Carrion Crown

Day 86

Upon arriving in Caliphas, the PCs learn that the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye has a local chapter. Using the name of their contact of Judge Daramid, they can find Haraday Hall where the group meets.

Bartholomew Marshman’s Oddities, Magical & Religious Goods, neice – Mildred; has a Moribund Eye that the PCs find with “locate object.” Bart will sell it if they investigate the recent discoveries of ashy, human-shaped outlines on the inn’s roof. Inside each ashy remains is a wooden stake.

Innkeeper: Baldrus MacGuffin
Town guard: Rufus and Marvin told about the vampire ashes found

They check the inn and find the unoccupied room was used to haul the bodies out onto the roof. The one in the alley fell from the roof and ashed when the sun rose and hit it.

They visited the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye and learned that:
- Lorena Divaliet, Witch, working on a number of elixirs to aid anti-aging / vampire thralls
- Count Lucinean Galdana Visiting Caliphas to attend royal court, Only a member because he must be, Would rather hang with fighters than diplomats
- Edjureus Modd, Master of the Caliphas chapter of the Order
- Abraun Chalest:Curator of Quarterfaux Archives, occasionally borrows materials for the Order. Has a key to the Esoteric Vaults in the basement. His research reveals that the Way may be targeting Prince Ordranti
- An idol called “Whispering Gargoyle” statue, found in the graveyard, is the path to finding the WW

Mildred offered a ritual of Desna to help restore their mental illness and Bart sold them the Moribund Key.

An entity calling himself “Ram” approached them in the street as a gaseous form and told them the WW was trying to distract them with the vampire killings and incite the vamps to retaliate against the town.

Then they went to the graveyard and found the gargoyle. The Moribund Key turned the gargoyle toward the south, and then it slide back to reveal a staircase winding down into the darkness. The party was attacked by a number of Morghs and Soul Eaters.

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Day 75 - 85

The PCs returned to Illmarsh and made arrangements for the remaining townsfolk and children, then set off for Caliphas by land. On the way to the city, they encountered a handful of bandits who set upon them. They were finally able to defeat most of the scoundrels, with the last one running off.

Entering Caliphas, Tattianna used “locate object” to detect one of the WW’s symbols in town. They followed the aura to Marshman’s Oddities, where they encountered both Bartholomew Marshman and his niece Mildred. The symbol they found turned out to be a Moribund Key, an artifact worth 40k gold. The key can be used to open WW-sealed locks. Bartholomew agreed to barter with the party if they would be willing to investigate the recent discoveries of ashy human-like outlines found on the roof of the nearby inn.

The PCs also learned that the large ornate building behind the oddities shop is the guild hall of the Caliphas Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye. The inhabitants refused to open the door when Rurik knocked, and then refused to even acknowledge his presence.

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Day 74 pt 2

From out of the portal emerged 3 Elder Things which the party handily defeated. Continuing to explore the caverns below the Tern Rocks, they encountered:

G8: Shrine of Father Dagon

- Zhabh-Boath
- Mi-Go x2
- Shrine to Dagon – now Shub Niggurath
- Raven’s tongue mace

G10: Garden Grotto

- light source from the vegetation here
- compost of foul-smelling black soil (turns out to be dead humans and skum)
- DC 18 Perception; west wall is unnaturally smoothed; used to be an exit to other tunnels but mi-go sealed it with one of their instruments
- Metal device in the middle, small opening at one end, large blood and gore-spattered opening at the other (mi-go wood chipper)
- stack of bodies, all with the tops of heads cut off and brains removed; one is Mayor Greedle

G11: Laboratory dome

- clear circular dome top, ocean is above
- incomprehensible equipment, surgical tables
- 2x mi-go operating on a naked human male on one of the tables; he is still barely alive and is the Dark Rider from Auren Vrood’s vision; a skum is strapped to the second surgical table
- His head explodes as a spawning canker but he’s still strapped down
- Once mi-go are defeated, the 2 bodies strapped to surgical tables explode into Dark Young; outside in the ocean, a portal opens and the PCs can see through it to the manifestation of Shub Niggurath – fins, mouths, tentacles, hooves, un-lidded eyes
- Killing the Dark Young will close the portal

Working frantically, they are able to destroy both Dark Young before the great incomprehensible Shub Niggurath can break through the portal into this world and shatter the dome over this laboratory.

They work their way back to the corridor with the odd, rainbow lights and find:

G9: Brain archive

- worked stone straight walls and level floor
- 23 strange copper and glass cylinders along all four walls, each atop stone pedestals; 14 hold brains in a bluish fluid
- Mayor Greedle’s brain is among them, as are a few skum and fosterling women

The party members also discover the Face of Dagon (Seasage Effigy) idol with a paper wrapped around it. The paper turns out to be a letter to the Dark Rider with his instructions. This answers the question of where they are to go next.

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Day 74

A dying Ulat-kini told the members what the skum were up to. They found Croon and he took them in a submersible out to the Tern Rocks. They went down into the water until they found the cave; upon entering, they killed the 3 dimensional shamblers waiting for them. A portal began to form, and….
<scene>

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Day 73 pt 2

The trials of the past few days have taken a severe toll on all the PCs, but perhaps none so much as our two dwarves. Rurik has had some sort of mental break, obvs, and Bazgar (formerly Pound) is now suddenly claiming to be someone named Gratchet and has no recollection of any of the others, where they are, or why.

Tattiana, Elian, Fairlight, and Gratchet decide to bring the baby back to Horace Croon in Illmarsh; they intend to ask him to deliver the babe to Cesadia of the Sleepless in Thrushmoor. This is their only (relatively) close ally, and they have little choice but to trust the inventor and Cesadia to help the child.

Rurik and Tripsin stay to watch the house. Rurik is definitely acting out of frustration and horror at himself as he tries to smash down walls and/or burn the mansion to the ground (which would remove their only path forward toward the current goal, bee tee dubs). By 3pm, the rest of the party is back and ready to take the dimension door to wherever it might lead.

It leads directly to a tunneled slide which deposits them rudely into a large cavern. Here they’re confronted with the preserved body of the Pact-Forger, ol’ Cassius Undiomede himself. They check out the nearby lectern holding Cassius’s journal, which provides them with a deeper knowledge of the Neighbors, what they are (skum / ulat Kini), what they aren’t (female), and what they need (breeding women).

Down one path, the party members where ambushed by Iq’lothatuaa, the Insane Broodchief and 6 skum. They then moved into a central cavern, known as the Fosterling Nursery, where they encountered a single living woman in a room full of dried out husks, rocking a dead baby. The party then moved forward an encountered the Color out of Space, an alien lifeform that was apparently responsible for the dehydration going on around here. They caused enough damage to force it into retreat, and then explored some more. The only path out appears to be flooded and then blocked by falling debris and rubble. The did locate an enchanted helm, and there may more treasures in the nasty-smelling garbage dump. They party members need to thoroughly explore the cave tunnels for an exit.

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Day 72 pt 2 - Day 73

While in the Order of the Recondite Sea temple, Vicar Caleb Voltairo came out of his quarters to confront the party. After summoning oozes to help attack them, Caleb fell in battle causing the oozes to double in size. The party eventually killed them as well, and then continued to explore. They located the secret rooms in this cathedral, and found two Scions of the Sea magically tethered there to protect the Orders’ “fostering rooms."

After defeating both Scions, the party members each began to experience some psychological problems:

- Tatiana is experiencing some psychosis; the possible results are as yet known
- Rurik is troubled with paranoia and has difficulty accepting help
- Fairlight is occasionally displaying a dissociated personality
- Tripsin has developed a phobia of green creatures
- Elian has been troubled with some mild, short-term amnesia
- Bazgar already has his share of mental health issues — plus, he’s also experienced things like these before

In one of the fostering rooms, a terrified couple tells of having brought their infant daughter here for fostering. The child is nowhere to be found.

The party members found a stack of corpses all missing heads, plus one corpse dressed as a wealthy merchant. They found a note in his pocket directing him to meet the Rider at the Old House, which Croon later tells them is the old Undiomede mansion. The corpses’ heads appear to have exploded.

Rurik sanctifies the church and then burns it. He drags the statue to Dagon out into the street and destroys it. Tripsin consecrates the temple to Desna as his vision has instructed.

Fairlight wandered off to do some shopping, and then met back up with the party to go see Croon. Croon answered questions about the Neighbors, the Dark Rider, Fostering, and Undiomede House.

The party headed down the dusty swamp path to Undiomede House:
Undiomede House is a 200-year-old, two-story stone manse built on the shore of a small, swampy lake near the edge of the Soddentimbers, 2 miles east of Illmarsh. The house is constructed of mortared stone for both interior and exterior walls. As a result it has weathered the years fairly well despite 7 decades of abandonment. The ground floor has flagstones, while the floors of the second story are wood and sag alarmingly (though they are sound unless
otherwise noted). The ceilings are 10 feet high unless otherwise stated. The wooden roof sags and is riddled with holes, allowing the elements to ravage whatever furnishings once stood in the house. The house’s wooden doors remain intact (though they can easily be broken with a DC 5 Strength check), but all of its windows are now little more than gaping openings in the walls with only a few fragments of glass in their remaining wooden frames. The house consists of two wings around a central dome with a cupola and widow’s walk. Unlike the wooden roof covering the rest of the house, the stone dome is still intact.

Inside the house, they found the central circular section of the house was built around an old ritual site. They were attacked by a Marsh Giant, then they found one of the moits of Shub-Niggarath along with a tome on the Outer Gods of the Dark Tapestry in the central altar. Elian and Tripsin investigated this, while Rurik and Bazgar eliminated the moit using a frost spell. Rurik then disintegrated the altar with no effect. They explored part of the main floor, and discovered the Dark Rider’s abandoned starving and dehydrated horse. Tattiana began caring for it.

Upstairs they discovered the Vizier Albor Voltiaro searching a room. Once he was dead, the slugspawn that had infected him exploded from his skull and attacked them, as well. Bazgar and Fairlight also killed the slugs that emerged from him. The party located a round disk of sorts that may have something to do with the Phase Door lock in the circular entrance.

In the nursery, they found a page from Manus Undiomede’s journal, explaining the end of this family line and that the Undiomedes not only participated in the Pact, whatever that is, but their founding ancestor is the one who forged the Pact. Manus killed his father when he discovered what was to become of his baby sister.

The party, upon further exploration of the upper floor, was attacked by two Hounds of Tindalos that materialized in the master bedroom. Bazgar found something in the attic, and then took the stairs up to the cupola where he saw a huge monster land on the dome above.

The party fought not just one, but two, Shantak on the roof / cupola / widow’s walk.

At the end of this battle, sorely bruised and beaten, the party heard an infant begin to wail. They stormed back into the mansion and located the babe in the arms of the last vicar. The vicar placed the child on the ground and prepared to defend himself. Rurik, surprising everyone, targeted and killed the baby. Fairlight immediately resurrected the child. Here we leave most of the party members wandering about the compound aimlessly with haunted eyes and demeanors.

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Day 72

The party is camped about 1 hr outside of Illmarsh; they set up watches. Bazgar waited until Rurik was asleep and then put his hand in water. The ploy works, and Rurik wakes up warm and damp. In retaliation, he inks everyone’s face except Tattiana (who was on watch).

The next morning, they make their way into Illmarsh and start asking around about the dark rider. They’re told that “no one has been through in months, except for Gaster Lucas.” Gaster Lukas is an import/export merchant in town to set up some deals. Elian, Tripsin, and Tattiana investigate his room at the end and see that it hasn’t been occupied for days. The other rented rooms show evidence of recent stays, but nothing of interest.

Meanwhile Rurik and Bazgar question the barkeep at the Wall-Eyed Kraken but get no info. Fairlight learns that Gaster is tall and heavier, with gray hair, and dresses like he has coin. They also learn that Horace Croon, the inventor, has a house here in town.

Their nosiness attracts the attention of the Mayor, Early Greedle. He sends the sheriff to escort them to his office where he comes clean: there have been disappearances, and he feels like a puppet of the Vizier (HMFIC at the Recondite Order of the Indomitable Sea, the local temple to Gozreh). He asks for the party’s help in resolving the disappearances and finding any information that will help him depose the Order.

The party is firmly escorted from the Temple, but Elian and Rurik manage to use invisibility and Ghost Sound to sneak back in. They find four “priests” chanting “Dagon, Dagon,, R’lyeh, Dagon,” and eventually end up killing them. They are just about to explore further when TO BE CONTINUED flashes on the screen.

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Day 69 pt 3 - 71

By 6pm that evening, they had retired to the Flute and Strings Inn in Thrushmoor. Bazgar found a trader to sell him another keg of black powder. Fairlight noticed two men playing Mumblety-Peg, one of whom was cheating. He and Elian helped the cheated man get his money back.

The morning of Day 70, Tripsin received his info on the Way from Cesadia. Then they set out for Illmarsh. Just an hour or so outside of Thrushmoor, they came up the inventor Horace Croon, attempting to bring his boat to pier during a sudden storm. They party looked on as they boat crashed, and then they helped Croon to shore. During this time, they were ambushed by Naga. That evening, the party members had some odd dreams.

Rurik: dense fog – he must search to find his salvation
Fairlight – facing a group of people and asking them questions, suddenly realizes they can’t all be telling the truth.
Bazgar – scaling a mountain, he gets tot he top to see an army charging up the other side.

After rising on Day 71, the party gets most of the way to Illmarsh before dark. They will only have about an hour or so of travel before reaching the town.

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Day 67-69

The party decided to lay in wait for the WW reps to come back to the warehouse. While waiting, Bazgar went through the books in the office and discovered that the warehouse was simply a front for the organization. Most of the equipment and food stores here are not even documented in the ledgers.

As the three men enter, Bazgar engaged them, prompting a fight. The party defeated the WW reps and then spent the next day selling off the contents of the warehouse. Following the sale, hey burned the warehouse down. Rurik spent the day consecrating the bodies of those killed. On the morning of day 69, the party followed the river down to Thrushmoor, where Tattiana took down a wild boar for their meal.

The decided to investigate the treasure marked on the map from the ogres and located a small metal statuette of Calistria (goddess of trickery, lust and revenge), the image of a slender woman with a wasp for a head. They also found part of a skeleton pinned down by an anchor – his bony wrist still wore a bracelet with the words “The Sleepless” engraved on it.

They used magic to speak with the skull and learned that this man, Pietro, was killed by his lover’s husband. He asks that they bury his remains next to his love, Maria Bissonnette-Sardou. While they are “speaking,” Tripsin summons the spirit of Pound who tells them that Bazgar Ungrav is indeed alive.

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Day 67

On the morning of Day 67, the young dwarf they party has come to know as “Pound” tells a story. In this story, the tale of Clan Hammerhaft and Five Kings Mountains is revealed to the party members and they discover that the dwarf is named Bazgar. Bazgar tells them that the one he knew as “Pound” was actually killed by a Priest of Torag.

All of this is rather strange and disconcerting to the team, however, they listen readily and seem to accept Bazgar as one of their own.

The party move through Rozenport, speaking to Major Cromwall, Fergus Deadblaze, and finally, Mayor Sharpbrook before finally receiving 600 gp for the heads of the cave trolls and hill giants removed from the city over-look. One of the party members asks about any news of the Whispering Way, and due to his exceeding diplomacy, is directed via a crude map to a large warehouse in town called “Morehouse Wares.” Inside, they discover a trap door down into a series of caves. Inside one of the cave alcoves, they unfortunately open a chest containing a powerful sedative gas and each of them falls fast asleep.

When they awake, they find themselves stripped of valuables, gear, and weaponry, and chained to a tall metal pole in the center of a disc that is secured in four places by chains to the area surrounding it. A total of 8 guards are there, at 2 least two of whom are manning the machinery and preparing to drop the party members deep into a spike abyss.

One by one, they manage to break their bonds and narrowly escape instant death. The guards are defeated and one is saved for questioning. He relates that a man named “Mathieu Chiquet” hired him and he knows only that the man intended to send a message to whomever is directing the party toward the Way.

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