Meeting on the road to Ravengro, strangers combined forces to try and save a fortune teller and her guard from a werewolf attack. Varrik is bitten by the lycanthrope, but it is unknown if his body was able to fight off the curse. Further down the road, two child-bandits discover that it is a bad idea to try and rob a tiefling gunslinger on a dark road.
Book One: The Haunting of Harrowstone
Put her body on the bed.
Take a knife and lop her head.
Watch the blood come out of the pipe.
Feeds the stirge, so nice and ripe.
Drops of red so sparkly bright.
Splatters spell her name just right.
With a hammer killed his wife.
Now he wants to claim your life.
Tricksy father tells a lie.
Listen close or you will die.
Five strangers assembled in the rain to say goodbye to friend, a mentor, an inspiration, or a savior: Professor Petros Lorrimor. With the help of his sole heir, Kendra Lorrimor, the group began to look into his death to see if it really was the accident that it originally seemed.
The town of Ravengro, however, was inhospitable to outsiders. Any thoughts of it being an idylic, charming village would be quickly torn asunder by one look at the dark ruins of the great prison Harrowstone, looming above the village like a tombstone over a grave. Dark looks, closed doors, and even obvious suspicious stares were quickly followed by a mob confronting the funeral demanding that a “necromancer” not be allowed to be buried in the Restlands of Ravengro. Quick talking by Arland and Stephan were able to calm the crowd and the funeral proceeded as planned, followed by a solemn reading of the will at the home of the Professor and Kendra.
The group spent the next month in Ravengro, slowly exploring the village, building trust among the locals, and finding out there was more to the accidental death of the professor than what first appeared. Hours of research was done in the records of the town hall, the library of the Lorrimor estate, and even by a bold daylight excavation of a tomb to gather tools the professor mentioned in his will.
In the hours of research the group discovered the history of the five great prisoners of Harrowstone: the Mosswater Maurader, the Piper of Illmarsh, the Lopper, Father Charlatan, and the Splatterman. It was said by locals that the spirits of those five still haunted the burned-out husk of Harrowstone to this very day. Odd happenings began to affect Ravengro… stirges attacked the village. The dead in the Restlands began to stir and wander the town. This ended with none other than the Professor himself “coming home” to his manor as a wight, leading a group of zombies.
The work of the group led them to investigate the ruins of the prison itself. Odd arcane markings around the base were found, which seemed to be some sort of binding spell. Inside, the structure was riddled with haunts — powerful spiritual remnants of the evil and darkness which once lived here. Also present were the five ghosts of the prison which had to be defeated one by one and then, with the assistance of the ghost of Visorianna (the wife of the warden of Harrowstone), the ruins were finally cleansed of evil.
Before giving up her existence to cleanse the prison, she explained to you that although the spirits of the prisoners had always been restless, the powerful will of her husband was always present to keep them suppressed. However some recent time ago (time is difficult for her to track) men in black robes came and somehow killed or removed her husband’s spirit. With him gone, the prisoners have managed to reappear, growing more and more powerful by the day. Once the five most powerful are destroyed, she would be able to exhaust her spiritual energy to eliminate the rest.
The group took a break from the mystery of the Professor to tend to Varrik, cleansing his soul of the curse of lycanthropy through an ancient and dangerous ritual. Once complete they were then off to the university city of Lepidstadt to deliver a book to an old friend of the professor.
Book Two: The Trial of the Beast
Burghers of Lepidstadt, rejoice! The Beast has been captured! Soon the abomination will be tried for crimes against the good people of Vieland. The Punishing Man now rises in the square outside the courthouse! The logs have been stacked against his flanks and the oil has seeped into his veins. The Punishing Man waits to take his passenger to the depths of Hell! And soon, he shall have his feast…
- Lepidstadt Town Crier
On the road to Lepidstadt the group met and aided a carnival troupe called the Crooked Kin and helped them defeat a phase spider which had killed one of their members.
Reaching the city of Lepidstadt, the group finds the town celebrating the capture of a legend of the area — The Beast of Lepidstadt. Every calamity, tragedy, and misfortune for two decades has been placed on the broad shoulders of this creature and he is finally about to be brought to a swift, burning justice.
Delivering the book of the professor to Judge Embreth Daramid, they find that she doubts the guilt of the creature and fears for its ability to get a fair trial. She quietly hires the group to investigate the history of the beast and see that it pays for the crimes it has committed, but no more.
Upon meeting the beast the group finds it to be a child-like, intelligent flesh golem. While capable of great fury, it is overall gentle in nature and quite terrified and confused. It was captured while stealing something called the Seasage Effigy, an interesting but otherwise worthless murky green statuette depicting a grotesque creature writhing with tentacles. The Beast has no memory of this and the statuette has not been found. The Beast was renamed Fairweather by Blodwin, which he seemed to greatly prefer.
The investigators moved to examine the accused crimes of Fairweather — the murder of ten people in Morast, the murder of six children in Hergstag, and the arson attack of the Karb Isle Sanctuary.
Morast is a quiet, isolated swamp village where the Beast had allegedly snuck in to homes at night and killed person after person. Investigating the village and the nearby boneyard, the group discovered that while the villagers speak of a great crocodile attacking the shoulder of the Beast, Fairweather has no marks or scars from such an attack. There is also clear evidence that many of the graves in the boneyard have been robbed of their corpses.
Finding surgical tools with an identifiable maker’s mark, the group traces the history of the tools from the original maker to an auction house to a retail store, and finally to a place called Vorkstag and Grine’s Chymic Works.
Presenting the evidence so far, the group casts significant doubt on the prosecutor’s story about the events in Morast. Up next was investigating the murders in Hergstag. Abandoned since the murders, the village of Hergstag was once a comfortable farming village. A series of children murders along with witness sightings of the Beast led to the accusation. The investigators, however, found the bodies of the children in a cave beneath a rotting scarecrow where they faced, and defeated Brother Swarm, a wraith that was the true culprit.
Again, by presenting the evidence of the children’s bodies and the existence of Brother Swarm, the group was able to cast doubt on the guilt of Fairweather. The final investigation of the Sanctuary led to battling the ghasts that now inhabit the ruins. Documentation here led again to the Chymic Works of Vorkstag and Grine, so the group went to finally enter the chemical plant.
Once they breached the door, there was a long fight above vats of chemicals with both Vorkstag and Grine plus their mongrelmen slaves. Once defeated they discovered a few points of interest — scars on the shoulder of Vorkstag consistent with a crocodile attack, a cabinet of skins which Vorkstag (a skinstealer) could wear as disguises, and one skin which was of a huge mongrelman and consistent with the Morast townsfolks’ description of the Beast. They also found a deep, hidden pool of floating cadavers.
Before the final day of the trial could start, an angry mob of villagers tried to attack the courthouse and serve their own brand of justice to the Beast. With a minimum of casualties, the group was able to disperse the mob and save the life of Fairweather.
The final day of the trial was upon them and the golden words of Arlad did a miraculous job of saving the life of Fairweather, who immediately left for the home of his creator — Schloss Caromarc. Not long after his departure, members of the Crooked Kin warned that the city folk were not happy with the result of the trial and had plans to follow the Beast and lynch him. Wanting to warn Fairweather and his maker, Count Caromarc, the group raced to the Schloss.
There they found the gatehouse overrun by trolls, which were dispatched, and then they battled through the many buildings over the deadly waterfalls below. Traps and various creations tried to stop the advance of the group. A Brimorak demon standing guard before one of the last buildings, slayed Varrik the Hunter before himself being returned to Hell.
Battling up the final tower, they find the Professor caged and held captive by the aberrant promethium, a vile creation of the count’s that had turned on his master. In the battle a new member of the group, Duncan, was ripped asunder when he got too close to the monster. When hope was nearly lost, Fairweather arrived to aide his only friends. Blodwin used the mechanism on the top of the tower to boost the golem’s already impressive abilities and the promethium was destroyed.
The count paid the group handsomely to never mention the experiments they uncovered in his home, which they readily agreed to, and he informed them that the Whispering Way had attack his home, taking control of the Bondslave Thrall, a device which controls Fairweather completely. They used this to steal the seasage effigy and then moved quickly along the river road. The group returned to Lepidstadt for some leisurely shopping then returned to their hot pursuit of the necromancers.
On the road into the great forest of Shudderwood the investigators rested in Opava, a small village on the forest edge. There they aided the villagers in ending a demon-possessed bandit who was using the tale of a headless ghost to kill and rob travelers on the road. They also met a coven of witches who struck a bargain with Blodwin.
Book Three: Broken Moon
Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night,
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the moon is full and bright.
Following the Whispering Way through the Shudderwood, the group stops at Ascanor Lodge, a hunting lodge for nobles and the very well-placed. While initially denied entrance, they aide one of the lodge guests, Durisan Silvio Ariesir, in a hunt and are later granted access. The haughty and proper warden, Estovion Lozarov, is welcoming at first, but becomes less so as the days go by and the group continues to ask questions about the Whispering Way.
They uncover that there are five tribes of werewolves in the Shudderwoods and that the packlord over all of the tribes has recently been murdered. No other werewolf has eaten her heart, so the rule of the packs is in flux — civil war has broken out. As the questioning continues, a giant tarantula is released from the hunting pens and the group has a difficult time defeating it…Corinne is killed by the creature.
After finding the journal of Estovion where he implicates himself in some of the troubles, the group is banned from the lodge. The journal mentioned unknown men, Adivion Adrissant, Auren Vrood, and the involvement of the Whispering Way.
The group moved to the Stairs of the Moon, a long-lost temple to Desna which has become a meeting place and holy site to the five tribes of werewolves. On the ground floor of the temple they were attacked by a Vilkacis, a vengeful werewolf spirit. In deeper rooms they found the body of a Whispering Way agent, she carried onyx gems and a map marked with Ravengro, Lepidstadt, Schloss Caromar, the Stairs of the Moon and a town further east called Feldgrau.
Battling up the tower, the group faced Mathias Mordrinacht, leader of the Silverhides and Cybrisa Dorzhanev, the druid leader of the Broken Ones. Finally defeating them and cleansing the temple, an aspect of Desna appeared giving each of the group boon and glimpse of the future.