Chapter 08: Return to the House of Horror

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Session Number: 51
Date: Wednesday 26 May 2010
Venue: Alain's
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr7 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal8 (Craig) (kills: none)
Shalélu (DM) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz8 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

The group solemnly continue towards a cavern that Jakardros describes and find it without difficulty. Rowaine spends her remaining curative magic on the rangers. Arrian beckons Kaven over and casts two Cure spells, then all his healing orisons on Vale.

Shalélu and Troll look for firewood with the remaining Discs and hunt.

"If we give you weapons," says Arrian, "can we trust you?"

"I suppose you can…" answers Jakardros.

"You are not sure?"

"It depends who you are, and for which reason you have saved us… But I will not strike someone who is not able to move."

Rowaine intercedes. "Jakardros, do I have your word that we can trust you?"

"Yes…" begins Jakardros. "We are Black Arrow rangers. If you are not evil creatures, you can trust us. We learn to be cautious, evil does not always take the form you think."

"Wise words," replies Rowaine. "But I am forgetting my manners, you must be starving." She starts pulling out rations and then hands Jakardros her imithrium dagger. "Keep it - it's yours."

Troll and Shalélu return with Discs laden with firewood, but did not find anything for food.

Troll draws using Nolzur's Marvellous Pigments, using the "Taking 10" rule. He makes a longbow and studded leather for Jakardros, a battle axe, hand axe and studded leather for Vale, two short swords and studded leather for Kaven, and a replacement shortbow for Rowaine. He casts his eyes out at the night sky and also draws five cots and blankets. And a barrel containing two cubic feet of beer.

"The Grolls don't have many options," muses Jakardros. "Leave, or stay and wait for you."

Jakardros did not know about the Groll lair. It is not a part of the wood that they patrolled often, because they focused on the Kreegs. He cannot believe that they could be so close to Fort Rannick without being detected. He wonders whether they moved there just before the Kreegs attacked, to cut off any retreat.

"It's vital that Jakardros and the others get rest," says Rowaine to her friends. "They've been through a lot. Jakardros, Vale, Kaven, consider yourselves off watch duty tonight. Get some rest."

"Tomorrow, we kill us some witch, says Troll.

Jakardros raises his one visible eyebrow. "You are going back?"

"I don't want them at our backs," states Rowaine. "And some of your brothers may still be alive."

"What will you do about Fort Rannick?"

"Our first priority is to find our friend," says Rowaine, "and the next is to restore Fort Rannick into its proper hands. My hope is that we can rescue your allies from the Grolls and we can count on them to aid us in our plans for Fort Rannick."

"Maybe some of the rangers got away," thinks Troll. "Should we look for them in the area?"

"Not before we deal with the Grolls," Rowaine answers.

"Be cautious," Jakardros warns. "They will probably be waiting for you - or they might have left the area."

"Let's go in invisibly and set fire to everything!" Troll says with obvious excitement.

"The rangers, Troll," reminds Rowaine.

  • 3 suits of armour: 9 cubic feet
  • 5 weapons: 5 cubic feet
  • 1 barrel of beer: 2 cubic feet
  • 5 cots and blankets: 15 cubic feet
  • Nolzur's Marvellous Pigments: Priceless

During the night those on watch hear the sound of drums coming from the south, in the direction of Fort Rannick. The cavern's mouth is at the bottom of a southward valley leading up into mountains. The morning comes and the rangers look in much better shape. Rowaine, Arrian and Troll perform their morning rituals and prepare spells. They notice that Jakardros seems to do the same. Arrian's strength is back and he expends a couple of healing spells to bring him closer to full health.

Shalélu goes out, looking for breakfast. Troll follows her. He tells her that he is impressed and learns that she is too.

"What are your plans?" asks Troll.

"I suppose it would depend," answers Shalélu. "I wanted to be a Black Arrow, but now… I am not sure if they will exist much longer… If there are only these three left, I'm not sure they can hold Fort Rannick."

Troll lets Shalélu know that he is in the market for a henchman (henchperson?), asking her to consider it as an option. Shalélu says she will, but needs to know more about Troll before she can decide. Troll talks casually about some of his adventures, omitting any reference to Elondel. He talks about being an outcast.

"Me too," says Shalélu. "Ah, but I told you that."

"Maybe one day I'll tell you why."

"The same for me."

Shalélu and Troll return with breakfast - a brace of rabbits. She skillfully skins and cooks the animals, serving Troll first.

Rowaine calls for Harley and is overjoyed at her return. Harley has fully recovered. Troll uses the pigments to create two leather harnesses to strap onto his Discs.

Troll casts two lesser Discs, one for Arrian & Shalélu, the other for the three rangers. He then fastens the harnesses to the Discs and tests them. Rowaine and Troll climb atop Harley and the group leave the cavern.

White smoke curls upwards in the distance. The group head towards the Groll's house and disembark about a half mile away. "Maybe I should go first," says Shalélu. "Yes," agrees Rowaine, "but not alone. Jakardros, will you go with her?" He agrees.

Arrian casts Hide from Undead on all but Harley. Shalélu and Jakardros leave, noisily. They angle in so the slight breeze is in their face. They return a half hour later. They spotted no sentries, but saw ten dogs loose in the clearing. The barn is a smoking ruin and the corpses they left there yesterday are gone. There are two entrances to the house - the front door that faces the barn, and a door in the left wall under the porch. They could not detect any signs of life from the house, although they could not get very close because of the dogs. There were no fresh tracks leading to or from the dwelling. All move closer, to within 400 yards of the house.

Rowaine instructs Harley to Tremorsense in the vicinity of the house and barn. They leave, having to dive deep to avoid the many tree roots. At one point Harley becomes tense. On their return Harley says there is something in the lower part of the house that has some connection with earth. It doesn't seem to move much above ground, but Harley sensed something moving beneath it. She sensed light movement elsewhere under the house - around ten quadrupeds.

Nothing that is alive saw Harley - that we know of. Troll remembers that necromancers can pick the brains of those that are dead - perhaps even literally!

Troll casts Invisibility on himself, then summons a Greater Floating Disc. Arrian casts Bull's Strength and Eagle's Splendour on Rowaine, then Magic Circle centred upon himself. He finishes with an Aid spell on Jakardros.

Troll climbs on his Greater Disc and flies invisibly towards the house. Moments later, Arrian and Rowaine travel underground on Harley. They surface in the courtyard and the dogs go beserk. They take care not to get too close to the huge stone canine, but jump about, barking madly. Harley growls back, a deep-pitched gravelly rumble.

Troll hovers above the house's front gable. The front door is closed. Rowaine Detects Evil at the house - nothing. Troll Acidic Splatters the front door lock. It dissolves and the door swings inwards. Arrian casts Sanctuary on himself. Troll casts Spider Climb. The rangers arrange themselves by the front door, looking outwards at the dogs. Troll climbs down the wall and through the door. Rowaine casts Bless.


The room through the front door appears to be a kitchen. It is dominated by a large table in the centre and a fireplace on the left of the far wall. It smells awful in here, so much so it is difficult to breathe. There are candles on the table and a pot with a bloody mass inside, including human-sized fingers and toes. Large flies and thumbsized cockroaches are everywhere.

Arrian dismounts and goes in. He looks for traps and anything hidden, concentrating on the floor and doors. He finds nothing. Troll casts Detect Magic - nothing.

Rowaine dismounts and follows Arrian, Detecting Evil in all directions. She senses evil ahead and below floor level. The dogs outside are still barking, but will not approach the house with Harley guarding the door. Troll moves away from the far door. Shalélu remains outside, bow ready, restraining her urge to shoot. She decides to let the dogs live.

Rowaine stands in front of far door and kicks it in. She briefly sees a large room with a heavy table surrounded by many chairs. Ther is a click and a swoosh, then three blades swing towards her. Booooof, the blades pierce her and then the mass of the swingarm sends her flying backwards into the table. Her armour is badly scratched. Arrian immediately spontaneously casts his highest-level Cure spell and some of Rowaine's wounds heal over.

Jakardros appraises Rowaine. "Good armour."

Rowaine leads the way through the trapped door into what looks like a dining room. Grinning bleached skulls crown the back of the chairs. The table is dressed with a tablecloth made from human leather. A rotting human head serves as the table's centrepiece. The smell of putrefying flesh hangs heavy in the air. Rowaine overturns the table in outrage and disgust. "Troll," asks Rowaine, "open me a new door please." Troll burns through the wooden wall. Shalélu covers with her bow. A hole opens, revealling a corridor. almost opposite is a set of stairs leading up. Rowaine Detects Evil again in all directions and senses evil from a number of sources in roughly the same place. The group turn left down the corridor, Arrian staying close to Rowaine. At the top of the stairs is a landing with a wall that indicates it turns shortly after. The corridor continues then turns right, ending at a door.

Arrian checks the door for traps and finds none. Troll makes another hole in the right wall beside the door. The rangers cover the other doors with Harley close as Rowaine peers through the hole. It is dark inside, Rowaine's sunrod lights up a small room full of clothes and jars - perhaps an internal closet. There is a closed, outward-opening door on the left wall that lets in some light. Arrian looks for traps and trapdoors - nothing. Rowaine opens the door and sees a large chamber with a huge bed and chair. There are no other exits.

Back in the corridor, Troll cuts another hole to the left. They enter and see a lounge-like area - couches covered in human leather, a fireplace, and an animal skin on the floor. Troll makes another acid hole near the stairs but it's solid wood. The group backtrack down the corridor and Troll Acidic Splatters the wall just past the stairs. Arrian enters and checks for traps. There are two holes in the floor in the room beyond. It smells like a very badly kept latrine.

The group return to the dining room and Troll attacks the right-hand wall with Acid. Beyond is an open room with sparse furniture that the party figure is the evil equivalent of a nursery. Horrible toys lie strewn on the floor - a rattle made from a human skull, dolls made from bones. Crude paintings are fixed to the walls representing headless horses, devils, a black reptilian monster with tentacles protruding from its back. Various sized skulls sit on a bookshelf. Troll cuts a hole through the wall near their entry point. The square room beyond has a small bed. Fetishes lie on it - ugly things made from human leather, straw, twigs and bones.

Troll cuts a hole in centre of the wall near the kitchen and finds stairs leading down.

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