Carrion Crown ICT
Tales are told throughout Golarion of shadowy figures that lurk in dark corners—stories recounted at children’s bedsides feature bestial creatures that come out only when the moon is right, and fireside legends speak of otherworldly beings beyond reckoning, whose very existence is more than the human mind can bear to know. These are the legends that explain where the blood of the family cow went, and why clerics spend so much time ensuring the proper Pharasman rites are observed at grave sites throughout the Inner Sea. One can write them off as simple, scary stories in Absalom or Westcrown, but in Ustalav, everyone knows the truth of the things that go bump in the night.
Cursed with a history of tragedy and faded glory, the Immortal Principality of Ustalav clings to its legendary past even as it struggles to forget centuries of horrors. Fifteen centuries ago, the warlord Tar-Baphon resurrected himself as a vile lich-king, and for more than 600 years, the Whispering Tyrant ruled an empire of abominations rooted in the country’s corpse. When the Shining Crusade finally succeeded in imprisoning the dreaded immortal within his fortress of Gallowspire, the victorious knights freed the lich’s living slaves and returned the principality’s shattered counties to its beleaguered people.
In 4670 AR, three of Ustalav’s western counties shrugged off the rule of their ancestral counts in a bloodless revolution, renaming themselves the Palatinates. A less civil conflict erupted 19 years later, resulting in the devastation of Ardeal’s eastern reaches, leaving it a forsaken land now known only as the Furrows. Today, Ustalav stagnates under the rule of an aging, impolitic leader, and the threat of royal infighting looms on the horizon. Fearing rebellion, the counts of Ustalav draw inward to their decrepit provinces, coveting their remaining power and further fracturing the decaying nation. And in the west, the voice of an ancient evil whispers once more. Thus, Ustalav teeters, as it has again and again through the centuries, on the precipice of ruin.
Welcome to Your Doom
The PCs come to Ravengro to attend the funeral of an old friend, Professor Petros Lorrimor, only to become embroiled in the village’s problems—the ghosts of the haunted prison on the hill are spreading down into the town. After researching the pasts of the town and prison and handling several local haunts (perhaps even recovering a stash of old ghost-hunting gear from the cemetery), the PCs head up the hill to investigate Harrowstone. There, they find evidence that the Whispering Way has been up to something, and that the cult’s tinkering has upset the balance of things. In order to prevent the souls within the prison from escaping, the PCs must ally with the ghost of the prison warden’s wife to defeat the five most dangerous spirits active within and below Harrowstone’s walls.
We Belong Dead
The PCs complete the task set before them in Professor Lorrimor’s will by delivering his books to Doctor Montagnie Crowl and Judge Embreth Daramid in the city of Lepidstadt, where they discover the infamous Beast of Lepidstadt is on trial. Judge Daramid hires the PCs to carry out what seems to be an impossible task— to proving that the Beast of Lepidstadt is innocent. As the PCs investigate the Beast’s alleged crimes, they can learn that others are responsible for the spate of murders attributed to the Beast—a body-snatching skin stealer and dark creeper are operating a gruesome but highly profitable business in a chymic works while using the Beast as a scapegoat for their crimes. As the PCs try to clear the Beast’s name, it becomes clear that the locals are not interested in a fair trial, and the PCs are placed between the Beast and those who would carry out the sentence before the verdict.
After the trial, the PCs follow the Beast back to Schloss Caromarc, the home of the former count of Vieland and the Beast’s true creator. In search of the eccentric count, the PC explore his curious castle, now turned into a deadly deathtrap by the Whispering Way. When the PCs finally find the imprisoned Caromarc, they must also face his darkest secret—and only by taking control of the Beast of Lepidstadt can they defeat Caromarc’s greatest and most dangerous creation to learn the Whispering Way’s next move.
Carrion is Off the Menu
At the behest of Judge Daramid, the PCs head to Lozeri to investigate the resurgence of Ustalav’s most infamous death cult, the Whispering Way. Following an old hunting trail through the haunted Shudderwood, the PCs eventually arrive at Ascanor Lodge, a posh hunting lodge located in the heart of the wood, from which they can launch their investigations.
From there, they suspect the Lodge’s head warden, and by chasing him through the Shudderwood to an ancient Desnan site known as the Stairs of the Moon. Once there, the group becomes embroiled in werewolf tribal politics, kill the usurper, then continue the chase of the cultists to far off Feldgrau, in the lifeless Furrows region.
There The Whispering Way is faced for the first time; gagged cultists and whispering priests dig up a mass grave for a specifiic skull and send it off with two riders south. The party puts an end to the cult in Feldgrau, and set off after the riders.
Arriving in Thrushmoor, the groups asks around about two black-cloaked riders. At one stable, they found answers, but also fire and blood. Following the trail to Illmarsh to the east, they found a cult, but not the one they were looking for.
Worshipers of a dark power from beyond the stars were giving over baby girls for generations to foul fish-men, who in return, gifted prosperity on the fishermen of the village. But recently, the good luck had run out due to intelligent fungi arriving from that very same “beyond the stars” corrupting the fish-men and villagers alike, to their own dark entity.
The group went into the dark foret, into a darker house and an even dark er cave, and lastly, to the darkest of the lake’s depths to stop the fungi, the foul ritual that would summon forth an elder god, and also recovered the Seasage Effigy, and the Raven’s Head, a Pharasman artifact.
Following the trail of the other rider, they arrive in the capital of Ustalav, Caliphas, wherein they are quickly entangled in the search for a murderer of vampires, which seems to have some connection to the Whispering Way.