DM-Camris' CARRION CROWN Chapter 2: Trial of the Beast (Inactive)

Game Master Camris

The Beast of Lepidstadt has been captured! Upon traveling to Lepidstadt, the adventurers must discover whether the legendary monster is truly a killer or merely the instrument of some greater evil—and either way, whether it’s too dangerous to be allowed to survive.

Lepidstadt is a small city on the banks of the Lesser Moutray River, most famous for its university and the strange standing stones outside the city called the Spiral Cromlech.
Recently renovated, Lepidstadt is a bustling, lively city of students and academics, with newly bricked streets, wide plazas, and grandiose structures built from imported wood and stone. Away from the university and city center, however, the narrow, winding streets of Lepidstadt show the signs of its age, with dilapidated hovels, crumbling stone walls, and cramped courtyards.

N small city
Corruption +1; Crime +1; Economy +3; Law –1; Lore +3, Society +4
Qualities academic, prosperous, rumormongering citizens, tourist attraction
Danger 5
Government council
Population 9,780 (9,600 humans, 80 dwarves, 50 elves, 30 gnomes, 20 other)
Notable NPCs
The Beast of Lepidstadt (N flesh golem barbarian 6)
Dean of Lepidstadt University Acciani Viacarri (LN male expert 6)
Former Count Alpon Caromarc (N male human alchemist 13)
Base Value 6,000 gp; Purchase Limit 37,500; Spellcasting 7th
Minor Items 4d4; Medium Items 3d4; Major Items 3d4


The Reading of Professor Lorrimor's Will:

The relaxed atmosphere of the wake is shattered by the sudden loud knocking on the door. Kendra hurries over, opening it to the gentleman you recognise from the funeral. Kendra smiles, "Glad you've arrived Councilman Hearthmount, we've been waiting to complete the formalities."

Councilman Vashian Hearthmount enters his round face, puffed and red from the exhertion of hurrying from his last appointment. He apologies profusely to everyone as he looks around the room, frowning somewhat as he checks that everyone is present, checking you an old clutch of papers in his hand. As he looks at the armored gentleman, he takes several seconds of silence as he studies the man hard. From the corner of his eye, he waits until Kendra nods, then he continues. You get the impression that he doesn't really approve of all these 'outsiders' being here. He produces a scroll case, shows that the professor's personal seal is unbroken, then breaks the wax and opens the case. As he does so, a small iron key falls out of the tube, clattering noisily onto the table. Undaunted by the key, the councilman begins to read, seemingly eager to be done with the business and to get back home.

"Hrm,hum, quiet please, I'll begin" he pauses and clears his throat. "I, Petros Lorrimor, being of sound mind, do hereby commit to this parchment my last will and testament. Let it be known that, with the exception of the specific details below, I leave my home and personal belongings entire to my daughter Kendra. Use them or sell them as you see fit, my child.

"Yet beyond the bequeathing of my personal effects, this document must serve other needs. I have arranged for the reading of this document to be delayed until all principals can be in attendance, for I have more than mere inheritance to apportion. I have two final favors to ask.

"To my old friends, I hate to impose upon you all, but there are few others who are capable of appreciating the true significance of what it is I have to ask. As some of you know, I have devoted many of my studies to all manner of evil, that I might know the enemy and inform those better positioned to stand against it. For knowledge of one's enemy is the surest path to victory over its plans.

"And so, over the course of my lifetime, I have seen fit to acquire a significant collection of valuable but dangerous tomes, any one of which in the wrong circumstances could have led to an awkward legal situation. While the majority of these tomes remain safe under lock and key at the Lepidstadt University, I fear that a few I have borrowed remain in a trunk in my Ravengro home. While invaluable for my work in life, in death, I would prefer not to burden my daughter with the darker side of my profession, or worse still, the danger of possessing these tomes herself. As such, I am entrusting my chest of tomes to you, posthumously. I ask that you please deliver the collection to my colleagues at the University of Lepidstadt, who will put them to good use for the betterment of the cause.

"Yet before you leave for Lepidstadt, there is the matter of another favor — please delay your journey one month and spend that period of time here in Ravengro to ensure that my daughter is safe and sound. She has no one to count on now that I am gone, and if you would aid her in setting things in order for whatever she desires over the course of this month, you would have my eternal gratitude. From my savings, I have also willed to each of you a sum of one hundred platinum coins. For safekeeping, I have left these funds with Embreth Daramid, one of my most trusted friends in Lepidstadt — she has been instructed to issue this payment upon the safe delivery of the borrowed tomes no sooner than one month after the date of the reading of this will.

"I, Petros Lorrimor, hereby sign this will in Ravengro on this first day of Calistril, in the year 4710."

Professor Lorrimor's Journal:

...Circled Entries in the Professor’s Journal
Ten Years Ago:
The Whispering Way is more than just a cabal of necromancers. I see that now. Undeath is their fountain of youth. Uncovering their motivation does not place me at ease as I thought it might.
Their desire to be eternal simply makes them more dangerous.
Two Months Ago:
It is as I had feared. The Way is interested in something here in Ravengro. But what could it be?
One Month Ago:
Whatever the Way seeks, I am now convinced their goal is connected to Harrowstone. In retrospect, I suppose it all makes sense—the stories they tell about the ruins in town are certainly chilling enough. It may be time to investigate the ruins, but with everyone in town already being so worked up about them, I’d rather not let the others know about my curiosity—there’s plenty of folks hereabouts who already think I’m a demonologist or a witch or something. Ignorant fools.
Twenty Days Ago:
It is confirmed. The Way seems quite interested in something—no, strike that—someone who was held in Harrowstone. But who, specifically, is the Way after? I need a list of everyone who died the night of the fire. Everyone. The Temple of Pharasma must have such a list.
Eighteen Days Ago:
I see now just how ill prepared I was when I last set out for the Harrowstone. I am lucky to have returned at all. The ghosts, if indeed they were ghosts (for I did not find it prudent to investigate further) prevented me from transcribing the strange symbols I found etched along the foundation—hopefully on my next visit I will be more prepared. Thankfully, the necessary tools to defend against spirits are already here in Ravengro. I know that the church of Pharasma used to store them in a false crypt in the Restlands at the intersection between Eversleep and the Black Path. I am not certain if the current clergy even know of what their predecessors have hidden down below. If my luck holds, I should be able to slip in and out with a few borrowed items.
Seventeen Days Ago:
Tomorrow evening I return to the prison. It is imperative the Way does not finish. My caution has already cost me too much time. I am not sure what will happen if I am too late, but if my theory is right, the entire town could be at risk. I don’t have time to update my will, so I’ll leave this in the chest where it’ll be sure to be found, should the worst come to pass.

The dangerous tomes to be returned to the University at Lepistadt:

Serving Your Hunger - which shows on its cover a fly with a skull like pattern on its thorax. A clasp resembling skeletal fingers keeps the book closed.
The Umbral Leaves - a dark red cover, showing a skull sitting atop pile of steel manacles. The book looks well used, the corners of the cover are worn down as is the edge furthest from the binding.
Manual of the Order of the Palatine Eye - written in gold on the rich purple cover, that contains a brass scarab set with a single eye in its centre. The book’s covers are rimmed in polished steel and clasped with a small but intricate lock, the keyhole of which appears to be for a key with a strange, triangular shaft.
On Verified Madness - written in white silk on a jet black leather cover, this book is tied shut with black ribbon.

The story so far...:

To recap:

The beginning
After Professor Lorrimor died, you gathered for his funeral and the reading of his will.
You read in his journal that when he died he was investigating the Whispering Way (a cabal seeking to raise the Whispering Tyrant, Tar-Baphon) when he died, and that they were interested in a person at haunted Harrowstone Prison. A famous prison that burned to the ground 50 years ago. He intended to seek a list of the people who died in the fire at the Temple of Pharasma and left a cache of undead capable weapons in the graveyard.
Hearing that a list of the guards who died was on a statue in town, you visited it and saw the names. You also saw that someone drew a letter ‘V’ in blood on it.

Investigating the hidden cache, you found some things you could use against incorporeal subjects.
You discovered the next day that someone had spelled a letter ‘E’ in blood on the memorial statue. It is speculated that the warden’s wife’s name, Vesorianna, was being spelled one letter at a time on the statue to frighten the locals.

The body of Professor Lorrimor was raised as a zombie and sent to attack you, you defeated it and hid the corpse from Kendra. You later burn the body during the town meeting.
You hear from bystanders that a letter ‘S’ had been discovered painted in blood on the Memorial Statue.
During a hostile town meeting, where the proposal of running you all out of town was discussed, fire spirit skulls attacked and you fended them off before they could kill a bunch of folk. After that the town council votes to hire you to investigate the Harrowstone hauntings, as they seem to be spreading to town now.
Searching town hall records, you discovered that at the time of the fire, there were five notorious prisoners.
Father Charlatan,
the Lopper,
the Mosswater Marauder,
the Piper of Illlmarsh,
the Splatter Man.

The next morning, you discover the councilors trying to wipe off a bloody letter ‘O’ off the memorial statue.
Harrowstone 1
Next you travelled to Harrowstone. In amongst encounters, you discover a circle of mystic runes engraved on the foundations of the prison. Entering the top level of the abandoned prison. There you encountered and defeated the spirit of the Piper of Illmarsh and saw the body of Father Charlatan still locked in his cell. Then you returned back to the Lorrimor residence.

Harrowstone 2
The next day you leave for Harrowstone again, spotting the letter ‘R’ on the statue along the way.
Exploring about a third of the ground floor, you came upon the ghost of Vesorianna.
She explained that the ghost of her husband held the spirits of Harrowstone in check until his spirit was stolen by the robed men who spoke only in whispers. She is trying to do the same, but she is being worn down by a ceremony being conducted, by spelling her name one letter at a time on each succeeding day. If completed she will be obliterated and the evil spirits free to roam. She asks you to defeat the remaining notorious prisoners spirits and bring her husband’s badge from where it lies somewhere in the basement level. There might be property of the prisoners that might be useful against them elsewhere in the ground floor.
She saw Kendra and told her that her father had been murdered by a spell cast by a robed man who then crushed his head with a fallen gargoyle. The robed man was thin, grey skinned and wore a bone breastplate. He had a black staff topped with a skull gagged by a black cloth.

The Whispering Way:

The Whispering Way is a sinister organization of necromancers that has been active in the Inner Sea region for thousands of years.
Agents of the Whispering Way often seek alliances with undead creatures, or are themselves undead.
The Whispering Way’s most notorious member was Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant, although the society itself has existed much longer than even that mighty necromancer.
The Whispering Way itself is a series of philosophies that can only be transferred via whispers—
the philosophies are never written or spoken of loudly, making the exact goals and nature of the secretive philosophy difficult for outsiders to learn much about.


DM Zone:


House Rules & Rules of My Games

To Generate Hit points; roll for hitpoints (plus con plus toughness plus whatever), but reroll if you get less than half+1.