The party consists of a human cleric/rogue named Wander, a half-elf paladin/bard named Auric, and an elf ranger/rogue named Criós. They decide to take a quest up to find out what’s behind a series of child kidnappings in the area, so they go to the local constabulary to get information on what’s been happening.
Immediately upon entering, Wander posts a flyer on the wall that reads “Wander for Mayor” without anyone noticing. The party is told that there have been six kidnappings recently in the area and that a local farmer named Willem is the father of the most recent kidnapping. The group then decides to head to Willem’s farm. Upon arrival, Willem is still very unsettled and stressed about the situation. Auric attempts to persuade him that everything will be ok, but only succeeds in working the man up even more.
Eventually he calms down and the party learns that his daughter Denna was playing near an abandoned farmhouse. Party investigates, finds that the house is mostly abandoned. Wander moves to a couch after a brief search of the house just as footsteps are heard outside. Auric calls out to the strangers twice; once asking “Who’s there?” and the second time to say “We’re here to help” Party then proceeds to stage an ambush as the responses to Auric were “Oh crap, someone is here” and “Get the others over here!”
Criós is first, and as a wood elf is very good at hiding in natural phenomena, such as the settling dust in shadows of an old, abandoned house. He readies an attack with his longbow aimed from the living room into the entryway of the house.
Wander is next, and he sneaks beside the door from the entryway to the living room with his one-handed crossbow and war hammer and waits to pounce.
Auric is third and stands himself ten feet from the door from the entryway with his glaive readied.
The first bandit runs down the entryway, which triggers Criós to attack. His arrow pins the first bandit against the wall through both of his ears.
Two more bandits run down the entryway to try to flank the group through the dining room next to the living room. Then a berserker comes roaring into the house and charges at Auric. Auric is ready for the charge and manages to deeply cut the berserker’s left arm. This halts the berserker in his tracks as he bellows in rage.
Criós shoots the berserker over Auric’s shoulder, landing a hit that pierces halfway through the berserker’s left shoulder, lodging itself in place.
Auric hauls back and lunges at the berserker, but watches the blade just glance off his chest.
Wander has trained at great lengths to use his crossbow along with a second weapon, so he swings his hammer at the berserker, managing to only hit his foot. But in the process of hitting his foot, Wander brings his crossbow to bear and fires a point blank shot into the berserker’s left arm, piercing it all the way through and lodges the bolt in the shoulder. This effectively renders the left arm of the berserker useless.
The furious roars of the berserker actually break the psyche of one of the bandits. He hides in the corner and cries while the other living bandit runs through the dining room and posts up against the doorway, looking into the room to see if he can figure out what’s going on.
The berserker then draws his great axe one-handed, moves towards Auric and takes a furious swing. Due to his loss of one arm’s use though, his blow falls short and lodges the head halfway into the floor of the house.
Criós fires another round over Auric’s shoulder, only managing to get a shallow hit on the berserker’s already damaged arm.
Auric steps back and takes another swing with his glaive, connecting against the berserker’s left ribs and flaying some flesh as he retracts the weapon.
Wander advances from behind the berserker at swings his war hammer again, but his aim is low and only manages to deliver a very forceful spanking. However, as per his style, he draws his crossbow again on the hulk and lodges a bolt between his left shoulder blade and spine.
The broken bandit is still screaming in some corner of the house, begging for his mother. The other living bandit advances into the room, triggering an opportunity attack from Auric. However, Auric manages to only flail a bit and smack him with the flat of his glaive. The bandit then takes a mighty swing with his scimitar against Auric, clashing it against his chainmail. On impact, a shard of the blade breaks off and pierces through the chainmail into Auric’s upper right bicep.
The berserker pulls with all he has left to remove the axe from the floor, but fails, so instead he swings his fist at Auric’s face. The dead weight of his limp left arm shifts his aim though, and he misses.
Criós changes targets and aims at the bandit in the room. As he is still hidden, the bandit only sees the glimmer of light off the tip of the arrow right before it is loosed to pierce his head outright. The bandit collapses to the floor in a heap.
Auric takes one more swing at the berserker, coming down hard from the left. The blade connects, lodging deep into his neck. Blood sprays violently and as Auric pulls his weapon back, the berserker’s head struggles to remain attached to the rest of his body. The berserker falls backwards, landing on his buried great axe which finishes severing the heavily punctured left arm.
Following the battle, Wander attempts to pull the axe from the floor. With a mighty heave, he yanks the axe out of the maimed floorboards. The party loots the bodies, finding 10 gold split between Auric and Criós as they reasoned that Wander got a big, expensive axe.
The party moves to interrogate the mentally broken bandit. Auric takes a stance of gentle persuasion, Wander attempts to kneecap the bandit twice but fails both times, while Criós works an angle of deception. After working the bandit over for a bit, he explains that there’s a trap door in the kitchen in which they have been feeding some creature with a taste for children. Criós asks if there are any traps down in the basement, and as the bandit answers “No”, he swiftly severs the bandit’s head.
Criós then searches the house again for loot while Auric looks for something to prove that they killed a berserker. After some searching, Auric finds a tattoo on the severed left arm of the berserker that Wander is able to identify as being a sigil of the Red Claw bandit clan. Auric skins the tattoo to return to the constable as proof of their actions.
As Criós and Auric head to find the trap door, Wander manages to finish severing the berserker’s head and hide it among his belongings. Somehow.
The party descends into the house’s cellar and Auric lights his holy symbol with the light of an early sunrise by issuing forth a cantrip. The light fills the room, illuminating the body of a small girl bound and gagged in a chair in the corner of the room. Criós moves over to free the girl, who explains that she’s Denna and doesn’t know where she is or how she got there or what has been going on.
Criós then looks around and his eyes fall on a stack of five covered paintings. Denna notices and issues forth a muffled sob while covering her eyes. Criós asks Denna if she knows what the paintings are, but Denna seems too traumatized to discuss them. At this point, Auric offers to try to console the girl and also to take her back to her father while the other two explore some more. Criós reveals the paintings and sees that the pictures are of horrified children with frozen, blood curling screams on their faces. Upon further examination, he deduces that the ink used is in fact ink and not paint, that it had some historical significance he couldn’t manage to recall, and also that it is used by a cult that believes all the planes of existence should be brought together into one. Criós also finds a vial of ink in the corner of the room and takes it along with the paintings.
While Criós is examining the paintings, Wander searched the cellar and found 6 gold. He then pocketed the money without alerting Criós.
On the way back to town, the party reunites as they approach Willem’s home. Denna cries out in exhaustion and relief as she sees her father, who turns and runs straight to his daughter, dropping his work. Willem cannot be more grateful, and tells the group that he will gladly cut and socket one mana stone for each of them as repayment. He then recognizes one of the children in the paintings as the son of a neighbor and begins weeping again, pulling Denna close.
The party heads into town and decides to stop by their room at the inn prior to reporting back to the constable. Auric spends 20 minutes examining the paintings and the ink to try to determine the properties of both and concludes that the paintings are a link between a soul in the material plane and some other plane, and that the ink is capable of binding souls between planes through a linking object and some unknown ritual.
The head that Wander is carrying with him sets into rigor mortis and the jaw manages to clamp down on his backside, leaving a wound that would scar into a bite mark. On this, Wander jumps up and turns around to see what bit him as the head falls out of its hiding spot. Auric and Criós look on in disgust as Wander looks at his fallen trophy and vomits as one of the eyes rolls out of socket.
The party makes its way back to the constabulary and talk to the constable about what they found. Criós tosses the skinned tattoo on the desk and after a subdued retch, the constable explains that it is a berserker sigil from the Red Claws and that officials in Priodym have been sending Paladic Guard kill squads to eliminate camps as they find them. Upon revealing the paintings, the constable’s face drains and explains that this now seems a bit above his pay grade and that maybe someone in the Great Library in Priodym might have some idea about what could be going on with them. He then pays the party their reward of one Moonstone, two Obsidian stones, one Malachite stone and 20 gold.
The party then decides to pay a visit to Willem before sunset to ask about socketing the new gems they have acquired. Along the way, the party stumbles across a dropped bag containing about 50 gold, which is split between Wander and Criós while the Moonstone is given to Auric. The group talks with Willem and asks that he socket their weapons; Auric’s glaive with Moonstone, Criós’ bow with one Obsidian and one Malachite, and Wander’s crossbow with one Obsidian. Willem tells them it will take about a week to complete and the group leaves their weapons with Willem and head back into town to turn in for the night.