Here Abide Monsters

The Words on the Western Wall

Game began nicely with a celebratory Oktoberfest dinner of sauerbraten and spaetzle by the players with cake as dessert. There was discussion about rules mechanics, and some of the problems of the Pathfinder paladin were brought up, including the rather redundant spell list. I decided that paladins, given their devotion to their god, should get a once monthly divination spell, since a little divine guidance might be appropriate for a holy warrior.

The party went shopping for a Make Whole scroll and found one. They used it to restore the candelabra, which they found was a Hand of Glory but for ghosts.

Heidi went and hung out with Armand the werewolf.

Anyway, the party was a bit stumped by the whole mystery with the ghost, specifically how to answer his questions of who had killed him and whether he’d been mourned, so Findar the paladin prayed for guidance.

Heimdall told him this verse:

The soul will rest in Hela’s Hall
When read what’s writ on western wall.

The party then decided to ask the obvious question: The western wall of what?

Everyone set out to gather information about this. Prince Fritzie aced it, going to the concierge desk of the hotel and not only finding out that there was a western wall of the city, but that the gravestones of St. Beryl’s had been used to reconstruct it after the great war, and moreover, the scholar Old Martin had been booked for a historic walking tour of the city for a private engagement of a few other guests but they surely would not mind such august personages as the prince and princess, King Tharn, the margrave and their retinue joining them.

This was exactly the case. The other ten guests consisted of two families: The first a party of four, lesser nobles taking time to visit the city along with their fourteen-year-old son and twelve-year-old daughter. The second was a mildly wealthy family blowing their savings in hopes of finding matches for their three daughters, the elder two of which were absolutely stunning, and the younger daughter not bad except in comparison to her sisters. The wife’s sister was accompanying them to help safeguard the girl’s virtue.

The party then joined the guest in the salon for the informative pre-tour lecture and while there, Findar asked the old scholar if he knew what now stood where the Blue Mermaid tavern had once stood. Interesting you should ask, said the scholar. When that was rebuilt after the fire, there were a number of nice houses built. An ordinary family purchased one and lived there until one day they all disappeared. The house was then purchased on the cheap and turned into a brothel which operated there prosperously for many years until all the inhabitants and the guests that night were found murdered in many grisly and horrible ways, some of which Old Martin failed his propriety check and told about, causing the bourgeois mother, ant, and youngest daughter to faint, ditto the youngest noble daughter, and exciting the interest of the noble son and the bourgeois middle daughter.

Anyway, after the hideous and scandalous murders, the brothel reopened and operated well for a time until someone went mad and tried to burn the place down. The house was then unoccupied expect for squatters, some of whom were then found murdered in myriad grisly ways. Then someone burned the place down successfully. The vacant lot was there for years, but more murders occurred there until the current structure was built, The Three Lilies, a florist shop, which has been there for slightly over forty years with no happenings of any interest except for the proprietor refusing to talk about the dark history of the ground beneath his place of business.

After reviving the family with smelling salts, and dealing with the vomit, the party set off on the walking tour. They found that the bridge had been destroyed during the war the but griffins on the bridgeposts were original, though there were stories that they weren’t destroyed because they were flying around during the great battle. He showed the damage to the post with the untouched griffin above.

Arriving at the western wall, the party located two stones of interests: a cenotaph dedicated to the ghost, now mostly worn away by tombstone rubbings and horses, and another stone high in the wall which read, once they got to it: HE WHO CURSES HIS OWN HOUSE SHALL INHERIT THE WIND. FORGIVE ME, RABBIT.

The old scholar was able to tell them that “rabbit” was a term of endearment from a younger son to an older one.

Armed with the gravestone rubbings, the party set up a dumb supper, inviting both Old Martin as well as the Marquis D’Ermot, who ran in at the last minute, coming in just in time to be possessed by the ghost.

The ghost overate again, nearly killing the marquis due to his corset. Findar slit it and the marquis at last passed out.

Once he had, the ghost had everyone finish the meal so he could eat the spirit of the food.

After that, he spoke, and the party was able to show him proof of him being murdered as well as evidence that he was mourned. The ghost was then laid to rest except his last unfinished business: gratitude to the party.

He told them if they had any questions, each of them might place a candle in the candelabra and light it and he would send a spirit to answer their question.

Heidi, meanwhile, had a werewolf date with Armand, as it was the full moon.

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A Night at the Opera

Synopsis of the game from September 11th 2010
(late post due to deadlines)

The party wished to speak with the Marquis D’Ermot regarding what they’d discovered with the ghost, hoping the marquis could tell them more. After inquiring if he was available, they were informed that he was getting ready for a night at the opera but would be pleased to have them as his guests in his private box.

Thereupon the party went off to get suitable bling for the evening, dressing and whatnot. Heidi turned out the best, but everyone looked fine in the end, and they then arrived at the opera house only to have the marquis arrive at the last minute as was his custom.

The opera was a tragedy on many levels. It concerned a young noblewoman who fled the great war only to come back and find her family destroyed, along with her health, for she’s coughing to death from being hit with elf shot, even though this does not stop her arias. In grief, she goes to join a nunnery, except the nunnery has been destroyed too. It is then ambiguous whether she’s being haunted by the phantoms of the dead nuns but does not realize that they are dead because of her mad grief or if she’s gone completely mad and is just hallucinating the whole thing as the first act ends and the ballet fantasia of the spectral nuns begins.

Tharn complains that the nuns he’s used to don’t act like that and aren’t that limber.

The Tragedy of Sister Celesta continues with the second act, where the eponymous heroine goes out to do good works and charity in the city, but everyone views her as mad. Then she dies, but her demented ghost continues as she did in life, wailing and coughing about the city as people jump into the river to escape her, drowning and adding to the chorus of drowned phantoms. The opera ends with the whole city dead and the audience in abject horror, not because of the plot so much as the singing, since the lead soprano is terrible and has obviously only gotten the job because she’s sleeping with the prince. The rest of the cast has been chosen to make her look good. Even the ballet is bad, though not quite so bad as the soprano—there are evidently some standards left in the Paradelle theatre, if not many.

Tharn was introduced to absinthe, which helped fortify the nobles for the second act. However, there was a lot of peacocking among the nobles and this was to be expected.

The group then went back to the marquis’s townhouse where he was able to find old records tracing the hallmark to one “Father Squirrel,” an exorcist of some note who had a hallmark on his silver in the shape of a squirrel with a nut. Later research at the silversmith’s guild further enlightened the party to find that this was a master silversmith who actually made magical silver and the candelabra would probably be magical again if a Make Whole were cast upon it. And there the night ended.

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The Haunted Candelabra and the search for the Blue Pony
What to do with a haunted candelabra?

After purchasing the haunted candelabra at the flea market of Paridelle last session, the Marquis D’Ermot kindly lent his coach and his seal ring to retrieve the rest of the party from the tower, the rest of the party being Findar and Tharn (as Ben is moving into the dorms this weekend and Pat is helping him). Unfortunately, while they had gotten the candelabra, they forgot the name of the inn it had been retrieved from the catacombs beneath. They remembered it was the “The Blue” something.

Inquiries at a local pub (The Yew Chamber) revealed that there were five possibilities: The Blue Pony (an ancient and very high class inn in the old district), The Blue Griffin (a fashionable gambling den), The Blue Flames (a nice upper middle class pub close to the theatres), The Blue Cat (actually “The Dead Cat,” an establishment of exceedingly ill reputation partially located in the catacombs), and the Blue Mermaid, which it could not possibly be, as that establishment was located on the grand pier and you’d need to go beneath the river to get to any catacombs beneath. It was also found that the Blue Mermaid is a famous brothel and bawdy house. Ooh la la!

A lovely afternoon lunch was had with the Marquis, during which time they realized he was both a great expert on his city and collector of the antiquities therein, and moreover, was on the track of the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords himself and had nearly narrowed down its location. Diplomacy games ensued, during which the Marquis, in the guise of good information, fed them red herrings while Findar led him around to revealing something he shouldn’t. What occurred was rather than the marquis coming right out and saying it, he mentioned that the legend that the person last seen with the axe had entered into the catacombs beneath the Blue Mermaid, which of course could not possibly be true owing to the Blue Mermaid being over the river. However, there was a fire 150 years ago which consumed many city blocks, including the Blue Mermaid tavern, and the business relocated to the grand pier where it is today. The entrance would be under the foundations of what was the Blue Mermaid before and now has been rebuilt as a new section of the city. Luckily the Marquis did not notice his slip and bid everyone a fond adieu, Findar quite certain that the Marquis thinks that he’d successfully fed these powerful and reckless newcomers a pile of red herrings and dead ends.

Meanwhile, Vlad and Heidi went to the flea market where Heidi sniffed out Armand, a young werewolf who was selling meat pies made out of cat which of course was being sold as rabbit. Vlad then took over the selling of meat pies, making a good sale, but sadly convincing the citizens of Paridelle that they were now forced to import cats for their meat pies.

There was very little time before sundown, so while the party was convinced that the inn the thief had mentioned was the Blue Griffin, they could most quickly make it to the Blue Pony which it turned out was fortunate because that was the actual pub I’d mentioned last session.

In any case, it was discovered that the Blue Pony is an ancient house once belonging to some minor knight of a family line long gone but has now become the sort of fine dining establishment enjoyed by the King, the queen and her ladies, and indeed anyone wealthy who is wanting “Nothing too fancy, just that nice little place around the corner.” Around the corner here of course being from the castle and the townhouses of the nobility.

The maitre d’ was able to immediately accommodate the party of King Tharn, Prince Friedrich and his cousin Margrave Heidi as well as their friends and servants on the third story in the Hunt Room. The wiser in the party also sussed out that the staff of the Blue Pony knew exactly who everyone was and was happily reassured that these notable visitors had chosen to dine at their restaurant first, their fame having preceded them (and a bet or two was likely won in the kitchens). Dinner was brought, a lovely repast of duck confit with sauerkraut, cassoulet, bread, wine, cheese and sausages. Findar quietly checked to see if anything was poisoned, but the only poison he detected in the room was on all the stuffed deer and boar heads, and if you got so drunk you went and started licking the arsenic off, well, you deserved what you got. Vlad remembered how to do a dumb supper, a ritual where you say nothing while eating and set an extra place for the ghost to see if he appears.

Appear he did, the ghost of Lord Herrik, a young man who had been locked in a closet (meaning a windowless room, not a cupboard for coats) and left to starve to death in the dark. Somewhere along the line a well-meaning priest had laid his ghost somewhat to rest by finding him, reburying him, and leaving him a candelabra to light his way, but unfortunately had not left any food and he was still starving. After feeding the ghost, Tharn allowed himself to be possessed at which point the ghost gorged himself on food until Tharn could hold no more.

The story then came out, what little of it was known: Herrik had been locked in the dark to starve to death almost a thousand years before. It may have been by his brother, maybe someone else. He doesn’t know.

The three things he needs to lay his ghost to rest are simple: light (provided by the candelabra), food (provided by the party now), and an answer to what had happened to him, which the party hopes to maybe get from the Marquis D’Ermot, who they suspect is a bard or loremaster. Certainly he knows a lot about his city.

Herrik’s brother was Germand, and both of them were of House Kiriya. The family was buried in the churchyard of the church of St. Beryl.

Sated for the evening, the ghost then chugged a bottle of wine and took its spirit with him as he disappeared to his grave, sinking down through the floor and causing screams as he went down through a few more stories of the restaurant. Someone’s anniversary dinner obviously became a night to remember.

Tharn also did, as he passed out and threw up at the same time, but was saved by timely administration of a spoon down his throat by Vlad. The vomit mess was cleaned up and the maitre d’ arranged a coach to take them to the old cloisters, which was of course no longer a cloister but a nice hotel built on the ruins of a picturesquely ruined abbey. They took the nice suite (as opposed to the suite where the king probably took his mistress) and there the game ended.

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Quest for the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords
Quest for the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords

After the Coronation of King Tharn, a small party of four assembled: Prince Fritzie, his cousin Hilda, Vlad the porter, and the inquisitor from the north. It was decided that the continued revenge of fairyland on King Tharn was getting bad for the health of Tharlonia so something would have to be done to stop it.

After a great deal of talking and consulting their lore and learning regarding fairyland, fey politics, and fey etiquette, the following was known and decided. The council of fairyland consists of representatives of the gnomes, the dwarves, the goblins, the trolls, the elves, the dark elves, and the gnolls, but is mostly dominated by the elves who were the ones who came up with the Tiend and presumably renegotiated the new deal to take back fairyland from Hell. The other factions aren’t terribly pleased with this, but it’s the way things are, and it requires a unanimous vote for them to get anything done as a whole, not just a simple majority. Consequently any one faction can mire any decision.

Fey politics being what it is, the only thing the fey would forgive Tharn for for ruining their last Tiend would be for him to do such a deed that the leaders of at least one of the factions of fairyland to owe him a Boon, which is to say, a great debt of gratitude in the fey sense. The best bet? The dwarves, who are relatively silent on the council but exceedingly stubborn, and anything they do want, they get, since they will simply drag down the proceedings of the council until everyone finally caves, which is why most simply do it early. Thankfully, the dwarves want very little so rarely do this.

One thing they do want, however, is the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords. It was lost during the Magewars and was last seen 230 years ago when it was believed to have surfaced in the flea markets of Paridelle. The owner, who was apparently turning into a dwarf from the axe’s effects, was last seen venturing into the sewers of Paradelle to take his rightful place as King of the Dwarves. However, as he never got to fairyland, mages are pretty certain the axe may still be down there somewhere. There was a big to-do 200 years ago with folk trying to find it, which stopped when too many people went missing or dead.

Consequently, the party got into the flying tower the wizard made and decided to fly off to the city of Paridelle. En route, they encountered an invisible stalker as they crossed the peaks of the World’s Edge mountains (set there to guard some wizard’s lair 600+ years ago). Vlad managed to wrestle the steering away from the stalker before it could crash the tower into the mountainside and the party continued on. The rest of the party (played by the players unavailable this week) were passed out from altitude sickness in the next room of the tower.

Continuing on across the ocean, they spotted a young green dragon flying lazily through the clouds and completely botching his perception check as he did the back stroke through the skies. It was decided to take the world’s easiest dragon kill, since if a dragon flying 200 MPH impacts the adamantium prow of a tower proceeding 200 MPH the other direction, what exactly happens?

Continuing on, the city of Paradelle came into view. It was chosen to land outside the city gates in a caravan turn-out beside the road where there was a carriage out waiting with someone watching from the roof. Vlad masterfully maneuvered the tower, parking it mere inches from the carriage. The groom, not so masterfully, failed his handle animal check and the horses bolted, pulling the carriage into the ditch, but the man on the roof managed to jump off gracefully to greet the party when they emerged.

It was the Marquis D’Ermot, a foppish dandy with powdered face, cravat, beauty mark on his cheek, scented handkerchief, and currently his carriage in the mud while his apparently long-suffering groom attempted to save the horses.

The party helped, the Inquisitor healing the one who’d broken a leg, Hilda catching the other who’d run off into the field, and Vlad mightily lifting the carriage out of the ditch. The mud and drainage water were another matter, but it was clean atop the carriage and the party rode with the marquis atop his carriage into the city, past many passerby gawking at them, past the city guards who only had to be told “The Marquis D’Ermot and his guests,” and on to the Marquis’s townhouse, where they were served a delightful lunch of champagne, caviar, and snails cooked in garlic which the inquisitor swallowed to be polite.

Vlad, meanwhile, went with the groom to the livery stable and proceeded to wash the carriage and themselves while the girls doing the washing at the fountain looked on and checked out Vlad’s muscles in a scene somewhere between “Carwash” and “Les Miserables.”

The marquis then took the party to the flea market, which was halfway between the flea markets of Paris and Portobello Road. They found one barrow (meaning wheelbarrow) apparently selling things looted from the other sort of barrow (as in barrow mound) or more to the point, from the catacombs beneath the city, including an incredibly corroded silver candelabra which the inquisitor and Vlad figured out was haunted or at least otherwise significant to a ghost who would probably come back to retrieve it. They frighted the graverobber into selling it for is value as scrap and there the session ended.

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The Story Thus Far
The Story Thus Far

The Story Thus Far

Tharn has finally been crowned King of Tharlonia. Unfortunately, they fey sent a nucklavee to crash the coronation. People died. The nucklavee also died. Fortunately the plague it usually spreads was apparently contained and everyone who was killed was brought back from the dead by King Tharn doing more of the “Coronation Only Resurrection Special.” Flour sacks of diamonds from the evil miller’s mill were used for resurrections while the rest of the party guarded the dwindling hoard and attempted accounting for everything.

(Future recaps will be more elaborate.)

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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