Dawnreach Campaign: Coffins

The Story So Far:

Players met at the adventurer’s guild to choose quests from the tasks requested by locals.  Mara the Wizard, Sorin the Ranger, Raziel the Cleric, and Falcon the Monk set off to the Allistair Polmonetti’s Joiner Shop in Dawnreach.  He asked them to solve a strange problem occurring at the shop:  coffins had recently been going missing.  Allistair ordered extra security, but eventually had to stop because of the expense.  As soon as the guards were dismissed, the coffins started being taken again; two days ago, a coffin was returned, but with blood in it.  He asked them to discover what was going on and to put a stop to it.

They talked to four people at the shop – a female half-elf in charge named Lucyinil Font; a glassy-eyed, distracted, and somewhat creepy male human named Jon Florence, another human male who told them about the mahogany coffin he made going missing, and a sleepy halfling who explained that it was more than blood in the coffin – it was chunks of flesh left behind.  Lucyinil was by far the most helpful, providing a story about a graverobbery in the north and a missing druid-in-training-classmated named Aldatrude.  Lucy wasn’t sure how the graverobbery, missing friend, and missing-and-reappearing coffins were connected, but she seemed sure that it couldn’t be a coincidence.

After investigating the returned coffin, learning about the engraving placed on all Allistair Polmonetti-made coffins, and securing a map of the northwest abandoned farm regions from Lucyinil, the adventurers set off.  On the way out of town, Raziel helped obtain a carriage ride north to the region Lucy had described.  A kind noble half-orc named Daisy took a fancy to Raziel and acquiesced to take them as far as where the path split off to their abandoned farm region, but she would continue on north.

Having saved themselves and hour’s walk by procuring the carriage travel, the group was well-prepared for the quest to begin.  They had enough talk and investigation and were now ready to find out what could possibly be going on.  Upon entering the northwest area, the party noticed it was absolutely silence in the mountain valley, with the only sounds of wildlife echoing through the mountains to the west.  All of the adventurer’s noticed a horse-like creature standing in the middle of the field down the path into the mountain valley and back eastward toward the road from which they had come.

Though it was the monk, Falcon, who led the discussion back at the joiner’s, it was Raziel who suggested they split up to investigate the fields.  Sorin followed without comment, and Mara, the wizard, stuttered something and went along with the monk to Guthery Farms.  A barn was in the distance.  Meanwhile, Sorin and Raziel went to see the strange striped horse.

Mara’s fire magic and shocking grasp were useful in the barn when they encountered a pair of poltergeists and a lonely ghost.  However, Mara’s stuttering and stammering was an odd quality to the honorable monk.  In truth, the pair barely escaped with their lives.  Were it not for the young ghost boy apologizing for the angry spirits, that could have been the end of Mara and Falcon’s adventure right there.  A quick search of the barn provided an unknown potion, and a family picture that revealed that the poltergeists were likely the parents of the sad and non-vengeful spirit of their young son, the boy.

Meanwhile, Raziel and Sorin ventured into a field of their own.  The horse-like creature, upon seeing the pair, charged ahead.  The force spooked Sorin a little, but ultimately they opted not to draw their weapons in case the creature was well-meaning.  Their hunch paid off, as the creature was clearly eager for the pair to follow it to some other location.  The ranger and cleric followed it to a most unexpected scene.  What they expected to be a horse field was actually the site of a halfling, sprawled flat on his back and trapped by some sort of forcefield.

A frustrated halfing, introducing himself as Milo Kettleknight, caught the two up on the situation.  He had come to the Kettleknight Farms – his family’s land – to find his beloved sister, Aldatrude, who had traveled there the day before.  He tracked his druid-sister to the field, but failed to track her beyond there.  Milo had seen a robed figure – he thinks a male – in Kettleknight farms.  Milo called out to him, but the figure cast the invisible wall that now pinned him securely to the ground.  Milo recognized the spell as necromancy, but couldn’t figure out how the necromancy pulled it off without being in range and concentrating on the spell.  Milo’s loyal pet – a zebra named Jailhorse – went after the figure, but the robed necromancer teleported away!

Learning that the adventurers were too low level to have a proper disintegrate spell in their aresenal, Milo begs them to find his sister and hopes that killing the necromancer would free him from the wall of force around him.

Raziel has the forethought to ask if Jailhorse would like to join them, but since Jailhorse was acquired from another dimension, Milo thinks it’s not wise to have the zebra trotting around.  Oh, yeah, and one more thing – Milo urges them not to go to the barn because of poltergeists or to go to the temple because of dozens of zombies.  He says he checked both places, but there was no sign of the necromancer.

And, so, the group met up once again, where planned, and continued to the next area.  Still a little worn from their encounter with the poltergeists, Falcon and Mara agreed to skip the temple’s many, many zombies and, instead, head along to the final farm propery – Hymnstead Crop Fields.  The journey there yielded little at first.  Falcon and Sorin took minor wounds from moving boards aside from a fallen shack.  Their efforts resulted in the freeing of some passive will-o-the-wisps, that floated about awhile and then soared off away from the wooden boards that seemed to be trapping them down – or were they just playing in the rubble?  Mara struggled to communicate with the spirits, but to no avail.

But a figure – off in the distance!  A male undead-looking thing was spotted in Hymnstead Fields heading north.  It must be the necromancer!  The party fired away with fiery spells, projectile damage, and a hot pursuit of the entity, who ignored the barrage and trudged on slowly to the north.  The group that once given every single creature the benefit of the doubt unleashed their attacks onto the rambling undead without an attempt at diplomacy.  Luckily for them, the revenant undead with the giant axe cared only – and maniacally – about pursuing he who wronged him above all else.  But when the creature swatted away at a melee attack, once the group was in range, the revenant shouted a “QUIT!” that gave the adventurers pause.

Mara quickly lept to converse with the axe-wielding shambler.  After extensive patience and a committment to trudge along at the mind-numbling slow pace as the revenant, Mara finally got through to the creature that the group – moving quickly ahead of the revenant toward the same cemetary goal – was better off joining them.  Reluctantly, and with only a few seconds break in his psychotic pursuit for revenge, the revenant handed them a map to the cemetery’s crypt.  The party, undead vengeful creature included, continued to find the necromancer at the cemetary.

The cemetary was abandoned, but indigent dead were still regularly buried there – people who had no one to claim and bury them otherwise.  Two or three graves were open and fresh and suggested recent grave robbings.  The group investigated – except the slow reventant, he trudged straight on to the crypt door.  The door was locked, and as the group tried to read the message, the single-minded revenant clanged his axe against the concrete, still only occasionally repeated phrases like “I WILL KILL HIM!”

The crypt gate revealed a clue in the form of a name:

Errick Hamm A  roVe r

After a short time making a plan of action, the group decided to stay together and read the names on the gravestones to see if the same surname might have appeared in the graveyard.  The group surveyed each name on the headstones before coming to one that stood out – Mara.

Mara froze.  The awkward wizard wasn’t one for words before, but she didn’t need them to convey her feelings at that moment.  Creepy as it was, they had no answers.  As Sorin, Falcon, and Raziel kept looking through to find a potential surname match, Mara wrote a note to herself and put it in the grave – an action that raised more than a few eyebrows.

A breakthrough!  They found “AndroVeer,” which fit with the name on the door.  Falcon tried speaking the name first, but ended up grabbing a nearby rock and carving the name in as best he could like the other letters.  That worked!

The crypts were not large or confusing to navigate, but the experiences there were ones that the adventurers would surely rather forget.  The battles began with an attack from severed hands.  After defeating the crawling claws, Mara decided to burn them along with the other appendages scattered about.  Even Mara’s constitution was rattled by the smell.  They continued on to fight a pair of mummies.  Mara happily ignited one, and Falcon finished it off.  However, the other mummy ran in terror when the Sorin masterfully resisted its carefully calculated fear spell.  This time, Mara reaching into the fallen mummy’s rotted flesh just to receive a couple of silver pieces led to group repulsion.

More horrors awaited in a small alcove containing jars with organs in them, tipped-over yet empty urns, empty jars, and seemingly corrupted or diffused components for magic spells.  Mara tucked away a couple of vials and a clean parchment, but most components weren’t recognizable.  After sifting through some clay pot shards to find another potion, the party kept exploring the crypt.  Onto a more cavernous looking room amongst the concrete walls, the adventurers stepped around black ooze to reach a switch on the wall.  Falcon dutifully flipped the lever without caution, but the group heard only an unseen mechanism.

Passing back through the way they had come, Mara burned some strewn-about bones on their way to the other direction in the crypt.  The revenant banged away at a dead end, which the adventurer’s could discern from the map that a room should be there, if not for the revenant’s undaunting revenge and sense of where the necromancer might be.  The part found a ghoul guarding the room they had been searching for.

A quick search revealed the fallen body of Aldatrude Kettleknight, the beloved sister of Milo and druidic classmate of Lucyinil Font.  The party was sullen, but continued investigating to discover other bodies and coffins complete with the Allistair Polmonetti engraving.  Making note of the location of the room, the adventurers pressed on to find a stairwell containing some trophies and a ring that Mara tucked away for later identification.  Carrying on to the second of the cavernous rooms filled with black ooze, Falcon pressed forward without caution again, but this time it cost him a bone spear to the arm.  Luckily, he sustained only minor wounds.

Flipping the second lever made the same mechanism sound, but it was followed by a clanging sound and a cheering, rageful revenant, as though he had opened the dead end himself.  The party ran back to the entryway where the revenant angrily slashed away at the necromancer.  Unfortunately for . . . Errick Hamm AndroVeer? . . . the party made quick work of him.  His bones were no longer around to be turned to skeletons thanks to Mara’s fire, and to add insult to injury, Mara blinded the skilled caster, putting a stop to many of his aresenal of spellworking fun.

Thoroughly battered by a barrage of Sorin’s arrows, the fists of Falcon, the revenant’s rage, and the diverse spells of Raziel, the Necromancer eventually succumbed to defeat.  His plans to project his soul into a jar to survive were foiled due to blindness, and his once savvy plan to mind control the crypt’s tresspassers into a black oozy death were no more.  The adventurers looted the body, but they had begun celebrating too soon.

Just as soon as a relieved revenant left the crypt to wander the fields, no longer filled with rage, a familiar face entered the crypt – the necromancer!  The party was dumbfounded and confused, giving the necromancer an opportunity to fire off a missed attack.  The monk punched the somehow-returned necromancer, but the damage was miniscule compared to the impending arrow of Milo Kettlenight.  The halfling ranger had freed himself of the forcefield when the necromancer perished and arrived as swiftly as he and his jailhorse could speed across the fields to the crypt.  Milo obliterated what turned out to be the necromancer’s clone.

The adventurers told Milo about his deceased sister, and the halfling was rattled with grief.  The party helped him transport the coffins and his sister back to the joiner.

Back in Dawnreach, Milo’s more experienced understanding of high level spells helped fill in the pieces of the puzzle.  This necromancer – perhaps a descendent of Errick Hamm AndroVeer (perhaps one of the mummies buried there?) was using powers he shouldn’t have been able to wield.  The necromancer stole coffins and carved chunks from his flesh to cast the spells to clone himself – magic that should have been beyond his grasp.  The revenant, apparently made the mistake of returning the coffin in the hope that the joiners would not miss it if it was not gone.  However, the revenant was unaware of the flesh-stained contents – an unforgivable mistake that led the necromancer to kill whoever the revenant was in life, and ultimately leading to the revenant’s vengeful undead quest.

All seemed to be right again at the joiner’s, and a very happy Allistair Polmonetti bestowed loot upon the group, giving them both a longbow and a shield that he had crafted himself.  Sorin, Mara, Raziel, and Falcon went to leave the establishment, content with their positive impact on the town and excited to have their newfound loot.  But before the group left the coffin shop, Jon Florence, one of the coffin makers laid a cold, thin hand on Mara and said “I’ll see you soon” with a creepy smile.  Mara noticed the nameplate on the coffin he was currently making read “Mara.”