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After a several years long hiatus from Pathfinder I returned to these forums to gain some inspiration after trying to give Carrion Crown another chance. When it came out it was my most anticipated AP to date but unfortunately my players at the time had little interest in a horror campaign so even though I spent months preparing for the Campaign I ended up having to scrap it.
This time however, I managed to convince my group even though they consist of mainly the same players so a few days ago we had our first session of the Haunting of Harrowstone.
My party consists of Pudge; an Id rager Bloodrager aspiring to become a paladin playing a homemade Frankenstein monster race know as a stitched, Dr. Alexei Zeki; An old human monster hunter/scavenger investigator that swaps out his extracts for temporary inventions and has a possessed mechanical arm, The Great Calcasio A gnome curator occultist with an obsession for numbers, Magdrak Freiherr Von Mushausen; A dwarven noble graveslinger and Karl Breckenridge; a human Inquisitor of Pharasma inspired by Castlevania. Another player that couldn't make it is going to play "E" a Dhampir White Necromancer that helps undead find a purpose for good before they can peacefully enter the afterlife.
I started the session as the pc's were headed to Ravengro in a carriage along a muddy treacherous path while a storm was raging. Up in the distance they could see the silhouette of the town and the prison as they were illuminated by the occasional strike of lightning. As they approached all pc's got a feeling of discomfort and the horses pulling their carriage became upset and unruly. As they neared Kendras home, Karl thought he saw a robed figure watching them from the side of the road, but as no one else noticed the figure, he kept it to himself assuming it was just one of the locals. They pulled up in front of Kendras home and was greeted not only by Kendra but by a couple of other visitors that had come to pay their respect. Among the other guests were a corpulent, nervous antiquarian named Lorne Maltrov and his bodyguard, a grim mercenary called Talbot, A trenchcoat wearing half-elf traveler named Icharo Legrosse and a crippled nobleman named Adivion Adrissant, all former friends, students, colleagues or associates of the professor. All of the pc's had arrived apart from Calcaso who had been traveling alone in a separate carriage and was running late and "E" who will be introduced into the Campaign at a later date.
The pc's got to know the npc's a bit before they turned in for the night and especially got a fondness for Adivion despite his arrogant aristocratic demeanor. They also learned that another guest had arrived, an unpleasant elitist halfling author named Jaques Ellias, who had refused Kendras offer of accommodations and instead chosen to lodge at the Outward Inn.
That night the pc's were plagued by nightmares where they were feverishly writing their names in blood with their skinless fingertips. Karl woke up noticing he had pulled out his dagger and started to carve his name into the floor were he slept. Pudge, needing no sleep was alerted by Karls sudden awakening and came to investigate from the hall outside were he had been sitting watch. Then the two of them noticed a tapping on one of the windows, but they assumed it was just a branch from the tree growing near the house and went back to their normal positions. Alexei however, having gotten up to relieve himself later that night, also heard the tapping and went to investigate noticing a ghostly raven tapping at the window. As Alexei went to investigate the raven fled of into the stormy night, but moments later Alexei noticed the silhouette of a robed man staring at him from between some trees close to the house. The silhouette quickly disappeared into the shadows and Alexei assumed it was just his mind playing tricks on him before he went back to bed.
The next morning they all gathered at the road leading up to the Restlands where the professor was to be buried. The pc's also noticed several locals, including a couple of the towns more prominent members, Councilman Muricar and Hearthmount as well as the towns Alchemist Jomanda Fallenbridge and the proprietor of the local tavern, Zokar Elkarid and his son Pevrin, there was also a mysterious robed foreigner that Kendra explained was a former assosciate of the Professor named Nazul Ebon. Nazul had no interest in speaking to anyone meeting all greetings with silence. Right as they were about to start carrying the coffin, Jaques and Calcasio came running up the muddy road, their clothes soaked by rain and mud. Jaques swore and muttered to himself ignoring any greetings from the pc's but instead commanding the procession to "get on with it". The halflings rudness was met by scorn by most of the attendees and Kendra almost exploded at the halflings lack of respect but was calmed by Adivion.
Soon the procession started, but as soon as they got up the hill they saw a gathering of locals wielding farm implements and improvised weapons. The mob was led by an old grizzled man with sideburns and rotted teeth that the pc's soon got to know as Gibs Hephenus. The mob demanded the procession to leave the graveyard and bury the professor somewhere else, insinuating they dump him in the river outside of town. Kendra exploded, Adivion unable to restrain her as she started to yell at Gibs. The pc's soon intervened, carefully lowering the coffin before adressing the mob. The pc's tried to convince Gibs to get his teeth checked as his rotted teeth may be a symptom of a more serious disease but Gibs couldn't be distracted by personal remarks and came with further threats. The pc's tried to use reason, but eventually Pudge stepped up to reveal his hideous face and told them to back up or face his wrath. Unfortunately the reveal only strengthened the mobs resolve and a skirmish ensued as the locals ganged up on the pc's. The other attendees stepped back, terrified of the violence except Adivion and Talbot. Adivion stepped in front of Kendra to protect her barely able to stand on his one good leg as he put his cane in front on him in defense. Talbot brought Lorne to safety and stood back to protect him leaving all the fighting to the pc's.
The combat wasn't deadly as the locals only tried to chase the pc's away, but that all changed when Karl pulled out a knife in an effort to intimidate the locals. This led one of the locals to pull out an axe and take a swing at Karl, luckily missing. Seeing the deadly threat, Alexei punched the man in the chest with his mechanical arm breaking several of the thugs ribs. The escalation of the combat was enough to scare away some of the thugs, but a few still remained, now changing their tactics to lethal attacks. Calcasio quickly de-escalated the battle however, as he used his magical abilities to create an illusion that the voices of the dead suddenly started to talk from the surrounding graves. This was enough to scare away the rest of the mob as well as most of the guests.
Finally, after getting rid of the mob, the procession could proceed to bury the professor. As they reached the burial site they were greeted by an ancient looking man wearing the robes of a priest of Pharasma. He was standing close to an open grave with a drunken, babbling man resting on a shovel near a pile of dirt on the side of the grave. The priest instantly started to curse Gibs and his cronies assuring the pc's that they would be punished. The priest then asked the attendees to share a few words before they buried the professor. Adivion gave a heartwarming speech about his time studying under the professor impressing the players with his eloquence. Lorne and Talbot had fled when Calcasio used his illusion, but Nazul stepped forward chanting something in ancient Osirian before he placed a box on top of the coffin, Kendra was barely able to hold back her tears and Adivion had to hold her to assure that she didn't collapse from her emotional stress, Icharo gave a short but heartwarming speech about his time traveling with the professor and Jaques gave a short, but almost mocking speech where he insinuated the inferiority of the professors work compared to his. To remain respectful nobody confronted the halfling about his rudeness. All the pc's told how they had met the professor and the relationship they had with him throughout their lives. Pudge remembers how he saved the professor from highwaymen and how he had taken him in, offering a job as a bodyguard and driver and learned him how to control his inhuman anger; Alexei told how he went from the professors student to his colleague and how the professor had aided him in his work to gain his doctorate in Arcane sciences; Magdrak told the story of how the professor had thought him the secret techniques of how to defeat the ghosts that killed his family and Calcasio how he respected the professors understanding of the occult and how he brought several rare artifacts for the gnome to study, becoming one of his closest associates. Karl had been studying under the professor to better learn how to hunt undead and monsters, a profession his family had been undertaking for hundreds of years and he saw the professor as his closest mentor and a father figure. After the speeches, Father Grimburrow performed the last rites before the drunken gravedigger filled up the grave.
After the funeral the pc's as well as Adivion, Kendra and Icharo returned to Kendras house where Councilman Hearthmount was to read Lorrimors will. Due to the ruckus at the graveyard, Hearthmount had been scared witless by Calcasio's spell and did not arrive as intended. The pc's contemplated to visit the councilman, but agreed to stay with Kendra and Icharo went to fetch him instead. Also present in the house were Lorne and Talbot. Lorne was fervently packing his gear, planning to leave as soon as possible. The pc's didn't try to stop him but convinced him to at least stay for the reading of the will by telling him the truth about how they scared off the mob.
Finally Icharo returned with the Councilman in tow. Icharo had told the Councilman about Calcasio's illusion, but he was still noticeably nervous as he shakily pulled out a letter opener to remove the seal of the scroll case that held the will. Reading the names on the will the councilman respectfully asked those not mentioned to leave the room, leaving only the pc's and Kendra present. Upon the reading of the will, Hearthmount gasped and paused as the will mentioned magic and occult secrets, but still managed to complete the reading. As soon as the will had been read, the councilman quickly signed the papers before leaving, almost stumbling on his way out.
It seemed the professor had left a cache of rare books to the pc's to be delivered to certain individuals in Lepidstat. Calcasio thought he recognized the symbol on one of the books but couln't quite place where he had seen it. Alexei, being an initiate of the order of the Palatine Eye immediately recognized the sigil but kept its significance to himself. After studying the books, Alexei decided to read the professors journal.
End of part 1
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