The Burn down house
The house is not far out of town, and when you get there you can easily confirm that there really is nothing left. After spending some time you head back.
As you head back in to town a shaggy dog with cream-white fur bolts down the town streets, scattering the clouds of mosquitoes hovering above the ground. A woman’s voice follows after the dog: “Peaches! Peachy! Get back here!” A Tian woman in simple traveling clothes sprints into view a few moments later, stopping to stand by the dog. “Sorry about that,” the woman says, as the dog whines for attention. “I didn’t think there was anything out here but insects, or I would have kept a closer eye on him. My name’s Haru Kwon. What brings you to Shimmerford? It’s not exactly a popular destination right now.”
I didn't expected it would be so short, so i will just Make Bowen tell to his companions what he saw before go with Cyne to the House.
Bowen told everyone about his experience with the creepy Bloodseeker with red glowing eyes that seemed to be following the party, as someone who is used to creatures of the wild, he found strange the behaviour of that particular Bloodseeker, he even dared to think that maybe there was something unnatural about that creature.
"Maybe i'm overthinking too much, but i suggest caution to everyone, specially now, watch your backs and don't low your guard. I will go with Cyne and check the place where the Cultist died."
Without say more, Bowen departed not before drinking in one shot his Beet Juice.
Encounter with Haru
After the fruitless investigation in the Burned down house, Bowen just wanted to get back to the tavern before continuing investigating another place and actually find something important. However, the sudden barks of a dog catched his attention, he saw a shaggy cream dog and a tianese woman running after him, after apologizing and introducing herself, Bowen smiled at the dog and the woman before say.
"Don't worry about that, we are just passing by."
Yergi holds up his open palms in a placating manner, "Hello sir! I'm afraid you have my friend and me confused with someone else. We've just arrived in town today. We've been sent by the Pathfinder Society to see what can be done about the Mosquito Witch. We'd heard that Mrs. Lyons has actually seen the creature, and were hoping we could speak with her to learn more. Would that be alright?"
I'd like to spend a minute buttering him up so I can Make an Impression, if possible.
Diplomacy to Make an Impression: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Diplomacy to Request entrance to the house: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
As he enters the farm Arak carefully studies his surroundings as if expecting an ambush.
Perception check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Once (if) sure everything is as it should be the dwarven monk approaches the dying calf and tries to save his life cleaning away the parasites and healing him.
Medicine check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
If it fails Arak will try to have the calf drink one of his potions of health
That's awfully nice of you Arak, I loved that!
Cyne smiles towards the lady and gets close with the intention to pat the dog.
"I think we're all animal lovers here". Cyne says as a tiny gecko the size of his thumb comes out from one of his chest pockets. The little critter has light green skin with orange stripes and yellow specks adorning it. It has blue legs and big puppy-like eyes, which seek the surrounding insects with glee.
This is my friend Tsekani. We're pleased to meet both of you, Miss Haru and Peaches.
He's genuinely being kind, but I'd like to make an impression on her with my words, as I'll try to see if she knows anything about this place
Diplomacy; Make an Impression Action: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
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Ghostbiter looks around at the ground for her footprints from yesterday. "I no think I see this house before. I--" she slaps at a mosquito on her arm and watches it fall to the ground.
Survival: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5 I blame the mosquitoes for distracting me.
Arak and the Barn
The calf is dying due to exsanguination from blood seekers. It is easy enough to beat of the current languid swarm. It lingers outside in a vague cloud. Arak is able to at least tend to the immediate need of the calf and ease its pain. This would be enough for it to recover, but you realize that there is nothing to prevent the swarm of mosquitos or even potential bloodseekers to come back and feast. You do not think it will last the night if exposed.
Bowen, Cyne, and the Hunter
As the dog comes up you both realize that in its mouth is a mosquito witch doll. It is dropped at your feet while Peaches wags her tail.
The Woman responds appreciating the openness
“My name is Haru Kwon. I’m a bit of a traveling scholar, though I have a lot of work to do to make a name for myself in that field. I’ve been traveling around the River Kingdoms, recording the local legends and customs. For obvious reasons, Shimmerford was high on my list to visit. I may have gotten more than I bargained for.”
Haru has a much more personal investment in current events than she is admitting to.
Mrs. Lyons with Ghostbitter and Yergi
The Tain gentleman looks concerned, then looks at Ghostbitter. "Well yes, I think I would have remembered you better" He opens the door and lets you in.
Mordha Lyons is a frail old woman, wrapped in a blanket and sitting in a wooden rocking chair. Her hands shake so badly she can barely feed herself, and she doesn’t respond at all to new visitors entering her room. Mordha doesn’t speak or answer any questions until you about the Mosquito Witch, at which point she glares at you, determines you are strangers who might not laugh her off, and shares her tale.
“It was all just a joke to them,” the old woman says, her voice pinched thin with bitterness. “They pretended to care, a little, when they were all scared that they would be next. Not much, even then.”
“It was up on Witchtop Hill. Up to the north, a little left of the three boulders and past the bend in the stream. We thought it was a dead animal at first, lying on the ground. It was when we got close that it sprung up, tall as a full-grown man. Came after us on its thin little legs. Didn’t matter how fast we ran, it was right behind us. I thought my heart would burst with the running. It was only when we got to town that we dared to look back. But we didn’t find it. Just sharp footprints in the mud, and smears of sicklysweet Blood.
“And them, with their masks and their dolls and their festivals. They didn’t know what it was like. To have it in their dreams at night, to wake up with its little paper dolls by the bed. If they’d seen it, they’d never have dared. They don’t know what it’s like to see its eyes in every filthy little bug, for the whining of those insects to be like screaming in my ears.” Mordha clams her mouth shut, before speaking again, in a trembling tone. “It took something from me. And I don’t remember it. I don’t remember it. No one will ever remember it.”
Yergi is sympathetic to Ms. Lyons' tale. "That's horrible, Ms. Lyons. I too know what it's like to have those same nightmares, and to have horrible creatures take something from you. If it's not too hard for you to think on, could you tell us about how long ago this happened, and if you still have any of those paper dolls?"
Considered by some to be a monster herself Ghostbiter tracks the story a different direction, "Witch on the ground hurt and then young longshanks come along. Something attack witch. But witch not want something to attack young longshanks, too. And witch no speak longshanks. So witch chase you away from there while witch bleeding and hurt. Make sure you get home and safe. When it get better it bring you paper gifts to say sorry for scaring." She audibly sniffs at the sad tale, "Poor witch. She sound lonely." Tears start to form at the corners of the her eyes. The goblin starts to 'ugly-cry' into Yergi's robes.
Have not played or read this and no idea if this is how it goes. But Ghostbiter's version does make sense if you squint at the original story.
Ok, Cyne is starting to get freaked out by all this stuff with the doll. I'll do some stuff. First, I want to check if THAT doll is the one I had on myself; second, regardless of it being the doll or not, I'll use detect magic on it, should have done it earlier.
Cyne likes Haru's attitude. She doesn't seems to be a bad person after all, and he likes Peaches. He picks up the doll.
I'll make that Perception roll
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Fellow Scholar as well I see! I'm a proud citizen of Hermea on a quest for knowledge! ...Well, maybe not a citizen, more like, former citizen. Anyways, we're also here trying to learn a bit about the local legend of the Mosquito Witch and...
Cyne turns to see the place where the house once stood.
...it seems there was some sort of missunderstanding between the local crazy cultist and the townsfolk.
Mordha loses interest in Yergi and Ghostbitter. She does smile a Ghostbitter a bit then seems to forget you are even there. Regis. the Tian attendant, addresses Yergi. "That was a long time ago. Those paper dolls have been burned. And I would not keep any in this house. If that is all. Then I would ask you to leave. As you see she is lost in her own world"
Haru looks over as well. "Yes, what people don't understand they fear. Some people seem to think it’s a hag, others a demon, others a priest of Ghlaunder, and others a ghost. If you’re planning to go looking for it, I’d bring cold iron along—that would help you against demons and hags—and fire to help burn away swarms of insects. And if it turns out the witch is a ghost, run and hide! Your weapons won’t do a thing against spirits, and I doubt you’ll have enough holy water to chase it away.”
Looking at the doll, it is the one you got from VC Smine. However, examining it now, you notice that a small "Y" has been etched along its belt.
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Seems you know a lot about these things Miss Haru. I'm a Scholar, but even then my knowledge of how to dispose of monsters is easily surpassed by Bowen here.
He points to Bowen with his thumb as he keeps looking at Haru.
I'm very friendly, but very perceptive too Miss Haru. I have the feeling you came here for reasons other than studying. If you could share anything with us, I'd be more than glad to help, we're Pathfinders.
Cyne scratches the back of his head.
Plus, if the Witch is a ghost, we have a Goblin who'd be everything but dissapointed, and more than happy to deal with it, or something like that.
I'll share my knowledge of the doll with Bowen and Haru after I hear what she has to say
Careful not to hurt the foal Arak picks him (or her?) up and brings him to Galia's house. Which is mostly mosquito free and could be a good place to try saving the foal from a cruel and undeserved death.
If Galia's home Arak will ask her to help him out
Regis looks not pleased and sighs. "That is what you asked last time. I thought if I just ignored you this time, you would finally go a way quietly. No just go away!" With that he shoos you out of the house.
As far as you can tell he fully believes he has seen you twice before
Galia is surprised at the calf. "There isn't much room here. But you could use the abandoned house next door"
The house is easy enough to break in but will need some time to secure from the mosquitoes.
Give me an Athletics check to see how long it will take
Perception(Sense Motive): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Ghostbiter waves to the man and Ms Lyons. "Bye lion lady! Bye cranky guard man!"
As they walk away she whispers to Yergi, "Little-fish-snack, I no think man all there in head. He think we really here before. I no be here."
Perception (Sense Motive): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Yergi whispers back, "I do believe you're right, my bitey friend. Who else could be here asking about the Mosquito Witch? Perhaps we should go to the inn and ask the barkeep about any other newcomers to town. Besides, that's where we're meeting everyone else anyways."
"Thanks Ma'm. I hope you can look after this little one. I haven't got the time to do that myself but he deserve to live and I'll do whatever I can to give him a chance"
Athletics check: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
Arak thinks it will take at least an hour cleaning and securing the room for the calf.
Haru is a little unconfortable with the question as to her true purpose:
“So what if I am? We just met, I don’t owe you my life story.”
She pauses then continues
“Fine, fine. I’m looking for a friend of mine, and I don’t care to tell you her name. She sent me a letter a month ago, claiming that she intended to go to Shimmerford to investigate what was going on here. I intended to meet up with her here, but when I arrived, she wasn’t anywhere to be found.”
At this point she is getting impatient and is looking to get on with her own tasks.
For the most part you have gotten what you can from those encounters. You can move on to others. Does someone want to spend th hour to clean up and secure
A1: Galia’s House -- Your Contact
A2: Hart’s Brewery
A3: Bell Family House
A4: Mordha Lyons’ House — COMPLETE
A5: The Tanner
A6: The Withefish and Stag -- The Local Inn
A7: Ruza’s House
A8: Braybon’s Smithy
A9: Marmazine’s House
A10: Shrine to Hanspur
A11: Abandoned Farm (Rujat’s) — Need one hour to secure house
XXX Cultist house and the Hunter: — COMPLETED
Cyne raises an eyebrow when confronted by Haru's sudden shift of attitude. He crosses his arms and lets a big sigh out.
Well Miss Haru, I just want you to know that in case you need anything, we'll be around here, I'd be glad to pet Peaches anytime.
With that said, I share the information of what's going on with the doll with Bowen, and I'll take an hour to clean up and secure.
Where to next, Yergi? Our lead didn't really lead to more leads. Go meet the others?
Based on the map, we pass by pretty much everything except the Shrine and Marmazine’s House on the way to the Inn, so we could stop by the Tanner's and the Brewery maybe on our walk back. Maybe ask the Bell Family if they've also had people come visiting, since they live close to Ms. Lyons.
Yergi starts striding down the road, looking at the other homes.
"I'm quite curious as to who we've been mistaken for. Maybe there's another home nearby where we can ask some questions about other folks ... well, uh, asking questions. Ah, that house looks like a promising one!"
Yergi comes to the door of the Bell family home and begins to knock.
"Hello!! Anyone home? We're here from the Pathfinder Society to take care of the Witch problem. Would you have some time to answer some questions for us?"
Arak spends 1 hour making sure the small house is well protected from the evil mosquitos then asks Galia to look after the small foal. Then he goes back to the amandoned farm and searches it again
If it's apparent the place can be restored Arak will try to do so as well
Athletics: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Bowen Noticed that Haru was rather defensive about her agenda in Shimmerford, but after she finally decided to tell her motives, the frowned gaze of the ranger softened. This time he really looked more relaxed.
"We apologize for being too intrusive Haru, we are adventurers so we have to be rather curious about everything, specially Cyne.
Bowen pointed at Cyne with his thumb while showing a crooked smile.
"Also we don't intend to hinder you in your search of your friend, However, if this involves the case of the Mosquito Witch we can aid each other."
The normally silent and not very talkative Bowen had genuine good intentions about helping Haru, his face returned to his grim yet determined expression.
"Be careful, we saw very strange things as soon as we arrived to Shimmerford, if you need help or just want to share stories or information, look for us in the Withefish and Stag Inn, we will stay there."
And without say more the Ranger just departed, not before pet Peaches and give the dog some beef jerky from his rations. (If the DM approves of course.)
To Cyne while we leave Haru and walk back to the town:
"I have a very bad feeling about that doll Cyne and all this mistery around the Mosquito Witch, i just hope the rest of the group had more luck than us."
Although any tracks are long gone. There are a few times that Ghostbitter does spot tracks of what could be a gnome and goblin traveling by in areas you were not at before. But when you point them out to Yergi, the tracks have been blown away.
On you way to towards the Bell house, a winds blows up and bits loose hay cover both Ghostbitter and Yergi. You get most of it out, but like glitter bits will stick to you for a while.
You reach the Bell house three children are playing quietly in the front yard. The one of the children (at this distance and way of dress you can barely tell them apart) points at the green and blue pointy eared peoplee covered in hay and yells "EEEEEEEE! The Witch here! The Witch is here!" And the three run inside screaming.
As you get closer a woman comes out with the three children orbiting closely. "Oh Sasha, That is no witch. Just a pair of gnomes"
After the hour Arak seems to have secured the place well enough and the calf seems to like it new warm and non-bitting pen.
Yergi waves at the woman amiably, "Hello miss! My name is Yergi and this here is my friend Ghostbiter. We've recently arrived in town with some fellow Pathfinders to look into the Witch problem here. If you wouldn't mind, could you tell us any encounters you've had with her, or any stories you might know?"
Yergi says "Witch" quieter and behind his hand, to try not to scare the children.
Diplomacy to Make an Impression: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
A pleasant chat with the Bell family reveals little actionable information. They go on with their views of the witch, which is some collection of rumors you have already heard.
Before you leave, the one child, that was called Sasha hands Ghostbitter a something wrapped in a scrap piece of cloth. In a conspiratorial whisper. "Mama said you should not have dropped this in her house, she was going to destroy it but I saved it for you"
Saying your good byes you examine the package. It is the doll.
The same doll.
Then everyone meets up on the path heading towards the Inn.
The Whitefish and Stag:
Though the innkeep Callum Shay isn’t pleased with his current circumstances, he still makes a decent living offering room and board to visiting monster hunters. The inn is the tallest building in Shimmerford and one of the few with a view over the town gates.
When asked about what is going on Callum informs you that he last saw a half-elf in gold armor entering the forest to the northeast, and last saw the man in white clothing departing to the east. And of course Quitus Chevunier, which the Innkeeper points out.
The other notable person in the main room of the Inn. He is hunched over and muttering to himself by the front desk near the doorway. Psychically sensitive and a paranoid mess, Quintus is a haggard human with dark messy hair, stubble sparsely forming a goatee, and gaunt cheeks. Not hunting the cryptid so much as convinced he doesn’t have a choice but to come here, Quintus is turning a paper doll over in his hands, the sweat from his skin starting to cause the paper to melt into something horrific looking.
Arak studies the man named Quitus but does not approach, at least initially hoping one of his more socially adept friends to do it first...
Ghostbiter carries the doll by the neck and occasionally talks to it in her standard stream of consciousness conversation, "I sorry you no speak longshanks. Maybe you understand longshanks. You save young longshanks so many years ago. And you no able to say sorry for scaring. I understands. People say Ghostbiter monster." She pauses to think for a moment, "Not this town. They say Ghostbiter Gnome. Think worse. No sure. Ghostbiter proud Goblin. But Gnomes no get called monster. Hrm. I no think you cause bugs. Maybe some other thing cause bugs and you want to help. I want to help. Maybe we team up. Ghostbiter and Witch! We scare bugs away! They write songs about us. Then we happy and have house. We would watch the moon and eat pickles and..." She keeps talking, but the conversation becomes less and less coherent.
At the Shrine:
This shrine to the god of river travel contains a deep bowl of water that holds 5 copper coins, 2 silver coins, a few dead mosquitoes, and a Mosquito Witch doll that defiantly floats atop the liquid.
This doll looks almost exactly like yours, but its ears are long and pointed. You go to put with you other one but that one is now missing.
At the Inn:
Quintis eyes over the party and mutters. You do hear: "Red Eyes! Red Eyes!" Looking at you briefly then he turns away. "[b]But they do not have eyes[b]!"
The Shrine does not have any significant magic to it. Hanspur is a minor god of the waterways worshipped primarily in the River Kingdoms. Hanspur is the god of the watery domains of the Sellen River and considers himself lord of all who travel his domain. ... His worshippers travel with a lone companion and then one night drown them in the Sellen river, their gods domain.
You take some time to talk with the mad man in the inn.
“An idiot. An absolute idiot…” The man laughs sadly to himself, before jerking himself upright. “Oh, wait, you’re... where are my manners? Sorry. Introductions. I’m Quintus. Quintus Chevunier. You would be an idiot too, if you came here,” he says, before realizing his mistake. “Not that I’m implying you’re idiots. I just meant that if you were me and came here, you would be an idiot... I’ll shut up now[/b].”
You prod him to continue: “I t wants me to be here. I shouldn’t have come... but no, that’s what it wanted me to do. It was trying to scare me, so I wouldn’t come... but what if it was being straightforward with me to trick me into thinking it was trying to trick me into staying away?” Quintus twists the doll in his hands. “It doesn’t matter... it always gets what it wants.”
“It’s in my nightmares. Go on, laugh!” Quintus snaps. “Laugh at the paranoid madman! Ever since I came too close to this damned town, I can’t get rid of it. It shows up and doesn’t say anything but when I wake up, I know things. Six and four dead on the Shimmerford road. But how? But why? Is the witch causing it? What does that have to do with the mosquitoes? And why is someone stealing shovels? I don’t even know how I know it... Maybe I’m supposed to cause it.”
Ghostbiter pats Quintus on the shoulder, "Witch good witch, methinks. Witch not know how speak longshanks good like me. Or me wrong and witch crazy. I think witch good. Better when things good. Witch maybe think you big hero. Here to help."
She looks at the dolls Quintus is holding which reminds her of Ms Lyons which reminds her of the rude man who wasn't worth remembering the name of which reminds her of people thinking they've been here before. "Have you seen gnome and me before now? People keep saying they see us before, but we not be here before. Or me no think we have."
Arak considers the madman sadly before speaking:"What if we were to take you away from here? Would "it try to stop us then?" the dwarf asks.
"Perhaps we can force a confrontation with the creature haunting this place. That would make things clearer at the very least"