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The Midnight Mirror

Game Master Nullpunkt

A one-shot playthrough of The Midnight Mirror.

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The influential Tiboros family of Nisroch is worried over the wellbeing of their youngest daughter, Anya. A year ago she married a handsome baron from rural Karpad, and 2 months ago she gave birth to a son. All seemed fine for Anya until her frequent letters to her parents mentioned her husband’s growing paranoia and erratic behavior. Three weeks ago her letters stopped altogether, and her family wants answers. The Tiboroses don’t want to involve the Nidalese authorities in any investigation, fearing that such inquiries might jeopardize their noble standing.

Instead, the family has contacted each of you — known for your previous exploits or by common history with the Tiboros'— to travel to the rural barony and ensure their daughter’s safety, promising a sum of 5,000 gp to cover expenses and to thank you for your trouble.

The simplest route from Nisroch to Karpad is to travel up the Usk River past Pangolais to the minor river known as Dimar’s Way. While too narrow and shallow for water travel, Dimar’s Way carves a path through the countryside, and a road — known as Geron’s Way near Karpad — runs parallel to the river from Pangolais to beyond your destination.

The journey has already taken a few weeks during which you got to know your fellow travellers a little and finally you are closing in on Karpad and should reach the hamlet by the end of the day...

Male Human Wizard Level 1

DOT ;)

Corso, with every day going by, had grown more and more weary. The Tiboros had broken his heart, given their daughter to some undeserving noble. He resented them.

Yet, when they called upon him, he couldn't turn them down. Perhaps he still loved her? Anyhow, he needed closure, or he needed to see her one last time?

Or perhaps he needed to steal her away from a life of misery...

Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

Lirana would have chatted freely with the other members of the group and would have mentioned how she has spent the past several years serving at the temple to Pharasma in Nisroch, which is where Anya's parents went to for help when she was struck down with an illness. Since she had nursed Ana back to health once, her parents felt confident she could do it again if illness proved to be the cause of the sudden stop in letters to her family.

Male Human Fighter / 4

It wasn't too long after meeting the others at the cart, that the caravan took off to Karpad.

The Usk river was even more beautiful up stream, and Seymor was overwhelmed by the new sights and smells. He quickly got acquainted with his fellow travelers, each took turns telling grand story's of there adventures. A young woman with grey-blue eyes and black hair sat next to him, and spoke about an illness Anya had as a child. He remembered that time, and how the illness struck the Tiboros's families daughter pretty hard. He leaned over to the young lady .

"Do you think Anya has gotten ill once again?" he said with a pause. "Did her previous illness leave her in with any vulnerabilities or disabilities?"

HP 22/22 || AC 9/9/9 || F+3/R+1/W+7

There is an allure to coin that Adelieh cannot resist. When offered by the Tiboros' - a bit of her charm, surely, had played part for them to even consider her in the first place - to go to Karpad, how could she say no? Especially when the coin was offered first?

No, certain offers are not to be turned down. This is one of them.

She watches the sky as their journey is reaching an end. Her eyes befall the black-feathered bird descending from the heavens; she stretches out her arm and Greywhisper lands on the bare of her flesh, talons digging into her skin.

"You're back," she whispers as the raven struts up to perch on her shoulder. She glances back at her travelling companions, and overhears the smalltalk about illnesses. She strides closer, wiggling her ears to listen to their chatter.

"She was ill, you said? What ailed her in her youth?"

"Anya ill? She must have been very young. When I knew her, she was made of life and her laughter would heal and nourish..." Corso looks to the horizon in front of them, hoping to will the distance shorter.

Male Human Wizard Level 1

After being in the company of the travelling companions for a long while, it is easy to understand that Medraut is quite enthusiastic regarding the trip - as he explained - I have no immediate ties to Anya or the Tiboros family directly, however I am closely related to someone who does - I am here at his request to understand to the best of my abilities what may have happened to this woman.

All during the trip, he splits time between being deep in his books, and sharing the information he possesses about the region with the rest of the group and, as they soon come to understand, he is a veritable well of knowledge about history, and many local and regional subjects.

Those more perceptive and/or attentive of the group will also notice a semi-veiled fascination towards the whole shadowy, tenebrous environment and folklore that surrounds the region - he seems to find that there should be much arcane power and lore to be discovered in these lands, and he is enticed by the perspective.

Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"It was a summer fever brought up by a band of traveling merchants. Anya recovered from full of it with no lasting effects. Others weren't quite so lucky."

"Now, now Medraut, how you tease me so! Who is this person that asked you to investigate our friend?" In the hope of a tale, Corso starts to unwind the string that hold his dear tobacco pouch.

Before Medraut can answer Corso's inquiry the group falls silent as it passes a row of trees and catches sight of Karpad for the first time.
As it stretches out before you, it is obvious that Karpad is an isolated, rural town far from the dark streets of the great cities of Nidal, with cobbled streets and roughly 60 wood and stone buildings, all featuring thatch roofs. The largest structure in the vale is the towering stone manor house at the top of the hill, where Baron Stepan and his family live. For some reason unbeknownst to you, the villagers have set a number of bonfires on the edges of town, and every intersection features a handful of lit torches, all burning even now in the middle of the day. The manor house you see on the other side of town is surrounded by no fewer than six bonfires, and the parapets of its roof are ablaze with lit lanterns, clearly visible even from the distance.

So now would be a good time to roll Knowledge checks to find out the information I posted on the Campaign Info tab. Please let me know if you want to take some time wandering through the village, maybe asking around a bit, if you will head straight to the manor or if you want to do something completely unexpected as players tend to do ;)

Male Human Wizard Level 1

Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19

Corso, I believe we will have ample time to talk about that, but I will tell you that my mentor in the Arcane was the one requesting my presence here - I will be happy to recount it to you in greater detail, if you allow me to share a portion of your tobacco - Medraut comments to Corso in good natured jest.

His mood changes drastically when he sees the array of bonfires displayed in town: What the.....?

HP 22/22 || AC 9/9/9 || F+3/R+1/W+7

Knowledge (History): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24

"The fire cleanses the scars of fear."

Greywhisper's croak is immediately dismissed by Adelieh as she jerks her shoulder upwards; the raven takes flight and soars circles around the group.

"Nevermind him," she says in a hush. "It's a bit early to light up the town, isn't it?"

She brushes the hair from her face, throwing a glance down the torch-touched streets. She tastes the air. "I've only walked through Karpad twice. Dark eyes with darker messages peered at me back then. I wouldn't get my hopes up and expect a particularly warm welcome."

She glances at the others. "We should we find a place to stay, regardless. I have yet to find a place where coin couldn't grant a cheap bed and stale food."

Male Human Fighter / 4

" A bed sounds about right, Adalieh." Seymor says, examining the "landscape" laid out before him, eyeing some of townsfolk standing near the center of town "Shall we ask some of the locals about these strange daytime fires?"

Corso stops beside Medraut, captivated by the strangeness of the scene. "A town under siege it looks... Yes, a walk around might be best before we go and meet the Baron. Still, I would try to know a little more before we enter the town. Bonfires can be for defense, but also for warning."

Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"They can also be for purifying things due to plague or for quaint rural festivals. Knowing more definitely sounds like a good idea. Has anyone spotted the local tavern yet? Few better places to get gossip at."

Male Human Wizard Level 1

I am not the most skilled person in what comes approaching someone off the streets with questions - I have found that people tend to shy away at my inquiries - maybe they just sound too methodical, as if an interrogation... But I agree we cannot just pretend we are not seeing all this - I suggest we try to find a place to rest, and inquire from the patrons or the owner?

As you make your way into town you realize that the townsfolk standing near the center of town are part of a much larger crowd of about 30 people, gathering on a cobble stone paved town square, the sides of which are marked by an inn, a smithy, and a carriage house. A gnarled, leafless oak grows in the northeast corner of the place, ropes dangling from its branches above a low platform to make a crude gallows.

The mob of human townspeople has surrounded three fetchlings - a man, a woman and a young girl at the cusp of adolescence - and appears very agitated.
The tension is already almost palpable and is being further strained by the shouted ramblings of a middle-aged man in the livery of a watch captain with a strangely swollen throat and a waxy complexion, whose bellowed demands for "bloody justice" for an alleged crime of some sort meets with racial slurs against the fetchlings and cautious approval from the crowd.

The fetchling trio seems terrified and while the man tries to stand protectively between the two females and the crowd, you can see the fear of death in his pale yellow eyes even from the distance.

As you make your way into town you realize that the townsfolk standing near the center of town are part of a much larger crowd that has gathered on a cobble stone paved town square, the sides of which are marked by an inn, a smithy, and a carriage house. A gnarled, leafless oak grows in the northeast corner, ropes dangling from its branches above a low platform to make a crude gallows.

The mob has surrounded three fetchlings - a man, a woman, and girl at the cusp of adolescence - and the tension is almost palpable.
The townsfolk are intently listening to the ramblings of a middle-aged man in the livery of a watch captain with a strangely swollen throat and a waxy complexion. In a bellowed voice he demands "bloody justice" for an alleged crime of some sort over and over again and his emotionally heated screams meet with racial slurs and cautious approval from the crowd.

The fetchling trio is terrified and even though the man tries to stand protectively in front of the females you can see the fear of death in the creature's pale yellow eyes even from the distance.

Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"Well now, what exactly is going on here?" Lavinia looks about for the nearest townsfolk and goes to him or her.

"Excuse me, but could you tell me what is going on here? Why are those people about to be hanged?"

diplomacy 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12

Male Human Wizard Level 1

Medrau moves closer to the gathered throng - Don't get into trouble Medraut... Be more RATIONAL!

Male Human Fighter / 4

Seymor moves into the crowd as he takes a look around and tries to find anything else unusual or out of the ordinary.

Perception: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (6) + 0 = 6

Corso for now follows the priestess's lead. He knows trouble is coming, but what else is there to life really?

HP 22/22 || AC 9/9/9 || F+3/R+1/W+7

Adalieh narrows her eyes at the town's unusual welcome, and says nothing. She raises her elbow, and within seconds Greywhisper descends, landing on the sleeve of her clothes. She glances at her travelling companions as they stride into the crowd, but does not follow. She skulks on the outskirts of the town, trying to remain as inconspicuous as possible.

A washerwoman stands near and replies to Lavinia's question with hardly hidden contempt of the fetchlings while the watchman keeps ranting: "Well, Lucian's daughter Olya vanished from his yard last night and he says the fetchlings took her. Makes sense, kinda. Never trusted those monsters. They probably killed her and used her bones for some wicked spells or somethin'."

Male Human Wizard Level 1

Medraut keeps approaching the middle of the commotion until he is facing the surrounded fetchlings, and keeping an eye on the watchman.

I will not allow any harm to come to pass to these three... Not like this...

He will keep a watchful eye on the crowd to see if any aggressive action is taken - if it happens he will react immediately.

Corso follows Medraut, then veers towards the bellowing man and taps lightly on his shoulder: "Oh hello My Good Sir! I am Corso Gaczi. I have certain talents that you might find of use, given the particulars of your circumstances. Indeed, I can offer support in proving the guilt of these Fetchlings. So, what have they done again?"

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13

Male Human Fighter / 4

Seymor see's Medraut and Corso approach the waxy man, an moves his way through the crowd to his companions.

These country folk sure seem to be unstable.

Seymor tightened his grip on his iron longspear, which he had using as a walking stick.

Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

Heal check 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12

Lirana can only shake her head. If the girl just "vanished", then how do they even know what actually happened to her? Perhaps she just ran off?"

Lirana follows Corso up to the man and looks at him, trying to figure out if his waxy pallor is caused by some disease.

HP 22/22 || AC 9/9/9 || F+3/R+1/W+7

Adelieh whispers for Greywhisper to soar above the crowd, before she sets him into flight. She then approaches the edge of the crowd, and attempts to overhear any specifics mutterings or accusations. She slowly moves forward until she is thirty feet away from the waxen-faced man, leaning on her walking staff with a glimmer in her eye.

Sense Motive to gauge true intent behind the vaxen-faced man: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7

Male Human Wizard Level 1

Noticing the approach of their companions, Medraut acknowledges each one of them as they approach with a nod.

The watchman rudely brushes Corso's hand away and bellows:"They took my daughter! They took her!" He points accusingly at the terrified trio. "Those bastards are up to no good, going around infecting people and stealing our children! Hang 'em high, I say! Hang 'em all!"

More than a few cheers from the crowd rise up as the man finishes his short speech. It's obvious to you that the situation is at a tipping point and will soon gain its own momentum...

Adalieh, you can't see beyond the apparently honest rage and anger and thus don't gain any more insight.

Lirana, the man is obviously suffering from some kind of disease that resulted in his bloated throat and waxy skin but you have never seen or heard of anything like that.

Corso steps back a bit, leaving the man his bubble. With a loud and carrying voice, he supports the man: "My dear sir, you've seen them then abduct your family. I mourn for your loss. That is most horrendous! Who else here has witnessed the foul deed? Where is the body of the poor daughter, so we can witness what was done to her?"

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11

Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"Good sir, please forgive for being so rude, but as a healer I can plainly see that you are indeed suffering an illness, the likes of which I have never seen before. If these people are the cause of the infection, then I do not feel it would be in your best interest to kill them now. In my professional opinion, your best option would be to confine them in a small hut under quarantine and let me examine and question them so that I might be able to help treat those of you who are infected."

Lirana will make sure her holy symbol is plainly visible as she speaks.

Corso's polite question is answered by a burst of profanities before the crazed watchman becomes more coherent again: "What kind of sick bastard are you?! You want to see bite marks of night hags or whatever on my poor daughter's innocent body? The hells you will!" He pulls back his hand as if to smack Corso right in the face when Lirana steps in.

Lirana Caldori wrote:
"Good sir, please forgive for being so rude, but as a healer I can plainly see that you are indeed suffering an illness, the likes of which I have never seen before. If these people are the cause of the infection, then I do not feel it would be in your best interest to kill them now. In my professional opinion, your best option would be to confine them in a small hut under quarantine and let me examine and question them so that I might be able to help treat those of you who are infected."

But her soft words don't help much to appease the man and he continues his tirade: "So what if I'm sick! All the more proof of my words! They’re already plotting our deaths. Whether they're just evil or set on bringing down the baron by killing all his subjects, there's a reason we keep them all on the other side of the river in Shade Row. And three less fetchlings is three less potential killers on the loose!"

Again the crowd cheers, but some of the townsfolk are beginning to look skeptical of Lucian's ravings.

Corso tries to think as fast as he can. His opening didn't work so well, but Lirana's timely diversion might create another opportunity to bring some sense to this mob. He puts a mask of fear as he shouts: "By all the light in the heaven, you are right Lirana! And I've seen this disease before. Oh poor man who's fallen prey to both a disappearance and this maddening disease. Yes! Yes! 'Tis so clear now, the palor, the sweats, the bursting bloats of skin! This can only be the Red Worm's Dream, a temporary affliction that blurs the line between fiction...
And reality!"

Bluff: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18

HP 22/22 || AC 9/9/9 || F+3/R+1/W+7

Sense motive to see through Corso's excellent bluff: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15

Adelieh watches the scene unfold with mild bemusement, raising an eyebrow at Corso's medical knowledge - surely not? She licks her lips and strides forward.

Diplomacy roll, to gain the watchman's approval, 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
combined with the Charm hex: Will save, DC 16.

"I think you should consider what my companions are saying," she says, directed at the raging watchman, "There is no harm in waiting one night, mayhaps two, to let us investigate, so that you can be sure that in the execution of these three you don't befall a bigger catastrophe upon this village."

"And surely the gallows will wait for their necks as well," she says with a whisper to the watchman. "We will make sure they won't ... ah ... expose themselves as potential killers while our investigation takes place."

GM only:
1d20 - 4 ⇒ (2) - 4 = -21d20 - 1 ⇒ (4) - 1 = 3

Lucian's eyes widen when Corso mentions the Red Worm's Dream and its effects. "Temporary?" he mumbles, "But how come so many have died of it already?"
Adalieh's words seem to calm him down further and he visibly relaxes a little. "I...I guess, you're right. I will take them into custody and lock them in the watch house. Be quick about your investigations however, my daughter is still missing!" He seems suprised of his own sudden turn to reason as he moves to arrest the fetchlings.

The crowd seems surprised as well and some people even a little disappointed. It starts to disperse already with only a few stragglers still gawking intently, waiting for the situation to turn around again. As the people walk away from the square, you can overhear them talking about the Red Worm's Dream and that everything might not be that bad after all if it's just a temporary condition.

Male Human Fighter / 4

"So what about that room?" Seymor says as the crowd walks away.

Male Human Wizard Level 1

Medraut seizes up the opportunity created by the conversation to address the three cornered fetchlings - Are you ok? We will get to the bottom of this, do not worry. Is there something you want to add before they drag you into custody?

Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

Lirana looks over the three fetchling, checking for any obvious signs of disease since they were accused of bringing it to the town.

heal check 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17

"Yes, we're ok, thank you" the fetchling man manages to say after a few moments to take in the situation. "For what it's worth, I just want to say that we have nothing to do with that poor girl's disappearance. I think, we were nothing more than a convenient target when we returned home to Shade Row from picking up farming supplies at the general store here in town." The compassion in his voice seems sincere as he adds: "Please find out what is going on. Our kind hardly dares to venture into town anymore with all these accusations running wild. The only one left here is our cousin Gavril who is living and working in the manor. You look like you have business with the Lord, do you think you could check on him while you're there?" The creature's yellow eyes show honest concern as it waits for your answer.

Lirana, the three fetchlings don't show the symptoms Lucian does but besides that you can't tell much more. All in all they appear healthy though.

HP 22/22 || AC 9/9/9 || F+3/R+1/W+7

"The Lord of Karpad? Lord Boroi?" Adelieh says, her eyebrows raised. "He has a servant of your kind, yet does not intervene this... spectacle?"

She speaks more to herself than to the fetchlings and companions, casting a glance up at the sky. She sighs and addresses the male fetchling. "Checking in on him shouldn't be too difficult. Might you be able to tell us where we might be able to rent a bed?"

Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"Perhaps we should just head straight for the manor and check on the situation there and perhaps see if they can provide some form of lodging for us. If this town is prone to forming mobs and flinging around wild accusation, I might feel safer sleeping elsewhere."

Male Human Fighter / 4

Even though Seymor was tired, the thought of finding out what happened to his neighbor and leaving this awful place and returning to the city, hopefully as heir to the esate was appealing and first most important.

Seymor looks over at Lirana's direction.

"Yes perhaps, they have a bed for us there. Besides, we need to meet up with Anya, so we can return to Nisroch hastily. These local's are making me nervous. We shall head to the Manor"

Male Human Wizard Level 1

Agreed, I don't think we can actually improve any more on the situation over here - you have bought us some respite from the townsfolk rage, which should give us some time to maneuver. Let us head up to the manor, and maybe gather more information while we consider how to best proceed.

Corso nods and turns to the big man: "Adalieh, we'll get to the bottom of this. Before ee head to the manor, I need to know more about your daughter. What's her name? What does she look like? When did you see her last? Was there anything new in her life?"

There seems to be a dispute going on behind Lucian's forehead as rage flashes across his face but eventually he replies: "Olya is her name. She's a beautiful young girl, almost 8 years old. Yesterday just before dusk I was working in my office when my wife called for dinner. Olya had been playing outside in the backyard of my house but she didn't come in when we called. She's been missing since."

"That's terrible! Have you reported it to Lord Boroi? Allow us to go speak with him about these matters and more. In the meantime, make sure everyone looks for clues. We need to focus on finding her quickly!"

Male Human Wizard Level 1

Let us move up to the mansion then - I also would like to see this situation clarified, and understand the faith of the young girl - time is of the essence!

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