Joey's 5E Rise of the Runelords

Chapter 2

The Skinsaw Murders

After Nualia’s defeat the party had a bit of a breather. They were able to relax for a few days before Sheriff Hemlock came to them with a problem. They met some of the locals, drank a bit, and did some research. They went over what they learned so far. Then the serious started again.

Someone murdered a young couple at the saw mill. One was Banny Harker the operator. He was tied up with a seven-pointed star on his chest before killed.
The second victim, Katrine Vinder, apparently interrupted this ritual and was pushed through the log splitter.

The party investigated the scene and didn’t come up with much information. They interviewed some key witnesses but each one lead to a dead end. The party went to the sheriff, updating him on what they did (n’t) come up with. He let them know that this was actually the second murder in a like number of days.

Apparently three grifters got lured to a barn outside of town with the promise of a luctritive business deal. They were also trussed up with the Seven-Pointed Star carved into their chests. A pattern was starting to emerge, except there was a survivor this time. Apparently they brought a bodyguard, Grayst, who was found wandering and gibbering non sense the next day.

The group went to see Grayst in his new abode, Habe’s Sanitarium. He was dragged out by two hulking Tiefling attendants. He was nearly catatonic until he saw Alar, then he flipped out. He attacked her, but was easily cut down in his near-death state.

They returned back to town at the same time as a hollering, blubbering Farmer Grump. Something terrible happened at Hamby Farm, the southernmost farm outside town.
They immediately went to investigate.

Most of the southern farms were found abandoned. They made it to Hambly farm after a few hours and some backtracking. All around the farm, they came across the missing people. They were tied to poles, dressed up as scarecrows. When the party came close, they went crazy, ripping free from their bondage. They were transformed into ghouls.

After fighting their way to the farmhouse, theor leader showed himself. Farmer Hambly, the onetime caretaker of Foxglove Manor, was a ghast. After defeating him and a large group of his old neighbors, they find a key to the Manor. They quickly make it there.

Enter creepy house. Even though Aldern Foxglove told them he has been working on his family’s Manor for about 3 months, very little progress is shown. The party immediately starts coming across clues and hauntings. Terrible things happened in this house over several generations and most of a century.

They found Aldern’s wife, Iesha, locked up in the attic. She was murdered, and the energies seeping out of the house brought her back, seeking revenge. She rushes toward the basement, even ripping through the floor near the entrance. Below they find stonework tunnels much older than the house, very ancient. Fighting through some groups of goblin ghouls, they discover Aldern Foxglove himself. He is in an old laboratory and much changed. He is some form of advanced ghast. Iesha attacks him relentlessly while he switches back and forth between maniacal killer, to repentant guilt-wracked widower.

They defeat him, but find the source of evil behind the house haunting in the lab. Aldern’s grandfather attempted and failed to become a lich in this very room. His wife interrupted the ritual and the backlash infused the house with his malevolence. Broxigar consecrated the ground and sent his essence on to the next plane.

They also found clues that Aldern was sending some of this essence of nasty to an employer, Xanesha of the Brotherhood of the Seven, a secret society out of Magnimar. They also read that she is the one that taught him the star-carving, killing ritual. They also found a few keys.

They head to Magnimar and find a city under the grips of terror. Someone has been killing people, in the same manner as Aldern. They go to the Foxglove estate to follow up on an earlier clue, where they find Aldern and Iesha, apparently alive and just sitting down for dinner. They don’t fall for it and attack. The couple shift into a weird mouthless, leather skinned duo. Faceless stalkers. After dispatching the monsters, they rest for the night.

Over the next week, they investigate the murder scenes and do some light shopping. They find out the murders are mostly merchants or thieves. Greedy individuals. The townsfolk are nervous, very few come out after dark. There are never any witnesses, and the guards have no leads. The days go mostly uneventful, except for a slight incident at the Mage’s Guild. The party looks deeper into the Brotherhood of the Seven. At the Estate they found the original deed to Foxglove Manner and it mentions that in 20 years the Brotherhood will inherit it. They also found a letter instructing Aldern to bring payment to one of the Brotherhood’s holdings. A woodmill in the southern part of the city.

The party heads there and finds a few workers, but keeps moving. Out of sight the workers Don some weird cultist attire and attack. It becomes a running battle up the stairs as more cultists join the battle, followed by their leader, Justice Ironbriar. He is the City Councilman in charge of the guards and their investigations. He attacks with blade and magic, like a man possesed. Broxigar dispels a very powerful charm effect on him, and all fight leaves Ironbriar.
He agrees to tell all he knows in exchange for his life and time to leave town.

He tells them about his love, a beautiful woman, Xanesha, who came into his life a year ago. All feelings of affection are now gone with the removal of the magic affecting his mind. She quickly took over the Brotherhood of the Seven’s secret assassin branch, The Skinsaw Cult to suit her mysterious ends . While many important people in town were part of the Brotherhood, almost none knew of the cult. He told them she was based out of the Shadow Clock in the slums. They let him go, and within hours he is gone. They find in his office trophies of a long and sinister life. Skinned faces of victims, some many decades old, cover his office wall. They leave soon after.

They easily found the broken down, decrepit old clock tower. Instead of bursting through the front door, they flew/climbed up the outside and came in through the roof. Immediately they are attacked by a large winged demon. In the recesses of the small roof room, also emerged a large, half-snake, half-Woman creature. She attacks very skillfully with blades and magic, both of arcane and Divine in origin. The demon is quickly discerned to be illusion, but the trio of Faceless Stalkers that sooned the battle, were not.

After a rough fight, Xanesha is defeated. They collect her body, distribute her gear, and search her room. They find a crumpled letter from someone in Turtleback Ferry, alluding that something similar is happening there. They give her body over to a local charismatic mage, Bayl Argentine, in exchange for magical gear. He tells them all he knows about her. Apparently she is a form of very powerful Lamia. They are an ancient cursed race of women with animal bodies that hates all divine beings and their disciples.

They set off to Turtle back Ferry!

Comments

Broxigar still doesn’t trust the Drow.

Chapter 2
JBlackwood

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