Chapter 1 - The Haunting of Harrowstone.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
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 2019.

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?
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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 2019.

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 2019.

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?
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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 2019.

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 2019.