Rise of the Runelords: Run All The Checks

Note: Yes, this was partially published earlier! I’m afraid I was flipping browsers and mixed up buttons. Chrome profiles is a blessing and a curse, let me tell you. Thanks for bearing with me, here’s the completed post.

This week we had a sort of double session, so I decided to just stick them together. A weekend event went a bit funky for us, so instead we headed home and just ran a session there to get us through the rest of the farm area. Then Monday was our usual, still investigating creepy notes and eerie murders. So far, it’s becoming clearer and clearer who might be behind everything, which I’m glad about because I had suspicions early on, but I didn’t want to say it much in character considering I didn’t think Istah would reach the same conclusions as fast as I had. You have to keep a little IC and OOC separation when it comes to these things, after all. She’s far from stupid, but obviously I was functioning with different insight than she has.

The rest of this entry WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE SKINSAW MURDERS ARC.

Our heroes ventured out into the countryside in search of scarecrows that were eating people. And their dogs. Sad, I know. The map was confusing at first, but that was more for the fact that it was not in the usual scale because there was more room to cover. Once you think of it on the different scale, it’s fine.

We started off with some warring Survival checks between Rani and Istah, which to the characters was frustrating, but I’m pretty sure both of us thought it was funny. I did at least. Then we started spotted the scarecrows and it was on. Istah generally stayed on the path, as did Leora, especially once we realized they were ghouls. Luckily, Padrick and Rani are immune to it and did much of the killing with Istah as backup, getting just in range. Sometimes I’ve been unsure if this was a good campaign for a ranged character like her, but here it was useful.

We continued on, shooting ghouls and making sure they were ghouls on the way. That is, until Padrick checked on and found they weren’t a ghoul, but a man. Luckily, we hadn’t shot or anything yet, and Padrick managed to heal him enough to send him back to town with our soldier buddies. When we hit another fork, we decided to split ways. Leora and Rani found a farm and house built around a giant stone head (Runelord relics? Maybe? I dunno, man, I just don’t know), and a few more ghouls in the barn. Whoops. But they lived, no death, no real infection, but I think one of the soldier NPCs got paralyzed. We found the farmer dead in his house, again that same symbol we’ve been finding everywhere and a creepy note about unmasking people.

Given the notes (including one to Leora about letting the fever inside of her, ew), we’re pretty sure it’s Foxglove. If it’s not, then kudos to this campaign for this level of red herring. Unless the “Oh no, it’s this person actually” is a messy transition and plot-holey, but we’ll see I guess. But we finally headed off to the old Foxglove Manor that had been semi-recently been worked on by our good “friend”.

Foxglove Manor is creepy. Props to our DM also for providing us with perfect creepy music to set the mood. We entered by the side as opposed to the front, which in retrospect seems good because we avoided triggering something nasty at the start. Istah’s perception checks let her catch the hints of the haunts sometimes, but I don’t actually recall anything hitting her besides the manticore later. We knew something was going on with the piano, but Leora triggered it by touching the keys. Rani was the one caught up in the ghosts dance, though. Farther along, Padrick was picked up by something that made him think he was Rani’s father and ran with her out of the house. Glorious visual, quite honestly, because everyone in this party is 5’9″ and taller besides Pie, our little rouge. The haunts almost seem to pursue Padrick and Leora, but for one, “His Lordship” seemed to favor them already and for two, they are the most human passing of our party? I mean, sure Padrick does his whole werebear thing, but it’s not like you can see that when you look at him. And Rani is at least human passing, but she’s clearly not from these parts. Then you have Istah, the half elf Shoanti that doesn’t really like to talk to people. She’s terrible, I love her.

There were a few incidents with haunts and the manticore that we triggered who knocked two of us (yes, me) down to about half health, but the roughest part was the stained glass windows. We knew they meant something. We knew there was something up with them. We knew it. We knew it so fully that even our characters knew it, but no one could figure out what check would actually get us information. We broke one. We tried every Knowledge check in the book. We did everything. Until we finally tried Appraisal. Was it Appraisal? We ran so many, I’m not even sure anymore, but so. Many. Checks. Creepy windows turned out to be creatures being sucked into some kind of super box. Which, let’s be honest, made them slightly more disturbing.

We headed upstairs finally and were still investigating there when we closed up for the night. So far, we know that someone has recently been murdered in the house by way of bludgeoning, a pretty lady was strangled at some point, and a little boy hid in fireplaces. I’m thinking either the child is Foxglove or his father or something? My theory of dead secret brother being behind this all has been nixed, but hey, who know?

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