Carrion Crown by Kelly

The Road to Lepidstadt
Recap

- In the words of Blodwin -
We said good bye to Kendra Lorrimor and after some quick purchases of mounts and a wagon, we departed Ravengro headed roughly a hundred miles to Ustalav’s capital city of Lepistadt. It took the better part of a day for hilltop on which Harrowstone rests to leave my sight, but it shall be quite a bit longer before the events that took place there are forgotten. We cleansed the place – it seems – and ended the immediate threat to Ravengro, but we’ve yet to meet any of the Whispering Way in person. Unleashing Harrowstone’s terrifying spirits seemed only a small part of a larger plan.

The roads were quiet and the travel uneventful until near night of the 3rd day when we heard arguing upon the road ahead. We approached and saw a traveling carnival of sorts…a group of entertainers that some would call freakish. Collectively, they were called The Crooked Kin and one of their number had wandered off the road after hearing some singing from the forest. Some time later, their giant of a man named Trollblood had also entered the woods to look for the lost girl. Neither had been heard from.

Stephan immediately offered to aid them and we ventured into the woods. With Varrik following their tracks, we found Trollblood in short order. He was surrounded by a group of goblins and near death. The goblins were dispatched quickly enough and Trollblood saved, but the young girl was not with him. During the fight with the goblins, Cy was attacked by something with large fangs and a poisonous bite that could disappear. We waited for it to show itself and when it did, Arlad called it a “Phase Spider”. It looked like probably the largest spider I’ve ever seen, but with the face of a fanged human woman. It would not be reasoned with, so it was slain. Unfortunately, we found the body of the missing girl a short distance away, already drained of life by the wicked phase spider.

We returned the body to The Crooked Kin and spoke to Caleb, their leader. While they were all distraught about the girl’s death, they were still thankful for our efforts and they rewarded us with an heirloom dagger meant for fighting lycanthropes. We shared dinner with them and stayed in their camp. We discussed their plans and learned they were also going to Lepistadt. They expected large crowds there because the trial of the Beast of Lepistadt was beginning soon. We asked what that was about and they said a strange beast that had been blamed for almost every bit of misfortune and strife for the past few years had been caught during a break-in at the University. He was to be burned alive after a hasty trial.

As we arrived in Lepistadt, I marveled that the cosmopolitan atmosphere in the city. We knew that 3 of the Professor’s books were to be returned to the University anyway, so we went there first. We were admitted to see Professor Crowl right away and he took the news of Lorrimor’s death in stride, but offered condolences nonetheless. We returned the books and asked about the break-in at the University. He showed us around and was more than forthcoming with details. The only object missing with an idol called The Seasage Effigy, an obscure statuette of a tentacled creature about which little was known other than it had little monetary value.

The Beast was described as a 9-foot tall behemoth made of sewn-together body parts. It was known to have great strength, but little in the way of guile of delicate capabilities. It rampaged through the small auditorium and into the workshop where it was eventually cornered and caught by a large host of city guard. Varrik tried to glean some details of its path via tracking it. As he did, Cy spotted that one of the tall, thin windows into the workroom had been opened recently. We took this to be the path by which the Seasage Effigy made its exit from the University.

The next stop was the deliver the final book from the Professor’s collection. We sought out Embreth Daramid, a judge on the City Council. She lived not far from the University. When told of the death of Professor Lorrimor, it was obvious that she was hiding her feelings behind a steely exterior. She was pleasant enough and paid us immediately in accordance with Lorrimor’s last wishes. We asked her about the trial of the Beast and she offered to double our reward if we cared to help her with a problem. We agreed to hear the offer.

Daramid is one of 3 judges that were to preside over the Beast’s trial in just a day or two. She was concerned that the Beast was not going to receive a fair trial. We had also picked up on this, since he seemed to be the scapegoat for all kinds of ill events. She said that if we could work with his appointed barrister to help present at least some evidence that might give the Beast a fair trial, we would be rewarded. She truly wanted justice to be done and di not wish to see this pitiful being punished for crimes he did not commit. For some of us, the issue of fairness carried less weight than the monetary reward, so we all agreed to help. After all, we had determined that The Beast seemed to be an arcane construct called a Flesh Golem and thus not a creature with a soul or capable of reasoning…but we were wrong…

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Varrik's tale (session 3)

“It was not going well, brother,” Varrik says as he carefully draws a solid black line across another tooth. “We had burned the bodies still defiling the professor’s home, but the madman was still loose in the city and the lawman here seemed uninterested in caging him. I had stayed the course, watching the fountain and waiting for him to finish his grim business, but the monster was patient. If your prey will not come to you, the only choice is to take up the hunt.”

Varrik places the tooth next to the others that have been marked and reaches for another to complete, but instead picks up his brother’s undersized skull. “Had you lived, I would have taught you to hunt; to kill. To appreciate the way all creatures are born to feed another, or feed themselves. Watching the old man’s shack was… energizing. I have never stalked a man as I would bears or elk, and it made my heart beat faster. I think you would have enjoyed it, perhaps, hunting such a dangerous beast. Someone mentioned that he was a warrior once, and warriors never forget how to defend themselves and take lives, but there would be no kill tonight; the others suspected that Gibbs may not know what he was doing, so there was no need to end him just yet.

“As darkness fell, I made my way near his lair, close enough to hear his breathing. In the woodpile, his bloodied razor and soiled bag were buried deep, proof enough of his actions even if he did not remember. I did make a mistake searching the woodpile and the old soldier heard me, so I stashed the razor and sack in the outhouse… should the old man have bested me, I hoped he might not have time to search for the evidence before fleeing.” Varrik slowly traces one of the new scars that line his cheek and jawline. “He still remembers how to use a razor… a formidable warrior. I regretted that I had to bludgeon him so badly, but I don’t believe the Splatterman would be satisfied with killing rats for long.

“I took him to the cells in town, but Caeller’s acolyte did not trust me and rightfully so; it is never wise to trust a man who can kill you barehanded. He put me in a cage with the old warrior before leaving to find his patron. When he arrived with my new companions, he told me I would have to wait for the council’s judgment… this is not uncommon in my homelands, so I offered no argument.”

With a heavy sigh, Varrik stretches and begins putting his teeth away, content with his progress in making the protective totems necessary to protect the professor’s home and family. “The next day, I was released into Stefan’s care. You must never allow a man to control you, brother, but there are times when playing at submission can give you time to maneuver… like a wolf biding his time, waiting to put his teeth to the alpha’s throat. I agreed, and followed them to the ruins of the fallen Harrowstone prison.

“We found the very spot where the professor’s face was crushed with a statue’s head, and nearby, the name of the dead warden written in blood around the building. My companions say it is used to absorb a spirit, which fills me with both dread and fury. We moved on to find dozens of large rats in a tower and a pit that smells of burning assholes before entering a smashed area of the prison itself. There, we fought the strangest thing I have seen in my many years in this world.

“That,” he says with a loud yawn, “is a tale for tomorrow, perhaps.”

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Session Two: The Dearly Departed Return
Wait... who left the coffin open?

Main Events

If anyone takes the time to write an in-character recap there will be rewards. These are the main events as I remember them. What did I miss?

Calistril 26

  • Research in the Professor’s Library on the Whispering Way
  • Speaking with the sheriff on Gibs’ guilt
  • Visitig Jorfa at the forge
  • A new communication attempt with the spirit planchette
  • Setting up to watch the Harrowstone Memorial
  • A zombie and two skeletons attack Ravengro at nightfall

Calistril 27

  • Catching up on sleep
  • Another attempt to use the spirit planchette
  • Cy crafts black powder
  • Blodwin crafts a shroud for the dead farmwife
  • Dinner at the Laughing Demon interrupted by stirges

Calistril 28

  • Just before dawn Professor Lorrimor, a wight, attack the home of his daughter with 9 undead

Blodwin’s Recap

The day after the letter V was found written in blood on the statue of the warden, we considered our options. The group split up. Varrik sought a good lookout point from which to watch the statue the following night. Stefan went to the jail and spoke to the sheriff and offered his services to protect the people of Ravengro. In addition, he inquired about the sheriff’s interview of Gibs Hephenus. The sheriff did not believe Gibs capable of the act. Arlad went into town and asked around to see if any other vandalism had occurred and also put his ear to the ground for any rumors. Blodwin and Cy spent the entire day, after getting permission from Kendra, to perform research in the Professor’s study.

The group met for lunch to discuss their progress. Blodwin and Cy found some good details about the Whispering Way and returned to their research after lunch. Stefan said that the sheriff accepted his offer to help maintain order and safety in the town and even agreed to let the paladin sleep at the jail in order to let other town guards get some rest and increase patrols. Stefan also convinced the Sheriff to have one of his men watch Varrik’s hiding place in the event something happened.

That night, Varrik assumed his post near the river. Cy watched him from a distance. Blodwin put the spirit planchette to work to petition the spirits for advice. He asked if any agents of the Whispering Way were active in Ravengro , to which the spirits replied “maybe”. Stefan stayed at the jail to watch over the prisoners. Cy heard a person that sounded as if they were in distress and approached to aid him, but it turned out to be a zombie! He fought the beast off with some late help from Blodwin. Around the same time, a woman was killed in the north of the town by two skeletons before Stefan brought holy vengeance upon them. Varrik stayed with the plan and watched the statue overnight, but there was no uncouth activity (except perhaps by Varrik himself).

The undead had risen from the Restlands and it was disconcerting that these abominations had once been townsfolk. Father Grimburrow declared that the grounds were hallowed and that the remains should not have been subject to animation. We spent a fitful night sleeping that stretched into the late morning hours. Arlad brought news to us that the brother of the proprietor of the Laughing Demon had invited us to dinner. We accepted and spent the day about town. Blodwin visited the apothecary and purchased some wolvesbane to give to Varrik. The ranger drank the curative, but it remains to be seen if the werewolf’s curse will be squelched.

That night, Varrik returned to the river’s edge to watch over the statue of the warden. The rest of the party attended dinner at the Laughing Demon. It began festively and a good time was had by many until the strangest of events. A group of stirges flew into the tavern and began attacking, sucking the blood of Blodwin and some other patrons. After the stirges were killed, one of the performers at the tavern pointed out that these odd beasts seemed to bob in time to the music as they flew about the room seeking blood. This was connected by the party to the Piper of Ilmarsh, one of the infamous criminals once held at Harrowstone Prison.

Dinner ended early due to the upsetting events, so the party (except Varrik, who stayed at the statue) returned to the Lorrimor estate. Blodwin used the planchette again to ask the spirits where the next attack would occur. The spirits spelled out “H-O-M-E”! The party secured the house and warned Kendra. Varrik was asked to return to the house and watches were set. Sure enough, undead callers descended upon the house, but they found it heavily guarded. Stefan bravely stood toe to toe with a wight that was made from the corpse of Professor Lorrimor himself! The wight’s dangerous curse took its toll on the paladin and we now find ourselves seeking a remedy for the energy-sapping touch. Varrik secured the back of the house and fought off several undead by himself. When it was over, a large number of undead were once again at rest, hopefully for good.

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Welcome to your Carrion Crown
Can you be frightened?

You’ve faced dragons, demons, falling airships, proteans, time shifts, pirates, slavers, necromancers, goblin armies, and mob bosses. But what has your character faced so far?

Can you still be frightened or disturbed? Let’s see if we can get our characters scared for a bit and not let them feel the jaded player behind the dice.

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The Wagon and the Wolf
Ravengro Pre-game

Are they co-incidences or fate, these seemingly random events which dramatically shape the future? The hand of the gods at work perhaps? Or just unrelated events that when combined can topple empires?

It is one such series of events which bring you six to the same stretch of road on the same hour of the same day headed to the same funeral. What has brought you here so far and who are you?

(Player introductions)

The sun is slowly rising in the East, reluctant to share it’s warmth with Ustalav. A heavy mist covers the ground on this late-winter morning, giving the grass a frosty coat and coating your clothing with an uncomfortable sheen of chilled moisture.

(Perception Check, DC20)

A quarter mile off of the east side of the road, a Varisian wagon stands in a clearing, tilted at an odd angle. Your gut tells you something is amiss…

(Approaching w/i 200 feet)

The mule lies dead, a wolf is eating it’s entrails. At the back of the open wagon another wolf works at eating something. A loud human groan can be heard.

(Approaching w/i 100 feet)

The second wolf is feeding on the body of an old Varisian woman who is horrifically still alive. She is certainly on her way to death’s domain, but is painfully aware of the wolf eating her eviscerated body.

Madame Vassnio

(Post combat)

She still clings to life, although she is beyond the aide of any mortal.

“The hunter was taken. Save him and I will bless you for now and ever. (hack, cough) Beware the five who stir on the road ahead for the cells weaken even now.”

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