Carrion Crown

HoH: Recap of Day 010
Harrowstone - Part 06 of 10

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With a partial plan in place, the party set forth the following morning to confront the Piper’s spirit. Heading immediately to the upper floor of Harrowstone, once again accosted by the doorless ghosts, they all soon heard the eerie tune of the Piper’s song, causing some of them feel shaken to the core.

This time with no visible threat, as all the skeletons that remained were cages all the party could do was wait until the Piper’s gaze held one of them. This time it took Kayl first, and Riska, having experienced the same, took up the flute they found in the secret property room. Despite never having played such an instrument before, she seemed seized with an otherworldly fit of performance and immediately began to play an impressive but sorrowful dirge. So forceful was this performance that blood began running from her eyes and ears and fingertips.

Both Simkin and Chhakuk rushed to her aid, Simkin trying to wrench the flute from her clenched fingers and Chhakuk trying to hurt the spirit they now knew to be in the area with the channeling of positive energy. At the same time Kayl’s vision of the Piper altered, as he could clearly see the spirit in pain. Unable to free her, Riska kept playing in agony as Kayl watched the spirit writhe in agony and then dissipate, freeing both of them. {XP Gained: 1200}

Resting a moment, they decided to explore an extraordinarily large prison cell they passed. Within they found that while the cell was rather spacious, the chained skeletal body slumped against the eastern wall clearly indicated that this made for little comfort to it’s previous occupant. Looking closely at the body, they could now see that each of the chains was affixed to numerous weights, each of which was emblazoned with several different holy symbols. Not finding anything of use, the party left to continue to explore. As Kayl passed through the exit, he felt an unnatural chill touch him, but felt no ill effects.

Back in the central area of the upper floor they decided to explore a barred off area to the south. Clearly not a cell, this area contained an old wooden table and a few chairs which the party assumed was likely used by the guards at some point. As they entered an ominous rapping sounded from the old tabletop, causing a brief moment of fright in the party. The party attempted to contact the spirit with their spirit board, but to no avail.

Exiting the room, they followed the corridor to the south east finding only more dead skeletons in jail cells, fortunately this time none of them came alive. Returning to the ruined mess hall, the opened a door to the south, and found themselves in what was once the kitchen, now nothing more than charred, blackened remains.

Responding to the noise of them entering, two small spiders and one large emerged from behind the remnants of food sacks hoping to make the party their next meal. Launching themselves at the party, as one of spiders bit into Kayl he immediately fell unconscious leaving the rest of the party to deal with the spiders. From Kayl’s perspective though, it felt as if he died.

While he laid unconscious, Kayl experienced what he later found out was only a vision, no matter how real it felt at the time. From his perspective he just woke up to a pleasant looking red-haired priest standing at his side. He was informed by the priest that after the news of his death had reached his father in Almas, he sent a team to recover and return his son’s body. Several months had passed since his death, and his companions had long moved on. From the perspective of the rest of the party, Kayl had dropped on the floor mid-combat, wrapped in ghostly chains decorated with numerous holy symbols, with the chains are slowly tightening about him, causing him to thrash about in great pain and distress.

As everyone else dispatched the spiders, Kayl’s vision continued. Through both the force of his will and Chhakuk’s divine magics they were able to free him from the illusion, defeating the now revealed ghost of Father Charlatan. {XP Gained: 3000}

Returning their focus to the locked balcony door they found the day before, Kayl bashed it open, leading them out onto a weather-beaten stone balcony. Ruined wooden benches line the eastern wall underneath the cell windows of the prison proper. A large, rectangular block of stone covered in reddish brown stains rests in the center of the area.

Approaching the block, a ghostly set of skeletal arms manifested and picked up a rusty scythe laying nearby, and began to the attack the party. Fending off these spirits the party’s resources were significantly taxed once more. As such they retreated to Ravengro once more for rest and recuperation. {XP Gained: 600}

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HoH: Recap of Day 009
Harrowstone - Part 05 of 10

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Returning to the prison the following day they returned to the upper floor, yet again accosted by the door-less spirits. Following the corridor west from the shambles that was once a mess hall, they passed by another privy and into a corridor of cells. Across from the privy laid a regular door, which when opened presented a ladder leading up to a trap door. Unfortunately when tested the door proved inoperable due to some force pushing down on it.

Following along the hallway, and rounding the corner they could see row upon row of ten-foot-square prison cells lined these walls, each separated from the passing hallway by a series of iron bars fitted with a narrow iron door. Skeletons laid slumped in many of the cells, the bones scattered coated with a mixed layer of ancient ashes and fresh mold.

At the start of these cells the prisoners found another room which appeared to lead outside, likely to one of the balconies they had yet to explore. Trying to open it, the was beyond Riska’s skills as a thief and they opted to return later to force it open when they were more certain it wouldn’t attract the attention of something.

Making it halfway down the corridor, now midst all the cells, the party noticed the faint sounds of a mournful dirge playing on flute. Just as they did so the skeletons in the cells sprang to life, and began to attack the party. While, most remained in their prisons, able only to grab party members within reach, four of the prison doors had deteriorated far enough that the skeletons within we able force them open, and attack the party directly.

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As the party began to fight the animated corpses, the eerie music chilled them to the bone, leaving some of the shaken. Riska in particular was taken with the song so much that the party found her frozen in place. Her alone could now see the ghostly piper slowly approaching her as the rest of the party fought off the skeletons. Followed by a flock of ethereal striges, he commanded them with his flute to fly off, land on her neck and arms, and begin to suck her blood. While she was eventually able to shake off the vision, a dozen tiny bloody punctures spontaneous appeared upon her arms and neck.

With Riska rejoining the party, they dispatched the remaining freed skeletons. But the music remained, and this time ensorcelled Kayl, who experienced the same visions Riska did. With the party still being clamored for by all the caged skeletons, they retreated back to Ravengro to regroup, plan an effective attack on the piper, and attend the townhall planned for that evening. {XP Gained: 680}

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At sunset they made their way to the townhall all the while discussing the Piper. They decided that perhaps they needed to use the flute they’d found in the storage locker to bring the Piper out of his unearthly hiding place, as suggested by Vesorianna’s ghost.

Arriving at they hall, the found the building’s central meeting room to be packed with over sixty villagers and standing room only remaining. Currently with no one at the podium, the villagers are loudly discussing among themselves the eerie events of the past few weeks, some of which the party had been involved in. With everyone demanding solutions, the town councilors entered the room, approached the podium, and began to address the crowd.

The near mob grew quiet as Councilman Hearthmount began to to speak, assuring the citizens that they are looking into solutions as the party kept to the back, not wanting to get directly involved involved.

As the meeting continued the townfolk grew more and more vocal, clearly the assurance of the council had not properly taken hold and a sense of panic began to creep back into the crowds mood. As the din grew louder and louder the Riska noticed that the glow from five of the oil lamps grew deeper red. Without the opportunity to mention it, the lamps exploded showering the hall’s occupants in flame and setting the building on fire.

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The party leaped into action, ordering the townsfolk out and began to put out the fire. As they did so two flaming skulls, similar to those they’d faced previously in the prison, came crashing through the window, complicating matters. With half the party dealing with them and the other half attempting to save the town hall and its records things got a bit tense, but fortunately the party prevailed. {XP Gained: 1200}

In saving their townhall, the party earned a significant amount of trust from the townsfolk, but now they were being looked to solve the rest of the towns problem. In this aftermath the town council offered the party 500gp if they could solve the towns spirit problems. Riska attempted to get more, but the rest of the party accepted for her (particularly since they were already going about this anyway).

With that resolved, they returned to Kendra’s for an evening of rest and more planning.

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HoH: Recap of Day 008 (Part Two)
Harrowstone - Part 04 of 10

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After their moment respite, the party returned to the hallway they’d entered from, having found nothing of use in the laundry. Doubling back slightly they entered the door at northern point of the corridor they’d recently traveled. Unfortunately for them they found the mold laden remains of the prison’s main privy. The years of fecal matter and water seeping in underground from the lake had made this area a particularly potent breeding ground for the mold that dominated the prison.

Making haste to search the contents they found nothing, and promptly spilled back out into the hallway and continued westward to the first unexplored room. Find the door to this room locked, but noticeably rotten from all the years of neglect, Kayl kicked it in to clear their path. Within they could see tangled mounds of moth-eaten fabric sitting on the remains of several wooden tables, each surrounded by workbenches. Various sewing tools— shears, needles, rolls of thread, boxes of chalk, and other objects laid scattered over the floor, while the arm of what appears to be a skeleton protrudes from a stained heap of fabric to the southwest.

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As the party entered the room the ghostly form of a beautiful young woman dressed in a tattered by lovely dress rose from the heap of the fabric containing the arm. Quite clearly she had been recently crying by her tear marked face, she asked them if they were new guards sent from the town to replace the cowards who locked her in the workshop wisps of pale smoke drifted from her mouth.

Expecting a possibly hostile reaction, cautiously the party informed her that it had been over 50 years since the prison had burnt, and that they were here investigating the death of their acquaintance Professor Petros Lorrimor and the possible involvement of the Whispering Way. Sighing, she reluctantly agreed with them, stating that being bound by the prisons walls she often made herself forget how long she had been trapped there.

Introducing herself as Vesorianna, the wife of Warden Lyvar Hawkran, explains that while trapped in her current room, she was able to view the goings on outside through the walls of her room, and could feel much more. As such she was able to give the party much in the way of explanations over what had gone on at the prison in the last month.

She explains that a few weeks back a group of men and
women in dark robes who spoke only in whispers
came to Harrowstone and began to work strange and unsettling magic around the prisons foundations. The same view allowed her witness the end of an old studious man, whom she assumes was the professor of which the party spoke. She told the party how she saw the professor slain by the foul magics of the leader of the black-robed cultists, a thin, gray-skinned human, who wore a bone breastplate and carried a black staff capped with a skull gagged by a black cloth. She then explains how they then proceeded to bash in the dead man’s head and face with a fragment of gargoyle from a roof above in an attempt, she surmises, to make the man’s death seem more like an accident.

She tells them that later that night, after they murdered the man, the black-robed cultists finished their ritual. Whatever they did, they did so out of sight of Vesorianna’s view through
the walls, but she felt the repercussions immediately. She described it as horrific storm, with a wind that ripped through chilling her soul and making her feel as though she was being tore apart at the seams.

While this sensation lasted for all of an instant, when it had subsided she could no longer sense the presence of her husband’s spirit. She insists that it must have been the black-robed cultists somehow managed to abduct her husband’s spirit, for she’s seen nor felt either of them since that day.

Also, every day since that event she has felt the spirits of the murderers and sadists trapped within the walls of Harrowstone have grown more and more powerful. He hadn’t realized until then that the spirit of her husband had been keeping the other spirits in line, and if she had not stepped to do the same they would have escaped and began to wreak unimaginable havoc on the town of Ravengro.

Unfortunately, she is confident she does not have the strength to hold them back like her husband could, and fears their influence may have already extended beyond the prisons walls. She pleaded with the party to rid the prison of the ghosts rallying themselves against her will. She says she can feel five such distinct hateful presences whom she suspects were the most dangerous criminals imprisoned at the time of the fire. She explains that she is confident that if the party can all five of these prisoners, and bring her a symbol of her husband’s office over the prison she will be able to banish the haunts from Harrowstone entirely. She says she can’t explain how she knows this, but just that she does.

She gives that party the names of these five prisoners: Father Charlatan, the Lopper, the Mosswater Marauder, the Piper of Illlmarsh, andthe Splatter Man. When pressed for more information, she was unable to provide any, stating she wasn’t even sure how she knew the names of these monsters.

Agreeing to help her, the party asked if she could help them in any other way. She apologizes and reminds them that she cannot leave to room, but she does tell them that if they can find objects of value that once belonged to the five spirits, they can use those
objects against the five souls. She suggests checking the prison’s property room to the southeast, warning them that before they go that while these objects will aid in defeating the deathless inmates, they are likely also cursed by the unholy link to the long-dead criminals, and that care should be taken when using the objects. They party surmised that these were likely the items they found in the secret storage area three days prior. {XP Gained: 1200}

Fearing that the moldy spell-book they found was causing his problems of self-confidence, Simkin threw the book on the floor and set it on fire. Unfortunately, he did not see any immediate effect of this action, short of turning the book into a pile of ashes.

Agreeing to help and taking their leave of the sorrow filled spirit, the party returned to the hallway and continued to the next door, now with a new goal in mind. Opening this door the found themselves entering a stark room containing a low stone bench against the north wall, a ruined desk along the western wall, and an old brass brazier laying on its side to the south, surrounded by a mess of old rusty branding irons.

Cautiously entering the room, the party was completely unphased, given the previous encounters of the prison, that the brands took rose to the air. A single brand shot out as if they were arrows at each party member, and most of the party were nimble enough to dodge each of them. Kayl was not so lucky, and the brand facing him found an open patch of skin to leave it’s mark. Expecting a full on the fight the party were somewhat shocked when the remaining brands settled to the ground and appeared to threaten the party no more. Attempting to heal up, Kayl found that no matter how better he felt, the scar remained.{XP Gained: 600}

Finding nothing of use in this room, and having no where else to explore the corridors of the northwest prison, the returned to the foyer where they were once again accosted by the now door-less spirits. Exiting west from there, they found themselves in a corridor of offices.
On their right they found entryways to four small offices with papers still stacked with papers. While quite clearly aged, being furthest away from the intrusion of the relatively newly formed lake seemed to have kept the mold from intruding as much in this part of the prison.

At the end of the hall laid two door ways. The northern door lead to another washroom area, containing nothing of particular note. The southern door lead to a much more spacious office than the previous four. A long desk and chair sat in the southern half of the room, and on the northwest wall the party found a narrow alcove containing a closed safe. Thick layers of dust covered everything in sight.

The lock on the door of the safe was unfortunately too sophisticated for Riska to open with her thieves’ tool. Turning to Kayl’s brute strength, they bashed opened the door, finding inside a pile of legal documents and 500gp – now both soaked in the the contents of a multiple (recently) broken glass vials.

Taking this orphaned currency, the party had deduced there was nothing remaining on the main floor to explore, and given the horrors of the lower floor they already experienced they opted to return to the stairwell they passed days earlier and head upstairs, yet again assaulted by the door-less spirits.

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Taking a left at the top of the stairs, they found themselves in a wide open hall containing wooden benches, several of which are now stacked in a jumble and while others laid overturned. The entire eastern wall of this area had collapsed away, opening onto a wooden deck beyond and an eerie view of the lake beyond.

As they began to explore the area, three stirges rose from among the upturned the tables and attacked the party. Having experienced the pain of these beasties before, the party fared significantly better than the last time they encountered stirges. By the end of the combat they party decided that their resources were too taxed to continue exploring the prison, and decided to return to Ravengro once more. {XP Gained: 600}

Later that evening, as they relaxed at the Lorrimor residence, Riska and Chhakuk heard a slow rasp at the front door. Approaching the door, the rasp repeated once more. Kendra at this point had also heard the noise, and arrived to open the door. As she did so, she let out out a terrified shriek as on the side of the door stood the corpse of a man with a crushed face, a face they recognized as the poor Professor Petros Lorrimor. With three more of the animated corpses in tow, the rest of the party ran downstairs to her aid, dispatched them, and went to fetch priests from the temple to return the bodies to their proper resting place. {XP Gained: 800}

When the acolytes arrived they informed they party that they’d be organizing a townhall the following evening to discuss the recent goings on in town, and invited them to join. Fortunately for the party the rest of the evening passed uneventfully.

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HoH: Recap of Day 008 (Part One)
Harrowstone - Part 03 of 10

The next morning the party was risen early by a series of loud knocks at the front door of Kendra’s house. At the door was one of Sheriff Benjan Caeller deputies. He had been instructed by the Sheriff to inform the group of the events in jail overnight.

The deputy told them that while Gibs was quite insistent of his innocence, he had given up his constant bitching the earlier in the day, and had fallen asleep early in the evening, seeing as though there was not much else for him to do. Then, about an hour after midnight, the stationed deputy was elsewhere on the premises when he first heard the ruckus.

Returning to the cells he found Gibs shrieking and roaring incoherently, all the while thrashing ineffectually against the bars. Frightened the deputy tried to calm him down, but it was as if if his mind was now that of a beast. This lasted for a few minutes, after which Gibs collapsed and fell into what appeared to be a fitful sleep. The deputy went to the sheriff for help, and they unlocked the cell, fully expecting the sleep to be a ruse. Instead they found that they could not wake Gibs no matter how hard they tried. Intending to contact the church the following morning, Gibs awoke as his normal pleasant self with no memories of the night before.

Feeling even more confident than before that some nefarious spirit was at work, they returned to Harrowstone once more with the hope that perhaps they could quiet the ghosts once more.

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Passing north through the foyer, the party was once again assaulted by the nuisance of the slamming door and its disembodied heads. Fed up with this annoyance, Kayl ripped the northern foyer door of it’s hinges so it could be slammed shut no more.

With that settled, the party proceeded to open the first set of western doors in the corridor, opening up to yet more hallway. Continuing forward to an intersection, the turn lead to a pair of facing doorways, eastern of which laid half of its hinges. As the room was already partially open, they took the eastern path and found themselves in what was once the prison chapel. The remnants of Pharasman banners hang from the walls, covered in thick sheets of what appear to be cobwebs drape everything in gossamer threads. Realising slightly too late that this was clearly the lair of something, down from the ceiling and from behind some rubble sprang three giant spiders.

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Undaunted by the spirits infesting their home, these beasts set about capturing their intended supper. Lunging bites towards the party with their poison mandibles, the party was able to squash them without taking too bad of a beating. Once again Simkin saw his name written in blood once more and he had to question if he should cast a spell again. This continued to plague him for each subsequent combat of the day. {XP Rewarded: 600}

With the rest of the room safe to explore, the found in the back, covered in a mess of webs, a cabinet containing the following religious supplies:

  • Five vials of holy water

  • A scroll of lesser restoration

  • A wand of cure light wounds (15 charges)
  • Using these resources to better refresh themselves they exited the chapel into the room across the hallway. The chamber they found was in shambles, old wooden benches laid in
    rotted ruin along the walls, while rusty chains and bits of rotten rope were scattered on the floor. Upon entering the room, Riska swore she heard a faint sobbing and the clanking rattle of chains, an experience the filled her with a momentary sensation of hopelessness, and an invisible force clamp down on her wrists.

    Before she could say anything though, the sensation passed. Breathing a sigh of relief, they were about to start searching when one of the pairs of old manacles laying on the floor rose from the ground and launched itself at the party. Moving as though it were a wild animal provoked into attacking, the manacles slammed themselves into the party with the force of what seemed like an invisible prisoner. While surprised by such a sight, the party treated them much like the spiders, and bashed them to the ground, breaking them apart, and undoing whatever seemed to be animating them. {XP Gained: 400}

    With them destroyed, the party searched the rest of the room turning up nothing of use. Returning to the corridor they entered from, the party headed north, turning left at another intersection, and opening a door on the north wall. Therein they found several rusty iron tubs, along with washboards, metal buckets, and heaps of disgusting smelling moldy clothing.

    As they began to search about the room, Riska noticed one what appeared to be a shape struggling within one of the mounds of clothing, as if a small child or animal were buried within. Moving closer to investigate, a straitjacket flew forth, flying with unholy life towards her, and grabbing her in its straps. The party launched into action freeing her and ripping the beast to shreds with its weapons. {XP Gained: 1000}

    With all that excitement, they decided to take a moments rest…

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    HoH: Recap of Day 007
    Harrowstone - Part 02 of 10

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    Returning to the prison’s ruined elevator shaft the following day, the party was once again assaulted by the slamming door and its disembodied heads. Again this proved to be nothing more than a nuisance, and the party turned to descending below. As they began to attempt the difficult descent down into the lower level of the prison, the climb proved more difficult than expected, and Kayl of them fell into the rubble and water below, somewhat hurting themselves.

    Now finally below, the fallen party member had a much better view of the room than the rest of the party. The crumbled walls of this area were thick with mold and stained with soot, and heaps of fallen stones and charred wooden beams lined the area. The steady water drip of water from the hole above, along with the water seeping in along the walls collected into a dark murky pool in the middle of the room.

    In the shallower northern area of this pool, the twisted remains of a wood and iron lift lied in a heap. To the west, he could see a partially blocked opening seems to open up after several feet into a dark but stable tunnel.

    Before he had any additional time to explore, Kayl was assaulted by the cacophonous roar of screams and howls, and he noticed that the surface of the dark pool of water began to ripple around the ruined lift as two spirits rose up from the debris. These slimy, shifting masses were barely the shape of a humanoid, but is made out of what appears to be some form of soggy rope or cloth. Both lurched jerkily towards him in an effort to attack.

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    Having been hurt from the fall, Kayl was not in the best condition to sustain an attack, and made for the rope dangling from above. As the beings made an effort to pull him back below, they remaining party members were able to dispatch one of them from above, and help return him to safety. {XP Rewarded: 400}

    Deciding they wouldn’t return below until better prepared, they set about exploring the main floor further. Returning to the foyer, they traveled north, and then north once more along a corridor. This corridor also featured doors branching off to the west and stairwells to the east, one of which once led down toward, but was now filled with a mess of stone and timbers.

    Opening these northern doors, the party found themselves in a room filled with several moldy cots. Doors to more private sleeping cells hung askew along the western wall, and a door exiting the room could be seen on the eastern wall. Judging from the rest of this room’s decor, the party deduced this must have once been the prison’s infirmary.

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    As they entered the room, they were filled with an sense of dread as items about the room began to twitch on their own, and a the form of a twisted, almost skeletal ghost, appeared in the center of room. With it dark powers it began to fling all manner of implements in the room at the party, and scare them off with a deep howl of agony. Turning to the their strengths they party steeled themselves, and were eventually able to dispatch this foe. {XP Rewarded: 600}

    During the combat, Simkin attempted to cast a spell from his repertoire, and noticed his name written in blood on the wall. This made him shutter, and decided against casting it in a moment of self doubt.

    After taking a moment to restore their health, they soldiered eastward into a room containing a huge stone furnace dominates this room, so large enough that one could easily imagine a child or halfling being able to crawl inside. The eastern portion of the room is no more, likely having burned away in the fire that consumed most of the prison. In its place the area opens into the small lake beyond.

    Drawing closer to the enormous furnace that once heated Harrowstone, the party were able to spot soot-caked copper plaque over the furnace door reading “Ember Maw”. Smelling a faint whiff of smoke, the party took a slight step back, and noticed that the front of the furnace had animated into what appeared to be a leering skull like visage. With barely anytime to react, the furnace roared and let out a belch of fire enveloping the party.

    Barely able to escape the monster with their lives, the party retreated to the near by room. Unfortunately, Simkin’s pet raven, Nevermore, was not so lucky, as it laid in a crisp on the floor of the furnace room. Having seen no other exits to that room, and the nothing having followed them they decided as a group that it was best to shut that door, and never return. {XP Gained: 1000}

    Scorched, bruised, and bloody they decided that they could no continue adventuring that day without putting themselves at great risk. As such they returned to Ravengro for rest and healing.

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    HoH: Recap of Day 006
    Harrowstone - Part 01 of 10

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    Deciding that they had prepared themselves the best they could given the circumstances, the party finally made the trek to Harrowstone Prison. As they made the trek along the overgrown trail up the barren hill south of Ravengro, the dilapidated stone structure, with it’s sagging roof and partially collapsed walls came into view.

    As they entered the prisons grounds, passing the crumbling stone wall that encircled it, they could see the eastern portion of this wall had fallen away into a huge sinkhole. Given the other rubble it was clear that this sinkhole had absorbed what was once an eastern wing of a two-story stone building that now loomed in the centre of the prison grounds. Ivy and moss cling to its walls, and it’s clear what’s left of the roof is in great disrepair.

    Leering stone gargoyles perched on the eaves of the main building, clearly once functioning as drain-spouts and decorations. Many more have crumbled away and lie in ruined piles on the soggy ground below. Windows along the walls are narrow and blocked by grills of rusty iron bars, and stone columns support a slumping wooden balcony over the building’s wooden front doors, both of which hang askew.

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    Before entering the prison proper, they set about exploring the outside, intending to find where the professor’s corpse had been found. It didn’t take long before they found the blood stained stone that had crushed the poor professor’s skull, and nearby a matching patch of stained soil. Nearby, Riska’s keen elven eyes caught something along the base of the prison walls that seemed out of place.

    Carefully drawing closer to the walls to avoid the fate of the professor, they found a series of curvy runes has been etched into the entire building’s stone foundation, and then smeared with what appeared to be now dried blood. While the runes were written in a language that none in the party spoke, they were able to make out two words they recognized, the name Lyvar Hawkran.

    Following the runes along the base of the foundation, they found that as the eastern portion of the foundation, covered in ivy before transitioning into a sinkhole ruin, was not home to any such runes. Looking up they spotting what appeared to the remains of a balcony, with deep red and violet flowers adorning what remained of it’s railings. Intrigued they decided to climb the 15-foot-high wall to the top, as no stairs remained.

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    Little did they know that the “ivy” they were climbing was anything but. As some of the party neared the top of the wall, the dangerous flowering plant created a spurting sound, blowing a large puff of yellow spores into the air. Unable to avoid the party inhaled the spores, and had to steel their constitutions against its effects. Unfortunately, Kayl was not strong enough, and fell into a deep sleep, releasing the ivy they were holding and falling to the ground. Fortunately the party was able to defeat the monstrous plant without the help of Kayl, and afterwards they were able to wake him without too much difficulty. {XP Gained: 200}

    With the plant dispatched, they got their first proper look at the remnants of the balcony. A crumbled section of the balcony along the wall of the prison proper sported an still extant entry. Unfortunately, even Riska wasn’t confident in her skills and the stability of the ruins to attempt to reach it. Looking about the rest of the area, they noticed in the tangle of ivy atop the east wall they found a gnome’s skeleton. Amid the bones and strips of rotten leather armor and rusted weapons they found the remnants of a leather pouch— along with 24 gp, 3 pp, and a single citrine worth 50 gp.

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    Climbing back to the ground, they decided it was time to actually enter the prison. Entering though the main door, they passed into what was once a wide hall flanked by a pair of waiting rooms. Now lying in ruins, the wooden beams of this area, holding up a balcony above, clearly sagged with the weight of it’s disrepair.

    Passing through the large pair of oaken doors to the north, they entered into the foyer proper. Streaks of mold stained the walls, the floor, and even the sturdy wooden doors on each of the walls. From there began to shuffle through the pair of doors on the northern portion of the eastern wall. As Kayl shuffled into what appeared to be the remnants of an auditorium, the door slammed shut – trapping him in the auditorium. Turning to the door, Kayl, was assaulted by the badly-burnt faces of shrieking criminals rushing through the now shut door, passing right through him.

    The party rushed to open the door once more, and found it would not longer budge. Turning to his inner strength reserves Kayl and mightily wrenched the door from the hold of the spirits. The remainder of the party entered the auditorium, and could now take in that they were standing on a stage, walled off from the rest of the room by iron bars. Across the bars laid rows of wooden benches, all spotted with mold and sagging with neglect, all of them facing a stage to the south.

    They began to explore the new room with far more of their wits about them, only to find the only exit on their side of the bars being a very securely locked metal door. Everyone but Kayl returned to the foyer, and took the exit into the main auditorium area – this time they were not hassled by any ghosts. As Kayl began to whale on the door in an attempt to open the door, the rest of the party explored. As they approached the central row of pews an unearthly chill over took them. So cold was it that, staying longer than a few seconds in one spot caused them harm. Simkin, using his arcane powers, bathed the area is flame, and the cold was no more. {XP Gained: 800}

    Around the same time that they accomplished this, Kayl broke open the door with one final mighty smash. The rest of the party returned to see what he unlocked. Entering the room, they found themselves among an oddball collection of antique goods resting upon wooden shelves that lined the room. Tiny tags with labels written in a careful script were attached to many of them.

    Perusing the selection, it was quite clear this was once where the prison stored the affects of it’s inmates. Among the items in the collection they found the following valuables:

  • A set of masterwork thieves’ tools

  • A bronze war medallion from the Shining Crusade

  • An unframed painting of Taldan king, Stavian I

  • A set of a silver hair clips

  • A masterwork punching dagger

  • A pouch containing a dozen masterwork shurikens

  • A masterwork silver war razor

  • A wand of lesser restoration (12 charges)
  • Searching the shelves, Riska uncovered a secret door along the eastern wall. Behind the door they found what amounted to a small vault containing a few additional items:

    These items were promptly added to the party’s resources. Simkin took possession of the spellbook, Chhakuk the Holy Symbols, Riska the shiny Flute, and Kayl held onto the remaining two items. {XP Gained: 400}

    Returning back to the main room of the auditorium, they continued through the only other doors of that room into what appeared to have once been a training room. The northeast wall of this room had partially fallen in, revealing the dark, murky waters of the pond outside. Moldy training dummies and other similar equipment are strewn about the room. In the northeast part of the room, the floor featured a dark, jagged hole surrounded by black scorch marks.

    As they entered deeper into the room, three skulls rose from a mess of rubble near the open pit, set themselves alight, and attacked the party. While somewhat taxed by the events of the day, the party was able to successfully put the spirits back to rest. {XP Gained: 600}

    Approaching the jagged, soot-caked hole in the floor the party surmised that based on the ruins 20-feet down in the area below that this was likely once the location of the lift that connected the two floors. Feeling as thought their resoures were too taxed to continue downwards, they returned to Ravengro for a night’s rest.

    That night, cracking open the pages of the moldy tome in hopes of finding some new spells, Simkin found his name scribbled in blood in the margins of the book. Undaunted he set about inscribing the spells he found within into his own book.

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    HoH: Recap of Day 005
    Desecration & Confrontation

    The party awoke that morning to summons at the door of Kendra’s manor. The sheriff was requesting their presence at the Harrowstone Memorial, as it had been defaced once more. Gathering their gear, and nursing any hangovers they may have had the party headed out.

    Arriving at the monument the scene was completely different from two days prior. With a deputy guarding the path to the monument, all townfolk were being turned away. Arriving at the scene the Sheriff greeted them and pointing to the “E” that had been added to the statue he stated that he no longer believed this was all a prank. Feeling that the party’s skills were far better suited for such an investigation than his own, he urged them to examine the scene.

    Inspecting the scene, they immediately noticed the “V” the sheriff had instructed his deputies to remove a few days before, well obviously scrubbed, was still quite visible. When asked why, Sheriff Caeller tells them that it was the best they could do, and decided it was easier to just let the weather take it off over time. Examining the site further, Kayl was miraculously able to discern a single set of foot prints that lead off from the site up along the river, and not down the regular path.

    Gibs_Shack.jpg

    Following the trail south along the river, it quickly turned back north, cutting a sowed field, and then to the back of a barn. There they found the freshly dead corpse of a dog, it’s throat slit. Enraged the began to case the barn and the nearby shack for the source of the tracks, and have careful examination the found a bloodstained war razor or waterskin hidden outside of the nearby shack under a pile of firewood.

    Finding the door to the shack locked, they knocked and found the door to be answered by the mob leader from their first day in Ravengro, Gibs Hephenus. Unsurprisingly, he was quite unwilling to heed any of their demands, and slammed the door in their faces. Kayl promptly kicked said door in, and Gibs was forcefully subdued by the party and taken to the jail, all the while claiming his innocence despite the damning evidence of found behind his shack and his shoes matching the foot prints on the trail they found. {XP Gained: 1800}

    Taxed by the events of the day, they decided to put off continuing to the prison once more, fearing the ghosts may be too formidable for them without them being fully rested.

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    HoH: Recap of Day 004
    Research & Skeletons

    Temple_of_Pharasma.jpg

    Returning to the Temple of Pharasma the party once more set about researching the prisoner manifest. Expecting them, the temple had planned for shifts of oversight by various acolytes, and they were able to research well into the evening. By the time they had finished they were able to determine the following information:

    Originally, Harrowstone housed only local criminals, but as the prison’s fame spread, other counties and distant lands began paying to have more dangerous criminals housed within this prison’s 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. {XP Rewarded: 100}

    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 Illlmarsh, andthe Splatter Man. {XP Rewarded: 200}

    Unfortunately, despite all their efforts they were unable to find out any specific details on these individuals. With the non-intellectually minded members of the party going a bit stir crazy, they once again partook in some relaxation at Zokar’s tavern. As they left the tavern to return to Kendra’s, one of the party spotted what appeared to be a drunk or sick man huddled in an alleyway.

    As they approached to help, they noticed an overwhelming stench of rot, and they were promptly attacked by the man who now they could clearly see there was little left of flesh hanging on his body. Soon joined by two more, they were easily dispatched by the party. They sought members of the temple to deal with the bodies, and returned to Kendra’s for rest. {XP Rewarded: 405}

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    HoH: Recap of Day 003
    Research & Visions

    Temple_of_Pharasma.jpg

    The next morning the party decided it was best if they followed a second lead from the professor’s journal prior to challenging the spirits of Harrowstone Prison. To do so they traveled to the town’s Temple of Pharasma in attempt to find information concerning Harrowstone and its prisoner manifest in the church’s library of documents, and in doing so find out what or who the Whispering Way had been searching for.

    Arriving at the temple, they were greeted by one of the acolytes. With reluctance they were allowed supervised access to the library. Finding it to be a sprawling mess of scrolls and tombs it was clear that they might not find what they were looking for with one day of research alone. By the end of the first day they were able to were able to determine the following information:

    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 dungeon and had been in command of the lower level for several hours before the fire. Warden Hawkran triggered a deadfall to seal the rioting prisoners in the lower level, but in so doing 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. {XP Rewarded: 400}

    Unfortunately, it had grown late in the day, and the acolyte could no longer put off what remained of his daily duties. He returned them to the temple common area, and welcomed them to return the following day. With little left to do, they headed back to Kendra’s. Taking the longer route back, they passed a group of five little Varisian girls dressed in shawls and dresses playing a skipping rope game at the side of the road. Each of the girls takes turns jumping in the rope while singing two lines of the following song:

    Put her body on the bed.
    Take a knife and lop her head.

    Watch the blood come out the pipe.
    Feeds the stirge, so nice and ripe.

    Drops of red so sparkly bright.
    Splatters spell her name just right.

    With a hammer killed his wife.
    Now he wants to claim your life.

    Tricksy father tells a lie.
    Listen close or you will die.

    When they approached them to ask more about the song, the children were clearly frightened of the outsiders and had little to say. One sputtered out that they’ve always sung it and did not know where it came from. And with that they ran off., and the rest of the day passed uneventfully.

    That evening, as the party was preparing to sleep until the morrow, Riska took once last glance around the room, and to her shock her window was now barred! Jumping out of bed,
    an looking out of her now apparent prison, the view from her window had completely changed. Now, her view looked out over a mist-shrouded hill, in the distance of which can be seen the flickering lights of a town. Turning back around, she found that the rest of the room had changed. Her bed and Kayl were gone, replaced with a pile of moldy straw, and a bowl of wormy gruel lay near it on the now stone floor.

    As desperation began to set in, Riska noticed a bloody “R” appear on the wall above where here bed once was, as if written with a finger. Soon it was followed by an “I”, an “S”, and a “K”. As final letter, “A”, completing her name appeared – she awoke in bed next to Kayl, dripping in sweat as if it was all a bad dream. Looking at the wall though he name remained there, written in blood.

    Waking the rest of the party to investigate, little could be determined. The blood was, as far as they could tell, real, but non-magical. Perhaps the following day’s research could shed some more light on what had just happened.

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    HoH: Recap of Day 002
    Desecration, Investigation, Preparation

    Ravengro.jpg

    Provided with a map of the town by Kendra, and setting forth early in the morning, unfortunately for those that had plundered the late professor’s spirits, the party had intended on discussing the previous day’s events in the Restlands with the town’s sheriff. This plan was swiftly curtailed, as they promptly discovered something had stirred up a commotion in town.

    Following the villagers, the party was lead to a 25-foot-tall, moss-covered stone statue of a proud, muscular human man overlooking the river on the outskirts of town. Pushing their way through the crowd, they could now see that a “V” had been written on the statue’s base in what appeared be dried blood. What was likely the same blood was also splattered on the rest of the statue and surrounding area.

    Soon after their arrival, so too arrived the the sheriff, Benjen Caeller, and a pair of deputies to disperse the crowd, believing it to be a prank perpetrated by local children. Taking this opportunity to discuss Gibs Hephenus and his mob with the Sheriff. Clearly wary of the outsiders, he assured the party that all involved had been warned against any further impropriety involving the party. When pressed to take further action, Benjen pointed out the impracticality of imprisoning a dozen people in a small sufficient town of about 300 people, particularly when no fatalities were involved. Not particularly satisfied with this response, but having no further recourse the party were forced to settle.

    With the crowd now dispersed, the deputies began the task of cleaning the statue. Offering their services to the sheriff to track down the culprit, they were give the opportunity to examine the area prior to any cleaning. Unfortunately the recent crowd removed any possibility of finding any tracks, and surprisingly there was no sign of the source of the “blood” or a trail of it leading to or from the scene.

    With no visible leads, they took the opportunity to examine the statue in further. Dedicated to all those who died in the fire at the prison, a total of 25 names are chiseled into the statue’s stone base. With Harrowstone coming up twice in the last day, the party relied on their internal resources to try and recall anything they knew of the prison:

    Harrowstone is a ruined prison — partially destroyed by a fire in 4661, the building has stood vacant ever since. The locals suspect that it’s haunted, and don’t enjoy speaking of the place. {XP Rewarded: 50}

    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 portion of the prison’s underground eastern wing, but left most of the stone structure above relatively intact. The prison’s 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. {XP Rewarded: 100}

    Most of the hardened criminals sent to Harrowstone spent only a few months imprisoned, for it was here that most of Ustalav’s 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 prison’s 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. {XP Rewarded: 200}

    Their curiosity sufficiently peaked by the entries of the professor’s journal and now this defacement a visit to the prison was now clearly in the party’s future. Electing to not wait until until nightfall to explore the Restlands, they headed there next.

    After spending the better part of an hour nonchalantly searching the graveyard, testing doors of various crypts, and avoiding the any passing townsfolk the party happened upon a freestanding granite mausoleum with the single stone door latched with at rusty looking lock. With a quick test of the door it was clear the lock was no longer functioning, and a closer look revealed that the clasp had been melted, likely by some form of acid. With the false crypt revealed, the party proceeded inside.

    Within, a flight of stone steps lead the party downward into a large crypt filled with dust lined burial niches and floors. A very clear set of tracks in this dust leads deeper into the crypt, and then back again. Following them the party was lead to a single large sarcophagus that sits in the deepest part of the crypt. Just as they were to investigate the contents the party was ambushed by a pair of giant centipedes, a creature that often makes it’s home in graveyards. After they over came their initial shock, the party promptly dispatched the beasts. {XP Rewarded: 400}

    Returning to opening the sarcophagus, the party discovered the cache of which the professor wrote:

    Examining the case closer, the party deduced that decoration was the same design that appeared on the cover of the Manual of the Order of the Palatine Eye, which was among the books in the professor’s, and now the party’s, collection. Opening the case they found the following inside

    These vials sat in velvet-lined indentations to the left of the spirit board and planchette, along side six additional indentations where additional vials once laid. The party deduced these were Haunt Siphons, a powerful tool for dealing with the undead. Leaving the crypt, the party restored the door to the condition in-which they found it, and headed into town.

    As the party arrived in the town square, intending to stop at the local tavern for a meal prior to the evening activities. By that time it was later in the summer’s day and a group of farmers had just taken up places in the town’s gazebo and began performing music with rustic instruments. Taking a few moments to enjoy the music, a low buzzing sound began to to permeate the general area, but the musicians took no notice and kept playing.

    The buzz continued to grow louder until the music was pierced by a scream. The party turned to find that two tiny insectoid creatures each with two pairs of bat wings, a tangle of thin legs, and a needle-sharp proboscis had come out from the eaves of the tavern and had began to frantically dodge. The party identified these pests as stirges.

    stirge.jpg

    As the town square began to the devolve into chaos, the music stopping, the party attempted to draw the attacks of the beasts away from the townsfolk. Struggling to hit something so small, the beast put up a surprising defense, landing on party members multiple times and stinging them like giant mosquitoes. Eventually though the party prevailed, much to the thanks of the townsfolk, who now seemed slightly less wary of the party. {XP Rewarded: 400}

    With no other interruptions to their evening the party enjoyed a meal at the tavern, and retired to their lodgings to continue their investigation the subsequent day.

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