Heading out the next day, and assuring Hemlock that Thralad is innoncent…(YOU better find proof, I’m having a tough time keeping the citizens at bay with all the murders around…and people tell me that farmers have vanished west of the Misgivings….) (He has to be.. right?!?!) The protectors head out on the lone coast road. Its grey, rainy and unseasonly cold, especially as they cross the covered bridge at the Foxglove river and head northwest up a little used path towards ‘the misgivings’. As they all traveled together toward Foxglove Manor, nature herself appears to become sick and twisted. Nettles and thorns grow more prominent, trees are leafless and bent, and the wind seems unnaturally cold and shrill as it whistles through the cliffside crags. The path slowly rose, bending around a steep corner in the cliffs, and Foxglove Manor loomed at the edge of the world, seemingly poised for a suicide leap into the Varisian Gulf. The roof sags in many places, and mold and mildew cake the crumbling walls. Vines of diseased-looking gray wisteria strangle the structure in several places, hanging down over the precipitous cliff edge almost like tangled braids of hair. The house is crooked, its gables angling sharply and breached in at least three places, hastily repaired by planks of sodden wood. Chimneys rise from various points among the rooftops, leaning like old men in a storm, and grinning gargoyle faces leer from under the eaves.
Out in front of the manor lay the burned, ruined remains of an outbuilding that must have been the servants’ quarters. It is impossible to tell how many floors the outbuilding that stood here once had, for all that remains are the sooty, scorched stones of its foundation. A partially collapsed stone well sits in the corner of the ruins. The water in the well was at least 100 feet down. A few sickly looking ravens were perched on the foundation stones. They quickly find out that there is no back entrance (almost fell into the sea). As the group decides what to do, (should we cast invisible to undead or send in the rogue?) more and more ravens start flying in and looking at the group. They quickly decide to head into the Manor… and luckily they have a key! As fen looks back he sees hundreds maybe a thousand ravens have covered the entire area…
They enter into a music room, and see a piano in the middle. after hitting a few keys they see walker dance around wildly…“Didn’t you see her?” is all walker could say…
entering the next door (most where jammed from old age and moisture) revealing a high-ceilinged entrance hall with a large monster on display in the center of the room, a twelve-foot-long creature with the body of a lion, a scorpion’s tail fitted with dozens of razor barbs, huge batlike wings, and a deformed humanoid face. A smell of burning hair and flesh lingered in the air, catching Carve’s attention before seeing the monster burst into flame and attack Carve… of course the group just suddenly see Carve’s cloak catch on fire…. they quickly put it out… realizing this place is MESSED UP!
You proceeded east into a hall, where a rather gruesome antique, apparently a mummified monkey head, hung on the northern wall, its tiny mouth gaping. A bellpull extended from the monkey’s gaping mouth, and a ratty throw rug partially obscured a foul stain of dark-colored mold on the floor. Bulrog moved the rug, and Walker paused over the moldy stain, a swirling pattern of dark blue, sickly green, and black mold that grew in a spiral, looking almost like a bird’s-eye view of a spiral staircase descending downward, each step littered with skulls and bones. The party stood staring at it for several moments while the party discussed what to do. Better not pull the monkey’s bellpull…
A dining room on the main floor contained a mahogany table surrounded by chairs. Twin fireplaces loomed to the west, while to the east, stained-glass windows obscured what could have been a breathtaking view of the Lost Coast. Each window depicted a monster rising out of smoke pouring from a seven-sided box. From north to south:
A gnarled tree with an enraged face
An immense hook-beaked bird with sky-blue and gold plumage
A winged centaurlike creature with a lion’s lower body and a snarling woman’s upper torso
A deep blue squidlike creature with evil red eyes
It was an unusual design choice to fit the rooms with arguably the best view of the Lost Coast with stained glass windows one cannot see through. This suggests the images are important, possibly constituting a set of clues as to Vorel Foxglove’s motivations and priorities. Carve figures out that the monsters are a treant, a roc, a sphinx, and a kraken. And Fin notices that the runes on the box are necromancy-related, and the monsters seem not to be emerging from the boxes, but rather being drawn in, and their snarling visages express not rage, but rather fear.
Other highlights from the first floor… you find a blind diseased rat in a bathtub… you leave it there. In the library Fin gets choked to unconsciousness by a scarf, but it seems that a murder might have taken place here as a splash of dried blood stains the back of a chair and there is a broken stone broken that has skull, hair, and blood on it…
The party heads down to the basement, only to discover the kitchen and servants quarters. A wine cellar contained two wine racks, their shelves empty and dusty, with mounds of broken bottles cluttering the floor. The kitchen contained a large oaken table, its surface covered with moldy stains and rat droppings. Shelves lined the walls, and an oversized fireplace dominated the northeast portion of the room. The shelves in the southwest wall were in a much greater state of disarray, with two one-foot wide cracks in the wall near the floor leading south into the earth beyond the basement walls. The cracks lead to short tunnels to a oantry, the home of several rat swarms. They hear them swarming then Fin fire hand’s them as the party retreats down a hall. You come to a door with some sort of fungus on it. Bulrog can’t seem to pick the lock, and Walker attacks the door with an axe, but the fungus just grows back… Its decided to head back upstairs….
A bedroom featured a child-sized bed, a chair next to a toy box, and a looming stone fireplace big enough for a child to get lost in. Upon entering the room, Bulrog became convinced that her parents were trying to kill each other, and that whichever of them survived would be coming to kill her next. He had a vision of her mother wielding a torch, and her father, festering with tumors and wielding a long knife, both struggling to kill each other. The vision passed, and Bulrog suffered residual effects of mind numbing terror (2 Wisdom damage).
The large musician’s gallery featured two padded chairs and a long couch facing a wide alcove lined with stained glass windows depicting a diverse array of animals and plants, from north to south:
a large pale and ghostly scorpion
a gaunt man holding out his arms as a dozen bats hung from them
a moth with a strange skull-like pattern on its wings
a tangle of dull green plants with bell-shaped flowers
a young maiden sitting astride a well in a forest while a spindly spider the size of a dog descends along a string of webbing above her.
Fin identified all five of the subjects in the windows as classic spell components for necromancy magic (scorpion venom, vampire’s breath, the tongues of deathwing moths, belladonna, and the heart of a maiden slain by poison)
A guest bedchamber was entirely caked with a thick, spongy layer of dark green, blue, and black mold. Carve heard a child’s face, quivering with fear, ask “What’s on your face, mommy?” and felt as if his face had suddenly erupted into a tangled mess of tumors and boils. He decided to claw the offending sickness from his skull for 2 or 3 rounds taking quite a few charisma damage and leaving scars on his face before being dragged from the room by the group…Walker heals the physical damage, but not the charisma damage…
An upstairs washroom contained an iron tub, the floorboards in the middle of the room sagging with its weight with Walker triggering the floor’s collapse. He managed to catch himself from falling as the iron tub and the broken floor fell into the room below, breaking through THAT floor, and finally coming to rest twenty feet below. They heard squeaking emanating from the place where two washrooms’ worth of tubs and floors came to rest, but it soon subsided.
The master bedroom, a once fine chamber, had been destroyed. The bed was smashed, the mattress torn apart, walls gouged as if by knives, chairs hacked apart, and paintings on the walls torn to pieces, with one exception. A portrait hanging on the northwest wall seemed to have been untouched, although it hung backward, its unseen subject facing the wall. Turning the portrait around, revealed a beautiful dark-haired Varisian woman in a thoughtful pose. Upon seeing the portrait, Bulrog experienced a wave of sadness, and felt a brief compulsion to attack Nymeria, but managed to control his fury before actually attacking.
A stone fireplace sat in the northwestern portion of the gallery. Paintings hung on the walls to the north and south, each covered over with a thick sheet of dusty cobwebs obscuring the subjects from view. The party cleared the cobwebs from the paintings, revealing portraits of the Foxglove family, each with a plaque identifying those pictured within. The three to the north depict Vorel and Kasanda Foxglove and their daughter Lorey. Vorel is a tall middle-aged man with long dark hair, a clean-shaven face, and dark blue noble’s clothes, while Kasanda is a stern-faced brunette woman with wisps of gray in her short hair and a flowing blue dress. The five to the south show Traver and Cyralie Foxglove, their son Aldern, and their two daughters Sendeli and Zeeva. Traver, like Vorel, is tall and thin, but with an even narrower face and a thin mustache. Cyralie is a young woman with long red hair and an impish smile. Upon cleaning the cobwebs from the last portrait, The temperature in the room immediately dropped. Breath frosted in the air and fingers of rime slithered across the walls. The figures depicted in the portraits suddenly shifted from paintings of living people to those of dead folk. Kasanda and Lorey slumped into misshapen, tumor-ridden corpses. Traver grew pale as a long cut opened in his throat and blood washed down over his chest. Cyralie blackened and charred, and her arms, legs, and back twisted as if broken in dozens of places. Aldern’s flesh darkened with rot, his hair fell out, and he deformed into a ghoul-like monster. Both Sendeli’s and Zeeva’s portraits frosted over, but remained otherwise unchanged. Vorel’s entire portrait, frame and all, erupted into a sudden explosion of fungus and tumorous growth. This wave of fungus and disease washed over the entire room in seconds before the room suddenly reverted to normal. Afterward, Bulrog and Carve noticed tiny splotches of mold and tender red bumps on his flesh, but no one else noticed.
Beyond the gallery lay another bedroom, whose furniture, though dusty and unkempt, did not exhibit any major signs of water or mold damage. The one exception was a dark stain on the desk near the northern window. Carve and Walker noticed that there was a silver-handled dagger on the desk, where they was sure there was nothing on the desk but some wooden debris. Suddenly, Carve was overwhelmed with the conviction that he had just killed the person that he loved most, and became filled with guilt and despair. He esisted the compulsion to walk over to the desk and cut his own throat with the dagger with a coup de grace.
The party then continued upstairs to the attic. A workroom containing a large number of wooden planks, rope, and other repair supplies had a ceiling which sagged noticeably, and through which patches of the sky above was visible. Several storerooms contained old furniture, sheets and linens, boxes and crates, and other items of little value. The ceiling of a loft angled down steeply, leaving only four feet of headroom to the southeast, with a cot and a dresser as the room’s only furnishings. It seemed as if someone was trying to clean the place up recently…
As they turn the corner they hear a wail and a sob from down the hall…but first they enter the observatory. At this point the party tries to outwit the haunts by only sending in Bulrog tied up with a rope. He enters, and then reports that nothing is amiss.
As soon as the party entered the room, Fin, suddenly felt uncomfortably hot, and seconds later, believed that he had caught fire. He ran and threw himself out the window to put out the flames, hitting the roof below, narrowly missing being impaled on a weather vain and then rolling down the roof towards a 300ft drop to the water below. Fin heroically caught the edge of the roof, then Bulrog and the gang heaved him up with a rope.
The observatory contained a desk and a chair. A battered and an old telescope lay on its side near the desk and a large trap door in the roof had been tied shut by several lengths of rope. Holes in the walls revealed that the ravens had not left, and where silently looking back at them.Chimneys rose to the west, while to the east, two intricate stained-glass windows were set into the wall.
The northern window depicted a dark-haired woman with pale skin, large green eyes, and a black-and-red gown; with both hands she wielded a jagged iron staff.
The southern window’s lower half has been broken; what remained of its upper half depicted a handsome man dressed in regal finery and a crown of ivory and jade. Small scorch marks marred the wood near the broken window, through which steep cliffs and the Gulf of Varisia were visible. The northern window depicts Arazni the Harlot Queen of Geb, while the southern one depicts Socorro, the Butcher of Carrion Hill.
The next room they hear sobs coming from the door. Beyond was cold and damp with an old armoire standing near the east wall. The ceiling sloped down to only four feet high to the northeast, leaving little room for a small window. A full-size mirror in a dark wooden frame of coiling roses leaned against the wall, angled toward the bed. As Bulrog passes between the mirror and the bed, suddenly …
a terrifying, female, undead creature appears: Iesha Foxglove, murdered by her husband Aldern, had risen as a revenant, and had become consumed with a powerful desire for vengeance. However, she was stricken with self-loathing by the sight of her own reflection in the mirror. Moving in front of the mirror allowed her instant recovery, and she stood up and unleashed a baleful shriek. Several of the party members cowered in fear as Walker attacked her. She fights back a little, shrieks again ,“Aldern, I’m coming for you!” and leaves the party quivering in fear….
The party opened a door across the hall from Iesha, and heard the sound of pages rustling, as if a book were being read quickly. Just then, Bulrog (tied up and with a rope around him) experiences a vision, dozens of memories of expeditions, sea voyages, and travels to exotic locales racing through her mind. As the memories built momentum, they became increasingly infused with a sense of bitter disappointment and regret, and she became increasingly aware that she was receiving memories that never were, memories of fantastic discoveries that Traver Foxglove could have made had he not chosen to settle down with a shrill harpy of a wife. Bulrog then looks around and finds a secret whole behind a brick and finds 3 stacks of 20pp each and a copper key, and some vials of a rotten something or other…Fin takes the maps and nautical charts and some books on Shoanti tribal cultures and history. They also figure out that a painting that bear the plaque ‘Throwdown in Swynetown’ about a vast crowd cheering fro a bullfighter is by a famousn magnimarian artist Andosalu worth over 600gp
The group heads back down and see that Ieasha has ripped a whole in the floor where the mold was. They decide to pull the money’s bullpull … it gives a loud shriek! and thats it… they head back down to the basement, use the copper key and find …
Vorel’s workshop, although it now lay in ruin. A row of soggy books sat on the northern end of a workbench along the western wall. At the other end of the workbench, what looked like three iron birdcages sat, each containing a dead, diseased rat. To the east, two stained-glass windows loomed over the Varisian Gulf.
The northern window depicted a thin man with gaunt features drinking a foul-looking brew of green fluid. (Vorel)
The southern window showed the same man (Vorel), but in an advanced state of decay, as if he had been dead for several weeks. His arms raised and head thrown back in triumph, his rotting body turns to smoke and spirals into a seven-sided box matching those in the other windows. Fin recognizes the man as Vorel Foxglove and after looking at the books realizes that he was investigating the transformation of mortal into a lich.
A close look at the rat cages show a small symbol of a pig with a mouthful of lock picks peering at a keyhole. under the pig is a guildsign that says “Pug’s Contraptions – Magnimar.”
Fin has a vision of the final confrontation between Vorel and his wife, but resists the urge to flee the Manor.
The group heads to a room with spiral staircases where piles of broken stone, dirt, and a few ruined pickaxes lined the edges of the room. The floor in the middle of the room had been torn up to reveal an ancient set of stone spiral stairs, obviously of much older construction than the surrounding basement, winding deep into the bedrock below. A foul stink, like that of rotten meat, wafted up on a cold breeze from the darkness. Iesha went down the stairs, and the party followed. As Walker set foot on the stairs to descend, she experienced a sudden vision of Vorel sweaty, filthy, and wild-eyed, digging away at the stone floor of this room. With each swing, he grunted out two words: “For you” and Walker knew he was speaking of him. As the vision ended, Walker saw him break through into the room as a horde of shrieking ghouls rose up to pull him into the darkness before turning their lambent eyes on to him. The ghouls reach Walker and begin to tear and bite at his flesh, before shaking off the vision. The group just sees Walker being thrashed around in the middle of the room by something unseen…
The stairs ended in a limestone cavern. The walls dripped with moisture, and swaths of black and dark blue mold grew in spiraling, tangled patterns on the floor, ceiling, and walls. Rubble and broken bones cluttered the floor, and a rhythmic sound, like the breathing of some immense creature, echoed through the cave. In an alcove in a tunnel, the mold grew particularly thick. Several pickaxes were tossed into the corner of the room, one of them particularly well-made, though covered with yellow mold. Carve realizes its Yellow mold and Fin cleared the mold with spark and the party heads on.
Walker casts invisible to undead, and try to bypass the four ghouls haning out in the caverns, but realize they can’t quite get by the last one. They make short work of them when they decide to attack…
Further into the cavern, a cathedral-like cavern with a roof arching thirty feet overhead and dropping into a sloshing pool of foamy seawater fifty feet below. A steep stone ledge wound down into these surging depths, its slope glistening with moisture and mold. A stone door stood in the northwestern wall about halfway down the slope. Four goblin ghasts stood at the edge of the pool below. Beyond they see Ieasha tearing apart a door.
The party takes out the goblins carefully as its slippery and slopes downward.
Before long, she had breached the door and rushed into the room to destroy her murderer.
The group follows and peers into the room to see Ieash rip Aldern’s head off as he is chained to the wall. She screams and calmly walks out and jumps into the water as Bulrog hits her with a parting shot.
The air in the damp cavern within reeked of a horrific stench, a foul combination of decay. brine, and mold. The cave contained a rickety table, its damp surface cluttered with all manner of what appeared to be jars of mold stacked in piles here and there. lying in neatly organized rows. A painting leaned against the far side of the table, facing a large leather chair that sat nearby. A smaller table sat against the southern wall, its surface heaped with plates and platters of rotten, maggot-infested meat. The horrific stench of the room seemed strongest to the west, where the cave’s wall had been overtaken by a horrific growth of dark green mold and dripping fungi. At the center, a patch of black tumescent fungus grew, its horny ridges and tumorlike bulbs forming what could almost to be a human outline. What appeared to have once been an exquisite puzzle box the size of a man’s fist lay smashed on the ground at the fungoid shape’s feet. A locked door leads to the west. On Aldern’s dead body they find a note:
Fin recognizes the box as the same one from the windows and realizes that the ritual is incomplete and ruined lich phylactery.
The painting is one of Iesha and Fin recognizes that thru the open window in the background that the city skyline is MAgnimar.
In one of the corners fin notices a mold encrusted but still functional chime of opening with 3 charges.