Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
GM
 GM, 347 posts
Fri 26 Jul 2019
at 18:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Perhaps I'll stay behind the group, where it's safe." Kendra said in answer to Darcon. She rubbed her arms unconsciously, where the stirges had drained her, and shuddered.

As unnerving as ever, the first floor of the prison was still clear of haunts and enemies, as was the stairwell and the areas of the second floor that our heroes had already explored. Wary of ambush, eyes on the walls and the floor as well as the cell doors, moving cautiously, they began to explore the western cell block.

There was a privy to the north, out of use for long enough for foul smells to have dissipated to simply musty. The cells were much the same as the eastern cell block. Most were locked but could be seen to be empty through the barred window. A few were open, or had doors rotted enough to easily push through. Several held bodies, nothing left but dry bones now.

One of the bodies was different.

It could be seen through the barred window, a skeleton slumped in the corner in a tattered prisoner's robe just like the others. This body, though, was draped from head to toe in heavy chains. The body had manacles at wrist and ankle, an iron collar around its neck, and a metal belt around its waist. The manacles were not connected together as to bind the hands, instead thick chains that ended in heavy weights depended from the restraints. In life this prisoner would have been able to move only with great difficulty, dragging chains and weights wherever he went. Each weight had a holy symbol stamped into the iron, no two holy symbols the same.

The door to the cell was locked but rotted, it yielded to a sharp kick and gave access to the unusual corpse.




Darcon
 player, 79 posts
Sat 27 Jul 2019
at 14:55
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon gazed at the revealed skeleton with a mixture of trepidation and fascination. What could have caused such precautions to be taken? It did not appear to be similar to ones taken against mages or other spellcasters, perhaps a brute creature of some sort, such as a half-orc berserker? The holy symbols implied some form of unholy creature, perhaps a lycanthrope?

"Kendra, Garland, what do you make of this? Has your research revealed a reference what sort of creature this may have been in life?" Darcon queried his companions.
Perception Check: 10
Garland Van Burke
 player, 131 posts
Sat 27 Jul 2019
at 17:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland waited a moment raising his hands with his holy symbol in his hands as he spoke softly. "Holy goddess grant me the sight to see the abominations that hide from us." He looked over the area, letting the spell do its work as he spoke softly. "My research revealed the deeds and the names of the prisoners but not what they looked like."

OOC: Casting Detect undead and focusing on the corpse and the area
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 173 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sun 28 Jul 2019
at 16:43
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I share in your trepidation of what sort of prisoner requires such precautions, and why such a prisoner would not be deep below in the furthest recesses of a dunegon."


SCG looks through darkvision as perhaps the creature is not dead or undead at all.
GM
 GM, 348 posts
Mon 29 Jul 2019
at 18:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
A closer examination of the body showed it to be quite human, nothing demi-human or lycanthropic about it. With the tissue rotted away until only bones remained it was nearly impossible for an examination to reveal the cause of death, but given the body's pose huddled far from the door and our hero's knowledge of the disaster it could be surmised that he had died of smoke inhalation.

Garland's spell lent immediate results. From the very first he could detect a strong necromantic presence in the area, in addition to the general undead aura of the prison. As he concentrated further he began to narrow his focus. He could detect a single, powerful aura present in the area and a second aura, just as powerful, but attenuated and stretched thin as if it enveloped the whole prison. As his clarity and focus with the spell reached its height he was able to determine the location of the localized aura. To his shock it resolved itself, to his eyes alone for as long as he maintained his spell.

He saw a ghostly figure, the twin of the chained body on the floor but made manifest in full flesh in the ghostly, transparent hue of an unquiet spirit. The figure was short and stout, in the simple brown robe of a priest. Yet the chains it wore in life were mirrored on the ghost, a hunched back bent down by weighted holy symbols. It did not seem perturbed. The figure's face was cherubic, fat cheeks pulled into a beatific, fatherly smile. It seemed to radiate kindness and good cheer. And it stood, not over its own mortal remains, but hoovering protectively over Darcon's shoulder. One ghostly hand rested there, unfelt by the mage's mortal senses, a paternal gesture.







Garland's Detect Unead picks up the presence of undead auras in the first round.

In the second round of concentration he senses two distinct auras, one centered on the room and one emanating over the whole prison. The strongest aura is the diffuse aura emanating over the whole prison, it is Strong (5-10 HD).

In the third round of concentration he senses both aura's strengths and locations. The first aura does seem to cover the whole prison. When he turns to detect the second aura he sees the spirit standing next to Darcon with its hand on his shoulder. Its aura is also Strong (5-10 HD).

Everyone else who is not casting Detect Undead cannot see this spirit, but you can assume that Garland describes it in sufficient detail.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:20, Mon 29 July.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 174 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 30 Jul 2019
at 13:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Assuming the spirit is described.........


"This sounds perhaps a spirit that we need not face yet, as it is or appears to mean no harm.  Perhaps we should check the guard post and then head for the lower level."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 132 posts
Tue 30 Jul 2019
at 15:16
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland takes the time to describe the spirit and its actions in exacting detail as he looks over the spirit. "Before that, we should try to communicate with him. " he said as he took on old dusty piece of wood from the debris, presenting it to the spirit that he saw, asking softly "I am Garland Van Burke, could you write your name in the dust?"
Darcon
 player, 80 posts
Tue 30 Jul 2019
at 16:58
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon's eyes widened as Garland described what he saw with the ethereal sight afforded by his conjuring. Despite his own experience with magic and the otherworldly, he couldn't help but shudder at the thought of an apparition touching him.

"Yes, reveal yourself spirit and state your intentions," Darcon spoke sternly, glancing in the direction Garland looked as he presented the piece of wood from the debris to the invisible apparition.
GM
 GM, 349 posts
Tue 30 Jul 2019
at 17:31
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
It seemed as if the spirit could hear them, he turned his pleasant smile towards whoever spoke, but he said not a word. The ghostly figure did not shake his head or give any sign of refusal, but neither did he move to write his name or give any other signal. He simply floated behind Darcon, a gentle hand on his shoulder.

When Darcon moved the spirit did as well, when Darcon moved quickly he moved away but when he stopped the ghost drifted over again, always with that hand calmly on his shoulder. The gentle smile never left the spirit's face. He did nothing else, simply hovered there, looking around with his friendly and paternal mien, and beaming at each of them in turn.

At Constantine's suggestion Kendra, careful to keep well clear of our heroes, moved to rattle the locked door of the guard post. A row of bars separated it from the rest of the landing, and the iron door was locked fast.

"It's still locked." She said, calling into the cell block.

It would take a key or significant effort with mace and prybar to force entry.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 133 posts
Wed 31 Jul 2019
at 02:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland looks at the spirit tilting his head slightly as he watches the being. "He seems to like you Darcon but he will not, or perhaps can not speak with us. I do not know if he is one of the infamous prisoners I studied but if he could be any of them my guess would be Sefick Corvin. His crimes were many and hienos but to his credit he was no murderer"

He stops and reaches back to his belt, pulling out one of the small vials of acid he had purchased just before their first foray into the prison and handed it toward Kendra, never taking his eyes off the spirit. "Try this Kendra, your father used the same trick on a locked tomb when he and I met years ago."
GM
 GM, 351 posts
Wed 31 Jul 2019
at 17:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra's face brightened and she carefully drizzled the acid into the lock. There was a hiss and the acrid scent of melting metal filled the corridor. After a few minutes watching the lock melt Constantine was able to kick the weakened metal open with a clang.

The guard post was well organized and neatly appointed, there were no signs of panicked activity. Evidently it had been empty during the fire and had not been touched since. There was a weapons locker holding pitted, rusted blades in organized rows and four sets of steel manacles that had survived somewhat better. There was also a cabinet with some emergency supplies, a healer's kit and a wand that Darcon identified as a wand of cure light wounds.

Garland's spell lasted for some time into the search, as long as he kept it trained on Darcon he still saw the specter hoovering over him, but eventually its duration ended and the ghostly figure vanished from sight.







I've added a wand of cure light wounds with 21 charges to the group loot sheet, as well as a healer's kit and 4 masterwork manacles.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 175 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 31 Jul 2019
at 18:45
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"We have done well my friends.  Once we are ready we can travel on to the lower levels or to the flooded sections."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 134 posts
Thu 1 Aug 2019
at 03:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland takes his time to secure one of the sets of manacles and he also takes the wand, adding it to his growing arsenal of magical healing tools. "I believe I am the only one with the skill set to use this though if someone else desires it, please say so."

Once the loot is decided he points down towards the ground as he looks at the others. "Our next task is in the prison's lower level but I suggest we examine the entrance we know of before we descend. The last thing we want is to descend into the darkness with no way of escape. "
GM
 GM, 352 posts
Thu 1 Aug 2019
at 17:57
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
With their exploration of the first and second floors completed our heroes knew that the only remaining entrance to the dungeon below the prison was in the training room (A4).

As they descended the stairs from the upper floor (A9) they peeked once again into the other stairwell, the one that had once led downward. Those stairs had been collapsed by the deadfall, nothing remained but a blocked passage of rubble and rotting timbers. It would have taken a team of engineers and miners a week to excavate those stairs, and that would risk damaging the foundations of the rest of the prison as well.

And so the party gathered in the training room, peering into the great deep hole that yawned blackly in its center. Scorch marks emanated out from the pit, and the charred remains of timbers still clung raggedly to the edges of the hole. That had once been a lift used to lower supplies and equipment into the dungeon below. During the riot, after the deadfall had sealed the stairs, this was the lift that the prisoners had tried to scale. The lift that the guards had set aflame in an ill-conceived attempt to stop them from escaping.

Nothing remained of it now. The timbers of the shaft, the platform, the counterweights, all had burned to ash and collapsed into the dungeon below.

Kendra bumbled with her flint and tinder and after a moment dropped a torch down into that abyss. It fell about 20ft to the floor of the chamber, not a small drop, but not one easily navigated either. The hole was in the rough center of the ceiling of the chamber below, meaning that it wouldn't be easy to scale down past the ceiling. The guttering torch showed only a small pool of light around it, but there didn't appear to be any obvious threats down below.




Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 176 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 1 Aug 2019
at 18:16
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Safety and common sense would say that we should secure a block and tackle and perhaps a horse here to get us lowered to the chamber below. "


He looks around to the group...
"Unless someone has other ideas?"
Garland Van Burke
 player, 135 posts
Thu 1 Aug 2019
at 20:12
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland shook his head side to side as he looked down the hole. "I lack any spells to easily traverse the hole. Though I doubt we should leave the rope to a horse. There must be something sturdy nearby that can hold our weight, at least one at a time." He pauses as he looks over at Kendra. "If not, then I suggest Kendra remain here in case we require aid. Father Grimburrow's priests or the guard should be able to pull us up if she seeks their aid."
Darcon
 player, 81 posts
Fri 2 Aug 2019
at 18:40
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Still trying not to think too much about the ghost he was sure was still hovering about him, Darcon moved past the others and peered down into the hole, staring at the torch sputtering down in the dark. Raising a hand he murmured something subtle underneath his breath and a ball of soft blue light flickered into existence over his tattooed palm. With a casual flick of his wrist he sent it careening lazily down into the hole.

"I can use my magic to get us down there, but getting back up will require more mundane means, unless we find some other way to come back up. I suggest we tie a rope to the edge of this pit to allow us to climb back up; someone must have a grapnel?" he said to the others.

Turning to look back down the pit Darcon furrowed his brow for a moment, and the ball of blue light moved past Kendra's torch at the bottom to illuminate the area a bit more. Darcon stared down for a moment before turning to regard the others again.

"Something doesn't sit right with me, the spirit of the Warden's wife claimed there were two apparitions on the upper floor, yet we faced only one. That means either she was mistaken, or the one hovering around me is the second one, and if that is the case we should really think about doing something about it before it becomes a problem," the mage added in a concerned tone.

GM
 GM, 353 posts
Fri 2 Aug 2019
at 19:03
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
With Darcon's mobile light they were able to get a much better view of the chamber down below. It was larger than the cell block that it had once been, the walls had collapsed in somewhat and left the edges of the chamber with a rough, cavernous look. Water seeped through here and there from the pond up above, as well as trickling in through the pit that our heroes clustered around. The water pooled in the center of the chamber. Twisted remains of the lift could still be seen, iron brackets bristling with rust and charred timbers little more than slimy lumps.

It was the work of a moment to tie a rope securely to a sturdy ring in the upper chamber and feed it down into the hole. Kendra bristled at the initial suggestion but eventually relented and agreed to stand watch above if the group decided to venture below. It would not do for some accident or malign spirit to cut the rope and leave them stranded down there.







It's a DC15 Climb check to descend the rope into the chamber below.
Darcon
 player, 82 posts
Fri 2 Aug 2019
at 21:21
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
As the others tied a rope around a sturdy looking ring, Darcon reached under his cloak and produced a wand, murmuring a command word. A soft glow suffused him, vanishing as  instantly as it appeared.

The mage slid the wand back into his belt and glanced at the others, as if waiting for an answer to his trepidition over the spirit that had seemingly attached itself to him. It appeared none was forthcoming at the moment, maybe later on when they had time to think about it, such as on the climb down.

"Very well, I shall meet you all down below. Lady Kendra, take care and remain alert. If you need help do not hesitate to call for us, though we should not be gone too long," Darcon said, looking at Kendra with some concern.

With that the mage strode to the edge of the pit, staff in hand before stepping off the lip. He uttered a word of command, summoning the spirits of the air bound to him through years of rituals and conjurings and instantaneously they obeyed; a sudden rush of wind whipped his cloak around him as his fall was immediately halted and the mage was gently buoyed down towards the ground as if clutched by an unseen, benevolent force.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 136 posts
Sat 3 Aug 2019
at 04:59
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland grabbed hold of the rope with one hand while looking over the edge, making sure Darcon was all the way down and out of the way before he began his descent. Rather then make the descent with everything Garland tied his backpack to the end of the rope and lowered it slowly down for Darcon to secure it, he didnt want to chance a fall and crushing the fragile potions or other items inside. Once done he looked at Kendra one more time, speaking softly "Remember, if any trouble presents itself, run. Run back to town an enlist Father Grimburrow's help. We will find a way out on our own but I want you to put your safety first."

He set his feet firmly on the stone and turned around, holding the rope tightly as he whispered "Wish me luck!" he said before making his descent.

OOC: Of course he not just fails it but spectacularly so and its actually 3 less that that because I forgot to add armor check penalty

21:56, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 6 using 1d20.  climb check.

This message was last edited by the player at 05:00, Sat 03 Aug.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 177 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sun 4 Aug 2019
at 16:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG considers the situation...

"If we are going to go down we should have you both secured at the waist and also let you climb down, that way if one falls he will be unlikely to hit the ground below."


Losing a friend to the bites or claws of a beast is one thing, losing a companion to a fall into an open pit was unacceptable.
GM
 GM, 354 posts
Mon 5 Aug 2019
at 18:25
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon's mastery of air made his descent a graceful affair, gliding softly downwards to touch the surface of the pool lightly, sending ripples emanating out into the darkness. The fetid pool of water was only ankle deep, not enough to be a hindrance to movement.

Garland and Constantine, on the other hand, endured a gross misadventure trying to navigate the dangling line. The first mishap came at the edge. It wasn't easy to lever oneself over without a wall to brace against, and Garland found himself in a precarious position. He was hanging on his chest, his legs dangling, one hand gripping the stones in front of him and the other gripping Constantine's forearm. But he found that, with the lip of his breastplate caught on the edge, he would have to shimmy himself free in order to descend the rope. He tried, he failed, and for a horrifying moment he hung suspended in the air as he slipped free, grasping in vain at the edge or the rope.

Constantine tried to grab his companion, overbalanced, and went tumbling down the hole after him.

"Garland! Constantine!" Kendra shrieked as they vanished down the pit.

There was a great clattering of armor as the two doughty adventurers landed in a heap on top of each other, crashing pile of tangled limbs and bruises. The rough square of light above them was punctuated by an anxious face as Kendra peered down at them.

But our heroes had time to do little else than untangle themselves and stand before the dull glow of Darcon's ghostly light began to intensify. No, his light wasn't growing. It was reflected by an unearthly glow that seemed to emanate from the walls, from the floor beneath the shallow pool.

Gooey ropes of slime seemed to squirt out of the walls and fountain from the floor. They wavered, pusating with necromantic energy before oozing into twin clots. They roiled, resolving themselves into two dripping, amorphous, barely human forms.







Garland recognized the forms as ectoplasmic creatures. They were not ghosts in truth. But in any area with a high concentration of necromantic activity the foul residue of ghosts and haunts, ectoplasm, tended to collect. Lesser spirits, too weak to manifest on their own, could use ectoplasm as a conduit to manifest in a more limited way.

The creatures oozed forwards towards Darcon and struck in unison, teriffic blows that seemed to belie their wavering, tremulous nature. They clawed ferociously, rending flesh, and the mage fell dead at their feet.



12345678910111213115 
     ++++      a
    +    +     b
   +      +    c
   +       +   d
++++       +   e
       EC1 EC2  +  f
        DAR    ++g
++++   GARCON     +h
   +         + i
    +       +  j
   +        +  k
   +         + l
    ++     ++  m
      +++++    n



Darcon reaches the floor of the chamber without any trouble.
Garland fails a climb check and falls to the floor, taking 3 damage.

Constantine, I wrote the GM post as if you had climbed down as well. I rolled a climb check for you, which you failed. However, you never actually said that you were doing that, so if you would prefer you can start the combat up above the battle (the hole is the square above where you three start). If that's the case you need to make two DC15 climb checks to descend the rope. If you are okay with the GM post as written you take 6 damage from the fall.

At the start of combat the ectoplasmic creatures manifest and attack Darcon for 33 damage, killing him. Darcon, I've split you off into your own thread to discuss what we should do next.




EC1 - Ectoplasmic Creature - AC12, Touch 10, Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +1, DR5/Slashing
EC2 - Ectoplasmic Creature - AC12, Touch 10, Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +1, DR5/Slashing


DAR - Darcon - Dead
GAR - Garland - 3 damage
CON - Constantine - 6 damage

Darcon
 player, 83 posts
Mon 5 Aug 2019
at 19:27
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Immediate Action: Taken right as Darcon is attacked

Darcon's eyes widened in horror as the gooey abominations came at him with their green glowing claws. There was no time to run or cast a spell, and he was not sure his earlier conjured ward would protect against these abominations.

Gripping his staff in both hands he quickly uttered two words of power, secret words of his ancient order that were to be used only when all else had failed and death was imminent.

"Vaporem Corporis!"

This message was last edited by the player at 19:27, Mon 05 Aug.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 137 posts
Tue 6 Aug 2019
at 02:52
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland see's the mage fall, and fall hard. He looks over at Constantine as he gets to his feet and pulls the healing kit form his back, laying it by the mages body. "Keep them busy! I will not let Pharasma have him so easily!" He stands by the mage looking down at him as he grips his holy symbol, maybe a sudden jolt of energy would bring him back. Even if it didnt it would bind the wounds of himself and Constantine.

"Feel Pharasma's healing light and know that is not yet time for your judgement!"

OOC: 19:50, Everyone recovers 6 health, including Darcon if Garland can make it in time

Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 6 using 2d6+2 ((3,1)).
GM
 GM, 358 posts
Tue 6 Aug 2019
at 18:06
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland's wave of healing energy washed over the party, erasing the damage caused by the fall. It washed over Darcon's limp form as well...or was it so limp?

Beefore its seemed certain that the mage was dead. On second glance he was down but moving, his breast rising and falling, his limbs quaking. Suddenly spectral chains burst out around him, each one ended with a heavy weight impressed with a holy symbol. Those chains wrapped Darcon's form, constricting him with bone shattering force. His limp form began to convulse and writhe.

Heedless of the bound mage the ectoplasmic horrors lurched forward towards Garland and Constantine, reaching out with withered attacks that our heroes were fortunately able to fend off.



12345678910111213115 
     ++++      a
    +    +     b
   +      +    c
   +       +   d
++++       +   e
            +  f
       EC1DAREC2   ++g
++++   GARCON     +h
   +         + i
    +       +  j
   +        +  k
   +         + l
    ++     ++  m
      +++++    n



Darcon, who is not dead, falls down covered in ghostly chains.

The ectoplasmic creatures move forward to attack, but miss.




EC1 - Ectoplasmic Creature - AC12, Touch 10, Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +1, DR5/Slashing
EC2 - Ectoplasmic Creature - AC12, Touch 10, Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +1, DR5/Slashing


DAR - Darcon - Haunted
        - Ghostly Chains - Encircling Darcon, 7 damage
GAR - Garland
CON - Constantine

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:03, Wed 07 Aug.