The party had just reached the attic of the home of Rose and Thorn Durst, and in that attic had found a children’s room. The room was locked by a padlock from the outside, and on the inside were the dead bodies of Rose and Thorn.
The party decided that the house itself must be a trap, and they were tricked by the children’s ghosts outside. Clearly something was amiss. Despite this, the goodness in Brume dictated that he see the remains of the two kids buried, and he started to put the bones into a sack.
After disturbing the remains, ghostly apparitions of the Durst siblings rose from the floor. Rose questioned what Brume was doing with her remains. After explaining himself and questioning the children, the party realized that these two ghosts were not the same as … whatever the other Rose and Thorn they had seen outside of the house were. The children admitted to not having left their room – their death site – for “hundreds, many hundreds of moons”. They’d been by themselves that entire time, aside from a few adventurers they’d seen who always abandoned them. One of these adventurers, whom Rose named Sebastienne, had told her this house was now called ‘The Death House’.
Their story was teased out of them slowly. Their parents – still admitted as Gustav and Elizabeth – would lock them in their room in the attic to protect them from the monster that lived in the basement. One time this happened and their parents never came back to unlock the room, so the children died from hunger and starvation, simply dying where they lay from weakness. They had never seen the monster (as they were always locked in their rooms), but their parents had occasionally had others over to help fight the monster. The monster’s screams were terrifying. High pitched and sounding as if it came from many throats, yet always at the same time. It’s roar would make them shiver in fear under their blankets in their rooms.
Asking where they could find the monster, Rose pointed at the dollhouse and said to look at it – it would show the way. Paying more attention, it was revealed that the dollhouse was very exact – it showed secret rooms and hallways that the party has missed, including a spiral staircase from the attic, through the walls of the house, down into some sort of basement.
While the children were talking, Brume wanted to lower their remains (still in the sack from earlier) to the ground outside via the balcony window around the corner. While attempting to do so, however, Rose noticed him and started screaming at him. “She didn’t want to leave, and she didn’t want him to leave either!” Flying ethereally through the air, both Rose & Thorn flew right into Brume’s body. Rose came right out the other side, but Thorn stuck in, possessing the cleric and making his desires of wanting to get rid of the bodies vanish.
More talking happened before Bogdan pulled the same trick, except he managed to get out of the room with the children’s remains unnoticed. He climbed down to the balcony’s roof and lowered the sack to the ground, dropping the rope after it before heading back inside.
Knowing which way the basement was, Yenkin decided that the best thing for the party to do would be to stock up with items in the house and try to learn as much as possible before going into the basement. Of course, hearing that they were leaving Rose again flew into a panice and possessed the first person she could — Yenkin.
As such the party went back downstairs and Brume donned the splint armor they’d found previously in the upper hall on the second floor. After this they went to the Library, where Rose had mentioned Gustav always being angry with a book and muttering gibberish while trying to read it. That book was not in the Library (although Bogdan did find a book about werewolves that he kept). Tamar found a fake book that opened into a secret room.
Inside the secret room they found the corpse of Sebastienne, the adventurer Rose had mentioned. He was slumped over a half-open chest, the victim of a dart-trap that had been set to go off when the chest was opened. There they found treasure (listed below) and a letter from Strahd, still sealed with a motif of a stylized raven in front of a castle tower. The letter read:
My most pathetic servant,
I am not a messiah sent to you by the Dark Powers of this land. I have not come to lead you on a path to immortality. 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 who brought me to this beautiful land. You are but worms writhing in my earth.
You say that you are cursed, your fortunes spent. You abandoned love for madness, took solace in the bosom of another woman, and sired a stillborn son. Cursed by darkness? Of that, I have no doubt. Save you from your wretchedness? I think not. I much prefer you as you are.
Your dread lord and master,
After studying a giant red book by the Priests of Osybus, Tamar realized that the rituals in it were bogus. It was a good thing, too, as they claimed to have the power to summon a demon to grant the caster everlasting life.
After leaving the library, the party searched the rest of the house. They found some crossbows and bolts in the den. They also noticed lots of details in the house that seemed wrong, at least when asking Rose via Yenkin (carvings now had skeletons in place of masked dancers, wolves hidden among deers in the trees, etc).
Back in the attic, Yenkin found some bones in a storage room in a unlocked chest that had been covered by a dusty sheet. He wanted to throw the bones aside, but as he did so the specter of the long-dead nursemaid attacked him. During the fight the specter managed to kill Yenkin. Weirdly, mere seconds after the fight was over Yenkin stood back up, coming back from death. He raved about having some vision and having “seen it all”, all the while now having insects continuously crawl in and out of his ears. Looking at the bones of the nursemaid in more detail, it was clear she had been stabbed to death by dozens of knife wounds.
Finally the adventurers were ready to explore the basement. Heading to the secret spiral staircase they had uncovered while looking at the dollhouse in the children’s room, they entered behind the fake wall and descended through a veritable warren of cobwebs. Brume cast light on his shield, and the party lit one torch; both for light and to burn the webs in the starewell, which were so thick that the group was barely able to see a few feet in front of them.
At the bottom of the staircase, perhaps 50’ straight down, the basement was revealed to be more of a cavern. Tunnels carved directly into earth, clay, and stone and supported by timber braces, the floors were covered in centuries-old footprints. Eery chanting echoed off the walls, their source of direction unable to be determined.
The party found two sets of living quarters, one complete with a well that led to a cistern of some sort below. As they walked around, the direction of the chanting changed and seemed to come from the south.
Finding a dining room strewn about with bones, the party inspected the area a little more closely. It soon became apparent that the bones were literally the remains of multiple meals, and that they were human; someone had been eating human flesh with knife and fork. The party shuddered upon learning the truth.
The nearby larder had a grick hiding in it, who lashed out at Tamar when the druid came too close. Shifting into a dire wolf, the druid traded blow for blow before winning the combat and continuing onwards. From hear, the chanting seemed to come from the west.
Heading east, back towards where they had first come down, the party found six crypts — 5 of them sealed with stone slaps carved with names (one each for Gustav, Elizabeth, Rosavald, Thornboldt, and Walter Durst) and the last one with the slab open and with no name carved upon it. Bodgan tried to open one but the stone weighed too much and he was unable to move it.
Going back to the westward direction below the dining room, the party was ambushed by 3 ghouls at a point where two tunnels bisected each other in a crossroads of sorts. The fight was vicious but over quick, with Yenkin and Brume (courtesy of Thorn) both hiding out of fear while the rest of the party defended them.
Tamar’s wolf-ears picked up that the chanting was coming from the northern leading tunnel, but had not yet told the party since she was still a wofl. The party decided they needed to rest and recover before exploring further, and headed back up to the attic and were going to barricade themselves in the children’s rooms.
- splint mail from standing armor in upper hall (Brume)
- from library
- book about werewolves (Bogdan)
- iron key to unlock padlock on children’s room upstairs (Yenkin)
- from chest in secret room behind library
- spell scroll – bless
- spell scroll – protection from poison
- spell scroll – spiritual weapon
- deed to the house
- deed to a windmill
- signed will from Gustav & Elizabeth Durst, bequeathing house & will to Rose and Thorn
- letter from Strahd to the Durst’ parents
- from the den
- 1 light crossbow + 20 bolts
- 1 heavy crossbow + 20 bolts
- 1 hand crossbow + 20 bolts
- from living quarters in basement
- 11gp, 60sp in a pouch made of human skin
- 3 moss agates worth 10gp each
- black leather eyepatch w/ carnelian (worth 25gp) sewn into it
- ivory hairbrush with silver bristles (worth 25gp)
- silvered shortsword (worth 110gp)
- For letting his insatiable curiosity lead him to trying to open a family crypt even when everyone else was saying no, Bogdan is inspired.