Dgrim continues his vigorous defense, hacking down another pirate while missing another, and occupying the bulk of the pirate attackers while the crew of the Kraken defends the corner they were driven into to either side of him.
As Ghirrak talks to Phillip in front of the ballisae Captain (still blind and staggering about stunned), the five filthy pirates chasing Ghirrak thunder up over the gangplank behind them and attack with bloodcurdling cries and flashing cutlasses.
The ones surrounding Dgrim continue their assault.
The pirate captain, having secured the helm, decides to break Dgrim's defensive bulwark and swings in to attack.
As Annie breaks the surface, a rope lands in the water next to her as Bryson shouts encouragement.
You can climb up to the deck this round if you abandon Jon. If you try to take him with you, you need to make a Climb check and the shark will get a bite.
You hear the sharks all shouting 'look its a feast!', 'oh boy!' 'smell that blood' 'just a little nibble' and 'this one's still moving!'etc...
You see one leasurely lining up an attack on Annie or maybe Jon next round.
Well, you DO have a couple of Spirit Syphons left...
Carefully opening the door, you see in the dim light that streaks of mold stain the ornately decorated walls of this foyer. The floor below is a thick, gray carpet of fungal growth, mounded in the middle over the decayed ruins of a desk.
Then came a rapid fire assault of banging on the door, such that you can't hear yourself think. Then you realize the shutters are being hammered and scratched as well.
"Can Earth Elementals acquire salt? Can Water Elementals absorb that salt?
The cyphermage looks at her like she was crazy."What? How should I know, I'm just an apprentice! Ask Master Beldusk, if we're still alive tomorrow!" The cyphermage hugs his staff and trembles violently.
The defensive strength of the tower is fairly impressive, with the base walls at least eight feet thick. The construction is seamless from some ancient technique; you cannot see any seems between the blocks of stone used to build it. The only ground floor access is the iron door; deeply embedded in the stone and triple barred, you don't see how anything less than a giant could force it's way through there.
But you don't like the shutters located sixty degrees along the arc of the tower from the door. They don't look well maintained at all, seemingly more rust than metal. And they aren't anchored in the stone at all, being stapled to a bracket on the interior face of the tower.
"How're you doing on spells? he asks quickly.
"I don't have much power left," Samaritha replied looking at the barricade worriedly. "They are hard to affect with spells, and are entirely immune to fire, ice and sonics. If you have it, you should try acid. I've seen a couple of lucky shots damage them that way."She turns her eyes to Llaen and she looks puzzled.
"Zane," She started cautiously. "Who did you..."
They all heard it then, a kind of vibration through the earth. Like hundreds of horses were galloping nearby.
Kendra weeps heartrendingly into Ereviss' chest at the description of her father's fate. After a minute, she breaks away and stands up again.
The semitransparent figure of Vesorianna looks on, unable to cross the threshhold as you depart back the way you came. Her hand raises in a vague gesture of farewell...
More confident of the way now, you make your way back through the hallways you had previously explored until you came back to central Hallway again. You face the double doorway south leading to the Foyer.
Under Kharn and Nakoda's ministrations, the three Cyphermages near death come to full wakefulness with a jolt, even getting up off their cots to gratefully thank them both.
"I was afraid of this..." Samaritha said as she ran down to the ground floor and started dragging heavy chests in front of the only door.
When you look out through the shutters you see...
The cyphermages peering through the shutters are shocked.
You have one round to prepare before they hit the tower. What do you do?
Two big worker ants materialize and plunge into the melee as Bryson moves to the Portside rail.
It looks like five of the pirates noticed Ghirrak's evading the melee and have started to chase him across the gangplank.
You control Jon's bleeding and start hauling his carcass to the surface. A large shark swims up near you and bumps you, inflicting 2hp damage. (You may take an AoO) It swims away, then starts turning back towards you.
Sola speaks up hopefully.
You can see their injuries are severe, but stabilized. But more than that, when you look closely it seems to you that they've been drained as well somehow.
...They were strange. Robed people who spoke only in whispers... Vesorianna continued.
At this point both Bryson and Ghirrak burst out on to the maindeck in the middle of the wild fight there as the pirates greater numbers pressed the crew of the Kraken back. Men were pressed shoulder to shoulder and it is difficult to move.
You see no one else on the pirate ship around you but for a couple of guys at the pirate helm.
Diving underwater its getting hard to see with the sun so low on the horizon, but you see Jon bleeding ten feet underwater and a dim shape that might be a shark approaching maybe forty feet away from him.
Samaritha leads you up the stairway to the floor above, where three injured and unconscious Cyphermages lie on their cots tended by the only other one who can walk.
You can see the stairway continue on up and out of sight.
Heal check DC12:
The unconcious ones are below 0hp but stable. The walking wounded are at 25%hp, and Samaritha is at 50%.
She sighs at your responses and rubs her forehead.
"Anything you can do is better than we have. All the healing potions we had with us were used up in the first two days.
"Alright; your ship is sunk. Can you tell me of anything else that can help us? Do you know of any other expeditions that were coming here when you left? Did you see any other way off the island when you were making your way up? Anything at all?"
Kendra backs away through the doorway and into the hall.
"Would records of the five inmates still be in the prison offices, spared the flames?"
...I don't know. Vesorianna said. It has been so long. But, if you come across objects of value that once belonged to the five infamous prisoners, you might be able to use them against the five souls. You should check the property room to the southeast.But be wary; they are likely also cursed by the unholy link to those long-dead monsters, be very careful when using the objects.
Ballisaeman will save: 1d20 ⇒ 2 Fail.
Bryson Calls another lightning bolt...
Annie descends and casts Prayer, which seems to hearten your crew and demoralize the pirates; the aren't being forced back anymore.
Ghirrak continues to study the dangerous looking device in the bilge.
Phillip unleashes a Ray of Frost at a ballistae crewman, knowing it wouldn't do anything to the ballista itself. The pirate screams and clutches his hand.
[npc]Dgrim seems a whirlwind of destruction, wounding one pirate and cleaving another in half.
Spinnaker Jon starts to cut away a second grapple chain.
Half a dozen pirates swarm Dgrim, but only manage a single hit for 5 points piercing damage.
The pirate captain swings across to the Kraken, booting Spinnaker Jon across the deck and away from the grapple chain.
The ballista captain roars with fury at Phillip and shouts 'The man that gets him, STAYS ALIVE!' before charging across to attack Phillip with two of his mates. A furious clash of swords erupts.
The ballista gunner shouts 'Wait!' before firing at Annie.
"Dammit!" She swore vehemently, hitting a nearby beam with her good arm. Then her covered her eyes with her hand and wept.
As the ghost of Vesorianna Hawkran starts wailing in heartrending anguish, Domminia pats her on the back… or tries to. Her hand passes through Vesorianna’s semitransparent body.
A burning touch shocks Domminia’s hand, dealing 1d6 ⇒ 3 corrupting touch damage, and, just for a moment, smoke fills her lungs, choking, suffocating… Then the air is clean again.
Vesorianna staggers for a moment, then her eyes seem to clear and focus on Domminia, no longer weeping and wailing. She starts to reach for her, a strange hunger on her face; but she stops herself in time and takes a step back.
I’m sorry. She said to Domminia. It’s hard not to get caught up in the memory of what happened back then. I didn’t mean to hurt you.
Yes. The spirits here must be laid to rest. For many years my husband’s ghost contained the haunts and restless spirits of Harrowstone, but their power has waxed over the years. Now that he is gone I am barely able to maintain the barrier that contains their vile impulses. One of them has been eating away at my resolve somehow. Is it the Splatter Man? I have heard that he was some kind of caster. If he manages to break me, the maddened spirits of the criminals will flood over the surrounding countryside, bringing unimaginable horror to countless innocents.
I don’t know much about the prisoners, but I can feel among the hateful dead five in particular. I think they must be the most notorious criminals that prisoned here at the time. They were Father Charlatan, the Lopper, the Mosswater Marauder, the Piper of Illlmarsh, and the Splatter Man. They are the key, I think; if you can confront and defeat them, I can contain them and keep them from manifesting again. She looks at you all with a puzzled expression. Have you met a haunt that played a pipe? I think you must have put him down already, I can no longer feel his presence.Tears well in her eyes again.
And if you can beat all five of the prisoners, and if you can bring to me my husband’s badge of office, I will be able to banish the haunts from Harrowstone entirely. I think it was with him when he went to the dungeon level of Harrowstone.
My husband’s office is in the far southwest corner of Harrowstone on the ground floor. You have to go back to the Foyer and go through the administrative offices to get there.
That question covers a hell of a lot of territory.
In brief, Ghosts are undead, incorporeal, very dangerous, and even if you destroy them, they'll come back unless you address what made them dead in the first place.
... my husband.... She pleads with Agrimar. ... Lyvar didn't appear for dinner ... I went up to the prison to find out where he was... I found the guards around the lift shaft... they told me there was a breakout down below...
Phillip takes the whole round to lever one of the assault gangplanks up and over the gunwales into the sea between the ships. Looking around for rigging to disable, he realizes that 90% of the pirate crew are over on the Kraken. Only a handful at the helm (80ft away), the Captain and the ballistae crew (30ft away) are left on the pirate ship itself. And the ballistae pirates are taking aim at Annie!
Dgrim is holding his own, even surrounded by pirates. He strikes one down roars his challenge to all around him. The rest of the Kraken's crew are holding a pocket behind Dgrim while most of the pirates overrun the bow or try to take Dgrim down. You can kind of see Spinnaker Jon on the quarterdeck hacking away at one of the heavy grapples.
You inspect the infernal device. The acrid fumes of acid are clear enough, but you aren't sure of the device. It's sure to be bad though. Releasing this much acid against the ships hull would eat through the hull in no time. You think you have minutes at least though. Probably.
You need to make a Disable Device DC15 or an Intelligence check even higher to stop it.
"Ow!" Samaritha yelps in pain and pulls away from Zane, holding a wound on her left arm that appears to have opened again. She winces as she smiles at Zane again.
Neither of the Cyphermages present seem to take notice of Llaen's exotic appearance, they seem distracted.
The apparition reaches out as if to touch Ysabot, but when Agrimar interposes, she seems to hesitate. She hears Ereviss' question and nods at him.
The short balding cyphermage who shut and barred the portal slumped to sitting against the wall, his hand to bloody rags of a shirt on his ribs.
At that moment, only a couple of feet in front of Ysabot, a semitransparent figure rises from the mound of moldering fabric covering the skeletal arm. She appears
The power of the undead-o-meter again pegs the red range. Beyond that, there is something of the power of this ghost that threads through the aura of Harrowstone itself; it is a mystery beyond anything you've ever heard of.
There is no bump in the evil-o-meter at the appearance of the phantom beyond the background of Harrowstone itself.
In fact, much about the ghost is blue, including her hair, the tears that run from her pale blue eyes, and the clouds of smoke that drift from her
lips when she speaks. She floats a couple of inches above the floor.
...you aren't the cowards who locked me in... She whispered you you intimately; her voice thin, but you can hear every word.
Persimmon's ears flatten and she crowds back against Ysabot, her eyes fixed on the ghost.
...you must be reinforcements from town... She said, drifting a little closer, her hand about to clutch at Ysabot. ...my husband, you must help him...
You can feel the deadly chill coming off of the ghost.
Once you're all inside, the Cyphermage slams the heavy iron door and drops the bolts.
All this is lost on Zane, who is suddenly occupied in the arms (and lips) of Samaritha Beldusk.
Bron or Perception DC20:
Back through the abandoned town, maybe 100 yards or so, movement catches your eye. Shadows are all that you can see in the light of the setting sun; low slung, close to the ground, and fast. Perhaps half a dozen; but more are gathering.
Running through the abandoned town you come to the base of the tower.
The only portal lies through the roofless ruins of a building at its base.
The door was locked, but so rotted that Ereviss was able to shoulder his way inside on his first try.
Inside, the dim grey light from high window slits reveal tangled mounds of moth-eaten fabric sit on several wooden tables, each surrounded by workbenches. Various sewing tools—shears, needles, rolls of thread, boxes of chalk, and other objects lie scattered over the floor, while the arm of what appears to be a skeleton protrudes from a stained heap of fabric to the west. All is still but for the sparkling of dust kicked up by Ereviss and Domminia.
Perception DC20 or Intelligence DC16:
There is a rack on the North wall that looks out of place in this room.
Suddenly, a spectral vision unfolds in front of you.
Around the corner you see a beautiful young woman dressed as if going to a ball, her hair carefully coiffed, jewelry at her throat, ears and wrist.
Before you can move, they sweep through Jevault and up to the near door on the left.
When they do you feel a chilling shock that is somehow... exciting. Take 4d6 negative energy healing.
You can hear the woman as if from a distance.
The men open the (transparent representation of) door and thrust the woman through. They then put a key in to lock it, then turn and walk back the way they came, fading to nothing in moments.
Then you are alone in the corridor again.
Strangely, there is no spike in the evil-meter. Just the usual background Evil of Harrowstone.
You detect a massive spike in Undeath; you estimate the same power as a Ghost or Vampire.
Through the blackness you hear the voice again.
Zane or Int check DC20:
You're pretty sure it's Samaritha Beldusk, one of the Cyphermages with whom you are acquainted.
"GET TO THE TOWER!" Her voice takes on an urgent tone. "MOVE! ZANE GET TO THE TOWER NOW! BEFORE THE REST OF THEM GET YOU!"
Suddenly the darkness is not so comforting, as if you aren't alone in there...