Nightrealms Carrion Crown

March 4th, 2012 XP
Encounter Type XP
Trolls (4) Combat 7,200
Trollhounds (2) Combat 1,600
Grork – Advanced Troll Combat 2,400
Flesh Golem Hound Combat 2,400
Guardian of Air Trap Combat 3,200
Total 16,800
Character XP Total Class Level (Level 7 – 35,000xp)
Ryszard 34,542 Paladin 6
Haza 34,542 Cleric 6
Torquemada 33,292 Inquisitor 6
Lashmar 34,000 Magus 6
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Journey to Schloss Caromarc

Pharast 26th, 4711

3 + 1

Having returned to the Purple Stallion for some R&R, the party ran into Vincent DuMont in the common room. The fighter acknowledged the group as they entered and moved closer to speak with them. Vincent explained that Kendra Lorrimor, having business back in Ravengro, had told him she had no further need of his services at that time. Knowing that Vincent had exceptional fighting skills, and not sure of what might await them at the legendary Schloss Caromarc or on the journey there, the group invited the skilled warrior to join them on their journey later in the week. Not having any immediate prospects on the horizon, Vincent readily agreed.

Afterward, Torquemadareturned to his room to find a personal note from Kendra. She said that she was sorry to have missed him, and that she hoped he would return to visit her in Ravengro when his business in Lepidstadt had concluded.

The party spent the night relaxing and Ryszard Saul rose early the next morning, stopping at a small shrine of Iomedae to tithe for his goddess. Afterwards, he made his way to the trade district, searching for something, and finding his goal waiting under a sign proclaiming “Arthus Fletchery.” Inside, he spoke at length with the proprietor, emerging some time later with a fine yew composite bow slung over his shoulder.

Meanwhile, not satisfied with their exchange the previous night, Torquemada decided to speak with Judge Embreth Daramid once more. Upon arriving, he was ushered inside her well-appointed townhouse and met the cool stare of the Judge as she entered the sitting room.

Torquemada asked the Judge once more what her interest was in their journey to Schloss Caromarc, and she responded by asking what he knew about the Esoteric Order of The Palatine Eye.

“Wasn’t that the title of one of the books we returned to you?” he asked, going on to explain what he knew of the Order.

“But why would the Order be interested in Alpon Caromarc?”

“If he truly is the creator of the Beast – the “Father” as it put it – it would certainly be in everyone’s interest to ensure that the Beast were protected from those who would still wish it… him… harm. It would also be worthwhile to ensure that the Beast did no harm to others either. Even though the Beast was proclaimed innocent of the crimes it was charged with at trial, it has been attributed with many atrocities over the years, as well as caught breaking into the University and committing theft. It obviously has the potential to cause great damage if free, and if Count Maromarc can control the creature or limit it in some fashion, it would be a boon to all."

“But there are other concerns as well. The stolen Seasage Effigy was never recovered, so that in itself is suspicious. Also there is still the Whispering Way. While you were able to save Ravengro from the horrors within Harrowstone Prison, I hardly think that unleashing a hoard of vengeful spirits upon the town of Ravengro was their ultimate goal in Ustalev. I do not know if the Way was involved somehow with the Beast, but I do not like coincidences.”

The conversation continued, and Torquemada acquiesced in helping Judge Daramid. She asked him to convince his friends and he stated he would do so with all haste. Torquemada left to return to the Stallion, having re-earned the trust of the Judge.


Pharast 27th, 4711

From the Dark Tapesty

He awoke the next morning to find a package waiting for him downstairs at the bar. Torquemada opened the large crate, revealing a strange hunk of blueish-black metallic rock, the likes of which he had never seen before. A small note marked “D” stated it was in payment for “services to be rendered.”

“I think it’s adamantine,” said Ryszard. I was just inquiring about the city the other day for anyone who had adamantine weapons, but I don’t know how anyone would have…"

Not entirely sure of the rock’s composition, the party took the boulder via horse and wagon to a nearby smith, who promptly exclaimed that it was indeed adamantine! When asked what he could make from the rare meteoric ore, however, he demurred, saying that while he had heard of the metal and knew about it’s legendary properties, that he had no experience working with it. He did know of a nearby smith with whom he could consult, and was willing to send word to Jorfa, the dwarven smith of Ravengro, for her assistance. Ryszard was not pleased at this turn of events, all to keenly remembering his encounters with her, but finally agreed at the urging of Haza and Torque.

Torque then explained his encounter with Embreth the previous day, and all agreed that this was likely payment from Judge Daramid for agreeing to check on the situation with Count Caromarc and the Beast.

The rest of the day was spent in preparing for the overland journey to the northeast of Lepidstadt to visit the former Count of Vieland, Alpon Caromarc in his mansion Schloss Caromarc.


Gozran 2nd, 4711

The Trouble with Trolls

The trip to the Dipplemere Swamp took four days on horseback, but the weather was fairly pleasant and no encounters were had during their travels. It was an early Sunday afternoon when the party crested a hill and saw their destination waiting before them.

A deep, rocky gorge lay ahead, where a peculiar building, or rather group of buildings, clung to steep cliff edges above half a dozen plummeting waterfalls. Beyond a fortified gatehouse, a stone bridge arched gracefully over the raging torrents below. Perched precariously beyond this was a fine, fortified manse and a ruined building that appeared to have partially collapsed into the river below. A slender rope bridge, replacing the fallen remnants of a stone bridge, linked to a strange tower pierced with beautiful stained glass windows depicting bizarre beasts. A further building teetered to the north of this, but how it was reached was impossible to see from their vantage point. Far above, a great tower rose from an isle of stone to the sky, ending in a great steeple topped with a huge lightning conductor.

The two-story stone gatehouse led into the castle, topped with a crenellated tower at each corner. The main gate was closed.

However, the gatehouse was not unoccupied. For standing outside of the closed gates were two humanoids and two canines. As the party slowly moved closer, however, it became clear that these were not humans, as they were much too large. And too monstrous.

The figures were trolls, and the large, troll-like canines with oversized jaws with them were clearly the rarely seen trollhounds.

Troll and trollhound

The party paused and discussed the situation. Perhaps they were guardians placed there by the Count, as he was notorious for not welcoming visitors and was known to have strange guardians?

As such, Ryszard volunteered to approach the gatehouse, seeking parlay with the trolls and their hounds. Haza offered to accompany him, and soon both men were walking over the hill towards the manse, while Vincent and Torquemada waited in a nearby grove of trees.

Suddenly, a deep howling filled the air, as the trollhounds rushed forward towards Ryszard and Haza and the trolls starting hurling large rocks at the duo. Amidst the flurry of activity, more rocks flew from the second story of the gatehouse as well as an enormous crossbow bolt that came winging from a tower up high. Ryszard and Haza attacked the trollhounds, mortally wounding one before being forced to retreat under the unrelenting missile assault. As they ran back to safety, the remaining hound could be seen limping back to the gate, as the trolls did not seem interested in pursuing them.

From a safe distance, the party yelled down to the trolls, asking for an audience with Count Caromarc. With a deep throaty voice one responded, “This place belongs to Grork!” Laughter followed, but naught else.

The party discussed their next steps, unsure as to why the trolls were there. If they were guardians for Count Alpon, why did they attack? If they were not allied with Caromarc, why did they not pursue them as was their wont?

Finally, it was decided to attempt the gatehouse once more. Approaching stealthily from the treeline, they party made their way to the now-seemingly abandoned gatehouse. The doors were barred from within, and no sounds could be heard.

Vincent said he would attempt to climb to the top and thence open the doors from within. Shedding himself of his lucern hammer, he quickly ascended the smooth stone like a spider, and was soon standing on the roof.

Four towers stood before him, with stairs within winding down. Vincent took flight down the stairs and entered the main room below.

The gates opened on a broad chamber with a vaulted roof. Two large fires burned in the room, and spiral stairways stood in each corner. The gate on the far side of the room was seemingly barricaded with timber and furniture.

Four trolls and a trollhound were crouched in here, obviously waiting for an attempt at breaching the front gates. They glanced up as Vincent stopped on the stairs, and roared as they fell in pursuit of him.

Vincent reached the top and yelled for assistance as the trolls began emerging from the stairwells. Haza used the rope of climbing and everyone swarmed up the rope. Everyone but Haza, who’s unfamiliarity with ropes haunted him yet again. If only these people had portable “Hazas” for climbing!

Atop the roof, the battle raged hot with the trolls and the party exchanging heavy attacks. Haza finally gained the roof, only to be bull rushed back off and into space by the largest of the trolls – the aforementioned Grork! Haza hit the ground 20 feet below hard, but was soon able to stir himself to battle once more.

It was a pitched battle, but the party slowly gained the upper hand, and one-by-one the trolls fell. Torque made good use of his acid splash magic to ensure the trolls could not regenerate back from death, and soon the fight was over.


Return of the Hound

The party now surveyed the area and noticed the curious barricades that the trolls had erected against both sets of gate. As the group ascended to the roof once more, the answer to that question was seen waiting below beyond the far gate.

A slender stone bridge could be seen arching gracefully over a roaring waterfall here, linking the gatehouse to a fortified manor house that clung to the cliff on the far side. In the middle of the bridge sat a Flesh Golem Hound.

Flesh golem hound

Now they understood why the trolls had holed up here – they were afraid of the canine construct also!

But now the party had to find a way to bypass the hound themselves. Plans were discussed and discarded as the day wore on before a plan was derived involving trapping the hound in the gatehouse proper. However, the golem had other plans, as it did not take the bait offered by the party – it seemed disinterested in pursuing them and remained sitting in the center of the bridge, obviously guarding it as originally instructed.

So a frontal assault came next. Ryszard used alchemical weapon blanch on his arrows, and provided ranged support from the gatehouse roof, as Haza and Vincent moved toward the golem, with Torquemada backing them up. As they reached the center of the bridge, the golem finally reacted and rushed forward, it’s massive jaws snapping at them. Ryszard’s arrows flew on the wing, but almost all of them missed the mark, and it was up to the melee squad to fight off the construct. The hound finally fell to their blades, and its body was pushed off the bridge to fall into the raging torrents below.

The path forward was clear.


The Guardian of Air

The arched bridge ended at a small cobbled terrace with a curious looking iron door depicting a scowling sun being devoured by ravenous clouds. To the left, two hundred feet below, a huge waterfall plummeted into the depths.

Torquemada checked the door, finding it both locked and trapped. The lock itself was extremely complex and beyond the ability of Torque to disable. As for the trap, it was magical in nature and seemingly triggered by opening the door. There was no way to disable it from this side.

Vincent once again put his climbing skills to good use, and nimbly climbed up the manse to reach the roof far above. Unfortunately there was no means of entry into the building from there, and only a narrow bridge lay beyond the building on the other side.

Then Ryszard booted the door.

As it flew open, a huge inrush of air materialized directly above the group, coalescing rapidly into a swirling vortex of wind. The huge air elemental immediately struck out, it’s punishing fists slamming into Ryszard and Haza. The party fought back briefly, but the elemental’s power was overwhelming, and soon the group split up – Haza running back to the gatehouse while Torque and Ryszard ducked inside the open iron door. Meanwhile, Vincent had seen the situation below and wisely ducked back out of sight on the roof.

The air elemental chased after Haza, who was now hiding in one of the twisted stairwells in the gatehouse. However, the elemental seemed to know where he was and reached up after him, forcing him to retreat further to the roof. In the blink of an eye the elemental was on the roof – it’s speed was incredible – attacking Haza once again! He desperately called upon the healing powers of Sarenrae as the monster pummeled him further. It was a battle he could not win, and he retreated once again into the stairwells. Once again the monster stalked him, but was unable to find its prey. Frustrated, it returned to the bridge and attacked Torquemada and Ryszard in the great hall.

Luckily for the party, the magic that had summoned the elemental was waning. With a final rush of air, it departed the material plane, leaving the group battered and bruised but still alive.

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DM Notes on the Trial of the Beast

Diplomacy checks during the trial: (11 of 10* successes completed)

Day One: Morast

  • 23 (Haza)
  • 19 (Haza)
  • 18 (Haza)

Day Two: Hergstag

  • 20 (Ryszard & Torquemada)
  • 32 (Torquemada)
  • 21 (Torquemada)
  • 7 (Torquemada)

Day Three: Sanctuary

  • 26 (Torquemada)
  • 29 (Torquemada)
  • 20 (Torquemada)

Extraordinary Evidence presented:

  • 43 (Torquemada)
  • 20 (Torquemada)
  • 40 (Torquemada)
  • 31 (Torquemada)
  • Number of successes needed reduced from 12 to 10 as a result of dispersing the mob without harming anyone.
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February 19th, 2012 XP
Encounter Type XP
Vorkstag – Male skin stealer alchemist Combat 1,600
Mongrelmen (3) Combat 1,200
Chymickal Zombies (2) Combat 1,200
Discover the Cabinet of Skins and Faces and the Shambling Man skin inside. Discovery 1,200
Vorkstag’s scars placing him in Morast when the swampers drove off the “Beast”. Discovery 1,200
Disperse the mob without killing a single townsfolk. Non-combat 2,600
Identifying the Shambling Man skin from Vorkstag’s Cabinet of Skins and Faces as Karl’s attacker. Evidence 1,200
Establishing that Brada knew Vorkstag and Grine. Evidence 1,200
Demonstrating that Vorkstag and Grine were occasional visitors to Sanctuary. Evidence 1,200
Displaying the Shambling Man skin. Evidence 1,200
Displaying Vorkstag’s blood caiman bite scar. Evidence 1,200
Presenting Vorkstag’s Cabinet of Skins and Faces. Evidence 1,200
Getting Vorkstag to confess. Evidence 1,200
Proving the Beast innocent. Story 3,600
Total 21,000
Character XP Total Class Level (Level 7 – 35,000xp)
Ryszard 30,342 Paladin 6
Haza 30,342 Cleric 6
Torquemada 29,092 Inquisitor 6
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And the Verdict is...

Pharast 26th, 4711

The Chase

Sensing that the crowd was not going to be swayed by mere obfuscation, Torquemada headed back to the Purple Stallion to get his gear. Now dressed as a Holy Inquisitor of Iomedae once more, he started back towards the factory. As he headed past the courthouse square, he felt a small hand fall on his shoulder.

It was a smallish woman, well-dressed and proper. She introduced herself as Doctor Katarina Vilt – a lecturer from Lepidstadt University – and explained that Doctor Montagnie Crowl had sent her to assist Torquemada and company with their ongoing investigation. Torque asked for help with gaining access to the factory, and she told him to lead the way.

Torque led the way, but only for a few moments, before she drew a spiked mace from her robes and sneak attacked the Inquisitor. Torque staggered in pain and then felt the venom burning in his veins also. He turned to retaliate, but the woman was already running down a nearby alley.

Torquemada set off after the treacherous woman, and the chase was on! Down the alley, out into a crowded street in the tavern district. People were milling about outside of the taverns, talking about the ongoing trial of the Beast, and Torque deftly dogged around the crowds as the Doctor shoved people out of the way. Down the street she ran, into another alley, where a series of clothesline swung in the air, blocking sight of his quarry. Thinking quickly, he pulled his blade and slashed through the ropes and laundry, and caught sight of the woman running down the next street.

Suddenly, Torque realized that there was a shortcut nearby, and cut through a courtyard to almost cut off the doctor as she ran by. Realizing that Torquemada was close, she scurried up a drainspout and climbed up a steep roof. Torque followed, climbing quickly to close the gap even further, but not gaining on the slick slate surface. Finally reaching the top and sliding down the other side, Torque saw the woman just ahead down the street, climbing over a tall fence. Torque had now fallen behind, and wasted no time on the wooden fence, instead lowering his shoulder and bashing his way through the thin wood. Clambering up from the ground, he spied the woman just ahead, and watched as she unlocked and opened the gate to Vorkstag & Grine’s Chymic Works factory, disappearing inside!


Vorkstag’s Return

As Torque slowly scaled the outside walls, unwittingly following in their footsteps, Ryszard and Haza had begun searching the upstairs section of the factory, unawares of what had just occurred with Torquemada.

They were surprised when the doctor appeared on the walkway and immediately attacked them with a spiked mace. Falling back, the duo quickly recovered and fought off the assault, but as they went to counterattack, the woman deftly leaped out onto the nearby chemical vats with unearthly prowess. A tossed sphere came winging its way at Ryszard, and the bomb exploded in chemical fire, scorching the paladin. Ryszard responded with triple arrow strikes, and Haza brought the power of Sarenrae to bear.

As the battle continued, the woman disappeared into thin air. She was now invisible! Haza methodically fought his way forward, but she was not to be found. That is until she reappeared on the wall above Ryszard, dropping down and backstabbing him.

By this time Torquemada had scaled the building and made his way downward through the tower, appeared now on the walkway with his companions.

Suddenly, a number of curious creatures appeared on the walkway, having climbed a ladder from below. Ivory tusked, with insectile chitin, matted fur, and scaly flesh, all combined in a hideous humanoid shape. They were mongrelmen.

Torquemada rushed forward, flinging his body directly into the lead mongrelman, slamming him backward against the others behind him, and their screams echoed through the factory room as they fell off the ladder to their death on the floor far below.

Now, the doctor leapt over the railing, landing deftly on the floor below and heading through a door in the basement.

Torquemada, now invisible himself, tied off a rope and slid down to the basement level, followed closely by Haza and Ryszard. Through the door, into a storage area, Torque led the way, into a downward sloping corridor and into a water-flooded room, where zombies erupted from the water as more bombs flew into the group, burning with alchemical acid.

But the zombies were no match for the holy power of Sarenrae’s priest, Haza, and in short order the woman herself was knocked unconscious and taken captive.

It was then that Torquemada noticed something unusual about the woman. Her skin was loose, and as he touched it, came off in his hand. As the skin peeled off like paper, a hideous sight was revealed. The woman was in fact, a creature of legend – a skin stealer!

Skin stealer


Healing the skin stealer back to health, the group questioned the creature. Now identified as the mysterious Vorkstag, it was reluctant at first to answer any questions. However, the large blood caiman bite scar on it’s shoulder clearly revealed its part in the past events, and soon the Holy Inquisitor of Iomedae was able to wring a confession from Vorkstag.

He explained that he had been stealing body parts for sale to numerous individuals, including a number of prominent people in Lepidstadt from the University, as well as one Doctor Brada, formerly of Sanctuary. He admitted to disguising himself as the Beast of Lepidstadt to carry out his work, and also admitted to setting fire to Sanctuary over a “disagreement” with Doctor Brada over money. Vorkstag also disclosed that there was a secret exit from the factory, hidden behind a secret door in the underground storage room.

Satisfied with their collar, the group set out to finish investigating the factory.


In the Chymic Works

The underground storage room contains several dozen crates, a few coffins, lots of straw, and several huge bell jars. In the crates Haza found:

  • 5 pots of bladeguard
  • 10 doses of bloodblock
  • 5 applications of silver weapon blanch
  • 5 applications of cold iron weapon blanch
  • 1 application of adamantine weapon blanch

Meanwhile, Ryszard’s search of Grine’s room upstair revealed four bottles of liquid (later identified as antitoxin) and a trapped strongbox, which Ryszard clumsily tripped, but luckily avoided the poisonous dust.

Inside he found:

  • 200 gp
  • additional vials of antitoxin, for a total of 8
  • a small purple velvet purse containing 4 small, cloudy diamonds worth 300 gp each

The trio then moved to Vorkstag’s room. It appeared to be the study of a scholar. A roll-top desk with a leather chair stood against one wall, holding a variety of alchemical equipment and surrounded by hundreds of books piled on every available surface. A narrow cot was crushed into one corner behind a wall of books, and a door stood in the north wall.

A combination alchemy lab, library, and bedchamber, this room was almost fastidiously clean except for the heaps of books everywhere. A large bell jar atop the desk contained the alchemically preserved head and shoulders of a human man, as well as:

  • 3 packets of flash powder
  • 5 pots of alchemical grease

The north door was locked, but Vorkstag had the key. Beyond the locked door, a tiny room held a single object — a large oak cabinet.

Inside, were dozens of skins…

Cabinet of skins and faces


Torquemada also found a false back behind the macabre collection, which he slid aside to reveal:

  • 500 gp in assorted coins
  • a silver drinking cup inlaid with obsidian worth 400 gp
  • a syringe of six vials of alchemical elixir

Amongst the skins, was a grotesque, deformed skin of a 8-foot-tall mongrelman, made up of flesh, fur, and scales and covered with fungal boils and hideous puss-filled eruptions — which the skin stealer obviously wore to impersonate the Beast of Lepidstadt.

Packing up the evidence and taking their captive in tow, the trio returned to the Courthouse with them, only to walk into a mob outside of the courthouse. A mob clamoring for the Beast to burn!


The Mob… Ruled

The crowd was ugly. Huddled around the courthouse itself and armed with torches and work implements, the situation was rapidly getting out of hand. The group hustled their prisoner and evidence past the crowd as their shouts continued… “Burn the Beast!” “Burn the Beast!” However, Torque noticed that the crowd was considerably smaller than when he was here previously. Then he noticed the circle of wagons across the square, lit up with bright fires and lanterns lights – it was the the Crooked Kin. They were putting on a loud and raucous show, much to the delight of the crowds gathering nearby – crowds drawn away from the mob outside the courthouse.

Pounding on the door, a terrified-looking guardsman finally opened up and let the group inside. They hustled Vorkstag into a cell downstairs and went up to hand over their evidence to Gustav Kaple, who was floored at what the party had discovered! He even admitted that the Beast might indeed be innocent after all!

Returning downstairs, the party found the guardroom deserted, just as a heavy blow fell upon the front doors. The mob could be heard outside as another hard blow slammed into the thick oak – a ram!

Acting quickly, Haza moved forward, and as the ram struck once more, he flung open the door as the mob outside were drawing it back for another go. Casting calm emotions, he explained to the good people of Lepidstadt that justice would best be served by their leaving. One by one, the crowd fell under his spell, even as a number of ringleaders took potshots with crossbows at the cleric. The ram was dropped with a thud as the group began to disband, some heading directly out of the square while others headed off to see what the Crooked Kin were doing. As they went, it was if all the air was let out of the rest of the mob. A few hotheads were still shouting and brandishing weapons, but as they realized that everyone else was leaving, they quieted down and soon disappeared also.

The mob had been broken.

A few minutes later, a large contingent of town guards arrived, looking around shamefacedly as Haza explained that their services were not needed. They left shortly thereafter, looking cowed but also slightly relieved…


Day Three: Sanctuary and the Final Verdict

  • 10:00 a.m.: As the final day of the trial commenced, Chief Justice Khard reminded the crowd of the penalties of violence, and told them that he will clear the entire court if they do not behave. He also warned them that mobs do not rule Lepidstadt, and that should anyone threaten violence to any of the defense, he will have the person whipped out of town or hanged. He then requests the prosecution to describe the alleged events at Sanctuary.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Witnesses for the Prosecution.The prosecution detailed the arson attack on the hospital of Sanctuary on Karb Isle 4 months ago, with prosecutor Otto alleging that the Beast set fire to the building, murdering Doctor Brada and his patients in the process, stating that only Brada’s loyal assistant Karl survived. Otto calls Karl to the stand to give his evidence.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Witnesses for the Defense. Gustav called the party to present the evidence they found at Sanctuary, as well as their star witness, the skin stealer Vorkstag. Torquemada displaying the Shambling Man skin used by Vorkstag to impersonate the Beast of Lepidstadt, as well as showing Vorkstag’s blood caiman bite scar – the scar that the village elder of Morast saw inflicted on the “Beast” the night it was chased off. Ryszard also presenting Vorkstag’s Cabinet of Skins and Faces to the judges, and finally Torque persuaded Vorkstag to confess his role in the crimes once again.
  • 2:30 p.m.: Closing Statements. As their closing statements, the prosecution asserted that the Beast was guilty of the murders in Morast, Hergstag, and Sanctuary. Otto claims that the Beast was a danger to society, and was a monster that should be destroyed. He recommended punishment in accordance with traditional law—execution by burning in the Punishing Man. Gustav asserted that the prosecution’s evidence is not enough to prove the Beast guilty of any of the crimes in Morast, Hergstag, or Sanctuary. He recommended the Beast be freed immediately.

The judges called for a break and left for their chambers.

An hour after the justices left to deliberate, they returned looking grim. The Herald called for order, and the crowd immediately hushed. Chief Justice Khard stood and announced the verdict.

“We have heard the evidence presented before us, and thank Pharasma that we did so, for without this trial there would have been a most terrible miscarriage of justice. There are many cruelties in the world, but to lie and blame another for one’s crimes is the most terrible of sins. We have asked ourselves a question—who is the monster here? Is it this creature before us, with its broken body and terrible form, or is it we, the people of Lepidstadt, with our bigotry and lies?

The Beast is innocent!”


Aftermath

Judge Khard called for the guards to immediately release the prisoner, and as the manacles fell from its arms and legs, the Beast stood to its full height and turned to face the party.

“You are my best friends in the world. I wish to visit my father. He does not enjoy visitors, but I think in this case, he will make an exception. Please meet me in 7 days at Schloss Caromarc to the northeast. I will meet you there.”

Judge Embreth Daramid came forward and ordered the guards to prepare an escort for the Beast – safe passage from the city to the outskirts of town, for even as she spoke, the crowds outside began to chant once again, calling for mob justice.

As she turned to leave, a clerk came up to the party with a note, asking them to meet Judge Daramid later that evening.

Later that night, at Embreth’s townhouse, she rewarded the party with their agreed-upon payment of 100 platinum coins. She then asked what the party would do next, and when they said they were visiting the Beast at his request at Schloss Caromarc, she had the following information to offer.

She explained that Schloss Caromarc wass the dwelling of Count Alpon Caromarc, the former ruler of Vieland who abdicated his position when the Palatinates threw off the heavy yoke of the aristocracy. An eccentric recluse, Count Caromarc had built a dwelling that both attracted and deterred visitors. Known as the Hanging House, Schloss Caromarc lay to the northeast of Dippelmere Swamp, and was actually several buildings built into the walls of a gorge above a waterfall. Although the lower parts of the house were as luxurious as one might find in any city, the further up the gorge one goes, it was rumored that the more treacherous and inhospitable the buildings become. Seemingly paranoid, the eccentric Count Caromarc also had, it is rumored, trapped parts of his castle to prevent theft, as well as constructed guardians to protect him.

Judge Daramid asked the party if they would to another task for her, but Torquemada took umbrage at her attitude from the night prior. He refused to help if she did not tell him what her role in this matter was, but she refused to share that information. Haza agreed, and the party left without further discussion on the matter.

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February 6th, 2012 XP
Encounter Type XP
Ghasts (4) Combat 2,400
Finding the vial in the cellar Evidence 1,200
Troll Combat 1,600
Snapjaw Homunculi (3) – (Haza & Ryszard only) Combat 1,800 (H & R)
Grine – Dark Creeper Cleric of Norgorber/Rogue – (Haza & Ryszard only) Combat 1,200 (H & R)
Total 5,200 (3,000)
Character XP Total Class Level (Level 6 – 23,000xp, Level 7 – 35,000xp)
Ryszard 23,342 Paladin 6
Haza 23,342 Cleric 6
Torquemada 22,092 Inquisitor 5
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Vorkstag & Grine’s Chymic Works

Pharast 25th, 4711

The Sanctuary

The journal to the burned ruins of Sanctuary did not take long – the institution was merely 3 miles to the north of Lepidstadt along the Lesser Moutray river. A narrow track followed the western shore of the river, passing through depressingly gray marshland before the party arrived at the lonely ruins of Sanctuary on Karb Isle.

The sad remains of this broken building lay on a spur of land jutting into the river. The burnt timbers of a large house sagged into the undergrowth of nettles and thistles. Nature had taken back this charred ruin, as if trying to erase dark memories. Nearby, a small cluster of gravestones jutted from the weeds.

There were 12 gravestones in all, with simple markers all noting the same date – Neth 10, 4710 – from 4 months ago. Karl had stated that there had been 12 patients at Sanctuary when the fire occurred, and that the body of Doctor Brada had not been recovered, and this seemed to lead some credence to his tale.

A quick search of the ruins did not reveal much, for much of the manse was covered in thick, charred ash and burnt timber. Only after a closer investigation was anything of interest uncovered.

First, a small hole, perhaps 3’ around, was found in the floor on the south side of the building. It appeared to open into a stone shaft leading downward 15’ into darkness below.

Second, Torquemada uncovered a small metal lockbox, it’s lock melted into the lockbox itself, making it impossible to open normally.


A Light in the Darkness

Haza checked out the hole, dropping a light stone down it, revealing a flagged stone floor perhaps 30’ below – possibly a basement. Meanwhile, Ryszard and Torquemada were trying to break open the melted lockbox and were having little success. As such, Haza decided to intervene and went with the strategy of working on the box hinges. Alas, he did not success in his attempts either.

Finally, the group was able to pry open the stubborn box, revealing a thick sheaf of blackened and charred papers. Torquemada immediately began trying to sift through the material, looking for any kind of recognizable name or information that might help their investigation.

Meanwhile, Haza returned to the hole only to discover that his light spell had curiously expired – only darkness lay below. He once again cast his spell on a stone, dropping it back into the hole, while the party set about readying their climbing gear for the descent.

Having secured the rope, Haza took up point, only to stop short as he peered into the darkness below. Once again, his light spell was gone.

Casting light once again, Haza rapidly descended into the hole, finding himself in a stone-flagged cellar filled with barrels and crates, and as his feet hit the floor – apparently monsters. Creatures rushed forward from their hiding places, ragged claws tearing into his flesh, paralyzing him even as he screamed for help! Ryszard and Torquemada heard his cut-off cry and looked down to see the distinctive forms of ghouls attacking their helpless companion, while one of the undead picked up Haza’s light rock, taking the lid off a nearby barrel and sealing the rock inside. Torque wasted no time sliding down the rope, only to fall to his knees puking as the stench of the ghasts – not ghouls! – overwhelmed him. Meanwhile, Ryszard threw caution to the find and jumped down into the hole, landing hard but able to attack the undead monsters before they could do further damage to Haza. But Haza was not completely helpless and began to recover as the ghasts pressed in on the party. Although the hungry horrors attacked viciously, they were no match for the divine power of the party, and soon lay silent and still on the stone floor.

A quick search of the basement revealed a grisly discovery – a ghastly trophy made of burnt heads dangling on chains from an iron candelabrum hung from the ceiling near the shaft. A nearby table was covered in broken glassware, although one vial was found empty but intact, bearing a label “Vorkstag and Grine, Chymickal Bleach." Torquemada seized upon this item, and wanted to return to Lepidstadt to see if this company could be found. The party agreed, decided there was nothing else of value to be gained in the ruins of Sanctuary and climbed back out of the cellar.

But first, Torquemada wanted to finish looking at the charred papers in the lockbox. Unfortunately, Torque did not have the same Linguistics skill as his hopeful paramour Kendra, and was not able to make sense of the charred remains after poring over the remains for an hour.

As night had fallen, Ryszard had set up a patrol, on the lookout for any other threats. As Torquemada was finally getting ready to leave, Ryszard noticed that he was being watched from the nearby river. He sensed a great evil lurking in the waters and went to warn the others. When they returned in force, however, no sign of the creature could be found…

Until the massive troll erupted from the dark waters nearby and rushed headlong into the group, it’s claws tearing and rending Torquemada as he fought to escape the troll’s crushing grasp. The battle was joined by Haza and Ryszard, with Haza unleashing the burning powers of Sarenrae in an attempt to stop the regenerating monster. It was a fierce battle, with the party receiving many wounds from the troll before they were able to drive it back into the dark waters.

But there was no time to rest and nurse wounds, as the clock was still ticking and there was yet work to be done in Lepidstadt.


The Chymic Works

The group returned to Lepidstadt and were able to easily find someone who had heard of Vorkstag and Grine’s Chymic Works. They followed their directions to the southeast side of town – home to many factories and industrial buildings, and soon found themselves outside the gates of the Chymic Works.

A tall, iron chimney belched yellow clouds into the sky from a small brick factory. Large leaded windows arched in a dozen places on its outer walls, but they were so begrimed as to be opaque. A large gate opened onto an inner courtyard beneath a sign proudly proclaiming “Vorkstag and Grine, Chymic Works.” The building had two floors and a tower, topped by a lightning rod.

Boldly striding forward, Torquemada noticed a signal bell beside the gate, and rang it loudly. A minute or so passed, and then a door opened up on the second story – apparently a loft above the courtyard – and a dark figure asked what they party wanted. Torquemada replied that they were working on official business for the court and demanded to speak with someone about the ongoing trial. He was curtly rebuffed and told that the factory was closed for the evening. Torque tried to bluff his way further, but the closing door made it clear that the conversation was over.

Torque was miffed to the say the least, and tried to force open the gates, but they proved to be too big and secure for that to have any success. So it was decided that the party would attempt to scale the courtyard walls – the glass-topped brick walls. However, Torquemada had another plan and left to seek outJudge Embreth Daramid once again.

Meanwhile, Ryzard made a go at climbing the factory wall, but was not able to gain much purchase. Haza had more success, but not much. Finally, Haza remembered that the party had a rope of climbing, and decided it was time to put the magical rope to good use. It snaked up over the wall and Haza was able to ascend the brick, although he cut himself badly on the glass shards embedded on the wall-top. He smashed the pieces to dust as Ryszard made the climb, and both dropped down into the dimly lit courtyard.


Hounded

As Ryszard and Haza turned to move towards the factory proper, it came bounding out of the shadows of a nearby wagon, silently running on padded paws. It resembled a dog, albeit one made out of assorted body parts cobbled together with arcane sorcery, and it leaped at Ryszard, its powerful jaws tearing at the paladin.

Flesh golem hound

Haza and Ryszard responded in kind, but Ryszard knew that they were outmatched when a point-blank shot dead on target simple bounced off the creature’s skin, only causing a minimal wound.

Decided discretion was the better part of valor, the duo turned and fled back up their rope, leaving the disturbingly silence hound watching their ascent from the courtyard below.

Time for a new plan.

Time to climb to the roof!


Snapping into it

Ascending the wall once again, Ryszard and Haza this time went for the factory roof. From their vantage point, they could see a tower rising near the smokestack, and made their way across the slippery roof towards that structure.

With the aid of their magic rope, they soon stood atop the tower itself. The roof above this was topped with a copper lightning rod in the form of a raven eating a wolf. A trapdoor led downward into a small room. Slatted timber openings covered the windows of this towertop room, 60 feet above the ground. Another trapdoor led further down into the tower.

Suddenly, from out of the room’s corners, a small reddish creature came flying at the party, it’s jaws gaping impossibly wide showing long, venomous fangs.

Snapjaw homunculus

The Snapjaw Homonculus sank it’s teeth deeply into Ryszard’s arm, tearing it open in a splash of crimson blood, as the duo fought off the flying construct. The room’s narrow confines did not allow it much room to manuever, and it was struck down by Haza as it attempted to to bite Ryszard again.

Through the next trapdoor another ladder led down into a room seemingly filled with art and artifacts. As Haza stepped onto the ladder to investigate further, a sonic burst trap went off and two more Snapjaw Homonculi flew up through the trapdoor, attacking once more.

But once again, Haza and Ryszard prevailed, and the bodies of two more Homonculi lay dormant on the floor.

Finally descending into the next room, they spent a few moments looking through the assorted items within – mummies from distant lands, paintings and sculptures, totems, and much more. More importantly however, was yet another trapdoor, this one leading down into the factory itself.

Opening this last door, Haza stared down into a room that was as much an abattoir as a bedchamber, containing not only a four-poster bed, but also numerous workbenches and alchemical gear. The walls were lined with shelves and strange looking objects in jars of liquid. Bits of rags littered the floor, and the air was heavy with the stench of spoiled food mixed with acrid chemicals.

On the bed, a small, dark figure slept.


Grine

Grine

At first glance, he seemed to be a gnome, but he was not. Haza had heard of such creatures, and knew him for what he was. He was a creature that lurked in the black places deep below the surface of the world. He was a Dark Creeper.

Around his neck, on a silver chain, hung a holy symbol. Or rather an unholy symbol. A symbol of Norgorber.

Haza crept forward, hoping to dispatch the cleric of Norgorber while he slept. Unfortunately, clad as he was in plate armor, Haza’s stealthiness was questionable, and the eyes of his target flew open as Haza lunged forward with an attack. Ryszard followed, but the Dark Creeper was awake now, and rolled out of the bed, lashing out with an envenomed hand axe at his attackers. The duo pressed their advantage, but suddenly darkness filled the room, although it seemed not to hamper the Creeper at all!

In the darkness, a door banged open. He was escaping! Haza rushed forward onto a wooden walkway, and sensed a large open space looming out in front of him. He turned left and moved along the wall, turning a corner before emerging from the dark and found himself in an enormous room in the factory.

This chamber occuped a whole side of the building, from the cellar level below up to the roof high above. Seven iron vats, each ten feet across, occupied the majority of the room. Furnaces fueled the vats at cellar level, while at the ground floor level a series of planks had been laid across the vats to allow passage to a ladder that led to an iron walkway on the level where Haza stood. Two ladders also allowed access from the planks to the floor below. The air in the chamber was cloying and acidic.

Suddenly, out of the darkness came Ryszard, stopping himself as he ran up to Haza. Both realized that the threat was behind them as the darkness moved forward to envelop them, Ryszard crying out in pain as the Creeper sneak attacked him with his poisoned axe.

The fight spilled out into a larger area as Haza opened a nearby door. This room overlooked the courtyard and had a retractable timber and iron crane to lower goods into wagons below through a sliding wooden door – the door the dark figure originally appeared in to answer Torquemada’s summons earlier in the evening. Presently the room had only a few wooden cases in it, giving Haza and Ryszard the chance to put some space between themselves and their mysterious attacker.

Ryszard attacked the darkness, his arrows flying out in vain at the Creeper as it played a game of cat and mouse with the duo. A burst of negative energy lashed out at the two, and although not a powerful blast, both were in bad shape from the many wounds taken at the hands of their near-invisible attacker.

And then Ryszard’s senses reached outward, searching for a telltale sign of the presence of evil, and was rewarded for his effort. While not providing an exact location, he was now able to sense the evil cleric’s general position, which allowed him and Haza to finally counterattack.

And then Ryszard sensed the Creeper retreating, and as it moved towards and opened one of the outer doors, Ryszard rushed forward, throwing his full weight at where he thought the creature was. He was rewarded with a satisfying impact and grunt as he collided with the Creeper, sending them both flying towards the open door. Haza was able to grab Ryzard and pull him back from the edge, but the Dark Creeper was not so lucky. He flew through the door and landed hard on the ground below, the magical darkness disappearing as life fled his body, but only to be replaced a few seconds later with a blast of bright light that seared the night and ripped the body of the Creeper known as Grine into nothingness. The burst of light temporarily blinded Ryszard, but he recovered a minute later. The two bound their wounds and discussed their next plan of action.


Meanwhile, back at stately Embreth Manor…

While this was happening, Torquemada was wending his way back to the house of Judge Embreth. Along the way, he passed by the courthouse, and sure enough, the crowd was growing – both in size and in anger. The situation was turning ugly and it seemed that Haza was right, if something was not done before the night was out, mob justice would be felt that night in Lepidstadt.

Arriving at his destination, Torquemada knocked upon the door of Judge Embreth, the brass knocker ringing out hollowly in the silent night. Minutes passed, but finally a servant opened the door. Torquemada explained that he needed to speak with the Judge, and was persuasive enough that he was told to wait while the Judge was summoned.

Perhaps ten minutes later, Judge Embreth opened the door and greeted Torquemada. He went on to explain that he needed to bring in the proprieters of Vorkstag and Grine in for questioning concerning the trial of the Beast. Judge Embreth wanted to know what was the basis of his claim. Torquemada then explained their findings at Sanctuary, including an empty vial of bleach from their factory. He also said that they had talked to someone at the factory, but had been rebuffed.

From the look on her face, Judge Embreth was not impressed. She explained that there was no basis to act on – an empty bleach vial was hardly reason to force oneself into a place of business. Torquemada argued his point, but the Judge was not convinced and told him coolly to turn his attention to finding some worthwhile evidence, and doing so quickly, as the final day of the trial was in a few hours, and would not be delayed to simply interview a citizen who happened to make bleach. Refusing to hear any more protestations, she turned and closed the door, ending the conversation.

Torquemada was unsure where to go next, so he returned to the Purple Stallion, with the intention of disguising himself to infiltrate the crowds outside of the courthouse.

Dressed now as a commoner, Torque made his way back to the courthouse, mingling in with the locals and trying to get some insight into the situation. He quickly found that it was bad and quickly getting worse. People were crying out to “Burn the Beast,” and worse. It was only a matter of time before it reached a boiling point.

Deciding it was time to act, Torque shouted out that the Beast had escaped, and had just been spotted heading towards the Spiral Cromlech. While a few locals moved off to investigate, Torque was shouted down by a number of others, who insisted that the Beast remained locked within the courthouse, and that it was about time for justice to be done…

View
January 23rd, 2012 XP
Encounter Type XP
Revealing that the Beast was clearly seen to be bitten by a blood caiman, but it has no scars from such an attack. Evidence 1,200
Displaying the removed face of the poacher Nan Klebem. Evidence 1,200
Revealing that six of the graves in Morast’s boneyard have been robbed. Evidence 1,200
Brother Swarm (Wraith) Combat 1,600
Broken Children (Wraith Spawn) – (6) Combat 7,200
Raising the question of why the Beast brought Ellsa’s body back and not the others. Evidence 1,200
Recovering the bodies of the four children from Brother Swarm’s lair. Evidence 1,200
Pointing out that Karin died 2 days after the Beast supposedly fled and was in her bed at the time. Evidence 1,200
Pointing out that Karin’s bedroom window was not forced. Evidence 1,200
Total 17,200
Character XP Total Class Level (Level 6 – 23,000xp)
Ryszard 20,109 Paladin 5
Haza 20,109 Cleric 5
Torquemada 20,359 Inquisitor 5
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The Trial of the Beast
“This crowd is ugly, even for Lepidstadt.” – Haza


Pharast 24th, 4711

Day One: Morast

The morning came early, and barrister Gustav Kaple was in a panic. His hair frazzled from a sleepless night, his wearied face was nonetheless much relieved when the party walked into the defense chamber. Gustav set out to review the information recovered from the scene of the attacks in Morast, and entered into evidence for the defense the following details:

  • Six of the graves in Morast’s boneyard have been robbed. (+0 on Diplomacy check).
  • Although the Beast was clearly seen to be bitten by a blood caiman, it has no scars from such an attack. (+10 on Diplomacy check).
  • Displaying the removed face of the poacher Nan Klebem (+0 on Diplomacy check).

A significant crowd had gathered around the Punishing Man at dawn, and a carnival atmosphere engulfed the courthouse. Five elderly, pale, and bookish clerks with ink-stained fingers had arrived early to legally accept and record new evidence for the trial, document the proceedings, and ensure procedure is followed to the letter. Shortly thereafter, the Herald of the Court, clad in black half-plate armor with a full-face visor arrived. The Herald was charged with calling out official announcements with the striking of a great gong, calling witnesses before the proceeding, and keeping order in the court.

The appointed prosecutor for the Palatinate of Vieland, Otto Heiger arrived next, with a trio of legal advisers, after which the three Justices began to arrive at the Courthouse in their coaches, surrounded by rings of guards.

Chief Justice Ambrose Khard was a dour man in his eighties, and spoke with a deep, commanding voice that suffered no nonsense in his court. The Chief Justice carried the court gavel — a mallet of black ebony the Justice uses to keep order — and wore a huge cartwheel ruff that made him look even more imposing. As Chief Justice, Khard had the power to have people removed from court, discount evidence, and issue punishments (up to hanging) for lying to the court.

Judge Aldaar was rumored to be a figure of terror for criminals on trial. Known as a hard-liner in the extreme, his merciless justice is feared throughout Ustalav. A former military general, Aldaar is infamous for his impalement of four score deserters under his command who fled a battle.

Judge Embreth Daramid was last to arrive. Already known to the party, the Judge was all business in the court, offering them only a curt nod as she ascended to her chair.

  • 10:00 a.m.: The Trial of the Beast begans. A trio of guards leds the Beast into the court and shackled it to the large iron chair in the center of the courtroom to the jeers of the crowd.
  • 10:10 a.m.: Opening of the Trial. Chief Justice Ambrose Khard commenced proceedings by laying out the rules of the court in a lengthy speech, interspersed with gongstrikes by the Herald. Khard concluded his speech by announcing that the good people of Lepidstadt have suffered many acts of terror and barbarity at the hands of the Beast of Lepidstadt for many years, and that while the Beast is doubtless responsible for numerous murders, the prosecution will focus on three recent cases to prove the Beast’s guilt during this trial.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Opening Statements. Prosecutor Otto Heiger outlined his case. He alleged that the Beast was responsible for the murder of 10 people in the village of Morast a year ago, in addition to two other horrendous crimes that would be described as the trial continues. Barrister Gustav Kaple then made his case for the Beast’s innocence, a halfhearted attempt full of stutters and awkward pauses, all the while being jeered and booed by the baying mob in the gallery.
  • 11:00 a.m.: Witnesses for the Prosecution. Otto first brought three locals from Morast, two young women and a man, to the stand. The trio described events as they saw them happen — that over a series of nights, the Beast came to the village and took people away; that a trap was finally laid for the Beast; that the Beast was driven into the swamp, and, they assumed, killed. Otto then called the village elder, Lazne, who led the mob that drove the Beast off. He confirmd the events related by the other three villagers.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Witnesses for the Defense. Gustav calls the PCs to present the evidence they found in Morast. Haza presented the items previously admitted as evidence: the desecrated graves at the boneyard in Morast; the lack of blood caiman scarring clearly witnessed by the village elder Lazne; and the horrid and macabre detached face of Nan Klebem found in the boneyard.
  • 2:00 p.m.: Court Recess. Chief Justice Khard brings the first day of the trial to a conclusion. As the Beast is led away, the baying crowd let their feelings be known as to the defense team.

In the defense chamber immediately after the day’s trial concluded, Gustav stated that the party did a great job presenting their evidence, but that they should not delay in their investigation and urged them to make haste to the village of Hergstag, the site of the Beast’s alleged attacks on children 7 months prior.

Gustav explained that the Beast’s second alleged crime was the murder of six children in Hergstag, formerly a small, religious farming community in the Dippelmere Swamp. The key witnesses for the prosecution were three sisters – Garrow, Starle, and Flicht – who now owned a small windmill on the outskirts of Lepidstadt.

Taking charge, Torquemada led the group downstairs to question the Beast about this crime. Reluctant at first, the Beast did not answer any questions, but finally quietly muttered the name Ellsa’s and became visibly upset. However, in its sorrow, its face tightens and the stitching pulled its jaw back into a grimace, making it look almost like the Beast was laughing. In fact, it seemed rather that the Beast is crying, though its eyes appeared incapable of producing true tears.

The Beast finally told a tale about living near Hergstag in the swamp and befriending a young girl named Ellsa. He went on to say that the girl was killed by a “ghost who stole their souls and walked at night.” He further explained that Ellsa and her friends called the ghost the “Honeyman,” presumably because they always smelled honey when it came hunting. The Beast would say nothing more, and next the party sought out the three sisters.

The sisters proved easy to track down, and told the party their sorrowful tale. All in their late forties, the three lived their entire lives in Hergstag. Each remembers the deaths. The village’s children vanished one by one, only to return as ghosts. Then one day the culprit was found — the Beast of Lepidstadt. It boldly walked into the village with one of the dead children, a girl named Ellsa. The witnesses all recall seeing the Beast laughing as it carried the child’s broken body. As soon as the locals saw the Beast, they set upon it with pitchforks, but try as they might they couldn’t catch it, and the Beast escaped into the swamp. The poor innocents it killed continued to haunt the village, and before long became too much for the locals, who soon abandoned the cursed village.

When asked if they had heard the children talk about a “Honeyman,” the sisters all responded negatively, although they had heard the children speaking about smelling honey, which was odd since there was no apiary in the village.

While seemingly truthful, Torquemada was not entirely convinced that they were telling the whole truth. When questioned further about the details, Starle revealed that of the six children who died, one — a girl named Karin — died in her own bed 2 days after the Beast was driven from Hergstag. Her father heard her screaming but by the time he reached her she was dead, without a mark on her and with no signs of entry.

Armed with this new bit of information, the party set out for the abandoned village 10 miles to the northwest of Lepidstadt. Travel was fairly swift upon horseback, and as evening fell the party entered Hergstag. Empty houses huddled below a tall hill, upon which stood what appeared to be a rotting scarecrow leaning on a scythe. Climbing the hill, the group verified it was a pumpkin – its pumpkin face carved with a leer and a sheep’s jaw hanging
flaccidly below.

Searching the area revealed a concealed door hidden nearby, leading down into a cave under the hill. Inside the cave, the skeletal remains of four children lay where they fell. The passage downward was narrow and tight, and far too small to admit a creature the size of the the Beast.

Ryszard and Haza said a few prayers over the bones, and collected them for burial.

Exiting the cave, the party moved down the hill into the village proper. The first few houses they entered were vacant and abandoned, with only a handful of items left behind to show that these houses had once been inhabited.

The next house they came to was in an altogether different state. As they approached the house, it seemed like something moved inside of a window. However, the front and rear doors were nailed shut and the lower windows were also secured from the outside.

Peering inside, the house appeared to be completely normal. Furniture was present, albeit under covers, and everything seemed to have been put in place. Either the house was still inhabited, or someone had left it in this condition.

Torquemada broke through one of the downstairs windows and entered the house. Although everything was intact, the house clearly was uninhabited at the time. A small kitchen and dining area led into a family space, where stairs led upwards to two small bedrooms – one for adults and one clearly for children. A quick search of the room revealed some artwork, signed by a young girl – Karin. This was the bedroom of the last little girl to die. The room was in perfect condition. The door was intact, and the window leading outside was unbroken. There was no sign of any damage to this room whatsoever. Whatever killed the little girl, it was not the handiwork of the Beast.

It was the handiwork of something far, far worse.

For as the party returned downstairs, a shadows twisted into a childs body and wreathed in black fire appeared before them and attacked Torquemada, it’s chilling incorporeal touch tearing through armor and flesh and stealing the very life essence from him.

It was a wraith. And five others followed.

Haza summoned the power of Sarenrae to burn the unlife from the wraiths, as Torquemada and Ryszard fought back against the undead monstrosities.

And like a tempest of shadows given form, a cloud of glowing red eyes with ghostly hornets buzzing among the dark shadows of its spectral form arrived with the drone of a hornet swarm and the sickly sweet stench of honeyed decay. The master wraith – Brother Swarm – had arrived to lead its children in a feast of life!

Brother swarm

Desperate and wounded, the party fought back with all their puissant might. The holy wrath of Iomedae wrought damage amongst the wraith swarm, but it was the holy light of Sarenrae that led the way – burning deeply into the dark essence of Brother Swarm and tearing the undead apart.

As the master wraith faded and died, the children wraith rose as one and wailed their despair, turning and fleeing with all speed into the night, away from the holy fire of the Dawnflower.

The party regrouped and healed up from their terrible battle with the wraiths, and set out to return to Lepidstadt with the sure knowledge that the Beast was once again innocent of a crime.


Pharast 25th, 4711

Day Two: Hergstag

If anything, the crowd was larger today, and was alive with talk of yesterday’s events. As usual, the clerks arrived early to prepare the courtroom, and as the time approached 10:00 a.m., the other members of the court arrived. Today’s events whipped the crowd into a frenzy. They were clearly angered at the deaths of the children, and are even louder than yesterday. Gustav once again asked the party about their investigation in Hergstag, and admitted a number of items into evidence for the defense.

  • 10:00 a.m.: The Trial of the Beast resumes. Chief Justice Khard gave another long-winded introduction and then asked the prosecution to outline the details of the alleged events in Hergstag.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Witnesses for the Prosecution. The prosecution described the events that transpired in Hergstag 7 months ago, alleging that the Beast slew six children and, when caught, was driven from the village. Otto calls three former residents of Hergstag, the sisters Garrow, Starle, and Flicht, to give their eyewitness testimony of events in the village.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Witnesses for the Defense. Gustav called the party to present any evidence they found in Hergstag. Ryszard began the proceedings, helped out by occasional testimony from Torquemada, presenting the evidence recovered from Hergstag: raising the question of why the Beast brought Ellsa’s body back and not the others; recovering the bodies of the four children from the wraith’s lair, which was too small to allow entrance for the Beast; using testimony from the three sisters to prove that Karin died 2 days after the Beast supposedly fled and was in her bed at the time; and pointing out that no entrances into Karin’s home were forced open prior to her death.
  • 2:00 p.m.: Court Recess. Gustav once again congratulated the party, even admitting that he was beginning to think that the Beast was actually innocent after all!

The atmosphere in the courtroom was ugly as the members of the court began to file out of the room. Jeers, threats, and insults filled the air, directed not only at the Beast but also at the defense team. Haza recognized the danger growing in the heart of the people of Lepidstadt, as he was all too familiar with the mob mentality of his own homeland. Haza hurried over to Justice Embreth and informed her of his suspicions, and she immediately informed the Herald of the Court that the party would be spending the night in the courthouse to ensure the safety of the accused. Clearly, she believed the party to be a more effective deterrent in lieu of increasing the town guard presence in the building.

But there was still work to do, and Gustav told the group about the third crime of which the Beast stood accused – an arson attack on the asylum of Sanctuary on Karb Isle four months ago, which resulted in the fiery deaths of Sanctuary’s administrator, Doctor Brada, and all of his patients, and the blinding of the doctor’s assistant, Karl.

Karl was the key witness for the prosecution, and was said to be living in a small cottage by the river in Lepidstadt.

A few inquires brought the party to Karl’s home, and after introducing themselves as part of the legal defense team, were invited inside for bread and wine. As they ate, Karl described the last image he saw before the fire took his sight — a large, shambling beast escaping the burning hospital while he tried to save his beloved master. The creature was bulky and incredibly strong, standing 8’ tall, covered with scars, and wearing tattered clothing. Karl went on to explain that Doctor Brada had founded the institution to cure those unfortunate individuals afflicted with madness and physical deformity. The doctor and all twelve of his current patients, died that night. Karl further noted that the doctor’s body was not recovered from the ruins, but that a number of graves were dug nearby to hold the bodies of the patients that were.

As the party was heading out into the late afternoon sun, Karl warned them to be careful if they were heading to the ruins of Sanctuary. For Sanctuary sat near the Dippelmere Swamp, and sometimes undead rose from the murky waters at night to prey upon the newly dead.

“Ghasts,” he warned…

“Ghasts.”

View
January 8th, 2012 XP
Encounter Type XP
Manticore Combat 1,600
Finding the alchemist darkvision extract Discovery 600
Discovering that someone stole six bodies from the boneyard in Morast Discovery 1,200
Realizing that the blood caiman attack should have left scars, but the Beast has none Discovery 1,200
Identifying the face from the coracle as the face of poacher Nan Klebem Discovery 1,200
Finding the chirurgeon tools Discovery 1,200
Total 7,000
Character XP Total Class Level (Level 5 – 15,000xp)
Ryszard 14,376 Paladin 4
Haza 14,376 Cleric 4
Torquemada 14,626 Inquisitor 4
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