Mists of Ustalav: A Carrion Crown Campaign

Shiogi's Journal: Travels to Thrushmore

After leaving Forthing at the Stairs of the Moon, we decided to head back to the lodge in order to learn some more about demons before we strike for Marisi down in Thrushmore.

When we got back to the lodge, we were met by an interesting character by the name of Nicola (Kelda does not like him one bit). He had information from the Judge about some agents of the Palantine Eye going missing down in Thrushmore (very bad sign). He seemed to be in a very big hurry for some reason.

So after a night/afternoon of researching and asking Lim some questions about demonology, we headed off the next morning for Chastel. Nicola wanted to leave immediately, but the captain of the boat had some concerns based on leaving in darkness. After some dickering it was decided that we would leave in the morning. Kelda continues to be especially generous to me and Ronit. I also started receiving notes from A.A. indicating that someone in the party knows about Itsa and her doings at the moment. I followed up with the wigi board and the sprits confirmed all that he was saying, which is a little disturbing.

We had no problems with the boat on the way to the next big city. Once we got there our boat was impounded and we had to find a room for the night. It started to look like we might be significantly delayed but Nicola was able to get some information from the dockmaster and we located a ship that was crewed by some crusaders of Lastwall. Kelda then pulled rank on the lead crusader (not a friendly relationship from what I could see) and we headed off downstream to the monestary of the veil.

We were warned not to visit the monestary (apparently some sect like branch of the church of Pharasma is in residence) and so we pushed on to Thrushmore.

We stopped in Lim’s hometown and visited her mentor and talked to him about everything going on in Thrushmore. He gave us some valuable information and we decided to head off in the morning to see what we could find out about the goings on in the city.

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Shiogi's Journal: A memorial to Jelroz

At the end of the encounter with the wolves Forthing in an effort to save us used a spell that harmed neutral creatures. This was great, except that it had the effect of killing off Jelroz, our faithful companion.

When we got back to the stairs of the moon, it was discovered that Jelroz should not be raised and that Forthing would be responsible in either a monetary fasion (or physically taking care of the family) for the family of Jelroz.

Forthing and I spent the night in a tent warded by the spirit speaker and the leader of the red wolves. There was an attack on us that night, and a very large spiritual wolf killed some silverhides that were trying to steal the packlords heart. We also made an enemy (did no favors for) the leader of the Prince’s wolves.

After that lovely night (Kelda and Ronit went to the stairs of the moon to speak with the priestess of Desna) we saw Forthing through the ritual scarring. Then he decided to part ways with the adventuring company, with the promiss that if we ever needed him we could shoot the light lance into the sky and he would bring the werewolf packs down upon the whispering tyrant.

Needless to say Kelda was unconsolable about Forthing’s decision and started acting very strangely.

On a personal note, I kept having strange dreams about Itsa so we went and asked a Giseldan about the black knife that I saw. Turns out that it is sacred to Giselda, lost a long time ago, and supposedly recovered by the whispering way. Apparently this knife rips out your soul and sends it to a place where the dark lady hunts you for eternity. Sounds pretty awful to me!

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Back to Chastel
  • During the four days of travel back to Chastel, Shiogi was troubled by nightmares of the Markiza attacking him and eating his heart.
  • The Markiza was returned to her family, and while waiting for a thank you dinner the party went to meet with the Palatine Eye contact.
  • The dinner was a success, with Forthing strongly suggesting that he and the Markiza were a pending item. The party was rewarded 4000gp for the Markiza’s return.
  • The family the was rescued from the Chastel outskirts sent a thank you.
  • The party headed back to Askanor Lodge. Belek had been fired for trying to start an uprising against the Margrave. He lost a hand with his job.
  • The Caromarc goblins were in residence, along with a large “statue” and a dwarf sergeant taskmaster. The goblin twins “Four” and “Thing” and “Kell” and “Daah” were especially excited to see the group
  • The Margrave is gathering forces, the Caromarc, family members, and lycanthrope hunters
  • Heading back to the Stairs of the Moon the group was ambushed by a group of werewolves, including highly skilled archers and a bard.
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Punched wight in the face

After an uneasy night with the Prince’s Wolves, the group headed off to the warehouse. One door hung open and the heart was on a pedestal in the middle of the room. Certainly a trap, but we needed the heart.
Inside we did indeed find a trap, in the form of a Dread Wight and her wightish companions. It was not an easy fight, with Forthing taking a heavy hit from the Dread Wight, his life energy drained in the process. The wight had obviously been trained in martial combat before death and rained blows on the group in a manner akin to Shiogi. The remains of the packlord’s heart were packed up into the sacred box, good triumphed over undead once again and the party headed off to face Vrood.

He was holed up with only a few skeletons raining arrows down on the party. The Prince’s Wolves prowled through town keeping the undead riff raff from interfering.

Shiogi took the high ground and faced off directly against a flying Vrood. Kelda took a more circuitous path, trying to draw the necromancer’s fire as she taunted him from the ground. With a flying leap, Shiogi landed on Vrood, and the fight looked like it would turn in the hero’s favor, but the red homunculus we had heard so much about came to his master’s aid. Shiogi was knocked out by fell magic but Kelda dragged him to safety.

Forthing was delayed by more than his bum leg as waves of fear blanketed the area. He and Ronit made it to the fight in time to launch Ronitmade™ bombs and blasts of holy energy.
The party was nearly done for when Vrood summoned a familiar face, a bow-wielding devil.
The devil’s arrows were nearly the end of Forthing, and Vrood’s energy draining spells nearly did the same to Kelda.
Vrood seemed unprepared for Ronit’s ice bombs however, and he shrouded in invisibility and seemed to flee. His ego wouldn’t allow him to leave however and the group was able to take him down.

A search of his tent revealed a variety of items and two letters of interest.

Scroll from Vrood
Letter to Vrood

After the fight, the group met up with the ghost of the mayor in the inn. In exchange for putting the souls of the town to rest, he would question the soul of Vrood.

After researching the runes on the buildings, Ronit made the connection between those runes and the ones at Harrowstone. The group performed a mass funeral, putting the souls of the town to rest.

The mayor questioned Vrood:
Vrood was told to collect the heart, soul, and to trade effigy for something in Thrushmoore. He sent riders to Thrushmore and then to his master.

The mayor confessed his crime after the investigation. He sold out the town to Neska for 1800gp. His soul was then put to rest as well.

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October 21, 2012

The group planned to go straight for the building that was holding the anti-paladin. We left one werewolf to guard the horses and the other helped us track.

We passed by a building where we saw a watchful eye vanish behind a curtain and ignored it. The building smelled of werewolf said our tracker.

We made a plan to pop open the door and have Ronit either react with force or step aside. She stepped aside after the door popped open. The building was an abandoned saw mill. Two scrawny black wolves were quickly cut down.

The marquiza appeared in the door. She saw the fallen wolves and prepared to fight. Fortunately Forthing and Kelda talked her a little before knocking her out. The tracking werewolf tied up the marquiza and carried her back to camp. Where was the antipaladin?

Kelda popped her head upstairs. Swish, chop, chop! A couple of scimitars greeted her. In her fuzzy vision, she saw a horrid menacing beast in flames and felt a deep evil presence. She dropped down the stairs and Ronit threw up a few bombs to clear the trapdoor. Kelda came back up and became surrounded by wolves. The rest of the team soon followed and they made a few new fur coats. A small, red winged figure was visible through the window. Vrood knows we are here.

Our buffs are still up so let’s get into more trouble. So the group ran to the center of town.

A broad sinkhole was in the town center. The pit was filled with shambling skeletons. Zip, zap, POW! and they all fell down. The clerics works quickly and a ZOMBIE GIANT with a purple cape rose from the ground and towered over the party. The clerics tried to cause spell havock, but the DPS of the group was too high and they also fell down.

The group with fewer buffs went back to the saw mill. Put the marquiza, lewt on a wagon and had the nice werewolf pull it back to town. They also found a table with a map and a small building marked with an X.

We could keep fighting agreed the group. So we went back to the building with the watchful eye that smelled of werewolf. We found prince’s wolves and made allies.

Kelda quickly went off to move the camp and didn’t realize we didn’t have a place to put the horses. So we cleared another couple of buildings.

While mucking out the area, a patrol of festrogs and strange hooded cultists came by. We killed them too.

We healed the marquiza so she could talk. The silly girl, we already made vengence on direct parties that killed the Hound. She did not need to become allied with a demon to stop the whispering way. So we seem to have an friend in the enemy of our enemy.

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On the trail

In Castel we learned:

  • The Markiza had returned home after the attack and got into a fight with her father when she demanded money to pay some questionable mercenaries.
  • Mari Sirinov was in Castel about a week before us, looking for some tomes. She bought silver dust, but did not have the coffins that she left Askanor Lodge with.
  • One of Sirinov’s escorts is named Dolan Helbraithe

We returned the noble’s signet ring to Theorin Welgory, who informed us that the house would be pleased to have the Markiza returned, willingly or not.

We left Castel, heading east along the Jezeldan’s trail. The ground became increasingly fetid as we covered ground. The farms were mostly abandoned, but a few families still worked the dying land.

Our werewolf scouts alerted us to a problem ahead, and we dismounted, intending to follow. However, we were set upon by Mandragorans, a sort of twisted plant creature that required demon’s blood to be formed. After defeating the plants, we soon found the source of the blood, a pentagram carved into the ground and filled with blood and silver dust. At each of the points was a dead farmer, in the center, an eviscerated demon corpse, summoned by Sirinov in a dark ritual (as confirmed later by the spirits, who are definitely not fans of Vrood)

A further search of the area revealed two more bodies, a merchant and a priest of Desna – apparently killed by the plant creatures. We gathered all the bodies for burial and cleansed the ritual site while Ronit opened the chest and determined the merchant had been based in Castel. We traveled to a nearby farm and paid the family to 1) get a safe distance from the pentagram 2) return the chest and it’s contents to the merchant house 3) inform the house and temple of the deaths.

Our trackers followed the trails of the demon wolves as well as Sirinov until the professor’s trail cut south, presumably to Thrushmoore.

Hurgal was plagued with nightmares of undead rising from the ground and chasing him.

We were once again warned by the wolves of a hazard ahead, they reported a tree filled with hanged werewolf corpses.

Kelda saw only human skeletons hanging from the tree, and while the rest of the party pondered the massive tree and prepared for a fight, Forthing bravely went ahead to check on the cause of death of the many bodies.
As he approached, the massive tree came to life, grabbing him in its branches and swallowing him! Everyone leaped into action, trying to cut or burn the tree to the ground.
We managed to destroy the tree, which Ronit identified as a hangman tree, an evil, carnivorous plant that spews hallucinogenic pollen to lure its prey.
As we recovered from the battle and searched a nearby farmhouse, we were set upon by a cleric of Urgathoa and her festrog minions. Everyone held strong against her foul magics as we defeated her undead minions. She followed swiftly behind, Kelda not thinking to spare a worshiper of the foul deity until the killing blow was swung.
Being late afternoon, we decided to find a place to rest that was defensible and not next to a flaming tree carcass. We headed for what appeared to be an abandoned farmhouse, but which turned out to be a graveyard. One of the shacks was filled with skeletons, but a fire bomb followed by a frost bomb killed the lot of them with no fuss. Once again as we were searching the area, and cleaning up the dead, we were ambushed.
Two demon wolves attacked, wielding blades that cut deeply. The group held fast against their attacks and this time were able to take one alive. The group quickly gathered items they had found and buried the dead and headed north to make camp a good distance away from the city.

In the morning the wolf was questioned with the help of Ronit’s Detect Thoughts brew.

  • The priestess they fought the previous day was associated with Vrood
  • Vrood is in Feldgrew, as is Adimarus Ionacu, leader of the demon wolves, and the Markiza
  • The Markiza is a werewolf, but has not yet been fully initiated as a follower of Jezelda
  • There are 6-7 more wolves to deal with in the city, and many undead of varying types
  • Adimarus is in the center of town, he is searching for the packlord’s heart
  • The demon wolves don’t seem to be aligned with Vrood, even if Adimarus and Vrood aren’t enemies

Loot

Potion: cure serious wounds
3x +1 breastplate (1200gp)
magic pearl unidentified
+1 scythe (taken by Kelda until sale) (2018gp)
bag of onyx (100gp)
a slug of silver, melted from Ergothoa’s unholy symbol
4x Masterwork longsword
4x Heavy Steel Shield
4x Breastplate
2x +1 Falchion

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The party splits! (Shiogi's Journal)

The party decided to split (Ronit and Shiogi to the lodge and Kelda/Forthing to the Stairs of the Moon).

After arriving at the lodge, Shiogi, Ronit, and Lim were digging through the private library of Estovion. We found that the Library was primarily devoted to demonology (probably why he kept people away). In particular, the runes on the greedspawn had a connection to Cyth V’sug (demon lord of parasites, diseases, and fungus), the moon eating the owl sigil from Lepistadt had a connection to the goddess Jezelda (mistress of the hungry moon), that there was no arcane significance to Feldgrau (just the site of a huge massacre with restless spirits), the sea sage effigy has some connection to a god called Dagon (also a demon lord), there was a post it note (probably left by Mari Sirinov) saying “my ‘rival’ was a fool to follow Ghlaunder,” and that there is specific mention of a demon lord named Haagrnti (Whispers within) who is a lord of transformation who has a connection to a great tome of power.

After finding this out we decided to travel back to the Stairs of the Moon with Lim to show her the Duskmoth and meet up with Kelda and Forthing (who had been smoothing the way for the Prince’s Wolves to treat with the other wolf packs). It turns out that Lim wanted to perform a ritual at the Stairs of the Moon, so we started cleaning the place up for the “Elkrider” (or Desna) to appear. The ritual was spectacular and in the midst of it we saw a ruined tower that had a figure with a breastplate of bone on top of it, a tentacled monster under the sea, a beautiful fanged woman with her hands in flames, and a skeletal figure with clouds swirling above him.

Afterwords I felt much refreshed and 1 point wiser.

Lim saw a different vision of the past, where a priest had buried some artifacts. Following her down we found a lockbox which has 2-scroll cases and a headband. The scroll was a scroll of atonement and the headband was a headband of unshakeable resolve (+2 wisdom, 3 times a day lower the amount of fear affect by one step). We then decided to travel in the direction of the Markiza toward Chastel.

We were set upon by a witch fire and after a nasty fight were able to destroy it. On a minor noble (cousins of the Markiza) we found a staff of minor arcana and a signet ring.

We made it to Chastel and asked around searching for the contacts of the Princes’ Wolves and the contacts of the Palantine eye (one Kalabi Lorhander). We found out that the ritual at Harrowstone was designed to steal the soul of the warden of the prison. For what reason I don’t know. We were also able to find out that the Markiza had left town in the direction of the furrows after having a big fight with her father (left town in the company of a probable Jezeldan). We also had all our mail forwarded to the temple of Pharasma in Caliphas.

In addition, we found that Mari Sirinov is heading to Thrushmoore (one week lead on us), but the curious part was that she did not arrive with any coffins when she got to town.

We had decided to buy supplies in Chastel and then head out after the Markiza and Vrood toward the furrows.

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Aftermath of the Stairs of the Moon

Embarked from the Vollensag tribe’s camp after defeating the wolf spirit and killing the chief of the Mordrinacht tribe at the Stairs of the Moon.

Stumbled across a battle between a vollensag werewolf and 3 greedspawn.

Rescued the Vollensag (Jelroz) from near death and destroyed the greedspawn.

Searched the greedspawns’ bodies and found 5 jars labeled “Kvalca Sain” (the name of the late pack lord) and a list of names and descriptions of five prominent leaders from multiple werewolf tribes.

In the jars are what appear to be hearts, as well as some sort of creatures hidden by powerful illusion magic.

We assumed that these were the tools of an assassin who was trying to sow discontent among the werewolves.

We returned to the Vollensag’s camp and enlisted the help of Amrid to study the jars and the creatures within more closely. Ultimately, we destroyed the 4 of 5 of the creatures having judged that they were simply too dangerous to be allowed to live.

Having done this, we were able to return to the lodge in peace. We brought with us an envoy from the Vollensag tribe whose mission was to treat with the lodgemaster and secure some kind of treaty similar to the one they had with Estovion.

While we were there we were approached by a representative of the Prince’s Wolves who requested a meeting between us and their leader. We accepted and left the lodge soon after arriving to attend the meeting.

We arrived at the site of a massacre. It looked to be the site of a very one-sided battle between a pack of werewolves and the Markiza’s party.

Rhakis, leader of the Prince’s Wolves, confirmed this, and told us that the massacre had been perpetrated by the demon wolves.

He also told us that the demon wolves seemed to be in league with the Whispering Way and that the Markiza had been taken captive by a group of the demon wolves. These wolves were seen traveling across the plains to the south east of the woods. Suspiciously, this is the same direction in which Vrood was rumored to be traveling as well.

Rhakis was also able to decipher the writings on the back of the map we found on the Whispering Way cultist in the Stairs of the Moon. They refered to these locations: Ravengro, Lepistadt, somewhere near Ascanor Lodge (Stairs of the Moon?), and Feldgrau.

After meeting with the Prince’s Wolves, we offered to serve as arbiters between them and the Vollensag. The pack leader agreed to send an envoy with us to meet with the Vollensag.

Just before we finished up we agreed to split the party. Kelda and Forthing headed for the Vollensag tribe’s camp with the envoy from the Prince’s Wolves in tow. Meanwhile, Shiogi and Ronit headed for the lodge to collect Lim and and escort her safely to the Stairs of the Moon before rejoining Kelda and Forthing at the Vollensag’s camp.

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At the Stairs of the Moon

A search of one of the rooms at the end of the hall revealed a secret door. Upon clearing the passage of stones, the group was immediately waylayed by the magics of Estovion, his one-two punch of black tentacles and stinking cloud very nearly killing everyone. Luckily Shiogi was nimble enough to avoid being grappled and not only put Estovion on the defensive for a few moments, but was able to rescue Ronit before she was juiced.
Once the cloud and tentacles faded however, the party was able to quickly subdue Estovian.
After relieving him of everything but a loincloth, Estovion was strung up for the night while the group recovered.
A search of the room revealed and ancient journal of a High Priest of Desna, who’s son was cursed with a terrible lycanthropy during the Whispering Campaign. His attempts to cure his son turned to torture and eventually drove them both mad. The priest infected his congregation with the disease.
It was his son who became the angry Ancestor spirit, which was controlled by a carved skull which Estovion had in his possession.
In the morning the group questioned Estovion at length, learning of his control over the spirit, his truce with the werewolves, and his connection with the Whispering Way. He also revealed his suspicion that the party were assassins from the Palatine Eye, sent to do him in. He released the spider as a distraction while he had their rooms searched, and sent the ancestor spirit to kill them. A Detect Thoughts revealed that Belik was in league with Estovion, and that Estovion had controlled the spirit when it killed a decade previously.

The skull and remains of the tortured werewolf were buried with the blessing of the Vollensag Spiritspeaker, Amrid. This laid the spirit to rest and completed one of Shiogi’s holy quests.

After this, the group ventured up the Stairs of the Moon via liberal application of Spider Climb, dispatching several underling werewolves before a final confrontation with Malthus and Cybrisa.

Malthus and his compatriot descended upon Shiogi with vicious attacks, nearly killing him in moments despite the party’s attempts to save him. He survived by a hairs breadth, with Cybrisa changing sides mid fight upon hearing that Malthus had conspired to give the pack leader’s heart to the Whispering Way, known to the wolves as Bonelords.

The party struck Malthus down, but allowed Cybrisa to slay him and consume his heart. She confirmed that he had not eaten the pack leader’s heart, and at the group’s insistence that wolf business was not their concern, she agreed to meet with Amrid to discuss what would be done.

  • Amrid provided the party with a sacred container, should they recover the heart in their search.
  • The demon wolves are not in the area, but the Prince’s wolves have returned
  • Cybrisa and Amrid will consider speaking with the Margrave about renewing the truce with the lodge
  • Estovion was given over to wolf justice; he was executed with extreme predjudice
  • Amrid assisted Shiogi and Forthing with a complex ritual to contain the lycanthropy they contracted in the fights with the werewolves. They were made honorary Vollensag members.
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Aftermath of the Spider (Shiogi's Musings)

It has been awhile, but sitting under this tree Shiogi recalls the events after the giant spider.

It was after dinner and we were just breaking up to talk about the happenings of the evening when we heard an earpiercing screem from the Markiza. Everyone ran out in the hallway to see a dreadful wolf spirit possessing Corvin! The Markiza was screaming and Corvin was tearing into the Margrave (who had a little help from his man at arms). Through Forthings ministrations, we were able to hold off Corvin long enough to stabilize the Margrave, depossess Corvin, drive off the spirit, and check to see that the hound had been killed. With some foresight I looked through the Hounds’ possessions and found a book of contacts in the Palatine Eye organization (I quickly put this in my backpack). We then rush around the lodge to see what had happened. In our search we find that Estovion has left in a big hurry (even burned some of his own books up in the library (Ronit was able to save some of the pieces)). We quickly resolved a battle over who would take over control of the lodge (Margrave won over Belik). Then we rode off into the night after Estovion.

On our way we met one of the Giant Tarantulas out in the forest. We were able to get around it on our horses and outdistance it before it could mess us up too badly. Then we ran into members of the Vollensag tribe of Werewolves (ones that we had met before). We were able to talk our way out of a fight with the wolves (based on the fact that we were hunting Estovion who they had just taken a bite out of). The Vollensags showed us a back way into the Stairs of the Moon that avoided the “Broken Ones”. When we got inside, the ancestor spirit reappeared and we did battle with it once more! We fought it off and went in search of Estovion. We found two rooms, one of which had some rubble piled up against a secret door. We searched the other room, which had a corpse with a Choked Skull amulet of the Whispering Way and a map with undeciphered geographic markings on it, as well as a large number of obsidian gems (used to Animate Dead). We decided to take a short rest. Then …

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