Carrion Clarion - Mike's Carrion Crown adventure for Pathfinder

Third Session
(as told by Rua’alinae)

This one is kind of long; the list of the stuff we found is at the end, along with the explanations.

Day Four: Harrowstone (Continued)

[Here did the Hand of the Gods resume time, whereupon our party was at the Professor’s home.] Having rested overnight, we left Celique to guard over Kendra while the rest of us went into town. Our goal was to find a pub where local gossip, aided perhaps by liquid courage, might yield more clues to help us in our quest. As we neared the town square, however, we began to hear distant music and the screams of children, who were to be seen running in fear. When three of the children fell rather unnaturally to the ground, I immediately found a place from which I could shoot at whatever our opponents might prove to be. My companions rushed forward into the midst of the children to aid the closest that had fallen. It seemed stirges had shown themselves unseasonably and were attacking the children. I managed to take one out with quite an impressive long-distance shot, if I may say so myself. Kor plucked one from the back of another child without getting stung, and Alexi killed it without so much as a scratch to Kor’s hand. Meanwhile, Vlad rushed to aid the child furthest from us and slashed at the last stirge. It was still attached to the child, of course, so striking it was difficult without also striking the child. I moved sideways from my spot by the building to gain better aim and dispatched it from a distance. Stirges are best dealt with from afar.

Once the stirges were dispatched, the music faded away and we began questioning the townsfolk. Most had not heard the music, and neither children nor adults could identify what began the music or the attacks, nor could any recall what they were doing when the attacks began. With such fruitless questioning, it seemed wise to simply continue to the pub. Once there, we did a bit more questioning, but to no avail. Vlad and I took one more look about the town square, but again, to no avail, so we returned to the pub. Emboldened by drink, our party at least managed to give the barkeep more ideas for his haunt-themed pub fare. I am as certain that the Professor would have approved as I am that my own Queen would not. She, however, was not at the pub.

Having ingratiated ourselves somewhat to the pub owner, we spotted some men playing cards. It seems Vlad is a bit of a gambler, and what better way to hear gossip than to sit at cards? His attempt to join them was thwarted, however, by a sudden burst of flame from one of the cards on the table that reached all the way to the ceiling. Vlad was blinded and driven nearly mad by the burst, so much so that he resisted my attempt to take him by the arm and lead him from the burning pub, convinced I was some demon dragging him to the darker planes. In an attempt to bring him to his senses and not leave him there to burn, I slapped his face. As gratifying as it was after his comments about the roughness of my hands, it did not calm him. Merrick cast some sort of enchantment on him that calmed him, after which I was able to lead him out while the others tried to get the villagers out of the building. Strangely, after a few moments, the fire and all signs of it disappeared. Even the ceiling, table, and cards were uncharred. Some of us recalled hearing screaming from below the floor, but the pub had no basement, no below-ground tunnels, no place for anyone to have been screaming down below. After some discussion about loading up Merrick’s new ass with a balanced load of beer, we returned to the Professor’s house to await darkness and ensure no one from the town saw us return to Harrowstone.

Upon our return to the prison, our first effort was to have another try at the great locked door near the front entrance. With some help from Vlad, I was able to open it, thought it took some doing. Within that chamber, we found a number of valuable items, to be listed below. Further in, I found a smaller, secret chamber. Within the smaller chamber we found more items, mostly weapons, which I suspected might be cursed. Those items will also be detailed below, along with the details we learned later.

Moving on from the secret chamber, we moved past the chambers we searched earlier and again found the large privy, which Vlad insisted on checking for signs of magic. None were found, for which I was grateful. Given the other ghastly inhabitants of the place, I should have hated to encounter some vile creature made of the contents of the privy.
Next, we entered a chamber filled with benches, rusted chains, and rotted rope; clearly a holding cell for the wayward. The wayward were not to be found this day, however; instead, a pair of empty manacles began moving on their own. We discerned it to be another haunt, which was handled very efficiently by Lexi. The next room had a bed, a bench, and several flying branding irons which propelled themselves into the walls with only minor injuries to our party. Neither of those chambers contained any items of value, and certainly nothing worth the small battles against the haunts. Disappointing, but one must carry on. After all, it is likely that the items we found in the room near the front entrance comprise the majority of any valuables in the prison other than the coins from the safe.
The next room we found was the laundry room, wherein we found a skeleton which grew a ghostly figure around it and began to stand. Rather than attacking us, however, she spoke. It was the spectre of Vesoriana, the late warden’s wife. It seems her husband’s spirit was keeping the haunts of the prison at bay, but very recently a group of robed figures (presumably the Whispering Way) performed a ceremony, after which she could no longer feel his presence, and the activity of the other spirits increased. Notably, she watched them kill a man and then put bits of a stone gargoyle upon him to cover up the murder. That at least explains the true manner of the Professor’s death, as well as providing some relief that at least we should not encounter any living gargoyles.

As to her reason for being in the prison, it seems the lady had heard of the uprising in the prison and went to see her husband. The guards, however, locked her in the room in which we found her skeleton. Presumably they locked her in the room for safety, where she died of fumes instead. Human logic is ever rife with irony. In any case, she bade us retrieve her husband’s badge of office and return it to her. With the symbol of authority in her care, she believes she can keep the remaining spirits in check.

After our conversation with Vesoriana, resumed our search of the building. Having completed searching the first floor, we headed up the stairs. We entered a balcony sort of room mostly closed off by bars, where we were attacked by a straitjacket. It fell to the floor after we cut it, but we had to admire the quality and strength of the fabric briefly before continuing down a hall of cells. As we walked, an odd music began playing. [There, the Hand of the Gods did pause our adventure.]

Items found in large locked room:
• Masterwork thieves’ tools; given to Vlad
• Bronze war medallion from the Shining Crusades, est. 40GP (I believe Merrick has this)
• Wand of Lesser Restoration, 12 charges (Merrick)
• Unframed Caldan painting of Stabian (sp?) the First, est. 100GP
• Masterwork punching dagger (me)
• Pouch containing 12 masterwork shuriken
• Masterwork Silver War Razor

Items found in secret room, along with explanations from Vesoriana:
• Magic hand axe, belonging to Vance “The Lopper” Saetressle; known to stalk his prey for days then behead them with his axe.
• A collection of holy symbols wadded together, belonging to Sethyk “Father Charlatan” Corvan; not a murderer, but considered so blasphemous as to land him in Harrowstone. A con artist who claimed to have been ordained a priest of many faiths, which he used to control others. Apparently there was a mishap leading to several deaths.
• A masterwork smithy’s hammer, belonging to Ispin (sp?) “Mosswood Marauder” Onyxcudgel; apparently a doting husband and father who killed his wife after finding her unfaithful, then went on to slaughter another 20 people.
• A masterwork silver flute, est 30GP, belonging to the Piper of Ill Marsh (name uknown); taunted his targets with mournful tunes and consorted with stirges.
• A thick leather spellbook, very molded, belonging to Hean “The Splatterman” Feramin; a scholar and professor of anthropology who was obsessed with the power of names and wrote his victims’ names in blood to slay them.
It is worth noting that Vesoriana believes using the objects in the presence of their original owners might weaken them.

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Second Adventure
As told by Rua’alinae (Shadow)

Here is the rundown of the second session, as best I remember it. feel free to offer corrections, as I did not take as many notes as before, and I can’t recall whether we went to the prison the same day as the Temple so I described them as being on different days.
____

Day Three: The Temple

On the following morning, Merrick and Vladimir went to the Temple of Pharasma to unearth any additional information about history of Harrowstone and its former inhabitants while the rest of us watched over Kendra and searched the Professor’s library for any further useful information. While our search was rather fruitless, the visit to the Temple yielded some additional history about the prison.

It seems Harrowstone was built in 4594, and contrary to first impressions, was not completely destroyed in the fire. Rather, the underground portion and the east wing were destroyed, but the rest still stands. The warden and his wife were both killed, along with the guards and presumably some of the prisoners. Why the warden’s wife was at the prison remains a mystery. However, some light has been shed on the cause of the fire. It seems Harrowstone was under siege from within; the prisoners had rioted and taken control. Whether the prisoners or the guards started the fire is unclear, but the starting of a fire seems inevitable under such circumstances.

Day Four: Harrowstone

The morning after our companions’ return, all of our company save one headed out to Harrowstone to investigate; Alexi remained behind to watch over Kendra since tensions in town were still high following the Professor’s interment.

The trek to the prison was uneventful, and Harrowstone was as grim as its name and history. The gates were hanging from their hinges in the sort of severe disrepair one might expect. We found what was once the warden’s home; Celique and I waited outside while the rest went in to investigate; neither of us trusted the flooring. There was nothing within but decay and debris and that questionable flooring. From there, we went to the prison proper and had no trouble gaining entry. Remembering that the Professor was killed by a falling gargoyle, we took care to look up; there were indeed gargoyles atop the roof, but none flew down to kill us as we entered. I felt that was rather fortunate.

We decided to turn left inside the main entrance; while I tried to check the door for traps, the door to the outside swung shut with Celique on the outside and the rest of us inside. Very quickly, the doors became covered in ghastly faces. Some quick thinking by Merrick dispatched them; he rolled out one of the Haunt Syphon vials.

Having overcome that challenge, we investigated the hallway to the left of the main entrance and found mostly empty offices. Our rather overzealous bard Koran felt it necessary to finish destroying what was in those offices, apparently in an attempt to forego worrying about traps. Other than the splintered remains of desks, we found only papers for the most part, which we collected and brought along for later review.

We did find some items of interest in the safe in what was once the Warden’s office. Thanks to my well-honed skills, I was able to open the safe; I do not believe Koran’s enthusiastic manner of “searching” would have been of use in this case. The safe contained legal documents, rather different from the general sort of papers we found in the other offices. There were also 500gp, and a small rack with vials (description to follow).

Having reached an end, we turned back the other way. There was a door to the right of the main entrance that I could neither open nor unlock, so we chose to save that door for later inspection and instead went through the door next to it. That brought us to what was once a theatre, though we found no papers or useful objects in it. We were subject to another haunt, however, and used another Haunt Syphon. This one was rather more difficult than the last, and also required some prayer spells by Merrick to dispatch. Having passed through the theatre, we came to a large room with a pit in the middle. The far wall had long since collapsed to the elements, and the pond outside had encroached into the room and was spilling into the pit. As we neared the pit, the specter of three flaming skulls appeared, which we were able to overcome. We saw nothing in the pit itself except debris, and decided to postpone any attempts to descend until we could be certain we explored the entire first level of the building.

Onward we went, through the only other door in the room, discounting the open wall to the lake. The next room had a large furnace and someone decided I should investigate it. I shall endeavor to think twice before investigating furnaces in future; the thing shot flame directly at me and nearly killed me. While the others dealt with the specter, one of my companions gave me a potion that healed my wounds, and on we went. I made sure to give that companion my potion identical to the one he fed me.

We had some difficulty fitting through the door into the next room because of a turn in the passageway. Once we were in, something started shrieking and I was overcome by an unnatural fear; Vladimir had already fled the room as is his wont when the cleric is likely to send forth a blast of divine energy. Once the unnatural fear took hold, I (rather embarrassingly) ran quickly enough to catch him up. By the time we returned, whatever spirits had haunted the room had been dispatched. There were empty cells that once may have been sick beds in that room, and little else save another door.

Beyond that door we passed through a hallway with two doors that had rotted from their hinges; each had stairs leading either up or down. Once stair was destroyed and covered in rubble; the other was obscured by spider webs. One of our lot decided to go in, burning webs on the way. Unfortunately, the rather sizable eight-legged inhabitants took exception and began to attack. It took a few moments but we dispatched both of them; within, we found a scroll, a wand, and five vials (described below). [There, the Hand of the Gods did pause our adventure.]

Note: We did decide that we should finish exploring the first level of the prison and then return to the Professor’s home to tell Alexi of our adventures and regroup a bit.

Potions found in safe:
• 4 vials of Cure Moderate Wounds (2d8)
• 3 vials of Lesser Restoration
• 2 vials of Remove Disease

Items found in Spider Room:
• Scroll of Lesser Restoration
• 5 vials of Holy Water
• Wand of Cure Light Wounds (15 charges)

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First Adventure


My thanks for Dusty for this fantastic and detailed recap, Gerry

Day
One: The Funeral



Six of us were summoned to the town of Ravengro for Professor Petros
Lorrimor’s memorial service. Though most of us did not know
each other, each of us knew the Professor. Two of our party,
Vladimir and Celique, are his (presumably illegitimate) children; I,
Rua’alinae, was employed several times by him; the Professor’s
association with Kor, Merrick, and Alexi are rather less clear. Most
of us mourn him to some degree. There seems to have been some source
of strife between the Professor and Celique, though I have declined
to make inquiry as to its nature.



Six of us were summoned, but only five of us carried him in the
procession to the cemetery. Apparently the discord between himself
and Celique was sufficient to overcome any societal expectations
about behavior at a parent’s funeral. During the procession,
we were accompanied by Father Grimbarrow (sp?) and the Professor’s
daughter Kendra. Kendra’s understandably distraught condition
was made worse by the small but hostile crowd of locals that blocked
our way to the burial site. Apparently they believed that the
Professor was a necromancer and that burying him in their cemetery
would bring them ill fortune. Fortunately, we managed to convince
them to step aside and allow the Professor to be buried at the
Restland Cemetery without resorting to violence. Fighting is, after
all, rather difficult while carrying a casket.



After the burial, we were accompanied to the Professor’s former
home, now owned by Kendra. Councilman Kirnmount (Sp?) read the
Professor’s will, in which all but a few specific items were
bequeathed to Kendra. Our party was collectively bequeathed a chest
of books, a quest, and a task. First, we are to watch over Kendra
for one month to ensure that she is able to put her affairs in order
(and presumably to ensure she is not murdered by hysterical
villagers). Second, we are to deliver the chest of books to the
University of Levistat no sooner than one month hence. Upon
delivery, we are to be paid a total of 100PP by a Ms. Embryth
Derreliddh (Sp?).

The chest contained five tomes; the first was etched with an
instruction to read it immediately, which we did (details will
follow). The remaining books had notes as to which should be
delivered where; three are to go to a Mr. Kronel (sp?) at the
University, and the other is to go to Embryth at her home address.
Those volumes are:



  • Manual of
    the Order of the Palatine Eye
    : a purple tome with an eye on it.
    The tome is locked and we have thus far been unable to open it.

  • On
    Verified Madness
    : a black tome; treatise on aberrations, ties to
    the Dark Tapestry, and the like.

  • Serving
    your Hunger
    : a copy of an unholy book to a goddess; we did note
    a number of notes handwritten in the margins.

  • Umbral
    Leaves
    : a translation of an unholy book of Zoncython (sp?).

The book with the “read me now” instruction is a
leather-bound tome, and obviously the Professor’s journal. The
Professor wrote of a cabal of necromancers called the Whispering Way
whose activities quite distressed him. He believed they were (are)
attempting to locate someone who was in the Harrowstone prison when
it was burned down approximately 25 years ago. During the fire, all
of the prisoners were killed, as well as the warden, his wife, and
most of the guards. The Professor did not specify who the Way are
seeking, nor why, but he was quite intent on stopping them. He did
mention that the Temple of Pharasma should have a list of those who
were held at the prison when it burned. His entries describe trips
to Harrowstone, ghosts, tools hidden by the Temple in a false
mausoleum in the cemetery (corner of Eversleep and the Black Path).
It is worth noting that the Professor was killed at Harrowstone by
virtue of a stone gargoyle falling on his head.

A bit of history about the town: it was created as a means of
supporting the once very active prison of Harrowstone. In its
heyday, the town grew rich; once the prison burned down, however,
many of its wealthier inhabitants left. Since then, it has become a
community of farmers, though there is still some trade to be had.
The people are fearful and somewhat uneducated, if our encounters
with them can be used as any measure. These are the descendants of
the poorer folk who lived here when the prison was destroyed.
Apparently the prison was never rebuilt because of the expense of
doing so.



Armed with this information and more questions than answers, we
agreed to stay with Kendra while investigating the insinuations made
in the Professor’s journal. Vladimir and I checked the house
for security and defensibility, as well as any signs that there had
been any recent attempts at irregular entry. We found none of the
latter; the house, while no fortress, was reasonably defensible. We
fortified the house as best we could. In essence, that meant locking
the doors and closing the shutters. Nothing a good rogue couldn’t
overcome, but we work with what we have.



That evening, Vladimir, Alexi and I trekked out to the cemetery to
try and find the false mausoleum and the tools hopefully contained
therein. The rest remained behind to guard Kendra and the house.
The journey to the cemetery was uneventful, and we were able to find
the mausoleum and gain entry. The mausoleum appeared to have never
been in use, and we had no troubles except a millipede in the inner
chamber. I was able to strike it with an arrow, though it did not
suffer much damage. Alexi spread its innards quite far with a single
blow, but not before it bit Vladimir, who seemed to suffer horribly
(or at least dramatically). We did find a box of seemingly useful
items and brought them with us (details below). The trek back to the
house was uneventful, and once we arrived we were able to discern the
specifics of the tools we found.



  • 12 silver
    arrows (Alexi and I each have 6)


  • 17
    non-silver arrows:

    • 10 (+1)
      arrows (Alexi and I each have 5)

    • 5 arrows of
      Ghost Touch (Alexi has 2, I have 3)

    • 2 Arrows of
      Undead Bane (Alexi and I each have 1)

  • 4 Sun Rods
    (not yet disposed)

  • 7 vials:

    • 5 potions
      of Cure Light Wounds (all but Vladimir have one)

    • 2 potions
      of Lesser Restoration (Merrick has)

  • 4 scrolls:

    • 1 Detect
      Undead (Arcane – not yet disposed?)

    • 2 Hide from
      Undead (Divine – Merrick has)

    • 1
      Protection from Undead (Arcane – not yet disposed?)

  • Spirit Board
    with brass planchette (apparently only answers one question a day,
    and only yes/no. Not yet disposed.).

  • Box with 4
    vials of “Haunt Syphon” [Necromantic: twist and open in
    same round as haunt manifests; does 3d6 positive energy damage; if
    it kills haunt, will turn green and can be thrown to dispense 1d6
    negative energy] (Not yet disposed?)



Day Two: The Vandals



The morning after our journey to the false mausoleum, we were
enjoying breakfast when Councilman Kirnmount (Sp?) knocked on the
door to summon Kendra. Having been charged with her safekeeping, we
were not inclined to let her go alone. The Councilman joined us for
breakfast before leading us to a large statue (25ft) of Warden
Hawkran (rest him), on the base of which are inscribed the names of
his wife (Vesorianna) and the 25 guards who perished in the fire.
Apparently the site is often used for illicit lovers’ meetings.
This elf is wondering why the number 25 appears so frequently: is
there a numerological significance to the upcoming 25th
anniversary of the destruction of the prison? But I digress.

The reason for the morning summons was self-evident: someone defaced
the statue with a large “V” painted in non-human blood,
as well as splashing more blood somewhat haphazardly on the statue.
Naturally, the locals were gathered in fright and blaming the
offspring of the late Professor. We convinced them to let us
investigate the defacement, thus removing suspicion from Kendra at
least temporarily. Kor and Merrick managed to arrange payment, in
theory. We did some investigating and found that no one has reported
missing or dead animals or people. Neither Kendra nor anyone else
had any knowledge of the significance of the symbol painted on the
statue.



to be continued




Next steps:



  • Merrick will
    speak with the Temple of Pharasma


  • The Sherriff
    will have his “boys” look into any missing persons,
    animals, or unusual activity and let us know


  • We must
    decide whether the pursuit of the Way supersedes watching closely
    over Kendra, given the urgency of the Professor’s notes

Questions:



  • The number
    25 keeps appearing: 25-ft statue, 25 guards killed, nearly 25th
    anniversary of destruction of the prison


  • Is it a
    coincidence that the letter “V” was written in blood,
    when the warden’s wife’s name began with a “V.”
    Why was she at the prison? Could she be the one they’re
    looking for, and if so, do they intend to do something unholy with
    her corpse or spirit on the 25th anniversary?


  • The “V”
    was obviously a message, but what is the message, and for whom was
    it intended?

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