Episode 2 - The Thrushmoor Terror
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
I cautiously look at the tracks and see a mixture of creatures, with some boot prints. Ahead there is a wooden barrier or stockade. Cayce tries to move it with his mind, but finds the weight too much for his ability. Instead we turn left into cave about 20 feet round. A wet mulch floor, with a nest of bones has us looking for another creature, but Thelma is bitten by something she cannot see. For a second we see a flash of a fungal monster with sharp teeth. Cayce protects Thelma with Mage Armour, while Billy Blesses us all. I cast True Strike so I can hit the thing at my next attempt. Thelma lands a blow as the thing attacks her again. Cayce and Dorrin miss, but I land a fair hit with my crossbow. Billy bravely moves up and eventually kills the creature. It becomes visible as a three-stalked creature, which none of us recognise.
Healed and restored, we search around the cave but find nothing but food scraps. I check for traps at the wooden barricade, but find nothing in front of the structure or attached to the ropes that pull it open. Thelma and I take an end each and heave the entrance inward into a large cave that bends to the right. I edge forward as quietly as I can and peer round into the chamber. A flickering yellow light illuminates a large cave with a sooty roof. A table and campfire is off in the eastern corner, and a mural of uncanny tendrils rises on the far wall. The occupants were waiting for us, and I see a thin woman holding a hand to one side. ‘You will feed the rot!,’ she shouts before flinging a flaming ball just past me onto the nearest wall. Two strange dog-sized creatures of fungus move to attack me, but I fire a careful shot at the witch, hitting her a decent blow. Dorrin rushes up to engage the closest fungus hound, and Thelma moves close behind her. Cayce and Billy prepare spells as the hounds attack. One bites fairly normally, while the other releases a cloud of fungus spores that attack Dorrin, Thelma and I. I am hurt and suffer a loss of Strength while Dorrin loses Constitution. We are both fatigued and find it hard to move far. The witch switches to a Call Lightning spell and smites the inquisitor with a bright bolt.
Dorrin saves against the effect of the spores and strikes the nearest fungal hound. The other moves to attack and Dorrin catches it with her glaive before it unleashes another burst of spores. We both lose more Constitution from this fungal attack, and I step back to the wall of the cave, firing another bolt at the witch. Billy heals all of us with positive energy as Cayce mind thrusts the witch. Dorrin steps back to strike and kill one of the fungal hounds. Thelma keeps the other occupied while I miss with my shot. Cayce uses his last mind thrust while Billy decides to run around the fungal cloud and towards the witch. She summons a swarm of spiders onto Dorrin and me, and although I resist the poison Dorrin needs to back away from the fight before she loses all her strength. I leap out of the swarm and try to burn them with alchemist’s fire, but barely singe the stinging pile. Cayce hits the witch with magic missiles while the warriors kill the last fungal hound. The spores these creatures cast still need to be avoided, so Billy and Thelma move around the outside of the cave towards the witch. I hit the witch with another bolt, and as she heals herself again Cayce kills her with a final volley of magic missiles.
End of the witch's cave.
We dodge around the swarm until it finally fades away, when we can finally heal and examine the room. Billy and I use our Lesser Restoration spells to bring back most of the lost characteristics of Dorrin and me. I am still low on Strength but able to carry on with most of my ability. The witch’s table turns out to be an alchemical laboratory, with a full range of equipment, herbs and chemicals. Belladonna, flayleaf and malyass root paste are among the herbs here. The witch herself wears magical wooden armour carries a scroll of lesser restoration, and a small key. A wooden crate nearby looks interesting, and seems to be untrapped. We force off the lid and find a collection of potions - 6 of Cure Light Wounds, 3 of Barkskin, and two of Hide from Animals. A note on the table seems to refer to a kind of trade with an outside agency.
The note says: ‘more of your dream-inducing brews, as well as more of that oil’ and is signed by ‘Melisenn’.
The only other room off this chamber is behind another rough log bound door. We open that to find a small sleeping chamber, where the only object of interest is a small chest. Dorrin is sure there isn’t a trap, but I am not so sure and find a dart trap at the lock. I attempt to disable it, but fail and take a small dart in the hand. It’s poisoned but I resist the worst of it. Then the thought occurs that I could have tried the key… oh well. Inside are a few sets of the witch’s clothes, a clay jar and a small but heavy leather pouch. The pouch turns out to contain 1694gp in coins once we count it back in our new lair. I fail to identify the fungi in the jar, but Cayce recognises it as Muscaria Mushrooms, which I recall from my alchemical training. They can be used to give a temporary bonus to a knowledge test, at the expense of Charisma.
We check around all the walls to see if there’s another exit from the caves to the land. We don’t find anything, but we do come back to the mural on the wall. It shows a spiral mass with tendrils rising into the air. I recognise it as a terrible Great Old One called Xhamen-Dor, a creature associated with Decay, Parasites and Transformation. This doesn’t sound promising… I persuade the others to help carry out the Alchemist’s Table to the beach, and Sailor Toli is waiting for us. We tip him some silver for waiting, and get back to the docks. We head over the bridge and back towards the Sleepless Investigation agency. On the way we overhear a few more things of interest. Two traders are talking about mysterious charcoal murals that have appeared and then disappeared around town. Billy persuades one to talk, and hears that these were seascapes or cityscapes drawn by some unknown person or persons, but neither of the men have seen the pictures themselves. Children skipping past sing a song about the burning man and running from him. Finally, though we don’t learn it until later, Thelma has a strange feeling of a cold shiver up her spine, as if someone or something was walking over her grave…
Back at the Sleepless Agency we meet Winter and learn she still not heard from the Incuser who had gone up to the fort. She’ll wait around for a couple more days and then head for the New Chapel on a small island to the East. Cesadia is interested in our story, and our help in proving the mysterious lights from the cave weren’t due to the Briarstone Witch. Cesadia recognises the name Melisenn from our note - this is the name of the woman who works at Iris Hill and seems linked to the firing of all staff up at that palace. We learn the firing of the staff happened before the dates of our interment at the asylum, about two months ago. We ask if there are any fired staff still around town that we could speak to, and Cesadia promises to find out with her resources. The disappearances began around town about two weeks ago, and Cesadia will also look into just exactly who has gone missing apart from the Count and the magistrate.. Cesadia thinks that many of the newcomers who have gone up to the Iris Hall may be cultists from their dress and actions. Some briefly stopped at the Silver Wagon, so that would be a place for some of us to ask around (though best it not be me).
Cesadia tells us a little more recent history as she begins to trust us, if not like us. We hear that Fort Helicose where the Incuser went now appears shuttered up, and that people who have gone there to ask for the constables’ help have been turned away. Since Count Lowls disappeared there have been sightings of an apparition in the Eastern areas, and Cesadia has also heard of the charcoal mural drawings though she has no more to tell us about them. Cesadia has also heard of the Burning Man that the children were singing about, a legendary figure wreathed in flames, last seen about 10 years ago.
We seem to have impressed Cesadia enough with our seriousness and genuine interest in solving the town’s problems, so she says I can use part of the basement as my alchemical laboratory. Even better for all of us, we are given the use of two rooms to sleep in on site, more comfortable and spacious than Keldrin’s house where we stayed last night. I set up my new laboratory while Cayce starts to meditate. Thelma and Dorrin agree to go out for food and drink while Billy stays away from temptation, starting his rest to relearn his Lesser Restoration spell. Unfortunately the gambling bug bites the Cleric again and he cannot resist following secretly after the warriors. Thelma and Dorrin purchase two casks of small beer and enough decent meals for us from The Stain. As they are leaving the pub the fighters hear the familiar sound of a gambling Cleric and confront Billy. Just as they reach him he is able to pull himself away, claiming he has made 2sp and can stop any time he wants.
On the way back the three of them come across a sooty, smudged image on a building wall. Billy tries to ask passers-by about the image, but no one is willing to talk. Dorrin, Thelma and Billy return to the Sleepless Agency with the food and drink, and we all enjoy a late lunch. There are a number of avenues of investigation open to us, but with our newly found wealth we decide to spend the next day seeing what other shops are available around town. Cesadia tells us there are a couple of markets to the east of town, a farmer’s square and Binter’s Smithy. As we are wondering if we can improve our weapons the smithy sounds like the first place to visit. We grab a little breakfast from the kitchen in the agency and head out to the east of town. It’s early in the morning and few people are out in the streets yet, but Thelma begins to feel more and more uneasy as we go along. It’s that same feeling that she had yesterday at the pier. Before she can tell us, a shambling corpse appears at the end of the row of houses and utters a terrible howl. Dorrin is frightened, but we are all shocked by the speed of the terrible creature as it rushes towards Thelma.
What the attack from the Revenant felt like...
Billy blesses us all and Cayce attacks the thing with magic missiles, finding he has to overcome the creature’s magical resistance. The Revenant (for such we recognise it as) charges straight at the Inquisitor grabbing her around the throat. Cayce hits again, and Dorrin finds her glaive cuts the creature quite well. My crossbow bolt doesn’t work quite so well. Thelma tries to break free, but the Revenant’s grip is fearsome. Billy heals the wounded inquisitor while Dorrin and Cayce keep damaging the Revenant. I can see Thelma is still likely to die so I plunge the hypodermic syringe full of Cure Moderate Wounds into her arm as she struggles against the Revenant. The baleful thing ignores my presence and makes no attempt to attack me as I step in and out beside it. Out of healing and aid, Billy tries to attack the Revenant with her club but fails to damage it. I manage another hit with my crossbow, and in response the creature gives another Baleful Shriek. This time I’m too shocked to fight on, though the others keep their nerve. Thelma relies on her Orcish resilience to stay awake as Dorrin and Cayce manage to finish off the Revenant.
Billy heals Thelma, who initially denies any knowledge of the creature that attacked her, or any explanation as to why it only targeted her. Somehow it seems connected to the person I saw killed in a vision at the house at the other end of town. Was this Klyne Maric, the man we were supposed to have killed? There are certainly more secrets to uncover about each other as well as this benighted town...
The Revenant stuns me with its scream, before it is destroyed.
I’m now more rogue-like in my combat actions, studying opponents and making surgical strikes.
So our ‘witch’ was actually an alchemist supplying drugs to the big hall on the hill. Will we explore there next, or up at the fortress?
I still have two sanity failures leading towards madness.
Now we may have a chance to spend some money in town, here’s our loot list:
-Coin-sized eye = 250gp
-6 other pearls = 90gp
-Golden Ring 150gp
-Ring of ‘Holly and Hawk’ 50gp
-Silver Necklace to Shelyn = 50gp
2621gp and 3sp
(including the PP and the GP in the ‘witch’s’ pouch.
Handy Haversack containing Scrolls of Fox’s Cunning, Remove Paralysis, Summon Monster III
Candle of Spirit Protection
Incense of Open Thoughts
Potions of Bull’s Strength, Bear’s Endurance, Invisibility, Protection from Evil, Cure Moderate Wounds x2
Vials of Silver Sheen x2, Anti-toxin x3
Oil of Align Weapon, Magic Weapon
Wand of Lesser Restoration 4 charges
Wand of Bless 10 charges?
Wand of Cure Light Wounds charges?
4 Muscaria Mushrooms, last 30 minutes to 3 hours, give a 1d6 alchemical Knowledge bonus at the expense of 1d4 Charisma.