After a respite and a chance to sample some of the cuisine stored in the ancient pantry, found to be bland, but quite edible. More exploration revealed servant’s quarters and a conservatory on the second floor, complete with harpsichord and standing harp. More disturbing details were found in the decor, skulls among carved vines in the alabaster mantel.
The third floor was where the house began to show its age, with dusty floors and cobwebs decorating the corners and the suit of black platemail standing watch over the staircase. This suit soon animated and attacked the party in the first sign of serious danger presented to the explorers so far. This was bested, but at some cost to the well being of the party.
There was another brief rest, after which the group felt quite empowered by their recent experiences, and ready to continue the exploration.
A dusty storage closet was opened, containing soap, linens, and an unsuspecting broom resting against the back wall of the room. After this, a nursery and bedchamber was exposed, which was enough to cause the shade of a long-deceased nursemaid to manifest and attack with a blood-curdling scream. Jaym had the misfortune of backing away into the nearby closet for a semblance of safety, which was promptly denied when the broom animated and lashed out at the monster-hunter. From there it was a desperate fight for life against the spectre and… broom.
In the end, both were defeated, but it turned out that the broom had bested Jaym with one too many blows to the head. She never awoke.
The rooms of the third floor were then explored without further challenge, revealing the master bedroom, nursery, and bathroom. Of note, a baby-sized bundle of cloth was found in the black-draped crib of the nursery, lending credence to the mention of a stillborn bastard child in the house’s past. No corpse was discovered, however. The master bedroom suite contained significant wealth in a noblewoman’s jewelry box.
A secret staircase offered passage to the attic, which really showed the house’s age, with little to no sign of cleaning or upkeep being employed. A locked room was soon opened with the iron key found in the library. This room revealed a pair of children’s beds, along with a toy chest and doll house modeled after the manor itself. There were also a pair of small skeletons dressed in the clothing of the children who first beckoned the adventurers inside to slay the monster…
Upon disturbing the dollhouse, the ghosts of the two children revealed themselves, looking confused and a little scared, having no memory of ever meeting the party. The facts revealed were much the same, the children being locked in the attic room by their parents to protect them from the monster in the basement. Rose showed the party where the secret passage down to the basement was, revealing a spiral stair that began in the attic and descended below. It was also learned that the children starved to death in the room at some point past. Neither ghost wanted to be left alone, and both children made effort to possess the party once it appeared that they might be so abandoned. Ileyna allowed Rosavalda in, but Thorrick rebuffed Thornboldt, after which the boy successfull forced a possession upon Tannyll.
From there, more was revealed by the dead children metaphysically looming over Ileyna and Tannyll’s psyches, giving small insights into the fate of Sylvia the nursemaid, and their stillborn little brother, Walter.
The last thing of note was the discovery of Sylvia’s corpse, wrapped in a bloody sheet and stuffed into a chest in one of the attic storage rooms, another victim of whatever came to pass in the proud home.
At the bottom of the stairs the group began hearing a low incessant chanting ringing throughout the space. The basement proved to be a series of low narrow halls cut into damp clay, with the family crypts the first sight found. Six crypts have been seen, the doors carved with the names of Rosavalda, Thornboldt, Elisabeth, Gustav, and Walter Durst. The six crypt was unnamed, while Walter’s tomb was empty. Gustav and Elisabeth’s tombs have yet to be opened. Rose and Thorn’s remains were placed in their waiting crypts, and the ghosts of the children vanished, leaving a brief-lived, but profound, sense of peace across the party.
The last chamber explored was what appeared to be a modest dining room, with old human bones scattered across the floor. Thorrick approached a small darkened alcove of the room, and was promptly ambushed by a grick, nearly laying him low, but eventually the group overcame the monstrosity.
After this last battle, the group decided to withdraw to safer regions of the house for another rest, away from the incessant chanting.
I thought this went pretty well overall, though the theme of the session was probably DICE. My dice were on fire. It wasn’t until near the end that I started missing what were largely 50/50 rolls to hit. by the same token, player dice weren’t great, though I don’t think they were too much below odds if they were at all. It’s really just a problem with 1st and 2nd level, when there’s not enough longevity and HP to help mitigate the worst of these sort of streaks.
Anyway, Jaym died, which is unfortunate, but I think things will work out fine. There should be space to introduce a new character being ushered to the doorstep of Durst Manor while the party is recuperating.
I did like handling the ghosts and the possessions, with PCs still in control, but gaining new flaws and some insight into just what was going on with the children from the past. It was almost a shame that the ghosts were given peace so early, since I liked how things were going with the possessed players and how the non-possessed players reacted to them. Kudos to all on that!