The party wakes and gathers for breakfast, including Dirk, the new arrival who will be taking Tuck’s place on the team. It is the third day since the (original) party arrived in Ravengro.
Tuck asks the others to fill him in on what’s happened so far. The party tells him about the professor’s journal and the books in the chest; which he asks to see. As he flips through them, the party revisits the issue of the book with the lock on it, and Kaladahr asks if anyone know how to pick locks.
Dirk volunteers and, after some discussion—Kaladahr and Berry are all for it, but Castiel wonders if they might not be opening a hornet’s nest trying to force their way into the book—Dirk makes his attempt.
After breaking a lock pick, Dirk says it’ll take him about an hour or so of careful work to do the job; the others go do their own thing.
Dirk makes it through the lock an hour later; Berry volunteers to open it (slowly; carefully) and the party discovers that the book is written in Varisian. It so happens that Dirk can speak the language of the gypsies, but it’s not just a matter of translating; the text is in code, and he estimates at least 8 hours to break it.
They leave the book alone for the moment and head into town. They find nothing new on the message board, and decide to visit the Blacksmith.
The Blacksmith is a dwarven woman who has no work for them (since none of them are trained as smith-hands) but can make shuriken if Dirk ever needs to replace any of his. She also has some masterwork arms and armor, including a full set of Master Works Full Plate. She mentions a possible use for a bear pelt, but the party has already sold the one they received from their fateful bear-hunt. Berry attempts to hit on her, to no avail.
They look around the smithy for a while, but ultimately leave empty handed as they can’t really afford anything at the moment.
Next, they venture back to the potion shop, to see if the Apothecary has any work for them (beyond keeping their eyes out for potion ingredients). She doesn’t have any work, per se, but does mention that, if they’re willing, they can do her a favor: Get the sheriff off her back. He’s been constantly poking around her shop, as if searching for illegal activities.
The party agrees to confront the sheriff; when they do, they discover he doesn’t really have any evidence as to her alleged poison and drug trafficking and, indeed, it’s not even much of an issue in the town. He is evasive and the party—especially Castiel—is able to glean that maybe his motives for harassing the apothecary have less to do with law enforcement and more to do with his personal feelings towards her.
When the party confronts the sheriff about his feelings—Berry is the one who befriends him and gets him to open up—he admits he has a thing for the Potion Lady; he’s been poking around her shop in order to make sure she’s taken care of, updating her locks and making sure her store is otherwise secure. The party volunteers to talk to her on the Sheriff’s behalf.
The party returns to the apothecary and tell her what they’ve learned; they ask if she feels the same about the sheriff and, while she hasn’t given it much thought, she does admit that he’s not the worst person ever. The party attempts to convince her that he’s a nice man, a catch even, even if he is a little…awkward in his methods. Dirk says that, at the very least, she should talk to the sheriff about the situation, and she agrees.
The party reports back to the sheriff. (+5 Trust Points. Total=27).
Kaladahr suggest going to Harrowstone next, but Castiel suggests they do some research into the place first. Dirk, who lived in Ravengro with the Lorimoor’s for a few years, is able to tell them some of the local history surrounding the place. Castiel suggests returning to the Temple of Pharasma to see if they can access the records room yet; he, Kaladahr and Berry make their way there while Dirk returns to the Lorrimor household to attempt to crack the Varisian code in the formerly locked book.
At the temple, the Priest is still hesitant to allow the adventurers into the records room, despite the fact that they have been mingling with the townsfolk, and have even done some good. His acolytes are still wary (?). He finally acquiesces, though, after Kaladahr points out that they even lost Tuck trying to help one of Ravengro’s farmers. They learn several things about Harrowstone, including that it was home to four notably notorious criminals: Father Charlatan the Lopper; The Moss Water Marauder; Piper of Illlmarsh, and the Splatterman. (+3 to checks to identify Ghosts).
Meanwhile, back at the house, Dirk thinks he’s figured out the code, but when he goes back to try and decipher it, finds that it’s not just a simple letter-for-letter replacement. He’s back to square one. When the others return, they eat and retire for the night. Kaladahr hides the chest (along with the books) in his room. (TP-1; =26)
The next morning (4th day) after breakfast, Castiel goes to the temple to do more researchon Harrowstone, while Kaladahr and Dirk stay at the house (to do research in the library/decode the Varisian text, respectively) and Berry heads out to question the townspeople.
Berry doesn’t find out anything new, but he does come across a sickly looking figure. He approaches slowly, and the figure turns, leaps and slashes at him. As Berry leaps back and draws his sword, he can see that the creature was once human. He cleaves it in two with his greatsword. Crouching down to examine the thing more closely, he sees that it is clearly an undead. He rushes back to the house to inform the others of what has happened.
Berry leads Kaladahr and Dirk back to the site of the attack, but all they find is some goop. Kaladahr explains about undead and eldritch energies, etc. etc. Berry suggests taking some of the goop with them, but Kaladahr assures him it’s not necessary. Kaladahr and Berry head to the temple to inform Castiel; Dirk returns to the house to continue his deciphering.
Castiel suggests going back to the site of the attack to look for tracks; they do, and fins some leading back to the cemetery. They arrive to find an open grave—dug up from the inside. Castiel says there must be a necromancer around, and that perhaps they should now head to Harrowstone sooner rather than later. They tell the Sheriff about the undead (+1 trust point; total=27)
Back at the Lorrimor house, Dirk has informed Kendra of what happened, but she doesn’t know anything about undead issues in town, other than the fact that it factored into her father’s research somehow. He shares his frustration at not being able to decipher the book, and she says she can aid him, taking time out of her busy schedule for 1 8 hour session. He thanks her and says he may take her up on that later. The others arrive, and the party prepares to go to Harrowstone.
They’ve divvy up their equipment—including the spoils from the crypt and giving Dirk Tuck’s thieves tools—and Kaladahr gives Dirk Tuck’s thieves tools (so he can replace his broken lock pick. By the time they reach the prison, it is night. Dirk thinks he hears something as they approach, but Castiel assures him it’s just the wind.
The party enters—Castiel first, followed by Kaladahr, then Dirk and finally Berry. As they pass through the gate, Castiel is suddenly struck with the sensation of burning from the inside out, and is shaken. The rest of the party enters without incident, guided by Kaladahr’s magical light.
The first place they decide to check out is the manor house, next to the prison. Once again, the door hangs askew, allowing them easy access; inside, while searching, Castiel knocks a table into a wall and it collapses; Castiel manages to roll out of the way but Dirk, distracted, gets hit by a brick as he leaps away just a little too late. The party then sees that the entire house, including the roof, is unstable, and they hastily leave. Berry heals Dirk.
They debate going back outside the walls and heading towards the spot where the Professor was killed by the falling Gargoyle, and decide to go to the place opposite that on the inside of the walls. Kaladahr sees giant rats (about the size of a small dog) prowling around the walls and the tower; he casts his magical lights up so the others can see, and draws even more rats, chittering and glaring. They don’t try to follow as the party retreats from that portion of the wall, and Castiel suggests they explore that area at a later date, when they’re better prepared to face what is likely to be a swarm/horde of the creatures.
The party continues into the prison, through the main entrance. Castiel leads the way towards a door on their left; as soon as he crosses the threshold, the door slams closed behind him, cutting him off from the others; in the main hall, the doors slam open and three cackling skulls fly out of each; Castiel bashes his way back through the door as the skulls whirl about the air, then disappear back through the doors from which they’d appeared.
The party continues back through the door. As they explore the halls beyond, they come to a small room and are attacked by a pair of floating manacle; it is a battle of attrition, neither side able to strike the other, though Kaladahr has a close call where the manacles try to snap around his wrists. He avoids them, but still comes away bruised. They eventually strike the haunted manacles down and, when they prove not to be a threat, take them and move on.
The next room, they are attack by fiery brands, flying through the air. The party manages to dodge them and the iron brands fall back to the ground, their fiery glow fading.
As they approach the next room, the opening of which has a thick layer of spider webs draped across it, Kaladahr and Castiel are discussing possible tactics involving a Burning Hands spell being fired over the Paladin’s shoulders (as he is the vanguard); Castiel turns with a bemused expression, but before he can say anything, the party is jumped by three spiders. After defeating the spiders, the party ventures inside the room warily; in the northwest corner of the room, Dirk finds a web covered cabinet. Kaladahr and Berry are able to identify the items within:
5x Vials of Holy Water
1 Scroll of Lesser Restoration
1 Wand of Cure Light Wounds (15 charges)
They exit the room and continue exploring, pausing just inside the largest room yet.