Rise of the Runelords, Session 12: The Skinsaw Murders

This session saw the introduction of two new characters, one each played by Angela and David, since Paul had taken a job whose hours didn't guarantee his ability to play on a regular basis. News of two more players possibly joining the group, however, might put these characters on short careers for the time being, if the players so choose.

Upon the road to the outlying farms, a horseman in billowing black robes and cloak rushed to them, setting the group on guard, but revealed himself to be an associate of Erin Habe, the good doctor at The Saintly Haven of Respite (the sanitorium). He claimed to have some working knowledge of the undead and how their maladies are communicated, and wished to find the source of the outbreak - positing that it may be a necromancer - and put a stop the spread of it. The players accepted his story (by virtue of his having a shiny PC nametag) and then continued on.

With haste, the deputized (other than Vic, who is a guardsman, and Hyrum, who is deputized by association, Vic decided) PCs ride to the outlying farmlands, at first coming across still-habited plots; the farmers there knowing some about the scarecrows that had come to life and killed others via refugees that had passed the story along, but had no further knowledge, nor had they seen the things, since they had sequestered themselves inside their homes.

The homes further into the farm country were less fortunate. Evidence of slaughter and evisceration were all around. Bloody puddles and smeared offal on homes...the farmers and their livestock, too. At one of these houses, the party met with Natasha, who had holed up in a home overnight and stayed there for a little longer after seeing her horse torn to shreds by the living scarecrows. The party offered her the safety of numbers if she didn't mind going with them while they finished an investigation, and agreeing, the group pressed on, finally coming to the center of the carnage: the Hambley farm.

As soon as the group approached the first fields of the Hambley property, they came in sight of a scarecrow upon a post at a juncture in the narrow lanes. Walt fired a bolt into the thing from his crossbow, and when a muffled groan issued from the thing, Elspeth followed up with a fireball, thankfully not setting the farm on fire, due to the heavy rains. Upon inspection of the body, including cutting the thing open to see what the vital organs of these things look like, they discovered that this had been a normal, living person. Perhaps a decoy or bait used to attract the real thing.

Upon seeing this, and expecting some of the monstrous scarecrows to be close, Walt took to the air with his magical wings and went a couple of hundred feet further to another scarecrow that he found lashed to a post. When trying to remove the hood of this one, however, it bit at him, revealing itself to be one of the true undead versions. It had yet to free itself fully when the rest of the group approached, but Walt made short work of the thing. Another scarecrow down the lane proved to be the cloth and straw variety, but did little to lessen the tensity of the situation as the blood-soaked Hambley farmhouse and barn came into view.

The troupe decided to inspect the farmhouse first, Walt leading the way in with the others following slowly behind, covering every possible angle in case of an ambush. In the kitchen/dining area, a male body was splayed across the table with the Sihedron rune carved into his chest and a note laid over it, addressed to Vic and taunting his inability to stop the murders. Walt called Vic in to see it, then went down the hall to clear the rest of the house. As he entered the first bedroom, he spotted a body in the bed which tried to attack when he approached, but his was not the only threat, as a mountainous man of dead flesh, almost seven feet tall and wearing the clothes of a day laborer began to enter the house and went for Natasha.

The fight in the bedroom was well managed by Walt, but in the front room of the house, the undead behemoth proved to be slightly harder to take down, especially when he bellowed for his fellows to join the fray, the pack of ghouls rushing from the barn to claim their meals.

Experienced in close-quarters fighting from their foray into the dungeon below Thistletop, and bolstered by new allies, however, the party made short work of the former farmers, and set to further inspect the farm when the session was called for the night.

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
Hyrum Vassal, Chelaxian Human Tyrant (LE Antipaladin variant) 4 of Urgathoa/Monk 1 - David (secondary)
Natasha Caine, Chelaxian Human Rogue 5 - Angela (secondary)

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