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cynarion's Carrion Crown PbP

Game Master cynarion

Professor Lorrimor, the renowned investigator and arcanist, has died. You came to his home in the town of Ravengro to pay your respects, but quickly discovered there was more to the wily old man's death than met the eye...


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Male Human (Varisian) Alchemist (Preservationist) 2
Theron Adrezi wrote:
Where is that conversation happening? The main room? A death glare from the inquisitor might be incoming ;)

That's my assumption, yes. At present I think it's everyone in the main room except Karrik watching the potions in the basement and Dragomir chopping wood outside. Oh, and Kendra dreaming of Raj upstairs.


And well she should dream of Raj. :) He's got on the Axe Body Spray +3 of Mage Attacting.


Septimus Smythe wrote:
"Say," says the alchemist, "You wouldn't object to my sharing of a traditional apologetic cup with our resident woodsman, would you? I am well aware of my promise to Kendra, yet a single drink could do more to patch my misstep with Dragomir than a thousand words, don't you agree?"

Rajuna doesn't bat an eye, "I think you can drink water from that cup while Dragomir drinks booze from his. I'm sure he won't mind you keeping your promise to Miss Lorrimor. They say it's the thought what counts."


Male Human (Varisian) Alchemist (Preservationist) 2
Rajuna Two-Fangs wrote:
Rajuna doesn't bat an eye, "I think you can drink water from that cup while Dragomir drinks booze from his. I'm sure he won't mind you keeping your promise to Miss Lorrimor. They say it's the thought what counts."

"Hmm, muses Septimus. "Quite right. Well, the man seems busy now, in any case. Wouldn't want us to go without firewood on a night that threatens such a chill. We shall drink to letting bygones be bygones...later tonight. Now, if you will excuse me," he says, grabbing his chunk of cheese from where it rests and holding it aloft, "I have a rat to catch."

With that, he descends to the cellar once again, whistling jauntily.


Male Human Oracle 2

It was a testament to how strange everyone else was that normality could be reassembled so easily in the house, and Walter was glad to see it all turn back to how it was. He comfortably watched everyone from the couch, glad to be a wallflower again.

Lem! wrote:
Walter can use Detect Undead to help us locate the spirits, but I also think we should try to use that he points to the Ouija board, to communicate with the benevolent spirits in Harrowstone, potentially Warden and Mrs. Hargrave. If the prison has such a strong presence of spirits, why not use it to our advantage? Walter, are you willing to do this with my help?

Walter snapped out of thoughts and nodded. "I can do that," he said, and receded back into his shell.

I also want to say it's Warden and Mrs. Hawkran, not Hargrave. My evidence is presented thusly.


Bah! You and your pesky details, Walter. Everyone knows that the Warden's wife was progressive and she kept her maiden name - Hargraves. Sometimes, when she was feeling frisky, she'd go the whole distance - Mrs. Ludmilla Hargraves-Hawkran. :)

Actually, that combo would make a pretty sweet hero name - Hawkran Hargraves - Defender of the Realm. DIBS! If Raj gets slate-wiped in Harrowstone that'll be my replacement hero's name.


DAPPER HALF-ORC MAGUS

And Karrik's replacement will now be Dibs... the cat. Obviously he'll be a ninja, and a junky.


{HP9/19 | AC16 T12 FF14 CMD 16 | F/R/W 4/2/3} Female Samsaran Bladebound Magus 2

Man, I got stuck with Replacement Hero then.


Rose Springdawn wrote:
Man, I got stuck with Replacement Hero then.

LOL! Could be worse... could be Red Shirt #6


Karrik wrote:
Dibs... the cat. Obviously he'll be a ninja, and a junky.

Yeah, I've heard coming down off a Catnip high is bad. :)

Dibs: "Hey, man, can you score me a Squeaky Toy?"


HPs 16/(26)28...AC18/Touch11/Flatfoot17/CMD 18||HP 26/[28]| Fort:+5 ;Ref:+2 ;Wil+0|Percept +1/Sense Motive +5 Male Human Ustalav Varisian Fighter/2 *12 Con /Fort:+4

Cats be pimpin'


mysterious male human purveyor of plot

Hey folks. Going to make a series of posts here advancing the timeline a little. Anyone can go back and write a reactionary post as they see fit, if they want.


mysterious male human purveyor of plot

Upstairs, a short while ago

Raj:
Raj leaves the Professor's room and pads back down the hallway toward the stairs. As he goes by Kendra's room--the door open as he left it--his eyes pass over a bookcase that he can see through the doorway. There, on the shelf, is a well-used copy of the Acts of Iomedae, shelved two-thirds of the way up the bookcase. It seems at least that Kendra's quote from The Acts comes from a genuine knowledge of them rather than some secret message.

Whilst Kendra doesn't directly acknowledge receipt of your note for the rest of the evening, she does smile in your direction a few times, when it seems nobody else is looking. When she does, her face lights up--and she looks like she's free of worry, just for a moment.


female human diviner

Kendra’s Sitting Room, 6:48pm

Septimus wrote:
Raj wrote:
Septimus wrote:
"Say," says the alchemist, "You wouldn't object to my sharing of a traditional apologetic cup with our resident woodsman, would you? I am well aware of my promise to Kendra, yet a single drink could do more to patch my misstep with Dragomir than a thousand words, don't you agree?"
Rajuna doesn't bat an eye, "I think you can drink water from that cup while Dragomir drinks booze from his. I'm sure he won't mind you keeping your promise to Miss Lorrimor. They say it's the thought what counts."

"Hmm, muses Septimus. "Quite right. Well, the man seems busy now, in any case. Wouldn't want us to go without firewood on a night that threatens such a chill. We shall drink to letting bygones be bygones...later tonight. Now, if you will excuse me," he says, grabbing his chunk of cheese from where it rests and holding it aloft, "I have a rat to catch."

With that, he descends to the cellar once again, whistling jauntily.

As Septimus turns, he all-but runs into Kendra, who is standing in the doorway.

The only way you're having a drink tonight is if you want to be thrown out on your ear, she says. You made an oath, Septimus. One I intend to see you keep. Consider it part of an object lesson in actually living up to your promises.

Kendra is still wearing her breeches, and looks drained, but otherwise appears to be in relatively good spirits. She looks around the room, and enquires after the whereabouts of Karrik and Dragomir. Upon being told they’re in the basement and chopping wood respectively, she nods her thanks.

Raj:
You notice she has shortened the straps on the scabbard of her dagger, and is wearing it on her hip again.

I think I owe all of you an apology. Dragomir especially, but I will go and talk to him separately. I understand you have my best interests at heart, and that you’re all doing what you can to abide by my father’s wishes. I might like it to be different, but that won’t change anything; I need to deal with reality, not some imaginary world.

I’d like to do more than just apologise, though, so pack your things; we’ll head to the Laughing Demon for dinner. I’ll be back soon.

She heads out the door—presumably to seek out Dragomir.


female human diviner

Outside Kendra’s House, 6:52pm
The rhythmic thunk of Dragomir’s axe-work guides Kendra to him. She approaches quietly and stands at a distance. The big man seems to be in a trance as he chops; Kendra waits patiently until he notices her.

She nods a greeting.

Hello Dragomir. Thank you for your hard work here, she gestures at the now-waist-high woodpile. This should last us quite a while. She smiles, but it does look a little awkward. She glances around for a moment, and scuffs one foot through the soil, seemingly unsure where to start. Eventually, she decides that being blunt and honest is the best approach.

I was wrong, she says simply, and you were—are—right. She looks up into the sky, where clouds obscure most of the stars. I am not cut out to be a warrior—not in the same way you are, or even the way Rose is. There might be battles ahead in which I may take part...but then, there might not. All I want is to live up to my father’s legacy, but I understand now that this is not the time or the place. And who knows—perhaps, one day, I will change my mind.

So I am sorry for my outburst earlier. I don’t want there to be any uneasiness between us, Dragomir. She comes across to stand before Dragomir, and extends her slim hand. Friends? she ventures.


mysterious male human purveyor of plot

05:42, Gozran 30th, Kendra’s House, Ravengro
The night passes uneventfully—fitful sleep for some, restful for others, but without any further incident.

(Anyone out patrolling with Sheriff Caeller & deputies finds nothing untoward.)

The day begins much as the last one finished—cold and grey, with the steely sky threatening unpleasant weather. Walter, the first one up, comes downstairs to find Kendra already busy in the kitchen. She has swapped her dagger for an apron, and is busy preparing a breakfast that seems to mostly consist of the leftovers from last night’s dinner at The Laughing Demon.

Slowly, the others filter in to the kitchen, in various states of readiness—Raj looks ready to walk out the door at a moment’s notice, while Flori is still in her nightgown. Everyone sits down to breakfast, and the conversation is free-flowing and wide-ranging, with more than a few comments and guffaws about Lem’s verbal fencing incident with a rowdy patron.

Eventually, though, a small, natural break in the conversation arrives—and everyone begins glancing around somewhat uneasily, aware that this is the time they’ve all been working toward.

It’s time to leave. Time to go to Harrowstone, and finish whatever it was the Professor started.

Kendra and Flori wave you off. Nobody says it, but the words hang unspoken in the air: If you don’t return, we will mourn your loss.


mysterious male human purveyor of plot

07:32, Gozran 30th, Ravengro environs
With the sun only barely over the eastern horizon, the group makes its way through the waist-high grass and finally regains the road to Harrowstone.

The trip out of Ravengro went without incident, with everyone splitting up and heading in different directions before regrouping as planned, a hundred or so yards south of the base of the bluff’s southern slope. Now, everyone is back together again, trudging north up the path to the infamous prison.

Ahead, the prison walls—around forty feet high and made of stone—provide an imposing barrier between the building and the world outside. Directly ahead, up the hill, is the gatehouse. The wrought-iron gates hang slightly ajar, the ironwork above them proclaiming the name of the prison—‘HARROWSTONE’—in large letters. To either side of the gates, sixty-foot towers—the last twenty feet made of timber atop the stone of the wall—stand vigil, although the roofs have begun to sag over the fifty years since the place was abandoned.

The years have not been kind; around seventy feet to the east, the wall simply vanishes, crumbled debris scattered over another fifty feet or so before the remainder of the wall disappears into a large pond which surely wasn’t part of the original design. Those parts of the walls that remain standing are choked with ivy—the plant doesn’t seem to have attacked the gates, though.

Between the gates, you can see the building itself; massive and imposing while at the same time, old and decrepit. The combination somehow makes it look even more horrific than its history would have you believe.

The building itself is two storeys high and covered in climbing plants just like the walls. The roof slumps rather alarmingly in the middle, while around to the east the pond seems to extend right up to the walls. A handful of stunted bushes grow amidst the grass in the courtyard, but otherwise the place appears devoid of life. The prison’s front doors—heavy oaken things bound in iron—hang askew on their hinges, but between the distance and the darkness inside, it’s hard to see the interior. A single circular tower rises above the prison—more or less in the middle of the building—its roof almost comically askew like an absent-minded wizard’s hat.

To the west of the entrance, inside the walls, a small house sits in the courtyard, its walls on a strange angle. A couple of what appear to once have been garden beds are now full of waist-high weeds, their flowers providing the only colour in what is otherwise a depressing palette of grey, beige and dull olive.

Finally, you are here—out the front of Ustalav’s most notorious prison. Just thinking about the people who have passed through its gates gives you goosebumps.

Of course, most of them never came back out.


mysterious male human purveyor of plot

Disposition Update
You are just in front of the front gates to the prison. The available methods of entry (that I can think of!) are as follows:

  • Walk through the gate.
  • Climb over the walls (2 × DC 10 Climb checks).
  • Wade through the pond (no Swim checks required), or clamber over the rubble (2 × DC 10 Acrobatics checks to avoid falling over; difficult terrain), where the wall has collapsed to the east.

If you can come up with something more creative, be my guest!

When you were heading around the bluff, you could see that the walls on the north side are pretty much intact. (See the map—link in your PMs—for more detail.)

So, over to you, intrepid explorers. : D


In the Darkness...

Rajuna's sleep is punctuated by brief bouts of wakefulness. They aren't all a result of the lumpy couch. He lies awake listening to the sounds of the sleeping, or restless, residents of the house while he mulls the few known pieces of the puzzle. Even those are poorly understood. He speculates on the reasons why a Splatter Man imposter might stir the town up now... to distract himself from the ridiculous urge to sneak upstairs under the pretext of 'checking' on Kendra. He sighs, frustrated with his slipping discipline, and covers his head with his burnoose while trying to push away thoughts of the pretty mage. It's gonna be a long night...

In the Morning...
Raj is quiet at breakfast, his thoughts almost fully fixed on the mission ahead. He smiles at the banter but says very little.

At Harrowstone...
Despite the restless night, the rogue is fully awake and alert as they stand before the falling gates. He peeks through the gaps and reflexively double-checks the action on his spring-loaded sheathes. "Seems to me the Way won't be waiting for us and I doubt any ghosts will be sittin' in the yard. I'm for heading straight in and trying to find the spot where Doc cashed his chips. There may be some indication of his murderers there. I'm thinkin' we swing towards the left side of the prison."

Unless there's an objection, Raj turns his words into actions. He creeps up to the gate, inspecting it for any possible traps left by the Way before slinking through the gap to get a better look at the prison.

Perception (looking through the gaps for anything of interest) 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Stealth 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
Perception (Trap Spotting) 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17


HPs 16/(26)28...AC18/Touch11/Flatfoot17/CMD 18||HP 26/[28]| Fort:+5 ;Ref:+2 ;Wil+0|Percept +1/Sense Motive +5 Male Human Ustalav Varisian Fighter/2 *12 Con /Fort:+4

Dragomir puts down the Axe and regarded Kendra silently for a few heartbeats.

Why wouldn't we be friends Missy?

He took her hand gently.

Twas all spirit an' hotair, Miss Lorrimor - nothin' else to it. You were gettin an airin' and I airred a few words of me own.

He smiled, his beaten features seemed as easy with a smile as with the scowl he sometimes wore.

Again, I only knew your Da' for a month but he was a great man., He said gently. You show spirit, and bravery and that you've a greatness of your own... I'd sorely mourn to see it thrown away recklessly without countin' th' cost. If I ever see ya usin' your head - truly thinkin somethin' through and actin' from necessity? Instead of just actin on instinct or a need to feel 'counted'? I'll not be standin in yer way - I'll be backin' whatever plan you got.

He turned back to the wood axe and raised it above his head - a hand on the end and another just under the axe head and stretched back and shoulders both - his bulk the heaviness of one who has done years of hard labour, big slabs of hard muscle present but not defined like you'd find on an athlete. His back cracked once or twice and he groaned in relief.

C'mon - I've kept your neighbors from the quiet of night for long enough. Lets head inside.

With that he slung the axe over his shoulder and went inside.

I'll post in line with the actions of others at Harrowstone later


DAPPER HALF-ORC MAGUS

Karrik kneels in the dewy, overgrown grass in the crisp morning light in front of Harrowstone. His bowler hat spins round and round in his hands as he watches the ominous structure. His posture, stillness, and focus suggest the half-orc is putting the full force of his relentless intellect on the problem that is Harrowstone.

The view from Karrik's black eyes is different, however, as he loses himself in a quick review of the events leading up to this morning. Karrik is frustrated at his inability to remove his emotional tones to the memories…

Frustration and no little bit of anger colors the recalling of the events in the basement. The way Septimus had gotten a good head-start only to take a meal break which tried to turn into a round of drinks with Dragomir while Karrik did the man's work for him in the basement. Karrik works to determine if the man is lazy or simply manipulative. Either way it's a strike against him.

The memory of Karrik learning about Kendra's agreement to stay away from Harrowstone is tinged with relief. Karrik would have to live with the regret that he wasn't there to help protect the Professor when he needed it most, and he'd be damned if he failed him a second time… not to mention failing his daughter. He struggled with the fact that he hadn't found time to talk to her about her decision… it was, after all, the best thing. But he was annoyed at the creeping sense of faint regret that kept preying on him when he looked at her. For the hundredth time he stamped down on the feeling, It was the right decision! Giving in to her outburst would only put her in danger. Once again the solid reasoning does little against the irrational shadow of regret.

--

Rajuna's actions pull Karrik from his reverie (if you have ranks in Sense Motive, read: brooding), and Karrik stands, settling his hat on his bald head. "Investigating the area of the Professor's death is a reasonable starting point," he answers as he draws his blade, giving the scarred Varisian a solid 30 feet head-start before following. For once the heavy half-orc keeps from stepping on every noise-making thing in sight. Maybe Rajuna and Theron are rubbing off on me.

Perception 1d20 ⇒ 15
Stealth 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (16) - 1 = 15.

Reviewing prepped spells… will have it updated for Harrowstone shortly.


{HP9/19 | AC16 T12 FF14 CMD 16 | F/R/W 4/2/3} Female Samsaran Bladebound Magus 2

As the group approached Harrowstone, Rose recalled her dreams from the night before. They had not been pleasent. Places such as this often triggered visions of past lives, ones she didn't always want to see. A vision of your final moments as a ravenous creature of the undead assaults you was something she didn't need at this time.

Instead she focused her thoughts on the now, pushing aside the memories. "Rajuna, you should allow Karrik or myself to check the path ahead for magical auras as we go. It may be for naught, but better to be safe." Unless instructed not to, Rose will occasionally cast Detect Magic ahead of the group, and at any suspicious points (doors, windows, statues, etc).

Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 13
Stealth: 1d20 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 - 2 = 6


Raj nods at her gravely. "Any help would be 'preciated, Miss Rose. I'm just used to doin' for myself an' I got little magic to speak of."

Raj is happy to delay and wait for the 'all clear' sign whenever someone wants to cast any sort of Detect spells.


Male Human (Varisian) Alchemist (Preservationist) 2

Ah!!! Work nightmare! Will post as soon as I get a chance today. Septimus would suggest checking out the smaller outbuilding first, as it seems like an optimal lair for a lurking creature. But it seems like we're already headed in another direction here...no biggie.


We were just talking about the plan in broad strokes. Since we are passing the out-building, I figured we'd check it out as we go by. No sense leaving an unknown at our back. I'm also thinking Raj/someone should climb the stairs on the left side of the prison building (carefully) as well as the balcony above the front entrance. It'd be good to get a view of the interior before we just march in there.


Male Halfling Cleric (Evangelist)/ 2

As Rajuna took the lead, he halted suddenly with a word from Rose, who moved forward cautiously to Detect Magic on the gate. Not trying to make decisions for others, but it seemed like that's what you guys were going to do.

Lem turned around to address everyone. His freshly cleaned, embroidered robes Cleric's Vestments, probably prestidigitationed by Flori stood out in stark contrast to the backdrop of Harrowstone. He had several vials of holy water and a sunrod tucked into his belt, and in his hand he held an aspergillum. The priest uncorked a bottle and filled the dispenser as he spoke, seeing the trepidation on his companions' faces. The usually-jovial halfling had no hint of a smile now, but a look of steely determination.

Friends. We stand before an evil place that has too-long festered on the outskirts of civilization. Most would flee in terror from such a place, but here we are, choosing to enter. Take courage from this, for the gods smile upon boldness of action. We cannot fail, for our task is too important--we must cleanse this place of all evil and put to rest the shade of the horror that took place here so long ago.

The cleric speaks slowly and methodically, sweeping his gaze over each of his new friends.

Desna IS with us. Pharasma has seen our fates continuing long after this short journey to Harrowstone. If you find yourself burdened with fear or doubt, lean on me--I will never waiver, and together we will not stray from our path. Luck be with you, and light in the darkness. He turns dramatically, waiting to enter after Rose's assessment.


HPs 16/(26)28...AC18/Touch11/Flatfoot17/CMD 18||HP 26/[28]| Fort:+5 ;Ref:+2 ;Wil+0|Percept +1/Sense Motive +5 Male Human Ustalav Varisian Fighter/2 *12 Con /Fort:+4

Right you are Little Padre.

Dragomir loads a crossbow and then raises it half way to his shoulder before moving to the side of the gate... If not for the armour his movements may have been an attempt at stealth.

Reaching out cautiously with the left hand Dragomir pushes slowly against the gate - testing it.


Male Human (Varisian) Alchemist (Preservationist) 2

At Chez Lorrimor

Kendra Lorrimor wrote:

As Septimus turns, he all-but runs into Kendra, who is standing in the doorway.

The only way you're having a drink tonight is if you want to be thrown out on your ear, she says. You made an oath, Septimus. One I intend to see you keep. Consider it part of an object lesson in actually living up to your promises.

Septimus comes to a halt just short of crashing into the tired-looking woman. He smoothes out the front of his vest in an attempt to regain what little dignity he might yet possess. ”Kendra. Well. That is. I meant no harm. I do hope to prove worthy of your trust. After all, it seems unwise to test the tolerance of such a gracious and omnipotent host. Besides, we will all of us need our ears in good condition on the morrow.”

Following another disapproving look from Kendra for good measure, Septimus returns once again to the basement, where he finds Karrik admirably holding down the fort…

Karrik wrote:
Frustration and no little bit of anger colors the recalling of the events in the basement. The way Septimus had gotten a good head-start only to take a meal break which tried to turn into a round of drinks with Dragomir while Karrik did the man's work for him in the basement. Karrik works to determine if the man is lazy or simply manipulative. Either way it's a strike against him.

…and, seeing no reason to deny the capable half-orc a chance to learn from his brilliance, launches straight into a verbal treatise on the finer points of the humours of certain rodents. As Septimus chatters away, Karrik carefully monitors the potions, ensuring a controlled boil. As a result, Septimus has plenty of time to lure a particularly scrawny rat into his clutches with his remaining hunk of cheese. The unfortunate creature winds up in reagent box, where its unnerving squeaks can be heard periodically over the bubbling and burbling of the lab equipment.

Several hours later, Septimus corks each finished potion with a broad grin towards his amiable assistant. Well, he was amiable that morning, at least. For some reason, he doesn’t seem to take any joy in the successful completion of the day’s work. Perhaps another lecture will cheer him up. As the pair heads upstairs, Septimus ponders potential subjects for their next cook.

That evening…

Septimus lies wide awake on the lumpy cot that serves as his bed, debating whether or not his bedroll and some nice dry dirt might be preferable. This headache is simply intolerable. What am I doing here, without even a warming drink to set my bones to rights before I head off toward lady-knows-what? You’re a damnable fool, Septimus. Verbally sparring with her. Playing the ass for these strangers. As if you haven’t a care in the world. As if you’re back in Lepidstadt. As if your life ever amounted to something. Still smells like sandalwood. Of course she does. It keeps its fragrance for years. Like a memory. Like the light that was still on in the window on the third floor. She wasn’t waiting for you. She was waiting for her father. Went straight from the library to the lab and she must not have known…Oh, blast it. How many times must you put yourself through this. It never changes. Form is mutable but time is not…yes, form…the distention should be easy enough, it’s the preservation that’s the hardest part…perhaps a 4% solution of vitreous carrageenan…

And that morning…

Carrion Crown GM wrote:
Slowly, the others filter in to the kitchen, in various states of readiness—Raj looks ready to walk out the door at a moment’s notice, while Flori is still in her nightgown. Everyone sits down to breakfast, and the conversation is free-flowing and wide-ranging, with more than a few comments and guffaws about Lem’s verbal fencing incident with a rowdy patron.

Septimus sits sullenly at the breakfast board, his crossbow at his feet, his bulging pack near the door. Each jest, each laugh – a tiny needle that seems to lance his very brainstem. And the ache...well. There’s nothing to be done for it except the tea, the toast, and the rest of it. If I’m going to die, it may as well be on a full stomach.

He eats his meal mechanically, occasionally turning up a corner of his mouth in reaction to a remark he half-hears. I should have written her a letter. What if I never come back? What if this is where it ends? And this lot – they’re going into the place with me. What possesses me? What possesses any of us? Loyalty? Friendship? Or something darker?

Septimus looks around the table at the motley group, as if their smiling faces might tell him something of their motives. But he’s never been very good at reading a situation…

As the group prepares to depart the house, Septimus collects his (and Karrik’s) work from the day before. He pockets one of the milky-looking potions, then doles out the remaining three with a grimace: one to Karrik, one to Lem, with a pause before handing the final one to Dragomir. ”These are imbued with a potent restorative agent,” he says. ”They may taste the way a grell smells, yet nature often sees fit to hide that which is most good within that which is most foul.” With that, he gives a last glance toward Kendra, bows his head, and exits into the damp morning.

Finally, as the group approaches Harrowstone…

Carrion Crown GM wrote:

Finally, you are here—out the front of Ustalav’s most notorious prison. Just thinking about the people who have passed through its gates gives you goosebumps.

Of course, most of them never came back out.

Septimus scans the surroundings cautiously, attempting to focus on anything other than his continuing headache. Is that mold? No, just lichen. Calm down, Septimus. Deep breath. Deep breath. He glances around at his companions to see how they seem to be taking things. Most appear far more confident than he, particularly the practiced Rajuna and the strange Rose, though perhaps this has more to do with their not suffering from the deleterious effects of alcohol withdrawal than anything else.

Quietly, Septimus catches Raj’s eye and nods toward the out-building before waiting for the results of the group’s more arcane-inclined members’ detections.

Combat-wise, Septimus has his crossbow drawn to start.

Knowledge (Nature):
Attempting to note anything interesting about the plant life, etc. in and around Harrowstone… 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8


mysterious male human purveyor of plot

Rose does not detect anything magical within the range of her eldritch sight.

I will assume you are using detect magic on a regular basis and solemnly swear to tell you if it reveals anything while you're running around Harrowstone. : )

Raj also reports that the gate is free of traps.

Do you want to take 10 on trap-finding while you're in Harrowstone? Then you don't have to roll every time you go round a corner. I will always give you the opportunity to change your mind when confronted by particular things (like a door carved with the faces of the damned, for instance).

Dragomir wrote:
Reaching out cautiously with the left hand Dragomir pushes slowly against the gate - testing it.

The gate squeals noisily as Dragomir pushes it a couple of inches, and then--

Dragomir:
--your vision is assailed; you find yourself not outside the prison, but in a cell. The stone walls--familiar for so many years--are close in around you, as you cough hard from all the smoke in the cell. It's getting hot--so very hot. You can hear screams even through the thick door--the prison is on fire, and people out there are being roasted alive.

Your nails are already broken and bloody from your attempts to claw your way up through the join between wall and ceiling. Your palms are burned from the heated metal of the door. Your lungs are choked with smoke, and if you could just get a breath, if you could only breathe, maybe you could make it, maybe you could survive, if they would just let you out, let you out, let you out!!!

Dragomir Will save: 1d20 + 0 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 0 + 4 = 20; +4 from the still-active unbreakable heart effect; PASS

(When you come back to reality, you manage to shake off the horrible experience; a failure would have made you shaken for 2d4 minutes, if you want more info to fuel your RP.)

--Dragomir stops, perfectly and totally immobile for a few moments--not even breathing--before seemingly coming back to reality.


HPs 16/(26)28...AC18/Touch11/Flatfoot17/CMD 18||HP 26/[28]| Fort:+5 ;Ref:+2 ;Wil+0|Percept +1/Sense Motive +5 Male Human Ustalav Varisian Fighter/2 *12 Con /Fort:+4

Burning, he mutters and turns whiter than a new sheet, ... they all... burnt to death... I can feel the last moments of those who are now dead.

Pharasma be...

The man looks visibly shaken, his eyes haunted for a few moments before he shakes it off.

You were right Lem, easy confidence replaced by grim resolve, Damn me but you were right.


Male Halfling Cleric (Evangelist)/ 2

Back in time, Lem thanks Septimus for the potion ;-)

Lem puts a reassuring hand on Dragomir's arm, then grasps his holy symbol. Desna guide us, he says, casting Resistance on Dragomir and then himself. The priest then approaches the gate, flinging holy water across the threshold while speaking in a crescendo.

May the light of Desna shine upon your trapped souls, and may Pharasma welcome you into her realm to judge you justly. Accept the blessing of the gods, and rest in peace. The halfling continues to periodically fling the holy water and say: Desna's light upon you as he walks around the grounds outside the prison.


mysterious male human purveyor of plot
Lem Longbarrow wrote:
May the light of Desna shine upon your trapped souls, and may Pharasma welcome you into her realm to judge you justly. Accept the blessing of the gods, and rest in peace. The halfling continues to periodically fling the holy water and say: Desna's light upon you as he walks around the grounds outside the prison.

GM Screen:

Wisdom Checks, DC 15
Lem: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
Raj: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (16) + 0 = 16
Rose: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (19) + 0 = 19
Walter: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
Karrik: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (19) + 0 = 19
Theron: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Dragomir: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (4) + 0 = 4
Septimus: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (7) + 0 = 7

Lem, Raj, Rose, Karrik:
As the little priest's exhortations continue, the grey sky seems to slowly dull--not so you notice at first, but after a couple of minutes you realise it has become difficult to see. And that a strange buzzing in your ears has grown to become the sounds of a blaring, pulsing horn, a sound coming from the depths of Harrowstone that pushes at your consciousness and tears at its edges until they are ragged and torn...and when you look at Harrowstone, you know...

...it is angry.

Then reality reasserts itself as the previous scene spirals its way down and out of your consciousness. The others are looking at you strangely.

Walter, Theron, Dragomir, Septimus:
As Lem continues his entreaties, his voice seems to slowly trail off--which is unusual for him. When you turn to look, you see he has slowed down and appears to be staring off into space, his movements slow, jerky and barely coordinated, as if he is distracted by something. You notice that Raj, Rose and Karrik have similarly slowed their movements to a crawl.

And then, as one, they all turn to look at Harrowstone, at the building itself. Their faces are slack as they stare at it for several seconds.

And then, as one, they seem to shake themselves out of whatever stupor they were in, and come back to the real world. Clearly, their minds have been elsewhere for a while.


mysterious male human purveyor of plot

Septimus:
You don't spot anything unusual about Harrowstone's plant life from this distance. Looks like various grass species and normal ivy, albeit the ivy is growing in tortuous loops.


Rajuna hisses at the cleric and makes a cutting gesture - trying to quiet him. "Be still! We're cat-footin' here, not ringing the damn doorbell."

He glares at the half-pint priest then turns a glance on the prison, his eyes little more than appraising slits. "Now, it's watchin' us and pissed."


HPs 16/(26)28...AC18/Touch11/Flatfoot17/CMD 18||HP 26/[28]| Fort:+5 ;Ref:+2 ;Wil+0|Percept +1/Sense Motive +5 Male Human Ustalav Varisian Fighter/2 *12 Con /Fort:+4

Dragomir looks at Rajuna a moment, nodding then inquires in a low voice. You in first? Then me for muscle in case you get in too deep? The others act as the cavalry?

The warriors tone is one of respect, as if recognising and consulting someone of expertise.


Male Human (Varisian) Alchemist (Preservationist) 2

Septimus watches half of his companions stare slack-jawed at the looming prison, and is on the verge of bodily shaking them when they suddenly snap out of it.

"I know we're trying to blend in with the local populace," he says, "But that didn't strike me as acting. Is some force from the building affecting you?"

Septimus readjusts his pack as the group returns to normalcy, hoping to find some position of straps and buckles that might not make his already aching back feel any worse.

"By the by, a cursory examination reveals nothing unusual about the flora or fauna hereabouts. Yet I would advise caution regardless; certain creatures are capable of camouflage that even I cannot detect."


DAPPER HALF-ORC MAGUS

Karrik nods at Raj's words, shaking himself from his stupor. "This place feels like it has... a... presence to it." He looks over at the rest of the group. "And the presence is definitely aware of our presence. I'm all for stealth, but at this point, it's prudent to assume those inhabiting this place is aware of us."


Male Halfling Cleric (Evangelist)/ 2
Rajuna Two-Fangs wrote:

Rajuna hisses at the cleric and makes a cutting gesture - trying to quiet him. "Be still! We're cat-footin' here, not ringing the damn doorbell."

He glares at the half-pint priest then turns a glance on the prison, his eyes little more than appraising slits. "Now, it's watchin' us and pissed."

The halfling nods along with what Raj is saying, though he has a somewhat different outlook, not faltering in his fervor.

Yes, this place IS angry, because it knows that we have the power to destroy it. I welcome its anger, for I cannot banish the haunts unless they manifest. I will not slink in the shadows like a blind worm. This is the time for war, not cloaks and daggers. Let us see who wins in righteous combat, a handful of petty, vengeful spirits, or the terrible wrath of She Who Created the Heavens Above.

He continues intermittently flinging the holy water about, yet, for all his proclamations, the priest does decrease the frequency of the flicks, as well as the volume of his prayers.

I will cast Resistance on myself immediately before entering a new room or building (unless common sense dictates otherwise, such as when I am being chased into a new room by a ghost that just won't dissipate, hehe.


{HP9/19 | AC16 T12 FF14 CMD 16 | F/R/W 4/2/3} Female Samsaran Bladebound Magus 2

As the vision concludes, Rose feels a chill run up her spine. For a moment, she reconsiders their decision coming her. But only a moment. Lem's words bolster her spirit considerably. "Angry or not, Lem's right. We should continue on for what we have come for." Rose rests her hand on the pommel of her sword, resisting the urge to draw it. "It would only get in the way while in hand, and I can draw it quick enough if needed."


Dragomir Vuk wrote:

Dragomir looks at Rajuna a moment, nodding then inquires in a low voice. You in first? Then me for muscle in case you get in too deep? The others act as the cavalry?

The warrior's tone is one of respect, as if recognising and consulting someone of expertise.

"When we enter, we stick to the plan. I lead with Rose followed by you and Karrik. BEFORE we even step foot in there though, I wanna check that little side-house and recon the prison from the front balcony above and that upper area on the side wall. It's best if we know the lay of the land and what we might be facing before we just go traipsin' in... sheathed in righteousness or not." His tone drips disbelief. It seems clear that Lem's fanaticism goes against the thief's grain particularly when he's on point and Lem is safely towards the back.

Cyn - yes, I'm happy to take 10 on trap-finding!


Male Human (Varisian) Inquisitor 2

"Anger? That's what you say this place feels towards us?" Theron says after Lem speaks. His voice seems a little different than usual... like he's excited. "Well, let's be sure that before we're done here that this anger has turned into fear."

He pulls out his bow and readies it. Theron seems much more eager to use the weapon than he had been in the Pharasmin Crypt. "Whatever we do, let's not waste time staring at the place. The more time we take the more likely it is that this place may affect us before we even get to destroy any of the evil here."


DAPPER HALF-ORC MAGUS

Karrik listens to the discussion, wincing at the volume of the pint-size preacher's pep-speech. "I'm with Raj on this one. The plan is well-thought-out and good. We stick to the agreed-upon formation, letting Rajuna and Miss Rose scout. Let's tackle the small house first and clear it before moving onto the prison itself." His blade swings idly as he checks his gear one final time -- settling his scrolls in their scroll-case and double-checking his shouldered crossbow.

Percption 1d20 ⇒ 20
Stealth 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (20) - 1 = 19.

O.O


Male Halfling Cleric (Evangelist)/ 2

Lem accepts the thinly-veiled insults stoically, with no response. He continues his cleansing of the grounds pensively, moving with the others.

The fear is eating at him already, like a disease. This place is truly evil. Desna grant me the strength to protect him. Rajuna will know your wisdom and take solace in it, as a cold child from his mother's embrace. Watch over him, most of all.


mysterious male human purveyor of plot

Karrik goes into Harrowstone, and comes out five minutes later with the head of The Whispering Tyrant. "Don't know what people were complaining about," he says. ; )

###

The party heads over toward the smaller building, which--under the thick blanket of ivy--turns out to be a small brick home. The front door hangs askew on its one remaining hinge, but the interior is still dark. The roof sags in the middle.

GM SCREEN:

Perception Checks, DC 20
Lem: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Raj: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Rose: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (9) + 0 = 9
Walter: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
Theron: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Dragomir: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (4) + 0 = 4
Septimus: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15

Survival Checks, DC 20
Karrik: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Theron: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
Dragomir: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10

Septimus: Knowledge (nature): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9

Karrik, Theron:
The building has been severely weakened by the ivy, and is in danger of collapse. You might be able to be careful enough to avoid that collapse if you go inside...but it's no sure thing. It's not dangerous to wander around outside the house, just to go inside.

Theron:
Barely visible under the ivy, you spot the glint of a brass nameplate to the right of the front door.

Karrik:
Something about the way the weeds grow in what was once the front yard looks a little off--you trudge over and discover a small shovel, fork and watering can in amongst the overgrowth. Presumably they were being used to tend the garden.

Septimus:
Looking at the front garden, you notice more than a few flowers that seem out of place--that shouldn't be growing in Ustalav. Whoever owned this house must have had the flowers--or their seeds--brought in from another country, and over the last fifty years they have gone to seed and multiplied.


Male Human Oracle 2

Walter drifted along with everyone else. He didn't know how Theron could be excited that a monolithic haunted prison was angry at them. His imagination turned to how the Professor had been killed-- had the prison killed him? Walter was beginning to form a new theory, especially after one-by-one watching everyone become entranced or dazed by simply coming into the place's presence.

He could feel a voice worm its way up into the space between his skull and his eye. Matka je tu, nebojte sa, it cooed, but Walter felt sick. It wasn't the voice of his mother. He wanted to banish it back, but held it there with all of the repulsion he could muster. He'd need a 'calm' voice, a 'protective' voice, in case something decided to... Walter shivered at the thought.

He fell into step with everyone else, making sure to keep on the look out for his expertise-- religious iconography, historical markings or otherwise. Anything to maybe let him talk for a little while and get his mind off of the fact that he was feeling more and more like a mouse standing in the dragon's teeth.


DAPPER HALF-ORC MAGUS

:D

As everyone approaches the house, Karrik hesitates, pointing to the small building itself with his blade, "Place appears on the brink of collapsing. I wonder if it's safe to send anyone in."

His black eyes continue scanning as he waits for Raj and Rose's response. Apparently seeing something strange, he cocks his head to one side while looking into what seems to have once been the front yard. Once again he gestures with his blade, indicating some gardening tools, "Something is strange about the way these weeds grow in the front yard here. Anyone an expert on gardening? Or…" he looks up at the huge prison, "… on broke-down, dungeon-style, creepy prison gardening?"

Knowledge: Dungeoneering (for any clues here based on his dungeoneering experience) 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19.


mysterious male human purveyor of plot

Karrik:
Nothing seems Dungeoneering-related. I should add that it looks like the shovel, fork and watering can have been out in the elements for fifty years. They're not new--presumably they belonged to the original tenants.

EDITED


Male Human (Varisian) Inquisitor 2

And then we find out that the Whispering Tyrant has turned into an Awakened Demilich. Karrik is the first to get his soul drained.

Karrick's right, if we send anyone in, I think only the most.. agile of us should go." Theron adds. That way it would be less likely that we disturb the structure.

After a moment he moves in little closer, but avoids touching anything. "There's a nameplate here under the ivy. I would clear it off to get a better look, but if there's something odd about the plants here..."

Knowledge: Dungeoneering 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19 also trying to identify the plants

Well, I guess I found out the same things as Karrik at least ;)


mysterious male human purveyor of plot

Theron:
Nah, there's nothing odd about the plants. They're just plants. : ) You use one end of your bow to move the ivy aside a little. The nameplate reads "HAWKRAN".


Male Human (Varisian) Inquisitor 2

After looking around for a moment, Theron shakes his head. "Well, whatever is odd about the plants in the yard, I don't think they're they danger here."

Using one of the ends of his bow, he moves some of his ivy. "The nameplate says 'Hawkran' did that name come up in anyone's research?" He finds himself wishing that he had been paying attention to more than just the five main prisoners.

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