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True to form the patrol soon disappears never the wiser to your actions. A few moments later Cam is able to approach the door, key in hand and open the front door.
The townhouse opens to a foyer of sorts featuring double doors straight ahead that lead into the house, and a pair of smaller doors to the left of the entrance that seem to go into adjoining rooms. A narrow staircase is also featured that clearly leads to the next floor.
Despite the boarded windows the interior is well kept and decently lit, a number of the sconces in the foyer are light as though someone is or has been here...
Soft footfalls can be heard upstairs. Nothing sinister per se but somebody is in the house...
No the guards are basically just patrolling that area of the district/street, official Magnimar types they don't even seem to care. (Think local walking patrol) You have approval from the Sheriff and Mayor to look into things but its not like they drafted you an official order. Part of that (some of you may recall) is because the Magnimaran justice system can be a bit intense and/or they assumed it wasn't an issue. I will remind you all that you do have the key to the house and its not like the guards appear to be giving any kind of concern about who is coming or going (assuming folks are not being weird.) I will also remind you that Cam, Kithian and Vidar are actually officially deputized by Hemlock. (Though that would take some time to confirm if it became disputed.) The backyard is relatively secluded (5ft tall wall) but the noise of undoing the planks might be an issue. Someone could climb to the second floor but its broad daylight so...that might be an issue.
Cam no commission, you are good to go. Price looks right to me.
The group continues the conversation as it makes it was to the Grand Arch District, not far from Starsilver Plaza. Even early in the morning the area bustles but Cam's timely research the day before leads the group on some paths less well traveled.
As the group approaches they notice that the three story tall house has had its ground floor windows boarded over and a cursory glance into the small courtyard that serves as a back yard area also shows the back door is boarded over. A pair of guards walk the street but don't seem to notice the group or if they do, don't seem to care that they are looking at things.
The most obvious entrance, of course, is the front door. The day continues around the group as it contemplates its next steps...
How are we going in?
The night passes with is usual tempo, Kithian and Vidar drink, insult each other, drink, almost fight, drink, actually fight, drink, make passing almost positive statements about each other, drink, and so on.
Sayniek does her best to polish, sharpen and so on preparing herself for the next day.
Cam for his part meets with mixed success. Magnimar is huge and vendors abound trafficking in mithral and magic and he gets the lead on a handful of shops that can meet his needs. (Basically anything you want can be bought so let me know what you buy, lol). As for the opicof "strange doings" stories range in tone and scope but nothing leads back to Foxglove or his neighborhood. The few people who even deign to talk to the usually affable bard about seem completely uninterested in offering anything other than stock talking point about how either the area is getting over run by riff-raff or the rich in the neighborhood need to be brought down a peg or two.
Otherwise the night passes without event andthe group rises, eats their wheaties, and meet to move on. (On to Foxglove's or any other stop before?)
All things are possible in Magnimar as the party remembers. A shrine to Ragathiel is easily found as are accomodations of any desired level. Just let me know what level you want and I will find a place to put you.
Camillo is able to ply his easy smile and likable personality to get directions to one of the nicer sections of they city on the north side and the bard is able to recall that based on where the directions take him, there should be a couple of shortcuts that will get the group to the townhouse faster but, more importantly, unnoticed by most passersby.
Armed with directions the group settles into for the day the bustling city around them creating a promising distraction from the business relating to Foxglove....
Its probably mid afternoon by the time you are all sorted with beds/rooms, finding the Archangel's shrine and pressing flesh and swapping smiles for directions that aren't too obvious. How would you like to handle the rest of the day?
Hey we are WAY optimized....for getting into trouble. That is about all we are really good at, everything else is luck. As to new blood I think that is why I wouldn't do an open call, I would go looking for folks I know that already have a decent post rate and sustained presence on the boards. We'll see.
With the group sensing that the true threat has passed the decision to burn Foxglove Manor to the ground is tabled for a later date. Even the weather seems to give a subtle nod to the cleansing as the clouds seem to dissipate and the wind dies down to another average day on a seaside bluff.
Moving on to the next objective the group heads back to the coastal road and then along the way to Magnimar. Day settles to evening, and the group camps before making its way to the gates of the city by mid morning. In case forgot to mention it you are all on horses/ponies. Those of you who didn't have one were supplied one on loan from Goblin Squash Stables.
Magnimar. City of Monuments. Where to?
I will give Cristiel a couple of days to answer , just in case. After that we can look at another round of new blood. I might look at recruiting from other games I am in rather than a full on opening but we can discuss in a couple days. I'm also willing to consider extending invites to players you might know if anyone is in another game and knows somebody...
At this point I am going to assume the party is just Sayniek, Vidar, Cam and Kithian. Cristiel hasn't posted for weeks in any game that I can see. I have PM'd him but we may be down to a cadre of 4. Assume the magus is on patrol with her cousin and we will move on. I'll give the vote to burn a day otherwise I will move on in 24
The group heads down to the basement, treading carefully and attempting to avoid the various negative energies that sit idly throughout the house. Being forewarned seems to help as the group experiences no other visions or strange emotions yet the feeling of ominous threat remains as you wind back through the basement and into the caverns below.
The passage of time has not served the area well as undead and living flesh continues to rot. Sadly the gentle sighing of wind that carries air through the cave carries the noxious smells throughout. The group does its best to cover mouths and otherwise stave off the stench as best they can.
As the only party member connected with divine energies Sayniek intones the words from the scroll as Cam sprinkles the festering man shaped fungus that was found in Aldern's hideaway wth the holy water and materials provided by the church. The effect is obvious as the man shaped fungus almost seems to shift and inaudibly scream, a green and brown shadow acting out a cruel pantomime of death. Soon the show is over as the mold turns grey and then to ash, an effect not unlike a slowly moving fire with no heat that consumes the mold along the walls and out into the caverns and surely up into the house above.
More importantly the act seems to carry a "lightness" to it as energetically the group feels somehow less watched or menaced. The gruesome remains of violence are still everywhere to be seen but the group can seem to sense just in their bones that the house itself is no longer a threat.
Are you going to burn it down like the Mayor wanted or leave it for now to deal with some other time?
The group makes it way out of town and back down by way of the coastal road to Foxglove Manor. Like before the house seems perpetually cloaked in clouds and wind but there is still a sort of lightness to the air from the last time.
Armed with the instructions from Zantus the manor awaits a purification...
To a certain extent we can hand wave this unless there are specific things folks are hoping to check on or accomplish in the house?
Zantus recommends the group keeps the Pharasamite knife you found in Habe's "just in case" (See the discussion thread for details, someone let me know who is carrying THAT, maybe Sayniek McPaladin?) and the potion of Neutralize Poison and Cure Serious Wounds (Please let me know who takes those things) <---- Let me know who has what please
Ameiko wanders over to the group as you trade commentary on the facts on hand, Got word that Habe is ready to pass off whatever it is you need for Foxglove's place. I assume that means you all will be moving on to Magnimar next? Maybe I can steal your bard for a minute...[/ooc]
Ameiko makes a gesture Cam which is purely a pretense for a brief romantic "sending away" meanwhile an acolyte from the church approaches the group meekly and produces a pair of flasks and a rolled up scroll. In a halting voice the younger man addresses the rest of you, [b]Zantus says to douse the area of 'pollution' with as much of the flasks as you can while another one of you reads the scroll. He did mention that it might be best that lady Sayniek does the reading... Unless held by any of the group for questioning the acolyte bobs his head and makes his way out of the tavern.
Over the course of the week you are able to rest, prepare, see to your purchases and prepare for your travel.
Vidar is able to get a chance, between scribing and studying, eating, drinking and "other" activities, to read through the various notes that the group has accumulated and create a picture of what has been going on.
The young Aldern Foxglove was born to a family of tragedy. It was his great great grand-uncle, Vorel who attempted to unlock the mysteries of life and attempt the road to lichdom. It was Vorel's wife Kasanda that found the necromancer attempting his transition to undeath and disrupted the ritual at the cost of the life of her, her daughter and her servants.
Years later Traver Foxglove, Vorel's great-nephew and Aldern's father, would return with a new bride Cyralie only to erode under a dark influence, known now by the group to be the trapped psychic spirit of Vorel Foxglove. The haunting influence drove Traver's to madness and Cyralie tried to save her young son by burning down the house. She was rewarded for her efforts with murder at the hands of her mad husband who soon thereafter perished at his own hands stricken with a suddenly clear mind and wracked with guilt at what he had done under the influence of such dark forces.
Removed by extended family and raised in Magnimar and elsehwere Aldern returned to Foxglove Manor an adult. Weeks later he falls into a passionate romance and married Iesha only to see his own sanity erode as he murders his new wife. Stricken with fear Aldern reaches out to the "Brothers of the Seven" a shadowy cabal in Magnimar that was known to his family, to aid him since his wife has apparently risen from the dead, a sobbing shrieking revenant.
The 'Brothers of the Seven' influenced or working in concert with Xanesha make arrangements for Aldern to contact a local asset of theirs Caizarlu Zerren who had been working out of Habe's Sanitorium. The Brothers see that Iesha's disappearance is accounted for while Caizarlu is tasked with ending the revenant threat. Instead the necromancer takes a macabre interest in the creature and the manor in general and decided to delay his task while doing various points of research. Believing the matter will be dealt with, Aldern leaves town to resolve his debt for the 'Brothers' efforts in seeing his wife's murder contained.
Bankrupted by their extortion Aldern returns to Sandpoint hoping to at least return home and start some version of a new life. It is while being in town for the Swallowtail festival that Aldern encounters the Heroes, becomes obsessed with Kerrec and imagines himself a financier of good works.
His illusions are quickly dashed as he returns home to find more instructions from Xanesha and a still very much "alive" Iesha. In a confrontation with Caizarlu, Foxglove throws the necromancer out but is soon thereafter forced to beg for his help as he contracts ghoul fever in the course of harvesting fungus and rats from the house, the current extorting threat that Xanesha demands of him.
Caizarlu "aids" Aldern only to see Foxglove turn into a sentient and clearly "aware" ghoul lacking the pure animalistic traits of such a creature. The necromancer resolves to do more testing, becoming an almost harassing presence to Foxglove. Meanwhile in undeath Aldern becomes exceptionally suggestible to Vorel's influence, the spirit fracturing the young man's mind and driving him to madness even beyond the effects of undeath.
With the defeat of Nualia and the departure of the party and Kerrec in particular, Aldern and a number of new personalities war within moving between shame at what he has become, insane rage at a perception that someone he 'cared' about was forced away (Kerrec by Kithian and the group) and the constant needling of the necromancer and Xanesha's agenda.
Everything comes to a head as Aldern acts out with murderous intent, seeding the countryside with ghoul spawn and Caizarlu's greed for knowledge and information intersect. The party follows the various threads and systematically chases Caizarlu out of the area, defeats Aldern and grants Iesha peace. All that remains now are the Brothers and Xanesha who seemingly spurred this tragedy in motion by exerting undue influence on an already haunted family.
A week passes and things are busy.
Working with folks in town the group is able to see a number of lingering issues to put to rest while preparing for the excursion to Magnimar with a brief stop off back at Foxglove Manor.
Tradesman Fellik works with the group to design a sturdy bridge for Thistletop that would allow for transport of better materials onto the island and see much of the structures repaired, rebuilt and secured as well as designing a series of doors to properly restrict access to the old ruins beneath the town. Hemlock agrees to a patrol schedule to see that the runewell below the town is not coming back on, with a basic tactic of locking 5 doors behind them if anything comes to life and then waiting for back up to go back in. Fellik also agrees to cart certain objects of interest to Thistletop and see them stored properly for the group in the mean time.
Fellik believes he should have a bridge done in a couple of weeks. The doors beneath the town done in the same amount of time. Basic salvage rights to the resources of Thisteltop (all non essential gear, materials and previously identified "crap") will be given to Fellik to bankroll his initial efforts with clear instructions that certain areas (like the evil shrines and ancient statues) are hands off.
Zantus sees the church produce a number of sacred resources and works with aid from Madame Mvashti, her daughter Koya and a handful of local mystics and druids to remove the shrines in Thistletop, beneath the town and beneath the sanitarium while providing the holy water and ritual scroll the group will need to purge the manor.
Zantus takes the journal and chest that accounted for Habe's transgressions against the innocent and tasks his acolytes to either return the funds to families or use the money as part of their work to clean the various sites of their taints. He also has the church take any of the evil artifacts from any of those holy sites either to salvage for their value or seen given over to locations and orders that can house them properly and keep them out of the hands of evil practitioners.
The rest of the various magical items, potions and gear is given over to various merchants around town or fenced through Ameiko to get the group its gold.
Given the issues at hand all of the various books the group have found (the necromancer's library, the various journal of Habe, the notes from Foxglove Manor) are taken to Thisteltop and stored for future use, Vidar having access to them all having given them to his living tome.
Cam has (at this point) the necromancer's key ring with three keys to unidentified locks.
Zantus recommends the group keeps the Pharasamite knife you found in Habe's "just in case" (See the discussion thread for details, someone let me know who is carrying THAT, maybe Sayniek McPaladin?) and the potion of Neutralize Poison and Cure Serious Wounds (Please let me know who takes those things)
Rullis resolves (for now at least) to stay behind and aid Zantus with his efforts. The cleric reveals, somewhat sheepishly, that he actually had become afflicted by some unseen disease in Foxglove Manor and that he is still weaker than he would like to proceed with the group. He wishes you all a safe journey.
I swear I am going to drop kick my tech out a window. I basically have lost the ability to post when I m not at work apparently, which I will not abide. ANYWAY. Lost a couple of posts.
Sorry for the lack of clarity Cam, you are good to do a trade out on the handaxe, you are good to get a +1 on the shield. You guys are liked well enough that the trade out will be at no charge. Standard market for the +1)
No Cam, you and Sayniek have been active and I have a chime in from Vidar and I know Cristiel has stuff going on but he and Kithian have been pretty quiet and Rullis is fully MIA so I'm just trying to light a bit of a fire. No animus, seriously.
Umm lemme see...
Cloak +1 is available,
Allright, that you can take your pick from or wait for the big city, I will get a moving on post up in a bit...
I know I have been slow for a bit but c'mon folks. I'm asking for some basic info and crunch updates before I proceed. If I need to shut the game down because we have gotten too busy so be it but if I don't see some movement in the next day or so I am putting a clock on the game. Not trying to be a jerk, by no means, but the game needs a pulse to be worth running ya know?
Assume Sayniek and Cristiel walk away with 1000 gp ea and the rest of you 2000gp
Let me know what you spend the money on then I will narrate the "liquidation" and the remaining week.
Vidar can you do a quick calculation on all the scribing of spells you hope to accomplish in a week and let me know the total cost? Also I encourage you specifically to review your inventory and tell me if you want to sell anything else.
Mhmmm the best answer is "sort of"? Old Thassilonian magic was based on an even older tradition of, for lack of a better term, "emotional magic" it is certainly the case that those values became corrupted and the symbol has been used in evil settings.
This is, in a funny way, a perfect analogy to the swastika. Its initial usage was just fine and theoretically is still but deployments in other settings cause issues. Even as recently as a few days ago with the murder at the mill.
Tl;dr If Sayniek is worried about previous associations, then she should pass.
Oh and btw, I am also fine with the use of this down time to make alterations to characters in and out of game, yes Cam can convert to Unchained Rogue. The rest of you can look at alterations to your setups of new things have been published that make more sense.
If we can get all the logistics of this thread sorted by the end of the week I am hopeful to go guns blazing by next Monday. Sooner if we can hash out stuff faster.
The other option (which is faster but less "roleplay" oriented) is I can tell you what is worth your time to keep, make some basic assumptions how your group would act based on past precedents and give you each a sack of cash and a fast forwarded game state. We have been limping along for almost a year because of me so now I want to try to really get things moving for all of you, but not at the cost of you not hashing things out your way...
Actually I need you folks to answer a couple of questions to determine the money. There are a lot of things in that list Cam posted that can be sold or kept. If you folks are serious about cleaning up the unholy sites and liquidating the crap you don't want I have a mechanism to make that happen. Basically outside of the Foxglove situation the church and townies are capable of getting a lot of things done at this point.
In particular Habe can take a lot of the unholy artifacts and see them properly disposed of and liquidated to offset what needs to be done. Similarly Felik and others can see that things like the statues in Thistletop are liquidated to offset the expenses of doing things like building a real bridge and moving those things the group intends to keep from the list above (like book collections) and get them to Thistletop.
Ameiko can fence the rest and anything else you guys have on you that you might want to sell (Vidar you have a ton, want to liquidate? lol) for you guys (per Cam's ability
Talk amongst yourselves and let me know. My intention is to get this list done and settled so we can go into the next phase with some clear objectives and things resolved. I'm finally at a point life wise where my posting should be more thorough and frequent so I want to flesh all this stuff out or get it off the docket so we can move on.
Habe's locked notebook and second chest (the one with possessions) -> Habe kept a list of the people he wronged. Habe can work through that for you if you want and look into the shrine.
Few are the rituals and tools of the Pharasamites that are known outside of the church but this blade is one that is oft whispered about. Sometimes called "the peaceful blade" or "the final rest" the lore suggest that this blade, in a way similar to a silver spike or wood, is plunged in the heart of a creature. Tales say this blade works on anyone, living or dead, and that it can disrupt some magics related to necromancy and/or resurrection. It is a tool of the church to ensure that the victim of its strike meets their appointed time with their mistress. These are rare enough, that a man like Habe has one indicates either a great crime or a great expense on his part.
Ok this is going to be a bit more complicated than I first realized because you may also be getting money from a couple of other places....so give me a bit to figure out lootz and shares.
Rullis are you still around? It may make sense based on Sadaukar's posting to assume he will not accompany the group for now and we can backfill that all in if he shows back up. It looks like his other game is looking for him too and has been for a bit.
If there are any other ambitions short or long term with money or outstanding obligations social/fiscal or otherwise dump them here while I go back through. Make sure your sheets are up to date inventory wise because I will need to calculate some values based on who is carrying what around.
Sorry for the delay, I've got family back in the hospital, a graduation I had to attend out of town and a virus of my own...but maybe things are calming down? WELCOME TO LEVEL 5. Post adjustment to your character in the discussion thread. Assume you have 48 hours to get rested, do whatever you want to do in town and coordinate before hitting the road. Post your two day intentions in the gameplay and I will move us along tomorrow. Anyone that misses the posting window can post retcon 48 hours in spoilers to keep things clear.
The sheriff frowns at the mention of Redshi then nods at the notion, I'll wrangle up the reward and see its run to you.
With that the dark skinned man rises which signals the end of the meeting. The group is free to go about its business... though note that none of you have really slept in a couple of days. What would you like to do about town and how long do you want to rest up/research/what have you before you go?
The mayor nods, Get what you need from Zantus and stop by the house on your way to Magnimar. If you need some time to rest I understand that. Apparently Foxglove's efforts were meant to take days or weeks to complete so it doesn't seem, based on your description, that you need to leave this instant. Is there anything else we haven't covered you would like to discuss?
The sheriff nods slowly, My patrols are reporting a sharp decrease in incidents. We even look like we might have gotten lucky and saved a couple people before they turned to ghouls... The dark skinned man looks over at Father Zantus who nods in response. The sheriff continues, I think we will be fine as things stand. Shalelu has sent word that the goblin tribes remain at minimal size and are in-fighting, it will be a season or more before they become a nuisance. My men are guarding the sanitarium and the council has made arrangements for a group of laborers to come and tear it down and destroy everything inside. Although there is the issue of the shrine...
Zantus makes gesture to indicate it will be taken care of, The shrine beneath the sanitarium is no issue. The priest and acolytes of the church are prepared to go there tomorrow to deal with THAT issue. On the matter of the house though I was wondering if I gave you the resources, Zantus gestures at the group, Most of us are not clerics but lesser skilled practitioners. For my part I am honestly too frail to resist or rebuff the assaults of that house from what you say. I can provide you the tools to destroy this possession I believe and perhaps even leave the house...
Destroy it. The mayor sighs heavily as she leans forward from her chair. The sanitarium is being torn apart brick by brick but I want Foxglove manner reduced to ash, unless you think there is a reason to keep it standing?
The group departs the bathhouse well cleaned and in fresh clothes mostly relieved of non essential armor and gear for proper cleaning save for Sayniek who's armor is cleaned first and put back on her with Ameiko offering that no paladin she has ever known would consider their armor "non-essential" even when in town.
The group is able to track down both the mayor and the sheriff who have the foresight to invite Father Zantus from the church as well. The group meets in the mayor's office and begins to detail its various findings and the issues both at the sanatorium along with evidence that Adern Foxglove had devloved into some sort of undead lunatic. Positive highlights include resolving the issue of what crimes happened in the sawmill (Foxglove murdered folk and got other folks blamed) and the end to at least the immediate scourge of ghouls attacking townsfolk.
Negatives that arise are of course the substantial issues of who and or what Foxglove was up to, the now missing necromancer and the issue of the haunting of Foxglove manor. Zantus offers that he might have the right tools for the job but not the physical fortitude that younger more robust adventurers might have. On the other topics the mayor and sheriff are mute for a good minute until finally the mayor breaks the silence,
What do you think is the next step?