"Mordu is a scholar, eh? That's good to know, perhaps he has books for sale."
Morthak turns and leaves the bakery.
Once the others are done talking to the baker and join him outside, he continues.
"I think we should look in on this Mordu first. I doubt he is who we are looking for, but if he is a man living alone he is likely easier to take should he be the killer. But from our standpoint, a scholar might be able to give us some straight answers as to where the hell we are and how we got here."
Morthak scratches his beard.
"This Jean, on the other hand, likely has guards and staff. I suspect him more, simply because things are difficult more often than they are easy. Also, if it was him it would explain why he hasn't been caught. Someone without protection like this Mordu would likely have been caught by now, unless he is a lot more powerful than he sounds."
"Shall we visit this Mordu?"
And maybe, just maybe, they will know how to get back to Sandpoint. Sure we must catch the wandering killer, but what if we can't bring him back?
Atshushia glances at Lars, knowing he probably has his point of view on the question
Mordu's cottage is similar to many in town. A small set of stairs evenly splits the porch and railing, leading to a small space reserved for a rocking chair. After knocking on the door, the party hears the soft thuds of several books falling and the stuttering sound of furniture dragging along the floor. Several mechanical noises and chains clank before the door opens. Framed in the doorway is a thin man with wiry grey hair pulled back high off his forehead. Glasses sway form his neck as he stares wide-eyed, "Don't say a word. Hurry, come in. I know why you're here." The man gently pushes everybody in before closing the door and re-configuring several locks.
Morthak enters the building and looks around.
"Indeed? Why are we here?"
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Snake Eyes! :)
"Please, sit. What do you know about the events that have taken place here in Marais d'Tarascon?" Mordu asks, as he looks at each of you inquistively. "Certainly you must be looking for why these things are happening. Others would have turned the other way. As it is, there are many that talk about leaving town."
Mordu listens to what the group tells him, asking questions and probing for more details. A few minutes in he gets up and walks over to grab an earthen jar and returns to his seat, removing the lid and placing it on the table, wobbling a bit with the wound of ceramic on a hard surface. He reaches in and pulls out a piece of red licorice, and then graciously extends the jar out to the party.
Is the licorice as stale as the one left at the crime scene?
Morthak looks at the licorice, and then back at the sage. "I'll pass."
"About this place... normally if a town has a problem and the locals don't ask for help and can't be bothered to do anything about it themselves, I would say that's their problem then, and move on. But when the dead start to walk of their own accord, something is deeply wrong, and the natural order has been disrupted. That requires fixing, even if the people living here don't care. So if you can explain this, I'm all ears."
"But that's not the first question we have."
"We were hired to track down a murderer named Trevol Greenway, who escaped justice." Morthak goes on to give the sage Trevol's description. "So firstly, if you know anything of this man, we would like to hear what you know."
"Now... in pursuing this murderer, we followed him into a small swamp known as the Brinestump Marsh. But instead of taking a few hours to cross, it took us days to find the far edge of the swamp, and once out of it we found ourselves here, in Marais D'Tarascon. I know there is no such village anywhere near near the Brinestump Marsh. So the next question is, where the hell are we, and how did we get here? And even more importantly, how do we get back?"
Mordu shrugs as Morthak passes and move the jar to the rest of the group.
Without taking the licorice, I don't think there's a real way to tell if it's just as stale without it being a several months in between. Even then, I think you're just comparing texture/hardness.
"Indeed, something is very wrong. For the last three weeks, strange illness and disappearances have plagued this village. Even those of normal health have fallen victim. Only foul magic can be the source of such unnatural endings."
Mordu gets up and begins to run his finger along the several books, searching for a specific title.
"Are you familiar with the lore of the swamp God?" Mordu pulls a green, scaly backed tome entitled Cult of the Swamp God and begins flipping through the pages. Eventually he finds the page he was looking for and turns it towards the party. Bold runes preface the start of the page, with hand written text next to it: "Gosatug-mmoth".
"Be wary not to speak the name. I fear the village has already been infiltrated by his cultists and just saying the name can alert them of our conversation. I've seen several villagers going in and out of the swamp suspiciously. Including Shaman Brucian! I wonder what true idols he worships?"
"Trevol Greenway. I have not heard of this name or seen anyone that matches that description. It isn't possible that he associated with any cults before his arrest, is it? His behavior certainly sounds suspicious. Perhaps you are here for the troubles, just as I originally thought. Who needs the Sight of the Vistani anyway?"
We aren't familiar with such a cult. And I find the death magic particulary abhorrent.
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Atsushia has Necromancy in Opposite school, but what does she know about the spell used to animate dead corpses?
I would say that Atsushia knows that such a spell exists, and that more powerful wizards can raise more powerful undead. I don't think she'd know things like spell components given that it's a 3rd/4th level spell of an opposition school, aka, 4 class levels higher than what she's capable of casting in addition to being cross class.
"So I shouldn't say G-... oh, right. *ahem*."
"This Trevol Greenway was thought to be a madman, so he may have been a part of this cult you mention. But that doesn't explain how we got here. And where is 'here?' What country is this? None of us had ever heard of a village called 'Marais D'Tarascon,' though that may not mean anything. But I don't even recognize the coins you use here."
What do you call "the Mists"? We've meet some fog, but in itself, there wasn't anything strange looking. Now, of course, in retrospect... I might be wrong. Are the Mists magical? Are they a sentient creature?
"There are many theories about the Mists, although no one has been able to prove any of them. Some suspect they are magical, yet no wizard or sage has found any facts to support that. Legends speak of people who have walked into them, only to find themselves moved elsewhere. Usually back where they started, but on rare occasions, other places entirely."
"I never heard of Souragne either. I guess we came a long way... through your 'mists.' So if we wanted to go back to where we came from, we'd just head for the mists again?"
"This swamp cult you mention... are they causing the dead to reanimate through magic? It seemed like the person that 'died' and was buried yesterday was turned into undead... spontaneously somehow. Like the land itself is under a curse."
"We visited the cemetery last night. We found two other creatures, ghouls, who were taking him out of the cemetery. We have no idea why, but perhaps as a new ghoul he was intended to join this cabal you speak of."
So if we wanted to go back to where we came from, we'd just head for the mists again?"
"I do not know. The books I have do not mention anyone returning. But then again, if they returned, how would anyone know?"
"This swamp cult you mention...
"We visited the cemetery last night."
"You went to the cemetery??!! At Night?? No one does that, not even Pierot, the groundskeeper. The locals believe that dark Loas wander the night, and to cross one is bad juju. The witching hour gives them and those that would work their vile magic strength. I may not believe in the Voodan beliefs, but I've seen too many strange things to know to that whatever they call it, there's probably some truth behind it."
Know arcana: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8 Duh.. I'm stoopid!
There are really strange things happening around here. One can wonder why people still leave around, with undead roaming in the town and no one able to stop them. Were things always so dire?
Knowledge (religion): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
"I don't like swamps, but there's nothing about a swamp that has to do with undead. It's just a place with stagnant water."
"But if a 'Dark Loa' is a ghoul, then we did encounter two. We slew one, but the other escaped. Many undead are weakened by daylight, so they are stronger at night, in a sense."
"A person can get infected with a disease that will turn them into a ghoul. You get it from a ghoul's bite or claws. Has anyone who died recently had such wounds before their death?"
"Ghouls are not dumb, and they might be 'recruiting.' But the more ghouls there are, the more mouths there are to feed. If that is what is happening the deaths will become more and more frequent."
I'm assuming that we know this about ghouls because we identified the ones in the graveyard.
Knowledge (religion) - to know what he is talking about re: Voodan: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
Were things always so dire?
"No, things were quite calm until three weeks ago."
'Dark Loa' is a ghoul.
"Ghouls are not Loa. Folk here have a very earthy lifestyle with an emphasis on nature and the living world. Religion is important; everything is thought of in relation to the spirits. The spirits and loa are consulted on every major decision.
Though the Church of Ezra claims the dominant path among the people of Souragne, the worship of the loa remains prevalent, even among certain of the affluent. It is seldom seen as blasphemous for a devotee to attend Ezran services in the morning and then participate in a vodan ceremony in the afternoon."
"I never heard of Ezra either."
"But Mister Mordu, can you tell us about Jean? Apparently he buys licorice in large amounts like yourself, and licorice has been left at the scene of... well, we're not sure what happened. But there was a lot of blood, so it seems someone was likely killed and the body was taken. A piece of licorice was left behind in the pool of blood."
"Jean? I assume you mean Jean Tarascon, the man that owns the plantation and his brother?" asks Mordu, pointing at Luc. "I don't know the man intimately, but I have come across him in Louise's store." Mordu looks down at the half eaten licorice in his hand and shudders, a sudden look of repulsion on his face. "I don't recall anything linking licorice to the cult, but if you give me enough time, I can see what I can find."
"Was Marcel Tarascon this Jean's father? Did Jean inherit because of Marcel's death?"
"Sounds like motive."
I had been waiting since I was the last one to post anything, but it's been a while.
Samantha will take the lead, walking up the path to the building and stepping up onto the porch. She will look around for anyone to talk to before shrugging her shoulders and knocking on the door.
"Hello?" She says aloud. "My name's Samantha Ozrick. Do you have a minute or two?"
Morthak wants to have a look at whoever is here before making himself known. When he sees Samantha knock on the door, he steps behind a nearby pillar to listen without being seen.
stealth: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17
Atsushia waits to see if anyone answers, and looks at the house itself, looking for any particuliarity
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Let's hope they'll be willing to help us with our inquiries..It seems so rude to bother people with questions
The fields surrounding the manor are strangely tranquil, with no signs of anyone working the fields. Sam reaches out for the wrought iron door knocker and sends out several large thuds while Morthak uses his height to obscure himself.
After a few minutes, the world returns to pastoral silence. There doesn't appear to be any movement from within.
The locks, like the rest of the manor, appear to be well-maintained and of exquisite quality.
"Morthak?" Samantha asks, unable to spot him but assuming he's nearby. "Go ahead and see if you can get us a way inside."
She walks off the porch and goes for a walk around the premesis.
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Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
"Hm. Luc didn't follow us."
I didn't realize he had been following us since we got to the tavern.
Morthak starts quietly looking around, peering in windows and looking for an unobserved access point.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
"I can get us inside. Or we could scout the grounds first."
"I'm going to search for other ways in and out, in case we have to chase someone... I want to know what exits they're gonna take." she says to Morthak.
Atshushia follows Samantha
What do you think of this? Sometimes I'm wondering if I am not simply having a nightmare, that I'll be awake soon....In fact, I'm hoping it's just a bad dream. Didn't knew my imagination could be so gloomy. What a frightening place. I've heard stories about Ustalav, but Nothing like this.
"This... this isn't a bad dream." Samantha says confidently. "There's old magic, though. Things that aren't spells. I would think that this is more of the kind of thing you see in Ustalav. Old wrongs can twist the fabric of things. Make them strange. Different. My Ma'd always have stories about this kind of thing." She sighs and waves a hand in an expression of 'unfortunately' "We just gotta ride it through to the end if we're to have any hope of getting out. Otherwise we'd be stuck."
Bluff: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
She is acting confident, but she's doing it as much to assure herself as she is to encourage everyone else they're going to make it out of there. She doesn't know it for certain.
I've added a map for the plantation house in the campaign description. It'll give you a general idea of the outside layout.
Peering inside the windows, Morthak discovers what it means to have wealth in Marais D'Tarascon. Extravagant wall paper lines the walls with a paisley pattern. White linen sheets line the tables, topped with silver dining ware. Thick velvet drapes line the walls. The setting looks pristine and untouched, minus a bit of dirt clumped on the floor.
"Hm. Nice. Don't see anyone."
Morthak pulls out his tools and begins to work on getting a window open.
disable device Take 10: 10 + 10 = 20 Good enough?
"Wipe your feet. The floors are clean - don't want to leave tracks."
Morthak looks around the room, looking to see how recently the place has been used, and anything else interesting.
perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11