You notice the lack of relics or other holy symbols (the villagers likely took them before fleeing). Some frescoes still remain, although they've faded and begun peeling. Aside from the holy water from the font, there's nothing of value here
The rain stops as suddenly as it began. A strange, unearthly sunset brightens the chapel and the fields around it. Hues of pink, orange, and even green streak the sky. The storm clouds, which made the evening seem as night are far off to the east, and a bitter cold continues to blow from the west.
As mentioned before, six gravestones with the names of the 6 missing children are scattered throughout the graveyard.
You may recall that the growling wraith that you fought in the church sounded like it came from a not-to-distant location due south-west of here.
And we're back
The wraith is batter from side to side as multiple attacks land. Each causing a visible disruption in the wraith's outer form, causing the wraith to scream in agony.
As the water from Iesha's apergillium lands on the creatures dark form, a howl begins to rise form the creature. A swirling wind begins to form, its vertex centered on the creature. Whipping dangerously around the room it builds in intensity. The bees previously surrounding the dark creature appear caught in the swirling wind, and the creature's form begins to tear apart, parts of it appearing to be caught in the miniature maelstrom.
Four distant howls rise up to match the creature's. As the wind builds quickly in intensity, 6 small orange wispy globes begin floating up through the air, passing quietly and softly through the chapel's rafters and roof, floating out of sight. After the violent wind whips around for a few more seconds, it abruptly stops, and small bits of ash floating to the ground are all that remains of Brother Swarm.
Although it's form is unlike any you have read or heard about, this creature does vaguely resemble something called a "Wraith" from the fables and scholarly archives. You already know from the smaller wraiths that its touch is life draining, and it is powerless in full sunlight. You also know that any humanoid slain by such a creature becomes a spawn, just like the children, enslaved to the wraith that created them. Stories tell that if the creature manages to land an attack, life force will flow from victim to wraith, renewing the wraith's health temporarily.
Resist channel: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
Gaze save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Burn save: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
burn damage: 1d6 ⇒ 1
attack: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
neg energy drain: 1d6 ⇒ 3
con drain: 1d6 ⇒ 6
22 melees damage
2 gaze damage + 1 on fire
7 temp hp
The smell of sickly sweet decay emanating from the creature turns acrid as the wings of the ghostly hornets circling its form appear to smolder and burn. It appears to be on fire.
Its gaze is focused on Sour Hecks form as he lashes out with his claws. Lashing across his chest, a trail of small hornets follows his raking maneuver as it leaves a ghostly gash in Sour Heck's chest. It growls as it lashes out, and a small wisp of glowing light seems to flow from Sour Heck to the creature.
3 negative energy damage plus Fort Save DC17 or 6 con drain
As I read it, a single ghost salt application coats 10 pieces of ammunition, by the way (or a single weapon). I glanced but couldn't see how you originally received the ghost salt. If you were given 3 doses, that's 30 arrows worth
It could easily be a wraith. The growling isn't coming from a beast -- more like a rage driven, bestial, howl.
Moments later, the group can hear the drone of a hornet swarm, and a wave of a sickly sweet stench of decay pours through the doorway.
A cloud of four glowing red eyes, surrounded by a swarming mass of ghostly hornets steps into the doorway. Wrapped in a wispy, tattered cloak, it's ethereal form floats a few feet above the ground. Although it has no discernible face, it appears to almost stare at the floor where Rachael's ashen form fell. It lingers there only briefly until it turns its ghastly head toward Sour Heck.
Iesha 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
Peredur 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Sour Heck 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Talia 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Eloise 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Brother Swarm 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
All PC's may act
The party may act with a standard or move action in a surprise round as the creature is apparently distracted at the spot on the ground and everyone was ready for action. You may also go again with your normal action in initiative order.
The rain proves difficult to see, but you think you see a shadow several hundred yards away to the south and moving fast. Your keen ears confirm that you have perhaps a minute or so before that fast moving thing will reach the church.
The doors bang loudly as the wind continues to increase in ferocity.
Knowledge(Religion)=DC 22, Wisdom Check=DC 16:
The water here has remained blessed, despite the disrepair of the building surrounding it.
Iesha attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Iesha damage: 1d8 ⇒ 1
Iesha releases another arrow, striking the small wraith-like child dead center. At the same time, Sour Heck and Peredur step forward, delivering additional blows with arrow and longspear. The girl turns to each of her attackers in turn, accusing eyes glowing red and finally going dark. With a whimper, her small form begins to smolder and shrink, filling the air with an acrid stench. After a moment, only ash remains.
Seconds later, a large, blood curdling scream can be heard from the South.
The wind and rain seem to pick up, battering the shutters of the church and blowing leaves in the broken window with a fury now.
Talia still has her healing hex held
Sour Heck, yes, please continue to include the Haunted Eyes bonus on these attacks
attack sour: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
dmg: 1d4 ⇒ 4
The small creature known as Rachel gasps as the ray from Eloise's hand reaches her, though she is apparently able to shrug it off. The girl steps forward again, arms forward with hands curled into claws. She lunges forward, and again her hands seem to sink through Sour Heck's armor and clothing. As her claw-like hands rake across the Dirge's chest, she seems to gather energy into herself.
4 more damage and another DC15 Con save, if you please, Mr. Eyes Haunted
Talia, the girl didn't approach you this round - she appears to be chasing and focusing on the bard. We can assume everyone is within a few feet of striking range at this time.
All PC's may act.
"My name's Raaachell!" the girl screams, her face twisted at once in both agony and hatred. She lunges at Sour Heck, arms outstretched, screaming "I'll poke your eyes out and make you blind"
Iesha 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Peredur 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Sour Heck 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Talia 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
Eloise 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
Rachel 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
attack 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
dmg 1d4 ⇒ 4
drain 1d2 ⇒ 2
Rachel manages to close the distance with Sour Heck, gliding over the alter and the short distance to him. The rage in her scream clearly driving her to sudden ferocity. Her fingers penetrate into Sour Heck's flesh, raking him. Small wisps of light seemingly flow from Sour Heck to the twisted girl's form as she attacks.
Rachael's attack: 4 negative energy damage and DC15 Fort save or 2 con damage
All PC's may act
save: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
The church darkens as the light outside continues to dim. The church and surround are almost dark as night at this point as the storm clouds continue to gather. A soft rain begins to fall.
As the group begins to sing, a small wail can be heard behind the alter.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Nooooooooo. That's not how it goes!"
A small, ghostly form of a girl pops up from behind the alter. Her body wreathed in a dark fire, and her face twisted in a rage, she shouts at the singing patrons, "You don't get to sing unless he says so. Why did he send you?!"
She glares at Sour Heck.
Peredur 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (18) + 14 = 32 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (17) + 16 = 33 for undead
Once within, Eloise and Peredur can see that the simple chapel is falling victim to rot, its pews are already overgrown, and some of its windows are smashed. Mice nest in the altar, the holy water in the font is turning green, and the once-beautiful frescoes depicting Desna and the heavens have begun to flake. The stone altar, at the head of the church, holds several maps and what appear to be a few mementos.
As Peredur looks toward the altar, he notices a tiny form resembling the face of a young girl quickly peer out and disappear even more quickly.
I should note that as Sour Heck took note of the headstones, he will see the names of the six children mentioned previously among them.
At this point, I'm assuming Eloise and Peredur are definitely at least a few feet inside the chapel doorway, and the rest are either a few feet outside or merely near the outside of the doorway.
Learning Necril might be fine, but it may come with a hefty price. Dabbling in the ways of the Whispering Way isn't something to be taken lightly. You may want to try inquiring at the University and bring those books.
As for the date, in game, let's say today is currently the 9th of Lamashan, 4711. That is, unless Corvus has established a date at some point earlier in which case we'll just roll forward from that date. A cursory glance and I couldn't see one.
Also, I'm in Italy for the week, so my only times to post are for a few short hours in the Italian evening -- my posts might be at odd times.
As you approach the scarecrow, you can see it is actually the withered body of a man -- it's leg still clamped in a bear trap. If you care to search his belongings, you will find his clothes are now little more than rags, but he wears a turquoise gem on a leather thong around his neck. He also has 12gp, 22sp, a small silver pocket knife, and a set of thieves' tools in his pockets
As the group travels west, toward the center of Hergstag and the chapel, they will pass a small house, apparently empty inside and showing signs of disrepair. The sky darkens considerably as thick, ominous clouds seemingly fly overhead and threaten rain.
Upon reaching the center of the village, they will find a small, whitewashed timber building, surrounded by gravestones.
The chapel appears to be dedicated to Desna, and a cursory glance will reveal that some of the windows appear smashed.
As you scan around you with your detect magic, you sense nothing out of the ordinary. I'm following your standard of casting it at will as often as possible
As you look at the road to the south, you see what at first appears to be a fallen scarecrow lying at the side of the path, bones jutting from its tattered rags.
To the west, in roughly the center of town (where many roads meet) the sisters indicated a chapel.
Well to the south, next to the lake, the sisters indicated that the "Beast" probably once laired there.
The cutting winds bring the smell of rain.
As Iesha's crossbow bolt slams into the young boy's chest, he begins to wail and scream and the black fire around his body burns brightly for a second. Just as quickly as the black fire flares, it diminishes to nothing and the boy's form begins to evaporate, as though it were a cloud. His wailing quickly fades to silence.
As the boy's form dissipates, the clouds seem to loom darker and more ominous - the late afternoon seems almost as night. The wind now turns quite chill.
The boy is quite dead, only tattered clothes remain where his form once was.
P.S. Apologies for the delay. I had thought that work, which is what has kept me from posting more frequently or consistently would diminish after our software finally rolled into production last week. Alas, now I am in firefighting mode. I have come up for breath.
P.P.S. Happy fourth for those that celebrate it
To my mind, Peredur's action was the single action that initiated combat -- a surprise round if you will. Also, Sour, any group buffs that you perform I will apply retroactively to the beginning of the round.
Iesha 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
Peredur 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Sour Heck :12
Talia 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Eloise 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Child: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Escape: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
Peredur's arrow flies, striking the child fully in the chest. The little boy begins to frantically twist and turn, trying to pry the jaws of the trap open. A loud wail emanates from his lips, seemingly turning the air all around the group chilly.
Begin Round 1
Iesha and Eloise both begin their incantations as Sour Heck inspires courage in the group.
Peredur may act again this round, and Talia may continue her action as she can see the child is still working feverishly.
Eloise notices nothing approaching at the moment.
intimidate: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
will: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
escape: 1d20 ⇒ 5
"Promise! Promise!", the boy grunts as the dark fire returs intensely to surround his small form.
"He'll like you. You should go see him! His name is Brother Swarm, and he's not afraid of you. He'll free you. Make you like us. Go join him.", he says, snickering to look at each of you. He then turns and points southwest towards a low hill.
"Now free me!" he screams, his form suddenly darkening and turning quite wispy.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
The child turns toward Sour and its face and body twists, as if consisting completely of smoke. The outline of its body throwing cinders and ash as if wreathed in some sort of black fire.
It screams in an unholy voice, at once distant and tortured, "He made me. I was once Allen, but now I am his. Elsa is also one of his. I have not seen a man made of pieces.". After a brief stare at Sour, it turns back and crouches, grabbing his ankle where the trap appears to have a solid hold. The wreath of dark fire dissipates some, and his features focus slightly, more akin to those of the little boy. "Please, let me go".
save: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Assuming the "trap" is the bear trap encountered earlier
After a few cycles of the group's rhyme, a small child's face appears around the corner of the building. Looking somewhat diminished and quite pale in the later afternoon light, the child appears intrigued by the group's antics, and takes a few cautious feet forward.
trap springing: 1d20 + 10 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 10 + 2 = 22
spot trap: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
damage: 2d6 + 3 ⇒ (5, 1) + 3 = 9
Failing to notice the trap in time, the small child stumbles into it.
Assuming that Sour will trigger the trap at the appropriate time
As the jaws clamp shut on the child's legs, he can be seen quite visibly wracked in pain and lets out a horrendous howl -- half child, half banshee-like in it's quality.
The high corn rustles loudly as the chill wind continues. The tassles bend and bob in waves across the expansive, flowing across the sea of green and yellow.
Passing over the bridge, the water below appears almost serene. Flowing ever so gently, there is little life visible on the banks or in the stream.
Approaching the first set of houses after crossing the bridge, Peredur notices a quick movement up ahead, as a small humanoid form dashes behind the house.
The sun is half past zenith, leaving you approximately 4 hours until nightfall.
Notice trap: 1d20 + 14 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 14 + 2 = 18
Trap attacks: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
Trap damage: 2d6 + 3 ⇒ (6, 3) + 3 = 12
Assuming the party moves forward with Peredur in the lead, warily searching for traps. What is your marching order, btw?
As Peredur leads the group carefully around the block of 3 buildings, he is completely surprised as a loud snap is heard. Two massive, jagged, rusty steel jaws spring upward where he was standing, clamping tightly together. They narrowly miss catching his foot after he steps over the trap, initially unaware.
Kieli begins a high circling loop around the group, drifting higher and father to the south and west, towards the running stream and beyond the buildings.
Talia feels ...Fear....Cold... as the bird circles over a spot perhaps 400 yards due west of the groups' position. It quickly returns, its feathers visibly shaking.
The 3 small buildings nearby look long abandoned, and the only (barely visible) trail runs straight west past them.
Ah, right, you have a bonus for undead. You would know, as Eloise already pointed out, that wraithspawn (if that's what the children as described truly are) will be created by a wraith. Killing the wraith essentially frees the wraithspawn to their own will. Their touch drains one's constitution. You would also know that they're incorporeal, affected by sunlight, and have an unnatural aura that animals fear. They can fly, intimidating, and besides their immunities and resistances to corporeal weapons and such, are difficult to damage unto true death.
The sisters will wave goodbye and pray for blessings as the group leaves. Anyone looking back will notice the sisters' eyes lingering long on Sour Heck's back.
Remembering tales of the broken souls of people -- spawns of some wraith. Incorporeal, their touch is deadly, yet they are much less powerful in sunlight (or so they say).
What little song escapes Eloise's lips is quickly muted as the strong, chill wind increases in strength.
As the group heads toward the abandoned village, they will find the neighboring farm fields have grown untended and unchecked, and high corn now all but hides the narrow road. Peredur is able to navigate the group through the tall corn until they spy a set of 3 small buildings 20 yards ahead. The trail apparently leads straight to them and beyond, bending to the right and out of view. The sound of slowly trickling water belies the presence of a small creek 5 yards beyond the furthest house.
Garrow responds to Sour Heck with, "Violent? The ghost children? Well, in a way. They seemed quite twisted, appearing as shadows twisted into children's bodies and wreathed in black fire. They taunted us, often appearing just out of our sight. Wasn't much left of the original children left in those hauntings, just twisted pain, seemed like", ending with a deep sigh.
"The children's names were Allen, Gaard, Karin, Rachel, Maarten, and of course, Ellsa, is now among them after that accursed Beast killed her." continues Starle. "There's no way one of us would go back there, but we'll be happy to provide you with safe directions. Mind you pay attention to them, since the place is likely to be overgrown by now."
"As for other monsters, there were no other monsters 'sides that devil Beast. Nothing else untoward happened in the area, that I know of". Garrow will shake her head in agreement as will Flicht as she returns with tea and several small cups. "Do you allow your assistants to drink tea, Master Bard?"
Garrow and Starle will begin giving Sour Heck very detailed directions. Starle will point out that they left large traps about in hopes of catching the "Beast" as they left. She is not able to pinpoint any specifically, but says there are quite a few of them about.
At Sour Heck's offer of the scarves, the woman stands and introduces herself as "Starle". "My, you are a sweet talker, aren't you? I imagine that comes in handy for one on your line of work. Well, you've found the women you seek, so your bribe purchase seems well spent. The sorrows of Hergstag, you say? Well, it's good you found us, as we can rightly tell you what happened as we lived there all our lives (up until 7 months ago) and witnessed the horror for ourselves." She turns toward the door and shouts,"Garrow! Flicht! Come on out. We have company!"
After a moment two other woman, somewhat older than Starle but resembling her more than a bit in face and in attire, appear at the door and brush some dust from their hands and simple dresses. They immediately eye the scarves that Starle is holding, barely hiding their interest in the colorful items. "This is Sour Heck, a well known Bard by trade, and his servants, " Starle tells her sisters as she waves her hand at Sour Heck and the rest of the group. "He says he's here to record the Sorrows of Hergstag, and has asked us to tell him of what happened there."
"Oh!" the other two coo at once. One of them turns to the other two, "Starle and Garrow, why don't you tell the master of the horrors we saw while I put on some tea?" and she walks around the side of the mill to a small cooking stove and begins to prepare something.
The older sister, Garrow, begins with "Well, let's see. It started about 9 months ago. We started losing the children, you see? They would vanish one night and then return the next day as a ghost. So it went for about a month until the culprit was found: The Beast of Lipdstadt! It boldly walked into the middle of the village holding the body of poor Ellsa." Her head drops as she sighs.
Starle continues, "Yeah, the beast was big and brutish, as you may have heard. And that accursed creature was laughing as it carried the child's broken body as if to mock our pain. As soon as we saw it, some men grabbed some pitchforks and we chased it. But try as we might, we couldn't catch it, and it escaped into the swamp. The poor innocents it killed continued to haunt our village, and before long, it became to much for us, so we abandoned the cursed place."
According to the original campaign thread, Eloise, Talia and Sour Heck were each carrying an unused haunt siphon. At some point Iesha used one and Sour Heck used his, leaving one for the group.
Also, assuming the group rents horses.
Following Gustav's directions, the group will find themselves approaching a small windmill a few minutes ride north of Lepidstadt. A small, mousy woman, perhaps in her early 40's, sits on a small bench in front of the windmill, apparently engrossed in knitting some sort of heavy wool blouse. The windmill slowly turns, and a slight grinding noise can be heard from behind a small wooden door at the front of the windmill.
The woman looks up as you approach, eyeing each of you intently (particularly Sour Heck).
In the interest of moving this along after such a long pause, let's assume that Sour Heck purchased all the he wished, sans Eloise's desired wand of Magic Missile. I'll also assume that the party will be concluding their interview with Andrew
Andrew responds that he does not know of the three women that you mention.
The windmill where the sisters are located is about 20 minutes walk outside of Lepidstadt. Hergstag is roughly 15 miles away -- a much longer hike.
A chill wind descends unexpectedly on the town as the group shops for their items.
Also still here. I could try to pick this back up with you guys or you could find another GM. Up to you. I won't be offended if you find someone else, or even begin looking passively while I try to get back in the swing.
I'm in Italy this week at a client's office, so I'll post later this Italian evening when I get some time at the hotel.
Andrew will appear unusually dour. The shackles to his wrists and ankles still in evidence, apparently necessary despite the large cage he is currently in.
"No care about jokels. No care about humans. Little swamp man say wrong things about me. Not true."
"Andrew was living near a lake. Then little girl came to visit. We become friends. She was gentle. She was kind. Told girl not to tell anyone about me. Girl's family might not like Andrew.[b]"
"[b]One day saw girl go near small cave outside of town. Saw her go in cave, she was following another child. Other child was white. She went in cave. I went in, too, thought it was dangerous. Saw horrible man. He was also white. Knew he was going to hurt girl. Hurt Ellsa. Tried to stop him, but couldn't touch him. He touched girl and killed her. Took body back to village, to give to father. But they attack Andrew. Think wrong thing. Think Andrew kill girl."
A deliberate search of the desk will reveal a few scraps of ancient parchment and an old quill. Tobian will notice a secret compartment inside one of the drawers. Inside this compartment you will find a handaxe, a small pouch containing 100pp, and a prayer book, apparently written in a Dwarvish script. After some careful parsing, you believe it might read "Torag is no longer worthy of our devotion. Only Droskar can deliver us from the failings of King Garbold". The prayer book may be worth something to a scholar.
You won't find anything else of value in this room, besides, perhaps, the pelt from the dead wolf.
There are several rooms to the south. You still need to collect a few mushrooms.
Baring any other testimony that Sour Heck will offer, Gustav will conclude with his defense and the Chief Justice Khard will call for a recess for the day at around 2pm.
The Justices leave the courtroom first, followed by the prosecution and the Sister of Justice. Finally, Andrew is led from the courtroom, and at this point, a cacophony of jeers rises up from the gallery, with a large number of insults and curses hurled at the back of the creature's hulking form as he leaves the courtroom.
Gustav will call the group into his chambers afterward.
"Tomorrow is Hergs-s-s-stag, where Andres is accused of murdering 6 children. It's here, in the the Dipplemere Swamp" he says, a look of worry passing over his face. He draws a map for you to follow.