Carrion Crown

Starting the Campaign - Schloss Caromarc

The Halfhill brothers – Edgar the Paladin and Trapmaster Thorn – have teamed up once again with the gunman Dean Winchester and the sorcerer Halungalom, this time they were hired to investigate Schloss Caromarc.

The Trial of the Beast has just ended, and the town is not to happy with the results. The dreadful and vicious Beast has been deemed innocent, despite all the eye witnesses of his crimes. Just after the trial ended, a large riot broke out at the courthouse, and the Defenders of the Beast ended up murdering many innocent civilians. For punishment of their crimes, they were banished from Lepidstat. But a few days later, two of the Defenders were caught just outside of town. They are currently in jail awaiting trial. Many in Leipdstat are hoping better justice will be served this time – at least for these two.

Not all were angered by the trial. Some citizens are happy to see the legal system work properly. One of their number is Judge Daramid, and she has hired the PCs to go check on the Beast and make sure he is ok. The Judge suspects the Beast is associated with an old Count who lives up in the mountains – one Aplon Caromarc. To assist them, the Judge assigned a trustee to go with them. One Luna of Rouvonel, a fierce warrior who is familiar with the Beast and has recently been to Schloss Caromarc.

The PCs accepted, and spent the day gathering whatever info they could. It was discovered that no one has seen the Count in years. He and his wife used to be a rich socialites, often inviting guests up to his Manor; but many years ago they stopped inviting people, and not long after all the servants were let go. Alpon himself is also suspected of being a “golemologist,” whatever that is.

They were also approached by a local resident, named Bennet, who offered a large house and some land here in Lepidstat if the PCs would give the Beast proper judgment. He claimed to represent the spirit of Lepidstat, and Lepidstat wanted the Beast killed. Pressed upon by the paladin, Bennet admitted he was really just a distraught father who wanted revenge for his daughter – she was one of the children the Beast killed. He saw it with his own eyes, and your eyes never lie. He also claimed that those high up ‘ristocrats lied and let the Beast go. The Beast was probably one of theirs, and that’s why they covered up for it.

Strangely enough, Luna had a different story.

Once at Schloss, they discovered the bodies of dead trolls, troll hounds, goblins, and some sort of large dog-like creature made from the parts of other animals all sown together. No one answered the door when they knocked, so they decided to let themselves in. As soon as the door opened, a huge air elemental appeared and pushed them back over the bridge to the gate house, where it spun debris into them. They managed to dispatch the elemental, with Hulungulum barely surviving.

Not to be deterred, they headed back to the house, and once in the entry hall, they were immediately besieged by some strange beast made of metal and wires with bits of flesh hanging on for decoration. Gunpowder and magic took care of it. The rest of the house was disturbingly quiet, and it looked as if it hadn’t been touched for weeks. Except for some unnerving Unseen Servants still serving an empty dining table with empty chairs.

Leaving the main house, the group made its way to the lab and discovered it to be a disaster. Some sort of explosion ripped out one of the walls. The noise here was devastating, as it was right over the huge waterfall. While rummaging through the rummage (looking for any side of the count or the Beast), three odd creatures came out of the rubble and started attacking their armor. The brothers took down one, a single bullet took down another, and a long hammer slammed the last so hard the floor underneath gave way.

Fearing for their safety in the unstable lab, they decided to head over a shoddy rope bridge connecting the lab and the building on the other side of the falls. Uncertain of the bridge, Hulungulum summoned up a dire rat to cross first to make sure it was stable. Half way across the bridge, a winged demon wielding a bow with fiery arrows popped into existence and immediately slaughtered the rat. The evil demon then turned her sights on the party and opened fire. At least, she tried to. The halflings, with bow and sling, along with the gunman, managed to take her down while the sorcerer kept her distracted with glitterdust spells and swarms of monkeys.

-The Editor, 23 Gozran 4711

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Campaign Session 2 - Exploring Schloss Caromarc and the Lightning Tower
09/15/13

(From a torn page discovered stuffed in Halungalom’s journal; my guess is this occurred around 22-24 Gazron 4711. – The Editor)

Evil Bridge
Halungalom slips but catches himself
Luna slips and falls
Thorn shrugs shoulders
Halungalom saves luna with tree token
Magical door
Entry hall full of preserved things
Next room evil sarcophagus
Thorn awakens mummy and gains Mummy Rot disease
Mimic awakens opposite wall
Luna murders mimic
Dean paralyzed in fear
Edgar murders mummy
Fleshless eyeless with humonculi entourage descends stairwell (This sounds like the Faceless Flesh Golem. -The Editor)
Dean says witty catchphrase and destroys golem
Found Ring of Ram
Secret ladder in creepy room
Smoke everywhere
Everyone but paladin runs
Thorn gets a head. Twice. (I’ve heard this story from Thorn before; my guess is this is when he was attacked by the Beheaded. – The Editor)
Found shit ton of stuff in attic
Slept on 2nd floor
Precarious cliff, Halungalom falls, saved by Edgar’s dog
Water past door
Full of evil leeches
Two scrolls of lightning bolt solve problem
Healed Thorn of obnoxious ability damage and Mummy Rot
Opened door to dead headless four armed apes
Vargouilles screamed as Luna and Halungalom are paralyzed
Defeated vargouilles and salt and burned the remains (Thanks, Dean)
Next room there is fungus among us
Left next room
Dead undead, due to previous lightning scrolls
Went fishing to giant translucent fish thing
Edgar gets turned to stone
Everybody hesitates, but instead of pushing enstoned Edgar off of waterfall revives him with Stone to Flesh scroll.

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Campaign Session 3 - The Stormcalling Tower
September 27th, 2013

(Transcribed live from mind of Thorn Halfhill, on the date of 24 Gozran 4711. -The Editor)

This room fucking reeked. Between the corpses and that fish-basilisk thing dangling from the “fishing line” that Luna was holding, this room smelled horrible. Thorn looked down on the creature and wondered if he could harvest any useful components from it. His thoughts were interrupted by Halungalom pointing across the room and shouting to him, “Check that other door Thorn!”
He followed his finger to an iron-bound door thirty feet above the dark, murky water that had just produced that freaky fish thing.
Thorn shrugged saying “’Kay,” and to Luna “Give me a toss will ya?”
Luna nodded and Thorn backed up, got a running start and jumped just as Luna grabbed his arm and launched him towards the door. He caught the gap between door and floor, looked up, and a look of irritation crossed his face.
“Gods dammnit! No knob,” he shouted back to his companions.
“Alright, come on back down Thorn,” shouted his brother Edgar.
“What, like, drop back down in the water?!” Thorn shouted back with a hint of fear.
“Yeah it’ll be fine!” his brother shouted back.
“Fuck you Ed, push another corpse out to make sure!”
“Don’t be such a pussy!”
“Fuck you, do it!”

After a little bickering, Ed, Dean and Hal pushed the last zombie corpse into the deeper water where it floated unmolested by demon beasts from the seventh ring of Hell. Thorn reluctantly pushed himself off the wall and dropped into the water to be greeted by a smirking Ed.
“Pussy,” he said chuckling
“Shut up,” retorted the ever quick-witted halfling

They swam up to a door across the room from where they had entered, and were relieved to find it was knobbed and unbarred. They pushed the door open to find another small chamber with another door, similar to the chamber they had come across between the rooms with the flying heads and all the mold, only this door was made of stone, rather than the usual iron-bound wood. Ed pushed the door open and looked around.
“It’s empty.” he said.
“What do you mean it’s empty?” said a puzzled Thorn.
“Well, the water isn’t deep and, oddly enough, the ceiling is black and shiny, but there’s nothing else here but a stone door across the way, and,” he paused as he peered up the wall above the open door, “Yup, another stone door up the wall a ways.”
“Should we go in?” questioned Thorn
“After you, Trapmaster.” said Ed with a smirk.
Thorn ignored the irony, “Can you see anything in the water?”
Ed frowned, and hopped off his loyal companion Mush, and sent him to fetch the waterproof lantern he had thrown into the previous chamber. Once Mush returned with it, Ed threw it into the room.
“Still, nothing.”
“Well, that fish thing bit when we used that body as bait, let’s see if anything else does.” suggested Thorn
They swam back into the previous room to grab the last of the servant corpses and together pushed it into the room with they shiny ceiling. The body floated about five feet into the chamber when suddenly, the ceiling came down on it. A black, shiny, ooze-like creature engulfed the body and seemed to start digesting it.
“What’s going on?” Thorn heard Dean shout.
“Shitshitshitshitshit!” Ed shouted as he fled from the tiny room, and not long after, an arrow clattered against the wall next to the door. Thorn found that aside from the arrow, he was alone. He stepped into the door way and attacked it, but his fear or fascination or perhaps both were clearly a distraction as he stabbed nothing but air with his scimitar.
“Get out!” Hal shouted, bringing Thorn back to his senses. He slammed the stone door in the ooze’s metaphorical face and dove back into the deep water of the previous chamber, where Hal shut the iron-bound door.
“What do we do now?” Ed asked “That room looked like the only way forward.”
“Well, we can go back,” said Hal, “We were able to see the bridge going to that tower from outside right? Maybe we can get up on that bridge.”
The party agreed that would be a better idea than facing whatever the hell that thing was. They made their way back outside and around the water-logged tower and found the bridge leading from it to an ominous tower that sat upon a stone outcropping above the river. The tower was taller than the ones before it with a great iron lightning conductor at it’s peak. Dean launched a grappling hook tied to a knotted rope up to the bridge and caught it on the first try. The party made their way up the rope, and sadly had to leave Max, Luna’s dog behind. Ed left Mush at the base of the rope as well, but was able to call him to his side by some divine magic Thorn didn’t understand. As the rest of the party made their way up the rope, Thorn wandered into the archway that lead into the second floor of the water-logged tower. Ever a curious halfling, he made his way down a long corridor, past a set of doors which he reasoned to lead to the rooms with the “fish” and the sludge. he made his way to the second set of doors where Ed noticed him.
“What the hell are you doing?!” He shouted
Thorn shushed him and quietly opened the door he believed lead into the room full of mold. His hunch was right, he peered around the room that had mold growing on every surface, but other than more mold than anyone would ever want to look at, he spotted nothing. Somewhat disappointed, he closed the door, and in doing so, he spotted a shelf at the end of the corridor. He walked over to the shelf and found a couple of flasks he discerned to be preserved basilisk blood, and what he figured to be potions. He brought the potions back to the resident magic experts Hal and Ed, who determined them to be potions of gaseous form, which Hal hung on to, and a potion of displacement, which the party believed would be best served with Luna. The party then pressed on with Thorn in the lead, checking for traps.

This bridge, like every other bridge they had come across, plainly displayed Caromarc’s complete and utter hatred of railings and safety regulations. It was three feet wide with an unhindered view of the river twenty feet below. The party made their way slowly and carefully across the narrow walkway to the doors at the foot of the final tower of Schloss Caromarc. Thorn took a good hard look at the door and turned back to party saying, “It’s locked, and I think it’s magical.”
Ed and Hal stepped forward and examined the door, and came to the conclusion that it was enchanted with an arcane lock spell. Thorn produced his tools and got to work. Fiddling with the lock for a while, he managed to pop it, and shoved the doors open. They found a large circular tower room with a circular staircase leading up to a metal hatch. The room itself was in shambles. Strewn about were books, and alchemical equipment with a large, partly broken iron cage dominating the center of the room. Next to the cage, there was a large figure shrouded in the gloom. Upon hearing the door open, the figure stood to reveal a red, four armed monstrosity that unleashed a beastial roar and charged the door. Just below the the sounds of the roar and the thumping of it’s massive feat on stone, there was an almost inaudible sound of chanting. Just as the monster was about to be upon the party, a hole opened under it’s feet and tumbled into it. Thorn leapt into the room past the pit and shouted, “Good shit Hal!” who was standing behind Ed, looking pleased. The party made it’s way into the room, with Luna standing on the other side of the pit, opposite of Thorn ready to strike. Hal, Ed, and Dean made their way up the staircase, and as Hal and Ed continued up, Dean stopped half way up the staircase, took aim, and blasted a hole in the creature’s head. Thorn, pretty sure that he wouldn’t be able to do much with his sling, dig in his bag and tossed one of the three opaque bottles he had found in one of the previous towers as Dean continued to rain a hail of bullets on the beast. It managed to climb out of the pit and stood towering above Luna. It began to swing, but the ground beneath it gave way and it tumbled back into the pit with a frustrated roar.

Thorn continued throwing bottles into the pit, as Dean and Ed fired upon it mercilessly. It tried to climb again and failed as Thorn tossed his last opaque bottle and a bottle of brewed reek at it. That was the last straw for the beast. It climbed out of the pit and on top of the cage, where it was greeted by a couple of Deans bullets. Bloodied, but fueled by it’s rage, it dropped down in front of Thorn, covered in yellow spores and thick, viscous slime. It towered over him, and normally that wouldn’t be saying much, as just about everyone towered over him, but this creature was extra towerful. It reared back and came down on Thorn with a mighty claw, scratching him across his chest. Thorn immediately felt ill from the sickening slime that covered the beast. In the corner of his sight, Thorn saw Luna rush the beast and come down on it with her lucern hammer. That seemed to get it’s attention. It turn on her and slashed at her with all four of his massive arms. Three hit home, but the forth slammed into the cage next to the beast, rending some of the bars. Luna looked bloodied, but unshaken, that is until she glanced down at her hammer. A look of absolute terror crossed her face and she dropped the hammer and ran out of the tower screaming. A splash was heard not far off. The creature then turned back to Thorn just as more holes appeared in its chest from Dean’s guns. Thorn wasn’t sure if he saw malice, humor, or perhaps both on the creatures face before he struck, but that, followed by the flash of it’s claws, was the last thing he saw before he blacked out.

Thorn snapped awake at home, in the living room of his families home in a halfling settlement north of Absolom, a home he hadn’t seen since he was a child. Fading afternoon sunlight streamed through the windows of their family home. The living room was plainly decorated; a vase on the mantle above the fire place, a trophy fish his father had caught years back, paintings of landscapes along the wall, and a couple crochet pictures his mother had made. The living room was adjoined with the kitchen, where a woman was busy cooking. She was dressed as modestly as the home was decorated and had long, braided, light brown hair.
“Mother?” Thorn said, half-believing what he was seeing, “But you- years ago, I saw you-”
“Are you okay honey? You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” She said, a gentle smile, on her face, kindness in her voice, “Did you have a bad dream?”
“I-I guess so…” he said completely perplexed
His mother laughed, a gentle, non-mocking laugh, “Well, why don’t you go get your brother from his room and tell him dinner is almost ready. I’m going to go get your father.”
“A-alright.” He said and began to stumble off to find his brother. He turned back and asked “Is this real?”
“What do you think?” She responded with no hint of kindness that was in her voice previously.

He started back to the room Ed and he shared and heard the door open, heard his mother start to scream, but it suddenly trailed off. He turned to see the door was open, a blinding white light streaming from without with a towering silhouette outside. His mother was standing there, and she turned back towards Thorn, and he saw a red gash across her throat, blood oozing from it as she fell.
“Mother!!” He shouted and ran to her, cradling her head
“Run… Thorn… ru… Thorn…” she said, he voice fading.
Thorn looked up into the face of his mother’s killer to see a man in patchwork clothing, a bloody sword in his hand. He wore a grin on his face that was part malice, part humor.
“Run… Thorn…. Thorn… Thorn”

“Thorn!” Thorn awoke to his brother’s face, the creature of his nightmares towering over them, “Get up!” Ed shouted.

Thorn jumped to his feet and rolled away as Ed deflected the horror’s four arms of terror with his shield. Ed jumped on Mush’s back, deflected another claw, and rode to Thorn’s side. He pressed a glowing hand against Thorn, and he felt some of his wounds close up.
“What were you thinking?!” Ed shouted at him, “You should have run up the stairs with us!”
“I wasn’t going to leave Luna to fight that thing down here alone!” Thorn responded as he made his way up the staircase.
“Some fighting you did, all you did was stand there and wet your pants.”
“Shut up.”

As the creature gave chase, Dean emptied more rounds into it. It was panting hard as it began to climb the stairs, but none of its anger was gone. Thorn saw Luna making her way across the assholish excuse for a bridge, and saw his brother take a hit from the beast. Ed rode past Thorn and Dean up the stairs, leaving nothing between the horror and Thorn. He saw Luna getting closer and said “Fuck this’” as he leaped over the railing. He spotted Luna’s hammer at his feet and threw it towards the door where Luna was coming from. He looked back towards the beast, who was starting back down the stairs. Dean shouted, “Hey chuckles!” the beast turned to face him, “Eric Bana was a better Hulk thank you.”
A look of confusion crossed Thorn’s face just as two holes appeared where the beast’s eyes used to be. With one last groan, the beast slumped to his knees, then fell flat on his back. Thorn had never been so relieved to see a dead patchwork horror mutant thing. Ed called upon the light of his god to mend the parties wounds as Thorn found the head that he had seen earlier in one of the bottles he had hurled at the creature lying where the pit was. He decided it was best to hang on to it and put it in a sack. He rejoined the rest of his group on the staircase as a gas cloud made it’s way through the trapdoor.
“What the fuck is that?” the group seemed to say in unison.
“It’s me,” Hal’s voice called from the gas cloud, “I scouted upstairs, There is some kind of crab-spider monstrosity up on the third floor, along with some chick in a jar, and a someone locked in an iron cask.”
As Hal was telling the party about what he had seen while they were fighting the monster, a small creature dropped down from the trapdoor and motioned them to follow it. Unsure of what to make of this, the party followed the little construct up the trapdoor to the second floor where it lead us to a faint chalk diagram and some scribbling. Thorn was able to make out the words ‘The Stormcaller must be activated to energize the Bondslave Thrall,’ and a crude drawing of the iron conductor on top of the tower, with two strange objects on the spire, with an arrow pointing at the larger of the two. The little creature then lead the party back downstairs and motioned at the door.
“You want us to leave?” guessed Thorn.
It shook it’s head.
“You want us to close the door?” asked Hal.
It pointed and nodded.

They closed the great double door to reveal that someone or some people had posted a bunch of torn pages on the door. Thorn was able to determine that most of the pages were scribblings about this Bondslave Thrall. One mentioned that it was used to control the Beast of Lepitstat.

“So there is something on the roof that we can activate to control this ‘Blue’,” murmured Ed, “But how do deal with that crab thing?”
The little creature then produced a small ring. Ed took it from the little guy and slipped it, vanishing from sight.
“A ring of invisibility,” said Hal with a hint of awe, “So you want us to sneak past the creature and activate the Bondslave Thrall and use ‘Blue’ to help defeat that thing?”
The little construct nodded excitedly.
“Who would be best suited for the task?” Hal asked the little guy.
It pointed at Hal and at Thorn.
“Alright,” said Hal as Ed handed him the ring, “I’ve got an idea.”
The party headed up stairs to the hatch beneath the third floor where they discussed the plan.
“You guys wait here,” Hal motioned at Ed, Dean and Luna, “I’ll distract it, and Thorn and I will sneak past it.”
“How are you gonna distract it?” asked Thorn
“With this,” Hal chanted and made some gestures and a swarm of monkeys appeared at the ladder to the hatch, “Go up there and distract that thing,” He commanded and they obeyed.
“Alright, lets go,” He whispered.

Thorn, led by an invisible Hal, made their way slowly and quietly up the hatch into the remains of a laboratory. The room was choked with thick webs, alchemical equipment, tools and books were strewn about the floor, and just as Hal had said, there was a woman encased in a glass bell with some kind of preservation liquid, and not far from it, the intricate iron cask that depicted a large man being slowly crushed to death. It had two holes where a frightened set of eyes peered out. In the center of it all was the crab-spider. The huge monstrosity appeared to be made of dozens of different creatures, with a spider’s abdomen and the pincers of a crab. Fortunately, the monkeys had the creatures attention. It tried clawing at them and shooting them with web, trapping a couple monkeys as Thorn and Hal sneaked up the staircase. When they were almost to the trapdoor, a low hum that shook Thorn to his core came from the creature. He was able to shake it off, but Hal was not so fortunate. Hal, compelled by a fear he couldn’t control, sprinted towards the trapdoor and made it out. Thank the Gods for monkeys, they had the creatures undivided attention.

Once he made it up to the roof, Thorn quietly closed the trapdoor behind him and spotted Hal just coming back from the far corner.
“You alright?” he asked
“Fine, not sure what came over me. Let’s get this done,” Hal said, determination on his face.
On the roof, there was a large triangular structure with a ladder leading up to it past a heavy iron gate, wires hung down from it, and a huge iron conductor could be seen from the base. Thorn tried to get the gate open, but it wouldn’t budge. Fortunately, he recalled a lever just by the trapdoor in the last room and went to try some science. After quietly pulling the lever, he came back up to see that the gate was opened. Hal and Thorn made their way up the ladder to find an apparatus set up, wires coming from it ran up and down the structure.

“Any idea how to work this thing Hal?” asked Thorn, looking quite confused
“Nah, but we’ll figure something out,” he said.
After a few minutes of twisting knobs and pulling levers, as any wise man would do, the machine sparked to life. A low hum came from the device as electricity shot up and down the wires. Clouds suddenly began to gather, lightning crackled in the sky, and thunder rolled.

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Campaign Session 4 - The Battle Against the Abberant Promethean

From the journal of Edgar Halfhill:

Being huddled beneath a trap door 10 feet from a giant spider abomination really has a way of making you question your choices in life. Just yesterday I was living the simple life. That all changed when she called upon me with a job offer.

She was an older dame. A lot older than I’m used to. She needed a job done and I needed the coin. I was to investigate the whereabouts of some poor schmuck and his monster pet. The same monster pet I was contracted to kill not 5 minutes before hand. Some bloke with a chip on his shoulder. Says the beast killed his daughter, but I’m skeptical. A murderous monster doesn’t kill your kin in front of you, then stroll off leaving you to tell the tale. Something smelled like a week-dead devilfish, and I aimed to get to the bottom of it. But that’s my job. I’m Edgar Halfhill, Ustalav investigator.

I curse Asmodius’ name under my breath as I hear the sound of a storm brewing overhead. “What in the Hells is Thorn up to now?” The giant freak shifts its glare upwards towards whatever the hells my brother is fucking with now. I nock an arrow and let it fly at the 8 legged cretin but the arrow bounces harmlessly off its thick hide. I did what I set out to do though; I got its attention. Without wasting any time I slid down the ladder and jumped onto the back of my partner in crime: My riding husky, Mush. The freak came barreling through the trap door that instant and into the room Luna, Dean, and yours truly were occupying, exuding some demonic, guttural sound. This time it didn’t have much luck frightening my dog.

A lightning crack followed by a scream of pain could be heard from above us. “That sounds like Hal,” Luna pointed out.

“Well, whatever they’re dealing with up there, I doubt it’s as bad as this thing,” I stated with a grimace. Another loud scream echoed throughout the tower from below us, this time a lot more beastly. “Can this Godsdamned day get any worse?”

Almost as if on cue, the poor excuse for a spider-crab latched onto Dean with one of its giant claws and hoisted him into the air. More lightning can be heard from above. Channeling all the mercy of Iomedae into my palm, Mush rushes in to make a chew toy out of the demon, while I attempt to close up some of Dean’s wounds.

Freakish tentacles sprout from the freak’s ass and wrap around Dean, freeing up its pincers to grab Luna. It was like an all you can eat human buffet, and this fat tub of shit was already going for seconds.

Just as I went in for a swing with my old buddy Maxwell, the fat ass decides it wants a little halfling appetizer and scoops me up with its second claw. I really regret leaving Absolom at this particular moment.

As if by some miracle, or curse, loud, thumping footsteps can be heard pounding at the staircase below us. The trapdoor beneath us explodes open and a second monstrosity matching Bennett’s description pulls its way into the room.

Right about halfway through my list of people I’m going to haunt, the second hulking beast plants its fist straight into the spider’s ugly mug. The freak’s claws release us and our bodies make a loud thud on the ground. Dazed, I pull myself up with Mush’s help.

I channel healing to my no doubt aching allies while the two monsters duke it out like a good old back-alley brawl. Now that the spider’s attention is good and focused on the hulk wrecking his shit, my ever brave and loyal brother finally decides to show up, leaping onto the spider’s back.

Just as things start to look bad for our new best friend, a loud crack pierces my ears, and a bullet pierces what used to be the spider’s head. The freak’s lifeless corpse limply falls to the ground and the now common sight of Dean standing over some giant carcass with smoking gun in hand can be seen.

The hulk known as Blue rushes past me towards the trap door above us. I tend to Dean and Luna’s wounds before heading upstairs to meet with the hopefully still alive Halungolum.

Blue tears open the iron maiden containing the elusive Count Caromarc. Upon entry to the room I notice the giant glass bell next to his old 5ft prison cell. Inside the bell is some translucent gel and a human woman. Hasty introductions are made, and I heal Caromarc of his present wounds. We get to talking, and the conversation is the strangest I’ve had in a long while.

This guy apparently made these… “contructs” he calls them, in an attempt to bring that dame back to life. Damn fool if you ask me. You’d think the fact that all his creations becoming giant monsters would tip him off that this kinda thing wouldn’t work, but to each his own. I asked him to do me a solid and stitch up a fake “Blue” for us to take back to town and show this Bennett guy. He promised us a mansion some rich folks got booted from a few days before we arrived in town. I figure I own Blue one for saving our hides, and this way everyone’s happy. Especially me.

We arrived back in town with the heaping mass of flesh and collected our rewards. Townsfolk think we’re bleedin’ heroes. Guess they really wanted that Blue guy dead. Animals…

As for me, I think I may visit that girl from the travelling circus in town. I got a gift I think she may like…

Edgar Halfhill, 26 Gozran 4711

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Campaign Session 5 - Headed into the Shudderwood Forest
Hi, I'm Dean Winchester.

(One year later. -The Editor)

From the Journal of Dean Winchester:

I don’t know where we’re going – I probably should have asked before I bought all my new gear. No big whoop, I’m sure it’ll all come in handy. I was hoping to chill out for another night or so; there’s this chick at the tavern that I’m pretty sure’s got a bit of a crush on me. Ahh, still got it. Just wish Sammy was here – it’s just not the same without him. Bitch.
Anyway. I hear everyone mumbling about some kind of wood forest and then werewolves. Damn. Those sons of bitches can really pack a punch. Luckily you kill them the same way you waste ‘em in our world. Made myself some silver bullets. Also got some, uh…adamantium? Ada…adamantine. Adamantine bullets. Whatever. They’re pretty nice, feel good in The Colt. This baby’s not as shocking over here in Golarion, but I’ll take it. It’s one of the only things I got left to remember…ah forget it.
So, let’s talk about werewolves. This wizard guy we picked up seems to know a fair amount about them. They got three forms, can be hit with silver, blah blah blah, natural vs. afflicted, more crap I don’t care about, and we can get cursed with lycanthropy if we get bit. So, don’t get bit. Doesn’t seem so hard. Wizard guy says this is only what he’s heard, that he’s never met one. Well, I’ve met one. Have I met one? It’s been awhile. They’re probably different here anyway. Everything else is.
Oh, ok. So we’re going through this Wild Wood. Sounds like some enchanted forest. Maybe we’ll meet Bambi in there. Ha. Aw man could I go for some venison. A big ol’ venison burger with extra ketchup and some French fries and top it all off with a big slice of apple pie.
Hula-hoop’s looking all excited and impatient. Guy gives me the creeps, honestly. But he’s good at what he does. All that money we got from saving that giant Chuckle monster and his Daddy was certainly spent in an interesting way. Hula-hoop decides to get a bunch of uh, what’d he call them, retainers. Retainers and entertainers to keep us busy on our way through the forest. I’m like, “Jesus man, you really need all these people?” But he doesn’t hear me. He’s busy trying to joke with the wizard guy (Pellius, I think his name is) about genies and wishcraft. While packing my crap I notice that Pellius isn’t too thrilled about that kind of talk and soon enough Hula-hoop’s left to himself and he just kind of sits there, mumbling to himself about how rich he must look. Phew. Wonder how the ladies feel about this guy.
A lot of talking goes on in this group. I’m all for buddy-buddy talking and what not, but we’ve got stuff to do and we’re just wasting daylight. Before we finally manage to get going I overhear Hula-hoop try to convince girl Thor (chick’s got a hammer, man! Her name’s Luna, but seriously, how can you not think of girl Thor when you look at her) to get a flag and a tabard. The flag would have our family crest on it, because that’s what we are now, some kind of family. The Winchester family. Black with some silver trim or something (there was a football team back in my world with those colors – buncha cheaters).
I don’t know who it is that finally gets our group moving, but soon I hear we’re off to Ask A Door Lodge. That’s probably not it, but that’s what I hear. So we’re looking at this forest and man, it’s pretty foreboding. Towering pine trees and lots of that green lichen stuff. We’re told to follow this Silent Path – apparently it winds its way through the wood and it’s ancient and magical and God what do I care. Let’s get to killing some stuff. Hula-hoop calls for our drivers to get going and I nearly choke on my own breath.
Get this. The drivers – the drivers of our caravan thing – are named Porkins and Skywalker. PORKINS. AND. SKYWALKER. I am nearly on my ass cracking up. I mean, what are the odds? Seriously. I really got to pull myself together quick, though. No one else seems to get the joke and I’m not about to make an ass of myself on this trip.
First few days nothing really happens – no one brought enough mead to have a good time – but this afternoon, phoo. This afternoon’s a doozy.
We’re walking through the forest and I hear this music. It sounds like it’s coming from some kind of stringed – a harp. Yeah, that’s what it is. Eddie sends his dog to go find out where it’s coming from, and we end up following him to a clearing with this gorgeous watchtower. Little bit off the path. It looks about 3 stories tall, with some of it missing. But man, was it beautiful. Hula-hoop puts his hand to his head and announces he’s gonna try and detect the thoughts of whoever’s playing the harp. Eddie tries to figure out if there’s any evil around, he can’t find nothing so we figure we’d just head around it.
But it sounds so beautiful. It’s like, you know that Whitesnake video with Tawny Kitaen on the car? Where she does the splits? It’s like that, but for your ears. Holy crap, dude. I have to get to the tower, so I just go for it. Looks like Pellius and the dog (with Eddie on it, which was funny considering Eddie wasn’t amused in the slightest) and Hula Hoop are heading for it too. Good, because I don’t want to experience this gorgeousness alone. What if it’s Tawny Kitaen playing that harp? Oh man. I’d pay to see that. Should probably get through all these spider webs first. Ugh. It’ll be worth it. Oh, it better be.
I hear Thorin come up next to me and see him pull out a flask of something from his pocket. I’m about to tear him a new one about hiding his good stuff when he tosses it in the air. It hits the back wall of the tower and explodes into fire. It looks pretty sweet. But I gotta keep heading into this tower. Something’s waiting for me.
I hear some rustling and some fighting behind us and girl Thor shouts something but it really doesn’t matter. After the fire dies down a little bit I see Thorin hop down this opening that goes under ground. Aw man, if he gets to Tawny before I do it’s gonna suck. I gotta get down there. Eddie shouts something and jumps off his dog and after the dog falls down the tunnel Eddie chases after it. Damn it.
I make my way down the tunnel. And then I see that the party’s already freaking started. Pellius is wrapped in some kind of sheet, and it leads back into this dark area where someone else is dancing. Aw man, it’s Tawny! I really should have brushed my teeth this morning. I don’t know where Hula-Hoop came from, but suddenly he’s heading towards Tawny with his arms outstretched and this stupid grin on his face. I think he’s gonna go hug her or something. And she looks pretty excited too, although I can’t really see her face. I have to get closer. Thorin moves pretty quickly as well and tries to get behind her, and I see her hug him. But…how can…her arms are…they’re not arms. She has like, more than two arms?
And then Eddie hits her. He hits her. Those aren’t arms. Those are…are those tentacles?
I can’t even. Dude. This thing. It – it wasn’t Tawny Kitaen. And Pellius wasn’t dancing in a blanket. He was…paralyzed. Wrapped in a web. And then the bitch shoots a web past Eddie. Guy misses it. Lucky. Hula-Hoop’s all wrapped up in her claws. Thorin’s in there too. I’m gonna have to do something about this. Oh, Sammy. I could really use your help.
Aw, man. What the hell is that? She’s got like this…she’s a worm, that’s all I can think of to describer her. Her? It? With a bug head and tentacles coming out of her boobs. And what she’s shooting webs out of? Well, I can tell you it looked more like what you…uh…well, it’s normally a pretty beautiful part of a woman. But she was no woman, man. Jesus. She – it – is pretty freaking gross.
Before I know it I’ve got the Colt in my hands. I already loaded it with some adamantine bullets and I shoot. Hits the bitch, and she cries out.
Then, holy shit – girl Thor shows up! She waves her super hammer and whacks the worm thing. Luckily everyone else seems to know this isn’t Tawny Kitaen anymore.
I don’t wanna waste my adamantine bullets, so I reload with the paper ones I made awhile back. There’s a lot of noise going around me. Hula-Hoop suddenly seems to be paying attention again and tries to cast a spell, but it fizzles away. That’s a little disheartening. But girl-Thor is here and she’ll help. Well, I mean, she tries right? But the worm grabs her, attacks her and she’s paralyzed. What now? All I can do is keep shooting. So I do. I hear Thorin and the dog come alive again and it looks like we’re back in business.
Hula-Hoop keeps attempting to help and I feel for the guy, but he just keeps getting paralyzed. But once girl-Thor revives she swings that gorgeous hammer and blasts the worm into oblivion. And man was it gross. Just a big ol’ mound of gross.
We’re all trying to get our shit together and Thorin starts asking Pellius about…nails? Pellius isn’t even free of his web yet, which he thoughtfully reminds us. But he doesn’t know. And I don’t either. This place gives me the creeps and I just want to get out of here. Thorin and Hula-Hoop look around for stuff for a little bit.
Then, ha. Get this. Hula-Hoop just floats on up through the opening, coughing and sputtering as he goes. There’s still fire up there. Well shit I didn’t think about how I was going to get back up out of this hell hole. But luckily while trying to figure out a way up we find a nice little bag of goodies. Some gold, a potion we gave to girl-Thor (it was a potion of heroism – who else would we give it to?), and a ring of featherfall. I’m not a big fan of magic, so I wasn’t all into that.
After all the fancy magic (H used some kind of “rod of extinguishing” to put of the fire), Thorin throws down a rope so us mere mortals can climb out of it. We decided to explore the rest of the tower, and start ripping up the webs and see if there’s anything around. Thorin tears up one of them and finds a mess of what I assume used to be a body – but it’s fairly liquefied. But he has a note – a bloody one, at that. It’s a reservation for Askanor Lodge (THAT’S what it was) for a man named Dravin.
The reservation’s for a few weeks ago. Interesting. What happened with this guy and what are we supposed to do with it? He doesn’t look like nobility, so why does he have a fancy reservation for the lodge…maybe when we get there we can ask around, show them the note. Figure some shit out.
All I know is, I could use some whiskey.

Dean Winchester, 30 Desnus 4712

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Session 6 - The Karcau Opera

(Six months prior. – The Editor)

From the journal of Basia Kalistoff


15 Neth 4711

My damn second cousin. He’s been the source of my misery for some time now. I’ve written about him before, how Skeldon robbed me of the rank of Karcau’s Captain within the Order. The position was mine, and his sent his lackeys to spread misinformation about me, while he bribed the Judges to vote for him.

But now it is time for his comeuppance. Skeldon is late on his payments to the Order. For months, the Judges have been demanding that he send in his field notes, pay his back taxes, and explain the disappearance of some of our local initiates.

An old friend of mine, Judge Daramid, is sending me some competent and trustworthy individuals. The last group I sent in hasn’t reported back, and I’m concerned with what happened to them. I’m still debating whether I should tell this new group about my concerns; I am worried they will decline if I do.

I have sent Judge Daramid some invitations to the Opera House; I will meet them there and we will discuss what I want them to do.

- BK

28 Neth 4711

I met with Daramid’s people tonight. One Halungalom, a well dressed man with an appreciation for the arts, and his two associates – soldiers by the looks of them, Dean and Luna. They were more than willing to go to Skeldon. I gave them some papers to deliver to my cousin; orders from the Karcau Judges that he report immediately. I decided not to tell them what happened to the last group. Lets hope they’re more competent.

On a side note, at least one of them appreciated the Opera. Speaks to his class. Perhaps they’re fare better than I think they will, with such fine leadership.

- BK


31 Neth 4711

They did it. I am much relieved to hear the news. Seems they had a bit of trouble, but not nearly as much as Skeldon did. Seems like one of his old accomplices finally got his revenge for when Skeldon, yet again, betrayed him for a profit. I remember this case; Skeldon left the guy for dead to a bunch of Drow. Turns out he didn’t die, he was just tortured for the past 15 years.

As Daramid’s men tell me, the Manor was seemingly abandoned when they showed up. A group of squatters took over the place for a few days, and they had to run them out. The squatters claimed they didn’t kill my last group, they were dead when they moved in. Turns out the squatters were right; Daramid’s men found the basement and the Darklands below crawling with Dark Creepers. Filthy little things. They also found an animated soulbound doll, which they neatly dispatched. The doll was responsible for some of the deaths of my last group. Daramid’s crew is so much better.

Not only did they dispatch all of the Dark Creepers, but they also found Skeldon alive – though badly tortured with acid, AND they discovered Skeldon’s noted on the Aeroelyle. As an added bonus, they even figured out how to use it. They have earned my gratitude. I will keep them in mind for future missions.

- BK


28 Calistril 4712

Skeldon has been found guilty by the Judges. He was convicted of pilfering Order funds, withholding valuable research, and misuse and endangerment of initiates. He is being sent to a lodge in Caliphas, where he can be watched over. The Order does not want to outright ban him, because he is still valuable, but he can no longer be allowed to be on his own.

- BK
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

2 Pharast 4712

Judge Daramid has written me inquiring about the Whispering Way. While they’re not my primary concern, I’ve had dealings with their kind in the past. And after Daramid’s assistance last Neth, I feel I need return the favor.

- BK
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

20 Desnus 4712

It cost a small fortune, but I’ve found a lead on the Whispering Way. They’re at the Ascanor Lodge in Shudderwood Forest. Ascanor Lodge is a nobleman’s hunting lodge. I figure she’s going to send in the same group that she sent to help me, and while they seemed to be of enough class to appreciate Kracauin fine art, I don’t think they’ll have the influence to just waltz into the Lodge. I’m sending Daramid some formal invitations for them. That should be enough to get them in the front door. The rest will be up to them.

And now, Daramid owes me a favor.

- BK

View
Session 7
Adventure Lodge 7 (Get it? GET IT!?)

Halungalom, Journal Entry “Werewolf Apartments”

Translated through tedius effort from what appears to be writted by a chicken with a pen strapped to its leg

Found Lodge
Pellius gave order to guards
Bellick the Halfling comes out
Bluffed into lodge with Drebin note
Haughty Nobles
Woodsman and noble with Heraldry
Accepted quest to hunt werewolves
Surly woodsman
Found info on lodge attendants
Went hunting like Cailean worshipper
Dory speaks of disgusting golden stag
Small clearing covered in blood
Stag is gone
Edgar finds tracks are bipedal
Convinced Dory it was a weredeer
Followed cloven feet
Ran into 3 boars
Cast create pit on rustling bush
Edgar spring attacks
Dean gets gored
Luna smacks boar
Magic Missile hits boar
Edgar dog murders boar
Dean shoots other one
When pit raises we pop pimple boar
Dory puts out fire
Dory convinced deer killed by werewolves
Stayed overnight
Told story of carrimarc and the brothers took over and finished the tale
He has scar protections of werewolves
Werewolves show up
Werewolves say ridiculous thing about leaders
We piss ourselves and run
Edgar revives dory’s man
Halfling comes out and apologizes
Asks us to speak to Astovian
Spoke with drunk corvin
Note appears in morning
“Beware wolves that watch the woods, they see all but leave no traces”
Dory thought to be in drunk stupor
Spoke with astovian
Offered personal library
Caught asty off guard about mathias
Left pellius to research
Got harrow reading
I’m fighting lythe werwolf
Thorn fighting 2 werewolves
Meet Dory with witch
Thorn and I got scars
Edgar speaks with silus and gets him to help
Thorn speaks wtih Bellick
Note “Auren Vrood came” Estovian’s journal
New note
“Some secrets are better left oncovered, leave ascanor before you too fall prey to its curse”
Paladin leaves with Cilus to have madame Ivanya lead to tower
Paladin finds witch in top of tower
Suggestion on stable master to find Estovian
Charm person on Silus tells me about Mathis and South Tower
Go to South Tower I distract guards
Thorn sneaks in and steals documents about Desna and Stairs
Blood curtling scream – gargantuan spider
Dean murders spider but Thorn gets poisoned

“This is disturbing indeed, from the writings it looks like they were getting closer to uncovering the truth behind the Broken Moon Situation. If almost we could go back and warn them about what they were about to go through. It almost makes you feel bad.”

“No… We’re only meant to transcribe. It’s not our place to show emotion.”

“You’re right. We should just get this over with”

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The Werewolves of Shudderwood

The night air was filled with hot ash, smoke, and screams of the dying. Thorn remembered that night all to well, hard to forget something you relive every godsdamned night. Neither he or his brother were past their thirteenth nameday. He remembered all too vividly hiding in a ditch along side his brother and a half-dozen so odd corpses of neighbors and friends, the smell of blood and smoke, the sounds of passing footsteps, screams, and far too joyful laughter for what was happening. They had been hiding in the ditch for what felt like an eternity, but what was more likely a few hours. Night had finally come, and so to, Thorn and Ed’s chance to escape.
“Where are we gonna go?” asked Ed, still fighting back tears.
“We’ll go to father’s shop, he’ll know what to do.” said Thorn, trying to put on a brave face.

They crawled slowly out of the ditch and made their way through the small town towards their father’s smithery, staying off the roads and clinging to the shadows. The screams were now much less frequent, the bandit’s slaughter was just about finished. Past burning homes, corpses left to rot in the road, the Halfhill brothers made their way across the ruins of their hometown. Their father’s smithery must have been one of the last buildings to be raided, a fire was seen atop the roof, but it hadn’t consumed the building as of yet. They darted inside the cramped shop and found a few corpses of the marauders that had sacked their home and their father slumped against his anvil, a sword in his chest. Blood slowly seeped from his wound and a spreading pool had formed beneath him. His eyes were closed, yet he still clutched a blood coated longsword and his trusty smithing hammer in his powerful hands. The once neat and tidy shop where their father had taught his sons his craft was now in shambles. Weapons and armor once displayed on the wall were either taken or discarded, the scarce furniture and the workbench had been tossed aside.

“Father!” Ed cried out.
He opened his eyes and a weak smile came across his lips. “Boys, thank the gods you’re alright.”
The once vibrant and strong man now took a great deal of effort to speak between coughing up blood. “I had feared the worst when I heard the screams. Where is your mother?”
Thorn and Ed both hung their heads, biting their lips to fight back the tears.
“I see…” he said, tears welling up in his eyes. “Boys, listen closely. I’m not long for this world, but you must leave this place, you must make your way to your uncle’s house in Absalom. Do you remember where he lives?”
“I do,” Thorn said, “but what about you? We can carry you and-”
“No!” their father wheezed,“I don’t have much time left, and I would only slow you down. You must go on your ow-” he coughed, blood and spittle sprayed from his lips. “…before you go, under the mat… behind the counter.”
Thorn rushed behind the counter and lifted the mat to find a long chest. Inside were two works of art, a silver scimitar and a silver hammer, both as ornate as they were deadly. He brought them back around the counter and laid them at his father’s feet.
“I was gonna give ‘em to you on your namedays, but you’ll need ‘em now more than ever… poured my heart and soul into ’em I did” he smiled, looking at his creations. “Take ‘em and go, now.”
“But fath-” started Ed.
“Go!” their father was not to be argued with.
Thorn took up the scimitar and Edgar the hammer. Both turned and ran out the door, tears streaming down their faces. Thorn heard his father saying something as they left so he stopped. He only heard his father say “I’m so sorry Shylah…” And then silence. The last known words of Caleb Halfhill. Thorn bit back more tears and continued running. They avoided the road where they could and ran until they couldn’t run anymore, but kept pressing south until morning, when the grand city of Absalom and their salvation came into view.

Suddenly, Thorn was awake again, ripped from his memories and flung back into the present. “You alright man?” Dean and Edgar were on either side of him, looking concerned.
“I guess so, what in the seven hells happened?” said Thorn, sitting up in bed.
“That spider bit you the other night, the venom nearly killed you. You’ve been out all night and day. Thankfully, Ivania gave us a scroll to heal you with.” Ed told him. “While you were out, Ciles was killed. Turns out Estovian possesses the spirit of an ancient werewolf named Valcris, and he’s been sicking it on people.”
“What? Why?”
“We don’t know yet, we think he is trying to kill off people who may know about the spirit. We’re gonna set up watches tonight, are you up for it?”
“Kidding me? Of course I am” replied Thorn with a grin.
“What watch do you wanna take?” asked Ed.
“I’ll be up all night, got plenty of sleep today.” He said.
What was left of the day passed uneventfully, as did the first shift of the night watch. The second shift, one Thorn shared with Luna, was not so. Thorn and Luna were patrolling the grounds when they noticed an eerie glow coming from the tower, seeming to head down to the second floor of the building. As it passed a window, they got a good look at it.
“Holy shit, did you see that Luna?!” exclaimed Thorn
“Yeah, looked like some kind of werewolf. I’ll check it out, you go warn the others.” Luna directed.
“On it.” Thorn ran inside and dashed up the stairs to the suite they shared. He kicked the door open and yelled, “Wake up, bastards!”
“Wha? What’s going on?” a half asleep Ed mumbled
“Werewolf!” was all Thorn said
Without another word, Dean, Hal and Ed gathered their equipment and made for the hallway with Thorn, meeting up with Luna.
“It went in here,” she motioned towards the door nearest to her. “Ready?”
They nodded, and Luna kicked the door in, nearly knocking it off its hinges. Inside, they saw the spirit of a werewolf forcing itself into a man, Ostivoc, who began to change. He grew bigger, his fingers turned into claws, and his mouth into a fanged snout. He even grew hair all over. Ostivoc had become a werewolf in a matter of seconds, and let out a howl as it charged. Luna was quicker though, landing a solid blow with her trusty lucern hammer. Hal created another of his magical pits at its feet, but it deftly jumped away before the pit could engulf it. Dean leapt into the room and shot it in the chest with his gun, as Edgar rode up on Rush. He swung with Maxwell, one of his father’s masterpieces, but hit air. Rush bit the beast and tried to bring it to the floor but it shrugged Rush off. The werewolf formally known as Ostivoc took swings at both Luna and Dean, raking both with its claws. Luna dropped her hammer and retaliated with her hand axe, which seemed to be hilarious to the creature, because it dropped to the ground and started rolling on the floor laughing. Dean, possibly unsure of what to make of this laughing werewolf, smacked it with the butt of his pistol. Thorn tried to stab it with his father’s sword he had since dubbed Light’s Razor, but ended up stabbing the floor due to the wolf rolling.

Suddenly, the werewolf started convulsing and changed back into a human. The glowing werewolf spirit pounced from Ostivoc into Luna, who immediately changed into a werewolf and turned her new-found claws on Dean, thankfully slashing at nothing but air. This spirit must have had an odd sense of humor, as not hitting Dean filled werewolf-Luna with uproarious laughter, dropping her to her ground. Edgar came up to Luna, his hammer glowing with sacred light, and smote her with the power of Erastil, which didn’t seem to stop this whole situation from being hilarious to her. Dean and Thorn both landed hard blows with their respective weapons, and to that the spirit responded by leaping into Dean, who swung at Edgar, but he deftly parried and retaliated with his glowing hammer. Thorn rolled behind Werewolf-Dean, dodging his claws, and stabbed him yet again. Hal shot a beam of magic from behind Ed, but the shot went wide. Edgar slammed his glowing hammer into werewolf-Deans chest, and hit him so hard the spirit flew out and hit the wall, dissipating on impact. Edgar, the hero of the day, channeled the light of his god to heal the injured party members, and was suddenly distracted.
“You hear that?”
“Yeah,” Hal responded, “footsteps.”
“Let’s go boy!” Ed said, charging out the door.
The party tried to keep up, but Ed and his dog were in quite the rush (rimshot).
They chased Ed and Rush into the tower and up the stairs, and entered a strange room, filled with ritualistic markings. Ed was in the middle of destroying some kind of ritualistic circle.
“Where’s Estovian?” Dean asked
“He used a scroll and went through a portal.” Ed responded.
“Judging from the evidence we’ve collected, there are only two places he could be,” Hal said, “Either here, or the Stairs to the Moon. Or anywhere in between. Or anywhere else.”
There was a silence for a moment as the party digested what Hal had just said.
“Well, thank you for that Hal,” Thorn said, “We should check out the Stairs in the morning.”
Edgar brought Ciles back from the dead, and Thorn headed off to bed. In the morning, Hal, Ed, and Thorn called a meeting in the lodge, asking for volunteers to hunt down the werewolves and the bastard aiding them. Several people volunteered, including Ciles and the resident werewolf hunter, Duristan. The small army then made their way to the Stairs of the Moon lead by Ciles. Not much was said along the way except for a brief conversation where Thorn told Ciles that he too was a general, one who had forged a great deal of victories on the battlefields of the Riverlands. Ciles was dismissive at best.

Arriving at the stairs, the party spotted a great number of werewolves patrolling the grounds. The party stayed out of sight in the forest, developing a plan.
“If you guys can create a distraction, we can get in there, get Estovian, and get out.” Hal suggested.
“Sounds like an excellent plan.” Said Ciles, who seemed quite pleased.
“You’re okay with that?”Asked a puzzled Luna
“Of course! We no longer have any reason to fear death, right lad?” he declared, clapping Ed on the back, who responded with a nervous chuckle.
That was more than enough for the volunteer army, they were ready to lay down their lives for the cause.

With that, Hal began mumbling something, and suddenly he, Ed, Luna, Dean and Thorn all began floating. Thorn held up a hand and said “Skadoosh,” and suddenly became invisible, “I’ll go find the bastard.” And with that, Thorn flew to the second level of the tower where there appeared to be a stairwell leading to an entrance to the tower. Thorn entered the tower and became one with the shadows, gliding across the floor without a sound. He came upon on hallway with two doors, and entered the closest of them to find a room barren aside from some old furniture. Taking a closer look around, he found a hidden door along the wall, and as he cracked it open he was suddenly filled with an excruciating pain.
“Who’s there?!” a voice called from the room
Opening the door all the way, Thorn saw the bastard himself, Estovian, in some kind of laboratory. Thinking of all the people who had suffered because of this bastard’s actions, Thorn was overcome with rage.
“You whoreson dog!” He shouted as he slashed at the fiend.
Bloodied, but now cornered and desperate, Estovian began to mumble some words. Thorn’s rage grew, blinded him, making his next attack swing wide. Before he knew it, his friends were behind him, joining him in battle against the whelk of a man. Estovian’s mumbling stopped as he made a sudden hand motion, and out of the darkness spawned a direwolf, then lightning shot out of his hands, only landing a direct hit on Luna, but grazing Ed and Dean. Thorn tumbled to the other side of the room, taking a weak hit from Estovian, then mumbled “Skadoosh,” instantly turning invisible. Luna then brought her hammer down on the direwolf, reducing it to a splatter on the floor.
Then Hal jumped in and said “Hey! That’s how we get ants!”
Estovian found that to be the most hysterical thing he had ever heard in his life and dropped to the ground laughing. The rest of the party did a collective shrug and took turns taking attacks at the fallen man until he was good and dead.
“We’re running out of time,” said Edgar, hoisting Estovian’s corpse on to Rush, “We need to get out of here before we’re overwhelmed, not to mention check on Duristan, Ciles and the rest.”
With that, the party quit the tower. Thorn, however took the opportunity to stuff as much stuff into his haversack as he could. On his way out, he noticed the other door, and ever the curious Halfling, he decided to see what whas behind it. Inside, he found a corpse of a woman, bearing an iron ring with an odd sigil, a sack of onyx gems, and a map of Ustilav. Satisfied, he whispered, “Skadoosh.” and began to creep back into the daylight.

To be continued.

View
War of the Wolves

Boy, have I had quite the day… It’s me again, Edgar Halfhill, Ustalav investigator. As if ghost werewolves and seductive worm bitches weren’t enough, I just barely weaseled my way out of an all out gang war between a couple werewolf clans. Luckily, Halungalom is a spell-slinging know-it-all, and gave our entire entourage the ability to fly. The guy can be useful at times, despite his engorged ego.

We fly to the edge of Shudderwood, unloading the fresh corpses of the unlucky bastards that decided to follow us into the woods. I guess that’s partly my fault… Men get awfully brave when they think they can’t die. I shake the thought from my head as I look around, taking a head count.

Fuck. Just as I suspected. Thorn‘s still in that tower structure. Even a whiff of treasure and that gold-pinching bastard is gone in a flash. Luckily for both of us, he’s damn good at staying out of the spotlight. I let my partners know I’m going back in to save my brother, and only Luna wants to join me in my fool’s errand. I can’t say I blame ’em.

Luna, Mush and I take off, flying back towards that Thrice-damned tower of death. It doesn’t take long before we can smell the stench of blood. After a few moments, we can see the Stairs of the Moon from above. A large purple butterfly decorates the top of the tower where there aren’t bloody wereworf corpses.

Thorn Halfhill comes into view for a brief moment on a lower platform of the tower, before he vanishes again suddenly. Damn that invisibility ring of his. We land on the outcrop and head directly for the door Thorn was standing next to. I hear his voice next to me, and Mush slows to a stop. I ask him what in the hells he thinks he’s still doing here. He feeds me some bullshit about a pit and some potions he found.

The sound of battle rages on above us, and I remember that a few of the werewolf clans don’t take too kindly to non-werewolves living in their woods. I figure it may be in the best interest of everyone in the lodge if I make sure the side that feels that way doesn’t win. I mull the idea over with my compatriots before we decide it’s probably the best course of action. With a heavy sigh, I hop back up on Mush’s saddle. No one lives forever, right?

We fly up to the top of the tower, passing over a few groups of particularly unpleasant looking flea-bags. Looks like the beastmen Halungalom hit with his sparklers are still having a tough time with it. Hell if I can tell these dogs apart, but one of ‘em in the middle with silver hair seems to match the description of Mathis, the would-be leader of the whole mangy pack. To be sure I’m fighting on the right side, I call out to Mathis, making sure I have his word that he’ll leave man alone if he becomes ruler. He barks in agreement as Luna’s hammer come down on another wolf’s head. Good enough for me…

The fight goes on for quite some time, and at some point Mathis cries out that he’s been betrayed. Hell if I know what’s going on, but it means that we have even more dogs to deal with. Luna dances around the roof, hammer swinging and bodies flying. I swear she get’s a kick out of this. Thorn darts in and out of sight, taking a wolf or two with him as he goes. So much blood… I wonder how Mush is holding up.

After the last body falls, I find myself surrounded only by my brother, Luna, and a single werewolf. After a quick scan around the carnage, I find Mathis’ body. He’s hurt. Bad. Luckily for him, I haven’t lost a patient yet. My hand glows white as I lay it upon the beaten beast, and life re-invites itself into his body.

I ask him what he knows about the Whispering Way, and he points me in the right direction. After our chat, he removes half of a heart from his pouch, and devours it in front of us. I lost what little appetite I had. He declares himself top dog, and runs off with the only other surviving werewolf at that battle. I wish the bastard good luck as I begin to question whether or not healing him was the best idea. I guess I should just be glad we’ve all still got a pulse.

Halungalom‘s magics have worn out at this point, so we decide to walk back to the lodge. It’s a damn shame about this tower though. Minus all the blood and bodies, this’d be a nice spot. That’s when it hits me. The purple butterfly. This is a shrine to Desna, a Goddess aligned with my own. Whether I like it or not, it’s my duty as a paladin to restore this shrine to working order. Don’t wanna piss off the big guy upstairs, after all…

We make it back to the lodge by nightfall. Thorn tells Halungalom and Dean about the battle as Mush and I settle in for the night. I think we’ve earned a restful night’s sleep.

In the morning, I set out to clean up the Stairs of the Moon. Halungalom and Dean decide to join us this time. I guess mop up duty is more appealing than helping make the mess.

We reach the shrine mid morning and begin cleaning. At some point, my brother shows us a scroll he found, indicating how to purify the shrine. After the mess is cleaned up, we begin preparation for the ritual. It’s not like anything weirder could happen, right? Or so I thought.

After the ritual was complete, I heard a voice in my head and saw visions flash before my eyes. We were fighting some shady looking guy in armor, freakish monsters, and worse. The voice told me of the journey ahead of me. It didn’t sound pleasant at all, but I had a feeling it would come to this. I mean why not? The rest of my life hasn’t exactly been all daises and sunshine. After I regained consciousness, I saw the looks on everyone’s faces. They just had the same vision I did, that much was clear. But why? I guess we have to continue on to find out. It takes us a minute to notice, but we all seem to have pale silver eyes now too.

Even though we’ve been travelling together for a while now, this is the first time I really feel like part of a whole. We’re in this together now. For better or most likely worse. Our fate no longer seems to be our own, I’m afraid. I guess all in all though, I could be stuck with a worst group of schmucks.

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