Episode 2 – As the party readied to ascend to the second floor, they decided to kick in the door to the “basement” – a coat closet containing black cloaks and a top hat. Skamos mutilated the top hat so it would fit on his head over his horns. Feeling thoroughly satisfied that the first floor had been cleared with no signs of the baby or the “monsters”, the party made its way up the staircase the house seemed to audibly groan in disdain as they approached the top of the stairs. The second floor hallway contained four shining decorative suits of armor, and hanging over the mantle of the fireplace was a beautifully painted portrait of the Durst family, the owners of the house. In the arms of the father, Gustav, was the baby Frederick, the wife, Elisabeth, looking at the baby and her husband with scorn. The two children from the front of the house, Rose and Thorn, clung to each other in the photo. A small servant’s quarters at the top of the stairs revealed little else besides the dumbwaiter (with cheese) and a closet with some pristine frilly maid uniforms.
Nuz opened the doors to the west of the staircase, revealing a beautiful yet macabre decorated conservatory, complete with many instruments, including a viol and a pan flute. After a little while of looking around the room, Skamos decided to try and play the harpsichord. As he began to play, a memory of the house appeared to the party – the two children, Rose and Thorn, playing quietly, and another woman – thin, gaunt and very pregnant, watching the children play. The party members still lingering in the parlor took this as a sign that maybe it would be best to move on. One party member held back and with further investigation there did not seem to be anything enchanted about the harpsichord.
A large, beautifully decorated and immaculately kept library was through the double doors to the east of the second floor. Among the tastefully decorated room, the party found a huge well-kept library with tall bookshelves. Adrik was tempted by the juicy red apple on the desk and took a bite. Something about it was a bit off but he ended up with only mild irritation from the rotten tasting food. A private journal of Gustav Durst revealed information that he was involved romantically with one of the servants of the house, a nursemaid named Ieulia, employed as a governess for the two children. Although this library was literally dripping with knowledge in an expansive array of topics, it was the warlock who seemed the most interested in the books. Seeing what looked to be another personal journal of Gustav, anxious to read more steamy literature the book was pulled on, revealing that it was actually a switch for a hidden room.
Nuz stepped into the tiny room to investigate. The walls here were bloodied and this room contained several bookshelves with tomes about cult practices, human sacrifice and dark magic. Within the room lay the remains of an unlucky adventurer, three darts from a trapped chest through it’s chest and armor, and some gear underneath. Nuz began to move the skeleton and noticed he was clutching a scroll. The letter was addressed to Gustav and was from a man named Strahd Von Zarovich.
Not one to turn down found items of value, the other items in the chest were quickly checked – there were found blank leather-bound tomes (3), three spell scrolls (bless, protection from poison, and spiritual weapon) along with a deed to the house, called Durst House in the document, and a deed to a windmill only referred to as “Durst Windmill”.
A last will and testament of Gustav Durst named two people, Rose and Thorn the heirs of all the personal property should he pass away. The spell scrolls and the blank tomes, looking like they were worth something, were pocketed. Skamos took one last look of the secret room, discovering the skeleton had a silver amulet of Crossed great-swords in front of a Castle’s Gate. Skamos also grabbed a tome about human sacrifice. Upon walking past the bookcase for a final time, the warlock was drawn to a particularly old and dusty tome. After a pause, he said thanks to his patron and stowed the book away. Adrik noticed Skamos study the amulet and put it on but was not interested in his actions further than that.
The party then proceeded up the stairs to the third floor, looking very dark, the stairs leading up ended on this floor. Aenar cast light on his trusty flask, and with a spell held that light magically over his head, and the beam breaking through the darkness of the house seemed a lot less menacing when well-lit. Arriving at the top of the stairs, a baby’s cry could be heard throughout the house. At the top of the stairs stood another suit of armor, this one blood-red and inscribed with an insignia of a raven with a castle behind it. As you drew close to the armor, it seemed to come to life! The armor hit the cleric with decent ferocity, fending off the majority of the parties’ attacks, before being bested by the barbarian Nuz’s improvised grappling fight style in combination with the rest of the party aiding him. Also discovered on this floor were a bathroom, a linen closet with a broom in the corner, and a balcony to the outside. As the party members stepped through the double doors to a large suite, covered in dust, and sparsely but tastefully decorated.
The third floor balcony facing the street, through the thick impenetrable fog they could barely make out the children out on the street, staring up at them. They attempted to wave and speak to the children but they didn’t seem to respond to any of the party members. Even yelling got very little out of them as they just waved at you. Nuz noticed a door to the left that opened onto a tiny nursery with a darkly draped bassinet. Adrik held back into the hallway, readying to attempt to open the doors on the opposite side of the room by himself. Aenar sent his mage hand to gently open the veil of the bassinet. There appeared to be a baby inside at first glance, and Nuz picked up the baby bundle, which was met by a horrifying scream of a specter of the nursemaid’s ghost. Aenar, illuminating himself with light and now a shiny guy, attempted to communicate with the being in celestial, however it was hostile and attacked anyone trying to hurt her “baby”.
The specter Ieulia was dispatched with a holy hit and eldritch blast and was taken down, her weary soul de-materializing and vanishing. A prayer was said for her tortured soul. The baby bundle was searched by the warlock and was revealed to be a pile of layers of cloth with a small piece of human bone in the middle. The name “Lorgoth” was carved into the bone. Skamos put the bundle back in the bassinet. The barbarian, coming from a tribe where the dead were respected and honored, decided to take the bundle and the bone to be buried elsewhere, believing this to be a fourth child involved in the mystery of the house. A silver locket set with a small diamond containing a photo of Gustav is found on the nursemaid’s pillow (100gp). The back of the necklace was inscribed with romantic poetry. Skamos added the pendant to the amulet and chain around his neck.
Continuing on to the next area of the house, the party comes upon the master suite of Gustav and Elizabeth. A large room, filled with dust, cobwebs, and rotting furniture, a seemingly well-preserved photo of Gustav and Elisabeth in their younger years looking madly in love, hangs over the mantlepiece in this room. A bottle of brandy and glasses are found in the parlor area, but untouched. A woman’s vanity table had a mirror that seemed to age the appearance of the one looking into it, however upon closer inspection nothing else of note was noticed by the warlock. The party, looking for clues to find a way to the fourth floor, pulled on the decaying tiger rug and rotting fur and hide flew everywhere. A closet in the master bedroom was full of dust, coating Skamos for the second time in a layer of thick white powdery dust. The balcony on the back side of the house showed nothing but the fog and mist as before.
After looking around a bit more, the Bard checked the nursemaid’s suite once again, checking behind the wardrobe revealed a gap in between the wall and the mirror, and attempting to open it jammed his finger between the wall and the mirror, as he was not strong enough to move the mirror. In quite a bit of pain from the small scratch on his finger, Aenar called to Nuz, who easily pried the mirror and opened it to a small set of stairs, going up. Nuz took care to reassure Aenar that he had done such a good job “loosening it up” that he had actually aided in the process.
The party moved up the stairs to the barren hallway of the fourth floor. Soft crying of two children could be heard. Searching the far west room they discovered a servant’s quarters with very meager furnishings, nothing but dust, cobwebs, and a small doll in a yellow dress. The doll was picked up by one of the party members, and to the east lay a door with a copper padlock. The warlock brushed the other party members aside, attempting to unlock the door with his tools, however he struggled and broke off a tool into the lock. Eltrich blast seemed to work to blow the door down.
Inside, the party found a small room decorated for children, two beds, and two small skeletons clinging to each other. A full-scale doll house of the Durst house was among the children’s toys. When Sevahn reached out to touch it, the children again appeared before them, Rose being very cross that someone was touching her toys. She accepted the apology and asked if the cleric would like to play dolls. The barbarian joined, taking a seat between Rose and Thorn . Rose excitedly told him about a secret door on the fourth floor, and also pointed out a trap door in the floor of the den on the first floor “but that can’t be opened from the top. You have to push from underneath!” Rose also revealed the doors they had already discovered in the house. Aenar decided to play a little tune and the children seemed happy to see them. They pleaded with the party not to leave them behind. The party feeling relatively safe , despite the lack of a door on the room – decided to spend some time taking a rest in the safety of the attic room, with it’s bricked up windows and the two spirits of the children. More questions may be answered yet when we next meet!