Monday, 3 October 2011

Carrion Crown, Episode #1: Four go to Ravengro

The summer is drawing to a close, the leaves here in Sussex are turning brown, and it is time to return to the gaming table and play some Pathfinder. This time of year is usually the time to start a new campaign for our group - things seem to get de-railed during the longer summer break as gaming opportunities get a bit fragmented. This year, the steam has gone out of our 13th level Kingmaker game with Ric's departure for Manchester. The addition of new player Alex has added impetus to the decision to kick start a new campaign. We've alighted on the Carrion Crown adventure path from Paizo, and have spent the last fortnight mulling over new characters.

Let's introduce the party first:

Veneticus: a Human Cleric of Abadar (me)
Sir Erudil: a Human Paladin of Iomedae (Manoj)
Braven: a Half-Elven Ranger (Alex)
Nicodemus Eldritch: a Human Necromancer (Kelvin)

Warning: this and subsequent posts relating to the Carrion Crown adventure path will contain SPOILERS. This means that if you think you're in any danger of playing in this adventure path, avoid reading any posts on this blog tagged with 'Carrion Crown'.

Our first session opened with the party assembling in the village of Ravengor, to attend the funeral of their recently deceased friend and mentor, Professor Lorrimer. The old professor, it seems has died in strange circumstances, with the head of a statue falling on top of him. None of the characters knew each other. They were introduced to Kendra, Lorrimer's daughter, whom Nicodemus immediately took a shine to (despite having turned up to the funeral with two hired dancing girls, which Veneticus frowned upon). Some characters, it seems, have been to Ravengro before, but not others.

The characters were persuaded to act as pall bearers for the ceremony, and luckily none of them were of reduced stature. No hobbits here! On the way to the grave site they were confronted by a bunch of angry peasants who accused the deceased of having been a necromancer (not realising there was another necromancer carrying the coffin). A fight broke out, which we easily won, choosing to do subdual damage rather than shed any blood. As the opposition fled having - shock, horror - failed a MORALE CHECK  (I last saw one of those in about 1990), we met the local priest, Grimburrow, who came scurrying up, apologising for his late arrival. Grimburrow, it seems, enjoys the odd tipple.

The rest of the ceremony went without a hitch, and we repaired to Lorrimer's house to hear his will being read out by Vashion Halfmount, the mayor of Ravengro. It seems we need to remain in the village for a month to ensure Kendra's safety, and then convey a box of old books to the university at Leppedstadt. In return, we will inherit 100 platinum pieces each.

Motivation: each PC has a trait which has drawn him into this campaign. Mine is Teacher's Pet. Veneticus, a native of Lastwall, met Lorrimer while studying at one of the battle colleges in Lastwall, back in the days when Veneticus entertained ambitions of being a cavalier. Although he has not been to Ustalav before, Lorrimer has told Veneticus much of Ravengro and its surrondings, giving him Local Knowledge - Ustalav as a class skill. Veneticus has already used it once to good effect in the first session.

Veneticus was not noted as a big party animal in Battle College.
 We have read the Professor's diary, and have discovered that there may be a plot afoot on the part of a secret cabal of necromancers called the Whispering Way to raise some evil dude who died when the local maximum security prison Harrowstone burned down 50 years ago. The Whispering Way also has links to Tar Bathon, the Whispering Tyrant, some kind of undead overlord who once ruled Ustalav, but was overthrown. We also now know that the good professor was investigating some warding runes in the ruins of Harrowstone when he died. The ruins, it seems, are haunted, and actively avoided by the locals.

Following the reading of the will and the professor's diary, our little team had a look round the village. We visited the local tavern, the Laughing Demon, where Nicodemus again demonstrated his shockingly low morals by indulging in ale and song and corrupting poor Braven in the process. We also visited the local temple, meeting again with Grimburrow. We discovered a library under the temple, and were able to find out who died in the fire at Harrowstone, a motley collection of criminals, none of who sound like they were particularly savoury to encounter when alive, let alone as restless dead. Veneticus was a little disturbed to see the image of Count Andekai, a previous ruler of the region noted for his tyrannical and debauched practises, immortalised in the temple's main stained glass window.

We also learned that, apparently unbeknownst to the good Fra Grimburrow, there is fake crypt in the churchyard containing a stash of magic items that can help fight the undead. We sought out the crypt under cover of darkness - I mean, WHY bother poking around in a graveyard during the day, eh? We took with us one of Grimburrow's acolytes, a young man of dubious commitment, whom Veneticus was forced to reprimand when he discovered him looking a foul and immoral woodcuts rather than investing his time in the study of holy texts.

Entering the crypt, we found an altar with a hidden compartment, which triggered the release of three giant centipedes. These were slain in short order, but not before Nicodemus, now bereft of his dancing girls (and, by GM fiat, of his manservant), was bitten twice and brought near death. Veneticus' chain mail stood him good stead, and he used his channelling to heal the party up mid-combat.

"'Ouch! That stings!" quoth young Nicodemus.

I have not played a cleric in many, many years. Both Kelvin and I, having played combat types in the last campaign, have gone with spellcasters this time for a change of pace. It should prove interesting.

With our stash of magic - I was tiring at this point, and did not make a note of the items we recovered, although there were some magic arrows, and I think some potions - we returned home to the professor's house for some much-needed rest (apart from Nicodemus, but the less said about that, the better).

We were awoken in the morning to find that someone had painted the letter 'V' in blood on the monument in the centre of the village. This does not bode well.

It looks as if we will have to go and investigate Harrowstone in the near future. I think this will require Veneticus to tool up with some holy water for the team. Bless will need to be learned every morning until we go.

Next time: Will the party pluck up the courage to go to Harrowstone? Why has Banksy come to Ravengor? And just how many dancing girls does one young necromancer need to read him a story at night?

1 comment:

  1. A fine summary!

    We also picked up some scrolls, most of them for clerical use.

    Now this is from the perspective of first level, and first level is always simple, but so far the wizard seems a much more straightforward class than the monk. All the fiddly bits seem to be in the spells, so they're self-contained and not riddled throughout the character.