|Lorghoth the Decayer, painted for Simon by Paul Deacon|
After resting, and squabbling loudly over some mysterious items that had appeared in everyone's backpacks (but turned out to be non-magical), we resumed our exploration of the tunnels under the Durst's "Death House".
With Pete away in Manchester, because of work, we played his character - the halfing rogue Rufus - by committee.
Still bombarded by the constant eerie chanting, we came upon a shrine with a statue to a gaunt, noble, figure in a robe holding out a crystal ball. The impetuous elf K'ao jumped forward and tapped the sphere - releasing five spectral figures from the floor around her.
Ragar the cleric drove three off with his spiritual determination, while we dispatched the others before making short work of the cowering shades in the corner of the room.
Behind the statue K'ao had spotted a secret door, which led to a short staircase up to a trapdoor beneath the entrance hall of the Death House.
Heading in a different direction we came upon a closed door that Rufus went ahead to open - only to become ensnared in a gelatinous creature mimicking the appearance of a wooden door!
Syr Edvard struggled to try and extricate the halfling (cue lots of tittering about "pulling off the hobbit"), while Dolly and K'ao battled the creature. Rufus worked his way free, allowing Syr Edvard to step in and land the killing blow.
Behind the actual door was a bedroom that the party began to systemically search, with Syr Edvard coming upon a chest full of various treasures.
|Fighting the Dursts (represented by the black and white dice)|
However, with their attention on the loot, the party didn't see the two ghoulish forms emerging from hidden alcoves: the undead forms of Gustav and Elisabeth Durst.
Again, the combat was swift and decisive, with the Dursts falling under the blades and magic of the party.
The group then decided it was time to venture down the staircase they had found to the lower level of the "dungeon".
As the group came down the stairs, the ever-present chanting changed its awful message and got louder.
Our heroes emerged in a large ante-chamber, surrounded by niches which held 13 different horrible tokens (a desiccated halfling head; bone knife; demon head pendant etc) , which we decided to leave well enough alone.
After glancing in on a corridor of empty cells, our attention was drawn to a heavy portcullis blocking a short corridor that was partially submerged in stagnant water.
Suddenly the chanting stopped...
Syr Edvard tried to force open the portcullis and failed, then Dolly joined him, and finally Ragar. Together the three forced open the barrier into a large room, where a raised area - surrounded a man-made lake - held a sacrificial altar.
The far end of the room was a rough cave containing a pile of, what appeared to be, household rubbish and refuse.
Entering the room caused 13 ghostly figures in capes to appear round the edges of the room, insubstantial and immune to our attacks, chanting "one must die" again, on repeat.
The chanting changed, declaring the creature's name to be Lorghoth the Decayer.
And giving Simon a chance to bust out the magnificent figure of a shambling mound he had purchased, and got painted professionally, for just this occasion. There was much oohhing and aahhing!
The battle did not go particularly well for the heroes. Dolly Spartan, almost immediately, got sucked into the suffocating bosom of the beast, as it lashed out with flailing pseudopods, striking heroes at random.
The group slowly wore the "boss monster" down, but at great cost.
Even with the magical cape of protection he had found in the treasure haul upstairs, Syr Edvard took a severe battering and collapsed.
Rufus had been peppering The Decayer with arrows throughout the conflict, and managed to score the hit that finally sent the creature to Hell (much to both the delight and chagrin of his fellow adventurers).
With the defeat of the shambling mound, the spectral cultists dissipated, and the party was left alone with their thoughts and wounds, and an unfamiliar silence.
Syr Edvard never recovered from his injuries and died on the stone cold floor, next to the lifeless body of Dolly that had tumbled from the rotting corpse of the garbage mound monster.
The party had lost its two fighters.
Or had it???
Remembering The Departed:
As Ragar focused his thoughts on preparing the bodies of his fallen comrades for a proper funeral, Rufus volunteered to check them again for any signs of life (which seemed to involve slipping his tricksy little hobbit fingers into pockets, money pouches, and backpacks).
Suddenly both Dolly and Syr Edvard sat up, coughing, and blinking at the light.
Syr Edvard's ordeal had left him hideously scarred down his left arm, while Dolly clearly still had some of Lorghoth's spores in her lungs for, as she coughed, it appeared to Rufus that a wisp of smoke was coming out of her mouth.
By some dark sorcery the warriors live again!!!
To be continued...
The Tuesday Knights:
- DUNGEON MASTER - Simon
- Rufus Longhole - Pete (absent)
- K'ao - Erica
- Dolly Spartan - Clare
- Ragar - Kevin
- Syr Edvard of House Dobbin - Me
A taste of things to come:
A fan trailer for the D&D campaign, Curse of Strahd.