Monday, 1 October 2012

Carrion Crown - the Wraiths of Herzstag

Monster on trial
The Carrion Crown investigation continued on Friday night. We began by pondering whether we should break into the mysterious factory in Lepidstadt controlled by Grime and Vorkstag. In the end, after much debate, including the possibility of a break in by the two non-Lawful characters in the party, we elected to head back to the town gaol to get the Beast (now re-named Frank) cleaned up for his first court appearance. On the morrow, we arrived at the court beset by a hostile crowd keen to see the Beast/Frank burned alive.

Frank was facing the first of a series of charges, these relating to the disappearance of villagers in nearby Morass. Several of these swamp folk attended the hearing. We sat through the prosecution's opening statements, and then heard Frank's barrister make a pig's ear of his own defence, after which the first - and only -witness for the prosecution was called. This was the headman from Morass, who proceeded to relate much of the information we discovered on our initial visit to Morass (see previous post).

It was time for the necromancer Nicodemus to replace our failure of a barrister, which the somewhat hostile bench of magistrates did not object to. Nicodemus' pedigree as an affluent aristocrat and son of a famous vampire hunter helped him to by-pass any legal irregularities. His cross-examination of the headman was masterful, and he followed this up with a slam dunk as we cast Zone of Truth on Frank to prove he had not been anywhere near Morass.

"Enter my Zone of Truth creature!"
Which sort of brings me to the theme of playing out legal cases in Pathfinder. With magic like Detect Evil and Zone of Truth readily available for even low level casters in the game, one wonders whether a court case is really even needed to prove guilt/innocence when a cleric or paladin could easily do the same? Courts would become religious sites, with clerics sitting on the bench and casting divine magic to establish whether someone should hang or not. We were even able in this instance to detect the fact that one of the magistrates is evil, and the 20' radius for the ZoT spell was enough to capture the prosecution as well. It could prove useful in Frank's other hearings.

I don't remember there being any verdict from the magistrates - one of my fellow players may be able to shed more light on this. I think they may have said they were going to deliberate, but I popped out of the room a couple of times to make tea, so may have missed that.

We then proceeded to the next site of Frank's alleged crimes, the village of Herzstag, where he is accused of having murdered six local children. Frank himself warned us that the slayings had been the work of a multi-eyed wraith-like creature. Frank had - somewhat inconveniently - been at the village when at least one of the murders occurred, he had been trying to rescue a girl who had become his friend. We travelled by coach to Herzstag, deploying into the village to find it somewhat overgrown, seemingly abandoned.

Small...but dangerous.
The first building we entered was haunted - we were assailed by a wraith child, which spent most of its time attacking Sir Erudil. Eventually it was beaten, mainly through the paladin's efforts. We worked through a considerable amount of magic to defeat it, including several charges from our Wand of Lesser Restoration and a couple of Veneticus' channelings. Thus it was that when we entered the local churchyard and got attacked by another wraith - again defeating it after some struggle - we began to reconsider our house to house approach. Veneticus had not learned Ghost Dirge that morning, which could have proved of considerable help, but then again he was expecting a court case, not to be spending his afternoon battling incorporeal undead. He is going to look into creating scrolls as soon as he gets back to Lepidstadt, as Ghost Dirge is too useful in this campaign not to have available.

A brief conference saw the party heading up a hill overlooking the village, as Frank had mentioned that the multi-eyed wraith beastie had been hiding in a cave, and the hill looked a likely candidate. At its summit, we found a scarecrow, and nearby the entrance to a small cave. We entered it and almost immediately encountered the boss wraith, which was taken out in short order by some handy sword work from Sir Erudil. This also banished the remaining wraiths still lurking in the village.

Now it seems we must return to Lepidstadt to face the next part of the trial of Frank. What we don't seem to have is quite as solid a defence case as we had for his alleged crimes at Morass.

Back to Lepidstadt - to face more grilling from the judges.


  1. Cheers Stuart! Good summary. Hope perusing this before Fridays game helps things fall back into place! :)

  2. I don't believe a judgement has been made on the first case, but I think Frank is being tried as a whole, so he'll burn if even one of the crimes is pinned on him. So in a sense it's irrelevant what the judgement is in the first case until the trail as a whole is concluded.