Lepidstadt University is quite easy to find, and PCs inquiring about Dr. Crowl are directed there.
DC 10 Diplomacy (Gather Information)
Dr. Crowl is an eccentric professor well known in town, particularly in light of the recent theft from his department that famously led to the capture of the dreaded Beast of Lepidstadt, who is now on trial.
When you arrive at the university, you are greeted by the sight of several builders and craftsmen working to repair the damage to the Antiquities Department cause by the Beast during the theft.
The air inside the university smells of the stones that make up its halls, chalk dust and old books. It is cool within, and your footsteps echo slightly on the smooth floor as you proceed to Dr. Crowls office – third door on your right, second floor. There is a small brass plaque beside the entrance to the room that reads “Dr. M. Crowl, Professor of Antiquities”.
Loosely affixed to the door is a slip of parchment with something scribbled on it – “Office Hours Cancelled – Other Business Will Be Addressed In The Department Workshop – Dr. M. C.”.
The high-ceilinged workshop/library is lined with mostly empty shelves, and a trio of great leaded windows looks out over the university lawn. A staggering array of books, scrolls, maps, and curios, including shrunken heads, tribal masks, and bits of pottery, lie scattered all over the floor, apparently pulled from the shelves. The room is otherwise crowded with overturned tables, desks, and cabinets.
The workshop is slowly being cleaned up by a young man, who is presumably Dr. Crowl’s assistant or one of his students – currently stooping to pick up some shattered fragments of a ceramic bowl and subsequently dropping a couple shards with a resounding clatter. “Take some care with that, lad! A thousand years it survived, only to be victim to be mindless violence and it certainly need the insult of your clumsiness on top of that!”
As you enter he looks up from the manuscript in his hands and squints a little before raising his half moon glasses up to his eyes. “You’re not any of my students – what do you want?”
Dr. Crowl is saddened to learn of his old friend and colleague Lorrimor’s death and accepts the bequeathed items with sad gratitude.
“I can’t believe Petros is dead… When I heard he was moving to Ravengro I was sure that settling down would be good for him… and now he’s gone. Let me see those books he sent along… I’ll make sure they get put somewhere safe.”
“What Happened Here?”
“Well, now that’s a bit of a strange story… come, sit and have a spot of tea and I’ll tell you about it.”
His assistant brings you a rich, exotic tea in a silver pot, which Crowl explains he grew quite fond of on a dig in Katapesh. The assistant also brings a small platter of finger sandwiches and thumb sized fruit tarts for you to slake your appetite on.
Crowl tells you at length the tale of the Beast’s break-in and the curious fact that only one item was taken – a strange statuette called the Seasage Effigy. Crowl is clearly quite baffled by events – he admits that the statuette was very singular, but it was hardly valuable. Although the stolen statue has not been recovered, he is pleased that the Beast was caught by the combined forces of the University and City Guards, though he understands the poor creature cannot explain its actions and is clearly mad.
“It seems a terrible injustice to bring such a creature into being for those who must endure it, but even more so to the Beast itself. What suffering it must face, I cannot fathom… perhaps it is best that it is put out of its misery, though the spectacle it has turned into is wholly unnecessary in my opinion.”
Can We Help?
“You are welcome to take a look around the place if you think you can find something the authorities did not – if Petros trusted you, then so do I. I will admit though… a lot of cleaning has already taken place.”
For details of the investigation, refer to the Theft At Lepidstadt University page.
What is the Seasage Effigy?
“Well, to be perfectly honest, I don’t know where it originally came from, but it’s been part of the departments collection for many years – longer than I’ve worked here in fact.”
For a moment he holds up a finger as he thinks of something and goes looking through several books until he finds the one he is looking for. It seems to be an catalog of the departments various artifacts, and he flips through it until he finds the one he was searching for.
“Ahah, here it is. There it is… a rather unnerving little object, but… well, here, take a look for yourself.” He hands the book to you and you can see an ink and water color depiction of the object. The effigy is a murky green statuette depicting a grotesque creature writhing with tentacles.
“It was truly a fascinating piece… an anomaly, if you will. It clearly looks like some kind of idol, yet it does not correlate to the worship of any known divine being. I can only hope that the effigy’s uniqueness will help it be recovered, and with any luck it will be returned here soon so it can be studied properly.”