We rejoin our intrepid adventurers as they’re picking themselves up after their encounter with Iesha Foxglove. Wallace, who stepped in her way, takes a moment to heal himself back up with his clericy goodness and restore himself to proper order. Lesson learned and wounds healed.
Undaunted, but perhaps a bit wiser, we traverse back to the basement where we use the key to open the locked door. Beyond, we find a room lined on one end with a bookshelf and the other covered with two stained glass windows. One of the windows depicts Vorel Foxglove who seems to have been pursuing becoming a Lich. While we take in the surroundings, this image begins to animate in a most sinister manner. Before any of us can react, the window mystifies Eric who suddenly becomes convinced that his “baby” is in need of saving. The paladin sprints from the room with Wallace hot on his heels. Having none of it, Aella grabs a book off one of the table’s in the room and throws it through the window where it plummets into the surf below. The jewel-colored glass pieces rain down, now still and immobile, but the damage has already been done. Before they join the other two, Zazz lights the books in the room aflame while Aella stands guard.
As the pages being to curl and smoke, Aella and Zazz turn their attention back to their fellow comrades and race out of the room in pursuit of Eric and Wallace. The enchantment convinces Eric to sprint all the way back up to one of the previously-explored bedrooms. Luckily, when he arrives, he overcomes the notion that he has a child in danger and is able to rejoin the rest of us. This particular room is the same one which tricked Aella into nearly clawing her face off and so we are spared another bout of face-mauling, much to everyone’s delight.
Quite tired of this silliness, we return to the basement and make our way past the burning books and into a back room where we discover a staircase winding down into unknown depths. After Aella shakes off a quick vision, we descend into the darkness below. At the bottom, we discover a snaking cavern with multiple branching paths. We opt for the newest-looking pathway first and quickly stumble upon a giant bat creature that is most displeased by our presence.
Things quickly get hairy as the creature renders most of the team useless with its paralytic bite and stunning screech. Absorbing a lot of damage while veritable statues, Eric hangs on long enough to break free of his paralysis. Noticing his friend coming to, Zazz immediately enlarges the paladin and stands back as Eric steps forward to beat down the bat. Giant Eric 1 – Bat Demon 0.
Discovering that this path holds no other secrets, we turn back and find a gaggle of ghouls waiting. Thankfully, they prove to be fairly inept when it comes to landing blows and we manage to mow them down with little incident.
Continuing our exploration, we wind through passages until we stumble upon a spiraling room leading down to a pool of water. Along the pathway, we see Iesha Foxglove pounding at a stone door and four goblin ghasts lying in wait. Content to let Mrs. Foxglove, who seems to be calling for her husband’s blood, do her thing, we make sure to give her a wide berth as we head to tackle the ghastly problem.
Quick to act, Zazzy opens up a pit in the floor below three of the goblins. Although one dodges it, the other two plummet into the trap. The remaining unaffected one is easily turned to slush. The dodger unwisely leaps over the pit to confront our party but quickly finds Wallace’s boot in his face and is kicked down to join the two in the pit below.
Perhaps weary with the dangers of the Misgivings or just giving in to his inner-crazy, Eric then takes a flying leap down the pit and onto a goblin ghast. Not to be outdone, Wallace follows suit and falls atop the helpless fiends below. Survivors are immediately diced and minced by the two and they rise back up as the pit dissipates covered in ghast innards and seemingly self-satisfied.
As we take a moment to patch up injuries, Iesha Foxglove finally breaks down the stone door across the way and tears down the tunnel beyond. Viewing her as a tentative ally in our fight with Aldren Foxglove, we reluctantly follow her down the pathway and find the fiend waiting for us. No longer his usual self, he has gone the way of his late wife and is now a powerful ghast. Taking in his attackers, he spots Aella, for whom he left all the deranged love notes, and begins attacking her in earnest. All of us, including Iesha, start fighting back.
Focusing solely on Aella (because she’s the only living creature with boobs in this party), he manages to paralyze her and deal damage in her helpless state. Striking over and over, it seems that all of our efforts prove rather futile as he side-steps most attacks with ease; even Zazz’s summoned leopard. However, Wallace, Eric and Iesha very slowly begin to deal damage to our foe, but he begins to lash out at all who strike him. As he starts to harm her friends, Aella’s rage increases until it boils over and she breaks free from her paralysis in time to scalp Aldren Foxglove and send him to the hell that waits beyond. As he perishes, Iesha Foxglove also dies and goes on to what is hopefully a more peaceful rest.
As Foxglove falls, we only have a moment’s reprieve before another horror in the room springs to life. A box, marked with the Sihedron Rune, begins to rattle. It immediately puts Eric, Aella and Zazz under its spell and convinces the three of them to consume an oddly human-shaped growth of moss in the corner of the room. Aella and Eric immediately go over and start chowing down while Wallace attempts to restrain Zazz. However, the wizard goes invisible and slips Wallace’s grasp and joins the other two at the fungus buffet. After we’ve had our fill and the effect wears off, we come to our senses just in time to start projectile vomiting the tainted moss.
As we vomit ourselves out, we take a look at the now-ruined box and discover that it was most-likely a Lich phylactery. Perhaps the phylactery Vorel Foxglove attempted to use in his pursuit of Lichdom. Gathering everything of interest in the room, we head back out into the larger cavern. Not wishing to leave any stone unturned, we head back to the staircase via the last unexplored pathway where we stumble across some yellow mold. Spores kick up into the air and choke Wallace and Eric for a moment but we flee before any major damage can be done.
Finally done with this house, we make it back out through the front doors and breathe in the fresh air. However, the smell of flowers does not meet our noses and instead we catch a whiff of something putrid. Circling above us are swarms of undead ravens hungry for our flesh. Although Zazzy attempts to flee to the horses, the rest of us stay put and begin hacking away at Munin’s very dead and very foul relatives. We pound them all into paste in due time.
Eventually, inevitably, freaking finally, we climb on our horses and ride back to Sandpoint. We head straight for the Cathedral and Father Zanthas’ healing hands. The Sheriff meets us at the church and we fill him in on all of our dealings at the Misgivings. Being his rather unperturbed self, he takes it all in stride and thanks us for ridding the haunted place of all of its evils. When he leaves, we turn to the good Father for help and spend the night in the Cathedral’s infirmary.
In the morning, Wallace and Aella’s wounds are leaking pus and Zazz has a cough and fever. Now up to speed on healing diseases, Wallace is able to cleanse himself of his ghoul fever while Father Zanthas takes care of Aella’s. Zazzy’s illness, however, remains a mystery. Out of healing for the day, we let Zazz hack and cough as we head into town to sell our wares and buy a few items. We then putz around town for a day and, the next morning, let Fr. Zanthas take another crack at healing our wizard. Running out of ideas and spells, the father and one of his acolytes remain baffled by Zazz’s condition. Never one to leave a friend in pain, Wallace steps forward and with some mighty healing juju banishes the disease plaguing Zazzy once and for all.
Now that we’ve put ourselves back in order, we turn our sights on Magnimar. Foxglove’s final note mentioned something occurring at the Foxglove Townhouse in regards to a greater master that Aldren served. Wanting to see this thing through to the end, we ride off to Wallace’s homeland.
First thing we turn in a head we collected as a bounty and then make our way to the Deverin family home. The house is the definition of opulence and has multiple servants, including some Shoanti. Aella tries her best to keep her disgust in check.
The next morning, Wallace has breakfast with his brother who strikes up a conversation about our latest adventures. As Wallace fills him in, Radford (?) reveals that Sihedron Rune murders have been taking place in Magnimar as well. He also mentions a Brotherhood of Seven, bringing our attention back to the Skinsaw Man’s (Foxglove’s) note which spoke of an Order of Seven. Finding all of this odd and not the least bit coincidental (as Eric reminds Wallace), we file the knowledge away and head out for the Foxglove Townhouse.
After seeking advise about the legality of entering the boarded-up home, we decide to investigate with or without the law’s consent. We find that one of the keys retrieved from Foxglove’s body unlocks a side door to the house. As we step over the threshold we are greeted by a very-alive-looking Aldren Foxglove and Iesha Foxglove. Thoroughly confused, Eric detects faint evil on Foxglove and springs into action. The paladin begins slamming Aldren around the room demanding to know who he really is while the rather-calm man simply contends that he is, in fact, Aldren Foxglove. This move surprises Wallace but falls directly into line with what Aella was thinking and she lets Eric slam Aldren around and question him for a bit. Aldren merely assures Eric his is legit and eventually the paladin turns him over to Aella who attempts to intimidate the truth out of him.
At this, Iesha Foxglove claims she’s going to fetch help but really gives up the act, revealing herself to be some kind of shape-shifting monster. Aldren then follows suit. Aella, obscenely tired of Aldren Foxglove, quickly destroys his monstrous counterpart while Eric dances with Iesha in the next room. Once Aldren goes down, we rush to assist Eric, but find him very capable of destroying Iesha.
Leaving the corpses behind, we fully explore the house and find that another one of Foxglove’s keys opens a secret mantle compartment. Inside, we find the house’s deed and a ledger, both of which mention the Brotherhood of Seven and Seven’s Sawmill. Knowing that this is where our mystery leads, as all signs point there, we exit the house through the back door before any town guards come to investigate.
Next time on Rise of the Runelords: Please let Aldren Foxglove be Dead, will we head to Seven’s Sawmill and fight more undead horrors? Will we clue in to the Brotherhood of Seven? Will Wallace’s brother turn out to be villainous scum? Find out next time as we slice, sleuth and stumble our way through all the shenanigans!