Carrion Crown

TotB: Recap of Day 004 (Pt 3)
The Defence

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Arriving at the courthouse, the party was soon directed to the barrister’s office (after having a brief altercation with the city guard). At first look Gustav appeared to be an imposing lawyer, but the moment he opened his mouth the party were immediately aware of Judge Daramid’s concerns as his persistent stress and stutter were beyond frustrating.

Toughing it out and offering their assistance, the party had him explain the current situation. He told the party that while he did not doubt the guilt of the Beast, he would do his best to defend him, but is struggling to find any evidence in support of the Beast’s innocence. He explained that the prosecution was using three recent crimes attributed to the Beast to try him for murder.

    He explained the details of each case to the party:
  • The Murder of 10 Citizens of the Village of Morast (12 months ago): The key witness in this case is Lazne, the village elder of Morast, a small hamlet in the Dippelmere Swamp about 8 miles east of Lepidstadt – a narrow trail leads from Lepidstadt to the village, a miserable collection of 20 or so woven lattice of wooden strip hovels built on stilts above the swamp and connected by soggy wooden boardwalks.

    Lazne is a grizzled, middle-aged man with dirty gray hair and skin the color of swamp mud who doesn’t care much for cityfolk and foreigners.

    Lazne claims that at first the Beast only took lone villagers who were outside at night, but soon became bolder and began to attack houses. These attacks only ended when Lazne organized the villagers and set a trap for the Beast. The villagers were lying in wait for the Beast, who attacked just after nightfall. Armed with torches, the locals attacked and wounded the creature—a huge, hulking brute about 7 feet tall. The Beast took to the water, but the swampers gave chase in their boats, pursuing it to the village boneyard, where it was attacked by a blood caiman. The Beast’s blood tainted the villagers’ burial ground, forcing them to abandon it and build another, the swampers thought it a small price to pay for the thing’s death.
  • The Murder of 6 Children in the Farming Community of Hergstag (7 months ago): The key witnesses in this case are three sisters in their late forties named Garrow, Starle, and Flicht. The three lived their the bulk of their lives in Hergstag; a small, religious farming community in the Dippelmere Swamp; and were living there when the crimes occurred.

    Each has related for the prosecution the tale of how the village’s children vanished one by one, only to return as ghosts. Then one day the culprit, the Beast of Lepidstadt, boldly walked into the village with the dead body of one of the children, a girl named Ellsa. Each recalls seeing the Beast laughing as it carried the child’s broken body. As soon as the locals saw the Beast, they set upon it with pitchforks, but try as they might they couldn’t catch it, and the Beast escaped into the swamp. The poor innocents it killed continued to haunt the village, and before long became too much for the locals, who soon abandoned the cursed village.
  • An Arson Attack at the Sanctuary of Karb Isle (4 months ago): The key witness in this case is Karl, the former assistant of Doctor Brada, the now dead administrator of the Sanctuary. He is the only survivor of the fire that consumed the sanctuary, killed the Doctor, and has left him blind.

    Karl’s has told the prosecution that the last image he saw before the fire took his sight was a shambling beast escaping the burning hospital. He believes that creature was none other than the Beast of Lepidstadt.

Gustav explained that he had already interviewed the main witnesses from each of these cases and found that all their stories are very plausible and that he’s found no evidence to the contrary. He explained that the party must move quickly though – as of their meeting all preliminary evidence had already been presented to the three justices and the trial proper would start on the following day, covering the charges related to the incident in Morast – and suggests that if they are to help they should start there, and move on Herstag and then Karb Isle for the subsequent days.

As the party readied to leave, he made to stutter laden recommendations, that the party should meet the creature that they are so ready to help defend, and that if they still intend to help he requests that they also participate in the trail proper to present the evidence.

Agreeing with both of these suggestions, Gustav Kaple escorted the party into the courthouse’s cellar jail to meet the Beast of Lepidstadt for the first time. There a towering abomination sat in an iron chair, bound with no less than a dozen sets of manacles. Wire-like stitching held together the grotesque patchwork of flesh and bone, beast and man. So taut were these wires, they held the poor creatures mouth open in a twisted permanent sneer, and looked as though they could have flown apart at any moment. The creature, a shock of lank, dark hair clinging to its scalp, was slumped in it’s chair, with a despondent expression upon its monstrous face – clearly defeated.

In an attempt to question him, the party found little more than a child in the body of the monster. Clearly upset by the whole predicament, he would barely say more than that he did not do what he was accused of, and begged to be let go. Promising that they would do the best that they could, the party bid the poor thing goodbye, and made preparations to head to Morast.

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TotB: Recap of Day 004 (Pt 2)
The University

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Taking their leave of the judge, they headed off to the University, and found themselves directed to the building housing the Antiquities department. In this hybrid classroom/library/workshop they found the bespectacled Doctor Crowl slowly working at restoring the room to some level of order all by himself.

Introducing themselves, the doctor proved to be an eccentric but likeable man, prone to waving his arms about enthusiastically. Explaining why they were there, the doctor quickly saddened, learning of the death of his old friend and colleague, accepting the bequeathed objects with sad gratitude.

When asked about the damage to the department, he related to them his perspective on the Beast’s break in. He explained that while much was knocked about while the Beast was being captured, curiously only one item appeared to be missing—a strange statuette called the Seasage Effigy. He explained that he’s frankly baffled by this as while he felt that the statuette was quite unique, but it was hardly valuable. While he can’t seem to reason what happened to the statue, he explained that he is pleased that the Beast was caught, as he has heard the poor creature cannot explain its actions and is thus clearly mad.

Taking a moment to offer their skills, knowing that they were soon to be drawn into the case , the professor willingly took them up on their offer. While looking around the room, they found many indicators of the Beast’s recent rampage – tracks for a large heavy creature, and damage to the tiled lecture room floor. In contrast the adjoining workshop appears to be untouched. When questioned about the idol, the professor explains that it was once found on a pedestal in that room, and has states that he has seen no sign of it.

Professor Crowl admitted that he found the effigy fascinating, as it appeared to be an historical anomaly as it did not seem to correlate to the worship of any known divine being. He hopes that due to it’s distinct appearance, a murky green grostesque creature writhing with tentacles, it would be easy to recover, and he expects it to turn up soon. Unable to be be of further use at the university, they made their goodbyes and headed to the courthouse to meet the Beast’s defender – Barrister Gustav Kaple.

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TotB: Recap of Day 004 (Pt 1)
The Judge

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After a month of waiting to deliver the books, the party was finally in Lepidstadt. Taking their time rising for the morning, they began to make their way to to deliver the books for their late friend, Professor Petros Lorrimor, hoping that once they’d completed the delivery for their murdered friend they could start on a path of justice for him.

First taking some time to gather directions to where they may find the owners of the books, Dr. Montagnie Crowl and Judge Embreth Daramid, they set out to the home of the Judge as she was the closest. En route they passed through the centre of town, a large circular gathering place on the steps of a large courthouse. While this spot was likely often used to markets or fairs, it was now home to a hastily built wooden structure in the shape of a man.

Remaining on task, they continued forward and soon arrived at the home of the judge- a fine townhouse surrounded by statues, sculptures, and topiaries. At the door they explained their presence to a butler who invited them in, and then fetched his mistress – an elderly woman with grey hair pulled back tightly into a bun and icy blue eyes.

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Identifying herself as the judge they sought, she went straight to business, asking if the party had a book with a large scarab on the cover for her. Confirming they did, and handing it over she accepted the book quite gratefully, and asked the party if they had also delivered the other books as the professor had requested. As they had not, she requested they return upon the completion of that task.

With their business concluded momentarily, the party was about to leave when Judge Daramid asked the PCs to stay for a moment longer, adding that she was in need of some assistance, and if Petros trusted them, then she might be inclined to trust them as well. She explained to the party that she felt there to be a cancer in Lepidstadt, a darkness lurking behind the shadow of a scapegoat. For many years the people of Lepidstadt had laid all their ills at the door of a creature known as the Beast of Lepidstadt—murders, thefts, and terror had all been attributed to the Beast over time.

Judge Daramid said that she knew many of these stories to be exaggerations or simply untrue, and that she also knew of people that had different stories to tell about the creature—about its kindness and humanity, of how it has rescued loved ones or helped those in distress. Now that the time has arrived for such kindness to be repaid, however, no one dared to step forward and challenge the Beast’s reputation at trial after being captured at the university just over a week ago, and now awaiting trial.

She feared that this reputation would ensure that the Beast will not receive a fair trial as the people had blamed the Beast for too much and for too long, and their will was strongly in favour of seeing it pay for those crimes, whether or not those crimes were real or imagined. She also felt that something about the Beast’s capture at the university did not add up, and that the city’s constabulary were too blinded by prejudice to look deeper.

Despite all of these doubts, she explained that if she were to voice there suspicions publicly it could put her at great risk, both professionally and politically. Particularly as one of the three justices presiding over the Beast’s trial, she explained that she would be unable to openly intervene without recusing herself, other than insisting that the Beast be properly defended in court.

At this point it became clear that what she was after – she needed was a group of people, the party, without local bias to uncover the real truth about the Beast and its alleged crimes. Offering to double the reward promised by the Petros’ will for their help, 100pp each, she explained to them that the Beast’s legally appointed advocate, a barrister named Gustav Kaple, is hopelessly over his head and needs the party to not only investigate, but also stand up in court to be questioned by the prosecution. She insisted that such speakers must have bravery in spades and silver tongues to match, to ensure that if there is more to the Beast’s story, justice will be done. And if the Beast is indeed guilty, she feels that such an investigation would allow her to rest easier at night knowing that she gave it a fair trial.

Agreeing to this deal, she told the party that during their investigation they must keep her involvement a secret to protect her position as being impartial. To this end she insisted that she would deny any involvement in the matter, not matter how pressed. She recommended that after they deliver the books to Dr Crowl (and perhaps investigate what remains of the crime scene), that they party head to the Lepidstadt Courthouse and register with the court clerks as volunteer defenders and then meet with Gustav to offer their assistance, insisting that he would direct them further.

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TotB: Recap of Day 003
Journey to Lepidstadt - Part 3 of 3

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Once again they left town early that morning so to not overstay their welcome, once again following the old Mountain Road, which followed the river north east towards Lepidstadt. About two thirds of the way to the city, the road turned more directly north, no longer following the river banks due a boggy river valley taking shape along the river’s edge.

It was not far from here that the party encountered a caravan of nine covered Varisian wagons pulled by old worn out horses that had been pulled off to the side of the road. Approaching it to see if any aid was required, the found it to be home to the Crooked Kin, a troupe of performers and sideshow freaks who travel through Vieland and Lozeri entertaining the people of Ustalav. Each of the wagons gaudily painted and depict the show’s performers beneath the words, “The Crooked Kin — Ustalav’s Greatest Traveling Cabinet of Curiosities!”

As the party approached, they found the various members of the troupe are milling aimlessly around the stopped caravan. Two of the troupe’s pinheads are pacing back and forth crying and distraught, causing the a young furry boy to howl inconsolably. Two women; one tall and bearded, and the other is darker skinned with two extra arms; are attempting to console and calm them down, while the others were loudly arguing about what to do about someone named “Aleece”.

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Asking if they could do anything to help, the party presence was finally noticed, and they were greeted by a gaunt albino man wearing a tall red top hat, a long red coat with gold buckles, and striped trousers. Introducing himself as Kaleb Hesse, the Ringmaster, he explains that one of the troupe’s pinhead sisters, Aleece, had recently wandered away from the caravan and was now missing.

With just the mention of her name the arguing started once more. A shockingly tall and ugly Ulfen man and a limbless Mwangi man argue that they have to mount a search party to find Aleece, while a short, hunched man and a trio of clowns, each with an extra limb, voiced their fears that whatever happened to Aleece might happen to them. At this moment, Kaleb ordered silence, and faced the party, begging them for aid, promising to reward them with a magical dagger if they can find the missing girl.

More than willing to take them up on their offer, the party ventured down into the boggy river valley. While Aleece’s tracks were easy to find, being fresh and the ground soggy, following them proved to be far more difficult – the soggy ground, dense vegetation, and constant annoyance from the midges keeping them moving only half as fast as normal. After following the tracks for about half mile, the tracks became too difficult to follow as the water grew deeper. Undeterred by this set back, they continued in the same general direction, and after about another hundred yards the bog opened into a cramped clearing filled with dismal-looking gray flowers, and on this firmer ground they found the tracks once more.

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Not long after they entered the clearing did they hear a scream of a young girl in the swamp to the east, just beyond the clearing. Rushing into the swamp, they found nothing, and were only greeted with subsequent screams just beyond where they stood, causing the party to fan out trying to find the poor girl. With the party spread out, the beast stuck. Appearing out of seemingly nowhere came a 8 foot long spider-like monster with an eerie, humanoid face surrounded by a shaggy mane of fur. After one of their own had been subjected to the beast’s poisonous bite, the party clustered back into the clearing, as the beast disappeared once more. What followed what a somewhat prolonged battle, the spider jumping in and out of existence to take bites at the party, while they baited these actions so to have an opportunity to attack the beast. Eventually, although wounded, they prevailed – the beast disappeared once final time and did not return.

Now fearing the worst for Aleece, the party began to comb the clearing. No longer hurried they found what appeared to be tracks of something being drug out into the bug, and only a few yards beyond the clearing did they find the pinhead’s pale, broken body laying half-submerged in the mud and water. Along side her laid the remnants of the spider’s previous victims.

    Among the skeletons, they party found
  • a potion of fox’s cunning
  • a magnifying glass with a gold handle
  • a small wooden box containing a set of brass weights
  • a walnut travelling case with a pair of superior locks and their keys sealed in wax
  • a jar of pickled garlic cloves


Finding only sorrow in the bog, the party returned to the Crooked Kin carrying Aleece’s lifeless body, providing them with much sorrow, but at least giving them some closure. Kaleb, clearly saddened by all of this, thanked the party profusely for their work, and true to his word offers them a +1 humanoid (shapechanger) bane dagger as a reward. At this time he once again asked them for a favour – seeing as both groups were heading to Lepidstadt, he hopes the party would be willing to travel alongside the show – he fears what may lay on the road ahead, stating that the Kin could not bare any more sorrow at the moment.

Seeing no harm in this, and taking pity on them, the party agreed, and with the caravan they arrived in Lepidstadt that evening, said their goodbyes to the show, and found themselves an inn to stay in until morning when they could deliver the books. The city proved to be a much less insular place than the other settlements they’d passed, and the night passed uneventfully and with some proper relaxation for once.

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TotB: Recap of Day 002
Journey to Lepidstadt - Part 2 of 3

The party left Town of Tamrivena early next day, already tiring of their journey to Lepidstadt and fearing they were nearing wearing out what little welcome they had.

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Not far from town the old Mountain Road entered the foothills of the Tusk Mountains, causing the path to meander between dips to avoid treacherous or tiresome climbs. Coming around one of these bends in the road, the party found their path blocked by a group of ruffians. They claimed authority of the path and demanded a toll, which they would take by force if not given up willingly.

At first the party tried to barter down the toll, with Riska wanting to pay none at all. Not willing to budge the bandits offered a show of force as a hail of arrows came flying from the nearby trees. Taking this as a threat, Riska launched the party into combat, and they made short work of their foes, killing all but one of them, who ran off into the woods severely burned. {XP Gained: I Forget}

The rest of this leg of their journey passed uneventfully, and they made it to Courtaud by early evening and settled in, finding the townsfolk to be about as welcoming as they were in Tamrivena.

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TotB: Recap of Day 001
Journey to Lepidstadt - Part 1 of 3

The remainder of the warm summer month of Erastus the party spent in Ravengro was rather boring, but at least that meant it was uneventful. The party spent most of their days lounging about Kendra’s residence and planning the trip north to Lepidstadt. They would be making this journey alone as Kendra had decided to continue to reside in her father’s homestead for the time being.

During this time they procured light horses that they could use to make the journey, and gathered a bit of information about their journey. Straight travelling without stop, Simkin estimated by taking the old Mountain Road through the southeastern foothills of the Tusk Mountains, they could make the make the journey in two and a half days. Not wanting to make such a breakneck pace, they planned on ending their days in towns of Tamrivena and Courtaud, which would be along the way.

Curiously just a few days before they were scheduled to leave, news came south from Lepidstadt that had all of the locals gossiping. Supposedly, the dreaded Beast of Lepidstadt — a terrifying abomination that had terrorized the people of Vieland for years — had been captured, and that hundreds of people from the surrounding country side had flocked to the city hoping to catch a glimpse of the horror and watch it burn for its crimes.

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With their stay in town now over, they said thier goodbyes to Kendra and the other townsfolk, and left Ravengro on the 6th day of Arodus. They arrived in Tamrivena in the early evening, found an inn and settled in for the night. While the townsfolk were clearly not particularly interested in their company, the night still passed uneventfully.

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HoH: Recap of Day 014
Harrowstone - Part 10 of 10

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Returning the following day to the basement of the prison, this time they found the undead magician waiting for them in his recently more ruined abode. Summoning dire rats the ghost allowed them to play interference while he flung magic missiles at the party, avoiding melee combat as much as possible. These tactics lead to a lengthy and drawn-out fight, but the party finally prevailed. {XP Gained: 4800}

Returning to the upper levels of the prison, the party visited Vesorianna, informing her that the basement of the prison had been cleared out, hoping that all the ghosts she mentioned previously were among the creatures they’d slain. The confirmed that this was the case, and told the party that with them gone she could now permanently take his place as the keeper of the spirits of Harrowstone’s dead.

As one final request, she asked if the party had found any sign of her husband, if they’d found anything of his that could be viewed as a symbol of his authority that she could wield against the spirits of this place. It was at this point that Riska realized that the shiny metal disk the party had found on victim in the prison’s torture room must have been a badge, and that it may be what Vesorianna was looking for.

In a moment of surprising generosity, Riska gave her the badge, and as she did so Vesorianna sighed with both relief and thanks. Somehow able to hold the badge in her ethereal hands, first it and then Versorianna herself began to glow. Thanking them hurriedly she said that this badge was more than she could have hoped for, and with it she will put all of the prison to rest. The glow now blinding the spirit disappeared with one final false of light, leaving only the lightly glowing badge to softly settle to the floor. Taking the badge, Simkin recognized that badge had been turned into a rod of ectoplasmic metamagic (of sorts), and that it could be of great use to them in the future. {XP Gained: 2400}

With the spirits seemly put to rest, the party left Harrowstone for what they hoped would be the final time, and waited out the remainder of the promised month enjoying the well deserved break.

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HoH: Recap of Day 013
Harrowstone - Part 09 of 10

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Returning to the basement of the ruined prison, this time with Simkin having prepared a levitate spell in-advance of the spirits messing with their return, they headed south from the ruined stairwell towards the room labelled “The Nevermore”.

Much like the Oubliette to the north of the stairwell, the entrance to the Nevermore was guarded by a portcullis, and an adjacent guard room. Unlike the Oubliette, this portcullis was still lowered, and the winch used to raise it (found in the guard room) was ruined to the point where it was beyond the capacity of the party to repair. Even Kayl’s mighty strength was not enough to lift it, and not wanting attract any more attention by having him attempt to smash it, they returned to the ruined stairwell and headed west to Reaper’s Hold.

As they approached the entrance to Reaper’s Hold they found the portcullis closed, and the entryway flanked by not one, but two guardrooms. The northern of these housed a guard room like the two others they’d encountered previously, and unlike the one next to the Nevermore the winch for raising the portcullis bars appeared to still be in working order.

The southern guardroom contained a single sagging cot pushed up against the eastern wall, and the northern wall was lined with several battered cabinets with a few arrows and bits of chainmail lying scattered on the floor nearby. A single large table sat in the centre of the room, alongside a pair of chairs. On the table, next to a heavy hammer, sat what was left of three skulls, each of them having been fractured, and the resulting pieces taken and placed into pattern laid out on the table as if someone had tried to form a fourth skull out of them. Slumped on the floor behind all this, laid the leathery body of a long-dead dwarf, his wiry red hair and beard strangely still vibrant.

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Moments after entering this room, what remained of the skulls rose off the table and began to shriek. At the same time the sobbing spirit of a dead dwarf rose from the corpse, wielding a ghostly hammer and accompanied by a similarly ethereal skull floating alongside him. As the skulls let loose soul-shaking screams, the dwarf floated his way from party member to party member, hitting them over the head with his ghostly hammer passing through all defences. With each hit, the recipient found themselves staggered with a horrible headache as ghostly fragment of their own skull flew off and attempted to fit itself in the dwarf’s ghostly skull companion.

Unable to harm him directly, the party focused on destroying the skulls, which appeared to visible shake the undead dwarf. Throwing all their resources into this they were able to successfully destroy the skulls, resulting in the dissipation of the dwarven spirit. {XP Gained: 1205}

With the threat of the spirit having been dealt with, the party took the opportunity to search the room for items of use, and In doing so they found a locked stone door hidden along the southern wall. Fortunately the keys they found at the bottom of the oubliette fit the lock, and there-in they found several armour stands, weapon racks, and a wooden chest, all of which still held dust-caked but perfectly functional suits of armour and weapons, and a few other items.

In total they found six suits of masterwork chainmail and six suits of masterwork studded leather armour, four masterwork longswords, four masterwork heavy maces, two masterwork heavy crossbows, 120 crossbow bolts, a case of 10 +1 crossbow bolts, a wand of hold person (11 charges), 4 potions of cure moderate wounds, and a rope of climbing . Unable to carry all the gear back to the surface, they took only the magical items, and anything else they could make direct use of.

Satisfied that they’d found everything they were going to find, the raised the portcullis leading into Reaper’s Hold. Following the corridor north they passed by empty cell after empty cell, many with their iron barred doors still hanging ajar. The corridor eventually made turns and circling back towards the entrance. The party stopped short of completing the track to investigate a short branch off the corridor to the south, leading to non-jail cell door.

Opening this door they found themselves in a room filled with numerous grisly tools of torment – cages, hanging chains along the walls, a stretching rack, a large wooden tank, a fire-pit, and a grim iron maiden. The broken, twisted skeleton of a human dressed in a tattered guard’s uniform still laid upon the stretching rack in the middle of the room; the body surrounded by several discarded knives, branding irons, and pliers. A large, bloodstained wicker basket sat at the head of the rack.

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As they approached the body to inspect it, a pair of severed hands leaped out of the basket and at the party. As they began to crawl over some of the party, clawing and choking them, the party re-positioned themselves in the room, causing Riska to near the iron maiden. To her surprise, the door of the maiden swung open and inside was Kendra Lorrimor pleading for help. Unnaturally compelled to help her, Riska approached the Iron Maiden just as the rest of the party defeated the crawling hands. As she reached the door, the apparition disappeared and the door slammed shut around her, trapping her inside, and wracking her body with the pain of dozens of invisible spikes. The party rushed to free her, prying open the doors of the maiden before she befell any permanent harm. {XP Gained: 1600}

With Riska freed, and the hands dealt with they returned to looking at the corpse on the rack. They could now see that the skeleton wore the ruined remains of a chainmail shirt, and had items jammed inside of his body. In his pelvis they found another set of keys, and smashed into the side of his jaws a metal disk that clearly was once quite shiny. It was clear that there was once writing on it, but it had all been rendered illegible due to damage. As no one else saw value in it, Riska pocketed the disk and they continued to search the room, finding a secret door on the eastern wall of the room.

This door opened into a cavernous passageway with naturally rough stone walls that dripped with moisture leaving stagnant pools of water on the uneven floor. Not far along the tunnel, it opened up into wider, almost 20-by-20 foot, room, before narrowing once more and ending in a bricked sliding door, leading into The Nevermore, clearly secret from the other side.

Taking a moment to ready themselves for the final unexplored room in the basement of Harrowstone, they opened the door to find a room very similar to the Oubliette to the north – several iron doors lined the walls of the partially ruined cellblock, their doors hanging half off their hinges, revealing empty cells beyond. The burnt timber ceiling supports on the southern had collapsed, causing the walls on that end of the room to crumble, allowing water to seep in. This seepage had created shallow pool in the ruined portion of the room, with the overflow having filled a hole in the middle of the room nearly to the brim.

As the shuffled in-wards Riska noticed the red “R” being written on the wall in blood. Turn by turn each of the party members fell subject to this spirit, spelling their names letter by letter in blood on the walls of the room. Compelled by the feeling, and a dulled mentality, that something was being stolen from them, they began to attack the walls. Their actions, while successful in destroying the haunt, caused part of the remaining ceiling to collapse over top of them. As the party recovered from being crushed by the results of their own actions, a ghost man in rags rose up from the dark waters of the pit in the centre of the room, looking directly at the party and letting loose a horrifying shriek.

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Terrified of what this foul creature might bring, the party ran and fortunately it did not follow, likely bound to the site of it’s death. They made back to Ravengro as quickly as they could, and spent the night nursing their wounds and planning the assault for the following day.

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HoH: Recap of Day 012
Harrowstone - Part 08 of 10

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With the night having eeringly passed without any appearance of undead, the following morning the party continued forward into the room they knew as The Oubliette. Having only viewed it externally before, therein several iron doors lined the walls of the large, empty room. In the middle of the room a hinged ten-food-square metal grating laid over an open pit on the floor, a thick rope tied to it, dangling into the pit below.

As they approached to look down the hole, a soul-chilling shriek echoed from below, and out of the pit rose the grotesque spectral corpse of an axe wielding prisoner, still partially bound by some of the chains around its malformed legs. The horror lept at the party with joyful glee, swinging a large axe with it’s unnaturally long arms.

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Bouncing from target to target, the spirit’s axe passing right through their armor, leaving bloody axe wounds in their wake. As these wounds began to bleed, the blood turned to smoke and drifted towards the spirits form, merging with him and appearing to make him stronger.

Fearful that they may not be able to defeat this spirit, a surprising reaction occurred when Simkin turned his Burning Hands on the monster. Screaming in horror as it relived the night of the fire, the creature seemed weakened. Having found a fault to exploit, they leaned heavily on Simkin’s fire magic, and Chhakuk’s positive-energy channelling to put the beast down, even using one of the haunt siphons in the process. {XP Gained: 1600}

With the spirit defeated, they party looked about for anything of value in the nearby cells to see if the pain of the encounter had been worth it. Down at the very bottom of the shaft in the middle of the room, a glint could be seen. Lowering Riska down on a rope, she found a bag of gold (120 gp total), a broken masterwork heavy crossbow, a masterwork longsword, a +1 heavy mace, a stone of alarm, and a ring of keys. Returning to the top with all but the broken item, she shared what she found with the party (except maybe the gold – no one could truly remember if she pocketed it or not).

Their resources already depleted, the party retreated back to Ravengro, using Simkin’s levitate spell to retrieve the rope from the level above. Horrified by what else the basement of Harrowstone held for them, they did not sleep easily.

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HoH: Recap of Day 011
Harrowstone - Part 07 of 10

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The following morning when the party awoke, Simkin felt as though the weight on his confidence that had afflicted him since reading the hidden spellbook had lifted. From that point onwards he longer had to steel his will to cast a spell.

Returning to the prison, they climbed back down into the basement, this time ready for four the gooey waterlogged corpses that rose from the water. Dispatching them, the party searched the rest of the room made up of a shallow pool and ruined elevator parts. Unfortunately, nothing of use could be found. {XP Gained: 800}

Making their way west, through partially blocked opening leading into a dark but stable tunnel, the found themselves in a large empty chamber. Including the direction from which they just came, four dark hallways exit the room, each with a soot-caked brass nameplate affixed just above the doorway. A rubble-chocked stairwell laid in the center of the room, and about it on the floor where eight skeletons, each dressed in what appear to be the scorched remnants of prisoners’ robes.

As they came into the room, the bodies came to life and the party was faced with, for the first time, a threat where the numbers weren’t on the party’s side. Using their skills to the best of their ability – most notably Chhakuk’s channeling abilities, they were able to crush the beasts without being too mangled. {XP Gained: 1080}

After taking a moment, they Riska began to wipe the soot off each of the brass plates, identifying the exits as follows:

  • North: The Oubliette
  • East: Hell’s Basement
  • South: The Nevermore
  • West: Reaper’s Hold

With “The Oubliette” sounding the least terrifying of the options (as none knew it was Chelaxian for “forgotten place”), they headed north, following a short hallway to an open portcullis leading into a room lined with cells and a big open pit and what was left of a door on the western wall almost immediately. The door to this room hung slightly ajar, allowing them to view the inside of the room that was brightly illuminated by the shape of a horrific, axe-wielding, headless skeleton.

MON_-_Flaming_Headless_Skeleton.png

As if sensing their presence, the skeleton lunged at the party attacking Riska with his searing axe. Simkin, found that, despite now having his full confidence, his fire spells seemed completely ineffective against the beast. What followed was an epic battle that saw Chhakuk run low on channels, previously largely spent on the mass of skeletons in the previous room. The combat spilled backwards into the main room, the headless creature lunging wildly at them, clearly not being able to sense them directly There they barely prevailed, and were ready to return to Ravengro to nurse their many wounds. {XP Gained: 1200}

Returning to the ruined elevator that was once called Hell’s Basement they were shocked to find the rope they’d climbed down on pulled up and tantalizingly just hanging over the lip of the hole in the floor above. Cursing the spirits of the place, and the fact that they had no other rope to get back up there, they decided to camp out down below and have Simkin prepare a Levitate spell for the following day.

Returning to the room where they found the skeleton, the found a table surrounded by a few rickety chairs, along with a pair of moldy but usable cots. Believing it to be what was left of a guards’ room they, decided to search before resting, but nothing of use turned up. With a watch planned, they spent a long cold night waiting for a haunting that never came.

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