Saltmarsh Journal

Journals for the Saltmarsh RPG Campaign

All you need is DEET

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??

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