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Vapourware [Play-by-post] Lamentations in Averoigne

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by nikolokolus, May 28, 2021.

  1. nikolokolus Arcane

    nikolokolus
    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Messages:
    4,088
    A good old-fashioned dungeon crawl, using Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules, set in Averoigne; a province that never was, in medieval France and the setting for Clark Ashton Smith's cycle of gothic horror-fantasy short-stories.

    The Premise (open)

    This is going to be a zero to hero, old-school D&D type dungeon delve, with a bit of a fantasy-horror, "Weird Tales" theme. The setting is in a version of our own earth's history, but one where all of the old-wives tales about magic, monsters, witches and the mythic underworld are actually real. That means: the Catholic church, superstitious peasants, a clear divide between commoners and nobility, and no raise dead spells in every church that you run across.


    The Map(s) (open)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Mythic Underworld Explored So Far . . .
    [​IMG]



    The Rules (open)

    If you responded to this thread and were invited to participate (or were added to the alternate list in the event that people drop out) then you know who you are and what's up, but here's the place where all of the player-facing rules, house rules, custom classes and other reference materials live.

    In short:
    • The game's rolls and combat are handled on Roll20, while all of the other talky bits and in-character roleplaying is posted here on the Codex.
    • Chatter and General Questions can be sent via the chat box in Roll20. Use '/w gm' to send me a direct message and it will appear as a different color and I'll be more likely to see it.
    • Post once a day if at all possible. If you can't post for awhile, let the GM (me) know and I'll NPC you for awhile. Alternatively you can appoint another player to act as your agent and run your character for you. If you go NPC mode you are assumed to be sidelined back in the village doing down-time type things and earn no XP (assuming everyone is out of the dungeon), if you take the risk and let someone else run your character you get a full share of treasure and any XP awards.
    • In-Character and Out-of-character text. If you post out of character just try to attach OOC to the beginning of any text or wrap it in spoiler tags. If you are talking as your character, then third or first person posting is fine. It's perfectly OK to say "my character does X" or "[Character Name] does Y", but you're also welcome to post in first person if that's what you're comfortable with.
    • Rooms, passages and the environment will be presented as text. If an area is especially complicated some kind of partial map will be provided by the GM to help provide context.
    • The Dungeon Map will be revealed as you explore it. The dungeon map on Roll20 will be accessible to anyone with the game link, (but won't be activated until the dungeon is actually discovered and exploration begin). Fog of war will be removed and updated continuously as exploration proceeds; the dungeon map will occasionally be posted here in the summaries below. The party is assumed to have a character mapping this as it is explored. If that character (or all characters with a map) ever lose the party's dungeon map everything gets reset back to black.

    The story so far
    Act 1: First Expedition (open)

    • Horatio Sindaco, a master of mummers and players, purchases a strange burial mask in Arles that turns out to be much more than he bargained for. Believing he possesses a clue to a long forgotten treasure he hastily instructs his troupe to decamp and set forth for Averoigne at first light. The troupe spends a fortnight traversing the Massif Central in heavy spring rains, but eventually arrives in the sleepy town of Les Hiboux. That night Horatio is murdered by an unknown assailant who exsanguinates his body. Members of his troupe burst into his suite just in time to see a foul black vapor rush across the room and vanish up the flue of the fireplace. Vandal, a half-wild tracker and mountainman rushes outside and catches a glimpse of the black fog as it flits in front of the full moon. It vanishes in the marshes south of town.
    • Our newly minted heroes are interrogated by the village Bailiff Gilles, and a Norbertine Monk, Prior Guillaume. After being cleared of suspicion, they begin their own inquiries into what the foul black vapor might have been. After speaking with the Innkeeper they learn that there are dozens of old burial mounds south of town in the depths of the Great Marsh. They resolve themselves to travel there and see if there is anything can be learned. Meanwhile, a local hunter, Jacques, mentions seeing signs of passage from some band of people a month prior that circumvented the village and terminated at the water's edge of the marsh.
    • Three days after the murder of Horatio, the troupe enters the marsh with Jacques and his trusted hound guiding them. 4 hours later they find an uplifted plateau of basalt, dotted with half-a-dozen mounds (and perhaps more) that are barely visible through the dense mist that seems to cling to the marsh, no matter how warm or cold. Jacques leaves them to go duck hunting while they investigate the largest burial mound, ringed with its crown of standing stones.
    • The interior of the great mound is not what they expect. Instead of being completely empty and devoid of anything interesting, they find a tripod with a block and tackle suspended over a hole in the floor. Examination with a lowered lantern reveals a chamber underneath. Further searching of the interior of the mound uncovers a hidden stairway choked with rubble, and the serendipitous discovery of a secret trapdoor leading below.
    • The party decides to forgo the backbreaking effort required to clear the stairwell and opts for the narrow chute instead. At the bottom a secret door leads out into a darkened passage that branches to the west, north and east. To the west is a vaulted chamber directly under the tripod, a badly damaged partial human skeleton, and collapsed western wall. However there are extant frescoes depicting ancient burial processions and after careful examination, Daphne the sorceress determines some of the figures are identical to ones she had seen in a grimoire of necromantic incantations, possessed by her master.
    • The troupe tentatively explores a short northern passage, and finds a loose flagstone concealing a hidden lever in the floor in front of an ancient wooden door. Pulling the lever produces a loud heavy noise, but little other effect. The door set into the north end of he passage is opened and a small 20'x20' room with a closed door directly across, littered with piles of dirt and debris. On the floor is a corpse with a broken sword held out in an outstretched hand and the stub of a burnt out torch in the other. Vincent starts to move forward before Daphne halts him in his tracks. She tentatively probes the floor just across the threshold with her quarterstaff and hears a *click* and a stone slab suddenly drops vertically out of the door arch, snapping her quarterstaff in two. A sound of creaking hinges from beyond the slab is heard, followed by hard scrabbling noises in the room
    • While the party debates about how to proceed, a horrible screeching and skittering noise starts to gather in the gloom to the east of their position. They brace themselves and Vandal has the forethought to light a flask of oil and hurl it when a small swarm of very large rats scuttles into view. he lobs the flask and it's a nearly flawless throw that instantly erupts in flame and engulfs the swarm, sending the scant survivors scattering in all directions.
    • More exploration is performed, as the party breaks out into small groups and starts testing doors and peeking around corners. Several doors line the eastern passage they first entered, and another eastern passage turns from the short northern passage the discovered. Many choices and no clear idea of what to do or where to start.
    • After an hour of busting open a few doors and finding mostly empty rooms, Daphne, the magician carefully tests stones inside a room where three polished skulls leered from a stone plinth. She pushes on a block and it a narrow section of the wall grinds on hidden hinges and reveals a dry, dusty room with an ancient mummified skeleton holding a sack full of silver and a very pretty silver dagger that shows almost no signs of corrosion or age.
    • While Daphne ponders the origin of the dagger, Guillemin, the former stagehand, finds a room with dozens of alcoves, each filled with a clay urn. Carefully popping them out with a pole, he sees the glint of silver in the piles of ash that the broken crockery spills forth. Searching all of those alcoves is going to take some time . . .
    • While the party is split apart, a calamity strikes! Walking corpses emerge silently from the oppressive gloom and assault Sancho, killing him instantly, with vicious black-taloned, mummified fingers. A savage and short fight erupts and after fast and furious blows the three animated corpses are struck down, by Daphne's strange new dagger and Vandal's mighty two-handed sword. Vincent nurses a bad cut that seems to burn and itch almost immediately . . .
    • Deciding that the death of Sancho and injury to Vincent is enough excitement for one day the company begins to gather their bits of treasure liberated from the tomb, when an inconsolable Madeline throws out her arm in grief and seemingly by magic strikes a stone that opens up a small secret chamber with a stone coffer inside. Vandal and Vincent immediately inspect the the coffer and set about lifting its lid, which in turn reveals a nasty surprise. a scorpion, the size of a balled up fist crawls out from under the lid and stabs Vandal in quick succession with its claw and then its stinger. Fortunately the barbarian recoils in time before the thing can inject its full dose of venom and he brings the pommel of his sword down on top of the thing smashing it to pieces. Pieces that turn out to be little bits of cast bronze, cogs and gears. A mechanical scorpion?! What a wonder! What a horror! Who could make such a thing?
    • With all of their loot secured the troupe retreats to the daylight and begins the arduous journey back to Les Hiboux; made all the more grueling by having to carry Sancho's body and one of the foul undead that assaulted them (for Prior Guillaume to study).
    • Just after nightfall the party sees the lights of the village and immediately beelines for the priory so they can relate their findings.
    • The next three days the group rests and another tragedy strikes. Vincent succumbs to the wasting disease he contracted from his wound. Even more alarming, Vincent and Sancho rise from their coffins that evening and are barely destroyed by Prior Guillaume before they can cause further mischief.
    • Prior Guillaume intends to travel to Vyones to seek the counsel of the Bishop and asks the company to escort him and provide their eyewitness testimony.
    • During their stay, they spend a few nights letting loose and experiencing the various wineshops and taverns within the city walls, which also ultimately leads Daphne to an antiquarian's shop and she purchases a most unusual map . . .

    Act II: Second Expedition (open)

    • The journey back to Les Hiboux proves uneventful, as does their trek across the swamp. They arrive at the barrow they first explored and begin walking through the thin mist in a northeasterly direction, surveying barrows along the way.
    • The first barrow they search along their route is flooded with waist deep water. Guillemin carefully descends with torch held aloft and a rope tethered to himself, to haul him out should anything terrible happen. Suddenly a ripple of water is spied in the black, peaty water and he shouts to be hauled up the stairs. Two enormous frogs emerge from the murky pool, and attack! With some clever use of rope, and Vandal's stout arms and tree-trunk legs they manage to haul one of the bestial frogs up the stairs and hack it to pieces. The other one is wounded and it darts away into the darkness. They descend again several minutes later and are set upon by the frog, who is unable to retreat. Luck is on their side and they slay the creature. A quick survey of the tomb shows that it has been looted long ago, however a couple of brass candlesticks are liberated from a pair of statues, and Guilemin's sharp eyes catch sight of a red garnet just below the water line near at statue's waist.
    • Two other barrows are searched along their path and both of them are inaccessible. The first is blocked by a heavy bronze double-door that is locked, and the other is completely covered with earth. They mark them on the map with notes and move on.
    • The fourth barrow in their circuit proves to be as ominous as its puzzle door with three carved stone skulls suggests. After solving the puzzle, with the help of Grima's sharp eyes, noting an old chicken-scratch inscription etched overhead into the archway, As above, so below they are able to deduce the correct sequence and enter within. Down in the multi-chambered tomb, they find an ominously sealed door with the same skull motif as the entrance and decide to pass it by. Also, in the tomb is an ancient broken statue with a dog or fox's head and a man's torso. Some speculate about the Egyptian goddess Anubis, but who can say for sure. They finally open one chamber at the bottom of another flight of steps and find an ancient mortuary. They search through stacks of ancient scrolls and find two intact bone scroll cases, sealed with was, and bypass a trapped coffer lid, to uncover treasures beyond their wildest dreams. A silver fox-faced mask, similar in style to Horatio's, and two urns with a perfectly preserved human heart, and a brain. In a secret chamber under the coffer, they also uncover an ancient, perfectly preserved bronze short sword, with an elaborate leaf-shaped blade.
    • Moments later, disaster strikes when a southeastern door into the chamber is pushed open and two horrific abominations, that look like some weird elongated and bestial men, burst through and quickly incapacitate Madeline with their horrific stench, and then paralyze Ganelon and Vandal with their cruel black-taloned hands. The rest of the troupe can barely pull Ganelon to safety before they retreat up the stairs, and Grima seals the door with a magical charm, somehow.
    • The road back to Les Hiboux proves solemn and uneventful.
    • The next three weeks are spent healing up, unwinding in Vyones, and two new companions are added to the company: Finn, the mule-handler throws his lot in with them, and a rugged, dangerous looking man, called Requin, saves Daphne from muggers in an alley, before the two flee to the relative safety of Les Hiboux.

    Act III (open)





    In-Game Calendar
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
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  2. nikolokolus Arcane

    nikolokolus
    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Messages:
    4,088
    Dramatis Personae
    Our esteemed collection of miscreants, misfits, malcontents, and mendicants. All recently employed or associated with the Honourable Horatio Sindaco's Marvelous Traveling Theatre Company and Circus, formerly of Genoa.

    Daphne van der Strijdveen (Snorkack)
    Magic-User LVL 2
    A haunted, plague-marked, Flemish woman who has travelled with the troupe of performers for awhile. She entertains the crowd performing minor prestidigitations, and reading people's fortunes. She always seems to be scanning the crowds and the far horizon as if she's constantly searching for something very dear to her.

    Finn (SoupNazi)
    Monster Hunter LVL 1
    A youth of the village who used to muck the stables and tend to village mule herd. He decided to throw in his lot with this rabble, after hiring himself on as a porter and "mule minder," lured by the great treasure they pulled from the earth. With enough of a stake he might finally be able to ask his sweetheart to marry him . . . and the horrors that did for his employer and her companion, compelled him to take up the cross and bring God's justice to their deviltry.

    Ganelon de Brignoles
    (Grimgravy)
    Cleric LVL 2
    Former crusader turned acolyte who chose to travel with the troupe for safety, as they were headed the same direction as he was; to Paris by way of Vyones in Averoigne.

    Grima Bonheur (AdamReith)
    Elf LVL 1
    An accomplished acrobat with a strange saturnine face, who has performed with the troupe for some time. He seems intent on joining the company on its trip to Vyones

    Guillemin le Fauve
    (L'ennui)
    Specialist LVL 2
    An enigmatic man of middle years and hard-edged. He has traveled with the troupe for only a couple of short years, working on sets, and props for the company. He has seemed even more reserved than normal since Horatio mentioned travel northward.

    Requin
    Barbarian LVL 1
    A massive brute, who has been living on the fringes of Vyones polite society after crossing a powerful personage, but emerged from his life on the run when he espied the strange woman, Daphne in an alley of Vyones, pursued by three ruffians, who work for the most notorious thief in the province. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, he mutters to himself just before he brains two of them and the third scampers off. Daphne thanks him and says to come with her; they could use another bruiser . . . I wonder what she means by that?

    -~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
    The Retired
    [​IMG]
    Markolf Muller (Stormcrowfleet)
    Fighter LVL 1
    After Horatio was murdered in the middle of the night in Les Hiboux, Markolf scuttled off to Vyones a week after the unceremonious end of his employment. He always did wonder what happened to the rest of the troupe and who (or what) killed the old actor.

    -~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~

    The Honored Dead
    [​IMG]
    Vincent Cadieux (AdamReith)
    Fighter LVL 1
    A poor young man, who is far from home, but seems eager enough in his work as a guard for the troupe. Alas, poor Vincent succumbed to a rotting disease of the flesh, three days after contracting it from the vile bony claws of some foul animated corpse on the first expedition to strange under-tombs beneath the barrows.

    "Sancho"
    Hireling of Madeline de Beaupoil
    The poor, moon-faced boy never saw it coming. The same animated corpses that did for Vincent in the end, ripped his guts out in one fell swoop. At least his dying screams helped alert his employers to the danger before it was too late.

    Madeline "Maddie" de Beaupoil (SoupNazi)
    Fool LVL 1
    A young charismatic actress and violinist of some small accomplishment. She recently joined the company as bit-player just as it was about to depart Arles for Paris. Poor Madeline was lost just a mere week after her faithful servant Sancho. Lost in the depths of some nameless barrow to the talons of some nameless terror.

    Vandal (ERYFKRAD)
    Barbarian LVL 1
    A wild man claiming to know the hidden paths of the Massif Central and offering his services as guide and guardian. Vandal died as he lived heedless of danger. Unfortunately, in a fit of chivalry he rushed forward to save Madeline from the clutches of some ghoulish abomination, only to slip on the flooded flagstones of an ancient mortuary, and fell to the beast.

     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
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  3. nikolokolus Arcane

    nikolokolus
    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Messages:
    4,088
    Scribe's Note: Herein is the account of Monseigneur Jacques d'Auber Bishop of the holy cathedral of Vyones. A testament received by his excellence from the Honorable Prior Guillaume of the Norbertine monastery at Les Hiboux; being a record of the strange events that began unfolding in the province of Averoigne in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 1378.

    The following chronicle is compiled from a number of eyewitness accounts from village residents, as well as other passers-by and some of the direct participants. the veracity of these accounts cannot be assured, but they are presented here for posterity's sake . . .


    It was a trifling thing, a young desperate man hawking a clay funerary mask in Arles' market square. He claimed it to be from the true secret tomb of Vercingetorix. Horatio smiled, bemused, and haggled with the young man for several more minutes before they agreed to a sum of 150 deniers, a fraction of the 500 he had initially demanded. The raw-boned youth, quickly scooped up the coins and emptied them into his purse before flashing the hint of a frown and casting a furtive glance around the square. In the blink of an eye he retreated into the press of the crowd and was seen no more. Horatio, examined the thing more closely with his shrewd eye. No, not Gallic, but certainly old. He almost felt bad about taking advantage of the youth, but he checked his guilt, knowing that on the path to wisdom, it is necessary for one to suffer the vicissitudes of fortune, both good and bad.

    That night around the troupe's small encampment at the edge of town he shared his find with his company. He put the thing up to his face and cavorted about the flickering flames of the campfire and made japes and jokes with the grotesque mask, made all the more disquieting by the dancing shadows playing across its surface. Suddenly Horatio tripped over a piece of firewood and the mask fell into the fire, cracked and broken. To the dismay of all assembled there was a golden glittering thing in its place. A mask of pure, hammered gold. Quickly, Horatio grabbed a fire poker and lifted the mask out of the flames and set it aside to cool. Engraved on the inside was some sort of script in figures and letters that none could immediately identify, but also etched into its surface was a bit of fine, spidery latin figures and the barest suggestion of a map. a small "X" is in the middle of a set of stylized low hills surrounded by the suggestion of reeds and rushes. to the side of the chicken scratch map, it says "Averni, Averernia, Averoigne?" and an arrow and line point to this "X" the words Les Hiboux are written.

    Horatio stuffs the now cooled mask into his open shirt and dashes into his private wagon, leaving the bewildered troupe of actors and performers a little stunned. The next day as the camp comes to life, Horatio is nowhere to be seen. Without the guidance of the company's ringleader, the performers, acrobats, jugglers and players go about their rehearsals for the night's entertainments. Several hours later a breathless Horatio storms into the camp and tells all assembled to break camp and load the wagons. They are to set out for Averoigne province in all haste. The stunned troupe at first hesitates, but reluctantly complies as the nearly manic Horatio shouts and cajoles them to action.

    The journey to Averoigne is slow-going as they ascend the steep passes into the highlands of the Massif Central, constantly beset by driving rain and deep, sticky mud that fouls the wagons' wheels and grinds everything to halt at least a dozen times before they finally clear the last pass, two weeks later, and look out over the broad, forest-cloaked vale of the River Isoile.

    Throughout the journey Horatio has been barely seen and when he does emerge from the confines of his coach to pass water or snatch up a morsel of bread, his eyes are deep-set and the skin of his face, waxy, sallow and drawn. But this morning is different, Horatio emerges from his cabin looking refreshed and invigorated. The little stone road marker saying "Les Hiboux village 3 leagues" that you passed a mile back has him full of good humor and cheer. the narrow, weed-covered causeway across the mist-shrouded fens is traversed in a matter of a couple of hours and your merry band of road-weary mummers, players and fortune-tellers staggers into the square of a sleepy burg of no more than five or six-hundred souls about an hour before nightfall.

    The faces of the villagers a strange mix of bewilderment and peevishness when they gawk at you. You guess that this is the first time any of them have seen the likes of you lot in their town in living memory. A signboard of a buxom lass being chased by a gawdy rooster with badly peeling letters proclaims the "The Cock & Strumpet" outside of a homely looking tavern and inn -- a promise of the first good night's rest the troupe has seen in some time. Those that can afford rooms take them and the rest setup camp just at the edge of town. the well-fed inkeeper, Jean-Baptiste Reynard seems shocked to receive so much custom and flits around bringing flagons of wine, and shanks of roast mutton that evening, as locals cloister around tables and cast sideways glances at the rag-tag bunch of outsiders.

    That night a horror befalls the sleepy village. In the dark of night there is a terrible scream that erupts from the third floor suite where Horatio had taken quarters. The innkeeper and several members of the troupe rush to the locked door where the innkeeper fumbles with a brass key. Eventually the stout oaken door is breached and they are greeted with the most peculiar sight any of them has ever seen. Horatio lies dead upon the floor, and black, cloying mist retreats from his still form and recedes in haste to the chimney where it quickly disappears up the flue. Horatio's body appears to be exsanguinated and withered to a husk. The innkeeper makes the sign of the cross and dashes outside to summon the Bailiff. It just so happens that Vandal, Daphne, Ganelon, Guillemin, Madeline, Markoff and Vincent are the ones to discover the body. What they found in Horatio's room and why they did what they did afterward is known only to them.

    OOC: (open)
    Here's where you guys come in. Tell me what you want to do while the innkeeper fetches the Bailiff.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2021
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  4. AdamReith Magister Patron

    AdamReith
    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    RPG Wokedex
    I feel Vincent would be quick to further investigate the body and see if anything of worth can be salvaged from his previous employer, though not being so bold as remove anything without his comrades consent.
     
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  5. Madeline Literate

    Madeline
    Joined:
    May 17, 2021
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Averoigne
    The night of Horatio's fumble with the cheaply bought mask, Madeline's eyes widened ever so slightly when she saw the glitter of gold shine as the pure gold reflected the fire, the lanterns, and the stars. But she quickly lost interest, as the man poked the curiosity out of the fire, and ostentatiously turned away as if paying no mind to Horatio's poker whatsoever. She was along for the ride, after all: pretty, artistic, and oh-so-indifferent. At most, she was annoyed to go on the road so quickly, especially as Horatio could reclude himself in the private wagon, while Madeline had to share with the other girls, and occasionally poke Sancho's ribs with a stick so that he wouldn't peer beyond the curtains whenever it was changing time.

    When at Les Hiboux, Madeline ignores both the camp setup at the town's border, leaving Sancho to languish in a tent alone as she goes frolicking on the streets, careless and wild, flirting here and there and showing off her beautiful violin, playing a tune or two with a practiced bravado, she tastes wine commenting on its bitterness, and how much better the wine in Paris or, god forbid, in Marseilles, but ah well, c'est la vie, she says as she downs another free goblet with little to no appreciation of the crimson drink and moves on to charm the next poor sod enamored by her beauty.

    It's late into the night as Maddie's laughter fills the streets, for she is lifted up by two locals by the arms lest she stains her feet in the mud of a busy road. Madeline de Beaupoil is, after all, an actress of noble history, a violin virtuoso of the highest regard, and especially as she had been treated to the finest of shitty village wine, the locals would not allow la célébrité to step foot into the muddy street. As they carry her on between places, a terrible scream is heard from The Cock & Strumpet, and Madeline commands her entourage in its direction, demanding the two strongmen to allow her descent onto the floor only once they reach the doorstep. She's one of the first to reach the locked door, and waits impatiently for the innkeeper, commenting on his apparent tardiness, but does not lift a finger to access the room in any way.

    At some point; late to the party, just as the innkeeper is unlocking the door - the wide-eyed boy named Sancho stumbles into the inn's hall, for some reason holding Madeline's rapier in his hands. As the room and Horatio's lifeless body are revealed, and the disgusting black mist disappears through the chimney, it's Madeline who rushes forward through any crowd and kneels next to the drained body, bending her head backwards in pretend anguish, muttering quietly and yet oh-so-loudly so that all must hear: "Hélas, pauvre Horatio! Je l'ai connu, mes amies!" and as she sits there on her knees, tears occasionally running down her face further ruining her already worn makeup, her eyes seem to be almost unnaturally darting around the room, as if her instinct was telling her to look for something of note, or unusual, while she languishes in crass language, "What sort of fuckery has brought such misfortune on me?!"
     
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  6. Stormcrowfleet Arcane

    Stormcrowfleet
    Joined:
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    Messages:
    925
    At the location of the murder, Markoff checks out the corridor and the the windows for anything susipicious (I mean, outside of a flying black mist). He mutters some kind of profanity at the situation while making an uneasy and unconvincing sign of the cross and then turns to the rest of the crew.
    "First of all, who's going to pay us now. Secondly, that's a damned way to die. I'm willing to bet some coppers that he did something he shouldn't and got this coming"
     
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  7. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
    Joined:
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    Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    The sight of a body in such a state does nothing to improve Vandal's primitive dread of magic and the pox-ridden fools who toy with it. More out of a need to take some action than anything else, he resolves to rush outside to discern which way the mist is headed and follow it as far as he reasonably could. He looks about the room and grabs Vincent by the shoulder in an attempt to take him along, for what manner of fool would run into the wilds alone chasing some black mist?
    Realizing that an explanation would be due for his rough-housing the guard thus, he decides to explain the full course of his action in case the young guard would want to reconsider the endeavour.

    "Mist. Follow?"

    It had been a long rime since he had need to speak with another soul. Conversation was a damned hard thing, he thought.

    Show Spoiler
    I'm not sure if the mist can be followed or even seen in the current lighting though. Still, if an attempt can be made.
     
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  8. Grimgravy Cipher Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    See Horatio's drained corpse and the retreating mist, Ganelon grasps his crucifix and peers up the chimney before moving to a window, vainly trying to track the mist in the night.
    "What deviltry has Horatio led us into? Is there any sign of that mask. It is the key to this mystery, I am sure!"

    He scans the room before turning to the body.
    "Has this village a proper prior or must I perform the rites as best I can?"
    Ganelon opens his prayer book and begins a prayer for the dead.


    Show Spoiler
    What do we to ensure Horatio doesn't rise as a vampire do you think? Stake to the heart is easily doable.
     
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  9. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
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    I don't think he's coming back as a vampire if he has been completely drained of blood.
     
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  10. Grimgravy Cipher Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Show Spoiler
    Perhaps. But as a servant of the Holy Ghost, I must protect the innocent of this village. nikolokolus Is the mist and drained corpse enough for Ganelon to jump to vampire rather than unknown demon? I don't want my modern knowledge of "vampire lore" to unduly influence what a well traveled but inexperienced cleric of the setting would "know" to be true.
     
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  11. nikolokolus Arcane

    nikolokolus
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    Answers (open)
    I'll try to give everyone an opportunity to respond in some way to the first post before I start going into greater detail, but I can say this much: Yes, I'm making some secret rolls for Searches and Intelligence checks (depending on the kinds of actions you describe to me) and here's what you are able to glean so far:


    Vincent:
    You busy yourself carefully inspecting the body of your former employer. The first thing you are struck by is how bloody light he is; it's almost like lifting a child. Horatio was in his night clothesb a long linen gown with a couple of deep pockets in the front, and 4 silver buttons from the sternum to the neck hold it together. The only thing on Horatio's body is a leather cord around his neck with a simple brass key about a thumb's length in size. Quickly looking around next to the body that lies between the bed and a north-facing window, you notice there is a taper knocked over on the nightstand; its red wax has spilled onto a small, open "handbook" (probably containing less than 50 pages in total). The melted wax appears to have fused many of the edges of most of the book's pages together and fouled at least half of the facing pages. The hulking, foul-smelling brute Vandal, who usually only speaks in grunts and guttural growls, sinks his meaty fingers into the flesh of your shoulder and attempts to drag you away with him. Christ and the Saints, but he's strong . . .

    Madeline:
    Ceases her scandalous, lascivious, gallivanting with a pair of well-built brick haulers when the scream pierces the still night air from across the village to the darkened barn where she had "retired" for the evening with a bottle of Burgundian red and her two suitors chosen to compete for her affection. As she hastily laces the front of her bodice and slips out into the street, she catches a fleeting glimpse of the hulking brute, who calls himself Vandal, staring up at the gibbous moon and dashing southward to God only knows where at this late hour. She beelines for the inn and bounds up the steps two at a time before she locates the source of all of the commotion. The fellow, Vincent-something-or-other is bent over the body of poor old Horatio. Damn! There goes a meal-ticket. The anguish she feels is real, which makes the tears and the sobbing come more easily. She makes quite the show of it . . . for whom, she's not sure. Her fellow performers? The mistress of the house? The Bailiff who will surely come? Her sniveling man-servant Sancho dares to tap her on the shoulder in the middle of her "grief." The nerve!? She snatches her dainty sword out of his hands and admonishes the youth for interrupting her mourning. He demurs and bows obsequiously before retreating to the edge of the room.

    Markoff:
    Stalking the halls of the third floor reveals three other locked doors leading to (presumably) unoccupied rooms. The latches don't budge when you test them. Furtive glances out the 2 windows at either end of the long hallway traversing the length of the floor reveals very little but darkened houses, with deep shadows cast by a fullsome moon. Aside from the mistress of the house and her two pubescent sons stirring and walking up the stairs with a brass candelabra held aloft, you seven appear to be the only guests staying at the inn this evening.

    Ganelon
    : You've certainly heard of folktales about vampires transforming into a mist, this was relayed to you by a Teutonic Knight that you shared a cup of wine with in Rome several years ago, who claimed to have witnessed such a thing while campaigning against heathens in Transylvania. As to the disposition of Horatio's corpse, you really aren't certain of what to expect, but being better safe than sorry certainly occurs to you.ou Also you are cognizant that the Bailiff and Prior will probably wish to examine the corpse. As you shout after the innkeeper Jean-Baptiste, he nods vigorously that there is indeed a Norbertine priory and a Brother Guillaume attends to the spiritual needs of the village and that he will fetch him. He looks heavenward, makes the sign of the cross and dashes down the stairs as his bleary-eyed wife totters into the hallway to gawk in horror.

    Vandal: Not wanting to waste much time with Vincent and hoping against hope that you can catch a glimpse of the foul vapor, you sprint down the stairs and into the village square scanning the darkened buildings, rooftops and by pure chance, up at the nearly full moon in time to see a "cloud" scud across its silvery surface. The coiling vapor appears to be drifting (If a mist can drift as fast as a galloping horse?) off to the south, out over the fog-shrouded marsh. A muddy foot path leads out of town about 100 paces before terminating at a trampled area with several large clay furnaces (still warm) and stacks of mud bricks. The ground quickly falls away and drops about 10' to the edge of a vast misty bog. Curiously you immediately note the absence of any sounds -- not a cricket, not a bullfrog. Nothing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2021
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  12. Madeline Literate

    Madeline
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    As soon as she's happy with her "performance", having spent some time lamenting the ill-fated troupe principal, Madeline's whole demeanor changes as suddenly she stands up (nearly headbutting Sancho, who was hovering over her mustering courage to comfort her, in the chin).

    "The mask. Where's the mask?"

    She begins searching the room for the golden mask, or, having noted the key hanging on Horatio's dry-aged neck, for a chest or a drawer that the key could belong to.
     
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  13. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Well outpaced by the mist, and not keen on the fool's errand of tracking it alone, Vandal walked back to the inn. Considering the phase of the moon he remembered that he has been travelling on the road far too long and could do with a bath.
    He wondered what lay in the bogs where not even the critters dared to be.
    Upon reflection he realised that with Horatio gone he was not likely to get paid for his work guiding the troupe. This revelation did nothing to improve his mood. Perhaps the morning would be merrier, he thought, as he walked into the inn and saw the Bailiff blocking his way.
     
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  14. Grimgravy Cipher Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Having finished his prayer:
    "May I suggest you retrieve the key Mademoiselle? I trust not the locals to see justice done. Especially since the state of the body and that mist reminds me of a tale of a demon creature called Vampyr. I hope it did not abscond with the mask."

    Ganelon also starts a more thorough search, collecting the book if no one beats him to it.

    Show Spoiler
    Is the bed slept in?
     
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  15. Madeline Literate

    Madeline
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    Madeline gives Ganelon a courteous nod, clearly liking being addressed respectfully. At first, she bends down to simply remove the leather band holding Horatio's key, but as soon as she leans in too close to the beef jerky-looking corpse, she yelps a quiet "Fichtre!", straightens herself upright again, and withdraws the rapier from its simple scabbard. Sliding the tip of it under the band holing the key, she snips it off, treating it like shit on a stick for a moment.

    Maddie then brings it closer, pockets the key, and sheathes her weapon again before resuming the room search with Ganelon.
     
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  16. Snorkack Arcane Patron

    Snorkack
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Daphne frowns. As she spent her time alone as usual, anyone might get funny ideas about how the woman is somehow involved in this iniquity, and she would have noone to jump to her defense. It's as if she could already feel the wary gaze of Ganelon resting upon her.

    In her time as a barber surgeon she never saw such a strange affliction, especially one developing that quickly. But didn't she encounter a more supernatural, sinister phenomenon similar to that one before? Daphne tries to recollect, and to attune to any eldritch forces that might still haunt Horacio's untimely deathbed.

    Show Spoiler
    Is there an ability for the magic user like Detect magic/Arcana for the magic user? That's what Daphne is going to try.
    If not, consider her just standing her there silently, staring at the dead body of her former employer
     
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  17. AdamReith Magister Patron

    AdamReith
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    Not without a residual sense of duty, Vincent had followed Vandal's summons (at some distance) but was secretly elated that there was nothing to find. He had given chase to many a decrepit scoundrel but this seemed as likely to be some kind of wild animal, something that would turn and challenge its pursuer. Perhaps Vandal had experience with such confrontations, Vincent did not.

    Now, with nothing in the immediate sense to fear, he directed the groups attention to the small wax stained book on the nightstand.

    "Hark, might this book concern witchcraft? What of Horatio's habits might have summoned his doom, and ours too?"

    With a furtive glance at Vandal yet his interest for another adventure rise once more, Vincent resumed his frantic search for Horatio's lockbox.

    "How much do you think that key is worth, if we fail to find what it opens? Perhaps these buttons might feed us for a few days if we found a trader."

    And of course, that mask must be found.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
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  18. L'ennui Magister

    L'ennui
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    "Christ. Not one of the prettier stiffs I've seen..." Guillemin mumbles in a gravelly voice as he crosses himself.

    After he narrowly avoids being ran over by Vandal's mad dash outside, Guillemin can't help but think this is in some way linked to that shiny mask that had been at the source of Horatio's manic drive to get here.

    Guillemin's joints pop and creak as he goes down on all fours, peeking under the dead man's bed. The whole room would have to be searched... he should have brought his wine up with him.
     
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  19. Snorkack Arcane Patron

    Snorkack
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    Briefly misconceiving Vincent's question as an implicit allegation towards herself, Daphne twitched. But seeing him displaying interest for nothing but the riches he might be able to shave off from the late Horacio, she absent-mindedly grabs the notebook and flips through the pages.
     
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  20. CappenVarra phase-based phantasmist Patron

    CappenVarra
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    LOTFP, now this is going to be fun to scry at (from a safe distance)
    :incline:
     
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  21. nikolokolus Arcane

    nikolokolus
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    OOC Questions (open)

    • The bed appears to have been slept in or at least someone rumpled the sheets and the blanket. In fact, when you pull the blanket back, there's a empty goblet and a purple-red stain on the linens about a cubit below the headboard and a broken pair of spectacles that look very much like Horatio's.
    • There's is a "Detect Magic" spell that can learned/researched to detect the presence of an active spell, magical creatures, or other dweomers, but doesn't identify the type. It's not explicit in the rules, but it's intimated that things like magical traps can be detected by characters that wield magic. Therefore I'm ruling that you have a small chance to detect the presence of magic (no better than 1-in-6). In these cases the character needs to spend a full turn handling an object or studying some phenomena and then the GM makes a roll in secret to determine the chance of success or failure.

    Daphne spends quite some time in quiet contemplation at the edge of the bed, gripping the bedding tightly enough to whiten her knuckles. After about ten minutes she relaxes her grip and purses her lip, feeling a bit befuddled. If Horatio was subject to some black art it is impossible for her to suss it out one way or another.

    Meanwhile the other troupe performers busy themselves looking around the room in various nooks and crannies. Vincent hastily rifles through Horatio's wardrobe and spies the small chest in the bottom of the cabinet next to some trousers that are tossed casually to the side. He motions to Madeline to bring him the key and stoops to test it in the chest's lock. He is slightly startled to discover that the latch is scorched and blackened and the keyhole deformed and slightly melted. The key probably fit the keyhole before it was destroyed, but it doesn't matter now anyway. The lid lifts open with a flick of his wrist. Inside, are a few odds and ends: a weighty coin-purse, a small stiletto dagger with a smooth black opal set in the pommel, and a sheepskin chamois about a hand-span wide, with the faintest impression of the features of a human face, depressed into its surface. It seems no great stretch of the imagination to imagine the gold mask laid within and left the imprint. The mask however is nowhere to be seen.

    Others like Guillemin, Madeline, and Ganelon peer under the bed, lift the mattress, paw through Horatio's clothes in his trunk, and discover most of the things that they would expect: a couple of scripts, his personal effects, etc. But they also find a scroll case. They slide out two pieces of parchment. One is a rubbing taken from some stone tablet or perhaps a headstone. Its fragments of text are in a language that seems vaguely reminiscent of Latin, but seems to be gibberish. The other scroll is a woodcut probably originally torn from a book. It is a prose poem written in an archaic dialect of French that is difficult to translate, but is mostly intelligible; it takes a bit of extra time to sort out. On both pieces of parchment there are small, cribbed notes in the margins written in Horatio's distinctive hand. Based on comparative analysis, the two pieces of parchment appear to be the same poem written in different languages. The gist of the poem speaks of a god of the dead ,Aita and his two rebellious sons and their quest to usurp his power. Eventually the two sons arrange for their father's murder and and eat his flesh to assume his divine essence. Aita, foresaw this event and cursed his flesh to poison his two sons, who are thereafter warped and cursed. The end of the poem also tells how Aita hid away his riches and knowledge under a hill shrouded in mist, with a guardian who awaits a worthy successor. On the woodcut, are a dozen funerary masks arrayed around the edge of the page as decoration . . . the masks bear more than a passing resemblance to the style of the baroque, almost demonic gold mask that had come into Horatio's possession.

    Ganelon, Daphne and Vincent stand huddled together carefully trying to pick at the wax which has fouled and fused dozens of pages together of Horatio's notebook. It seems like it's possible to recover the book with careful restoration, but it will probably take time. However, on the facing page of the notebook you begin to see some of the source of Horatio's madness. The strange runes on the inside of the golden mask appears to exactly match many of the runes on the rubbing. It seems clear that the golden mask was liberated from some hidden cache or tomb and that Horatio somehow deduced that the hiding place of this strange dead god Aita's treasure is somehow tied to Averoigne and Les Hiboux more specifically.

    As the trio consider the ramifications of this discovery, heavy footfalls can be heard tramping up the stairs. A minute later the red-faced and panting innkeeper enters the suite, with an elderly and stooped man, who is wearing a comically over-sized mail byrnie and carrying a cudgel that he gesticulates with wildly. "What in blazes is going on here?!" He seems to shout at no one in particular, "Jean-Baptiste claims a murder most foul. Who are you lot? I don't recognize you? What have you done?" Jean-Baptiste leans in and whispers something into the ancient man's ear, attempting to soothe him. The ancient, wizened ,and stooped Bailiff softens a bit and shambles over to the body of Horatio and prods him with the butt of his cudgel.

    It seems almost impossible that this half-blind septuagenarian will be of any use at all . . .
     
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  22. AdamReith Magister Patron

    AdamReith
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    Vincent knew it, he had the feeling all along but now he knew for sure. Whatever killed Horatio did so for that forsaken mask he had found, what's more the creature had left the coin purse behind; proof that it held no humanity or earthly soul to speak of.

    He approached the Bailiff, careful to put himself between the elderly man and the cupboard lest he get curious for loot as he had done.

    "Well met, we are strangers to Averoigne so will surely need your aid. See what has befallen our employer- it could not have been done by any mortal hand, what native to this land could leave a man thus? It left a mist in its wake and I do not think we know much else besides. You must be a hardy people here to survive such horrors."

    Then retreating slightly from the Bailiff he says, as if to no one.

    "How shall we fund this poor man's burial, he died with barely a silver piece to his name. A dark night indeed."
     
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  23. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Following on the trail of the Bailiff, Vandal hears Vincent question the burial of Horatio. What an odd notion. Are these people so afraid of getting dirty they must hire the services of someone to do it for them?
    It was no matter to concern him. The body would likely rot in a day or two given its state, at any rate.
     
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  24. Madeline Literate

    Madeline
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    After listening to the party's discoveries, Maddie became a background actor the moment the Bailiff stepped foot into Horatio's room. Plus, all the new information was a sensory overload for the poor girl; Horatio had a purse full of coin? He was dabbling in witchcraft and ancient treasures, nearly driven mad by his passion for it? And most importantly, the mask which she thought was going to pay for her retirement eventually was gone, lifted by some unknown creature, a demon called Vampyr? And why does Ganelon know about such demons? Surely, stories of flesh-eating god-sons must be just folk tales? It was all a bit too much, and she started feeling dizzy. She stood in a corner, face buried in her hands, mumbling to herself.

    "How will we ever find this place so that we can get the mask back, without some strong man's brave fighting arms?" she mutters, in complete contrast to her demeanor, a suggestion for adventure. When Sancho begins to open his mouth - surely to suggest that he'd go retrieve said mask even on his own, for her - she shushes him with a lifted finger before a sound leaves his mouth.
     
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  25. Grimgravy Cipher Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    "The mist was a strange sight indeed. We have sent for the prior to see to poor Horatio's soul." Ganelon softly resumes prayer and observes while trying to stay out of the way.
     
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