Pathfinder - Rise of the Runelords

Session 9

The next day, a man named Maester Grump, arrives in Sandpoint breathless and covered with mud and sweat. He seeks out Sheriff Hemlock to tell his tale, and soon thereafter Hemlock tracks down the Heroes .

Farmer Grump breaks into frantic babbling as soon as the party arrives, nervously muttering about walking scarecrows. Calming him down requires a few minutes of work, at which point he tells a short but harrowing story, speaking of how the southern farmlands have become plagued by foul walking scarecrows that stalk the night. All the farmers knew that the problems were coming from the old Hambley place – things “just ain’t been right there for a few days now" – but when a group of locals paid the Hambley farm a visit yesterday evening, they were attacked by folk that looked like corpses but fed like starving animals . At this point in the telling, Grump’s worked himself into a lather again and shrieks, "They even ate the dogs ! "

Hemlock explains that his men picked up Grump as he ran into town screaming about walking scarecrows. The sheriff asks the party if they can investigate. He hopes that Grump’s story has been enhanced by the booze he can smell on the old farmer’s breath, but worries that the moonshine may actually have dulled the man’s memories of the grim fate that has been visited upon the Hambleys, and that the situation there is even worse than Grump knows.

The party sets off at once to investigate.

As they arrive at the farm, they are confronted by ghoul scarecrows, which they make short work of.

The party approaches two buildings, the barn and farmhouse.

The barn is the larger of the two structures, an L- shaped building constructed around a unique feature – a 12-foot-high stone head, canted slightly to the left, depicting a helmed warrior, his face a stern model of determination. Moss has grown over much of the weathered figure, making his features hard to discern.

This head, known locally as “the Stone Warrior,” is a remnant of an ancient Thassilonian statue that once stood in the area. Realizing the statue was too large to move and too unique to destroy, Hambley decided to use it as a support for his barn and incorporated it into the building’s structure. Inside, the ghouls themselves have made this barn their primary lair, and the place has become a macabre tangle of bones and partially eaten carcasses (in most cases livestock, but in some, human farmers).

The party kicks undead ass and moves on to the farmhouse.

The farmhouse is in a terrible state as well. It is here that the party finds farmer Hambley’s mutilated body in the farmhouse’s kitchen.

Although the corpse is already decaying and swarming with flies, the Sihedron Rune is still plainly visible upon the man’s chest, as is a single scrap of parchment pinned to his tunic. The parchment bears the name Drutz.

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While investigating the house, the party is attacked by another ghoul. After dispatching the fiend, the party finds an iron key hanging around its neck. The key bears a heraldic symbol of a curious flower surrounded by thorns which Drutz identifies as the Foxglove family crest.

The party returns to Sandpoint to inquire about the Misgivings.

They learn that the Misgivings is the local name for Foxglove Manor. A region shunned by locals for years as a place of shadowy menace, bad luck and haunts. No one travels the road to the Misgivings today. In recent years, Aldern Foxglove has made attempts to rebuild and reclaim the place but found few willing to work in the region due to its ill history.

The party set off at once and, in typical horror movie fashion, arrive at the haunted house at sunset.

(At this point, I think somebody made a heroic knowledge check and the party was informed of the following:)

- Foxglove Manor is over 8o years old, and has been the seat of the Foxglove family the whole time. Some sort of tragedy struck the family a few decades ago, and no one’s lived there since. Common rumor holds that the place is haunted.

- Foxglove Manor is known as the “Misgivings” by some locals, particularly by Varisians. It certainly has a bad reputation – sightings of strange lights in the attic windows, muffled sounds of screaming from above and below, and even rumors of a huge bat-winged devil living in the caves below the manor are but a few of the tales told about the place. The Foxglove family lived there as recently as 2 decades ago, but then a fire burned down the servants’ building, Cyralie Foxglove (Aldren’s grandmother) was found dead – burnt and dashed on the rocks below the cliffs behind the house – and Traver Foxglove (Alrdren’s father) was found in his bedroom, dead by his own hand. The children, including young Aldern Foxglove, were sent away to be raised in Korvosa by distant relations.

- Aldern Foxglove recently returned to live in the manor, but he had a hell of a time hiring locals to aid him in the reconstruction and repair of the old building. Until Aldern moved back in, the place was cared for by a man named Rogors Craesby (a retired innkeeper who lost an ear in a bar fight many years ago) who came in 3 days a week from Sandpoint to air the place out, check for squatters, and make minor repairs.

- Foxglove Manor was built decades ago by Yorel Foxglove (Aldren’s grandfather), a merchant prince from Magnimar. He and his family lived there for 20 years before the entire family perished from disease. The surviving Foxgloves of Magnimar shunned the place for 40 years, until Traver Foxglove (Aldren’s father) moved back in.

- The Foxgloves have traditionally been associated with the Brothers of the Seven, a secretive gentlemen’s club based in Magnimar and consisting of merchants or thieves, depending on whom you talk to. Members of the society periodically visited Foxglove Manor at night during the years the manor went unlived-in, perhaps to check up on the building and make minor repairs-or perhaps for more sinister pursuits.

The route leading out to Foxglove Manor is a 3 -mile hike along a narrow path that follows the Foxglove River from the covered bridge where it flows under the Lost Coast Road to the dark sea cliffs overlooking the Varisian Gulf. Here, wild sea birds call out to a roaring ocean that churns hundreds of feet below. As the party nears Foxglove Manor, it almost seems as if nature herself has become sick and twisted. Nettles and thorns grow more prominent, trees are leafless and bent, and the wind seems unnaturally cold and shrill as it whistles through the cliffside crags. The path slowly rises, bending around a steep corner in the cliffs , and then Foxglove Manor looms at the edge of the world.

The strangely cold sea wind rises to a keening shriek as Foxglove Manor comes into view. The place has earned its local nickname of the “Misgivings” well, for it almost appears to loathe its perch high above the ocean, as if the entire house were poised for a suicide leap. The roof sags in many places, and mold and mildew cake the crumbling walls. Vines of diseased-looking gray wisteria strangle the structure in several places, hanging down over the precipitous cliff edge almost like tangled braids of hair. The house is crooked, its gables angling sharply and breached in at least three places, hastily repaired by planks of sodden wood. Chimneys rise from various points among the rooftops, leaning like old men in a storm, and grinning gargoyle faces leer from under the eaves.

Decay abounds inside Foxglove Manor. Ceilings sag, plaster swells, and timbers rot. Inside, doors are often wedged shut by dampness and rot. Mold and stains mar walls and floors, often in strangely unsettling patterns. The pervasive smell of decaying wood, the periodic groaning of the house’s joists, a dusty mound of dead flies on a windowsill and the overall air of ancient neglect completes the scene.

As the party explores the house, each of them receives a vision of the horrors that occurred here.

Beltram – sees Cyralie Foxglove (Aldern’s mother) attempting to burn the house down when she realized it was driving her husband Traver mad

Dargen – sees Vorel’s (grandfather) painful death, consumed by the necromantic backlash that unleashed a thousand diseases in his flesh

Drutz – sees Aldern consumed with envy of… well, Drutz

Durriken – sees Aldern murder his wife, Iesha, who carries with her a burning need for revenge and retribution

Elzarion – sees Travel (father) who managed to resist Vorel’s influence for many years but was eventually driven to deeper and deeper madness

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blaven

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