We begin with a band of witch hunters, loosely affiliated with a larger inquisition. Andrew Shields played Saffron, a zealous ex-contortionist warrior who sought to rid the world of devils and their kin. Along the way, Saffron picked up the convicted kidnapper Rex, played by Steven F. Rex joined the inquisitorial forces rather than face prison time. Paul C played Mortimer Silverless, who was rescued from his time as a galley slave on the sea, joining up with Saffron and Rex. Finally, they all joined up with Remie Wallid, a survivor from a witch cult where he learned the spell Tune of the Yondkind.
Rumors and Suspicions:
Remie had heard that the lord of Lankshorn, Clewyd Barrathwaite, had some sort of illicit connection with a cabin north of town. It was suspected that he was keeping a second, Fey, family there.
Saffron knew that witches are created by making a pact with a demon, sealed with a kiss. He suspects Fey can also make witches.
Mortimer added that witches cannot just change appearance whenever they want. Instead witches age & their appearance changes in cycles, with the season.
Rex suspected that whatever is going on, the townspeople are in on it. They know more than they let on.
The party had heard that there was a sympathetic blacksmith in Lankshorne named Jorye who might be relied on for assistance.
The group arrived in the outskirts of Lankshorne in their black carriage, adorned with various witch hunting paraphernalia. Saffrom and Rex stayed on the edge of town while Mortimer went to meet with the priest and Remie went to scout out the inn.
The four adventurers all paused to look at the shrine to King Pussifer, with its demand for an offering of mice or milk. Saffron took the opportunity to preach to his companions about the many false beliefs of the world, he asked Rex to decide between defacing the shrine, providing an offering, or simply passing it by. Rex chose to simply pass the shrine, a decisions which Saffron supported.
The Hornstoat’s Rest Inn
Remie made his way to the Hornstoat inn, observing an affluent inn well attended with patrons. He suspected something was amiss and waited until some drinkers began singing. As the first song ended, he took up with a spell-laden version of the Tune of the Yondkin. As he looked around the inn, most of the patrons didn’t know the song but looked to him as he finished his recitation. The spell revealed that with was tied to other planes, Remie was surprised that every fourth patron came into clear focus while the rest of the tavern faded into a blur.
The patrons who came into focus all had goat-like features which had not been immediately obvious. Horns were concealed by hats, tails hidden in pants, goatees on every face, and a few with horizontal goat pupils. The goat-men were all keenly aware of the magic in Remie’s song, and their eyes uniformly turned towards him while he was singing.
Remie made a slow departure, trying carefully to lose any followers. As he made his way out of town, he noticed some lingering followers.
The Church of St. Pastery
Mortimer walked into the church at the end of Father Dobey’s sermon. The prayer closed with “...bless us, butchers and well-borers all. Amen.”
Mortimer approached him after the sermon, offering praise of the sermon and asking about whether he could assist the pastor in any duties. Father Dobey appeared hesitant, but after Mortimer told him that he had been a hunter Dobey said that he walked in the path of St. Pastery.
Dobey told Mortimer that if he wanted to bring himself into the good graces of the church he should assist by finding the Barrowbogies that were haranguing the parishioners as they made their way to was in the creek to the east.
The party met up at the campsite with their pursuers hot on their trail. They lay in wait, traps and bows ready. As soon as the first man came out of the woods, they hailed him. He told them he knew they had a caster with them and that they weren’t welcome in Lankshorne. Rex sent a crossbow shaft into his chest, he fell dead to his knees as his companions rounded the bend. One fell to two thrown weapons and the other fell down concussed as Remie chased him down, swinging his flail from horseback.
They brought the survivor back awake and asked him about the town. He told them that Lankshorne was ruled by the goat-men lords who traced their lineage back for generations. Further, he said that their kind, witch hunters, were not welcome.
The group asked about the cabin, he said that he knew supplies were taken out to a cabin by the lake once a week. He said that the cabin was home to a twisted skin-warper and that he didn’t know more than that. Finally, he said that he didn’t know anything else and that they should kill him or let him go.
The party got in their carriage and headed north past town towards the cabin. On the way, they passed by some standing stones which seemed to hold the light of the full moon. Soon thereafter they saw a manor house on a hill to the west. Finally, they arrived at the lake and saw some ghostly-lights floating over the water. They turned towards the east and soon saw the cabin on a hill overlooking the lake.
They snuck over the low stone wall and approached the cabin which was dimly lit from inside. The party crouched down to watch the property and Mortimer snuck up to try to look through the window. Unfortunately, Mortimer stepped on a dry branch which snapped. The sounds of conversation from within stopped abruptly. Mortimer dove behind some bushes just before a dark human silhouette filled the window. The silhouette seemed to turn sideways to blow out the light, but from the side the figure was only a few inches thick.
The party decided to wait it out, getting into ambush position to shoot into the window and door with their bows. The melee combatants got into charge range of the door, taking cover. After a few moments, the sounds of magic syllables wafted through the air. The door creaked open and a skeletal hand struck a black octagonal chime that hung in the doorframe. A deep resonance rung out and three of the party members found themselves suddenly unable to control their bowels.
As they shit themselves, a skeleton and a strange distortion ran out of the door to attack the party. The distortion wrapped itself around Remie and it felt like a translucent warm skin wrapping itself tightly around him. Both his arms were wrapped in the embrace. The skeleton bashed Saffron’s shield, but he took no damage.
Remie freed his arm and bashed the distortion, which slowly became opaque and looked like a human skin. The mouth of the skin kept trying to suffocate and smother Remie, but he continued to fight his way free. As the skeleton was harmed with melee attacks, the skin began to show damage. Likewise, as the skin was flailed, the skeletons bones became brittle.
A somber spell carried through the air out from the house, causing Saffron and Rex’s arms to grow heavy with exhaustion. Finally, a killing blow was struck to the skeleton and both figures fell down defeated. A gurgling spittle sound echoed from the house.
Inside the house there were various alchemical devices and mixtures, as well as a journal and notebook on display. Some silver tools were wrapped in a leather carrying case, along with a fine quill. Inside a copper tug were the viscera of a human, with a trachea and tongue visible atop the rest of the organs. The organs looked battered and bloody, and the trachea looked like it had spit up blood recently. None of the organs appeared to be functioning.
In the back room, a woman was dressed in a funeral garb. She was cold and stiff but showed no signs of decay or rot. There was a small oil painting of her with a fine looking man and a child. The party placed her in a coffin which was in the room, and also took the oil painting and the objects from the workbench. They then burned down the cabin and made off into the night with evidence of dark magic to report back to the inquisitors.
System: Maze Rats by Ben Milton