Our party of adventurers found themselves stuck inside of a house, the exit mysteriously gone, and nowhere to go but forward.
As a first move in the house, Dollie grabs the small puppy picked up by Nedda and sends it walking down the hallway, a small sacrifice of sorts, to test and see if any dangers lay ahead. The puppy walked forward, disappeared from view before returning a few moments later. Nothing seemed to happen to the dog, so everything felt relatively safe.
They traveled forward with as much stealth and caution as possible. They made their way down a hallway and found themselves standing in a large foyer, several doors leading off into different rooms. They checked each room with extreme caution.
First, they entered into a hunter’s den, adorned with the taxidermied wolf and deer heads. A few taxidermied wolves also decorated the room, and Varis, being extremely paranoid and cautious, started stabbing the wolves, going so far as threatening to throw some of the wolves into the fireplace in the room. Eventually, they spotted some cabinets in the room. They were able to get them open despite their locks and found a few crossbows and bolts for each of them. They handed out the crossbows knowing they might need them for future skirmishes.
They exited the room and found the dining room and kitchen and noticed a large picture of a windmill above the fireplace in the dining room. It said, “Old Bonegrinder Windmill” and showed it sitting atop a hill in some far off place. They found a dumbwaiter in the kitchen, and Varis sent Koda through the dumbwaiter to scout the upper floor. It turns out Koda only found a servant’s room, filled with nothing more than a few items of clothing and some straw beds.
After a little more searching, they finally decided to head up the stairs to the second floor. The moment the first person reached the landing at the top of the stairs, two animated halberds flew at them and began swinging to kill. After a relatively short battle, the party dispatched of the flying halberds. They looked at the ornate wallpaper and noticed small carvings of dancing kids adorned the walls. Although it looked beautiful at first, they found out that the kids were actually fighting off swarms of bats.
Eventually the players found themselves in the library, a large room filled with shelves of books, beautiful desks, and comfortable reading areas. Nedda, having Detect Magic active as she walked into the room, noticed something peculiar about an area in the back corner of the room. Upon inspection, they found a hidden door that led to another room. They carefully explored the room and found a few hidden gems.
First, they found some spell scrolls, a few blank books, and some gold. But then they found the deed to a windmill with the signature(s) of the new owners missing. They also found a letter from Strahd von Zarovich (a name the players had never heard until that moment) to the owner of the house. There was a line in the letter that really piqued the interest of the players. It said, “However many souls you have bled on your hidden altar, however many visitors you have tortured in your dungeon, know that you are not the ones that brought me to this beautiful land. You are but worms writhing in my earth.”
Making their way out of the library, they then checked two more rooms with nothing of major note before heading up to the third floor landing. As soon as they reached the third floor, an animated suit of armor came to life and attacked them. After a short but heated battle, the suit of armor was defeated and they began searching the rest of the third floor. They opened a closet and were attacked by an animated broom. Quickly dispatching it, Varis decided to grab a few bars of soap from the closet and stuff them in his pack. They eventually found the master bedroom where they decided to take a short rest and recoup after their few fights.
They then found a bedroom with an attached nursery, the crib shrouded in black drapes, and decided not to mess with the crib at all. Nedda, upon investigating a strange mirror in the room, found a secret door that led to a staircase up to the attic. They traversed the stairs and found themselves in a dark and dusty attic. One door in the attic led to a bedroom with some strange dolls and a single bed. Another door was locked, and the party started to wonder if they would ever find the kid’s bedrooms for the children they met outside the house.
They also found a storage room filled with draped pieces of furniture and an odd chest against the wall. Using a magical Mage Hand, Varis opened the chest with the utmost caution, and the skeleton of a woman in a white nightgown fell out of the chest. It was covered in dried blood, and a quick check confirmed that she was brutally stabbed to death. Rather than exploring it further, the party decided to leave the room.
The party went back to the locked door and picked the lock. Upon entering the room, they found the skeletons of the two children from outside in the middle of the room, the young boy’s skeleton cradling a stuffed doll. Upon touching the toy chest in the room, the ghosts of the two children appeared in the room. The young girl introduces herself as Rose and that her brother’s name is Thorn. She explains that their parents locked them in the attic because of the monster in the basement and that the children died of starvation in the room. They explain that the nursemaid was stabbed by the father because she had a stillborn bastard with him while having an affair. Her corpse was tucked somewhere in the house (the bloody skeleton in the storage room).
Curiously, the party never found an entrance to the basement, so upon asking Rose about it, she points to her dollhouse and they find out that a secret door in the attic leads to the basement. The party immediately assembles to head to the basement to find a way out of the house, but as they go to leave the room, Rose and Thorn, fearing abandonment because of what happened to them in life, seeped their way into the bodies of two of the characters, completely possessing them. Rose possesses Nedda and Thorn possesses Cabel.
The party finds the secret door and makes their way into the dark and looming dungeon below.
The above pictures of the character stats/levels do not represent where they were during the session. Instead, they represent where the characters currently are in the campaign.