Return of the Tyrant

Session 1: The End is the Beginning Is the End
The party discovers a mystery in Ravenhill as they say goodbye to an old friend...

Five strangers arrive in the town of Ravenhill to attend the funeral of their good friend, Professor Jago Elias. The strangers consist of Nabila, a mysterious cleric; Blondie, a dwarven bounty hunter whose true name is unknown; Sindra, a drow elf wild mage; Ohda, an outcast warrior from distant lands; and Izzy, a one eyed halfling thief.

The strangers are greeted by Corben, the son of Professor Elias. Corben thanks everyone for coming and asks if the party would mind terribly being pallbearers. The professor’s funeral seems to have a low turnout of guests.

The party is stopped halfway down the path to the gravesite by Gibbs, an ugly, toothless farmer – along with a rabble of agitated villagers. The rabble is convinced that the professor was a necromancer. “We don’t want old Elias buried here in the Restlands,” Gibbs says. “Take ‘im out to the bay and bury ’im at sea if ya like. But we ain’t ’avin no necromancer buried in the same place as our kin.

This doesn’t sit well with Corben or the party. Blondie tries to parley with Gibbs, but never being much of a diplomat, his attempt to soothe the rabble only incites them, and a fight breaks out. The fight is very one-sided, the angry villagers armed only with torches and pitchforks are completely outmatched by a fully equipped group of adventurers. Nabila uses a pair of Command spells to tell two of the villagers to leave immediately. Sindra uses Burning Hands on one, which causes him to instantly surrender. Meanwhile, Ohda decapitates a hapless villager, causing the others to turn and run for the hills.

The funeral then proceeds uninterrupted, though the local priest, Father Isembard, is quite disturbed to learn that some of the villagers are worked up enough to try and prevent the professor’s funeral. Isembard hints that the past couple of weeks have been a trying time for Ravenhill.

After the funeral, Corben invites the party back to his family home. Those present have apparently been named in the professor’s will. The party convenes in the drawing room of the Elias place and tentatively introduces themselves to one another while Corben serves them tea and coffee. (With some opening up about their pasts more than others).

Councilman Ombrecht arrives an hour later to officially read the professor’s will. Professor Elias leaves his home and the majority of his belongings to his son. However, a small trunk filled with tomes of an esoteric variety are willed to the PC’s, to be delivered to the University of Amaranth no sooner than 30 days after the reading of the will. A secondary provision of the will is for the party to stay in Ravenhill and look after young Corben for a short time. For their services, the party will be rewarded with 100 platinum Drakes each from the professor’s savings.

Corben fetches the chest of books for the PC’s, and after a short debate over whether or not the professor intended for the chest to be opened or not, the party ultimately decides to open it, to at least ascertain that the contents are correct. They find several tomes dedicated to the esoteric and supernatural, in addition to the professor’s personal journal. Sindra reads the journal aloud to the group, recounting some of the professor’s experiences with the abandoned Harrowstone prison located just outside Ravenhill and a run-in with a cult known as the Whispering Way. Both Nabila and Sindra, having a little knowledge of the ‘darker’ side of things, have heard some vague tales of the Way and their necromantic habits. The journal also mentions a cache of ‘tools’ hidden in a particular crypt in the town cemetery.

After resting at the Elias estate for the night, the party heads back to the Restlands cemetery to check out the crypt. Finding the lock already broken, the PC’s slip inside and discover every tomb niche is empty. They find their way towards a large sarcophagus at the rear of the crypt. Within is a stockpile of items that could be useful in combating the undead – silver arrows, holy water, healing potions, magical scrolls, and a spirit board with a brass planchette.

On leaving the crypt, the party is surprised by the appearance of two giant boring beetles, who have made the place their subterranean lair. A fight breaks out. Sindra uses another Burning Hands on one of the beetles, but is quickly knocked into unconsciousness by the crushing pincers of the monster. Both Ohda and Blondie use their melee weapons to ward off the beetles, while Nabila uses healing spells and Izzy flings darts (accidentally hitting Ohda on one occasion). The party eventually triumphs and leaves the crypt (with Ohda now covered in black ichor and gore from the beetles).

Giant beetle

The PC’s encounter Father Isembard and several acolytes as they exit. Someone must have observed the party breaking into the crypt, for the priest appears quite angry with the group and demands an explanation. Nabila uses some diplomacy skills to verbally turn the tables on the priest, putting him on the defensive. The party questions Isembard on the empty niches in the crypt, and also gets him to admit that last week a recently buried person rose from their grave and attacked a villager before being put down by the sheriff and his deputies. The party requests for Isembard to have one of his acolytes check the church records for more information about the crypt and its ‘missing’ occupants.

After resting to heal wounds suffered at the hands of the giant beetles, the PC’s identify some of the magical scrolls they recovered (Detect Undead, two scrolls of Invisibility to Undead, and a clerical scroll of Protection from Evil). The party also inquires with Corben about the exact manner in which Professor Elias died. Corben informs them that his father had an accident while researching something at the Harrowstone prison outside of town. Some rubble from the ruins apparently collapsed on him, and it wasn’t until much later that a passing patrol found his body.

An amusing aside occurs as Ohda realizes he is ill-equipped for underground exploration and decides to go to Ravenhill’s general store and purchase a torch. One torch. He leaves, but then realizes he has no means of lighting said torch. He returns to the store to buy some flint and steel. On his way out, he overhears some villagers bemoaning the Harrowstone memorial being vandalized. Ohda chides them for gossiping instead of tending to their ‘peasant duties’, then returns to the rest of the group to inform them of the latest development in town.

The party investigates the memorial, a large statue of Warden Hawkran, the former warden of the prison. On the plaque below the statue is a list of names of the guards and the warden’s wife, Vesorianna, who all perished in a fire that destroyed the prison in 4361. On the opposite side of the statue the party sees the vandalism the townsfolk mentioned – the letters ‘V’ and ‘E’ – written in what appeared to be human blood (later confirmed by Nabila).

After conferring with Corben about where exactly the professor died on the prison grounds, the party heads out towards the ruins. They find an ivy covered gate hanging open negligently. The halls of Harrowstone await…

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Session 2: Professor Elias Has Risen from the Grave
Seances, zombies, and boobs

The party presses onward through the rusty gates. Nabila experiences dizziness and complains of a strange ‘burning sensation’ all over her body the moment the group crosses the threshold into the prison grounds. She soon recovers her wits and the party continues their investigation.

Approaching the prison itself, Sindra and Nabila both notice sets of freshly carved runes along the foundation of the dilapidated building (some of which have blood stains across them). The name ‘Lyvar Hawkran’ (the prison’s former warden) is carved alongside the runes over and over again. Sindra’s knowledge of spellcraft is enough to reveal that the runes were most likely used as part of a ritual involving abjuration and necromantic magic.

The party takes a moment to investigate the warden’s house, located a short distance from the prison itself, but the building appears to have already been looted some time ago.

Retreating back to town to gather more information, the group studies the books bequeathed to them by Professor Elias in greater detail. Nabila recognizes Serving Your Hunger as a holy text to the clergy of Golgoroth and The Umbral Leaves as a book from the unholy church of Kosgrim. The group also studies the spirit board and brass planchette from the cache in the town cemetery in greater detail. Sindra uses an Identify spell on them, discovering the planchette is enchanted. Through a seance, the planchette can be used to speak with the spirits of the departed, although only one question may be asked per seance and must be a question that can be answered in a yes/no/maybe format.

Nabila and Sindra conspire to use the spirit board to ask Vesorianna, the wife of Warden Hawkran, if she had any sort of ‘relations’ with Professor Elias, a popular theory of theirs despite the professor being born three years AFTER the prison burned down. The group conducts a seance at the Elias estate, with Nabila convincing Blondie to ask the questions, potentially putting him at risk of possession from malevolent spirits. (Ohda, who has taken a temporary vow of silence due to an anachronistic rule of his clan, is noticeably absent from these seances). Blondie is fortunate enough to avoid any angry spirits and makes a connection to the spirit of Vesorianna. The answer is a very terse ‘NO’. (As terse as spelling out things on a Ouija board can be).

As early evening sets, the party heads over to the Temple of Flayne to sell the scroll of Protection from Evil (also acquired in the cemetery tomb cache) to Father Isambard. The priest and Nabila haggle for a time, with Isambard eventually relenting to purchase the scroll for 150 gold marks from the temple’s coffers.

The party heads to the Jasper Otter as night falls, where they meet the owners, Katja and Oleg. Oleg chats with the ladies for a bit about events in Ravenhill, notably the recent incident involving a dead man rising from his grave and being put down by the sheriff and his men. (Though the event was grim, it resulted in more people showing up at the tavern to drown their sorrows, so Oleg wasn’t too broken up about it).

The party sends Oleg off to fetch some bread and cheese for them to eat. While he fetches the food, the group is approached by a shady looking young man who looks suspiciously like Oleg. The youngster introduces himself as Khalid, son of Oleg. The boy has heard rumors around town of the party investigating the Harrowstone, and has ‘acquired’ official floor plans of the prison that he could sell to them for the right price. The party negotiates with Khalid, trying to get his initial price down. Sindra ultimately convinces Khalid to sell the plans for a paltry 20 gold marks plus a quick peek at her bosom in the alley behind the tavern.

Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen.

The next morning, the party is awakened before dawn by a tremendous thud at the front door of the Elias estate. They leave their respective rooms in time to see Corben opening the door to reveal… Professor Elias! Only the professor has a sickly purple hue to his skin and his clothes are caked in mud and dirt. Another recently deceased has risen from the grave.

The professor mumbles something unintelligible and goes for Corben’s throat. The party leaps into action and puts the undead zombie of poor Professor Elias down in short order. Corben has a nervous breakdown and collapses into a corner (which the party seems mostly unconcerned about), while a couple of the sheriff’s deputies arrive, having heard the disturbance from down the street. Nabila in particular seems quite aggrieved at Father Isambard for not being able to keep his own cemetery in order, and demands the deputies tell him as much. The deputies also agree to take the body of Elias away, presumably to be burned. Sindra notices the mouth and face of the corpse is severely mutilated just as the deputies cart the remains away.

The party decides to rest again after sustaining a few minor injuries in the battle with Zombie Elias. When they awaken, they decide to hold another seance with the spirit board, intending to ask the spirit of Warden Hawkran a question. But this time Blondie fails his saving throw and experiences an almighty head rush as an untold number of spirits attempt to possess him. He slumps forward into a brief coma and the seance is a bust. Just as the group is cleaning up, Corben returns from a trip into town (having recovered somewhat from the terrible ordeal earlier). He says that he spoke with Father Isambard briefly, and the priest mentioned the Harrowstone memorial statue being vandalized again, this time with a letter ‘S’.

The twisted sisters Nabila and Sindra once again attempt another seance after this, convincing Izzy the thief that she should ask the questions now. (With Blondie outright refusing). But when they try to contact Warden Hawkran this time, the planchette doesn’t budge and everything is deathly quiet, as if there is no spirit for the party to commune with.

The party then decides to head to the cemetery, to attempt to find a correlation between the bloody letters (‘V’, ‘E’, and ‘S’) and names on the tombstones. Combing through the graveyard takes several hours, and the group doesn’t really discover anything useful.

Changing tact, the team waits until the dark of night and stakes out the Harrowstone memorial statue. Around midnight, they see Gibbs (the man who incited the rabble into action at Professor Elias’ funeral) approach the statue in his nightgown and slippers. He procures a knife and makes a small cut on his left forearm, dips a finger in his blood, and writes the letter ‘O’ on the base of the statue next to the others. Gibbs then shambles off back to his farm house, oblivious to the PC’s following along behind him.

The party immediately reports this to the sheriff’s office. A reluctant deputy rouses the sheriff and reports news of the crime to him. Sheriff Talby introduces himself to the party, but seems reluctant to believe their story. Gibbs is known to be in trouble for a drunken brawl every now and then, but vandalism doesn’t really fit his profile. The party applies verbal pressure onto the sheriff, who eventually relents and arrests Gibbs for the crime (despite Gibbs’ protests of innocence).

The following morning, one final seance takes place, this one attempting to ask the spirit of Professor Elias if he ever practiced in black magic. Nabila attempts to ask the question this time, but like Blondie, fails to shield her mind from the barrage of restless spirits trapped in the Veil. The cleric passes out and has a vision of some kind, though she declines to share what she saw with the rest of the group.

Figuring their leads have dried up for the time being, the party heads back to the Harrowstone prison. They investigate the western balcony, where they find a headsman’s block. Blondie narrowly dodges a pair of ghostly skeletal arms wielding an executioner’s scythe. The party comes to the dwarf’s aid and has to creatively battle the animated weapon. The heroes eventually triumph, splitting the scythe down the middle and rendering it useless.

The party finds a door from the balcony leading into the second floor of the prison, but a locked door made of iron within prevents them from progressing further. Some of the party members swear they could hear the faint sounds of music from behind the locked door…

Heading back around to the front of the prison, the party enters the gates and steps into a moss covered, dilapidated foyer with doors leading further into the prison on all sides. The group decides to head east, although they experience a terrible haunting the moment they open the door – as the spirits of hundreds of dying prisoners and guards shriek in agony and visions of burning men’s faces are seen. The brief haunt dissipates just as soon as it appeared, but there is a heavy weight on everyone’s shoulders from this moment onwards.

The party follows a short hallway and finds their way to what was once the prison’s property room. They find a secret door leading to a hidden cache with a number of items that radiate with magic after Sindra casts a Detect Magic spell. The items include a blood-stained hand axe, a moldy spellbook, a collection of holy symbols on a silver chain, a smith’s hammer, and a flute. Each item has a name tag attached to them, with the exception of the fiddle, whose index card is blank. The party also discovers a wand made of bone inside the property room, in addition to a number of other mundane items that could be sold off for profit at a later date. The party takes everything with the exception of a painting of the Countess Malveria and continues onwards.

The group heads west of the foyer and discovers the prison’s offices, including the warden’s office, which feels slightly less claustrophobic than the rest of the Harrowstone. Izzy cracks a safe within and the party uncovers more goods, including potions of healing, restoration, and cure disease. The party then spends a couple of hours gathering surviving papers from the offices and decides to fall back to town to go through their findings.

The paperwork is used to discover some information on two notorious prisoners held within the walls of Harrowstone, namely Vance Saetressle, aka ‘The Lopper’, who stalked victims with his deadly handaxe. Also discovered was the MO of Sefick Corvin, aka ‘Father Charlatan’, who posed as a healer and spiritualist of many different faiths all over the realm.

After resting for the night at the Elias estate, the party prepares to make its way back to the Harrowstone for more exploration…

Note: this write-up focuses heavily on the (sometimes outrageous) actions of Nabila and Sindra, as their players were the only ones who could make it to this session.

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Session 3: Harrowstone Prison Blues
Holy Water to the Rescue

We had a long session on Friday, so this write-up is simply the bullet points only.

  • Certain party members have ‘eventful’ nights.
  • The party sees Gibbs has been released from jail. Ohda insults him by calling him a criminal. Loudly.
  • The party returns to the Harrowstone prison for more investigation.
  • A poltergeist is encountered in the prison infirmary. Its fear effect causes Nabila and Blondie to flee, while Sindra’s magic malfunctions. Ohda’s melee attacks do no damage whatsoever to the poltergeist, but Izzy is able to dispatch the undead entity with some of her silver arrows. Ohda informs Izzy that she is not a warrior despite this.
  • The party finds a cache of healing items, a short sword of elven origins (which Ohda claims), and a journal belonging to Bailey, one of the former guards.

The journal entries of note included:

The notorious Splatter Man arrived today. Looks more like a dodgy old librarian than a mass murderer, but what do I know? We’ve been instructed to keep a tight leash on him for the time being. He’s said to be a magic-user, though we should be safe so long as we keep his spellbook locked away in the property room.

Heh heh. Old Vance the Lopper had a bit of an accident in the dungeon last night. Somebody pushed him down the oublette and broke his legs. Word going around is Vorch did it, but I’m pretty sure he’s covering up for you-know-who. Either way, serves the bastard right. But this’ll probably hold up his expected execution date while the warden investigates. If only he knew everything that went down in his own prison.

It shames me to admit I’ve always hidden the fact that I have some elven blood in me. Not a lot (1/12th, I think), but apparently enough to make me the inheritor of monies from a distant relative I never met. Also part of the inheritance package was a fine blade of elven craft. I’m still not sure if I should use it or try to sell it to Asabelle in town. The sword is a thing of beauty, but I swear I see strange shapes in the dark whenever I’m wearing it around the prison.

  • The party finds a dilapidated furnace room with an old furnace named “Ember Maw”. Ohda grows quite suspicious of the furnace and approaches it in a fighting stance while the others look on in confusion. The furnace animates and lashes out at Blondie with a molten tongue, inflicting enough fire damage to knock the dwarf out. Ohda hacks and slashes at the furnace until it is nothing more than a pile of rust and ash.
  • The prison guard’s training room is explored next. The room looks as if it was the epicenter of the great fire that ruined the prison and killed all the guards and prisoners. Ohda finds a hole leading down to a lower level, but before it can be explored, three flaming skulls rise out of it and attack the party.
  • After dealing with the skulls, the party moves on to an auditorium room. Ohda experiences a strange cold spot near the lectern, but nothing comes of his investigations.
  • The party uncovers a ruined chapel to Haggar, god of justice (presumably the guards’ chapel). The group finds a few bottles of holy water in a cabinet.
  • The holding area for new prisoners is explored next. Nabila seems to hear something when she enters this room, but none of the others can hear the noise.
  • The party then finds a chamber that was used to brand prisoners. Ohda slips into a strange vision as he walks around the room, but doesn’t initially share what he saw with the rest of the party.
  • Blondie knocks down a locked door to a workshop area, where the party encounters the spirit of a young woman in blue dress, blue hair, blue eyes, and trails of blue smoke coming from her mouth. She assumes the party are the replacements for the ‘coward’ guards who locked her in this room. The female spirit introduces herself as Vesorianna, the wife of Warden Hawkran, and explains the situation at the prison in greater detail. A group of men and women in black robes, quite possibly the Whispering Way, were at the prison recently. They performed some sort of necromantic ritual which extracted the spirit of Warden Hawkran away from the Harrowstone. Vesorianna also witnessed the sad end of Professor Elias, slain by a thin man wearing a breastplate made of bone and wielding a black staff. As soon as the ritual was complete, the restless spirits of the Harrowstone prisoners began to gain in power. Vesorianna has attempted to step into her husband’s place as the new warden, but her power is limited. She fears ‘the Five’ – the five most notorious prisoners of Harrowstone who conspired to start the riot that ultimately killed everyone within – will soon overpower her and run rampant on the prison and the surrounding countryside.

Vesorianna

  • Those of the Five who the party didn’t previously know about are discussed in greater detail by Vesorianna. The Splatter Man was a brilliant academic from Amaranth who went mad and embarked on a killing spree, slaying men, women, and children. The Mosswater Marauder was a dwarven craftsman who found his wife with another and killed her, cracking her skull with his hammer. He then murdered countless villagers in a bid to find another piece of skull just the right size to ‘repair’ his wife’s. While the Piper of Vogelbrucke was a mad bard who used his flute to summon vermin to do his evil bidding, including but not limited to murder.
  • In the middle of this discussion, Ohda has a sudden outburst of anger towards Vesorianna. He asks her if she enjoyed hearing the prisoners be tortured, or if she liked having them branded. Vesorianna’s spirit is outraged by this and begins to weep. The rest of the party asks Ohda to leave the room. He does, begrudgingly, and walks over to the laundry room, where he is immediately beset by three giant crab spiders who were lairing in the area. The rest of the party has to break away from their conversation with Vesorianna to help Ohda out.
  • Still angry, Ohda shuts himself in a nearby privy for a few minutes. Unfortunately, the privy has no toilet paper. Hilarity ensues.
  • The party returns to the Elias place back in town.
  • Sindra uses some identifying magic to discover that the wand she picked up is actually a clerical Wand of Fear and that the tarnished silver flute is imbued with a curse which manifests if the instrument is played.
  • Ohda hears the sound of breaking glass from Nabila’s room and hurls himself through the door to her room, only to find her standing there with a broken vial in her hands. Ohda makes a clumsy show of trying to put the door back on its hinges and leaves.
  • Sindra and Nabila head back to the Jasper Otter while Ohda has a bath. They both converse with OLEG, who lets slip a little information about Gibbs being the former sheriff in town before he turned into an alcoholic. Sindra shares about her past as an exile from the Underdark (due to her wild magic), and then the ladies grill Oleg on the upcoming Ravenhill town cook-off. IN GREAT DETAIL.
  • In the morning, Sindra uses another Identify spell on the moldy spellbook that belonged to Hean ‘The Splatter Man’ Feramin, only to discover it’s also cursed (and the reason Sindra’s magic is sometimes malfunctioning inside the prison). She tears the pages with salvagable spells out of the book and begins attempting to learn the Magic Missile spell.
  • The party returns to Harrowstone and immediately heads for the second floor.
  • They find a mess hall where three giant rats have made their home. Sindra subdues them with Color Spray and the rest of the party duly dispatches them.
  • Ohda ventures outside through the broken wall onto the eastern balcony, where he sees some ivy and pretty purple and red flowers. He attempts to pick some flowers for Nabila, but is caught by a strangle vine. The sentient plant begins squeezing the life out of the eastern warrior. The rest of the party hacks away at the creature until Ohda is free. The party leaves the flowers Ohda picked where they lay.
  • After peeking inside the empty kitchen, the party finds itself in the eastern cellblock. A depressing dirge is heard reverberating throughout the prison. The dirge causes several skeletons inside the cells to rise and attack the party. As this occurs, a spectral version of the Piper of Vogelbrucke appears behind the party, mesmerizing them with his magical flute. A heated boss fight breaks out, in which the party flirts with disaster but saves themselves with the timely intervention of vials of holy water used as projectile weapons. Sindra scores a critical hit that finishes the Piper off for good — I’m still not really sure if holy water as a weapon can have critical damage, but the players threatened bodily harm if I didn’t give it, so it stands!
  • After this exhausting battle, the party returns to Ravenhill to rest and recuperate. Most characters have leveled up from the XP in this session.
  • The remaining magic items are ID’ed during this downtime. The blood stained axe is a cursed Ghost Touch Hand Axe +1, Father Charlatan’s holy symbols are also cursed (which Nabila is suffering from), and the elven blade that Ohda now carries is a Short Sword of Infravision +1.
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Session 4: The Unquiet Dead
A dice roll away from a TPK...
  • After resting up in town, the party decides to visit the Temple of Flayne to have one or more of their curses lifted. Nabila outright refuses to enter the temple or negotiate with Isambard. Sindra manages to get Father Isambard’s donation fee down to a bargain price of 800 gold marks, but the party has to sell a portion of their loot collected thus far to raise the money. Isambard informs the party before they leave that the tomb with the empty niches they inquired about several weeks ago was discovered to belong to the Adrissant family, although no member of the family has lived in Ravenhill for at least 100 years.
  • The party ventures back inside Harrowstone prison and explores the rooms they missed on the second floor. Towards the western cellblock, they encounter the wraith of Father Charlatan, who telepathically taunts Nabila before attacking.
  • Father Charlatan is destroyed, but not before Blondie is killed by the wraith’s withering touch.
  • Blondie’s corpse is looted (tastefully) and he is given a funeral at sea to prevent the corrupting influence of the prison from turning him into the undead.
  • The group returns to the prison the next day and rappels down to the basement through the hole in the training room. Nabila slips from the rope and splashes down into a pool of water below.
  • Sindra takes a moment to cast her Find Familiar spell. She makes contact with a phase spider named Aragog (or Boris), who now accompanies the party.
  • Several ectoplasmic beings ripple out of the water and attack the party. Aragog is thrust into action and fares quite well for himself in combat. Nabila turns the rest of the creatures and the party easily hacks them down as they try to flee. Ohda throws up after ingesting ectoplasm.
  • The party ventures west into a central chamber with four exits from the room and a crumbling stairwell going up to the first floor. Eight skeletons of the former prisoners rise from the floor and attack the party. Three are slain before Nabila turns the remaining five, which flee to the west.
  • Heading south of the central chamber, the party finds a badly burned guard room. Within is a headless flaming skeleton which immediately attacks. The group dispatches of the skeleton, suffering only minor wounds in the process.

Flamingskelington

  • After an aborted attempt to rest in the cavern they entered the basement in, the party heads back to town to rest and recover spells. Sindra begins studying a new spell from the pages she tore from the Splatter Man’s book.
  • Returning to the prison’s basement the next day, Nabila has another mishap with the rope. (And she had just gotten her clothes Snuggle fresh a few minutes before.)
  • The party encounters the remaining skeletons loitering back in the central chamber. Nabila turns them again and this time they flee north. The party gives chase and hacks them down.
  • Another guard room is found in the northern hall. Ohda finds a winch within that opens a portcullis to a large room referred to as ‘the Oubliette’. The party raises the gate and ventures into the chamber, wary of the presence of the Lopper.
  • Sure enough, the Lopper soon makes an appearance – a hideous wraith-like creature with elongated arms and withered skin wielding a ghostly handaxe. The Lopper floats up out of a large pit in the center of the room and begins attacking the party…
  • Easily the hardest battle the party has faced up to this point breaks out. Izzy botches an attempt to throw holy water at the Lopper, Ohda’s good dice rolls go AWOL, and Sindra runs out of spells. All the while, the Lopper calmly floats around the chamber attacking each party member in order, gaining strength from their wounds. Nabila organizes an attempt to douse the Lopper in Greek fire, but throws from both Izzy and Sindra miss the mark. Izzy is then knocked unconscious by the Lopper. The halfling is stabilized (but still unconscious) before she bleeds out by Nabila, who herself is knocked out by an attack from the Lopper only moments later. Sindra uses her scroll of Grease, hoping to coat the Lopper with the flammable substance and then set him ablaze, but Sindra is also knocked unconscious before she can enact the second part of the plan, leaving just Ohda and Aragog the spider (who has no means of actually hurting the Lopper) standing. Ohda snatches the party’s torch and attempts to make contact with the undead monstrosity, but his attack rolls once again abandon him. Several tense rounds follow, with Nabila and Sindra both bleeding out and Ohda down to low single digits. Ohda finally manages to strike the Lopper with the torch, causing the specter to wail in agony and retreat into the pit below – damaged, but still very much ‘alive’. This gives Ohda enough time to bind Sindra and Nabila’s wounds and for the party to retreat to safety.
  • Final HP tally before retreating: Sindra at -7 hit points, Nabila at -8 hit points, Izzy at -2 hit points, Ohda at 2 hit points, and Aragon the spider at 10 hit points.
  • After a close mishap involving Ohda and climbing the rope up to the first floor, the party makes its way back to Ravenhill and rests for a solid week.
  • Ohda decides to seek out Gibbs and call him names until Gibbs attacks Ohda. The former sheriff has his throat slashed by Ohda in the middle of the street. Fortunately for Ohda, Gibbs did strike first, which saves the DM the hassle of running a murder trial.
  • The session ended with Sindra purchasing a silver dagger for when the party decides to return to Harrowstone and confront the Lopper again…
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Session Five: Errybody Gonna Die
Don't mess with women who can neither confirm nor deny their alignment.

The ladies go to the Apothecary to purchase potions for the return to Harrowstone Prison. While Izzy, Nabila, and Sindra shop because that’s what girls do, Ohda returns to the statue to find another letter has been added. Now it spells V-E-S-O-R. The ladies stop by the magic school (Is there seriously a magic school in Ravenhill?) and see what items are for sale. We purchase a ring of protection +1 for Ohda, and Sindra acquires a scroll of Mirror Image (2nd level).

Then we decide to head to the temple of Flayne to purchase some Holy Waters. Nabila refuses to go in. Sindra tries to get Father D-Bag to sell us the holy waters, but he refuses. Sindra causes a scene and gets escorted away by the sheriff. It is then we decide, once and for all, that Errybody Gonna Die in Ravenhill.

We return to Harrowstone Prison with a rope ladder, some Greek fire, and a few holy waters. Because we know what the Lopper is capable of doing, we formulate a battle plan and succeed in killing him. At the bottom of the Lopper’s pit we find coins, a longsword in a sheath, a mace, a rope, and a ring of keys.

Sindra IDs the items after resting at Corbin’s house, and we have a heavy mace +1, a silver longsword, and a rope of climbing. We try one more time to use the spirit board after it begins spelling out HELP ME. Ohda tries and fails; Sindra tries and fails.

Then there’s a knock at the door. It’s Zombie Gibbs! In a fantastic move of stealth and swiftness, Izzy backstabs him for instant death. Nabila gets the sheriff, Sindra gets Isembard and some acolytes, and we show them that there’s some weird stuff still going on in that graveyard. Isembard, naturally, refuses to be cooperative. An argument ensues, and Gibbs’ body is taken away.

Later that day a councilman comes by and offers payment if we figure out what’s happening at the prison. Because we all like gold and loot and stuff, we said yes. One of the councilor’s aides returns to Corbin’s house and offers us 250gp and five vials of holy water.

Back to the prison: we find a guard room full of armor, weapons, and a locked chest. We unlock the chest with the keys we found in the Lopper’s pit and we find a case of ten crossbow bolts, a wand, and four potions of Cure Moderate Wounds.

Sindra tries to cast Tenser’s Floating Disc but finally has a wild surge. A banquet table appears before us, so we sit down to eat. Why the heck not? Eventually Sindra casts Tenser’s and we take the loot back into town. We sell the mundane armor and weapons and discover that the crossbow bolts are +1 and the wand is a Wand of Frost with eight charges. Now that we have more gold, we purchase Sindra a scroll of Fireball (3rd level) and a light crossbow for Izzy.

Then we skip back to the prison because we’re trying to be optimistic about not getting killed this time.

We encounter the Mosswater Marauder, a dopey sobbing dwarf who likes to crush skulls with his hammer and then put them back together again (yeah, that’ll work). Izzy manages to finish off the Marauder with her magic crossbow bolts. Then we explore a little more and go back to Corbin’s to rest.

Prison again. We explore and discover a torture chamber. Cages, a rack, a wooden tank, a fire pit, and an iron maiden \m/ that Ohda wants to play with. A bloodstained basket rests on top of the rack but no one wants to look in it, so Aragog does it for Sindra, and he’s attacked by magic hands. We find a body on the rack with the Warden’s badge shoved in its mouth. Presumably Warden Hawkran? Nabila removes the badge and sits it on the floor. We find a secret entry and there’s a skeleton floating in the air and a GELATINOUS CUBE!

Gelatinous cube

We beat the cube thanks to Sindra’s ridiculously awesome frost wand. Then we go back to town. Then we return to the prison. As we explore, a spirit with glasses manifests itself from a pool of water. Since we’re down three creepies, it’s Professor Feramin, the Spatterman. He shows us a vision of himself at university where he discovers a book he merely wanted to research. The book is evil, and it drove him mad. He went on a killing spree. When Feramin’s physical body was killed, The Spatterman died with it. Now he’s a good guy, and he tells us that Vesoriana is evil — Ohda was right all along, and we assumed it was his 3 Charisma talking. If we kill her, he will give us all these rad items he’s stored in his pit. Since we like stuff, we agree and he fetches the items for us: a dagger, a ring, and a sword. The sword belonged to Warden Hawkran. Feramin warns us NOT to give Vesoriana the Warden’s badge because it has the powers to allow her to escape from the prison, which would be bad.

Because we want to know what these items are, we return to Corbin’s to identify the items. Nabila becomes the proud owner of a ring of protection +1, Sindra takes the +1 dagger, and Ohda takes the longsword with a +2 versus evil enchantment.

Back to the prison yet again. We bust down Vesoriana’s laundry room door, and she reveals plot points. We fight. She’s tough. Sindra tries to cast a spell but has a wild surge instead. She casts Stinking Cloud on herself and severely hinders the fight until the cloud clears. (Vesoriana probably thought it was awesome. Amateurs!) Nabila casts Silence on her so Vesoriana can’t cast spells. So we beat her, collect a blue cloak from her ectoplasm(?) and head down to speak to Professor Feramin again. He says Vesoriana corrupted the Warden somehow and used the prison as her “personal pleasure den.” We have corrected the zombie situation at the cemetary. The Adrissant family were wealthy minor noblemen and Feramin knew the family. He says he will wander the shadow realm now that he has been set free. Before he disappears he tells Nabila that “she” is coming and that Nabila needs to be on her guard.

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Session Six: Goodbye, Ravenhill. Hello, Mushroom Land.
Get Yer Bo-Bos Honked! Or, the Ten Year Old Commissions a Hit.

After clearing the prison our brave adventurers are awarded the other half of the councilman’s gold and we can get the heck outta there. The cloak Vesoriana wore is a Nymph Cloak which gives the wearer +3 Charisma. That’s, apparently, how she was so persuasive to fool the Warden and us — except Ohda who was right all along. Sindra keeps the cape because Nabila’s not keen on blue.

Corbin seems mildly miffed. He shows Sindra, Nabila and Izzy the following letter from his father’s former BFF:

“Mr Elias,

Allow me to present to you my warmest regards and deepest regrets upon the death of your father. Jago was a man of great insight, with a keen and inquiring mind. It was perhaps inevitable that it would be his curiosity that brought him low, for his questing ways led him to dark places, and what he lacked in prudence he more than compensated for in courage. Regardless, I shall remember him fondly as one who was almost a peer; as a man of intelligence, tempered lightly by good sense.

My thoughts are with you, my boy. I trust the path you chose to tread in life shall be a safer one than that of your late father – indeed, I would insist upon it.

With the greatest of respect,
Adivion Adrissant"

The ladies commiserate with Corbin about how strange the letter is and how much this guy seems like a grade A jerk.

Ohda challenges Father D-bag because it was his job to protect his town from the zombies and yet he refused to do anything. Father D-bag isn’t having it. While Ohda is distracted, the women of questionable alignment poison the Ravenhill town well. The next day is the fantastic and highly anticipated town cook-off. Corbin is missing. We go to the square to investigate, just in case he’s eating some delicious victuals before we get there. Instead we find Corbin tied up near a group of fools who just signed their death warrants. A human, a grey dwarf, and a halfling stand near Corbin. They are led by a guy who looks remarkably like our Ohda. The warrior, Resetsu, (who will now be referred to as Ray-Ray because it’s easier to spell) calls Ohda out and says something about glorious death and other delusional twaddle about dreams and visions.

We dispose of the mercenaries. Ray-Ray tells Ohda about “a creature,” and he gives Ohda an electricity-laden kitana. Ohda honorably decapitates the mercenary with his own kitana. The the remaining mercenaries are set free after we’ve looted their stuff. Ray-Ray has two kitanas with a red hilt and a blue hilt and a potion. The halfling mage has a travelling Spellbook. The dwarf has a battleaxe and a crossbow and a pouch with citrine gems. Nabila Commanded the other human to flee, so we have no idea what kind of cool stuff he had.

After rescuing Corbin, we head to Schwarzwald. Sindra IDs the magic items, though from a distance because she doesn’t want to repeat the Stinking Cloud incident. The red kitana is known as Shinobi Defender. +2 to attack, +1 to AC when equipped, and it gleams bright in sunlight and resists stains. The blue kitana is called Nakahara. +3 to attack and crackles with electrical energy. The spell folio contains chill touch, detect magic, read magic, spook, flaming sphere, and whispering wind.

The weather gets colder so we stop for the night. After a while we hear wolves. Ohda goes to investigate. A small girl walks out in front of the wolves and approaches us. Her name is Eliza, and she’s dressed in a tattered nightgown. She’s hanging out with wolves, and she’s not cold. Creepy. Eliza says that her mother can help Ohda not be lost. Her mother lives in Grunberg. Before she disappears, Eliza tells us to tell her mother that she’s happy. Ohda invites her to come along, but she declines and runs off with her wolves. They disappear in the woods. They do not eat us.

In the morning we start off again. There’s a small town ahead of us, but upon arrival, the structures are dilapidated and ruined. The smell is faint and pungent and on one side of the small house there’s a yellow letter Q. Nabila falls down with a nasty headache, and she tells us to leave. now. The place has been defiled, and she’s unable to purify it herself. The family who lived there died of a horrible disease. Ohda deduces that the place used to be a mushroom farm.

We leave.

Some time later we arrive in Grunburg, the mushroom kingdom. We argue about having to pay 2gp to gain entry into the town when there’s a blizzard on, but we relent, Sindra didn’t need to get her boobs out, and life goes on. The buildings are two storied, plain, pointed roofs with chimneys, and everything is covered with a brownish moss. A fungus grows along with the moss. We go to Baldrick’s tavern for a warm fire and some food. Baldrick has…a cunning plan.

Baldrick’s is filled with people and mushrooms. There is no mold or moss anywhere, but people are eating mushrooms off the table. Baldrick, a dwarf, greets us and shows us to a table near the fire. He takes our orders; Ohda is the only one who orders anything with mushrooms in it. A little while later a serving wench comes by with our drinks and she eyes Ohda and winks at him. When she brings our food, she snuggles up to Ohda and flirts with him. She drags him to a room in the back.

A man in a tattered brown robe comes to our table and greets Nabila. His name is Oleander, and he mentions he was travelling with the mercenaries we disposed of in Ravenhill. He was going to Amaranth, but now he is in Grunberg to investigate a “great epidemic.” The epidemic he speaks of is called the white fever. The disease, he says, is not of their Lord’s will. His investigation into the disease has not turned up much. The fever causes weakness and fatigue. Bedrest and certain mushrooms will cure the disease. Oleander tells us about the new mayor, Felix Hoyer, whose arrival ten years ago coincides with the advent of the disease. Ohda returns to the table looking a little worse for wear and Oleander takes his leave.

Ohda decides he needs a cloak and so he asks for a furrier. It’s after hours and the furrier is less than accommodating. After negotiating, the furrier presents Ohda with a cloak made from squirrels. The cloak is hideous, but it’s warm-ish.

We decide to find a place to sleep for the night. As we make our way to the Velvet Rose, a woman exits a house and bumps into Ohda. She has striking blue eyes and she introduces herself to us as Doctor Hoyer. She was helping a woman named Alice whose husband had been taken ill with the white fever. Ohda asks about Alyssa’s? Elissa’s? mother, Awilda. The doctor says Awilda is a fortune teller and promptly bids us goodnight. The Velvet Rose is posh and doesn’t smell like mushrooms. Instead it smells like roses and potpourri. Mademoiselle Beatrice has long red talons, and she clicks them impatiently on the counter as we get our rooms. Izzy, Nabila, and Sindra share a room while Corbin and the carriage driver share a room. Ohda sleeps by himself.

The next morning Ohda is shivering and covered in a cold sweat. We think he has the white fever. We leave Ohda with Corbin and go to the hospital to fetch Dr. Hoyer. We are told she isn’t there because she’s working the night shift. Nabila asks if there’s anything we can do to ease Ohda’s symptoms, and the nurse in the waiting area gives Nabila some mushrooms and suggests making a tea out of the mushrooms.

Because Nabila doesn’t think the mushrooms will do much for Ohda, we seek out Eliza’s mother. Awilda refuses to answer the door until Sindra shouts, “Eliza says she’s happy!” Awilda lets us in her tiny, cold house. She sits on a velvet cushion and starts shouting as she’s stroking out. She falls over. Half of her body is paralyzed. She says, “He took my daughter, and he dared to laugh at us. We need roses from the one winged gargoyle. He’s a monster!” She says something else about a curse and goes limp. We check her house for any clues, and take her meager life savings to the guard so they can bury her.

Back at the Velvet Rose, we take care of Ohda. Then Nabila, Izzy, and Sindra decide to see if we can find that one winged gargoyle while Ohda is resting. We decide to find a church or a temple since that’s where gargoyles usually congregate to scare away evil. As we walk around town a sleigh pulls up. The passenger is wearing a snowy white coat and is covered by a thick blanket. It’s Mayor Hoyer. Sindra compliments him on his beautiful coat; he says the furrier made it for him. He offers us a ride to the meeting hall, which used to be a temple to Jhannis.

Mayer Hoyer deposits us at the meeting hall. It’s decrepit. Huge black ravens nest there. The place is covered in moss. We check the outside first for the gargoyle. No gargoyles but lots of statues covered in moss and snow. We go inside and notice the ravens are watching us. There are ornate stone columns and sculptures covered in moss. We find the one winged gargoyle and a secret door behind it.

We push the door open and are blasted with putrid air. Sindra and Izzy are poisoned. There’s a spiral staircase leading down, but it’s dark. We head back to the Velvet Rose where Nabila cures Sindra and Izzy of the poison. The doctor comes by and checks on Ohda. Oleander visits us again to tell us he’s leaving town. We ask him if he knows anything about magic roses. He mentions something about a lesser god with a rose artifact, but he always thought it was a fairy tale.

That night Alyssa? Elissa? visits Ohda in his room. She says that Mayor Felix Hoyer did something to her. She flashes her small pointed teeth. She says her mother is angry and she won’t be happy until Felix is destroyed. She says if we kill the mayor the storm will stop.

Eliza

The next morning Ohda tells us about Eliza’s visit, and we tell him what happened to Eliza’s mother. A ten year old wants us to off the mayor. To add insult to injury, Sindra tells Ohda about the beautiful coat the furrier made the mayor. Ohda is upset by this slight and decides to challenge the furrier. Because Ohda knows karat-ay he attempts to attack the furrier and…FALLS FLAT ON HIS FACE. (roll a 1d20-1 and get a zero!!) Sindra saw it all and escorted Ohda back to the inn where she told Izzy and Nabila all about it.

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Session Seven: Roses, Seduction, and White Pudding
Bippity Bop Zip Zop. Or, Kill the Vampires.

Our fearless adventurers return to the old temple/meeting hall to check out the trapdoor behind the gargoyle. Since Izzy, Nabila, and Sindra set off the trap trying to get in the secret area earlier, entering is no longer a problem. The secret underground area is covered with mold and toadstools, and they are nasty enough to make Izzy run away to vomit. We discover that the temple used to be dedicated to Jhannis, the god of healing. Nabila groans at this information.

The first stop is a burial vault with three stone caskets. On top of each casket is an effigy of a knight with its arms crossed over a sword. There is yellow mold growing on everything. Nabila does a herbalism check and tells us the mold is saffron mold. It is fatal if disturbed. After a few moments of looking around the room, Ohda decides he wants to leave so we follow. So far the underground chambers have been eerily quiet. Naturally the moment anyone remarks on this, we hear a noise. Then we see glowing red eyes creeping towards us.

It is a wraith. None of us want to have a replay of the Blondie Incident, so Nabila attempts to turn it. She is successful. We follow it down the hall as it’s fleeing and kill it. The hall has more nasty mold, this time with mushrooms and worms. Nabila performs another herbalism check and tells us that the worms are rot grubs, and everything is fatal if it’s ingested.

Continuing down the hall, we feel a breeze that leads to a door. Ohda opens it, and we find another burial chamber. There’s a single casket in here with its lid slightly askew. There’s nothing interesting in the room so we leave. Continuing down the hall, we find another door. It’s a chapel bathed in silvery light coming from a rosebush with seven white roses. The chapel has no mold and it’s clean, but Nabila does not like it. She does a religion check and tells us that the chapel and the holy symbols belong to Otillo, the God of Love. The roses were given to Rosalba, the Goddess of Art and Poetry and shit. Murals along the walls show the rose in various stages of growth and arrangement. Ohda is particularly taken with the wreath of roses and wants to make his own wreath. An argument ensues between Ohda and the more sensible ladies because we don’t want to waste the roses in case we can’t get more roses when we really need them.

Silver rose by blueskies21 d37weru

The roses are called the Roses of Rosalba, and they are powerful symbols of goodness and luv. Followers prayed to the gods for help, and the roses grew. They were used to fight vampires. When the rose is cut, the powers last for seven days. Anyone holding a rose is immune to a vampire’s charm, has the charm broken, and feels aversion to holding the flower. If a rose is presented forcefully to a vampire, the rose acts as a holy symbol of goodness. If a rose is placed on a vampire’s coffin, the rose traps the vampire inside and keeps the coffin shut tight so the vampire cannot escape. If a rose is used to strike a vampire, the damage is similar to holy water and the rose is destroyed. If a wreath fashioned from the roses is placed around a vampire’s neck, it acts like sunlight. The damage the wreath does depends on the age of the vampire.

Because Ohda still feels the effects of the white fever, Sindra and Nabila discuss taking one rose with us to see if Nabila can brew a tea from the petals or leaves and cure Ohda of the white fever, or at least alleviate his symptoms.

Since there was nothing left for us to do in the underground chamber, we decide to head back to the room with the three sarcophagi to loot the coffins. Checking one coffin, we find the remains of a knight or a paladin. The armor is rusted and there are two small urns inside. Ohda doesn’t want to desecrate the tomb, we argue more, and Nabila and Sindra take matters into their own hands and decide to open another casket. But it’s trapped.

Ut-oh.

Darts shoot out and injure Nabila and Sindra. Plus we kick up the mold which does heavy damage to Sindra. We get the urns from the coffin. Izzy says they feel like they contain liquid and not evil demon hearts (or brains) like we originally thought. Nabila checks the urns and discovers the stuff inside is called Keoghtom’s Ointment. The salve is useful for drawing out poison, curing disease, and healing wounds. If the salve is placed upon a poisoned wound or swallowed, it detoxifies the poison for 1d4+8.

Ohda doesn’t want to check the rest of the caskets, but Sindra says they wouldn’t be trapped unless there was something valuable inside. He relents and pushes open the other coffin to get more of the Ointment. We kick up more mold, and it knocks Ohda out. We rescue him, use one of the Ointments on him, and he’s better. We have three urns of Keoghtom’s Ointment in our possession.

After we leave the crypt we meet up with twelve large, angry wolves. They attack us and we kill them. A raven perched on a windowsill makes a noise at us and flies off to the northwest, where the Mayor’s house is located.

Back at the Velvet Rose Inn, Nabila brews tea with the rose. Unfortunately the tea does nothing but make Ohda very randy. He requests a cleaner, classier wench from Mademoiselle Beatrice the innkeeper. We hear a long, unnecessary explanation about Ohda’s alone-time habits when he tells us he really wants to get with Izzy, who hates him.

Very late at night, we hear moaning and groaning coming from Ohda’s room. It sounds like pain rather than pleasure. We open the door and find him on the floor, a woman with chestnut hair bent over his wrist. It’s Doctor Hoyer. Her teeth are bloody. She gazes at us, and Sindra and Izzy are caught in her thrall. Nabila reacts quickly and forces Sindra to drink a Potion of Restoration. The charm is broken on Sindra, the Doctor does not approve, and she flees. Neither Ohda nor Izzy feel any ill will towards her. Sindra gives Izzy a potion of restoration. We shut Ohda in his room while we figure out how to feed him a potion. He likes the doctor. He’s okay with her sucking out his life-force. Sindra and Nabila convince Izzy that the only way to get Ohda to take the restoration potion is to seduce him. Izzy’s not having it, but she agrees that it’s for the best. The laydeez go to Ohda’s room to seduce him, and Izzy feeds him the potion.

Izzy runs away, Ohda feels duped, and Nabila and Sindra bid him goodnight, sticking a chair under the doorknob to keep him in. He doesn’t like being stuck in his room when there’s more VD to be had, so he busts down the door. After more arguing and him trying to sleep in the ladies’ room, he settles on sleeping with Corbin and the carriage driver. Corbin is a good sport, used to our strange requests and behavior, and allows Ohda to sleep in their room.

The next morning, the snowstorm is frightful and unnatural. After having an eureeka moment, Ohda runs into the ladies room where they are having a nice lesbian orgy. (Seriously, I was only joking about that, but oh well!) Ohda babbles to us that the white fever is caused by vampire bites.

After getting dressed, we decide on a plan of action: kill the mayor and his wife, break the curse, and get the hell out of Grunberg. We return to the temple/meeting hall to get more roses, one for each person but a second for Izzy in case she wants to backstab. After a night of uneventful rest, we rise before dawn and go to the mayor’s house.

We find a house and a shed in a clearing. The house is single story, with turrets and arched, shuttered windows. It is also covered in the same moss the town is covered in. At the front of the house, two huge, fuck off silver wolves guard the door. We decide to check out the shed in case we need wooden stakes or to see if there’s any useful stuff. Other than two horses and a sleigh, there’s nothing of use. It’s a shed. A shed.

Since there’s no other way in, we return to the front door and attack the wolves. After defeating the wolves, we go inside. The house is one large chamber, decorated like a sitting room with white mold on everything but the furniture. The walls have paintings, the fireplace has a giant mounted wolf head — known as Loup Garou — and an old blunderbuss underneath, and there are statues and figurines that look like they’re worth some money. In fact, after we take care of the vampires, they won’t have any use for their stuff, so we’re going to take it. We like stuff.

Ohda notices a painting has a troup of gypsies in it. Eliza’s mother appears briefly and disappears. Ohda examines the painting, pulls it off the wall, and finds a button. He presses the button and a secret door opens. There are two worktables in the room, one covered in alchemical equipment and the other has books and a skull. A raven sits on the skull, squawks at us, and flies away.

Nabila wants to check out the alchemical ingredients — vials, potions — and she triggers a tripwire. A trap door underneath us opens and we fall into a dark chamber with more mold, moss, and a large chunk of ice blocking our way. Ohda attacks the ice and tries to break it, which isn’t ice but is a white pudding. The pudding splits in two and does lots of damage. The pudding can’t be hurt by normal weapons because it causes the pudding to split into more, equally devastating puddings. Zip zop zoobitty frazzle snazzle.

Jello vanilla

Somehow we managed to kill it. (I didn’t write about it in my notes, sorry.) Nowhere to go but forward, we find a room with two coffins, both closed. Ohda runs to a coffin and starts to place a rose down on it when Mayor Hoyer jumps down from the ceiling and tells us we’re dinner. We start fighting. Ohda’s magic swords do ridiculous damage on him. Izzy sneaks and successfully backstabs him with her rose. GO, IZZY! In a last ditch effort to screw us, he charms Izzy and puts her between himself and Ohda. Sindra casts Levitate on Izzy and gets her out of the way while Ohda slices and dices with his swords. The vampire tries to escape, but he cannot. The moss on the wall bursts into flames and the spirit of Eliza’s mother appears and curses him. He is enveloped in flames and, once the curse has been fulfilled, Eliza’s mother disappears.

One down, one to go. Izzy, still up in the air, finagles the trap door, and we go upstairs via our handy dandy Rope of Climbing to rest for the night. The next morning we check out the loot to see if there’s anything we can use for the battle with Doctor Hoyer.

Although the easiest option would have been to leave the rose on top of the doctor’s coffin, we figured some bumbling peasant would find the coffin and remove the rose. Each of us is armed with a rose and we open the lid. The doctor screams at us, turns into a vapor and escapes through the trap door we left open so we could leave. Whoops. Her coffin contains a velvet pouch of Dust of Sneezing and Choking. The mayor’s coffin has a beautiful silver-white fur coat made from a winter wolf pelt. Izzy says it’s easily worth 2,000gp. Finally Ohda has his revenge on the furrier for that awful squirrel cloak.

In the next session, we leave Grunberg for Schwarzwald.

Loot:
6 doses of Dust of Sneezing and Choking
vial of type G poison
potion of healing
potion of extra healing
potion of gaseous form
book on herbalism
book on healing
book on brewing/brewery related things
scroll of protection from lycanthropes for mage or cleric
627gp
4 pieces of jewelry (non-magical)
10 gems

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Session Eight: Necromancy in Schwarzwald
Who knew nasty, rotting flesh and bone and sewage was such a turn on?

After the adventures with vampires in Grunberg, our group makes their way to Schwarzwald. We say goodbye to Corbin and settle ourselves in the city. Ohda goes off to start some trouble while the ladies go shopping to see if they can sell the magic weapons no one in the party can use. A while later Ohda returns to the Lazy Cat Inn and tells us he met a beggar in the sewers who has information on the Whispering Way. The beggar tells us that people have gone missing by the docks but the guards don’t seem to care. The man the beggar saw wore dark robes and spoke in hushed tones; he thinks the man belongs to the Whispering Way.

We access the sewer and begin to explore. After some time we run into a dwarf and a human who, Izzy informs us, belong to the cartel. Because none of us want trouble with the thieves guild just yet, we go another direction and come across a young boy sobbing in the tunnels. He tells us a sad story about how he’s missing his younger brother and his father is a drunk, blah blah blah. Turns out he’s a freaking wererat and he thought he was going to have us for dinner.

Silly boy. We dispose of the wererats and loot their stuff. After going back to the inn to rest, we return to the sewers and encounter an ettercap and some spiders. There is no stuff to loot. As we press on we come to a room with a big pool of sewage collecting. The ladies ferry across the room on Sindra’s floating disc, while Ohda…Ohda slips on the greasy rails and falls into the giant vat of sewage. We reach an archway where we hear hushed voices. Sindra recognizes the language as Drow. We send Izzy to hide in shadows and check out the situation, but the drow notice her. We run in to rescue Izzy before things got bad.

Upon seeing Sindra, the four scruffy Drow kneel and call her a priestess. Sindra says she’s not a priestess and asks what they’re doing away from the Underdark. They explain to the party about the civil war going on between House Arabani and House Baenar, the usual political struggle for power and dominance, and they left the Underdark to get away from the struggles. Sindra says that’s part of the reason why she left. A tattooed Drow recognizes Sindra and informs his companions that Sindra has the cursed magic. Nabila attempts to engage them in conversation, but they appear horrified and ask Sindra why she allows her slaves to speak out of turn. They ask if we have seen their priestess Bryzz’rin. We say no, think of the loot, and decide that we’d be happy to find her for them.

While we make our way through the sewers, we encounter Bragnar the rat catcher, a half-orc eating a sandwich. We ask about the sandwich. It’s cheese or something.

Finally the DM rolls our first random encounter, and we fight ochre jellies. After we dispose of them, we have another unfortunate incident with a settling basin full of sewage. Then we discover a lair with two trolls in it. Thanks to Aragog’s “save or die” poison bite and Ohda’s magic swords, we are able to defeat the trolls easily.

Still exploring, we come to a room blocked with crates. We hear laughter. Sindra levitates the crates out of the way, and we find a scruffy bearded guy and two very embarrassed naked women rushing for clothes. It’s a shrine to Golgorath. We interrogate the man, who tells us that by having a fantastic orgy, he wants to summon a ginormous slime in Golgorath’s name because that’s cool and all. Yeah, okay. Good luck with that.

We press on until we find a sluice gate with a stairwell going down. The stairs lead to a cavern underneath the sewers. An unlocked door leads us to a dining chamber. There are place settings and wine from Vogelbrucke, and a bust of a stern-faced man. The plaque underneath says the bust is of Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant. More exploring leads us to a plush bedchamber with a various furniture bits, books, and baubles. A letter on the desk tells us about the necromancer who murdered Professor Elias at Harrowstone Prison. Now we have a name.

Septimus,
Good news, brother. The plan is now in motion. We have the first ingredient; the second is soon to come. The ritual at Harrowstone worked well thanks to your researches, though we did have to eliminate a meddlesome old fool who tried to interfere. Master Eibon seemed to take great pleasure in disembowling the wretch.

We’re just outside Grünberg now. A dreadful place, but the mayor here is in possession of the elder werewolf heart we need and is willing to bargain with us on a price. He used to hunt lycanthropes, apparently. The Nosferatu truly loathe their kind, don’t they?

I pray to the Dark Powers that you are finding success in your experiments. Perhaps if we move on towards Schwarzwald you and I can dine together and you will show me this mysterious Beast of yours. I’ve heard stories from those who have seen your work up close, but a firsthand glimpse is what I truly covet.

The Way Guide You,
_Garmandius_"

We go down a long hallway. A terrible stench of decay and death and fecal matter greets us. The first thing we see is a huge mound of shit/poop/waste/dung/bone/flesh/blood splotches. There is a barrier dividing the room from the filth. A fresh body is attached to a meat hook. Bodies hang from more meat hooks hold bodies in various states of decay. We see the drow elf priestess among the filth. Her dead face is horrified. A surprised man and three nasty undead ghouls stare at us. The man hisses at us in whispers and summons a monster from the mound of filth, an otyugh. It’s massive, and it’s attacking us.

We have a hard fight with Septimus Ashcroft the necromancer, his three ghoulish lacedons, and his otyugh. We are successful in vanquishing all of them. Then we get to loot the bodies and get out. We find the drow elves and tell them about their priestess. They give Sindra a piwafwi cloak made from spidersilk.

Septimus Ashcroft’s loot:
three gold rings
gold earrings with garnets
a bone ring
an amulet with a skull on a dark chain
a compact quiver with 9 barbed darts tipped with poison
a spyglass
two potions of healing
a magic scroll of Choke

Other loot:
Sindra takes a flog from Septimus’ shrine/sex room.
“On Verified Madness Volume 2” a companion edition to the book Professor Elias wanted us to give to a colleague in Amaranth.
“People of the Monolith”
“Summer in Darkness” an epic poem
“The Great Race of Yith” (not sure what this is)
“Dark Desires” which we figure is necromancy porn
two potions of Stirella’s Aphrodesiac

While Sindra tries to ID the magic items, she has a wild surge. A cream pie flies out of nowhere and slaps her in the face. Nabila and Sindra eat the pie, while Ohda looks shocked and Izzy looks disgusted.

The bone ring is carved from human bone and when worn, it prevents energy and strength drain from any source. The ring has 1d100 charges. Each use exhausts the ring until it crumbles to dust. We have no idea how many charges are left on it. (Nabila)

The skull on a chain is an amulet of protection from good. It gives a +2 AC bonus and +1 to attacks vs. good creatures. (Nabila)

The drow piwafwi cloak gives a +6 bonus to saving throws vs fire, a 75% chance to hide in shadows like a thief, and it masks body heat from infravision. (Sindra)

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Session Nine: Betrayal
Why a 3 Charisma doesn't help anyone make anything but enemies.

We find our adventurers back at the Lazy Cat Inn. Ohda decides to go out and harass the members of the Grey Mercenary group into allowing him to train them how to fight like a true warrior. Somehow, miraculously, Ohda passes a Charisma check by rolling a 2 out of 3. The Greys think Ohda has fighting skillz to teach them and they accept, setting Ohda up as an instructor.

Nabila reveals an awesome leprosy patch/scar on the left side of her neck, a blessing from Aegecia. It is an impressive wound.

While hanging out at the inn a man named Siegfried Frey approaches and says he’s friends with Scarman at the Magic Academy. Scarman recommended our group to Frey after meeting Sindra when she went to the academy to peruse their spell selection. Frey wants to hire us to find an artifact. He tells us about Ignacious Voltain, a sorcerer who experimented with force magic. He created the Wall of Force spell. Voltain built a tower north of Schwarzwald, and Frey thinks the artifact will be there. The artifact is known as the Cube of Force. Frey wants the cube and any research notes, but then we are free to take anything in the tower. He offers us 4000gp, 2000 up front and the other 2000 when we retrieve the cube. Because we like stuff, we say yes to the offer.

Before departing, Sindra goes to the sewer to ask the drow if they want to join the party and adventure north with us. Sindra feels terrible about them being stuck in the sewers and even though leaving the Underdark was not her choice, she still feels like she can help the drow by having them help the group.

Each drow is from House Arabani. Chasz’avin is the captain of the guard. Omar’inid is the tattooed drow, former head torturer. Tebor was Priestess Bryzz’rinn’s boytoy. Alak’a’olil is just plain nuts. Sindra chooses Omar to accompany the party.

Because the tower is a few days ride away, we purchase horses for the journey. Ohda buys a warhorse, and Isabelle purchases an adorable little pony. Nabila and Sindra buy riding horses. On the way north, we encounter three giant beetles. We defeat the beetles. Ohda makes a snide comment to Omar, and Omar will not be spoken to in such a manner by a human and attacks Ohda. Sindra immediately intervenes and casts levitate to get Omar out of the way because one hit from Ohda’s swords would have killed him. Sindra and Nabila scold Ohda and ask for his cooperation.

After riding for a while we approach a small farming town called Bujanov. Ohda heckles everyone and buys a sheep but doesn’t really think it through.

The next day we ride on to find a mysterious tower made of gleaming white marble sticking up from the ruins of an old keep. A blue forcefield surrounds the tower. We see something flitting between the tower and the forcefield. Ohda uses the spyglass and tells us it’s a sad apparition of an old man with a beard who has been stuck there for who knows how long.

There is an overgrown apple orchard to the west, a guardhouse and barracks to the east, and an officer’s quarters to the north. We enter the officer’s quarters and discover a trapdoor leading down. It’s a dungeon.

One part of the dungeon is ancient, with carved and eroded stonework and statues of a kneeling figure carved into the stone archways. The walls have collapsed at one point, and Aragog phases through and to check what’s down the hallway. He enters a room with a statue of an old crone hunched over. The walls are carved with wizards kneeling before the humble, the poor. Four wood coffins are slightly open with four skeletons in rotting red robes on the ground, and one skeleton in adventurer’s gear laying near the statue.

Because we can’t clear the rubble we decide to turn the other way and explore. The newer part of the dungeon used to be a prison because there were cells lining the walls. As we check more areas, we walk into a den full of reptilian creatures. Troglodytes, thirteen of them. So we fight. After the battle we find a full suit of ringmail armor, a copper framed hand mirror and some coins. We proceed to another cavern and come across more stuff. The next cavern opens up to the nursery of the troglodytes. The mother troglodytes hiss at us because we are intruding and threatening them, and instead of having another fight with angry mamas, we leave them alone. As we check another cavern, we set off an alarm intended to rouse the daddy troglodytes as we root around the trash and debris for stuff.

Since there was nowhere left for us to go, Nabila raises some troglodyte zombies to go clear out the rocks in the rubble-blocked hallway. After the way is cleared, Izzy checks the room for traps. She screams as two robed skeletons attack her, with two more waiting. We battle the skeletons — who do not like Nabila at all — and win.

Nabila performs a religion check and tells us the statue is of Meelkor, a god of humility and piety. Valdis murdered him. Meelkor represented the common people and encouraged disobedience to authority when the authority was unjust. Peasant uprisings and such.

We find a leather sack full of money, lots of money. The adventurer wore a rusty suit of armor and clung to a shortsword. In his rotten backpack we found some smashed glass vials, three bones carved into the shape of keys, a moldy scrollcase, and a buckler shield.

Ohda says something stupid to Omar and provokes him again, having not learned his lesson the first time. Omar attacks. Ohda strikes back and kills Omar. The party is infuriated with Ohda, but he simply doesn’t get it. The drow elf was there to assist us and be an asset to our party, but Ohda did not care. Enraged, Sindra enfeebles Ohda and yells at him. She reminds him of his vision, that he needs the help of witches to fulfill his quest. Nabila chimes in and tries to reason with him. Izzy, however, lines up to backstab Ohda. She’d had enough of his taunting and always trying to get in her pants. Izzy attacks him after receiving the go-ahead from Nabila and Sindra. We fight. But Sindra changes her mind and levitates Ohda to speak some sense into him. She persuades Izzy and Nabila to not kill Ohda because we need a powerful fighter on our side. Putting up with the blazing stupidity and non-existent charisma was a sacrifice for having a warrior help us. After laying down some new rules about how this partnership is going to work and Ohda squeaking out an apology, Sindra lets him down. Nabila cures his wounds. But Izzy is not pleased.

We return to the armory to rest up for the evening. Sometime during the night, Ohda betrays us by running away and slaughtering our horses so we can’t leave. He left us to die. He broke his oath to us, and we are not going to let him live for that. We spared his life, we agreed to get along, and he betrayed us.

Nabila reanimated our horses, and because undead horses don’t need to rest, we catch up with Ohda outside of Schwarzwald. Ohda is tired and so is his horse. He feeds the horse a potion of frost giant strength, which does nothing to the horse. It was a bad idea to waste the potion because Ohda was going to need it.

Nabila casts Hold Person on Ohda and he falls out of his horse’s saddle. We attack. Unfortunately, Sindra wild surges and she can’t cast any spells that don’t do stupid things like create a log cabin out of nowhere and making a black felt hat appear on her head. Nabila tries to cast a spell and her robes turn into a sexy, skin-tight black studded body suit; it was Nabila’s first and hopefully only wild magic spell. Since Sindra can’t cast spells, she strikes with her shortsword, while Izzy shoots arrows at him and Nabila forces poison down his throat. We kill him and loot his body.

Loot:

suit of ringmail armor, cursed -1 (Nabila cast Remove Curse on it.)
gold ring shaped like a snake with rubies for eyes
bracelet interwoven with silver, copper, and bronze
ceramic vase, 3 ft tall
shortsword +1 (Izzy)
buckler +1

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Session Ten: Forcefields, Acid, and Rust Monsters
Building an entourage of evil. Or, Rent-A-Drow Meat Sheilds.

After returning to Schwarzwald to rejoice over the slaying of Ohda, Nabila, Izzy, and Sindra buy weapons and armor for our entourage. This time we take the three remaining Drow, telling them that Omar died honorably and that Ohda needed killin’. Nabila’s fellow acolyte of Aegecia, Oleander, joins up with us. We purchase horses and head back to the mage tower.

Because we never checked out the building just north of the apple orchard, we decided to see what was in it. It was a stable with five giant wasps. With nothing of note in the stable, we headed back down the trap door to the room with the dead adventurer. Just to the south was a room full of coffins. Since we weren’t ready to deal with the possible evil in that room, we skipped it and continued exploring.

Left is death and the only way to go, so we go that way. We find a hallway with stone pillars carved into the shape of Meelkor the old crone. Nothing interesting in the room. The next room has more statues of the stooped guy. It’s a dead end, with a statue in an alcove. Izzy checks the statue, and we hear an audible click. We run like hell as a giant pendulum blade swings down. Nabila trips and gets caught by the blade. It knocks her out, while the blade goes right over Izzy’s Halfling head. Sindra pours a potion of healing down Nabila’s throat, and Nabila returns to us. HA HA THAT’S WHY ALL THE STATUES WERE KNEELING.

The blade moves away and the statue sinks into the floor. There’s a depression in the alcove. We decide to rest up in the armory before taking on any other traps or evil things. Nabila reanimates five troglodyte skeletons. Before returning to the room with the pendulum trap, we check out the room with the coffins. No traps and no stuff in the coffins.

Izzy steps back on the pressure plate that brought the pendulum trap down, and Sindra sends Alak to open the secret door. Except he won’t do it. Tebor goes to do it. After opening the door, Tebor stands face to face with a corpse with glowing green eyes. It hisses at us and claws Tebor. The wight was the last thing Tebor saw before he died. Battle mode. (Who knew Nystul’s Blazing Beam was so awesome against undead?) Chasz takes a hit from the wight’s claws, and he is drained down a level.

The room is covered with scratches and looks like it hasn’t been disturbed in a long time. On the floor we find gloves, bracers, a metal helmet, and a wooden longsword. Alak laughs at the longsword made of wood. Inside the coffin is a solid gold breastplate with a symbol of Meelkor on it. Sindra casts Detect Magic and Identify. It’s Meelkor’s Flame Tongue +1; +2 vs. cold creatures and it’s flame resistant. A wooden sword, please. It’s maaaaagic.

Because we don’t know where to go next, we return to the armory to rest and then figure out what to do. We find a secret door, the room formerly a torture chamber. In the corner of the room is a spiral staircase. The staircase opens into an oval shaped room with two forcefields and three levers. Nabila casts Detect Traps — traps are tied to the levers. Of course.

What happens next was frustrating and cost us a few troglodyte skeletons and spilled acid everywhere. After a while, we finally figured out there was a secret lever and pulled it. The forcefields are finally down, but the floor is covered in about five feet of acid. Sindra casts Tenser’s Floating Disc to ferry everyone across to the other side of the room, but instead she wild surges and blinds Nabila.

Nabila, surprisingly, is good natured about it because Aegecia is also blind. Oleander and Nabila consider blindness a privilege to commune with their god. We rested up in the infirmary, Nabila prayed to Aegecia, and the god healed her of her blindness so she could continue on her quest. Blind evil clerics probably wouldn’t do nearly as much damage as one who could see the wells she was poisoning.

Back in the acid filled room, Sindra successfully ferries everyone across to the other side. There’s another forcefield, this time a green one. There are four holes in the floor. We have three bone keys and decide to try to place them in the holes and see if they turn anything. We’re missing a key. Izzy suggests trying to lockpick that last hole and then turning the keys at the same time. It works, and the forcefield disappears. A hallway with two iron doors runs to the north and south. We go north and walk until we find a pit with spikes at the bottom. So we decide to go the other way. There is a room with a large human mouth about four feet across built into the wall. Nabila throws a rock at it, but nothing happens. We’ll come back to it.

After ferrying ourselves across the pits, we find another oval shaped room with a door to the north of the hall. A metal chest sits in the center of the room. Izzy and Oleander both check it for traps. They know it’s trapped but they can’t tell how it’s trapped. Nabila uses one of her skeletons to open the trap while we escape down the hallway to stay protected. It sounds like fire. But nobody watched the skeleton to see exactly what kind of fire trap it was. We repeat the process, instead having Aragog standing in the doorway to watch so Sindra could relay what Aragog sees. Turns out that what Aragog sees is three long brown creatures with antennae, and they’re eating the metal chest. Rust monsters.

We try to salvage the chest, but it’s too late as the monsters have devoured it and are headed towards us. We fight.

The rust monsters eat Izzy’s +1 weapons and a few other metal items (Sindra’s gorgeous sapphire necklace, boo!), but we manage to escape with our armor and most of our weapons. Down the hallway to the north we find a marble door with a forcefield in front of it. Sindra sends Alak to pull the lever.

The forcefield vanishes.

Loot:
Meelkor’s Wooden Longsword +1
Solid gold breastplate with Meelkor’s symbol
Tebor’s armor, shield, bardiche

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