Christoph stops glowering at the sisters after they begin to share what they know. He listens intently, pulling out a journal from his pack and jotting a few notes with a scrap of charcoal. After the women finish their account, he nods curtly to them, saying, "Thank you for sharing your tale. It must be difficult to speak of, but it is important that we knew everything that had happened here. Farewell, gentlewomen."
On the coach ride down, Christoph mulls over what they had learned, opining, "The Beast himself claimed he had brought the girl's body back after she was killed by a ghost or some such. That he brought her back isn't contested. But two days after his disappearance, another girl dies with no way for him to have been the cause. And she dies with no mark on her in her home. It seems that we are hunting a ghost, or signs of such a creature. Best be wary, to call them dangerous is an understatement."
As the coach grinds to a halt, Christoph opens the door, stepping out into the fading afternoon light. He nods to the driver, "No matter, we can go on foot from here. You'll wait here for us for the return trip?"
Waiting a moment for an answer, he turns to his companions, he nods towards the village, saying, "Seems we'd best go and see what we can. The girl, Karin, lived on the west side of the village. That seems like as good a place as any."
As the sun continues to fade, Christoph touches the silver Pharasmin spiral hanging on a chain around his neck and chants a brief prayer. The holy symbol begins to glow with a persistent white light.
He nods to the driver, "No matter, we can go on foot from here. You'll wait here for us for the return trip?"
The driver tugged at his cap."Yessir. I'll just unhitch the team an' turn the coach about right here. Do ye know how long ye goin' ta be? It's gettin' ta be sunset right now."
All around you you can see the farmland has fallen to ruin, and now even the well-trodden pathways around the area require you to pick your way through entangling weeds and blood drawing spiny vines.
DC 15 Survival check to make your way at a reasonable pace.
The crops have gone to seed and high corn grows everywhere. This affects visibility and provides concealment as light undergrowth (Core Rulebook 426).
Hergstag: East end
50 yard squares
Coming up to the first cluster of farmhouses, it is a simple task to gain access; half of the windows/shutters are broken, and the doors are weatherbeaten and twisted out of true.
The farmhouses seem to have all been abandoned, and while some furniture such as tables and washboards remain, the homes have been given over to termites and cockroaches.
1d100 ⇒ 35
Coming up to the decrepit bridge over the small river, it groans as you set foot on it.
Despite its appearance (and groaning), the bridge is perfectly sound.
Christoph shrugs in reply to the driver, "I don't, unfortunately. We'll return as quickly as we can, having completed our task. If you've need of a light, I have a candle or two in my pack I can spare."
Survival: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Christoph, with his experience tracking ghouls and other undead through boggy swamps and bristle-sewn plains, is able to pick a path through the weeds and vines. Christoph grouses as he points out the path, "Aren't there supposed to be townsfolk here? How is it they let it get this bad?"
As they break through the crops fields and into sight of the first farmhouses, Christoph's question finds its answer. He scowls at the sore sight, "It would seem that there are not. Best get to it then." He begins to cross the bridge, stopping as it groans under his feet. He eyes it warily, then glances over the side at the river below. "Should we go around then? Find a ford?"
How's the river look like? Fast flowing? Looks to be about a quarter of a square across at a few points on the map, so that'd be 12 yards or so?
Despite having mused through the miles between town and the abandoned village, Skiia is still quiet as the group descends from the coach. Looking over the rolling hillside and its sighing grasses into the sunset, she broods, So even though something came back after the Beast was driven off, and though they’re sure that they succeeded in so doing, the villagers are still convinced the Beast is responsible. What is everyone so afraid of here that they are so eager to push for the simple, convenient answer?
Survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18 Though her attention is elsewhere, her Kyonin upbringing, a childhood spent learning to move gracefully through even the densest forest, serves Skiia well as she presses on, nimbly turning to avoid the worst overgrowth, carefully holding back branches that threaten to whip back, and brushing gently past the thorns.
Passing by the first of the deserted houses, she feels a shiver run down her spine as she contemplates the silent shells falling into ruin, the sense of abandonment almost palpable in the fading light. She tries to shake the feeling off, and picks up her pace even as the group draws up at the end of the bridge. Knowledge (engineering): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31 As Skiia's practiced eye sweeps over it, she smiles at Christoph and says, "Don't worry."
She steps briskly across and turns back to offer encouragement, "It's creaky, but perfectly safe."
Ereviss smiles and heads across.
"Let us begin with a story."
Ereviss tells an inspiring story about a crew who hunted foul undead.
Ereviss can use his bardic performance
to keep his allies coordinated, alert, and ready for action. All allies
within 30 feet gain a +2 bonus on Initiative checks, Perception,
and Disable Device checks for 1 hour. They also gain a +2 insight
bonus to Reflex saves and to AC against traps when they are
flat-footed. Using this ability requires 3 rounds of continuous
performance and the targets must be able to see and hear him
throughout the performance. This ability is language-dependent
and requires visual and audible components. This performance
replaces inspire courage.
Christoph looks dubiously at the bridge one more time, then back to the robe-clad elf, then down to his own heavyset frame and thick enameled armor. He shrugs, "If you say so."
He crosses the bridge and keeps a wary eye open as they cross into the village.
Perception+Perform: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 9 + 2 = 24
As they make their way down a path thickly overgrown with vines and tangling briar, Christoph becomes aware of the faint smell of decay wafting towards him. He holds up a hand to stop the party, drawing his longbow with the other. As he strings it, he says, "There's something there, to our left, that's rotting. I'm not sure what it is, but in the middle of a cornfield in full fruit, I'd not expect farmers let anything start a rot."
After stringing his bow, he nocks an arrow and turns to the scent, "Should we have a look?"
Proceeding down the narrow way between tall wild corn, you see something ahead of you.
Those without at least low-light vision can't see anything without a light source.
What at first appears to be a fallen scarecrow lies at the side of the path, bones jutting from its tattered rags. Flies buzz wildly around it. The stench of decomposition is worse here.
It would take an effort of will to approach any closer. Will save DC15 to do so.
Before they leave down the narrow row between the corn, Christoph takes a moment to chant a prayer to Pharasma. His bow begins to shed light like a torch, illuminating the path but also casting unusual shadows all around them.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
He stops his advance, looking at the homestead he can barely make out through the cornrows to the north. A flicker of movement against the fading sun had caught his eye, but his straining eyes couldn't making out anything specific. "I don't think we're alone out here. I saw something-" he points in the direction he'd seen the movement, "-there, but I can't make anything out. I've a bad feeling about this village. Let's keep a wary eye out."
Assuming no one objects to continuing towards the stench.
Will save: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
As they approach the source of the smell, Christoph pulls a faded handkerchief from his pocket and takes a moment to tie it so that it covers his mouth and nose. He approaches the scarecrow warily, stopping a few feet away and studying the area for signs of what had occurred here.
Survival: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
When you approach closely and wave the flies away, you see that this was a man with a bear trap clamped around his leg.
By the man's manner of dress, he looks like one of the gypsy boatmen who ply their trade up and down the network of rivers that overlay this region.
Looking closely, you see no signs of wounds (other than those made by the beartrap). The body looks withered, as if extreme dehydration occurred.
Or drained by undead.
He has not been looted though. Searching him, you find:
His clothes are now little more than rags.
He wears a turquoise worth 100 gp on a leather thong around his neck.
He carries 12 gp, 22 sp.
A small silver pocket knife worth 25 gp.
A set of masterwork thieves’ tools in his pockets.
|Rhia Van der Geist|
Quiet as the investigation went on, casts a spell in an eerie whispering chant, her eyes glowing with a silvery light.
Cast Detect Undead.
|Rhia Van der Geist|
Know(Nature) #1: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Know(Nature) #2: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Not so much then. :)
Christoph steps away from the body, glancing about nervously. "I'd say the trap has been here for a year or so. I'd guess the village has been abandoned about as long. No matter why they left, they felt the need to trap the land around their former homes. If we're going to keep exploring, it'd be best to be wary."
He glances to the north, following Rhia's direction, "It seems we can either go see what's going on directly, or be a bit more furtive and try to make it to the house we were wanting to have a look at. If we can learn more and then leave, that'd be best. Hunting undead without knowing what you're facing... well let's say I'd not recommend it as a Voice."
|Rhia Van der Geist|
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24 Ghost Sight: +2 trait bonus to Perception checks when trying to locate undead, and can attempt to locate ethereal undead (though they are still considered merely invisible, +20 to Stealth
|Rhia Van der Geist|
"There doesn't seem to be anything here now in the way of undead, but there was. The have most definitely been here." Rhia says, the glow slowly fading from her eyes, her gaze still somewhat distant.
Cautiously, the party moved across the fallow fields towards the farmhouse. In the deepening gloom of night, you see the stars kindle in the night sky as the last trace of sunset disappeared over the horizon.
The farmhouse was just a blacker void against the star spangled sky.
With a shocking suddenness, you hear a high scream of pain as a small child sized figure, enveloped in an unnatural black and red flames, dashed out from behind the building and into the high corn off to the East.
What do you do?
|Rhia Van der Geist|
Reflexively the ether around Rhia pulses as a swirling ring of ghosts surround her, ready to repel any attack. Seemingly unaware of the effect, she stares after the fleeing figure,trying to identify it.
Knowledge religion: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
Spirit shield +4 to AC for the next hour
Ereviss show his natural suspicion with a snort.
"Let's detect for evil. I don't trust much we see."
Ereviss continues to approach the farmhouse with caution.
stealth: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
You hear the child wailing for somebody to help it!
You feel an urgent impulse to follow that child into the cornfield in order to help!
Will save DC14 or chase it into the cornfield.
|Rhia Van der Geist|
Will: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
"I feel the pull of undead....the bodiless....spawn of a wraith...similar but weaker." Rhia saya looking in the direction of the cry, but remaining unmoved.
|Rhia Van der Geist|
Knowledge Religion:: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
Seeing what happens to Kendra unleashes a dark anger in Rhia, the spirits around her howling in anger as she points at the laughing revenant, a large shimmering blade manifesting in front of the entity to plunge into it.
Cast Spiritual weapon
Force: 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 3 + 2 = 21
1d8 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Even as the unnatural need to follow the apparition fills Skiia’s mind, the overwhelming impulse shakes off some of the ennui that has crept over her in the overgrown field. As Rhia’s warning rings out behind her, Skiia focuses on getting herself back under control, and on what she might be able to turn against a disembodied spirit, when Kendra’s collapse threatens to bring her up short.
Was the compulsion a one-round thing, and is there enough room for Skiia to squeeze by Kendra? If so, Skiia will try to close to within 15’ of the spook to cast sonic scream. (If that works, it's 4d4 ⇒ (3, 3, 3, 1) = 10 sonic damage, Reflex DC 16 for half.)
Rhia Van der Geist______
You realize this thing is a Wraith Spawn. The victim of a Wraith transformed. It is still dangerous, but restricted to a hundred yards or so of it’s home and relatively easy to slay with force effects and holy damage. This thing resembles one of the children the Beast is alleged to have murdered.
But you have to wonder, if this is a Wraith Spawn, Where is the Wraith itself?
Cast Spiritual weapon
When the shimmering blade formed and swept through the wraith child, it suddenly gasped as part of its essence dissolved and dissipated. It hissed, glaring at you in hatred and fear.
Was the compulsion a one-round thing, and is there enough room for Skiia to squeeze by Kendra?
It was and there is.Skiia slipped by her friends to close in on the WraitSpawn and then lets loose with an earsplitting shriek.
It flinched at the sonic damage, but did not otherwise react as if seriously harmed.
Ereviss steps in front of Kendra and fires a ghost touch arrow.
The arrow sailed through the figure’s heart, bursting out even more of it’s translucent substance.
Agrimar hustled forward.
Uses his Touch the Spirit World on his bow, then fires at the WraithSpawn.
Ranged masterwork composite(+2 str) longbow: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27 for a possible 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5 piercing damage.
And Christoph's shot dispersed the WraithSpawn altogether.
Combat is over.
“HA!” Skiia barks, slightly carried away by how well the group’s attacks have come together, the feeling of her magic strong within her, and the relief that the undead thing has been put to rest. She wheels back to where Kendra has fallen, her voice still ringing supernaturally loud, “Hold on! We’ll find a way to help!”
She waits for a few moments after she regroups, then resumes at her normal, quiet volume, “I beg your pardon – that spell does have an unfortunate side-effect. I’m afraid I’m only a dabbler in the arcane arts, so the most I can offer for your leg is a healing potion or two. Perhaps one of you others (with a glance at the more spiritually gifted) would be better able? …”
She trails off tactfully, not meaning to presume. Her eyes, too, drift off into the distance as she considers their situation. “I couldn’t cast that spell again tonight,” she continues, even more quietly. “When we next have the opportunity, I shall have to visit Lepidstadt’s libraries and shops to see if I can think of ways to better prepare myself for incorporeal foes.”
Together you are able to open the jaws of the beartrap and extract Kendra's leg. Her leg is badly broken (she needs 20 points of healing before the bone knits).
Do you heal Kendra, or just splint the leg with a Heal check?
Coming on full dark, you cautiously enter the farmhouse and investigate. The interior is empty of furnishings.
From the upper story, you can see the vague outlines of a couple farmhouses to the West, one to the NortWest and one to the SouthWest.
What light sources are you showing?
Skiia's got two potions of cure light wounds, and wouldn't mind using them, but that's about all she can do for healing, and that won't get up to 20 points anyway.
After the group does the best they can for Kendra and starts investigating the farmhouse, Skiia tries to assess the circumstances of the house's abandonment. Perception: 1d20 + 6 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 6 + 2 = 18 Ignore that last +2 if it's been over an hour and Ereviss' performance has expired.
The empty silence defies her, and from the windows of the upper story she locates the next buildings to investigate in quiet frustration. In the darkened interior, she will have cast light, most likely on her own armour.
Darn, that's just a bit short, so Skiia will throw in a potion to top things off. And who knows, maybe actually drinking something will do useful placebo effect things. :) Potion of clw: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
That creature... now that you have time to think, it was a Wraith Spawn.
A creature killed by a Wraith arisen again in undeath as a lesser member of it's type, enslaved to its masters will.
A Wraith Spawn is only created by a full Wraith; which... might still be around!