Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Carrion Crown Part V

Session 5: Harrowstone (24th October 2012)

I think I had better put a disclaimer in here - this write up contains spoilers for anyone who wishes to partake in this adventure. Please only read this if you do not wish to become a player in this adventure path as it will spoil your enjoyment.

The Pathfinders
Kazimir – Elf Fighter (absent)
Moebius – Elf Conjurer
Nicolai Alamrys – Human Rogue
Tomas – Cleric
Zef – Human Ranger

From the Diary of Nicolai Alamrys (Day 8 – late afternoon)

Running from the creatures from beyond the grave has left me feeling rather foolish. After suffering from two near-death experiences I am finding I am becoming more and more nervous around strange creatures and beings that want to do us harm, especially giant sized creepy crawlies that offer poisonous bites and stings. I do not want to let my companions down but I am feeling increasingly cowardly when faced with such antagonists. I just hope that my other skills will allow me to keep such brave and trustworthy companions at my side whilst we delve into the mysteries surrounding Harrowstone and the town of Ravengro.

I made my way back to Kendra’s house after the fright I’d had with the skeletons. My more belligerent companions were able to easily overcome the walking dead; Zef felled two with his deft bow-work and Kazimir brought down the other with his glaive. To calm all of our nerves and to catch up with events all round, we decided to head to the Laughing Demon. However, on the way, I thought it may be prudent to take up my position as look-out in case the statue desecrators returned, so I headed off into that part of town.

Zef and Moebius made it to the tavern, but Kazimir decided to stay put and look after Kendra just in case any harm befell her. What with that Gibbs fellow pushing his weight around and causing a couple of scenes, it seemed like a good idea. Whilst at the tavern, an acolyte of Pharasma, and another true friend of the professor turned up. He is named Tomas. I got to meet him on my return to the tavern at around 9:15. In the meantime, Moebius and Zef had brought him up to date with the entire goings on. Tomas told us that he would have made it earlier if it wasn’t for his caravan being delayed by the dreadful weather. Anyway, it is good to have another cleric in our party after Dukker had to return to his temple a few days ago. We now number five, which is a goodly  number of investigators, but I myself would feel safer if we had perhaps another who could wield a sword with more gusto than Moebius and I (although Moebius is rather handy with those magical incantations of his).

It was Zef that relieved me from watching the statue and he also made it his task to set a few footprint traps, just to see if we could capture some tracks from the perpetrators of the violation. We left the tavern around midnight, collected Zef upon the way and headed to our beds.

The Prison Ruins (Day 9)

I awoke quite early and proceeded to run through my stretching routines. I felt pretty good actually; fully recovered from my bruising experiences. We decided to head on up to the prison to reconnoitre, again Kazimir elected to stay with Kendra (probably because he thought that maybe there would be no fighting involved). We diverted our path via the statue to check out Zef’s footprint traps, but the only tracks we saw there were for small nocturnal animals. Moebius quickly called in at the Unfurling Scroll to pick up a scroll that contained some Warding or Alarm spell.

We got to the ruins atop the hill quite quickly and in good spirits despite the newly arrived clouds and subsequent downpour. Nothing appeared different, but Tomas decided he wanted to see the runes around the prison building for himself. He noted that it seemed to be part of a ritual, but what kind of ritual he could not say. He cast a few more spells and made it known that the place was heavily under the influence of the undead; there were many signals given off, mainly below our feet and below the prison building. Moebius tied his mule up just outside the main entrance.

The Office Block

Zef and I headed to the main door of the building and took a peek inside. Beyond the fallen doors was a vestibule that measured around 10’ by 10’. Many doors led off from it. We decided to pick the first one on the left hand side and Zef put his boot to it. On the other side was a long corridor, ending in a door, with doors all along the right hand wall. All of the doors down the corridor seemed to contain offices full of paperwork. Moebius wanted to grab as much as possible for future reference, but we said that we would grab them for him on the way out. We proceeded to the end of the corridor, where we noticed that there were in fact two doors, the second obscured as it was around a corner we could not see from the other end. As we opened the first door, all the rest of the office doors behind us slammed shut in turn; none could be opened when we tried them. The door that we had just opened revealed a sanctum of calm, and a safe which was unfortunately beyond my skills to open (there had to be a key around somewhere). We left the calming effect of the room and entered the other door next to this one that we hadn’t spotted when we first entered the corridor. This, however, only revealed a latrine.

Perplexed by this turn of events, we returned to the door we entered the corridor by. Zef and I were ahead, whilst Moebius, sensing a loss of clues held within the paperwork, with Tomas looking out for him, tried to open the office doors. Zef kicked open the first door on the right within the vestibule. This caused the door opposite to slam shut, closing Moebius and Tomas within. As the door shut, a burning head thrust through the door making us jump out of our skins. It rapidly retreated back into the door however. We then heard three raps on the door and Tomas’s voice calling that they were OK and did we see anything come through the door? Zef and I replied that we had spotted the same as the others. To reunite the party, Zef tried to cut through the rotten wooden door, but as his sword bit into the wood, it stuck fast and he could not remove it. Tomas worked out that this was a simple Hold Portal spell, and that it would dissipate soon. True enough, the sword eventually came free and upon rechecking, the office doors became unlocked again. Moebius, not wanting to lose his paperwork, asked for time to move it from the offices into the calm room. Zef and I agreed and used that time to remove the door that was held from its hinges so that it would not block our escape in future.

The Cold Auditorium

The doors on the right hand side of the vestibule didn’t really present us with too many problems. The first door opened up to a short corridor ending in a locked solid metal door at the other end.

The second door opened into an auditorium with many benches inside and a grille at the far end behind which we assumed the prisoners were held whilst being questioned. Zef entered and felt the temperature suddenly drop. Icicles began to form on the furniture as soon as he entered the room. He got out of their quickly sensing it was not a nice place to be. As the others were still unloading the paperwork, I decided to kill the time by removing the door to this room too.

The last door from the vestibule

We did not really want to leave any of the doors unexplored, but we decided that the metal door could be left for a time whilst we explored the rest of this level of the prison building. We popped open the last door of the vestibule (the one opposite the main entrance door) to reveal another corridor with doors down the right hand side. The first door led down some stairs a little way before becoming choked with collapsed masonry (possibly an effect of the collapse the Warden caused all those years ago?). The second door opened onto some steps leading upwards. I carefully made my way up the wooden stairs and could make out in the gloom of the collapsed ceiling that there were several rooms up there. We decided to come back to explore these as the upper storey did not look like it could take the combined weight of our party. The third door revealed a small cupboard filled with cleaning equipment.

Giant Spiders

Making our way back to the beginning of the corridor again, we opened the first door on the left. This revealed corridors leading off in a couple of directions and several other doors. The first side door we came to revealed a collapse door leading into a room full of cobwebs. I didn’t like the look of this so edged backwards a bit. Tomas strode straight in and was instantly pounced upon by three huge spiders, each with an abdomen the size of a large pumpkin, and fangs dripping with venom. Tomas staggered back under the onslaught which gave Zef enough room to shoot one of the spiders a couple of times. Moebius cast his acid spell, but it just bounced harmlessly off the wall. Whilst the ranger and cleric busied themselves with two of the spiders, the injured third one made its way towards Moebius and me. Moebius cast his bright light spell and all of the arachnids were suddenly dazed. Zef and Tomas easily finished off their opponents but it took me quite a while to destroy the third with my rapier.

Tomas recognised the room as a small temple to Pharasma, so he set about cleaning it up. Moebius helped him with a few cantrips and the brooms and mops from the store room back in the previous corridor. Inside a small wooden cabinet Tomas found a few potions of healing, a wand of healing (which he kept himself) and a scroll which he passed to Moebius. This went some way towards stopping the sorceror griping about not being able to study the papers from the offices.


Whilst the other two of our party tidied up the small temple to Pharasma, Zef and I went to try another of the doors. The one opposite led into what looked like a torture chamber; manacles, ropes and chains littered the floor. Zef strode into to see what he could find but upon entering, a pair of manacles rose into the air and darted towards him. One cuff managed to grasp onto Zef’s wrist and lock shut. Zef grabbed the other cuff with his free hand and backed out of the room.

We went back into the small temple to see if Moebius could open them after my lock picking skills were found to be useless as there were no locks on them! Acid seemed to roll off of the rusting metal clasps, but a vial of Holy water saw the manacles sizzle and drop to the floor.

We decided to return to the induction chamber to take another look but all we could find this time were more rusting manacles. Luckily none of them came to life when we entered the room this time.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Carrion Crown Part 4

Session 4: The Professor Returns (17th October 2012)

The Pathfinders
Kazimir – Elf Fighter
Moebius – Elf Conjurer
Nicolai Alamrys – Human Rogue
Zef – Human Ranger

From the Diary of Nicolai Alamrys (Day 6 – mid-morning)

The stirges and centipedes have left me really wobbly on my legs. I still needed to rest up, so much of the next few days I spent resting up whilst the others work on this mystery. As I have previously noted in my diary, our meals with Kendra are becoming increasingly bland. I am sure she doesn’t want us around, but I am unsure as to why when her father put her into our care for at least the next month.

Anyway, on with our tale... The rest of the party visited Father Grimburrow to find out what those vials contain. He mentioned they were something called Haunt Siphons; receptacles for spirits that can be used for combating the undead. When the vial breaks, the spirit contained within will attack the closest being to it upon its release.

Kazimir paid a visit on Zokar to see if he could get something from the rumour I told him about from my last visit there. He was invited out back to watch the preparation of his meal, but nothing untoward could be found out. He proceeded to eat his fill. Meanwhile, Moebius had visited the Unfurled Scroll and found out some more useful information…

  1. Harrowstone Prison was built in 4594
  2. Ravengrow was founded at the same time as the prison, in order to supply it
  3. The fire killed all the prisoners, many guards and the warden’s wife
  4. A statue was built a month or two later, honouring the dead
  5. The prisoners had revolted and taken control of the lower dungeon. The warden and 23 guards prevented them from escaping
  6. Five of the prisoners in particular we re notorious for some reason
  7. The warden, prisoners and guards were all trapped inside when the fire broke out
‘E’ for…? (Later that evening)

Whilst we were preparing for bed, we got a slow knock at the door. Sheriff Benjen was at the door and he told us that it had happened again. We accompanied him to the scene of the crime but noticed this time that the letter daubed on the statue was an ‘E’. We found no other clues other than the usual footprints and that the blood used was found to be animal blood (but which species we do not know). I put my thoughts into motion on these meagre clues but the only connection I could come up with was that ‘V’ and ‘E’ were the first two letters of the warden’s wife’s name: Vesorinna Hawken. I am not sure if that helped anyone but it made sense to me when the children’s rhyme was added into the mix.

The Professor Returns (Around Midnight)

We returned to Kendra’s and I headed off to bed due to the lateness of the hour and the need to still recover from the centipede and stirge bites. Around midnight, there came another slow knock at the door. Luckily Kazimir and Moebius were still up so they prepared to open the door, not knowing what to expect this time. Upon opening the door they came face-to-face with Professor Lorrimor! The zombie called for Kendra and struck out at Kazimir. The fighter made no hesitation in cleaving the body in twain. The fighter picked up the again dead pieces of the professor and deposited them within a rolled up carpet from the hallway. Moebius used a few of his little cantrips to clean up the mess, whilst Kazimir took the body and hid it in the wood pile for further investigation the next morning.

Another Encounter with Gibbs (Day 7)

We awoke early to yet another knock on the door. The incessant rapping annoyed us all, and upon seeing Gibbs’ face Zef had to be held back (Gibbs, if I recall was the townsman who assaulted Zef when we were carrying the professor’s coffin to his grave). Anyway, Gibbs ranted on that the professor had risen and it was our entire fault for not allowing them to bury him outside of town. Zef had had enough and thumped him; we did not stop him this time. Gibbs left rather promptly. It was at this point that the missing hall carpet caused Kendra to question our movements the night before. Some quick thinking bought us the cover story that it was all Kazimir’s fault for drinking too much. We promised to clean the carpet and return it to its rightful place.

This encounter with Gibbs spurred us into swift action. We loaded the professor’s body onto Moebius’s mule (which didn’t like it that much until Zef calmed it down with some well-chosen words and platitudes) and took it up to Father Grimburrow. He took the body off our hands and proceeded to rebury it in the same style as the farmer from the day before.

Fire at the Town Hall (Evening)

Due to all of this commotion we had forgotten about the meeting at the Town Hall that evening until reminded by the cleric. As there was a lot that needed investigating we decided to split up. The rest of my companions decided to head to the meeting to see what it was all about, whilst I cried off ‘sick’ and went down to the statue to stake out the area in case the perpetrator of the nightly daubing came back. I took Kazimir’s horn with me for an alarm in case I got into difficulties.

As the evening wore on, I got slowly more bored and cold. After an hour or so, I spotted three flaming objects leave the prison area and head towards the Town Hall. At around the same time, I heard a commotion going on up there. Not sure if that was just the general goings on from a town meeting I decided not to investigate that but the appearance of those flaming skulls made my mind up. I winded the horn just as the shouts from the hall turned to screams. I decided to leave my place of observation and sprinted up to the Town Hall. I got there just as the last of the fire was being extinguished. Moebius told me that the three flaming skulls came crashing through the windows a short time after all the torches in the building suddenly flared up. No cause was found but the townsfolk treated us like heroes and called for us to be the investigators into the mysteries surrounding the common undead appearances, even offering to pay us a reward! All were happy enough to collect us all together and drive us into the Laughing Demon to ply us with more drink than we could handle.

The Investigation Begins Proper (Day 8)

After another thin breakfast I decided enough was enough and popped out to the baker’s to buy us a proper meal. Moebius had plenty of reading to do, so the three of us (Zef, Kazimir and I) headed on up to the prison under the true guise of investigators. The walls were actually in a worse state of repair than I recalled from my last visit. The towers were all empty except for the one containing the swarm of rats which we decided to leave well alone.

The manor house at the centre of the grounds was in an even worse state of repair. One of the walls collapsed when Kazimir poked it with his glaive, and the first floor balconies looked as if they would do the same if we tried to climb onto them. Anyway, we managed to find some inscriptions around the base of the wall that repeatedly spelled out ‘LYVAR HAWKRAN’ – presumably the name of the warden. Around the back of the building we could only find the remains of the prison cess pit, which we decided not to investigate further. Poking our heads inside the open main doors showed us a large chamber but nothing in there of any note that we could see through the gloom.

We decided to head back to town, but wanted to take another look at the lake on the way. Kazimir decided my small stone probably wouldn’t have had any effect, so proceeded to lob in a fairly hefty boulder. Nothing happened to begin with, so we started to walk away. A few seconds later, the water started to bubble up and three skeletons started to emerge from the depths of the pool.

This scared me so much I was physically ill and I got out of there quickly, leaving my companions to their fate.

The Carrion Crown - Part 3

Session 3: Stirges and Zombies (10th October 2012)

The Pathfinders
Dukker Jamas – Human Cleric (Player has become DM)
Kazimir – Elf Fighter (Not present)
Moebius – Elf Conjurer
Nicolai Alamrys – Human Rogue
Zef – Human Ranger

From the Diary of Nicolai Alamrys (Day 4 – continued)

I am still feeling rather poorly as a result of the bite from that centipede. I think it will still take a few days to get all of the poison from my system. Dukker has been working tirelessly to help both myself and Zef to recover from our ordeal.

This evening was quiet as Zef and I rested up, which meant that Moebius was able to investigate the mystery further. He was not able to find out too much more, but he did deduce that the locals do not like speaking of the events of 4661; the burning down of the prison.

Stirge Attack (Day 5)

For once, the day dawned bright and sunny. Sometime during the very early hours, Dukker had decided to leave us – apparently he had been called back to his home temple for some urgent reason. After taking a leisurely breakfast (gruel again), Zef, Moebius and I left Kazimir in charge of Kendra and headed into town. As we were passing the gazebo in the centre of town, we heard a folk band playing a few tunes. We decided to stop and have a listen, as well as get a feel for what the folk around here did for entertainment.

Out of the corner of his eye, Moebius spotted a couple of stirges flapping towards us rapidly. He yelled a warning, but they got to us so quickly that one was able to attach itself to my shoulder before I could react. The only thing I could do was throw myself to the ground with the parasite between me and the solid earth. Everything then happened quickly. Whilst I struggled with the stirge attached to my shoulder, Zef had rapidly approached me and grabbed my dagger from my belt. Moebius yelled at me to close my eyes, but the next thing I knew I was waking up with a splitting headache, no vision, and feeling quite nauseous. Apparently, I had trapped the stirge beneath me, but not stopped it from sucking my blood. Zef tried to stab it with my knife before Moebius cast some bright light spell that dazed everything within a few feet of me – luckily this included the two stirges which were summarily dispatched. Unfortunately, being caught in the spell led to me feeling like the morning after the night before.

I actually awoke in the Laughing Demon being plied with drink and being hugged and back slapped by the locals for saving them from the flying horrors. Whilst this was going on, I managed to grab a morsel of information about the proprietor, Zokar, and his food. According to my now unknown source, anyone who is taken out back and watches him prepare his Zombie Chowder runs out of town screaming never to be seen again. When asked if I wanted anything to eat, I politely declined.

After all of our nerves were sufficiently steeled by alcohol and praise, we decided to investigate the prison on the hill. Zef, Moebius and I headed on up the path to the ruins sat atop the mound. The walls surrounding the prison seemed to be in reasonable shape but are broken down in places and covered in ivy, and the path approaching it was overgrown and looked like it had not been regularly used in a long time. We entered the grounds through a hole in the walls. Looking across the courtyard we could see that the gates swinging in the breeze were made of wood and metal. On both sides of the gates there are two strong towers, and there are a few other towers along the walls. The one on the western wall appeared to be full of rats; we’ll avoid that for now.

We took a look at the lake that seems to have formed at one end of the enclosure. It is dark and dreary without any wildlife present around it. From a distance I lobbed a stone into the water, but it sank without more than a less than unusual plonk and splash. No birds flew from the reeds which makes me think something may be keeping them away. For now, I did not wish to investigate further. We decided that we had seen enough and returned to town.

Zombie attack

Zef retired to the more quiet of the two pubs we knew, whilst Moebius and I went to Zokar’s place for a bite to eat and a few beers. We chatted to the locals, who seem to becoming more accustomed to us being around, and generally passed the rest of the afternoon and evening there. I only popped out for a brief breath of fresh air, but wound up in the local trading establishment. I didn’t get much information out of the proprietor or his wife but they did ask me to make an offer on a suit of masterwork plate mail whilst I purchased some adventuring kit. I mentioned that I didn’t know much about armour, but a friend of mine might be interested in just such an item.

When I returned, Moebius had got side tracked into talking about music with one of the musicians from the gazebo earlier today. He did, however, manage to find out that if we tried to go to the prison, the ghost of the warden’s wife will drive us away.

We left at a reasonable time and made our way back to Kendra’s house. On our way home, we noticed a person being sick down a side alley. Moebius and I went to investigate and see if the chap was alright, but the overpowering stench of the grave assaulted our nostrils. We tried to back up and get away from the now obvious zombie but it moved very quickly. It slammed me against the wall a couple of times, my head striking the wall on both occasions, and I woke up back at the pub again.

Again, Moebius had saved my life with magic. This time he had summoned a great mastiff to deal with the walking corpse. The villagers, again, were thanking us for saving them from the horrors assaulting this town and plied us with more food, drink and hearty congratulations. I found out that the local cleric had healed me – I was slipping towards death when I was found – and my companions and I were required to attend church the next day as we were now considered part of the congregation of Pharasma. We were also able to find out that the zombie was a local farmer who was buried three months ago.

The Crypt (Day 6)

As a party, we attended the short service in the morning. Afterwards, we approached Father Grimburrow to ask him about the stirges and zombie. He informed us that they get a ‘riser’ a couple of times a year, but the one last night had been the first one in a while. He was a little surprised when we told him how fast it moved. I think our activities over the last few hours had convinced the good Father that the town needed somebody to investigate the goings-on in the town, so he gave us his blessing to go to the crypt to recover the items that Professor Lorrimor had mentioned in his missives. We made our excuses and left, but on our way out of the graveyard we noticed that the acolytes were reburying the farmer’s corpse in a few more pieces than we left him, a few of the bits were held back to be buried elsewhere.

We were accompanied to the crypt by an acolyte; presumably to make sure we were good for our word and didn’t desecrate it. We were let in by one of the acolytes already in attendance, and were led down the first flight of steps by torchlight. I recovered my mirror and crossbow and a little later Zef recovered his bow. Upon entering the rear corridor, we again heard the snickering of the centipede, but Zef and Moebius made short work of it this time, now that it could be seen in the torchlight. Zef did pick up a nasty bite in the process, but not bad enough to stop us from searching the lower crypt and the sarcophagus upon the dais. We found many trinkets within brown Hessian sacks. I didn’t reckon much on the stuff in there as it only seemed to comprise a load of arrows, a Ouija Board (that Moebius later told us was magical), a manual of some sort, a few healing potions, a scroll, and some vials within a box – apparently they contain the spirits of something or other and are useful for fighting the undead.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Painting has resumed

It has been a long time, but I finally picked up the brushes after a hefty hiatus. I manged to complete a couple of figures, but they still need basing, so it may be another week before they get put up on the blog. The kids however finished off a few that were about 90% done the last time they were touched.

Alex completed the GW LotR Gil-Galad mini. He only had to add a couple of colours and then he was done. He also managed to complete 5 Elf spearmen and 3 Elf archers for his HotT army. I have based them for him, but he needs to do the sanding and flocking himself. Hopefully he will get them finished by next week and start on som emore that are languishing on his paint station.

Cerys just had to have hers sprayed with varnish, but she wanted to paint the Queen's base red first. These have been displayed on here previously but were not 100% completed. Her sister, Amelia, also started on her figures (the same ones incidentally) an dgot about half way there with them. Hopefully she can do a little more for next week.

I managed to complete the painting of an old Citadel Night Goblin Wolf Rider and an early Space Marine. They just need basing for completion. I have also 90% finished another half-dozen or so Space Marines and undercoated some old 25mm fantasy and sci-fi stuff . I also managed to put quite a bit of tincture onto 20 or so Norman knights from a variety of manufacturers. Hopefully some of these will be completed by next week, so the blog can tick over a little more and my painted tally look a little more presentable.

Gaming wise I have done very well this year. I have made several visits to Duncan's for some very exciting and fun games of SoBH, and joined the RP Haven in Lewisham for some RPG action. I have played in an Old Skool AD&D campaign that took me through most of the summer and I am now enjoying playing Pathfinder. This is a new game for me, even though I have read the D&D 3.0 rulebooks which gave me some familiarity with the Paizo version. This week I have been slowly reading through the core rulebook to get myself familiar with some of the basic rules of the game. I need to get a feel for the Paizo gameworld, so that may require a bit of web surfing later this week.

Next up should be this week's game session, and hopefully some more brushwork for display next Sunday.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Carrion Crown Part 2

Session 2: The Crypt (3rd October 2012)

The Pathfinders
Dukker Jamas – Human Cleric
Kazimir - Fighter
Moebius – Elf Conjurer
Nicolai Alamrys – Human Rogue
Zef – Human Ranger

From the Diary of Nicolai Alamrys

It seems, what with all the grief and confusion brought about by the death of our beloved friend Professor Lorimar, I may have got some details of the last few days a little muddled. The settlement we are staying in is called Ravenrow or some such thing, and Harrowstone is the name of the prison sat atop the hill just outside the township.

The Diary of Professor Lorimar (Day 2 – continued)

The rain was still beating down outside the window, so we decided that we would all sit tight and talk about the day’s findings from the professor’s diary/notebook. The diary entries, as stated in my previous entry, were a bit confusing, but the details we could ascertain by piecing together the written notes was that the Whispering Way was known of about ten years ago by the professor. He had investigated the cult and had started to come to some conclusions but, alas, was unable to complete his investigations. He did, however, leave us plenty of clues as to what we could do to carry on his work. The entry from 18 days ago suggested that he went up to Harrowstone, the prison on the hill that was burnt down several years ago, but he had to leave pretty sharply as he encountered strange ghostly apparitions whilst there. His final entry, the one from 17 days ago, only mentioned that there were tools, of which the current clergy were unaware, located within the graveyard, inside a certain crypt at the crossroads of the two main cemetery thoroughfares (Eversleep and Blackpath), that could be used to fight the undead.

Seeing this as a perfect opportunity for adventure, and as it was now getting late (around 9:30 in the evening) Zef and I decided to investigate whilst the others attempted to figure out what was happening. Moebius and Dukker locked themselves in conversation over the professor’s tomes that were in his lock box, and Kazimir mooned around Kendra, pledging his sword and so forth, possibly in the hope of gaining the lady’s favour?

The Crypt

So, whilst the rest of the party were otherwise engaged, Zef and I popped out in the hope of at least finding this crypt. It was still raining so visibility was poor, and as a result we bumped into one of the sheriff’s underlings. After a bit of sweet talking that seemed to leave the deputy in a state of confusion, we promised we would be back within the hour. He was OK with this, and he let us continue with our journey to the graveyard. We quickly hopped over the greasy wall and alighted in the thick mud of the cemetery. Quickly gathering our bearings we made our way to the meeting of the paths and set off towards the crypt in the north-west corner.

At the allotted point, we managed to find four mausoleums; three were undoubtedly family plots, but the fourth one was kind of weird, with stone gargoyles positioned to loom over any who approached. This did not put us off, so we took a quick look at the lock on the main stone door. The lock literally fell off the door when I touched it, and upon further investigation I realised that the clasp had been eaten through by acid and then hastily clicked together to give the appearance of a fixed security device.

Zef pushed the door open, and we stepped into the black interior, nearly losing our footing at the head of a flight of stairs leading down into the abyss. I lit a couple of small candles I had about my person and set one of them at the top of the stairs with my steel mirror behind it to light as much of the stairway as possible. We could see down about twenty feet before the gloom cut off our vision.

Zef knocked an arrow to his bow and I put a bolt into my crossbow before we continued down the stairs, Zef in front with me behind carrying the candle. At the bottom of the flight of stone steps we stepped onto a hard packed earthen floor. Holding the candle up and walking around a little we realised we were inside a large chamber (about thirty by forty feet at a guess). Upon the floor was incised a large mystical diagram and to each side of it were a pair of stone gargoyles that made us jump out of our skins when the dim light from our candle revealed them in the gloom. Zef checked out the statue to the right of us but it looked and felt just like a plain stone carving. Upon reaching the centre of the room, we realised that there were two identical stone doors in the opposite wall.

We made our way over to the one nearest to Zef and he tried the handle. With a grind of stone-upon-stone and a large squeal of metal hinges unused in a long time, the door opened. Thrusting my head through the doorway, I noticed that it seemed to lead to a corridor that linked the two stone doors of our room, with a stairwell in the centre of the opposite wall. Zef was starting to get a little wary now, but I waved him away and said there couldn’t be anything to worry about in a dark and gloomy place such as this.

We cautiously stepped beyond the door and I made my way to the stairwell. Again Zef urged me to caution but I decided to take a look. Zef stepped back to the door as if to leave, but I urged him to wait just a moment longer. I wanted to just see what was at the bottom of the stairs and then we could report back to the others. I stepped lightly down the stone steps with my candle held aloft.

Suddenly I heard a scuttling sound and felt a sharp pain in my right calf and a blow from something against my left foot. Whatever was down here, there were at least two of them. I screamed in fear and agony and heard Zef mutter something about rogues under his breath. Although frightened and panicked beyond belief, my acrobatic training allowed me to back flip up the steps, but as I reached the top of the steps a burning sensation filled my leg and I had to slow down. Somehow, the candle had not gone out and this gave Zef just enough light to skewer one of the denizens of the crypt with a perfectly aimed shot. Firing wildly I was also able to hit the other creature, but the bolt only grazed its carapace. Zef shouted for me to get out whilst he covered, so I did not hesitate. I reached the door just as the other giant centipede, for that is what these nightmares were, scuttled towards me. I tried to slam it in the door but it managed to bite me again before heading off towards easier prey in the darkness. My rapidly numbing legs carried me across the room with the gargoyles and half-way up the stairs before I realised I had left Zef totally in the dark. I readied my crossbow for another shot and placed the candle in a position so that as much of the room was lit as possible considering the limited light source. Whilst I was attempting this all I could hear were curses and the crash of steel on stone as Zef tried to fight the monster. Eventually Zef found his way out through the other door and dazedly made his way across the room towards me and the exit, with the centipede in pursuit. I fired my crossbow, but the bolt merely glanced off the floor beside the vermin. Another shot from me and a stroke of Zef’s sword put enough distance between us and the scuttling denizen that we were able to help each other up the steps to the entrance and out into the fresh night air. We slammed the door of the crypt shut and put our backs to it to prevent the critter from getting out. Zef looked about to collapse, and the poison coursing through my veins left me on the point of passing out too, but we managed to put the old lock back onto the door and get out of the graveyard without any further encounters. Unfortunately, we had both dropped our bows in the process, and left two candles burning alongside a steel mirror in the stairwell to the crypt. These items could easily be traced back to us if found.

We helped each other back over the wall and headed back to Kendra’s house, but the deputy spotted us again. He waved us over and asked us what was wrong. We feigned ignorance of our physical conditions and said it was no bother. He waved us on with a perplexed look on his face.

Upon arrival back at the house, we stumbled through the door. The rest of the party were still up discussing what we needed to do so were able to quickly assess the situation. Dukker prayed to his goddess and was able to heal the pair of us, but the poison would take a little longer to get out of our systems. Dukker worked tirelessly through the rest of the night and the following day to make us at ease.

‘V’ for…? (Day 3)

Whilst Dukker healed and generally made Zef and I comfortable after our near death experiences, the rest of the party got to work on the rest of the investigation. Kazimir continued to follow Kendra around like a love sick puppy (perhaps I am being a little harsh on my companion, what with the poison still coursing my veins, and he was following the professor’s request to protect her from harm?) Moebius busied himself in a variety of libraries, including that in Kendra’s house, trying to piece together the clues he had gathered from the professor’s writings. He had made many connections so far but still had a lot of reading to do.

  1. There had been necromancers in the region for millennia
  2. They formed unholy alliances with undead creatures
  3. Tar Barthan (?) was the Whispering Tyrant
  4. The Whispering Way was a series of philosophies spread by whispers, thus the name
  5. These necromancers could create liches and may eventually be able to release the Tyrant
  6. A gagged skull is their symbol
When Zef and I felt a little better we were able to relay our adventure from the night before and join in the conversation, but, on Dukker’s orders, we were both confined to our beds until later that evening.

Towards the end of the day, just before we readied ourselves to sleep, there came a frantic rapping at the door. One of the villagers was in a right state as she blurted out something about some vandalism to a local monument. As Dukker, Zef and I were otherwise engaged and Moebius still had his head in his books, Kazimir agreed to accompany the woman. He was taken to the monument that commemorated those that died in the fire at Harrowstone prison. He later reported back that there was a huge letter ‘V’ written in blood on the monument’s side facing away from the town (the back of the statue). There was also a great splatter of blood at the base of the monument in which Kazimir spotted a human sized footprint. Other than taking a sample of the blood and working out that the vandalism must have occurred between the hours of six and nine that evening Kazamir was unable to achieve anything other than provide alibis for the rest of the party.

Bringing his blood soaked cloth back to the house in the hope of finding clues held within it, Kazimir was dismayed that none of his more learned companions had the skills to investigate the clue any further; even if it was only to find out whether it was blood at all and if so, from which type of animal.

A visit to Grimburrow (Day 4)

After all of the healing carried out by Dukker, a good night’s sleep, and a big bowl of porridge for breakfast, Zef and I felt a lot better. I was still stiff and sore but the poison had run its course. It would still be a few days before I was back to full fitness but Zef seemed to be pretty much OK though; he seems to be a lot tougher than he looks. Kazimir and I decided to head to the town hall to find out any more rumours about the events of the night before whilst Dukker headed towards the temple to ask the permission of Grimburrow to cleanse and rededicate the crypt in the name of their goddess. Moebius carried on with his studies whilst Zef was tasked with guarding Kendra, much to Kazimir’s chagrin.

Kazimir and I had another odd encounter with the children of the village on our way to the town hall. Although they are very friendly and always seem to have a smile for me the songs that they sing whilst skipping and playing seem rather dreary and ominous. I questioned them about this but they replied that these were songs that they were taught by their mothers and grandmothers, and had been around for a few generations. We learned nothing new at the town hall.

Dukker, meanwhile, failed to impress Father Grimburrow and although not strictly forbidden to cleanse the crypt as it was not actually temple property (although the cemetery is) he was discouraged from trying until he had investigated it himself. At which point he sent a couple of his acolytes, armed with maces, to guard the doors.

Disappointed with the outcome of our investigations, we decided to try to sell the gem that Moebius had been hanging onto for several days. He was convinced it was worth thousands, and my quick appraisal convinced me of the same, but the jeweller would only offer us fifteen gold coins for it, saying that it was just a flawed (although better than the one in his own collection) rose quartz stone. Neither of us was convinced, so we decided not to sell it.