The Rise of the Forgotten

Guild Contract #04
The Mansfield Estate

The group responds to a posting at the Adventurer's Guild looking for "exterminators" to take care of a "pest problem" at the Mansfield Estate — a mansion formerly owned by the late Miss Mansfield. The pay borders on exorbitant, but there are few details. The person who took out the contract demanded discretion, and refused to provide additional information until a vetted Adventuring Group actually took up the contract. After some deliberation, the group agrees and is directed to the firm managing the estate. It is there that they are told that the "pest problem" is, in fact, a haunting. They are promised 3000 gold, plus an extra 1000g and their pick of a single item from the house's impressive inventory if they can complete it before the open house the following day. The estate management company asks that they take care of it at night (to avoid witnesses that could cause a scandal). 

For the rest of the day the group looks into the Mansfields and cases the estate. The Mansfields themselves were a wealthy family. [[Mr. Mansfield]] had started as a sailor. He climbed the ranks until finally he earned enough money to purchase his own ship. Later he married [[Mrs. Mansfield]], whose business acumen allowed them to turn a single ship into a small fleet. They had a daughter, [[Miss Mansfield]] who eventually inherited the company. But Miss Mansfield did not have much of a love for managing a trading company, and so she sold her stake in it later in life and lived comfortably on the profits until she died just under a decade ago.

There was not much mystery around her death. She was of advanced age (she was nearing her centennial) and showed no signs of illness or trauma, so her death was attributed to natural causes. She had let most of the staff go in her waning years, so it was some days after her death that she was found.

That night, the group arrived at the estate. There they found the groundskeeper tending the small on-site cemetery that was home to the remains of the Mansfield Family. He said he didn't go inside the house much these days, but had noticed strange behavior when the estate company's workers came in. He said that they claimed it was haunted, but he noted the house had "calmed down" since then. He corroborated the details surrounding Miss Mansfield's life (and death), and then gave the adventurers a key into the house.

<MAP TO GO HERE WITH DETAILS OF THE ROOMS>

Eventually, they found Miss Mansfield's ghost in her father's old study. She was pantomiming reading something (though there was nothing on the table to be read). Felix reached out to her, and managed to stir the apparition's attention enough to get it to move. They followed it upstairs to a sitting room next to the master bedroom, where the ghost pantomimed writing in a journal. There, they found that Miss Mansfield had kept a detailed (>90 volume) journal throughout her life. But before they had a chance to look into it in detail, the ghost moved onwards even further upstairs. There, she pantomimed fetching something from under an old servant's bed. There, the group found a small box under the floorboards, inside of which was a locket with a lithograph of her and an unknown man. There was also a skeleton key. After that, the appartion went downstairs and into the basement.

The skeleton key let the group into the basement, where they found the ghost seemingly weeping over an empty spot on the ground. It was clear from markings on the floor that there had once been a large heavy box of some kind there. But they didn't have a chance to investigate, as Ander tried to commune with the spirit. This angered it, for it mistook Ander for someone else, and it shouted "you did this to me! why?!" before attacking. The angry spirit nearly took the party's lives, but they manage to subdue it, causing it to dissipate. 

The malevolent force permeating the house nearly brought the entire estate down around them. But they escaped. Then, Scratch noticed the locket he was carrying was glowing softly. It pulsed at varying rates, seemingly trying to show them something. It led them back to the groundskeepers hut. Inside they found no signs that the hut had been lived in in almost a decade. There was a lose compost pile against one of the walls that smelled of decay. Inside Ander found human remains. It was then that they were confronted by the malevolent spirit haunting the house — the groundskeeper!

They prevailed, but only barely. They brought the remains to the family crypt and put them in with Miss Mansfield, but this angered her spirit and she reformed enough to attack. They withdrew the foreign remains and closed the casket, sating the spirit enough that it retreated to the house. After that, the group found a casket buried under the groundskeeper's bed. They eventually brought those remains to Miss Mansfield's crypt. This sated the spirit. The groundskeeper then appeared, observing that "it was over" and he let go of his incorporeal form. The haunting was over.

It was revealed through the groundskeeper and further digging that the mystery man had been Miss Mansfield's lover. They were to be married, but he disappeared. In truth the groundskeeper, who had always been in love with Miss Mansfield, killed him out of jealousy hoping that it would drive Miss Mansfield closer to him. That lasted, for a time, and he had hidden the mystery man's remains in the basement of the house where Miss Mansfield never went. But later in life, Miss Mansfield had grown reflective and had taken to going through old things. She discovered the body, and when she confronted the groundskeeper, he panicked and killed her. With no one left to live for and furious at himself, the groundskeeper committed suicide in his shack (the unburied remains the group eventually found).

With the job done, the group collected their pay. The estate management was dismayed to find that Ander had already taken a suit of armor from the estate, but were satisfied with leaving it to him upon finishing the paperwork. The rest of the house went to auction. Several members of the group attended the auction. Felix, in a ridiculous costume, purchased a couple of smaller esoteric items. 

The group was surprised to find that Mr. Mansfield's desk went for tens of thousands of gold pieces. Curious, Felix and Cordelia snuck into the back to investigate, and Felix found out that there was some sort of magical object inside a hidden drawer. Cordelia picked the lock on the desk, and disabled the mechanism hiding the drawer. Inside was a small book that was magically locked. 

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Guild Contract #03
GRO-ing Pains

On the way back from The Rattling Wood, the group decided to stop by the town of Pilsgrove to deal with another contract they picked up at the Adventurer's Guild. The contract was opened by a goblin named Bertram on behalf of the GRO. The task was to depose a mayor that had recently hired adventurers to bully the goblins of Pilsgrove into sacrificing what they believed were their fundamental humanoid rights. 

When the group arrived in Pilsgrove they found Bertram leading his fellow goblins in a peaceful protest outside of the town hall. It was being watched by several locals who, while clearly displeased with the goblins' presence, showed no signs of interfering with the protest. The group met with Bertram, who told them that the many goblins that lived in the area were being denied the right to vote in local elections, and that as a result the current mayor had effectively stolen the last election. The group then decided to go talk to The Mayor.

Inside town hall the party was met with a desk attendant that seemed unsurprised to see them. They, it seemed, were not the first adventurers to come to town hall that day. They were quickly ushered into the Mayor's office, only to find that he was already meeting a group of adventurers known as The Rabble. Tensions quickly rose, with Scratch taking an aggressive stance against the Mayor's speciest policies and the Mayor being predictably outraged and defensive. Eddie, the leader of the Rabble, played the role of mediator (albeit flavored with his own "smarmy" brand of diplomacy) and sought to ease tensions.

But when Eddie finally convinced the mayor to give the two adventuring groups time to work things out "all professional-like" it became clear that he wasn't interested in compromise. Indeed, Eddie's brand of "compromise" involved The Rabble doing what they were hired to do while the party tottered back to Selheim empty handed. When the group asked for a few minutes to discuss how to handle this amongst themselves, Eddie happily obliged. But unbeknownst to the party, he actually led The Rabble back outside to deal with the goblins while the party debated.

And so when the party finally stepped back outside they found chaos. The Rabble had subdued most of the goblins, and Eddie was busy beating Bertram into a bloody pulp. They had even riled up the townsfolk into participating in the brawl. The group tried to intervene, but were unable to cope with The Reverend's magic and Permelia's tenacious assault. Ultimately, Ander was able to convince the Rabble to stop once all the Goblins had been beaten, and the groups parted way without further conflict.

In the aftermath The Mayor, without The Rabble to back him up, foolishly antagonized the party. Scratch did not take kindly to this, and intimidated The Mayor into agreeing to step down. He even went so far as to stay in town to "supervise" in order to ensure compliance.

Afterwards the group returned to the Adventurer's Guild. There they got some answers as to why there were conflicting contracts (apparently they had not been deemed "mutually exclusive") and if behavior like The Rabble showed was common (it is not, typically adventuring groups resolve disagreements more peacefully and there is a system through which aggrieved parties can lodge formal complaints). However the party decided not to pursue any administrative action against the Rabble, and instead decided to donate their fee back to the GRO in hopes of offering them some solace in the wake of The Rabble's actions.

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Guild Contract #02
Disappearances in the Rattling Wood

Some time removed from their first job together and in need of more funds despite the miserable rain, the troupe went to the Adventurer's Guild to see if there were any worthwhile postings. The best they could find was a goblin activist group (the Goblinoid Rights Organization) seeking help deposing a local mayor that they claimed sought to hire armed thugs to wipe out the peaceful protesters. With few other offerings, the group was about to take the job when a member of The Iron Rangers came into the guild to turn down a high priority contract they had previously taken. (He claimed that they didn't want to trudge through the terrible weather.)  Jumping on the opportunity to take a high priority contract, the group accepted the new job without delay: to track down the cause of disappearances in The Rattling Wood.

The group set off for the Rattling Wood in the pouring rain. Cordelia is unable to join them, as she has come down with a sudden illness. The group eventually arrives in the town outside the Rattling Wood. (Though Scratch seems to have caught the sniffles himself.) They meet with the mayor who gives them some details of the disappearances. Some children had disappeared about a month ago; then some members of the town's search party went missing; and then some adventurers from not one, but two, standard adventurer's guild contracts disappeared into the woods (prompting the town to open the high priority contract). The group got a map of the area, as well as a few names: Cornelius, the cartographer who had mapped out the Rattling Wood; and Emma, the local druid.

The group spoke with Cornelius and got some information of a small cave system deep in the Rattling Wood (including one set of caves that were much deeper than the rest, and might be part of a network). He explained that the locals knew better to explore near there, as they were filled with dangerous animals (bears, dire wolves, giant spiders, and the like). They also spoke with Emma, who told them that the forest "sounded different" these days. (She also claimed that the forest was fighting back against human attempts to claim the "sacred grove" she tended to.)

The next day the group set out into the Rattling Wood. They investigated Emma's sacred grove only to find that it was a small clearing in which she was tending to some imported hallucinogenic plants (they found a hallucinating wolf rolling in the underbrush). Then they went deeper into the forest towards the caves. There they were attacked by several giant spiders. It was a dangerous fight, and they likely would've been slain had they been surprised, but after several tense rounds they slew all the nearby spiders.

In a search of the surrounding area the group found most (though not all) of the missing persons — all dead save a single Kobold named Giz, whose scales had protected him from the spider's poison. Giz had tagged along with the adventuring troup that had disappeared a week ago, and explained that they had been set upon by the spiders as they were investigating the woods. The rest of the members had been killed.

With Giz's help, the group tracked down the two remaining spiders that occupied this nest. However Felix pointed out the oddity that these giant spiders were actually cave spiders, and they were far outside the range that they would hunt even if they were desperate. The group decided to investigate the caves to see what had driven the spiders out. They found the deep caves Cornelius had told them about. They followed it down for several meters until it widened into a cavern. Inside they found a recently widened shaft that extended deep into the darkness. They also found a hook horror, that wasted no time in attacking them…

It was a tough fight, but luckily Cordelia had been tracking the group for some time now — worried that they had gone off on such a dangerous job without her. She heard the sounds of combat, and rushed to her friends' aid. Together the group was able to subdue the giant creature. But something struck them as odd — Hook Horrors typically hunt in packs yet this one was alone! They decided to delve deeper into the cave complex to investigate.

They found a deep shaft hidden by a fissure in the back of the cave, and followed it down deep into the Earth. Deep gouges in the shaft indicated that it is where the hook horror climbed up. Further on, they found a subterranean river over which spanned a narrow land bridge. While investigating the natural bridge, the group noticed an old pack hanging from the jagged edge of the bridge. But while they sought to claim it, more hook horrors emerged from deeper within the cave system. Before the Hook Horrors could make it across the bridge, Felix shattered it with his magic. Confident that the hook horrors could not follow, the group retreated to the surface, collapsing the fissure and shaft along the way to ensure no more nasties would crawl out from the depths below.

And so the group returned to town and informed the mayor of what they found: the hook horrors had driven the giant cave spiders out of their habitat. The cave spiders, desperate for a new source of food attacked the townspeople that wandered too close to their new nests. With the hook horrors gone, any remaining cave spiders should be able to return to their lairs, and the townspeople should once again be safe. The mayor sent notice to the Adventurer's Guild, and the party left to go to Selheim to claim their payment.

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Guild Contract #01
The Ocean Under the Lighthouse

On their first contract as an adventuring troupe, the party traveled just outside of Selheim to an old lighthouse. The keeper had posted the contract after a swarm of monstrous insects (later identified as stirges) had spilled out of the lighthouse's basement, claiming the life of his assistant.

Upon their arrival, the group tracked the stirges origin to a sea cave underneath the light house. Continued renovations on the lighthouse, coupled with the continuous erosion of the cliff-side, had opened a fissure under the lighthouse and allowed the stirges to get in. They cleared the seacave of the stirge's brood lair with little issue.

However they also discovered an old shrine buried under the ground. It had clearly once been a part of the lighthouse complex, but was buried and lost long ago. Inside they found (and fought) a sea hag. More interestingly, they found a great mural depicting two warring deities: Valkur and Umberlee.

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