Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
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 of how they functioned. Only when all that academic work was done did he pull a small tome from his pack labeled "The bones land in a spiral", a holy text of the church, and spent an hour in meditative study before laying down to sleep for the night.

OOC: Not sure how much people need to Ill just use all remaining channel energies

20:06, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 4 using 2d6+2.  channel energy.

20:06, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 9 using 2d6+2.  channel energy.

20:06, Today: Garland Van Burke rolled 12 using 2d6+2.  channel energy.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:09, Thu 29 Aug.

Darcon
 player, 102 posts
Thu 29 Aug 2019
at 17:51
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
During their return to the estate, Darcon took time to regale Kendra with his entrapment by the haunt. By the time they were back inside, Darcon gratefully took the time to freshen up and rest for a bit before indulging in dinner.

He discussed with the others their strategies on how to tackle the remainder of the two haunts left, who were by all accounts the strongest and most dangerous. "Perhaps we should speak to the constable or the church and see if we can take some volunteers along? An extra hammer or sword arm cannot hurt, nor can the type of magic the clerics of the temple wield," Darcon argued.
GM
 GM, 389 posts
Thu 29 Aug 2019
at 19:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Kendra proved a rapt audience, eyes widening as Darcon told his tale and gasping at all of the appropriate points, tiny hands clapped over her mouth.

They discussed the haunts and the prison as the evening wore on, although her brow furrowed a bit with worry as they considered their potential allies.

"I don't have any doubt that Father Grimburrow will do whatever he can to help us. I worry for him though. At his age I wonder if he would make it down that rope." She scratched at her chin idly, pausing over the basket of peas she was shelling.

"And I don't know how cooperative the new sheriff will be. From what Sir Constantine said he didn't seem too inclined to help us." She gave an angry sniff.



The evening wound to a close and our heroes turned in for the night, safe in their comfortable beds.

Or so they thought.

Deep in the darkest, loneliest hours of the night a dark presence stole over the sleepers. It seemed to descend over the house like a tendril of evil, reaching deeply into their minds.

Darcon stirred in his sleep, his brow furrowing as troubled dreams moved in the shadowed areas of his mind.

Garland and Constantine were not so lucky.

Their dreams began in the prison, not haunted and wrecked, but whole, before the fire. It was just as austere, just as foreboding before age and damage had turned it into a charred, burnt out maw. The hallways were empty. Each of the sleepers were alone in the prison, but they seemed to sense a dark presence lurking behind every corner.

In the way of dreams they had the unsettling feeling of being watched. It rose and rose, no matter where they ran, no matter which way they turned, until it seemed unbearable. And then with a searing, blistering wave of heat the entire prison burst into flame. The sleepers thrashed, sweat pooling on their faces, their dreams consumed with visions of burning alive all night.



In the morning it was a haggard group of adventurers who came downstairs to sit exhaustedly around the breakfast table. Kendra looked as bad as Garland and Constantine felt, and they felt as if they had been put in a sack and beaten. She had dark circles under her eyes and her shoulders slumped with fatigue.

"I had the most awful dream last night." She said.



During the night you are targeted with an effect that Garland recognizes as equivalent to the nightmare spell. Darcon passes his save but Garland and Constantine fail. Garland takes 2 damage and Constantine takes 9 damage. You are also Fatigued and do not regain any arcane spells. Interestingly enough nightmare doesn't affect divine casting.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 161 posts
Fri 30 Aug 2019
at 04:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland was normally impeccably dressed in his priestly robes and often wore his armor at all times besides when he slept as a form of muscle training. However as he descended the stairs he looked exhausted and far from the well dressed cleric that the others knew. The black pantaloons hugged his hips and legs but he had little else, not even having bothered to put a shirt on as he descended the stiars.

He looks up at Kendra and cant help but yawn heavily. "You are not the only one my lady." he said softly as he made his way to the kitchen to get a cup of water. He downed the drink quickly and poured himself another one as he took in a deep breath, steadying himself. "At least three of us were targeted last night by a form of magic. It is a dark spell called Nightmare, though the name is apt...I saw the fire first hand. Walked in it and felt myself burn to death like so many in the past. Pharasma have mercy on their souls for enduring that utter anguish."

His grip tightened on the edge of the counter as he recalled the terrible conditions the prisoners once lived in. "Political power has never been something Ive sought before. I am a scholar and a healer, not a politician. However after the things we saw, I swear if I ever rise high enough in the church's hierarchy I will outlaw those practices. The pain and torment of those people have psychicely scared the prison and it will take years of concentrated work to remove that taint. If it can be removed at all. I feared the county may have experimented in necromantic magic and science before...its not till now, when I have hindsight to aid me, that I realize they did in fact do so. It was just not intentional." There was clear anger in his voice, perhaps bubbling to the surface due to lack of sleep.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 198 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 30 Aug 2019
at 12:43
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
SCG forces himself to eat a hearty breakfast and likewise decides to lay hands upon himself to heal additional damage and to remove the fatigue through the mercy.

“It would seem that now we are linked to the haunts and the retreat found us no rest.  It is times like this when we are tempted to focus on ourselves and our comfort; though a part of me believes the holy symbol of Abadar should be mine, I suggest we send it to the temple and let them decide.”


He looks around...
“Is anyone else more tired now than when we left the prison?  I can attempt to remove the fatigue.”