[Carrion Crown] Deconstructed Constructs

Carrion Crown: The Haunting of Harrowstone coverWednesday may be the new Carrion Crown game night. Annie (Grift), the Dan (Darius Carfax St. James), a Dan (Sir Horace Gunderson), Toby (Solis and his eidolon Gea) and Tyler (Alexandros Callimachi) gathered with Hunter as GM.

In the midst of Harrowstone Prison’s ground floor, the adventurers catch their collective breath and take stock of the situation. With the chapel scorched and ransacked, a number of other chambers await inspection. Darius insists on visiting the privy first, which proves a fragrant, though uninteresting destination. Next is the prison laundry, filled with moldering laundry. While poking around with a discarded washerwoman’s truncheon, Darius finds something attached to the end of the wooden implement. As he attempts to bludgeon it against the floor, the thing pushes back against his efforts before launching into the air. A grimy, blood-stained straitjacket flaps before them like an over-sized bat.

Callimachi frantically hurls a flash of holy water, neglecting to uncap it in his haste. It rolls away in the dirty laundry. Sir Horace slashes at it with Corvelle, leaving great rents in the animated object, earning his sword the deed name “Seamripper.”[1] After a misdirected acid splash from Solis spatters both Horace and Alexandros’ swords, the mindless construct engulfs Grift in its folds, wrapping his head so stringently, his smoked goggles and facial features appear through the fabric stretched tight over them. The oracle can’t possibly be able to breathe, everyone realizes as he begins to thrash.

It’s Darius who comes to the rescue, exerting his unassuming thews so as to peel the straitjacket away, giving Grift the opportunity to gasp for air. Gunderson and Callimachi flail helplessly, unable to get a grip on the demonic garment. After toying with the notion of snatching up scissors scattered in the work room, Solis comes in with a simple dagger for some impromptu tailoring. “By Iomedae’s grace!” shouts Callimachi as he finally finds his range and rends the thing in twain. The now-lifeless scraps fly across the room. As the adventurers quit the laundry, Grift pauses to spit on the straitjacket.

Slipping through a hidden panel, they find the workroom, strewn with the detritus of prison work details. And, in the corner, almost hidden in a heap of cloth, there is a skeleton, its arm reaching out. When Grift and Alexandros approach, an ethereal blue mist rises up and coalesces into the form of a woman. She speaks, sounding lost and confused. Solis and Grift gently press the spirit for details. She is Vessoriana, Warden Hawkran’s wife. The night of the fire, she ran in to help, sending the elevator down so the trapped warden and guards could escape. Instead, the prisoners began to climb the ropes. The guards on the ground level threw down barrels of oil to deter them. Then a torch fell.

Vessoriana herself was sealed in the workroom by guards to keep her safe. Instead, she died of smoke inhalation as the prison burned around them all. Now, her spirit lingers in Harrowstone, trapped with others. She vaguely points out around where she senses other spirits, who appear to be five most infamous prisoners. The blue ghost makes obscure references to her husband’s badge containing spirits, while she can barely hold them back herself. The adventurers infer that recovering the warden’s symbol of authority could be the push needed to allow Vessoriana to contain them completely.

Sobered by the knowledge that Harrowstone holds innocent spirits as well as those of the damned, the cohort goes forth with a new goal: find the warden’s body, and thus hopefully his badge and keys. But it may not be that easy, as Vessoriana also mentioned figures in black cloaks who came recently to the prison, who killed the nice old man who must have been Lorrimor. Their leader wore bone armor and carried a staff topped by a gagged skull. It all fits with what they already know about the cabal of the Whispering Way.

The search continues. The branding room triggers another bout of disturbing phenomena. As the smell of burning flesh and moans of misery rise, Solis rips the stopper from his haunt siphon, bringing the episode to an end before anyone can become too unnerved.

“Cold, everybody. Has anyone seen a cone thereof?”
— Solis is woefully unprepared

The next room is the “induction chamber.” There, they trip over another animated construct, a set of manacles. Embarrassingly, it’s a fairly even match as every moving thing in the chamber flails at each other without making significant contact, despite the manacles’ brittleness and vulnerability to cold, an elemental force[2] no one present happens to command. After what seems a marathon swatting contest, Grift lands a hit with his steely talons. The manacles shatter and fall to the ground.[3]

After two strikes in the branding and induction chambers, attention turns to the final room of the ground floor: the infirmary. On entering, Horace’s gleaming eyes rove across vials upon vials. As he gleefully catalogs antitoxin, smelling salts, healer’s kits and magical potions, a shadow figure issues from the paving stones and rears up behind the blissfully unaware warrior.[4]

[1] Also raising the question whether constructs, as this straitjacket was deemed to be, are immune to critical hits. Happily, they are not.

[2] Or absence thereof, I suppose.

[3] Possibly Hunter killed the thing out of sheer impatience.

[4] And we ended the session early there, probably because that thing would take more than an hour to deal with — assuming it didn’t just knock us flat right off the bat.


3 thoughts on “[Carrion Crown] Deconstructed Constructs

  1. Pingback: [Carrion Crown] The Piper of Illsmarsh | Held Action

  2. Pingback: [Carrion Crown] Who Lops the Lopper? | Held Action

  3. Pingback: [Carrion Crown] The Scouring of Harrowstone | Held Action

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