A short meeting as I was driving back from Jersey and every bridge was a mess, but any game was a good game.
So the ending here was not where I would have planned an end - there was a time I would end all the games on a cliffhanger - but it was a pain in the butt.
Another thing, the party dissolved into thinking/joking that the entire town was undead/vampires and should be killed. I believe it was at the Hospice they would find "Dr. Acula" and have a riotous "Aha!" moment.
The truth is much less of course- unless I change it and go with their ideas.
Write up follows:
We had a few last questions for Lord Quaris Skelt, eventually thanking the nobleman for his time and assuring him that we would be taking care of the situation quickly and quietly. We left, after getting word that Two Cats Inn was a decent place to rest as well as get a good night’s sleep. Soren and Arnog went and got rooms while the rest of the group decided they wanted to take a short trip further along and stop at the Thorian Temple now.
Park Road, past Main Street, was uphill towards the cemetery and temple, the group trudging along as they grew closer to the temple. Once there, they knocked and it was opened to reveal a 5’8”, 440 lb, dark red/brown priest with a mug of beer in his hand. He was boisterous and loud, greeting the group and identifying himself as Father Bjarl, the caretaker of the congregants at Brokenhill and priest of Thor.
We chatted with the priest who shared his beer, took donations from anyone who wanted to throw the hammer at the “frustration wall”, and told us a bit more about Aaron Skelt and how he was found. There was a travelling priest here a week or so ago, on his way northward to Flatrock to help with the plague victims there. He helped identify the body as that of a nosferatu, and with Father Bjarl, performed the ceremony to put the body and spirit to rest. After that he left the next day and the matter was discarded. He made no comment of knowledge of anything regarding Master Potterson, the man who died in a similar manner about 5 days ago and the group didn’t mention it either.
We asked for the chance to check out the body and was told that Friar Morn would be the man to talk to – the local gravetender and undertaker. He lived next door and was a mute, but usually amenable. It was at this time that we accidentally let slip that Brother Beren was a touched priest which had Bjarl surprised and wistfully envious. He wanted to know why Beren wasn’t up at Flatrock ministering the sick and ill and we made up some fast talk about we would be going there after the local issue was resolved to the Skelt family’s liking.
We left the temple and made our way to Friar Morn who pantomimed that he was eating, it was late, and the group should come back tomorrow at 10. The friar was almost 280, 5’10”, and VERY wide and built. It was difficult to speak with him and he was not entirely happy to deal with us but we finished our business and went back to the Two Cats Inn.
Most of the group went up to their room (simple 8x8 chambers) where they divested themselves of their gear and fell asleep. Arnog, Norris, and Soren went downstairs where they had a good time in the common room. Beer was flowing and music was playing and when the time came, Norris took the stage and began to play his bagpipes. His skill was apparent to everyone and in no time he had the entire place rocking and dancing. Even Soren got into the act, his ensorcelled boots giving him a better than average skill at dancing. Coins were thrown and some of the other patrons took to the common room floor to dance.
However, Norris wove some bardic enchantments into his music and sent out a pair of charms to two of the best looking women in the room, one human and one halfling. The two women were rapt, standing at his sides and running their hands across his skin. Some of the other patrons were trying to pull one of the girls away but her emotions were charmed and she shrugged them off, eventually following the half elf up to his room where the 3 of them spent the night.
Come the next morning the party got up and made their way to the common room for breakfast, Norris coming late. He excused both women – the halfling woman leaving with tears and the other one begging to stay with him. He was suave and dismissive – telling her meaningless platitudes about how it’s for the best and he’ll always remember her and just go – it’s for the best.
She went down the stairs and met what seemed to be her fiancée there, her betrothed furious at what happened and the two of them argued in the corner – the other man tense and wound up. Bron watched the exchange and had a nervous look in his eye about it. Time passed and eventually Norris came down, a self-satisfied grin on his lips.
As he entered the common room, the girl in the corner noticed him and gasped, which made the man notice him and grit his teeth. He drew a knife, palmed it, and headed towards Norris when Bron stood up and intercepted him. He told him it wasn’t worth it and the two of them talked briefly. The man wanted to take out Norris, some sort of sorcery or hexcraft, she was a virgin and betrothed to him for 2 years, very out of character. Offered to hire Bron to take out Norris but Bron suggested he just leave and don’t do something stupid. Man said that he was going to the temple of Thor and make a declaration of Witchery and see what happens next and then left. Bron came back to the table and there was some short words about what transpired – it did not sit well.
Group was going to go to See Friar Morn when they noticed that Arnog still wasn’t back yet. Soren offered to go look for him upstairs while the rest of the group was going to take a quick look around town and then head for the Friar’s place. On looking upstairs, no Arnog. Soren then went to Madame Greenbelt’s, no Arnog. Sighing, he crossed town to the other brothel, Velvet Bonds. No Arnog. Very much not in character. He went to join the rest of the group at the Friar’s.
Party went past the Temple of Thor where some of the populace was getting together before services. At the Friar’s they communicated with the mute Friar for a bit who was still surly at the party, but seemed friendly to the locals who came and talked to him. Henian, the proprietor of the Bathhouse bid hello to the group and told Morn that he would be seeing him soon about some books the Friar wanted to read. Eventually Soren showed up and we all went into the cemetery.
Morn unlocked the gate and then shut it and locked it behind him. Then we went with him to the Skelt crypt, unlocked that tomb, and we entered. There were space for 12, 6 filled. He took out Aaron’s coffin and the group helped him open it. Inside was the dead Aaron Skelt, as beheaded as we had been told he was. Brother Beren cast a prayer on the body, telling us it was both dead and undead, getting confusing readings.
Norris was going to lift the head with some bars but was getting spooked out. So it was a flask of holy water and then the entire group just stood there stunned except for Bron the monk. What the hell? Aaron’s eyes flashed at the monk and it hissed, “You should be asleep,” and a wave of energy hit Bron who rocked back but did not pass out. He willed his body to action, flooding his form with adrenaline as he went on the defensive, Aaron Skelt’s body assaulting him. There was a brief conflict and test of wills but Skelt’s body dissolved to a horde of gnats, maggots, worms, and flies, cascading across the room and dropping into what cracks and holes were there.
And then the rest of the group moved again. Bron tried to explain what he saw but the group looked in the coffin and saw Aaron’s body in there. It even felt real. Only through great will was Bron able to show that his hand was passing through the body but the illusion was made of shadow magic and behaved real to everyone. While listening through the ground for where the bugs had gone, Bron heard a hollow part of the stone floor. He willed it brittle, weakening the stone, and then smashed it hard – shattering a 3’ square opening with a rung of a ladder going down.
Morn grew frantic at this and made many negative motions with his hands before leaving the group as the Friar fled the cemetery. The group was going to go down into the dark square hole, looking about with a keen eye and some trepidation – what was down there?