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The terror builds and Ezechias and Xerice feel the icy hand upon them. They move back into the furnace room, sweating and gasping for breath, but feeling immediately better once the threat is out of sight. Meanwhile Cireth's draconic side rises and his claws lengthen! He cuts into the ghostly form, doing some damage but not enough to kill it! Unfortunately Zanu's attack just seems to pass right through the form of the ghostly figure!
Several of the broken vials near the party begin to fly into the air, circling the figure! As it howls, they launch themselves at Cireth! Ranged Touch: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7 Cireth ducks and the objects smash into the floor, breaking into shards of glass! Suddenly the poltergeist disappears, but the howling spectral wind and rattling objects remain!
24 Cireth and Cesare
The heroes are up. All fear effects have worn off!
Xerice begins searching around, but before she can do much more than open cabinets, there is a sudden change in the room. Everyone feels a chill come over them as small objects in the room begin to shake and clack loudly. Then a scream of pain and rage as a spectral skeletal figure appears, floating above the infirmary floor!
Everyone needs to make a DC Will Save vs Mind-affecting Fear or be frightened for 1d4 ⇒ 1 rounds!
The heroes are up!
Once more Cireth's icy ray seems to wound the thing, so that it roars and shrieks. But it's Xerice's bucket of water that seems to do the trick! She throws it into the furnace and there is a terrible sound like metal tearing, then the furnace seems to vomit out the water and along with it the soaked and burnt skeleton of a man. As soon as the skeleton has left the furnace, the furnace goes still and silent and the heat disappears!
After a few moments of searching and checking the room, you content yourself that nothing of importance remains. The door to the next room is indeed not trapped, and opens onto what looks like an infirmary. Several moldy cots lay strewn around this room, while doors to smaller, more private sleeping cells hang askew to the west. Judging from the rest of this room’s decor, this must have once been the prison’s infirmary.
Although it does seem a bit moldy in places, you can see some vials and bandages that seem to have survived intact.
Remember, in Pathfinder you only begin taking ability damage when the damage reaches multiples of -2. It doesn't actually have anything to do with your actual ability score.
Corbyn's swift strikes seem to hack away at the thing, and Slumper's strikes finish it off! Suddenly the smoky form disperses with a hiss and the room goes quiet once more!
End of combat!
The door to the south is revealed to be a pantry. These pantries contain collapsed shelves, fragments of crates and other containers, stacks of crumbling firewood, and plenty of dust.
The doors to the north seem to open onto the room with the minotaur skeleton guards. There is also a staircase headed up...
Pai's magic missiles strike the smoky form, while Ruperta's protections surround her friends. The smoky ghoul glides forward and seems to flow into Slumper! Slumper Fort Save: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (4) + 13 = 17 Slumper begins to hack and gasp as his lungs burn with smoky fire! Slumper takes 1 Con damage!
Corbyn, Paxs, Thrak, Ruperta, Slumper are Pai are up!
Ezechias' mace clangs off the metal furnace, but it doesn't seem to damage the thing. Cireth's ray of frost seems to have more of an effect, causing the furnace to scream in pain and anger. Once again the ray of fire lashes out, this time at Ezechias! Ranged Touch: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6, but he is able to dodge the fire and step to the side just in time!
Ezechias, then Round 3!
We'll add Corbyn in when he posts!
The large cinder things flow forward like smoke in the air. One attacks Slumper with a slamming attack! Attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22, however Slumper catches the slam on his shield, the smoking tendril bursting into flame as it hits.
The other slides five feet toward Asyra and seems to flow into her mouth and nose, sliding through the chains that cloak her! Fort Save: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (8) + 15 = 23 Asyra coughs and hacks, but manages to exhale the thing before it can do too much damage to her!
Paxs, Thrak, Ruperta, Slumper, and Pai are up!
Zanu splashes water, but very little hits the inside of the furnace, certainly not enough to drench whatever is inside!
Ranged Touch: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4 vs Zanu! The tongue of fire lashes out again, but Zanu is able to dodge it while retreating from the furnace!
Ezechias, then Round 2!
Cireth, I don't believe Arcane Strike can be used to enhance a spell, only weapons. If you have any supporting evidence, let me know.
Xerice and Sonny, you believe this to be another haunt, possibly one fueled by the wrath of someone who died in the furnace's fires. If such a person's remains were retrieved and quenched of their burning torment, their soul could rest free...
Sonny beats a retreat from the furnace while Xerice studies the malevolent thing. Cirth's icy blast hits the furnace and seems to damage it; it lets out a howl of pain.
As Slumper moves toward the ovens, Pai leans in to offer advice. A sudden blast of fire wells up inside of each of the three ovens, then plumes out into a sheet of flame that fills the room. As the fires burn, shrieking spirits made of flame tear through the room, swimming through the bodies of living creatures and appearing to tear away bits of flesh as they do. Slumper feels the fires hot on his skin! 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16 The fire burns hot and terrible and Pai is forced to pull her face backwards as the fire fills the room, dealing 10d6 ⇒ (3, 3, 4, 1, 3, 4, 5, 5, 1, 6) = 35 fire damage to Slumper, minus his resistance!
The blast burns, then is gone, leaving Slumper scorched, but the room untouched and unharmed, as if there had never been fire filling the room moments before! However, then strange outlines on the walls suddenly bulge and emerge from the wall, two large humanoid outlines of scorching smoke with fire licking inside them!
Asyra moves into the room, her chains beginning to spin as one lashes at the things! 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (15) + 17 = 32, dealing 2d4 + 4 ⇒ (3, 4) + 4 = 11 damage! However her chains seem barely to scratch it!
Corbyn is up!
Slumper moves into the kitchens. Set into the stone wall are several ovens, which clearly look disused but smell of burnt meat and radiate faint heat. Two humanoid outlines are burned into the wall around the ovens, contorted as if in pain. There are two doors on the wall to the north. Around the corner from the ovens is another door, as well as a staircase leading upward.
What is Slumper doing in the kitchen?
Sonny's nose leads him directly toward the furnace. Inside he can see a faint red glow, as if dying embers were being fanned to life by a breeze. However before he can see much more the furnace's iron face springs to life! It ROARS, a loud sound that buffets Sonny with tangible force! He stumbles backward, but a tongue of fire lashes forth from the furnace's "mouth" and tries to strike him! Ranged Touch: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17 It hits and burns him for 4d6 ⇒ (5, 1, 5, 4) = 15 fire damage!
Everyone save Ezechias is up! The furnace seems to be alive, its iron grating leering wide like teeth and its fiery tongue lashing around!
Corbyn, this thing is the biggest specimen of corpse orgy that you've seen in a long time. They're actually aberrations that collect corpses and make them part of their form. Oh, and they also can draw living things into their form, which kills them in short order. Bon appetit!
Corbyn's first round attack does very little to the thing, but his next rounds' attacks flash and bloody the evil thing.
Ruperta teleports Slumper out of the reach of the thing, then moves back to ready her ranged attacks.
NPCing Thrak attacks!
In a flurry of blood, corpses and foul smelling ichor, Thrak tears the corpse orgy apart. The room looks like an abattoir, body parts strewn everywhere. There's not here worth saving, no matter how much you search. The only other exit leads back to the main causeway.
End of combat! Where to now? Bony guards or castle kitchens?
Slumper tears into the mass of flesh, but to his shock, his shield deals no extra damage to the thing! Not undead!
Laori pulls forth what looks like a small stone from her pocket, whispers into her cupped hand and moves into the doorway. She tosses the pebble just past the thing, landing next to Thrak! 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22 She cast silence on a stone, then threw it past the creature. It won't be able to use its scream ability again unless it deals with the stone!
Paxs, Thrak, Corbyn, Ruperta, and Pai are up!
NPCingPaxs sends Thrak in, but due to the narrow room and the PCs in the way, he cannot charge! Instead he tries to skirt the fleshy thing to flank it and the flesh thing's hold on Slumper prevents it from attacking. Thrak bites using power attack! Bite 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (20) + 17 = 37, 2d6 + 1d6 + 21 ⇒ (6, 3) + (4) + 21 = 34, Possible crit: Bite 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (7) + 17 = 24, 2d6 + 1d6 + 21 ⇒ (6, 1) + (1) + 21 = 29 He does bit deeply into the thing, just as Pai's magic missiles strike it!
Corbyn, you're up. We'll put you in when you post!
Asyra moves into the room, her chains flashing! Attack: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (4) + 17 = 21 for 2d4 + 4 ⇒ (3, 1) + 4 = 8
Sial stays back, watching to see how damaging the thing can be.
The fleshy thing lets out a scream of pain from many of its corpse-mouths. The chorus of the damned tears at your ears as they begin to bleed!
Pain Shriek (Sonic Damage): 10d6 ⇒ (6, 4, 5, 1, 3, 4, 1, 6, 2, 5) = 37 Fort DC 25 for half damage!
Paxs Fort: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Slumper is up, then Round 2!
Searching this room, even near the pit, reveals only a few charred bones and nothing to identify them. Seeing nothing of interest, you decide to brave the northern pond.
Wading through the cold, tepid water, you round the ruined wall to see a strange sight. A huge stone furnace dominates this room, large enough for a child to climb inside. An ancient fire has burned away the entire east wall the room, providing a panoramic, if eerie, view of the lake beyond. That same lake has gradually expanded into the room, flooding its eastern half. Above the furnace is a faded brass sign that reads "EMBER MAW" in block letters.
Slumper slips into the room, noticing the corpses laying about, all seemingly as fresh as the day they died, despite the ancient blood stains. He moves into the room, watching out for danger and when it comes, it comes not from a haunting spirit, but from the mound of corpses!
The pile of corpses suddenly moves, and lurches toward Slumper in a charge. It tries to strike him! Slam: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (7) + 19 = 26 It does, hitting for 2d6 + 5 ⇒ (1, 1) + 5 = 7 damage and trying to suck him into the pile of dead bodies! CMB: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (7) + 22 = 29 It does so, grappling the poor fighter as he is drawn toward the mass of dead bodies!
Paxs, Corbyn, Ruperta and Pai are up! Knowledge Dungoneering to ID that THING!
Sonny's faith is renewed as his holy light surges out, destroying one of the flyers. Ezechias strikes the one in front of Zanu, smashing it from the air. Xerice's bolt finds the last one and shatters it, knocking it from the sky.
All three skulls lay silent and broken on the ground, their flames gone out!
Combat over! Sonny, immune to fire, not that it matters much now!
The pit still beckons, a sound of water hitting water coming from deep below. In addition a single door to the north still stands shut, though you can wade through the ankle deep water and enter that room, as the wall is gone in that area.
These are flaming skulls, a type of undead created when someone burns alive. 1 piece of information, Sonny.
Will: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8, Will: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18, Will: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
As Sonny calls upon Saranrae, his holy power bursts from him, nearly destroying two of the flying skulls. The one farthest away seems to take less of the burst, but his companions' flames dim slightly as they fly through the air.
Zanu and Ezechais move toward the edge of the pit as Caesare urges caution. Zanu bends down to touch one of the skulls, trying to dig it out when it suddenly bursts into unholy flame, soon joined by the other two skulls!
The skull near Zanu attempts to slam into him, while the other two rise into the air and begin to circle! Attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15 It strikes him, burning him for 1d6 ⇒ 6 fire damage!
The heroes are up! The skull in front of Zanu is at chest height, the other two are 20' feet up in the air!
The western door: Numerous arrow slits along the northern wall look out over the castle courtyard, and a pair of doors look as if they open onto it. The burnt stubs of torches hang in iron brackets between the arrow slits, and small puddles of rain have formed beneath them, staining the stone. Opposite these, metal rings have been driven into the stone wall; some have short lengths of chain attached to them. Five skeletal minotaur guards wait here, occasionally moving about to gaze in different directions.
The southern double doors: The scene in this large chamber is stomach-turning. Bodies lie everywhere, orc and human alike. Judging by the sprawled nature of the corpses, they fought brutally before succumbing to their wounds, dying in heaps on the floor. Many corpses are riddled with arrows and crossbow bolts, and a few appear to have perished while locked in mortal combat and still clutch at weapons embedded in various parts of each others’ anatomy. A particularly large mound of bodies lies in the northwest corner, a heap of carcasses in a tangle of limbs. Strangely, while the room reeks of death, the bloodstains on the walls and floor seem incredibly ancient.
Ruperta sees: Rickety tables, butcher’s blocks, and collapsed shelves clutter this room which appears to have once served as the castle kitchen. The walls and ceiling are covered in soot, particularly to the west where three huge ovens loom. Each is completely covered in a layer of char and soot, inside and out, with bits of charred bone and charcoal caked on the iron grills and in the ash pits beneath. Worse, however, are the two outlines burned into the brick of the oven walls—humanoid images splayed in positions of agony and death. Despite the ancient look of the layers of grime, the ovens radiate slight warmth and the faint odor of burning meat, as if they have been used recently.
Opening the southern quiet door reveals a long hallway. The first door you come to, on the western wall, is slightly warm to the touch and the smell of cooking fires wafts from it. Further along the hallway you find more barracks, all fallen into disuse. Skeletal remnants remain, but nothing threatens you. The final door leads to a staircase that goes to the second floor, probably the twin of the one you took to get down here.
You have heard that an unattended metal object must be warmed using heat metal when the haunt manifests, thus drawing the cold into itself. The object must then be buried in a consecrated grave.
Moving cautiously, you are able to avoid the cold spot and its energy-sapping powers. Your each the double doors on the eastern wall and open them after checking for traps. The northeast wall of this room has partially fallen, revealing the dark, murky waters of the pond outside. Moldering training dummies and other similar equipment hint that this room may have once been a training area for the guards. In the northeast part of the room, the floor around a dark, jagged hole is surrounded by black scorch marks. Water flows down this pit from the pond nearby, trickling into the pit with a gentle sound. Amidst the rubble near the pit, you can see three charred human skulls laying half-buried.
Each of the haunts in this adventure have a way to remove them, ala what Cireth mentions. However, they also all have the same method: stop the Big Bads in Harrowstone and the haunts disappear.
I would say Knowledge Arcana or Religion would grant you insight into the method of destroying haunts. Also, I'd houserule Sense Motive as well.
No, Carrion Crown had nothing on Disable Device being used to disable haunts. I presume this falls under the disarming magic traps idea and probably reflects an evolving understanding. However you still have to notice the trap to disarm it before it goes off. We'll keep that in mind as we go forward.
Ruperta's channel seems to stagger the wraith, and Thrak's flurry of attacks finish him off. Thrak's claws tear apart the shadowy figure, leaving a pale glowing figure of a handsome man in shining armor behind. He raises one hand in a salute, one soldier saluting another, then fades away. It is with a start that you realize that this was the tortured spirit of Mandraivus, the hero who led the soldiers that ended Kazavon's reign so many years ago.
When he is defeated, his skeletal remains crumble, leaving only the dusty armor behind. As his spirit fades away, a sudden wind blows away the dust, revealing a brilliant suit of celestial plate armor.
There are several exits from this room. On the south wall there is a double door which is barred from this side and a smaller door. On the west wall there is a set of double doors. Which way?