Carrion Crown

The Funeral of Professor Petros Lorrimor

The players, all of whom share some association with Prof Lorrimor, recieve an official-looking letter in the mail. It states that the Professor has passed away, and that each of them has been named as beneficiaries in his will. To claim their inheritance, they journey to Ravengro, a small farming village in the Canterwall province of Ustalav.

Day 1
When they reach Ravengro, they are directed to the Restlands, the cemetery north of town, where the funeral is about to begin.At the gate of the Restlands, they find the Professor’s daughter Kendra and several well dressed townsfolk anxiously waiting by the coffin. Kendra explains that the pallbearers the professor named never arrived and asks the PCs to fill in. They accept, along with one moderately dressed gentleman.

The procession proceeds into the cemetery, but as they round a curve, a group of drunken thugs armed with farm implements steps from behind a crypt. The thugs accuse the Professor of necromancy, and demand that he be buried elsewhere. Kendra, Viktor, and Il-kor attempt to talk them down but they appear too drunk to back down. The players position themselves to guard Kendra and the coffin as the thugs charge.

A quick but brutal melee ensues, as the PCs far outmatch their opponents. Within a few seconds, one thug lies dead and 3 others injured. The remaining thugs, their resolve broken, drag their surviving friends up and quickly flee.

The procession, though shaken, continues to the grave site, where Father Grimburrow delivers a short message. Kendra shares some fond memories of her father, then invites anyone else to do the same. Nervous from the attack, everyone declines. The coffin is lowered, then Kendra invites the PCs back to the estate for the reading of the will.

The Reading of the Will

Day 1 cont.
The PCs accompany Kendra to the Lorrimor estate, which turns out to be a moderately sized home on the south end of town. They wait around for almost an hour before an official walks in, bearing a scroll case. He appears to be in a rush, and quickly calls for the group to be seated in the common area.

(The official is Councilman Vashian Hearthmount, who the PCs recognize as one of the well dressed men who attended the burial.)

As he breaks the seal on the scroll case containing the will, a small key clatters noisily onto the table. He seems perturbed by the interruption and carries on. He explains that the the professor has left each of the PCs 100 platinum pieces, but that the inheritance can only be claimed if two conditions are met.

First: The professor had borrowed a number of sinister tomes from the library at Lepidstadt University, and asks that the PCs return the books to his colleagues there.
Second: He wants the PCs to stay for one month in Ravengro, to ensure that his daughter is safe and sound as she goes about setting his estate in order.

The money has been left in the care of Embreth Daramid, one of the professor’s friends in Lepidstadt with orders that the funds not be handed over until one month after the reading of the will.

Having finished the reading, the official hastily packs up his papers and excuses himself from the house, leaving a copy of the will for Kendra’s records.

An Interesting Read

Day 1 cont.
In the professor’s study, the PCs find the chest of books. They open it with the key from the scroll case. Sitting atop a stack of dusty tomes is a leather-bound book labeled as the Professor’s journal.

The journal indicates that the Professor believed a cult known as The Whispering Way is interested in someone that was imprisoned in Harrowstone. He believed that the Way’s plot could have dire consequences for the town, so he decided to investigate. He was turned back once by the ghosts of Harrowstone, but after acquiring some magical items from a hidden stash in a false crypt at the Restlands, he set out once more.

The last entry in the journal is dated the day he died, and indicates his intent to confront the cultists in Harrowstone. He has little faith in his own abilities, however, so he has left his journal in an obvious location to inform the PCs of his mission.

The Investigation Begins

Upon discovering the news that the Professor may have been murdered by the Whispering Way, the party decides to investigate. Solemn, John, and Il-kor decide to return to the Restlands to find the cache of items. Viktor decides to head into town, so that he can use the temple’s records to research Harrowstone. Jim stays behind at the estate, leafing through the Professor’s books, and attempting to translate one that appears to be written in code.

The group at the Restlands realizes upon arrival that they have forgotten the exact location of the crypt. They send Il-kor back to check. Jim reminds Il-kor of the location, but Il-kor barely leaves the house before he has forgotten it again. Jim sets his book aside and accompanies Il-kor back to the cemetery. In the meantime, John and Solemn ask a pair of gravediggers about the crypt, but receive no aid. When Jim arrives, he directs the group to the proper crypt, which they discover has a broken lock. Inside, Solemn is attacked by two giant centipedes, but the group quickly dispatches them. Within a sarcophagus at the rear of the crypt, they find the items.

Viktor has only minor success in his research, learning some details about the founding of Harrowstone and the night of the fire.

New Arrivals

Day 4
Another group of PCs arrives in town, having been delayed in their travels:
Block – an Inquisitor in the church of Pharasma.
Crunch – A half-ogre fighter.
Mike Hawke – an elven ranger (though he fancies himself a tall gnome.)

They introduce themselves to the previous group and are filled in on the happenings of the past few days.

Winning Hearts and Minds

Day 4 cont.
The party splits up to begin their campaign to win over the townsfolk. Il-kor and Viktor head to The Outward Inn and The Laughing Demon, respectively, and open tabs – letting the bartenders know that after the funeral today, they will be hosting a wake with an open tab.

From there, they head to the jail, where the surviving thugs from the fight are still locked up. They inform the deputy that they are declining to press charges, and ask for the men to be released. The sheriff allows this, and they accompany the newly released men to the General Store, where the men, along with most of the PCs, are fitted for dress outfits for the funeral. During this process, they finally learn the deceased’s name – Jarl Bertan.

Jarl’s funeral is held at roughly 4PM, with all the PCs except Solemn in attendance, along with perhaps a dozen locals. Viktor presents the widow with the funds that they have raised to help her get by with Jarl gone. The memorial includes several inappropriate stories from Jarl’s buddies as they recount previous drunken adventures. When the service ends, Il-kor informs everyone of the open tabs at the two taverns.

Night 4
During the late night of drinking, Block manages to seduce a local farm girl.

Il-kor finds 3 members of the town council drinking at The Outward Inn, and manages to squeeze some rumors about the Whispering Way out of them.

Harrowstone - the First Foray

Day 5
Almost as soon as the day begins, Solemn goes to the general store and purchases some chalk and a shovel. He returns to the estate and issues an ultimatum – either the group attempt an excursion into Harrowstone today, or he will go desecrate and dig up Jarl’s grave, therefore ruining any chance of townsfolk cooperation. Most everyone is digusted by his actions, but they give in, since the investigation seemed to be steering them that way eventually anyway.

After perhaps an hour’s walk south the PCs round a hill to see Harrowstone looming before them. They proceed through the outer walls. At the gate, Crunch experiences a sudden claustrophobia and briefly imagines himself on fire, but it passes so quickly, he dismisses it as wild imagination. A small cottage lies between the looming Harrowstone facility and the gate. Several of the PCs head into the cottage to examine it, but some overzealous searching brings timbers raining down from the roof, injuring several of the searchers.

The party regroups and heads inside, noting on the way in that the balcony above the main entrance seems unstable. Inside, Viktor uses detect undead and declares that the whole area feels saturated with undead energies. As he says that, all the doors leading from the foyer suddenly throw themselves violently open and closed. Crunch smashes one of the doors in response.

They proceed into the western hallway, which turns out to be the offices of the warden and the guards. Viktor and Il-kor salvage several large sheafs of less-scorched prison records for later study. The warden’s office also contains a large safe, but neither Il-kor’s lockpicks nor Crunch’s axe can get it open, so the PCs note its location and continue their exploration.

They also discover the guards washroom and privy. Solemn insists on thoroughly searching the privy, but finds only the waste one would expect.

Chaos in the East Wing

Day 5 cont.
Finding no further chambers in the office wing, the PCs retrace their steps to the foyer and head to the east. The first door they open leads into an auditorium. While exploring near the stage, some of the PCs feel a sudden drop in temperature and experience a brief vision of prisoners lined up to receive sentencing, along with an executioner standing on the stage. Between the vision and the apparent lack of valuables in the room, the PCs move on into an adjoining chamber.

This chamber suffered heavily in the fire. The floor is heavily burned, and the outer wall is collapsed, allowing water from outside to flow in. When the PCs start filing into the room, three flaming skulls rise from a scorched hole in the floor and attack. The skulls are dispatched quickly with almost no injuries. The PCs begin debating on whether to continue exploring the current floor, or go down the hole in the floor to the dungeon levels.

Viktor and John grab a fallen beam and begin tying a rope to it to climb down, but before they finish, Jim suddenly leaps down the hole! He lands roughly and falls unconscious on the stone floor 20 feet below. Solemn, stating that he is an expert climber, immediately attempts to climb down after him (still without the rope, which was briefly forgotten in the surprise of Jim’s leap.) He appears to have a firm grip but the scorched and rotten boards give way, depositing him unceremoniously next to Jim, also unconscious.

By this point, Mike and Il-kor have devised what they believe is a good plan. They secure either end of a 50-foot rope to themselves, then Il-kor dives into the pond. His entry into the water disturbs a trio of skeletons, and combat assumes once more.

Attempting to pull his associate free, Mike leaps into the floor hole. He hits the stone below and barely retains consciousness – however so much slack is left in the rope that Il-kor is still in the water. Il-kor is quickly overcome by his assailants, and things look bad for Mike as well, as two ectoplasmic prisoners manifest in the lower chamber.

As the conscious PCs fight off the skeletons and attempt to pull the unconscious (and possibly drowning) Il-kor from the water. Mike attempts to hide beneath his unconscious friends. He succeeds briefly but is discovered and begins a furious fight for survival. The upper-level PCs dispatch the skeletons and begin to pull Mike up. However the apparitions follow, and soon the upper level contains both an unconscious Mike and the two creatures. Another short battle ensues, with Crunch and Block dealing massive damage to the enemies.

When the dust finally settles, the long-forgotten rope is lowered and Solemn and Jim are recovered and healed, along with Mike and Il-kor. The PCs retreat to the relative safety of town to recover, pausing only to destroy the the foyer doors in frustration when they once more begin slamming.

Avenues of Investigation

Day 5 Cont.
Back at the estate, the group begins sorting through all the prison records that they recovered. A few hours work gets the papers sorted into a usable state, and when the group pitches in to study them, Mike makes some discoveries about Harrowstone’s prisoners, including an intake form detailing the crimes of the Piper of Illmarsh, one of the infamous “Harrowstone Five.”

Night 5
During the night, the memorial is vandalized once more. A second letter has been added so that it now reads “VE.” Viktor theorizes that the vandal is slowly spelling “VESORIANNA,” the name of the warden’s wife.

Day 6
Jim and Block prepare a full day’s allotment of healing spells and finish patching up the party’s wounds from the day before. The party sees on the posting poles in town that the memorial was once again vandalized. They go check it out, and when no one is looking, Il-kor tastes the red substance, declaring it to be blood. The party splits up, Il-kor and John heading to the jail. Viktor, Block, and Mike hide in the treeline near the memorial hoping to catch the vandal visiting the scene of the crime. Crunch, exhausted from the previous day, returns to the estate. Solemn and Jim head into town to look for something “interesting” to do.

At the jail, Il-kor and John learn of a local farmer whose sheep have been disappearing from their field. They offer to assist, and proceed to set up camp in the farmer’s pasture.

Solemn and Jim find out from the bartender that a man named Gibs sells illicit substances at The Laughing Demon after dusk.

A Busy Night

Night 6
Solemn and Jim wait until night and meet with Gibs at The Laughing Demon. They purchase two different types of narcotic from him and rent a room at the inn. They proceed to smoke one that Gibs described as “making you see sh*t.” They have a vision in which iron bars suddenly appear on the inn’s windows and the mattress becomes a pile of moldy straw. Their names begin to be spelled out in blood on the headboard. When Jim’s name finishes, he collapses on the bed, and it appears his throat has been slashed open. Solemn’s name finishes, and he blacks out as well. When they wake, it is morning, and the room is back to normal, but the bloody names remain.

Il-kor and John wait in the sheep pasture outside town, and near midnight, John hears buzzing overhead. He activates a sunrod and reveals two stirges descending towards him. He quickly slays one of them, but the other latches onto his neck. Before Il-kor can kill the thing, it drains a large amount of blood, leaving John weakened.

Viktor, Block, and Mike, who are hiding near a shack within view of the memorial, notice a man approaching the shack counting a stack of gold. He proceeds inside the shack and Mike approaches the window. He sees the man hiding his gold inside but the man spots him and chases him down the road with a shortsword. When the man returns, he sits on his front step with a torch and a sword, watching for Mike to return. Block attempts to sneak up on the man and incapacitate him, but his blow only alerts the man to his presence. Block flees as well, but not before receiving a nasty cut. While the man chases Block, Viktor makes a quick search inside the man’s home but finds nothing of note.

All but Jim and Solemn return to the estate to fill the others in.

Day 7
Block uses spells to heal his sword wound. Il-kor and John present the stirge corpses to the town deputies and claim a reward (though they still wonder how stirges could have carried sheep away.) Viktor sets out to visit the shack again, whistling a tune as he walks, but is attacked by a stirge, which seems to be moving in time with his whistling. He slays it before it can harm him, however. He suspects that the stirge attacks are connected to The Piper of Illmarsh, since they appeared to follow his music, so he visits the jail and urges the sheriff to place a curfew in effect to protect the townspeople until the Harrowstone spirits can be dealt with.

Solemn and Jim clean up the blood in the inn and return to the estate, but tell no one of the visions they saw, since they don’t want to fill the party in on the drugs involved.

John asks the Jim if he has any sort of healing for his weakened state but is told no, so John and Il-kor head to the temple, where they pool their gold to have a lesser restoration cast on John, which brings him almost fully back to health.


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