Great-grandchild of the sister's gibbon's friend of the nephew of the Campaign that Would Not Die, now in 3.25e
Møøse Trained By: Hugh Foster

The Mapmaker and the Hanged Man

Eastern Edge of Denric Forest, 26th October 2100

Eastern Edge of Denric Forest, 27th October 2100

After the PCs emerge from the trees on the east side of the Denric, Rhudien bids them farewell and indicates eastwards. “You should reach the man-road today that way,” he says. Then he fades back into the forest.

Sure enough, towards early evening, the PCs discover a paved road, running NW to SE and turning south. It must once have been an awesome piece of construction, though more than a hundred years of neglect have left holes in it and vegetation growing through them. Once an artery along which the lifeblood of trade flowed through these lands, now it stands desolate in a dead landscape.

It remains a good route to travel.

After around an hour’s travel, the PCs note a smudge ahead that resolves into a structure – or rather the jagged ruins of one. As the evening draws on and they approach, a flicker of firelight becomes visible from it.

Baylock, Spy and Talian scout ahead, it's east of the road

See the remains of a small, square structure. It was clearly built as a defensive fort along the road, though little remains. To the north-east of the main building are the remains of a watchtower, and it is from there that the light of the fire is coming. A single figure is sitting on a log next to it.

He’s human, in his mid-twenties and unarmoured though a sword and dagger lie close to hand, with firewood, a bedroll and a square satchel-like bag.

New Tellare c.1655 - click it for larger image!

Cautious approach, introduces himself as Ewen, Cartographer, mapmaker and explorer. He makes, copies and sells maps. Baylock asks about "maps of the area" carefully not betraying specific interest. Ewen produces a map of "New" Tellare, and Baylock asks about various places, including Cyrn Waethelin among them. Ewen has maps of several, including the Cyrn - 400 years old - a map he claims to have obtained from an "illegal" library under the streets of Narthal.

Other party members called in and introduced; no evil detected on him

His prices are quite steep, but he says if the party can rid his bag of paper-eating moths, the maps will be on the house. Nazariel detects magic; Chambu casts Remove Curse and the moths stagger out and die.

Party camps for the night, plenty sentinels

An hour after dark a second source of illumination gradually fades into view over in the main tower ruins

Closer investigation observes a luminous, translucent male humanoid figure in one of the ruined rooms, pacing backwards and forwards and apparently mumbling to himself, though he produces no sound.  He can’t be interacted with in any meaningful way, radiates no evil, does not disturb the grass. His attire is nondescript. This continues for several hours.

An hour before midnight he sinks on his knees and seems to be praying and wailing.

At ten to twelve he walks into the former courtyard – moving as if being hustled along. Baylock and Nazariel accompany him. He climbs non-existent stairs, and at midnight precisely he seems to drop flailing to hang by an invisible noose.

The Hanged Man

As this happens, everyone feels a spectral rope tighten around their own necks. It's an effort of willpower to resist being dragged along with the long-dead victim through his final moments; failed saves leave characters strangling and incapacitated for that round. Nazariel sends Spy on a straight line away, and as he crosses the bluff out of the fort the effect leaves him. Based on that, Baggy tries to follow suit, but collapses. Chambu tries to Turn it, but his conviction seems inadequate. Ewen strangles to the point of death; Talian grabs him and Baggy and hauls them out of the fort to safety.

Shoot the Rope!

Nazariel casts a Rope Trick and she and Baylock scramble in - the effect seems blocked by the extradimensional space. Looking out, they see that the spectral recreation is reduced to twitching as death approaches. Baylock tries to shoot the rope but to no avail. He then ropes up and goes out to try and interfere with the ghost, but succumbs again. Nazariel hauls him back and up, chuckling at the parallel.

Finally the ghost 'dies' and the effect ends; Baggy brings Ewen back from the brink, much to that worthy's surprise.

Chambu and Nazariel feel that they should try and end the spirit's suffering, whereas others feel that they should be well away by next twilight!

Session Date: 16th March 2021; in Cyberspace!