Thrushmoor

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THRUSHMOOR

Much as I love my work for the Agency, I wish it’d move from Thrushmoor. It’s a nice enough town, I suppose, but for the people. There’s something off about ‘em. And not in the way you’d think either. They’re friendly and fair, jovial and joyous, even. But there’s something in their eyes—behind their eyes. With all my deductive skills, I fgured I’d be able to put my fnger on it better, but that’s the best I can do. I dread going back to visit the Sleepless Building. Something deep in the back of my head knows there’s a sinister secret there that’s beyond my ability to truly comprehend.
As someone who prides herself on getting at the truth of any mystery—hells, who makes her living at it—that scares me more than anything I've ever encountered in a dusty tomb or on the trail of a bloodthirsty murderer.” 
—Blaggi Toronz, Sleepless Detective[1]

THRUSHMOOR

The following city stat block represents Thrushmoor at the start of the Strange Aeons Adventure Path, and some elements are likely to have changed by the time the PCs begin exploring the town. For more information on city stat blocks, see page 204 of the Pathfnder RPG GameMastery Guide.

THRUSHMOOR

NE large town

Corruption +1; Crime –3; Economy +0; Law +3; Lore +2; Society –3

Qualities insular, rumormongering citizens, superstitious

Danger +5; Disadvantages cursed

DEMOGRAPHICS

Government overlord

Population 3,480 (3,394 humans, 56 halflings,12 dwarves, 18 other)

NOTABLE NPCS

Count Haserton Lowls IV (NE male human aristocrat 2/bard 2)

Healer Sentilar Ruoy (CN male halfling alchemistAPG 7)

Magistrate Tillus Padgett (LE male human expert 4)

Priestess Trilliss Mavaine (N female human cleric of Pharasma 9)

Sleepless Agency founder Cesadia Wrentz (N female human rogue 7)

MARKETPLACE

Base Value 2,000 gp; Purchase Limit 10,000 gp;

Spellcasting 5th

Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 2d4; Major Items 1d4

Introducton

Originally established by Kellid wanderers, a settlement has existed in some form at the mouth of the Danver River for nearly 7 centuries. Early settlers found a bounty of clean water and abundant fshing here, though many felt that the area was cursed. It seemed that even though the people had everything they needed to survive, danger lurked behind every shadow and something always seemed to go wrong with their efforts to tame the land.

Shortly afer the frst Ustalavs began building their homes on the river delta, a stranger named Ariadnah came to them. An able spellcaster, she claimed to know of strange gods and had a wealth of esoteric knowledge, though much of this was lost on the simple fsherfolk.

Ariadnah eventually gained the trust of these people and shared her magical talents with them. Awed by her mystical abilities, the people began asking about the source of her power, and she responded by teaching them of the gods she revered. Today, the people of Thrushmoor continue to worship these mysterious deities, making them one of the largest populations of followers of the Old Cults in the Inner Sea region.

Thrushmoor is the seat of power of the Ustalavic county of Versex and home to the region’s ruling family, the Lowls. The town maintains a veneer of propriety despite its sinister underbelly. Count Haserton Lowls IV takes a largely hands-off approach to rule, leaving much of the county’s governance to elected or appointed mayors—in the case of Thrushmoor, this bureaucrat is Magistrate Tillus Padgett. The count’s reclusive tendencies rarely impact Thrushmoor’s daily activities, as the noble spends most of his time holed up in his estate, Iris Hill, poring over arcane tomes and ancient grimoires on unknown topics.

Thrushmoor is primarily a fshing town, as the temperate climate and fecund waters of Avalon Bay provide the anglers with proftable activity all year long.

The boats stop moving only for the few days on which the surface of the lake freezes, and even then, the tranquil inlet of the port provides an ideal spot for ice fshing.[1]

ACCOUNT OF THE THRUSHMOOR VANISHING

Grim mysteries surround the 4024 ar founding of Thrushmoor, a modest community on the banks of Avalon Bay in Ustalav’s Versex county. The frst residents were a dour but pious lot who raised their prayers to Pharasma and also worshiped her servants, the psychopomp ushers Dammar the Denied, Shadix Who Dreams, and Vonymos the Mourning Storm.

These original settlers raised a settlement at this location not just for its seclusion, but also because of three great stones that rose from the shore. Etched with strange runes and crowned by graven stars, the settlers took them for totems—godstones—raised by the ancient Kellid clans that inhabited the land long ago. They reconsecrated the menhirs in the names of their deities and made lives in the pale stones’ shadows. Yet their assumptions were utterly wrong.

The wanderer Ariadnah realized this. A Kellid practitioner of the ageless godcalling tradition, Ariadnah traced her lineage back to the Lacksong clan, a people who once claimed Thrushmoor’s shores as their own.

Though resentful that her people were wiped out in Ustalav’s founding wars thousands of years before, she remained patient enough to enact a subtle revenge. It began with the whispers of one of her gods, the Lord of the Woods, an incarnation of the Outer God ShubNiggurath, describing the stones within Thrushmoor— the Star Stelae. Through her vile communions, she learned that these obelisks were remnants of an ancient design destined to reach into unknown realms to bring beings of incredible power into the mortal world—beings like her deity, she believed. If she could harness that power, those that wronged her clan would fnally pay Ariadnah made her home not far from Thrushmoor, upon a rocky speck of land in the Danver River known as Briarstone Isle. Amid its woods and rocks, she raised three new godstones, each attuned to a particular entity: the Lord of the Woods, Shadix Who Dreams, and the Tatterman. The frst of these beings she hoped to call into the world. The second she’d use to enter the homes of Thrushmoor. The last was her slave, a deity in name only who answered Ariadnah’s summons as it had her ancestors’. Soon afer, she presented herself to the settlers as a wise hermit who knew much of the stones they lived near. She confrmed the stones’ ancient religious power and encouraged the people to give praise to them. The community was wary at frst, but when the people’s prayers seemed to be answered with fearful but prophetic dreams and by the work of a tall, shadowy fgure, they embraced their new worship with zeal.

Unknown to them, though, Ariadnah and her servant, the Tatterman, were truly responsible for the supposed miracles in their midst. Regardless, the settlers were pleased and welcomed Ariadnah among them.

However, accusations of blasphemy and witchcraf threatened to shatter Ariadnah’s fledgling congregation.

A red-cloaked inquisitor of Pharasma came investigating reports of strange practices and sacrifces being conducted in the goddess’s name. What he found was worse than expected. The inquisitor decried Ariadnah as a witch and demanded the town’s leaders submit to the priesthood for judgment. To Ariadnah’s delight her followers drove out the inquisitor and cut ties not just with Pharasma’s church, but with Ustalav’s capital, Caliphas, altogether. In the afermath, Ariadnah deemed her people ready.

Under Ariadnah’s control, the local faith underwent a dramatic change, supposedly to protect the townsfolk from their irreligious enemies. The Lord of the Woods openly became one of their pantheon’s number, and Ariadnah soon shared her godcalling powers with them.

The people were overjoyed, mistaking the Tatterman for a manifestation of a true deity, and eagerly listened when Ariadnah proposed using the Star Stelae to summon the Lord of the Woods as well.

Records claim that the Thrushmoor Vanishing occurred on the night before the Band of White, a mercenary company overseen by one of Ustalav’s infamous Royal Accusers, planned to attack and subdue the rebel town. As the fres of the faithful burned high, their smoke lifing sacrifces of blood and worse, Ariadnah stood within sight of all three Star Stelae and called out to Shub-Niggurath. By the fathomless winking of the marks upon the Star Stelae, the Outer God heard Ariadnah’s summons and sent a piece of herself forth.

The next morning, the Band of White found Thrushmoor empty. Only a few gory spatters suggested what the ancient magic had wrought. The village’s structures, though, were untouched. Not a single survivor was found and, their work complete, the mercenaries hurriedly withdrew. Almost immediately Thrushmoor gained its reputation as a cursed place, and rumors began of something lurking in the nearby waters, a legend that would come to be known as the Watcher in the Bay (see Pathfnder Adventure Path #46: Wake of the Watcher).

For centuries, the town traded hands between outlaws and lake pirates, but by 4288 ar, a new generation of settlers reclaimed Thrushmoor. Stories of curses and strange sightings persisted, but the generations-old evils were mostly (and purposefully) forgotten.

Still, tales of the Tatterman and the Briarstone Witch became spook stories for children, and many youths and adults alike avoid Briarstone Isle to this day.[1]

PROMINENT LOCATIONS

The following locations are the most notable sites in Thrushmoor.

Binter’s Smithy: The center of Thrushmoor’s tiny dwarven community, the town’s smithy has been in business since it was repopulated in the wake of the Thrushmoor Vanishing. Nowadays the workshop is run by Kletta Binter (N female dwarf expert 3), who inherited it from distant relations who had run it for almost four centuries. A bit lazy and disorganized for a dwarf, Binter is more inclined toward creative handicraf rather than the noble (and lucrative) art of weaponsmithing. For this reason, she produces quaint ornaments such as lamps made from old copper pots and vases created with scrapped lead tiles, which she displays on the lawn in front of the workshop. The smithy has more than one anvil, and other dwarves pay Binter a modest fee to use one, which keeps the business afloat despite flagging sales of her odd wares.

The Booklayer: Until just recently, this cluttered and dust-laden bookshop was the primary supplier of books to Count Lowls. The shop’s faded insignia (a bricklayer constructing a wall of books) is still visible from the street. The shop was forced to close when the owner went bankrupt because of Count Lowls’s missed payments and had to move to Rozenport for a jo.

b Unable to afford transport for his remaining stock, the bookseller lef all but the most valuable of the store’s books on the shelves, where they will remain until Count Lowls inevitably requisitions them for his own growing library.

Builders’ Hall: This sturdy and elegant two-story edifce traditionally housed the skilled builders of Thrushmoor, who erected and repaired the homes of the town’s well-to-do for more than 5 centuries. In recent times, many of the guild’s members have moved away, and only a couple of skilled carpenters have maintained their old jobs here. The vacant space of Builders’ Hall has been occupied by Prewyn Noddar (LE male human aristocrat 5), who also acquired the honorifc title of Thrushmoor’s Master Builder, despite his scant knowledge of the art of construction. Rather, Noddar is a businessman of few scruples, who profts from renting farmland, exacting protection money, and usury. Noddar’s wife, Mica (LE female human aristocrat 2), is a tall, thin, and sour woman, whose own vulgar avarice ofen clashes with her husband’s.

Depository: This large building is used by the population of Thrushmoor to store coal and lumber, both for retail selling to the population and for wholesale trade. The deposit is run by Lenk Marris (LN male human expert 2), a young, energetic worker and a former favorite of Magistrate Padgett.

Marris is well liked by his neighbors and is on good terms with the Sleepless Agency. Although he eagerly serves the community under any circumstances, he is despised by Prewyn Noddar, who would like to replace Marris with a person of his choice.

Annexed to the depository is Thrushmoor’s icehouse, a well-insulated, partially interred shed, where large blocks of frozen freshwater from Lake Encarthan are packed tight during the winter.

Farmer’s Square: This series of buildings in eastern Thrushmoor houses a granary, a bakery, and an ox mill run by the community as a whole. The few halfling citizens of Thrushmoor reside here, as well as the town’s freeholders. Most of the residents of Farmer’s Square are rarely seen in town during the day, as their farmlands lie beyond the town’s edge, sometimes as far as an hour’s ride away.

Fish Market: Constructed in 4024 ar as Thrushmoor’s frst town hall, the building that now contains the town’s fsh market has been demolished and rebuilt many times over. Always a symbol of the community’s prosperity, it now holds the stalls of three fshmongers’ families, who have handed down their businesses for generations.

The atrium shared by the stalls is illuminated by an amber-colored crystal lantern, which the townsfolk have nicknamed Glowing Jill. A local legend says that the lantern, brought by the founders of Thrushmoor, was part of the magical illumination of an underwater palace in the middle of Lake Encarthan, and that its slumbering magic sometimes awakens to cast a supernatural glow in the middle of Thrushmoor. In truth, the lantern is nonmagical, and the strange light is actually that of one of a trio of will-o’-wisps that feed off the people’s superstitious fear surrounding the mysterious artifact.

Lately, the fshmongers have become worried by the curious and grisly appearance of many fsh apparently mutilated or tortured by some aquatic creature well before being caught. The abused fsh are, in fact, victims of a band of skum nearby that vent their cruelty on the hapless creatures sharing their environment.

Fort Hailcourse: Built in the early days of Thrushmoor, Fort Hailcourse has been the seat of Thrushmoor’s military garrison and of the town’s magistrate for nearly 500 years. The present building stands on the eastern crest of the double hillock at the north edge of town. The fort, the residence of Magistrate Tillus Padgett, housed a small garrison of 20 Drumish mercenaries who served the county until recently; all but a handful of these soldiers lef for other assignments when Count Lowls failed to pay them one too many times. The fort also serves as the town jail and the site where the magistrate performs civil ceremonies, hears trials, and conducts other business of the town. For more information on Fort Hailcourse, see page 21.

Gibbet: Perched on a tiny headland on the lake’s shore, a wooden scaffold supports the town gallows.

Mindful of the ruthless brigandage and piracy in former times, Thrushmoor has maintained a method of administering the death penalty by placing the sentenced criminal alive in a tight metal cage hanging as a sort of counterweight to the gallows. In addition to experiencing exposure to the elements, starvation, and dehydration, souls unlucky enough to fnd themselves in the gibbet are also likely to contract tetanus from the rusty bars.

Hasok’s Studio: This small cottage, one of a pair that stands just north of New Chapel, is owned by the Pharasmin congregation. Used primarily to put up church visitors during their time in Thrushmoor (public lodging being noticeably scarce otherwise), the building currently serves as the studio and living quarters for Lelwyn Hasok (see page 14), a half-elven painter from Greengold whom the church commissioned to decorate New Chapel with exquisite frescoes. The chapel’s second cabin currently sits vacant.

Healer’s House: This modest home also functions as the workshop and clinic of the town’s outspoken alchemist, Sentilar Ruoy. The aging halfling provides healing and other alchemical elixirs and tinctures to those townsfolk who, for whatever reason, prefer not to receive such services from the Lady of Graves. Ruoy has an ongoing feud with New Chapel’s Trilliss Mavaine, whose reliance on a god, he says, makes her healing less practical than that derived purely from science.

High Mart: This building houses an upscale covered market where the town’s notables shop for goods imported from all the nations that border Lake Encarthan. Until some time ago, one of the most prominent market stalls was occupied by Thrushmoor’s second bookshop, the Paper Tree. The shop closed when the owner disappeared and Count Lowls purchased all its books at a public auction for a very cheap price.

Iris Hill: The residence of the Lowls family since Pragmus Lowls I built it in 4487 ar, Iris Hill stands ominously atop a hill on the northwestern edge of town. Although it has fallen into a state of disrepair, the manor and its annexed buildings are by far the most impressive civilian structures within Thrushmoor.

Decades ago, Count Haserton Lowls III descended into the ancient ruin beneath his residence, cleared it of dirt and debris, and unearthed a third Star Stela buried below the structure. The people of Thrushmoor do not know this, save for those who use the site in their rituals to the Old Cults. See page 34 for more information on Iris Hill.

New Chapel: A relatively recent addition to Thrushmoor’s landscape, New Chapel is the center Old Manor: This was Count Pragmus Lowls’s frst residence in Thrushmoor while he oversaw the construction of Iris Hill. When Pragmus moved to the new building, the old manor was converted into a luxurious stable. Count Haserton III’s lack of interest in horses and his son’s subsequent impoverishment led to the stable’s rapid decline, and the structure now lies in a state of neglect, with not a horse in sight.

Pier 19: This broken, half-rotten pier, also known as Worm’s Hook, is locally infamous for the three anglers killed here a few years ago. A single, ruined boat has been moored to it for a few months, though none know the vessel’s origin. During recent months, a few citizens, either youths eager to demonstrate their courage or drunkards evicted by angry wives, were using the abandoned boat as makeshif lodgings for the night. This practice quickly ceased when Gavol, one of the town’s stevedores, disappeared while sleeping off a hangover in the boat.

The Silver Wagon: The Silver Wagon is Thrushmoor’s only inn, and as a result, one of the town’s most prosperous businesses. It offers comfortable beds in secure rooms, and the taproom downstairs ofen features live music. The innkeeper, Dena Gallegos (N female human commoner 5), is a boisterous and brash woman who is just as prone to knock you off your stool for telling a bawdy joke as she is to tell one herself. The Silver Wagon appears in the adventure on page 16.

Sleepless Building: Home of the famous Ustalavic detective agency, this two-story building has recently become a place of international renown for Thrushmoor afer several capable members of the agency went abroad to perform their missions in neighboring nations. The agency’s founder, Cesadia Wrentz, is a capable investigator and can ofen be found training new recruits, meeting with potential clients, or poring over case reports that make their way back to her desk from traveling agents.

Smokehouse: In Thrushmoor, fish caught beyond the community’s immediate needs are sun-dried or smoked for preservation and export. Thanks to the bountiful waters in the lake and nearby reservoirs, the town’s smokehouse is a busy establishment, where Thrushmoor’s poorest boys and girls often slave away for years before becoming anglers on someone’s boat. The director of the smokehouses is Lysie Brilt (NE female human witchAPG 5), a goggleeyed 50-year-old woman who started working in the establishment at the age of 10 and never left.

Brilt arrived in Thrushmoor from Illmarsh as an orphan, but she was found in the streets by Count Haserton III and has been on good terms with the Lowls family ever since. She is, however, a very harsh boss for her young subordinates, who call her a “green hag” for her oversized, greenishblue eyes. In truth, Brilt’s protruding eyes and malicious disposition come from her skum-tainted blood. For many years, the “green hag” has actually acted as an intermediary between the current count and a skum tribe living in Avalon Bay.

The Stain: The oldest tap house in Thrushmoor, the Stain has catered to local and foreign customers for longer than anyone in town can remember.

The proprietor, Emman Gulston (LN male human expert 4), an ex-merchant marine captain and a man true to his word, has become something of an emotional anchor for his fellow citizens in the current crisis.

When the weather is clement, Gulston rolls out a tent on the lakefront and mounts a few tables on a newly constructed patio, increasing the capacity of his small tavern and offering lunch at midday. If their pockets allow it, many customers enjoy the friendly ambiance afer dusk, although no one dares to return home too late at night. The events of the past few months have soured the inn’s atmosphere, but patrons always brighten up when Gulston’s good whiskey starts to go round and fervent card games are played at the tables.

Star Stelae: This trio of ancient, 12-foot-tall, semicircular menhirs forms an equilateral triangle atop Thrushmoor’s hills. Each stone is etched with unidentifed, non-Kellid runes and a misshapen star.

The runes seem to face a common point in the town’s center, or they would have if one of the stones hadn’t been buried during the construction of Iris Hill. For more information about the Star Stelae, see page 6.

Wailing House: Isolated at the end of a rocky outcropping on Thrushmoor's easternmost island stands Wailing House, so named for the otherworldly cries of despair and rage that emanate from it every Wealday night. Abandoned generations ago as a result of the mysterious haunting, the house is completely boarded up and surrounded by a haphazardly constructed wooden fence. Children dare one another to spend the night in Wailing House's yard and even in the house itself, but only the bravest meet the harrowing challenge, and even then never on a Wealday. Despite the townsfolk's relative acceptance of the phenomenon, Trilliss Mavaine of nearby New Chapel has vowed to eradicate whatever haunts the site in the near future. of Pharasma’s worship in the town. The two-story wooden building features a sanctuary, an infrmary providing healing, palliative care, and other services.

Newly commissioned frescoes adorn its interior. These works by artist-in-residence Lelwyn Hasok (see above) were inspired by Pharasma’s holy book, The Bones Land in a Spiral, and depict the Lady of Graves pronouncing prophecies, judging the dead in the Boneyard, and overseeing births like a divine midwife.

New Chapel, though the primary center of worship in the town, has but one member of the clergy on staff, Priestess Trilliss Mavaine, who was the driving force behind the temple’s recent revitalization. Mavaine ofen fnds herself in conflict with Count Lowls, Magistrate Padgett, and Sentilar Ruoy, the frst two because Mavaine feels undue pressure to tend to the townspeople’s needs in the absence of a strong governmental presence, and with the latter because of his vocal denunciations of religion (specifcally the Pharasmin faith).

Old Chapel: This temple of Pharasma has been abandoned for more than half a century, since the mad priest Causton Creed alienated his followers and met a mysterious death at the hands of some demonic entity.

What exactly happened at Old Chapel remains a mystery, and the few citizens old enough to have witnessed the event are either forgetful or unwilling to talk about it.[1]

Références

  1. 1,0, 1,1, 1,2 et 1,3 Pathfinder - [EN] - Adventure Path - (PZO90110] - 19 - Strange Aeons - 02 -The Thrushmoor Terror