|Cobblethwaite's Companions Stand Nervously Outside The Secret Door They Have Just Opened...|
(Battle Mat sheet courtesy of one of +Peter Regan's great Kickstarters)
Although only moments had passed since the puzzle had been solved and the secret door revealed in the subterranean store room, it felt like months by the time the members of Cobblethwaite's Companions took their next breath.
A treasure room was revealed and the nest of skeletons within were quickly dispatched, before the party could inspect the shelf of strange objects.
Kirchin (Pete's character) took the fancy-looking sword hilt; Harry (Simon's character) the wristband with a target painted on, which shrank to fit his arm when he tried it on; Holly (Erica's character) the doorknob (which was later discovered to have the power to unlock any locked door); Davian (Kevin's character) the gaudy skull ring of mysterious metal; and Marigold (Clare's character), the bird beak whistle and the copper rod with a live tentacle wrapped around it.
The suit of fine plate mail that stood in the centre of the room they agreed to return for later.
Around this time, they realised that their team mage, Peter Entwhistle, had disappeared and he was found a short ways away, lying face-down in a pool of his own blood and covered in bite marks.
Magical healing didn't do much and he drifted in and out of consciousness. Marigold then gave his a draught of the 'Joy Juice' she had found earlier in the wine cellar. This had the effect of getting the old mage drunk so suddenly he could barely crawl.
Thankfully the next room they explored contained a rough cot and the party let Entwhsitle rest there, while they continued their hunt for the missing boy, Kennet (son of Dundraville's publican Bothwell).
Once again, the dusty environs played merry havoc with Harry's vocal chords and after a while he found he could no longer belt out his morale-boosting tunes.
After a short scuffle with a pair of ghouls found scavenging in the old kitchen - and blocking the 'ghoul hole' in the wall with an overturned table - our heroes came upon a large study room, with a desk, broken chair and shelves.
Some philosophy books (a couple written by the building's former owner Jerol of Jirrey) were found, along with an enormous (four foot cubed) book of poetry and, locked away in the desk drawer, a pornographic novel with magically animated illustrations and sound effects! Marigold pocketed that ("To keep it out of the hands of children!")
Beyond this was a lavish, fur-strewn bedroom, where Harry spotted a secret doorway slightly ajar.
While he and Kirchin investigated this, Marigold went back to check on Peter - only to be ambushed by a giant, ferocious creature they seemed to step out of the shadows.
It easily broke through the magical web Marigold cast at him, but Davian had heard her cries and come running.
Everyone stood their ground and eventually the 'snark' was felled.
With the monster dead, the party resumed their investigation of the secret tunnel beyond the bedroom.
It turned out that it led down to a crypt, where they found the terrified Kennet hiding. The party were rather suspicious that he might be some kind of shapeshifter or otherwise unknown monster, but the story he told of his coming into the house on a dare, then getting lost, tallied with what they knew.
Mission accomplished, the party decided to take Kennet back to his father, rest up in Dundraville, then return to the 'haunted house' on a more loot-driven exploration.
- Davian (Kevin)
- Harry (Simon)
- Holly (Erica)
- Kirchin (Pete)
- Marigold (Clare)