Haunting of HarrowStone (GM Reference)


Carrion Crown

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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Are the dungeon squares actually 10'? Thanks!


I ran it that way, and there were no major problems. I think it's supposed to be.


I think the Harrowstone interior scale should be 1 square = 5’. Notice that the Harrowstone grounds map shows a scale of 1 square = 10’, and on that map the prison takes up half the squares it does on the interior map.

I played it at 1 = 5’, and had no problems. The fights were close up and personal as a result, so the prison made my players feel appropriately clausterphobic.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Assuming that the PCs somehow manage some amazing information acquisition, how much knowledge concerning the people who captured Hawkran's soul is enough to tantalize without spoiling things? The enactors of the ritual (and thus Lorrimor's murderers) are Auren Vrood (necromancer 8/agent of the grave 3), Fleshwort (his homunculus familiar), Barliss Rask (fighter 3), and the unnamed eldritch knight whose head conveniently explodes moments before the PCs finally track him down and try to talk to him, right?


I'd assume Barliss Rask was a lot stronger than fighter 3 - fighter 3 is what was left over after the man was turned into a dullahan, a process that usually erases all class levels.

But yeah, that's Vrood and the Dark Riders.

I had Vesorianna give a pretty good description of Vrood, and that Vrood killed the professor with a whirlpool of black light. And there was huge swatch on the prison grounds where insects, lichen, plants, etc. had all simply died.

While the Dark Riders are deliberately non-descript, Vrood with his deathly pale skin, bone plated robe, and burning red eyes, cuts quite the striking figure.

When Count Caromarc described Vrood again, my party had a great "oh crap" moment.


I have one Varisian "mystic" (she's a professional fortune-teller who's an Alchemist [her class] on the side) who is "sensitive to the spiritual". Thus I get to give her spooky visions and have strange events happen to her to spur the party on without giving them too much direct information.

For example, Vesoriana was able to "see" the man (sort of), and so the mystic was also able to "see" him in the same manner that Vesoriana was.

That's more or less how I've run that information gathering - the party has gotten snippets of information from the Iquisitor and her divinations, and the Mystic and her visions and moments.


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Sigh. You guys are lucky, having players that care and stuff. Mine were just like "Killed professor with magic, wears bone armor, ok fine whatever let's go kill undead things and get treasure!"

Grand Lodge

I have a similar problem. I have gone to considerable trouble in all of the backstory/behind the scenes fluff I've written for my game to give the Rask brothers personalities but around book four my group continues to know them as the big guy or the little guy. They always remembered Vrood though.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Keep Calm and Carrion wrote:

I think the Harrowstone interior scale should be 1 square = 5’. Notice that the Harrowstone grounds map shows a scale of 1 square = 10’, and on that map the prison takes up half the squares it does on the interior map.

I played it at 1 = 5’, and had no problems. The fights were close up and personal as a result, so the prison made my players feel appropriately clausterphobic.

Thank you Tactics and KCC! Good to hear it would work either way.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

According to the player's guide, elves "are uncommon in Ustalav, especially outside the cosmopolitan capital of Caliphas or the nation’s many centers of learning. . . Some elves find themselves subject to deep-seated prejudice from Ustalav’s primarily Varisian inhabitants, who collectively—if subconsciously—hold a grudge against the elves who returned to Kyonin once the Whispering Tyrant was defeated so long ago, abandoning the crippled natives to fend for themselves—a fate from which the nation of Ustalav has never fully recovered." (p. 4)

In spite of this, there are eight elves living in Ravengro, and no mention of them is ever made aside from the fact that they're there. Given that my players are going to be very aware of the potential for prejudice focussed on elves, they're very likely to wonder who these eight elves are and what their story is. I expect this curiosity to grow as the residents of Ravengro increase in hostility and paranoia.

Anyone done anything with this?


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I played them as second class citizens.

They were basically Forlorn paupers who'd settleed in for a "brief stint" of four and a half decades or so. (They don't recall the fire because they weren't there.)

In other words, they're "migrant" subsistence farmers, rough laborers, and similarly disenfranchised groups.

As for them, they, too, were paranoid, but more than anything, they were paranoid of being "harmed by association" - they avoided the PCs because they were afraid of reminding everyone they weren't here forever.

They don't live together (they're afraid of ghetto-ization), and they are underpaid compared to human workers.

Because they've been around for so long, they're basically accepted as "part of the culture".

Their ultimate goal? Moving on.

(The only other thing I made up about them is a scene, while they were in Jominda's shop, an elderly woman was ordering some... one-use feminine "protection" potion; she presumes one of the female PCs is there for something similar... and when she notices the male elf PC is there, she makes a comment about "those elves, eh?" or something similar. Indicating, of course, that she was... "enjoying" them... Sufficient reason, it turned out, for the PCs not to go, really, though it wasn't on purpose. If they had investigated, they'd have learned that they live in poor shacks with few benefits.)

EDIT: To be clear, the elves were using their reputation as skilled lovers (distantly related to Calistrians, though, of course, while in Ustalav, they're good Pharasmin boys and girls) to gain some amount of acceptance... which has actually worked, to a point.

(This is one of many different ideas they have collectively used to gain local acceptance, including accepting their second-hand-citizen status, and even embracing it. They are thus a little forbidden, alien, different... and they live it up and "sell" it, so they can, kind of ironically, have an accepted place in society. Thus they're a little protective of that place of theirs, becoming paranoid that the PCs will take that from them.)


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So I added an extra puzzle to Harrowstone that my 4 PCs seemed to enjoy. YMMV, but the appeal is that it's not something solved in the 'usual' kind of way and I think the PCs appreciated that. The background is that this is a Car Talk puzzler, so you can find the solution in the puzzler archives (http://www.cartalk.com/content/puzzlers/2014) - it's called Prison Switcharoo.

One thing that might be pertinent for the setup: my PCs had never figured out how the Splatter Man was writing the letters on the memorial (they never even bothered to clean the memorial). So while they had all had nightmares, no one ever really connected those to Splat. This also requires a boost to Splatter Man's nightmare power, as all of the PCs have the same nightmare at the same time.

In our game it worked out that the PCs had to go back to town right when they had managed to open the portcullis to the Nevermore. So that night they went to bed as usual, and the next morning they woke up in chains and were being dragged through Harrowstone (one neat thing they asked was if it was Harrowstone as it was when it stood, or Harrowstone as they knew it - burned and rotten). They were brought through the processing rooms where they were stripped, scrubbed with lye, and branded (when branded they all had to make a will save. if they made the save they took 2 hit point damage, if they failed, 2 wisdom damage). Then they were brought to the auditorium (where the cold spot usually is) where they were met by the new warden, the Splatter Man. For 'crimes against the true lords of harrowstone' the PCs were sentenced to death. 'But the lords of harrowstone are not without mercy, or humor. You have this opportunity to free yourselves!'

And then they were read the puzzler: There's a room with two switches, a and b. The switches can be up or down. I will randomly bring you into the room one at a time. When you are brought to the room you must flip one and only one switch. When any one of you can say that all of you have been to the room at least once, you will all be freed. If you say we've all been to the room and one of you has not been to the room all of you will be immediately put to death. You have as much time as you would like to come up with a strategy. After you've settled on a strategy you will neither see nor hear each other.

You should have seen the look on their faces when I read them the scenario. And yes, during their deliberations I was called sadistic.

Some additional things: I had one PC on skype, the other 3 in person. I had everyone turn their phones to silent, I sent the 3 in person players to different rooms (bathroom, kitchen, bedroom) and texted them when it was their turn to enter the switch room. I had to abandon this because the reception was crap and the texts weren't going through. This would work a lot better with IM or some such. All told, this puzzle took about an hour+. During deliberations, any action that was not just talking (trying to escape, casting a spell, no one tried to wake up but that would've counted, and even making a knowledge check to find a clue) first required making a will save. If you failed the will save, you took 2 wisdom damage and could not take your action.

In the end they only needed two hints. And as soon as they completed the puzzle, they all woke up, exhausted and a little hurt, but none the worse for wear.

It was really fun for me because they absolutely crushed harrowstone, and they really struggled with this for a bit. But I think it was fun for them too because it really was something out of the ordinary.

Oh, if they had gotten it wrong, they would have still woken up (as the scythe was falling), rescued by Father Grimburrow and his acolytes (who had been hired by Kendra Lorrimor when the PCs failed to wake up on their own). But they would have taken extra wisdom damage and probably would have needed a couple of days to recover fully.


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I'm gearing up to start a pbp campaign and one thing I want to do is establish the relationship with Petros better so that there's more intrinsic buy in there. I've written this letter as a teaser the players will get just a few days before the funeral invitations. I was hoping you GMs who have run HoH would read this and tell me if I may have given away too much. Thanks!

Letter from Petros:

Dear friend;

I am reluctant to involve you in anything that may put you in harm’s way, but I fear that I have stumbled into a proverbial hornet’s nest. Dark strangers have been seen around Ravengro and it appears that they have some interest in the Harrowstone prison. While I can’t fathom what they would want with that haunted, old eyesore, I am deeply suspicious of their intentions. I followed them up to the prison last night and, while they were nowhere to be seen, I discovered necromantic glyphs and sigils etched into the foundation. I dared not investigate further knowing the dark strangers could be anywhere on the premises. I will return tomorrow and attempt to divine their motives when they are gone. My best (and most feared) estimation is that the strangers are of the Whispering Way and that they are here to study whatever fell energies may still cling to that ruin.

My friend, I admit that I am fearful. While this may all be nothing more than the imaginings of a bored, old adventurer, what if I am correct?! I must know. If it is the Way, they must be stopped. Anything that would interest them surely bodes ill for the rest of us. I am sorry to be so brief, but time is short. I just wanted someone I could trust to know what I was investigating should the worst come to pass. I will send word as soon as I have more to tell. I trust you will exercise discretion with what I have told you. The Way are wily enemies. Farewell for now.

Your old friend;
Petros


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The only bit you're "giving away" are the glyphs and sigils, which really isn't a major problem since it is easily found and, I think, there is another avenue for the players to learn about them anyway.

Personally, I wouldn't refer to them as the 'Whispering' Way. Just call it the Way for more mystery. Then make up a half dozen other cults with the word Way in the name for anyone making knowledge checks. Some basic background, differently purposes for why they'd be at a prison, etc. Don't want to give away too much too soon. Oh, actually have the word 'Whispering' still there, but completely (and irretrievably) blotted out by ink or a small burn or even cut out from the letter.

Oh yes, cut out from the letter. And a high DC check shows someone tampered with the letter. Fun! PS - Vrood did the tampering; maybe add some evidence of such to his base of operations in book 3.

Sounds like a good hook though. There's also a whole thread on letters to the players you may want consider.


I like the letter idea. Only concern is this will direct the players to Harrowstone right away (added to the journal), when you don't really want them going there until level 2. You could use the letters to throw in some red herrings to keep them in the town/ doing research until the Town Hall event or at least direct them to the crypt/graveyard first.

I think name dropping the Whispering Way is fine, if I recall the professor's journal references them anyway.


Thanks!

The idea of a tampered letter sounds fun. Very thematic for the Way.

I agree that the letter will likely send them straight there. I'm planning to incorporate a suggestion from this thread - a Ravengro law that forbids going to Harrowstone. I'm hoping this will delay the party long enough to be directed to the research.

Keeping the party from rushing straight to Harrowstone is the biggest challenge I'm wrestling with as I plan this game. It's OBVIOUSLY the ultimate objective and so I'll need some solid reasons to keep them from rushing right there.


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Well, here's a scene to discourage players showing up too soon:

If they approach the prison during level one, they arrive to find a pair of guardsmen dragging a third out of the keep while a fourth tries to hold off some monsters. The players are too far to help, but the fourth is struck down with relative ease and his body dragged back into the lake by skeletons. When they rush to help, the guardsmen beg the players for assistance with the wounded man and to get him back to the temple.

Along the way, they explain that the fourth one that was killed was Sgt. Gorne, their most skilled fighter, and even he couldn't take on the skeletons. They warn the PCs to stay away because they don't look too much stronger than the Sergeant.

When they get to the temple, the town sheriff shows up and puts a ban on anyone from entering the prison without his approval. He gets the PCs to promise not to risk their lives in there, at least not yet, and instead could they look into this other thing if they want to help (where the other thing is some local problem, like the writing on the monument or a side quest you invent).

If the PCs sneak back to the prison, have the sheriff and some guards be waiting for them and have him be disappointed in the PCs for disobeying. He can't stop them, but it does no good to get themselves killed in the prison without even knowing what they'll be facing while the townsfolk could use help while the three wounded guardsmen are recovering.

You can't stop the PCs from going to the prison if they really want to, and you really shouldn't. You can run the sheriff as being especially disinclined to let them and more interested in getting their help with something else, but the PCs are going to do what they want to do.

Grand Lodge

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Disclaimer: much of the below materials came from or were adjusted from other posters here on the forums. While I don't have your names on hand, you have my thanks. If you recognise something you posted on the forums here, please post and take a bow - credit where credit is due

Re - letter.

I used this as my pre-game hook.

Spoiler:
My Dear Friend,
Forgive me for contacting you so abruptly, but current circumstances make haste the superior virtue over propriety, and I strive for virtue in all things. I look back upon our prior association fondly, and, Pharasma wiling, our possible future enterprises, because it is in the spirit of re-kindling an old friendship that I write to you now. I hereby formally invite you to visit me at my home, where I can share with you the results of my latest line of inquiry. It would surprise me greatly if you did not find it as fascinating as I do. I trust you will find your way to me in due time, and until then I wait with bated breath.
Yours in friendship,
Petros Lorrimor,
Prof. Emeritus, University of Lepidstadt,
Dept. of Cultural Preservation

That Professor Petros Lorrimor would remember you among all the others he had dealt with is, perhaps, a reflection of the trust and deep affection that he held for you and your talents, and of the friendship that developed all that time back to when you first met him. That the Professor is asking for you, specifically, out of all the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of students, partners, employees, and acquaintances he had made over his career, makes your heart swell with pride nonetheless, albeit mixed with feelings of concern.

Were it not for the code phrase, “with bated breath,” you would never have thought to heat the paper, revealing the secret message Professor Lorrimor encoded therein. Several key letters appear emphasized and previously hidden symbols appear. Quickly snatching up a quill, you scribe the emphasized letters, hidden symbols and word breaks to discover the Professor’s true message:

COME TO RAVENGRO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. TERRIBLE DANGER. ENEMY. CANNOT SHARE MORE. FIND YOUR WAY TO ME. P.L.

Shivering, and not from the chill night air, you cast the paper into the fire, planning to depart for Ravengro in the next few days, dreading what the Professor couldn’t trust, even to a cipher… sadly news follows in its wake.

I write on behalf of Kendra Lorrimor, the daughter of your friend, Petros Lorrimor. I regret to advise you that the Professor has died in a tragic accident. Kendra, mindful that her father mentioned you prior to his departing into the arms of the Pharasma, bids you come to attend her fathers funeral.
In Sympathy
Your Servant
Vashian Hearthmount

I didn't include the journal in the chest with the other books.

Kendra gave it to them later... After she had read it but did give them this letter.

Spoiler:

Kendra comes down holding a letter and clutches a book to her chest. She is not crying but tear marks are fresh on her face.

I decided to open his credenza as well... and found this.

She extends a letter to you, sealed with a blob of wax. It has been opened.

On its outside it is written 'To my friends'.

5th of Calistril, 4714
My Friends,

If you are reading this, I am probably dead and I fear my call for your aid was sent too late. I would vastly prefer to be better prepared to face my foes than I am as I write this letter. It would take too long to explain here – please read my journal to understand what you are facing here.

Whatever you do, do not treat Harrowstone lightly; its remaining denizens do not take kindly to being disturbed. My first foray into that benighted place very nearly met with disaster.

I give you the same advice I always have: knowing your enemy is the key to his defeat. Learn as much as you can about my ‘opponents’, and Harrowstone, before you try to tackle any exploration. I have not had the time to do so, and look where it got me.

I know you will all do well. Stop them. The challenge falls on your shoulders now. I would have loved to lay it all out clear for you but time, as always, moves too swiftly and only allows for regret that more could not have been done with the time spent. I’ve left you enough to find the same answers I did.
—Petros

P.S.: Kendra, if you are reading this, I am so sorry that these words are the last you’ll ever hear from me. I don’t mean to leave you alone. I hope you can forgive me.
—Your Loving Father

This allows the characters view of Harrowstone but cautions them to learn BEFORE attempting it. Keeping them running around town for a few days.

I also added stuff to the journal - making an old one to cover an encounter with the way but precious little detail... And a recent journal - these incorporate a small hook or two. The players find the older journal in the study but must wait a day or two for Kendra to finish with the newer one... Slowing the players from rampaging into Harrowstone with some luck.

Older Journal

Spoiler:

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. The Tyrant was not the founder of this sick and twisted order, but he was the most powerful of its number and is definitely considered the ideal of what their Way can accomplish.

Thank goodness that certain secrets are kept and certain people kept hidden – who knows how the Way would react if it were otherwise?

Seven Years Ago:

The WW seem to be both more and less of a threat than thought. They are growing in activity – It may be some sort of overall design or it could be shifting politics within their ranks. It seems to be distracting them from their usual harmful enterprises. What could be causing it and what can be leading up to it?

My trip to Last Wall was not wasted. They remain vigilant of Gallowspire. I know that I myself would never attempt a visit – simply too dangerous. One thing that fascinated me was the Ley Line array proceeding through Ustalav and Gallowspire. One theory is that the Whispering Tyrant chose the site for that reason. Another theory is that the lines have been harnessed to ensure his dormancy. The native Kellid used to center many of their religious sites on purported ley lines in their worship of their strange gods.

If it is the case that they have a connection to the strength of the Tyrants prision, I shudder to think what would happen if certain of these power nexus’ were to weaken or be disrupted.

Five Years Ago:
My first and hopefully last direct conflict with those madmen who favour undeath over life. Even fully prepared and with several trusted agents it was a hard won victory. That both Piotr and Midisielle have fallen saddens me greatly. We saw to it that they were given full rites and a proper farewell. I’ve arranged for a sum of money to go to Piotr’s wife and children – no replacement for a Husband and Father but used with care, will ensure that they live comfortably for many years. M never spoke of her family or homeland so the best I can do is bid her speed through The Bonelands to Pharasma’s throne.

I dared not record my investigations even in my journal earlier for fear that the agents of the Way may somehow know of my suspicions and plans… I must make a fuller account of that now that the crisis has passed. With all the events and terrors, it may make an interesting book.

I do not doubt that today’s events only ended a cell of the Way… the larger Cabal will be only inconvenienced I dare say.

“Retired”? – I haven’t worked harder in years. I will be certain to take a few months for myself, and for Kendra, whom I neglected in this time, for some sort of holiday. With this cell gone and their presence disrupted I feel more comforted for her safety and that of every person in the area.

Newer Journal

Spoiler:

6th of Kuthona, 4711 (3 months ago)
I woke up today to find two dead whippoorwhirls on my windowsill. The witch’s foretelling has finally come true. It’s every bit as dreadful as she promised.

I know growing up in Ravengro hasn’t been the easiest on Kendra. Although she didn’t remember very much about living in Caliphas (I always told her it was Lepidstadt), as a child she would often tell me of dreams of a big city. I tried to tell her all children have these types of dreams, but I don’t know if she ever truly accepted it. I’m going to sell my home so that at least Kendra can finally return to ‘the big city’.

10th of Kuthona, 4711 (3 months ago)
I leave today for Lepidstadt. I’ve had Professor Crowl put out feelers for any interested buyers. I haven’t told my other colleagues about my plans. They’ll find out soon enough.

25th of Kuthona, 4711 (2 months ago)
I have secured a buyer for my property. One Dr. Vasyl Belenko. I’ve signed the papers over for a sum that should allow Kendra to settle into Lepidstadt quite comfortably. I was able to convince the fellow that I have some unfinished business in Ravengro that would need to be dealt with and requested he hold off until the 30th of Gozran before moving in. He was quite amenable to the idea once I explained he could hold off on paying me for the property until the 1st of Calistril, at which point it would be held by the Bank of Abadar until the agreed date. This should provide enough time for Kendra to move at her leisure.

26th of Kuthona, 4711 (2 months ago)
I had dinner with my old friend Embreth last night. I had been planning on slipping out of Lepidstadt before anyone from the university knew I was here, however I’m glad I relented and spoke with her. She’s doing quite well for herself and seems to have settled into things well enough. I’ve made my arrangements with her as well.

It’s strange but as we talked about old times I could still feel we both regretted ‘The Decision’ made so many years ago. It would be trite to say it hurt us as much as it did him but we are not without our own wounds from that day.

29th of Kuthona, 4711 (2 months ago)
I cannot believe the difficulties I had getting into Tamrivena today. The guards at the gate were being completely unreasonable, demanding to know what my business was and why I was traveling on the road.

I had to pull quite a few strings simply to get through the damn gate! I was half tempted to simply spend the night in Nathrus, but it didn’t come to that. This time. I don’t know what’s happened to this town, but I simply don’t have time to be dealing with petty thugs such as these. I’ve got far too many things to do once I get home.

3rd of Abadius, 4712 (2 months ago)
It was good to see Kendra when I got home. I forgot to get her a gift from my travels like I usually do. She seemed to shrug it off saying she was probably too old to get a treat whenever her father went away.

The disappointment in her voice still stung though.

5th of Abadius, 4712 (2 months ago)
I’m concerned that some unusual people have been snooping around Ravengro while I was away. Perhaps I’m just getting paranoid, but some of the comments people have made are somewhat unsettling.

14th of Abadius, 4712 (1 month ago)
I’m not growing paranoid – there have been strangers lurking around in the woods. I have my suspicions as to who it might be, but I have no idea what they could possibly want.

25th of Abadius, 4712 (1 month ago)
The Whispering Way are here! It seems they are interested in something here in Ravengro. But what could it be? Could it be me? Or our secret?

Another entry under it in hasty scribbled writing

Of course. I’m such a fool for not seeing it before. There is only one possible reason they could have for being here. But why now? Why after all this time? This requires further investigation, but I don’t have too much time left.

29th of Abadius, 4712 (25 days earlier)
It seems the rumours aren’t all just old ghost stories after all. In retrospect, I suppose it all makes sense — the stories they tell about the ruins in town are certainly chilling enough. That helps explain their interest in the place. But it doesn’t explain specifically what the Whispering Way are interested in. Whatever the Way seeks, I am now convinced their goal is connected to Harrowstone. 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 – I can tell no-one of my intentions; the superstitious and ignorant locals already think me some diabolist or witch, and I would rather not leave THAT legacy to my daughter.

1st of Calistril, 4712 (22 days earlier)
I see just how ill prepared I was when I first headed out there. I am lucky to have returned at all. But of course I know luck didn’t have anything to do with it. I’ll get some benefit from that damn curse before I go. With things as they were, I was unable to transcribe those symbols. I’ll try to record them next time, they may hold a valuable clue.

I remember reading clues and hints about a crypt in the Restlands. I’ll need to go searching through my notes. I should never have let my supplies get so low to begin with. That was a foolish error on my part.

3rd of Calistril, 4712 (20 days earlier)
Perhaps my memory is failing me. I’ve scoured through all of my books and haven’t been able to find the notes I need. I was positive it was in Ravengro. I couldn’t be getting this town confused with another one. Could I?

Another entry under it, again in hasty scribbled writing
Success! My memory wasn’t failing me after all. The false crypt is in the intersection between Eversleep and the Black Path. I wonder if Father Grimburrow knew about it? I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

The Way seems quite interested in something—no, strike that—some ONE 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… or perhaps the townhall.

5th of Calistril, 4712 (18 days earlier)
I redrew my will yesterday and had Hearthmount witness it and store it away. He was quite perturbed by the fact I’ve sold my house to an outsider. I guess the rumour mill will be working overtime by the end of today.

I made sure I sat down and had dinner with Kendra last night. Our first meal together since I saw those two whippoorwhirls. I was almost going to tell her that I’ve sold the place, but got distracted and then forgot about it. I’ve tried to be all that a Father could and should be. I only hope that my efforts were enough. Pharasma knows I have come to love her dearly.

I helped myself to a few of the items in the crypt. Anymore wouldn’t do ME any good. I’ve gotten no sleep last night as I’ve thought long and hard about who to contact in order to deal with them. I doubt I’ll take them out by myself.

I just finished my last letter. Hopefully their interest will be piqued and they’ll investigate matters in more depth but if my theory is right, the entire town could be at risk.

Time is fleeting even as I write – Perhaps I write now in some vain attempt to stave off the inevitable? I know what will happen even if I don’t know how it will happen. It’s strange to write these last words, knowing that once I close my journal, it will be my last entry. So many regrets among my triumphs… Pharasma help me in those regrets.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Do we know how the WW was storing Lyvar Hawkren's soul after they snagged it from Harrowstone? Would it have been in a gem?


tbug wrote:
Do we know how the WW was storing Lyvar Hawkren's soul after they snagged it from Harrowstone? Would it have been in a gem?

Something like that. It is mentioned, if I remember correctly, in a vision you get at the end of book 3 (after taking down Vrood). One dark rider is given all the materials, the other gets the seasage effigy.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You're right! Thank-you!

The answer is: "an iron-and-glass vial containing a swirling gray mist".

Grand Lodge

tbug wrote:

You're right! Thank-you!

The answer is: "an iron-and-glass vial containing a swirling gray mist".

Oh snap! Maybe one of the ones Lorrimor carried.


Hi all. I love these threads because I am a first time GM and I am GMing this module.

Currently the team is level 3 and just now entering Harrowstone. They've essentially done almost every single event and it's only day 5 or 6. I'm a little worried that they may be a little overpowered. Is it weird to perhaps have a couple of the ghosts work together in the same fight? Or is this completely out of their character? I haven't read that far in advance to see where they're located.

I'm also interested in making an epic boss fight, if not in Harrowstone, but near Ravengro. I'm wanting my group to hit level 4 and obtain a mythic level so I'm deciding if I want to include an undead young dragon, lol.


First: glad you're GMing! Relax, enjoy, and remember: every group is different!

1) If they're "overpowered": that's okay. Harrowstone is a spooky place, and it can be deadly to the wrong team, but if you're prepared enough, in PF, as in life, you can sometimes make things run almost eerily smoothly. On that note, however, what is your team made of? What race/class combos, etc? That will help us help you in keeping things challenging.

2) Read, read, read. Read the entire rest of the module! You need to have all of it down - at least lightly (you don't have to memorize it, just get the basic ideas - for your sake as well as theirs.

3) As-written, there are a few ghosts/haunts/etc that will interact with each other, though most are solitary, and most that interact with each other start as solitary. The primary thing to recall is the Rapping Haunt, while weak, can seriously make for a bad day if one or two of your people succumb to it.

4) It's really, really easy to buff up the difficulty of anything: max hit points or the Advanced template. (Or both, but if you do, you should ignore the Advanced template's natural AC increase) be very cautious with this, however, as it could prove to be very "swingy" - if there's multiple enemies at a time (and there may be), then only one or two get the max hp and/or template, for instance. You can't do this with haunts, exactly, but you can do similar (effectively: +2 DC, and treat hp as 8/CR instead of 4.5/CR as it currently is; Haunt Rules).

5) I am very leery of you diving into mythic during your first time GMing. Very leery. This is not to question your ability, skill, or intelligence; it's purely a matter of being familiar enough with the stress and pressure of GMing. I say this as someone who ran a gestalt as their first ever game: don't (unless you've only got one player). It's tempting, and fun, but it's better to stick to the basics... at least at first. If you really want to add mythic, I can help (I added it to mine), but I recommend against for your first outing as a GM; especially if you already feel they're over-powered! ;)

Regardless, read the rest of the adventure a couple of times, and let us know your specific rave/party and any signature abilities. :D


So, I did go ahead and read through the module. I really need to start being a ruthless GM because my players are killing my encounters quickly. They came into Splatter Man's room without fighting Lopper or the other guy in the basement floor (Whitewater Marauder). I made Splatter Man a CR 11 encounter because I was getting angry at how OP my players were. Almost killed numerous players and I kept inspiring fear into their hearts for multiple rounds.

I am going to use Mythic I decided. I have a question though. For my first epic fight, I will be having my players fight an undead adult dragon (Ravener) that is dungeon based. Can dragons eat players? If so, I would imagine it's a grapple and then next round it will be a potential toss up in the air into the mouth? Is it ultimately my discretion or are there rules for eating players?

(PS thanks for the note about the advance template. I didn't see that until you pointed it out. Rock on. <3)


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You made Splatterman CR 11 against a 3rd level party and they actually won? That raises all sorts of red flags =P

How many players do you have? Any special houserules being used to bolster the party?

By default dragons don't swallow people, but you could give one the Grab, Fast Swallow and Swallow Whole universal monster abilities (which can be looked up on the PRD) if you want - that would allow it to grab a PC with its bite attack (with a successful CMB check), then immediately snarf the PC, who's stuck inside until he dies or cuts himself out.

You can leave out Fast Swallow if you want the victim to have a round to try to get away before he's sucked down like a twinkie.


Glad to help. :)

Zhangar wrote:
You made Splatterman CR 11 against a 3rd level party and they actually won? That raises all sorts of red flags =P

Yeah... that's... strange... to me... as well.

*blinks and makes sure he reads that right*

Did you just hop him up on repeated applications of the advanced template and nothing else? Because that will make things wonky, as I said.

Or did you mean you just upgraded him to an 11th level wizard from 8th? Because in that case his CR is going to be somewhere around 9th or even a bit lower, just going based off of head-math.

We need some more details to figure out what's going on in general.

Regardless, a group of 3rd level PCs defeating a CR 9 (or CR 11) is inherently worthy of a mythic ascension: that's six CRs higher than they are!

Please share details with us about your party. We can't really help you much beyond really generic stuff without it.

Stats/classes/etc should give us some guidelines.

If you've got a cleric, know that they'll shine in the first adventure (here), and the last two adventures, but the middle three won't really be as big a deal over-all.

Anyway, more details, please! Really, anything could help us help you, but the more detailed you are, the more helpful we can be.


The problem was I didn't align the map on roll20 and the room was *VERY* small. I had absolutely no room to run away or else I would get AoO nonstop. If I had a large room, it would be different because then it would be 40 something feet away.

6 characters and they're all melee. They all found artifacts (in place of the prisoners' weapons) that will continue on in a mythical adventure in conjunction with Carrion Crown. ;o

Ever since I aligned the map, they've been having harder time. ;io


Not sure how to edit. Yes, that's what I meant Tacticslion. Level 11.


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Kuriin, Note that the module is designed around having 4 players, not 6. Having 6 players messes with the action economy in favor of the PC. You need to increase the number of monsters in encounter by ~50%, use advanced templates, and/or use max monster HP rather than average(default listed) to deal with this. Do note there are incopreal monsters in Harrowstone that take half damage from almost all attacks (and no damage from nonmagical weapons)

I'm also surprised your 6 PCs reached level 3 without stepping foot in Harrowstone. Make sure you are dividing xp gains by 6 instead of 4. If the party is a level behind where the adventure suggests, that is okay because there are 6 of them.


They had finished every single event in Ravengro while obtaining trust. For the graveyard (blanking on the name), I multiplied the number of enemies by 4. Ever since I found out about advance template, I've been using it. :] Been fun.

In regards to Lopper: I'm sure I screwed this up. But, I made his bleed even go through healing. Had to make the encounter challenging in some way. :x


Is anyone monitoring this thread? I am considering running this book, and already have characters made. I have questions about running it.


Current and past GMs of Carrion Crown keep an eye on all the book threads, as you can see from the most recent post being 6/28/2014.

What are your questions?


Well off the top of my head, how do I go about figuring out how much each enchanted arrow is worth in Harrowstone? The PC's aren't going to have much use for them, and will likely sell at the first opportunity. As I recall, there isn't much loot in Harrowstone at all, just consumables.

Second, how much time does each research check take up of game time? This is crucial since there's a limited amount of time for the adventure.

Grand Lodge

4 hours per research period.

The cost of a magical arrow is given for a stack of fifty so if they want to sell them you take the cost for 50.. +1 Arrow 2000.

Divide by 50 and each +1 arrow is worth 40 gold.

I think the majority of the arrows in the first book are essentially +2 so that would be 160 gold per arrow.


Since they are one shot items, I am not going to halve their value when selling them.

Where did you get that 4 hour research period from?

Grand Lodge

I was a little off.

According to the text each player gets one knowledge check when they encounter one of the topics for free.

After that they have to spend an entire day doing research on a given topic to make another check. Research on pg 15.

Asking around to the locals is your standard Diplomacy/Know Local check and takes 1d4 hours.


are you certain about the magic arrow pricing? I thought arrows were bought in bunches of 20.

Grand Lodge

Absolutely certain. It actually might be 2300 though including the price for masterwork. Here is the link. It's at the bottom of the first table.

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/magicItems/weapons.html


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You shouldn't worry too much about the "time constraint". Everyone I've seen reports that it is far too much time. My own group finished in about a week and a half. I think I even accelerated the appearance of the letters to make sure more than 2-3 appeared before the ghosts were killed.


A whole day for research checks? That could take weeks to finish! That's why I was so concerned with time when I ran the adventure last time, and why I am concerned now.


The research checks help, but aren't essential for defeating the five prisoners. It is a shame if your PCs aren't able to discover any information since all of their backstories are really cool. An alternative approach would be to substitute some of the facts in the research checks with rumors gathered via diplomacy from the townsfolk. In this way, you could give some of the story, albeit through the narrow-minded and prejudice filled eyes of the townsfolk. Truly though, your players have more than enough time to complete the module before the ultimate bad stuff happens. Consider also that it is a horror game, and a lot of that goes with not necessarily knowing why stuff is happening. Remember also that some of the haunts help convey the final moments of the prison, making actively seeking information (or using the Spirit Planchette in the prison) a viable solution to find out what they need. Hope that helps you!

Grand Lodge

Rakshaka has a point. Book 3 and Book 5 both have segments later on that have the PC's doing even more research on the Whispering Way. I honestly wish I would have made the checks more difficult during that first research session... at least for the Whispering Way so that they would have remained a more mysterious organization later on.

If you are going to do what was suggested with perhaps having a couple of letters appearing on the monument every couple of nights to speed things up I would up the DC's on the Whispering Way research and DM fiat the research down to 4-6 hours to give the party a chance to get all that research XP.


You also have at least 4 PCs, that is 4 checks a day, not one per day. And they get a bonus depending on where they research. In addition, the research locations also let them make checks even if they aren't trained in the Knowledge needed. Research phases also gives you time to sprinkle the extra events around town, aiding in getting the PCs to level 2 before they get to Harrowstone.


Ben the Red wrote:
You also have at least 4 PCs, that is 4 checks a day, not one per day. And they get a bonus depending on where they research. In addition, the research locations also let them make checks even if they aren't trained in the Knowledge needed. Research phases also gives you time to sprinkle the extra events around town, aiding in getting the PCs to level 2 before they get to Harrowstone.

Sorry, only the Wizard and Cleric have the Knowledges that will help. The Fighter and possibly a NPC Rogue I have don't have ranks in what is necessary. So halve that rate.

Am I correct in saying that the PC's lose Trust at the rate of 1 per day, so that if they are to make gains, they must gather at least 2 Trust per day?


Yes, you're correct on the Trust mechanic, but that's stupid and sucks, and will never work out that way, as has been established repeatedly 'round here. Change it. I did, and it worked out great. Players loved it, it worked out well, and it heavily invested them into the town. Their departure was met with great sorrow, though a huge party/feast was held in their honor before they left, and had created a statue with all of them to place in the center of the town square, near the gazebo. They only took Kendra with them, though they'll be pretty famous throughout the future adventures.

I considered making it a "Trust penalty" per letter, instead of actual Trust lost per day. Hence, they suffered penalties, but temporary ones, albeit each penalty lasted longer (and/or was more severe) than the last. I did make it a Trust Loss per Letter instead, with each additional letter netting more trust loss than the last.

And Piccolo, reference who can make the knowledge checks, you missed what he said: you don't have to be trained to make the Knowledge checks. If they split up, they can make three checks a day. It doesn't matter if the Fighter is trained: he can still make the check with research. If he's got a penalty, it's really not that big of a deal: he can still make the check and might get lucky enough to lead them to get more information later.

And here's the thing: the research doesn't take nearly as long as you fear.

Let's break this down:

Vesorianna

0) V
1) e
2) s
3) o
4) r
5) i
6) a
7) n
8) n
9) a

Even if they don't start researching until after the first "V" shows up, they'll have a ton of time.

To quote the AP itself:

pg 21 wrote:
Although the PCs are unlikely to realize it, this puts the adventure on a very real time limit—that Vesorianna’s name is, fortunately, a long one, and that the Splatter Man can only possess Gibs once every 1d4+2 days gives them, at minimum, 30 days to prevent this doom from occurring.

30 days minimum. That's over four weeks. (Four weeks and two days, actually.)

60 days maximum. That's over eight weeks. (Eight weeks and four days, to be precise.); Actually, this is untrue, as they could have much more than 30 days, if they keep stopping the Splatterman's victims, but we'll just presume he gets away with possessing Gibs for this exercise.

45 days on average. That's over six weeks. (Six weeks and three days, to be precise.)

Now let's look at the actual Research rules, as outlined on page 15.

Research wrote:

Research: Using a Knowledge check to research a topic allows the PCs two options—simply making the check to see what a character knows about the topic (this is a free action, but can only be attempted once per character), or spending a day looking through references, books, and other materials (this check can be attempted multiple times, but no more than once per day). There are four locations in Ravengro that can be used to research—Kendra suggests all four, but warns the PCs that the locals might need some convincing before they allow strangers to use their libraries. Using any of these sites to research information about Harrowstone or the Whispering Way allows a character to make Knowledge checks untrained (although doing so negates any bonus on skill checks the research site might provide).

The Lorrimor Place: Kendra offers to let the PCs use her father’s personal library to research, free of charge and regardless of the PCs’ current Trust point total. Lorrimor’s library provides a +2 bonus on all Knowledge checks made to research the Whispering Way.

Ravengro Town Hall: The records kept at the town hall provide a +2 bonus on all Knowledge checks made to research Harrowstone or the Five Prisoners, but the town council normally does not allow visitors to use the building at all. A DC 25 Diplomacy check is enough to convince the council to let one PC use the site. Once the PCs accumulate at least 31 Trust points, though, the
council lets the entire party use the site for research.

Temple of Pharasma: The temple of Pharasma has extensive notes on the town’s history, and is perhaps the best site for research. Using the temple’s records grants a +4 bonus on all Knowledge checks made to research Harrowstone, the Five Prisoners, or the Whispering Way, but securing permission to use this site for research requires a DC 25 Diplomacy check or a Trust score of 30.

The Unfurling Scroll: This building is a combination schoolhouse and magic item shop run by one Alendru Ghoroven; using its small library provides a +2 bonus on all Knowledge checks made to research Harrowstone. It cannot be used to research the Whispering Way at all. Alendru asks for a 10 gp payment for each day that he allows anyone to use his school’s resources, unless the PCs reach a Trust point total of 27, at which point he waives the fee and allows PCs to use the library free of charge.

XP Awards: Conducting research into the town’s history also brings experience awards, as listed for each DC result below. Award these XP rewards only once—the first time these pieces of information are learned.

Looking at the DCs below, let's check each topic's highest DC:

Harrowstone: DC 20 nets you everything.
Whispering Way: DC 25 nets you everything.
Five Prisoners: DC 20 nets you most things: one DC 25 will net you all the information about a single prisoner, plus everything below a DC 25. Hence, a total of five DC 25 checks, but really only one, with nice bonuses for the rest.

You note that you have a wizard. Let's presume he's not incompetent, and hence starts with a +3 intelligence bonus (starting INT 14, put a racial +2 into it).

Then, let's presume he researches at only the Lorrimor's place, so he only attains a +2 bonus, and only for the Whispering Way.

With absolutely no ranks in the relevant skill (if he does, at first level, that nets him an extra +4).

So: everyone Aids him. That's going to be +4 more (or +6 if you've got a rogue), netting him a total extra bonus +6 (or +8 with the rogue).

With his starting +3, that nets him a +9 (or +11 with rogue) on the check. A dice roll of 11 (or 9) to get most of the information, and a dice roll of 16 to get all of the information. If he's trained it's +13 (or +15). That's a dice roll of 7 (or 5) to get most everything, and a dice roll of 12 or 10 to get everything. At first level, with no other bonuses. "Could take weeks" is technically true, but it's exceedingly unlikely: the odds are against it. Probably about three checks, maybe four.

The rest won't quite get the same bonuses, but it's still fairly possible - and it's possible they'll do even better. If they level up to second or even third, with a single "face" in your party, they should have no problem convincing the town to let them use the Temple of Pharasma. (A +2 or +3 ability, +5 or +6 skill, +2 to +6 Aid Another, yields a +9 minimum Diplomacy value at 2nd [a dice roll of 16 or higher, with a roll made each day, to enter the Pharasma temple], and upwards of +15 at third [a dice roll of 10], or even a +2 or +3 more from feat selection, though that's unlikely.)

That nets them a +4 bonus to all their research checks. Two days and they're good to go.

Regardless, presuming 30 days, that's four weeks, or up to 28 different checks. That's... a lot of checks.

All that said, the vast likelihood is that you're going to be wishing it happened much more rapidly. Most people do. :)


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They finished the research in a little over a week.

They caught Gibs on the second try.

I skipped the fire at the town hall because it seemed too complicated for a first time player (the GF of a friend of mine).

They have cleared the first level of Harrowstone, although they did get pounded on pretty hard by Ember Maw.


How are the PC's supposed to find out that the flesh golem manual belongs to Montagnie and that they will get a good price for it from him (6k instead of 4k)?

Right now, I am considering having the goblin NPC Rogue I have assigned to the group to fill it out swipe it from Ghoroven, and saying that it was found in Harrowstone.


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I think I had something like "Property of Lepidstadt University Antiquities Department" inside the cover. My PCs went to the shop at some point (I believe I had Kendra mention Alendru was her teacher and that his private library would be a good place to do research) and the manual was on display. They asked where he got it from (and I don't quite remember how), but they found it was stolen. I gave them a few Diplomacy checks to get Alendru to sell them the book to them for cheap.

If your PCs don't bother to explore the town, don't just give them the loot they missed. Especially, if you give them a lead to go to the shop for research or supplies. The town is very much a part of the adventure. All the PCs miss out on is some foreshadowing and a little extra treasure if they don't get the manual.

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