Saltmarsh Journal

Journals for the Saltmarsh RPG Campaign

The Tale of ‘Hunter’ Mahan – part the next

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…

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