The group is still in the gathering information stage of this "what the hell is going on" adventure - they had stumbled quite early on to one of the things I was going to have hidden - Aaron Skelt is an undead. There was to be some subterfuge and misleading that would make it seem like certain crazies are saying something that isn't true. But I let the dice fall where they lie and the group snagged that veil away without a "by-your-leave". Chuckle.
That's fine! I want them to smack down my walls and plans and keep my ass on the fire.
So I shuffled some of my next notes and hooks about and am rewarding them with their observations but they don't know it yet.
We did have a small aside as organically I was going to string up the group's bard and burn him for a warlock (normally this area of the barony could either give or take mages - but happy head decided to charm person the hottest and 2nd hottest girl at the tavern - even though hottie number one had a fiancee) but the group did come together and get him off the hook. Barely.
Let's see if he learned his lesson. I doubt it. ;)
Write up follows:
The group entered the hole carefully, the bottom 25’ below the surface, dug into the thick clay-like stone of the cemetery itself, and only about 4’ wide and 4’ tall. There was no support beams anywhere and the party was uncomfortable in possibly screwing around down there. The last one down slid one of the loose flagstones from the side of the mausoleum over, covering the hole’s opening from anyone who might come in and giving us a chance to see where the passage went as well as possibly find out where the bugs/Aaron Skelt had gone off to. We travelled a short distance and the passage went left, right, or straight ahead – the group opted for straight. We also noted that the ground sloped ahead of us, according to Gwyn still maintaining the 25’ or so depth below the ground above.
Eventually the passage split again and the group decided to keep going straight. It was shortly after that that we saw the quality of the earth changed – from grayish rusty red and clay-like to almost rich brownish/black like surface soil – but still 25’ below the surface. This also was in line with the edge of the cemetery itself (if our walking and paces could be believed). No one wanted to cross the line between soils so we backed up and check the recent split of corridors. Going north first, the passage travelled some 30’ feet and then climbed to what seemed to be grass and dirt. Gwyn checked it out, lifting slightly, and found himself at a grave, the grass cut in such a way that it could be lifted and rolled away!
There were some 30-40 people in the cemetery, and Friar Morn was gesturing at the Skelt crypt for a bit. Not wanting to be seen, Gwyn rerolled the sod in place and climbed back down. We then went to the other passage and there were 20 picks, some 30 empty dirt sacks, and a dozen wooden shovels here and another ladder going up. Climbing it revealed it to be the groundskeeper’s shed in the cemetery and Gwyn overheard the townies talking – none of them sure what was going on but the party was not mentioned as of yet.
We talked on what to do next and the group wanted to chance leaving the cemetery area and seeing where this passage ended up. It was at this time that we heard something in the corridor ahead. We grew silent and backed up down the side passage and waited. We smelt something musky, something animalistic. Norris drew some food and gave it to Soren who tossed it ahead – and a HUGE wolverine, some 4’ long and 135 lbs, burst out from the corridor, snatched it up, and devoured it noisily once again out of sight.
Soren called to Frey and asked for the ability to understand animals. He then conversed with the wolverine while Gwyn and Norris made us a hallucinogenic mushroom and meat wrapped bundle again. It called itself digger and was supposed to come in the tunnels every so often and either scare off who was down here, or bite up the ones that tasted like spoiled meat. The poisoned meat was fed to our wolverine, and it didn’t take long before it began acting odd and lethargic. Soren kept talking to it, keeping it calm, and leading it along with us as we went on – the party realizing that the wolverine was just sent into the tunnel a few minutes ago – and by someone who might know we are down here.
We crossed into the other area of the soil (no ill effects that we could see) and pressed on. A single route did go up to either Friar Morn’s house of the Thorian temple – we didn’t want to chance finding out, so we continued until the passage ended. There was a broken wall and a small chamber, maybe 10 by 15’. A cage of wrought iron sat in one corner, the door opened. The wolverine, Digger, slumped over at the cage and seemed to fall asleep. We opened the door out of here and looked.
We were in the basement of the bathhouse.
What the hell?
There was a cistern below with a series of buckets and ropes on a pulley going up to the main level, most likely to fill the baths. There was two other ways out of here, a closet looking door on the right wall and a set of stairs going up on the far left wall. At each of the 3 entrances though there were a pair of holy symbols to Thor cast in silver and mounted to the sides of each exit.
We checked out the opening on the right and on pulling it opened – found the closet like interior was filled with a dozen milling fairly freshly reanimated townsfolk! We shut it quick after Brother Beren’s attempt at turning the undead fizzled just at the door’s entrance – and that the zombies shuffled towards the door but did NOT emerge from the room, seemingly stopped for some reason.
We wanted to leave but Brother Beren wanted to not leave undead behind, so we opened the door again and with hammer, wolverine, and eventually Brother Beren turning the undead on the inside of the doorframe this time, took out the mostly passive dead. It was more like hitting meat than defeating foes. We were a bit sickened and wanted to get out of here as soon as possible.
We hit the stairs and started running for the exit when inexplicable things began happening to the group. Kazak and the wolverine slumped over and passed out. Odd bugs began tormenting the group. Strange lights assaulted us. The air grew chill and hot. The ground became covered in a greasy substance. We hoisted our unconscious friends and ran for the door, emerging at last outside the bathhouse and thankful to be away from whatever curses were affecting the group. We wanted to go for the Skelt manorhouse (also to get the unconscious wolverine and half orc off the street) as soon as possible.
However, Norris was identified as the potential warlock and he was brought towards the Thorian Temple for questioning. Beren offered to cast a Zone of Truth to help prove his innocence (the half elven bard begging for forgiveness and promising not to mind-slave impressionable towns-women anymore). Soren waited with Quaris at the manor and the party went with the guards and the locals to the temple where a short but focused inquiry was set against Norris who escaped being strung up and hung by the skin of his teeth. Our bard decided he was going to be different in towns now as this was the 2nd time he had directly been involved with getting possibly tossed out in the same month.