- Marek, human fighter
- Elaria, wood elf ranger
- Erron, half-elf bard
- Erasmus, tiefling barbarian
Objective: Bring the murderer of Evanus Ogarski to justice.
- Marek and Elaria were summoned to the home of Andullah, Piskaro's most notorious sea witch, in the midst of a torrential storm blowing in from the sea. Andullah asked them to investigate the murder of her old friend, Evanus Ogarski, and to bring her the head of his killer. Andullah did not offer gold as a reward for the completion of this task; rather, she offered to give both of them a potion of healing upfront and to brew whatever kind of potion they desired should they succeed in their mission.
- Andullah took them to meet with Ivanna, Evanus's widow. Ivanna sat in a rocking chair in front of the house she shared with Evanus, smoking a clay pipe. Inside the house, Elaria and Marek examined Evanus's corpse; no ordinary murder, this, for Evanus had been turned to greenish-gray marble by his killer! In fact, it looked as though petrification had inadvertently been the cause of his death: after being turned to stone, he had fallen to the floor and his head and left hand had broken off his body. Examination of his petrified form also revealed that he had been wounded before being turned to stone; his body and clothes showed the work of a serrated bite--but the pattern of teeth marks didn't match any animal that Elaria was familiar with.
- Further investigation of the house revealed signs of a struggle, and broken glass that seemed to be from a shattered bottle of "Doctor Voke's Blood-Cleansing Tonic." Erron arrived to help with the investigation at this point and noticed an usual object that didn't belong in the house under a fallen bookcase--a farrier's rasp.
- The adventurers found their way to Doctor Voke's Apothecary, where they found the walrus-mustached man vending his tonics and patent medicines of dubious efficacy. Inquiry about his blood tonic revealed that Voke had run out of the stuff, that it was hard for him to keep it in stock, and that it was concocted from rare roots and herbs.
- Voke was distressed at the idea that one of his products had been found at a crime scene, and mentioned that the blood tonic seemed to be causing no end of problems lately. When pressed as to what he meant by that, he explained that he had sold his last bottle to Evanus Ogarski, but right after Franz Melville, a local farrier, had come in to buy a bottle for his afflicted daughter. Franz was distraught that there was no tonic for sale, and demanded Evanus's address so that he might try to buy that last bottle from him.
- Sensing a strong connection, the group again traversed the rain-swept streets of Piskaro to the home and business of Franz Melville. Before they reached his home, their approach was spotted by a teenage girl with blonde hair in a calico dress. She ran into the entrance of the farrier's and the party overheard a man saying, "Stay in the house, Yetel, and do not let yourself get upset. I will get rid of them!" The group entered Franz's shop and found him to be a bald, middle-aged man with a sunburned face. Perhaps trying to put Franz off his guard, Marek quickly and directly accused him of the murder of Evanus Ogarski.
- Franz denied murdering Evanus, even when it was pointed out that there was an empty space on his rack of rasps where the tool recovered from the scene of the crime aught to go. Yetel rushed in from the house, clutching her stomach, obviously upset at the party's intrusion and accusations. Suddenly, she fell to her hands and knees and began to change into a beast covered in green feathers, scales, and with a beak full of serrated teeth. The transformed Yetel lashed out at Marek, but luckily he was not turned to stone. Elaria managed to sink an arrow into her, and Erron assaulted her mind with magic. Marek grabbed the girl and bore her to the floor; he could feel her changing back into her girlish form underneath him.
- A barrel was used to keep Yetel confined. Franz explained that yes, his daughter had killed Evanus while in her transformed state. He had gone to buy the blood tonic from Evanus, and they argued when Evanus would not sell him the tonic. Yetel became upset and transformed into her monstrous form--a form in which she has no control over her actions. Franz further related that Yetel's affliction was a curse. When he and his wife were courting, they would meet at Marsburg Swamp to spend time in each other's company. Their joy, however, offended an Unseelie fey spirit who lived in the swamp. This moroi was a bear-like thing with the fangs of a vampire; it cursed Franz and his wife, saying that their joy would become their sorrow. The curse did not affect them directly; it fell upon their pride and joy, poor Yetel Melville.
- Even though their task was to bring the head of Evanus's killer to Andullah, no one in the party wanted to kill Yetel. Franz proposed that they might seek out the moroi, kill it, and bring the witch its head in place of Yetel's since it was more properly the cause of all this horror. The party sought out Andullah to see if this would be agreeable to her, and she let them decide how they might best mete out justice. Erasmus joined the group's venture at this point.
- Using a map provided by Franz, the party set out the next day and arrived early at Marsburg Swamp. As they stood on the bank, they observed that a massive fallen tree acted as a bridge across the swamp's water to the cave known to be the lair of the moroi. Erron used an illusion to simulate the sound of people walking across the tree to see if it would attract the interest of any waiting creatures, and it did. A deer's head emerged from the surface of the swamp. Noting that deer are not generally submersable creatures, Marek fired his crossbow into it, wounding it--but it didn't seem phased by the pain. In fact, it declared his action rude in a human-like voice. Erasmus then began to parlay with the creature; it offered him information on the moroi if he would pluck the bolt from its body. As it drew near, more of the deer's body became visible--well, what was left of it. The creature only had two front legs and half a body; its entrails spilled out behind it like a tail of viscera. Erasmus pulled the quarrel from the being, who introduced itself as Lashenka. Laskenka explained that the moroi could not be trapped within the cave, that the moroi had evil fey allies within the cave, and that in the old pagan days men used to bring their firstborn to the moroi as sacrifices.
- Now thusly armed with some knowledge about the beast in the cave, the party traversed the fallen tree and dropped down into the cold water of the swamp, making their way into the cave. During their exploration, they encountered the spirits of those slain by the moroi, and the spirits demanded payment from the living to be allowed to pass within; they found and restored a statue of St. Elusia, the found the valuables the moroi took from the bodies of its victims, and they found the moroi itself. Lured from deeper within the cave by the party so that they might fight it in a larger chamber of the cave system, the moroi emerged as a bear-like monstrosity covered in patches of thick vegetation. It attacked with talons and blood-drinking fangs; its bellowing cry turned their blood to poison within their veins. Even so, the crew made quick work of their foe, and severed its head to take back to Andullah.
- The party knew that the moroi had allies within the caves, and they had previously heard what sounded like the giggling of children coming from one of the unexplored passage. Was it a sense of completionism or greed that drove them to explore further? Whatever it was, it nearly ended in tragedy. They came to a junction where the waist-high water in the cave grew warmer and was bubbling softly. Suddenly, a gremlin-like creature made of mud erupted to the surface and vomited a stream of filth onto Erron that fixed him in place. Battle was joined.
- At first, the moroi's minions proved ineffective, but then the tide of battle turned. Marek was bludgeoned to death's door, then Erron fell beneath their hands, and then Erasmus found himself breathing what might be his last. Elaria stood alone against three of the monsters. While her compatriots fought against the dimming of their life's lights, she slew two with her short swords; as the final creature attempted to pull Erron under the murky water, she fired one last shot from her bow and destroyed the monster. Elaria managed to revive the rest of the party using their healing potions before any of them slipped into whatever awaits them in the afterlife.
- The party returned to Andullah's house and presented her the head of the moroi. Marek also paid a visit to the Melvilles' house, where he was showered with affection from Franz--and a tentative embrace from Yetel. The curse afflicting the girl had been lifted!
- XP: Marek and Elaria each gain 279 XP, Erron gains 251 XP, and Erasmus gains 190 XP.
- Treasure: Marek, Elaria, and Erasmus each get 136 gp from the coins and gems found in the moroi's lair; Erron gets 86 gp since he left a gem as tribute to the statue of St. Elusia.
- Magic Items: Marek has a potion of superior healing; Elaria has two potions of superior healing, and Andullah will brew her three potions of her choosing in addition; Erron has a potion of superior healing and the promise of magical training from Andullah; Erasmus has a potion of superior healing and a bag of vicious, primordial teeth (they would be a good material to have enchanted and added to that sword you already had, if you wanted to search out someone capable of such).