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Pathfinder #109: In Search of Sanity» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Strange Aeons Part 5 - No Deaf Leper rss

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Eric Dodd
New Zealand
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Halloween 2019
Dramatis Personae:
Scott - The Gamemaster

Matt - Billy the human female Cleric
Susan - Dorrin the human female Fighter
John - Thelma Torquemada the half-orc female Inquisitor
Eric - Ramona Mentes the human female Investigator
David - Cayce the human male Psychic

We soon find five unnamed patients who were all entered into Briarstone on the same day - 15th of Arodus, 4716. The half-orc is quickly identified, as is the male psychic. The other three of us have to read the records carefully to identify which is us. The reference to belonging to an ‘association’ in Varisia that may still wish me ill brings up an ancient memory, and some of my past swims back into my memory. I was - am - Ramona Mentes, an Investigator, Alchemist and ex-gang member from Varisia. I have no idea how I came to meet the others or how I came to work for Count Haserton Lowls, but I feel more at ease now I at least know my name.

The weather becomes windy and we struggle through it to the hut. Inside there is a small room with gardening tools collected together, and a staircase leading down. The staircase leads down to a bare basement, and then a wooden staircase that leads off into the dark. It is further than Thelma can see with her darksight. I use my tinderbox to set fire to some wooden and cloth fragments, and then drop it into the hole. We estimate it may be another 200 foot down into the darkness. We don’t have enough rope, or a strong reason to push on in this direction yet we leave the hut. Dorrin does think from the way the building and ground has moved around the hut that this may be the origin point of the earthquake or whatever event shifted the asylum on its foundations.

We hurry back towards the main building, trying to get inside any away from the terrible, unnatural weather as quickly as possible. Suddenly a huge crash of thunder sounds seemingly right by my ear and I am struck Deaf! I stagger back to the asylum, shaking my head and probably shouting too loud about what I hope is a temporary problem. At least I have pen and paper so people can write me questions...

Staggering back inside the main building we now know we have just one way to go. A set of double doors to the south is our target, and as we set ourselves around it, Cayce opens them with his mind. Inside is a well-appointed lounge, with some lush but unusual furnishings. A strange bird cage in the form of a house, with motionless birds inside, stands to one side of the room. A body lies on the ground against the far wall, and another is impaled on elk antlers on the side wall. To the east a small bay window opens out onto a vista of yellow mist. Dorrin leads the way into the room, while I examine the only other door out to the east. She pokes the corpse on the ground with her glaive, setting off a terrible klaxon (so the others tell me later, I can’t hear it). Dorrin feel attacked by a powerful force, but manages to resist it. The alarm stops as I confirm the door leads to the outside. Billy casts a Bless on us all. Feeling that the birdcage is the source of the force, Dorrin attacks it with her blade. On landing the blow she finds herself whirled into the air. Thelma also hacks at the birdcage, and shatters it to the floor. Dorrin finds herself released and plummets to the floor, but Cayce manages to arrest her fall with magic. Billy checks the two bodies for means of death, and surmises they were both picked up and dropped by the same force - one crushed on the ground and the other caught in the antlers.

Searching the room and the bodies we find some useful items. Each body is wearing an amulet and carrying a silvered dagger, and there are four potions that we determine to be of Cure Light Wounds. The amulets are identified as natural armour +1. A flagstone pathway is visible outside the door, winding through a sagging garden into the fog. Cayce opens the door, and we see another door about 40 feet away through a small courtyard. The psychic gets within 30 feet of the door but finds he cannot open this one with his mind. I lead the way through the repellent mist to the door. Of course I hear nothing outside, but Cayce is concerned as he hears scrabbling and flapping sounds. Before I can reach the door, the ground falls in and a swarm of tiny, hideous creatures with wings and ghastly mouths and nostrils snap at me. I am flatfooted and watch as the others try to see how they can attack such a terrifying swarm. Dorrin fishes out a flask of Alchemist’s fire and throws it at the nearest part of the swarm. She misses her target but still hurts the mass. I am hit for a splash of flame, but it’s better than the bites of these terrible creatures. I step out of the swarm and throw in a flask myself, but it only barely hits the swarm. Before the things can attack me again Dorrin finishes them off with a second flaming vial, and Billy gives me some welcome healing. I try to unlock the door, but it resists my attempts. Cayce is sure he can hear something large, slobbering and stomach-like approaching through the fog. Thelma and Dorrin rush to break open the door with crowbars, which fortunately succeeds on the first try.

The team lines up to rush in away from the stomach beast.

Cayce rushes in through the door, warning everyone of the sounds he can hear. Inside he finds a decaying entrance hall, with peeling paint and a caved in roof to the left. A long corridor leads away to the north and a lit, curtained alcove stands to the right. The clinical smell of cleaning alcohol is cut through by the odour of diseased matter, as two small pustulent creatures crawl towards the psychic. Billy runs inside to stand beside Cayce, and recognises the creatures as Blood Boils, as Cayce hits one with a magic missile. The Boils attack the Cleric and Psychic who don’t do much damage (yet). Thelma heads in through the door and hits one of the creatures, then Dorrin arrives to slash the other one with her glaive. It dies, but explodes in a hideous fashion, splashing Cayce, Billy and Dorrin in acid and diseased pus. The three are badly burned, and Billy is afflicted with Leprosy! I don’t want to be a deaf leper so I stay out of range before firing my crossbow into the other boil. Before the others can move out of the way my shot explodes the second boil showering the others again with acid and disease. I am a little shamefaced, but fortunately Billy is able to heal everyone, and only he has to worry about the disease. Dorrin hears a regular noise from the very end of the corridor, then I draw back the curtain to reveal the source of light. It is a normal hooded lantern, but the light it gives out is cold and seemingly not powered by any fuel. The light is steady, a consistent beam that seems frozen or paralysed. I touch the lantern, and the light disappears. A strange puzzle!

We all head up and check on the series of cells on the west side of the long corridor. The first is an empty room with a single bed, with the roof collapsed in the corner. In the second we find three bodies, two in cultist’s robes and one an old man in a dressing gown. Billy is much taken with this man’s heroic struggle, as it appears he clubbed the cultists to death with his own boots. He lays the old man to rest in the room next door, then pinches his valuable (and comfortable looking) boots. Cell 3 has two small beds and some writing on the wall - the names ‘Brenton’ and ‘Debuses’. At this point we all hear the scrambling from around the end of the corridor, and break off from searching the last two rooms. Sneaking up to the corner I see a ghoul digging at the western wall, and go back to tell the others. Thelma tries to sneak up with me but makes too much noise and the ghoul turns, snarling to attack. The Inquisitor takes damage from claws and bite, but shakes off the paralysis. Thelma swings back, though I miss with my crossbow, even with a burst of inspiration. Cayce manages to destroy the ghoul with a magic missile. The undead has no possessions and there is nothing in the wall it was digging at. Back in the cell with writing on the walls we find two small wooden carved knights, possibly chess pieces though there is no other sign of a board or other pieces. The names seem familiar, and I think they might be the names of the children we met near the chapel. The last room is back to a single bed, and with a search we find a Ring with the emblem of holly and a hawk on it. I feel I should recognise this emblem, but the meaning escapes me.

We carry on up the long corridor to the north, where we see two doors a fair distance apart on the west wall. Cautiously opening the first door we find ourselves at the south end of a long ward, with a dozen or more empty beds stretching off to the north. At the far end a curtain doesn’t entirely shield the last bed, where we see a humanoid figure moaning weakly on the bed. We also see the northern door comes in opposite the man in the bed, so Thelma and I volunteer to come in from the other door. Something we see at the end of the corridor on the other side changes our plans, however. A large open room with glass windows open to the yellow fog on the right, while a figure sits in a wheelchair facing away from us. But it is the stream of blood flowing from this figure, across the end of the room and down to a familiar looking doorway that stops us in our tracks. Not wishing to disturb this figure while we have another person to contend with, Thelma and I move back to the southern door and follow after the others.

As we get closer to the man in the bed we see he is tied down at the four corners. When he sees us, the man becomes more and more agitated, telling us to keep away and stop bothering him. Billy tries to calm him, and tells him we are not the ones who bothered him before. Before he can diagnose the man’s illness, he gives a terrible cry and falls back on his bed, dead. A yellow vapour escapes from his lips, and we watch in horror as the man undergoes a terrible change into a ghoul. Fortunately the creature is not too strong and Thelma and Cayce kill him before he can strike us. A search of the ward reveals no personal items or information in the ward and so we move onto the large open room. We cautiously approach the person in the wheelchair for a closer look. We see that is an old woman in a faded house coat, looking out the window. But she is clearly dead, with a huge wound in her chest from which a stream of blood and gore powers out.

I wonder if this woman is another gate like the hospital administrator we saw earlier. Dorrin moves up to investigate, but as she crosses the stream of blood she is hit by the invisible force that hit her the last time she met a stream of blood. This time the force is stronger, and hurls her down the stream to pin her against the door we opened before. Billy tries to cast a spell to heal the woman, only for the spell to fail and for him to be thrown back against the alcove. Now the rest of us are keeping clear of the blood and trying to think of a way to rescue Dorrin. We try to throw a rope to her, only for it to be tugged out of Thelma’s hand and crash against the door close to the fighter. Thelma finally works out she can pass by the wheelchair, then carefully drag it back down the flow of blood. This doesn’t move the force or stop the flow of blood heading towards the western door, so we drag the chair all the way back down the corridor to the entry room with the blood boils. Finally here the force cuts off, and the blood now begins to well up in this entry room. Luckily we think we can get back through the door that Dorrin has been forced against. She stands up and leads the way into the next door of the north.

This was some kind of storage room for cleaning products, and Dorrin finds some rags and solvent to wipe off the blood, again. There is also a stabbed warrior woman, wearing studded leather armour and a fine cloak. At her side are two potions. Between them, Billy and Cayce identify the potions as Bulls Strength and Protection From Evil, and the cloak as one of Resistance +1. Leaving this poor woman to rest in peace, we return to the main room. A set of double doors are next in line, followed by a kind of serving hatch. We try the double door next, opening these portals to reveal a black space. Our torches thrust into the blackness shed no light, and the rays are swallowed up entirely as we pass the torch into the room. We toss a lit torch into the room only to see it disappear into the inky void. We do hear it hit the ground, so at least there is a floor inside the darkroom.

This seems a bit worrying, so we decide to try our luck through the hatch first. Dorrin leads the way through the hatch, finding a small office with a door off to the west and a passage through to the north. She hears moving and searching noises in the room ahead, and ducks into the room next door. There she sees an interesting book wrapped in butcher’s paper which she grabs for later reading. I stealthily slip through the hatch and move up to the entrance of the far room. Three yellow robed cultists are drinking from flasks they have found in the far room. I raise my crossbow to cover them as I signal for the others to come through. Thelma comes next, and as she makes enough noise to be heard I fire at the nearest cultist, missing by some distance. Dorrin moves in amongst the cultists, swinging with her glaive. Thelma next charges in and kills one, but takes a fearful beating from the other cultists. I miss again, though Cayce now gets close enough to hit with a magic missile. Thelma and Dorrin fight on, but the inquisitor would have fallen unconscious but for her half-Orc heritage. Billy gives Thelma some healing, and she stays awake just long enough to help finish off the last two cultists. With a scroll, Billy restores the inquisitor to some health and we search the room. It seems the cultists have drunk or used up most things of any value here. Billy does gather up enough materials and drugs to make a Healer’s Kit to aid him in his curing. We are all injured or exhausted, and decide to leave the darkness till after a long rest. I hope to hear again after I wake up.

Notes -

Some good sneaking but not great rolls in combat or in investigation.

I make my second save against the disease, hurray.

The three special items we still need to find out about are the Viol, a musical instrument, the coin-sized Eyeball and the six Charcoal Drawings. The chess pieces may also have some psychic significance.

We go up a level! I may take a Feat to improve my Psychic abilities.

I have one sanity failure from the encounter with the burrowing swarm from below.
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