The Company of Odd Fellows
The evening was uneventful. Even though they could hear unidentified moans coming from outside, nothing disturbed the room they were in. The next morning the party rose as soon as they could see light streaming through the boarded windows. After eating they decided to try the southern door on the east wall.
(Room 8b) After checking the door for traps and listening for noises they entered the room. What they found was the manor’s kitchen. It was well equipped but now its stone mills, cupboards, utensils and ovens were overrun with mice, spiders, and other vermin. A quick search found nothing of value.
(Room 8c) After the checking the other door on the east wall, it was opened. A quick inspection showed that this was a bedroom, what the party didn’t expect was the four skeletons in tattered maids outfits cleaning it. As soon as they opened the door, the skeletons all turned towards them and attacked. Andy charged in taking on the Skeleton 4 in the back but missed (12). Skeleton 1 closed to the doorway attacking Clarabelle but missed (3). Skeleton 3 also closed to the doorway attacking Kain and hitting him (18/4 hp).Clarabelle focused her attack on Skeleton 1 in front of her, delivering a crushing blow and destroying it (16/8hp). Kain could not do the same to Skeleton 3, missing it(12). Skeleton 4 attacked Andy and raked her savagely with its bony fingers (20/6hp). Skeleton 2 also attacked Andy but missed (3). Needles rushed into the room to help Andy, Striking Skeleton 2 with his Axe (16/3hp) but not killing it. Domino then was able to enter the room turning the skeletons. They began a mass exodus from the room. Skeleton 3 ran out of the room but Clarabelle caught it with her Mace on the way by destroying it. Skeleton 2 also began moving towards the door but not before Needles could deliver his finishing blow (22/1hp). Andy also hit Skeleton 4 as it began to flee but not enough to destroy it before it left the room. Bark was waiting outside and finished it off in the hall (16/4hp). After the fight was done they all entered the room and inspected it more. The master bedchamber contained its own northern fireplace, a draped master bed, a writing table, a wardrobe, and a night table. All the furniture was in moderate condition, old, worn, and faded, but usable. On the writing table they saw a quill and ink, and five parchments. Three of them were uncompleted spells, but one was a Sleep scroll, and the other is a Shield scroll. The silver candlestick holder beside the parchments looked to be worth 15 gp and the fancy pair of gnome-made spectacles were worth 50 gp. An inspection of the wardrobe contained faded garments, none of any value.
It was at this point that they realized there were no more doors in either room, but that there was no way this was all there was to the manor. A quick walk outside around the manor showed it was much larger than what they had already explored. They came back into the bedroom and began to search for hidden doors. Clarabelle soon found the entrance on the eastern wall but not how to open it. Andy searched and found a button under the night table and when she pushed it, the door came open.
(Room 8e) This was the lowest chamber of the four-story tower, with a set of circular stone stairs in the northeast corner connecting it to the next level. The floors are made of wood higher above and the ceiling is 15 high. This bottom level is a private commode, with a wooden structure over an out-pit. The chamber smells awful, yet the smell is old and musty with age. Laying on the wooden structure are a few scrolls of esoteric philosophy written in the gnomish tongue. The party knew there was a room or rooms missing on the first level so they decided to search for other secret doors in this room before heading up the tower. Bark found the secret door along the southern wall and the small switch to activate it was right next to it. Getting the group together they hit the switch and opened the door.
(Room 8d) This hidden chamber was a mage’s library. The walls were lined with shelves, and two tables with chairs sit in the midst of the chamber. Everything is coated in the dust of the ages, however; it appears this chamber hasn’t seen guests in a very long time. On one of the tables a cracked crystal ball sits. Hundreds of books lined the shelves , many of their faded titles looked valuable and important, but their contents are now lost to history. Clarabelle case detect magic to see if there was anything important hidden among the shelves, but instead got a faint glow from the shelves themselves. After seeing that there was some sort of protection on the books, none of the party felt like taking a risk and touching them. As they were investigating the room 7 winged creatures flew in from the secret door they left open. Since the characters were busy looking at things they were caught off guard when the creatures came in (1-4 to be surprised by the Stirges from room 8 e3)) All but Domino were caught flatfooted and he crushed Stirge 6 before it could attack, killing it. The rest weren’t so lucky as the rest of the stirges attacked. Stirge 2 missed Clarabelle (3), Stirge 5 hit Domino and attached itself to him(19/2 hp), Stirge 4 missed Needles (4), Stirge 1 missed Andy (3), Stirge 3 missed Bark(11) and Stirge 7 hit Clarabelle (19/3hp) and latched on. Domino took an awkward swing at Stirge 5 that was attached to him, but was able to kill it (17/2 hp), Stirge 2 missed Clarabelle again(2), Needles missed Stirge 4 in front of him (9,1), Kain attacked Stirge 3 but was unable to connect (9,4) but Clarabelle was able to hit Stirge 7 attached to her, killing it (20/5 hp). Kain attacked Stirge 3 but missed (12). Stirge 4 attacked Needles but missed(13), Andy attacked Stirge 1 but also missed. Domino freed from the Stirge on him attacked Stirge 2 (17/5 hp) killing it. Needles made a dual attack on Stirge 4, he missed with his main axe but hit with the hand axe (7,19)(5hp) also killing it. Kain attacked Stirge 3, hitting with both blades (13,16,12 hp) slicing it into pieces. Andy took a swing at the last stirge, Stirge 1 and connected, killing it (19/6hp).
After the surprise attack by the stirges it was decided that the party would tend to their wounds before moving any further. Needles whipped up some salve for Kain (3hp). Domino healed Andy up to full health (6hp) and handed Clarabelle the last heal potion (6 hp). With everyone healed up as much as they could, it was time to head up the tower.
(Room 8e Second Level) After climbing the stairs they came to the second level of the tower. This level contained a table and three rickety chairs, and a series of old rusty instruments for navigation. They looked useless now, but spoke of a time when this room had seen better days. The walls were covered with tattered yellowed maps of the world, including Albion, Lllancrest and even Kar’tegra. Most of the information has been faded away and the party was disappointed in what secrets they must once have held! Nothing else of value could be seen so they headed up the circular stairs.
(Room 8e Third Level) This room was obviously an alchemist laboratory once, but the tables are broken and overturned and almost all the glass work is broken. Interesting stains and acid burns can be seen here and there. A very large empty bird cage sits in the middle of this chamber; it is the home of a flock of stirges that attacked the party earlier. From looking at the open cage door it became apparent that somebody or something had let the stirges out. The party knew that something was waiting for them on the next level. Domino decided to bless Needle’s Long Bow giving it a magical enhancement and Clarabelle used the Shield scroll on herself to help her out on what she felt was going to be a tough battle.
(Room 8e Fourth Level) The party rushed up the stairs, with Clarabelle and Kain taking the lead, and Bark and Needles right behind them. In the middle of the room, was what at first appeared to be a zombie, but as it smiled evilly at them, they knew it was much more than just that. Bark leapt upstairs. casting entangle right were the creature was standing, causing vines to wrap themselves around its feet. Andy snuck upstairs, hiding in the shadows(12) and moving silently (32), getting behind the Zombie and stabbing it with her Short sword (Sneak attack 19/ 9hp). Needles came up to the foot of the stairs, firing a bow at the creature, but now knowing it wasn’t the best weapon for the fight(16/2hp). Now it was Kain’s turn to join the fight, with his Katana held in both hands he attacked connecting with a hard strike, literally cutting the creature in half and killing it (18/10 hp).
DM Note: The poor Zombraire rolled dead last on his initiative, allowing all 6 characters to get in an attack before he could. I even allowed him to cast ‘Protection from Good’ before the start of the fight, giving him an extra 2 AC. But I wasn’t planning on the thief succeeding in both the hide and move silently, which allowed her to move behind the Zombraire and hit it with a successful sneak attack. With only 14 HP and her taking off 9 in one hit, it was over before it started for Justin Wrenwald.
After the creature fell to the ground the rest of the party came upstairs. Clarabelle had her suspicions that the creature was a Zombraire, a rare intelligent magic using Zombie. When she found the wand on the corpse it confirmed her suspicion. She also found a magical ring and a set of keys. She could also could tell that the Zombraire was the former owner of the Manor, Justin Wrenwald III. After the death of the Zombraire, the illusion hiding two very large windows
open to the north and east faded away, letting in the light. The roof was rotting like everywhere else in the forsaken house. Inside they saw a telescope , a table covered with parchments with scrawled astrological notes and mystic symbols, a umbrella case full of rusty implements of torture, and manacles hanging from the rafters which could imprison up to four occupants. A quick check of they keys they found on the creature showed they were for the manacles. Andy doing a more thorough searching found what appeared to be a spellbook hidden in the rafters. It contained: Magic Missile, Floating Disk, Protection from Good/Evil, and Continual Light. It was given to Clarabelle for her to study. Investigation of the Wand and Ring found them to be a Ring of Protection +2 and a Wand of Illusions. The party remembered the trail that led to the graveyard and thought the least they could do was to bury Justin with his ancestors. So Kain and Domino wrapped Justin’s body up with some heavy fabric they found in this room, and carried him downstairs.
When they arrived at the hall and cautiously opened the door to the outside, they got the sense that the curse that was placed on the estate was lifted with the Zombraire’s death. The air outside seemed warmer and the garden, which was growing obscene undead plants the day before, was filled with withered plants and the smell coming from it was almost gone. As they went out the front gate, Needles checked the chicken coop and saw that it contained only the unmoving carcasses of dead chickens.
(Area 9) The party followed the smaller trail around the estate until they came to the padlocked gate of the cemetery. It took a few minutes but Andy was able to pick the lock and open the gate. The graveyard within was swampy and the leaning, fallen, and broken tombstones account for nearly 40 graves within. Here and there a coffin had resurfaced,and showed signs of having been chewed on. There were three sturdy above ground vaults, but none looked like they would be easy to get into so it was decided that they would find an empty spot to bury the last of the Wrenwalds. As they began digging however, 6 large rats came from a nearby hole and attacked them. the party dispatched them quickly though and carried on. However another 6 rats came from another hole and attacked them. This happened a few times before they were able to finally rid the graveyard of the rats. Kain and Clarabelle had been bitten but investigation of their wounds showed they were OK (Kain is immune to poison and Clarabelle cleared the roll). They finished burying Justin and Domino said a few words over his grave.
DM Note: I didn’t feel like tracking this whole battle with stats, needless to say the party took them out with one hit, I did 6 rats at a time x3, then the last 9.
(Area 10) While they were finishing up the burial, a raven came to them cawing ‘Follow me… follow me’ and flying off to the west. It would hover around and come back saying the same thing, so once they were done they followed it out of the graveyard to a grove of trees to the west. There they found a dryad tree and an exhausted looking but jubilant Dryad. She introduced herself as Luacia and asked the party if they were the one who had lifted the curse from this place. When they replied that they had, she asked if any of them were injured. When Kain came forward she didn’t know what to think of this odd unnatural creature but because the curse that was slowly killing her was gone, she blessed him with healing(5 hp), then thanked the entire party again for saving her and her tree.
The party headed back to the Estate itself, thinking to stay one more night here before heading back into town. But as they were looking at the estate they began to think about what was going to happen to it now that the Wrenwald were gone. It was then that they began formulating the idea of maybe making the estate their home, investing some money in fixing it up. Domino talked about seeing if the temple of Chordax would allow him to set up a small temple here, maybe where the dead garden stood now.