Rise of the Runelords

A Friend In Need Part 1
is a friend indeed

16 Lamashan 4707

The battle is over, and Xanesha is dead. The town guard come to investigate the commotion. They quickly ascertain what’s happened and after a bit of debriefing they are released to return to their lodgings and rest for the night.

Sisters are doing it for themselves
More thickening of the plot

16 Lamashan 4707

The party gather at the base of the Shadow Clock in the Underbridge district. Entering the base of the tower they are encountered by a large misshapen creature – which is a flesh golem wielding a scythe.

It’s a tricky fight but the group defeat it without too much damage. Scaling the steps in the tower brings them up to a large room with four giant bells. as they ascend Tig notices figures moving around the frame that supports the bells. Suddenly on the bells breaks away from its frame and crashes down taking out a chunk of stair with it. Everyone manages to avoid falling, and they quicken their pace to get to the top. After avoiding a second bell, they face the creatures that have been sabotaging the tower. They find that they are the same shapeshifting aberrations that were at the Foxglove mansion and quickly defeat them.

Emerging out from the stairs they enter a large open space at the top of the tower with no on around. As they are searching around they are suddenly surprised by a demon that appears flying around the tower and blasts them with spells. As they retaliate, Rena and Samoth notice something is amiss – their attacker is an illusion. At that moment, Rose is attacked by an invisible figure, which materialises into a hybrid of woman and massive snake.

This battle is hard fought and several of the party come close to death, but eventually they prevail. They recover two powerful magic items, the Impaler of Thorns and the Medusa Mask. As the dust settles, they search the area and find a note from an unknown party referring to a wider conspiracy.

Brotherhood of Man
and the return of a familiar face

16 Lamashan 4707

The party go to the Seven’s Sawmill to investigate the Brotherhood of the Seven. There they find a large structure with several people busy around it. Tig attempts to investigate but is confronted. Upon being told quite rudely to leave, they all decide to go in, but the ground floor is now deserted. Moving up the floors they are attacked constantly by men in strange robes with even stranger mask wielding long razors that drip with poison.

Eventually they make to the top floor to encounter the leader of this Brotherhood – it is none other than Justice Ironbriar – the elf that convicted and sentenced Tsuto, Orik and Lyrie for their parts in Nualia’s plot to destroy Sandpoint.

And then the party is shocked to see Tsuto kneeling by Ironbriar. The murderous judge is not able to stop himself gloating at the group before ordering Tsuto to attack them. When Tsuto hesitates, Ironbriar flies into a rage and again orders his son to attack. Rena counters by reminding Tsuto of their childhood and when the judge insults the memory of Tsuto’s mother it provokes Tsuto to attack – but his target is not the party but Ironbriar himself.

The battle is swift and bloody and at the end of it Ironbriar and the brotherhood lie destroyed.

A searching of the area reveal a disturbing room of trophies of victims of the murderous cult, as well as a journal that shows that Ironbriar was receiving support from a Lady Xanesha – that name again!

Xanesha is revealed to be hiding in the Shadow Clock – an old building in the slum area of the city. As the guards come to investigate the events at the sawmill, the party moves on to confront the person pulling the strings…

Tragedy of the Foxgloves Part 2

16 Lamashan 4707
The party arrives at Magnimar and proceeds to the Foxglove townhouse. Upon enquiring about it they discover that it is currently inhabited – by none other that Aldern and Iesha Foxglove! They confront the inhabitants to discover that they are shapeshifting aberrations. A swift combat ends their deception and the group proceed to search the property. A deed is located that shows that the Foxglove family borrowed money from the Brothers of the Seven to fund the purchase of the home. The deed refers to the Seven’s Sawmill as the home of these Brothers.

Tragedy of the Foxgloves Part 1

14 Lamashan 4707

Rose is restrained and the party realises that they are living the memories of inhabitants of the house. They continue up through the house until they reach a room that sobbing is coming from. Entering the room they encounter a woman, clearly dead who is looking in a mirror crying. When they disturb her, she’s shrieks “Aldern!” and flies into a rage barging past them and down the corridors. They struggle to keep up with her, but manage to follow her to the basement and past a number of locked doors and passages until they encounter her attacking Aldern, who has become a ghoul.

She is his dead wife, Iesha, who he murdered while possessed by the spirit of his grandfather, as his father had done before him. They aid Iesha in the desruction of Aldern, and in doing so free her spirit from its undead state.

Searching around they discover that Aldern’s grandfather had attempted to become a lich, but his wife had interrupted the transformation and his spirit had become trapped in the mansion almost as a phylactery. This spirit had come to possess the male descendents of the Foxglove line causing misery for their families through the years.

The party also finds a note to Aldern from a Lady Xanesha that indicates her support of his activities, that his debt to “the Brothers” will be paid in full and also refers to a townhouse he owned in Magnimar. They decide to go back to the big city, but first they excise the spirit of the grandfather and destroy the house.

The Misgivings Part 2
It's all gone a bit Scooby Doo

14 Lamashan 4707

After rising, Rose casts Remove Disease on Tig to clear her affliction. The party then set off for the Manor.

After a few hours they approach a decrepit building, and enter through the front door. The house is in a ramshackle state, full of mouldy belongings. They move from room to room, with an oppressive atmosphere overbearing them.

Strange visions assail members of the group:

  • Samoth is forced to dance by a spectre of a dark haired woman, and in another room he is gripped by the need to protect his child and drags Kaz out
  • Rose experiences a vision of being Aldern’s wife and being strangled by Aldern
  • Kaz is attacked by a vision of a burning manticore and is set alight
  • Samoth and Tig find a diseased rat, blind and full of tumours

They also see a set of stained glass windows depicting a necromantic box from within which emerge a treant, a roc, a sphinx and a kraken.

When Samoth and Kaz leave the house, they discover that thousands of decaying crows have settled near the front of the house. Samoth fireballs the birds rather than take any risks.

Everyone gathers outside the house, having been driven from it. They compare notes and one of the visions suggests that something bad is happening in the basement. They re-enter and then Tig and Rose hear sobbing from upstairs.

They all move upstairs and move through the corridors heading for the attic. on this floor:

  • Rena experiences a vision of being a small boy seeing his parents trying to kill each other
  • Rena finds a gallery of portraits of members of the Foxglove family, which change to show them dead by various means before a mass of tumours and fungus explode in the room
  • Samoth and Kaz find another set of stained glass depicting a scorpion, a vampire, a deathwing moth, belladonna and a maiden about to be killed. Neither Samoth or Kaz quite understand what this depicts

Tig, Samoth and Kaz move up to the attic finding rooms full of repair materials and linen. Rose and Rena look at the other rooms on the first floor. The first room they find appears to be the master bedroom. Rose is assailed by a vision being Aldern receiving the ire of his wife Iesha. She is filled with misogynistic rage and attacks the nearest woman – Rena…

The Misgivings Part 1
It's all gone a bit Scooby Doo

13 Lamashan 4707

The party sets off early in the morning heading to the Foxglove Manor. After a few hours they are nearing the Foxglove River when Tig spies an odd group of buzzards circling over a farm. The group move in to investigate.

Moving stealthily ahead, Tig notices a scarecrow that is moving. She approaches cautiously and hears it moaning for help. She fetches everyone else and they bring the scarecrow down and find a very ill person inside the sackcloth clothing on the edge of dying from Ghoul Fever. He tells them how the farm was attacked two days ago by ghouls and everyone was strung up as scarecrows.

The PCs decide to investigate further, and Baztarj determines that there are 19 scarecrows. Moving to the nearest one, Tig approaches stealthily and then prods it with her spear. It shrieks loudly, prompting more shrieks to erupt across the fields of corn.

Samoth takes to the air to scout around. The rest gather at a crossroads to await what is coming. After a few moments, Samoth sees a ghoul running through the corn. He follows it peppering it with blasts from his disrupt undead spell. It reaches the party and is finally dispatched.

All told, 13 ghouls come at the PCs in waves but are little trouble for the well prepared group. They move on to the farm buildings to find a barn and and farmhouse, apparently deserted.

Samoth circles overhead, while the rest debate what to do. Then suddenly a window on the farmhouse bursts open as a ghoul crashes through to attack Tig. A foul smell surrounds it, but the party resist the sickening effect – it’s a ghast. The ghast bites Tig and she is paralysed.

Then the barn doors are thrown open and six ghouls emerge and attack Rose and Kaz. Rose resists the paralysis, but Kaz is afflicted. Samoth reacts first and fireballs the 6 ghouls, leaving them barely clinging on to existence. From this point the battle is quickly over.

In the aftermath, it is determined that Tig has been infected with Ghoul Fever. The party decide that they had best go back to Sandpoint to help the two survivors that are near death, as well as Tig.

They journey back to Sandpoint and bring the Sheriff up to date on events. Zantus tends for the two farm workers, while Rose looks after Tig. Samoth sells off the items that have been collected so far and the party rest for the night.

Doctor in the House Part 2
It's not really Hippocratic

13 Lamashan 4707
Rose prays for a lesser restoration, and applies it to Grayst. When he wakes he recalls the night as best he can. It is clear that he was attacked by a ghoul. When the name “The Misgivings” is repeated Samoth and Rena both remember that it is the nickname for the Foxglove Manor, and the group realise that Aldern Foxglove involved. They decide to wait another night and leave early in the morning for the Manor to get there at dawn the next day.

Doctor in the House Part 1
It's not really Hippocratic

12 Lamashan 4707

Grayst is bashing against his cell door and the doctor has fled downstairs.

The party decide to apply a Remove Disease scroll, and while this is happening, Samoth scouts downstairs.

The spell appears to work and Grayst falls into unconsciousness. As Samoth moves down the stairs he hears the sound of a dooor being hammered against. He reaches the bottom to see the two orderlies waiting in the common area, and Dr Habe hammering against a door.

Samoth reacts quickly and casts a web that fills the room. This buys enough time for everyone to get in place. Samoth drops the spell and the group attack. In the midst of the fight the door that Habe wanted to open, swings open and zombies emerge followed by a Wizard with a Mirror Image running.

Samoth sends an earth elemental after the wizard, which appears to be unaffected by the mirror image. The battle is fairly swift and ends with the wizard and the orderlies dead, and Dr Habe captured.

The group tie up the doctor and then move to the top floor to check on Grayst. He appears to be healthy, but weak. They also have a conversation with another prisoner, who is keen to be let out.

Exploring further they find a room that is clearly used for some kind of experimentation. Sensing what has been going on, Rena drags the doctor upstairs and he is bound to a chair. Rena applies healing and then the group proceed to question him.

It appears that the doctor has been experimenting on Grayst and also the other prisoner that is apparently a lycanthrope. He believes that he is seeking a cure, and seems quite dispassionate about the fate of his test subjects claiming that their sacrifice is worth it.

Baztarj is sent to fetch help from Sandpoint while this is going on, and when a contingent arrives the building is secured and everyone rests.

Murder Most Foul Part 2
It's all gone grisly

12 Lamashan 4707

They arrive early in the morning. Crossing the bridge into Sandpoint, they notice a gathering outside the Lumber Mill. Approaching the group of villagers, they see two guards keeping the curious throng away from the Mill. The guards urge them to go in and she the Sheriff.

Entering the Mill they see a most unpleasant sight. It is a scene of utter chaos and carnage. Lying partially in the machinery of the saw is the remains of a woman. An hung on a wall is the mutilated corpse of a man – one of the sawmill operators, Benny Harker. Carved into is chest is the seven pointed star – the Sihedron Rune and attached to Benny’s body is a note to Rena:

“You will learn to love me, desire me in time as she did. Give yourself to the Pack and it shall all end. Your Lordship”

Tig jokes that Rena had been the subject of unwanted attention by that fop immediately after the goblin attack.

Rena surmises that the woman may be Katrine Vinder. The sheriff tells them that this is the second murder scene they have had in 4 days. The first involved 3 bodies, which they were led to by a raving local thug. The bodies had the same rune carved into them, and the same note.

The group investigate the scene and find:

  • All of the bodies and track smell of rotting meat
  • Benny has had his face ripped of and jaw removed
  • An axe on the floor has bloody fingerprints and grey ichor and flesh on the blade
  • The footprints in the sawdust indicate a chaotic event, and that one of the sets are of bare feet. Botht Benny and Katrine wear shoes
  • There are muddy footprints on the pier, with signs of claws on the feet

Rose looks carefully at the flesh on the axe and, managing to keep down her nausea, she determines that the clues likely point towards undead creatures such as Ghouls or Ghasts.

Arriving at the Garrison, Rena goes to speak to Ibor Thorn who discovered the body. She coaxes him to tell about Benny, the secret rendezvous with Katrine. He also mention that it was a secret from Katrine’s father Ven because of Ven’s lengendary temper. Ibor also says he think’s Benny had been skimming from the mill’s profits and that the owners (the brutal Scarnetti family) would take a very dim view and the repercussions could have been fatal.

In the basement, the rest of the party inspect the bodies, which have been preseved with a Gentle Repose. The bodies are in the same state as poor Benny Harker. Faces mutilated, jaws removed and a Sihedron Rune carved into their chest.

Everyone hears commotion at the garrison entrance and move swiftly to find out what’s happening. They see two guards manhandling Ven Vinder who is raving and fighting the guards. Kazillion decides to hide from the hysterical man. Ven sees the party and starts shouting at them, accusing them of being the cause of all of this death. Rena becomes quite angry and summoning all of her forceful character calms him down.

They decide to visit Bodert Quink to see what his investigations into Thassilon have turned up. After escorting Ibor back to his home, they go up to the Sage’s home. Brodert comes down to the door looking sleepy.

During the conversation they ascertain:

  • The rune is a general symbol of the Empire of Thassolin
  • It signifies many things – The seven lords of Thassilon that ruled after the death of the first emperor, the seven virtues of the empire and the seven schools of magic praised by the empire (Divination was not viewed as important)
  • Brodert believes that Thassilon fell approximately 10,000 years ago
  • Brodert believes that the empire was a cruel and dangerous place and that the seven virtues became corrupted and turned into the seven classic sins

Tig starts to wonder about the sage and asks where he was last night and four days ago. Brodert becomes slightly flustered and says he was alone in the ruins below the city. Not everyone in the party seems entirely convinced, but they decide to move onto the graveyard to see if there has been any sign of disturbance that might indicate undead.

Finding nothing of interest, Samoth sends Baztarj over to the opposite side of the river to see if there are signs of tracks there. The bird spots some tracks, so they all move over to the marshy land opposite the mill.

Finding tracks, Rose manages to follow them for a mile before losing them. Samoth manages to pick up the trail and they lead onto the Devil’s Platter, a stony shelf that rises above the hinterlands. Losing the trail here, they decide to follow the direction of travel southwards. They eventually reach the edge of the Platter and Rena recalls that near here are an old ruin and also the Sanitorium, where the witness from the first murders has been sent.

They travel first to the ruins. This is a perfect hollow cylinder rising 30’ from the ground and is hollow. They climb to the top and Baztarj flies into the hollow with a torch. Discovering it is at least 80’ deep, and with no means of scaling this they decide to go to the Sanitorium.

Arriving as day turns to dusk, they hammer on the door until a very grumpy man opens the door. A terse conversation commences, and eventually Rena manages to persuade him to let them in. He takes them to top floor to see the witness Gryst Sevilla. They pass 3 other inmates, as well as at least one orderly – a deformed thuggish looking Tiefling.

Rena starts to talk to Gryst and after his delirious ramblings he notices her and moves to the window.

“He said. He said you would visit me. His Lordship. The one that unmade me said so. He has a place for you. A precious place. I’m so jealous. He has a message for you. He made me remember it. I hope I haven’t forgotten. The master wouldn’t approve if I forgot. Let me see… let… me… see…”

“He said that if you came to his Misgivings, that if you joined his Pack, he would end his harvest in your honor.”

Grayst looks very ill. His skin is drained of colour and there is a brown stain blooming on his shoulder through the straight jacket he has been put in.

Rena turns to the manager of the Sanitorium, Erin Habe, and asks to be allowed in to treat the poor man. Erin protests that they cannot enter as it is too dangerous. They all say they can handle it, and that he needs help. Erin says that they cannot enter and besides, Grayst is an interested research case. This makes Rena quite angry and she protests quite angrily, Rose also threatens violence.

Erin shouts at them to leave, and as it becomes clear to him that the group is more likely to accost him, he flees downstairs.

The party now have to decide what they are to do next…


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