Rise of the Runelords

Foxgloves

Ghouls, Haunts, and Scarecrows

- Returning to Sandpoint after gathering information on the string of murders plaguing the region, the party was introduced by Sheriff Belor Hemlock to Maester Grump, a farmer from the farmlands to the south. He spoke of scarecrows comiing to life and attacking farmers. A group gathered to raid the Hambley farm, which was seen as the source of the attacks, only to be slaughtered by a pack of ghouls. This farm was three miles from Foxglove Manor, which they learned more about after speaking to Hemlock and gathering information in town.

The party, along with Sheriff Hemlock, rode south to investigate. Moving through the maze-like fields, Riona’s new fox familiar was a great help, determining quickly that many of the scarecrows were actually recently-converted ghouls, infected farmers strung up to die and transform to attack any who passed. With this information, and the fox’s nose, the party was able to easily dispatch of the ghouls before they were even attacked. They were also able to rescue two infected humans before they turned.

At the Hambley farm, the party found that the ghouls were using the barn as a base of operations. They defeated three ghouls who were waiting for them in the yard, and, inside the house, fought three more ghouls and their leader, a ghast who had once been the caretaker of Foxglove Manor. They also found another gruesome murder: the owner of the farm had been mutilated, a sihedron rune carved in his chest and another note left for Riona. His family, it was quickly realized, had been less lucky, and were in fact some of the ghouls the party had fought.

Briefly returning to Sandpoint to rest, restock, and return the found savings of the Hambley family to the mayor’s office, Hemlock and the party continued on to Foxglove Manor, the apparent origin of the ghoul infestation.

Once inside, things started to go amiss. It quickly became apparent to the party that the house was haunted, as, one by one, they were involved in a series of possessions as they explored the house. Some were very close calls, including Hemlock’s near-strangulation by a sentient scarf, Hogorsh almost slitting his own throat, and Kestral stopping himself from jumping out the window from invisible fire.

Only two members of the party suffered any significant damage, with Riona taking the worst of it: clawing her face from a phantom infection, then suffering a real one (along with Kestral) in an explosion of poisonous fungus. Finally, as they descended the stairs to the basement, phantasmic ghouls attacked her, inflicting real slashes, as well as afflicting her with ghoul fever.

As the party mad their way through the house, these hauntings, along with a series of evidence and stained glass windows, unlocked pieces of a series of horrors that had occurred in the house over the last few decades, culminating in the discovery of Iesha, Aldern Foxglove’s wife, deceased at his hand but resurrected with a vengeful purpose. The party released Iesha from her self-inflicted mirror prison, and she immediately stormed downstairs, tearing through the floor itself to reach the basement and the caverns below.

The party followed as quickly as they could, pausing long enough to find both the story of Vorel Foxglove’s attempt at lichdom, along with three dead infected rats kept in cages purchased in Magnimar. In the caverns, they came upon a group of ghouls. Quickly dispatched, they heard more on the way. Aric tossed his repeating crossbow to Hemlock, drew his own weapon, and prepared for the next wave…

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