventure path.
A New beginning - Trial of the Beast
Trial of the Beast Part 1
Some changes, James; Jackís player had to move to Kansas so his character ups and leaves returning to the temple will his ill gotten gains.
New Player Ron joins with a Male Ĺ elf Ranger/Rogue called Grembor
James decided that a Ĺ orc Barbarian/Cleric has a short lifespan and creates a Female Ĺ elf Ranger/Druid called Kat while Hursk wanders off into the wilderness.
Two riders appear over the brow of a hill reigning in to view the small speck of a town in the valley below. They see up on the hillside opposite the ruins of a once solid building seeming to loom over the town like an overly oppressive parent; looking at each other they nudge their horses forward down the final slope to their destination. An observer would notice the slightly slanted eyes beneath their hoods suggesting some strong Elven ancestry in the pair; the similarities between them would suggest they were related to the uninitiated but this was not the case. Both ride well with the grace of practiced travelers; their outfits suggest people long accustomed to the outdoors and roughing it as other would call it; these two just called it life. Both are well armed though lightly armored; one sporting a fine bow and the other a pair of swords; both of obvious Elven manufacture.
As they begin their decent a lithe figure of a wolf crests the ridge behind them; looks around suspiciously and then trots after the pair passing close by and continuing down the slope scouting the trail ahead. The horses donít even flinch at this predator as they are long accustomed to its presence. Our observer would wonder at their being here in this remote part of Ustalav and what purpose would bring them to this remote location; but then our observer would probably be running in the other direction if they had sense. Thankfully for our observer he was currently 3 fields away and saw nothing of this.
The pair ride into town; passing the uncommonly large cemetery on the outskirts and passing into the town proper; stopping a random passerby who happens to be driving his cart into town they question them. Apparently receiving answers to their questions they toss the carter a coin and ride through town to the opposite side stopping at a large house and dismounting; waling up to the door they knock loudly eliciting a scurried response from within. A servant opens the door looking quite flustered and asked what they can do for these fine pair of distinguished visitors. After a brief conversation they are let into the drawing room where sits the lady of the house. Kendra, a striking woman wearing a fine though functional dress and sitting across from them are two figures both very different from the other. One being a half Orc with a two handed sword propped up against his char, one protruding tusk trying in vain to grasp the small handle of his teacup and bring the tiny vessel to his lips without breaking or spilling the hot liquid within. The other a half elf with uncommonly bright twinkling mismatched eyes sitting gracefully by the orc and managing the teacup with aplomb. They all turn to look at the newcomers with questions evident in their eyes.
Kendra raises and greets the pair requesting the purpose of their visit. They respond stating that they have been commissioned by a resident of Lepidstadt to recover a book from the now deceased professor Lorrimor. The pair by the fire exchange glances asking who in Lepidstadt commissioned them to pick up this tome? The pair responds with the name Judge Embreth Daramid which by happy coincidence is who they are intending to deliver one of the tomes to anyway once their month of baby sitting is completed in two days time. Introductions are made with some background to back up their skills and conversation turns naturally to the proceedings of the last month with the prison. Hursk and Sayuri fill in the newcomers to the exploits they have been up to. They soon decide to take a short walk to the local tavern to chat over supper and some drinks; the newcomers are introduced to the Laughing Demon Tavern and are servers some Vampire steaks but decline the liquid ghosts opting for normal ale instead. They are soon brought up to speed.
Two days later Hursk mounts up his horse and heads off into the distance with hardly a word; Sayuri is obviously sad to see him leave but it is going to be a new experience for her to be traveling in a party consisting of all half elves. She has not seen so many in one place previously. Sayuri and party set out the same day early in the morning to make their way to Lepidstadt; a journey of around 100 miles which should take them 3-4 days. The first day passes uneventfully; they pass several others on the road, mainly farmers with carts of various produce, a few passing carriages but nothing to elicit a comment. They find a decent campsite and bed down for the night setting rotational watches.
Day Two they set out bright and early; halfway through the day the see ahead some kind of hold up as what appears to be some kind of guards are holding up a farmer and his wagon. Kat rides closer to see whats going on and seeís they seem to have some sort of livery and gestures the rest of the party forward; they approach the guardpost with Kat taking the lead. The Guards of which there seems to be about 6; four hanging back with crossbows and two standing forward to deal with travelers; they inform Kat that they have to pay a tax to travel down this road. When asked how much they quickly check the party out and state the extravagant sum of 5gp each. Without blinking Kat agrees and passes over the required sum and rides on; the guards stand there for several minutes after they pass looking at the 15gpís in his hand speechless mind racing with ideaís of what he going to do with such an extravagant sum.
The party carry on oblivious to the banditry they have just left behind and travel unmolested into the mountains till itís getting close to dark; they find a suitable site to camp close to a small river on a established plateau where it seems several people have camped previously. They set up rotating watches again and drift off to sleep in the cold mountain air with a nice fire to keep them warm and animals at bay. Sayuri has the first watch and for three hours stares lankly into the fire occasionally looking up and around at the darkness surrounding them. After her watch is up she wakes up Grembor and he takes up the next three hours or so; much more dedicated he patrols the outskirts of the campfireís light flitting from shadow to shadow keeping a keen eye and ear on the surroundings. However apparently like the approaching figures into the camp he is hidden well but canít see for damn in the darkness. They sneak into the apparently undefended camp and wake up Sayuri by biting into her leg causing a numbing pain that wakes her up instantly with a scream; Grembor spins and notices four gaunt humanoid figures in camp with long claws, pointed teeth and glowing red eyes filled with a bloodlust. He looses an arrow at the closest and misses horribly as the arrow flies off into the darkness; Kat springs up and draws a sword slashing out at the closest figure scoring a vicious cut on itís torso; Sayuri scrambles back unleashing some balls of force from her fingertips that knock a couple of the creatures back a step. They approach into the firelight and their ghoulish countenance can be seen; slavering they claw and bite at Kat causing some serious injuries; Sayuri gets mauled by a couple of very nasty claws as Grembor shoots an arrow straight and true into his own foot amid a curse as he hobbles about in circles looking incredibly sheepish. Kat dispatches one of them with a savage sword cut, dropping his sword he reaches for his pair of longswords and draws them with a flourish which the ghoul facing him does not seem overly concerned about; Sayuri fires an arrow from her bow missing while Grembor pretty much pinned to the spot by his own arrow fires off two shots missing again completely. Ghouls savage Kat and Sayuri with minor damage as Kat strikes swiftly and precisely severing its head witch flies into the fire; Sayuri tries another shot which misses while stepping up beside Grembor. The Ghoul steps forward to molest Grembor but finds himself at the business end of his sword which pierces his heart and lungs causing it to rethink its options as it collapse to the ground. The party looks around at the devastation of their campsite and set to dropping the bodies onto the fire and making sure itís burning nicely. Even though itís the middle of the night they pack up their things; gather the horses and start walking in the darkness down the mountain trail; dangerous to be sure but it seems luck is with them as they donít fall off any ridges or horses break a leg.
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