Here's the mini campaign that I played over a couple of sessions that covers the investigation of Greem Garnell into the reason for all the unexpected Rook activity in the area around Beacon Bay!
I used Tricube Tales, a freely available mini RPG that I found. Its super simple and I added some extra elements using my Rory's Story Cube collection.
Greem has decided to investigate the reason for the Rooks menacing the town and the strange dreams that afflict the inhabitants. The morning after the Golem Adventurer sets sail, Greem is summoned to the Silver Violin by the mayor who has received an unsettling note accusing him of murdering his old business partner in the dead man's own hand.
There are 12 locations around the town to investigate and clues to be found at each scene which will hopefully identify who or indeed what is causing the mayhem.
Scene 1, The Silver Violin Tavern.
|The Silver Violin Tavern|
I arrive at the tavern mid morning and find the mayor slumped at the table, a note clutched in his trembling hand. As I approach he looks up and beckons me to join him. It appears that the note was found pinned to Beatrice the Gravediggers door at sunrise and she had immediately brought it to him.
|Orthrax Smythe, Mayor|
I ask if it is a genuine signature and the mayor shakily nods that it is but before we can discuss the note further, there is a commotion at the door and the unkempt form of Beatrice the Gravedigger rushes in, leading a pair of guards. She shrilly accuses the Mayor of murder and despite my protestations, the guards bundle the mayor away to the Rookery, a fortified island that lies in the harbour.
|Beatrice the Gravedigger|
Handily during the altercation, I am able to pocket the note and order a coffee from the barkeep and sit to peruse it's contents. It is short and to the point and accuses the mayor of leaving his partner to die in the Scrapyard to the north and is signed by the man himself (CLUE!).
As the fussy barkeep bemoans the upset that the arrest has caused to the reputation of his tavern, I decide to ask if he's heard of any strange occurrences in the town and he says that the first people to have the dream of the Rook that spells doom to the town lived near the Mayors warehouse down by the dock (CLUE!).
Finishing my coffee and telling the man to put it on the Mayors tab, I saunter out and head towards the Smythe Warehouse, followed by cursing from the affronted barkeep.
Scene 2 The Abandoned Smythe Warehouse
|The Abandoned Smythe Warehouse|
As Beacon Bay isn't a large settlement it doesn't take long before I find myself standing outside the padlocked door of the Smythe Warehouse. Realising I am going to have to resort to a bit of breaking and entering, I settle in a secluded spot to await nightfall. As the shadows lengthen, I continue my watch but the street remains quiet and nobody approaches the building.
Eventually evening arrives and I make my move. I give the lock an experimental shake but it doesn't move and appears to have rusted solid. Reaching into my pocket, retrieve a small tub of grease and a bent nail and begin attempting to pick the lock but to no avail. Cursing I walk a circuit of the building as unobtrusively as possible and eventually spot a small window high on one wall at the rear and with a bit of scrabbling manage to squeeze through the opening.
One inside I begin carefully looking around, wary that there may be something lurking in the gloom. My fears are assuaged when it appears to be empty of anything but dust. Something on the floor catches my eye and as I move closer I realise I am looking at a runic mark and due to a misspent youth, recognise the array as something that will both attract Rooks and bring misfortune on the recipient of the cursed script. As I look on it begins to glow a faint blue (CLUE!).
Cursing I realise that while the mayor is safely ensconced in the Rookery, his wife is still in their residence and whoever created this array means to do harm to the mayor or his family. I spring up to the window and eel my way through but my spyglass falls from my pocket and lands with a clatter on the inside of the building. Fuming, I take to my heels as I need to get to the mayors house as quickly as possible to avert whatever ills the villain has in store.
|The Mayors Residence|
Once again I take to my heels and am soon at the wharf that marks the famous Fisher Row, the residences of the Five Fisher Families of Beacon Bay. I slow down as I approach, my ears pricked for any signs of danger and I pause as I hear a heavy tread moving in my direction. Slipping into a shadowy alley just in time, I see a large man emerge from the gloom carrying a faintly struggling figure over his shoulder.
Not sure what is going on but leery of the scene, I draw my dagger and approach the figure. Suddenly the man spins and sees me. Without waiting for me he hefts the figure on his shoulder off and hurls it into the briny water of the harbour.
I swing my knife at the man as he lurches past but think I've missed and fling myself into the water after the bundle. The water is shockingly cold and dark and for a moment I fear I won't find what I am looking for but my hand locks on the collar of the figure that the stranger had tried to kill.
I strike for the surface and begin dragging the unmoving form to the dock and judging by the noise and lighted lanterns, my struggle has drawn the attention of the inhabitants. As I approach the wharf, strong hands reach down and aid me in pulling the figure up onto the dock. It is the Mayors wife and while pale, she does appear to be breathing and as the fishermen gather to ask what is going on, a strident call stills them.
It is Drevell Crumwaller, the Matriarch of the Crumwaller Clan and a force to reckon with. She demands to know what is going on so I quickly tell her what has occurred and she calls for her folks to take the woman inside and put her to bed and bring me a brandy. The mayors wife is unconscious but will live and I must continue my investigation.
Looking around I see a trail of blood leading away from the scene (CLUE!). My blade must have caught the assailant after all and I cautiously follow.
The trail leads to the Temple of Lumenor on the Eastern edge of town and skirts the main building and heads towards the High Priests dwelling which is built up against the outer wall of the settlement.
|The Temple of Lumenor|
As I approach, I can see the door is lying wide open and I cautiously enter, knife ready to fend off an attack but the place seems to be abandoned. Could the High Priest of Lumenor be somehow involved with the case and if so why? I continue my search and other than some interesting documents which reveal that the priest is skimming from the temples finances, I don't find anything suspicious until I reach the rear of the property. Hidden behind a wardrobe that has been pulled aside, I see a passageway leading through the outer wall and out into the darkened Roomland beyond. (CLUE!)
Fully aware that travelling the Roomlands at night in search of a desperate fugitive is not a good idea, I make myself as comfortable as possible and wait out the night observing the hole in the wall.
Scene 3 The Temple of Lumenor
My vigil is in vain as nobody has attempted to re-enter through the secret passageway and I stiffly shuffle out of the priests quarters only to bump into a sleepy looking deacon who boggles at me as I tell him to go and get the watch as the walls have been breached.
He takes to his heels, sandals slapping on the paving and soon the watch arrives and I explain everything that has occurred in the last twenty four hours. Initially skeptical they change their minds when I show them the passageway and a guard is immediately posted whilst the remaining troops go to look outside the walls for any sign of shady deeds.
The sergeant in charge, eyes me suspiciously and we both jump as a cry from outside breaks the silence. The search party has found a body. It is the High Priest and he is lying in the field outside town with an arrow in his neck and is very dead (CLUE!).
|Melnax, High Priest of Lumenor|
Cursing, the sergeant orders his men to secure the body and prepares to march me off to the Rookery for some questioning. Sighing but putting up with his in my opinion, block headedness, I agree to go with him but ask that he speak to the Crumwaller's on the way as they will prove the outlandish story I'm telling is true.
Somewhat begrudgingly, the man agrees and we parade through town back to Fisher Row with a small crowd of onlookers openly ogling the party as we go. Matriarch Crumwaller is less than impressed to be woken at the crack of dawn by a bunch of louts but does substantiate my story and the guard releases me before setting off to report to their captain.
Turning to me Mrs Crumwaller suggests I should go home and change as I look and smell like a bilge rat but informs me that the mayors wife has slept throughout the night and will be able to talk later today. Bowing grandly to the woman, I head back to my quarters to bathe, have a bit of a nap and change into something that doesn't smell so bad.
Scene 4 Fisher Row
A few hours later refreshed by a bath and nap and several cups of black coffee, I return and prepare to interview the Mayors wife about the events of yesterday evening. Escorted by the somewhat disapproving Mrs Crumwaller, I greet the Mayor's wife, Wenlan. She is pale and propped up in bed but smiles wanly as I sit and proceeds to tell her story.
The previous evening she had been sent a note, purportedly from Drevill Crumwaller inviting her to tea and she had set off, despite the unusual manner of the invite as Drevill would usually come herself with any invitation. She states as she approached Fisher Row, someone grabbed her from behind and pulled her into an alley before a pungent smelling rag was forced over her mouth and nose and the next thing she knew she was waking up in the Crumwaller house.
Mrs Crumwaller pointedly states that she sent no message but is relieved that her friend is safe and the pair thank me for my actions of the previous evening. I wave away the praise with a slight flush and continue the interview.
I ask her if there is any bad blood between her husband and the high priest and she shudders, stating that her husband had been threatened by the man but she doesn't know why and that she never liked Melnax as he was a cold and unpleasant sort (CLUE!)
She then says that her husband kept a journal in his office at their residence and while she is still too feeble to accompany me, she writes a note to her butler instructing him to provide me with access and aid in my investigation.
I rise to my feet, thank Wenlan with a kiss to the back of her hand and florid bow, much to the disapproval of the Crumwaller matriarch who tuts and ushers me out into the street and I set off to the Mayors house to continue my investigation.
Scene 5 The Mayors Residence
I arrive outside the Mayors residence and find the place locked and dark. I knock on the door but there is no response and I try hammering on the door but it remains firmly locked. Sighing, I break out my lockpicks and set to work on the door. Fortunately it is no match for my skills and I open the door with a flourish before freezing as a grizzly discovery is revealed inside.
The mayors butler lies dead next to the doorway and has obviously been stabbed repeatedly. He appears to have been dead for several hours and I swear quietly before drawing my knife and edging into the darkened building. Skirting the corpse, I make my way through the house methodically checking each room before moving on until I reach the mayors office. It has been thoroughly ransacked and as I look through the chaos, I see a burned scrap lying in the fireplace.
It appears to be the charred remains of the mayors journal and I manage to fish it out of the ashes and although it is badly burned, there is just enough for me to find that the mayor was searching the town covertly in search of some form of treasure but the rest of the entry is gone. (CLUE!)
Fuming that once again I am too late to find out more, I move onto the master bedroom and as I enter I hear a stifled sob coming from a wardrobe. I freeze and tighten my grip on my knife before edging over the the wardrobe and hauling it open. Inside lies the maid who had answered the door yesterday. She appears uninjured but is clearly terrified.
Shakily she explains that she was upstairs when she heard a commotion downstairs and arrived at the top of the stairs just in time to see a man stabbing the butler.
Realising she was trapped, she hid in the wardrobe and over the next few hours heard the man wrecking the mayors study before he left the house, locking the door behind him. She recognises the man as being an artisan who visited the mayor several weeks before but doesn't know his name but gives me a description of a stocky man with dark skin and a shaved and scarred head. (CLUE!)
I escort the girl out of the building, shielding her from the sight of the dead butler and re-lock the door behind me before escorting her to her mistress on Fisher Row before setting off to the Rookery to report the murder and seek an interview with the Mayor to try and finally get some answers.
Scene 6 The Rookery
The Rookery is a fortification that lies just outside the harbour and is intended to defend the settlement from attack and plays host to a garrison of troops from Bannervale who are charged with the towns protection and as I am rowed across the strait by a loquacious ferryman, I ponder on the whereabouts of the killer as although I now have a description of the man who killed the butler and ransacked the mayors study, is he also the one who is responsible for the slaying of the high priest, Melnax? It seems unlikely as he couldn't have left the settlement via the secret passage in the temple grounds and re-entered as the town gates are sealed during the night.
I am torn from my thoughts by the guards shouting a challenge and nimbly leap to the jetty as they approach. I tell them my tale and am escorted to the captains quarters.
Captain Sunderman is unimpressed by my story but calls for his sergeant to dispatch men to the Mayors house to secure the scene and move the body to the temple. He also instructs his men to check with the main gate to see who has left or entered the town durning the last twenty four hours and if anyone matching the description of the scarred and shaven artisan has been seen.
I leave the cell, reassured that the mayor doesn't seem involved with the murders I tell him that his wife is safe with the Crumwaller's and return to Captain Sunderman's office to report my findings.
He is concerned that there seems to be at least circumstantial evidence that there are bandits operating in the town and announces that he will be ordering his troops to be on the lookout for Arwel and will be conducting a thorough search for the missing cores.
As he informs me this, there is a knock on the door and his sergeant enters to inform him that nobody has left the settlement since yesterday when the Hunters Guild expedition left via boat to hunt down the Rook menace.
Nodding his thanks he dismisses the sergeant and turns to me with a grim look. He thanks me for the work I've done thus far and says that he will be collecting the Mayors wife and maid from the Crumwaller's and moving them to the safety of the Rookery until the perpetrators are caught. Realising that the meeting is ended, I take my leave and catch the ferry back to the docks of Beacon Bay.
Scene 7 The Corn Gate
|The Corn Gate|
I find myself wandering through the town. The inhabitants are still busy about their tasks but it is obvious they have been unsettled by the events of the last few days and I end up stood atop the parapet of the Corn Gate, the fortified gatehouse that leads from the Temple of Lumenor out to the fields beyond the town where the High Priest met his end.
I know the man was somehow involved with the bandits but why did they kill him? With this thought in mind, I decide to talk to the remaining priests to see if any of them can shed any light upon the man and why he would ally himself with bandits.
I nod to the guard outside the building and make my way inside and catch the eye of the deacon I had met the previous day, he approaches and asks if the killer has been found yet and I say no but we do have a suspect. He seems relieved and I casually ask him about Melnax.
The deacon says that Melnax was always a cold and aloof man who seemed to be more interested in the power of his office than any holy duties or piousness but pauses and apologises for speaking so ill of the dead but I motion for him to continue and he reveals that the last time he spoke to the man, he had found a small badge in the mud outside the Corn Gate when he was bringing the temples flock of sheep in for the evening from their grazing. The badge portrayed a black tower and I freeze at his words and ask if he still has it. (CLUE!)
Shaking his head he says that he had taken it to the High Priest to show him it but the man had snatched it off him and cursed him for disturbing him with trinkets he had found before ordering him to leave him in peace.
Having spoken to the Golem adventurer EM-RY5 of his encounter with the Order of the Black Tower I realise it isn't just bandits I am dealing with but something much more dangerous and decide that I need to go and speak to the Gravedigger Beatrice to see if she has any further information.
Scene 8 The Main Gate
|The Main Gate|
Beatrice the Gravedigger lives in a small shack outside the towns walls, claiming that she is cursed and doesn't want to share her misfortune with the inhabitants of Beacon Bay so I make my way to the main gate and inform the guard of my intentions and grudgingly they open a small portico that will allow me to exit the town but warn me to be on my guard as they cannot guarantee my safety outside the town.
I nod my agreement and move off at a brisk pace along the cliffs to the west as the guards watch on from the rampart.
|The Gravediggers Shack|
The shack is a few minutes walk from the town gates and stands in a copse of trees next to the roadside but as I approach I hear a commotion. I kick the door in but the window suddenly explodes out and a figure leaps out and runs towards the trees.
I spare a glance at the interior of the shack and see Beatrice the Gravedigger is dead, a dagger still stuck in her chest before I turn and take off after the fleeing man.
I chase him further into the woods that skirt the north road until we burst into a clearing which seems to have been a camp and I see a cog bike as the man leaps for it. In my desperation to catch the killer, I fling my knife and it flies true, catching the man in the lower back, he staggers and falls and as I catch up he rolls onto his side and I see it is Arwel. I have caught the killer but he is clearly dying as blood seeps from the wound and as I try to staunch it, he groans, shudders and lies still.
Sighing, I retrieve my knife and stand up. Looking around I feel decidedly uneasy as I am aware that the man couldn't have been working alone. I hear a commotion approaching through the wood behind me and lift my dagger, prepared to fight when I see reinforcements have arrived in the form of members of the watch from Beacon Bay. Sagging with relief I discover that the sergeant who had been in charge of the gate had watched my departure and then seen the man bolting from the shack and had ordered a patrol to head out with all haste to follow.
We search the camp as well as the corpse of Arwel but discover nothing of note before transporting both him and his effects back to the town. We stop on the way to look in at the gravediggers shack. Beatrice is indeed dead so we head back to the main gate to find the captain waiting for me.
Sitting with the mayor in the captains office in the Rookery, we discuss my findings. It appears that the there were two different killers at work, both seeming to be working towards discovering the whereabouts of the missing Rook core. I do not know if they were working in concert or against each other but it is clear that they had enrolled both Melnax the high priest and Beatrice the Gravedigger into the conspiracy and somehow the Order of the Black Tower is involved.
I surmise that Beatrice must have discovered the missing and almost certainly deceased Tolman and managed to find out something of the Core but not its location and she had produced the note that had set the whole case going to ensure the mayor was out of the way so her companion or companions had free rein to search the town. However I don't believe they found it as my investigation had interrupted their efforts.
One of them must have been skilled with magic as the Sigil I discovered that had afflicted the town proved to be quite potent but I am not sure who it was but suspect Melnax to be responsible and he was killed when his usefulness was over and tried to flee.
The archer who ended his life is still at large as we didn't discover a bow in the camp so at least one of the assailants is still at large but I am more confused as to why Beatrice the Gravedigger was killed as she had obviously been working for the enemy for some time and I suddenly leap to my feet as I realise something.
Captain Sunderman merely raises an eyebrow at my antics but the Mayor seems startled by my sudden agitation and I say I'll explain everything as soon as we get to the Gravediggers hut and we must get there quickly and will need some guards to help.
The expedition sets out immediately and within half an hour we stand outside the sorry shack of the departed Beatrice. Excitedly I explain that Beatrice didn't just find the missing Tolman, she looted his corpse, possibly realising what he had was incredibly valuable and had been playing off the bandits with clues and hints but never revealing that she was in possession of the Core the entire time.
Remember she told everyone she was cursed? The Core has obviously had some sort of effect on the woman which means she kept it close to her but hidden from view so while Captian Sunderman orders his troops to form a perimeter, in case of unwanted company, the Mayor and myself begin to search the shack.
The process is not particularly pleasant as Beatrice was not a particularly cleanly woman and the shack is dismal and rather unkempt but eventually we discover what we are looking for under the floorboards beneath the woman's bed. It is a Rook core but deep purple and it glows dimly. The Mayor gasps and says this is the core his partner Tolman had discovered and reaches to pick it up. I seize his hand just in time and point out that anyone who touched the thing was cursed and is now dead so we retreat and pick up a spade that was lying outside and use it to lift the object from its resting place. with care I heft it out of the shack and into a bucket.
Whatever the Core is made of, I want nothing to do with it and neither does the Mayor or Sunderman so we take it back to the Rookery and Sunderman sends for a lead lined chest to keep the thing in until a more permanent solution can be found and orders it be kept locked in the deepest dungeon of the Rookery until an expert can be sent for from Bannervale to make it safe or destroy it.
As we come to this conclusion, a shout comes from outside and we troop to the parapet to see the hunter Candlewick's ship limping back into port. It appears that the Golem EM-RY5 has had as an eventful few days as we have.
Gosh! The mini campaign played out over two sessions but typing it up and creating the artwork was a lot more work and has taken me ages to get finished but I've really enjoyed playing a different sort of a game than usual as my investigator Greem seems to have spent his time quite enjoyably and I didn't know how things were going to play out until literally the last roll of the dice!
Now EM-RY5 and Greem have new leads to follow as they have to track the bandits into the mysterious depths of the Crackway, the Scrapyard has to be traversed again to clear the way for travellers again and get aid in dealing with the mysterious Rook Core. There's also the prospect of investigating the next roomland and finding out the motivations of the Order of the Black Tower and EM-RY5 needs to continue his quest to find a way to protect his hometown from Rook attacks!
I suspect that my adventures are going to keep me entertained for some time to come and I still need to write up the five days of my Golems Campaign Log to reveal what he found out in the sea with the aged hunter Captain Candlewick. Hopefully I'll get the chance to post that up at some point in the not too distant future but in the meantime, All the best!