Friday, September 29, 2017

The Changeling Barber of Windermere Parish

Campaign: Krevborna Open Table (Google Hangouts, 5e D&D)

Characters: Marek Miazga (human battlemaster fighter), Tobias Rune (human pact of the chain warlock), Thane Ganymede (darakhul wizard).

Objective: Discover why citizens are disappearing in Windermere Parish.

Events: Nikolai Rodescu asked the party to help him get to the bottom of a spate of disappearances in Windermere Parish. Half of those who went missing remained missing; the other half returned with no memory of their abduction, and each was sporting freshly shorn locks.

A serving girl named Julia who numbered among the returned was examined. The party determined that her hair had been cut by expert hands, as it was quite stylishly arrayed. She told the party that she had been planning on getting a haircut anyway, and that she sometimes went to a local barber named Jorge.

The party paid Jorge's barbershop a visit the next morning. The man had a strange iron tooth and curly, but coiffed, blonde hair. While Marek posed as a country boy in need of a trim, Tobias had his imp Malphas scout the barn out back. The barn held a strange fey approximation of a cow, its udders multicolored and odd. Malphas also scouted the upper floors of the house and discovered Jorge's daughter playing at marbles with a blue-skinned faery with a head much too big for its body and bulging, yellow eyes.

As Marek's haircut and shave were completed, the questions he put to Jorge elicited an untoward response: the barber-surgeon pressed a button on the back of the barber's chair that sent it rapidly descending into the basement on a mechanical track. Marek leaped out of the chair in time to avoid being whisked down into the depths. Jorge attempted to run down the stairs underneath the trapdoor, but Thane incinerated him with magic before he got very far.

The party heard murmuring just beyond the landing that was in view from the trapdoor. They soon found themselves in melee with horrible, shaggy fey creatures. After slaying the evil fey cohort, the group explored the basement beneath the barbershop, discovering a gruesome chamber for dentistry (including horrific drills and pliers), a strange throne made of twisted and knotted roots, a number of preserved human heads sporting wigs made of real hair, a chamber lined with shelves of bottles, and a door--behind which they could hear the sound of rhythmic snipping.

The magical nature of some of the jars inflamed Thane's greed, but attempting to retrieve them led to a battle between the party and a massive, thick strand of hair that protruded from the back wall of the chamber. Marek kept the powerful strand focused on him while Tobias and Thane blasted the malefic hank with spells. 

Marek found himself in the unenviable cyclical position of having his head entangled by the hair, only to break free and be re-ensnared moments later. When Marek's strength failed him, the hair began to crush his head--sending him to death's door. Luckily, Tobias's magic felled the vicious lock of hair. Unfortunately, the "death" of the hair caused the back wall of the chamber to collapse on Marek, but he was soon revived with a healing draught.

Deciding it would be best not to have to fight their way through foes should they need to retreat later, the party opened the door they had heard the snipping sounds coming from; they found another Jorge, this one giving a haircut to a murderous redcap--the redcap's bloodstained hat lay at his feet. After killing this other Jorge and the redcap, the adventurers decided to venture down the crude stone steps that had been revealed with the collapse of the wall after the previous battle.

As they ventured down the twisting steps, they saw more impossibly-long hair snaking its way into the gloom; at one point the hair rose up and beckoned like a finger to lure them onward. The hair led them to a chamber in which an imperious woman sat upon another throne of roots and brambles; the woman's resemblance to a witch the group had slain in a previous adventure was unmistakable: this was Baba Maela, sister of hag Bonnie Maedra!

There were further disquieting sights in the room: a cloven-footed fey man with a huge shock of unruly hair and beard was manacled to the wall, yet another Jorge stood by the side of the witch, and a human-shaped figure lay at the Jorge's feet--wrapped in a cocoon of white-blonde, grizzled hair. As the party had guessed by now, Baba Maela was behind the  disappearances in Windermere Parish; it was all a ruse to draw the group into investigating this strange crime so that she might get revenge upon them for killing her sister!

The battle was hard fought, and the party got more than a little-lucky--the supernaturally strong Baba Maela was clumsy in her lunges, so the group managed to largely evade her crushing grasp. However, the party did not manage to finish her off; she wiped blood on Marek's face, saying "This isn't over," before dissolving into ash.

The party freed the captive fey creature--a korred that Maela had enslaved for sinister purposes. They also freed the real Jorge from the cocoon of hair in which he had been confined. Jorge vowed that he would pack up his things, and his daughter, and move far from the horrors of Piskaro. Perhaps his daughter's fey playmate would accompany them to parts unknown.

NPCs: Nikolai Rodescu (watchman of Windermere Parish), Jorge (a barber who made a disastrous pact with a hag) and his daughter, a boggart (who watched over the daughter in her father's absence), a korred captured by Baba Maela.

Foes: Jorge changelings, xvarts, corrupted korred hair, a redcap, Baba Maela (witch-hag, sister of Bonnie Maedra).

835 gp and 8 cp each in coin and saleable jewelry

Potion of Poison Resistance

Potion of Fire Breath

Iron Tooth of Baba Maela - allows you to communicate with Baba Maela over any distance

Assorted monster teeth - can be implanted in someone's mouth, giving them a 1d4+ Str bite attack

Comb - Combing your hair with it will cast Evard's Black Tentacles; after using, it crumbles into dust

Grotesque Skin Mask - placing the mask on a restrained creature subjects it to Tasha's Hideous Laughter

Green Vials (4) - when rubbed into hair they give the user the effects of jump and spiderclimb spells for seven hours, but each time you use the abilities granted by either you take 1d4 acid damage

Blue Vials (3) - when rubbed into hair your body emits loud sounds (fail all Stealth checks and disadvantage on Perception checks for seven hours, but you can cast a thunderwave once in that seven hours)

Purple Vials (4) - When rubbed into hair your mouth functions as a decanter of endless water for seven hours

Vial of Gelatinous Substance - when rubbed into your hair, your hair cannot be mussed by anything until you wash it

Spellbook - contains sleep, hold person

XP: 1773 each.