Rise of the Runelords

Session 22

A Ghastly Murder

Present Players:  Jaren, Aurelia, Vincent, Purrcival (Late), Feda, Eydan


Session Notes:

The heroes of Sandpoint survive the rest of Ameiko's party relatively unscathed. They pick up a number of contacts around town that they had not met previously and generally leave an overall good impression to the nobles and merchants that attended. Eydan loses his drinking buddy when Shalelu passes out from his Orcish rotgut, and Eydan manages to get her upstairs and leaves her a dose of alchemist's kindness to help with the hangover. Afterwards, Eydan speaks with Belvin Valdemar to see if he was interested in partnering up for any sort of business deals involving Thistletop. Belvin seemed willing, but wasn't able to commit to anything without some sort of idea (which the relatively inebriated Eydan wasn't able to provide at the time). Belvin did mention that the Valdemar family and the Deverin family are working on funding a watermill to help ease the monopoly that the Scarnetti family currently has on grain. He suggested the party may help finish the funding and reap some of the profits with the side benefit of reducing the Scarnetti's power in Sandpoint. Belvin promised more details if that was something the party was interested in before they parted ways. Purrcival spent a lot of the time being wooed by the owner of the local Theater. Cyrdrak, the owner, wanted him to perform his own comedy show at the theater. Purrcival wasn't able to commit to a particular date but seemed interested in the idea. The party wrapped up with the noble families all pledging to support the character's expansion of Thistletop, and even the Scarnettis agreed to commit some funds though they seemed to do mostly due to peer pressure.


The majority of the party went straight to bed after the party, but Eydan decided to visit the Pixie's Kitten before calling it a night. He had an enjoyable time with some lovely ladies and returned to the Rusty Dragon late in the night. As he approached the door he smelled something odd from his room, it reeked as if something had died and been left to rot in the sun. Drawing his bow he cautiously entered and found his room destroyed; the arrows he had been crafting were broken and spread around the room, the bedding was flipped onto the floor, and the whole room reeked. He carefully approached the open window but wasn't able to find anything in the near darkness. Deciding that this was something better left for  the morning he went down the hall to an unoccupied room and picked the lock. Thinking this was relatively safer, Eydan drifted off to sleep. In the morning he went back to his room and investigated again. On his second attempt he found some human sized bare footprints outside his door and around the frame he found what appeared to be dried mud. He explained the situation to Bethana and brought the rest of the party back to his room to help investigate. Even before he was in the room Purrcival was able to identify the smell as a ghast, similar to the smell of the one they fought on Rivenrake Island. The rest of the party gave their own attempts at searching and cast a few detection spells but they weren't able to learn anything else.


As they were finishing up their investigation Bethana told them Mick was waiting for them in the dining room with a message from the sheriff. They found Mick cleaning up some of their leftovers and after reminding him that he had a message he happily (and loudly) reported that there had been a gruesome murder at the limber mill.  The party shushed him as he started going into details of the scene like how one lady had been split lengthwise by the machinery when they saw some other patrons begin to grow pale at his tales. Heading to the scene of the crime they met with sheriff Hemlock who told them this was the second murder in as many days, and he desperately needed the party's help to figure out what the hell was going on. He provided the party with a note found at the scene of the murder with Eydan's name on it that proclaimed, "I do as you command, master!" He verified that someone could collaborate Eydan's whereabouts last night, but he trusted the party enough that he wasn't too concerned. After providing the note and deputizing the party he opened the murder scene to their investigation.


Inside the mill they found a gruesome scene, the sawdust covered floor was soaked in gore from a body that had been cut in half lengthwise by the log splitter. The party recognized the victim as Katrine Vinder and began investigating the murder. Purrcival was able to sniff out the ghast stench over the smell of blood, and when Eydan found a handaxe with a bit of bone and flesh on it he became nauseous from the overwhelming odor. Suffice to say the party decided whoever did this also visited Eydan's room the night before. Further investigation showed signs of struggle, and the party was able to backtrack some muddy footprints out to the mill's dock. It looked as if some creature had climbed out of the river and up into the second floor window. When the party went up to the second floor they found another terrible sight. A man had been hung by metal hooks onto the wall and thoroughly tortured. The corpse was in a terrible state missing its lower jaw completely, having the majority of its face ripped off, numerous small wounds across the body, and deeply engraved across the chest was a large Sihedron rune. Purrcival recognized the body thanks to a tattoo on the lower abdomen as Banny Harker, one of the two mill workers employed here by the Scarnettis.


After reviewing the murder scene at the mill they went back to the guard station to compare notes with the sheriff. He told them the murder at the mill was discovered by Ibor Thorn, the other mill manager, and there had been quite a crowd before the guards were able to lock the place down. Ibor was currently down in the holding cells recovering along with Vin Vender who had flown into a rage once he discovered his daughter had been killed. Belor went on to explain the other murder scene at an abandoned barn along the Lost Coast Road. He explained the guards found the scene when a raving lunatic attacked some guards on patrol near the barn, and after subduing the man they found three bodies strung up from the rafters. The three corpses were all in the same state as Mr. Harker (ripped off faces, missing jaw, and a large Sihedron rune carved into their chest), and at the scene they found a note. The note was addressed to three local conmen who the sheriff had ran into in the past. The fourth crazed man was later identified as Grayst Sevilla and he seemed like he had been forced to watch the torture of the three men. It had broken his mind completely and he was clearly deranged and feverish when he was captured. The sheriff thought it best if he was cared for by a professional so he had the guards escort him to the local sanitorium. The corpses were placed in cold storage beneath the guard station.


The party went down to investigate the corpses in storage and talked to Ibor about the murder scene. The corpses didn't provide any new information and were beginning to show signs of rot. Feda thinks the time of death fits the timeline of roughly two to three days. Ibor was a bit reluctant at first, but with some cajoling the party was able to hear how he discovered the body. Vincent sensed Ibor wasn't giving them everything and after a bit more pushing Mr. Thorn explained that Banny had been skimming funds from the mill for nearly a year. He didn't know how much he had taken during that time, but it had to be thousands of gold. He pleaded with the party not to sully the dead man's good name and to avenge Banny and Katrine whenever they found who, or what, did this to them. The party agreed on both counts and decided to head toward the barn and the sanitorium after a quick pitstop at the cathedral. They informed Father Zantus what was happening and discussed their suspicions  with him, but he wasn't able to offer any more information than the party already knew about ghasts. Feda went ahead and sent a messenger to Magnimar to make sure that no one had bothered Mersoolian or the eye of wrath on the off chance that the ghast cleric from Rivenrake wasn't as dead as they thought.


The investigation of the barn didn’t take long at all; the scene had long grown cold but Jaren was able to piece together how the scuffle happened and found a hiding spot behind some old rotten haybales where the killer crouched. Purrcival and his nose were able to confirm that it had the same rotten smell as the other two scenes. Vincent seemed almost offended that a ghast would loiter behind some haybales to ambush some conmen and as the party headed to the sanitorium there was much discussion on possible suspects and red herrings.


At the sanitorium the party met with the doctor that runs the place, Erin Habe. He insisted that he was too busy to show the party around the premises but Vincent expressed the urgency of the matter along with the note from the sheriff which finally convinced the man. He introduced the party to his two tiefling orderlies and showed them upstairs where the party was surprised to find multiple automaton guards standing about. Purrcival had told the party prior to arriving the squat three story stone structure had been a bit of a labor of love from Erin right after the "unpleasantness" and it had basically bankrupted Erin. Clearly for this place to still be running he must have some outside money coming into it. After a quick tour through where Erin explained the various patients currently in residence the party was shown to the top floor where the more dangerous prisoners are kept. He explained currently there was Pidget, a manic wererat, and Grayst who was still suffering badly and hardly coherent. On the way toward Grayst's room Feda was surprised to see an operating room with very invasive (and well used) tools on display.


{We decided to call it there as it was getting late, we will start next session with the interviewing of Grayst}


DM Notes:

  • The final bit of heavy RP for a bit. I expect the next couple of sessions to see the payoff of the murder mystery and some battles.
  • I had planned for Shalelu to cause s bit of a ruckus at the party but unintentionally or not Eydan put a cork in that by drinking her under the table with Orcish rotgut.
  • I think the investigation is going really well. The party has a number of theories and are doing a good job of using what clues they have available to find potential suspects. I don't want to give anything away, so I won't comment too much on their theories until after the mystery has been solved.


Rewards / Loot:

  • Agreements from the noble houses to help fund Thistletop. Details to be worked out later, but it will help fund improvements and hireling salaries.


Challenges / Monsters:

  • Found clues at the mill
  • Convinced Ibor Thorn to share Mr. Harker's shady dealings
  • Learned the background of the sanitorium


End Date: Desnus 11



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