Rise of the Runelords

Harvest of Death

The Skinsaw Murders, Part 3

Moonday, 23 Lamashan, 4733

The party searches the rest of the asylum. They encounter Blind Sedge and crazy old man Wald, as well as a wererat named Pidget. They finally find Dace, the elven patient, who is certain that he is being hunted by the Sandpoint Devil.

Dace recognizes Astrid as the sister to Prince Eldrin. He was with the prince’s warband, tracking giants to the Sandpoint area. Dace was ambushed by the Sandpoint Devil while on a scouting mission. He managed to escape, but the Devil took his pack, which includes a map to the rendezvous point near Magnimar.

The party settles in for the night, with Duli and Astrid standing watch outside in the rain. Eventually, they notice the horses becoming unsettled. They realize that something large and hoofed has landed on the roof of the sanatarium. Astrid calls out a warning and the party slowly rouses themselves.

Duli tries to drive off with the cart and horses, but stops short as a a frightened farmer appears out of the darkness, shouting that something is right behind him. The farmer is being chased by a pack of ghoul dogs who menace the party and their horses. Astrid and Lea charge into the rain to battle them.

However, a terrible crash from the other side of the sanatarium draws Zavian’s attention, as he sees the Sandpoint Devil attacking dace through a hole it has burned in the wall of the building. Zavian rushes over to confront it, summoning up an earth elemental to assist him. Amelia identifies the creature as demonic and most likely the progeny of Lamashtu.

The Sandpoint Devil lets out an awful, piercing shriek that drives terror into the hearts of Zavian, Marcus, Duli, and the horses who flee the scene. The monster takes flight, but Lea taunts it into attacking her. It lands and strikes her with its hooves and fangs. She hits it across the mouth with her earthbreaker, knocking teeth loose. The Sandpoint Devil takes wing and flees the area, much to Lea and Astrid’s frustration.

Marcus and Duli gather up the horses while the party debates what to do next. The farmer, Maester Grump, tells of how strange things have been stalking the countryside at night. he and a group of others went to the old Hambley place to investigate, where they were set upon by ghouls. Grump was the only survivor.

Toilday, 24 Lamashan, 4733

The party spends the night in the asylum. The following morning, they send Ash back to Sandpoint to alert the Watch. They decide to press on to the Hambley farm and the Foxglove Manor to try to get to the bottom of the murders. They leave Grump and the asylum patients, as well as the captive Habe, Caizarlu and tieflings, at Habe’s Sanitarium. To help keep watch over them, Zavian uses a scroll of animate dead to raise one of the bodies in the cellar as a zombie—much to Lea’s irritation.

They set out south and west to the Hambley farm, with Duli, Dace and Grayst riding in Marcus’ wagon. They find the farm surrounded by fields of tall crops that hem in the narrow farmers’ paths. Rather than risk the wagon getting caught, Marcus has Duli turn around while the rest of the party continues on foot.

They discover that many of the scarecrows looming over the fields contain people (or what used to be people). The first scarecrow they cut down attacks them,but Marcus uses command undead to bind it to his will. The ghoul was a farmer named by Aler Gosfre, who was bitten and left to “ripen” in the field. He leads them to the two surviving scarecrows, a middle-aged farm couple sick with ghoul fever. After applying first aid, Zavian’s fleet feet carry them back to Marcus’ wagon.

Aler then leads them to the farm house and barn where the free-ranging ghouls lurk. Marcus spiderclimbs up the side of the barn and peers inside. He lures the ghouls towards him, so that they are vulnerable to blasts of positive energy from Zavian and Lea. Marcus then unleashes burning hands on the survivors. Astrid then charges into the barn to finish off the ghouls.

Meanwhile, a one-eared ghast bursts forth from the farm house. Aler, obeying Marcus’ command, attacks him but the more powerful undead tears the lesser creature apart. Zavian charges towards the ghast, but its foul stench throws him off balance. Lea lands a powerful blow, and Marcus follows it up with magic missile, while Amelia uses her bardic powers to inspire courage. Dace suffers a breakdown and flees into the field.

The ghast retreats into the farmhouse, where he is finally dispatched. The monster falls beside a decaying corpse marked with the Sihedron rune. Inspecting the bodies, the party notes that none of the ghouls have the rune. The ghast they identify as Rogors Craesby, the groundskeeper of Foxglove Manor. He has a key bearing the Foxglove sigil.

The adventurers then systematically march through the fields, destroying the remaining ghoul scarecrows. They then decide to follow the Foxglove river down to the sea to investigate the manor that seems to be at the heart of of the ghoulish uprising.

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