Curse of Strahd

The children were dead all along...

Eleint 25, 1489DR – The Fading (September)

Evening

The group investigates the last room on the third floor and find another servant’s bedroom. This room contains two stained glass double doors leading to a balcony, a bed, two nightstands, a dresser, a fireplace, and another door on the west end. Dale and Asher investigate the fireplace and find the burnt remains of what used to be light blue cloth among the old ashes.

They continue their search; they open the door inside the bedroom and discover an old nursery room, with a single decaying crib at its center. Also in this room, the ghost of a female nurse maid, jealously guarding the crib. After some initial difficulty the characters vanquish the angry spirit.

Asher heads toward the crib and retrieves a small bundle of wrapped cloth, colored light blue. This must have been the infant the children had told them about earlier, he thought. He decides he wants to return the bundle to the children, who are still waiting downstairs, but Dale suggests they look inside it first. After unwrapping the bundle Asher finds nothing inside. He returns to the manor’s entrance hoping to find the children still waiting there, but they have vanished. No trace is left behind. He returns upstairs to the rest of the group.

Having been exhausted by the battle they all take a good night’s rest. Further searching would have to wait until morning.


Eleint 25, 1489DR – The Fading (September)

Morning

Earlier, Asher found a secret button on the room’s dresser which opened access to the home’s attic. The group now ascends the steps.

The attic is in a decrepit state. Dust and spiderwebs cover most of the surfaces, the air is damp and heavy with the smells of decaying wood. On the north end of the attic they see a locked door, whose keyhole portrays a familiar symbol also present in the key found earlier in the library, currently held by Master Dō. Dale instructs Master Dō to open the door, which he does, after some confusing interactions.

The room contains a bricked-up window flanked by two dusty, wood-framed beds sized for children. Closer to the door is a toy chest with windmills painted on its sides and a dollhouse that’s a perfect replica of the dreary edifice. Furnishings are draped in cobwebs. Lying in the middle of the floor are two small skeletons wearing tattered but familiar clothing. The smaller of the two cradles a stuffed doll that they also recognize. These are the long forgotten remains of Rose and Thorn.

Realization now dawns upon the party; the children have been dead all this time. As Master Dō begins to play with the toys found inside the toy box the children’s ghosts appear. It is a sad tale. Rose and Thorn were regularly neglected by their parents and abandoned in the attic until they eventually starved to death. They were locked in the room to “protect them from the monster in the basement,” but the children suspect their parents were more concerned with entertaining guests. They tell the group of a secret door can can lead them to the lowest level of the house. Rose points towards the dollhouse, which is an exact replica of the house, and where the group can find the locations to all the secret doors within.

Dale collects the bones of the children and promises to put place them in their proper resting place. As the party attempts to leave the room the children become distressed. Having suffered so much neglect in life, and fearing being abandoned once more, the spirits possess the bodies of Dale and Arranis. Hopefully this is not a permanent situation…

The group continues their search and head towards the secret staircase in the attic, leading down to the basement. When they exit the staircase the party encounters damp stone floors and walls, and the faints sounds of human chanting.

This place looks more like a crypt than a basement, and for good reason, as the Durst family crypts are also located here. Inside 4 different alcoves are the sarcophagi of the Durst family. After looking at the name plates for each one, Dale finds those meant for Rose and Thorn and lays their skeletons to rest. This act frees both him and Arannis of the children’s possession. They experience a sense of gratitude and release as their young spirits depart the plane.

The group carries on and soon finds two separate sleeping quarters. The first is poorly furnished and rough, the second containing a well and elegantly made beds, although dusty and old. Inside each bedroom are locked chests with treasure, which they open and loot. They also find black robes, presumably used in cult-like activities, which most of the group decides to wear in case they need them later on; Dale refuses to wear the robes due to his paladin vows. The chanting can now be heard growing louder but no words are discernible.

While exploring the maze like corridors they encounter ghouls, which are quickly dispatched. These ghouls, however, seem to be wearing the same cult robes they found earlier in the sleeping quarters. Could these be the remains of the cultists?Grick

The party finds a dining area and Asher runs into grick. Although surprised, the group is able to defeat it easily. They then enter a larger chamber further on…

The room is festooned with moldy skeletons that hang from rusty shackles against the walls. A wide alcove in the south wall contains a painted wooden statue carved in the likeness of a gaunt pale-faced man wearing a voluminous black cloak, his pale left hand resting on the head of a wolf that stands next to him. In his right hand, he holds a smoky-gray crystal orb. The room has exits in the west and north walls. Chanting can be heard coming from the west.

Master Dō is inexplicably drawn to the orb and begins making his way towards the statue. Although probably a very bad idea, the group does nothing to stop his progress and decide to ready their weapons instead. The moment Master Dō seizes the ord 5 shadows appear in the room and attack the party. This encounter proves to me more difficult than their past scuffles, but the group manages to survive, largely in part to Dale’s radiant damage skills.

Now in an empty chamber, they must explore further still find the source of the growing chanting noises.

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