Mists of Ustalav: A Carrion Crown Campaign

Off to Lepistat
  • The group heads to Tamravena, home of the Wall Guard to get the blind Pharasman priest some help and send a letter back to Ravengro to father Grimsburrow about his lost brother.
  • While there, Ronit undergoes a taxing ritual to remove the necrotic cyst, performed by Father Ulmanoon. The father is pleased to hear of the death of Dr Meklovich.
  • While recovering from the trip from Ravensgro, the group hears a variety of noteworthy gossips
    • At the corners of Burk and Glass streets, there has been a string of murders. The victims are rich merchants, money lenders, and others connected to the aristocracy
    • At the north gate, rumors are that the guard captain, Captain Rasrokin has been detaining honest citizens as “orc spies” without cause.
    • Varisian gypsies, lead by Harnin Mirgrabos, have been protesting and vandalizing the city

Ronit needed a day of rest, so the group split up to check out some of these rumors. Hobo and Forthing went to check out the northern gate and Captain Rasrokin. They had a marvelous time orchestrating a fake orc attack with illusion magic, setting Forthing up as the hero of the day. He was subsequently offered a position with the guards.

Shiogi and Kelda went to investigate the murders. They discovered that the victims were left with a note “Regards, K” and that K is a member of the Order of the Palatine Eye. The victims seem to all be members of the Order that were executed for breaking the order’s rules. While unpleasant, Shiogi and Kelda decided that the deaths were within the rules of the order and therefore not the concern of the party.

Once Ronit was on her feet, the group decided to investigate the northern gate situation a bit more closely. Further investigation revealed that while the guards did seem to single out any disfigured people for closer investigation, there didn’t seem to be anything illegal going on.
Questioning of the Varisians outside of the north gate revealed the general discontent among the refugees encamped.

The group began to suspect that maybe the orc threat to the north was being a bit exaggerated in order to cover up some other activities, and decided to go looking for the guard patrols and orcs. They were easily able to find an encampment of guards only a few hours outside of the city. The guards warned the group to be wary of orcs, and the group headed off for Leptistat on a direct route, hoping to encounter some orcs.

As they made camp for the night, they made a dummy camp with a campfire, hoping to attract orcs. While orcs were certainly attracted, they didn’t seem to be fooled by the fake campsite.
Shiogi ran ahead to check out the situation while Hobo woke the party for battle.
The party was caught by surprise when the orcs had significant magic, both divine and arcane. A darkness spell was nearly the end of the entire party, and Shiogi took a fatal blow. The rest of the group barely managed to finish off the orcs and were shakily taking stock of the situation when Shiogi woke with a coughing breath.

Irori had returned Shiogi to life with a mission…to discover the origins of the Sinspawn.

The group saddled up and limped off quickly to Lepistat, this time following the road and hoping to avoid any further encounter with orcs.

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Down the Feaster hole
  • A the party is resting up at the refugee camp, Hobo rides up on his pony. He is quickly brought up to speed with the events that have occurred since the revelation of his name gave him a shock.
  • After a quick sweep of Clover’s Crossing, the group dons the old Hide from Undead and descends into the tunnels below the Temple of Pharasma. Not far from the entrance they find the tunnels are both man-made and fortified with wooden supports. There is also a well constructed fortification complete with caltrops covering the floor of the narrow passageway.
  • Four feasters attack the party, apparently not fooled by the magics hiding the party. Ronit’s firebomb and a wave of positive energy from Forthing quickly dispatches two of them. Shiogi downs the third with a solid punch and the remaining one flees into the darkness.
  • There are several branches in the tunnels, but the group heads towards the sounds of whimpering. Shiogi liberally spreads lighted stones about the caverns as the group moves in. Ahead Shiogi sees the remaining feaster cut the rope dangling from a winch above a pit. A loud scream is heard by all as the unfortunate victim falls to the bottom. Shiogi tosses a stone into the pit and sees a horrid creature covered in sores and vomit slowly making its way over to an injured woman. Hearing the scream, Kelda rushes forward and leaps into the pit, coming face to face with the creature. Shiogi leaves his rope with Ronit and also leaps into the pit. Ronit firebombs the monstrosity and lowers the rope into the pit. With a prayer, Kelda slices the creature in two before it can advance.
  • The woman is badly injured with a broken leg, and is feeling sick after the encounter with the creature. She says she is Aleece, a member of the Crooked Kin, the “travelling cabinet of curiosities.”
  • Shiogi follows the path of the fleeing feaster down the tunnels to a river. The rest of the group checks back into the tunnel they passed on the way to rescue Aleece. In this room are rows of tables covered in corpses and skeletons. Inside are two men, cowering in fear from the group. The first is Father Sorvak, a blind priest of Pharasma, who seems to be out of his mind. He is casting Restore Corpse on the bodies, and ranting about caring for his sheep. The second man is covered in sores and wants to know if the group is here to rescue them. Kelda is immediately on guard as he radiates an aura of evil.
    The man identifies himself as Aldo and explains that the feasters make Father Sorvak constantly “refresh” the corpses so that they can eat. Aldo is his caretaker, and ensures the father continues to tend the bodies. He reveals that the strongest feaster is Balthazar, a former crusader of the Shining Crusade. As soon as he is left alone, Aldo flees, stealing Forthing’s magical rope in the process.
  • Leaving Aldo for later, the group investigates the rest of the tunnels and quickly finds Balthazar, an intelligent and armored feaster with extremely long arms. Shiogi and Kelda close in quickly as Hobo uses Grease to slow Balthazar down. The fight is over quickly and the group searches the body and the room, discovering a journal, a library of engineering books, a chain shirt, a broken bastard sword, a silver holy symbol of Pharasma, and 262 gold pieces bearing the symbol of Lastwall.
  • The journal reveals that Balthazar was in the second crusade, when his squad encountered Doctor Mekelovich and was mutated. His companions included the creature in the pit, and one bard: Aldo. It is also revealed that Balthazar is Father Grimburrow’s brother. When everyone is done searching, the group heads back up the pit and the hunt is on for Aldo.
  • Ronit and Forthing head towards the river, following tracks, while Shiogi sprints to retrieve the horses. Aldo’s trail runs cold at the river, but on the other side of the river is where the Crooked Kin show is supposed to be camped. Everyone saddles up and heads over to the freakshow where they meet Lydia the 7 foot tall bearded lady, a hunchback, a wolfboy, and Kaleb Hesse, the albino and proprietor of the show. Kaleb thanks the party for returning Aleece, and offers them a reward (+1 dagger shapechanger bane)
    Kaleb tells of the ongoing trial “Beast of Leptistadt” to the north, where they were heading to take advantage of the crowds. He also mentions seeing Aldo 5-10 minutes previously, heading north along the road. Kelda and Forthing saddle up, intending to either run him down or flush him off the road. Ronit, Hobo, and Shiogi follow more carefully, finding the tracks where Aldo left the road. Hobo greases Aldo’s boots and Shiogi catches up easily. He initially denies any knowledge or involvement and claims simply to have fled out of fear. Forthing senses something is not right and channels positive energy, revealing Aldo’s true undead state. Aldo tries to flee, but is incinerated by Ronit’s firebomb before he can take more than a few steps.
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The Crossing Continues...
  • When last we left our heroes they had just fought off the feasters of the dead and 2 had fled down into the hole. The party decides that it would be a good idea to head outside of the Temple of Pharasma in order let the sickening effects of the battle pass. Once everyone has taken a knee and is feeling better (after much up-chucking) we start to scout out the town. We find little of note except for two safes (one in the blacksmith’s shop and one in the animal trainer’s shop). Ronet does let us know that she has a necrotic cyst which will eventually kill her and limits her abilities in small ways. Shiogi takes it upon himself to make sure that she is ok.
  • During the search of the town Kelda finds a butcher’s shop that is full of bodies hung upon meat hooks, along with a whole lot of disgustingness. Forthing is checking out the temple to make sure that nothing funny happens, and Shiogi (with a grappled Ronit in tow) goes to scout out the shack behind Dr. Mekelovich’s office. When looking inside the shack Shiogi and Ronit find a trap door with a bookcase on top of it. They decide to leave it and consult with the rest of the group. It should be noted that Ronit (with appropriate leverage) makes all the relevant strength checks while the stupefied monk looks on.
  • The group decides that it would be best to investigate the good doctor’s shack and to see what is in it. The furniture is removed from the trapdoor and the group makes their descent. The hallway immediately forks. One path leads to a natural cavern (Kelda and Ronit investigate and are enveloped in darkness). Shiogi is holding guard on the other corridor when a big hulking armless shape wearing chainmail appears. The shape’s jaws open twice and it comes toward Shiogi. What happens next is a brawl the likes of which are too often seen. The party is split apart and neither side can really communicate. Through detect evil/undead, firebombs, resistance to disease, and smite evil; Kelda and Ronit are able to attack a hideous mutated cyst that is using its intestines to attack them (in magical darkness). By the way magical darkness is bad stuff! Shiogi and Forthing through a combination of Ki, healing spells, reach weapons, playing opossum, and luck are able to hold off the aberration until Kelda and Ronit can bring the big guns of smite evil and firebombs to crush the filthy aberration.
  • After all the fighting was done (were very lucky at least one party member did not die) we searched the bodies and found a crumpled note stating Dr. Mekelovich, Clovers Crossing and with a short description of the good doctor. We found the remains of what appear to be the Doctor impaled with a spear in a room at the end of the hall. After a search of the room the party found three magic items which were quickly identified as a: Bracers of Armor +1, a +1 Longspear, and a Ring of Protection +1. We were also able to locate the final draft of a letter from Dr. Mekelovich to a Lord Vrood which insulted another person named Marisi (apparently a master of aberrations). We did eventually find out that one of the monsters that we just battled was a slime mold. Kelda thinks (and Ronit happily agrees) that the whole town basically needs to be burned down (actually, Kelda stated that the disease ridden pile of corpses below the doctor’s shop needed to be burned out; not sure she agreed to burn the town down).
  • The only problem left to us is that we are fairly beat up and have very little in the way of magic remaining. It is decided that there is nowhere safe in town to hole up for the night (as the remaining feasters of the dead have already tried to nail us into the shack). We decide to split the group with Shiogi taking Ronit and running ahead to find the horses. Kelda is following behind at her full speed and Forthing is carrying the remaining gear (using a hide from undead spell) out via a side route. Kelda at several points thinks that she is being shadowed by the eaters, but decides to play it cool. Once Shiogi and Ronit make it to the horses they are able to toss the reigns to Kelda and Forthing and the fearsome foursome ride out of town. They make it back to where the refugee camp was and spend an uneventful night (thank Irori) recovering. We are told that we level up with experience to come.
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To Clover's Crossing

5-20-2012

  • Ronit was able to pick the lock on one of the mysterious books to be delivered to Lepistadt. Through further analysis, she was able to decipher the coded wordings and reveal the book for a work of rituals and history of the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, a secret society known for its interests in all things political and arcane. She was able to record some basic knowledge on how to recognize members and meetings of the Order, and make contact….and then promptly relocked the tome.
  • The party chose to travel to the east to Clover’s Crossing, which has gone silent in the last few weeks. At an inn along the way, they learned that no travellers had come from the Crossing in 3-4 weeks.
  • On the second day out, Shioji spotted a farm where crops seemed to be rotting in the fields. The party chose to investigate, and found both the livestock and farmers themselves had been turned into horrific zombie like creatures, with hints of plant tendrils sticking out of their noses and ears. Eventually they fought their way to a greenhouse, where they found row upon row of experimental Yellow Musk Creepers being grown by a minion of the Whispering Way. They slew the minion, but not before Ronit was infected with some kind of cyst by a dark necromantic spell (unbeknownst to the rest of the party). They also discovered evidence of communication with a Master Mekelovich, in Clover’s Crossing; apparently this was an apprentice of his who had been experimenting with the Yellow Musk Creeper to make it cross species gaps and create stronger zombies.
  • On the third day, the party came across a refugee camp led by Lem Weftharper. There were 15-20 refugees, and the party learned of the fall of Clover’s Crossing. Doctor Mekelovich came into the Pharasman church during a Sunday worship session and confronted the pastor, demanding he acknowledge the power and might of the Whispering Way and cast aside Pharasma. The doors to the church were barred from the outside, and a great sinkhole erupted beneath the altar. Horrible creatures boiled up from below and began to feast upon the trapped townsfolk.
  • The party directed the refugees to the abandoned farm which had the Yellow Musk Creepers, and forged onward, determined to right the wrongs at Clover’s Crossing.
  • The party chose to tie up their horses at a farm a ways out from town, but were ambushed by foul undead, which were identified as Feasters of the Dead, a disease-wracked variant of ghouls whose claws tend to sicken their victims instead of invoking paralysis. The party also ran across an ambush where the Feasters were dug into the ground, quickly emerging to strike. Luckily Kelda’s keen elven eyes spotted the ambush before it was sprung.
  • The party approached the town proper under Hide from Undead, which let them scout around unseen. They saw many lurking Feasters in ambush positions, but found that the door to Doctor Mekelovich’s practice was forcibly broken in, and the main building was ransacked. The shack behind the shop had its door barred shut from the outside, and the party chose not to investigate further.
  • In the Doctor’s shop, the party did discover a few crumpled up letters. Some of them were variants on a letter to Master Whisperer Vrood, which extolled the virtues of the new plague Mekelovich had perfected here in Clover’s Crossing, and tried to disparage a Marisi. A second set of letters were directed to the Fraud Marisi, and were basically a mixture of bragadoccio and insults.
  • The party chose to start their fight at the Church of Pharasma, entering from the rear to create chokepoints to kill the Feasters. They fought off a number of Feasters, but more still chosen to climb down into the tunnels and disappeared from view. As the session ended, the tunnel loomed before them….
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Harrowstone
Previously on Carrion Crown

Early 2012

The adventurers came to the small town of Ravengro, for the funeral of the late Professor Lorrimor. Each adventurer knew the Professor prior to his death, and was named in his will. They were charged with the protection of Kendra, his only daughter, and the delivery of some dark tomes to Lepistadt after a 30 day period.

Early on, they learned the Professor had been investigating the Whispering Way, and what they were doing around Harrowstone, a ruined prison near Ravengro. They learned that the Professor was likely murdered by the Way, whose modus operandi is to smash in the face of their victims to prevent usage of Speak with the Dead. Eventually they found arcane writings on the outer walls of Harrowstone, which had the name Mikhail Hawkran, the last warden….but the adventurers could not fully decipher the intent of the runes.

Horrible things began to plague Ravengro, and eventually the party was hired to explore Harrowstone and try to put to rest the evil spirits there. They met the ghost of Vesorianna Hawkran, the warden’s wife, who was struggling to contain the evil of the five most notorious prisoners, and was convinced she was responsible for the death of her husband.

Through great hardship, the party eventually laid to rest the five spirits and were able to bring peace to Vesorianna.

(The adventurers can fill in more details here if they wish for more detail of the past.)

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Cleansing Harrowstone

The exploration and cleansing of Harrowstone took many trips over more than a week. Most of these trips lasted only a few hours before the group had to retreat and rest.

  • Exploration of the courtyard and walls revealed a ritual etched into the walls with dried blood. The ritual involves necromancy and abjuration and references to the prison’s warden
  • Inside the gates, the warden’s house had been ransacked
  • On the second floor landing, the ghost of the headsman of Harrowstone still lurked with his rusty scythe
  • A rat swarm lurks in the courtyard.
  • Stirges assault Shiogi as he tries to scout a second route to the top floor.
  • The entrance is inhabited by haunts in the doors that slam shut the doors every time they are opened. The group takes the doors off the hinges in all four directions from the foyer.
  • Once inside, the group is repeatedly accosted by a variety of undead including skeletons, insect-driven zombies, haunts, and weird ooze monsters.
  • A locked storeroom down the right hallway has shelves marked for the personal belongings of all of the prisoners. A secret area holds the items for Father Charlatan, The Lopper, The Mosswater Marauder, The Splatterman, and The Piper of Illmarsh. These items are found mostly too late to be of help in fighting the vengeful spirits.
  • The left hallway leads to general prison offices and the warden’s office.
    • The group spends time researching the information in these papers and gathers them for delivery to the town council.
    • The warden’s office does not have the same oppressive feeling as the rest of the prison.
    • Not having the key, the group busts the lock on the warden’s safe, unfortunately damaging many of the contents.
  • The central hallway leads to a variety of adventures!
    • To the left, hallways lead to a cell containing haunted manacles, which prove to be more annoying than dangerous.
  • Also in this direction are other maintenance related rooms, including the laundry and privy.
    • It is in one of these rooms that the group discovers the ghost of the warden’s wife.
    • She claims to be trying to restrain the evil spirits in the prison.
    • She is a valuable source of information not only about the current situation, but also about the fire and riots in the past.
    • She is eventually put to rest when the group discovers the fate of the warden.
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In Ravengro

As the group makes themselves at home for their extended stay in Ravengro, it becomes apparent that the professor’s death isn’t the only sign of foul play in the town.

  • The offerings at the temple of Pharasma are stolen while Father Grimsburrow and others are out at the Restlands. (The adventurers aid in the apprehension of the thief, Fiodr, who is found with a list of potions and holy symbols for several different faiths on his person).
  • One of the local taverns is called the Laughing Demon , it’s menu boasts such appetizing fare as corpse chowder
    • Big Ivan and Deadeye Pete can often be found here gambling and drinking
  • The local alchemist, Jominda, is rumored to sell more recreational herbs than just your usual healing salves.
  • One of the crypts in the Restlands is fake and contains a variety of undead-fighting tools.
    • It also contained several nasties that had to be dispatched before claiming the tools
    • Among the items found here is a tool for communicating with the spirits of the dead
  • Kendra’s guardians suffer strange and disturbing dreams. They wake with cuts on their faces.
  • Stirges descend on the town square where a bard (Lem Weftharper) is playing a flute
  • Deadeye Pete is found dead by Big Ivan, nearby is a dead whippoorwill, a sign of ill luck. It appeared Pete decapitated himself while chopping wood.
  • He is later seen walking around, but it is more like just his skin, filled with a red ooze
  • A town hall meeting is called to discuss the strange events.
    • During the meeting flaming skulls attack the crowd and set the hall ablaze
    • Kendra’s guardians and the town council help to destroy the skulls and put out the fire
    • A swarm of skulls attacks those fleeing the fire
    • The council offers 500gp each to the group to explore Harrowstone prison and find out what is causing these strange and dangerous events

Kendra holds a dinner party and invites a variety of local and out of town guests:

  • Alinza Asseni – A crusader from Last Wall
  • Vissaad Onadinirdt – A scholar from Caliphas
  • Lem Weftharper – A bard and scholar from Sincomakti School of Sciences, apprentice to Dr. Henri Meirtmane
  • Horace Fitzherbert – Local author and ex-merchant
  • Alendru Ghoroven – Local teacher and magic item purveyor
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Funeral of Professor Lorrimor

On October 21 4711, a group gathers at the estate of the late Professor Lorrimor. Many have been summoned from distant places to attend the funeral of a man known by many.
As the pallbearers solemnly walk the casket through the cemetery, they are accosted by a group of angry townspeople. These misguided souls are lead by a rather unpleasant fellow named Gibbs. They claim Lorrimor was a necromancer and protest his burial.
The funereal procession, which includes the late professor’s daughter Kendra, is appalled by these accusations. They promptly disperse the troublemakers and meet up with Father Grimsburrow, the local Pharasman priest.

After the funeral services are complete, Councilman Vashian Hearthmount read the will for a select group. In it the late professor charges those present to protect his daughter Kendra for a time of 1 month. He also requests that 4 books and a journal be delivered to certain parties for safekeeping.

Details about Lorrimor’s death come to light, his death was ruled an accident, but it had signs of involvement with the Whispering Way, a necromancer society known to deal with undead and the Whispering Tyrant.
The group charged with protecting Kendra take up residence in the house for the month. This is fortuitous as the professor soon comes home…as a zombie.

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