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The Midnight Mirror

Game Master Nullpunkt

A one-shot playthrough of The Midnight Mirror.


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Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

After they take their leave of the man and head towards the manor, Lirana asks a couple questions.

"I'm not really familiar with the wildlife of this area, is there any chance a large animal like a wolf or something could have gotten a hold of the girl if she wandered away from her backyard? Also, if she did wander away from her backyard she could have fallen into a ravine or old well or something. I wonder if they even bothered to do a thorough search for her before accusing those fetchlings."


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

Adalieh glances at the watchman with raised eyebrows. She nods at her companions as they leave towards the estate.

"Wolves?" She says, her tone contemplating. "Perhaps... and I do agree, yes. There is little love here for these ... fetchlings. I wonder if this Gavril is servant or slave."

She raises her arm as Greywhisper lands on her arm. "I would like to check out Shade Row at some point as well... This ... Lord Boroi... hmm..."

Shaking her head, she turns to Lirana with a wry smile. "Lirana, what do you know of Zon-Kuthon? The villagers of Karpad worship him - or used to - perhaps it is a clue as of why they are so eager to see these fetchlings hang?"


Before you leave the square Lucian answers Corso's question: "The Lord? He's been absent since this whole thing started a few weeks ago. But I'm sure he'd agree with me about their guilt; he fired every fetchling in his employ after the disease first showed up. He's got to know they're behind the whole thing, right?"

With these parting words Lucian leads the three fetchlings off to the watch house and you set out towards the manor.


M Human CG Arcane Duelist L3 || AC15 T12 FF13 || HP 15/24 || F+2 R+5 W+3 || Init+2 || Perc+4 ; IC 10/11

Absent? Like your daughter... Corso refrains from making a comment, but looks at the others. "Let's not wait any longer. I fear for Anya!"


Built on the valley’s slope overlooking the town, the manor is the oldest building in Karpad by centuries, and the largest structure in the region. The manor is octagonal, with a central courtyard and extensions built into the hillside to the south and west. Great bonfires rage around the manor,but their light only serves to reveal the cracking paint and crumbling eaves of a once-palatial estate now in decline.
While the wooden houses in Karpad are rebuilt every few decades as fire and rot exact their toll, the stone walls of the manor house stand as a symbol of the continuity of feudal power across the generations.

You head straight to the heavy main door and knock. A few moments later the door swings open and reveals a thin-lipped man in his forties with a neatly trimmed mustache whose stylish yet modest dress and dignified, almost snooty demeanor leave no doubt about his occupation as the manor's majordomo. He looks you over carefully and asks curtly: "Yes?"

From your posts so far I didn't get the impression that you want to try anything sneaky so I assumed you go about it the traditional way.


Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"Good day, would you please inform Miss Anya that she has visitors sent from her parents in Nisroch?

Diplomacy 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16


M Human CG Arcane Duelist L3 || AC15 T12 FF13 || HP 15/24 || F+2 R+5 W+3 || Init+2 || Perc+4 ; IC 10/11

Corso does his best to smile and nods at Lirana's explanation.

Aid with diplomacy DC 10: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22


The majordomo wrinkles his nose and says: "Very well, please wait here while I go and see if Lady Anya is available." He shuts the door behind him and leaves you rather awkwardly standing in front of it.

As you wait, you realize that the manor is awfully quiet. Usually in a place like this you should hear the busy sounds of maids and servants bustling about. You spot a few busying themselves around the estate but there seems to be a heavy weight on the whole place.

After a few moments the door opens again and the majordomo ushers you in, saying: "The Lady will see you now, please follow me."

You enter the manor and find yourselves in a large antechamber that is draped in the baron’s heraldry — a red bear couchant against a black sky with stars. Portraits of dour-looking nobles line the walls. Two towering statues flank the entrance, of stern men with long straight hair. One carries a sword and is missing his nose; the other carries a whip and is missing both ears. Despite the damaged statues, the antechamber is better maintained than you would have thought judging from the outside of the manor.

The servant leads you from the antechamber along the outer wall of the manor in a semicircle to the other side of the manor instead of taking the more direct route through the inner courtyard and opens the door to a sitting room for you. "Please be seated and make yourselves comfortable. The Baroness will be with you shortly", he says politely before he leaves you in the chamber, shutting the door behind him.

This room has red wallpaper with floral designs done in gold leaf. Armchairs of soft leather surround a low glass table set with light refreshments, and a glass chandelier glitters overhead, unlit. The room smells pleasantly musty, like old books. Like the antechamber, this room is relatively well-kept, probably for the purpose of impressing visitors.

You have hardly taken in the moderate splendor of the room when Anya enters. Anya is a delicate, thinlipped, birdlike woman. Her auburn hair curls across the shoulders of her finely embroidered gown. She wears short sleeves, the better to show off the traceries of scarwork that spiral up her forearms, painful devotions to a painful god—the current fashion among Nisroch’s nobility. On her right hand, her pinky and ring fingers have been removed above the first joint. Such mutilation is common among the daughters of wealthy Nidalese nobility — it shows that they will never need to work for their living.

She seems to be in good spirits as she bids you a warm welcome and cordially greets old acquaintances among you with a pleasant laugh. In a strong voice she inquires: "What a surprise! Corso, it must have been ages since we last met. Now, I don't want to be rude, but I have to ask: What has brought you all the way out here for a social call?"


Male Human Fighter / 4

Seymor steps up and smiles at the lady.

"It is your parent's my dear. They say you have not responded to their coresponses for some time now and are getting worried. Is everything alright, besides for this fletching "drama" "?


M Human CG Arcane Duelist L3 || AC15 T12 FF13 || HP 15/24 || F+2 R+5 W+3 || Init+2 || Perc+4 ; IC 10/11

As they make their way, Corso's heart beats louder and faster than the drums of the Mwangi jungle. He blushes as he thinks the others might hear it.

Anya! Safe and sound...

All the decor is lost to him as he can't figure what he's going to say to her after so many years.

As she walks in, draped in grace and laughter, Corso knows, as sure as life, that he must steal her heart again. The soft snow brightening the dead of Winter!

Her smiles and takes her hand, giving it a soft but slightly long kiss. "Anya, my heart melts at the sound of your voice. It's been so long!"


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

Adelieh, having sent Greywhisper flying before the majordomo could greet them, glances inquiringly at the Baroness as she wanders over to the refreshments. She cautiously examines the food and drink as her companions lead the social charge.


Anya accepts Corso's gesture but blushes at his soft words. "Oh please, Corso, you are too kind! And yes, you are right. A lot of things have happened since then." It makes her visibly uncomfortably to be flattered like that, though.

As Seymor mentions her parents' worries, she reacts with suprise: "What? Oh no, I wouldn't want to worry them! The lack of correspondance merely resulted from the cessation of all post into or out of Karpad when the disappearances and tallowthroat outbreak started up a month ago. But as you can see, I am alright!"
She smiles broadly and spreads her arms to emphasize her last statement.


Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"Disappearances? Have there been many? On the way here we encountered a most unfortunate scene. A man, who I assume was suffering from what you called tallowthroat, told us of his daughter's disappearance. He tried to place the blame squarely upon some fetchlings, for both the disappearance and the disease." Lirana leaves out the details of the attempted lynching to spare Lady Anya's delicate sensibilities.

As she speaks, Lirana looks over Lady Anya, assuring herself that the Lady is indeed in good health.

heal check 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26


Apart from the scars and mutilations Anya indeed seems perfectly healthy. With concern in her voice she replies: "Not many, but even one is one too many in my opinion. And yes, the fetchlings are taking the brunt of the blame. Stepan didn't help very much when he fired almost all of our fetchling employees after several of our human staff and three locals in town came down with this strange illness. He somehow was adamant of his decision. 'The shadows won't take the town' he said. But sadly, soon after that the disappearances began. And I have to say, my husband's state of mind worries me. He takes it all very hard and feels like he's letting his people down! I haven't seen him smile once since Marek was born."

Anya pauses for a moment and seems to ponder something. She continues: "Say, now that you're here... you seem to be taking an interest in our troubles. Would you mind to investigate the disappearances and the disease? My husband's research doesn't seem to lead to any substantial insights and the town watch is a little overstrained by the whole affair."


M Human CG Arcane Duelist L3 || AC15 T12 FF13 || HP 15/24 || F+2 R+5 W+3 || Init+2 || Perc+4 ; IC 10/11

"I would be delighted to be of any help!"


Male Human Wizard Level 1

Being silent so far, Medraut decides to contribute also to the conversation at this moment - It is good to know that you are safe Milady - Heliotor, a friend of your father, and my mentor, had bid me to assist in making sure that all is well with you, I am thus happy to confirm it is so.

But my apologies.. I am Medraut, at your service - he takes a short bow - And of course available to assist in whatever you may find necessary.

Please allow me to ask - you have detailed that your husband has conducted some sort of research? Would it be possible to know its nature?


Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"Do you have anyone still here in the manor suffering from the disease? I would be interested in examining them."


"There is hardly anyone left here", Anya replies sadly. "My husband locks himself in the study most of the time but so far has not come forward with any results. Marek is still healthy, praised be the Midnight Lord, Gavril has proven himself resilient so far and Laurentiu and me have also been lucky so far."
She breathes a sigh of relief and continues: "I am very pleased that you would take on this task. It seems that only outside help can deliver us from these troubles. If you would do me the honor, you may stay in the manor's guest room for as long as it takes and will of course be treated as my personal guests."


Male Human Wizard Level 1

It will be a pleasure - Medraut adds with a deep bow.

Looking at the others he comments - I have taken a like to my travel companions - they are more than capable and willing. That is why, being as objective as I can be, I know we will get to the bottom of this.


Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"Is there any chance that you or your husband can give us list of all who have gone missing, including where they went missing from and what they were doing at the time? It would helpful to know if there was anything in common between those who went missing or their locations."


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

"You are very kind to offer us lodgings," Adelieh says with a small bow, speaking for the first time. "I am Adelieh, and have come for much the same reasons as my companions. I'm very curious about this disease as well - didn't you name it, Corso? And is it at all possible to meet your Lord husband? You mentioned his research, and I would like to see the fruits of his labour, despite its... ah... apparent lack of substantial results."


When asked for the names of the missing persons, Anya replies: "The butcher's son, Delian, was the first to go missing. The second person, a farmer named Zona, was a little reclusive though, so his disappearance might have occured much earlier than its report. And now there is also the girl that you have just told me about."
A shadow passes Anya's face as she gives the names of the missing townsfolk, their fate clearly troubling her. Adalieh's polite inquiry lightens up her mood a little however and she says: "Yes, of course. If, that is, he is willing to receive you. He can be a little moody these days. But I will ask Laurentiu to take you to him once you have no more questions for me."


M Human CG Arcane Duelist L3 || AC15 T12 FF13 || HP 15/24 || F+2 R+5 W+3 || Init+2 || Perc+4 ; IC 10/11

Corso smiles at her all the while, then blushes when they mention the name he gave the disease. Hoping to steer clear of the subject, he offers: "I would start with Zona. We might find clues there."


Male Human Wizard Level 1

You may be right Corso, but we should first advise with miladies' husband - Lord Laurentiu, regarding his findings so far.


Anya laughs warmly: "Oh, no, Laurentiu will take you to him but my dear husband's name is Lord Stepan. Thank you for your help, in any case, I will leave you now and send for Laurentiu to show you to Stepan's study." She gracefully rises and takes her leave.

After a few moments the majordomo enters through the door opposite the one you came in and holds it open for you. He leads the way out and up a set of stairs to the second floor where he knocks on the first door to the right. "Lord Stepan", he announces through the door, "You have visitors!"

You hear some rumbling and muffled curses before the door is unlocked from the inside and opens a crack to partly reveal a man of average height but sturdily built. His face is clean-shaven, and his black hair is neatly cropped. He wears muted versions of his heraldic colors, red and black, setting off his clear blue eyes. The baron seems morose and withdrawn as he states gruffly: "This is no time for social calls, Laurentiu, you know that. I have work to do!"

Please roll Perception checks with your next posts


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

Perception check: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8

"Lord Boroi," Adelieh says with a small bow, "We apologise for this interruption. We are here on behalf of your Lady Anya, to aid in the cure of this foul disease which has gripped this small town. Lady Anya graciously told us of your research. It is perhaps too much to ask, as we are scarcely acquainted, but would it be at all possible to have a gander at your findings?"

Diplomacy check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
As well as the Charm Hex, Will DC 16 as per usual.


Male Human Wizard Level 1

Before departing the room, Medraut apologizes to Lady Anya with a short bow - My apologies for the mistaken identities, it will not happen again Milady.

Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24


M Human CG Arcane Duelist L3 || AC15 T12 FF13 || HP 15/24 || F+2 R+5 W+3 || Init+2 || Perc+4 ; IC 10/11

Corso tries not to stare at the man who took the love of his life from him. He remains quiet, wondering if the Lord has ever heard his name mentioned.

Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25


Baron Stepan Boroi reacts again gruffly to your politely worded request: "I don't have time for chit-chat! I have the threat of a fetchling uprising at my hands, an intelligent disease ravages my subjects and my family and above all this, the shadows! I am doing my best to find a solution to this so with your permission I will continue my studies now!" He adopts a snarky tone with the last few words and slams the door on you.

Laurentiu seems embarrassed by his master's behavior and quickly explains: "I am very sorry for this rudeness. But Mylord is under a lot of pressure lately and I am sure he will be more... sociable later. Again, I am very sorry, but Lord Boroi obviously doesn't want to be disturbed right now so I'm afraid I will have to ask you to follow me downstairs."

The majordomo walks back to the stairs and waits for you to follow.

GM rolls:
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 121d20 + 0 ⇒ (4) + 0 = 41d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21

Corso, Medraut:
You realize something very strange about the baron: He casts no shadow!


Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"Perhaps later on we can have Lady Anya have a word with her husband first, to tell him why we are here. Then maybe he will be more receptive to our questions and offers of help."

Lirana will move to follow the majordomo.


Male Human Fighter / 4

Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 4

Seymor follows Laurentiu up the stairs and watches as the old man opens the door, and angrily shuts it. He looks up at Lirana

"Perhaps that would be best."


Male Human Wizard Level 1

What manner of situations, afflictions or creatures can Medraut remember that would cause one to cast no shadows....? Let me know what to roll.

Very well than, let us take our leave. As suggested earlier, I believe we should head towards the house of this farmer - Zona - and take a further look at the areas surrounding her home. Perhaps lady Anya can point us in the right direction, or we can simply inquire around town where she lived, and if anything strange was noticed on her behavior before she disappeared. Would you agree?


Medraut:
Knowledge(Arcana) for Medraut: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11
There are a lot of myths and magicks built around shadows but you do not remember anything specific that could cause the loss of one's shadow!
Please don't be offended, but I have to say it bugs me that you are being a little sloppy with your writing. Please read through the posts to get the names and gender right before posting and please don't give information out of character if you got it in a spoiler tag. Again, no offense meant, just a friendly request.


Male Human Wizard Level 1

TO GM:
Not offended at all, apologies for the sloppy posting > was doing it from work and rushing to get things moving. And I honestly thought that Zona was a female farmer name :D Again my apologies. It will not happen again


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

Adalieh looks bemused at Lord Boroi's angry outburst, but says nothing. She follows the majordomo with her companions, brushing her hair out of her face.

"Not particularly receptable, is he?" she says with a wry smile. "A shame. I would've liked to read his research. Corso, are you certain that this disease is the Red Worm's Dream? I fail to see how it is such a big deal if it is only temporary."

She glances at Corso before she turns to the others. "As for this... Zona... I don't believe Anya mentioned family at all?"


M Human CG Arcane Duelist L3 || AC15 T12 FF13 || HP 15/24 || F+2 R+5 W+3 || Init+2 || Perc+4 ; IC 10/11

Corso is lost in thoughts, frowning with his hand instinctively reaching for his chin. "Mmmh? Forget Red Worm Whatever. I made that up to get his attention. No, let's have a look at that farm. Laurentiu, what do you know about Zona's disappearance?"

GM:
Trying to figure what he saw:
Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
Knowledge (history): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14


Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"Lady Anya did mention that Zona was a little reclusive. Any particular reason why he was reclusive and can you give us directions to his farm? Is anyone currently residing there now or has it been left unattended since his disappearance?"


Male Human Wizard Level 1

Or if you have no such information, we can defnitely ask around in town - I am sure will be able to find the whereabouts of this farms' location - Medraut adds to Lirana's words.


Laurentiu has not much more to tell you about Zona's disappearance. He tells you, that the farmer lived and worked just outside of town and was rarely seen within the city proper ever since his wife Nadine had died. After he didn't show up for his monthly shopping at the town's smithy however the blacksmith went looking for him and reported him missing.

You get directions from the majordomo and head out to the farm just northeast of the manor. The large wooden building, surrounded by well-tended fields, has seen better days but is still in a habitable condition. You hear a crow caw in the distance as you approach but apart from that, no sound or movement can be observed. The farm seems to be empty and deserted.

Corso:
Shadows can be powerful stuff in the hands of the right (or wrong) person. You have heard a myriad of stories where all kinds of things have been done with shadows, even where a shadow had killed his owner.
There are also stories where shadows were stolen from people, the reasons for which range from control over the person to furthering some evil machinations. The only thing you can say for sure, however, is that a missing shadow is generally not a good sign.


Male Human Wizard Level 1

At the first sight of the farmstead, Medraut addresses his companions: I would suggest that we scout the area initially, even before we get much closer - I can maybe send Sting ahead for a quick overview of the area - he points out, referring to his scorpid familiar, at the moment nestled on his shoulder - His abilities to convey information are quite reduced, but may still be invaluable in terms of giving us a general idea of what type of creatures may be encountered in the area...


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

"Greywhisper can certainly give an overhead view of the farmstead," Adalieh says softly, as the raven lands on her shoulder.

"The ocean will crash upon the lands and swallow the world."

"Yes, yes, now," she sighs, stroking the raven's back with a long finger. "Death and destruction. You know what to do. He can be a bit of an oddity, but he does know the common tongue. As you've certainly heard by now."

Greywhisper sets into flight, circling the farmstead from above.

Do you want me to roll Greywhisper's perception, or should you?

Adalieh glances at the rest of her companions before she closes her eyes, leaning on her walking staff.


Male Human Wizard Level 1

"Adalieh, in that case, let us allow Greywhisper to scout - his aerial capabilities are invaluable in this case."


The raven circles the farm and the surrounding fields for a while before it returns to its mistress and caws ominously: "Deserted shall lie your homes and rotten your crops." You suppose that this is Greywhisper's way of telling you he didn't spot anyone or anything unusual.

I'm fine either way, Adalieh. And please let me know if you don't like my rendering of Greywhisper's quirk and would rather let him speak yourself.


Male Human Fighter / 4

"Well looks like we hit a dead end here" Seymor says, digging the tip of his longspear into the dirt, he looks back at the bonfires radiating from Karpad.

"Shall we go back to town and investigate there?"


Female Half-Elf Wizard / 1

"Perhaps we could look in the building first just to make sure we don't miss anything? Maybe check to make sure there are no lingering magical auras about in case the disappearances are of a supernatural nature?"


M Human CG Arcane Duelist L3 || AC15 T12 FF13 || HP 15/24 || F+2 R+5 W+3 || Init+2 || Perc+4 ; IC 10/11

Once they are out of earshot, And as they approach the farm, Corso shares his concerns with his companions: "I don't know if you've noticed, but our good baron has no shadow...

"What it means? I don't know. Shadows can be powerful stuff in the wrong hands. There was this mad merchant from Westcrown who got his shadow to kill the competition, until it decided to kill him! You surely heard also of Count Ostiaz the Bright, who claimed his shadow was stolen and refused to shut the lights around him, to allow for its return... Some say he was blackmailed and slowly turned his fief to dust just to buy it back. Its powerful magic, for sure... And not a good sign..."


Male Human Wizard Level 1

I noticed the same Corso, and even though I do recall having heard of similar situations, I cannot quite put my finger on what may be causing it - it is definitely not a good sign.

After Greywhisper has scouted the area, Medraut puts in: I agree with Lirana, we should check the house proper, maybe it will provide us clues as to what has passed - careful observation will surely be of advantage - let us move closer.


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

"No shadow?" Adalieh inquires, her eyebrows raised in surprise as Greywhisper lands on her shoulder to croak his message.

Knowledge skill checks to examine this ominous sign:
Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
Knowledge (History): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22

"We should examine the house, yes; not doing so would be tantamount to foolishness." She gestures towards the hitherto empty farmstead. "After you."


You move closer to the farmhouse and now fully understand what Greywhisper was trying to tell you. The fields are tilled but no sowing has been done and the house itself looks abandoned. The front door has been boarded up, probably to prevent looting or unwarranted snooping around.

Adalieh:
You can't recall any specific method or spell to catch or remove someone's shadow but Corso's stories ring true to you. In any case, you agree that a missing shadow is unnatural and most certainly not a good sign.


Male Human Wizard Level 1

Medraut circles the house from a safe distance, trying to gauge if there is any activity, or any telltale signs of recent comings and goings.

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