Strange #2: Something Wretched at the Black Goat

The characters were on their way to the Black Goat Inn to start the latest scenario. R. Keith Yanders and O. G. Wells players were not at this game. We ran R. Keith during an ambush by footpads and he was brutal. Slew the leader with his crossbow and then took out 3 or 4 of the bandits by himself – of course the paradoxes had softened them up a bit, but still! By the time the party made it the Black Goat, we ruled that he was going to spend some time in the outhouse. It’s not like R. Keith was designed to do much investigation…

Kyle Awerbuck writes
I woke up this morning and we are still in this creepy place.  Woodward put the vine root in a bed of hot coals last night and it has been now been reduced to a small pile of ashes.  I think we will need to find a city where we can search for information on how to get home.  The professor and Abigail know nothing more about this place than Skinner or I.  I did not broach the subject with the drunkard, monster hunter, as he was content to just aimlessly stare at our camp fire all night.  Something is really off with this fellow, so Skinner and I will need to stay in condition Yellow as long as he remains with us.  The charcoal burner told us there was an inn called the Black Goat Tavern about a 6 hour walk on the road towards the two nearest towns of Dunsmore and Newport.  We decided to set off towards these towns in the morning.

The forest along both sides of the road was dense, dark, and infringing.   I fear a fellow just leaving sight of the road could easily get lost and never find his way out.  During our morning walk I asked Mendal and Abigail about their powers.  Mendal just mutted, “I just think it and it happens”, while Abigail disclosed she had a crystal that helped her with her powers.  She had “liberated” this crystal from a group calling themselves the “Hirudo”.  She was vague about the details of the “liberation”, but she did identify the thugs who attacked her, in our previous life, as members of the Hirudo.  So it seems this lady and her crystal are the ultimate cause of our predicament.   She seems content to stay in this place, apparently out of reach of the Hirudo.  I will have to keep an eye on Abigail as well.

After a brief lunch, we continued along the gloomy, shadowy road and were suddenly beset upon by a band of thieves.  They were well hidden in the think forest and demanded goods from us.   I spun around and quickly sent one of them a couple ounces of lead from my musket, the only goods they would get from me.   Mendal caused a tree limb to fall on three of the front bandits.  Yanders plugged the leader with his crossbow and then charged the lead brigands;  quickly dispatching them with his flail. I do not wish to ever be on the receiving end of Yanders flail as he swings the thing like a mad man.  Skinner leapt onto the back of one of the robbers and bit him in the neck!  The man shrieked, threw Skinner off and took off into the woods.  Again Skinner leapt and bit him.  What’s going on with him??? Frantic, the bandit wildly tossed Skinner off and then I was able to put him out of his misery with a lead ball to the head.  After the battle we took the bandits’ weapons and the little coin they had, then tossed them into the woods for the worms and coyotes to devour.

During the late afternoon we finally arrived at the Black Goat Inn which resembled a small makeshift fort.  Something had been bothering Yanders the whole trip, he had to make multiple, quick egresses into the woods on the way here.  As soon as we arrived he quickly bolted towards the outhouse.  The rest of the evening a wretched smell emanated from that small shack.  I do not know how he was able to stay in there; the will power of the man must be enormous.  The Innkeeper, a man named Aaron Tramel, seems to be a nice enough fellow.  This wife Lydia, on the other hand reminded me of an old hag or witch.  She barked orders at Aaron and the others relentlessly.   There were a few patrons at the inn; an aged professor of history, named Darren Milton who is headed towards the university in Newport and a cloth salesman who is headed to Dunsmore.   We soon found out that the Innkeepers daughter, Elizabeth, has come down with a sickness.  The professor and Abigail offered their assistance and they determined the cause of her sickness to be of unnatural origins, go figure!

The professor started questioning everyone, even the innocent mute stable-boy Charlie to no avail.  Abigail was able to convince the innkeeper and his wife to allow her to stay in Elizabeth’s room overnight.  Skinner and I gave Abigail a code to knock on the wall if she needs any assistance during the night.  I may just sneak into the room as well to keep an eye on the situation.   Hopefully the night will be uneventful, but I doubt it, as it have a very bad feeling about this place.

>LOG ENTRY #13950F
depart cotter’s field and charcoal burner, along road headed for? black goat inn, and then? some explanation for this plane shift we have undergone—my current associates probably would like to get back to their lives in seattle; i could become fairly content to stay here, it seems like a suitable place to remain covert. the woods here are dense and unnaturally chilling, and sticking to the road is the only option. as the footpads who have ambushed us must know. 8 or 10 individuals with simple weapons. it must have been mendal that unleashed a psychic attack that splinters a tree branch overhanging the road, producing severe damage to the leader and his sons(?) the boys exchange musket volleys and i debate whether to consume an herbal stimulant i found back in cotter’s field—decide to save it for another time, as 3 or 4 bandits are down already thanks to the chain-ball guy. for good measure i drive a crystal splinter (the most effective image, i have found) into the mind of another robber, disabling him. skinner, after emptying his weapons, stampedes after another, grapples him and opens up his neck—with his TEETH. is he drinking the blood? seems to satisfy him in any case. yanders spins his chain-ball and dispatches another one. i inject another mind splinter before the last are slain and the battle is over. courteous of the robbers not to attack an unarmed woman. we leave the bodies by the road and gto guy (kyle?) takes great delight in relieving the corpses of every item of value, even their socks. we continue and arrive at the inn. the innkeep (aaron?) is amiable and henpecked, his wife a devout protestant and it quickly comes out that the (deceased) footpad group were primarily comprised of doogans, a catholic farm clan nearby. who knew? apparently, we will have to remind mendal to keep that little koch-sucker man hidden or the superstitious retrogrades of this world will burn us all alive. yanders has not reacted well to the charcoal burner’s chowder, as he disappears into the privy for a while. we have spoken with a cloth merchant and professor who are leaving in the morning for dunsmoor and then on to newport. we plan to join them. the innkeep’s daughter has been stricken with an illness, instantly apparent to me as some sort of negative energy attack upon her. neither mendal nor i have skill to remove it and no one here is a likely suspect. i will stay the night in her room to detect if a supernatural cause presents itself.

From the desk of R. Keith Yanders:

Journal entry 4571
As I sit and stare through the quarter moon, I can’t help shake this sinking feeling that somehow I lost a whole day.
Reminder: 2 for 1 day old gas station burritos not a smart choice, and pick up more Keystone light.

Journal entry 4572
The night is getting cold in this place. The fireplace feels good on my toes. Then it hits me like a brick. This is no trip. This is real. This is F***ing real man. Those pumpkin things, the girl, those two creepy guys from the car…it’s all real. Things like this do exist! I knew it! This explains the water pick and ball bearing embarrassment of ’05. Every time Sheila E.  Gouldferrington, all of my bosses, even mom…told me I suck; they thought I was a vampire. It all makes sense.
Reminder: Call mom and let her know she can let me back in the house.


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