The group begins at the funeral of Professor Lorrimor and is asked by his daughter Kendra to be pallbearers. All members have ties to the professor and agree. While walking, some angry farmers block the group and say that the professor must be burried somewhere else as he has been accused of dealing with necromancy and the undead. The group gently places the coffin on the ground and tries to reason with the farmers, but talking proves useless. The six farmers engage in confrontation. The group does not fight back and takes hits from the men. Yuki runs to get the Father and they are frightened off by the authority of Father Vauran Grimburrow. The Father mentions that the leader of these thugs is a ruffian and reveals his name to be Gibs Hephenus. The funeral continues after the commotion, and Yuki graces the attendees with a touching story of the impact Lorrimor had in her life.
After the funeral, the group travel to the home of Professor Lorrimor and await the reading of the will. The three introduce themselves to each other and see Councilman Vashian Hearthmount with Kendra. He begins the reading of the will. Lorrimor’s inheritance and his home go to his daughter Kendra. As Hearthmount is reading, a key falls, and he begins telling the group of three of their part in this will. They are told of their job to secure the safety of Kendra Lorrimor for one month and then travel to the Lepidstadt University to deposit some dangerous tombs he had had in his possession. Once the month was up, the three could go to Embreth Daramid and collect 100 gold pieces each for protecting his daughter. Evangeline inherited two spell scrolls. After the reading, Hearthmount leaves and a chest with the tomes is brought out for the group to observe. When the chest is opened, a new leather tome sits at the top and has Read Me Now engraved on the top. It appeared to be a diary the Professor had kept while looking into necromancy, Harrowstone, and a group called The Whispering Way. Lorrimor mentioned a fake crypt that held anti-ghost items, and about his visit to the Harrowstone to learn about some writings. The date of the prison visit coincided with the date his dead body was found.
Circled Entries in the Professor’s Journal
Ten Years Ago:
The Whispering Way is more than just a cabal of necromancers. I see that now. Undeath is their fountain of youth. Uncovering their motivation does not place me at ease as I thought it might. Their desire to be eternal simply makes them more dangerous.
Two Months Ago:
It is as I had feared. The Way is interested in something here in Ravengro. But what could it be?
One Month Ago:
Whatever the Way seeks, I am now convinced their goal is connected to Harrowstone. In retrospect, I suppose it all makes sense—the stories they tell about the ruins in town are certainly chilling enough. It may be time to investigate the ruins, but with everyone in town already being so worked up about them, I’d rather not let the others know about my curiosity—there’s plenty of folks hereabouts who already think I’m a demonologist or a witch or something. Ignorant fools.
Twenty Days Ago:
It is confirmed. The Way seems quite interested in something—no, strike that—someone who was held in Harrowstone. But who, specifically, is the Way after? I need a list of everyone who died the night of the fire. Everyone. The Temple of Pharasma must have such a list.
Eighteen Days Ago:
I see now just how ill prepared I was when I last set out for the Harrowstone. I am lucky
to have returned at all. The ghosts, if indeed they were ghosts (for I did not find it prudent to
investigate further) prevented me from transcribing the strange symbols I found etched along the foundation—hopefully on my next visit I will be more prepared. Thankfully, the necessary tools to defend against spirits are already here in Ravengro. I know that the church of Pharasma used to store them in a false crypt in the Restlands at the intersection between Eversleep and the Black Path. I am not certain if the current clergy even know of what their predecessors have hidden down below. If my luck holds, I should be able to slip in and out with a few borrowed items.
Seventeen Days Ago:
Tomorrow evening I return to the prison. It is imperative the Way does not finish. My caution has already cost me too much time. I am not sure what will happen if I am too late, but if my theory is right, the entire town could be at risk. I don’ t have time to update my will, so I’ll leave this in the chest where it’ll be sure to be found, should the worst come to pass.
Contemplating these series of events, the group was interrupted by the sounds of people shouting outside. People all over town were moving to see an act of vandalism that had happened. The group and Kendra follow the people to where everyone is gathering. The sheriff Benjan Caeller is standing near the desecrated Harrowstone monument. The monument is covered with splatters of blood and a giant bloody letter V. The sheriff doesn’t have any ideas of how this came to happen. The group escort Kendra back to the house and begin examining the tomes one by one. The tomes included: Serving Your Hunger, On Varified Madness, Umbral Leaves, and Manuel of the Palatine Eye. The latter of the tomes was locked up tight. The other tomes were opened and read by the group, but not much was understood.
Umbral Leaves spoke of a deity called Zon-Kuthon and had a theme about pain.
On Varified Madness mentioned weird creatures and “the dark tapestry’.
Serving Your Hunger,the sacred book of Urgathoa, the goddess of the undead.
The group felt there was more research to be done. Evangeline informed the travelers of the places around town that they could visit. The Town Hall kept the town records, the Temple of Pharasma kept books, and the local school called the Unfurling Scrolls was lead by a retired wizard. Kendra also gave the group permission to look through her father’s books in her home. Outside, while walking to the Town Hall, there were people gossiping about the sheriff snooping around Jominda Fallenbridge’s shop. They suspected illegal activity. Evangeline ignored the talk of her mother, and the group entered the Town Hall to begin their research on Harrowstone.
Harrowstone is a ruined prison partially destroyed by a fire in 4661 AR, the building has
stood vacant ever since. The locals suspect that it’s haunted, and don’t enjoy speaking of the place.
Harrowstone was built in 4594. Ravengro was founded at the same time as a place where guards and their families could live and that would produce food and other supplies used by the prison. The fire that killed all of the prisoners and most of the guards destroyed a large portion of the prison’s underground eastern wing, but left most of the stone structure above relatively intact. The prison’s warden perished in the fire, along with his wife, although no one knows why she was in the prison when the fire occurred. A statue commemorating the warden and the guards who lost their lives was built in the months after the tragedy—that statue still stands on the riverbank just outside of town.
Most of the hardened criminals sent to Harrowstone spent only a few months imprisoned, for it was here that most of Ustalav’s executions during that era were carried out. The fire that caused the tragedy was, in fact, a blessing in disguise, for the prisoners had rioted and gained control of the prison’s dungeons immediately prior to the conflagration. It was only through the self-sacrifice of Warden Hawkran and 23 of his guards that the prisoners were prevented from escaping—the guards gave their lives to save the town of Ravengro.
At the time Harrowstone burned, five particularly notorious criminals had recently arrived at
the prison. While the commonly held belief is that the tragic fire began accidentally after the riot began, in fact the prisoners had already seized control of the dungeon and had been in command of the lower level for several hours before the fire. Warden Hawkran triggered a
deadfall to seal the rioting prisoners in the lower level, but in so doing trapped himself and nearly two dozen guards. The prisoners were in the process of escaping when the panicked guards accidentally started the fire in a desperate attempt to end the riot.
Originally, Harrowstone housed only local criminals, but as the prison’s fame spread, other
counties and distant lands began paying to have more dangerous criminals housed within this prison’s walls. At the time of the great Harrowstone Fire, the number of particularly violent or dangerous criminals imprisoned within the dungeons below was at an all-time high.
The five most notorious prisoners in Harrowstone at the time of the great fire were Father Charlatan, the Lopper, the Mosswater Marauder, the Piper of Illlmarsh, and the Splatter Man.
The group found more information about the Father and the Splatter Man at the Town Hall.
Father Charlatan- Real name was Sefick Corvin. Of the five notorious prisoners, only Father Charlatan was not technically a murderer, yet his crimes were so blasphemous that several churches demanded he be punished to the full extent of Ustalavic law. Although he claimed to be an ordained priest of any number of faiths, Father Corvin was in fact a traveling con artist who used faith as a mask and a means to bilk the faithful out of money in payment for false miracles or cures. He became known as Father Charlatan after his scheme was exposed
and his Sczarni accomplices murdered a half-dozen city guards in an attempt to make good the group’s escape.
Splatter Man- Real name was Professor Hean Faramin. Professor Feramin was a celebrated scholar of Anthroponomastics (the study of personal names and their origins) at the Quartrefaux Archives in Caliphas. Yet an accidental association with a succubus twisted and warped his study, turning it into an obsession. Feramin became obsessed with the power of a name and how he could use it to terrify and control. Soon enough, his reputation was ruined, he’d lost his tenure, and he’d developed an uncontrollable obsession with an imaginary link between a person’s name and what happens to that name when the person dies. Every few days, he would secretly arrange for his victim to find a letter from him, name written in blood, perhaps smeared on a wall or spelled out with carefully arranged entrails. Once he had spelled his victim’s name, he would at last come for them, killing them in a gory mess using a complex trap or series of rigged events meant to look like an accident.
Only information about these two names were found, and the group decided it was time to rest and get a bite to eat. They entered inside the Laughing Demon, a restaurant ran by Zokar Elkarid that was known for it’s “humorous” food. The three ordered their food and watched a man playing the violin as they waited. As they sat there, two stirges busted through the ceiling and began reacting to the music that was playing. But the man noticed the creatures and stopped playing from his fright, the stirges began attacking. Verya and Yuki fought the beasts as Evangeline moved to get the people inside out to safety. Remembering how the stirges reacted to the playing, she grabbed the violin player as he was trying to escape and instructed him to play a slow song. The man complied, and the stirges began to move much slower allowing for them to be killed. Suspicious of the man, Verya interrogated him about his instrument and his playing, but nothing out of the ordinary was found and she let him go. Zokar Elkarid came out to thank the three and told them today and tomorrow’s meals were on the house. He mentioned that a stirge attack was a strange occurance as these creatures are usually located out of town.
After the encounter, the three returned to the Lorrimor home and searched for more information about the group known as The Whispering Way.
The Whispering Way is a sinister organization of necromancers that has been active in the
Inner Sea region for thousands of years.
Agents of the Whispering Way often seek alliances with undead creatures, or are themselves undead. The Whispering Way’s most notorious member was Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant, although the society itself has existed much longer than even that mighty necromancer.
The Whispering Way itself is a series of philosophies that can only be transferred via whispers—the philosophies are never written or spoken of loudly, making the exact goals and nature of the secretive philosophy difficult for outsiders to learn much about.
The decided to head back out to research at another location and observe some local children singing a disturbing Varisian song.
Put her body on the bed.
Take a knife and lop her head.
Watch the blood come out the pipe.
Feeds the stirge, so nice and ripe.
Drops of red so sparkly bright.
Splatters spell her name just right.
With a hammer killed his wife.
Now he wants to claim your life.
Tricksy father tells a lie.
Listen close or you will die.
Evangeline was the only one who spoke the language and recognised the song was about the five criminals. She relayed this to her companions. They choose to visit the school next and are charged 10 gold coins for an entrance fee. They found no useful information and left. They then visit the Temple of Pharasma. Yuki gives an offering and shows her respect, the other two begin searching.
The Lopper- Named Vance Saestressle. When the Lopper stalked prey, he would hide in the most unlikely of places, sometimes for days upon end with only a few supplies to keep him going while he waited for the exact right moment to strike. Once his target was alone, the Lopper would emerge to savagely behead his victim with a handaxe.
Mosswater Marauder- Named Ipsin Onixcudgel. Only 5 years before his hometown of Mosswater was destined to be overrun and ruined by monsters from the nearby river, Ispin Onyxcudgel was a well-liked artisan and a doting husband. When he discovered his wife’s
infidelity, he flew into a jealous rage and struck her dead with his hammer, shattering her skull and his sanity with one murderous blow. Wracked with shame and guilt, Ispin became convinced that if he could rebuild his wife’s skull she would come back to life—but unfortunately, he could not find the last blade-shaped fragment from the murder site. So instead, Ispin became the Mosswater Marauder. Over the course of several weeks, the cunning dwarf stalked and murdered nearly 20 people while searching for just the right skull fragment. He was captured just before murdering the daughter of a visiting nobleman from Varno, and was carted off to Harrowstone that same night.
As the two read books, Yuki had snuck away into the graveyard to find the fake crypt mentioned in the Professor’s journal. The crypt holds many items:
-12 silver bolts
-10 +1 bolts
-4 sun rods
-6 flasks of holy water
-5 +1 ghost touch bolts
-2 potions of lesser restoration
-2 +1 undead bane bolts
-scroll for detect undead
-5 potions for cure light wounds
-2 scrolls for hide from undead
-scroll of protection from evil
-a box with same design as locked tome>ouija board, and 4 vials of a cloudy vapor
Yuki knows she can’t grab all the items by herself undetected, and grabs only a few things and the box. She then sees two giant centipedes in the crypt and sneaks out. As she is walking back to the temple through the graveyard, one of the stones catch her eye. One of the weathered stones is readable. It reads: Come to my world and be as I, as I am now soon you will be, embrace your end and witness me. The stone has a date of death, 4661 AR, and Yuki’s own name appeared on the stone. 4661AR, the year of the fire at Harrowstone. After Yuki reads the stone, it changes back to an unreadable weathered grave, like the words had never been there at all.