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Yeah, that's pretty much it. Lamashtu's symbol doesn't match up with this 7 pointed rune, and you also got confirmation that the rune was representative of the 7 virtues of rule from ancient Thassilon, but is also interpreted as the 7 great sins: gluttony, anger, greed, envy, etc. You got all this from Brodert Quint, a visiting sage residing in Sandpoint researching a Thassilonian ruin in town, the Old Light, which features a lot of similar looking symbols.
Ah, sorry, no nothing detected as magical in the barn. The room of cages & webs features a floor carpeted in the bones of various animals and humanoids - humans, gnomes, even a few elven skulls are scattered about.
The front room where you found Hograth, Jeppo and Sugar features a crude still with liqueur that smells so strong, it's almost nauseating.
Porch: This moss-encrusted, decaying farmhouse slumps drunkenly at the edge of the damp forest clearing. Rickety steps crawl up to a porch covered by a huge eave held aloft by thick pillars of pine. These timbers are decorated with crude carvings of manticores impaling children with their tail spikes and women being ripped apart by wolves. The carvings look like a child’s work, but the subject matter grows more gruesome and depraved from one depiction to the next. An unsettlingly large rocking chair of lashed wood and bone sways erratically in the breeze at the far end of the porch under a vast menagerie of wind chimes composed of decidedly humanoid bones. The house’s windows have all been boarded up with thick timbers, although it’s unclear whether this was done to keep intruders out or imprison whatever things make their home within.
A host of ants march happily away here and there on the porch, many the size of a grown man’s thumbnail. A moth the size of a shovel head clings to the porch ceiling, watching you with alien eyes. The scent of bad meat, urine, sweat, and decay wafts now and then from between the cracks in the boarded-up windows.
There are a couple of cunning traps in the porch. One is an array of spikes on a rack hidden in the ceiling, triggered to release upon touching the door. A pair of saw blade are also tucked under the porch's floorboards, ready to slide upward at the slightest touch of the door.
Side Door: You find no sign of traps or anything noteworthy on the side door.
Sounds like the party's in agreement to proceed to the farm house. Just need to know the point of entry. Again, there are 2 obvious doors to the home:
- front porch on the south side
- well-worn path leading to a side door on the east side of the home
Chances are this property will be listed soon, and with the way home prices keep going up in this area, you don't want to miss your opportunity to provide a place for your growing family.
Yes, it's far too damp to attempt a window entry.
Actually, the windows are all boarded up, but you could try to smash through, pry board loose, etc.
There's quite a few boarded up windows:
- 3 on the east side, 1 near the side door
- 4 on the north side, 1 of which is towards the back, on a tacked on room
- 2 on the west side (the back of the house), also on this addition to the home
- 3 on the south side, with 2 on the front porch, and 1 on the room addition at the back of the home
There's also and upper story, with exactly 2 windows, both of which are on the west side of the house, exactly 10' apart
Jakardros shakes his head. "You'd be a fool to come back to this place, unless you fancy winding up on their dinner table. Help us out of here, back to the village. We need to take back Fort Rannick."
Shelalu gasps. "Then the Fort has fallen? How ... ?"
Kaven nods. "Whatever we do, let's do it now. We can explain what's happened later when we have more time."
Shelalu offers an idea. "Let's put it to a vote. Myself, Kaven, Lleidr want to storm the Graul house now. Parthen, what do you think? You're probably the smartest one here.
"Nicholae, Jak, that's two who want to leave. Selia, you're wanting to wait, right? "
Shelalu then nods to the third former prisoner, a dark-skinned fellow, who has yet to speak. "Vale, you've been awfully quiet. What's your vote?"
Vale points towards the barn entrance, in the direction of the house. "I want to go in that house and kick their collective asses. Besides, I think they hid our gear in there, and I'd hate to lose my beloved battleaxe forever."
Shelalu smiles. "So, that leaves it up to Ned and Parthen: either storm the house now or leave/hold out here. I wish we could simply burn the place down, too, but it's been so wet lately, you'd have trouble getting a match to strike today."
Jakardross nods. "I think the mother is a witch or sorceress of some kind. Probably has the house jinxed against fire or some such."
Setting the house on fire would likely prove very difficult given the amount of recent rains. In fact, you haven't had a day of clear skies since you left Magnimar.
If you do decide to enter the farmhouse, remember there's 2 entrances. A wide front porch on the south side, and tracks suggest that the it's little used. A side door on the east wall showed signs of traffic.
Hmm , interesting ... not sure what the consensus is for the party.
- Enter the farmhouse with the intent to destroy the Grauls
- Get back to town to rest & resupply (sounds like 2 of you lean against doing this, so maybe isn't likely)
- Hang out inside the barn and wait for the Grauls to make the first move.
For her part, Shelalu urges action now. "We should stay on the offensive, before the Grauls have time to better build their defenses."
One the men's companions, a much younger chap, pipes up after waking up a bit more once the healing magics have taken hold.
"Hang on a minute, Jak. Shelalu's friends look pretty tough to me. Look at the dead spider yonder for proof. If we can help them clean out the farmhouse, we can rid this place of the Grauls forever."
"Help them?" Jakardros snorts. "Kaven, we have no gear! We barely have clothes. I don't want to face the rest of the Grauls with naught but my bare hands."
Actually, the manacles' locks are pretty primitive and prove small challenge to your skill. The men are released, but all three are unconscious and in pretty bad shape. They're dressed in little more than rags and their many wounds are obvious signs of torture to your eyes.
Shelalu is upset when seeing their condition up close. She gives each man a couple of taps with a magical wand.
Jakardros awakens and smiles again. "The Graul family lives in the farmhouse. This place was for their animals and where their least favored sons spent their days. You haven't met the worst of this lot, and pray that you never do. We need to leave this place, immediately, before the rest of the Grauls come after us."
"But what happened, Jak? What happened to the Black Arrows? Did they all end up here?"
"There's no time to explain. Please, get us safely back into town, and I'll tell you everything I know."
Graul Barn, Room of Wooden Cages, Round 1
Sensing your aggression, the spider leaps forth from the funneled web, its mandible clicking and eager for soft flesh, pinching Lleidr (12 dmg and I need a Fort save).
Parthen moves across the catwalk as well.
As Lleidr dashes across the catwalk, the spider snaps at him once more, but only manages to tear his cloak. It hisses and spits after being nicked with the dagger.
Selia angers the great spider as well with a flash of arcane power. The rhino splinters the door, and is enraged at finding itself tangled in nets of dirty, ropy webbing.
Ned's series of bowshots are the final blow ... the arrows fly straight through the monster's carapace, causing black-green bile to vomit from the arrow wounds, gushing on the barn's dirt floor. The spider jerks and dances from spasms of pain before crashing into the ground.
"Jakardros?" Shelalu runs across the catwalk, gazing at the other end of the room.
"Aye, tis me, and I never dared to hope to see your face again." one of the three weakened men answers with a wan smile. "You're lookin' at the last of the Black Arrows, lassie. And you're in grave peril. You must leave this place."
NOTE - well, since Ned made ridiculously short work of this awesome monster, there's no need for another map update. Also, I forgot to mention the existence of a set of iron keys the previous room, which you noticed.
The majority of this large, stuffy chamber is covered in filthy webs forming a funnel that dips down into the ground. A catwalk runs around the rim of the room near the ceiling, twenty feet above the ground. In northeast and southeast corners, the catwalk expands into a ten-foot-square platform that’s fenced in by wooden beams, forming cages. The walls within each cage are hung with iron manacles. Most of the manacles, while bloody, are empty, but three in the southeast corner imprison emaciated men.
Below you, stirring upon your arrival from the funnel of webbing below, is a massive creature. It turns to gaze at you as you creep along the catwalk. This towering spider is the size of an elephant. Its legs have spiky joints and its face looks vaguely, but disturbingly, humanoid.
NOTE - Selia you were summoning something, but I don't know what you ended up with. We're about a round after the last combat, so whatever you summoned should still be with us.
Graul Barn, Surprise Round
The firepelt cougar tenses, then leaps towards Sugar in an explosive jump, gnashing the fellow with the cat's great teeth.
Shelalu, bow at the ready, takes the stairs at a run, and leans over to get a better shot below.
Parthen fires a volley of magic missiles at the cougar's opponent, who is badly mauled at this point.
Nich protects himself with divine magics.
Lleidr readies himself with drawn blade.
Selia boosts Ned's strength.
"Ain't this a holler and shout? These littlun's need some teachin."
Graul Barn, Surprise Round
Yanking the door floods the dark interior with daylight, and surrounds the party with the dank odor of sour-smelling liquor, moldering straw, caged dogs, and ripened, unbathed bodies. The barn houses several mounds of molding hay, grain stores, and even a large but crude still. Two catwalks rise up along the walls, leading to doors near the ceiling in the east wall. Lower, a pair of massive doors, boarded over with thick timbers, allows ground access to the room beyond. Several dingy kennels are built into the walls under the catwalks.
A trio of half-dressed, deformed ogrish men look at you in astonishment.
"Daggum, Sugar! I figgered with all that screamin', Crowfood had killed them trespassers right good, but mebbe he's dead now." exclaims with southern most man, who has a lumpy head and a third arm.
"That OK. I reckon we'll be eatin fresh meats for dinner now, and sharin' with fewer mouths." Sugar responds in a wide smile, his arms and legs twitching all the while. He's shorter than his companions, given his stunted legs. He's the northern most fellow.
A third ogrish man, the one in the middle and with large milky eyes, gasps at the light flooding the barn, and he shrinks backwards into the shadows, holding his hands aloft to shade his face.
This is a surprise round - take a free action!
There's no signs of life on the outside of the barn. There's no windows; except for a wide front door on the barn, any egress has been boarded up.
However, Bizrip can hear voices coming from inside. They are loud, and are laughing. Their way of speech is very much the same as Crowfood's or Rukus' - rustic and crude.
Been a couple of days, and no responses from the players. Need to know if you're going to approach the farmhouse or the barn. And, if you're going to the farmhouse, which of the 2 entrances you may be going towards: the side door or the front porch.
The firepelt cougar is tugging you towards the barn.
After Nicholae's brave charge and Shelalu's cunning sword-play, Rukus staggers. A few well placed magical darts flying from Parthen finish the job, and the beast-like man collapses onto the forest floor amid his dead and dying hounds.
"Well played, Nich!" Shelalu says. "Ugh, these Graul ogrekin are even fouler than I remember. This must be their infamous home. I don't recall any rangers getting this close to them and surviving for long. Looks like Selia is headed towards the farmhouse. Should we follow?"
Ned is able to heal the cougar. She blinks her eyes in surprise and gives Ned's hand a scratchy-tongued lick.
The house itself remains silent. While there are several windows, they're all boarded up. There's a wide front porch on the south side of the house, which features a front door. There's also a side door, near the porch, but on the east side. The eastern side of the house is thick with mold and fungus.
Near the farmhouse, on the opposite side of the clearing, is a large barn, its broad timbers sagging.
Graul Farm, Round 5
Another arrow sails from Lleidr's bow, but merely buzzes Rukus' ear.
Shelalu spins about, going around Rukus in order to flank, then stab him with her sword.
Nich runs straight south, towards Selia.
Ned runs straight towards the cougar, but can't quite make it that far.
Parthen augments Shelalu's AC by 2, then steps back from the melee.
Selia runs towards the house. There's no apparent activity on the outside, from either the house or the large barn.
Rukus rams his spear into the elemental [19 dmg], then turns to stab at Shelalu, but the attempt is sloppy and slow, and is easily parried by the elf. "This hain't no fair fight. You's a bunch of cowards and bullies."
Graul Farm, Round 4
Lleidr's shot misses as he runs towards the strange looking antagonist.
Shelalu delivers a pair of swift strokes, felling the last remaining hound.
A vaguely humanoid shape rises from the road and smashes into Lleidr's target. Selia administers aid to the fallen cougar, but it is still dying!
Nich runs south at top speed with a somewhat slower Ned following.
Parthen takes a 5' step away from the antagonist barreling his way through the group; Parthen casts a minor magic spell of protection upon himself.
"Gah, help, Mammy! Can you hear me? They killed all my dogs and now they're after your Rukus! Git out here!" He bellows towards the house, waving his arms wildly as he continues to fight you. He spins and lashes out at the summoned elemental, getting in a couple of stabs of his spear (34 dmg total ... not sure if this takes it out of the fight).