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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 1, Part 3

May 21, 2016

The party made it back to the graveyard, and Andrisha the potter’s corpse, without being molested by trees or pit traps. Remesio the cleric opened her coffin and prayed over her rotting remains for a minute. When he was finished, the corpse’s jaw clacked loudly shut! Then it fell open again, and a wheezing groan followed a musty cloud from her mouth. Her spirit, or some echo of it, had returned to her body to answer the priest’s questions.

Unfortunately, all that the spirit knew was that she had taken ill and died. Nothing strange had happened in town before her death, aside from the arrival of a professor that was friendly with Maegar Varn. The professor had been staying at the Waterhorse, the main inn in Varnhold.

varnhold vanishing session 1 map 4The group re-interred Andrisha’s body and snuck over to the Waterhorse. As they entered, some markings on the doorframe caught their attention – the word “NOMEN” had been hastily scratched there at some point recently, no doubt a reference to the Nomen centaurs. Then, in the common room, they were surprised by the sight of a spriggan paralyzed by a magic glow! The small sour-looking gnome was sitting at a table covered in books and papers, apparently reading one of the tomes. The books were mostly about Iobaria (the region east of the Nomen Heights) and the Rashalka centaurs that live there. The papers contained several sketches of a heavy jade bracelet with unusual markings, as well as a letter from Maegar Varn to one Maestro Ervil Pendrod, a professor at Oppara’s Kitharodian Academy. The letter mentioned a bracelet that had recently been discovered, theorized that it was crafted by ancient centaurs, and requested Pendrod’s presence to investigate its origins. The bracelet itself, however, was not there.

Mestinous the elven wizard used a dispel magic spell to free the spriggan from the magical paralysis (I suppose that could be another use for one of the remove paralysis scrolls from the church, although in the published adventure the spriggan is dead). The small creature was grateful, if defiant, and told them that his clan, the Culcheck, had long warred against the expansionist humans of Varnhold. When the clan realized the humans were gone, they moved in and claimed the town for their own. From the spriggan, the PCs learned that he and his cohorts had ransacked the town for treasure, which they then carted off to the stockade on the south side of town. Why was the potter’s door broken, they inquired? It was the only one that was locked, the spriggan replied. Otherwise he confirmed much of what the Fiddler had told them.

The rulers graciously let the little guy go. As he was about to exit through the front door, he called out, “Um, you got a tree problem out here!” Then he turned around and ran out the back door.

A search of the second floor of the inn revealed that there had only been one guest – Maestro Pendrod. In his room they found a trunk of more books as well as his exquisite viola. In flipping through the volumes, they found a curious passage that Pendrod had marked:

And so it was, high upon the Torres and well above the Vale’s Stairs, where rises from the high water a stony isle of dire report. Known as Vordakai’s Island to those that do live thereabout, some legend of its name doth come down through the locals. For they speak of a guardian that doth destroy all who would set foot upon its accursed shores. They did name no fewer than a twelvecount of their hero-knights who had left their bones upon its rocky shores over the years after having tested their mettle against its dread warden, ’til none would any longer go there for fear of its hidden terrors. And the name of this terror was given unto this Island.

In the margins, the Maestro had written: “Vordakai? Some kind of centaur god?” But no one in the party recognized that name. The viola and the books were packed up in the trunk and hauled off, along with all the books and papers from downstairs.

varnhold vanishing session 1 map 5Exiting out the back of the inn, the party headed for the home of Willas Gundarson, Marshal of Varnhold. From Pendrod’s papers, they had learned that Gundarson had been the one to discover the bracelet, and they thought they might find some clues there.

Over at Gundarson’s house, which was built into the large hill that the stockade sat atop, they found a torn journal and a wooden box. The box was a folding boat, but the group paid it no mind despite my highlighting its presence several times. Oh well. The journal was written in Skald, Willas’ native tongue. No one knew the language, and so they ended up waiting until “happy hour” after all so that Remesio could prepare new miracles.

Once the cleric could comprehend the journal, it turned out to be mostly mundane scouting reports. There was a torn page, the top of which simply stated, “Found bracelet by the river.” The next page had an archaic Ulfen rune against bad luck inscribed in charcoal. More mysteries!

Naturally, while they were in the Marshal’s home, a small grove of trees parked itself outside the door. And this time there was no back door to sneak out of! As the group debated their next action, the booming voice of Ahmrin Fiarr the Fiddler rang out. “Mortals! Deceivers! Betrayers! Come out! Come out and face my righteous justice!”

Next: the fiddler’s justice!

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7 Comments
  1. Very nice. When I’ve read that scene, it’s always struck me as dull. This makes it live a lot more. Well done!

  2. Pinkius permalink

    So, who does he think they murdered?
    Also, did they murder them?
    Shoulda burned the bodies.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 1, Part 2 | Daddy DM
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