Hemlar Murder Investigation

Locations

  • Volcano Keep – Also called the “Volcano Keep Monastery” (or just “The monastery”), is a former fortress that was abandoned after its lord was slain. In more recently times, it has been repurposed as a monastery for an order of monks of Pelor. It is about the size of a village, with large walls surrounding it and only one entrance.

NPCs

  • Master Abrax – A slightly crazy alchemist and head of the Monastery’s alchemy department. Can sell the party potions. Found in his lab, which is accessed through the upper section of the monastery. Harlock was recently assigned to clean his lab and ended up moving all the potions around, seriously injuring Abrax when he mixed the wrong potions by mistake. Doesn’t smoke weed.

  • Master Aric – Serious, drill-sergeant like personality. In charge of teaching the novices and intermediates quarterstaff fighting. Absolutely hated Harlock, although the reason isn’t entirely clear. Didn’t buy weed from Harlock because he didn’t like it, but will buy it from the party if approached.

  • Novice Ash -. Joined at a young age after his family was killed. One of the people allowed to leave the monastery. Harlock was constantly making fun of the fact that he’s an orphan. Bought weed despite his dislike of Harlock.

  • Novice Bryn – The man on guard duty outside the Monastery. Obviously allowed to leave, but rarely comes inside because of his job as guard. Would occasionally sneak off to have an affair with a local farm girl. Harlock knew about this, and someone anonymously turned him in recently. Bought weed.

  • Intermediate Caspar – Is a trader, and will sell the party goods. One of the people allowed to leave the monastery. Harlock owed him a considerable amount of money.

  • Master Cyrus – A cynical and embittered runesmith. Teaches rune magic to the recruits and intermediates of the monastery. Doesn’t buy weed, and will attempt to turn the players in if they try to sell it to him.

  • Intermediate Dalman – Tasked by Master Cyrus with cleaning out the pigsty because of his misbehaviour. If spoken to, gives the party a quest to help him in his work. Is apparently well-known for getting this punishment. Sometimes Harlock would receive the same punishment and skip out on it, resulting in Dalman having to do it. Strongly held that against him. Bought weed.

  • Novice Enzo – Found on cleaning duty. One of the people allowed to leave.

  • Intermediate Harlok – The monastery cook. Very suspicious and defensive individual. Spent considerably time with Harlock, although claims that he was teaching him cooking. Bought weed from Harlock, and will be glad to buy it from the party, as well inform them of everyone else who was buying.

  • Master Ignatius – A very wise and friendly old man, as well as Mendoza’s de-facto second-in-command. Is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to magic.Master Illumar – A somewhat closed off expert on magic scrolls. Can sell the party magic scrolls. Harlock might have stolen a number of his scrolls. Doesn’t smoke weed.

  • Intermediate Kalib – Addicted to reading. Found in the library often. Can give information on Pelor, the order of monks, etc to the party that wouldn’t be known by the average npc due to his extreme book knowledge. Buys weed, but doesn’t know any of the other buyers.

  • Intermediate Karlsen – The monastery’s blacksmith and weapons master. Gives the party their quarterstaffs upon acceptance of their quest. One of the people allowed to leave. Harlock was often making fun of the quality of Karlsen’s weapons, something which Karlsen took personally. Buys weed.

  • Intermediate Kato – A complete asshole full of unwarranted self-importance. Tasked with helping Aric train the recruits. Hates Harlock because Aric does. Buys weed, but insults the players because their weed is “Lower quality” than what he’s used to.

  • Abbot Mendoza – The head of the Volcano Keep Monastery. Likes collecting art, mostly in the form of statues. Has an office in the upper section of the keep, which was formerly the throne room. Obviously, allowed to leave the monastery. Obviously doesn’t smoke weed.

  • Master Pallas – A generally skilled mage. Harlock recently accidentally destroyed his collection of rare runes while cleaning, and he is livid about it. Doesn’t smoke weed.

  • Intermediate Rufus – A nervous but highly-skilled staff combatant. Was always viewed by Aric as being second-best to Harlock, and has an inferiority complex because of it. Doesn’t smoke weed.

  • Novice Taylor – A recruit tasked with guarding the monastery. One of the people allowed to leave, obviously. Wasn’t supposed to be on guard duty, but Harlock kept skipping out. This is not a new occurrence. Doesn’t normally smoke weed, but will be glad to buy some to pass the time on guard duty.

  • Recruit Tucker – One of the people allowed to leave. Harlock was always starting fights with him. Smokes weed, but refused to buy from Harlock because of his personal dislike of him.

  • Master Vitus – A kind old man.

  • Intermediate William – One of the better staff-fighters at the monastery. Harlock scammed him out of tons of GP by overcharging for weed, he recently found out.

  • Novice Yoki – Tasked with guarding the grave yard. Smokes weed to pass the time on guard duty.

Quest Overview

This quest begins when the party approaches Volcano Keep, located in the mountains of Fanoria. Formerly a castle, Volcano Keep is now a monastery used by monks of Pelor, and as a general base for the Church of Pelor’s activities in the area. 

Upon arrival, they are greeted by Novie Bryn, one of the monastery's guards. He’s been instructed by the monastery's Abbot to send any adventurers to his office, and the party fits the bill perfectly.

The Abbot is a man named Abbot Mendoza, and once in his office, he will inform them that a novice by the name of Harlock has been murdered in his sleep, and they need help figuring out who did it. Everyone is a potential suspect, so they need someone who could not have done it to run the investigation. This is where the party comes in. They are to pose as new recruits into the monastery, and solve the murder. They are told specifically not to trust anyone other than Mendoza. Note, should the party question Mendoza’s alibi, it is revealed he was out on business at the time of the murder, and would still be out if the fact that there was a murder hadn’t called him back.

The Party, should they choose to accept the quest, is given the knife that was found in Harlock’s back. The knife is a standard kitchen knife, although it has a flame rune carved into the side.

They are then stripped of their armour and weapons (but not gold). In turn, they are given novice robes and the monastery's signature weapon: a quarterstaff. They are also informed that in order to leave the monastery, they need permission from the Abbot, which, as this would not be granted to normal novices who just arrived, will not be granted to them. From this part onward, the party is unable to leave the monastery.

The party is then shown to their rooms. At most two male party members are given Harlock’s old room, which they are assured has been untouched since the murder, except for the body being removed. 

Upon inspecting the room, the party finds two things of interest: a bag of 10 weed reefers is hidden under the mattress (If they don’t get a high enough perception check to notice this, they’ll notice it when they go to sleep, as it creates a feelable lump), and a purse containing 1,500 GP is under the bed. These are the only clues that are given to them without them having to do anything.

There are a few things the party can do. If they go to Mendoza with the weed and/or the money, he’ll take the weed but let them keep the money, and inform them that weed is strictly illegal for monks to smoke, but some of the novices had been caught with it recently. The Monastery elders had been looking for the salesperson, but were unable to find who it was.

There are two people who know about the knife when asked. The first is Intermediate Karlsen, the monastery's smith, who was introduced to them when they were given the quarterstaffs. According to him, the knife is an enchanted knife used to heat up stuff it cuts, and the only one he’s seen in the monastery belongs to the chef, Intermediate Harlok.

Harlok is the other one, and he will get super defensive and tell the party that they have no proof that’s his knife and go away. The party can either intimidate him (he’s a meek person, so this requires a very low DC), or go visit Karlsen and come back with the fact Karlsen confirms that he’s the only one with a similar knife.

No matter how they go about doing it, Harlok will eventually admit that’s his knife, but swear up and down he didn’t murder him, and even offer them a bit of information: Harlock had once offered to sell him weed. (although he claims he refused the offer.)

Another thing the party can do is go to get a list of people who are able to leave the monastery. This will be hinted at by Harlok and Karlsen, or Mendoza if they go to him again. Mendoza doesn’t have a list of people who can leave on him, and is too busy to compile one. 

The person who does have the list is Master Pallas. Pallas will tell them he’ll only give them the list if they pass the Initiation Test, which will be given to them in a week.

Once both these things are done, we skip ahead in time a week. During this time, it is assumed the party has learned how to use a quarterstaff with basic proficiency, and is given the applicable bonuses. 

We rejoin the party after passing their initiation test. They can now go to Pallas and get the list of people who can leave the monastery. They are: Harlok, Caspar, Taylor, Ash, Enzo, Karlsen and Tucker.

Tucker will inform the party that Harlock often hung around the kitchen, and that the fact that Harlock sold weed was no secret to the novices and intermediates of the monastery.

Enzo swears up and down he will never touch weed.

Ash will say that he does smoke, but his privileges to leave the monastery were fairly new – too new to have been a long-time partner of Harlock.

Taylor will tell the party that he also smokes, but smuggling in weed would be too dangerous for him. He will also inform the party that Harlock was doing the actual sales in the cemetery because there are no guards there, and that the cemetery is guarded by someone called Novice Yoki who might know more.

Upon talking to Yoki, Yoki will reveal that the deals were happening at night, when he wasn’t on duty. However, at least once, they went down in the evening, and he was on duty then. However, he didn’t see the partner’s face. However, he’ll inform the party that it couldn’t be Karlsen and Tucker, as they are both physically distinct (tall) and therefore he would have recognized them.

Caspar also denies being Harlock’s partner, and in return for you not getting him in trouble, will inform you that Harlock and Tucker were always fighting, so it probably wasn’t Tucker.

This leaves Ash as the only person it could be. When the party confronts Ash, they can either sweet-talk or intimidate him into admitting he was the partner. He will suggest they sell weed, to draw the murderer out.

If the party goes to Mendoza before selling the weed, he will uneasily give them permission to do so and give them the 10 weed reefers back to sell. If not, the party can sell the ones Ash gave them, but must be more careful not to get caught.

Although this will not draw the murderer out as intended, it will reveal exactly who was buying weed and who wasn’t, as several of the people sold to will recommend others to sell it to. It will also reveal a few people who refused to buy from Harlock because of personal problems with him, but would otherwise smoke. 

The rest of the evidence is collected through talking to people. Where the individual people were at the time of the murder and what they were doing will be improvised by the DM.

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