Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
GM
 GM, 298 posts
Fri 14 Jun 2019
at 18:35
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Even still, he's a murderer!" A voice called from the back of the crowd.

"String him up!" Another answered.

Constantine moved through the crowd, his words of logic and peace calming the angry townsfolk. Any villager whose eyes he met dropped their gaze, ashamed of their part in such an ugly spectacle. Many broke off, slinking into the night in little knots of two or three.

Only the most vengeful and angry minded remained. Whatever dark presence was tainting the townsfolk, turning them irritable, escalating petty little arguments into violent confrontations, it was strongest in the minds of these.

"Run him out of town! Lock him up!" Murmurs still continued to follow the paladin.

It was a close thing. If the situation had been more dire, or if our heroes had done less to earn the villager's trust previously, it could have been very ugly indeed.

But Constantine's calming words worked wonders, and eventually even the last remnants of the crowd began to disperse.

Just at that moment Sheriff Harlan bustled up, the star that had once shone on Sheriff Caeler's breast looking out of place on his roughspun shirt.

"Break it up, break it up. There will be no vigilante justice here, not on my watch!" He exclaimed as though he alone were responsible for defusing the dangerous situation. He ignored Sir Constantine entirely as he shooed the dispersing villagers back to their homes.

The more fair minded of the villagers sniffed and ignored the sheriff in turn, passing by Constantine to take his hand warmly before returning to their homes.



The following morning was an exciting one at the Lorrimor household. The monument was free of bloody graffiti, Kendra and Garland explained their breakthrough researching the five ghosts, and breakfast was hotcakes with blueberries that had been saved for a special occasion.

The party seemed invigorated and ready for adventure.

"So, what's the plan for today?" Kendra asked.
Darcon
 player, 63 posts
Fri 14 Jun 2019
at 20:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon had spent the last day holed up with Garland and Kendra, watching them conduct their research and try to learn all he could about spirits and possession himself.

Of more interest to the mage than the identities of the spirits was the manner in which they possessed their victims, why they were chosen over others, and of-course why the spirits of the prisoners clung on to the mortal plane.

Was it a desire for vengeance on the descendants of the townsfolk who had imprisoned them, or something else?

He awoke early in the morning and dug eagerly into the hotcakes as he waited for the group to come to an agreement of a plan. "It seems our most obvious goal is to find a way to prevent these spirits from possessing anymore victims, and perhaps find a way to destroy them for good," the mage said in between bites.

"How to do this though, is beyond me or any magics I have at my command. Perhaps the priests at the temple may have a way to exorcise them for good?" Darcon added, looking at Garland questioningly.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 136 posts
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Sun 16 Jun 2019
at 01:11
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"My fear is worse my friends...the crowd last night some of their hearts have hardened and they are turning to darkness, they I fear are next in line for possession."


SCG continues eating breakfast...he seems to eat more than a man of his size.....

"My guess is a seal was broken, not by the professor, but when he was there, perhaps someone allowed him to go in first and then opened the ward and unleashed these spirits.  Based on the old stories that sort of thing can happen, I reckon."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 102 posts
Sun 16 Jun 2019
at 12:51
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Ghosts are strange and enigmatic beings. The things they do are often odd or inexplicable to the minds of mortals but there is always a reason for everything buried in the past of that particular spirit. Much like people they are as different as every star in the sky. That said, I believe we may be ready for a full excursion into the prison. Ive learned a great deal about all of the spirits said to haunt the prison and I have a few ideas of ways to put some of them to rest."
GM
 GM, 300 posts
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 18:27
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Perhaps someone allowed him to go in first and then opened the ward and unleashed these spirits." Constantine mused.

"Way-gee..." Kendra started around a heavy mouthful of hotcakes and syrup. She swallowed heavily.

"Maybe it has something to do with the runes that we found carved into the base of the prison?" Kendra said. Her brow furrowed as the thought back to their first expedition to the prison.

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"Darcon found Euran Hawkran's name scribed into the runes, although we couldn't find out exactly what ritual had been carried out." She shook her head, sadly remembering her very first visit to the prison, when she and Sheriff Caeler had found her father's body.

"We could ask at the temple about clearing the haunts, or we could investigate the prison. We could stop by the temple on the way. If only we had some permanent way of defeating the spirits." She said, frustrated.

Knowledgeable Garland was easily able to chime in, pointing out that it would be possible to use an object heavily linked to a ghost to defeat it permanently.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:28, Mon 17 June.

Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 42 posts
Mon 17 Jun 2019
at 21:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Permanently ending the spirits is going to be the trick."  Keanala paused to chew on a mouthful of pancake.  Each bite was thoroughly enjoyed as if she was eating the most delicious meal in the world.  "Oh, man.  Real food.  Kendra, these pancakes are to die for."

"Is there anyone in town who might be knowledgeable in runes?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 138 posts
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Tue 18 Jun 2019
at 00:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine tries to eat sweet pancakes with syrup but it’s like his body rejects it as sustenance instead he consumes eggs, meats and milk. When those are in short supply he finds oats, amaranth, honey and fresh fruits more to his liking.

“I agree a return to the prison is necessary; but first we need to be prepared and father grimburrow and the sheriff should be working in concert to secure the town.”
Garland Van Burke
 player, 103 posts
Tue 18 Jun 2019
at 17:26
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I agree with Constantine. Perhaps we should invite them both to lunch to discuss just that. Father Grimburrow and I had a brief discussion last night about the events. He seems ready to step up with whatever resources he has to stop whatever dark influence is affecting the town. I dont think it would be a large push for him to work with the sherrif and his guards. Im more concerned about the sherrif and his guards though, unlike the priests they lack the weapons needed to effectively fight spirits."
GM
 GM, 302 posts
Tue 18 Jun 2019
at 17:40
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Well, there's Alendru Ghoroven who runs the Unfurling Scroll. He might know about runes. He's an old wizard but he's been retired for, oh, ages." Kendra said.

"Sir Constantine, are you planning to visit the Sheriff? If you are then Keanala and I can go talk to Alendru. I remember that we...now where did I put that..."

Kendra bustled out and dug around in the bundles of notes neatly stacked in the study.

"Ah, here it is. I remember that we took a rubbing of the runes that we found at the prison."

She spread the charcoal rubbings out on the kitchen table.

"We could see what we can find out about these as well."



If you put new ranks in Knowledge: Arcana or Spellcraft you can re-attempt a check that you had previously made. That will let you check the runes again as a basic knowledge check that won't take any time.

You can also re-roll a Knowledge check by doing research, which takes 8 hours and can be done as many times as you would like. The note from the prison wouldn't apply to the runes, but the professor's library would for a +4, and Kendra can assist on research checks for an additional +3.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 104 posts
Tue 18 Jun 2019
at 20:24
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland pulls the rubbing toward him, looking at it in detail for the first time. Knowing that last time he was still consumed with grief over the loss of his long time friend. This time he was much more focused.

13:24, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 23 using 1d20+8.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 139 posts
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Tue 18 Jun 2019
at 21:40
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Aye I will go and speak with sheriff Harlan and the deputies and invite them for lunch.  At the least maybe I can see how well they swing a sword or a whip when the need arises.”

SCG shakes his head in wonder as a retired wizard lives here, yet his name did not come up with the talk of necromancy.

“Will you likewise bring the father here for lunch then?”
GM
 GM, 303 posts
Wed 19 Jun 2019
at 18:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland's study of the runes confirmed Darcon's original findings, but the new notes on the prison were of little help. The runic ritual involved powerful abjuration and necromancy magics, and Euran Hawkran's name was inscribed again and again through the scrolling lines of ancient Varisian script. Beyond that, though, he was able to glean little. The runic ritual was extraordinarily cryptic and obscure. It seemed that only the most knowledgeable, or lucky, would be able to penetrate its mysteries.



As Garland was studying Constantine busied himself about town, taking stock of the deputies. Sheriff Harlan refused his invitation to lunch citing a full schedule, although he certainly didn't look busy when the paladin dropped by his office, but was otherwise willing to meet. His manner was suspicious and abrasive, none of the friendly openness that Sheriff Caeler had evinced showed on his face. Councilman Hearthmount had evidently appointed the deputy who most shared his views on outsiders.

Having observed both the new Sheriff and his two remaining deputies in action Constantine had a good idea of their capabilities. They were tough men, and even handed, carting stout cudgels on their patrols around town. There was a locker of shortswords in the town council chambers for emergencies but the occasional drunk or mischief minded youngster hardly justified an armed guard force.

In short they seemed more than capable of keeping order in the town, even with the rumblings of suspicion and malcontent that seemed to be growing. They were totally helpless against threats of a supernatural nature though.



Father Grimburrow, on the other hand, was all too delighted to join our heroes at the Lorriomor household for lunch. He arrived with a currant cake wrapped in waxed paper and spared a moment to offer condolences and blessings to Kendra.

Conversation during the meal was light, remembrances and stories of happier times. When Kendra was finished clearing away the table the Father sat back with his fingers laced over his stole.

"Well, my children, what service can I render to you?" He asked.



Garland, you fail a raw knowledge check. It looks like the ritual is so secret that it will be very difficult to decipher without special tomes or expertise on the topic. The professor's library will help, if you don't plan to go to the prison today you can do a research check with the +7 that the library and Kendra's assistance would provide.

Darcon
 player, 66 posts
Wed 19 Jun 2019
at 20:59
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon studied the runes again as Kendra placed the charcol scrawls before them, trying to decipher as much as he could without spending the entire day on them.

"We should take these to that Alendru Ghoroven, his knowledge could be the key we need to unlock this script," he remarked to the others. Not to mention a retired wizard could have a lifetime of spells Darcon might be able to convince him to share, or at least sell.
Knowledge (Arcana): 16. If he wont go to Alendru today Darcon can attempt the longer check using the professors library.


Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 140 posts
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Thu 20 Jun 2019
at 14:51
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG listened to the discussions of the runes eventually his mind wanders and he says aloud
“Is it possible the lock or seal lasted only for as many years as the magic was repeated in the runes, perhaps held an abeyance of release rather than a true lasting seal?”

He thinks the whispering way could set up its own self fulfilling prophecy in order to ensure the belief of fanatics...

He sets about eating lunch as well
“The sheriff and men can handle The townsfolk but naught anything beyond that.”

He considers the question
“Obviously we intend to return to the prison and hope to overcome these haunts. But cannot in good conscience leave the townspeople unprotected.”
GM
 GM, 304 posts
Thu 20 Jun 2019
at 19:15
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon studied the runes but wasn't able to glean any more than Garland. Perhaps with more study...

“Is it possible the lock or seal lasted only for as many years as the magic was repeated in the runes, perhaps held an abeyance of release rather than a true lasting seal?” Constantine asked.

Darcon was able to shed some light on the issue. Powerful necromantic and abjuration magic is precisely the sort of ritual that would seal the malevolent presences in the prison away. But the ritual that our heroes had discovered at the prison was performend only recently, about the time that supernatural events began occurring in Ravengro and coinciding with the Professor's death. If the ritual was meant to seal away the ghosts in the prison had it simply failed? Or was it designed for some more nefarious purpose?



Kendra helped Darcon bundle the rubbings up for the trip to Ravengro's magic shop, the Unfurling Scroll.

It was a two story building in the town square, like most shops in Ravengo the proprietor Alendru Ghoroven lived on the upper floor and ran his business from the lower. It was one large room with an open area at the front and rows of bookshelves and scroll niches towards the back. Alendru greeted them as they entered, an aging wizard with long white hair and and a long white beard, both straight, neatly combed, and fashionably waxed. In truth Alendru was less of a magical practitioner and more of a schoolteacher. The Unfurling Scroll doubled as Ravengro's school house and he spent most of his time teaching.

He cleared off the end of a long table when Kendra and Darcon explained their errand, his eyes alight behind thick spectacles at the prospect of some real research. His brow furrowed as he pored over the rubbings.

At length he shook his head.

"I'm afraid these runes are beyond me. They're necromatic, obviously. And look here, isn't that an interesting construction?" He pointed out one of the runes that Darcon had identified as a symbol of abjuration.

"I'm afraid that I can't tell you exactly what this ritual was meant to accomplish. If you would like I can send a letter to my colleagues at the university in Lepidstadt. They should be able to give us an answer in, oh, two or three weeks."



The Unfurling Scroll has level 1 and level 2 scrolls available for purchase and various magic items below Ravengro's 1,000gp purchase limit.



Father Grimburrow steepled his fingers over the table, his brow furrowed.

"Hmmm. I can extend some limited protection to the villagers, but the number that I can protect is small, and the time that I can protect them for is limited. It's a simple matter of my own limitations. Even if I were to expend every spell that I am able to cast it would not ward even a tenth of the villagers, and the protection spells would only last a couple of hours."

He shook his head sadly.

"No, it looks like the only resolution to this crisis will be to remove the root, to expunge the evil spirits from the prison itself."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 105 posts
Fri 21 Jun 2019
at 04:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland nods slowly as he takes a seat at the table, somehow already knowing Father Grimburrow's answer. "I suspected that might be the case though I hoped you were far more powerful then you were letting on. Pharasma has not yet seen fit to call us to the boneyard so we still have time. If you are willing I would like to see the town guard and the church work in tandem for any issues that arise. That alone should grant us greater leway in challenging Harrowstone and its denizens."

He looks over at his comrades as his fingers grip his holy symbol tightly. "I suggest we enter the prison tonight. During the day we faced many dangers but when night falls the spirits that remain will manifest. With the knowledge we've gained, and a bit of luck we may be able to put a few of them to rest. Another day expedition would do little but grant us a chance to scout the area. Furthermore, we may need to consider sleeping in the prison as we are working against the clock. Its only a matter of time before the spirit who controlled Gibs takes him again, or controls another victim."
Sir Constantine Godalming
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Fri 21 Jun 2019
at 14:12
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Tis true the blessing of the watch would only last so long and only aid the town guard for the the part of the night and it would also be unlikely they would willing accept the mark upon their heads for that duration.   Can your acolytes manage healing or can tend to wounded?”

SCG continues to eat a hearty lunch;
Noticed scrolls for purchase it might be more useful to secure holy water perhaps two each to use as splash weapons against ghosts. Protection from evil might be a good scroll...
GM
 GM, 305 posts
Fri 21 Jun 2019
at 18:20
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Father Grimburrow tapped a finger against his chin.

"I can send an acolyte on patrol with the town watch at night. It may help with the people's confidence if nothing else. My acolytes have much to learn of Pharasma's teachings, none of them nave any concrete power. But they are good lads, and true, and in their hearts they walk in the light."

"Take care if you return to the prison tonight. The spirits grow restive, and I cannot say what dangers await you within."


Kendra was sitting nearby, biting her lip. She looked like she was puzzling something for several long minutes before speaking up.

"If we're returning to the prison should we take the cursed objects that we found, or should we leave them here where it's safe? If the curses upon them are so strong it could be dangerous to take them to the prison."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 106 posts
Sat 22 Jun 2019
at 02:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland shakes his head side to side slowly. "I believe we should secure those cursed items in some kind of vault. They may provide those spirits with greater power...although they may also be the weapon to destroy them. There is no way to be sure but I would rather be cautious...I believe we should also seek out the ghost of Vessoria Hawkren and see why she was being targeted by the Splatterman. All of these lost souls must be put to rest in time as no one, no matter how terrible or rotten deserves to walk the earth for all etenity."

He looks around the table especially at the acting sherrif and Father Grimburrow. "That said, we must also deal with the smaller spirits as well. The haunts. Does the sherrifs office or temple have death records from when the prison was still active? They may provide us clues in how to stop the smaller spirits from manifesting. "
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 142 posts
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Sat 22 Jun 2019
at 12:03
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Sage advice to not go back until early morning.  Can you provide us with holy water for another foray into the prison?”

Weighing the needs of the town and his own mortal limitations he judges the best course of action...
“Perhaps this night I should walk with the guards and acolytes in defense from restless spirits; to do so I will have to rest from now until true nightfall.  This I will do unless others have need of me, currently.”

SCG is referring to 8 pm as true nightfall

This message was last edited by the player at 12:22, Sat 22 June.

Darcon
 player, 67 posts
Sat 22 Jun 2019
at 20:37
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
In between chatting to the aged ex-wizard and now schoolteacher about the nature of magic and updating him on the situation they were facing in the town, and browsing through his wares a bit, Darcon finally said, "Indeed, we would be most appreciative if you were to send a missive to your colleagues and ask for their expertise." Up to three weeks was a long time, but then they had no idea how long their investigation and its presumed result would take.

Darcon also queried the elder mage further about their current situation. "Are you sure you cannot offer any more assistance, such as anything you may recall about the prison and the unquiet spirits that have risen up suddenly? Are there any specific types of spells that may help in facing them? And do you know anything of the Whispering Way and why it may be involved?" the mage asked earnestly, hoping the old mans years of arcane experience might result in the sage advice.

Later, back at the house during lunch he listened intently to the conversation and Grimurrow's disclosure on what help he and his acolytes could give. Kendra's mention of the cursed items made him nod and he asked the priest, "Yes, we have a few cursed items that could be of much use to us, such as a spellbook I could put to good use. Any chance you might be able to remove the curse upon it with your clerical magic?"
GM
 GM, 307 posts
Mon 24 Jun 2019
at 19:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Alendru nodded and enlisted Darcon and Kendra's help in transcribing copies of the rubbings they had taken at the prison. As they worked they chatted about magic and Alendru answered their questions as best he could.

"The fire at the prison was before my time. Well, before I came to live in Ravengro." He said with a rueful chuckle.

"I cannot tell you of the spirits that haunt the place specifically, the return of those from beyond the grave was never my area of study. Transmutation, that's where the most interesting topics can be found. But let me think.

Ghosts are notoriously difficult to defeat. Even if you use magics against them they lack effectiveness, and ordinary weapons will not harm a ghost at all. Magical weapons will, partially, and spells of force have full effects on ghosts. A casting of ghostbane dirge can help. In fact I think I have one..."


He wandered back through the stacks and returned with a pair of scroll cases, two scrolls of ghostbane dirge.

"Ah, I had two.

But to defeat a ghost is only a delay, they will re-form several days later. You must use a weapon with some significance to the ghost itself to truly defeat it, or otherwise resolve the issue that keeps it bound to this plane.

As for the Whispering Way, faugh."
He waved dismissively.

"They are a myth. Oh, their order was powerful thousands of years ago. They served the Whispering Tyrant and at one point were poised to threaten all of Golarion. But their power was broken by the Shining Crusade. They're just a legend now."

He quickly penned a letter to one Edjurios Mott, a professor at the Lepidstadt university, and enclosed the copy of the rubbings.



The scrolls of ghostbane dirge are 2nd level spells, available for 150gp each. Ghostbane dirge temporarily makes ghosts take half damage from mundane attacks and full damage from magical attacks.




Father Grimburrow nodded sagely and sipped at his tea.

"What records we have are of course still available to you, but with all the research you have been doing and the notes that you recovered from the prison itself I daresay that your knowledge of the Harrowstone inmates is as complete as any.

I will make you as much holy water as I can, I will only need the components."
He said.

"We wouldn't be able to carry all of the notes with us, but we can take the inmate records, at least." Kendra chimed in. "And Shara left behind the spirit planchette when she was called away, we could use that to contact the spirits in Harrowstone."

At Darcon's suggestion Father Grimburrow inspected the cursed objects gingerly, magically probing them but trying to touch them as little as possible.

He grimaced.

"These are indeed cursed. Dark items, not to be handled lightly. At least they lack the compulsive component that many cursed items share, if you use these items you will not be compelled to keep them. You can discard them after use.

Alas, my own power is not great enough to cleanse them. One of the fathers in Caliphas would have access to such magics though, a power spell to break enchantments of this type."




Father Grimburrow will cast any spell that he can to assist you. He can cast up to 2nd level spells but he doesn't have access to remove curse or break enchantment, which are lvl 3 and lvl 5 spells respectively.

You can take a portion of the notes with you to the prison, which will enable you to make a knowledge check on specific haunts with 15 minutes of research. You'll get +7 to this check, +4 from the notes and +3 from Kendra's aid another.

Father Grimburrow (or Garland) can cast Bless Water to create holy water, the material component is 25gp worth of silver dust.

GM
 GM, 310 posts
Tue 25 Jun 2019
at 18:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Our heroes bid farewell to father Grimburrow, took care of their purchases and last business about town, and then set off for Harrowstone.

Packing up notes and provisions--even for a several day stay--didn't take long, and the hike up to the prison was a little under an hour. It was late afternoon before they arrived at the prison gates.

The abandoned prison was just as they had left it. Rotting doors swung ajar, the runes could still be seen scrolled around the prison's base, and abandoned windows glowered out onto the prison yard like empty eye sockets. The great entryway yawned open, waiting for our heroes to decid wherein to venture.




Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 147 posts
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Tue 25 Jun 2019
at 23:15
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG takes in the scene of the prison in the light of day and the place is no longer as foreboding as it once appeared to him, perhaps it was his renewed strength or perhaps it was the fact of the light of day.  Though the darkness of night seemed nearly the same to his eyes.

He readies his heavy wooden shield and secures the straps. he likewise readies his morningstar, the leather strap set over his wrist in case he lost his grip.


"Stay behind me and be aware of dangers.  I say a quick lead up to where we were before and then entry into the remaining internal chamber."

In other words door number 4....
GM
 GM, 312 posts
Wed 26 Jun 2019
at 18:55
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine moved cautiously but quickly through the areas of the prison already explored, making quickly for the open area to the west of the prison.

The first chamber that he entered was a relatively large room with benches along one wall and a recessed area with a drain, moldering buckets, and waist high dividers. There was a wheeled cart in the center of the room, partially destroyed, on which moldy uniforms were rotting away.

After an induction in the meeting hall it was here that prisoners would be stripped, deloused, and issued a rough prisoner's uniform.

An examination of the chamber showed no haunts or other threats, and nothing of value save the rotting uniforms and a pair of rusty manacles.

As they explored Garland's hackles rose. The other heroes missed it, but the cleric's ears pricked as he moved to the north of the chamber. He could hear as if from a great distance, ever so faintly, the sound of a woman sobbing. The sound seemed to be coming from a nearby chamber, although it was difficult to pinpoint its location. Perhaps to the north west.







Garland can hear ghostly sobs very faintly, perhaps from the direction of door 2, 3, or 5.

Explored Rooms:
A1 - Entryway
A2 - Foyer
A3 - Auditorium
A5 - Property Room
A6 - Offices
A7 - Warden's Office
A8 - Chapel
A9 - Stairwell
A10 - Furnace Room
A11 - Induction Chamber - You are here

Unexplored Rooms:
1 - ???
2 - ???
3 - ???
5 - ???
6 - ???