Saltmarsh Journal

Journals for the Saltmarsh RPG Campaign

End of the road?

November 26th, 2013

We make our way back to Kendra’s house for a rest. There’s been a kerfuffle in the town – another letter has been daubed, this time on a wall in the cemetery. It’s the ‘I’ of Vesoriana.
Over dinner we discuss possible ways to destroy the Splatterman’s spell book. Mahan is sure it needs the application of holy water and some of the other interesting items we have found – tipped arrows etc. The next morning Nailen will visit Arlen. Our discussion is interrupted by footsteps at the door. We hear a scream from the hall and rush out. Halventromm is backing away from a rotting animated corpse – it is Halventromm’s brother.
Olsen attempts to splash holy water on it, while Rufus attempts to use the spirit speaker to communicate.
The holy water seems to have no effect and Rufus struggles to get any signal. Nailen stops faffing around, grabs a silver arrow and stabs the zombie with it. the arrow sinks into its chest and as Nailen withdraws it maggots and gunk drop out.. Bleurgh.
Nailen is hit by the zombie and faints again. As he drops the zombie slashes him across the stomach. Olsen and Mahan stop fannying about and kill it. The boys clean up the mess and head back into the dining room for dessert.
Rosy fingered dawn lights up the eastern skyline. Nailen heads to see Arlen, the others go to see the sheriff. As we leave the house we notice a house we saw yesterday is now a smouldering wreck. When we reach the main square there are dead bodies lying on the ground and the sheriff comes to talk to us. It seems the dead are rising…
Nailen nips off to see Arlen. Yet again he fails to memorise any spells. They discuss the plans to destroy the Splatterman’s spell book.
Olsen, Mahan and Rufus go to see the priests of Zalaton but don’t get much more info from them. They move on to the graveyard. It’s a right mess!
Sherrif Caellar comes to see us again at dusk and asks what can be done to protect the town. Nailen suggests taking the surviving villagers to the temple of Zalaton for protection. The night passes without incident…
Dawn breaks and Nailen pops back to the temple to learn Soul Sight and finally Helim is listening.
We leap frog up the road to the prison, singing ‘Pack Up Yer Troubles’. A montage plays as we make our way down to the cellar. We head down the corridor marked ‘Nevermore’. There’s a portcullis and a side door. Behind the side door is the winch mechanism, but it is warped beyond use. We also cannot lift the portcullis and feel a bit stuck.
We seek Vesoriana and Rufus talks to her. She cannot pinpoint the Splatterman and does not know much of the prison layout as this is ‘her first day’.
Mahan suggests that we molest the spellbook hoping it will draw the Splatterman to us.. We move to the initial cellar room and discuss how to proceed. Rufus wants to burn a single page. Rufus burns a page but nothing happens. Mahan pours on some holy water but nothing happens there either.
We consider the possibility of a secret passage from the torture chamber. Nailen again suffers at the hands of the iron maiden. We tip the iron maiden onto its front so that it cannot entrap him again, and we fail to find any secret doors…
We are stuck.

Can I play with madness

November 6th, 2013

Mahan had killed the troll with the hammer.

We talk a load of guff and Nailen says we should get on with it.

Rufus is back to his old ways with first aid and inflicts further damage on Mahan.

Nailen spots a hidden door, behind which is a weapon rack, armour stands and a chest. The chest contains 4 healing potions, 10 magic crossbow bolts, a rope of climbing and a wand.

Despite the fine armour on offer there was no improvements for arms or legs, so we left it.

Feeling buffed, we continue…

Mahan raises a portcullis so that we can continue down this westerly corridor… It takes us to a north south corridor lined with cells. It’s a loop, and there’s a door on the west end of the south wall.

We prepare our bows and Rufus opens the door. A big room welcomes us. This looks like a torture chamber, filled with macabre implements…

There’s a skeleton, but it doesn’t react to Nailen’s sword. He then approaches the iron maiden. He cannot play with madness and ends up possessed. Eventually he recovers and discusses the hallucinations with the others.

They saw Nailen approaching the iron maiden and touching it, then losing all caution and opening it and rushing inside; the iron maiden closing behind him.  Following brief screams, the iron maiden then opened and his body fell out with ghostly chains were wrapping themselves around him.  Mahan and Rufus leapt to his aid (and Olsen).  First Rufus tried a spirit jar.  This appeared to remove some of the chains’ potency, while Mahan tried an obsidian arrow, that might be magical.  This had the double effect of weakening the chain further and weakening Nailen’s leg too. And finally Olsen remembered the Holy Water we’d been lugging around since Day 3 of this adventure and sprinkled that over Nailen.  The chains melted away and Nailen was free, with an arrow in his leg.

Nailen then flicks the lid off a basket at the end of the rack. Out scuttle two hands which attack. Nailen fumbles and then passes out from damage taken, some of which is dealt by Rufus with a crossbow bolt. Olsen and Mahan deal with the skeletal hands.

We return to town to recover.

The Tale of ‘Hunter’ Mahan – part the next

October 16th, 2013

With Olsen magically exhausted and asleep and Rufus just holding his intestines in, the party decides a tactical retreat is in order for some of Kendras’ Chicken soup.

Again judicious use of Rufus’ magic quotient means everyone will be back to fighting fit after a good night’s rest and a day of recuperation.

Tonight is 4 days since the last daubing. So Nailen and Mahan stake out the memorial – nothing happens. So with dawn’s fingers piercing the morning sky they retire to Kendra’s to get their sleep.

In early afternoon once all are awake, the party tour the town. Nailen seeks to relearn Soulsight at the temple, but needs more Alpha Course attendance – he’ll try again tomorrow.

The party call in on Sheriff Caellan to appraise him of their neighbourhood watch activities.  Whilst still suspicious of out-of-towners, he warms to us after we confide on what we have found at the prison. Mahan explain how he had killed the restless spirit of the Piper with his pipe – the scars on his fingers testimony to the bleeding and how he’d dispatched the ghost of the axe-weilding murder with his own axe.  The Sherrif concede that they were truly heroic (and Mahan the most heroic) and maybe there was truth in our tales as it fit with the legends he had been told as a boy and when he chose to be a law-man in this town.

He told us the troll was a blacksmith who killed his wife in a rage when he found she was having an affair b smashing her skull in. Caught in immediate remorse he tried to revive her by reassembling her shattered skull.  But one piece was missing.  So he went on a subsequent killing spree in an attempt to find matching piece.  After 20 victims he was caught and interned in the prison.

He didn’t know much about the Splatterman, but seemed to take in that the spell book and memorial daubing were the same modus operandi.  The Wise Woman would be the best to see in terms of magical knowledge. We agree that keeping Old Gibs locked up for the moment would be for his own good in case he became possessed again.

As for Father Charlatan, he was the wiliest of the characters and not known for violence.  The Sheriff speculated that maybe his spirit was already among us and may have possessed someone already.  The Father’s main motivator was money, so anyone taking money from us could be a suspect, or in fact maybe one of us.  All a bit unsettling.

He had no knowledge of The Whispering Way. We confided it had been mentioned in Kendra’s father’s journal; and that we had come as escort to Halvenstrom the Not-Appearing-in-this-module following a letter to him from his brother raising concerns and seeking his help.  The Sheriff said he wasn’t aware and that odd things had only happened once we’d arrived. We left it at that.

Anyway we bid him farewell and returned home for another night’s rest.

Following morning, fully rested, Nailen return to prayer class for Soul Sight but not holy enough.  We make our way to the prison once more.

We return to the oubliette, and inspect the area.  The cells are open but nothing presents itself – the locks aren’t forced.

We must decend.  A torch is thrown in; it falls for 30’ then splash in a small puddle, splutters and extinguishes, but not before skeletal remains and a skull are revealed.  We inspect the rope before descending, pulling it up.  It’s only 10’ long and burnt at the end. And the rest of it has seen better days – we elect to use a fresh rope.

Olsen belays down and finds the skeletal remains of 2 bodies, but nothing reacts.  Mahan joins him.  Following a bit of rudimentary CSI- Harrowstone, they deduce one body has been decapitated as the head is separate from the skeleton, and has blade marks on.  The other skelton is complete but curled up at the edge with broken legs or pelvis. The other end of the rope is also here, damp and rotting, but traces of burnt end are in evidence. Also there is a ring of keys, a broken crossbow, a finely-made but tarnished long sword, a smooth white stone and some coin – around 150gp.  Leaving the cross bow, Olsen and Mahan return to the top with the money, keys, stone and longsword.  The stone may require further investigation – is this the warden’s badge of office??? [Thinks: we never actually asked his wife want it looked like…]

With nothing else to view, we return to the Hall and inspect the well – which is a well with water 15’ down, with a moulding bucket alongside.  Resisting the temptation to find the Sword +30% to hit that is obviously down there, we moved on to [insert corridor name] running west.

The corridor extends and then 2 closed doors either side appear at the limits of our torch.  As we progress further a portcullis is revealed. Mahan, hefting the trollish hammer, opens the door to reveal a room not unlike the one with the flaming headless skeleton in; two cot beds, a table, chairs and a winch on the west wall. They enter and try the winch. After a hefty shove it starts to the move and noise from the corridor tells us the portcullis is rising.  We lower it and turn our attention to the other door.

Opening the door reveals a similar room with one bed and table with chairs either side.  On the table are the arranged pieces of 3 shattered skulls. On the floor is the decayed corpse of a red-haired troll. As we enter, the skull pieces rise up and form into skulls, which turn and scream. And then attack quickly flying at the party.

The party search their souls and metal and find themselves wanting, and flee. 

But not I, Mahan Ghostslayer!!!  I stand firm and strike at the skulls, I connect and shatter the first skull before me, the others bouncing off my armoured body. At this point the ghost of the trollish corpse rises, armed with a hammer and attacks also. 

The battle rages, hammers and skulls wheeling.  The skulls appear unable to strike me, but the ghostly hammer does, giving me an almighty headache – almost as though my skull was broken.  Through the fog I wielded the hammer and just before I felt I could go on no longer the ghost was defeated, and the skulls shortly thereafter, once the fog of headache cleared.

Once I caught my breath I realised my companions had not returned and set off to look for them…

Another one bites the dust

October 8th, 2013

Nursing our wounds and bleeding eardrums, and carrying the unconscious Nailen, we return to Kendra’s, who puts Nailen to bed and tucks him up.  But not before Rufus judiciously shares out his power of healing such that a good nights rest and a day off will do the rest for all of us..

The next day we ponder the 5 artefacts. Nailen attempts to divine them again; this time the flute has no power, the holy symbols give the weakest sensation, the axe and hammer next strongest and the spell book is the strongest.  We go to discuss the holy symbols with the holy man of Helim with a view as to how to destroy their power.  We suggest melting them down and turning them into an artefact of Helim to use against the evil spirits, but he is uncomfortable with the idea of blending consecrated metals of many sources into one artefact. He would be happy to take the Helim token, but the tangle of necklaces prove more difficult to separate and resistant to physical force than first looks.

So concluding that like the flute, the artefacts must be used against the owner to destroy both, we prepare to return to the prison the following day.  Reviewing the map and notes of the 5, (and we deduce now 4) bad dudes, we deduce there is nothing/little of interest on the upper floor and it’s to the Oubliette we must go; Mahan takes an interest in the Axe; time meet its maker.

Day 20 in this Helim-forsaken backwater (note: tonight it will be 4 days since the last letter writing)

We descend into the lower reaches of the prison, and return the hall where we battled the skeleton horde. Silence, punctuated by the sound of dripping water and the flicker of our torches, echoes off the blackened walls which seem to suck the light away.  We steal towards the opening marked ‘Oubliette’ and peer round the corner.  A black sooty passageway extends north beyond the reach of our light source.

We venture in, (Mahan and Olsen taking point, Mahan hefting the bloodied axe). On our left a door appears, and as we approach, the door suddenly opens and a flaming headless skeleton wielding an axe charges out.  <At this point Toby showed me the module picture and Nailen did a little poop in his trousers on my behalf – but stood firm>

It attacked, Olsen and Mahan attacked back, Olsen beautifully foxed it in its demented rage on attack and Mahan and Olsen took advantage. The axe bit deep and good into the skeletal form, shattering its rib cage. Mahan smiled – this was a powerful weapon. Olsen was able to take it’s next attack on his armour and dealt a telling blow. Maybe the loss of its ribcage had weakened it but the skeleton was failing to hit now and Mahan cleft it asunder with a mighty blow. Damn fine axe – almost as though it hits them twice!! The shattered bones fell to the floor, flames extinguished.

Buoyed by their victory the party explore the room; a small room with two cot beds on the far wall and a table and chairs.  On one wall a winch and a chain extends to the ceiling. They decide to leave alone and carry on up the corridor.

10 ft further on we see a raised portcullis in the corridor roof. The winch we deduce.

We carry on and reach a large 30’x30’ room with 3 cells on each wall. In the centre an 10’ square hole leads down (the oubliette?) On the far side a hinged iron grid lies – the hole is open.  A rope is tied to the grid and trails down into the darkness.  The party notice that the soot is only on the upper part of the walls; smoke damage rather than direct scorching. 

As they step into the room to inspect the cells a blood curdling screech announces a ghostly apparition appearing from the hole wielding another axe – this time it has a head and isn’t hanging about and attacks!!

With the Executioner’s Arms fresh in his mind Rufus quickly deploys a Helim SunStick and the chamber is filled with the brightness of a summer day. As the light fades, we can see the ghost pressed against the far wall. It shakes itself and press back for attack, skimming across the room.  As the party deploys for defence/attack, Nailen deploys a spirit jar – a flash as the jar opens and a blue mist is drawn from the ghost. It withers slightly, but only, shakes itself…. And attacks.

The battle was a whirl of Axe and Sword and Dagger and Sword. The ghostly axe seemed unimpeded by our armour and would cut neatly through our skin. But the bleeding would turn to smoke and float to join the ghostly maniac and strengthen him. Only those with magical repair were able to withstand the damage, but they were weakening with each hit. Rufus took near fatal blow to his stomach, but was able ot heal himself quickly. But Mahan’s mighty axe appeared to be getting the better of it’s former owner, and while Mahan’s was feeding the ghost, he was taking back in spades.

Olsen succumbed to magical draining; Rufus was holding his intestines in. And then with a final swinging Mahan caught the ghostly form and pow!!!! The apparition dispersed with a crackle and a flash; a whiff of sulphur and ozone hung in the air. The axe in Mahan’s hand felt heavy and clumsy, the bloodstains faded, the steely gleam faded… Bad Guy No2 was down!!!!

Worryingly close to competent

October 1st, 2013

/skill check montage…

We are rested and feel our skills have got better – Olsen is still tired though.

Over a hearty breakfast Rufus yet again expresses a desire to head upstairs in the prison and visit the locked door. He put a lot of effort in getting the herbs for the mosquito repellent so he wants to use it!

We trek up the hill to the prison. Rufus is in the lead and takes us upstairs. As we scout around we can hear the faint sound of piping. Nailen has a practice peep on the pipe, but then is gripped by the desire to play more. Rufus punches him in the goolies which breaks the spell and he drops the pipe.

We find a kitchen, and then a broom cupboard.

Approaching another door Rufus and Nailen are struck down with fear. Mahan gives them a pep talk. The door is opened, and within is a skeleton. Rufus attempts to contact it on the Spirit Speaker but nothing is there. Nailen twats it with his sword – seems like it was just a skeleton.

Nailen is now rooted to the spot and then sees a figure coming down the corridor – it is playing a pipe and leading 2 mosquitoes. Mahan starts to play the pipe and is entranced by it. Things are not looking good – Rufus spots 2 skeletons coming down the other corridor. He stabs at the first and hits it. However, it hits back and Rufus goes down with a sore leg.

Olsen appears from the stairs muttering about sleeping in. At this point Nailen frees himself from his fugue, but the state has done him some damage – he collapses in a faint.

Olsen wields his sword in an effective manner and drops one of the skellies. In the meantime Rufus casts a healing spell on himself and his leg recovers. Olsen is clearly well rested as he lands a critical blow on the skeleton and it crumbles….

Rufus grabs the flute from Mahan and *all* the flute music stops. Could the Piper be vanquished??

Rufus takes Nailen’s lockpicks and attempts to open the locked door that has been bugging him for days. He fails and they realise they can’t do much without Nailen. They try to open a trapdoor at the top of a ladder but no one is strong enough – again the strongest party member is unconscious. There is nothing for it but to have a spot of lunch and wait…

/picnic lunch montage while waiting for Nailen to wake up

Nailen approaches the door and attempt to unlock it. Through sheer persistence the door gives up trying to stay locked. Vast piles of treasure are surely on the other side.

Sadly, no treasure is present, but a short corridor leads to another door.  Nailen approaches the next door and unlocks that as well. It leads out onto a large balcony with some benches and what appears to be a executioner’s block. Two skeletal ghostly arms appear, brandishing a scythe. It rapidly flies towards Nailen. He shuts the door and retreats. The scythe thumps into the door and a foot of the blade comes through. It seems to be pursuing.  Nailen attempts to catch it in a Spirit Jar, but it doesn’t seem to have much effect.

The others finally spring into action to defend him. Olsen and Mahan both hit and Nailen steps back to wield his bow. Olsen and Mahan both take damage. We continue to hit it but not much happens. Nailen produces one of the Sun Rods and blasts the apparition. It succumbs to the POWAH of Helim.

It was Old Man Gibs all along

September 4th, 2013

After a fruitless night watching the statue Mahan returns at dawn and has a kip while the others decide administrative tasks are the order of the day.

Nailen goes to Prayer School

Rufus goes flower picking with the wise woman.

Olsen rummages through Kendra’s washing…

Mahan awakes in time for elevenses, finds Olsen emerging from the scullery with a innocent looking face. After an awkward silence they agree that some combat practice is the manly order of the day and they spend the afternoon sparring in the yard.  Olsen’s time with domestic chores had obviously dulled his sharpness as Mahan got more out of the session.

That evening, which they had deduced was 4 nights the last daubing, Mahan and Olsen (they being the stealthiest of the party) staked out the memorial.

As the Half Moon was dipping towards the horizon (about 1 ish) they hear a shuffling through the bushes and a figure emerges and begins to daub on the memorial.  Mahan and Olsen make an attempt to sneak up on the artist.  The hunter was making a successful prowl when the athlete stood on a twig!! The figure turned, cried “The woman will perish again” and fled.  The chase was on!

What Olsen lacked in light feet he made up for in athletic ability as soon caught the quarry, while Mahan seemed out of sorts with the bushes. Bringing the cloaked figure to the ground in a flying tackle, they wrestled on the ground; the mystery man(?) was wielding a blade and had a wineskin of sticky fluid. Mahan came across the scene and after picking his moment, knocked out the figure. Blood was everywhere.  Olsen had suffered a cut to his arm that thanks to magic was already healing.  Who was it? Pulling back the hood revealed one of the older members of the group that had goaded the younger ones on to confront  us at the funeral.

After a brief discussion on methods of tying up a prisoner, Mahan and Olsen took there prisoner back to Kendra’s.

After awakening the household, Kendra informed us it was (old Man) Gibs. Halvenstrom went to call Sheriff Caellan and while he was gone we attempted to question Gibs.  He was disorientated and seemed shocked he wasn’t at home in bed. Olsen detected he was talking in a different tone of voice now.

Sheriff Caellan arrived and while not best pleased at being woken in the night, knew that when things were afoot, he was the man to investigate.  We relayed our tale, Gibs denied everything, Olsen pointed out that he may have been under the influence of some other force which the Sheriff seemed to accept (well didn’t reject the idea at least).  We went to Gib’s shack to investigate – other than the body of headless rat (neatly cut – it would match the razor Gibs had been brandishing) there was nothing else of obvious concern.  Searching the area outside didn’t reveal any other tracks or clues – or mysterious globes/hypnosis vectors.

In the end the Sheriff thanks us for our efforts, agrees to lock Gibs up for his own safety and grudgingly accepts that maybe we’re not his № 1 Suspects anymore.  Not to say we’ve dropped out of the Top 3.

The rest of the evening passes without further event.

Morning breaks and armed with Nailen’s re-learnt Soul Sight prayer/spell, Olsen, Mahan and Nailen head off to the prison to try it out in the ‘Nice Room’ – Rufus was a dirty stop out with the Wise Woman and their daisy chains (will lacking the first aider prove a problem later on?? I’m sure he’ll appear when we need him – like a shopkeeper I once knew).

Once in the room – Nailen’s prayer school practice pays off by successful repeating the words first time.  The room isn’t strongly ‘soulful’ but whereas the rest of prison appears grey and sad, this appears pink and warm.

Nothing presents itself, so they move on to the branding room, Opening the door, tongs rise, glow with a spirit ‘echo’ but nothing strong in here and move towards them.  Nothing else strong so they close the door, and move on to the room with Vesorianna. She appears (looks as strong and clear in the Spirit plane as in the ghostly plane.

We talk with her; update her on the daubing of her name by the Splatterman in the memorial, She says she can feel the ‘attacks’ as each letter is daubed and thanks us for stopping last night’s.  She tells us that the possessions of the 5 that we found could well prove to be potent weapons against them, but take care. And reiterates finding her husband’s badge of office is a key plot point – I mean, will help us in defeating the bad spirits.

For want of anything else to fill the morning before lunch (A-pie-‘n’-a-pint special today), we decide to venture into the basement and make for the lift shaft.  We secure ropes and Olsen repels down – an earlier dropped torch shows the floor to be covered in water.

On reaching the floor/water – which was only shin deep – he appears to trigger some guardians.  Two shapes rise from the water and terrible noise of wailing drowns out all communication. Olsen and the watery forms engage in battle – magical sword vs watery ectoplasm. Mahan, seeing Olsen react on reaching the floor, descends to assist and on reaching the floor joins battle. Take that, and  that – oof that hurt.  Have It!  The water spirits are overcome and descend back into the puddle as Nailen arrives ready to deploy a spirit bottle. The noise stops.

Collecting themselves the party moves towards the only available exit – and dry land – to the west.  After a short cave-like corridor they reach a square-ish room into which the staircase from above descends – blocked by fallen masonry.  Four exits to the room (of which they are in one) Above each is a plaque – The Oubliette, Reaper’s Hole, The Nevermore and Hell’s Basement.

As they take this all in the flickering torch light, the skeletal bodies of (presumably prisoners), lying on the floor, start to rise…

All Lou Ferringo

August 28th, 2013

We are in the village and we continue to ponder our next moves.

Rufus hits on the idea of getting a crowbar in order to be able to get through locked doors. Mahan comments that we should get some beeswax or similar to block our ears for when we face The Piper. Rufus chats to his apothecary bird and obtains some wax as well.

We prepare some packed lunches and head up to the prison.

After passing the stupid flying skulls and the cold spot, we get to the locked door. Rufus brandishes his new crowbar and Nailen gets to work as everyone else is too weedy. Grrrraaaarrrggghhhhhhhh!!!! Nailen rips the door open and roars in triumph. The room beyond has a bizarre collection of antique goods on two sets of shelves. Some are tagged. Each tag has a name and number. We don’t find anything tagged with our names of interest. But we do find a fine set of thieves tools, a medallion with a large crystal, a set of silver hair clips, a fine punching dagger, a pouch containing a dozen shuriken and a silver dagger.

Rufus dons the crystal medallion. He feels a hankering for some white trousers and loafers. And a pina colada.

Nailen feels that the room shape doesn’t match the sketch plan of the building. He finds a hidden door in the back which opens into a cupboard. Shelves have a bloodied hand axe, a pile of fine silver chains, a mouldering tome, a hammer and a tarnished silver flute. Rufus checks the book and sees the name Hean Feramin. On the top corner of the same page is a ‘R’, written in blood. The next page has  ‘U’, also in blood which looks fresh. There appears to be the start of a spell. And a ‘F’. Two pages on is another ‘U’. Rufus stops looking!

Nailen takes a look and sees a ‘N’ on the first page. Spooky stuff.

We check the fine silver chains – they are completely entangled. On closer examination they hold 12 different holy symbols. Surely this is the possession of Father Charlatan.

Nailen thinks this might be the time to attempt Soul Sight. It takes several attempts but he manages to cast. Nailen can see a strong essence of power around each item. He can also see that the medallion has innate power.

We agree to attempt to remove the items back to the Temple of Helim. Mahan suggests we need to be prepared to leg it in the style of Tucker, Alan and Tommy. We make it to the Temple of Helim without incident and meet up with Argen.

Rufus plays a single note on the flute and is struck with the urge to play the flute on and on. He starts to bleed from his ears and nostrils and passes out. Mahan first aids. After coming round, Rufus says that he got a feeling that the flute hates the Piper and would do damage to his spirit if played within his/it’s presence. We make our excuses and go to see Halvenstromm.

As the day comes to an end Mahan feels it’s time to stake out the statue. He reappears at dawn looking tired and a bit grumpy. “It was a waste of time” is his appraisal. That day Rufus realises he can store some POW in the medallion so does so. Nailen hangs out at the temple, hoping to learn Soul Sight again.

Olsen lost

August 8th, 2013

Nailen returns to the temple to search the records for reference to the Lopper.
After many hours and nearly giving up he finally finds a tattered diary. It appears to be the journal of the incumbent at the time of the riot and fire. Looking back a few tears he finds reference to the crimes and arrest of The Lopper. Real name Vance Saetressle.
He was a notorious ambush killer. He would hide somewhere unlikely for days on end then leap out and behead his victim with a hand axe.
In the priest’s account of the prison destruction, there is a note of praise to Helim that 5 of the most notorious prisoners in Merkaine have died earlier than could have been expected. And the followers of The Twelve will be glad that the career of Father Charlatan is at an end.

Nailen heads to the pub to report to the others.
We remind ourselves of who the 5 notorious prisoners are…
Sefick Corvin – blasphemy, not dangerous. Upper cells.
Vance Saetressle – oubliette, awaiting execution. Most recent arrival.
Ispin Onyxcudgel – oubliette, awaiting execution. Very trollish sounding name.
The Piper – Reapers Hold, awaiting execution.
Hean Feramin – nevermore, awaiting execution. Been in prison a long time.

Could Corvin be the Father Charlatan mention in the journal? Nailen will return and scour the records further. Rufus will stalk the woods seeking the local Wise Woman of Tamra.
While failing to find anything in the books , Nailen speaks to Argen and learns of Father Charlatan. He was a notorious con artist and would pretend to be a priest of any of the 12 faiths. He used this to con people out of vast sums of money. When unmasked and arrested his follower attempted to break him out of the prison so he was moved to Harrowstone. Argen doesn’t know the name Sefick Corvin.
Nailen then asks about the Whispering Way – they are an evil order of necromancers who have been in existence for centuries. Nailen proposes that Father Charlatan and Sefick Corvin are one and the same – Argen agrees that is probably the case.
Nailen then gives Argen a synopsis of what they’ve discovered so far. Argen postulates that the spirit of the Splatter Man may be stuck in the MO of the living man hence the letters daubed on the statue. Nailen fears that if the spirit of Vasoriana is destroyed then nothing will stop the spirits of the prisoners wreaking havoc on the town.

All you need is DEET

August 8th, 2013

We are at Kendra’s for tea. The food is hearty and some of us feel that it’s increased our mental persistence…
Nailen discusses with Rufus on his thoughts about remounting the stairs up to the cells. Olsen is out of action for a day. Rufus suggests popping to Boots to see if they have anti-mosquito spray. Then he remembers that there’s a marsh based herb, the sap of which repels biting insects. While Olsen is out of action we agree to a short side-quest.

Rufus chats up the bird in the chemist. She doesn’t have any of the herb in stock, problems at the suppliers in Nottingham, but she suggests somewhere we can go.. it’s 3 days ride away though.
We decide to go off on a little trip. We camp out the first night and Mahan hunts a rabbit for supper.
The next day we get to a junction and take the road towards the river. After a while we reach a hamlet. We pop into the inn and have a hot meal and a wash. The innkeeper introduces us to the local crone. She takes us weed hunting and we reap two baskets full. After the gathering Nailen buys the lady a hot meal and we negotiate with the innkeeper for rooms and an early start. We ride like the wind, Bullseye! And get back by the evening.
Rufus will spend the next day preparing the weed sap concoction.
Nailen goes to visit Argen at the temple of Helim. They chat and have a prayer. Argen then invites Nailen to join him for a supp of communion wine. In the vestry are bookshelves laden with many many books. Argen says they are temple records. He’s never read them but Nailen is welcome to take a look. He looks at the volume covering the time of the fire. The lists of presumed dead tally with the prison records. There’s an interview with the surviving guards. Apparently there was a riot and a break out on the day of the fire. The warden, to prevent escapes, triggered a deadfall to seal the lower levels. In the process he trapped himself and most of the guards in the prison with the prisoners. The prisoners took the warden and guards hostage in an attempt to negotiate an escape. This stand off continued for several hours, then a fire started in the dungeons, spread up a lift shaft in the eastern block and caught a store of oil which burned like an inferno. The riot was led by one of the prisoners – the Splatter Man. He started using magical spells against the guards. In the process all of the prisoners and the guards died in the fire and the warden’s wife died of asphyxiation.
By chance, Nailen sees earlier in the book another mention of the Splatter Man – he’d been transferred to the prison and his real name is Hean Feramin. He was transferred due to the enormity and depravity of his crimes, (a monster, despite his obvious intelligence).
Further investigation reveals that Vasariana is a local – could she have surviving descendants who are daubing the graffiti. It then seems she didn’t have any siblings.
It seems that one of the guards might be related to Jarminda the apothecary. Another could be an ancestor of Myrta Strylock, a town councillor.

Rufus goes to see Jarminda again and asks her about family legends. She confirms that a great great uncle was a surviving guard. He left a diary… She rummages through a chest and produces a book.
It starts with an account of the fire – most of the tale tallies with what we know. It starts by saying that at the time of the riot there were some particularly vicious inmates. He was on the top level when the riot started. It was the noise of the deadfall which alerted him to a problem. The only other exit from the dungeons was the lift in the training room. Before the guards could get to it they were overrun by prisoners led by the Lopper and the Splatter Man. He could hear the Lopper’s screams as he hacked the guards to pieces. The Splatter Man was clearly taking charge.
The prisoners demanded that the lift be lowered before they killed the rest of the guards. This demand was ignored and prisoners in sight were shot at with crossbows.
The stand-off lasted for for several hours until Vasoriana arrived looking for her husband. She panicked and lowered the lift. The lift crushed some prisoners standing below. A couple of guards grabbed her and bundled her out. Some prisoners attempted to climb the chains – the guards poured oil down to make them too slippery. At that point the Splatter Man appeared at the bottom and began to cast spells. A guard threw a torch down, the oil caught fire and the fire spread.
Much of the rest of the journal is personal torment, but there are notes on the Splatter Man. he was a noted scholar and sorcerer. He was obsessed with the magical power of people’s names. When he decided to kill someone he would write their name in blood, letter by letter every few days. After the name was complete they would be caught in a trap which would mangle them – hence the name Splatter Man. Most of his victims were women.

Could it be that the Whispering Way removed the spirit of the warden who was keeping the prisoners under control. How is the Splatter Man now writing the letters??

Hot off the wires

August 8th, 2013

Despite some wide-ranging digressions as Iain has mentioned, and possibly because of several cans of Red Bull, they ventured up the stairs and started to investigate a cell block up there. Lots of barred cells. And a small room with a ladder going upwards. And another latrine. While they were investigating a locked door, they became aware of an eerie piping tune. Then a previously inanimate skeleton in a cell grabbed Nailen. Other skeletons started rattling on their bars, and one opened his cell door. Mahan attacked the arm gripping Nailen and after a couple of feeble blows severed it. Rufus advanced towards the skeleton coming up one corridor towards them while Olsen covered the line of retreat. Another skeleton appeared from that direction, but Olsen was too entranced by the music to be able to respond. The newly free’d Nailen rushed to help him and was engaged by the skeleton and by another one that was following it. Mahan moved to help Rufus, which was lucky as he was now engaged by a second skeleton. However some quick dagger-work from Rufus dispatched the first skeleton, which was good because although Nailen had destroyed one skeleton on that flank, the remaining skeleton had been joined by two giant mosquitos. One attacked him, the other, after some failed attempts on Olsen’s head and chest which were too heavily armoured to penetrate, latched onto his arm and started draining the blood from him. Mahan disengaged from the remaining skeleton on that side, leaving it to Rufus, and charged across to help Nailen and Olsen, but was attacked by a third mosquito. Fortunately he dealt it a blow good enough to kill it. Nailen then dispatched his skeleton and dealt the mosquito a blow that, while not killing it, forced it to flee. Rufus destroyed the last skeleton, and the final mosquito, filled with Olsen’s blood, fled. Olsen was in a very bad way though, and only his bracer of healing has kept him alive and prevented him losing his arm. Rufus attempted to first aid the puncture wound but only succeeded in opening up a vein. Olsen is unconscious with a completely unusable right arm, and Nailen is feeling a bit peaky, so you decided to retire for tea back at Kendra’s.