We are playing Carrion Crown, in which I am a bard who is a member of the Pathfinder society. We use the faction book, so in order to get Prestige, I am writing up our adventures as pretend submissions to the pathfinder chronicles. This is a rough draft, let me know what you think! I'll be posting subsequent journals at the conclusion of each part of the adventure! The cast of characters are as follows.
Scrivener of Fate: Human Shoanti Arcane Duelist Bard
Dr. Faustus: Human Alchemist
Kass: Female Kobold Rogue/Fighter
Maximilian: Half-Orc Unbreakable Fighter
Fewskie: Male Half-Elf Cleric/fighter of Erastil
Vita: Fewskie's Spinasaurus Animal Companion
This is the travel and exploration journal of Scrivener of Fate of the Shoanti people. My name is strange, yes, but if you know anything about the Shoanti, you know it is the only one that those outside my immediately family know me as. I am a member of the Pathfinder Society, and have been for almost six years, since I left my people at the age of fifteen. I warn you, this is a frank and unabashed recounting of what I have been through, as well as what I have seen. There will be little flowery language and fewer jokes. There will, however, be action, adventure and discovery in these pages. So read on!
Approximately one month ago, I was called to the funeral of one Professor Petros Lorrimor, a man I knew only in passing. I once met him while travelling the road with a fellow Pathfinder, a cleric of Erastil by the name of Fewskie. The professor was being attacked by goblins while traveling on the road. His horse was dead, though he appeared to be perfectly capable of handling a few screaming green lunatics. Then with a loud crash of timbers and ogre came charging out of the nearby woods lining the road, and struck the old man a dolorous blow which sent him spinning to the ground in a heap. My companion and I were forced to come to the scholar's aid, and for that he was exceedingly grateful, and wrote us into his will much to our surprise. I was simply happy to help a man in need, but I graciously accepted his summons, eager to see the spirit of one who's strand of fate I had touched pass easily and uneventfully to the afterlife. I was gratified when I arrived to hear that he had died of natural causes as far as it could be determined, setting my fears of having caused another fate to be changed for the worse at ease.
Perhaps I should interject here and explain exactly what I am talking about. I am called Scrivener of Fate by my people because we believe that my fate is not set, and I move freely through the strands of fate tied those around me. I was marked by Chaldira at birth, and many priests of The Calamitous Turn have verified this, and I assure I am a staunch worshiper of Her. Now, I am free of predetermined fate, however my actions affect the fates of those around me positively or negatively depending on what course I choose to take. Now, I will continue.
When I arrived at the large manor house in the dreary and dank land of Ustalev in the town of Ravengro, I was not alone in being summoned. My old companion Fewskie whom I had not seen in three years was there, much to my delight and surprise. We immediately began swapping stories and discoveries from our exploits on behalf of the Society. Also joining us were a motley collection of unique individuals, but that is normally the case at the start of a grand adventure is it not? Though, strangely there was no alcohol involved in this particular meeting, much to the disappointment of the next of our cast of characters, a massive half-orc named Maximilian. He was heavily tattooed, though not as much as myself, and carried himself as a warrior. He was joined by his half brother, a human man named Doctor Faustus, who's strange accent was only matched by the odd assortment of vials and chemicals he carried with him as what I later learned was simply a matter of course. He was followed closely at all times by what I thought at first was a pet. A small cloaked figure that moved quickly and silently everywhere it went. I found out soon that it was in fact a kobold named Kass. The Doctor had evidently raised her from an egg he found, and she was deathly loyal to the strange man. Now, most of you would consider a kobold nothing but a nuisance and would have exterminated it immediately. Kass has proved herself a valuable and trustworthy member of our group many times over, even if she is extremely strange and I believe mildly addled in the head.
Now, I will not bore you with any more needless details, and I will move my narrative to the interesting parts. We were beckoned by the will to protect and look after the Professor's daughter, Katherine, for one month before traveling to Lepidstat to return some valuable books the Professor had borrowed from some of his peers. Needless to say being men (and women) of action, we were extremely bored in the sleepy town of Ravengro. I began to research the history of the town at the urging of the Professor's notes that we were given during the reading of the will. He had been researching something sinister in the nearby ruins of Harrowstone Prison. For those of you not familiar with this dreadful and evil place, it was once the most prominent prison in all of Ustalev, where the worst murderers and psychopaths were sent to die. It was burned down fifty years ago during a riot in which the prisoners murdered the warden and many of the guards. The place has been considered haunted and has subsequently been avoided by the locals ever since. The Professor's notes spoke of something supernatural about the place, and warned anyone following in his footsteps to prepare for disquieted spirits. This information resolved me personally to investigate this place myself, as my ancestral weapon, a massive bardiche named “Spirit Splitter”, was created specifically to place restless spirits back in their graves where they belong. Since the others who were summoned had nothing better to do, they all resolved to go with me when I investigated the ruined prison.
When we arrived, the place could only be described as one word, haunted. The very air vibrated with a sort of mournful sigh, and approaching the building's remains felt like pushing through an almost tangible psychic barrier. In simpler terms, I got the distinct impression that whatever existed in this drear place did not want us here. At first we only encountered what one would expect in such a place, a horde of normal rats, and a few pieces of dangerous falling masonry that appeared to have taken offense at something the kobold said. Soon however, we encountered a gruesome animated scythe held by a pair of ghostly arms that attempted to decapitate several us before Maximilian hacked it to pieces with his massive falchion. My half-orc friend had already proved himself useful with his heavy weapon, dispatching most of our early opponents easily with a single swipe of the large, curved blade.
We circled back around and made our way inside the front door, and immediately the place reacted to our presence, the doors began to open and shut erratically, locking us in separate rooms. There was a dreadful moaning and crying on the air, putting all of us on edge. Fewskie showed his resolve by calmly commanding the power of Erastil to quiet this fretful spirit, and with a flash of holy light it was done. The doors began to behave normally again, and the noises ceased. However, that had not stopped Max from destroying at least one offending portal with his steel-shod boots. Nearby we found a trove of information, detailing the riot, the fire and most importantly the history of what were called “The Harrowstone Five”. The five worst criminals in the history of the prison, and the details of their crimes and incarcerations. I cannot allow this information to disappear into the dust of time, despite how distasteful these individuals are, their stories are a valuable part of history.
The first and perhaps most uncomplicated is a man known as the Piper of Illmarsh, his true identify is unknown at this time. He was a sadistic murderer that lured his victims and taunted them with haunting dirges on his silver flute before sneaking up to them and poisoning their food with lich dust to paralyze them. After that he would drag them into the marshes and allow his pet stirges to drain them dry of blood. He was burned to ashes in the fire that consumed the prison during the riot all those years ago. His tarnished silver flute was recovered as well from the prison, but it was destroyed in battle with the vengeful spirit of the Piper himself after it was discovered. He attempted to ensnare us with his dirges, setting spectral stirges upon us to puncture our bodies with very real wounds. He was once against destroyed by the holy might of our loyal cleric Fewskie, saving the Kobold from a certainly dreadful death.
The next of the Five is a man known as The Lopper, true name Vance Saetressle. He was known for hiding in the most unlikely of places, sometimes for days on end with few supplies to sustain him. Then, when his chosen victim was alone and vulnerable, he would spring from hiding and violently behead them with several vicious blows from a handaxe. His execution was pushed back so many times by bureaucracy that the warden had him thrown into a pit, which broke his legs, though that alone did not stop his murderous impulses. It was actually The Lopper, with the help of The Splatterman that started the riot that ended in so many deaths. He was smuggled a potion of levitation that he used to behead the captain of the guard and escape, starting the chain of events that resulted in the burning of Harrowstone. During the fire, he retreated back to his pit in order to escape the fire, though when he tried to climb out again his rope broke and he broke his legs anew and languished there to eventually die of thirst. A just and lingering death for such a terrible man. The handaxe that he used in a majority of his murders was recovered by my group in a vault at Harrowstone. The cursed weapon was of no use to us until we encoutnered the vile wraith of The Lopper himself. He attacked us when we ventured near his cell in the prison, and attempted to separate our heads from our shoulders. It was a hard, difficult fight, as many of my compatrious were not as prepared as I was to fight a spirit. On top of that, he seemed to be able to absorb our life essence to repair his own tattered soul. Eventually I was able to destroy him with a dolorous blow from his own cursed axe, sending his soul to the nine hells where it belongs.
The third murderer of the Five is a dwarven man known as The Mosswater Maurauder, true name Ispin Onyxcudglel. A completely insane and maddened victim of some mental disease, he is the only member of the Five that I can honestly say was as much a victim as he was a victimizer. He was a much beloved artisan and doting husband, who flew into a jealous rage when he discovered his wife was unfaithful to him. He shattered her skull with one heavy blow from his smithing hammer, and with her skull, so did he shatter his sanity. He was so overcome with guilt and shame at his enraged act, he became convinced that if he could rebuild her skull, she would come back to life and forgive him. This was obviously false, but sadly (for his victims) he could not find the last fragment of her skull. He decided that if he could find a fragment from another person's skull that would fit, it would do just as well. He stalked and murdered twenty innocent people, smashing their heads with his hammer, before he was caught and shipped to Harrowstone that very night. When the riot broke out, the deranged dwarf had no interest in escaping the prison, and in fact he simply killed the three nearest people and extracted their skulls, continuing his grisly and insane task. From what we could tell, he died from the fire as did many others. We also encountered his spirit in one of the rooms in the basement, where he attempted to shatter our own skulls with his spectra hammer! Having the hammer he used in life on my person seemed to weaken him slightly, and we were able to banish his spirit back to the afterlife by shattering the screaming heads of his last three victims. Rest in peace poor soul, may you never rise again. Valask tsenna drare.
The fourth man is perhaps the most despicable of the Five in my personal opinion, and the most contemptible for sure. Father Charlatan, or Sefick Corvin, claimed to be an ordained priest of any number of faiths, and bilked the faithful of thousands of gold pieces peddling false magics and charms. He never directly murdered anyone, but his cons left many dead in his wake, believing they had been healed by a man of faith. When he was discovered, his accomplices killed a half dozen city watch in an attempt to escape as well, adding more deaths to his head. His flagrant disregard for the gods of our world and the true faiths, has earned him a place in the deepest parts of hell and the abyss. We did not encounter his ghost as we did with the others as far as I could tell, though I'm sure he was watching us the entire time we were within Harrowstone. I recovered his tangle of misused holy symbols and returned them to their proper churches upon the completion of our quest to be reconsecrated and put to holy work once again rather than the evil parody they had previously be used for.
The fifth, and most powerful member of the Five, and the architect for the riots of Harrowstone is The Splatterman, or Hean Feramin. Originally a talented and respected professor of Anthroponomastics (the study of personal names and their origins) at the Quartrefaux Archives in Caliphas, an accidental trist with a succubus warped his interest into a grisly obsession. He became obsessed with the effect on someone's name after their death. He would spell out each letter of a person’s name in blood or entrails each day, until it was complete, then he would come for them. They would die in some elaborate trap or other violent way that was made to look like an accident. He was the architect and organizer of the riot, smuggling a crafted potion of levitation to The Lopper and then attacking the guards in his own area once things became confused. He also personally participated in the torture and murder of the warden of the prison. Eventually he was burned and died from a fall into a pit during the burning of Harrowstone. He was attempting to break out of his confinement as a powerful ghost within the prison when we encountered him. He attempted to used his vile naming magic to harm us, but we were able to defeat his trap, and then him in a violent final struggle. His moldy spellbook was recovered along with the others, though we opted to destroy the vile thing rather than risk it harming anyone else.
I cannot speak of the happenings in Harrowstone without mentioning the resilient and brave ghost of Vesorianna, the late warden's wife. She approached us peacefully and begged that we defeat the Five and return her husband's badge to her. If we did this, she said she could banish them forever and be at peace herself finally after fifty years of struggling with these evil spirits. It is my duty as a shaman of the Skull Clan of the Shoanti people, I could not deny this spirit's desire to be at rest. We returned her husband's badge to her, and she was finally at peace, thank Chaldira.
Now we travel to Lepidstat to return the late Professor's books to their owners, but we travel to something more sinister by far I fear. The professor spoke of the Whispering Way in his writings, and that they were concocting some kind of plot. I do not know personally what they are planning, but My mind nags at me. The ghosts at Harrowstone may have had some more terrestrial help than was readily apparent. We must stay on our toes, lest we end up as disquiet spirits ourselves.
|Liz Courts Contributor|