btstrahd

Doom and Broom

The party agree to help the children. They enter the townhouse to find it immaculate; the floors are waxed, the doors oiled, the rugs beaten. The first two floors contain great halls with a number closed doors. A portrait of the family on the second floor identifies the owners as Gustav and Elisabeth Durst and their children as Rose and Thorn. Gustav proudly holds a swaddled infant, Walter; the artist captures Elisabeths disdain for the baby. A number of artifacts identify the family crest as a golden windmill on a red field. A painting clearly illustrates the source: an old windmill atop a rocky crag. Things appear to be perfectly normal, other than evil symbols Basti finds hidden in the ornate panels of the walls.

The house undergoes a dark change on the third floor: the temperature plummets, the furniture lies rotted and tossed about, the floors and walls cracked and splintered. Everything is draped and cobwebs and dust. The party are suddenly assaulted by suits of animated armour. Badger and Egon are nearly killed before they’re stopped. An upside to the attack is that Egon was bashed deep enough into a wall hard to reveal a secret stair leading upwards. Trying to be positive here.

The stairs lead to an attic where Egon bashes open a locked door revealing a childrens bedroom. The window is bricked over and two familiarly dressed skeletons are heaped on the floor. Next to the corpses is a dollhouse that is a perfect replica of the house. Arveen examines the toy and uncovers the floor plan, including a hidden spiral staircase and a secret room behind the library. As they examine the room the ghosts of Rose and Thorn appear and demand to know who the party are. They learn that the children are long dead, having died of starvation when their parents locked them in the attic to protect them from the monster in the basement. The evil in the house manifests the ‘children’ outside to lure victims in. They beg the party to bring their remains to their resting place so they might finally rest. Arveen asks how to access the hidden stairs; the children point at a harpsichord in the music room and tell them to play the tune on the music sheet.

Heading downstairs in search of Walter the party find the nursemaids room. Egon explores the silent bundle in the crib which turns out to be empty, but also provokes the fury of the nursemaid as a specter. Somehow they make easy work of it. Fed up with surprises, they head back to the attic find a way to the hidden stair, but the house prevents them from entering. They do manage to find the murdered remains of the nursemaid. A cameo around her neck with a picture of Gustav suggests a secret relationship.

Te party open a broom closet and are attacked by an animated broom that must be the Steven Seagal of animated brooms. It somehow takes out both paladins before being stopped. Battered but not beaten a few of them don suits of display armour. Suitably protected, they seek out and discover the hidden room in the library. A fresh corpse riddled with poison darts lies face down in an open chest, it’s secrets waiting to be uncovered….

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tomvinegar

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