The party was getting a bit more proactive at this time, actively seeking out the next victim and trying to be "one ahead" of the killings. I would say they came in at a tie and had a direct interaction with what seems to be the BBG for the adventure.
I like saying "seems". It reminds me that not everything is as it seems. Lol
A good adventure isn't just a list of encounters for the group to go against, but also a mystery for them to unravel. And this one will lead them back to the original thread that the group had lost some time ago: Djohrgahd, Vanir, and the Necordiam Fenrir Codex.
If they opt not to follow that trail to see where it leads then I'll let it die and shuffle to the spur line. But I hope they don't.
Write up follows:
The party was on their way back to Skelt Manor, the afternoon getting on in time. We had a drugged huge wolverine to take care of and there was the need for us to find out where Marcus Goodblood, the owner/purchaser of Aaron Skelt’s brooch, was.
The wolverine was lured into the basement with some fresh meet and then the party stacked some boxes on the stairs – hoping the hallucinogenic mushrooms would keep the great beast at ease until we could return. From there we went to Cornblood keep where we did some investigating – learning that Marcus Goodblood worked at the Keep as a private smithy.
We spoke to Marcus at length telling him only some of what the issues were that we needed to resolve, hoping not to alarm him. However it became apparent that he did not have the brooch on him, instead he had given it to his wife as a gift. Fearing the worst, the party ran out of Cornblood Keep, following Marcus as he charged down Main Street, telling the party that his home was just past the Stoneheart Hospice. The party was stopped at the barbican of the Keep as they had to reclaim their weapons, only Bron able to keep up and pace with the frightened smithy.
The door to the Goodblood home was closed, but the lock had been splintered off. Entering it showed blood splattered everywhere and some movement upstairs. Bron and Marcus charged up, the smithy grabbing a sword off his wall as they did so. The turned to the right at the top of the stairs and burst into the bedroom to find Ms. Goodblood slain – her head torn from her neck, the bed post slammed into her chest, and some bread shoved into her rictus frozen mouth.
There were 2 figures in here, both long dead and turning as one to assault Marcus and Bron. The two did battle with the zombies while Aaron Skelt made an appearance – at around the time the rest of the group arrived. Aaron went to leave but Gwyn set the stairs on fire, and the monster that was Aaron turned into a horde of bugs and went to flee up the steps. Marcus was horrified and yelling, screaming at the death/murder of his wife.
More fire was set and the bugs that we felt were Aaron did partially escape. Marcus was a wreck. Eventually a number of guardsmen showed up, one of them the captain. The group told the lawmen of what was going on and some of the truth of what has been happening. Then it was revealed that there were zombies found under the bathhouse the Henian Bather runs. At that, Marcus grew wroth, lifted his weapon, and went to leave. Bron disarmed the angry man and he tried to get a 2nd weapon – at this Marcus was rendered unconscious and the party went with the captain, his men, and Marcus to the courthouse and militia house to get the full story and decide what to do next.
We talked at length of what we had learned and what we had discovered. Bjarl was called and we went to the Thorian temple to add what he knew along with our own discoveries. Marcus was fairly silent during the entire recounting and when he had the chance, grabbed a guardsman’s short sword from his scabbard and slashed his own throat. No one had any healing at this time and Marcus died in his grief.
It was then decided that we go to Henian’s Bathhouse and investigate the veracity of the zombies there, determine if they came from that area, and then arrest the Bather. On arriving there we noticed it was silent and dimly lit – all 4 baths full. We attempted to cross the place when strange affects began assaulting us. Odd pushes tumbled some of us into the bath (Bron and Norris), lights flared around us, gnats appeared, the floor became slick and oily, hair sprouted from faces and heads. To make matters worse, those in the bath were affected as if the water itself was alive. The drain was pulled out and it wasn’t draining fast enough. An attempt was made to bash open the bottom of the tub but to no avail. Norris to avoid drowning gathered his feet beneath him and kicked – empowering his boots of levitation and lifting himself on a column of water free from the bath.
The Captain thought he heard something and turned BACK towards the entrance and main hall, kicking open a doorway there and surprising 3 men there waving their arms and chanting. Magery! The neophyte mages hurled some spells at us but a single magic missile and globe of darkness was not going to deter either the lawman’s blade or Soren’s arrows. The 3 went down screaming, their magical affects fading instantly.