Searching the town turned up no sign of the merchant's remaining daughter, which hopefully didn't mean that she was involved. It did give them time to be approached by the sheriff again, who told them that they had yet another suspect in custody -- er, witness. They had another witness in custody.
The witness told a terrifying tale -- the farms to the south were being ravaged by animated scarecrows! They'd scrape at the doors trying to get in all night long, and if they did, the family was never seen again! O.O They'd already planned to go visit the asylum, but this seemed more urgent and also probably related... then again, the asylum was on the way...
Before they left, Zakhar joined them and did a more thorough investigation of the bodies. Comparing his findings to all the notes they'd taken earlier, they decided that the killer was probably a pack of ghouls. That, or an undead druid.
So, to the asylum! The keeper of the asylum was kind of unpleasant, and didn't want to help them at all, although he grudgingly assisted when they showed him the sheriff's note. He and his two guards brought out the very ill, very insane person, who got a little ranting in before keeling over and rising again as a ghoul! And then quickly keeling over one more, because a single ghoul against almost the entire party wasn't going to last long.
Almost, because Noggin's valet had taken the opportunity to sneak upstairs and... get stuck at a locked door that he couldn't open. He managed to hide under a chair when the asylum keeper and his guards went by, though, and tailgated them into the asylum proper. They managed to get away from him behind ANOTHER locked door at the top of another flight of stairs, but not before he overheard them talking about how they needed the party to leave before they figured out what was going on.
Meanwhile, others in the party were getting suspicious, and started searching all the rooms on the first floor, going so far as to break into the keeper's office and rifle through his stuff.
While they were doing that, the valet fetched Elsie and tried to get her to break down the door for him. Kaito was watching the staircase to try to delay the employees before they noticed all the crimes the rest of the party was committing, but followed Elsie up after she took a while without coming back down.
"So... we're going to break down this door and murder them?" Kaito asked her, when she told him the plan.
Elsie: "We don't have to kill them... I just want them to tell us what's going on."
Kaito: "If we bash down the door, we kind of do. They're going to fight us, and we probably won't take them all alive. Do you want the survivors going back to Sandpoint and telling the sheriff that we assaulted them? Either we leave them alone, or we break in there and kill them."
She sighed, but let him lead her downstairs... and then outside, where they spotted a window in the tower that maybe they could climb in. Perhaps there was another way to get to them, without breaking down the door?
Before they could actually pull that off (it was a pretty hard climb, that Kaito couldn't actually make) someone else spotted movement from the basement. So yet another lock was picked, and... ghouls! The basement was full of ghouls!
Well, actually, they were zombies, which was a good thing because they were supported by a necromancer who kept casting really aggravating spells to support them. First darkness, then a cloud of mist... when the party started beating the zombie horde back into the staircase, he had them retreat to lure them in, then blinded Altei and caught Kaito, Elsie, and Val in a stinking cloud.
Val managed to shake off the stink, though, and used a gust of wind to clear the air. Once they'd recovered, the others beat their way through the horde and surrounded the necromancer, who'd lost most of his mirror images to Noggin (now out of his box) in the meantime. He held on for a while thanks to a nasty spell that auto-cast vampiric touch on anyone who hit him in melee, but eventually went down.
Zakhar bound his wounds, and they dragged him up to the main room to question him. They'd looked through his things, and found that while he was a necromancer, and was preying on the inmates of the asylum with the help of the keeper, he was making them into zombies, not ghouls, and seemed to be trying to find the source of the ghoul attacks, the same as the party. Although probably not for the same reason!
They woke him up, and tried to get him to talk, but he was sure they would kill him and wouldn't tell them anything.
Zakhar: "What do you want in return for your information?"
Necromancer: "Let me go!"
Ash: "Not going to happen."
Necromancer: "Then what else is there? If you're going to kill me anyway, why should I talk?"
Kaito: "We'll take you back to town for a fair trial."
Necromancer: "Oh, like that's better."
Ash: "We should just get rid of him."
Zakhar and Phoof: "WHY DID YOU DO THAT?"
Kaito: "Ash told me to? Besides, he obviously wasn't going to cooperate, and I'm not in the mood for torture."
Ash: "Good riddance. Freaking necromancers all deserve to die."
Unfortunately, the necromancer incident had distracted them long enough for the keeper and his guards to flee (despite them making sure someone was keeping watch on the only obvious exits), leaving only crazy people in various cells who were of no help at all.
So, the entire debacle was a complete waste of time, except for the Necromancer's map, which had a couple of incidents marked on it that they hadn't heard about from the sheriff.
Oh, and the treasure. The necromancer had treasure. Yay treasure!
Tom said afterwards that he'd planned to do the farm investigation during the session too, but half the people were already leaving for work or Halloween parties by the time we finished the asylum, so... guess not.
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