Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
GM
 GM, 103 posts
Tue 8 Jan 2019
at 03:11
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
It was a gloomy and somber day in the small, wayward town of Ravengro, a dour little hamlet already predisposed to gloom and sobriety. The climate was typical for Ustalav's southern provinces. Grey and drawn, with wan, insipid sunshine often marred by lurking cloud cover that at the slightest provocation tended to drizzle a depressing and chilling rain. Once a boom town, Ravengro was now a tiny agricultural backwater. What in any other land may have been a sleepy farmer's town instead seemed suspicious, insular, and contracted.

The town had originally sprung up around a massive prison, now burnt out and decaying, that squatted on a hill overlooking the town like a great corpse. Many years ago a fire had destroyed the prison, and with it the town's main economic base, but the stubborn townsfolk hung on as only Ustalavians could, eking out a living from the rough soil.

The general air was only made more tragic by a sad procession that gathered at the entrance to the Restlands, Ravengro's large and inordinately well tended cemetery. If there is one thing that Ustalavians observed above all else it was the due to the dead. That it was a funeral procession was made clear by the large and lavishly carved casket resting on runners before the gate. Inside lay a teacher, a scholar, an adventurer at heart, a man who had traveled widely the lands of Golarion ever in search of knowledge. The dearly departed Professor Petros Lorrimor.

It was an odd funeral procession. Virtually none of Ravengro's native towns people made up its number. The group was an eclectic bunch. A pair of solemn faced nobles and a scholar in a creased cap, a trio of dwarves in boiled leather jerkins, an aging priest, a grief stricken young woman weeping into a black lace kerchief, and six adventurers newly arrived to mourn the passing of a dear friend.
Shara
 player, 5 posts
Tue 8 Jan 2019
at 04:37
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Clad in a heavy, dark overcoat, under which she wore a simple tunic in the favored blue and white colors of Pharasma, Shara seemed unbothered by the weather. The moisture in the air made her raven curls stick to ashen skin as gray as the skies, but the young woman barely seemed to even notice. While some of the others in the procession wore looks of sadness and mourning, with the occasional sniffle or eyes red with crying, her expression was one of a comfortable placidity, as if death and all its trappings were a simple, familiar walk in a park far nicer than the dreary Ustalav landscape. Perched on her shoulder was a small bird with mottled feathers, one most people would recognize as a whippoorwill. It seemed unusually focused, watching the members of the procession with interest and remaining silent instead of crooning its distinctive call.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 8 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 8 Jan 2019
at 13:01
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Sir Constantine wearing his grey green cloak was in attendance as well the passing of a scholar and friend was indeed a hardship; try as he might he could remember the gist of the lectures he could not recall the vivid details of his lectures.  Though as interesting as they were the scholars path was not his own.

He had his shield freshly polished in a deep brown bringing out the grain of the wood; he saluted the man with his Morningstar a jest they had shared, nothing more than a pun, though personal and appropriate.  He thought briefly about sharing his memories but did not find a way to say so eloquently.

Uncounciously he found himself edging in to the space of the collection of three dwarves and settling in and becoming comfortable. Comfort is what he needed right now and no one could possibly know he had been raised by Dwarves.

He took in the other guests and remained in silence.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 4 posts
Tue 8 Jan 2019
at 13:37
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland was a mountain of a man, standing six foot three inches with a muscular build his dark brown eyes wandered around the setting. He reached up brushing back a few errant long black hairs  over his face as he approached the coffin, letting out a barely audible sigh. He was dressed in a full suit of scale mail adorned with symbols of Pharasma along its pauldrons and painted black and he wore a long black and purple hooded cloak with Pharasma's symbol on his back.

Garland felt an overwhelming sense of sadness overtake him as he saw his old friends coffin and he had to stop himself from breaking down though anyone probably would have noticed a single tear running down his cheek. "I will miss you Petros." he thought before approaching the weeping woman and stood tall despite feeling like he had just been kicked in the gut. He spoke calmly and clearly offering his hand in meeting, friendship, and consalance "My lady, I am Garland Van Burke, Petros was my best friend. I am so sorry for your...for all of our loss. Should there be anything I can do to help please let me know."

This message was lightly edited by the player at 00:41, Wed 09 Jan.

Murkau Holdheart
 player, 58 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Tue 8 Jan 2019
at 22:29
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Murkau stood apart from all others, even his own kind. He had known Petros for decades, watched the Professor age and his daughter grow to be a fine lass in her own right. He hurt, for he had lost a good friend, and that made some of the stoic dwarf's old habits resurface. He glared, hard-eyed and furious, as each newcomer joined the small crowd, daring a single person to let slip even a smirk. Despite his plainly obvious hostility, Murkau kept himself in a neutral stance having had dressed in his best clothes. A silk shirt brocade in black with muted silver threaded into the pattern of swirls, dark grey cotton trousers that ended in cuffs over top the wide soft leather boots. His belt had only a simple sturdy buckle, but held more than just his pants. A finely crafted waraxe, holstered into a simple steel ring, sat just behind the dwarf's right hip, easily within reach. His beard, streaked through with grey amidst the course black hairs, was styled into short mutton chops and oiled to keep it contained. Although the weather matched the atmosphere and general sentiment of those within the procession, Murkau had refused to change or to even wear a cloak. In the back of his head he realized that he needed to cool down, and let the misty rain fall upon his brow and beard, slowly wearing down the fury that had built within his short frame. In his left hand, Murkau carefully held an umbrella for Petros' daughter, keeping her as dry as the wind would allow.
GM
 GM, 105 posts
Wed 9 Jan 2019
at 15:18
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
There was a brief round of introductions. The nobles, Lords Galdana and Maran, were patrons of the professor's research. Abraun the scholar, a colleague. The dwarves, Flian, Murdstone, and Boyle, were excavators that had run many of the professor's digs in the past. They made friendly overtures towards Murkau but, rebuffed, contented themselves in quiet conversation with Sir Godalming, reminiscing about the professor. The elderly priest was Father Grimburrow, Garland's brother in the church of Pharasma, if considerably his senior.

The pretty young woman with eyes red rimmed with crying would be known to any friend of the professor, by reputation if not by personal acquaintance. Indeed, he doted on and adored her so that any stranger who held ten minutes conference with the professor would often be regaled with tales of Kendra Lorrimor, the professor's daughter.

Kendra was a tall and austere young woman, although her austerity was marred somewhat by the mask of recent crying. There was sadness and intelligence in her features, slender and clever and well formed. She was younger than one would expect for the child of a man the professor's age, she was of an age with Shara, perhaps a year or two younger.

She placed a grateful hand on Garland's shoulder for his kind words as she moved to the head of the funeral procession. She presented a deep bow to the assembled mourners.

"Thank you all for coming." She said, the hitch of emotion audible in her voice.

"I know that the journey has been long for many of you. My father was a man with an eye for talent and a firm belief in the best in people. He brought out the best in many, and filled the lives of everyone who knew him with knowledge and wisdom. He saw knowledge as a transformative force, and he was always willing to teach and help people better themselves.

Are there any here, friends of my father in life, willing to carry him on one final journey?"
She asked, calling for any who would be willing to act as pallbearers in the procession.
Keldros Halfmoon
 player, 64 posts
 Half-Elf. HP 13/15. AC 16
 CMD 14. F +0. R +6. W +3.
Wed 9 Jan 2019
at 17:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keldros was very sad inside but trying hard to keep his face a mask of stoic calm. He wasn't a huge fan of Ustalav for the most part, and one of the few bright spots and reasons to visit the country was gone now. He was here for only reasons. One, to support Kendra, the professor's daughter. Two, because he had been specifically asked to be. Well, and thirdly, because he wanted to pay his respects.

He didn't really introduce himself unless spoken to directly and only then to say, "Keldros Halfmoon." He stood near to Kendra, not so close as to invade her personal space or grieving, but close enough should she want or need support.

He stepped forward without hesitation but also without eagerness when the question was asked. "I would be honored to carry my friend one more time."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 10 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 9 Jan 2019
at 17:45
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“I would gladly fulfill this honor; There are many to accept such an honor, perhaps those who worked with him day to day?”
SCG nods to the elder dwarves to see if they desire to accept the honor as a group or if one of them will be elected to the honor.

He rubs the smooth golden wood of the holy symbol around his neck
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 59 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Wed 9 Jan 2019
at 23:38
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The stoic dwarf listens to Kendra's words, slowly losing the hard-edge to his face until she finishes whereby it vanishes altogether. "Such a fool am I, to so easily forget what ye taught Petros." When she asks if any would bear her father to his grave, Murkau quietly steps to the side of the coffin, murmuring to Kendra as he hands over the umbrella, "I will carry yer father one las' time."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 5 posts
Thu 10 Jan 2019
at 02:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland stood next to Kendra the whole time in quiet comtemplation with his hands behind her back, standing at ease while they began the procession. He stepped forward setting his right hand on the wooden coffin and spoke softly "I will carry him to his final rest." was all he said before looking over the others. Petros had inspired all of them in some way and he was pleased to see that even with his best friends death his legacy was living on in others.
GM
 GM, 108 posts
Thu 10 Jan 2019
at 18:43
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
One of the dwarven excavators respectfully doffed his cap and handed it to one of his compatriots as he moved opposite Garland, and Count Galdana took up the last spot in the rear of the procession.

With six pallbearers a perfect, macabre symmetry formed around the casket. The weight of a pine box and an old man was compounded with the weight of history, camaraderie, and memory so as to be nearly infinite. But with the strength of six like minded backs sharing the sorrowful load such an infinite weight seemed nothing at all.

Kendra thanked each of the mourners for their kind words and lead the procession, Father Grimburrow at her elbow. The small funeral party wound their way through the Restlands, past rows of neat stone markers cataloging lost lives, up towards the small but well tended Lorrimor family plot.

Some distance into the Restlands our heroes became vaguely aware of motion along the rows of graves moving alongside the funeral. Someone, in fact a great many someones, appeared to be shadowing the funeral party alongside parallel pathways. Could they be latecomers seeking to join the funeral?

No.

As Kendra rounded the bend she stopped up short, motioning for the pallbearers and other mourners to halt. Stretched across the pathway ahead was a small mob of dark eyed villagers, clad in working garb and glowering malevolently at the funeral party. There were a dozen or more, and some were even armed with farm implements or clubs. Guttering torches spat and wavered in the drizzling rain.

Their leader, an unshaven old man with craggy features and a stained, threadbare tunic, stepped forward and brandished a torch towards the funeral.

"That's far enough!" He boomed, his voice surprisingly strong for his frail form.

"Yer not burying old Lorrimor 'ere in the Restlands."

Kendra's features shifted from disbelief to anger, pain and sorrow only adding to her distress.

"What are you talking about?! I've arranged everything with Father Grimburrow. The grave's already been..."

"Your don't unnerstand. We don't want that necromancer buried amongst our kin. You can take him out an bury him by the river, ifn you want, but he ain't going into the ground here."

Several of the club wielding toughs brandished their makeshift weapons and hot tears of frustration began to leak from Kendra's eyes. The situation was fast getting out of control.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 11 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 10 Jan 2019
at 19:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Tis dark days indeed when in fear of heart and doubt of mind that men do think of all wizards both goodly and kind as foul necromongers.  No dark wizard came to speak at the temple of Abadar.”

“Hear my plea to not add to our burden of grief.”

Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 18 using 1d20+9.  Diplomacy

This message was last edited by the player at 19:02, Thu 10 Jan.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 6 posts
Fri 11 Jan 2019
at 02:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
A hint of anger shot through Garland like lightning through water to hear his old friend's name tarnished with accusations of necromancy. His eyes narrowed as he looked past his other pallbearers his voice carrying truth on the wind. "I am a cleric of Pharasma and even I carry Petros Lorrimor to his final rest. My senoir Father Grmiburrow and I would never consort with a person that distorts the natural order or life and death. Who are you to make such claims when we knew the man as a shining beacon against the night and the mists that haunt Ustalav!?"
Shara
 player, 7 posts
Fri 11 Jan 2019
at 02:07
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara, who'd been appreciating the ritual and pageantry of the funereal services up until that point, steps forward to face the crowd.

"Necromancy? What are you talking about? If there's clear evidence of such foulness committed by the dear professor, by all means produce it. But if it's just wild speculation, crazy rumors, or whispers of conspiracy, then it is you who are offending the gods with your disrespect of this solemn ceremony." she states clearly, strange eyes scanning the crowd for a clear ringleader or signs of falsehood.



18:07, Today: Shara rolled 24 using 1d20+10.  Perception.
18:07, Today: Shara rolled 16 using 1d20+9.  Sense Motive.

GM
 GM, 109 posts
Fri 11 Jan 2019
at 18:38
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Before the situation could get truly out of hand Constantine's words of reason, backed by Garland's support, quickly defused the tension. The ringleader still seemed bent on stopping the procession but murmurs of discontent began to sound behind him. It would appear that most of his small mob followed more out of deep seated superstition than an active fear of the professor. With no desire to behave uncivilized, and even less to tangle with a party of highly competent looking mourners, they begrudgingly began to disperse.

And yet the perceptive Shara could sense some deeper fear driving these men than simple superstition. Even the insular Ustalavian natives would hardly waylay the funeral party of a member of the community at the urging of just one voice.

"Ya cowards. Cowards!" The ringleader began shouting and gesticulating wildly. But his sway was already broken. Without realizing what he had done he had begun ranting at his dubious followers, not at the funeral procession.

He whirled on the procession and stalked forwards, index finger pointed like a dagger.

"Look you here, ye little whelp. That misbegotten old..." His rant was cut short with a sharp crack as Kendra smacked him full across the face, trembling with petite fury.

"Gibs Hephenus! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Raising a scene, spreading lies, stopping my father's... Your wife would be ashamed of you. Go home." She said coldly, regaining some measure of self control as she brushed past him.

Gibs stumbled back in shock. He looked for a moment like he was about to surge forwards but Count Galdana gave him a dark look and a rash of chuckles from the dispersing crowd sent a flush of ashamed anger through his features. He whirled on his heel and stalked off.

Father Grimburrow, wringing his hands in panic as the situation developed, finally regained his composure and cleared his throat loudly, motioning for the group to follow Kendra's stormy wake. The procession to the professor's grave was short and uneventful after the ruckus on the path.

Father Grimburrow gave a short, poignant service and then all the able bodied members of the group helped to lower the coffin. Last words were said over the grave, small tokens were laid atop the casket, and then the funeral party retired a short distance to let the grave diggers begin their work interring the body.

Father Grimburrow laid a consoling hand on Kendra's shoulder and then made his way towards the church on the edge of the Restlands. The dwarves paid their condolences and then made ready to journey on, as did most of the remaining guests. As the funeral came to a close Kendra stepped up to thank the assembled guests and to invite them all to her home for supper and the reading of the will.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:39, Fri 11 Jan.

Darcon
 player, 2 posts
Fri 11 Jan 2019
at 19:20
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon had been shadowing the pallbearers as they carried the casket towards its final resting place. Clad in a pristine white cloak with the hood up to obscure his features, he had been silent as he quietly bid farewell to the Professor, his master's old friend and something of a mentor to Darcon himself.

As he trailed the others, using his quarterstaff of rare white oak as a walking stick, his mind's eye went over pleasant memories of the Professor's visits, the gifts he would bring for a young man still learning the arts arcane, and the amazing stories and lessons he would share. Though Darcon had not had a chance to really speak to Kendra, wanting her to focus on bidding a final farewell to her father, he intended to do so in depth once the funeral had over and the mourning was done.

The rude interruption by the rabble was quite jarring, but the situation was defused almost as soon as it had begun by the morning star wielding warrior cloaked in green and grey, who spoke with a surprising eloquence typically not found among those plying a warrior's trade. Followed immediately by the cleric's strong words, more akin to a challenge, they were enough to break the will of the rabble who had sought to make mischief.

Though they disbanded Darcon's eyes bore daggers towards their backs; he knew their kind, the ones who sought for the slightest of excuses to burn mages at the stake out of sheer ignorance, hatred or jealousy. Inwardly he cheered as Kendra slapped the ringleader and gripped his staff until his knuckles whitened, resisting the urge to smash it into the man's skull.

Later, as the funeral was ending and the body lowered into the grave Darcon bid farewell to the Professor one last time, then turned his gaze towards the other outsiders who had come to the village to attend the funeral. The Professor had made friends with quite a variety of people with a broad spectrum of skills, and that did not surprise Darcon in the slightest. In fact, it could be the solution to a quandary the mage had been facing over the past few months, and he resolved to meet with as many of them as he could and see where things led.

But first things first; Darcon walked over to Kendra and spoke quietly, "I am Darcon my lady, and I count your father as one of my teachers. I must say your bravery in facing this grief and in facing down those illiterate ruffians earlier did not surprise me in the least, you are truly your father's daughter, and if Professor Lorimarr could see you now, his heart would be full of joy. I would be honored to join you at your home for supper, and relive tales of brighter days gone by."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 7 posts
Fri 11 Jan 2019
at 19:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland stood at the grave looking down at it as he reached back to his backpack, pulling out the bottle of wine that laid on top. One he had brought all the way from Ulcazar, the same Inn he and Petros had formed their eternal friendship at. "Before you all leave. I met Petros in the county of Ulcazar and he and I put a lost soul to rest. We became fast friends and over the years as we wrote letters he had expressed a desire to return to that Inn and sample its wine once again. On my way here I traveled through Ulcazar to acquire a bottle of the same drink we shared. I can think of no greater sign of his legacy then if the people he knew and loved shared in it with me."

Without waiting for an answer he pulled the cork from the bottle and lifted it back, taking one swig of it as the sweet taste of the wine coated his tongue. Without a word he offered it to the next person, hoping all would partake in a farewell drink to the Professor.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 13 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 11 Jan 2019
at 20:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG held back much like Garland he had intended for the grave to be filled before he departed.  He spoke to Father Grimburrow and the dwarves in hushed tones...
“I fear those malcontents may desecrate this grave in the dark of night, before I get an opportunity to speak with Mr. Hephenus personally, can any remain here in the case?”

He accepts a drink of the wine offered him and passes it on. He nods to the man, offering his hand.
“Constantine.”



Once SCG is certain the body will be warded for the evening he goes to introduce himself properly;
“Lady Lorrimor, I am Sir Constantine GodAlming.”
He offers a bow and then turning he offers her the crook of his elbow...

As they begin walking he waits for her to speak...

This message was last edited by the player at 21:17, Fri 11 Jan.

Keldros Halfmoon
 player, 67 posts
 Half-Elf. HP 13/15. AC 16
 CMD 14. F +0. R +6. W +3.
Sat 12 Jan 2019
at 15:42
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
When the crowd came to try and stop them, Keldros had stayed silent as speaking up would draw attention to him and might have inflamed things more with his...heritage. So he kept his head down and tensed, ready to set down the Professor should things have turned violent - but thankfully, they did not and the crowd dispersed. His lips twitched at the slap Kendra gave.

He bowed his head respectfully during Father Grimburrow's eulogy. when it was over, he began to turn to Kendra but another person came up to speak with her, so he waited. Then another one of the people that didn't look like they belonged in the town spoke up about the Professor and wine.

He pondered it for a moment, as well as the request from other, and then gave the slightest of shrugs. His voice was soft and unthreatening - and it sounded like it was something he worked at, something he purposefully did to help with de-escalation (often pre-escalation). "Do you intend to stand vigil here every night? If someone truly intends to desecrate the grave, they may not be dissuaded by one night's intervention."

He hesitated then took the wine, taking a small sip of it before passing it on. "I'm not saying you shouldn't stand watch, only pointing out that either nothing will happen, or we might wish to approach it from a different angle - say, talking to people and spreading the truth about the Professor to dissuade that sort of thing."
GM
 GM, 111 posts
Sat 12 Jan 2019
at 21:06
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra drank lightly from the offered bottle, passed around the small knot of new friends like a sacrament to an old one. When all had tasted the rubiate liquor it was laid on the casket, more than half still remaining to see the professor merrily into his next life.

Kendra shared kind words with Darcon, Garland, Sir Constantine, and the others who gathered around to express their condolences. Slightly apart from the group Father Grimburrow seemed to share Constantine and Keldros' concerns.

"I'll have a word with Sheriff Caeler before the night is out." The old priest said quietly, drawing Keldros and Constantine aside. "I'm sure he can spare a deputy to watch over the grave tonight. Hephenus Gibs may be a curmudgeon and a bit full of himself, but I doubt that he has the courage to do more than scowl without a mob of cronies at his back. Besides, I believe you are wanted at the Lorrimor estate this evening."

Kendra, who had overhear their brief conversation, nodded.

"There is a dinner after the funeral, and the reading of my father's will. It would mean a lot to him, to us, if you could attend." She said.

The invitation was general, but of the assembled mourners only our heroes and Count Galdana were able to attend. The others bid their farewells and Father Grimburrow bustled off towards the sherrif's office.

Kendra led the way back through Ravengro to the professor's modest home near the middle of town. The center of the town square was dominated by the Harrowstone memorial, a large statue of Warden Hawkran, who had died in the fire that gutted the prison. His pose was heroic but the stone was old and worn, its plinth covered in creeping moss.

The professor's home was a cozy, rustling, untidy place filled to the brim with books, scrolls, and oddities. Bookshelves lined all of the walls, even in the dining room, and the piles of books and papers on chairs and end tables made the collection of scholarly knowledge look like it was spilling off the walls and into the rooms.
Shara
 player, 8 posts
Sat 12 Jan 2019
at 21:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Once she was sure the troublemaker had lost his sway on the crowd, Shara stepped back to allow the more saddened and somber among them to say their piece about the professor. When it was her turn, she simply stepped up to the casket, bowed her head, and smiled, before allowing the next person to speak. She knew that death meant better things and new adventures for the dear professor, but that others preferred mourning of death before celebration of life and a transition to the realms of their fate. She would hold her own vigil for the late professor later, in personal prayer, but for now she was content to sate her curiosity about the odd company the man kept.

A select number of the procession headed to the estate, and here she grew wide-eyed at the man's collection of lore. Most of their relationship had been via correspondence, so this was her first time actually seeing the place in which her learned friend wrote his letters from.
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 60 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Sun 13 Jan 2019
at 01:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
   Murkau kept his face as stone during the encounter, ready to place the Professor on the ground should the need arise. Thankfully it did not, as the more eloquent spoke to the mob, and they shortly dispersed. Though not before Kendra gave Gibs a sharp slap across the face, which brought a grin to the normally dour dwarf's mug. "Ye still got that arm on ya, eh lass? I'm surprised he came within striking distance, there's stories of your fury across half of Avistan!"

   Once the Professor was laid in his grave, Murkau took part in the wine though only a light taste, his order allowed only a small partaking of any drink that might befuddle the senses, before handing the bottle to the next. Afterwards he spoke with his fellow dwarves before they left, apologizing for his rebukes earlier. When others questioned whether or not any of the mob from before might do something sacrilegious, Murkau only briefly thought about it as he figured those raised in Ustalav knew better than to meddle in the affairs of the dead, lest they raise an angry spirit. Therefore he quietly followed the assembled back to Kendra's, excusing himself to change clothes shortly after entering.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 8 posts
Sun 13 Jan 2019
at 02:47
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
When the ceremonies were over Garland made his way to the Lorrimor estate, meeting everyone else there with a gentle and welcoming smile. He did not bother changing as he wanted people to see him as he was, a cleric of Pharasma as well as a healer and scholar still dressed in his priestly adornments and armor. When allowed entrance he looked over the bookshelves, taking note of the large collection as he walked along them. It was clear that he was in his element as he looked over all the reference material, clearly impressed. "Ordo's guide to surgery, Prehistoric Triage, Alchemical herbology and bodily effects...Petros had quite the collection of medical reference material. Its no wonder he was an endless wealth of information about the topic." he said aloud

He wanted to pull a few tomes down and start reading though he tried to be more considerate. He knew if Petros was here he wouldnt have minded though he only knew Kendra from the letters and didnt know the daughter nearly as well. Instead he took a seat on the nearby couch, folding his gloved hands neatly in his lap as he waited patiently for the others to arrive and for the reading of Petros' will.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 15 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sun 13 Jan 2019
at 13:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG thanked the man for agreeing to send a deputy for the nights watch.  He still intended to pay a visit to the rabble rouser or at least find out what tongue he had listened to or what ill will he bore; so that amends might be made if they could.

He was glad that the lady accepted his arm for the trip back; once they reached the door he let her go in first; as others proceeded in he let them enter the dwelling ahead of him.  He walked around the house making certain he knew of all the doors and windows, satisfied he too finally entered.  He wondered what was the condition of this town did it have a court and a jail, surely the sheriff had the support of the people.

Seeing the collection of books and melange of assorted curios; he looked for the personal items a music box, collection of hard candies or a pipe.  It dawned on him suddenly...
“I wish had known him better.”
His eyes moisten
Darcon
 player, 3 posts
Sun 13 Jan 2019
at 15:12
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon entered the Professor's house carefully, almost as if not wanting to disturb the sanctity of the place. Once inside he found the cozy interior quite welcoming, especially contrasted to the dismal weather outside.

His gaze immediately shot to the bookshelves, and his eyes widened at the lore that was surely gathered there. The cleric of pharasma already beat him to it, and Darcon joined him in inspecting the shelves as they waited for everyone to arrive and the reading of the will to being.

Running his fingers lightly over the spines of the tomes, almost reverently, he inspected the titles with a small smile, wondering if Kendra would allow him to borrow a few of the books for reading. If so, Darcon decided his stay in Ravengro would have to be extended until he had studied some of the collected lore here, and made notes for his own use.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 10 posts
Mon 14 Jan 2019
at 03:25
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland looks back at Constantine as he mentions wishing he knew Petros better and it made him consider the people that were here, all touched by his best friend in some way. "Pharasma teaches us that death is not the end. Everyone will go to the boneyard when we pass on and everyone will stand before the lady of graves and be judged for our works in life, obtaining an afterlife to bless or profane how we lived. Yet even in death Petros, as all of our legacies, live on with those left behind. You, me, Kendra...all of us were touched by him in some way. If you wish to know him better you need only look to those of us who knew him. Through our memories, stories, experiences, and encounters he will live on even after his passing."
Keldros Halfmoon
 player, 68 posts
 Half-Elf. HP 13/15. AC 16
 CMD 14. F +0. R +6. W +3.
Mon 14 Jan 2019
at 05:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keldros had nodded to Father Grimburrow when he spoke of his 'plan' with talking to the sheriff. "Thank you, Father. I appreciate your vigilance and aid in smoothing our concerns."

The half-elf wasn't sure he was up to eating just yet, but he gave Kendra a small half-bow and indeed did follow her home. He didn't step in first, after Kendra, but he didn't wait to be the last either. He looked around as he slowly walked inside. He had never actually been to the Professor's home before - they had always met on sites and in exotic locales when the Professor needed his help.

The one man lamented not knowing the Professor better and the cleric of Pharasma spoke up with an attempt to use his religious beliefs as a comfort for others. It was partially successful, though not wholly truthful to Keldros. But this wasn't the time to take away from something that might ease the pain of others in the room that were mourning - such as himself, truth be told.

"Well spoken."
GM
 GM, 112 posts
Mon 14 Jan 2019
at 18:38
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra invited our heroes and Count Galdana to sit around the scrubbed wooden table, a tight fit but not particularly uncomfortable. Cozy. She served a hearty but simple dinner, potatoes baked in cheese, smoked ham, tea, and dark wine.

The meal was intimate and remembrances ran deep. The Count was known to Garland by reputation, both residents of Caliphas, and they shared a little banter about the city's politics. Stories of the professor's adventures flitted like ghosts of a friendlier past about the table and Kendra seemed eager to hear anything she could of her father's professional life.

"Thank you for making the journey to Ravengro." She said when everyone was settled and the meal was beginning to wind down, lifting her glass to the table.

"I'm glad that you came, Count Galdana, I know you were a good friend to my father. The six of you," She said, addressing our heroes, "I am especially glad to see. You see, each of you is named in his will. I haven't read it myself, his instructions were for the will to be read in the presence of all beneficiaries after his passing, but I understand that he's left something to each of you.

Finish your supper, the town barrister Mister Hearthmont should be here shortly for the reading."


After the food had been cleared away there came a sharp, clear knock at the door. Kendra bustled over to admit a short, portly gentleman with a bristly beard and immaculately pressed barrister's robes. Kendra introduced him as Councilman Hearthmont, the town's barrister and the head of the town council. Like most of Ravengro's inhabitants he looked sullen and distrustful of outsiders, although he had character to at least act polite and professional.

He bustled his way to the head of the table, retrieved a pair of small spectacles from a case in his waistcoat pocket, and produced the professor's will from a wax-sealed scroll case. He cleared his throat, glanced around to be certain that he was being granted the proper gravitas, and began to read.

“I, Petros Lorrimor, being of sound mind, do hereby commit to this
parchment my last will and testament. Let it be known that, with
the exception of the specific details below, I leave my home and
personal belongings entire to my daughter Kendra. Use them or
sell them as you see fit, my child.

“Yet beyond the bequeathing of my personal effects, this
document must serve other needs. I have arranged for the reading
of this document to be delayed until all principals can be in
attendance, for I have more than mere inheritance to apportion. I
have two final favors to ask.

“To my old friends, I hate to impose upon you all, but there are
few others who are capable of appreciating the true significance of
what it is I have to ask. As some of you know, I have devoted many
of my studies to all manner of evil, that I might know the enemy and
inform those better positioned to stand against it. For knowledge
of one’s enemy is the surest path to victory over its plans.

“And so, over the course of my lifetime, I have seen fit to acquire
a significant collection of valuable but dangerous tomes, any one
of which in the wrong circumstances could have led to an awkward
legal situation. While the majority of these tomes remain safe under
lock and key at the Lepidstadt University, I fear that a few I have
borrowed remain in a trunk in my Ravengro home. While invaluable
for my work in life, in death, I would prefer not to burden my
daughter with the darker side of my profession, or worse still, the
danger of possessing these tomes herself. As such, I am entrusting
my chest of tomes to you, posthumously. I ask that you please deliver
the collection to my colleagues at the University of Lepidstadt, who
will put them to good use for the betterment of the cause.

“Yet before you leave for Lepidstadt, there is the matter of
another favor—please delay your journey one month and spend
that period of time here in Ravengro to ensure that my daughter is
safe and sound. She has no one to count on now that I am gone,
and if you would aid her in setting things in order for whatever she
desires over the course of this month, you would have my eternal
gratitude. From my savings, I have also willed to each of you a sum
of one hundred platinum coins. For safekeeping, I have left these
funds with Embreth Daramid, one of my most trusted friends in
Lepidstadt—she has been instructed to issue this payment upon
the safe delivery of the borrowed tomes no sooner than one month
after the date of the reading of this will.

“I, Petros Lorrimor, hereby sign this will in Ravengro on this
first day of Calistril, in the year 4609.”

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 16 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 14 Jan 2019
at 19:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG temples his hands in front of him, his fingertips touching, but the palms at an angle; as the will is read.  Afterwards he reads the document himself.

“It would seem I have received a request, in order to accept I must know what is expected and what this entails.  I also have no resources for such an extended stay.”
He looks to Kendra

This message was last edited by the player at 19:35, Mon 14 Jan.

Darcon
 player, 4 posts
Mon 14 Jan 2019
at 21:34
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon enjoyed the meal and ate his fill, something he rarely did, preferring to eat only close to satiation. A full stomach dulled the mind in his experience. This night he made an exception, and did not regret it in the least.

Afterwards, he remained seated as the will was read, listening carefully. When it was finished he found he had no qualms with the instructions, or rather the request of the late professor.

Darcon had intended to remain here anyway to study the professor's books, this only gave him a good excuse. Not to mention watching over Kendra would be an honor, and Darcon would sleep easy knowing the professors spirit might feel peace when it knew his daughter was in good hands.

"I agree to these instructions,"
Darcon announced softly, looking at Kendra as he did so. "I do not have any accomodations here, so I would be glad to have some recommended. I can pay for my stay as long as it is not too expensive, in the latter case I earn my keep by helping with any scribe work the mayors office might require, or helping to identify any suspected items of magic the town treasury might have in its possession."

His mind did keep wandering to the trove of forbidden books the professor mentioned in his letter; ancient, dangerous lore...Darcon mind began almost to itch and he wondered how he might convince Kendra to allow him to have a look at those tomes.

Perhaps they contained ancient spells of banishment and detection of evil things, and maybe even spells that could allow a user to take the fight to such creatures. Surely in the hands of a well meaning mage like Darcon such lore could be put to good use, rather than be locked up in a university. Or better if he were allowed to make copies of the spells to be found there-in...

Still this was a request best saved for the coming weeks, once the daughter had time to come to terms with her grief.
Shara
 player, 9 posts
Mon 14 Jan 2019
at 22:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara said a quiet personal prayer over the meal before digging in. She remained mostly quiet as others regaled each other with tales of the late professor, but would occasionally chime in with some keen insight on the mannerisms and behavior of the professor and his colleagues. She watched the others closely, as did the bird on her shoulder that she fed the occasional table scrap, getting the measure of their characters and personalities.

She remained calm through the reading of the will, though her eyebrow arched ever so slightly when the sum of gold they were to be bequeathed was mentioned. She nodded to the requests and looked towards the others for their responses.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 11 posts
Tue 15 Jan 2019
at 00:01
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
It was only when the will was read that Garland thought anything. He was pleased to know that he was in the professors thoughts though the nature of the situation made him wonder. "What did you get yourself into Petros?" he thought.

He looked to Count Galdana first. "It seems my leave of abscence will be longer then I thought. Count Galdana, when you return to Caliphas would you mind delivering a letter to the cathedral for me? They should be aware I will be away for some time."

He then spoke to everyone in unison. "Knowing Petros as I did, he was not a man to make such requests lightly. I believe there is a reason he asked us to stay and watch over Kendra, perhaps one he could not pen directly. We should begin with his collection of tomes to see what we are dealing with. We can make further steps once we know what has come into our possession...and though it may be painful to recount the tale, I wish to know how Petros died."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 17 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 15 Jan 2019
at 00:18
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Perhaps I can do some work for the sheriffs office, I have experience in law and order; and perhaps they can aid in securing the chest.
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 61 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Tue 15 Jan 2019
at 17:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I have little else at the moment to be doin', so I'll gladly do this. If any of ye need anything, let me know."
GM
 GM, 113 posts
Tue 15 Jan 2019
at 19:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Councilman Hearthmont dutifully collected signatures on the will from each of the beneficiaries with Count Galdana acting as witness. He bowed to the table, packed his small valise, and readied to depart. On his way out the door he leaned back to give Darcon an appraising look.

"If you are interested in clerical work I can arrange an introduction at the city offices. Call on me tomorrow." He said, and left with a shallow bow.

The will lay in the center of the table as if presiding over the gathering.

Kendra seemed as surprised as the others to learn the contents of the will, especially to learn the sort of research that her father had been involved in.

"I...I hadn't given much thought to what I would do next. Father and I had discussed traveling to Lepidstadt next year to study at the university there, but now that he's gone I'm not certain what's next."

A sad look passed over her face before she forced it into a bright smile.

"I would be more than grateful for any of you who would like to stay. We have a...we have two spare bedrooms, my father's and a guest room. And any of you who wish can find accommodations at the Laughing Demon. I don't know how receptive the townsfolk will be to add an outsider to the constabulary," She said to Sir Constantine. "But you spoke well at the procession. I'm sure Sheriff Caeler would at least entertain the idea."

Kendra's face fell a bit at Garland's question, but her brave face again covered painful memories.

"My...my father's death was an accident. He had been exploring up at the old..."

Count Galdana, who had been sitting in thoughtful silence, leaned in over the table. If he heard Garland's polite request to carry a letter he gave no sign. Instead his eyes focused with birdbright intensity on Kendra, a calculating, appraising glance. He steepled his narrow fingers and broke in over Kendra.

"The books, girl." Perhaps realizing his rudeness his features softened somewhat and a patronizing smile curled on his features. "There may be time for painful remembrances later. For now we must find out what Petros left behind. Where is this chest of tomes?"

His eyes darted about the room, peering into corners and shadows as if to see the chest before him.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 12 posts
Wed 16 Jan 2019
at 01:11
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland shot a glance at the count, though paid him little more mind then holding up a  single hand in front of him as if he were silencing a new acolyte. "Go on Kendra. The professors death was an accident as he was exploring where?" he asks in a calm voice, concentrating on the young woman with a warm smile.

He didnt say it but something seemed off to him. Petros was a man who hunted evil, explored ruins, and brushed with danger so there was no question he lived a dangerous live. However an accident seemed unlikely as the Professor was known for hiring experts and muscle when going on a research venture or monster hunt.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 18 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 16 Jan 2019
at 12:21
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Aye, I have two gold to my name, in silvers and coppers I would gladly pay it for room and board, but honestly I would be better served obtaining work, if not the sheriff then perhaps the stables, and paying my own way.” 

SCG thinks beyond his immediate needs
“And yes securing the chest of books is an upmost concern, do we know the size and weight of it? Will we need a wagon or cart?
Shara
 player, 10 posts
Wed 16 Jan 2019
at 18:08
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I am skilled in the ways of the priesthood, as well as the healing arts. I would happily provide such services to the local clergy and villagers in my time here." Shara chimes in.
GM
 GM, 114 posts
Wed 16 Jan 2019
at 19:31
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Count Galdana looked angry at Garland's dismissive gesture, Kendra's eyes wavered between them for a long moment. Eventually Constantine's comments and the Count's insistence on seeing the books seemed to sway her opinions and she rose with an apologetic look to Garland. She bustled out of the room and the sounds of her rummaging came faintly to our hero's ears. She returned a short moment later with a small ironbound chest which she placed on the table.

It was locked, and there was another pause as she searched her father's study for the key. She gestured for Garland to follow her and talked as he helped her look.

"Father's death was an accident up at the abandoned prison, Harrowstone. He was always taking trips, and he had been there several times, but never without telling me where he was going or how long he would be gone. The day he died he left for the prison in the morning and when...when he hadn't returned by supper time I went to Sheriff Caeler. We went to the prison to look for him.

We found him just inside the front gate. A stone gargoyle had crumbled and fallen on him, it looked like it killed him instantly."
She said, grief still tinging her voice.

Eventually she found the chest key tucked away in a small drawer and returned to the table.

She unlocked the chest, took a deep breath, and pushed open the lid. Count Galdana crowded in over her shoulder to peer inside.

The chest held a small stack of books. There were five in total, each with a note tucked into the front cover so as to protrude slightly.

The first was a thick tome with a rich purple cover. Its center was worked with an ornate but tarnished gold insignia depicting a sword and a feather crossed beneath a vigilant eye. The spine was thick and a small ornate lock bound it shut, although there was no evidence of a key in the box. Its title named it Manual of the Order of the Shining Eye and the note indicated that it was to be delivered to Judge Embreth Daramid in Lepidstadt.

The next several books were bundled together and the note indicated that they were to be delivered to Professor Montagnie Crowl at Lepidstadt University. The first was a jet black tome with yellowed pages named On Verified Madness. The pages looked ancient and the professor's notes were scrawled liberally in the margins. The second was called Serving Your Hunger, a copy of one of several books sacred to the goddess Urgathoa. The third was The Umbral Leaves, a translation into common of the unholy book of Zon-Kuthon.

The last book was smaller and newer, set atop all the others and penned in the Professor's hand. It was obviously a journal or log of some kind, the entries were dated and numbered and several of the recent entries had been circled. Rather than a note the words "READ ME NOW" had been scratched into the leather cover with something sharp.



11:58, Today: GM, for the NPC Count Galdana, rolled 18 using 1d20+8.  Diplomacy.
11:57, Today: GM, on behalf of Garland Van Burke, rolled 12 using 1d20+2.  Diplomacy.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:32, Wed 16 Jan.

Darcon
 player, 5 posts
Thu 17 Jan 2019
at 19:47
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon gave Hearthmont a nod at his offer as the councilman departed. He intended to take him up on the offer, but did not intend to start working right away, he had funds enough to survive for the next couple of days at least and intended to spend them with Kendra, the Professors other acquaintance and the treasure trove of lore gathered here in this house.

"I would be happy to take residence in the guest room here,"
the mage said to Kendra in a kind tone. He wanted to be close to her in case she needed something and ofcourse, to study the books in Lorimar's library.

At Galdana's prodding, as Kendra bustled to get the chest Darcon found himself considering Count Galdana with some measure of suspicion, and not a little distaste. The man's attitude and callousness irked Darcon, and he disliked the way the Count greedily sought after the chest.

He resolved to spend the next few days taking residency here in the guestroom; the mage did not trust this Count to have Kendra's best interests at heart, not to mention the threat of the rabble they faced earlier yet loomed; at least one might return after a few drinks in his belly to seek revenge for Kendra's slap.

As Kendra brought the chest and opened it, Darcon viewed the books with interest. Ofcourse, as soon as the smaller book was laid on the table he reached out immediately and picked it up, before the Count could get his grubby hands on it. "It does say 'Read Me Now'," the mage explained to the others by way of explanation.

Taking a quick glance towards Kendra to see if she had any misgivings, Darcon flipped the book open and started skimming through it.
GM
 GM, 116 posts
Thu 17 Jan 2019
at 20:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The Count peered curiously into the box, poking around to make sure that nothing was underneath the tomes. He tried the lock on the Manual of the Order of the Shining Eye but left aside as there was no visible means of opening it. His curiosity seemed satisfied, his nervous sense of excitement abated.

"Just books after all." He said, half to himself.

The journal in Darcon's hands held the Professor's research notes. The general fare was dry, boring logs of research and day to day affairs but the circled entries were startling and illuminating, the first of which was dated nearly ten years ago.

Ten Years Ago
The Whispering Way is more than just a cabal of necromancers. I see that now. Undeath is their fountain of youth. Uncovering their motivation does not place me at ease as I thought it might. Their desire to be eternal simply makes them more dangerous.

Two Months Ago
It is as I feared. The Way is interested in something here in Ravengro. But what could it be?

One Month Ago
Whatever the Way seeks, I am now convinced their goal is connected to Harrowstone. In retrospect, I suppose it all makes sense—the stories they tell about the ruins in town are certainly chilling enough. It may be time to investigate the ruins, but with everyone in town already being so worked up about them, I’d rather not let the others know about my curiosity—there’s plenty of folks hereabouts who already think I’m a demonologist or a witch or something. Ignorant fools.

Twenty Days Ago
It is confirmed. The Way seems quite interested in something—no, strike that—someone who was held in Harrowstone. But who, specifically, is the Way after? I need a list of everyone who died the night of the fire. Everyone. The Temple of Pharasma must have such a list.

Eighteen Days Ago
I see now just how ill prepared I was when I last set out for the Harrowstone. I am lucky to have returned at all. The ghosts, if indeed they were ghosts (for I did not find it prudent to investigate further) prevented me from transcribing the strange symbols I found etched along the foundation—hopefully on my next visit I will be more prepared. Thankfully, the necessary tools to defend against spirits are already here in Ravengro. I know that the church of Pharasma used to store them in a false crypt in the Restlands at the intersection between Eversleep and the Black Path. I am not certain if the current clergy even know of what their predecessors have hidden down below. If my luck holds, I should be able to slip in and out with a few borrowed items.

Seventeen Days Ago. The date of the professor's death.
Tomorrow evening I return to the prison. It is imperative the Way does not finish. My caution has already cost me too much time. I am not sure what will happen if I am too late, but if my theory is right, the entire town could be at risk. I don’t have time to update my will, so I’ll leave this in the chest where it’ll be sure to be found, should the worst come to pass.



Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 19 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 19 Jan 2019
at 15:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SacG listens at the reading of the document.

“I fear my friends that we may need to go and see what evil maybe brewing and to see what the professor saw, his concern was dire and if the whole town is in danger we cannot ignore it.”

He looks each person in the eye...
“Perhaps we could leave a guard here to look after the books and glean more insight while several of us go to the prison, perhaps also engaging the sheriff.”
Darcon
 player, 6 posts
Sat 19 Jan 2019
at 15:02
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
After having read out loud the journal entries, Darcon shut the book with a loud snap of finality. He was silent for a moment, digesting what he had read and letting it settle onto the others also.

Finally he looked up and spoke, "Well, first things first. It is apparent the Professor's death was not an accident; this...Cabal, The Whispering Way seems to be involved, and quite possibly the very cause. We need more information about them, as well as this Harrowstone place, which seems to be a ruined old prison somewhere around here, as well as the fire that burned it down."

Turning his head to glance at Kendra out of both concern and not a little tinge of sadness he went on, "Your life is in danger my lady, especially if word gets out about this journal and perhaps these other books as well," Darcon stared hard at the Count for a moment as he spoke, tinging his tone with a touch of sinister inflection, then nodded at Sir Constantine as he spoke and went on, "I propose she always remain under our guard, with at least two of us with her at all times. Someone keeping watch on the outside of this house would also be beneficial."

Turning to glance at the tall and muscular Garland, the mage asked the cleric, "The list the professor mentioned the Temple of Pharasma having, can you obtain it? It will aid us in our investigation. Not to mention the tools to ward against evil spirits the Professor writes about, your fellow clergy may know something about it so any information about that could be helpful."
ooc: Knowledge (History): 14; Knowledge (Arcana): 08 To recall anything about The Whispering Way


This message was last edited by the player at 15:05, Sat 19 Jan.

Shara
 player, 11 posts
Sat 19 Jan 2019
at 19:08
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara arched an eyebrow at the revealed religious texts, as she was familiar with the wicked faiths behind them. She knew that the professor had a purely academic interest in such materials, but they were still unpleasant to look at and think about.

But it was the journal that really caught her attention. The Whispering Way... something about that sounded familiar, and not for a good reason. By context, though, they were clearly a cabal of necromancers, and therefore anathema to the faith of Pharasma.

"I'm in." she blurts out, surprising herself. Regaining her composure, she continues. "I mean, I will help investigate this Whispering Way and any influence they may have in this region, including the death of the professor. I can not, and will not, let necromancy go unchallenged, even far from my home."



11:07, Today: Shara rolled 22 using 1d20+9.  Knowledge (Religion). For anything about Whispering Way.
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 62 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Sun 20 Jan 2019
at 00:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I've been with the Professor helpin' fight the various undead he's come across for years. I'll help put down the cabal that ended his life, especially since my own organization opposes undead and those who would deal with them," The dwarf was positively fuming as the journal was read, his fury at this mysterious organization causing his knuckles to whiten as he clenched his fists. As the other's spoke he seemed to calm, though a dangerous glint remained in his eye.

"That said we lack the knowledge the Professor had, so we should do some research ourselves before entering the ruins. Rule number 3 of Dungeoneering: Know what you're gettin' into. We should check the magistrates records in the morning, see what we can find."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 13 posts
Sun 20 Jan 2019
at 01:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland sits there silently listening to the entire journal and when it is completed he even takes it to read over himself looking for any missed details or things that seemed like code. "That is a lot to take in but it seems my suspicion's were accurate. Though I am surprised Petros did not enlist aid as he often did I feel we must look into his death more as well as continue his investigation of Harrowstone."

On the table in front of him he makes a spiral motion that people might recognize as the symbol of Pharasma. "Your work is done my friend, rest knowing that we will continue it." he whispered in thought before looking across that table at the count as he ignores the other questions. "I have been patient and rather cordial up to this point but now I believe we must address the troll in the room. Count Galdana, I want nothing more then the truth. What were you really looking for?"

This message was last edited by the player at 01:42, Sun 20 Jan.

GM
 GM, 120 posts
Mon 21 Jan 2019
at 16:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra looked more and more stricken as Darcon read out her father's journal, fear and anger warring in equal portion over her face.

"Thank you all, I don't know what I would do without all of you here." She said solemnly, looking around the group.

"If these...this Whispering Way really did have something to do with my father's death we must find them. They can't get away with it." She flushed with anger.

"You can all stay here in the house if you'd like, with the couch and a bedroll in the study there'll be enough room for everyone. My father's library will surely be useful for any research we need to do, and the Temple of Pharasma and the town council both have valuable records of the town's history." She nodded toward's Murkau at his prudent suggestion.

She put a warning hand on Constantine's arm.

"It doesn't seem prudent to venture up to the prison tonight, let's leave it for tomorrow at least. And I hardly think that I'll need an armed guard." She said, although she sounded less than certain.

At Garland's pointed question the Count merely shrugged.

"What was I looking for? I heard the will, the same as you. Surely you must have been as curious about the books mentioned there as I? I must confess, while my interest in my dear departed friend is keen my interest in his work is less so. Still, I was curious about the tomes that he would chose to leave us." He swept to his feet, leveling a calculating glance at Garland, and took up his hat and cane.

"Alas, I must be away to Caliphas before first light. My business was not so pressing as to prevent me from attending the funeral of a dear friend, but pressing enough to urge haste."

He took Kendra's hand and bowed low over it. She looked a bit uncomfortable at the undercurrent of hostility that seemed to have sprung up between the Count and Garland.

"Do call on me, child, if you are ever in need. To the rest of you, adieu." He bowed to the assembled guests and marched out of the house.
Shara
 player, 12 posts
Mon 21 Jan 2019
at 16:59
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara's brow furrowed at the tension between Garland and the Count, especially when the Count gave a rather dismissive response then hurried off. There had to be more to his attitude than simple curiosity about the Professor's will...


08:58, Today: Shara rolled 24 using 1d20+9.  Sense Motive.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 20 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 21 Jan 2019
at 17:48
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG took in the continued information though he was no scholar he felt assured those most capable would find the necessary information.

“It seems obvious to me that those involved in whispers are most susceptible to endless suspicion.”

“Thank you Lady the floor shall be sufficient for my sleep.”

He considers the researchers and the tomes.
“I meant not to imply a hurried excursion into the place without obtaining the knowledge needed.  I have cold iron but nothing of great effect against such evil as the notes portend.”

“I have been schooled but more of breadth than any real depth a superficial overview as the professor would say, have said.”

This message was last edited by the player at 19:13, Mon 21 Jan.

Darcon
 player, 7 posts
Mon 21 Jan 2019
at 19:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Appearing to ignore the Count as he bowed and left, Darcon looked at Kendra and smiled before speaking in a reassuring tone, "Our thanks for your generous offer my lady, I at least will take you up on your offer. I will make use of your father's books before retiring to sleep, but let me know if you need anything from me."

Pulling back his hood he let his long hair fall to his shoulders and walked over to a nearby shelf of books, propping his staff by a wall. Turning his head towards Kendra he added, "As for a guard, well your father requested us to remain with you until you get your affairs in order, and remain with you we shall. Think of us less as a guard and more like companions."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 14 posts
Tue 22 Jan 2019
at 01:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland clearly wore his mistrust on his sleeve though without evidence he had nothing to go on and allowed the Count to lie to his face. Though he looks him dead in the eye as he goes to leave. "Pharasma teaches us that all will stand in the boneyard when we die. All will be judged by her for our works in life. Think on that truth and have a safe journey."

Garland would not say another word till the Count was gone, thinking it to dangerous to let an unknown element let him know any future plans. Only when the count leaves does Garland claim a spot on the floor in the professors study where he can roll out his bedroll and place his things. He then returns to join the others sitting down with one of the books Petros left to them before he opens it and begins to read, speaking softly. "In the morning I will go to the temple and consult with Father Grimburrow and hopefully obtain the prisoner list that Petros mentioned. I welcome anyone who wishes to visit the temple with me. Once that is done I recommend we look into this false crypt should Father Grimburrow know nothing of it. "
Shara
 player, 13 posts
Tue 22 Jan 2019
at 17:25
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara nods at Garland's talk of the temple.

"I will assist you. While not formally clergy, I was raised by a temple of Pharasma and am well-versed in religious lore and practices." she says, touching the dagger at her hip.
GM
 GM, 123 posts
Tue 22 Jan 2019
at 18:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keldros remained quiet throughout the evening, seemingly deep in thought. His keen eyes flicked between Garland and Count Galdana but held his peace until the Count was leaving. He hesitated for a long moment, and then stood suddenly.

"How fortuitous, my dear count. With the funeral over I find that my responsibilities in Caliphas are pressing for me as well. Would you mind if I accompany you on the road?"

The Count paused, his hand on the doorknob, a look of mild surprise on his face. After a moment his usual gracious smile spread and he bowed.

"I would be honored. My carriage leaves before first light, I shall have my coachman ready your mount as well."

Keldros took Kendra's hand warmly before he left, leaning close to whisper some words of comfort and consolation before leaving on the Count's heel's, their conversation regarding their itinerary briefly drifting back to the house.

Kendra made sure that everyone was comfortable that night before putting out the lights. She insisted that Shara take the guest bed, and with the men in bedrolls or on the couch it was quite cozy. Nobody took up the professor's empty bed.



Kendra was awake early the following morning and the smells of oatmeal and tea wafted through the house. After breakfast Garland and Shara bid farewell to the group to make their way to the city's temple of Pharasma.

They were greeted by an acolyte who bowed politely and led them to Father Grimburrow's simple cell. The aging priest raised a hand in a gesture of blessing.

"What brings you here, my children?" He asked rheumatically.

Exeunt to Chapter 1.1 - link to a message in this game



Meanwhile, the morning was slow at the Lorrimor residence, breakfast and conversation wafting through the morning air, until there was a sharp rap on the door.

Kendra answered it to reveal the stern looking figure of Ravengro's sheriff, Benjan Caeler. He looked somewhat apologetic at the interruption but firmly stepped into the kitchen.

"Miss Lorrimor." He said, doffing his hat politely.

"I need to have a word with your guests about the disturbance in the square."



Shara definitely gets the impression that the Count is being evasive.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:43, Tue 22 Jan.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 21 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 22 Jan 2019
at 20:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG notes the knock and upon hearing who has come pokes his head out.

“We have not been formally introduced I am Sir Constantine GodAlming out of Absolom.  I had meant to meet with you on my own, this is most fortunate indeed.  I believe we have plenty of oatmeal to share.”

He extends his hand to the sheriff...

Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 29 using 1d20+9 ((20)).

This message was last edited by the player at 20:21, Tue 22 Jan.

GM
 GM, 127 posts
Wed 23 Jan 2019
at 18:21
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Sheriff Caeler took Constantine's hand and gave it a firm, businesslike shake. His demeanor wasn't hostile or inquisitive, if anything he seemed apologetic at breaking in during Kendra's period of grieving.

"Apologies for the interruption." He nodded politely to Kendra and the men sitting around the breakfast table.

"I have some questions for your friends about the disturbance in the square this morning." He said.

"Where were you last night between the hours of midnight and dawn? Did you see anything suspicious near the town square?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 23 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 23 Jan 2019
at 20:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“No worries friend, we came back here and eventually settled in for the night.  I am not aware of anyone leave by before dawn.  Several left after breakfast to seek the priest.”

SCG continues to eat his oatmeal the butter and brown sugar making it taste good.

“What happened in the very heart of your town?”
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 63 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Thu 24 Jan 2019
at 00:26
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Aye the lad speaks the truth, we all slept here after supper and the reading of the will. The Count and that Keldros fellow left shortly after the reading of the will, but they had pressing matters in Caliphas so I doubt they stayed in town for long." Murkau added, eating his own breakfast of oatmeal with some dried meats he brought out. "I stepped out shortly after the reading but I sat on the porch, smoking a cigar. I reentered the residence well before midnight, and had not noticed anything in my time outside. Did ye need any help sheriff?"
GM
 GM, 129 posts
Thu 24 Jan 2019
at 18:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra quickly verified Constantine and Murkau's whereabouts as Sheriff Caeler jotted in a small notebook. He snapped it shut and stowed it in his coat pocket.

"Sorry for the disturbance, you five are the only strangers still in town and Councilman Hearthmount wanted me to do my due diligence.

There was some...vandalism last night. Somebody painted a big letter "V" on the Hearthstone memorial."
His tone was conversational now, no longer investigating but discussing simple, small town vandalism.

"I'm having my deputies wash it off, I'm sure it's just some farmer's children playing pranks."
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 65 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Thu 24 Jan 2019
at 20:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Hearthstone memorial? Mind if'n I ask ye what it's a memorial to sheriff?" Murkau asked after swallowing the bite he took while the sheriff spoke. "Strange things might be afoot, Godalming, think we ought to let the man o' law know whats in the professor's journal?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 24 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 24 Jan 2019
at 22:52
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Nay sir I have seen such signals used to coordinate crimes perhaps a countdown for a crime to happen five days hence.  Such an obvious sign and no clues to follow; Tis unlike the work of children.”

SCG looks thoughtful and smiles a little
“In my day I did such and left an apple core, a pee puddles and my small footprints in the general area. I also left both the paint and brush, not to mention spilt paint....perhaps we should look before it is cleaned.”
GM
 GM, 134 posts
Fri 25 Jan 2019
at 18:56
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"It's the statue in the center of town." The sheriff said.

Most of our heroes had seen the statue on the way into town, an old iron statue on a stone plinth standing in the town square.

"It was built years ago, after the old prison burned down. It commemorates the guards that died in the fire. If you'd like to take a look you'd best hurry, they're cleaning it off now."
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 66 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Sat 26 Jan 2019
at 00:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"It'll be a good first stop at the very least, want to come with?" Murkau turns to ask SCG as he stands from the table. It was a good thing Murkau had prepared to leave the house already, so he just needed to deal with his plates and hook his weaponry onto the various belts.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 26 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 26 Jan 2019
at 14:51
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Unfortunately I have the responsibility for this home and it’s contents until the others return, so in good conscience I cannot leave.  I will come as soon as I am properly relieved from my post.”
Darcon
 player, 9 posts
Sat 26 Jan 2019
at 15:40
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon had spent some time last perusing the professor's library; as much as he would have liked to read the books on the arcane arts the professor had in his collection, their immediate need demanded he catch up on recent and not so recent events of their locality. Thankfully the library was organized well enough and he found what he needed to start putting together the pieces to this puzzle.

He awoke early and after freshening up and eating breakfast with the others, he was present when the sheriff arrived. Listening to him with interest Darcon agreed they ought to visit the memorial, since it was connected with what was sure to be their next goal, visiting the ruins of Harrowstone itself.

Sir Constantine made a good point, however. They could not leave the books, the chest and Kendra unguarded.

"Do we really need to split up further? Kendra can come with us while we can hide the chest and its contents here and lock up the home, the memorial is not so far away after all and we can be there and back in no time,"
he said to Constantine, glancing at Kendra to see if she agreed.
Knowledge History: 23

GM
 GM, 139 posts
Mon 28 Jan 2019
at 15:57
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I'm sure things will be more than safe here with Sir Godalming keeping an eye on the books. Although if you would like to accompany us I very much doubt that they would be in any danger. They sat in that chest perfectly safely until last night." Kendra said. There was no question of her remaining at home, she was headstrong and inquisitive enough to brook no argument on that account.

She bustled about briefly, clearing away breakfast and putting on her hat and shawl, before joining our heroes in the entryway. She motioned for Sheriff Caeler to lead the way, linked arms with Murkau and Darcon, and marched off towards the town square.



The small town square was an unusual hubbub of activity. The sleepy little town of Ravengro saw very little crime, and none of such a public and visible nature, and in the way of small towns the crowd was gathering the fuel that would churn its rumor mill for months to come. Whispers and hushed gossip flew as villagers vied for a better look. More than one shot suspicious, unfriendly glances at the strangers as the sheriff led them through the crowd.

At the center stood the Hearthstone memorial, a statue of Warden Hawkran on a tapered square stone pedestal. A pair of deputies were near the memorial, one shooing the crowd back while the other worked with a bucket and rag. While the vandal had indeed painted a large letter V on the base, Sheriff Caeler's description of the crime had perhaps been a bit pedestrian.

The painted V was a rusty, flaky red. Even a cursory inspection showed that the glyph was formed, not of ink or paint, but of splashed blood. Smears and splatters of blood had been thrown around the base and up onto the statue, creating a macabre tableau.



On the outskirts of Ravengro a lone figure approached, trudging up the long and dusty road that wound past small farms and over rolling hills.

Keanala Stonesmarque, delayed on the road, had arrived a day too late to attend the funeral that had brought her to town. She had made up what time she could, but as she drew nearer to the town her attention was drawn to a crowd of people clustered in the town square.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 28 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 28 Jan 2019
at 17:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Of course, my hope is the others return from the library for lunch.”


SCG waved them on their journey as the group departed leaving him alone to ward the homestead.


His mind focused on the job of guarding the house.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 20 posts
Tue 29 Jan 2019
at 11:51
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
It is a short time later when the doors open once again and Garland returns to the estate with a pleased look on his face. He waits for everyone to be gathered before reporting their success. "With Shara's help we were able to convince Father Grimburrow to open the archives for us and he's also agreed to sell us all sorts of items like potions and holy water. Something that concerns me is he mentioned people have been acting differently in the last few weeks, darker and more suspicious. Shara and I both believe there is more going on here then even we thought before. What of you all, are there any new discoveries?"
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 67 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Tue 29 Jan 2019
at 16:41
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Murkau let himself be led by the younger woman with a small chuckle, grabbing his pack as they left the door. Upon arriving at the town square the dwarf quickly put on a dour face again, not quite expecting a large crowd this early in the morning. The dwarf shook his head, beady eyes glancing about the crowd as they were escorted, muttering under his breath, "You'd think that they'd have more important matters this early in the morn. After all your farm and lands don't care much should there be a hubbub at the town, and ye could hear of it later on."

Upon having a clear view of the statue, Murkau tensed, his body shifting from wary anxiety to high alert, "This was made with blood... How long has your man there been scrubbing sheriff?"
Shara
 player, 19 posts
Tue 29 Jan 2019
at 17:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara quietly followed along behind Garland as the man shared the discoveries they'd made at the temple. With this new observation from Father Grimburrow that moods had been darkening, she made sure to keep a close eye on the people they'd passed and even the group of the Professor's associates, looking for any signs of magical or spiritual influence.
GM
 GM, 143 posts
Tue 29 Jan 2019
at 18:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Perhaps I hadn't noticed, in the weeks since my father's death I've mostly kept to myself. But in retrospect things have been a bit tense around town. Tempers running short, neighbors quarreling, that sort of thing." Kendra said, commenting on Garland's report. Her words were underscored by the crowd's general grumbling. They seemed just as unhappy about strangers in town as they were with the vandalism.

Scrubbing down the statue was proceeding apace, the unhappy deputy on mop-and-bucket duty was making rapid progress cleaning off the monument. It was easy enough to wash the smooth stone; the blood, while gruesome, looked perfectly mundane. As if unconsciously guided by some macabre fascination with the letter he cleaned off all of the splashes and drips of blood first, before wiping out the red V itself.

"We found it like that this morning." Sheriff Caeler said to Murkau.

"Councilman Hearthmount wanted to see it. He ah...asked me to inquire about it." He glanced somewhat guiltily at our heroes. "But it really does just look like it was a prank."
Darcon
 player, 10 posts
Tue 29 Jan 2019
at 18:47
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
A bit taken aback when Kendra linked her arm with his, Darcon stiffened instinctively but tried to appear as if it was normal. After all, it was not everyday an attractive woman made contact with the normally reclusive and introverted mage. He tried to take his mind off it by telling the others about what he had read about the prison ruins over the night as they departed for the town square. The returning Garland's report was also interesting and gave him something to mull over as they walked.

By the time they got to the scene of the crime and pushed through the crowd though, Darcon was more at ease, though upon viewing the vandalism all other thoughts were gone from his mind. "Well that is certainly not normal," he muttered, staring at the bloody letter scrawled on the statue. Glancing at the sheriff he asked, "Do we know if the blood used was animal, or humanoid?"

Ignoring the whispering of the villagers crowding about statue, his eyes raked over the it and its immediate surroundings, trying to take it all in and perhaps see if he spotted anything that might have been overlooked.
Perception: 12

Garland Van Burke
 player, 21 posts
Tue 29 Jan 2019
at 23:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Upon seeing the statue Garland made his way toward it, as closely as he could without interfering with the crowd on guards. He walked all the way around it, watching closely, looking for signs besides the blood painted V and only when he made a full circle did he stop in front of the V.

He reached into his vest pocket and pulled out a small wooden holy symbol depicting the spiral sign Pharasma was known for and held it up against his forehead. "Pharasma grant me power to see the ebb and flow of magic. Let no secrets escape our sight." he whispered, a soft prayer and spell. A moment later when Garland opened his eyes they had disappeared replaced by light blue energy as he continued studying the sight.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 29 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 30 Jan 2019
at 13:26
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Meanwhile back at the house SCG keeps a careful guard on the house, even going outside and walking around to make certain the window, (if there is one; although he already checked this in his initial survey) into the room is barred.
GM
 GM, 145 posts
Wed 30 Jan 2019
at 18:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Hmmm, no way to tell, really." Sheriff Caeler said to Darcon. "Nobody's found an animal carcass or reported any missing pets. Since this happened just last night it's difficult to say whether anyone would have noticed a missing animal by now."

Garland's magical inspection of the monument revealed little. There were no magical auras present except for the occasional minor magical trinket on the villager's persons. One such person was Councilman Hearthmount, who bustled over to our heroes.

"Hrmm. Surely you have duties elsewhere?" He said to the sheriff dismissively, evidently miffed that he was being so cooperative with the strangers in town. Sheriff Caeler knuckled his forehead respectfully and moved off to pointlessly oversee the cleanup and shoo away the gawking crowd.

"You certainly ask a lot of questions." The councilman said in a not-quite-accusatory tone. "I'm certain that our capable constabulary will deal with this incident. I understand that you are guests of Miss Lorrimor? How...lovely. See that you remain well behave guests while you remain in town."

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:28, Wed 30 Jan.

Shara
 player, 21 posts
Fri 1 Feb 2019
at 02:58
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara gave the councilman a long stare before speaking.

"As adventurers and learned scholars, we would be happy to lend our well-qualified assistance to the local constabulary in order to solve this rather strange mystery. Surely you want to get to the bottom of this quickly." she replied to him, putting on her sweetest voice.


18:57, Today: Shara rolled 21 using 1d20+6.  Diplomacy.
As usual, keeping my eyes and intuition peeled for anything hinky about him or the others in the crowd.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 22 posts
Fri 1 Feb 2019
at 03:41
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Seeing nothing magical about the site Garland maintains the spell as he approaches the others, making sure to come from the blindspot of the councilman. He points at the man and nods to Shara before clearing his throat to get the councilman's attention. "Excuse me councilman. Ive been trying to examine the site with Pharasma's blessing but there's something magical on you that is distracting me. Could I examine the item in your possession for a few moments? Just so I know what not to look for?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 30 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 1 Feb 2019
at 14:56
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG finding that everyone refuses to return he loads the box of books up into a backpack and makes his way to where the monument was desecrated.

Even not knowing the small hamlet well he is able to cross the bridge over the small tributary and arrive at the town center.  He is likely too late to see anything first hand, but at least they are all back together.


Seeing the sheriff again he waves.

“What have we learned here?”

This message was last edited by the player at 18:46, Fri 01 Feb.

GM
 GM, 146 posts
Fri 1 Feb 2019
at 18:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
While Garland and Shara both seemed convincing enough not to come off as rude or hostile to the surrounding townsfolk, Councilman Hearthmount was clearly less than impressed by them. He drew himself up to his full height and looked haughtily down his nose at Garland, quite a feat considering how meager that height was. He slipped a be-ringed hand into his waistcoat pocket.

"I'll thank you to keep your fingers out of my personal effects." He harrumphed ill temperedly. He was on the verge of saying more but seemed to sense the effect that Garland's polite request had had on the nearby townsfolk and snapped his mouth shut, chins wobbling.

"Enjoy your stay in Ravengro. Sheriff Caeler, I would like to see you in my office." He said brusquely, whirling to march off towards the council chambers.

The sheriff nodded politely to our heroes and followed the councilman. Kendra rolled her eyes and pulled a rude face at his retreating back.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 23 posts
Sat 2 Feb 2019
at 05:37
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland stood there for a moment, disappointed but not completely surprised by the councilman's response or actions. He waited till the councilman and sheriff were out of earshot before he spoke softly to the group. "Perhaps we should approach the sheriff later. The temple is ready and and able to assist our investigation, having the local law enforcement in a similar position would likely help as well."

He raises a hand to his face, covering the still blue luminescent glow from his eyes before pulling it away a moment later, causing the glow to fade as he mentally willed the spell to end. "I believe there is nothing more I can find here. When you are all ready I suggest we meet at the Lorrimor estate to go over all our findings."
Darcon
 player, 12 posts
Sat 2 Feb 2019
at 22:29
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Intrigued by Garland revealing that Hearthmount was in possession of a magical trinket, Darcon followed the exchange between them closely. He noted the Councilman slipping a ringed hand into his pocket, making a mental note on it. Regardless, he was pleased to see his back, considering the unwelcome suspicion leveled upon them by the Councilman.

"Well that one certainly does not like us. Reminds me of that Count Galdana from last night,"
Darcon remarked to the others.

Listening to what Garland said, Darcon replied quielty, "Good to hear you secured aid from the temple Garland, I look forward to the details of your discussions there, and whether you uncovered anything about the Whispering Way. I plan to study the professors library to see if he has anymore information on them there, I firmly believe his death was no accident and that this cult is involved."

Aside from the background of the Whispering Way, Darcon was keen to try and find out if the Professor had made any notes on known members, or anything they could use to identify any existing members. For who knew, perhaps the Councilman or Galdana numbered among its members.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 31 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sun 3 Feb 2019
at 02:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Be of good cheer my friends, it seems the councilman must take such matters to be of grave importance and will be working hard to settle the townsfolk.  It is natural that he survey us as another factor beyond his control."

He pauses and looks thoughtful
"The constable seems a good man, so we must not take any harshness to heart once he returns."
GM
 GM, 147 posts
Mon 4 Feb 2019
at 18:13
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra led the way home, idly bantering and subtly quashing any more serious conversation with a laugh. Once they were out of earshot of the villagers and safe at her home her face fell back to its customary inquisitive studiousness, now with a hint of worry.

Everybody quickly shared the results of their investigations while Kendra set out tea.

"That's...troubling. If there really is something making the villagers irritable and suspicious it would explain the vandalism, and even the councilman's attitude. He was always a bit of a ponce, but he's always been polite."

She sat at the table and stirred disconsolately at her tea cup, the tinkling of porcelain underscoring her dark thoughts. Grief and shock at the revelation that her father may have been murdered had given way to a real worry that whatever had caused the tragedy was still at work in Ravengro.

"Should we investigate? Should we continue my father's research? It just seems like there's so many threads."
Shara
 player, 22 posts
Mon 4 Feb 2019
at 18:34
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I think we should do both. Clearly, the prison needs to be investigated, and the site of the professors demise scoured for clues of foul play. But if what we've seen in his journal is accurate, then it's best that we go in armed with as much knowledge as we can, which means taking advantage of the wealth of material here at the estate." Shara replies to Kendra.
Darcon
 player, 13 posts
Mon 4 Feb 2019
at 20:30
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Sitting near Kendra and cradling a teacup in his hand, Darcon looked at her with concern and replied, "Yes to both I say. The Professor intended us to stay for a month in any case, so why not use that time to investigate this cult, The Whispering Way, expose them and bring them to justice. Not only will this honor the Professor's memory but perhaps even save this very village."

The mage did not bother mentioning the danger inherent in this task, the professor's murder was proof of that well enough. But his killers needed to be revealed and brought to justice, lest this cult spread and begin to fester across the land. If they did not end this here in this village, Darcon was sure they would never be able to stop them once they began to spread.

Thinking about it more as he slowly sipped his tea, Darcin became convinced that the group's combined skills and talents would be enough to overcome a group of cultists, who were likely made up of everyday men and women driven to dark desires, as was true of so many neophyte cults he had read about.

Or so he hoped. The news that the elder in the temple had said the mood in the town was darker sounded quite sinister, and hinted at dark forces at play. It sounded like a dark enchantment cast over the village like a pall, something that should be beyond a mere neonate cult, assuming what the elder said was true of-course.

After he had finished his tea Darcon started searching among the tomes in the professors library, determined to learn everything he could about The Whispering Way.
ooc: Knowledge (Arcana): 12 (Note: Since Darcon is reading over the books and research notes of Lorrimor perhaps he could get a research bonus to his check?)
Garland Van Burke
 player, 24 posts
Tue 5 Feb 2019
at 03:26
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The whole way Garland was quiet, deep in contemplation as he tried to put the pieces together though when they were alone he was the first to suggest passing a bottle of wine around and drink merrily. Who knew when they would get another chance?

"If the professors suspicions are correct, and I trust Petros' research, Harrowstone is haunted. I believe our first objective is to find the false crypt and regain the items he mentioned. Once properly prepared for any spectral remnants we can investigate the prison. My suggestion is thus: Those of us skilled in academic research should do just that, finding out all we can about the false crypt and any items within and as a secondary topic Harrowstone and its prisoners. Those without such skills I believe would be best used to stakeout the monument for future vandalism. Such a minor event seems to little for such an important monument so I suspect there will be more. Anyone staking out the monument should take care to find out who is responsible but not to engage without the local law enforcements assistance. Most of all we need to start gaining the peoples trust, if people are being influenced by supernatural phenomena having built up trust with the locals will help fight that."

He pauses as he takes the tea, putting in an extra spoonful of sugar and mixing it in as the silver spoon clanked against the porcelein. He brought it to his lips and drank before looking up. "As I am an academic, I believe I'll access the temples archives at sunrise. Petros was convinced they held the location of the false crypt and I trust his judgement. I welcome any who wish to assist me."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 32 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 5 Feb 2019
at 15:16
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG  took in all the information from his new companions...

“Did anyone record the names on the memorial, and inquire about surviving family?”


“The research is important and we must be as thoughtful as possible at the same time obtaining holy water and other tools.  My fear though is that the marking on the memorial was a signal to countdown an attack on the town; with some terrible event coming on the fifth day, meaning we should be intercepting it before it arrives.”

He likes the idea of the research, but is afraid a perfect plan may be too late...


“”Can we each or in small teams research connected topics, I would like to speak again to the sheriff and see what knowledge he has .”

This message was last edited by the player at 15:17, Tue 05 Feb.

Murkau Holdheart
 player, 69 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Tue 5 Feb 2019
at 17:38
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"My own skills are more of the practical applications, tt would be best if I help with overseeing the memorial and talking with townsfolk. Me and Godalming here can go speak to the sheriff in the morn, see if he's noticed anything else he wasn't comfortable in telling us at the time. We can bring the professor's journal, if it'll help persuade him. The man ought to know there might be dangerous people lurking at the old prison."
GM
 GM, 149 posts
Tue 5 Feb 2019
at 19:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Yes, if the Whispering Way is active here in the town we must root them out. And if we really do have just five days to solve this mystery we haven't a moment to lose." Kendra said.

Before our heroes dispersed she insisted on packing a lunch pail for Garland as he made his way to the temple and an extra large one for Constantine and Murkau as they left to speak with the sheriff and investigate the visitors.

Far from a leisurely afternoon at the Lorrimor estate filled with idle reading and note taking, the research session was a flurry of activity. While Darcon and Shara each dove down into their books Kendra proved herself to be an insightful and valuable assistant. With her knowledge of her father's library she would bring stacks of books to the kitchen table to be perused, always on the correct topic and in a useful order, and spent a great deal of time organizing and cataloging the notes that they jotted down.

While Darcon's research only seemed to confirm what the group already knew, Shara was able to turn up some juicy new tidbits about the cult's aims and operation.



At the temple of Pharasma Garland was welcomed back politely and ushered into the archives by an acolyte. They were located in the dusty basement of the temple, past crates of spell components commonly used in divine casting and next to a room full of cloth draped remaindered furniture.

The small room was a bit claustrophobic, tall shelves lit by flickering candle light and filled with niches for scrolls and ledgers. Most of the history concerned the births and deaths of townsfolk, weddings, a record of religious events, and the like. While records of commerce and town history would be more likely to be found in the town council archives, finding the list of names that Sir Godalming had requested was a simple matter. It was recorded on its own scroll, the births and deaths of all the townsfolk who had perished in the fire. Unfortunately a complete list of the prisoners eluded him, although he found tantalizing evidence of five particularly noteworthy inmates.

There was also a great deal about the prison itself, mostly in the form of recorded indulgences performed by priests on behalf of the prisoners. By cross referencing various sources he was able to complete a relatively comprehensive account of its final days.



Sir Constantine and Murkau looked for the sheriff first at his offices in the small town jail, and when they unable to find him were informed by a deputy that he was on duty. After a short walk around town they managed to find him patrolling near Jominda's Apothecary. He seemed preoccupied with something, but shifted his attention to our heroes when they approached.

"Hullo." He said with a tip of his hat.
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 1 post
Wed 6 Feb 2019
at 05:01
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Bloody shards..." Keanala muttered, shaking her head as she walked up to the door of the Lorrimor.  She was annoyed, more at herself than anything else.  Upon getting closer to the crowd surrounding the statue with the V scrawled on it, she had spotted Kendra, but by the time she had pushed her way through the crowd, Kendra and a bunch of others had moved off...somewhere.

After following up a few ideas, and really not impressing anyone with her tracking ability, Keanala finally decided to forget about trying to find Kendra in the town and instead head straight for the professors old home.

She glanced over a shoulder and tugger the hood of her cloak a little further down.  She did not blend in well with humans and everyone in the town seemed pretty darned upset over something.  It only took a few upset looks at the mention of the Professors name before Keanala decided that discretion was the word of the day.  "What is wrong with this place?"

Grasping at the door knocker, the newcomer banged on the front door a half dozen or so times.  "Hey!  Hello?  Anyone there?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 33 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 6 Feb 2019
at 16:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
At the house...
“ I have to agree with Murkau on this for research I would be more in the way, but talking to the sheriff and maybe looking into the town guard we can find out more about recent events and possibly heretofore unrelated crimes.”


As they make the return trip to find the sheriff he hopes his measure of the man would grow rather than fade...

“Good day sheriff, we thought that Murkau and I might walk with you during your rounds and not be too much of an inconvenience.”
Shara
 player, 23 posts
Wed 6 Feb 2019
at 17:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Having taken a momentary break from her research, Shara hears the sound of a door knocking. After the open hostility of the angry mob at the funeral, she grips the dagger on her hip before cautiously opening the door part way.

"Yes? Can I help you?" she asks, her keen eyes quickly making the measure of the stranger at the door.
GM
 GM, 154 posts
Wed 6 Feb 2019
at 19:11
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra poked her head out of the library curiously as Shara answered the front door. Whatever the newcomer's response, it was drowned out as Kendra squealed an excited greeting. She rushed out to give Keanala a big hug and drag her into the house.

"Goodness gracious! I haven't seen you since you rescued my father from that awful dig site. How have you been?"

She drew Keanala inside and introduced her to Shara and Darcon. Once the introductions had been made Kendra pushed her down at the table and began piling her plate with leftovers from lunch. She spoke quickly, her voice excited but tinged with worry as she filled her in on the happenings since the funeral.

She spoke of the angry mob that had almost prevented the burial. She spoke of the reading of the will and her father's journal, which had hinted that a sinister cult called the Whispering Way was operating in Ravengro for some nefarious purpose. She spoke of what Shara had learned at the temple, that some dark influence was making the townsfolk suspicious and unfriendly. And at last she mentioned the large, bloody V that had been painted on the memorial in the center of town.



The Sheriff paused in his meandering patrol but shifted uncomfortably when Constantine asked to accompany him.

"Perhaps it would be better if I answer your questions here. What can I help you with, citizen?" He asked, an air of formality sliding down between him and Constantine like a wall.

It seems that, while his politeness was perfectly intact, his helpfulness had evaporated since his chat with the councilman.



Constantine and Murkau exeunt to Chapter 1.2 link to a message in this game

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:49, Thu 07 Feb.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 27 posts
Thu 7 Feb 2019
at 02:45
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland had left that morning just before sunrise and made his way to the temple to consult its archives. The old Gothic building felt like home to him with its wide hallways and familiar stonework. In these walls he felt like he was in a home away from the great Moonlight Cathedral of Caliphas. It made it all the more welcoming as he descended the stairs into the basement archives, holding up a single candle which banished the darkness and showed him the mass of tomes.

"If the church isnt aware of this crypt it probably dates back to the original construction of the graveyard." he thought as he walked along the old bookstacks, stopping at the burial records and construction records. He pulled an old tome from the bookshelf and set it on the table, turning the pages as he shined the candle over it. "So the town was founded in 4594...that was 125 years ago if my math is correct. I need to start looking at records there."

Next he pulled the map of the graveyard out and laid it across the large table. He followed it with another old tome as thick as someone's head and set it down on the table, picking up a quill and ink to put his notes to paper he began going over the deaths of the past, each time assigning their grave, crypt, or whatever the case was to a makeshift map he had drawn. It took him hours looking through the records, each time setting the massive tome's down and writing down the names and position of their final rest before going on to the next. Garland researched another book, then another, then another, then another and kept going without thought of food, drink or rest.

Nearly a whole day had passed when he finally went through the last book, the candle nearly burned down all the way. There was only one crypt left, a crypt with no name attatched and no family calling it their home.

With a smile he leaned back in the chair, exhaling in a moment of relief as he had found evidence of the crypt's location. He knew where it was, tonight he would return and inform the others. Tomorrow they would enter it and see what religious artifacts remained inside.

OOC: More of a mood post, Garland will return late that night waving his makeshift hand drawn map around cheerfully shouting "I found it!"
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 3 posts
Thu 7 Feb 2019
at 04:47
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala eagerly returned Kendras embrace.  It had been a while since the two of them had been together, far too long as far as Keanala was concerned.  She listened intently while her friend explained things, and shoveled food into her mouth.  It had been a while since she'd eaten so well.

"I saw the V on the statue."  Keanala said, pausing to finish her latest mouthful.  "So, what's the plan?  I'm here and I want to help."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 34 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 7 Feb 2019
at 12:40
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
In reply to GM (msg # 92):

“It has ever been thus in the workings of councilmen and those who work for the people, I understand your position.  Let me assure you the people is whom you are responsible for, not the man elected to represent them.  Perhaps you can just tell us who was on watch when the vandals struck and maybe even if any of those listed on the memorial have family still nearby.  Just perhaps also even the least little hint that might lead us in the right direction.”
Shara
 player, 24 posts
Thu 7 Feb 2019
at 18:12
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara looks the newcomer up and down before speaking up.

"Are you any good at research? We're digging through the professors library to get a better idea of what we're looking for. If bookish things aren't your forte, then perhaps Sir Constantine could use some assistance in his investigation of the vandalism." she replies.
GM
 GM, 158 posts
Thu 7 Feb 2019
at 18:47
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra and Keanala chatted the day away, variously helping Shara and Darcon with their research and trying to puzzle out the strange circumstances in town.

It was winding towards evening when tired eyes had enough of poring over old tomes. Shara and Darcon concluded the day's research, Kendra recruited Keanala's help preparing dinner, Murkau and Constantine filtered into a house filled with the wafting smells of cooking after their day's investigation. Despite the dubious circumstances in town it was a cozy little domestic scene that Garland broke in on with his announcement.

His excitement was infectious and Kendra's eyes lit as she rushed to pore over the map that he had drawn. As studious and clever as always, she quickly retraced his notes to tap her finger on the mysterious crypt.

"This one? I think I've seen it, although I don't spend much time in the Restlands myself. I can't wait to investigate!"
Garland Van Burke
 player, 28 posts
Fri 8 Feb 2019
at 04:37
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Still highly pleased with himself and his findings after hours of research Garland let out an excited cheer along with Kendra, not even noticing anyone else in the room at first. "It took me hours of pouring over the burial records. With 125 years of history and deaths there was much to go through but it became a simple process of elimination! With that method it was only a matter of time until I found the location. I say we begin the investigation at first light!"

He paused as he looked back at the others, taking a breath and hoping they were just as, if not more sucessful then he was. "What about you all? Did you discover any new information or leads?"
GM
 GM, 161 posts
Fri 8 Feb 2019
at 19:26
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra gave a brief recap of what they had found perusing her father's library, the meager secrets of the Whispering Way that they had been able to glean.

"...and they damage corpses to prevent Speak With Dead." She said, finishing up her findings.

Her voice hitched and a look of misery briefly replaced her excitement.

"When we found my father, up at the prison, the stonework that had crumbled and fallen on him struck him here." She indicated a place just below her nose. "His j-jaw was crushed. We thought that he was looking up at it when it broke off, but now it really does sound like he was murdered. I...pardon me a moment."

She rose from the table and hurried into the kitchen alone. The sound of rattling pots and pans sounded faintly through the door, perhaps loud enough to cover the sounds of a lonely young girl crying into her handkerchief, and when Kendra returned some minutes later her eyes were red rimmed.

"Just checking the...kettle. It's fine." She informed everyone.
Darcon
 player, 14 posts
Fri 8 Feb 2019
at 22:15
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Seated in the shadows of a corner table, his staff propped up near him, Darcon had been browsing a book before Garland had returned, and updated them on his own findings. Darcon's lips tightened at Kendra's anguish and he replied, "Be strong Kendra, we will bring his murderers to justice, I assure you of that!"

The mage was troubled at what they had learned of The Whispering Way however, deeply troubled. The sort of rituals and magics they were known to perform made it appear they were quite powerful. Rituals to create litches were far and above mere journeyman level magic, and certainly more than any spells Darcon himself could perform.

Still, assuming the rumors were true it would likely only be the highest echelons of the cult who could muster such dark arts. Perhaps once they ascertained the cult's exact whereabouts they could severely disrupt their activities and with proof in hand alert the requisite authorities to take action and crush the cult.

Yet there also seemed to be another way. Turning his attention to Garland he asked the cleric, "What exactly do you think we can find in this crypt? The artifacts the Professor mentioned...could they be used against The Whispering Way, perhaps somehow nullifying their dark arts and allow us to take the fight to them?"
Garland Van Burke
 player, 29 posts
Sat 9 Feb 2019
at 02:40
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland frowned, knowing Kendra was still grieving and he approached her with open arms offering a hug as he leaned forward, trying to whisper quietly enough so the others wouldnt hear. "Don't hold it in. Grief is a natural state of mind when we loose someone and it will take time to heal. Give yourself that time."

Once the words were shared he turned back to Darcon, speaking plainly. "The truth is I dont know what we will find. Petros believed there was some defense against Harrowstones ghosts in the crypt and in my experience Petros always had good information. We wont know for sure till we find said artifacts and examine them."
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 4 posts
Sat 9 Feb 2019
at 06:15
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala had removed the Scale Mail that she had arrived in and spent much of the last hour wearing a frilly apron over her leather tunic.  The domestic side of things with Kendra and the meal preparation had been relaxing but now it was on to business.  She leaned over the table and peered at the map.

"Wait...you want to break into this crypt?" she asked, an eyebrow raising up while her finger tapped the map.  "With the townsfolk attitudes that I saw today, they may not take kindly to that.  How are we going to proceed?  Sneak in at night?"
Garland Van Burke
 player, 30 posts
Sun 10 Feb 2019
at 12:37
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland looked up at the newcomer for a moment before slowly shaking his head side to side. "No, the cover of darkness would likely bring us greater problems if we were spotted. We will be going at first light. Shara and I already recieved permission from the temple to exhume this crypt and recover any artifacts and Ive also arranged for a temple representative to assist us"
Shara
 player, 25 posts
Sun 10 Feb 2019
at 16:58
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara nods at Garland's response. "Indeed, this is a sanctioned little expedition, though it may still be a dangerous one. We should be on our guard, in case this foul cult reached this crypt before we did." she replies.
GM
 GM, 163 posts
Mon 11 Feb 2019
at 19:16
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra responded warmly to her friends warm words, giving Darcon a warm, sad smile and Garland a little squeeze as they comforted her. Once the following day's plans were set she cleared away the table as everyone settled in for the evening.



The following morning Kendra was up bright and early with breakfast, her demeanor excited and her hands fidgeting with nervous energy. She had replaced her black mourning dress with work clothes, trousers, and a wide belt festooned with pouches. She had a long kitchen knife stuck through her belt like a sword.

"Very well, then, shall we be off to the Restlands?" She asked brightly, eyes eager.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:16, Mon 11 Feb.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 31 posts
Tue 12 Feb 2019
at 02:38
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
When morning came Garland got up early. He knew he would be delving into an old crypt today and who knows what, or who would be down there. While he could find no burial records for it he also couldnt find any construction records making the crypt's history and layout an enigma. He spent the morning preparing for the incursion and by the time breakfast was ready he was prepared for the expedition.

"Before we go, Shara and I will be making a slight detour to the temple to get Enos, one of the local priests. He will accompany us on this expedition as a consultant and I believe it will serve us best to be transparent with him and the temple."
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 5 posts
Tue 12 Feb 2019
at 04:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala was just finishing up her morning preparations.  Her scale mail, still a little dusty from the long travel to town, was donned, and a hood pulled up over her head.  She was not ashamed of her Oread ancestry, and it was easy enough to pick it out in what skin she showed.  After yesterday, Keanala had decided to try and downplay it, if only for a little bit.  A morningstar hung at her waist, and she was putting a fresh bowstring onto her short bow.  From her mouth, hung half of a muffin.

"...permission to exhume a crypt..." she muttered in amazement, balancing the act of talking and eating the muffin admirably.  "I don't know if I've ever had such a thing.  Not that I make a habit out of breaking into crypts but...permission.  This is going to be an interesting day."

The string tied on, the Oread gave her bow a few testing draws.  "Anything else we need to know about this venture?  No grave robbing, I assume?"
Shara
 player, 26 posts
Tue 12 Feb 2019
at 05:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Because we don't know if the crypt has been tampered with, I intend to bring my companion along with me. I will reveal her to you now, so you are not alarmed at her presence later." Shara says.

She closes her eyes, focusing inward, and chants under her breath. After a minute, a spectral figure appears. Shaped like an armor-clad human, the translucent form appears wispy around the edges, and a feminine face can just barely be seen beneath the ghostly visor of its spiritual armor.

"Do not be alarmed, for she is no undead. Merely a lost spirit that the goddess has tasked me with helping to find her way to the River of Souls. She's stubborn, but she may aid us if circumstances are dire." she continues.


Those familiar with the church of Pharasma have heard of spiritualists like Shara, shepherds of lost souls, and they are very much different than necromancers, despite the ghostly appearance of the phantoms.
GM
 GM, 166 posts
Tue 12 Feb 2019
at 19:34
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra seemed very interested in Shara's phantom, pacing around the ghostly figure in wonder and peppering her with questions. The ghostly figure fascinated her and her questions revealed a keen mind and not inconsiderable knowledge of supernatural phenomena.

Our heroes made their way to the temple where they were met by Father Grimburrow. He exchanged some words of ecumenical nature with Garland before calling for Enos to accompany them. To the young acolyte, a lad of perhaps fourteen, he extended a warning to be careful and keep his wits about him. Enos was wide eyed at the prospect of excitement in as sleepy a town as Ravengro, his gaze constantly drifting over the group's weapons and adventuring gear.

Garland led the way through the Restlands and, with his hand drawn map and a little direction from Enos, was easily able to find the crypt that the professor had mentioned.

It was a freestanding granite mausoleum, two leering gargoyles perched on the roof and gaping sightlessly down at the little group of adventurers. It was surrounded by well tended headstones and markers but bore no family crest. Instead the word Aurum was insculpted above the entryway. Darcon quickly translated from an old dialect of elven, it meant Golden.

The twin doors were heavy, iron, and pitted with weather. A fine lock held them closed, but a closer inspection showed that the locked had been melted through with acid and then rearranged to look from a distance like it hadn't been tampered with.
Shara
 player, 27 posts
Wed 13 Feb 2019
at 20:12
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara steps closer to the mausoleum, noting the damaged lock. Phantom at her side, she pulls the mangled lock from the door, inspecting it with brief curiosity before dropping it to the ground. With a whispered word of instruction, her phantom tugs on the door as she steps back, ready for any signs of danger.


Phantom has 12 Strength and is manifested corporeally. It'll try to open the door.
Darcon
 player, 15 posts
Wed 13 Feb 2019
at 20:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon had travelled in silence with the others, the hood of his pristine cloak hiding his features, just like he preferred. He studied Shara's conjured phantom with interest though, but he tried his best to hide his study. The ability to summon creatures from beyond, from other planes or realms was not a minor feat, and he found himself looking at Shara in a new, more respectful light. He hoped that the creature would be able to offer constructive aid in their investigation.

When they reached the temple Darcon paid close attention to the head priest Grimburrow, trying to discern if he had any hidden motives. Darcon was not a suspicious person by nature but the events of the past few days had made him a little paranoid, as if he expected any potential cultists to jump out of the shadows at any given moment.

Enos seemed earnest though, and was offered a small smile of encouragement as he joined them. As with the summoned phantom, Darcon hoped the lad had useful skills to offer on their investigation in the crypt, despite his youthful appearance.

When they finally reached the mausoleum and after deciphering the elvish script, he noted yet was not surprised at all at the evidence of tampering on the lock. "Who was it though who passed here last, the Professor, or someone else?" the mage wondered out loud in a soft voice.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 41 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 13 Feb 2019
at 23:02
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG had informed the others that although initially helpful the sheriff had been put in his place by the councilman.  And reported the availability of dwarven crafted weapons and armor.

The updates from the others were similarly very limited in scope.

He thought it appropriate that the whispering way would take measures to maintain secrecy.

“It is my Hope our answers shall be enough to take the sting from our grief.”

He looks to each person in turn
“Perhaps we should know of each other’s strengths and abilities so as better to face the challenges to come.”
Garland Van Burke
 player, 32 posts
Thu 14 Feb 2019
at 02:41
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland took some time to examine the gate as he reached down, pulling the morningstar from his belt before he looked back. He began chanting a spell until the weapon became a shining beacon of light, casting it in all directions. "My suggestion is thus, Constantine in the front as you are likely the most heavily armored of us all. If there is danger you will have the greatest protection. I will follow behind to provide support and healing as necessary. Enos and Kendra will stay by me at all times. I also recommend one our burly members take up the rear in case of rear or pincer attack. If you see something say something as soon as possible. Now when delving into places like this is is paramount that we stay together and move slowly as a group. If you get seperated stay where you are unless you are in mortal danger and call out. Echos are common in such places making locating a lost person difficult but I promise that I will come for you."

Garland paused as he pointed to the grate. "If we have rope tie it to the grate and it will serve as a guideline back to the exit. Our goal here is to explore the crypt and find the artifacts mentioned by the professor. All other goals whether academic or monatery are secondary."
GM
 GM, 170 posts
Thu 14 Feb 2019
at 20:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland's glowing morningstar illuminated the dark interior of the crypt as a ghostly touch swung the doors wide, rusted hinges squeaking loudly. The interior chamber was large enough for the group to squeeze into together, bare walls of carved stone seemed to eat the light from Garland's morningstar. Rather than a sarcophagus or monument the center of the chamber was taken up by a stone staircase descending into darkness.

The stairs went down a single flight into a large subterranean chamber, bare stone walls carved with burial niches much like any other mausoleum. They were all empty, no bodies were interred here. Instead several of the niches held wooden chests, aging, discolored wood bound with iron fittings. It looks as if the Professor's journal was correct. This was a cache, not a tomb.

As our heroes fanned into the chamber, weapons at the ready, a dread shiver ran down every spine. The air seemed to cool and the group felt the unmistakable feeling of being watched.

And yet for all the caution that these foreboding circumstances may prompt, several of our heroes acted wholly without caution.

Garland, Constantine, and Darcon felt a fearful wave of lethargy fall over them. Fear and horrified fascination filled their minds and they felt themselves inexplicably drawn forward, towards the center of the chamber. They walked forwards, enthralled. And then all three saw a vision of a massive, spectral mallet swinging down on them.

The rest of our heroes saw the three walk forward but, before they could intervene, a low crumbling sounded in the chamber roof. They saw no spectral visions but, with a crack, the ceiling crumbled, sending stone and earth tumbling down on the three in the center of the chamber.



Garland, Constantine, and Darcon all fail will saves and walk like zombies into the center of the room where the ceiling collapses on them.
Darcon takes 10 damage.
Garland takes 8 damage.
Constantine takes 3 damage.
Anyone still conscious is fine, if you were knocked unconscious you are partially buried and must be dug out as a standard action before you can be moved.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 42 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 14 Feb 2019
at 22:55
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine shakes off the strange feeling and is glad his shield deflected much of the collapsed ceiling.

He immediately holds his shield overhead and begins to try and locate and free his companions. Through the dusty air and debris.

“Garland, Darcon?  Where are you?”

This message was last edited by the player at 22:56, Thu 14 Feb.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 33 posts
Fri 15 Feb 2019
at 00:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Not a moment after Constantine calls out for him Garland lets out several labored coughs as he pushes over a large bolder. The cleric is covered in blood with a huge gash over his eye and running down over his face and onto his black armor. "Pharasma has not seen fit to claim me yet." he said, letting out a few more coughs as he covered his mouth with his free hand, trying to keep the dust from getting into his lungs.

He tried raising the morning star to see better but felt a sharp pain in his shoulder which made him groan in pain as he looked over it, knowing it was dislocated at best and maybe broken at worst. The cleric didnt wait a single moment though and instead pushed forward with one arm working he started digging at the rubble. "Come on, everyone! We have to get them out of there!"
Shara
 player, 28 posts
Fri 15 Feb 2019
at 17:07
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara watched in horror as the ceiling collapsed atop her comrades. As the dust settled, the moans of pain alerted her to the fact that they survived. Ill-suited to manual labor, she directed her phantom to start pulling pieces of rubble off the survivors.
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 6 posts
Sat 16 Feb 2019
at 04:51
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Of course we are going into a tomb, 'nala.  Why didn't you bring a shield."  Keanala muttered to herself, changing her bow for her morningstar.  She had just started to look around the room when the ceiling collapsed.  Her first instinct to to step closer to Kendra, making sure that her friend was okay.

"Careful, there may be more triggers." she cautions and then turns her attention to the three fallen companions.  "Hey!  You guys still with us?"

OOC:
If Kendra is okay, Keanala will help to dig the others out.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 43 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 16 Feb 2019
at 14:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Darcon must be knocked out under this rubble, everyone get clear I will pull him out.”

Fearing the roof will collapse further he attempts to convince the others not to come in.

He uses Darkvision to scan the rubble for the heat of the man’s body or at least his blood...
Darcon
 player, 16 posts
Sun 17 Feb 2019
at 08:56
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The growing feeling of dread in the back of his mind was not enough to prevent him from moving forward, and when he saw the spectral mallet bearing down upon them Darcon realized it was too late.

Instinctively he raised his hands and staff in a futile attempt to protect himself as the mallet appeared to suddenly disappear and the ceiling came crashing down on them instead with a loud rumble.

The mage's feeble attempts at defense were less than useless, though perhaps mercifully he was knocked out almost immediately by the falling rocks. He came to once the dust had settled and found himself buried in darkness, with a searing pain in his head and arms. Instinctively he called out, "Help!", though the effort caused another stab of pain to lance through his head.
Stabilization Check: 10 (success!); <b>Free Action: Call for help!


This message was last edited by the player at 09:05, Sun 17 Feb.

GM
 GM, 171 posts
Mon 18 Feb 2019
at 18:43
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Although the rumbling subsided, bits of dust drifted down from the now cracked ceiling and the occasional pebble bounced down over the pile of rubble pining Darcon's legs. His compatriots had little trouble pulling him out of the pile of tumbled stones. Although he was still battered, crushed, and debilitated, he was no longer pinned after a little digging.

As Keanala moved to check on Kendra she heard the shorter woman gasp and rush to Enos' side. The young acolyte lay crumpled near the entrance. A quick investigation revealed that nothing had happened to him, he had simply fainted dead away when the ceiling collapsed. Kendra splashed his face with a little water from her water skin and he began to come too groggily.

"We should hurry, who knows how sturdy the rest of the ceiling is." She said nervously, glancing upwards.

Apart from the pile of new rubble in the center the room was large and bare, save for the burial niches, and the only exit was the stairway that the group had descended through. Three medium size chests, probably light enough to lift with a burly adventurer on either handle, occupied niches at the far wall.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 45 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 18 Feb 2019
at 19:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG picks the man up and gets away from the collapse...

Can someone aid Darcon he is badly wounded.  Perhaps a burst of healing energy will both aid us all and clear some evil from this place.”
Garland Van Burke
 player, 34 posts
Tue 19 Feb 2019
at 00:29
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland groans a bit as he reaches up, taking hold of the holy symbol hanging from his shoulder. He pulls it from his shoulder while still connected to the small chain, gripping it tightly as he takes in a deep breath. "Pharasma, lady of graves, judge of all life. Grant us your healing touch."

The prayer fills the room with a brilliant white light for just a moment. Cuts close, broken bones reassemble, bruises fade, and everyone is left with a feeling of warm belonging and love as the healing takes effect.


OOC: Everyone will heal 7hp
Darcon
 player, 17 posts
Tue 19 Feb 2019
at 14:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon blinked instinctively as there was a flash of white light, right after which he felt a jolt of energy suffuse his body. The numbness was driven away and though there was a brief surge of pain in his head it quickly vanished, like ice rapidly melting under a hot sun.

Gingerly he touched himself on his head and winced slightly; it was still tender but not painful and any swelling appeared to have faded. Ditto for his shoulder.

Slowly he rose to his feet, using his staff for support and stepping gingerly around the rubble. "My thanks Garland, I do believe I can move without help for the moment," he said weakly. "This was ill done; though we should have been more careful and vigilant. Still, at least the trap implies no one else disturbed this crypt before us, despite the tampering on the lock."

Turning his head towards the far end of the room he gestured at the niches with the chests and added, "Might as well collect those, I believe they contain what we came here for. But careful for any more traps."

GM
 GM, 173 posts
Tue 19 Feb 2019
at 19:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
At Darcon's suggestion Kendra moved to investigate the chests. The first chest was unlocked, covered in dust and cobwebs, and completely empty. It looked like it had been raided many years ago and left empty on the shelf. The second chest showed signs of having been recently pilfered. The dust was disturbed and the lock was melted open with alchemist's acid, just like the look on the crypt door. Inside was a wooden divider partitioning the interior into chambers. About half were empty, while the other half held vials of potions, bundles of arrows, and a leather scroll case. The third chest was locked tight.

As Kendra investigated the crumbling stone of the roof groaned and dust drifted down from rotting wooden cross beams. A carved stone fell loose and clattered onto the pile of rubble near the center of the room.

"This place is coming down any minute." She said. She waffled for a moment, then grabbed a handful of items from the chest and made towards the exit.

"Let's get out of here."



Kendra grabs the scroll case and a quiver of arrows from the second chest.
The remaining items in the chest are:
Two silvery white potions
Two clear potions
Two glass cylinders that Keanala recognizes as Haunt Siphons (more info in the Journal thread)
A quiver of 10 masterwork arrows
A quiver of 5 masterwork arrows
2 masterwork arrows

It has been 2 rounds since the original collapse

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:35, Tue 19 Feb.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 35 posts
Tue 19 Feb 2019
at 22:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland looked up at the ceiling and felt like the place was going to be more dangerous every moment. He walked over and grabbed one side of the large locked chest, looking over to the others. "One of you help me with this, everyone else head to the exit!" he said in a hasty tone. Garland had no plans to leave any of the artifacts behind and if he couldnt take them with him he was going to take the whole chest until they could unlock it.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 46 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 19 Feb 2019
at 23:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG shield in hand holds his shield high and grabs ahold of on handle of the chest.

“We should plan to restock this cache for future use.”
GM
 GM, 175 posts
Wed 20 Feb 2019
at 18:41
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
With Garland and Constantine on either side of the locked chest they had little trouble manhandling it up the narrow stairs and into the standing mausoleum. The structure itself looked sturdy enough, although stones continued to tumble from the crypt roof below. Once they were outside they could see a section of graves and earth directly behind the mausoleum visibly sagging as the subterranean chamber began to collapse.

Kendra, her arms full of equipment, paused to grab Enos by the wrist and drag him out into the daylight behind Constantine and Garland. She double checked to make sure that the rest of our heroes had made it out before the ceiling tumbled in entirely, caving in with a crash and a whoosh of air like a foul sigh from the mouth of the mausoleum.

"Is everybody alright?" She asked, double checking the party members that had been injured in the original collapse.
Darcon
 player, 18 posts
Wed 20 Feb 2019
at 21:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I will live Kendra, thank you for your concern," Darcon said with a fit of coughing from the dust generated by the collapse of the crypt. It appeared he had been wrong, someone else had gotten in, avoided the trap and accessed one of the chests.

A pity they had not been able to fully loot that chest, the potions looked enticing. Still, at least Kendra had gotten something. "Are there any scrolls in that case, or is it empty?" he asked her curiously.

The third chest ofcourse, was with Garland and Constantine. Darcon wondered if they would try to open it now or later, at the Professor's house. "Beware of any traps on that, especially the locking mechanism," he warned them, gesturing at the chest with his staff.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 36 posts
Wed 20 Feb 2019
at 21:47
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
As he and Constantine stand watching the huge sinkhole form Garland cant help but think he owes Father Grimburrow a big apology. He would have to make ammends in some way both to the temple and the families for all the graves that had been disturbed with the sinkhole. "I have only a few bruises remaining." he said answering Kendra's question as he set his side of the chest down.

He set a hand on Enos' shoulder and pointed at the precipice where the soil was caving in. His voice is serious though his tone is equally full of remorse and care. "Go and tell the temple about this Enos. I will remain and watch the graveyard until Father Grimburrow decides on an action. With so many burial rights disturbed I would not be surprised if someone does not stay in their grave tonight."

Once the boy begins to run off he looks back at the others, espeically at the chest. "I suggest we place that under lock and key till we can access the contents. Perhaps some acid like the previous locks would do the trick...unless one you knows how to open it. I fear the key may be buried in whatever remains of the crypt. In the meantime I will stand guard here until this crisis can be dealt with."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 47 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 20 Feb 2019
at 22:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG shakes his head
“I had but taken minor bruises compared to others the main blow did not reach into my thick head it angled away.”

He considers the items taken from the cache, the care taken in placement the trove designed for set purposes made him scratch his chin and wonder.


“This was obviously placed and intended for future use, and had the chamber collapsed it would be unknown and beyond reach.  Perhaps inside the chest is a mark of ownership.”

As potentially useful as the contents might be SCG wanted to see restitution or payment made to the rightful owner.

Perhaps he was ahead of himself
“Does the chest bear a mark of ownership or of the craftsman who wrought it?”

He smiled recalling the blacksmith he had meet earlier in the day....

This message was last edited by the player at 22:41, Wed 20 Feb.

Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 7 posts
Thu 21 Feb 2019
at 05:05
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Well that was the easiest crypt raiding that I've seen."  Keanala said, putting away her morningstar and pulling out her bow.  The sinkhole had not escaped her notice, and her eyes grew serious as she glanced over at it.  "Not that I've been part of any tomb raiding before."

"Hey, Garland.  You're not going to be staying here alone.  I'll keep you company."
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 72 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Thu 21 Feb 2019
at 16:58
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Th' cache'll be taken care of, but if any of the dead would rise tonight, I want to be here to put them back down." the dwarf speaks up as the others file out of the crypt.
GM
 GM, 177 posts
Thu 21 Feb 2019
at 19:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Enos nodded to Garland, wide eyed, and scampered off towards the temple.

Kendra spread her haul out on the grass where she and Darcon could examine the items. The scroll case was a dull, unadorned folio, the edges sealed with beeswax as such things often were to keep out moisture. She broke the seal with her kitchen knife and withdrew several sheets of parchment, which she passed to Darcon. There were four scrolls, a scroll of detect undead, a scroll of hide from undead, and two scrolls of protection from evil. The quiver held ten finely crafted arrows, which upon further appraisal proved to be +1 arrows.

Constantine's examination of the chest showed no special insignia or markings. It was old, sturdy, and well made, but otherwise un-remarkable.

"It seems so...strange." She said, musing now that they were out of danger.

"It does look like my father came here and took some of the things from the second chest. But why did the ceiling collapse on us, and not on him? It didn't look like we set off a trap, it just caved in."

She shrugged, ever practical.

"If the three of you are going to keep watch here tonight I'll drop by later with some supper. Oh, hello Father." She greeted the aging priest as Father Grimburrow puffed around the corner, followed closely by Enos.

"By Pharasma, what happened?" He asked, taking in the bloodied adventurers and collapsed gravestones behind the mausoleum.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 37 posts
Fri 22 Feb 2019
at 03:03
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland looks at the man, ashamed of his inability to stop the collapse and the damage to the graveyard. Who knew how many burial rites had been effected and how many dormant spirits might rise now that their graves had been distrubed. "I am still trying to piece that together myself father. We found the cache that Professor Lorrimor had mentioned in his journal and we found the religious artifacts also mentioned. However there was some kind of trap set, one I assume Petros did not fall for, yet I did. I felt a sense of fear and fascination as I lost control of my body, forced to walk to the center of the room before I saw huge spectral hammer come down upon me. When the vision faded the roof of the crypt collapsed. We escaped but as you can see the damage is substantial. Fearing the worst, I dared not leave in case someone did not stay in their grave"
GM
 GM, 178 posts
Fri 22 Feb 2019
at 20:07
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"It's strange days in Ravengro, with the commotion in the square yesterday and again this morning, the dead animals, and now this." Father Grimburrow said, gesturing at the sagging gravestones.

"You saw a vision, you say? Felt compelled? It could have been a Haunt."

Father Grimburrow gave a brief explanation of the rare supernatural phenomenon. A haunt, as it turns out, is part way between a spirit and part way between a trap. Unquiet spirits gather malevolent energy in the haunted area and then wait, poised to attack any living creature that happens upon them. The effects of a haunt vary from minor spectral phenomena to catastrophic destruction in the haunt's area. The spells detect undead and detect evil give a chance to detect a haunt before it triggers, although they are by no means guaranteed. Once expended a haunt typically re-forms several days later, and can be cleansed permanently by putting the angry spirits to rest.

After his explanation he motioned to Enos.

"Stay here, and keep watch on the crypt with these brave adventurers. If there are no further disturbances by midnight tonight we are most likely safe from further ghostly reprisals. I will take the artifacts that you recovered to the temple, and see if we can get this chest open."
Shara
 player, 30 posts
Fri 22 Feb 2019
at 23:59
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara nods in understanding as the priest explains to them the nature of haunts.

"I am familiar with such forms of spiritual activity. I have a few tools to help combat them, and I should have been more wary for haunts during our expedition. It was folly to assume that such a thing wouldn't be present on hallowed land." she replies, her voice tinged with regret at the harm her companions had suffered.
Darcon
 player, 20 posts
Sat 23 Feb 2019
at 07:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon recieved the scrolls from Kendra with a nod of appreciation, carefully rolling them up and putting them into his own scroll case. Then taking out a vial of greenish substance from his own equipment he held it up for the others, including the just arrived Grimburrow.

"Acid, we can use it to open this chest right now to see if there is anything we might find useful in our investigation,"
he offered helpfully. Something the priest just said though tickled his mind and he couldn't help asking, "Dead animals? Can you tell us more about that?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 48 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 23 Feb 2019
at 15:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG had not realized the effect he had thought a gas had made his head swim and in a dreamlike state he had wandered forward.

He immediately thought of how the professor had died perhaps that too was a haunt.

He nodded grimly but kept quiet and stood watchful over the group and the graves...
Garland Van Burke
 player, 38 posts
Sat 23 Feb 2019
at 18:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"A haunt...I've read about them though I know of no one that has experienced one. Perhaps until now. I will have to adjust my blessings from the lady knowing that. I would hate to be caught so unaware yet again." he says, considering the implications and thinking back to his years of study of the undead and supernatural phenomena.

He looks back at Darcon, nodding at the idea. "If you have some acid, or if one of you knows how to pick a lock then we should get it open. If not perhaps the general store has some...in fact, we should make a stop there anyway if we intend to make a trip to the prison. I believe that is our next lead."
GM
 GM, 179 posts
Mon 25 Feb 2019
at 20:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Oh, I thought you had heard. It seems our vandal was not so careful as he was yesterday. One of the deputies found a dead cat in a nearby alleyway, evidently the source of the bloody graffiti this morning. People are scared, and Sheriff Caeler announced that he's having a deputy keep watch on the monument tonight." Father Grimburrow said to Darcon.

He nodded his assent to the mage's suggestion of using acid to melt open the chest, like the lock on the mausoleum and the now buried chests in the crypt. It was a relatively quick matter and then the chest was open.

Like the other two this one was divided into compartments. Two of the compartments held haunt siphons, two held potions that proved to be potions of cure light wounds, and the last several had the dividers removed to make space for an oblong darkwood case with the symbol of an eye over a crossed sword and feather worked in silver on the lid.

The case was shallow and the only thing inside it was a palm-sized token, vaguely heart shaped, and worked in brass. The interior of the lid was carved with letters, numbers, and the words 'Yes, No, and Maybe'. Darcon's extensive study gave him some clue as to its function, but Shara recognized it immediately as a spirit planchette, an item used in spiritual divination.

"Remarkable." Said Father Grimburrow, who evidently recognized it as well. "To think that these had been hidden beneath the Restlands all these years. Enos, take these back to the temple." He lifted the chest with the spirit planchette, potions, and haunt siphons.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 39 posts
Tue 26 Feb 2019
at 03:25
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland nods slowly, though its a shame he didnt get the chance to study the architecture of the crypt before its collapse. "While I dont know how Petros found out about the cache, once I knew roughly where it was it was a process of elimination to find its location. The temples records were invaluable in that search."

He see's Enos go to collect the items and puts up a hand in a halting motion. "Father Grimburrow, I agree that these items must be cataloged and studied if only from an academic perspective but what Petros wrote still remains. They are useful items that will aid the next step of the investigation. I would like to request their use when we investigate the prison. If everything Petros wrote is true, and the stories about the prison are true, I believe it is the cause of the change in mood for Ravengro's people. Thus an expedition into the prison is warranted and we should have the tools to protect ourselves against haunts, ghosts, and who knows what else."

This message was last edited by the player at 03:35, Tue 26 Feb.

Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 8 posts
Tue 26 Feb 2019
at 04:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Tools are good."  Keanala sided with Garlands opinion.  "Haunts and Ghosts just giggle at simple steel.  If we are going to encounter any of the sort, we need items that will help us deal with any encounters."

She turned to Father Grimburrow.  "Please, Father.  Consider Garlands words."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 51 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 26 Feb 2019
at 13:13
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Tis truth we sought the cache and information for a coming threat.  The blood upon the center of town proclaims darkness is marking this place for foul intention.”
GM
 GM, 183 posts
Tue 26 Feb 2019
at 17:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Father Grimburrow considered for a long moment and then nodded sagely.

"If the threat that the professor mentioned is as grave as you say then you may indeed need these items to combat it. Very well. I will leave the examination and cataloging to you." He said to Garland.

"I would like a report for the temple archives, beyond that you are free to use these artifacts."

He tucked his hands into his sleeves and gathered up Enos, still dazed looking, and bowed to the group.

"Luck be with you." He said, and turned towards the temple.
Shara
 player, 31 posts
Tue 26 Feb 2019
at 20:35
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara looks over the recovered items with interest, particularly the planchette and haunt siphons.

"These tools will be most useful for aiding our investigation, by allowing us to communicate with spirits or capture the essence of a haunt. I'm glad we all managed to survive our encounter, and with these we should have better luck on our next one." she remarks, her fingers brushing the surface of the objects.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 43 posts
Wed 27 Feb 2019
at 04:20
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland nods slowly and bows slightly to the aging priest. "I will cataloge them as we wait for night here. Thank you Father." he replied before looking at the others. In truth he was starting to feel like the leader of this little group as everyone seemed to agree with his suggestions.

Garland had dealt with restless spirits before so he know knowledge would be their greatest weapon and they needed more of it, yet he was duty bound to remain for the time being. "Since we are all gathered I believe we should discuss the next phase of our investigation. We still require a few pieces of information though my duty as a cleric means I must remain here tonight to ensure the dead remain at rest. However that does not mean we must all remain. The next step, in my opinion, should be Harrowstone itself. We still need a list of the prisoners and staff who passed in the harrowstone fire. If possible a map of the grounds would also help.  If Keanala and I remain this should free the rest of you to conduct your own research and investigations. Tommorrow morning we can regroup to share any findings. "
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 53 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 27 Feb 2019
at 13:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG shakes his head..
“I believe Garland and I can watch over the graveyard tonight, perhaps resting in the day tomorrow when y’all are handling more search for answers.”

He looks for a comfortable and defensible position, likely one with stone beneath his feet.

“Also if anyone is inclined to have the detect evil and magic spells handy it would benefit us all.”
GM
 GM, 186 posts
Wed 27 Feb 2019
at 19:14
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"We already have a list of the staff that passed away in the fire, so that only leaves the prisoners. The archives at the town hall would be most likely to contain that sort of information. I don't know how many records of the prison survived the fire, and it was over fifty years ago, but I'm sure they'll have something." Kendra said.

She took her leave of the group stationed at the cemetery as they settled down to watchful vigilance. She returned at lunch time to drop off a large pannier filled with bread, cheese and salt pork for lunch, along with wine and a picnic basket.

The day wore on uneventfully, and when Kendra came by the Restlands with dinner the only people our heroes had seen were the occasional townfolk who came by to visit the graves of relatives or gawp at the sinkhole.

The graveyard took on a chilling air as evening settled into dusk. Lengthening shadows crept out from the grave stones, turning the orderly and well kempt markers into lurking, mismatched threats that seemed to encircle and loom over our heroes. A couple of guttering torches thrust into the earth made the shadows leap and dance, drawing the eye and distracting the mind. As the night wore on our heroes took it in shifts to keep watch, wary eyes peering out into the night.

It was a nervous, frightening experience, to spend a night of silent vigil in the graveyard. But as the pale fingers of dawn began to creep over the horizon a feeling of relief pervaded the morning air. The night had passed uneventfully.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 44 posts
Thu 28 Feb 2019
at 04:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
When midnight came Garland looked up at the moon and breathed in a sigh of relief. "The witching hour is upon us. We should go before the mists themselves decide to swallow us up." he said before he lead the way back to the Lorrimor estate. He opened the door and took one step inside, knowing that action would cause Kendra's worry to disappear for no one in Ustalav would invite someone inside after the sun had fallen

"The graveyard is safe and I will adjust my blessings from the lady tonight. We can reconvene in the morning." he said softly before he walked back to the Proffessors office and stripped down, shedding his armor and weapons until he could sit in comfortable meditation and prayer. Only when that was done did he lay down and sleep till long after dawn.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 54 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 28 Feb 2019
at 14:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The long night passed uneventfully and he had been resting when Garland warned of the witching hour.  SCG had watched and wondered how cold undead actually were and how they might appear to his dark sight.

“Indeed we should remain ever vigilant.”

When morning came he and Garland returned to the house for additional rest while the others started research for the day...
Shara
 player, 32 posts
Thu 28 Feb 2019
at 14:37
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Having trusted the watching of the graveyard to the others, Shara was well-rested when they arrived wearily, the fact their hearts still seemed to beat sign enough that no further ill had befallen them.

"I will assist anyone who wishes to search the town archives. My scholarly inclinations have more to do with faith than bureaucracy, but I can still lend an extra set or two of eyes." she says to whoever may be awake.
GM
 GM, 187 posts
Thu 28 Feb 2019
at 21:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara and Kendra made their way around the house quietly while the others caught up on the sleep they had missed with the previous night's vigil, trying to make as little noise as possible while gathering up notebooks, quills, and spare parchments. They left the house asleep as they made their way to the town hall.

There was once again a commotion in the town square, this time centered around Sheriff Caeler and two of his deputies. The two deputies were standing in front of the monument and the sheriff, normally so even tempered and affable, was turning the air blue as he shouted at them.

"...lazy, irresponsible, good for nothings! I ought to take both of your badges and..." The tirade continued as Kendra sidled up to one of her neighbors to ask what was going on.

It was another vandalism. The first night the bloody V had appeared on the monument. The second night VE had been scrawled there, although our heroes had been busy investigating the crypt that morning and had missed the disturbance. When it became clear that the vandalism was a continuing theme the sheriff had set two of his deputies to stand watch over the monument. Last night they had fallen asleep at their posts, hence the shouting. And it appeared that the vandal had taken full advantage of their lapse, for the letters VES were scrawled on the monument in rusty, dried blood.

Kendra shuddered and pressed on, leading Shara to the town hall.

The archives were in the loft of the building, a high ceilinged room with rows of shelves holding folios of information. Most of it was transactional information, livestock sales and the like, with a section devoted to the minutes of town council meetings. The archivist, an elderly halfling woman named Esther, gave Shara a mistrustful glare but as a citizen of Ravengro Kendra was more than entitled to search through the records.

Although not particularly historically minded, Shara fared well with Kendra's assistance and the well cataloged materials in the library. Although she wasn't able to glean much personal information about them she uncovered five infamous names, the five most dangerous prisoners who were being held at Harrowstone during the fire.



Meanwhile at the Lorriomor estate the morning was leisurely. Most of our heroes were sleeping off the previous night's excursion, but Keanala drifted in a fretful, restless slumber. Her dreams were nightmares of being lost in a deep, dark wood, gnarled trees looming up and misty pathways confusing the mind. In her dream she wandered, deepening panic rising in her chest as she searched futilely for some beacon to guide her.

Presently she heard the soft, keening strains of a flute drifting through the trees. Far from comforting, the eerie melody seemed to fill her slumbering mind with dread. And yet she felt compelled to follow it, pressing on through her dream towards the source of the haunting music.

In the Lorrimor's spare room she rose, sleepwalking, from her bed and marched towards the window. Her eyes were closed, trapped in her dream, and yet her fingers moved unerringly. She opened the window and raised the sash.

The music in her dream masked the noise, but the sound of buzzing wings grew louder and louder.

In the dream world the music grew closer and closer, and as she approached it fear grew in her. She was almost upon it, the discordant music coming from just around the next bend. Louder and louder, until the woodwind seemed to be tearing at her eardrums. And then, just as she rounded the last corner, she awoke.

She found herself standing in the guest room, alone, near the open window. But a very real buzzing sound filled the air as two massive insects, easily the size of her hand and resembling massive mosquitoes, were flying towards her. Stirges!

They darted into the room and, as if of its own volition, the window snapped shut behind them. Keanala found herself trapped with the dangerous little pests.



Keanala, you are trapped in the guest room with two stirges. Constantine and Garland are in the next room and can arrive in 1 round if called for. I'm not going to map out this combat since stirges attach to their victims and tactical positioning is less important, but normally for combats I'll put up a grid map to maneuver on. For now just assume that everyone can reach everyone else in one move action.

Keanala, it's your turn, Garland and Constantine can post about arriving or reacting but should hold off on taking a turn until next round. I've also split the combat off into its own thread since it takes place early in the day and Shara and Kendra will be researching until evening.

Enemies:
Stirge 1 - 5 HP, 16AC, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1
Stirge 2 - 5 HP, 16AC, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1

Exeunt to Chapter 1.3 - link to a message in this game

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:18, Thu 28 Feb.

GM
 GM, 192 posts
Mon 4 Mar 2019
at 19:01
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
With a headlong charge of adventurers barreling into the room the dangerous little creatures stood little chance. Keanala didn't have much success defending herself, groggy as she was, but Constantine and Darcon's timely arrival made short work of the stirges.

Constantine's stroke whistled through the air and snipped the stirge's appendages, sending it tumbling down to curl up on the floor. Darcon's magic was not so subtle. Twin bolts impacted the bloated body of the little beast, popping it like an overfilled sausage and sending a splatter of ichor and her own drained blood dripping down the back of Keanala's smallclothes.

Despite the mess and the faint feeling of anemia Keanala was no worse for the wear, save the lingering strains of music that she could still faintly hear.



Shara and Kendra arrived home shortly after the disturbing interlude and Keanala's nightmare, eager to share the results of their research and to tell the group about the continued vandalism in the town square.

Kendra was horrified as our heroes explained what had happened. Ever practical, her first response was to collect Keanala's soiled clothes and dunk them in the wash tub to soak. She offered the shale skinned adventuress the pick of her own wardrobe in the meantime.

The energy in the Lorrimor home was nervous that evening over dinner, and Kendra tried to brighten the mood with light talk. It was difficult to ignore the increasingly supernatural threats bearing down on our heroes though, and a pall seemed to hang over the evening.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 57 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 4 Mar 2019
at 22:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
As the second creature was dispatched SCG cradled the swooning Keanala on his arm inside his shield.

“Fear not the night bugs are no more.”

Once he set her down he checked the room including the drapes closets and under the bed.


“What transpired I heard a slammed weight and then your call for aid?”
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 13 posts
Tue 5 Mar 2019
at 05:03
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala clung tightly to Constantine, trembling slightly.  She felt weak, vulnerable, and most embarrassingly frightened.  Constantine was the closest to her so it was he that she embraced as if she were drowning and he was the lifeline.

"I don't...give me a minute...I'm shaking like a frightened child."  She said, not willing to loosen her embrace. "I heard music...still hear music...this is embarrassing...I'm shaking like a frightened child. There was this music calling to me and then...this...I woke up here with bloody Stirges."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 47 posts
Tue 5 Mar 2019
at 12:43
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
As Garland enters the room he looks around, more then a little confused about the sudden commotion. Though his first thoughts are the same as they always are, to the wounded. "Was anyone injured?" he asks in a concerned voice as he watches the scene unfold.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 59 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 5 Mar 2019
at 13:05
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG feels angry at first at the vile nature of this attack, but having turned away the face of evil he tenderly turns back to Keanala

“It is no matter for embarrassment the same thing happened to three of us in the crypt , if they speak aright it is a haunt that must be dealt with and faced together.”

As Garland enters
“Aye she was attacked and wounded, I was just about to try and aid her as best I can.”

Swift action to lay on hands..
Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 5 using 1d6.  Lay on hands


“We should all gather and stop this haunt before it comes again.”

This message was last edited by the player at 13:06, Tue 05 Mar.

Darcon
 player, 23 posts
Tue 5 Mar 2019
at 18:45
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon was pertubed at Kenala's revelation of the strange music she heard, as well as the continuing vandalism in the town square.

"Did anyone else hear the music Kenala heard in her sleep?"
he asked the others over dinner later. "If so, or not, can we attribute it to this Haunt? I did not think it would be able to exert its influence so far from the crypts," he added, looking at Constantine, Garland and Shara in turn, hoping they had answers.

Taking a sip from his cup he looked at Kendra and remarked, "About those letters, it does seem like someone is trying to spell something in animal blood, and they keep getting away with this vandalism. It could be unrelated, a mere prank by vagrants taking advantage of the recent happenings, or something darker. I do not see how it could be the cultists of the Way, it does not make sense they would do something like this to gain attention though."

Sloshing the liquid around in his cup he sighed and put down the utensil on the table, adding, "Whoever it is should be easy enough to catch, we just need someone to keep vigil over the monuments at night. Far enough to be concealed yet close enough to act when the vandal strikes."

It seemed to the mage they had three main avenues of action:

-Investigate Harrowstone
-Deal with this Haunt
-Catch the vandal of the monument in the village square.

Only the first appeared to be connected to the Professors death, but the second might need to be dealt with sooner for their own immediate safety. As for the third, it could be connected to their investigation or not. Either way dealing with it might at the least remove a distraction from their main task.
GM
 GM, 194 posts
Tue 5 Mar 2019
at 20:56
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra nodded gravely as Darcon laid out the situation.

"Whatever the case may be, I don't think that we can put this down to coincidence or ill luck any longer. There is clearly something supernatural going on in town. Do you think what happened to Keanala was the same haunt that collapsed the ceiling of the crypt?

If my father was right then the whispering way would be behind it, although I don't know what would allow them to manipulate spiritual energy this way.

The vandalism doesn't look supernatural in nature, so whoever is doing it may be an agent of the Whispering Way. But Darcon is right, if the Way is as secretive as we think it would be unlike them to act so openly. I don't know what they hope to accomplish, except to make people in town nervous."


Dinner that night was steak and kidney pie, to help Keanala recover from her ordeal with the stirges, and Kendra made sure that she was comfortable for the evening.



The night passed uneventfully and the morning's grey dawn light brought the usual hubbub from the town square as the villagers buzzed and gossiped about the vandalism. Kendra tried to keep up a cheerful face as she served breakfast.

"So, what's the plan for today?"
Garland Van Burke
 player, 48 posts
Tue 5 Mar 2019
at 23:29
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Was this attack caused by a haunt?" he questioned. "As I understand the nature of haunts they work like a trap. When activated they create an effect of some kind. I am not convinced this was an attack by an angry spirit so much as a person. As for the letters, I believe there is some symbology we are unfamiliar with. Everything in the supernatural has some kind of meaning afterall. Tonight we sleep, tommorrow we gather and figure out our next move."

Garland collected a clean glass and poured himself a glass of wine before he brought the liquid to his lips, taking a slow drink before he spoke again."My vote is Harrowstone, I believe that is the source of this towns woe's and we should begin the investigation there sooner rather then later."
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 14 posts
Wed 6 Mar 2019
at 04:16
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala had slept.  That was about the best way to describe it.  She could still hear the faint music but she wasn't sure if she was just imagining it or not.  Come morning she was more rested but a little fidgety.

"I don't know if I brought that haunt back with me last night or not.  I don't remember much about it, other than the music."  Keanala sat at the table, a cup of steaming coffee clasped in her hands.  She glanced occasionally over at Constantine and Darcon.  they had seen her in a most unflattering manner last night and that stung.  Showing such weakness in front of others was something that Tanarak had disapproved of, and she didn't want anyone thinking that she was less than capable.  She could just imagine the man chastising her for acting like 'such a girl'.  "Harrowstone seems like the most likely place, and probably more of a lead than some vandals, though I'm not discounting vandals either.  Unless the vandals scrawling is somehow the start of a mystic rune that is going to cause supernatural trouble for the town."

She took a sip of her coffee.  "I'm for checking out Harrowstone.  If there's time afterwards, and we're still in good shape, we set an ambush for some vandals."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 61 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 6 Mar 2019
at 12:53
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Aye we have the gear.  Let us have a first and a second assigned and readied to either use the haunt siphon or to use a scroll in the event it is needed.  Who among us should be first and second; and give all the rest of us some instruction should we have to make the attempt.”

He eats heartily of eggs, oatmeal and drinks milk.

“Are we also each at our fullest or do we need to take time to compose ourselves, are we all healed from the collapse?”
GM
 GM, 196 posts
Wed 6 Mar 2019
at 19:53
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra spent the morning making ready and helping our heroes with their gear, cataloging the haunt siphons and other equipment that they had retrieved from the crypt. She wore trousers and gardening gloves to protect her hands, and again had the long bread knife stuck in her belt.

On their way through town the group stopped by the town square to look at the latest desecration on the monument. The plinth was surprisingly unblemished. But a crowd was still gathered, and Sheriff Caeler was still looking stony faced. The deputies had kept a vigil all through the night, keeping a wary eye on the monument. The vandal must have seen them and circled around, for the bloody letters VESO were scrawled on the rear of the town hall, where the vandal's actions couldn't be seen from the square. And there, below the gruesome graffiti, was the slaughtered corpse of a farmyard dog, its throat slit and its blood used to daub the grisly message.

With nothing but unsettling omens behind them in town, our heroes headed south towards the prison. It could be seen from the edge of Ravengro, squatting atop a craggy hill like a burned out corpse, a ruin with crumbling walls and soot stained foundations. The winding path up the hill was a hike of four or five miles, and by mid morning the group stood in front of the broken gate.







One of the massive wooden doors was missing and the other hung askew, giving easy access to the prison grounds. A small outbuilding stood in the court yard, a brick manor house over grown with thick sheets of ivy. The roof sagged and the rafters were visible through empty windows.

The prison itself was an evil looking two story structure that dominated the center of the grounds. Partially flooded by what had once been the prison's pond, the burned out structure seemed darker than the surroundings, as if even the wan light of Ustalav wouldn't deign to illuminate it. Here and there stone gargoyles leered from the eaves. Once drain spouts, now they looked like evil sentinels, those that had not crumbled and fallen away. The windows were narrow and blocked by iron grills. The reinforced door swung ominously in the light breeze, creaking softly.

"Th-that's where we found my father's body." Kendra said, pointing in towards a spot just to the left of the prison entrance.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 49 posts
Thu 7 Mar 2019
at 03:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland had woken with a very specific set of spells in mind, relying on detection for the day. He could still heal through channeled energy if needed but in these circumstances he wanted the ability to see the danger before it came for them.

On the way there he stopped by the general store to pick up a few flasks of acid, being sure they would need some way to bypass locks in the old prison. As they passed the latest vandalism he looked at it and sighed "We need to finish this before they finish spelling whatever the symbolism requires. There is no way to be sure but tonight could be our last night before this symbolism's effect takes place. We must be sure to explore and investigate as much as possible and retreat in only the most dire circumstances."

As they came upon the old prison Garland approached the spot where Petros' body had been found and he kneeled down, looking at the scene. "Kendra, do you know who originally found Petros and what were they doing out here? It seems like this would be a place that people would avoid whenever possible." He then looks upwards, trying to see where the gargoyle originally was that had crushed Petros' skull.
Darcon
 player, 24 posts
Thu 7 Mar 2019
at 16:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
More disturbed than he let on by the fresh act of vandalism on the monument (it certainly looked like someone was spelling something), Darcon found approaching the prison itself to be somewhat of a relief. It looked sinister yes, but that was to be expected. And finally they might get some concrete answers in their investigation.

He glanced curiously to where Kendra pointed, to where the Professor's body had been found. As Garland kneeled at the scene, Darcon moved a bit to the side, held out a hand with fingers splayed and murmured something unintelligible under his breath. Nothing seemed to happen save to his eyes, which appeared to glaze over with a subdued light until they were almost entirely white.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 62 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 7 Mar 2019
at 17:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Let us proceed cautiously as the trees may harbor dangers while we afix our eyes to the building alone.”

SCG steps forward careful to not tread under the looser gate and setting his shield overhead.  He enters the grounds just beyond the gate looking for and listening for danders.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:32, Thu 07 Mar.

GM
 GM, 199 posts
Thu 7 Mar 2019
at 18:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Sheriff Caeler and I found the body." Kendra said, shuddering as she recounted the long trek up to the prison and the horrifying discovery.

"My father had visited the prison the day before, and when he didn't return we went looking for him. We found his body here," She indicated a spot on the ground. "A stone gargoyle had fallen and hit him just here." She pointed to a spot below her nose, the falling stone had crushed his jaw and throat. The crumbling, fallen stone gargoyle still lay there, although Ustalav's ever present rain had washed away any bloodstain or spoor. Kendra studiously looked away from it.

Darcon's brow furrowed at the wholly un-surprising results of his spell. An overwhelmingly powerful necromantic aura emanated from the prison and permeated the area.

As Garland examined the area around the body his attention was drawn to some faint scrawls on the prison walls. Runes had been chiseled into the stone at knee height, the grass and weeds surrounding the foundations cleared away, and stretched out to either side. They appeared to circle the entire prison, except for the crumbled portion. Garland directed Darcon's attention to the runes, and he played the aura of his detect magic over them. The runes themselves were non-magical but held a fading aura of necromancy and abjuration, they had clearly been used for some arcane ritual.

Although he wasn't able to decipher exactly the purpose of the ritual Darcon could recognize that they were scribed in ancient Varisian. The structure of the spell was confusing until he realized that one of the repeating words was not an arcane rune but a name. The name 'Euran Hawkran' was scribed again and again through out the scrollwork of runes.
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 73 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Thu 7 Mar 2019
at 18:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"It'd be best to be done with this place before darkness settles in. We're burning daylight." Murkau says as he trudges past the gate looking around. Noticing the brick manor, the dwarf hooks a thumb at it, "We know who lived there? I'd presume the warden myself, but I'll admit I'm no jail keeper. If so, perhaps we might find keys to any locked doors inside the prison."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 51 posts
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 00:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The more Garland looked at the scrawlings the more he became interested in them. He looked back at Darcon and asked softly "Did you discover something?" While waiting for an answer he pulled his backpack from his back, opening the main compartment and looking through its contents. After a few moments he shook his head at being uprepared for this particular situation.

"Hopefully we can find some paper or parchment inside. I would like to take a rubbing of these symbols for further study before we leave." he stated before slinging the backpack over his shoulders. He looked back and asked softly "The prisoners that we confirmed died in the fire, what do we know about them besides their names?" he asked to no one in particular.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:41, Fri 08 Mar.

Shara
 player, 34 posts
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 00:11
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara shrugged at Garland's question.

"Names are about all we have, though the monikers themselves can be a bit telling. I was actually just thinking about the strange music we heard, and the fact one of the notorious killers was named The Piper of Ilmarsh. I don't know much about him beyond that, but given all the associations with malicious spirits and the like we've had, I wouldn't rule out the vengeful ghost of a prisoner running amok." she remarks.
GM
 GM, 202 posts
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 19:02
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland and Shara's research on the prison had been patchy in some places, but either was able to confidently confirm Murkau's guess. The house on the prison grounds had belonged to the warden and his wife, both of whom had perished in the fire.

The house itself was relatively sound--the fire hadn't spread beyond the walls of the prison--it was time and neglect that had made it a ruin.

While Kendra didn't have the proper equipment to take a rubbing she did have a field notebook in her pack, she tore out a few blank pages and passed them to Garland. "At least there's plenty of charcoal." She said wryly, nodding towards the prison.

The structure itself was relatively intact, the fire had mostly been confined to the lower level during the riot, but there and there an old charred timber could be seen.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 64 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 9 Mar 2019
at 02:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG looks thoughtful.
“It fits music was heard and the blood suckers were brought forth.”

SCG looks at the ruins the open spaces and the smaller structure
“The house is intact perhaps the warden kept a journal or other clues can be found therein; and perhaps it can be a rally point in case of forced retreat.”.”
Darcon
 player, 25 posts
Sun 10 Mar 2019
at 08:18
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Yes, I have discovered a few facts. The runes inscribed all around the walls were part of a spell, or a ritual to be more precise, that was conducted here. I detect emanations of necromancy and protective magic, but the purpose of the ritual eludes me," Darcon replied to Garland.

Lowering his hand he added, "There is something else, a name consistently keeps repeating among these runes. A name called 'Euran Hawkran'. Does that name ring a bell for anyone?"

The mage looked around at the others, including Kendra, hoping someone would be familiar with the name.
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 74 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Sun 10 Mar 2019
at 17:57
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Murkau combs through his short beard at the question Darcon posed recalling the information that everyone had gathered, "Wasn't tha' the name of the Warden that died in the fire? They gotta statue of the guy in the middle of town. This must be the warden's house... I'm headin' in, let's see if we can find anything of use for the rest of the prison."
The dwarf hefts his axes, and makes his way towards the decrepit house.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 54 posts
Mon 11 Mar 2019
at 03:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland takes as good of a rubbing as he can with the tools available to him, placing the paper in his backpack before slinging it over his shoulder. He waits till they are at the entrance to the old building before he grasps the holy symbol hanging from his shoulder, whispering softly as he casts a spell. "Pharasma grant me the power to see our greatest abominations, let none that escape your boneyard escape my senses."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 65 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 11 Mar 2019
at 12:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG leads the way into the abandoned manner.  He muses to his self if the nest of Stirge reside in the attic or what they may find.

“We have done well finding more and more about this terrible thing; with your steadfast help we shall prevail.”

SCG readies and checks his shield and ensures his Morningstar’s leather strap  is firmly around his wrist and at the ready.

This message was last edited by the player at 12:08, Mon 11 Mar.

GM
 GM, 203 posts
Mon 11 Mar 2019
at 18:24
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Yes, the warden." Kendra confirmed Murkau's comment, common knowledge to the people of Ravengro. "And I think that his name was on the list that Garland found, the staff members who died in the fire."

Garland's spell played over the house but revealed no undead presence on the entrance, although the walls were stone and sufficient to prevent his spell from penetrating the interior of the house.

The warden's house was an old abandoned ruin rather than a burnt out ruin, having been spared the fire that had ravaged the prison proper. Empty windows holding slivers of broken glass stared out like eye sockets, and the door gave way at a touch. While the youth of Ravengro often dared each other to spend a night in the haunted prison most only made it as far as the main gate, those with the courage to step through contented them selves with throwing stones through whatever windows remained in the warden's house, only a mad few would step foot in the moldering structure, and none at all into the prison itself.

Still, the main room of the small structure had been picked over by the greedy or the curious in the fifty years since the fire. The furniture was overturned or broken, the pictures missing or faded, anything loose pilfered.

The second floor had fared slightly better, while it looked like curious feet had trod its hallways the property was still largely intact. There was nothing valuable to be found after so many years, the blankets tattered, the furniture moldering, but Shara managed to find a mostly preserved desk in one of the bedrooms. The handle crumbled away when pulled, but a little digging at the soggy wood with a dagger revealed a void filled with sludge that may once have been parchments and a rusty iron key.

Those searching downstairs had less luck. Constantine was prodding at moldy old couch with his mace when it shifted, one of the legs breaking off as it lurched enough to crash partially through one of the clapboard walls. It was a minor gouge, but hundreds of tiny eyes suddenly fixed on the hapless paladin from the opening. An instant later a ravenous swarm of rats boiled out into the room, flooding over the floor in a squeaking, chittering mass.




  A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T
                    1
                    2
  +++++++++++       3
  +S  conrat + gar+       4
  +S  ratrat D  +       5
  +      ++++       6
  + dar       +       7
  +    mur    +       8
  +         +       9
  ++++++D++++       10
                    11
                    12
                    13
                    14
                    15
                    16
                    17
                    18
                    19
                    20



Key:
D - Doors, both are currently open
S - Stairs leading to the upper floor
con - Sir Constantine
dar - Darcon
mur - Murkau
gar - Garland
*Shara is currently upstairs but can arrive this round and act immediately.

Enemies:
rat - Rat swarm. HP 16, AC 14, Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +2, Swarm Traits (Half damage from piercing and slashing weapons)

Combat:
On their first round the rats move out of the walls and engulf Constantine, who takes 3 (3 out of 6 due to DR) damage and has the Nauseated condition for 1 round.

It's now the player phase.

Edited: Constantine takes only 3 damage from the swarm.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:08, Mon 11 Mar.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 66 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 11 Mar 2019
at 18:47
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Though the swarm engulfs him and the rats tear and bite SCG does not cry out...


He attempts to crush the rats on his shield into the rats still on the ground in front of him.
Awaiting DM ruling if possible or not


I have a trait for this type of thing.... Bellis Honey Harvester Source Andoran, Spirit of Liberty pg. 18 Category Region Requirement(s) Bellis [in Andoran] Your frequent exposure to bees—and their stings—makes all such creatures seem more like nuisances than actual threats. You gain DR 3/— against damage dealt by swarms and a +1 trait bonus on saving throws against distraction and poison from swarms.



Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
Not the first time...probably not the last either

This message was last edited by the player at 18:53, Mon 11 Mar.

Murkau Holdheart
 player, 75 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Tue 12 Mar 2019
at 00:43
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Murkau rushes to the paladins aid, swinging his maulaxe down at the rats again and again, crushing them with the sledge side of his peculiar axe. "Back to tha hole ye came from!"

Full-round action: Charge! to H-6
Hit AC 25 for 6 bludgeoning damage.

Murkau Holdheart rolled 25 using 1d20+6.  Charge attack - maulaxe.
Murkau Holdheart rolled 6 using 1d6+2.  Maulaxe damage.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 55 posts
Tue 12 Mar 2019
at 03:45
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Seeing Constantine engulfed in a swarm of rats he reaches down to his belt and pulls one of the flasks he picked up back in town. "This is not how I planned to use these." he thought as he drew his arm back and shouted. "Constantine, move!" As soon as the paladin moved out of the radius Garland threw the flask into the swarm, hoping for the best.
GM
 GM, 206 posts
Tue 12 Mar 2019
at 17:45
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garlands vial of lobbed acid went wide, splashing against the far wall and engulfing only a few of the rats which squealed and began to curl with acrid smoke as they melted. Constantine held his shield like an anvil and Murkau charged down like a hammer, squashing and scattering the chittering vermin. Ravenous and enraged, the rats swarmed over this new antagonist.




  A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T
                    1
                    2
  +++++++++++       3
  +S  con  +  +       4
  +S  ratrat gar  +       5
  +   murrat ++++       6
  + dar       +       7
  +         +       8
  +         +       9
  ++++++D++++       10
                    11
                    12
                    13
                    14
                    15
                    16
                    17
                    18
                    19
                    20



Key:
D - Doors, both are currently open
S - Stairs leading to the upper floor
con - Sir Constantine
dar - Darcon
mur - Murkau
gar - Garland
*Shara is currently upstairs but can arrive this round and act immediately.

Enemies:
rat - Rat swarm. HP 8/16, AC 14, Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +2, Swarm Traits (Half damage from piercing and slashing weapons)

Combat:
Constantine spends the round nauseated but recovers and can now act normally.
Murkau deals 6 damage to the rat swarm.
Garland misses the swarm's touch AC of 14 and his throw deviates, doing 2 points of splash damage to the swarm.

The rats swarm over Murkau, dealing 3 damage. Murkau fails a will save and is nauseated next round.

It's now the player phase.

Darcon
 player, 26 posts
Tue 12 Mar 2019
at 21:05
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Careful!" Darcon called out, gripping his staff in both hands as he watched his companions getting swarmed by the rats. After a moment of indecision he moved quickly, skirting the edge of the swarm until he found a clear place close enough to affect the rats but not injure his friends.

Raising his staff he slammed it point down onto the ground while uttering a word of power. Lightning flashed with a low crackle inside the house, sending sparks flying in all directions...
Move Action: Move to I7;
Shara
 player, 35 posts
Tue 12 Mar 2019
at 22:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Upon hearing the sounds of conflict, Shara ran down the stairs, her spiritual companion in tow. She flung a piece of debris at the swarm using strange telekinetic powers, as her companion closed in and swung a spectral blade at the swarm.


18:45, Today: Shara rolled 5 using 1d6+1. Damage. If it hits (flanking?), Murkau can make an immediate action attack.
18:44, Today: Shara rolled 12 using 1d20+3.  Phantom Slam.
18:43, Today: Shara rolled 4 using 1d6.  Damage.
18:43, Today: Shara rolled 16 using 1d20+2.  Telekinetic Projectile.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 56 posts
Wed 13 Mar 2019
at 01:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland let out a curse as he held the morningstar in his dominant hand and took a step forward, swinging with as much might as the cleric could muster.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 68 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 13 Mar 2019
at 17:47
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Take care my friends swarms are very common and survival is most likely,”

With that SCG pummels the rats with his morning star

13:45, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 7 using 1d8+1.  Morning star damage . 13:45, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 22 using 1d20+3.  Attack roll against swarm.
GM
 GM, 208 posts
Wed 13 Mar 2019
at 18:58
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Combat:
Darcon's light flash does 5 damage to the swarm.
Shara's TK projectile does 4 damage, enough to disperse the swarm.
Everybody else smashes or stomps on fleeing rats as they scurry away.

Combat concluded, victory!




Our hero's swift action sent scurrying, mangy bodies flying as spells and steel pummeled at the break in the wall where the rats were boiling out. Shara's telekinetic throw struck a decisive enough blow the scatter the largest knot of rats, and the rest squealed and dispersed, scampering out the doors, through the broken windows, and into dozens of little hidey holes in the walls.

Kendra shrieked and performed an awkward, panickey dance as rats ran past her ankles on the way out. She shuddered and rubbed her hands together as if cleaning off something disgusting.

"Horrible little things." She said as the last rats scurried away.

A further search of the house revealed little more than the moldering remains of the Hawkran's personal effects, Shara's rusty iron key was the only noteworthy artifact in the place.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:02, Wed 13 Mar.

Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 16 posts
Thu 14 Mar 2019
at 01:35
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Ugh."  Keanala slowly loosened the tension that she had drawn on her bow.  She plucked the arrow from the string and held it in one hand.  "Nice work on those things.  Never liked rats.  Everyone okay?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 70 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 14 Mar 2019
at 15:29
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG makes certain all the rats are off of him and quickly checks for bites and scratches, especially deep ones that may result in infection.

“Better than horrible massive things.”


“Check for deep wounds rats can cause disease.  I took more than I first thought though in coming to my aid it appears our friend has taken more.  I was the appetizer and he the main course.”
GM
 GM, 209 posts
Thu 14 Mar 2019
at 18:16
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra fussed over Constantine and Murkau until she was satisfied that the weren't in imminent danger of expiring from their wounds. Apart from deep scratches around shins and ankles anywhere not covered in armor they seemed fine, but Constantine was right about the propensity of rats to spread disease. Kendra resolved to keep an eye on both of them over the next couple of days to make sure they were in good health.
Darcon
 player, 27 posts
Thu 14 Mar 2019
at 19:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Lets hope that key comes in use inside the old prison," Darcon murmured, implying his hope that the effort expended here had been of some use. "Since there appears to be nothing of interest here let us move into the prison proper, there must be some clues as to the fate of the Professor and the affairs of The Whispering Way there."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 58 posts
Thu 14 Mar 2019
at 23:02
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland took a few moments to look at both injured party members and their wounds for a few moments before he stepped back. "I have several chances to channel energy. If either of you would like healing in that way you need only ask. When we return to the Lorrimor estate I want to examine both of you to see if you're suffering from infection or disease." he stated, smiling warmly as he looked at their faces with a reassuring tone in his voice. "I've spent several years of my life working as a doctor in Caliphas, you'll be in good hands."

He looked over at Darcon as he made the suggestion and nodded in agreement, gripping his mace tightly in his dominant hand as he walked toward the door. "I agree, the main prison seems the next best place though keep a lookout for someway to scale the walls. I would like to take a look at the area above where Petros passed."
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 77 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Fri 15 Mar 2019
at 00:08
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Dastardly little things, alway's after the littlest bit of food. If I feel worse for the wear I'll let ya know, for now lets get goin'." The dwarf cleans the sledge side of his maulaxe before moving out of the decrepit house towards the prison.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 71 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 15 Mar 2019
at 00:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Indeed we should keep going; if we gave up now old wives would ridicule us to no end with brooms and buckets they have fought such swarms.   Perhaps we can find a place the wall has fallen away or a door is open.  Scaling walls is not my favorite thing.”
GM
 GM, 210 posts
Fri 15 Mar 2019
at 17:56
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Our heroes moved across the grounds to the prison proper, hesitating for a scant moment in front of the crooked wooden doors.

There was a palpable feeling of dread as they crossed over the threshold, the oppressive feeling of claustrophobia, the lingering tug of men who had died in anger and terror and hate, the faintest scent of charred flesh. A collective shudder seemed to move through the group and, although none of our heroes were unduly put out, Kendra seemed shaken.

The massive doors, once strongly barred, were easily pushed open with the groaning screech of rusted hinges. Our heroes moved through a small foyer and then into an entry way that split off in four directions. A quick peek through the doors showed corridors flanked with doors to the west and north, and a large open chamber like an auditorium to the east. South were the doors that the party had entered through.




Shara
 player, 36 posts
Sat 16 Mar 2019
at 00:18
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara looked around at the possible paths through the prison before them.

"I don't suppose anyone has a good idea as to where we should start in our search? Perhaps where the professor met his fate?" she asks, with a sideways glance at Kendra.
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 17 posts
Sat 16 Mar 2019
at 02:22
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Seeing her friend a little shaken, Keanala went to Kendras side.  She rested a hand on the other woman shoulder, giving a soft squeeze of reassurance.

"So.  Big open area first?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 72 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 16 Mar 2019
at 17:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Aye it would give us a chance to secure and control a large area and deal with larger threats first.”

SCG heads to lead the way into the large chamber on the right
Garland Van Burke
 player, 59 posts
Sat 16 Mar 2019
at 17:38
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland reached over and put a hand on Kendra's shoulder, a gesture he used with many new acolytes back at the cathedral when they began to loose their nerve. "Process of elimination. We need to check every room for clues but be sure to stay together. It's important that everyone is honest with one another, bravery and pride be will get you killed. If you're feeling, seeing, hearing, or smelling something odd say something as soon as you can."

Garland then points his morningstar towards the auditorium "I agree, lets start here."
Darcon
 player, 28 posts
Sun 17 Mar 2019
at 14:11
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon entered last, glancing about the gloomy place with trepidation. Narrowing his eyes he peered from underneath his hood, his gaze raking across the area. "Careful everyone, watch your step. Remember the trap in the crypt earlier, we don't want to fall for something like that again," he advised. "Be alert for signs of anyone else having been here recently as well," the mage added.

When Garland pointed towards the auditorium Darcon shrugged and replied, "Seems as good a place as any, lead on."

Perception: 23 (looking for anything useful or interesting in sight, such as tracks, traps, secret doors, etc)

GM
 GM, 212 posts
Mon 18 Mar 2019
at 18:22
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Our heroes moved swiftly to take advantage of the last few moments of Garland's undead detecting enchantment. They moved into the large room east of the foyer but Garland held up a hand to forestall them from moving in any further.

The room was a large meeting hall or auditorium. The rows of benches and podium towards the front of the room painted it as the location of guard briefings and meetings with officials. However, thick eye bolts set into the benches showed a dual purpose, places where inmates could be chained while groups were inducted into the prison or disciplined. And at the center of the camber, just before the podium, a pair of manacles were set into the floor. Clearly this was where the condemned would stand when the auditorium served as impromptu courtroom.

Just as his enchantment faded Garland detected a strong undead presence centered there, on the manacles. Nothing could be seen by the naked eye, most likely some haunt was tethered to the place where the condemned had stood. It would be possible to move through the room without disturbing that location, but any investigation of the front of the room or the lectern would likely trigger the haunt. Darcon's keen eyes roved over the area and could not see any visible papers or clues. It would be impossible to tell what was in the lectern drawer without investigating closer.

The far side of the room had two exits, leading to another open room to the north (A4) and a small office to the south (A5).








A1 - Entryway
A2 - Foyer
A3 - Auditorium - You are here
A4 - ???
A5 - ???

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 73 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 18 Mar 2019
at 19:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG strides into the room,
Between the two doors and below the room designator

“Anybody see any signs of vermin or other things?”
Garland Van Burke
 player, 61 posts
Mon 18 Mar 2019
at 22:01
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland stood at the doorway, holding up a hand to stop everyone as he stood there, seeing the aura of something not of life and deaths natural course. "Hold, I detect an abomination. Give me a moment to investigate." he said as he closed his eyes, looking even more deeply at the room as he cointiued to survey the situation.
GM
 GM, 215 posts
Tue 19 Mar 2019
at 17:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I don't see anything." Kendra answered Constantine nervously.

Garland's field of scan narrowed and intensified, his magically enhanced senses picking out the threads of undeath in the area. He detected a single aura of moderate necromantic potency.
Darcon
 player, 29 posts
Tue 19 Mar 2019
at 18:37
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon stopped in his tracks when he heard Garland state his discovery. Remaining behind the priest he waited for him to reveal more of what he had detected with his magic.
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 78 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Tue 19 Mar 2019
at 23:51
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Murkau grunted, waiting a moment before asking the priest "What do yer eyes see Garland?" The dwarf waited towards the front of the group, content to be a shield for the rest.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 62 posts
Wed 20 Mar 2019
at 09:21
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The spell fades a moment later and Garland looks back at the others. "There is a single aura of necromantic energy ahead. Thats all I could determine before the spell faded...I suggest we prepare one of the siphons and move inside carefully."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 74 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 20 Mar 2019
at 17:35
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Aye ready the symphony and I shall move forward into harms way.”

SCG waits for them to get set and then starts straight up the middle to the front of the room.
GM
 GM, 216 posts
Wed 20 Mar 2019
at 17:55
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra fished in her pack and handed Garland one of the delicate glass haunt siphons. He approached as closely as he could the edge of the aura, he was several feet away from the podium, and twisted open the supernatural trap. There was a sudden rush of ghostly energy and ethereal tendrils formed and writhed, drawn inwards into the haunt siphon. A low wail sounded and the temperature dropped slightly. Then it was over, and the haunt siphon began to glow with a sickly green light.

An examination of the now safe podium found nothing particularly noteworthy. Just a loose collection of moldy papers, ink smudged, dealing with the day to day operation of the prison. There was a duty roster and a supply request, but no illuminating clues.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 63 posts
Wed 20 Mar 2019
at 20:56
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland sets his hand on Constantines shoulder with a smile. "Im pleased that this did not put you into danger but please share some of that burden. You need not shoulder it all yourself my friend." he said, hoping that paladin would take his words to heart.

Garland looked at the siphon, taking in its details as he turned it every which way in his hands. Noting the only difference was the light. "I think I may have to study these devices more when there is time. I could write a full paper just on the few changes Ive noticed."

After a moment he removed his backpack, placing the used siphon into it before he began to collect the paperwork, page by page gathering everything together and placing it in his pack for further study and possibly even historical reference material. Once that paperwork had been collected Garland took a small piece of charcoal and a blank, partially burned page, placing them on the ground in front of him before he kneeled down, taking in a deep breath as he spoke to the spirit. "I want to help you but we need to speak to one another. Can you write your name for us?" he asked in a tone that betrayed his feelings of pity for someone trapped here. Garland was a scholar and a healer but these were not the wounds of a body wracked by injuries or disease, instead he was trying to heal the soul trapped here so it might pass on.
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 18 posts
Thu 21 Mar 2019
at 01:48
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala leaned over Garlands shoulder, her own interest piqued by the haunt siphon.  "I haven't seen one of those working before.  That's pretty useful.  Can we get more of these?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 75 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 21 Mar 2019
at 02:03
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Someone must take point as we move forward; fear not I know that you can take my place should the need arise.”

He nods
“The detection spell was well done allowing us a foothold and a haunt removed.”

He looks at the siphon...
“Can it still be used or is it now filled?”

The remainder of the room shows little of interest so SCG looks around the room at the variety of doors...

The small area behind the room between this main chamber and the outer wall seems like a place that must be cleared next.
GM
 GM, 217 posts
Thu 21 Mar 2019
at 19:27
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland's query echoed through the open chamber but the unquiet spirits didn't deign to answer, the charcoal and paper remained inert. His knowledge of the undead told him that such inquiries were unlikely to be answered directly, except by an attack. Unless one possessed something specific to the spirit being questioned, some object or person intimately tied with it, a mundane seance was unlikely to yield any answers. There were magics and rituals capable of pulling answers from the hostile dead, however.

Still, this particular haunt was unlikely to cause problems for some time. While most haunts re manifested after a single day, any haunt drained with a haunt siphon could take as long as two weeks to gather enough spiritual energy to re manifest.

Kendra shuffled through her bag, looking at the treasures that had been retrieved from the crypt.

"Well, we have one more. And Father Grimburrow would likely be able to make more of them, if he has this one to work from. We can likely buy more from the temple of Pharasma." She answered Keanala.

"That one is expended," She nodded towards the one that Garland was stowing "But the spiritual energy held within could be useful, I suppose."

Constantine's search of the southern wall of the chamber revealed little. He clamored up onto the knee height stage and searched the lectern and rear area but didn't find more than the moldy papers that Garland had already examined.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 64 posts
Thu 21 Mar 2019
at 22:37
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"No, I suppose it would not be that easy." he said aloud, shrugging a moment later knowing that not all hauntings were very vocal. "I am unsure if we 'should' use the other siphon. Father Grim burrow may need to study one before he or the other priests can build them and who knows what such an endeavor would cost as they are powerful magical items. Regardless, we should move on. Lead the way Constantine."
GM
 GM, 218 posts
Fri 22 Mar 2019
at 18:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra nodded.

"We'll try to save it, but I'm sure that the temple would be able to replicate even a filled haunt siphon. So, where too next?"

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 76 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 22 Mar 2019
at 18:13
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“There are two more doors out of this room perhaps we shoul keep going through these.”
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 19 posts
Sat 23 Mar 2019
at 05:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Outer door first?" Keanala offered, hooking a thumb in the direction of the door to A5.
Darcon
 player, 30 posts
Sat 23 Mar 2019
at 15:41
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon watched the process of the trapping of the haunt with fascination, the green glow of the filled siphon reflecting in his eyes as he stared. "Interesting..." the mage murmured as the process was completed. Looking towards Kendra he asked curiously, "Since the haunts manifest again, albeit much delayed due to these siphons which I presume somehow drains them of their essence, is there anyway to permanently slay a haunt that you might know off?"

As Constantine and Keanala implied the group should get moving again Darcon nodded and replied, "Lead on."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 77 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 23 Mar 2019
at 19:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Aye the outer door first then.”


SCG cautiously takes ahold of the door to open it and find out if it is locked or barred.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:40, Sat 23 Mar.

Murkau Holdheart
 player, 79 posts
 Dwarf | HP 22/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Sun 24 Mar 2019
at 17:13
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Maybe destroy what ties them to the mortal plane? Just a guess, my knowledge of undead is more oriented towards the physical ones." Murkau adds in response to Darcon, stroking his beard with his off-hand. "Best to finish off a path before going to explore others, one of the first things I had to teach yer father back in the day," the dwarf nodded to Kendra.
GM
 GM, 219 posts
Mon 25 Mar 2019
at 17:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra nodded her agreement as she corroborated Murkau's assessment, happy to be discussing one of her fields of study. Or one of the fields that she had been studying for the past several days.

"Yes, like ghosts and other unquiet spirits you can't truly be rid of a haunt by damaging it with positive energy or otherwise dispelling it. You have to resolve the unfinished business that tethers it to our world. It's why researching the history of a place can be so important, knowing what caused the haunting can tell you how to exorcise it."

Our heroes followed Constantine cautiously into the next chamber, weapons out and spells at the ready. Their caution was unwarranted though. Nothing attacked them when they entered the room, and a thorough examination didn't trigger any traps or haunts.

The room looked like a storage room of some sort, two long sorting tables or work benches took up the middle of the space and the walls were covered with tagged bins. The tags had long since rotted away, but it was plain to see that this was where the prisoner's personal effects were stored. Almost none of the equipment here would ever be returned to their owners though, for more often than not the belongings would simply be held as a formality until the inmate was hanged.

The contents of the bins were mostly moldy rubbish, but here and there an item of value could be picked out. All told the group managed to scavenge a set of masterwork thieves tools, a silver medal from some long lost war (80gp), a small sized tapestry that Daron recognized as depicting the Battle of Ghorcha Pass (280gp), a fine ivory comb (35gp) and hair pins (20gp), a masterwork dagger, a masterwork silver war razor, a wand of lesser restoration with 12 charges remaining, and 724gp in assorted coins.

The most tantalizing feature of the room wasn't in the bins, however. Inset into the far wall was a large iron safe with massive hinges and a heavy handle. It was locked, the key hole rusty but serviceable.




Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 78 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 25 Mar 2019
at 22:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Perhaps a clue is preserved in the safe and fortune favors us with tools for opening such a contrivance; if anyone is a locksmith.”.”
GM
 GM, 222 posts
Tue 26 Mar 2019
at 19:27
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra rapped curiously on the safe, the dull thudding sounds of her knuckles a testament to how thick and solid the door was.

"I don't know anything about picking locks." She lamented.

"And I doubt we would be able to get someone from the town to come up to the prison to jimmy it open for us."
Darcon
 player, 31 posts
Tue 26 Mar 2019
at 19:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon looked at the iron safe with interest, but he had no way of opening it. He did have another vial of acid but the door of the safe appeared far too thick and big for a vial of acid to be of any use in opening it, at least in his opinion.

"I have another vial of acid, but I do not believe it will be of much help in opening this," he remarked, gesturing at the safe with his staff.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 79 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 26 Mar 2019
at 23:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Perhaps it is not locked or is rusted out.”

He tries to just turn the handle...

“Did anyone see a paper with instructions for the safe?  Often in jails the information is written down so it is not forgotten by those working day to day.”
GM
 GM, 223 posts
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 17:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
As much as Constantine heaved he wasn't able to budge the handle, and Darcon's assessment seemed more than reasonable. There just wasn't any melting into the safe, at least not with what they had on hand. The possibility of finding a paper with instructions was remote, the safe had a key hole and not a combination lock.
Darcon
 player, 33 posts
Wed 27 Mar 2019
at 20:22
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Recalling something, Darcon turned to face the group and remarked, "Shara, didn't you find a key inside the house earlier, when we were swarmed by the rats? Why don't you try using that on the safe here, but beware of any traps."

Taking his own advice Darcon moved back a few paces from the safe, just in case.
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 20 posts
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 03:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Or maybe just bash it in?" Keanala offered though she was not very fond of the idea.  "Or can we take it with us and back to town where we can take our time opening it?  I don't have a lot of experience with locked treasures.  Usually we had a...specialist with us to open up the things."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 65 posts
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 05:35
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland shakes his head back and forth at Keanala's suggestion. "I do not recommend bashing it in as anything fragile inside would likely be destroyed in the process. Unless Shara's key works I believe this is one of those situations where we will have to come back to it"
GM
 GM, 224 posts
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 18:43
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Good thinking." Shara said.

She tried the key in the lock but was disappointed to find that it didn't fit. She thought for a moment and then used her dagger to scrape away some of the rust clustered around the keyhole and the head of the iron key. With a little jimmying and some dubious scraping sounds it slid home with a rattling click. She fished around in the lock for a moment, worried that the rusty key would break, but managed to spin the cylinder before the handle of the key snapped off. The bolts shot back and, although the key was broken off in the lock, it was open. Constantine pushed the heavy door out of the way to reveal the contents of the safe.

Inside was a hodgepodge collection of items, protected from the rot of the prison by the watertight seal around the safe door. Garland and Darcon pored over the items, examining them magically to determine what secrets they might hide.

Bloodstained Handaxe - The first item was +1 handaxe, obviously a woodsman's tool rather than a weapon. Wet blood still glistened along its edge, spattered over the head and handle in a way that would make it impossible to wield without getting one's hands bloody. Darcon detected a curse on the axe, although he couldn't determine the curse's exact effects.

Collection of Holy Symbols - This mass of dozens of silver holy symbols dangled from fine chains all tangled in a mass. Although they didn't appear to be fused or locked together, any attempt to untangle them proved useless. There were symbols of Pharasma, Erastil, Abadar, and a dozen other major and minor deities from across Golarion represented. These too had a curse upon them. Any divine caster carrying these symbols would face 10% spell failure chance, exactly like an arcane caster wearing armor, and would suffer a -1 saving throw against divine spells. However, subtle lucky magics seemed to interact with and influence the pervasive haunting around the prison. The bearer would also have +2 to AC and all saving throws made within the prison.

Moldy Spellbook - This leather bound spellbook had become faded and caked with mold over the years, although some pages remained legible. When Darcon paged through it he shouted in alarm and let it tumble from his grasp. For there, in blood, he found his own name etched again and again in the margins an spaces. Kendra picked it up with horrified fascination and reported that, to her, it was her own name that she saw scrawled there. Indeed anyone that examined the book found their own name scribbled in blood. As Darcon examined the book he felt a sudden greedy fear grip his mind, a paranoid terror of losing his ability to cast spells. He shook off the compulsion with relative ease but got the impression that, while they bore it, the book would make any caster reluctant to expend their spells. The spells held by the book were comprehend languages, false life, gust of wind, illusory script, levitate, mage armor, magic missile, and summon monster IV. He got the feeling that any lengthy examination of the tome could have deleterious effects.

Smith's Hammer - This heavy masterwork blacksmith's hammer had the well worn handle of a master craftsman's implement. Its masterwork nature would give the user +2 on Craft checks, with an additional +2 on armorsmith, blacksmith, and weaponsmith checks specifically. Holding the hammer itself was something of an ordeal, for when picked up strong pangs of guilt and regret washed over the wielder. Most significantly Garland, Constantine, and Darcon recognized it. It was the spectral hammer that they had seen crashing down on them when the crypt in the Restlands collapsed.

Tarnished Silver Flute - This flute bore the marks of age and ill repair but looked like it would still function, although none of our heroes tried to play it. The enchantment on this item seemed to resonate with the haunted prison just as the holy symbols did, although neither Garland nor Darcon were able to determine what effect it might have if played.
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 80 posts
 Dwarf | HP 22/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Thu 28 Mar 2019
at 20:59
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"If no one wants to use any of these, I can carry them. Perhaps Father Grimburrow may be able to purge the curses when we head back to the town." The stout dwarf stepped to the front saying. The dwarf was trusting in his kinds' resistance to magic to prevent him from suffering any ill effects from carrying the cursed items.
GM
 GM, 226 posts
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 19:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra nodded and help him carefully stow the haunted artifacts in his pack. She handled them nervously, trying to touch them as little as possible, and didn't seem any the worse for the wear after the maneuver.

"Where shall we explore next?" She asked.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 66 posts
Sat 30 Mar 2019
at 04:57
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"While the curses are something to keep in mind, I believe these may have some connection to the prisoners who may still haunt this place. Why else would such artifacts be locked away like this?" he adds as he looks over at Kendra, not exactly comfortable with her carrying cursed items though he said nothing about it.

After a moment he points toward the other side of the building. "There was that long hallway going to the west. Perhaps we should see what is that way."
Darcon
 player, 34 posts
Sat 30 Mar 2019
at 18:55
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shaken by what he had seen and senses, Darcon watched the objects be stowed away into Murkau's pack. He had been tempted by the spellbook, and still was despite the dark power infesting it, but it was too dangerous to peruse right now. Later, if they survived this place and found a way to purge the curses he could dive into the new lore and spells within the tome.

"To the hallway then," he echoed Garland, and gestured with his staff for the others to lead the way. "Wary of any traps," he added, the memories of the cave in and his own near death experience still fresh in his mind.
ooc: Someone should regularly keep checking for traps guys.
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 21 posts
Sun 31 Mar 2019
at 04:21
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"It's kind of an odd place to keep cursed items, isn't it?  Out in the open like this?  Well, locked in a safe out in the open I mean.  I would've thought that they'd be kept in a basement someplace."

Keanala shrugged.  "Hallway is good."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 80 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sun 31 Mar 2019
at 15:20
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“These items seem connected to the harms that have befallen us.  Do they need to be cleansed or destroyed to rid the curses?”
GM
 GM, 227 posts
Mon 1 Apr 2019
at 17:56
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"These objects may not have been cursed when they were put in here. It looks like this was where the prisoner's belongings were stored, the safe was probably just for the highest security prisoners. Fifty years in a haunted prison can have all manner of strange effects." Kendra said as they trooped out of the property room. She shrugged.

"Then again, they may have been locked away because they were cursed in the first place. Cleansing the curses on these objects could go a long way towards resolving the haunting of the prison itself."

Our heroes made their way through the property room, backtracking through the auditorium and into the hallway to the west. They proceeded cautiously, checking for traps and haunts, but found nothing in the short corridor. The four doors leading off the corridor led to offices, now in shambles, that had once served as the administrative head of the prison. The papers were moldy, scattered, and largely illegible, but a great many remained intact. Taking an hour or two to properly collect and catalog them could lead to great insights about the prison's history and day to day business, and would provide a +4 bonus to knowledge checks about the prison itself.

The group could decide to make that search later but, finding no threats or traps, pushed on.

The two doors at the end of the corridor opened, one into a small washroom, and the other into a larger and more officially furnished office. The large desk was still stable and the walls were taken up with shelves, a cabinet, and a rack for weapons. But before our heroes could cross the threshold to investigate further Murkau and Darcon both hissed a warning.

No tangible presence could be seen in the office, but as they approached they could feel a rheumatic ache in their joints and a surge of anger and resentment directed towards the doorway.







A1 - Entryway
A2 - Foyer
A3 - Auditorium - You are here
A4 - ???
A5 - Property Room
A6 - Offices
A7 - Warden's Office

Darcon
 player, 35 posts
Tue 2 Apr 2019
at 21:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Remaining steady after hissing out his warning to the others, Darconc considered the doorway curiously, aware of the growing ache in his joints and the feeling of resentment and anger being directed towards the doorway.

"Careful, it could be a trap or another of those haunts,"
he warned the others. Raising a hand he made a quick gesture and murmured something under his breath, then held out his hand palm facing the doorway and the room beyond.
Cast detect magic to see if anything catches his attention

This message was last edited by the player at 16:47, Wed 03 Apr.

GM
 GM, 228 posts
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 18:22
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon's magical detection played over the interior of the room as he stood on the threshold, intensifying as he concentrated. His magical gaze detected nothing, illuminating in its own right. It meant that the foreboding aura that our heroes detected was likely not a magical trap or a spell, given their location it was almost certainly a haunt.

"We could use the haunt siphon or try to clear it with positive energy, although the latter would only suppress it for a day or two. We could also try to commune with it or investigate what unresolved business is keeping it here and resolve the haunting itself." Shara said, lending her expertise on the affairs of spirits.

"Of course, we could just trigger it and try to survive its effects."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 81 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 3 Apr 2019
at 21:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“I am game to trigger and others observe and be ready to siphon.”

SCG moves aside the doorway waiting for the go ahead from his companion
GM
 GM, 229 posts
Thu 4 Apr 2019
at 20:12
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Kendra asked tremulously as the rest of the group save Constantine backed down the hallway. They backed up to the far end of the hallway, close enough to rush to Constantine's aid if the worst should happen, but as far as possible from the haunt itself.

Sir Constantine steeled himself and then stepped across the threshold.

An furious babbling like a mob of angry voices surged and rose, the temperature rising noticeably and the smell of burning flesh filling the air. Half glimpsed, ethereal figures rushed inwards towards the door, the manifestation of the prisoner's hatred and and resentment of their jailers. A surge of raw anger seemed to form and coalesce at the door into a scrawled symbol, prisoner's chicken scratch. Although it disappeared almost immediately words of condemnation towards the warden and his guards could be read.

Our heroes clustered in the hallway were blasted with the power of that symbol. Aches and pains tremmored through most of them but Darcon was suddenly wracked with a torturous agony. He seemed to feel harsh blows as from iron rods raining on his joints and hands and a searing pain lanced through his jaw.

Then, with a final moan, the haunt dissipated, leaving the hallway empty and Darcon shuddering with the memory of pain. The haunt was expended, at least for the time being.



Anyone within 60ft is affected by the haunt, which mimics a symbol of pain spell. Everyone except Darcon passes their saves. Darcon takes a -4 to attack rolls, ability checks, and skill checks for 1 hour.




With the haunt cleared our heroes were able to explore the warden's office without further trouble. The warden's desk held dusty papers similar to the nearby offices, these papers could likewise be collated into a collection that would provide a +4 to knowledge checks regarding the prison with an hour's work.

The gear on the nearby shelves was mostly rusty and useless, and the weapon rack was empty, but a cache of supplies was secreted in his lower desk drawer. The cache consisted of the prison's payroll, 500gp, four potions of cure moderate wounds, three potions of lesser restoration, and two potions of remove disease.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:12, Thu 04 Apr.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 82 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 4 Apr 2019
at 22:53
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The wave of anger born in despair washed over SCG.  He tried to make sense of the wash but in reality it made him question much of what he thought of the purpose of imprisonments and Redemption...

He looks back to the hallway
“Is everyone in fine spirits still yet?  Is it me or does it seem possible those housed here were subjected to torture?”
GM
 GM, 231 posts
Fri 5 Apr 2019
at 20:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra shuddered in the aftermath of the haunt, and at Constantine's grim suggestion.

"Perhaps the warden and his guards weren't so blameless. Ugh. Well, it doesn't look like there's any way through in this section. Where should we explore next?"
Garland Van Burke
 player, 67 posts
Sat 6 Apr 2019
at 04:15
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Not just possible Constantine. Highly probable. Considering the history of the prison it is no stretch of the imagination that all kinds of atrocities were commited in these walls. Torture may be just the beginning. I pray Pharasma granted them the wisdom not to partake in necromantic research as well." he breathed in a sigh of contempt for the atrocities that had taken place in this prison and yet were continued in prisons across Ustalav. Perhaps one day they would outlaw the practice which caused so many emotional scars across the land.

He takes his time to gather all forms of paperwork and anything that might be pertanent to further investigation. "The next nearest door seems the best place. We need to explore the entire facility today before posting a guard in the town square tonight."

This message was last edited by the player at 04:27, Sat 06 Apr.

Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 22 posts
Sat 6 Apr 2019
at 04:59
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I hope that we have enough of those siphons."  Keanala added.  "There seem to be a lot of haunts in this place.  I wonder if they were here before the place burned down or before."
Darcon
 player, 36 posts
Sat 6 Apr 2019
at 09:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The memories triggered by the haunt still affected Darcon, phantom pain from the images and memories wracking his mind. "I strongly suggest we try to clear these haunts with positive energy, if we cannot afford to spend a siphon," Darcon remarked as the others explored the Warden's office.

After choosing two of the potions for himself the mage gestured to the others he was ready to move on with the exploration
ooc: Darcon will take 1 potion of CMW and 1 Potion of Restoration

This message was last edited by the player at 09:20, Sat 06 Apr.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 83 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 6 Apr 2019
at 20:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Aye perhaps the warden was in the whispering way and perhaps the fire was part and parcel of some twisted scheme.  If this place was a torture chamber the potions we found give clue to the awfulness otherwise it was aid for any wounds that might happen.

SCG shrugs and begins to move forward once more he knows they must press on and hope to clear it all before nightfall
GM
 GM, 232 posts
Mon 8 Apr 2019
at 18:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Our heroes moved through the moldering corridors of the prison, peeking through doorways and taking a quick survey of the layout. They first explored the northern corridor that led off of the entryway and found that it quickly branched out.

To the right of the corridor (A9) they found a staircase leading to the upper floor and a staircase leading down into the dungeon. The stairs leading up were traversable but those leading down were collapsed by the deadfall, triggered by the guards to keep the prisoners contained in the lower level during the riot.

To the right the floor plan opened up into a wide section of corridors punctuated with doors leading to the various prison facilities (doors 1-6). Our heroes chose the first door that they came to (A8) and took a look inside.

The interior was the prison chapel, overturned pews forming little mounds and an altar visible at the far end. Rather than the general disuse and rot that had overtaken the majority of the rest of the prison this room was festooned, high and low, with delicate cobwebs. Although no hostiles could be seen in the room it would be nearly impossible to enter without disturbing the webs.







Explored Rooms:
A1 - Entryway
A2 - Foyer
A3 - Auditorium
A5 - Property Room
A6 - Offices
A7 - Warden's Office
A9 - Stairwell

Unexplored Rooms:
A4 - ???
A8 - Chapel - You are here
1 - ???
2 - ???
3 - ???
4 - ???
5 - ???
6 - ???

Garland Van Burke
 player, 68 posts
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 00:06
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Our findings are disturbing but we should continue, there is still much more ground to cover before nightfall." Garland said as he pushed the door open, disappointed in their findings though not entirely surprised. He took the lead this time walking back down the hallway, through the foyer, past the auditorium and opened the double doors at the east side.

OOC: Moving to A4 for more exploration
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 84 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 00:48
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“The webs indicate spiders or some creatures with webs.  I can go in with a torch and clear the webs.”
GM
 GM, 234 posts
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 18:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Perhaps we'll return later to see what's in there." Kendra said to Constantine, following after Garland as he moved on to explore.

They moved through the auditorium and into the room on the east side of the prison. It was a large, open chamber with training dummies and similar equipment moldering against the walls. The far wall was partially collapsed, letting the murky waters of the pond flow towards the center of the chamber.

In the center a deep, black hole gaped. This was where the lift had been positioned, which the prisoners had attempted to scale after the guards triggered the deadfall that collapsed the stairs. The hole was blackened and charred, the panicked guards had dropped lamp oil and torches down to prevent the prisoners from escaping which had started the blaze that consumed the prison.

Before our heroes could explore much farther a dry, rattling screech sounded from the hole and the smell of charred flesh filled the air. With a whoosh six grinning skulls rose through the opening, wreathed in flame an swooping through the air.



ABCCEFGHIJKLMNOPQRS 
                   1
                   2
   ++++DD+++++     3
   +          +    4
   +           +   5
   +            +  6
   +             + 7
 +++              +8
 +        PP      +9
 +        PP      +10
 +      FS2    FS6    +11
 +                +12
 +       FS3       + 13
 +         FS4    +  14
 + FS1           +   15
 +GAR FS5         +    16
 DDARCON         +     17
 DMURKEA        +      18
 +++++++++++       19
                   20



During their turn the flaming skulls rise from the pit in the floor and fan out. It is currently the player phase.

Two of them swoop towards Garland and Constantine and attack, although both miss.


FS1 - AC 13, Touch 13, Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1, HP 5/5
FS2 - AC 13, Touch 13, Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1, HP 5/5
FS3 - AC 13, Touch 13, Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1, HP 5/5
FS4 - AC 13, Touch 13, Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1, HP 5/5
FS5 - AC 13, Touch 13, Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1, HP 5/5
FS6 - AC 13, Touch 13, Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1, HP 5/5








Explored Rooms:
A1 - Entryway
A2 - Foyer
A3 - Auditorium
A4 - Training Room - You are here
A5 - Property Room
A6 - Offices
A7 - Warden's Office
A9 - Stairwell

Unexplored Rooms:
A8 - Chapel
1 - ???
2 - ???
3 - ???
4 - ???
5 - ???
6 - ???
Door to the north of the training room (I forgot to label it on the map)

Darcon
 player, 37 posts
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 19:25
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The sudden appearance of the flaming skulls caused Darcon's heart to skip a beat; he had been aware of danger since they entered this haunted place of-course, but still the flaming bony faces made for an unnerving strike.

"Careful, do not let them contact you," the mage warned the others, holding his staff one-handed and crosswise in front of him in a defensive stance. He raised his other hand and murmured something unintelligible, and a ray of emerald light lanced out at one of the grinning skulls farther off in the distance.
Initiative: 21; Cast Disrupt Undead @FS2: 21 on Ranged Touch Attack; Damage: 05


Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 85 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 19:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“This is wise counsel, let us keep them at arms length.”

SCG lashes out with the Morningstar
Looks like a miss with that roll
Garland Van Burke
 player, 69 posts
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 21:08
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland pulls his holy symbol from the chain on his right shoulder and brandishes it with faith and conviction. "Let Pharasma's holy light engulf these abominations in the fires of her retribution!" he shouted as the room was filled with a brilliant light, expanding outward.
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 24 posts
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 04:08
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala took a small step to the right (E,18) and nocked an arrow into her short bow.  She was hasty and her quick movements through off her aim.


OOC:
Attack on FS5 = 9 (Miss)

GM
 GM, 235 posts
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 18:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland ducked under the two skulls floating before him, dashing into position to expose all six skulls to his holy energy. Both skulls swooped towards him as he ran, but only one managed to connect.

Darcon cast a quick spell to cover him as he darted forward, a ray of counter-necromantic energy crumbling one of the skulls with a single cast.

A wave of holy energy washed over the room and the cackling screeches of the flying, burning skulls rose to a horrendous pitch. Two of them broke and fled, disappearing back down the hole in the center of the room. Although their fiery aura would render them immune to regular flames, the divine fires of Garland's channel would easily burn the fleeing skulls to ashes before they could return to the fray.

The remaining skulls lashed out. Exposed in the center of the room, the two remaining skulls slammed into Garland. Although it had squishier, easier to hit targets available to it the skull threatening Constantine continued to mindlessly batter itself against his shield.



ABCCEFGHIJKLMNOPQRS 
                   1
                   2
   ++++DD+++++     3
   +          +    4
   +           +   5
   +            +  6
   +             + 7
 +++              +8
 +        PP      +9
 +        PP      +10
 +                +11
 +                +12
 +       FS3       + 13
 +      GARFS6      +  14
 +             +   15
 +  FS5         +    16
 DDARCON         +     17
 DMUR KEA       +      18
 +++++++++++       19
                   20



Darcon vaporizes one skull with his Disrupt Undead.

Two of the skulls take attacks of opportunity against Garland as he moves to the center of the room, one hits. Garland takes 5 damage (1 physical, 4 fire).

Three of the skulls pass their saves but the remaining two flee from Garland's Turn Undead. The will burn out before the fear wears off so they are effectively eliminated.

During their turn FS5 attacks Constantine for a miss, FS6 charges Garland but misses, FS3 atacks Garland for a hit. Garland takes 6 damage (1 physical, 5 fire)



FS3 - AC 13, Touch 13, Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1, HP 5/5
FS5 - AC 13, Touch 13, Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1, HP 5/5
FS6 - AC 11, Touch 11, Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1, HP 5/5, Charged (-2 AC)

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 86 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 19:24
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Garland get back here.”

Swing with a hit or miss
Darcon
 player, 38 posts
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 21:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Seeing Garland was in trouble, Darcon focused at the skulls battering themselves against him. Making flowing, cryptic gestures with the two extended fingers of his free hand Darcon chanted, "Magica Altum Scintillis!"

Opening his hand he pointed his palm in the direction of the skulls attacking Garland, sending twin bolts of crackling azure power streaking in their direction. Both bolts slammed into one of the skulls, ending its fire and shattering it into bony dust.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 70 posts
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 18:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Two more. I will have to adjust my strategy." he thinks as he feels the stings of flames and heat from the skulls. His stance changes from offensive to defensive, using his morningstar as a shield as much as his faith. He takes a step back and grips the holy symbol tightly he whispers again "Holy goddess bring health and well being to those that serve you and final rest to the abominations of your work!"

Once again the room is filled with the same light though the effect is far different now as the energy heals wounds and harms the undead.

This message was last edited by the player at 18:12, Fri 12 Apr.

GM
 GM, 236 posts
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 19:05
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine lashed out with his morningstar, the iron shod club smashing into the flaming skull with a hollow thwock sound. It careened against the wall and shattered, is flames guttering out.

Darcon's spell streaked from his fingertips, whizzing past Garland's ears on either side as the missiles homed in on their target. They made good contact, and that skull too rattled to the floor.

Garland's burst of holy energy washed over the last skull, its blackened surface pitting and flaking as it was scoured with positive energy. Somehow it survived and, still blazing, swooped ineffectually at Garland.




ABCCEFGHIJKLMNOPQRS 
                   1
                   2
   ++++DD+++++     3
   +          +    4
   +           +   5
   +            +  6
   +             + 7
 +++              +8
 +        PP      +9
 +        PP      +10
 +                +11
 +                +12
 +               + 13
 +      GARFS6      +  14
 +             +   15
 +            +    16
 DDARCON         +     17
 DMUR KEA       +      18
 +++++++++++       19
                   20



Constantine smashes the skull in front of him.

Darcon's magic missiles take down one of the skulls threatening Garland.

The remaining skull passed its will save and took 3 damage from Garland's channel. I'm assuming you were channeling to damage, if you were channeling to heal then let me know.

On its turn the last skull tries to slam Garland but misses.



FS6 - AC 13, Touch 13, Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1, HP 2/5

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 19:06, Fri 12 Apr.

Darcon
 player, 39 posts
Fri 12 Apr 2019
at 22:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darting forward, his pristine cloak flowing around him soundlessly Darcon closed with Garland and the remaining unearthly skull. "Let us end this," the mage remarked sharply, extending his arm and sending another lance of emerald power with a whispered word of power.
Disrupt Undead: 20; Damage: 01 Wow the last skull seems to have jinxed the dice roller
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 25 posts
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 04:02
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala turned to aim her short bow at the remaining flaming skull, but it was too close to Garland for her to get a good shot.  Luckily, that's why she had the morningstar.

Hearing Darcon cast his enchantment, Keanala waited to see what would come of it before doing anything rash.

OOC:
If the skull is still alive, Keanala will run up to it and take a swing with her morningstar.  Although with an attack of 3, she hardly seems a threat.

GM
 GM, 237 posts
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 17:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
When Darcon and Keanala both sent ineffectual attacks streaking towards the final skull, glancing blows and misses, a high pitched, terrified war whoop sounded up from the back of the party's formation.

"Yaaaaah!" Kendra shrieked as she sprinted forwards through the ranks. She swung her rucksack in a wide arc that sent her spinning around in a circle. It smacked into the skull which ricocheted into the wall and shattered with a final, fiery burst. Kendra's momentum brought her around in a circle and she sat down heavily as she toppled over.

"Whew! That was...exciting." She said tremulously, obviously still frightened by the many terrifying phenomena in the prison walls.



Darcon and Keanala fail to kill and miss, respectively, and Kendra jumps into initiative to finish off the last skull.



With the foes defeated our heroes were able to fan out and examine the training room. The collapsed east wall looked out over the prison's murky pond and the yard beyond. It would take a little wading, but the prison could be entered or exited via that avenue.

A grimy rivulet ran from the pond to the gaping, blackened hole in the center of the chamber. Peeking over the edge revealed only blackness in the dungeon below, but a dropped stone spoke in echoes of a drop about 20ft onto a stone floor.

The rest of the training room was relatively empty. Dummies and weapon racks filled with rusty equipment were strewn about, and cabinets holding food and mundane supplies had long since rotted. A thorough examination of the room revealed no further treasure or clues.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 71 posts
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 23:06
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Burned and bleeding Garland takes a deep breath as he looks over himself. "I have one last chance to channel energy today, is anyone else injured?" he asked, knowing he didnt want to use it or convert his other spells into curative spells just on himself.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 87 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 23:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Mistress Kendra Perhaps we should get you a proper weapon with momentum you can hit things.”....is everyone well?”

SCG considers the murky water ...
“What swarm awaits us there? Leeches Perhaps?”

SCG walks over to Garland quickly laying on hands to heal his obvious burns bumps and bruises.
Heals 4 points of Garlands damage

This message was last edited by the player at 23:38, Mon 15 Apr.

GM
 GM, 238 posts
Tue 16 Apr 2019
at 17:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Well, I've got this." Kendra said, brandishing the bread knife that she had completely forgotten about in the head of the moment.

"If anything makes it to the back of the line they're certain to get a slashing."

She perched nervously at the edge of the charred pit and peered over the edge into blackness.

"Should we go down there? Look in the pond? Or explore somewhere else?"
Darcon
 player, 40 posts
Tue 16 Apr 2019
at 21:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon could only stare at Kendra after her mad charge. Surely it must the pent up anger and frustration over her fathers murder and other recent events bubbling to the surface; still the mage hoped she would not put herself in needless danger.

Walking over to join her at the edge of the pit he raised a hand, murmured an incantation and focused, trying to sense anything useful. "Any idea what those...skulls were?" he asked Kendra curiously.
Cast Detect Magic on the darkness in the pit
Garland Van Burke
 player, 72 posts
Tue 16 Apr 2019
at 22:30
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland looks down the long pit but shakes his head side to side slowly. "I believe we would be better served exploring the entire floor first before we move on. However with all the paranormal activity we've seen so far, I think we will need to look into the various staff and prisoners that passed in the fire. The last thing we should do is go into this not knowing who we might be facing."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 88 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 16 Apr 2019
at 22:55
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Aye we should clear this floor before venturing below if we are weakened we can find our escape route blocked and end up betwixt two dangers....though I doubt not the heavy pack and butter knife in good stead.”
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 26 posts
Wed 17 Apr 2019
at 04:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"We're going to have to get you a proper weapon, Kendra."  Keanala said with a grin.  Kendras charge had surprised the Oread into inaction, such was the strangeness of the event, but she couldn't help but admire the womans gumption.

She turned her attention back to the pit.  Keanala grimaced.  "Deep, dark pit?  Yeah, not right now.  I don't think that was part of the prison floor plan.  I'm not too enthusiastic about that big puddle of water either.  We need to deal with both though.  I saw pit last, pond before that.  Let's finish exploring what we can without disturbing either of these."
GM
 GM, 239 posts
Wed 17 Apr 2019
at 18:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Good idea, I'll confess that I'm not too eager to head down into the dungeon. Let's keep exploring up here." Kendra said with no small amount of relief.

Our heroes moved on to the next room, skirting around the partially flooded floor and instead heading through the door to the north. The chamber was large and lined with coal bins, most half empty. The south wall was dominated by a massive furnace, its firebox gaping like an empty mouth, open baffles peering out over the room like eye sockets. A rusty plaque at its base labeled it "Old Embermaw".

As the group moved into the room the temperature rose, imperceptibly at first, and then with increasing rapidness. Gradually the smell of rot and brackish water was replaced by the scent of burning flesh.

Darcon and Keanala recognized these telltale supernatural markers in time to yell out a warning to the rest of the group. Tiny pinpricks of flame flared to life in the furnace and the smell of smoke and flame filled the room as our heroes scrambled to respond.



Darcon and Keanala both pass perception checks and call out a warning that a haunt is manifesting in the furnace. You have a round to act before it manifests.









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

Unexplored Rooms:
A4 - ???
A8 - Chapel - opened but not explored
1 - ???
2 - ???
3 - ???
4 - ???
5 - ???
6 - ???

Garland Van Burke
 player, 73 posts
Sat 20 Apr 2019
at 03:15
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland holds his morningstar tightly as he surveys the room though at Deacon and Kenala's warning his eyes grow wide as he looks back to the door. He could have used his last chance to channel energy and theoretically subdue the haunt before it manifested but that was a gamble at best. Instead he chooses to be out of the room when it goes off, shouting a warning as he lets the others know his plan. "Everyone back through the doorway! Quickly now!"
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 27 posts
Sat 20 Apr 2019
at 16:31
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala tried to push everyone out of the room.  "I am really getting tired of every single room having a haunt!" she exclaimed.  "I mean, come on!"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 89 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 20 Apr 2019
at 19:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Verily an abounding of haunts.  Quickly is a siphon at the ready?”

SCG stands in front of the others thinking his shield will take the brunt of the sxpefted fiery blast
Darcon
 player, 41 posts
Sun 21 Apr 2019
at 12:27
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Crap! Everyone move!" Darcon called out, lunging for the doorway and seeking to jump out of the room as fast as possible.
GM
 GM, 240 posts
Mon 22 Apr 2019
at 17:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The charred smell rose to a nauseating intensity and the great firebox of Old Embermaw gaped open. Roiling heat waves around the furnace seemed to give the cracked stones an unearthly life, moving and shifting like a malevolent face. Twin pinpricks of flame blazed in its eyes, fixed on the rapidly retreating party.

Constantine stood fast to cover the other's escape as they bolted out of the room. When the haunt finally manifested a blazing ray of flame shot out from the mouth of the furnace, splashing against the doughty paladin's shield and playing licking tongues of fire over his frame.

Still charred from the attack, the haunt did not look like it was expended in the slightest. In fact it was charging for a second attack when Keanala reached through the doorway, seized Constantine by the back of his collar, and dragged him through into the training room. Kendra slammed the door just as another ray of flame splashed against the stone doorframe inches from Constantine's head.

From the looks of things the haunt would remain active in that room until defeated or dispelled.

"I agree." Kendra said, panting, hands on her knees. "This place is extremely haunted. Should we try to figure out this haunt? Or just bypass that room?"



The haunt manifests and casts a spell that Darcon recognizes as scorching ray. The first cast hits Constantine for 9 damage.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 74 posts
Tue 23 Apr 2019
at 03:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Seeing Constantine injured so badly Garland places a hand over the wound, letting it fill with a soothing white light as he whispers softly "Pharasma, lady of graves and judge of all grant this holy warrior your healing embrace."

Garland looks back and forth at all the people gathered and shakes his head side to side slowly. "Im unsure continuing is the best option. We are all injured, some of us badly so, and we have used a great deal of our spells. It may be time to retreat and research but perhaps we should take inventory of our capibilities and put it to a vote. I have two spells remaining and one last opportunity to channel energy."

OOC: 20:05, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 7 using 1d8+1.  Cure light wounds. Constantine gets 7 hp back.
GM
 GM, 241 posts
Tue 23 Apr 2019
at 18:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Well, I'm okay to keep exploring, we may be able to examine a few more of these rooms before we need to pull back. It could be good to call it a day though." Kendra said.

She hefted her satchel and the crumbling reams of records from the offices and the warden's office that had been packed inside.

"It will give us some time to go over all of this." She said.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 90 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 23 Apr 2019
at 20:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Burned and branded but not blinded, though I think it went for my eyes.”

SCG checks his wounds over and decides he had best apply some healing before he falls over...


After a pause he adds
"So what are our thoughts, I for one thought we could possibly clear a floor and secure an area to rest the night, but now I have my doubts....What say we return to town with the papers and materials we have thus far collected?"

This message was last edited by the player at 00:40, Thu 25 Apr.

GM
 GM, 244 posts
Fri 26 Apr 2019
at 18:07
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
By backtracking through rooms already safely cleared our heroes were able to maneuver out of the prison without further incident, the halls merely eerie in the absence of the defeated haunts.

It was a lonely trek back to town, a short hike made unpleasant by the thin drizzle of rain that had begun to fall while the group was inside the prison.

An air of nervous paranoia seemed to have fallen over the town of Ravengro when they arrived. All four of Sheriff Caeler's deputies were standing on various street corners keeping people calm, distributed so that they had a good view of the town. The sheriff himself was keeping watch over the town hall where the graffiti had been painted the previous night. With the deputies covering all of the street corners in the small town there was nowhere for the vandal to place his grizzly defacement without being seen.

It was a tired and battered group of adventurers that eventually settled in Kendra's home as night fell, bruised and wounded but undaunted after a hard day exploring the haunted ruins.

Garland and Darcon organized the notes that they had gathered as Kendra prepared dinner. It was nice to have a chance to relax and chat with all of the nightmarish encounters of the past days.



If you have anything you would like me to do this evening let me know, otherwise we'll move on to the following morning.

Darcon
 player, 43 posts
Sun 28 Apr 2019
at 20:07
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Nestling a hot cup of tea in a hand, Darcon pored over the notes they had compiled, enjoying the company of boon companions, a roaring fire and the smell of hot food. Most enjoyable of all though, was the fact they could let down their guard and relax.

"The first thing we need to determine is how to deal with that last haunt; the spell it cast is a deadly incantation of fire, I don't want to be on the receiving end of that, nor do any of you. Most of us are not as sturdy as Sir Constantine, nor as well armored," Darcon remarked after a casual sip from his cup, not looking up from his notes.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 94 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 29 Apr 2019
at 01:48
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“I too would prefer not to be singed again.  How goes the mysteries of the documents?”

SCG rubs the formerly scorched area of his body and is glad for the healing his companion is capable of.

“Perhaps an oil that resists fire and we can drain the haunt without injury.”
GM
 GM, 245 posts
Mon 29 Apr 2019
at 18:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"If we can somehow defend ourselves from the rays we can dash in and damage the haunt itself with a siphon or with positive energy." Kendra chimed in, also busy with a desk full of old papers.

The evening passed uneventfully, mostly our heroes kept busy cataloging and organizing the notes from the prison. They would provide a substantial bonus to any research on the prisoners or the haunts.



The following morning seemed like any other when a piercing shriek split the morning air, a keening wail that seemed to go on and on. It originated from the town square.

Kendra tumbled out of bed and shrugged an overcoat on over her nightgown to combat the chill air of the misty Ravengro morning. With her sock-less ankles flashing over the rough work boots that she stomped into she, and any of our heroes roused by the cry, dashed to the square to see what the commotion was about.

The night's fog had yet to be burned away by the dawn light just peeking over the mountains and it was a mist shrouded street that loomed before our heroes. Other curious figures were making their way with horrified fascination towards the screaming at the center of town.

The scene was a gruesome but all too familiar tableau.

After the vandal had demonstrated his willingness to move his dark work in order to avoid the night watchmen Sheriff Caeler had distributed his deputies all over town, each standing watch alone in order to cover as much ground as possible. The sheriff himself had stood watch over the Harrowstone monument in the town square.

His body lay at the base of the monument's plinth, slashed nearly to ribbons with clean looking cuts around his face, neck, and chest. A dark pool of blood spread over the ground beneath him. His killer had daubed up the blood and painted in crimson the letters VESOR on the monument.

The wailing cries issued from Jominda Fallenbridge, the town apothecary, kneeling and reaching out for the body while a pair of townswomen tried to restrain and console her.
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 29 posts
Thu 2 May 2019
at 03:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala followed Kendra to where the sound had come from.  Her friend had rushed right out, not giving Keanala time to get properly dressed, and was clad in a cloak over her night clothes.  Tanarak would probably have paddled her backside for rushing out without proper preparation in the past.

"Blessed Erastil...." she said softly upon seeing the sheriffs body.  The Oread pushed her way through the crowd towards the body.  She'd seen her share of bloodied bodies from her time with Tanarak so this was not a scene that upset her as much as the rest of the townsfolk.  It was still the sheriff and the man did not deserve this.

Kneeling at the bodies side, Keanala tried to examine the wounds to see if she could figure out what had caused this.

OOC:
Heal Check -> 6 (He's dead, Jim)
Garland Van Burke
 player, 77 posts
Thu 2 May 2019
at 04:18
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland had spent the night organizing the notes and making a few of his own. When morning came he left early to consult his findings with the temple. However upon coming to the monument once again he looked over the scene and anger rose up in him. "Never again. Not one more person will fall to you." he thought to himself as he looked up, commiting the letters to memory. He knew what his next research subject would be but tonight, he was hunting a killer.

He would let the authorities handle things before going to see Father Grimburrow, knowing he would have to seek advice on the situation before he could act appropriately.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 96 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 2 May 2019
at 14:26
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“This is unacceptable for the man of law and order to be cut down by a coward who hides and whines as a cur when it is day and commits foul deeds when honest folk are in bed.  But for now we must discover who has done this. Perform last rites and burial and a new sheriff must be named.”

SCG is no expert but he hopes to be able to tell the death blow and if the sheriff even tried to raise a defense...
GM
 GM, 247 posts
Thu 2 May 2019
at 18:13
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
As Keanala moved forward to examine the body the crowd parted to let her through. It was well known by the town gossips that the group of strange adventurers were in the good graces of the church of Pharasma, and that went a long way towards assuaging their natural suspicion of outsiders. Still, it was more than one onlooker that shot an untrusting glance at Constantine and Keanala. Orcs and Oreads were exotic and strange, outside the usual fare for the small Ustalavian town.

Keanala's examination yielded little information beyond what was readily visible. The sheriff had been slashed repeatedly by a bladed weapon, primarily on his face, throat, and chest. His truncheon lay nearby but his shortsword was still sheathed. It didn't look like he had much of a chance to defend himself.

Kendra moved off to comfort Jominda, who had discovered the body. She seemed particularly affected by the sight, weeping openly into Kendra's shoulder as the young woman tried to console her.



Meanwhile, as Constantine and Keanala investigated the body in the square, Garland made his way through town to the temple of Pharasma. The door of the temple was locked, it was early yet, but repeated knockings brought a bleary eyed acolyte to the door.

Garland was welcomed inside and invited to sit while the acolyte went to fetch Father Grimburrow. Curious apprentices poked their heads from their rooms and Enos gave Garland a shy wave.

Eventually the elderly priest emerged from his room, a robe and stole hastily thrown about his shoulders.

"Greetings, brother Van Burke. What brings you to the temple so early in the morning?"
Darcon
 player, 44 posts
Thu 2 May 2019
at 20:08
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon stood hooded in the shadows not yet pierced by the early dawn sun, his expression cold as winter as he stared at the corpse of the sheriff. It appeared their vandal had moved up from slaughtering animals to executing humans.

Given the cuts and the fact that the sheriff had not even been able to defend himself, Darcon surmised the killer had either used stealth to his or her advantage or was known to the sheriff and thus able to take him off guard; it seemed also that the killer was at least proficient with a blade, if not an expert.

Walking over the Sir Constantine Darcon asked him softly, "Can paladins not sense evil? If so, perhaps it would be a good time to use it on the woman who discovered the corpse. Just in case, you understand."

Ofcourse the weeping woman being consoled by Kendra was most likely not the culprit, but it never hurt to be sure. Darcon's eyes also raked across the crime scene to see if he could discover something amiss, or perhaps anything that could be used to trace their murderer.
Perception: 13


Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 97 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 2 May 2019
at 22:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Alas I cannot do this my path is redemption for monstrous races to build rapport with them and guide them away from the paths of evil.  If they are slain simply for being evil and committing no act of evil then there is no redemption.”

SCG’s mind wanders to the stories and legends to perhaps a were-beast or some sort that was known to the sheriff and the wounds are claws; or maybe a shapeshifter of some kind...
Garland Van Burke
 player, 80 posts
Fri 3 May 2019
at 17:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland wears a far more serious face then he ever has before in these hallowed walls though seeing the young cleric eases his heart a bit. "Come in Enos. You need not hide when I visit." He felt a desire to lead the younger generation of clerics so took some time to visit with the young man, and impart some wisdom upon the youth.

When Father Grimburrow arrived Garland bowed slightly and took in a deep breath, hating to ask such a large thing of his senoir. "I feel we are running out of time so I must be brief. I need your help. The vandal has become a killer and the sherrif lies dead at the monument. I believe that somehow this is all connected to the prison and someone who passed in the fire: Vesorianna Hawkren. Tonight I will not be researching or exploring the prison, I will find this killer. However I believe that with all the supernatural things going on in the prison this may be an act of possession. Tonight I will be the bait to lure this killer once again while my group hides but we may require assistance should the killer be possessed."
GM
 GM, 248 posts
Fri 3 May 2019
at 20:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The pudgy form of Councilman Hearthmont pushed through the horrified crowd, blustering and barking orders. He was among the crowd who shot suspicious glances at our heroes, but to his credit he seemed to be handling the situation competently.

He took charge of the remaining three panicked deputies and marshaled them to disperse the crowd. He also arranged for the body to be removed and the bloody spatters, both on the ground and on the monument, to be cleaned.

He looked for a moment as if he were about to confront Kendra about her guests but the poisonous look she shot him forestalled him. He settled for a harrumph and a suspicious glare at Keanala as she investigated before moving on to oversee the cleanup.

Jominda sniffled as she told Kendra about finding the body. The Sheriff had hoped that the presence of the deputies would be enough to stop the vandal, it was quite public knowledge that they would be watching the whole town all night. Jominda knew that he had been awake all night and was bringing him a bite of breakfast when she found the body.



Father Grimburrow sat down heavily, his gnarled brow furrowing in sorrow and regret.

"The sheriff? Surely these are dark times. He was a good man." He said, shaking his head sadly.

"Please, act quickly to apprehend this murderer. Without the sheriff I don't know if his deputies have the skill or the courage to do it without you. I will help you however I can."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 82 posts
Sat 4 May 2019
at 04:20
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland nodded slowly, not wanting to smile. Not after the death of a good man that could have been avoided if he had put the clues together sooner. "My plan must be kept secret. Any discussion outside my group or the two of us should be avoided at best. Yet you should prepare your clerics for an excosism or if we are unable to stop this killer they should be ready for our wounded. In the meantime the people will need a message of hope. Your community must pull together as one to face this adversity and such words from me will ring hallow."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 98 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sun 5 May 2019
at 01:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG is watchful knowing it is far too late for a tracker to have assisted in recreating what had happened, his mind continued to wander perhaps a secret passage under the statue, perhaps the statue itself comes to life at the appointed hour as part of a vicious haunt.

He accepts the townsfolk's fear and waits until later on to speak with his friends...


"I see this town is on the brink of terror, perhaps I should volunteer to rally the deputies and see if the truth of the murderous vandal might be illuminated and discovered.  What say you, will you support my choice to face the night and whatever may come to the center of this town?"

"If I do this and perish the suspicion upon you shall pass with me, but facing this foe head on will force it to be revealed.""
Darcon
 player, 45 posts
Sun 5 May 2019
at 20:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Though the task would be dangerous Darcon realized they were fast running out of options. Better they face down this foe than let the village deputies handle it, with likely fatal results.

"I will aid you in this Constantine. We should keep watch at the main monument, one remaining in the open to draw the killer while the rest hide some distance away. But it is possible the murder and the attention it has brought will keep the vandal away for some time, though eventually he will return to deface the monument, and complete his sick compulsion,"
said the mage in a somber tone.
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 30 posts
Mon 6 May 2019
at 04:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala tugged at the edge of her raised hood.  It was not so much that she was ashamed of what she was.  She could leave this town any time, but Kendra was a different story.  Just being here was putting suspicions towards her friend and that was not something that the Oread could stand.

"I'm with you as well."  She said, referring to Sir Constantines plan.  "I think that staking out this statue is the only way to find out who the culprit is.  My only concern is that they might not show themselves if you are there in the open, looking or a fight."
GM
 GM, 250 posts
Mon 6 May 2019
at 17:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Father Grimburrow nodded and waved off a pair of acolytes to begin the preparations.

"I'll prepare the temple with magics for dispelling evil spirits. But why the secrecy? Surely it would put the people's minds at ease if they knew what you suspected, that it was an evil influence and not evil in the heart that has lead to this murder? Or at least put their minds at ease that the church is working to combat the problem."



Kendra nodded gravely.

"So far the vandal has struck every night, moving location when the statue was observed but not shy to attack when the whole town was under surveillance. If he starts to lay low we won't have a lead, but he's shown reluctance to act when the statue is watched." She said, trying her best to sum-up what they knew so far.

"Should we watch the monument? Stand guard or stay hidden? Spread out through the town?" She wrung her hands, a worried gesture, and looked to her more seasoned compatriots for guidance.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 99 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 6 May 2019
at 22:39
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"My intent is for myself to stand near the statute and perhaps the deputies and you be safe inside, where you may keep watch and be in of doors in the night.  I can stand, watch and ward alone."

SCG nods to each of you in turn,

"I can ward myself and heal myself and am as hard to kill as any orc.  The magical arrows and ranged attacks of fire or holy water, might be our best chance to survive a direct onslaught."
GM
 GM, 252 posts
Tue 7 May 2019
at 18:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"We're with you." Kendra said, clapping Sir Constantine on the back and trying to keep the nervousness out of her voice.



The day passed slowly and nervously. A pall hung over the town in the wake of the murder, the villagers huddling around their hearths and bolting their doors even in the wan light of day. Never the most lively place, Ravengro had still been a busy farming community. Now the streets were deserted, the citizens staying home, locking themselves away with their fear. Those that ventured out to run their errands did so furtively and in small groups, peering over their shoulders suspiciously and never straying far from the main roads.

The temple rustled quietly with the sound of shifting scrolls and scurrying acolytes as they busied themselves researching and preparing rituals to expel evil spirits.

Garland passed the day in study with Kendra. They toted the notes that the group had retrieved from the prison over to the town hall and sequestered themselves in the archives, poring over old information that may give some clue as to the supernatural influences slowly overtaking the town.

Their search was successful, and they were able to cross reference a great deal of information about the infamous prisoner known as The Splatterman.



That night the fog rolled in early, creeping through the streets like ghostly tendrils even before the sun had set. The citizens locked themselves in their houses, more than one nailing Pharasman symbols over hearth and lintel to ward off undeath.

It was getting on towards even, darkness falling, as our heroes decided how to deploy themselves that night.
Darcon
 player, 46 posts
Wed 8 May 2019
at 21:07
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon was ready as night fell, clad in his hooded white cloak and his staff grasped in a hand; the travel bag holding his belongings was strapped to his chest as per normal and nestled against a hip under his robe. A belt with various pouches was clasped at his waist and a scroll case hung at his other hip, containing the scrolls they had discovered earlier.

"I am ready," he announced to the others. "I suggest Sir Constantine go ahead with his plan of standing by the monument, the better to draw the killer. The rest of us can hide within line of sight of the monument, either in a copse of trees or perhaps inside an empty building, whatever we can find."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 83 posts
Wed 8 May 2019
at 23:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Its not to late to change your mind. I was fine with acting as the bait." he said softly as he patted the paladin on the shoulder. He knew he would say no but the offer was still there. "Remember, we want this person alive. At the very least we might be able to glean some information. For that pusuit, Ive prepared a few spells which will make our attacks are not lethal. I also suggest we take our time with a hiding spot, lets leave nothing to chance tonight."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 101 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 9 May 2019
at 01:24
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Aye my thinking is much the same, I have the ability to smite evil, but also a merciful smite that allows my regular weapons to deal only temporary damage, if one of you perhaps has means to likewise subdue that would be well.  If the perpetrator is not evil..."

He pauses again
"I am for many reasons, the best bait, and the best option."

He nods to the surrounding buildings
"With you all watching, warding and prepared to jump to my aid at the slightest hint of trouble, what could possibly go wrong?"
GM
 GM, 254 posts
Thu 9 May 2019
at 18:25
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The night crept on, fog rolling in more and more thickly as the evening hours lengthened. For long hours Sir Constantine stood his lonely vigil at the monument as his companions hid nearby, their eyes fixed on him. Kendra, who had begun to vigil eager eyed, had drifted off to sleep with her head on Keanala's shoulder.

In the wee hours of the morning there was a subtle stirring at the edge of the square. Constantine could barely hear stealthy movement at the periphery of his vision, some dark thing stealing up upon him. It crept closer and closer and then suddenly paused, holding steady where it was. Constantine had been seen.

The figure held still. No words or gestures uttered from it. But a deep wave of drowsiness washed over the lone paladin. His eyelids drooped, his shoulders slumped. He nearly dropped, but at the last instant marshaled his will and threw off the enchantment.

When he didn't topple over the figure began to stealthily creep away.



Constantine passes a Perception check and spots somebody sneaking up on him.
He also passes a will save and shakes off a spell of some kind.
The mysterious figure is now sneaking away.

Due to the mist surrounding the battlefield visibility is limited to 30ft and there is a 20% miss chance.





abcdefghij 
         MYS1
          2
          3
          4
    MM    5
    MM    6
    CON     7
          8
GARKEA        9
 DAR        10

CON - Constantine
GAR - Garland
KEA - Keanala
DAR - Darcon


MYS - Mysterious Figure  AC 12, Touch 12, Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +6, 20% miss chance


M - Hearthstone Monument
Darcon
 player, 47 posts
Fri 10 May 2019
at 21:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The hours crept by at a torturous pace that tried even Darcon's patience. Finally though, their patience was rewarded.

He first sensed something amiss when he saw Sir Constantine appear to slump, as Darcon tensed the paladin alerted them to the figure in the fog. Emerging from his hiding place Darcon moved towards Sir Constantine, peering in the dim light of the early morning and trying to make out their target in the mists.

Spotting something, he grasped his staff with both hands and whispered the words to a potent enchantment of his own whilst staring in the direction of the dark figure. "Ut Sopito Saeculorum," the mage whispered over and over again, sending his mystic will unto the words and willing the magic to take effect.
Move to h-4.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 103 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 10 May 2019
at 21:18
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG shakes off the magical effect and catches a glimpse of the shadowy figure he does the opposite of expected he tries to appear to succumb to the spell....his shield arm goes limp as his Morningstar likewise hangs loosely on his wrist

Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 21 using 1d20+3.  Bluff to appear to fall asleep

This message was last edited by the player at 21:20, Fri 10 May.

GM
 GM, 258 posts
Mon 13 May 2019
at 18:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Even having shaken off the effects of the spell clever Constantine "succumbed" to its effects, slumping into a faint at the base of the monument. Its secret aim apparently fulfilled, the mysterious figure crept closer and closer, hovering through the mist towards the prone paladin.

As the figure hove through the mist it resolved into the gnarled, elderly figure of a townsman familiar to our heroes. Gibs Hephenus, the ill tempered old curmudgeon who had harassed the funeral procession on the day of Professor Lorrimor's burial, staggered out of the mist. In his hand, raised high to strike, gleamed the wicked blade of a straight razor. He was clad only in a nightgown and cap, his feet bare, the razor in one hand and the dripping corpse of a farmyard dog dangling from his other.

Just as Gibs was leaning down to cut Constantine's throat Darcon's spell washed over him. He swayed, nearly falling to the magics, but his supernatural resolve won through and his attention snapped to the heroes hiding in the mist. He did not snarl, or scream a warcry, or try to flee. He swayed, like a marionette with broken strings, the razor flashing, before bringing it down to slash viciously at Constantine.

There was a swirl of magic around Gibs, although he made no movement and uttered no spell, and the air seemed to harden and coalesce around him into a shimmering barrier of protection.







Constantine feigns sleep, luring the hidden figure out of the shadows.
The figure approaches Constantine revealing himself to be Gibs Hephenus.
Darcon casts Sleep, which Gibs resists.
Gibs slashes Constantine with his razor for 5 damage.
A spell is cast on Gibs which Darcon and Keanala recognize: Shield. Darcon knows this to be odd for a number of reasons, firstly he didn't see Gibs cast it, and secondly shield is a spell with target Self, which means you shouldn't be able to cast it on another person.





abcdefghij 
          1
          2
          3
          4
    MM    5
    MM    6
    CONGIB    7
          8
GARKEA        9
 DAR        10

CON - Constantine, 5 damage
GAR - Garland
KEA - Keanala
DAR - Darcon


GIB - Gibs Hephenus  AC 16, Touch 12, Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +6, 20% miss chance, Shield


M - Hearthstone Monument
Garland Van Burke
 player, 85 posts
Mon 13 May 2019
at 22:53
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland holds his holy symbol tightly as he raises it into the air as he moves forward. "Pharasma, hear my words and show this man his doom!" he shouts while staring at the man, his spell causing a dark swirl around the two men.

OOC: So I made a critical error, touch of mercy is a 2nd level spell which I dont have access to yet. So I swapped said spells out for some debuffing spells starting with Garland casting Doom on Gibs. DC 14 will save or he becomes shaken
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 105 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 14 May 2019
at 01:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine moves away from and into an upright position.  He takes a weak swing at the man, but misses entirely.

"This seems wrong beyond words, is this man possessed or mad?"
Darcon
 player, 50 posts
Tue 14 May 2019
at 12:59
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon gritted his teeth in irritation as Gibs was able to shake off his enchantment. Did he shake it off, or is some dark power aiding him? the mage wondered. That the crazed townsman appeared to be having some type of eldritch assistance was obvious to Darcon, with the way he was acting and the way a the battle-spell of protection had appeared around him, but who or what was aiding him was a mystery.

Was it some demon from the abyss Gibs had made a pact with in a crazed bid for worldly power, or was it the Whispering Way, or was it something else entirely? The only way to find out would be take him down without killing him, something that seemed quite difficult to accomplish given the circumstances. Still they had to try...

"Try to take him down without killing him," Darcon called out to the others. Then, focusing his mind he strode forward quickly to flank the crazed slasher as it focused on Constantine and reaching out with a hand murmured two quick words of power, "Fulmine Tactus."

The strange tattoo on the inside of his palm crackled as there was a flash of blue light followed by the smell of ozone & burned flesh wafting in the air...

Move to 8-F

GM
 GM, 260 posts
Tue 14 May 2019
at 18:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland called down necromantic energies on the reeling Gibs, a darkness that seemed to resonate and grapple with the animus that lit his face. There was some strange interaction there, some conflicting play of emotions over his slack features, but at the least the magics seemed affect him.

Constantine drew his attention with a feint, ineffective but distracting, as Darcon moved into position. The mage sent a bolt of crackling energy surging through Gibs to devastating effect.

The nightgowned terror seemed heedless of their attacks. As he moved through the fog towards Constantine the remainder of the party hovered into his view through the veiling mists. For the first time an expression lit his blank features. Rage and resentment filled his face as his eyes fell on Keanala, a warrior woman armed and armored.

"Know your...place...woman..." He groaned, half growl and half grimace.

He staggered forwards, heedless of Constantine and Darcon, lashing out viciously at Keanala with his razor.



Garland casts Doom and Gibs fails his save, becoming shaken.
Constantine misses.
Darcon moves in and applies Shocking Grasp for 13 damage.
Gibs moves past Darcon and Constantine, provoking an Attack of Opportunity from both.
He attacks Keanala for 7 damage.

Remember to roll the 20% miss chance on attacks because of the mist.

Keanala, since you didn't act last round you get two standard actions this round.





abcdefghij 
          1
          2
          3
          4
    MM    5
    MM    6
    CON     7
  GIB  DAR    8
GARKEA        9
          10

CON - Constantine, 5 damage
GAR - Garland
KEA - Keanala - 7 damage
DAR - Darcon


GIB - Gibs Hephenus  HP AC 16, Touch 12, Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +6, 20% miss chance, Shield, Shaken, 13 damage


M - Hearthstone Monument

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:37, Tue 14 May.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 106 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 14 May 2019
at 23:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG knows and chooses to apply the meriful smite he is granted to attack this robed deranged barber of the ville....


19:07, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 5 using 1d8+3. Merciful Smiting! Morningstar Damage. 19:06, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 53 using 1d100. 20% miss chance. 19:06, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 20 using 1d20+5. Merciful Smiting! Morningstar (cold iron) Attack.

"This shall be ended and quickly."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 86 posts
Tue 14 May 2019
at 23:15
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The response and movement of this man only made Garland even more sure that he was possessed but to rush Keanala with such recklessness surprised him. It made him wonder who they were really dealing with. He reaches forward placing a hand on Keanala's shoulder as he speaks "Pharasma bless this maiden with your healing touch." he states as the healing energies wash over her.

"The lady of graves power has no limit fiend, surrender to her judgement!" he shouts.

OOC: 16:14, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 5 using 1d8+1.  Cure light wounds.
Darcon
 player, 51 posts
Wed 15 May 2019
at 16:27
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Watching the fight unfold, Darcon realized the others had it well in hand. Constantine or Garland would likely take Gibs down soon enough.

Still, there remained the issue of who, or what was aiding or controlling the man. The mage raised a hand, fingers splayed and palm pointed in direction of the slasher as he murmured a few words under his breath.

His eyes glazed over with a bluish tinge as he studied his targets aura...
Cast Detect Magic on the Slasher
GM
 GM, 262 posts
Wed 15 May 2019
at 18:08
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Holy energies radiated from Constantine and Garland, washing over Gibs and Keanala. The holy wave that Garland cast over the doughty oread was a knitting, healing rush of light. Constantine's application was via mace, and considerably more harsh. The smite resonated against Gibs' form, setting up a backlash of damage.

From his vantage Darcon cast out his spell, playing the detecting field over the combat. Quite unsurprisingly he detected the presence of magical auras playing in the area.

The raving Gibs seemed heedless of the swirling melee around him, instead focusing his attacks on Keanala. Whether due to the mist, Garland's hindering magic, or the paladin thumping him from behind his slash went wide, mercifully missing.



Constantine hits Gibs for 5 damage.
Garland heals Keanala for 5 damage
Darcon casts Detect Magic. In the first round of concentration you detect that there are definitely magical auras present.
Gibs slashes at Keanala but misses.

Keanala, since you didn't act last round you get two standard actions this round.




abcdefghij 
          1
          2
          3
          4
    MM    5
    MM    6
   CON      7
  GIB  DAR    8
GARKEA        9
          10

CON - Constantine, 5 damage, Flanking w/ Keanala
GAR - Garland
KEA - Keanala - 2 damage, Flanking w/ Constantine
DAR - Darcon


GIB - Gibs Hephenus  HP AC 16, Touch 12, Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +6, 20% miss chance, Shield, Shaken, 18(5) damage


M - Hearthstone Monument

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:09, Wed 15 May.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 87 posts
Thu 16 May 2019
at 03:52
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Seeing the odd behavoir Garland decides to change his strategy and test a theory at the same time. He brandishes his holy symbol again, this time focusing as he fills the area with positive energy. "Let this fiend burn in the fires of Pharasma's retribution!"
GM
 GM, 263 posts
Thu 16 May 2019
at 18:48
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland called out strongly and sent a wave of power washing over Gibs to little effect. He seemed indifferent to the holy power, reacting with only a grimace as she lashed out at Kenala again. Fortunately he missed, his bloody razor slashing only air.



Garland channels to turn undead but Gibs is unaffected.
Darcon concentrates for a second round and detects eight magical auras. The strongest is CL8.
Gibs attacks Keanala again but misses.

Darcon, Constantine, and Keanala have two standard actions next round.




abcdefghij 
          1
          2
          3
          4
    MM    5
    MM    6
   CON      7
  GIB  DAR    8
GARKEA        9
          10

CON - Constantine, 5 damage, Flanking w/ Keanala
GAR - Garland
KEA - Keanala - 2 damage, Flanking w/ Constantine
DAR - Darcon


GIB - Gibs Hephenus  HP AC 16, Touch 12, Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +6, 20% miss chance, Shield, Shaken, 18(5) damage


M - Hearthstone Monument
Darcon
 player, 52 posts
Thu 16 May 2019
at 19:53
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The fact that Gibs was concentrating solely on Keanala was disturbing to say the least, and Darcon put the information into the back of his mind, another question to answer later. He kept focusing on his magic, eyebrows raised at the number of magical auras he detected, including the strength of the most powerful one.

Murmuring a quiet word of power he pointed his palm at the slasher, and the tattoo on his palm glowed with a soft blue light. A crackling spark burst on Gibs body, stinging the Slasher, hopefully irritating it but doing little else.


1st Standard Action: Making 8 Knowledge Arcana Checks, one for each Aura: 25, 12, 25, 21, 11, 10, 22, 19. Will try to focus the highest result on Gibs first of all if possible.


Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 108 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 17 May 2019
at 00:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG continues to be uncertain of the right course of action is the man in front of him an enemy or was the enemy in hiding and causing this all.  Although his attack misses he tries another tact...

“Get behind me woman! Know the best place for yourself !”
Garland Van Burke
 player, 88 posts
Fri 17 May 2019
at 04:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Seeing this not going anywhere Garland reaches down to his belt and draws his morningstar, waiting for Gibs to attack again as he tries to aid Kenala, serving as a distraction that doesnt go well.
GM
 GM, 264 posts
Fri 17 May 2019
at 18:31
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon's mystical gaze pierced through the shrouding enchantments, highlighting each as he threw a minor bolt of power at Gibs.

Constantine and Garland milled about in the melee, swiping and feinting, although neither landed an effective hit Constantine did push Keanala behind him, blocking with his shield and trying to position himself between her and Gibs.

The madman seemed heedless of their tactics though, plowing through the lines to land another bleeding slash on the huntress.



Darcon concentrates for a third round and discerns the location and strength of active auras.

1) Centered on Gibs, CL8 enchantment, active
2) Centered on Gibs, CL8 unknown school, active
3) Centered on Gibs, CL2 necromancy, active
4) Centered on Gibs, CL2 evocation, fading
5) Centered on Gibs, CL2 unknown school, fading
6) Centered on Constantine, CL8 unknown school, fading
7) Centered on Keanala, CL2 conjuration, fading
8) Emanating from the mist, CL8 conjuration, active

Darcon casts Jolt on Gibs for 1 damage.
Constantine misses.
Keanala full withdraws to move without provoking AoOs.
Garland fails an Aid Another.
Gibs moves around Constantine which provokes an AoO from Constantine, Garland, and Keanala.
Gibs attacks Keanala for 5 damage.




abcdefghij 
          1
          2
          3
          4
  GIB MM    5
   KEAMM    6
   CON      7
     DAR    8
 GAR        9
          10

CON - Constantine, 5 damage
GAR - Garland
KEA - Keanala - 7 damage
DAR - Darcon


GIB - Gibs Hephenus  HP AC 16, Touch 12, Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +6, 20% miss chance, Shield, Shaken, 19(5) damage


M - Hearthstone Monument
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 32 posts
Sat 18 May 2019
at 03:58
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala had been at a bit of a loss for what to do about Gibs.  Clearly something was either controlling him or aiding him, and before she could dwell too much on that, the mad-man attacked her.

"Ow!" she shouted, as the mans razor slashed at her again.  "Quit that, ya raving lunatic."

Trying to keep the man at bay by swinging her short bow around, Keanala takes a short step back while pulling out an arrow.  She nocked the arrow and fired at Gibs.  She tried to aim her blunt arrow in such a manner as to try and knock Gibs out but between the rush of his attacks and her falling back, her shot went wild.

"Constantine!  Get behind this bastard and hit him while he's focussed on me!" she shouted, preparing for another slash.

OOC:
5 foot step to C7
Attack - 4 (The arrow was blunted and she was trying for non-lethal damage)

Darcon
 player, 54 posts
Sat 18 May 2019
at 12:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon rushed forward, robes and cloak swishing almost soundlessly as he tried to take up a flanking position opposite his companions. Holding his staff in both hands he lashed out with a strike against the slasher, aiming for the head to try and knock him out, while yelling out, "Now Sir Constantine, attack!"
Move to b-5; Standard Action: Attack (Non-Lethal):  12 (miss)

Constantine and/or Garland should get a flanking bonus due to Darcon's position. Wanted to use Aid Another but no one else is in melee range


Garland Van Burke
 player, 89 posts
Sat 18 May 2019
at 23:11
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland moves forward and attacks with his morningstar, missing entirely and betraying the fact that martial prowess is not his forte.

OOC:16:09, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 3 using 1d20.  attack roll.
GM
 GM, 266 posts
Mon 20 May 2019
at 17:31
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The fight dragged on, combatants swirling through the mist as they hacked and slashed at each other. Whether due to the lack of vision or the attempts to take Gibs alive there were no effective hits, simply swirling and re-positioning.



Not much to say this round.

Keanala misses.
Darcon misses.
Garland misses.

Gibs misses.

Constantine, you get an additional standard action next round.




abcdefghij 
          1
          2
          3
          4
 DAR  MM    5
 GIBGAR MM    6
  KEACON      7
          8
          9
          10

CON - Constantine, 5 damage
GAR - Garland
KEA - Keanala - 7 damage
DAR - Darcon


GIB - Gibs Hephenus  HP AC 16, Touch 12, Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +6, 20% miss chance, Shield, Shaken, 19(5) damage


M - Hearthstone Monument
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 109 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 20 May 2019
at 23:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Enough!!!"

SCG bellows at the figure and wades into battle, no longer holding back and trusting in the mercies to save the man's life if he is innocent.


19:34, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 11 using 1d8+3. Merciful smite damage. 19:33, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 34 using 1d100. 20% miss chance. 19:33, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 24 using 1d20+5. Merciful smite attack.

SCG presses in and connects solidly with the man and attempts to hammer him again, but misses...

This message was last edited by the player at 23:39, Mon 20 May.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 90 posts
Tue 21 May 2019
at 02:42
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland tries to lash out with his morningstar, wielding it in a way as he was trying to subdue the man instead of kill him. However its clear that the scholar lacks much martial ability

OOC: 19:41, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 1 using 1d20-4.  attack roll.

19:40, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled -3 using 1d20-4.  attack roll.

Both regular attack and AoO miss, the dice roller does not like me in combat
Darcon
 player, 55 posts
Tue 21 May 2019
at 15:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon feinted with both ends of his staff, trying to distract Gibs to leave him more vulnerable to one of his companions.
Aid Another: 19; Next person already in melee range to attack Gibs gets a +2 to hit.

20:21, Today: Darcon rolled 19 using 1d20+2.  Aid Another.

This message was last edited by the player at 15:24, Tue 21 May.

GM
 GM, 268 posts
Tue 21 May 2019
at 17:31
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The skirmish swirled around the feet of the monument, adventurers and antagonist vying for position as they slashed and skirted. There was a whirlwind exchange of blows and then Darcon gave Gibs a shove, pushing him off balance and sending him careening into Constantine. The paladin drew back and brought his morningstar smashing down on top of Gibs' head.

What would otherwise have been a skull-shattering, fatal blow was commuted by his merciful smite into a resonating braining that dropped Gibs to the flagstone, senseless. The razor clattered from his nerveless fingers.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 112 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 22 May 2019
at 00:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Let us subdue the man, but touch not the razor it is perhaps one of the objects or cursed origins."

SCG looks around attempting to see through the mist and perhaps identify the others who had cast the magics.....
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 33 posts
Wed 22 May 2019
at 01:35
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala was breathing and as she lessened the tension in her shortbow.  "Erastils Teeth, what was with that guy?  'Know your place, Woman'?  I suppose that I should be flattered that he saw me as a woman, but still.  I've never met a sexist razor blade before but there is an easy way to find out if the thing is cursed or not."

The Oread knelt down near the razor and held out her hand.  Palm pointed towards the blade, she uttered a soft prayer to Erastil.

OOC:
Casting Detect magic on the razor.

GM
 GM, 271 posts
Wed 22 May 2019
at 18:43
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
At Constantine's suggestion our heroes wasted little time rolling the unconscious Gibs onto his stomach and tying his wrists and ankles into a neat little package in the small of his back. They double checked the ropes, he wasn't going anywhere.

Keanala's spell of detection played over the area and revealed no magic on the razor itself. After a brief conference with Darcon she was able to confirm all of the auras that he had detected. The party's magic faded quickly, and the more powerful spells infusing the area began to fade as well. Indeed, even the fog began to thin, allowing the pale moon to shine down on the scene. After several rounds of concentration all traces of magic had faded away, leaving only a knot of adventurers surrounding an unconscious and bound malcontent.
Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 35 posts
Thu 23 May 2019
at 02:20
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala frowned down at the razor blade.  She had been expecting the thing to be cursed but it didn't look like that was the case.  "Way I see it, we've got two situations here." she started, crossing her arms.  "Either this guy is some sort of insane razor killer, or someone else is pulling his strings.  And I'm really curious as to why he seemed to be focussing on me?  Can't say that I've had many suitors try to romance me with cuts from a razor.  And his whole 'Know your place woman' bit.  Did that sound odd to any of you?"
Garland Van Burke
 player, 92 posts
Thu 23 May 2019
at 03:53
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland doesnt waste anytime before he reaches down and ties the man's hands behind his back before throwing him up on one shoulder, though with great difficulty. "My suspicions were correct and we have no time to waste. Pharasma's temple waits, and its clerics wait to perform an excorsism. When we are safe I will see to everyones wounds and we can discuss what we saw."

He doesnt waste anytime before carrying the subdued vandal to the temple over one shoulder, every step being a struggle as Garland was a scholar, not a porter. When he arrived at the temple he banged his hand on the doors three times as hard as he could and shouted. "It's Garland, we have the killer! Open your doors!"

This message was last edited by the player at 03:58, Thu 23 May.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 114 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 23 May 2019
at 11:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG has experience in law enforcement and suggests several things...“First is to secure this area and find where the spellcaster hid, second is the prisoner for questioning; if enspelled he can say who, so his life must be preserved and lastly we should likewise go to this man’s house perhaps a few of us, if evidence is there and he had an accomplice anything incriminating will be gone shortly.”
GM
 GM, 272 posts
Thu 23 May 2019
at 19:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland's pounding roused immediate action from within the temple, the sounds of rustling robes and sliding furniture emanating through the door before it swung open to reveal the robed figure of Father Grimburrow. Rather than his simple robes he wore an ornate cassock worked at breast and shoulder with silver inlaid filigree depicting the spiraling comet of Pharasma.

Behind him the acolytes were quickly moving the pews out of the center of the church, leaving a large, open space.

"Quickly, set him down there." Father Grimburrow said as two acolytes dragged a heavy wooden table to the center of the floor. It didn't match the rest of the furniture in the temple, the Father had probably borrowed it from a nearby farm when Garland asked him to make ready.

As he leaned over the unconscious Gibs a look of surprise washed over his face.

"Gibs Hephenus? He may not have been the most upstanding citizen, but he lived quiet life on his farm alone, since his wife left. In my heart I hoped that the vandal wasn't among the townsfolk. What happened?"



Meanwhile in the town square Constantine made a quick circuit of the monument, peering into the shadows in an attempt to catch Gibs' confederate.

There were no other figures lurking in the mist, no sound of falling feet, no fleeing figures. Apart from his compatriots departing on their way to the temple the square seemed deserted. Indeed, with the townfolk too terrified to venture out at night the entire town was as empty and quiet as an open grave.

He had little luck tracking Gibs' steps or tracking his passage, but with a passing familiarity of the town's layout garnered over the previous few weeks he was easily able to find the old farmer's shack.

Exit to Chapter 1.4 - link to a message in this game

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:05, Thu 23 May.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 93 posts
Thu 23 May 2019
at 20:12
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland sets him down on the tables, breathing heavily and wiping the sweat from his brow with a gloved hand. It was clear that such physical labor was not something he was used to. Between his heavy panting for air he explained "This was not the man I saw in the graveyard. He was a completely different man tonight, one that had a grudge against our female counterpart, Keanala for only being a woman. He was the vandal of the monument and the killer of the sherrif...or as I suspect the instrument of those crimes. Recently I came across documents detailing one of the notorious prisoners of Harrowstone. I believe Professor Hean Feramin is our true culprit. A man known for killing women, spelling out their names one letter at a time in delivered notes and messages before killing them in some gruesome manner. Why he is spelling out the name of the Harrowstone warden's widow is a piece of the puzzle I have not uncovered yet."
GM
 GM, 276 posts
Fri 24 May 2019
at 18:56
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"The warden's widow? What interest would an evil spirit have with the warden's wife? No matter. Stand back." Father Gimburrow commanded his acolytes.

They shuffled to the edges of the room, eyes wide, clutching their holy symbols as they watched with horrified curiosity. The father gave Garland a censer full of pungent herbs, dried and smoldering and exuding a heavy smoke. It billowed out and settled near the floor, swirling around their ankles.

As Garland paced around the unconscious figure on the table Father Grimburrow took up his place at the head, reading in a resounding voice that seemed at odds with his regular diffident mien. He read out from Pharasma's holy book, his other hand held an aspergillum filled with holy water that he flicked towards Gibs with each booming paragraph.

Garland recognized the spells that he cast, including protection from evil, bless and consecrate.

The torches in the room began to flicker wildly as if tossed by invisible wind. The light dimmed. Shadows lengthened and lept. With a sudden shriek Gibs sat bolt upright on the table, his face as slack and expressionless as it had been during the battle.

"Hold him!" Father Grimburrow boomed out, thrusting forward his holy symbol. Two of the acolytes, Enos and another, dashed forward to seize Gibs by the shoulders and thrust him down on the table. A third fainted dead away.

Grimburrow's chant rose to a fever pitch, Gibs' body pitched and bucked on the table, moaning and gibbering, his face blank.

Then, with a final mighty chant, Father Gimburrow snapped his book shut and threw it behind him. He raised his holy symbol high and shouted a command for the evil spirit to depart. Gibs flopped back onto the table, senseless.

Shadows fled as light and life returned to the room.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 94 posts
Sat 25 May 2019
at 22:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland walked forward reaching his hand out and set it on Gibs cheek, patting it a few times as he spoke. "Pharasma's faithful have aided you, now wake." he said aloud, waiting a moment to see if he would indeed wake before repeating the pattern.
GM
 GM, 278 posts
Tue 28 May 2019
at 18:01
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
It took many long minutes of shaking to rouse the senseless Gibs, and the acolytes clustered around warily. One had a dagger that he held in unfamiliar hands, another had armed himself with a heavy brass candlestick poised to brain Gibs if he showed signs of hostility.

At length the old farmer groaned and rubbed his head. The acolytes started at the motion and backed away cautiously as he sat up.

He blinked and looked around, puzzled. As he came to his senses a surly, resentful look settled over his features. He was clearly not happy to awaken somewhere other than his bed.

"Oi, what'm I doin' in the temple?" He asked.

His eyes fixed on the acolyte brandishing the dagger and waved him off in angry dismissal.

"Put it away afore you hurt yourself, boy." He said, sounding more grumpy than hostile.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 95 posts
Wed 29 May 2019
at 03:21
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland raises a single hand to halt everyone. "Cool heads prevail." he said more to the priests then the acolytes that were gathered in the chamber. "Your priests have done an excellent job Father. For now, I suggest they rest for the evening while you and I conduct an interview with our guest." he said aloud in an even tone, wanting as few ears in the room as possible.

Garland looked back at Gibs, not knowing if the man would recognize him from the funeral the other day but this was more about gathering information. "We will answer all your question but first please tell us the last thing you remember. Please be as detailed as you can be."
GM
 GM, 279 posts
Wed 29 May 2019
at 18:24
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Father Grimburrow shooed out the acolytes as Garland set to questioning Gibs.

"Last thing I remember? What do yer mean by that?" Gibs said suspiciously.

He pushed himself off of the table. The light of recognition did indeed shine in his features, colored with suspicion and resentment.

"You damn outsiders, in league with that necromancer an' his daughter. Wakin' honest folks up in the middle of the night and dragging them out of bed."

He didn't seem at all inclined to cooperate with Garland. In fact he pushed himself up off the table and brushed past the two clerics on his way to the door.



12:17, Today: GM, on behalf of Garland Van Burke, rolled 2 using 1d20.  Diplomacy.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 96 posts
Thu 30 May 2019
at 01:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland looked darkly at the man. "If you go out that door you will eventually be charged with the vandalization of the monument and the murder of the sherrif. Last I heard they still hang killers in this county. Father Grimburrow and myself know these events were not your doing. For the last week every night you have been possessed and compeled to commit those acts. We are your only alibi and the only way to avoid the hangman's noose. Pharasma's followers will protect you if you work with us but if you go out that door we wont be able to help you. Without our help the spirit will keep taking over your body to commit these acts. At best, you'll be driven mad and eventually be imprisoned in an asylum...at worst, there wont be anything left of yourself. You will be a literal puppet for this spirit and there will be nothing left of Gibs the man. His dreams, his aspirations, his goals, his very concept of self will be swallowed up and discarded. A fate that is worse then death. Help us and we can help you avoid this fate."

He looked over at Father Grimburrow hoping his senior would step in. The man had the years of experience and greater resources then Garland and he hoped that he had the right words to make Gibs reconsider his situation.

18:16, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 7 using 1d20+1.  diplomacy check.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:19, Thu 30 May.

GM
 GM, 281 posts
Thu 30 May 2019
at 18:08
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"He's right, my son." Father Grimburrow added, putting a restraining hand on Gibs' shoulder.

"You have not been yourself. You have been under a dark influence."

Gibs hesitated, and for a moment doubt wavered on his features. But in the end his dislike for Garland, his disdain of ecclesiastical authority, and horrified denial of his own actions won out.

He shook the old priest's hand off angrily and pushed past Garland.

"You're mad, I ain't done no such thing. I'll bet you bin paintin' up the monument at night, you and your little friends. And now you're trying to blame it on an honest citizen. Your head is full of ghost stories and nonsense. Yer a coward, and I'll have nothin' more to do with ye."

He shoulder checked Garland as he pushed past him, stalked to the temple doors, and pushed them open.

"If you or any of your outlander friends harass me again I'll thump you so hard yore old mam will feel it." He said, leveling a pointed finger at Garland.

He whirled and stalked out into the night.



Even with an assist from Father Grimburrow Garland doesn't have any success convincing Gibs of the truth of his claims. He's currently headed towards his home on the outskirts of town. He's moving slowly, still weak from the fight.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 97 posts
Sun 2 Jun 2019
at 03:11
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland leaned back against the altar and sighed, closing his eyes as he tried to find some peace in the moment. He looked up at his senoir and smiled, speaking softly "I hoped that would go better then it did but I suppose it could have been far, far worse. Perhaps I need to change my approach...thank you for your help tonight. Ill at least make sure he gets home safe."

Garland followed behind him, quickly catching up to the wounded man. "Slow down! You may hate me but I will not abandon someone to the night. I will escort you home. All manner of creatures lurk in the night, I doubt you wish to face any one of them with just a razor."
GM
 GM, 283 posts
Mon 3 Jun 2019
at 18:02
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"You stay away from me, priest." Gibs spat, pointing an accusative finger as he marched off towards his home.

As Garland kept pace with him he continued to fume silently, although he didn't take any overtly hostile actions. He made it clear through his body language and the various harrumphs and snorts that Garland's company was most unwelcome.



It wasn't long before a pair of figures began to resolve themselves through the darkness hustling towards Gibs' shack at a brisk clip. The first was the man himself, Gibs was fuming along and studiously ignoring the figure at his elbow.

The second was Garland, keeping pace a couple of steps behind the irate elderly farmer.

Entry from Chapter 1.4 - link to a message in this game



When Gibs came upon the scene outside his shack his face was transformed with rage in a way quite unlike his calm demeanor during the fight in the square.

"You four!" He shouted, pointing to Constantine, Darcon, and Keanala, with Kendra sticking to the background of their activities looking very pale and trying not to be ill.

"And you!" He swung his finger back around to Garland.

"You have been harassing me ever since ye came to town! Outsiders, pokin' yer noses where they don't belong. Get off my property at once!"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 123 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 3 Jun 2019
at 18:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Is there a reason that your cellar is awashed in blood and your clothes likewise drenched and dead animals litter your land?”
Garland Van Burke
 player, 98 posts
Tue 4 Jun 2019
at 03:57
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"We are trying to help you Gibs. How many sleepless nights have you had? How many times have you woken up covered in blood? How many times did you wake from nightmares that seemed a little to real? That is the proof that you've been controlled. I can accept if you dont want to trust me, but trust Father Grimburrow. The man you've known for years told you the truth when he said you've been under the control of a dark influence. He has the power and resources to help you and you know you can trust him."
GM
 GM, 286 posts
Tue 4 Jun 2019
at 18:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Perhaps it was some malign influence hardening his mind, perhaps it was his own curmudgeonly nature, perhaps it was hatred and mistrust of outsiders. But whatever doubt flickered over Gibs' face was quickly replaced with a mask of fury and hopeless denial.

"Dead..." He looked confused, clearly this was the first that he had seen of any dead animals on his property.

"M-maybe you put them there! You're harassing me...you're...you're all harassing me!" His words sounded more and more desperate.

"It's a conspiracy! You're outsiders! Necromancers! Sorcerers!" He ranted, stomping back and forth.

He blustered up to Constantine and gave him a shove.

"Get off of my property, now. This instant. Leave! Begone!"

He backed away, towards the safety of his hut, pointing an accusing finger at our heroes.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 124 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 4 Jun 2019
at 19:48
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“I am a Paladin and you sir are in most desperate need of a door to redemption.  I beg you to not try and face down the demons it is too much for one man to bear alone.  The fear is clear upon you and it is obviously not us you fear at all, let us be of help to you.”


Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 14 using 1d20+8.  Diplomacy

This message was last edited by the player at 19:50, Tue 04 June.

Darcon
 player, 60 posts
Tue 4 Jun 2019
at 20:31
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Surreptitiously gesturing towards his companions to maintain a distance from the disturbed man, Darcon cautiously approached him, keeping a safe distance away and holding out a hand as if to show he was unarmed, save for the simple staff in his other hand.

"Please remain calm, we mean you no harm, and will leave this place if that is truly your desire," the mage said in a soft yet clear voice, while trying to keep the recent  and all too vivid flashbacks of Gibs as the crazed slasher in the back of his mind.

As he spoke Darcon murmured mystic words in an even softer voice, letting the wind carry his words towards the man. "Singula leporem," he chanted quietly, over and over while staring into Gibs's eyes and smiling pleasantly.
GM
 GM, 288 posts
Wed 5 Jun 2019
at 18:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"You keep your foul...ma...gic..." Gibs began to rant when Darcon cast his spell, but his fury calmed as the magics took effect on him. It remained to be seen how he would deal with being ensorcelled when the spell wore off, but for now his mind was Darcon's plaything.

Horror and shock suffused his features as his anger was suppressed.

"By the gods, what have I done?"

He dropped to his knees, horrified eyes sweeping over the bodies and the bloody clothing.

"You have to help me, I didn't do this. I don't remember doing this! It wasn't me!"
Darcon
 player, 61 posts
Wed 5 Jun 2019
at 20:05
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Moving over to stand besides the beleaguered Gibs, Darcon listened to what he said but did not reply immediately, allowing Gibs a few moments to absorb and process what he had done.

Then the mage said, "We are trying to help you, but in order for us to do so you have to tell us the last thing you remember before waking up in the temple today. Where do you remember being before that, and who was the last person you spoke with?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 126 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 5 Jun 2019
at 23:52
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Yes any detail is not too small to help right this wrong.”
Garland Van Burke
 player, 99 posts
Thu 6 Jun 2019
at 04:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland stepped forward setting a hand on the man's shoulder, his fingers squeezing in gentle support. "We know. You are as much a victim as any of these creatures. I suggest we return to the temple, the consecrated ground will give him more resistance against anymore dark influences. In the meantime, please tell us what you remember."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 127 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 6 Jun 2019
at 12:13
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“In my eyes you are free as long as you did not willingly allow yourself to be taken over.  But no matter we can burn your soiled clothings and the animals on this fire.”

SCG uses an arrow

“But first what is the last place time and person you recall speaking to?”
GM
 GM, 289 posts
Thu 6 Jun 2019
at 17:51
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Yesterday I worked as normal and spent the evening at the Laughing Demon." Gibs said, trembling.

"I shared a few words with Zokar but we didn't discuss anything important. Just gossip about...the...the murder...oh gods...

Then I came back here and went to bed. I woke up on that table in the temple. I dunno how those animals got there, and I ain't been down into that cellar since last winter."

Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 39 posts
Fri 7 Jun 2019
at 04:25
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keanala stayed back, leaning against the wall with her arms crossed.  It was better to let the Paladin talk to Gibs, he was probably going to be more gentle than she would have been.

"Have you picked up or received any strange items recently?" she asked, seeing that the conversation was now getting to the good part.  "Any strange dreams perhaps?  This wasn't the first time that we've found letters painted in blood on the statue in town so you might have had a few...interesting nights..."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 128 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 7 Jun 2019
at 12:12
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG notes that this place the laughing demon he will have to visit and the man Zokar he will have to speak with.

Rather than more questions he gives the man a reassuring nod...
Darcon
 player, 62 posts
Fri 7 Jun 2019
at 15:42
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Zokar eh? Quite the sinister sounding name. Tell me what you know about this Zokar; do you chat with him often, and does he have an abode in the town?" Darcon prodded Gibs further.
GM
 GM, 290 posts
Fri 7 Jun 2019
at 18:48
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"No, I haven't received anything. No dreams either. No...that isn't right. A week or so ago I had a strange dream, in fact it was the night that Professor Lorrimor died. A nightmare. I dreamed that I was burning alive." He shuddered. "Horrible, but no dreams since then."

"Aye, I chat with Zokar any time I stop by the Laughing Demon for a pint. Can't help it, really. He's probably the friendliest man in Ravengro."




Since you've spent significant time in Ravengro you would already have met Zokar Elkarid or spent some time in his establishment, the Laughing Demon.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 129 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 8 Jun 2019
at 01:12
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“I have not visited this place though I think I should however good Master Gibbs perhaps you should return to the care of the temple.  This town must have a new sheriff or fall into long nights of terror, I intend to speak to the councilmen or whomever should be in the business of doing so.”

SCG burns the clothing and carcasses...

“What say you master Gibbs or maybe you have no love for temples and clerics?  My parents are clerics so i know first hand they can be a bit much for common men, thus the bar is a better place for men of faith to gather together.”

This message was last edited by the player at 01:24, Sat 08 June.

Keanala Stonesmarque
 player, 40 posts
Sat 8 Jun 2019
at 23:48
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"You had a dream that you were being burned alive the night that the Professor died?" Keanala repeated, more to emphasize the information for the rest fo the group.  "That's a pretty coincidence.  Or not.  I've only heard of something like that happening when there is a close relationship between a pair, either by blood or by friendship.  How well did you know the Professor?"

"Or maybe this is some other phenomenon.  There might be others in town who may have had similar dreams.  Perhaps whatever, or whomever, it was that killed the professor was reaching out that night to the townsfolk.
"
Garland Van Burke
 player, 100 posts
Sun 9 Jun 2019
at 02:03
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"We excorsised a spirit from Gibs in the temple. That is a fact. Due to his behavoir and mannerisms during our earlier encounter I suspect this possession was by the same spirit I last researched. Professor Hean Feramin seems the responsible party or as he was more commonly known the splatterman. He was known for his study of langauge and the murder of women after spelling out their name. The same phenomena were seeing at the monument with Vesorianna Hawkran."
GM
 GM, 291 posts
Mon 10 Jun 2019
at 18:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Gibs' mind was caught up in Darcon's spell, his true personality temporarily suppressed in favor of a charmed and helpless sense of fraternity with our heroes. As such a flush of embarrassment rose in his face as he contemplated his past actions.

"Well...I didn't know the professor myself. Ravengro is a small town and I had seen him out walking and such, but I never really met him myself. But everyone knows that he was mixed up in the dark arts! He was a necromancer or some such, always researching things that ought be left alone."

Kendra seemed to have mastered herself at this point, at least the green tinge to her cheeks had receded now that the scene was clear and the gruesome evidence burned. Her face showed a mix of exasperated anger and patient understanding of Gib's limited, superstitious views on her father.

She stayed while our heroes asked him any remaining questions that they hand and then led him off towards the temple.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 130 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 10 Jun 2019
at 18:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG shakes his head and nods; he thinks he understands this man and his view of everything through the narrow lens of good and bad...

“Will you treat the priests well or do you think they also traffic in things better left alone?”
GM
 GM, 293 posts
Tue 11 Jun 2019
at 19:15
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Father Grimburrow is good enough folk, although I dunno why he'd keep truck with that professor." Gibs said, sparing a dirty look for Kendra. She rolled her eyes and bundled him off towards the temple.

"I'll make sure the priests keep him out of trouble." She said as she left.



The remainder of the night passed uneventfully. Kendra returned home a perhaps a quarter hour after leaving Gibs with the priests, and in the morning the Harrowstone monument was blessedly free of bloody graffiti.

The small town of Ravengro was a buzzing hive of rumors about the previous night's disturbance. Gossiping goodwives made several excuses to drop by and call on Kendra, a thinly veiled attempt to gawp at her visitors. The house was a bit crowded before she politely shooed them away but the upside was a stack of casseroles and meat pies brought by as a pretext for the visit.

Evidently Gibs himself had not been idle. He had stayed docile at the temple for an hour or two, but once Darcon's spell of charming had worn off he had gotten into a shouting match with Father Gimburrow and then pounded on Councilman Hearthmount's door at nearly three in the morning, waking most of the neighborhood and loudly demanding that Darcon be arrested for ensorcelling him. With no love of the outsiders, but less for belligerent old curmudgeons, Councilman Hearthmount had sent Gibs away without hearing him.

Naturally the young acolytes were as prone to gossip as any small town youngster, and most had returned home after the exorcism. Gossip of Garland's role in the ritual battled with dark rumors of Gibs' role in the murder of the sheriff. There was talk in corners and alleyways of taking actin against him but it looked like nothing would be done in the bright light of day. Seemingly unaware of the negative attitudes that the rest of the villagers held towards him, Gibs was in the Laughing Demon drinking, glowering, and telling anyone who would listen that Darcon was an evil sorcerer.



It was a tense and fraught situation that our heroes woke up to, but they seemed invigorated with new strength and new life. They had a good idea of what haunts and spirits dominated the prison. They had halted the grizzly string of vandalism and murder. And they had won the respect of many of the townsfolk.

Kendra made sure that everybody was well fed and had pockets full of snacks before broaching the subject of their next course.

"What should we do today?" She asked eagerly.



Congratulations, tracking down and halting the vandalism has pushed you over the XP threshold for the next level. You advance to level 3.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 132 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 12 Jun 2019
at 00:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I intend to break my fast the first thing and then track down the councilman and see that a new sheriff is appointed or elected; a town must have good stewardship."

SCG eyes the table hoping for a nice spread...

"We should also check that no citizen is hungry or in need."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 101 posts
Wed 12 Jun 2019
at 10:29
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland got up early in the monring, took a hot bath, and then spent much of his time organizing his notes and research materials. Only pausing when it was time for breakfast which he sat down and ate his fair share. "There is still a great deal we dont understand but for now, unless we intend to explore the prison further, I think the best use of my time is to take Kendra and research one of our remaining four spirits. Specifically Father Charlatan. Though I am concerned that the spirit that was posessing Gibs will continue to do so, we may have only bought some time."

OOC: For anyone still wounded Garland also uses a channel energy on the group in the morning restoring 11 hit points

03:40, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 9 using 2d6.  channel energy. +1 Cha +1 Blessed touch

This message was last edited by the player at 10:43, Wed 12 June.

GM
 GM, 295 posts
Wed 12 Jun 2019
at 18:03
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra nodded and busied herself with stacking and sorting the research materials that they had retrieved from the prison, sorting through and pulling out any sections that might pertain to the criminal known as Father Charlatan.



Constantine made his way that morning to Councilman Hearthmont's home, the largest in Ravengro, and presented himself for an audience. He was brushed off by an aide who told him that the councilman was much too busy to meet with him, but that he could make an appointment just like everybody else. It seemed that the great service that our heroes had rendered to the town had done little to assuage the councilman's dislike of outsiders.

He was easily able to garner information about the sheriff's appointment though. The town sheriff was an elected official and it would take several weeks to organize the election for a new one. In the interim one of the deputies, Jori Harlan, had been appointed by Councilman Hearthmont as acting sheriff.

He was a doughty fellow, Constantine had met him on patrol but did not know him well. He was taciturn and evidently shared the Councilman's distrust for strangers.



Constantine, if you have further questions for the Councilman or would like to pursue a separate investigation I'll split you off into your own thread. If not you can spend the day at humanitarian pursuits, you can make a Diplomacy check to influence the attitude of the villagers in general.

If nobody has other investigations they would like to pursue we'll call this a research day. You can make your knowledge checks and we'll move along.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 134 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 12 Jun 2019
at 19:24
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG accepted that the councilman was busy and heard of a new sheriff being appointed and was satisfied.. for now.

He inquired if the sheriff had family or children and he would pay his respects and bring food, or perform some service.


Diplomacy check result :20

This message was last edited by the player at 20:10, Wed 12 June.

GM
 GM, 296 posts
Thu 13 Jun 2019
at 18:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland and Kendra spent the day in research while Constantine was out in the village, investigating and trying to bolster people's spirits.

The investigation at the house was a frustrating affair, mostly collating and cross referencing old, soggy notes with missing pages and faded script. Garland kept at it hour after hour, poring relentlessly over the scant research materials until at last the elusive information began to take shape. Everything referenced some document, some dossier, that would hold all of the answers that he wanted.

Kendra was dashing about all day, fetching records and carrying bundles of pages. She popped in and out of the town archives half a dozen times, and at home the kettle was continuously singing as she kept everybody's mugs topped up with hot tea.

Of course it wasn't as simple as turning a page and finding all of the information laid out for him. But early in the afternoon Garland had a breakthrough. He was able to hunt down four of the prisoner's true names and arrest records, and after that the fifth fell swiftly into place by process of elimination.

By evening his stack of notes had been pared down to several vital pages, every detail available on Harrowstone's five notorious prisoners.



Constantine's day was equally busy, if somewhat less scholarly. He moved through the town, holding a conversation here, laying healing hands on someone injured there, and in general helping whoever crossed his path.

Sheriff Caeler, he learned, had lived alone. And while the apothecary Jominda Fallenbridge seemed more affected by his death than most there had never been a formal understanding between them. Still, she spent Constantine's visit sobbing on his shoulder as he patted her consolingly, blubbering as she recalled feast days and festivals where she would circle Caeler as he shyly struggled to break his own taciturn nature and ask her to dance.

Although he didn't spend any time in the tavern he knew that Gibs was there, getting drunker and drunker and glowering at anyone that came near him. Zokar Elkarid threw him out at dusk but sent two of his stable boys to make sure that he got back to his shack safely.

It was the last kind act that anyone was inclined to perform towards him.

In fact an undercurrent of darker rumors had been circling the town all day. The acolytes, most young village boys, had told anyone that they could about the horrifying exorcism at the temple. And it was common knowledge that, in his right mind or not, Gibs had been responsible for the death of Sheriff Caeler. There were rumblings and grumblings that he hadn't been arrested already, and the temporary Sheriff was locked in his office with Councilman Hearthmount, unable or unwilling to deal with the situation.

It was near dusk when things began to boil over.

Constantine had been dogged by furtive glances all day, villagers who hurried away as he approached, looking guilty, gossiping in small knots that dispersed when he approached. Oh, there was no ill will towards our heroes, especially the Paladin, who most of the villagers had warmed to.

No, there was dark talk of punishment for Gibs.

As night fell a mob began to form in the town square. There were murmurings at first, and then shouting. Some villagers waved torches and pitchforks. There were shouts about the useless new sheriff allowing a murderer to go free. But the talk remained just that, angry shouting. Until somebody pushed to the front of the crowd brandishing a twisted noose.

It looked like the situation was quickly getting out of hand.



Garland, I rolled a Knowledge History check on your behalf and got a really high roll. You beat the DC by 15, so you research Father Charlatan and the remaining three ghosts as well. I will update their information later this afternoon when I get some time.

The current situation is a mob gathered in the center of town, yelling and looking capable of anything.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 135 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 14 Jun 2019
at 00:31
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG watched as the crowd gathered and the mood darkened, when a man with a noose stepped forward so did the Paladin

“Men, protectors of innocence and men who can be counted upon when it matters most, listen and I will tell you what is known and what may still lie ahead of us.”

SCG waits to see if they will listen...

“The man you speak of is one of your own and an evil spirit was upon him and made him do terrible things; but also a magic protected him as he faced us in naught but a nightgown and a shroud of mist and vapor was spelled around him; and the source of magic remains unknown as it tried to force me into slumber in that night.  No doubt this was what befell the sheriff but ‘twas not the hand or the man that murdered a good man; it was a spirit and the magic that felled him.  Have no doubt this evil desires the blame to fall upon one man one easy to take and kill. “

Diplomacy result 20

This message was last edited by the player at 00:32, Fri 14 June.

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
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
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.

link to a message in this game

"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
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
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
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
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
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
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
 player, 141 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
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
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
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
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
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 - ???

Garland Van Burke
 player, 110 posts
Wed 26 Jun 2019
at 20:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Hold" he said, stopping his trek through the prison as he stood there, closing his eyes and taking in a deep breath as he attuned his senses to the surroundings. It was unmistakable, a soft weeping in the distance. "I hear someone...crying I think." he said softly before stepping past Constantine. "This way."

OOC: Im going to guess 2 would be the best way to go
GM
 GM, 314 posts
Thu 27 Jun 2019
at 19:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The ghostly weeping grew louder as our heroes drew close to the door, although it was still faint. It seemed to fade in and out, as if the source was moving at a distance, but it was definitely coming from the door that Garland indicated.

The door was locked, the old iron keyhole long since rusted shut, too corroded to peep through. Like most of the doors in this section of the prison the wood was charred and burnt. Age and rot had also taken their toll, and despite the lock it was easy to force the door open.

The room was a workshop. Workbenches were scattered throughout the room and a grindstone stood against the far wall. There were leatherworking and metalworking tools, now rusted and useless, as well as moldering mounds that may have been piles of raw materials. An anvil stood against the far wall near a cask of rusty nails.

A forlorn tangle of fabric was heaped in the center of the room. It was old and faded but ornate, it may once have been a fine dress. And from the center of that pile extended a skeletal arm, slack in death, reaching towards the door as if beseeching it. Even now long, faint scratch marks could be seen on the interior of the door.







As our heroes moved cautiously into the room there was a sudden rushing as of a great wind, although nothing ruffled their cloaks or caught at their clothing. It rushed through the chamber carrying with it the sounds of a woman sobbing. It peaked and then ebbed quickly, fading to nothing.

In the center of the chamber a shimmer appeared in the air, rising from the bundle of cloth on the floor. It wavered and solidified into the ethereal figure of a beautiful woman. Her hair and skin were transparent and tinged blue, as was the tattered dress that drifted around her as if tossed by a great wind. Her face was tear streaked and she wept--great, wracking sobs that shook her frail shoulders with grief.

She had the look of some spirit or apparition, and yet she did not attack the party as such horrors were wont to do.

Instead she peered around, scared, confused, barely seeming to see our heroes. Her hands rose to her face as if trying to ward away something unseen.

"It's...so hot. So much...smoke." Her voice echoed emptily, ghostly and haunting.

At length her eyes seemed to focus, to fix on the adventurers clustered in the doorway.

"Who...are you?"







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
A12 - Workshop - You are here

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

Garland Van Burke
 player, 111 posts
Thu 27 Jun 2019
at 19:27
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland took a few steps forward, fixing his morningstar back upon his belt and holding out the wooden holy symbol depicting Pharasma's spiraling star. Showing her who he was as much as speaking it. He had faced a spirit once before with Petros by his side and he knew they were fickle beings, at one moment ready to speak and at the next ready to lash out with murderous intent. He was ready for either outcome. "Hello my lady, I am Garland Van Burke. I am cleric of Pharasma's faith. May we speak?" he asked softly, the tone of his voice full of kindness and pity.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 149 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 28 Jun 2019
at 13:06
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“I am Sir Constantine GodAlming, How May we free you from your plight and render aid to you?”
GM
 GM, 315 posts
Fri 28 Jun 2019
at 18:37
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The ghostly spirit flinched back from Garland's holy symbol and seemed to shift and fade, becoming momentarily intangible before re-solidifying as she retreated farther into the room.

"You must be...the new guards. The old guards are all dead. Everyone dead. The fire...they locked me in here. They said it was dangerous, it was for my own protection. They said I was hysterical. I just wanted...I only came to see why he was late to dinner." Huge tears rolled down her cheeks, vanishing as they dripped off.

She seemed confused, now focused on our heroes, now unaware that they were there. She drifted about the room. As if seeing them for the first time she started and stared at them. A sudden look of panic swam over the grief on her face.

"You must flee this place! It isn't safe for the living living here, not any more. No! No, you must stay. You must aid me! You must!

My husband was the warden of this prison. He died, but even in death he held sway over the inmates. He kept their spirits chained here. I am trapped here..."


She drifted to the wall, pressed her hand against it. It seemed that she could not move beyond the very room where she died.

"I could sense him...down below. He was...so close. And yet I could not see him. Could not hold him in my arms. But I could sense the control that he exerted over the unquiet spirits of this place. He kept them trapped here.

But he his gone now! His spirit was ripped away from this place! I have...tried...to do what he did. To keep the evil spirits of this place contained. But I'm so tired. I'm growing so weak. One of them...one of them is attacking me. He will surely destroy me and then they will all be free."
She gasped a wracking sob.

"Please! You must help me to control them!"
Garland Van Burke
 player, 112 posts
Sat 29 Jun 2019
at 02:08
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland hung the holy symbol back upon his shoulder, his hands folding neatly behind him as he stood and listened carefully to her. "My lady, my goal here is to free you all. I wish nothing more then every spirit in this ancient place to find their final rest. I also know of the spirit that has been attacking you. I believe his name is  Professor Hean Feramin also known as the Splatterman, the recent events in Ravengro match the murders he commited in life though I was not sure how you two were involved till now."

He walks forward toward the body, looking over it in detail. "I am sorry that you have endured this last century of torment but I hope to change things. I assume the other spirits you speak of are the Splatterman, The lopper, Father Charlatan, The piper of Ilmarsh, and the Mosswater Maurader. Can you tell us anything about them? Where we might find them? How we might fight them? and most of all, how we might let them pass on to face Pharasma's judgement?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 151 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 29 Jun 2019
at 17:55
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG scratches his head and knows not what to think....he awaits some additional information from the sobbing lady
Darcon
 player, 69 posts
Sat 29 Jun 2019
at 20:11
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon stood behind Constantine and Garland, gripping his staff tightly and listening to the ghostly woman's sobbing. Her story was moving, yet horrifying at the same time.
The mage could but guess at the anguish the fire had caused to have made so many unquiet spirits trapped within these burn walls.

"Can you confirm if the spirit attacking you is Hean Feramin? If so, did you notice any difference or lessening of his attacks in the last few days?" Darcon asked cautiously, wondering if their exorcism of Gibs had any affect on the spirit of the Splatterman.
GM
 GM, 316 posts
Mon 1 Jul 2019
at 17:55
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Yes, I can sense five distinct presences here in the prison. I can feel them, malevolent, hateful, yearning to be free of this place. It is all that I can do to keep them trapped here as my husband once did. Although I can sense them it already seems that you know more of them than I do, I sense nothing more than their hate and their power. I know not what their names are, or how to defeat them.

Two of them are in the cell blocks above us. The other three, the most powerful, are below, in the dungeons."
She gestured to the ceiling and to the floor.

"I...I did feel a lessening of the attacks upon me in the last several days. It is a respite only though, I can still feel this...splatterman...lurking below. Surely his power is not broken.

If only I had...if only..."
A sob wracked her but she choked it off with a look of broken determination.

"It was my husband's force of will and his authority over this prison that kept the evil spirits caged for all of these years. If you could bring me the symbol of his authority over the prison, his badge of office, I would be able to gain some of his control.

I am not strong enough to defeat the evil spirits myself, but I can keep them from re-manifesting. Go forth, defeat the five spirits that haunt this place, and bring me my husband's badge. Do this, and I will banish the evil in these walls permanently!"
She commanded. Ghostly tears still rolled down her pale blue cheeks, but there was iron in her voice.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 153 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 1 Jul 2019
at 18:42
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Thank you ma'm."

SCG looks determined, and having not realized that any cells were upstairs, thinks about it...

"Finish clearing this level, then upstairs for the two and then down below for the three?"
Garland Van Burke
 player, 113 posts
Tue 2 Jul 2019
at 00:05
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Listening carefully Garland was guarded, knowing that when it came to spirits things were never easy and much like people sometimes there was more to know then they were saying. "If we stop the spirits and return the symbol of office to you and if we banish the darkness from the prison, what then? Will you also move on, or will this plan force you to linger here in this world?"
GM
 GM, 318 posts
Tue 2 Jul 2019
at 18:14
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"I...I do not know." The ghost said sadly, seeming to waver like a shimmer in the air. "I've been trapped here for so long. Yearning for so long. I only know that the evil spirits of this place must be stopped. Do this, you must! You mussst!"

Her words grew fainter and fainter, fading as if into the distance she slowly disappeared. Her presence could still be felt, keeping her husband's vigil over the prison, but the apparition in the workshop faded away.

Kendra stepped out of the room, her eyes glistening. She scrubbed at her cheeks but nodded in as businesslike way as she could manage to Constantine's suggestion.

"Where should we look first?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 154 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 3 Jul 2019
at 14:05
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG points clockwise...
"The reamining doors on this level."


Door 1 first
GM
 GM, 319 posts
Wed 3 Jul 2019
at 18:48
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Our heroes moved to the door to the right of the workshop. It was as charred and rotten as any in the prison and unlocked, they were easily able to push inside.

The room was as macabre as any they had seen so far. The center of the floor was taken up by a roughly made wooden chair bolted to the floor with rusty pinions. Leather straps at the arms, legs, and back were stiff with age and left no doubt that an inmate would be restrained here. A cold brazier sat in one corner. On a workbench before it was a collection of long handled brands, each stamped with a letter or a number.

In this chamber new inmates were branded with the prisoner numbers that they would wear for the remainder of their lives. Usually short lives, the headsman's axe fell heavily in Harrowstone.

After only a few minutes of exploration the faint smell of charred flesh began to drift through the room, a barely detectable undercurrent. The smell was faint, and only Keanala's nostrils flared from the scent. Just in time she was able to shout a warning to her compatriots.

So it was that none were flatfooted as the brazier flared to life and the branding irons began to glow with white hot radiance. They rose into the air and began to whirl about, swirling around the rough chair in the center. Suddenly they burst outwards, streaking towards the party.

The other three were galvanized by Keanala's warning, dodging away or raising shields to deflect the white hot pokers. Only Keanala herself was unable to move in time. The smell of burning flesh filled the chamber for real, displacing the ghostly smell, as a brand pressed itself against her flesh.

With a clatter all the swirling brands fell to the floor. The horror animating them dissipated. Each was cold to the touch. The only clue that the haunt had attacked was the agony of a charred P burned into Keanala's flesh, just below her left collar bone.



A haunt manifests in the room which Keanala perceives before it triggers, so nobody is flat footed. Burning brands shoot out as +1 flaming arrows, one of which hits Keanala. Keanala, you take 9 damage.






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
A12 - Workshop
A13 - Branding Room - You are here

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

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:03, Wed 03 July.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 155 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 5 Jul 2019
at 12:57
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"In some instances it seems the haunt is targeting specific people in our group.  Do you need ease in your burn?"

SCG moves to lay hands upon the burned flesh....
Garland Van Burke
 player, 114 posts
Fri 5 Jul 2019
at 19:16
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland stops, waiting to see if the haunt remanifests itself with a spell ready. Should nothing remanifest he takes a moment to search the room, trying to see what remains that might cause it to stay here. "We need to take care of these smaller spirits as well as the large ones. "


12:16, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 23 using 1d20+3.  perception check.
GM
 GM, 321 posts
Fri 5 Jul 2019
at 19:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The haunt in the branding room had expended itself, temporarily, and our heroes were free to continue their exploration of the prison.

They cautiously entered the room closest to the workshop (A14), fortunately nothing accosted them. The room was a laundry, moldy piles of prison uniforms were stacked in rolling carts and large wash tubs stood against one wall. Casks that had once held lye and other chemicals had long since corroded through, spilling their powdery contents to stain the stone floor. There was a tin chute at the far end of the room, it was just large enough to squeeze through and looked as if it led to the cesspit behind the prison.

The next room (A15) was a privy. Wooden benches had been sanded smooth, charred now, with openings that led to a sewage trough. It too emptied into the midden, but was far too narrow to traverse.

The last unexplored room (A16) was filled with moldy cots, old cabinets, and several private sleeping rooms. The decor made it obvious that this had once been the prison's infirmary. While more care had been given to the guards the manacles near several of the beds made it plain that prisoners had been treated here as well.

While the linens and instruments were too rotted and rusted to be valuable a search of the room revealed a locked cabinet near the back. The lock held firm but the charred wood of the door was easy to pry open. Inside was a wax sealed crate full of supplies.

With the remainder of the floor explored our heroes gathered at the stairwell in the center of the prison. The stairs leading down into the dungeon had been collapsed by the deadfall so many years ago, the only way down was through the collapsed elevator shaft in the training room (A4). The stairs up were perfectly serviceable, leading up onto the dark upper floor of the prison.







You explore the remaining rooms in the prison but aren't attacked by any further haunts or creatures. The items that you find in the infirmary are:

2 healer's kits
3 vials of antitoxin
2 vials of antiplague
3 doses of bloodblock
3 doses of smelling salts
2 vials of soothe syrup
4 potions of cure light wounds

Explored Rooms:
A1 - Entryway
A2 - Foyer
A3 - Auditorium
A5 - Property Room
A6 - Offices
A7 - Warden's Office
A8 - Chapel
A9 - Stairwell - You are here
A10 - Furnace Room
A11 - Induction Chamber
A12 - Workshop
A13 - Branding Room
A14 - Laundry
A15 - Privy
A16 - Infirmary

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 156 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 6 Jul 2019
at 01:59
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Each of you should have a healing potion and the other stuff as well.  I trust if it is needed you will use it to aid me.”

SCG stares up the dark staircase looking with dark vision to see any dangers.

He also has his shield tilted in the event of falling debris

This message was last edited by the player at 02:01, Sat 06 July.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 115 posts
Sun 7 Jul 2019
at 03:21
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland takes one of the healing kits, a potion of cure lights wounds, and an antitoxin for future use. Once pocketed he follows Constantine upstairs, holding his morningstar at the ready.
Darcon
 player, 71 posts
Sun 7 Jul 2019
at 09:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon followed behind the others, moving cautiously and swiveling his head to look back once in a sudden while, as if he expected a haunt to manifest just as the party's back was turned.

"The spirit mentioned there are two of the spirits upstairs, and they are not as powerful as the ones down below. We may not be able to destroy them ourselves, but we should be able to defeat and weaken them enough for the spirit of the constables wife to cage them again, assuming we can locate her dead husbands badge," he remarked to the others as they moved up the stairs.
Darcon will take a potion of CLW and 1 antitoxin.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 157 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sun 7 Jul 2019
at 14:06
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Aye the badge; it might be here or possibly even held in town as an artifact.  We can inguire later on.”

SCG will make sure all the first aid gear is taken and none is left behind.
GM
 GM, 322 posts
Mon 8 Jul 2019
at 19:07
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine moved upwards through thick cobwebs, up the worn stone steps, into the darkness of the upper landing. The others trailed behind, their weapons at the ready. Kendra clutched her breadknife in one hand and her satchel full of notes in the other.

The stairway led to a door of iron bars that was standing ajar. It hadn't been locked at the time of the fire, but could be slammed shut to isolate the top floor of the prison in an emergency. As Sir Constantine pushed through the rusty metal squealed in protest, flakes popping from the stuck hinges to float down the stairs.

The layout was somewhat more open than the narrow, claustrophobic stone corridors of the first floor. There were two openings to the west of the chamber that led off to the cell blocks, and another to the south east. This was likely where the prisoner's remains were to be found. South of the stairs our party could make out what looked like a checkpoint or guard post, and to the northeast an open area with benches and tables. Probably a mess hall.





Unexplored Rooms:
1 - Cell Blocks
2 - Guard Post
3 - Cell Blocks
4 - Mess Hall
5 - Cell Blocks

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:07, Mon 08 July.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 158 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 12:02
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG turns first right to better view the area beyond the stairwell looking both left and right; if he sees nothing he goes back down the hallway to get a better view of the areas to the left of the stairs.

“Wait here.”
He whispers to the person behind him on the stairs
GM
 GM, 326 posts
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 18:29
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine did a brief circuit of the upper floors, peeking into the cell blocks but remaining close to the central stairwell.

The mess hall could be seen from the stairs. Rickety tables and narrow benches were tossed about in a disorderly fashion but it appeared to be empty otherwise, no threats or clues could be seen. Although the fire damage was much lighter here on the upper floor a portion of the wall had collapsed, probably due to damage below. With a little work with a pickaxe or lever it would be possible to get out onto the first story roof.

The guard post could be seen through the bars of a security cage that extended onto the landing. Constantine tried the door to the cage but found it locked, but in relatively good shape. None of the locks on the upper floor were as rusted through and damaged as there rest of the prison. It could be picked or opened with a key.

The remaining passages led off to the cell blocks, narrow and shrouded in shadows pierced here and there by beams of light that shone through the sagging roof.

As our heroes moved onto the landing Darcon and Keanala called for silence. The could hear the faint, haunting sounds of flute music coming from the eastern cell block.





Explored Rooms:

Mess Hall

Unexplored Rooms:

Eastern Cell Block
Western Cell Block
Guard Post

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 159 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 19:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"No signs of trouble; the mess hall, cell blocks to the right and the guard post and other rooms on the left.  No signs of anything dangerous yet."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 117 posts
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 22:26
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"If this is the home of an intelligent ghost they have likely made it into their own personal place. Anything not pleasing them has been disposed of." Garland remarks as he points toward the east side. "I hear sounds coming from that direction, perhaps we should start there."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 160 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 16:02
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG looks towards the east, yet hears nothing, so he inquires


"Shall we try and enter through the middle door, the door adjacent to the mess hall or down by the guard station?"
GM
 GM, 327 posts
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 19:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
At Constantine and Garland's suggestion our heroes moved cautiously towards the haunting music.

The north door opened into a kitchen. Rats had long since eaten any foodstuffs that had survived the fire, and anything remaining had rotted away. The stove was rusted through, the implements pitted and useless. There was nothing of interest there.

The party was likewise disappointed by the center door, a simple broom closet.

And so it was as the adventures moved cautiously into the cells that the tension began to build. The music remained faint, barely detectable, as they moved through the barred rooms. The doors here were sturdy wood with thick iron locks and a barred window to let the jailers look into the cells. Each was bare except for long rotted pallet of straw and a bucket.

Several held ancient corpses.

Halfway down the hall the flute music rose to a sudden trill, rising in a cacophonous shriek that seemed to tear at the ears. The pace increased to a frantic tempo, and the ghostly flute music competed with the growing sound of buzzing wings. From a crumbled hole in a shadowy corner of the roof vile little insectoid bodies began to boil out. Vicious stirges buzzed forwards, probing, sucking proboscises waving wildly through the air.

And at the opposite end of the corridor, hoovering between our heroes and the hallway leading out of the cell block, the ghostly figure of the Piper of Illmarsh hoovered into view.







The ghastly apparition said nothing but it continued its eerie dirge, flute music crashing against our heroes ears. The otherworldly tune was relentless but only Darcon seemed shaken by it, the music seemed to flay his nerves bare.

But it was on Garland that the specter focused its main attention. The cleric felt fear sap his will, the dread will of the ghost trying to pin him in place. He shook off the ghostly influence, but even as he did tiny pinpricks of pain lanced through is throat and wrists. Oozing droplets of blood began to seep from tiny holes that appeared there.



ABCDEFGHIJKLMN 
  +   +ST1ST2+   +1
  +   +ST3ST4+   +2
  +   DOR  +   +3
  +++++  +++++4
  +   DORCONGARDOR   +5
  +   +KND +   +6
  +   +KEADAR+   +7
+++++++  +++++8
       ILL DOR   +9
         +   +10
++DOR+DOR+++++   +11
   +     +++++12
   +          13
   +          14




On the first round of combat four stirges crawl through a hole in the ceiling and the Piper of Illmarsh manifests behind you.

The stirges spend their turn getting into position.

All party members make a will save vs the effects of the ghostly music, Darcon fails and is shaken.

The Piper targets Garland with Hold Person effect but Garland passes. He fails a subsequent save against the effects of the attack though, and takes 2 damage.


CON - Constantine
GAR - Garland, 2 damage
KND - Kendra
KEA - Keanala
DAR - Darcon, Shaken


ILL - The Piper of Illmarsh, AC 16, Touch 16, Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +6, Channel Resistance +4, Incorporeal

ST1 - Stirge, AC16, Touch 16, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1
ST2 - Stirge, AC16, Touch 16, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1
ST3 - Stirge, AC16, Touch 16, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1
ST4 - Stirge, AC16, Touch 16, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1





This message was last edited by the GM at 19:17, Wed 10 July.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 161 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 19:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Avaunt shade!  Your time is done and you must move on.”

SCG wonders temporarily if he can break the spirits flute and cage or if those are as immaterial as the spirit.

“Can anyone hold off the sturgeon; and aid with the spirit?”

SCG prepares to smite the evil shade in front of him....

Wanted to move into place between the shade and the rest of the party and be prepared to smite the specter....I thought I may not be able to get an attack in immediately.....


"Choose wisely dead thing if you mean to attack, if not tell us how we may help you to move on."

This message was last edited by the player at 23:56, Wed 10 July.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 118 posts
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 02:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Feeling tiny little pin pricks all over his body made Garland wince in pain but he had a plan for this particular kind of encounter. He reached over grasping his holy symbol tightly and thrust it forward. "It seeks a battle, not parley. If this works, destroy its pets!" he says as he looks at the spirit holding the symbol at the ready as he moved forward and began his incantation. "Submit to the lady of graves Judgement or feel her fiery wrath!"

OOC: Move forward and use turn undead. If he fails a DC 12 will save he flees for 1 minute and is set on fire with Garlands Blazing channel feat
GM
 GM, 330 posts
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 19:18
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine moved forward to defend his allies and Garland cast forth his hand towards the specter, calling on the power of light to repel it. The Piper seemed unaffected by the wave of channeled energy.

The ghost didn't smirk, or gloat, or show any sign that it knew that party was there. It simply continued its keening dirge, the music whipping the stirges into a frenzy and draining our heroes morale.

Kendra flailed wildly at the stirges as they buzzed towards the group, battering at one of them and trying to push it away.

The others buzzed past, sinking their sucking proboscises into Kendra, Keanala, and Constantine. The buzzing little horror that headed for Darcon swooped in but missed, buzzing angrily as it circled. And still insectoid bodies continued crawling out of the hive.




ABCDEFGHIJKLMN 
  +   +ST5ST6+   +1
  +   + ST7+   +2
  +   DOR  +   +3
  +++++  +++++4
  +   DOR  DOR   +5
  +   +KNDST2+   +6
  +   +KEADAR+   +7
+++++++CONGAR+++++8
       ILL DOR   +9
         +   +10
++DOR+DOR+++++   +11
   +     +++++12
   +          13
   +          14



Constantine moves up and makes ready to smite the Piper. Yes, last round was the first round of combat. If you would like you can make an attack against the Piper to represent your readied action from last round, and then you can act normally and take your full turn.

Garland, the Piper passes his save and is not turned.

Kendra uses the Aid Another action against the stirge attacking her, anyone that targets ST1 gets +3 to their attack.

The stirges move forward and attack the party.

ST1 attacks Kendra, attaches, and does 1 CON damage.
ST2 attacks Darcon and misses
ST3 attacks Keanala, attaches, and does 1 CON damage.
ST4 attacks Constantine, attaches, and does 1 CON damage.

Three new stirges crawl out of the nest.

The Piper continues to play his flute causing everyone in earshot to make a will save. Darcon, Keanala, and Garland fail and are Shaken. Constantine passes.

The Piper targets Darcon with a Hold Person effect but Darcon passes his save and is fine. He also passes the subsequent save and takes no damage from the attack.

Garland, who is already affected by the Piper's dirge, also passes his save and takes no damage.

Darcon and Keanala, because you didn't act last round you get an additional standard action this round. If you don't act I will NPC you for the next round.

Constantine, you can take your readied attack from last round in addition to your turn from this round. And you can smite him before you attack, if you would like.




CON - Constantine, ST4 attached, 1 CON damage
GAR - Garland, 2 damage, shaken
KND - Kendra, ST1 attached, 1 CON damage, shaken
KEA - Keanala ST3 attached, 1 CON damage, shaken
DAR - Darcon, shaken


ILL - The Piper of Illmarsh, AC 16, Touch 16, Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +6, Channel Resistance +4, Incorporeal

ST1 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST2 - Stirge, AC16, Touch 16, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1
ST3 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST4 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST5 - Stirge, AC16, Touch 16, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1
ST6 - Stirge, AC16, Touch 16, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1
ST7 - Stirge, AC16, Touch 16, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 162 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 19:27
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG smites the shade
“Face retribution!”

Smite attack roll 24; damage 5; other attack was a miss


“Can someone swat these sturgeon?”
Darcon
 player, 72 posts
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 22:37
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Remain focused!" Darcon called out, quelling the stab of fear that passed through him upon seeing the ghostly apparition of the piper. Dodging the stirge buzzing towards him the mage raised a hand and made a quick gesture, then and pointed at the creature while uttering an incantation, "Magica Altum Scintillis!"

Crackling bolts of power streaked from his stiffened fingertips to strike the stirge in front of him.

Taking out a wand from his belt Darcon quickly murmured an arcane command and a soft glow flickered about him for an instant before subsiding.



Garland Van Burke
 player, 119 posts
Fri 12 Jul 2019
at 01:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Well that was disappointing." he thought, looking back and seeing them swarmed by stirges at the rear and with the spirit at their front. This was a good place to ambush them and with the pipers music Garland was sure they would keep coming, he had to be their priority. With that thought in his mind he stepped forward and made a swing with his morning star.

OOC: I dont think a 4 hits

18:54, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 4 using 1d20.
GM
 GM, 331 posts
Fri 12 Jul 2019
at 18:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constatine's first hit passed right through the ethereal form of the Piper, and yet the spirit recoiled as if struck as the holy energy of his smite passed through it. It hoovered up and dodged his second strike, as well as Garland's swing.

Darcon's spell splattered one of the little insects into a puff of ichor, and he had enough magical resources remaining to send a missile streaking towards the Piper.

Keanala let her bow clatter to the floor of the hallway, of little use in such close proximity, and drew out her morningstar. She tried to batter away the little insect that had attached itself to her but couldn't manage to get a good angle on it.

Kendra tried to help, beating at it with her bag, but its sucking needle like proboscis remained embedded.

The newly arrived stirges swooped towards the back line of the fight, Kendra, Keanala, and Darcon, spearing them with needle like noses. One more crawled from the nest as well.

Recognizing that her compatriot would have a hard time casting with the little pest attached Kendra shouted for Darcon to turn towards her to give her an opening.

The piper's dirge continued but this time Keanala and Constantine were able to shake off its haunting effects. Its true focus was Constantine, who more than easily shook off the fear that tried to paralyze him. Even so, the haunted song wrung blood from both Constantine and Garland.



ABCDEFGHIJKLMN 
  +   + ST8+   +1
  +   +  +   +2
  +   DOR  +   +3
  +++++  +++++4
  +   DOR  DOR   +5
  +   +KND +   +6
  +   +KEADAR+   +7
+++++++CONGAR+++++8
       ILL DOR   +9
         +   +10
++DOR+DOR+++++   +11
   +     +++++12
   +          13
   +          14



Constantine swings twice, 1 hit and 1 miss for 5 damage.

Darcon's spell hits stirge 2 and kills it, with an extra missile left over to direct at the Piper for 2 damage. Stirges are Tiny and don't threaten squares adjacent to them, so you're fine to cast without provoking AoOs. While you have a stirge attached to you you'll need to make a concentration check of 13 plus the level of the spell that you're casting.

Garland swings and misses.

Keanala swings and misses.

Stirges 5, 6, and 7 swoop towards Kendra, Darcon, and Keanala and attach. Constantine, Garland, and Darcon have one stirge attacking them and take 1 CON damage. Kendra and Keanala are both being drained by two stirges and take 2 CON damage.

Kendra uses Aid-Another on the stirge attached to Darcon, anyone attacking that stirge gets +3 on attacks against it.

The Piper continues his dirge, this time Keanala and Constantine save. Everyone else is shaken.

The Piper targets Constantine with a Hold Person effect but Constantine saves and is fine. The dirge targets save against the damage and only Darcon passes, Constantine takes 1 damage and Garland takes 3 damage.




CON - Constantine, ST4 attached, 2 CON damage
GAR - Garland, 2 damage, shaken
KND - Kendra, ST1 & ST5 attached, 3 CON damage, shaken
KEA - Keanala ST3 & ST6 attached, 3 CON damage
DAR - Darcon, ST7 attached, 1 CON damage, shaken


ILL - The Piper of Illmarsh, AC 16, Touch 16, Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +6, Channel Resistance +4, Incorporeal, 7 damage

ST1 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST3 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST4 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST5 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST6 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST7 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST8 - Stirge, AC16, Touch 16, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1

Garland Van Burke
 player, 120 posts
Sat 13 Jul 2019
at 03:57
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Seeing everyone fighting off the huge bugs Garland found himself needing to make an ugly choice. The piper was the mastermind behind all the stirges but no one else could fight with so many on them. Frowning he decided to take out the mastermind, the stirges would require hitting them and potentially hitting his already wounded friends but Garland alone held the faith to destroy the spirit through faith, it had to be destroyed.

Holding his holy symbol at the ready he thrust it forward while casting a spell. "Holy goddess flood this are with your light!"

OOC: Casting positive pulse on the square with the piper.

20:55, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 5 using 1d6+1.  Positive pulse.

A DC 15 will save negates if unsuccessful he takes 5 damage from positive energy

Constantine and Garland are within the area and recieve a +2 bonus on saving throws against death effects, energy drain, negative energy, and effects directly caused by haunts. This bonus lasts for 1 round.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:59, Sat 13 July.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 163 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 13 Jul 2019
at 20:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG continues to focus the smite into the incorpreal form of the ghost itself.

Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 5 using 1d8+4. Smite damage. 16:01, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 25 using 1d20+6. Smiting! 1/day Morningstar (cold iron)Attack.


"Go ahead and start throwing holy water, and then we can deal with the stirge."
Darcon
 player, 74 posts
Sun 14 Jul 2019
at 20:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon resisted the urge to curse as one of the stirges latched onto him and started sucking away at his vital fluids. The ghastly apparition's piping was also morbidly jarring, sounding more like an ominous funeral dirge that caused the mage's heart to beat faster; even as his focused mind strove to crush the tendrils of fear brought upon by the piping the mage realized their situation was quite dire, and panic started to set in.

Dire action was needed to even the odds they faced, and the cure might end up being worse than the disease, but there was little choice. Gritting his teeth Darcon moved away from the others a few steps, then raising his staff in both hands brought one end down hard upon the stone floor.

"Fulgur!" he shouted, crying out the ancient word of power of his order in desperation. Dust flew from the floor as if from soundless thunder as a sudden flash of blue light lit the room, followed immediately by a crackling sound and the smell of ozone.
Move Action: Move to I-6.

This message was last edited by the player at 20:48, Sun 14 July.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 164 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 13:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG had attempted to swat the stirge on it's way in, but he had missed the tiny creature and had been focused on the ghost for the time being.
GM
 GM, 333 posts
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 18:35
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The malevolent spirit of the Piper was too strong to be easily dispersed by Garland's holy energies. The burst splashed off of his ethereal form harmlessly, but the reflected energy did suffuse Garland and Constantine with holy power.

Constantine continued to grimly hack at the Piper himself. Again his blade passed through harmlessly, and again the Piper recoiled from the holy energy of Constantine's smite.

Darcon maneuvered and then let out a blast of elemental power, sending cascading shocks through each of the stirges, and through his allies as well. Kendra gave a surprised squawk and Keanala hissed a sharp intake of breath, but taking a bit of damage from Darcon's power was better than the continual drain of the stirges.

Keanala's professionalism overrode her self preservation. She could see how hampered Darcon was by the stirge attacking him, and Kendra's assistance had created an opening to attack. She grabbed him by the lapel to hold him steady and smashed her mace down on the stirge draining him. It was a careful blow, hard enough to crush the insect but not hard enough to injure Darcon.

The last stirge buzzed forward angrily. Surely the little beasts had not concept of strategy, or of high priority targets, but Darcon was the closes target and the scent of fresh blood was oozing from the crushed bug smeared across his chest. It too latched onto him, skewering him with its needle nose.

With his stirge minions fully engaged the piper turned towards Keanala, sending a jarring discordance of notes towards her. Like her companions she managed to shake off its power, although she was still being drained by a pair of stirges.



ABCDEFGHIJKLMN 
  +   +  +   +1
  +   +  +   +2
  +   DOR  +   +3
  +++++  +++++4
  +   DOR  DOR   +5
  +   +KNDDAR+   +6
  +   +KEA +   +7
+++++++CONGAR+++++8
       ILL DOR   +9
         +   +10
++DOR+DOR+++++   +11
   +     +++++12
   +          13
   +          14



The Piper passes his save against Garland's Positive Pulse, Garland and Constantine both get +2 on saves.

Constantine hits for 5 damage.

Darcon steps back and uses Lightning Flash on everyone around him. Three of the stirges fail to save and two pass, as do Kendra and Keanala.

Keanala uses Kendra's +3 from the previous round to smash the stirge attacking Darcon.

The last stirge moves up and succeeds a touch attack against Darcon, attaching itself, which does provoke an AoO. Darcon and Constantine take 1 CON damage, Kendra and Keanala take 2 CON damage.

Kendra uses Aid Another against the stirge attached to Darcon, anyone attacking that stirget gets +3.

Darcon and Keanala pass their saves against the piper's dirge and are not shaken, Constantine and Garland are both shaken.

The Piper targets Keanala with a Hold Person effect but she passes her save. Everybody also passes their saves against the bleeding damage of the dirge.



CON - Constantine, ST4 attached, 3 CON damage, Shaken, +2 Saves
GAR - Garland, 2 damage, shaken, +2 Saves
KND - Kendra, ST1 & ST5 attached, 1 damage, 5 CON damage
KEA - Keanala ST3 & ST6 attached, 1 damage, 5 CON damage
DAR - Darcon, ST8 attached, 2 CON damage


ILL - The Piper of Illmarsh, AC 16, Touch 16, Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +6, Channel Resistance +4, Incorporeal, 12 damage

ST1 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST3 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST4 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST5 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST6 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached
ST8 - Stirge, AC16, Touch 16, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached

Garland Van Burke
 player, 121 posts
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 22:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"We need to end this quickly!" Garland said as he attacked again, swinging his morningstar wide at the Piper and hitting nothing but air once again.

OOC: 15:45, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 6 using 1d20.  attack roll.

This message was last edited by the player at 22:46, Mon 15 July.

Darcon
 player, 75 posts
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 16:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon swiped with his staff as the stirge swooped in, trying to kill it before it could sink its proboscis into his tender flesh.

Raising his staff he slammed it point first into the floor again, shouting the word of power and sending crackling jolts of power and soundless thunder into the air and everyone around him.
AoO Attack: 15 (not adding the +3 from Aid Another as Darcon gets his AoO before Kendra uses Aid Another); Damage if applicable: 07.

21:01, Today: Darcon rolled 7 using 1d6+1.  AoO damage if applicable.
20:59, Today: Darcon rolled 15 using 1d20+1.  AoO vs stirge.
21:06, Today: Secret Roll: Darcon rolled 6 using 1d6+1.  Lightning Flash Damage.

GM
 GM, 334 posts
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 18:43
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The Piper didn't bother to dodge Garland's swing. Its ghostly fingers worked over the  transparent silver of its flute as it blew into it. Garland's swing passed directly through it as if through the air.

Behind him the crackle of lightning was accompanied by the stinking scent of burning chitin. Darcon's second lash of power radiated from where he struck the floorstones like a thunder crack, washing over allies and enemies alike. Kendra and Keanala managed to avoid the worst of the damage by turning away, but the sucking stirges weren't so lucky. Several were fried outright, and the rest had taken too much damage from his previous jolt. They blackened and curled, falling to the floor with wet little splats.

Kendra wobbled. She was very, very pale, bloody pinpricks where the stirges had drained her showing through her dress. She dropped her pack to the floor and began rummaging through it, tossing things into the hallway as she searched frantically. A packet of notes, a couple of potions, a tarnished flute were tossed aside like trash. She let out a strangled "Yes!" of triumph as she fumbled out a vial of holy water, which she tossed to Garland.

Keanala looked like she was in just as bad shape. Both women had lost a lot of blood. But she put herself between the haunt and Kendra and called out a prayer to Erastil. She pointed, and a ray of energy splashed off the ceiling near the Piper. She was too woozy to aim properly.

The final living stirge was unaffected by the deaths of its comrades. It remained on Consantine, sucking, and sucking, and sucking. Its tiny body was swelling grotesquely, discolored red from the blood that it was draining from the paladin.

Over all of this the Piper's dirge continued, still draining and sapping at our heroes. Keanala was strong enough to resist, but the other three felt life drain from them as blood oozed out of the pinpricks that the real stirges had left, as well as the ghostly wounds that had appeared at wrist and throat.



ABCDEFGHIJKLMN 
  +   +  +   +1
  +   +  +   +2
  +   DOR  +   +3
  +++++  +++++4
  +   DOR  DOR   +5
  +   +KNDDAR+   +6
  +   +KEA +   +7
+++++++CONGAR+++++8
       ILL DOR   +9
         +   +10
++DOR+DOR+++++   +11
   +     +++++12
   +          13
   +          14



Garland's attack misses the Piper.

Darcon's Lightning Flash hits Kendra and Keanala for 3 damage but fries the rest of the stirges around him.

Keanala casts Disrupt Undead on the Piper but misses.

The Piper's dirge continues. Keanala and Garland fail their saves and are shaken.

The Piper targets Kendra with a Hold Person effect but she passes her save. Garland, Darcon, and Constantine fail their saves against the continuing effects of the dirge and take damage as blood oozes from their wounds. Darcon takes 1 damage, Garland takes 5 damage, Constantine takes 2 damage.

Constantine, because you were skipped this round you get an additional standard action on your next turn.




CON - Constantine, ST4 attached, 2 damage, 4 CON damage
GAR - Garland, 7 damage, shaken
KND - Kendra, 4 damage, 5 CON damage, shaken
KEA - Keanala, 4 damage, 5 CON damage, shaken
DAR - Darcon, 1 damage, 2 CON damage

ILL - The Piper of Illmarsh, AC 16, Touch 16, Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +6, Channel Resistance +4, Incorporeal, 12 damage

ST4 - Stirge, AC12, Touch 12, Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +1, attached

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:50, Tue 16 July.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 165 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 19:18
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Go to your final rest shade!”


Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 7 using 1d8+4.  Smite damage. 15:16, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 20 using 1d20+6.  Smite attack.

SCG tries to swing holy energy through the apparition twice, but only connects once

“If anyone is badly injured step up behind me and let me know.”

This message was last edited by the player at 19:21, Tue 16 July.

GM
 GM, 336 posts
Wed 17 Jul 2019
at 19:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Sir Constantine's final slashing hit waved through the Piper of Illmarsh's ethereal form with as little effect as the other physical attacks that had been leveled at it, but the holy charge of his smite seemed as if he were waving a hand through mist. There was no screech, no keening cry, no backlash of power. The form of the Piper simply shuddered like a reflection broken up by ripples. It faded quickly, and as it faded the keening dirge faded as well, until both apparition and haunted music could be sensed no more.

Bloated and no longer under its master's thrall, the final remaining stirge loosed its hold on Constantine and buzzed back towards its nest. Keanala swiped at it, still wobbling, but missed as it flew past her.

In the aftermath the cellblock hallway was silent as the grave, the only sound panting adventurers and the whistling of the wind.

"Hello, what's this?" Kendra said in surprise. She rummaged around on the floor until she pulled up one of the items that she had dumped out while frantically searching her pack.

It was the flute that our heroes had found in the evidence locker. Its tarnished surface was roiling and shifting, the stains of age and oxidized metal sliding off of it like time being reversed. After a moment it was as pretty and pristine as if it were brand new.

"What do you make of it?" She asked.

Garland and Darcon examined it briefly, and were surprised at what they found. The curse on the flute had been lifted. While it was now harmless, some hint of its former master's power still remained, lingering and imbuing it with strange properties.

"Hmmm. Well, I suppose we didn't precisely use it to defeat him, but it looks like the Piper's spirit is no longer affecting it." Kendra said.



Congratulations on defeating the Piper of Illmarsh!

Constantine's last hit does enough damage to disperse the spirit. You know that defeating a ghost like this would normally allow it to re-form after a couple of days, but if the spirit of Vesorianna Hawkran is correct then she can prevent that from happening.

The last stirge detatches from Constantine and flies back towards its nest, which provokes AoOs from everyone. It has drunk its fill though, and doesn't seem interested in bothering you further.

The curse on the silver flute that you found in the evidence locker has been lifted, but the magic still remains. From now on it functions as a regular Pipes of Sounding.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 166 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 17 Jul 2019
at 20:41
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"So it is finished and the piper is no more, is anyone injured?"

SCG finds himself in need of a breather as well and he doesn't even try and hit the stirge on it's way back to the nest.  Hopefully they can be cleared out later on.

SCG wipes his brow and looks to the others....
Darcon
 player, 76 posts
Wed 17 Jul 2019
at 20:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon felt the blood oozing out from the tiny wound the stirges had left upon him, and hoped it would not stain his pristine white robes. He no longer felt any fear from the piping apparition, the destruction of most of the stirges had reinvigorated the mage.

Finally free of the bloodsuckers he was about to give the Piper a taste of some real magic when Constantine destroyed it with his own arts and his sword.

"Well done Sir Constantine!" Darcon called out with a smile, before moving forward to inspect the fallen pipes in Kendra's hand. "My lady, I hope you are well, we can turn back for the night if you need a rest." Darcon said to Kendra with some concern, for he had seen her wobbling a few moments ago and wasn't sure if she could continue going deeper into the prison.
Had a full combat post typed and was just previewing it when the GM updated with the end of combat :P
Garland Van Burke
 player, 122 posts
Wed 17 Jul 2019
at 22:20
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"You are all injured." Garland says coldly, knowing that some of those injuries were beyond his power to heal through magical means. "Im am very concerned about the amount of blood loss from all of you, as well as any diseases you may have contracted, but I will heal what wounds I can for now." he says as he pulls his holy symbol forward, whispering a soft prayer as the hallway fills with healing light. "Pharasma, stitch the wounds of your faithful so they may continue their good work. "

Once the light faded he took in a breath and looked at the spot the Piper had been. "When we rest I will ask Pharasma for the power to heal the debilitating wounds you have received. However I will only have a few uses at best. For now we may wish to scout the area but avoid anymore powerful spirits."

OOC: 15:13, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 6 using 2d6+2.  channel energy.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 167 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 18 Jul 2019
at 12:54
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“We should search this room whilst the insects are satiated and ensure the wardens badge is not here in the ruins.”


“We did well enough to end this threat, perhaps we should indeed scout this area and avoid any tough fights if need be.”

This message was last edited by the player at 13:15, Thu 18 July.

GM
 GM, 337 posts
Thu 18 Jul 2019
at 18:18
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
While all had bled under the Piper's malign influence it was Constantine, Keanala, and Kendra who were the worse for their encounter with his vile pets. The paladin and the huntress were doughty adventurers, staunch if looking a bit anemic. Kendra was very pale, supporting herself against the cell block wall.

"I'll be fine." She said, waving Garland off. She looked determined, even if she did wobble a bit. She took a step forward, swayed, and leaned back against the stone.

"Well, perhaps I had better rest here a bit." She sat back, drinking from her waterskin as the others explored the cells.

All of the doors were locked except two, which opened to empty cells, and two of the doors towards the northern end of the corridor were weathered and rotted enough to be easily kicked open. Of the cells accessible to our heroes only one held anything, bony remnants of a corpse that had long since rotted away, and nothing of value. They were able to easily peer in to the locked cells through the grating set into the doors. Several held the long decomposed bodies of prisoners who had died, trapped, and the rest were empty. While it would be possible to chop through the doors with time and effort it didn't appear that there was anything of interest in the eastern cell block except the Piper's haunt, now dispersed.

Kendra seemed to have recovered somewhat after the search, although she remained pale.

"Perhaps I should remain behind in safe areas while you continue to explore. Just until I get my strength back, of course. I want to end this haunting as much as anybody."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 123 posts
Fri 19 Jul 2019
at 04:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland shakes head back and forth slowly. "No, Im taking you home right now. Petros would be very cross with me if I allowed anything to happen to you." He walks over, taking her arm and pulling it around his neck to help her walk before he looks at his companions. "We will search the room and then we withdraw. "
GM
 GM, 339 posts
Fri 19 Jul 2019
at 18:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
With their search of the eastern cell block complete our heroes had little trouble navigating out of the prison. Kendra protested the entire time that she was fine, although she did lean on Garland heavily until they were out of the prison grounds. After that she brushed off her dress, straightened her back, and shot him a withering glare, her nose in the air. She sniffed and marched off towards town, weaving only the tiniest bit.

The walk back to town was uneventful.

It was still early afternoon when the party arrived back at the Lorrimor home, with plenty of time left in the day for preparations or downtime. Kendra busied herself with dinner--steak and kidney pie again, for the iron. As she was bustling about on her way to the market she hefted the sack of coins and old things from the prison thoughtfully.

"You know, we could definitely use the money to further our investigation." She said.

"I could see what I can get for these at the market."



You have plenty of time left in the day for investigations or research actions if you would like, if not I'll move things along to the following morning.

Kendra can liquidate the art objects from the prison and divide up the gold that you've found so far, for a total of 384gp per-person. If you don't want to divide up treasure or if you want to sell additional items from the loot sheet let me know.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:49, Fri 19 July.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 169 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 20 Jul 2019
at 11:55
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Thank you Garland for the oversight in our care.  I am going to see about a new shield from Jorfa at the blacksmith shop, anyone else who needs armor or shield could go as well.”

SCG feels extra hungry today and the smells of baking pot pies makes his mouth water....

“Have we decided amongst ourselves on who has what from the healers vault we found?”
Darcon
 player, 77 posts
Sat 20 Jul 2019
at 16:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Although he wanted to keep investigating the floor they were on, and possibly take out the remaining apparition there before facing the more difficult ones below the prison, Darcon acquiesced leaving for the sake of Kendra and his other companions.

Upon arriving at the Lorrimar estate Darcon freshened up before partaking in dinner, and preparing to rest to allow his body to recover from the blood loss to the stirges.

As Kendra prepared goods for selling on the market Darcon replied to her, "A good idea, I can use the funds to pay Alendru for his services, and any further items from him I might require."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 126 posts
Sat 20 Jul 2019
at 17:29
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"There are still twelve charges remaining in the wand of lesser restoration we found. After you all take a day of rest, if you wish it, I will use it to further heal the damage the stirges did to you." he adds, knowing they might very well need that wand in the future but then again with the amount of damage everyone had taken they may need it now to live to that day.

"I believe I will join you at the blacksmiths to inquire if hes willing to take on a custom project. "
GM
 GM, 342 posts
Mon 22 Jul 2019
at 18:40
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The group spent an easy afternoon after returning from their travails at the prison, resting and taking a break. Kendra shopped and puttered in the kitchen, spending time writing letters and catching up on her leisure reading, a rather harlequin novel about a dashing rogue.

Darcon spent the afternoon at the Unfurling Scroll studying with Alendru. The two mages discussed the finer points of magic, in particular a vigorous debate about the relative merits of elemental control and transmutation, comparing notes and occasionally, when one had made a particularly salient point, copying down the spell in question from the other's spellbook.

Garland and Constantine visited the doughty Jorfa at Ravengro's forge.

Constantine was farmed out to one of her apprentices and shown to a storeroom of weapons and shields packed in crates of sawdust for storage. She did most of her trade in farm implements, what weapons she made were for the traders that stopped through Ravengro every few months. The paladin and the apprentice spent the time pulling open crates and sorting through goods until he found one that suited him.

Garland got Jorfa's attention directly. She rummaged out an old suit of plate that had been commissioned by a noble via correspondence years ago and then never paid for. She discarded the pauldrons and faulds, those pieces too bulky for the cleric to move about easily in, and spent the afternoon sizing the breastplate, greaves, and gauntlets for him. To leave his hands free for casting she eventually discarded the gauntlets all together and instead added a set of vambraces. The noble had been a much slighter man than the barrel chested Garland, and the rest of the afternoon was spent hammering out the breastplate, checking the fit, and putting him through a multitude of poses until she was sure the movement and fit were up to her exacting standards.



The following morning our heroes were bright eyed and eager, all the better for their evening of rest. Father Grimburrow stopped by in the morning to impart his blessing and cast lesser restoration on anyone still feeling the ill effects of the stirge's attack.

And so, rested, re-armed, and re-equipped, they were ready to once again to face Harrowstone's haunted halls.



Everyone heals 2 ability damage from Garland's long term care, and Father Grimburrow will stop by in the morning to top off anyone else who still has ability damage.

You have no trouble shopping for any mundane gear that you would like. Garland, I assumed that your custom project was the suit of masterwork breastplate armor that you mentioned in the OOC. If you had something else in mind let me know and I'll split you and Constantine off into a side thread to RP with the blacksmith concurrently.

Darcon, Alendru will copy Obscuring Mist, Sleep, Shield, Hold Portal, Comprehend Languages, and Windy Escape from your spellbook for a total 60g discount on the scrolls and spells that you copied from him earlier.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:42, Mon 22 July.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 171 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 23 Jul 2019
at 00:42
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG had also determined to call on Jominda's Apothecary to both check on the lady herself and to obtain the troll styptic and maybe vermin repellent.

Other than that you are correct in he was looking for the living steel heavy shield, and will bring the wooden one along for back up.  He will also look to spend additional funds buying apples, cheese, hard meat, and loaves of bread.  He will keep some for himself and give some to either children or elderly in the town itself.
GM
 GM, 343 posts
Tue 23 Jul 2019
at 18:28
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine found Jominda sad eyed but hard at work at her apothecary. Bubbling alembics roiled on workbenches and a large iron cauldron simmered in the center of the shop, dried herbs hung in bundles from the rafters, and the sharp scent of alchemical reagents floated underneath everything.

Jominda chatted with Constantine as she prepared his goods, foul smelling vermin repellent in sealed jars and troll styptic in a paper packet sealed with beeswax.

The paladin spent the remainder of the morning on humanitarian pursuits. The small villages of Ustalav were often insular and suspicious of strangers and Ravengro was no exception, but the other side of the coin was a tight knit sense of community. There were few unfortunates in town, a family that suffered a bad crop year or some accident or catastrophe could turn to their neighbors for support.

In the end he wound up bringing a bushel of assorted produce to the Widow Andar who cared for such orphans as the town had, two sisters who had lost their parents the previous winter and a young Varisian boy. She fussed over him and stuffed him with tea cakes, tucking her white hair behind her ears like a schoolgirl while the children stared wide eyed at him from behind her skirts.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 128 posts
Tue 23 Jul 2019
at 23:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The armor had been somewhat of a surprise and Garland praised the blacksmith for her attention to detail. He had expected that she would have had to make it from scratch and if that  had been the case he had some design ideas but needing only a day of fitting and work was worth the price. Perhaps, in the distant future, if he had another made he would add the symbology of the clergy to its design and his own family crest.

Even after the smith was satisfied Garland put the armor through its paces, practicing spellcasting gestures and even taking it for a quick run around the block. Only when he was sure about the armor's quality did he return and place down his payment. "I thank you for your assistance, you have created a true masterpiece in both functionality and art. If I require your services again I will return." he said with a polite bow before he left.

Garland would spend the rest of the day at the temple burying himself in the books and lore held in the hallowed walls, seeking more information on Vessorina Hawkren.

OOC: Assuming theres time Garland will make a research check on our new ally

16:44, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 24 using 1d20+8.  Knowledge history check.
GM
 GM, 345 posts
Wed 24 Jul 2019
at 20:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Jorfa was too taciturn to beam at his praise, she settled for knuckling her forehead respectfully and grunting something about keeping the leather straps dry, but the surest way into a dwarf's heart is praise of their craft. She all but strutted around the forge as he counted out his coins, and gave him a bow as he left, clanking under his purchase.



Vesorianna Hawkran had been the warden's wife but was not a member of the prison staff, so the prison's records had no clues about her. She and warden Hawkran had been wed before he came to Ravengro to assume his post, so there weren't records in the town archive's records of births and weddings either.

So it was by examining old journal entries, the remaining scraps of personal logs, and other ancillary records of the time that Garland was able to cobble together some portrait of the woman herself.

Vesorianna Hawkran, nee Brundheim, was betrothed to Euran Hawkran while he was a lieutenant guardsman in Caliphas, Ustalav's capitol. They had been wed just less than a year when he was promoted to guard captain and assigned the stewardship of Harrowstone Prison. The couple moved to Ravengro and took up residence in the manor house at the prison itself.

Reports from the night of the fire were relatively more easy to come by now that Garland knew what he was looking for, and the circumstances of her death were somewhat more easy to find than the details of her life. Some of the details he was able to glean from the guard's reports, some from his conversation with the ghost of Vesorianna herself, and the rest he was able to guess.

On the night of the fire a riot had broken out, prisoners seized the lower levels of the prison, and Warden Hawkran sealed the dungeon by triggering a dead drop that collapsed the stairs rather than allow them to escape. This left him trapped, and he and his guards were overpowered. Vesorianna was awakened by the commotion and went to the prison to make sure that her husband was alright. When she learned of the grim situation she grew panicked and hysterical, the remaining guards locked her in the workshop both to keep her out of the way and to keep her safe from the riot. When the prisoners below began climbing up the lift shaft the panicked guards doused the shaft in lamp oil and set it ablaze in a desperate bid to keep them from escaping. The resulting fire quickly grew out of control, and by the time anyone remembered that Vesorianna had been locked in the workshop it was too late to save her.



It was still daylight when Garland finished his research, although it was trending towards evening. There was perhaps two hours of light left to explore the prison, unless our heroes wanted to risk exploring at night.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:24, Wed 24 July.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 129 posts
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 05:16
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
When everyone was gathered and treated to his best ability Garland prepared for the night, spending some time in deep meditation and prayer with Pharasma before gathering his things for their return to the prison. This time he prepared spells more in tune with fighting spirits and his new armor gave him a small bit of newfound confidence. Still he knew his faith and knowledge were still his strongest weapons.

When everyone is gathered he pulls the small rod of restoration from his pack holding it aloft. "Do any of you require more healing? I lack the spells able to do so but we still have this wand anytime we need it. If not, I suggest we return to the prison as soon as possible. The spirits will likely lay dormant till nightfall giving us some time to try and find the warden's body and symbol of office."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 172 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 13:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG felt he had recovered from the most recent foray into the prison, and he was glad he was able to return to the town and help the few needy that lived in the community.

"I believe that we still have much work ahead of us in the prison and I can see no further reason for delay."
GM
 GM, 346 posts
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 17:46
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
After a short period of preparation and the hike up the hill to Harrowstone our heroes stood once again in front of the dilapidated prison. They knew the first floor to be relatively clear, as well as portions of the upper floor. The dungeon, accessible through the charred remains of the lift in the training room, was unexplored.

"Should we head down into the dungeon and look for the warden, or finish exploring the upper floor?" Kendra asked.



Harrowstone Upper Floor





Harrowstone Ground Floor


Garland Van Burke
 player, 130 posts
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 19:25
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland pulls the morningstar from his belt, slowly chanting a soft prayer until it bursts with light, illuminating the area. "I took some time to examine the old records concerning Mrs. Hawkren and her involvement in the prison. The records also seemed to suggest that the warden passed away in the dungeon. However, I believe for the sake of safety we should deal with the other spirit upon the second floor. The last thing we want is to be flanked by two powerful apparitions."
Darcon
 player, 78 posts
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 19:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"Yes, let us finish the remaining apparition on the second floor. Remember, the ones down below are supposedly more powerful according to the spirit of the Warden's wife," Darcon remarked, narrowing his eyes against the sudden flare of Garland's conjured light.

Turning to regard Kendra he added, "Lady Kendra, if you have any spells of protection I suggest you use them now before we face another of these apparitions, and whatever wretched allies they have by their side."
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.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 179 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 6 Aug 2019
at 18:08
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG grabbed the mage and laid healing upon him for 3 points before shifting to confront the creatures in front of him.

“Avaunt minions of evil!”

SCG swings at the nearest creature with his Morningstar
Attack roll 13; damage 7

This message was last edited by the player at 18:14, Tue 06 Aug.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 139 posts
Wed 7 Aug 2019
at 05:26
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland looks at the chains, noting the odd looking holy symbols and symbolic ghostly light. His mind raced, knowing he had some spells to aid in this odd kind of possession but at the same time fearing the ectoplasmic ghosts would stop him from casting them. He pulled his morning star and attacked the one nearby, knowing there would be some time to destroy them before the possession of the mage took complete root.

"Begone spirits! It is time to make your trek to the boneyard for your final judgement!"

OOC: I guess it was a matter of time till I hit one but I didnt expect a crit with max damage, assuming theyre vunerable to crits

22:22, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 20 using 1d20.  attack roll.

22:22, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 19 using 1d20.  confirm crit roll.

22:23, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 8 using 1d8. 16 damage if vulnerable to crits
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 180 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 7 Aug 2019
at 12:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG attempted to catch the creature on a back swing but missed.

“I assume this deals with the cursed book of prayers, but more than that I cannot surmise.  Stand fast above and send arrows if you can, or free and aid our mage.  Guard yourselves!”
GM
 GM, 362 posts
Wed 7 Aug 2019
at 18:01
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine and Garland moved forward to fend the evil spirits away from their thrashing companion. Both struck true, Garland truer than Constantine.

The paladin's strike would have been devastating to a man of flesh and bone, a bone crunching blow to its body. Bone crunching turned to ooze-splattering though, and the creature's amorphous form absorbed a good portion of the blow.

Garland's strike was different, a lucky hammerblow directly to the creature's head. Here its ectoplasmic form worked against it, diaphanous cursed flash crumbling like a mound of jelly. Garland's mace splattered its head across the pond.

At their feet Darcon still writhed, slowly constricted by ghostly chains, although it seemed as if he were fighting with the haunt.



123456789101112131415 
     ++++      a
    +    +     b
   +      +    c
   +       +   d
++++       +   e
            +  f
        DAREC2   ++g
++++   GARCON     +h
   +         + i
    +       +  j
   +        +  k
   +         + l
    ++     ++  m
      +++++    n



Constantine hits EC2 for 7 damage, but most of that gets absorbed by its DR.

Garland's hit is also affected by DR, but since they are in fact vulnerable to critical hits he manages to destroy it anyway.

The remaining ectoplasmic creature swings at Constantine but misses.




EC2 - Ectoplasmic Creature - AC12, Touch 10, Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +1, DR5/Slashing, 2 damage

DAR - Darcon - Haunted
        - Ghostly Chains - Encircling Darcon, 9 damage
GAR - Garland
CON - Constantine

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:01, Wed 07 Aug.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 140 posts
Wed 7 Aug 2019
at 19:51
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
With one of the creatues dispatched Garland turns and kneels down, placing his hand on Darcon's chest as he begins to channel divine energy once again. "Pharasma grant this soul your faithful protection, let him not be touched by Evil!"

OOC: Casting Protection from Evil on Darcon
GM
 GM, 364 posts
Thu 8 Aug 2019
at 18:03
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland's protective magic settled over Darcon and he shuddered, his unconscious form straining against the haunted chains bearing down on him. Garland's magic gave the mage an extra chance to break free and bolstered his defenses, but whatever was happening to Darcon seemed to be overwhelming him.

Above them Constantine worked to fend off the remaining spirit, although it darted in under his defenses to gouge deep furrows in his flesh.



123456789101112131415 
     ++++      a
    +    +     b
   +      +    c
   +       +   d
++++       +   e
            +  f
        DAREC2   ++g
++++   GARCON     +h
   +         + i
    +       +  j
   +        +  k
   +         + l
    ++     ++  m
      +++++    n



Garland casts Protection from Evil on Darcon, giving him both an additional save and +2 on all saves for the duration of the spell.

Whatever is happening, Darcon seems to be losing despite the assistance. He takes 4 damage from the haunt.

The ectoplasmic creature swings at Constantine for a hit, Constantine takes 7 damage.

Constantine, because you were skipped this round you get two standard actions next round.




EC2 - Ectoplasmic Creature - AC12, Touch 10, Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +1, DR5/Slashing, 2 damage

DAR - Darcon - Haunted, protection from evil, 4 damage
        - Ghostly Chains - Encircling Darcon, 9 damage
GAR - Garland
CON - Constantine, 7 damage

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:11, Thu 08 Aug.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 141 posts
Thu 8 Aug 2019
at 19:25
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
With the protection spell laid on the mage Garland stands and moves around him, coming at the flank of the apparition as he brings his morningstar down upon its back as he speaks plainly. "Take the abomination from both sides!" Once again landing a solid hit that throws ectoplasim in every direction and only grants minor damage

OOC: 12:24, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 6 using 1d8.  damage roll.

12:24, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 15 using 1d20.  attack roll.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 181 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 8 Aug 2019
at 20:06
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG swings heavily through the creature connecting solidly, with very little substance to show for it....

Attack roll 22: damage 6 (minus 5)=1

“How can such a creature draw so deeply cutting into flesh?”
GM
 GM, 366 posts
Fri 9 Aug 2019
at 18:16
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland and Constantine fanned out to draw the creatures attention, hammering blows onto it that its gooey form only absorbed. It lashed out as well, continuing its mindless assault on Constantine with little success.

From above Kendra, biting her lip and dashing about at the edge of the pit in indecision, suddenly dropped to all fours and reached down, something gleaming in her fist.

"Here, use this!" She called out. She waved her long dagger, the bread knife that she had appropriated from her kitchen, and dropped it handle first towards Constantine. It certainly wasn't the devastating weapon of war that his mace was, but its slashing damage would do a far better job of cleaving through the amorphous spirit.

At their feet Darcon writhed and gasped, the constricting chains digging into his flesh.



123456789101112131415 
     ++++      a
    +    +     b
   +      +    c
   +       +   d
++++       +   e
         GAR  +  f
        DAREC2   ++g
++++     CON    +h
   +         + i
    +       +  j
   +        +  k
   +         + l
    ++     ++  m
      +++++    n



Garland hits the creature for 6 damage, 1 after DR.

Constantine his the creature for 6 damage, 1 after DR.

Kendra tosses her dagger to Constantine.

Darcon fails a save against the haunt and takes 2 damage.

The ectoplasmic creature misses Constantine.




EC2 - Ectoplasmic Creature - AC12, Touch 10, Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +1, DR5/Slashing, 4 damage

DAR - Darcon - Haunted, protection from evil, 6 damage
        - Ghostly Chains - Encircling Darcon, 9 damage
GAR - Garland
CON - Constantine, 7 damage

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 182 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 9 Aug 2019
at 19:29
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The ladies cries and offer gave a hint of recognition over SCG’s face as he dropped the Morningstar to the ground and drew his longsword.

“Taste my blade slime creature!”


Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 8 using 1d8+1.  Longsword damage. 15:25, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 17 using 1d20+4.  Longsword attack.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 142 posts
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 01:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland stays calm, lashing out as the ghostly creature tries to dodge Constantines strike, though once again missing widely as the morningstar hits nothing but air.

OOC: 18:47, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 5 using 1d8.  damage roll.

18:47, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 9 using 1d20+2.  attack roll.
GM
 GM, 368 posts
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 17:38
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The phantasmal creature surged again towards Constantine, but the paladin cut it down remorselessly even as his discarded morningstar splashed into the puddle at his feat. The specter groaned and collapsed into twin piles of ectoplasmic ooze, cloven in twain.

At their feet Darcon still thrashed. He seemed to be losing the battle with the haunt. Ghostly chains squeezed tighter and tighter around him. His breath came in fitful gasps.



Constantine attacks the slime creature for 8 damage, killing it.

Garland, because the creature died before your action was scheduled to go off your attack was interrupted. You can take an additional standard action next round.

Darcon fails a save against the haunt and takes 1 damage.




DAR - Darcon - Haunted, protection from evil, 7 damage
        - Ghostly Chains - Encircling Darcon, 9 damage
GAR - Garland
CON - Constantine, 7 damage

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 183 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 23:19
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG took his knee over the trapped wizard and not knowing what the effect will be he lays on hands right where the spectral chain is twisting around the wizard's chest.


The positive energy flows through his hand and into his companion....

"I am here my friend you are not alone!"

Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 6 using 1d6 ((6))

This message was last edited by the player at 23:25, Mon 12 Aug.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 144 posts
Tue 13 Aug 2019
at 04:52
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Once the final creature was put down Garland turns to Darcon and the chains wrapping around his body. He took a long look over it before he extending a free hand whispering a short prayer. "Pharasma, let your holy light destroy this abomination!"

As his hand was sheathed in brillaint white light he reached forward, touching the chains and filling them with positive energy.



OOC: Casting cure light wounds and turning it on the chains

21:52, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 4 using 1d8+3.
GM
 GM, 370 posts
Tue 13 Aug 2019
at 17:37
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Dual shocks of holy power surged through Darcon, one to heal, and one to sear away the ghostly presence that held him captive. Still he thrashed, yet rather than tightening the chains seemed to loosen. In his sleep Darcon's teeth gritted, clamping down ferociously.



Constantine cures Darcon for 6 damage. In addition, it seems as if the surge of positive energy bolsters his defenses against the haunt.

Garland casts to damage, dealing 4 damage to the haunt directly.

Darcon passes a save against the effects of the haunt, the haunt takes 5 damage.




DAR - Darcon - Haunted, protection from evil, 1 damage
        - Ghostly Chains - Encircling Darcon, 18 damage
GAR - Garland
CON - Constantine, 7 damage

Garland Van Burke
 player, 145 posts
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 03:24
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland looked over at Constantine "Let's focus, use your powers to heal him should he take more damage. I will focus on destroying the spirit." Assuming he agreed Garland reached forward again, this time using a more powerful spell as he turned it on the chains once again.

"Pharasma let my touch put this apparition to rest!"

OOC: 20:23, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 13 using 2d8+3.  Cure moderate wounds.
GM
 GM, 373 posts
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 17:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon shuddered and arched, his heels and shoulders on the floor in the muck while the rest of his body bent like a bow taut with strain. His eyes stared wide as Garland's final spell surged through the haunted chains encircling him.

The chains burst in a splash of radiance, fading and falling away to leave nothing in their place but a quickly dissipating cloud of ghostly sparkles.

Darcon flopped back into the shallow pool, his features easy and still as consciousness slowly returned to him.

Kendra's wan face still showed peeping through the hole above them, a mask of worry. "What happened! Is everybody okay?" She called down.



The haunt saves against Garland's spell, but it's still enough damage to destroy it. Congratulations on defeating the second of Harrowstone's ghosts!




This message was last edited by the GM at 17:44, Wed 14 Aug.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 185 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 18:12
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG cleans off his longsword, places it in its sheath and picked up his morningstar.

“He ‘twas wrapped in ghostly chains, but the curse hast been broken.”

SCG turns his attention to warding his companions and searching the vicinity for additional dangers.
Darcon
 player, 94 posts
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 23:05
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon's eyes fluttered, and then snapped open as he jerked to wakefulness. He blinked as he gazed at his surroundings, the last image of the haunt vanishing screaming into the dark void from whence it had come still emblazoned in his minds eye.

The mage took deep breaths, his heart still thudding in his chest and he grasped at the ground in a bid to confirm if he was still yet alive. Seeing his companions around him he spoke, "That was...quite the ordeal. I must thank you both for saving me once more, first the cave in when I nearly perished, and now from this accursed haunt. I am indebted to you, truly."

Slowly the mage rose to his feet, grasping his staff gratefully and leaning upon it as he reoriented himself. Hearing Kendra call up from above he waved at her to show her that he was fine.

"Well, shall we investigate further? I believe I have it in me to slay another of these creatures, but I am not sure about the two of you,"
Darcon queried Constantine and Garland.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 146 posts
Thu 15 Aug 2019
at 03:18
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland, the ever dutiful healer, helped Darcon find a place to sit down for a moment and takes a look over him for any residual effects, stigmata, or physical ailments. Once hes gone through the pysical he presents his holy symbol, touching it to Darcon's skin and speaks softly "My lady grant me the power to see the ebb and flow of magic about us." and soon a blue hue would spread across his eyes as he looked over the mage once more. Darcon would most likely realize it was a detect magic spell to look over anything he couldnt see with his own eyes.

Only after he finishes his examination over the mage does he stand and brush himself off. "I still have my final two spirit fighting spells remaining as well as three more channels for the day. One more spirit is likely possible but I doubt all three is within our capability after that. That said, besides the ability to channel energy I have no more magical healing available."

OOC: Garland will examine Darcon in detail, both physically and magically before he's ready to move on.

20:14, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 16 using 1d20+9.  heal check.
GM
 GM, 375 posts
Thu 15 Aug 2019
at 18:10
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
A quick examination of Darcon showed him not much the worse for the wear, although faint ligatures from the ghostly chains could still be seen under his robes. Garland's detect magic picked up one active abjuration aura and the fading remnants of a necromantic aura that quickly dissipated while he watched.

Kendra was mollified and settled back to guard the pit while our heroes moved deeper into the dungeon.

The next chamber was large and open, mostly empty except for the collapsed staircase that took up the center of the room. There were no creatures except for low mounds of bones, skeletons long rotted away by the moisture. Each of the adjoining hallways seemed to lead to dungeon cell blocks and each had a rusted plaque that could be faintly made out.

To the north lay "The Oubliette". West was "Reaper's Hold". South was "The Nevermore". And east, leading to the collapsed cell block that the party entered through, was "Hell's Basement".







1 - The Oubliette - unexplored
2 - Reaper's Hold - unexplored
3 - The Nevermore - unexplored
B1 - Hell's Basement
B2 - Central Chamber - You are here - I forgot to mark it on the map, but I'll up date that the next time I re-draw it.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 148 posts
Thu 15 Aug 2019
at 19:05
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland held out his holy symbol speaking softly "Holy Goddess bless us with your brilliant radiance." The room would be filled with brillaint light from the wooden symbol and brighten the area. Garland looked at the plaques one by one as he walked around the room. Trying to put each name to the spirits he had researched. "My research into Harrowstone did not reveal what any of these plagues mean. My guess would be cells specifically made to hold the most dangerous prisoners. Two of them seem straightforward but the one we must be the most concerned with is the Splatterman. He was known for traps that killed many women and I suspect we may find secret passages as well. From what we saw at the monument we know his psycosis still plagues him."

After a long look around the room he points west with his morningstar in hand. "Perhaps this way first."

This message was last edited by the player at 19:39, Thu 15 Aug.

Darcon
 player, 96 posts
Fri 16 Aug 2019
at 09:06
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"That appears as good a way to go as any," Darcon replied to Garland, staring at the skeletons warily, as if he expected the bones to come to life and start attack at any moment.

The mage had a bad feeling about the haunt they called the Splatterman; alone among all the trapped and unquiet apparitions it had been able to possess a living man outside of the confines of the prison and engage in wickedness; even while possessing someone at a distance it had proven to be a difficult and dangerous foe. Darcon wondered how they would survive it when they faced it here, in the fullness of its power.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 187 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 16 Aug 2019
at 14:47
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Save your channel as I will hold a lay on hands in reserve.  My troll styltic is ready for me to use, when the need arises.”

SCG moves into the room
“Read the plaques and then we can decide which to clear first.”
GM
 GM, 377 posts
Fri 16 Aug 2019
at 18:17
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland's spell illuminated more bodies dotted along the short hallway as they advanced. The walls of the dungeon were close and damp, moisture beading on ancient soot that stained them as black as pitch. This section of the prison had held up far better than the collapsed area that our heroes had entered from, sturdy stonework and solid wood holding securely even against the ravages of time.

The short passage terminated in a lowered portcullis beyond which Garland's light showed narrow cells similar to the blocks above (2).

Two doors flanking the hallway hung in splinters, long ago battered down during the riot.

To the right was a small guard post (B3). Bunks and tables, most overturned or broken, and skeletons littered the room. A winch was set into the wall, the tough iron rusty but intact. It screeched and wailed when it was handled but it did look as if it would open the portcullis to the cell block.

The other door opened into an office with a large charred desk (B4). This room too held old skeletons. They weren't scattered, they were heaped in one corner in a jumble. Another skeleton was slumped in a sagging wooden chair in front of the desk. Atop the desk itself sat five bleached skulls, grinning out at the room. Each had been shattered and then partially reassembled, and a powdery pile of bone fragments sat heaped right before the skeleton that had died at the desk. Garland quickly noted that the squat bone structure marked the slumped over skeleton as a dwarf.

Even as they entered the room Darcon's keen senses detected a stirring, a shifting in the old bones, and a prickling ache at the base of his skull as if of an oncoming headache.








1 - The Oubliette - unexplored
2 - Reaper's Hold - unexplored
3 - The Nevermore - unexplored
B1 - Hell's Basement
B2 - Central Chamber
B3 - Guard Post
B4 - Guard Office - You are here



Darcon detects a haunt manifesting in B4, you have a round to act before it manifests fully.

Darcon, your mage armor is still active.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:18, Fri 16 Aug.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 150 posts
Fri 16 Aug 2019
at 19:02
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland backs out of the room using the doorway to block both line of sight and attacks from within the room. However he keeps his morningstar in hand, just in case. "I have devised a way we may put two of the prisoners to rest without a need for a fight. We will have to see who we are dealing with first."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 189 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 17 Aug 2019
at 02:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG looks at the desk
“Perhaps this is where the wardens badge was left.”
He points at the desk

He watches carefully for his friends reactions as they seem more in tune with the spirit realm
Darcon
 player, 97 posts
Sat 17 Aug 2019
at 16:24
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon quickly moved back as well, raising his staff defensively with both hands in front of him  and coming to stand behind Garland, keeping both him and Constantine between himself and the manifesting haunt.

"Very well, go ahead, if your idea is a success it will be quite beneficial," he remarked to Garland. "We also still have an unused haunt siphon," he reminded the duo, in csae there would be need for it.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 190 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 02:13
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG marches straight up to the desk to find the badge ...
“Watch my back.”


Searching the desk...
Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 22 using 1d20+2 ((20)).
GM
 GM, 378 posts
Mon 19 Aug 2019
at 18:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
As the group's casters backed away the paladin strode boldly forward, heedless of the grinning skulls as he began to turn out the desk's contents. Although his search was hasty it was surprisingly thorough. He looked through the desk's drawers, sifted through moldy papers, past rusted odds and ends, and turned up a large brass key with a flared head.

Just as his search finished the haunt in the room began to manifest.

A ghostly figure arose from the slumped body sitting at the desk, the hazy form resolving itself quickly into the wild eyed form of a dwarf. He was clad all in rags, a matted beard and tangled hair giving him a crazed, feral appearance. His eyes darted from Constantine, to Darcon, to Garland, and back. Quite the feat considering that both of the latter were out of his sight behind the wall. His gaze was drawn to them unerringly, as if it could pierce stone.

Over the spectral dwarf's shoulder floated a ghostly, transparent skull. It had been shattered and massive cracks and breaks spider webbed across it's dome. A large, blade shaped hole gaped in the skull's side where one shard was missing.







At the same time that the ghostly dwarf and skull rose from the body, the skulls on the table animated as well. These were not spirits, but animate undead. The skulls quickly rose into the air, swooping around Constantine and clacking their jaws wildly.

Two swooped through the air, darting past Constantine to snap at Garland and Darcon. Two bit at Constantine, although only one made contact with his flesh. The last opened its jaws and an unearthy shriek pierced the dungeon, freezing the marrow and sending clammy chills down our heroes' spines.

In concert with his skull minions the ghostly figure of the dwarf swooped towards Constantine, swinging his ghostly mallet at the paladins head. Fortunately the blow went wide.



1234567891011121314 
  +++++++     A
  +     +     B
  +     +     C
  +     +     D
+++ ++++++++++E
    SK5         F
   SK4GARDAR        G
+++ ++++++++++H
  +     +     I
  +SK1CONSK3  +     J
  +SK2MOS   +     K
  +++++++     L
              M
              N



The skulls move. SK4 and SK5 both provoke AoOs from Garland and Constantine, you can take both AoOs if you have Combat Reflexes.

Four of the skulls attack, one hits Constantine for 2 damage.

The fifth skull lets out a piercing shriek. Garland passes his save, Constantine and Darcon are Shaken.

The Mosswater Marauder swings his hammer at Constantine but misses.




SK1 - Flying Skull - AC14, Touch 14, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2
SK2 - Flying Skull - AC14, Touch 14, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2
SK3 - Flying Skull - AC14, Touch 14, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2
SK4 - Flying Skull - AC14, Touch 14, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2
SK5 - Flying Skull - AC14, Touch 14, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2

MOS - Mosswater Marauder - AC16, Touch 16, Fort +3, Ref+2, Will +2, Incorporeal


CON - Constantine, Shaken
GAR - Garland
DAR - Darcon, mage armor, 1 damage, Shaken

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:10, Mon 19 Aug.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 151 posts
Tue 20 Aug 2019
at 05:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
As one of the skulls flies by him Garland takes a swing with his morningstar, missing wildly. Though he was distracted watching the spirit manifest he took another swing, again missing the skull by an even larger margin. He stayed focused, using his morningstar as a makeshift shield as he spoke aloud, having a plan for the ghostly dwarf.

"Ispin Onyxcudgel! We have come to help you! I know what happened! I know you killed your wife in a fit of rage! Your guilt has wracked your mind so long that you've taken to killing people and taking their skulls to bring her back. I can help you be with your wife again if you stop this assault. Please let us help you so you can absolve your sins and find happiness in her arms again!"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 192 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 20 Aug 2019
at 12:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG pockets the brass key and readies himself against the onslaught of evil...

He strikes at one of the skulls as it flies to bite him and finds himself swatting at a second skull.

08:51, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 8 using 1d8+1.  Morningstar damage . 08:51, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 20 using 1d20+4.  Morningstar attack.

“Take heed spirit redemption is at hand!   Maybe. It's not too late
To learn how to love, and forget how to hate; Mental wounds need healing
Life's a bitter shame time to forget blame.”

This message was last edited by the player at 12:55, Tue 20 Aug.

GM
 GM, 379 posts
Tue 20 Aug 2019
at 18:11
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
A morningstar, as it turns out, is the perfect instrument to shatter hoovering skulls. Constantine quickly smashed through one of the skulls as it rose into the air, and battered another aside as it swooped past him. It caromed off the wall with a hollow 'thunk' and shattered on the floor.

Garland's words had an immediate effect on the specter.

"NoooOOOooo!" It moaned, a ghastly rasp that seemed like the rumble of grave earth being moved.

"I can...fix...her..." The spirit seemed senseless, consumed by grief, and focused all of its attention on the target of it's rage.

The floating skulls, its thralls, immediately zoomed forward to to focus all of their attacks on the cleric. The Mosswater Mrauder drifted forward as well, its ethereal form passing through Constantine. It was like a sudden shower of ice, a deathly cold that seeped through the core wherever the specter touched him.

The Marauder came to a halt partially within the wall in front of Garland, looking oddly bisected as its ethereal form partially shifted through the stone. With a mighty swing the spirit bashed Garland over the head with its mallet.

Garland didn't feel the pain of a physical blow. Instead searing pain shot through his skull, a thousand times a headache, doubling his vision and addling him. A ghostly shard flew away from his head where he had been struck. That shard drifted slowly to the hoovering skull over the Marauder's shoulder, trying and failing to fit into the blade shaped hole.



1234567891011121314 
  +++++++     A
  +     +     B
  +     +     C
  +     +     D
+++ ++++++++++E
     SK5        F
   SK2GARDAR        G
+++SK3MOS+++++++++H
  +     +     I
  + CON   +     J
  +     +     K
  +++++++     L
              M
              N



Garland swings and misses.

Constantine hits twice and shatters both skulls that he attacked.

The remaining skulls swoop towards Garland, SK2 and SK3 both provoke AoOs from Constantine, SK2 provokes an AoO from Galrand.

One of the skulls hits for 2 damage.

The Mosswater Marauder moves up to Garland and attacks with his ghostly mallet. He provokes an AoO from Constantine. Garland takes 7 damage and fails a will save, you are currently staggered. Because the Marauder is partially inside a solid wall he gets a cover bonus to his AC. He can still be flanked though.

Darcon, because you didn't act this round you get an additional standard action next round.



SK2 - Flying Skull - AC14, Touch 14, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2
SK3 - Flying Skull - AC14, Touch 14, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2
SK5 - Flying Skull - AC14, Touch 14, Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2

MOS - Mosswater Marauder - AC18, Touch 16, Fort +3, Ref+2, Will +2, Incorporeal, partial cover


CON - Constantine, Shaken (3)
GAR - Garland, 9 damage, staggered
DAR - Darcon, mage armor, 1 damage, Shaken (1)

Darcon
 player, 98 posts
Tue 20 Aug 2019
at 21:44
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon cautiously moved back, staff held out defensively. His lips moved, forming a spell though the words were lost in the din of battle and shattering skulls. Ending his incantation he raised a palm and placed three stiffened fingers onto the left of his chest, then immediately whipped his arm forward and pointed them towards the specter.

A lance of white hot flame streamed from his fingers to strike the specter, outlining it in an ivory blaze before subsiding. Darcon touched his chest again then quickly pointed his fingers at one of the skulls menacing Garland, and again a lance of white fire surged, striking the skull.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 152 posts
Wed 21 Aug 2019
at 02:51
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland presents his morningstar as he takes a defensive stance and attacks one of the skulls, bashing it across the face as he turns toward Ispin, hoping beyond hope that Ispin could see reason and give up this mad pursuit.

"You don't have to fix her! She still waits for you in the afterlife! You can be with her again if you just let go of your quest and move beyond! Pharasma will show you mercy if you repent for your sins!." There's a pause as Garland looks into the spirits eyes, speaking softly. "Ispin, Would your wife want you to suffer like this? You can move beyond this existence and be with her again. Please show her you're sorry for your actions, if you do Im sure the two of you can be together again."

OOC: Garland fights defensively increasing his AC to 18 for this round

19:32, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 6 using 1d20.  AoO attack roll.

19:36, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 14 using 1d20-2.  attack roll.

19:36, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 4 using 1d8.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 193 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 21 Aug 2019
at 13:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“You speak madness getting the killing stroke the same as the one that killed your wife will not bring her back any more than burning more logs will enliven a felled tree.”

The AoO misses.
SCG swats another skull
Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 7 using 1d8+1.  Damage . 09:04, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 18 using 1d20+4.  Attack Morningstar

“Step away so he may not hide within the wall and continue to attack.”

This message was last edited by the player at 13:10, Wed 21 Aug.

GM
 GM, 380 posts
Wed 21 Aug 2019
at 18:35
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Constantine and Garland lashed out, smashing the skulls threatening them and clearing the path for Darcon to step back and level a destructive spell against the undead. The skull was incinerated but the Marauder, engulfed in flame, only seemed partially affected by the spell. His intangible form only picked up some of the heat.

He shook his head, shaggy hair flying wildly, shying away from Garland's words of absolution and focusing instead on Constantine, the new target of his ire. His was a death of tortured self loathing, he could not accept what Garland offered. Instead he swung wildly at the paladin, his mallet describing a wild arc over Constantine's head.

"I wasn't...my fault!"
He screamed in anger and denial.



1234567891011121314 
  +++++++     A
  +     +     B
  +     +     C
  +     +     D
+++ ++++++++++E
       DAR      F
    GAR         G
+++ ++++++++++H
  +CONMOS   +     I
  +     +     J
  +     +     K
  +++++++     L
              M
              N



Darcon's spell hits the Mosswater Marauder, who takes 6 damage because he's ethereal, and SK5, which goes down.

Garland swings and takes out SK2.

Constantine steps up and takes out SK3.

The Marauder steps out of the wall to attack Constantine but misses.

Garland, you save against the Staggered condition and are no longer staggered.

Darcon, the duration on your Shaken condition has elapsed and you are no longer shaken.



MOS - Mosswater Marauder - AC16, Touch 16, Fort +3, Ref+2, Will +2, Incorporeal, 6 damage

CON - Constantine, Shaken (2)
GAR - Garland, 9 damage
DAR - Darcon, mage armor, 1 damage

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 18:35, Wed 21 Aug.

Darcon
 player, 99 posts
Wed 21 Aug 2019
at 21:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shaking off vestiges of the eldritch fear that had crawled over him by the shrieking of the skulls, Darcon moved to the side to get the shade in his sight. The words of his companions were having a powerful effect on the apparition, but Darcon wanted a form of vengeance on these creatures all his own, one denied to him by the haunt that had imprisoned him in his own mind.

"This creature needs more convincing to depart from this world, allow me to help!" he hissed through clenched teeth. The mage moved a hand with two fingers extended in a complex pattern, now likely somewhat familiar to his companions and chanted:

"Magica Altum Scintillis!"

Crackling bolts of azure power streaked forth, swirling in the air before slamming into the apparition.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 153 posts
Thu 22 Aug 2019
at 02:49
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland takes a step back and to the left, hoping to lure the spirit in to give Constantine and himself a better angle of attack. "It was your fault Ispin, you killed her in a fit of rage! You lost yourself and you're still lost! Thats what made you pursue this mad quest but it doesnt have to be this way! You can move on and find happiness again. I am a cleric fully ordained in Pharasma's church, I can help you absolve your guilt and be with her again!"

Garlands mind raced around what he knew about Ispin Onyxcudgel and unfortunately it wasnt a lot. "How can I get through to him?" he wondered as he planted his feet, remaining in the same defensive stance.

OOC: Moving to try to put an opening to Garland and Constantine can flank
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 194 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 22 Aug 2019
at 14:57
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“He speaks true! Be absolved and reunited or be banished into the infinite layers of the abyss removed from every hope!”

“Redemption and hope are offered and within your hand; stop this and it will be given to you!”

Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 28 using 1d20+8.  Diplomacy
GM
 GM, 381 posts
Thu 22 Aug 2019
at 19:09
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"NO! I can fix it! I can find it! I just have to...keep...looking!" The crazed dwarf bellowed a ghostly wail, starting forward towards garland with his mallet raised high.

Just as he was about to strike Darcon darted around the corner, cast out his hands, and sent a devastating wave of magical power thundering into the ghost. Magic Missiles pelted down on him, the nature of force magic punching thorough his ethereal form to devastating effect.

For one long moment he hung there, rage and grief and madness on his crazed face. And then he began to disappear to fade away like silvery mist.

Silence fell again through the dungeon, and in the reprieve our heroes were able to fan out and explore the guard office further. After a thorough search they found a wall safe cleverly concealed in the far wall. It was undisturbed, evidently in the chaos of the riot and the fire the prisoners had never discovered it before it was too late. The key that Constantine had found in the desk drawer fit the lock, and inside was a small cache of equipment.







A huge hit from Darcon is enough to finish off the ghost. Congratulations on finishing off the Mosswater Marauder!

In the hidden wall safe you find:

Masterwork Chain Shirt x2
Masterwork Studded Leather x2
Longsword x2
Heavy Mace x2
Heavy Crossbow x2
+1 Crossbow Bolts x10
Rope of Climbing

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:10, Thu 22 Aug.

Darcon
 player, 100 posts
Thu 22 Aug 2019
at 22:01
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Destroying the ghost brought some measure of satisfaction to Darcon, empty as it was. After thoroughly investigating the room and finding the safe and its contents, Darcon pursed his lips and said to his companions, "Well, no sign of the badge, though you might find this equipment useful. Now, should we continue our search deeper in this floor?"
GM
 GM, 383 posts
Fri 23 Aug 2019
at 18:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The winch in the guard post was rusty and damaged by both fire and moisture. It groaned and screeched ominously as our heroes wound the handle, the metal creaking and pinging. The portcullis got about halfway up before the winch handle snapped off and sent Constantine tumbling backwards.

Fortunately the portcullis itself seemed to be stuck tight in its halfway open position, high enough to duck under with little difficulty. The group ducked through and into the Reaper's Hold (B5).

This area was a warren of tiny, cramped cells with stone walls and candle niches long since burned out. To be incarcerated here was to live in darkness except for the passing light of guard's torches, locked up in a dungeon beneath the earth. All of the cell doors stood open, unlocked by the prisoners after they gained control of the lower level during the riot.

Here and there the moldering form of a body lay, fleeing towards the lift or fleeing away from the fire.

A thorough search of the cell block revealed few clues, only empty cells and long rotted skeletons.

An ominous door of iron banded wood twice as thick as any in the prison stood at the far end of the cell block. It too was unlocked, and the chamber within (B6) was a ghastly sight.

Numerous grisly tools decorated the wall, pincers and pokers and screws. There was a fire pit with brands and hot irons resting in its cold ashes. An iron maiden stood against one wall, looming large and rust pitted. There was a stretching wrack in the center of the room with a long rotted body in the tatters of a uniform laid out upon it.

An air of horror and misery still pervaded the place, almost as tangible as the smell of smoke and charred flesh that lingered still this deep in the dungeon.

And yet the horrors were not only the gruesome instruments on the walls. As our heroes stepped into the chamber the case of the iron maiden began to rattle ominously.








1 - The Oubliette - unexplored
3 - The Nevermore - unexplored
B1 - Hell's Basement
B2 - Central Chamber
B3 - Guard Post
B4 - Guard Office
B5 - Reaper's Hold
B6 - Torture Chamber - You are here



All three of you spot a haunt beginning to manifest in the room, centered on the iron maiden.

You have plenty of time while exploring the previous chamber to heal, prep, etc.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 195 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 23 Aug 2019
at 18:50
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG eyes one of the MW chain shirts, but he does not pause long enough to change out his existing armor.  He instead inquires about more healing from the wand before continuing onwards.

In the new area he notes the torture chamber
“Tis as I suspected this place was one where horrors were enacted upon the prisoners.”

“Show yourself stubborn haunt and we shall help you.”
Garland Van Burke
 player, 154 posts
Fri 23 Aug 2019
at 19:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland kneels down where Ispin disappeared clasping his hands together. "Holy goddess watch over this lost spirit's soul. Grant him the wisdom to see the error of his ways the courage to face his final judgement." he whispered softly before standing, feeling frustrated that he could not help Ispin find redemption.

He took in a deep breath to steady himself before picking up his morningstar again. "I suggest the room across from us and then head further down the hallway. This leaves two spirits. The lopper, an individual I have not yet deducted a way of sealing and the Splatterman who might be banished by forcing him to exhaust the last of his magical power."

Seeing everyone moving ahead he shrugs and follows. The conditions within the prison were deplorable at best and Garland wondered what brought them to such lengths. Ample studies had been done, even then, that such measures could cause severe psycological damage to prisoners subjected to such horror

"Perhaps the leason of Harrowstone is that unfettered adherrance to justice without the aid of wisdom can be its own monster." he said aloud before noticing the iron maiden. "Another device of uselss pain and torment." he thought as he backs out of the room, using the wall as cover.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:12, Fri 23 Aug.

Darcon
 player, 101 posts
Sat 24 Aug 2019
at 09:48
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Darcon viewed the implements of torture with distaste, but before he could do much else the iron maiden began to rattle.

Realizing what was about to happen the mage quickly backed out the doorway to stand behind his companions. "Perhaps we should use our last remaining haunt siphon?" he queried the others. "That will allow us to focus on the remaining two spirits."
Move to stand outside the doorway and behind Garland and Constantine


Garland Van Burke
 player, 155 posts
Sat 24 Aug 2019
at 13:20
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland shakes his head side to side as he waits for the spirit to manifest. "I would prefer to save it unless absolutely necessary. It will be easier to conduct a study on the devices if we have one used and one unused siphon. Besides I promised Father Grimburrow we would try to return them once this was done. I would like to keep that promise if possible"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 196 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Sat 24 Aug 2019
at 22:36
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“I agree the strongest haunt must be ahead of us and in that time I will have to smite the evil to prevail against it, but the siphon will give us a second chance should we near defeat.”
GM
 GM, 384 posts
Mon 26 Aug 2019
at 17:59
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The rumbling and rattling of the burgeoning haunt began to crescendo but subsided as our heroes quickly stepped out of the room.

It looked innocuous, or rather as innocuous as it could, with its grizzly implements lining the walls and the torture devices standing in the center of the room. But without a living presence in the chamber the haunt seemed to remain dormant.

Like the fiery Old Embermaw haunt above, in the boiler room, this haunt looked as if it would be easy to ignore or bypass. Still, to explore the torture chamber itself or search it for clues our heroes would have to face the haunt, or find some other way to subdue it without entering the room.



Darcon, your mage armor is still active. It lasts for 3 hours for you and between fighting the two haunts so far and exploring the chambers that you've been through you've been in the prison for about an hour.

Garland, the haunt siphons are mystical tools for fighting evil but they aren't secret or rare, they're pretty similar to potions of similar cost. You'd be able to find them at most magic shops in larger cities, for instance. Father Grimburrow will be able to fabricate designs based even on expended haunt siphons.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 156 posts
Tue 27 Aug 2019
at 02:35
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland frowns slightly as the effect seems to be persistant rather then activated before going dormant. "I have three remaining chances to channel energy before my own reserves are depleted. It would likely be enough to subdue the haunt so we can continue exploring but there is no garantee. In fact there is no way to tell how much energy I will have to expend or even if I have enough right now. That said, we may also need that power to subdue our last two prisoners. I believe it might be prudent to return later and explore other areas that are not as high risk. What do you both think? "
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 197 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 28 Aug 2019
at 02:02
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Aye twas luck that our mage still lives and I also would benefit from rest.  I believe we now have a rope that will help us ascend and return.  What say we camp outside the prison and return in the morning?”
Garland Van Burke
 player, 157 posts
Wed 28 Aug 2019
at 02:32
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
"If we are going that far I suggest we just return to the Lorrimor estate. Travelers camping in the woods outside a haunted place, vulnerable to the creatures lurking in the night, and the very mists that cloud Ustalav...it almost sounds like the beginning of a Caliphas opera. One reason we remain in good shape is we havnt taken many high risks, I believe we should continue that policy of caution."
GM
 GM, 387 posts
Wed 28 Aug 2019
at 18:23
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Our heroes made a cautious retreat back through the pitch black corridors of the subterranean dungeon, breathing a sigh of relief as they saw the faint light of the collapsed elevator shaft shining on the dark, shallow pool.

Kendra was still waiting anxiously above the pit and eagerly helped them climb up the rope.

"Look what happened while you were below!" She said excitedly, spreading out her pack.

Two of the cursed items had changed.

The first, the tangled, tarnished mass of holy symbols had slithered apart unbidden, the intractable tangle of chain that had held them together in a lump unloosed. They no longer seemed to radiate their curse, or a magical aura of any kind, but as the dull tarnish faded away the fine metals could be seen glittering beneath.

The second was the cursed hammer. Its corroded head and pitted shaft had seemingly been mended, leaving a well worn but perfectly serviceable tool. Darcon gave it a brief magical examination which showed that it did retain some of its magical properties. The curse was removed, but it still functioned as a mastercrafter's hammer.

With their newfound treasures and the confidence of newly defeated haunts bolstering them the group made its way back to Ravengro.



It's early evening as you return to town. You have plenty of time to pursue investigations or make visits but not to make an 8 hour research check. If you have no plans I'll just skip to the following morning.



The holy symbols are art objects and can be sold for full value as trade goods.
Iron holy symbol x6
Silver holy symbol x5
Gold holy symbol x3
Platinum holy symbol x1

Mastercrafter's Hammer
-----------------
Aura faint transumtation; CL 3rd; Price 2,500 gp; Weight 1lb
-----------------
This once cursed blacksmith's hammer has been cleansed of its taint.

It grants a +5 luck bonus on Craft: Weapon and Craft: Armor checks.
-----------------
Feats Craft Wondrous Item, Crafter's Fortune; Cost 1,250 gp

Garland Van Burke
 player, 159 posts
Thu 29 Aug 2019
at 03:07
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Upon his return to the Lorrimor estate Garland found himself to tired to do much. After gathering everyone he used what healing he had remaining. He then choped some firewood to heat a fresh bath and look over the items that had been previously cursed. He looked at the platinum one in particular noting the shine and thinking how in the Pharasman clergy priests with platinum symbols were often Cardinals or other leaders within its hierarchy. A position he hoped to hold himself one day.

The hammer he was less interested in though he entertained the idea of forging great weapons and suits of armor blessed with Pharasma's divine power. "Could we push back the darkness with such a massive arsenal" he thought before setting the hammer down, slightly chuckling at the absurdity as he was no smith but a scholar and a healer.

Finally he would examine their two haunt siphons in detail, sketching them both down to the finest detail and writing a short paper on their known effects and the magical theory