Rise of the Runelords, Session 11: The Skinsaw Murders

With the opening string of investigations by Rissi and Vic at a close, the pair decided to retire for the night and regroup with the others in the morning. During this time, Naffer filled in Walt on Katrine's death and they got to the work of building the caskets for her and  Banny, as well as the three men discovered as the earlier victims of this new killer.

Once gathered, the four did a bit more investigation. The girls took local tracker and stable owner, Daverin, back across the river to see if he could follow the tracks of the killer there on the far bank, but to no avail. The assailant had used the waterway to good effect in hiding his trail, apparently. The guys went to the basement levels of the garrison, where the three bodies of the first victims still lay in state until the church of Sarenrae could get the coffins and graves prepared. There, Walt cast an incantation allowing them to speak with one of the slain men.

The three questions granted and their answers follow:

1. What did the person look like that did this to you?
A lord of the dead.

2. If he spoke in a language you understood, did he talk about anything in particular?
A man of greatness in the village.

3. What was the outcome of the torture he put you through?
We died.

(That third answer was just too good to pass up. I knew what Paul was trying to get at, but it was phrased without thinking.)

This didn't give the group much to go on, but they then spent a little time thinking through who the "great man" might be, though no one in particular stood out enough that they had a solid lead. Needing more answers fast, the then travelled to Habe's Sanitorium to speak with Grayst Sevilla, a man who had been found near the barn where the three original bodies had been discovered. There, the good Dr. Habe rebuked them twice, citing the mental frailty of his patients for reasons to not let the PCs in, even when the group showed a letter of introduction to the doctor from the sheriff.

Defeated for the day in that respect, the group then turned to some other information that they knew held bearing in the case, which led them to want to check out Chopper's Isle, both because it was the former home of a serial killer and might be the current base of operations of this new killer and because it had ease of access to the sea, and the killer had obviously been sticking close to waterways. Once they began to try and make their way onto the isle, however, the Sandpoint Devil touched down on the spur of rock and let loose a terrifying bay. This gave the heroes more than enough reason to give pause, but after their nerves had settled, they steeled their resolve and again made to gain progress onto the island.

The second attempt went unharried, with the Devil nowhere in sight, but the top of Chopper's Isle was unsettling, with almost every barren inch covered in birds of all types. A few loud noises and sudden movements proved that the birds were not going to attack, so the four compatriots began to excavate the mounds of rubble that used to be the Chopper's house, discovering the top of a stairwell that is filled with debris and rubble right before dusk, at which point they quit their digging to save for the next day. A minor crisis was averted when they began to leave as a group of citizens had gathered and began to ask questions. Elspeth let slip that there were multiple dead bodies about which began to cause hushed rumors to flit about, but Vic set the rumor mill right with a shaky story that the assembled townsfolk thankfully bought.

Those plans were dashed when Sheriff Hemlock wrote yet another letter for them to gain access to the sanitorium and pleaded with them to play nice. This (and a little bit of good rp) gained the characters access to talk to Grayst on the condition that Dr. Habe could call the conference short if he thought it was causing stress. All in agreement, the ladies took refuge in the foyer next to the fire, since they had been out in the rain all day, and the men went up to see the patient. He was obviously in bad shape and Walt asked the doctor if he could use magics to help heal the man. Once assured that no further harm would come of Grayst, Habe relented and Walt cast his magics, but the man's condition didn't seem to change much, and when he began to speak he became manic, directing his speech toward Vic, telling him that "His Lordship" had a surprise waiting for him at the Misgivings. He then snapped apart a buckle holding him in his straight jacket and began to attack Vic, screeching that he would not let the Master love Vic more than him! His assault was in vain, however, as the madman was quickly subdued and then the PCs rode back to Sandpoint, confident that they had learned all they could with Grayst and the doctor.

When they got back, the group went their separate ways for afternoon work and evening meals, but Vic and Elspeth had their meals interrupted when an old farmer burst in to the mess hall and began telling that the scarecrows had begun to eradicate all the farmers. Though his breath was heavy with the smell of alcohol, the two adventurers gave his story actual attention and decided to round up the group again.

We left off sometime around this, with the PCs facing a few avenues of investigation and a case out in the farmlands that appears to be unrelated to the rest.

Cast of Characters
Walt Thrune, Chelaxian Human Cleric 6 (Merciful Healer) of Sarenrae - Paul
Rissi Scuttle, Ratfolk Alchemist 6 - Angela
Vic Alvaraz, Varisian Human Fighter (Mobile Fighter) 6 - David
Elspeth, Elf Wizard (Evoker) 5 - Tami

Notes: This session was clunky. I had a long day before playing and my head just wasn't where it should have been. I felt that quite a bit of it fell flat, but in doing the writeup, it seems that quite a bit was accomplished. One player has already said they had fun, so I guess that's what matters if it was still enjoyable for some.

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