PF Carrion Crown

Harrowstone - Our First Visit

and more lies and problems with the townies

Our research in the professor’s library wasn’t all that fruitful, leaving us with no maps and nothing to help describe in exact terms what we might find at the prison ruins. Our morning began with a wake-up from a constable, and the news that another bloody letter – ‘E’ – had been found in town, this time all over the gazebo at its center. This time it was impossible to hide the vandalism from the citizens, who were gathered around, mouths agape.

The sheriff and Councilwoman Mirta Straelock were interested in the idea of us exploring the prison – they seemed receptive to our offers of help. I was still suspicious, but we’d already decided to go to the ruins that day, so it didn’t make much of a difference.

The prison was in a heavily wooded area, surrounded by a wall, and adjacent to a lake (or sinkhole?) that had collapsed the south-eastern portion of the outer wall, and still barred easy entry to the site. We searched the entire perimeter of the wall, and were attacked by four skeletons that rose out of the muddy water – even after thinking over that several times I still cannot determine a specific cause or trigger for the attack. Maybe we got too close, or maybe we were being watched. Nasty as they were, we dispatched them quickly.

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In any case, we entered the compound through the open front gates and found the grounds overgrown with gnarled trees, dead brush, and knee-high brown grass, now dead for the season. Overall, the place presented a foul feeling, and I was able to detect a persistent, widespread aura of necromantic magic. Aramond said he could feel the evil from the place, as if the dirt itself had malign intentions. And so we proceeded, exploring the field around the main building, which was partially collapsed, and a side building which appeared to have been the warden’s house. There were also towers built into the walls, with the northern of them seemingly full of rats, from the sounds we heard. I suggested we avoid it; others suggested lighting it on fire. My idea prevailed and we searched the house, instead.

The house was a wreck, and empty of anything of value or interest, and to back outside we went, up to the main entry to the prison. The doors were partially open, and askew on their hinges, but we thought that removing them from their hinges entirely would prevent anyone or thing from locking them behind us.

Inside the foyer, which was about 20×20, there was a font, filled with foul water, as well as four doors: a singles on the right and left walls, and a pair of doubles on the back wall, on either side of the font. Magic emanated from all four doors – necromantic, again, and the whole place, according to Aramond, felt evil. I don’t know how he can feel evil, but I think I can trust him at this point – he’s been reliable thus far.

At this point Rip decided to try and bash through the single door to our left, pounding it mercilessly with his hammer. The door healed itself – I have no other word for it. It bounced back; regenerated; recovered from the mighty blows. I must admit, if only here, that I felt a little sick to my stomach at this point. This place was bad, inside to out.

Abandoned hospital   e by kathy ophelia

I had an idea, though, and focused myself so as to disrupt its power, as I’d done against the undead we’d encountered earlier. I don’t know how much impact this really had, but it seemed to weaken the door a bit, and so Rip continued to bash away at it. I think by this point anything living or dead within earshot knew we were here, so creeping about quietly was pointless.

Still the door would not yield…not until Rip had the great idea of simply trying to open it. It opened! How stupid of us. The hall beyond it had three doors along the right wall, and ended in another door and a turn. Again, not wanting to get trapped, we decided to try and remove the door from its hinges – but this time were stopped by the smell and sight of fire beyond – an illusion? It only lasted a moment. Aramond dragged one of the front doors in and we used it to jam this door open, only to watch while the thing battered the stop, sending wood chips flying, as it tried to force itself shut! This place had bad intentions.

The door seemed securely stuck open most of the way, and so we explored the hall and four rooms, which were offices of some sort – prison staff or management of whatever. We collected what papers we could – there were far too many to go through or haul off easily, and so we divided our efforts and looked for names of prisoners or anything else of value.

We did find what seemed like a hastily-written account of prisoners trying to escape and guards and the warden choosing to active a dead-drop to prevent them from doing so, and yet by doing that trapping themselves underground – simply dreadful. And then a fire started, by accident according to this short missive, and there went the place, some 50 years ago.

The last door at the end of the hall had magic behind it, and did not radiate any evil – maybe we could return here for refuge if we needed it? I’d rather seek refuge at Kendra’s house, if that’s any option. Anyway, it seemed like we’d found the warden’s office – which unfortunately held nothing of value beyond a safe, which was stuck in a wall, that we could not open. My cousin Harimon is good at opening things like that – very handy with mechanical things – and for once I wished he were here, even with his stupid jokes and bad breath.

Aramond had noticed, out the barred, filthy windows in the hall, a series of stones in the yard outside, with inscriptions on them. Given that the day was getting long, we decided to take what we’d found and spend some time studying them so that we could get away from the prison before nightfall. One last discovery, from one of the offices (the second one), was a list of some prisoners – seemingly a ‘worst of the worst’ ledger – who were held here when the fire occurred. I quickly wrote down the following names:

  • Father Charleton
  • The Lopper
  • The Mosswater Marauder
  • The Piper of Illmarsh
  • The Splatterman

Perhaps I could find something about these characters back in town, or in an archive elsewhere.

And so we studied the rocks, which showed a pattern of runes, and emanated auras of both necromancy and abjuration – either something was being held in or kept out, or somehow someone was trying to affect something inside the prison. The rocks ringed the entire building, and trailed off into the water – spelling, over and over, ‘Hawkran’ – the warden’s last name. The stones were recent additions, it seemed, given their placement and how the grass around and under them.

As the sun moved lower in the western sky, it was time to leave. We decided to split up in town: Aramond and Giovanni would buy tools to open the safe from the smith; and Rip and I would pander to the schoolmaster’s ego in search of information about the named convicts.

On the way into town, however, we came across that same group of little girls, singing a rhyme together:

“Put her body on the bed.
Take a knife and lop her head.
Watch the blood come out the pipe.
Feeds the stirge, so nice and ripe.
Drops of red so sparkly bright.
Splatters spell her name just right.
With a hammer killed his wife.
Now he wants to claim your life.
Tricksy father tells a lie.
Listen close or you will die.”

This is a sick town, really – but the word choice was just too close for comfort, considering the names of the convicts.

I think I was successful in piquing the old man’s interest, and was surprised and dismayed, too, to learn that apparently the sheriff was looking to arrest us all, on the order of the councilwoman who’d suggested that we go to Harrowstone in the first place! We ran into the others in town as we made our way – quickly – back toward Kendra’s house, unsure if we should go there now and possibly endanger her.

Our moment of decision-making was interrupted by the breathless approach of one of the constables, running flat-out from the north toward us. Was he here to attempt an arrest? Not this time, as he ran right past us, red-faced and wall-eyed, shouting something about being attacked in the Restlands – the graveyard. Well, that likely meant more undead, and so we hurried north to lend another hand to these rotten people who wanted to bite that hand, then crush it with a rock.

Return of the living dead

Without much thought – which was probably a good thing, if we intended to save the sheriff and his men – we ran right into the fray, finding several moldered skeletons and zombies surrounding and making quick work of the townies, while a black and swirling…thing?…floated above them. We each did our part, using what what we had and know, to strike. Giovanni was clearly a target of choice for the floating thing, and took several shots from smokey tendrils that seemed to reach out and into him. The rest of us took care of the walkers and then turned our attention to the cloud-thing, with Rip eventually destroying it with one of his undead bane arrows.

Standing in the midst of the gore and destruction, with two constables horribly injured and the sheriff there, covered in sweat, blood, and by the looks of it his own piss, I could not resist, nor contain myself.

“I suppose you want to arrest us now, right?!” I shouted at the fool. Bollocks on this town and its rotten people, Kendra aside!

Comments

What possibly alerted the skeletons in the water was Aramond skipping big stones across the surface, Hawkran was written in the Varisian tongue, and before we go after Straeloch with both barrels we should question her intentions first to better understand what happened here.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Question: was the script used to write the Varisian a current one or something older? Additionally, on the meta side, is the Varisian dialect of Common currently in use, or is it something outdated?

Personally, I think we ought to do a soft interrogation of the sheriff, since we just saved him and he’s probably pretty freaked out and thus in a moment of weakness. We ought to be really direct with him – block his exit from the graveyard passively (by standing in the way) and keeping him in an uncomfortable place while we question his intentions and who’s behind them. I’m done with these backstabbing townies trying to sell us down the river. The whole place can rot for all I care, aside from Kendra.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

I like the option of actively blocking his and his deputies passage, albeit as nonchalantly as possible. Asking questions of them while they are coming around, especially since Johann is administering healing to their wounds, their lives are literally in his hands through Pharasma to a certain extent.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

“Nonchalantly” – that’s what I was looking for. Aebel will motion to Rip to block the path leading back to town – the one we came down – and Aebel will then stand about 10 feet or so from Giovanni as he works on healing the sheriff and his men. If Aramond doesn’t get the cue and move over to start questioning them, Aebel will motion to him, too, and say “instead of arresting us, I think it’d make sense if you gave us some background on what happened here…” If Aramond or Giovanni starts asking questions first he’ll hold off.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Kneeling down, Johann begins attending to their wounds. “These are some nasty wounds, but they’ll heal fairly quickly. What exactly happened here? Were you alerted by the townsfolk of the undead, or happened to be on patrol and found them?” Johann pays attention to their features as he asks them the questions, reaching in his pack for his waterskin and washing some of the blood out of the wounds before offering some to the wounded Sheriff and Deputies. After they provide some information, Johann continues: “Who issued the order to seek us out?” Looking for some thread to continue questioning, as well hoping to choose the right words to keep the Sheriff and his men from turning defensive unnecessarily.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Rip keeps an eye out for anyone approaching as well as anything hostile. All the while nonchalantly cleaning the goo off his hammer.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Aramond will gently approach the sheriff, using his easiest voice. “My friend, we are not the enemy here. We need to know who is. The people of the town seem to be manipulated into this… Foul state. The council just this morning graciously accepted our assistants then demand our arrest. Who is behind this? For what purpose? It is unnatural for the dead to rise so. And it seems we are the only ones willing to protect these people who would just as soon spit on us. It seems only a matter of time before these same people will turn on you, if we are not already too late with these creatures attacking you. You must know something. I pray, tell us what we need to know so this blight on your once fair town can be safe once more.”

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Jeremy, I see an update was made to this post, but I do not see anything. Can I ask that when you make textual edits, you make an asterisk before and after or something so we know where it is?

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Screw you! Never!

I added the poem. You obviously failed your Perception check.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Benjan wipes the sweat from his brow. Leaning over his injured deputy, he continues to apply ample pressure until the bleeding stops. Grimmly shifting his eyes around bout the carnage, the sheriff, a stern man, mutters a curse before rising. Taking his fedora, he brushes of what he can of the caked stencth of the dead. “I have much to be thankful of Pharasma today and arresting you is not one of them.” Taking acount of the heros, “Without you, well…” Silence befell the man. “I may not have your trust, but help me kindly get my deputies to the temple. There, as they heal under Father Grimburrow’s care, we can discuss what has transpired to our current situation. And be away from this dreadful place.”

Do you comply?

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Aramond complies. He will attempt to fashion some kind of stretcher, or off a wagon is close at hand, commander it for transport of the wounded.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Aebel nods in agreement and helps get the men to their feet. “If you two keep an eye out, Giovanni and I can help move these fellows” he says as he looks to both Aramond and Rip, the strongest warriors of the group.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Joke… Yes, the strongest warriors, but the worst perception checks of the group. Keeping an eye out.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Johann, still tending to the wounded, begins chanting to Pharasma as a pale grey light begins emanating from him. Calm-faced spirits in the shape of men walk serenely (in an endless moment) from a distant point behind the cleric, and as they reach those affected, flow into them and imbue them with strength and whispered encouragement from beyond, closing their wounds. (Healing for another 4 points with his last Channel Energy)
“Sheriff, there should not be a need to carry your men to Father Grimburrow today, I will tend to their healing needs.” Johann inspects them once more with a 17 for a heal check across them to see who might need what is left of his healing stores (Johann still has four Cure Light Wounds available)

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Can Johann get a Knowledge: Religion roll on the black tendril’y thing?

18+5=23

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Allip is an undead creature made from madness cloaked in darkness. Most likely the unquiet spirit of suicide, the Allip is misery wanting company. Its only attack slowly drains the will to live from its victim.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

I’m assuming that Johann shares this with the group.

“How…awful,” says Aebel as Johann describes what the cloud was, and how it probably came into being. “I suppose that’s an indication of what’s to come. Really, if that’s what’s lurking in the local graveyard, consider what’s waiting within the prison itself.”

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

I remember there was evil detected in the grounds around the graveyard, when Aramond detected evil at the prison, was it as saturated as the graveyard? Or more so, like an infection spreading?

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

The infection is spreading.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Gentleman, (and Rip, grins) the evil I’ve been feeling in this town grew stronger when we made our way to the prison. There must be something foul indeed there to cause it to spread like an infection to the town like this. I know you have your reservations for this town, but I do not think it is completely their fault. Even we would be hampered like them with this much corruption spread amongst us for so long. We must help these people by cleansing that taint.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Within the shelter of the temple of Pharasma, Father Grimburrow looks over the injured deputies. His face furrows and winkles as he prods the injuries. He gives a reassuring nod to Johann who aided in stabilizing and healing the most serious wounds. “Well Johann, you did a fantastic job with this group. They should be back to strength within a day’s rest.” Wiping his hands with a cloth he addresses the rest of the group, “I gather you have visited Harrowstone, against recommendations.” There was a sign of protest from Aabel. “Even if it was unsaid,” shot back Grimburrow. “That being the case, I cannot deny that the undeath now plaguing this town has something to do with that place.”

“…and not so much as Petros or your visits there,” inserted Benjan. There was a mix of anger in his voice, but not so against those in the room. “The council would rather be blind and appease the local farmers than realize we need help.” Benjan then continues into explaining how council woman Strealock came back later that morning with a writ to have the adventurers arrested on the grounds of disrupting the peace. “Once tasked with the orders, she almost convinced me that you were the cause of this. But after our encounter in the graveyard, I am grateful and sure that Petros requested you from beyond the grave, to help save our town. There will be no arrest.” He concluded. The speech seemed sincere enough. “I know this will cause trouble tomorrow, but we have been ignoring trouble in this town recently. Whatever you think of me, count me on your side”

“It is late men.” Father Grimburrow stated. “I will have my acolytes patrol and report any disturbances tonight, in lieu of the deputies,” he said beginning to walk the sheriff and the party out of the temple. “I think Kendra might be upset if we kept you any later.” Grimburrow smiled as best he could with his age. “Should any disturbances occur, would I count your response strangers?”

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Fun pic “Uncle Johann”.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

“Count on our response? Of course,” Aebel said, then looked at his companions. “If I don’t speak for the group, please set me straight, but I agree with Aramond: although this town may seek to do us wrong, we might be able to do something good for it. I’m in.”

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

You can count on “Uncle Johann”!

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Rip nods grimly, knowing the casualties that will certainly come in the days ahead. He readily joins his new friends in offering assistance. His intense responses and eager smile reveal a loathing of the undead previously unknown to his companions…

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

I don’t know if we should stay the night at Kendras home. That would put her into danger. Perhaps we can go back to the prison and stay In the unoccupied tower?

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Or the room that felt untained.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

“While staying at Kendra’s might be a problem, I have no desire to sleep in the prison. Let’s see how the town elders react to the sheriff’s report of this latest attack, and what we did, and go from there. I would rather sleep in the woods than the prison, for what it’s worth.”

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

However, it would be safer for Kendr

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

However, it would be safer for Kendra if we were there to protect her in the event of something weird happening.
With all this going on, we should talk to the leader of the rabble that attacked us when we were burying Petros

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
 

Kendra swiftly opens the doors. Flashes of delight and concern rush across her face as she embraces each of the heroes. She flusters, “The council ordered the sheriff to find you.” Aabel quickly explains the group’s situation as Kendra welcomes the last of the group inside. “Well please stay, I do not care what the council thinks of things. I know what I believe.”

The group finds refuge for the night, but the rest is restless. Thoughts unwelcomed feed their fears. Was the darkness descending upon Ravengro more than undead? Has a corrupting influence begin to feed upon the reasoning of the people? Desperation is taking hold.

Harrowstone - Our First Visit
Lyle

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