Episode One

Numerous small towns dot the fog-shrouded landscape of Ustalav. At first glance, these towns might all seem kindred spirits—cosy collections of quaint buildings surrounded by farmland, their skylines decorated by the steeples of Pharasmin churches or the steep rooflines of colourful taverns. Yet in Ustalav, appearances are often deceiving. Trim and attractive, Kendra Lorrimor greets you with a mixture of curiosity, sadness, and relief as you arrive with a few others at the entrance to the Restlands—the name the citizens of Ravengro have given to their local cemetery. The woman’s eyes are red and puffy and she dresses in dark, conservative clothes. On a cart nearby sits fine, black coffin decorated with leafy flower arrangements. Besides yourselves, only a small handful of villagers are attending the funeral procession—all of them looking very sombre and with few words to spare for strangers. “Thank you for being here,” Kendra says at last, when it is evident no more will arrive. “I guess no one else is coming to pay their respects to my father… with things the way they are in town these days….” Kendra’s voice is throaty as she continues. “I—need… some of you to help carry my father to rest. Will any of you volunteer to serve as pallbearers?”

Solar steps forward and says “Dear Kendra, I will offer my services, I would be honoured to take part

Johan bows his head slightly as he replies, “I will help as well. My condolences to you.”

A third man steps silently forward—his head is covered with a main of blonde hair, and his blue eyes sparkle. Without speaking a word, he moves toward the forward right of the casket and takes hold, as though preparing to lift it up.

Johan moves to the front of the polished wood casket, gesturing to Mesodias to take the rear. He carefully takes the handles before slowly lifting it to his shoulders, waiting for the weight to be distributed before proceeding.

Solar moves in behind Johan and assist in the middle as best he can

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” says Kendra softly. As if galvanized by her words, three other funeral attendees silently step forward and take their places beside the casket. Together, the six of you heave the thing up, and set out through the gates of the restlands.

Solar replies, “My pleasure my lady”

Johan slowly marches with the casket on his shoulders. The look and sorrow bearing a burden not only on the slightly hunched shoulders of Kendra, but also the look in her eyes as she watches her father taken to his final resting place.

The cemetery called the restlands is comprised of several acres surround a small hill, at the peak of which stands a squat grey-stoned crypt. As it is late afternoon, there is a slight wind blowing around autumn leaves and whispering through the grass at the feet of the headstones. The air is quiet—it is not the tradition of these people to sing dirges to their dead apparently. Only the crunching of dirt and leaves underfoot can be heard. Rounding a corner onto a dirt path called the Eversleep, you see that the way ahead blocked by a group of a dozen surly looking farmers. The tallest of these, an elderly but wiry man, speaks out— “That’s far enough. We been talking, and we don’t want Lorrimor buried in the Restlands. You can take him upriver and bury him there if you want, but he ain’t goin’ in the ground here!” Kendra is swift to respond, her sadness swiftly transforming into anger. “What are you talking about?” she cries out. “I arranged it with Father Grimburrow. He’s waiting for us! The grave’s already been…” [The farmers look pretty stout—it’s clear than some of them at least really do mean business. They are “armed” with farming implements—shovels, pitchforks, hoes, and the like.]

Solar quietly suggests to the pallbears to gently put the coffin down in case there is a scene

“You don’t get it, woman. We won’t have a necromancer buried in the same place as our kin. I suggest you move out while you still can. Folk are pretty upset about this right now.”

A cold shiver runs down Johan’s spine as he sees the expanse of the headstones, a clear reminder to his own mortality. Johan raises his head as he focused on taking each step at a time to observe the farmers who were disrespecting the dead. Johan will carefully lower the coffin to the ground as he keeps an eye out for any sign of aggression from the farmers. [Sense Motive check: 1d20+4 = 10]

Solar says gently but firmly to the crowd that “Lorrimor was not a Necromancer, he was a learned man of knowledge. He protected others from evil and shared how to overcome it good friend. Had you ever spoken to the him?” [Diplomacy: 1d20+1=20]

“Aye, and my crops were bad for four years after!” replies the wiry old man indignantly. However, the words seem to have had an effect on the others. “That was on account of you spent those four years in the Laughin’ Demon instead of working her,” taunts one of his companions. “Come on, Gibs,” says another. “These folk mean business, and Kendra’s got some of her dad’s knack, from what I hear.” He gestures toward the woman, who appears about to launch into a tirade. The man named Gibs glowers, and several of the other dirty-faced farmers murmur their discontent, but all step aside to form a pathway for the procession to continue through.

“Thank you Gentleman, how you treat the dearly departed and the grieving they leave behind is a clear sign of a mans measure, you are truly good men. Shall we continue my friends” says Solar as he reaches down to lift up the coffin once more.

Johan bites his tongue to avoid saying something that would only serve to aggravate the farmers. He wastes no time in resuming to lift the casket and continue on their way to the eversleep.

The men’s knuckles are white on their farming tools. They do no depart, but neither do they attack as the procession moves forward through the gap in the crowd.

The procession leaves the crowd behind and continues forward on the dirt path to the plot Kendra purchased for her father. The coffin is set gently down, and the black-shrouded gravediggers perform the morbid task of lowering of the mortal remains of Petros Lorrimor into the open grave. Presently, a pale, wretched-looking priest steps forward and offers a small sermon, praising the man Lorrimor for his work and admonishing all to serve Pharasma so that they too may pass peacefully into the afterlife. Then Kendra steps forward. Fighting back tears, she thanks everyone once again for coming. Then, drawing a roll of parchment, she reads aloud: “My father was hardworking, strong, and determined. He loved me and was deeply devoted to my mother while she was alive. However, he was no saint. As a child I and my mother were accustomed to visitors from every walk of life stopping by our house at all hours. Sometimes he would disappear, for months at a time, on his research”. But this did not matter to me, because he was my father and he showed us the same devotion to me as he did to his work. My father showed strength and determination right up to the end of his life. I hope that one day, when I die, my children can look back, smile, and talk about how I put them above everything else. And how I tried to make a difference." She ends her speech with a sudden sob. “I- I will miss him,” she repeats. There is an awkward silence. Tears stream down her face as she looks around the assembled group, silently indicating that others may speak if they wish.

Solar replies, “I will miss the professors long conversations, his knowledge was great, and his ability to impart it skilled, his passing leaves a large hole in my life that will never be filled.” After speaking, Solar walks over to Kendra takes her hands and kisses it and says "my deepest condolences, nothing can replace your father, but if you need assistance, I will always be happy to assist.” [Diplomacy 1d20 +1= 19]

Johan moves forward, clearing his throat as he does so. “We will miss your father dearly, he was a great man whom I respected, he was also someone I trusted and called friend.” [Diplomacy check: 1d20+1 = 11]

“Thank you, sir,” replies Kendra with a sniffle.

Those gathered appear particularly moved by Solar’s speech and his gallant treatment of Kendra. He is the recipient of a number of approving nods, as the casket is covered with earth. After the ceremony is complete, Kendra approaches Johan, Mesodias, and Solar. “There will be a small… gathering… at our house—well, my house, now— for the reading of my father’s will. I presume that is why you are here? Either way, you are more than welcome to join us.”

“Yes, let us return to the house. My legs feel a little shaky and I think I need to sit down for a moment to collect myself.”

Kendra says her goodbyes to the other guests, and thirty minutes later the party reconvenes at her house for a drink and to hear his last will and testament. The drinks arrive rather sooner, as the reading of the will requires the presence of the head councilman, who appears to be tending to some other business at the moment.
The Lorrimor residence is a modest home with crowded bookshelves in every room. You are currently seated about a round wooden table with steaming mugs of toddy.

Solar accepts his mug with thanks and politely sits and studies the spines of the books that can be seen from his chair

“My father knew many, many, people,” says Kendra warmly; “but I can see why he chose to name you three in his will. The way you handled those ignorant farmers in the graveyard! I did not remember to thank you properly for that—truly, I am blessed to have you present at such a time as this.”

At this, Mesodias, makes a muted noise in his throat and inclines his head respectfully.

Solar replies, “It was our pleasure, your father deserves the best in life and in death.”

About thirty minutes later there is a knock at the door, and Kendra ushers in head Councilman Vashian Hearthmount

Solar nods greeting to the councilman.

Johan replies to Solar, “You showed great restraint as you handled the farmers. If it wasn’t for your words it would have ended with bloodshed. I still will not forget the faces of those who stood in our way. Should they show such disrespect in the future, we will see to it they are taught some manners.”

Solar replies, “They were leaderless men looking for a reason to be important, they needed something to turn away from their course of action. However we may want to keep an eye out for the farmer we embarrassed…he may try to cause trouble for either one of us later.”

Council man nods stiffly at Solar’s greeting—but on hearing Johan’s remarks, he nods in hearty agreement. “Those were all local men, all of low character,” he notes grimly. “You did well in dispersing them.” However, it is obvious from his glare and narrowed gaze that he doesn’t completely approve of strangers being involved in local matters, and he plunges ahead with the business of reading of Petros’s will.
Kendra, for her part, takes a seat at the table and looks on eagerly as Councilman Vashian produces a scroll case, holding it up to show that the professor’s personal seal is unbroken. Then he breaks the wax and opens the case.
As he does, a small iron key falls out of the tube, clattering noisily onto the table.
Undaunted, the councilman begins to read, as though eager to be done with the business and to get back home.
—I, Petros Lorrimor, being of sound mind, do hereby commit to this parchment my last will and testament. Let it be known that, with the exception of the specific details below, I leave my home and personal belongings entire to my daughter Kendra. Use them or sell them as you see fit, my child.
—Yet beyond the bequeathing of my personal effects, this document must serve other needs. I have arranged for the reading of this document to be delayed until all principals can be in attendance, for I have more than mere inheritance to apportion. I have two final favours to ask.
—To my old friends, I hate to impose upon you all, but there are few others who are capable of appreciating the true significance of what it is I have to ask. As some of you know, I have devoted many of my studies to all manner of evil, that I might know the enemy and inform those better positioned to stand against it. For knowledge of one’s enemy is the surest path to victory over its plans.
—And so, over the course of my lifetime, I have seen fit to acquire a significant collection of valuable but dangerous tomes, any one of which in the wrong circumstances could have led to an awkward legal situation. While the majority of these tomes remain safe under lock and key at the Lepidstadt University, I fear that a few I have borrowed remain in a trunk in my Ravengro home.
—While invaluable for my work in life, in death, I would prefer not to burden my daughter with the darker side of my profession, or worse still, the danger of possessing these tomes herself. As such, I am entrusting my chest of tomes to you, posthumously.
—I ask that you please deliver the collection to my colleagues at the University of Lepidstadt, who will put them to good use for the betterment of the cause.
—Yet before you leave for Lepidstadt, there is the matter of another favour—please delay your journey one month and spend that period of time here in Ravengro to ensure that my daughter is safe and sound. She has no one to count on now that I am gone, and if you would aid her in setting things in order for whatever she desires over the course of this month, you would have my eternal gratitude.
—From my savings, I have also willed to each of you a sum of one hundred platinum coins. For safekeeping, I have left these funds with Embreth Daramid, one of my most trusted friends in Lepidstadt—she has been instructed to issue this payment upon the safe delivery of the borrowed tomes no sooner than one month after the date of the reading of this will.
—I, Petros Lorrimor, hereby sign this will in Ravengro on this first day of Lamashan, in the year 4711.
Once the will is read, Councilman Vashian looks to Kendra. “Thank you, councilman,” she replies at length. “I think that we need not detain you any longer.”

Solar replies, “Dear Kendra, As I stated earlier, I am at your service, I would be honoured to help you settle your affairs in whatever manner you see me worthy of doing”

Johan sits there quietly listening to the councilman read out the final will and testimony of the last Professor. “I agree with my companion, in fact I was going to suggest something similar to what was asked of us.”

“Thank you again for coming,” says Kendra, putting on a brave face at the news contained in the will. “I will need a few weeks, at least, to make plans for the future. In the meantime, I truly am grateful for your company. You may stay in the guest rooms here, for free—of course.” Quickly she excuses herself to go fetch the chest mentioned in the will, returning several minutes later with a small, iron-bound chest in her arms.” Here," she says somewhat nervously. “Would one of you care to use the key?”

Solar replies, “Perhaps mylady, it should be you that opens the chest, but if you would prefer I can certainly do it for you!”

Kendra replies, “I-I think he may have meant this for you. Oh, I am afraid of what I will find!"

Solar indicates to Johan to help Kendra and goes to open the chest.

Johan replies, “Would you prefer to wait outside while we open the chest and confirm if the contents are those to be delivered to the university?”
Kendra replies, “I would… I think, yes, I would better do that. Thank you again, my friends—I will be in the study when you are finished.”

Solar replies, “So Johan, would you like to do the honour or should I?”

Johan replies, “I will open the chest.” Johan collects the iron key, it felt heavier than he thought it would. He kneels down to inspect the chest before opening it.
[Disable Device: 1d20+9 = 22]

Solar inspects the chest. [Perception 1d20+0=5]

The chest is a relatively small object of oak and iron. Its lock is plain to look at, constructed of solid brass. Johan discovers no traps or, indeed, anything odd, from his inspection.

Johan takes a deep breath before inserting the key into the lock and turning it until he heard the clicking of the tumblers inside unlocking the lid.

The key fits the lock perfectly, opening with a creeeeeaaaaaak to reveal a stack of dusty old tomes.

Solar clears some space on the table so they can easily put the tomes on the desk

Johan will collect the first few books lying on the top of the collection and place them on the desk.

Solar reads the titles of the tomes.

You see a total of four books.
The first book has a rich purple cover containing a brass scarab set with a single eye in its centre. No title is listed. The book’s covers are rimmed in polished steel and clasped with a small but intricate lock, the keyhole of which appears to be for a key with a strange, triangular shaft. A note is tucked under the cover.
The second book has a jet-black cover. The title is raised slightly. It reads: “On Verified Madness”. A loose sheet of paper is tucked under the cover
The third book is entitled “Serving Your Hunger”. Its cover is made of pale leather. A loose sheet of paper is tucked under the cover.
The fourth book is entitled “The Umbral Leaves”. There is nothing notable about the binding or condition of this book. A loose sheet of paper is tucked under the cover.

Solar looks to Johan and indicates to read the note with the first book with the single eye.

Johan removes the parchment from within the first books cover and reads the contents out loud. “Dear friends: please deliver this book to Embreth Daramid, a judge at the Lepidstadt Courthouse. Discreetly, if you please!”

Johan replies, “That satisfies my curiosity that thee are indeed the books mentioned in the will. Shall we put them back into the chest for safe keeping?”

Solar replies, “Perhaps we should read all the notes first my friend, we may need to know what they are so we can figure the best place to keep them as they are clearly valuable.” With that Solar, while seeking Johan’s permission, continues to read the notes allowed .

[Knowledge (nature): 1d20+4 = 9] Johan recalls if the symbol or creature on the cover is some kind of animal found within nature.

The other three notes read as follows: “Dear friends: please deliver this book to Montagnie Crowl, a professor of antiquities at Lepidstadt University.”

The first book is a mystery—without opening it, you have no idea what it may contain. The second book is a treatise on aberrations and other entities found on Golarion that possess remote ties to the Dark Tapestry, the name given to the dark places between the stars in the night sky.
The third book is a copy of one of several unholy books sacred to the goddess Urgathoa. Lorrimor’s notations liberally sprinkle the margins.
The fourth book is a translation into Common of the unholy book of Zon-Kuthon.

Solar asks Johan and the cleric to help him look for hidden compartments in the chest to try and find the key for the first book
[Perception 1d20+0 =18] Aid Another to Johan.

Johan replies, “I had not considered that the key might be hidden within the chest.” With that he carefully inspect the chest, running his hand across the interior and exterior looking for any recess that might reveal the presence of a hidden compartment. [Perception check: 1d20+6 = 18 (incl. Aid Other bonus)]

Johan’s and Solar’s efforts, while thorough, are ineffectual, as they discover neither key nor compartment concealed within the chest.

Solar replies, “Perhaps we should now bring Kendra back and ask her if she knows anything about these books or the key to open the first book.”

Johan replies, “Perhaps we can question her about these books at a later time. She has been thought a lot recently, we all have.”

Solar replies, “You are of course correct, my apologies, my love of knowledge has made me insensitive, there will be time for answers later. Let us lock these back in the chest and establish where Kendra would like to keep it for safe keeping ad then see to what ever Kendra needs at this time.”

Johan replies, “That is a good idea. We must ensure they are protected and also that we keep Kendra safe from harm.”

Having locked the books up with his fellow adventurers, Solar go in search of Kendra, to aks what she thinks should be done with the chest and to see how she is faring

Solar discovers Kendra in her own study, absently flipping through a book on magical theory. “Did you find—everything—all right?” she asks hesitantly.
Solar replies, “Yes, my lady, there were 4 books, 3 of interesting but dangerous knowledge and a fourth with a lock on it which we could not open, your father left notes on each saying where they were to be delivered in a months time. How are you fairing? May we be of assistance in any way?”

Kendra replies, “I am faring well enough,” she says, with a touch of pride. “I am relieved that nothing too.. sinister came of opening that chest. I know my father. His devotion to his cause was second only to his devotion to his family, and if he thought that questionable means might bring about the desired end, he would not hesitate.”

Solar replies, “Well the knowledge contained in the books is dangerous enough is the wrong hands, might I ask what you would consider is a safe place to hide the chest until we need to do something with the books?”

Kendra replies, “Do you know, if you are interested in learning more while you are here, we have a fully stocked library. There are other places here in Ravengro you may study at as well—the town hall, maybe, or the temple of Pharasma. You may also try the Unfurling Scroll, near the town centre.”

Solar replies, “I would be fascinated by all of these places I have a love of knowledge as your father did. However all that can wait, at this moment you are the most fascinating of all the options presented!”

Kendra blushes, and then purses her lips, as though forcing herself to consider Solar’s earlier question. “The chest itself has kept these things safe for a long time now, I suspect. We may put the thing back in the study where he kept it, and none will be the wiser.”

Solar subtly looks at Johan to see if thinks that is a suitable place.

Johan replies, “Yes well we can leave the chest in the study for the time being, at least until we find a place it can be hidden out of sight.”

Solar replies, “If you would grant us your leave, we will secure the chest in the study and then check outside to make sure we are not disturbed tonight by undesirables.”

Kendra replies, “Why of course,” she replies. “I’ll go prepare your rooms—father kept spare bedrooms for guests!”

Solar replies, “Thank you my lady.” Solar, walks around the house with Johan and looks for any problems for security and anything that is out of place on the outside of the house

Johan will check the locks on each doorways to make sure they are secure, also inspecting the windows for any security flaws that should be fixed tomorrow.

Solar whist looking around the house casts detect magic to see if any magical auras are within site of the house or on the house itself

The house is sturdy and secure—Professor Lorrimor was a man who dabbled in dangerous secrets, and he undoubtedly built his home to withstand any ordinary break-in attempts. The windows, while not barred, are constructed of solid wrought iron, and the walls are built of strong wood. The locks on the front door appear secure, with a sturdy black iron lock on the outside, and a plank-sized deadbolt within. At no time during the circuit of the house does Solar notice any sign of unexpected magic, save of course the emanations from several of the book cases and from both the Professor’s and Kendra’s studies.

Episode One

Beer & Dice ddstevenson