Dragons in the Dark

S1E11: Mildred!!!

 

Tags: H.A. A.B. E.B. S.B. E.C. L.C. Aranna Weaver, Astrologer Ser Aust Booker, Knight Lane Weaver, Soldier Selina Milos, Assassin Slane Milos, Charlton Shorin Milos, Lower Noble Wrenn Milos, Apostle Raw Skull, Wildling Squidward Tentacles, Hedge Wizard The Waking of Willowby Hall OSR Ben Milton


The Milos siblings – Selina Milos (EC), Slane Milos (LC), and Shorin Milos (EB) – are in Gnamph Nar, and catch sight of Wrenn (SB), their adopted brother, who is biologically a Booker, and worked for the Weavers… and Squidward Tentacles (HA), a degenerate gambling hedge wizard. They join The Snack Club. Later, Norah, their banker, hands them a letter:

Dear Selina, Slane, and Shorin,

I’ll be the first to admit, we parted ways in the utmost unagreeable terms, leaving our family sundered. It was most regrettable. However, it was not my place to argue nor go against our father’s wishes when our family fortune was bequeathed solely upon my shoulders to burden. But I believe it is the right decision. In order to preserve and further the capital ventures of the Milos names, it would not make profitable sense to quarter our wealth in the name of fairness. Please understand, I carry the Milos fortune as a heavy filial responsibility.

However, I can understand your struggle with the small allowance conveyed by our family trust. As such, I have recently come across a timely sale of Willowby Hall near the foothills of Ool Krut. As you may recall, Willowby Hall was where father oft took us to summer, to get away from the streets of Lankhmar. I purchased the property and have placed your names, Selina, Slane, and Shorin on the title deed. It is yours. I’m deeply apologetic I cannot do more.

In your service, Jarrod Milos

Wow. What a huge, sniveling, trash of a human being this Jarrod is. Everyone hates Jarrod. Nevertheless, a free house is a free house.

It’s a three day journey to Ool Krut. On their way there, they see a hungry ragged girl who asks if she can tag along until they get to Kvarch Nar. The entire party is reluctant to let this happen. It feels, smells and looks like a trap. But nobody has the heart to tell her to shove off. Later, the Snack Club bump into a different adventuring party, a fighter, thief and wizard along with six retainers. Immediately the girl screams for help and claims she was kidnapped by the Snack Club. Wrenn and Selina manage to convince the other party the girl is crazy. The other party leaves, the Snack Club abandon the girl in the streets outside Kvarch Nar.

From Kvarch Nar, they journey to Ool Hrusp. On the way there, they’re ambushed by Dolmenwood Drunes again. Aranna Weaver (AJ, played by EB) spots one, shoots at him. Selina blows on her hunting horn, summons a hound, finds another in the trees. Squidward casts entangle on him. Wrenn slashes the captured drune. Lane Weaver (AB, played by SB) casts fireball, pumped up by Slane’s silver-tongue. It causes massive damage. All the Dolmenwood Drunes are crispy nuggets. Shorin realizes that eventually, they’ll need to keep one of these guys alive to get clues (or loot them). Lane casts wall of elements… a 40x40’ wall of water to put out the forest fire. Smokey Bear is proud of Lane.

In Ool Hrusp, Wrenn hires a henchperson by the name of Poggy to carry his stuff. Shorin tries on this bent silver ring. It bumps his CON up one, but there’s a minor curse attached to it as well. (He doesn’t know what it is yet). Slane finds out his copper ring is cursed. Doesn’t put it on. And from Ool Hrusp, the Snack Club travel to Ool Krut. As they leave the city and travel north towards Willowby Hall, two woodsmen are running the other way screaming, “Giant!!!”. Selina and Shorin attempt to chase him down for more clues and the woodsman just keep shouting “giant” and “run”.

The Snack Club carefully sneak closer to the Milos’ former summer vacation home…

Spoilers ahead for Ben Milton’s “The Waking of Willowby Hall” (OSR)

The Snack Club head to an open field where Willowby Hall stands, and stomping around the grounds is a giant, thirty feet tall, swinging a church bell and peeking through the manor’s windows shouting, “MILDRED!!! Give me back my MILDRED!!!” Selina, brave soul, walks up and attempts to talk to the giant. The giant stomps his foot on Selina. Fortunately, she leaps out of harm’s way, avoiding fatal damage, but nevertheless, severely hurt.

Shorin pulls the party back and starts to sing his Song of Rest to heal everyone. The giant shouts, “loud human music!!” and swings his bell down on the entire Snack Club. Everyone is badly hurt now. They hide further in the woods. They wait a bit, not knowing what to do. The giant, fortunately moves to the north end of the building giving the Snack Club their opportunity to run inside the house.

The Milos siblings then ask me if they remember the layout of the house from their childhood. They do. I hand them maps of Willowby Manor. The Snack Club then spends a good twenty minutes arguing who gets whose room. They notice that Jarrod has the biggest bedroom next to their parents. Again, jerkwad. They tell Wrenn that because he’s adopted, he can sleep in the servant’s quarters. At one point the Milos siblings roll dice to see how old they are so they can determine who gets Jarrod’s big bedroom. Slane is 34. Shorin and Selina are 22. I check out after a while, because who gets what bedroom is not relevant to the game.

AB shows up and takes back control of Lane Weaver. We have to retcon the fact that he has placed his beloved (and expensive) magic longsword in the vaults of Lankhmar because he would rather swing a one-handed sword and have his other free hand to cast spells. (Like Witcher on Netflix! Highly recommend!)

And we’re in dungeon crawl mode now.

The Unfriendly Giant

The Snack Club explores the Great Hall, notices a black candle on the chandelier. They split up. Some go to the dining room, see an imposing portrait of a black bearded man. Squidward finds an old wand underneath a chair. It shoots lightning bolts. Shorin heads into the breakfast room, there’s ivy everywhere, the window is broken. Caught in the ivy is the crushed armored skeleton. Shorin pulls off his gauntlet to find a gold ring. He puts that ring on as well. Suddenly, Lane Weaver thinks Shorin is a higher social ranking.

Meanwhile, Lane is walking upstairs, downstairs. Into the dining room, back to the great hall, and back into the dining room. I have no idea what he’s doing. But during this entire time, he’s asking the party how they can kill the giant. The Snack Club keeps telling him it’s no good. So Lane spends the entire time grumbling and complaining that “nothing’s happening” in this adventure. He repeats whatever Wrenn and Shorin says in that annoying playground mocking tone.

Meanwhile, Selina, Aranna, and Slane are exploring elsewhere. They come across a sitting room with a harpsichord, a smoking room. Nobody goes upstairs. Selina climbs up the chimney of the kitchen fireplace and finds a secret laboratory. Doesn’t do anything. Shimmies back down.

I keep rolling anything but the 1s and 2s on a d6 that would create fun random encounters and moving the giant to another part of the house.

Shorin and Aust wander into the kitchen, then the pantry. Shorin climbs up the rickety shelves, falls, and… takes four damage. And because he’s so low on health from getting smashed by a giant church bell from earlier… Shorin dies, his dead body laying on top of Aust. This is quite possibly the most absurd death in our entire campaign. Death by falling shelves.

EB rolls up a new character, a wildling by the name of Raw Skull who was caught and toured around like a freak show years ago until Lane Weaver freed him. Raw Skull can only talk in mono- and two-syllable words and three-word sentences. Lane is his “only friend”. If you’ve seen Night at the Museum 3 and recall Ben Stiller’s caveman counterpart, you have a good sense of who Raw Skull is. Anyway, to keep the game moving, Lane Weaver dimension door/retcons him in. Raw Skull is big, and dumb, and really strong. He gives Lane a big bear hug and crushes him for 2 damage. This will be the recurring gag for Raw Skull.

At one point, Slane is exploring a tapestry room when the giant smashes the room to pieces, almost killing Slane. Slane laments that he can’t die and has to survive at least more than one session. And at this point, Lane finally convinces everyone they need to dimension door the heck out of here. His spell, however, is only good enough to get himself and Slane out of here. Lane and Slane, like some sort of 70s pop-singer duet. Everyone else just smashes windows and starts running where the giant can’t see them.

Ool Krut, Lankhmar, and No Ombrulsk?

In Ool Krut, everyone rests up for a full week to regain all their lost HP. Slane shops for a brigandine armor. Lane sells his spyglass. Slane throws away his cursed copper ring.

Wrenn and Squidward decide they must get Lane to dimension door them to Lankhmar to visit Benson so they can all learn dimension door themselves as well. They get Slane to give Lane his silver-tongue compliments to bump his casting. The portal is wide enough to take Lane and six others. There’s absolutely no reason to bring six other people with him when only two people wanted to travel there, but nevertheless, everyone in the Snack Club except Selina, Aranna and Aust travel all the way to Lankhmar.

Benson tells them it will take a week to properly train them. So now, seven of the Snack Club are staying in Lankhmar, paying for hotel costs so that… two of them can learn one spell. This doesn’t seem very efficient. Meanwhile, Selina, Aust and Aranna are doing what in Ool Krut? At one point, Raw Skull and Slane want enchanted weapons as well, and Lane is like, fine, I’ll dimension door you guys to No-Ombrulsk as well… when he remembers he had stuck his magic sword in the Wyrmskull vault. So now, Raw Skull has a magic sword. He also buys some expensive plate armor.

Meanwhile, Selina remembers my “Playing RPGs to Win” post and decides to ask around for more information about Mildred. No information. She decides to go through townhall records. That’s when she overhears a few townsfolk gossiping about a few important clues:

  1. A few townsfolk saw three adventurers running towards Willowby Hall with pet goose named Mildred.
  2. Mildred, they suspect, is the rumored goose who lays golden eggs and belongs to the cloud giant, Bonebreaker Tom
  3. In the townhall records, Selina learns that her parents had sold their summer home to an eccentric wizard named Elias Fenwick, he notably has a black beard
  4. Elias Fenwick disappeared years ago, and since then, Willowby Hall has acted a little strange. Most likely haunted.
  5. Townsfolk stay away from Willowby Hall because of that.
  6. Finally, the church bell Tom is swinging is from the Church of Saint Olvard, foe of the undead. The people of Ool Krut would really like that back because it keeps the undead away from their city.

So now the Snack Club have spent two full weeks resting and powering up. They travel back to Willowby Hall. Lane thinks it would be a great idea to dimension door back to a room they’ve already been in, but his spell is not very powerful and can only take himself and one other. He takes Raw Skull with him.

The rest of the Snack Club have to walk to Willowby Hall like peasants.

Lane and Raw Skull climb up the chimney in the kitchen, but as they get up there, a taxidermied owlbear is waiting for them in the secret alchemy lab. He claws at Lane. Lane takes damage, and falls on Raw Skull. At this point, Lane Weaver doesn’t have a lot of health left. He dimension doors out of there, abandoning Raw Skull. Lane is out of the adventure to rest up. AB now takes over Aranna Weaver.

Willowby Hall Part Deux

The rest of the Snack Club arrive at Willowby Hall. Fortunately, the giant is wandering behind the house, so they all rush in. Inside the hall, they notice that several of the pillars in the great hall are now cracked.

More dungeon crawling. Slane finds a tomb room, cracks up the graves and finds four skeletal remains all with interesting armor on them. But LC is tying his shoe and completely ignores what I read out. So now nobody remembers what the armor is.

They make it upstairs. Raw Skull meets a blackjack playing ghost in the servants quarters. Not being very smart, he sits down to wager with the ghost. Somehow, he wins himself a pair of very lux riding boots. They arrive at the art gallery and see diamond-shaped panes of glass (it’s a clue that refers to the dining room portrait). They find a museum and see mummified body parts. Wrenn and Squidward find Helmut Halfsword hiding in the stairs. It’s the fighter they had bumped into when they were first traveling to Ool Krut.

Helmut explains that he’s been trapped in this house for two weeks now. They had stolen the giant’s goose, him and two of his party. He wants nothing but to get out of this house safely. Both Wrenn and Squidward cast dimension door to help him out, but both fail. So now Helmut has joined the party. They eventually bump into Slane wandering through the art gallery.

And that’s when craziness occurs. There’s a sarcophagus in the middle of the museum, the lid slides off, crashes and a death knight appears. He attacks Aust and Selina. Meanwhile, Squidward, Wrenn, Helmut, and Slane are attacked by the taxidermied owlbear. Both fights are loud. The giant is moving around the house looking for the noise so he can get his goose back. He moves to the museum side, sees Aust and Selina fighting the death knight. Aranna is in there too now, but imprisoned in a bone prison cast by the death knight. The giant reaches in, grabs Aranna and squeezes her. Aranna struggles and squirms, rolls a nat 20 and gets out. Everyone runs out of the museum in different directions.

The other party cuts down the taxidermied owlbear after Squirdward cast entangle on it.

Back to exploration of the house. Selina and Aust come across a mirror and see a black bearded man – the same one from the portrait in the dining room – going about his day and trying on jackets. It’s most likely Elias Fenwick. Raw Skull has gone back to the museum to explore after both the giant and death knight has left. Slane is in the hallways on the eastern part of the house. And Aranna, Wrenn, Poggy, Helmut, and Squidward have wandered into the library.

The books are reading themselves in muffled voices. And then they leap off the shelves and argue about how to organize themselves on the shelves. They’re hopping around. Wrenn picks up a few and sees that most of them are books about highly niche, esoteric topics on botany, astronomy, and the like… impossible to read for the layperson. But he spots an odd red book bouncing about, catches it, and sees that it’s the private journals of Elias Fenwick. The back of the book has alchemy circles similar to the ones on the floor of the secret laboratory.

/end session

The Snack Club’s Portfolio

Stored in Wyrmskull Vault
(Deposited Year of the Worm, Month of the Eagle, Day of the Fox)

  • 19 Ice Necklaces x 200gp = 3,800gp
  • 12 Ice Jewels x 150gp = 1,800gp
  • 9 Chests of Gold = 3,689gp
  • Chest of Gold from Hole in Oak = 1994gp
  • 5 Opal x 200gp =1,000gp
  • 1 Ruby x 800gp = 800 gp

End-of-Month Interest: (137gp)

SUBTOTAL: 12,946gp

Hidden Cache in Great Forest b/w Mlurg Nar & Gnamph Nar
610gp

TOTAL: 13,556gp

Chekhov’s Ticking Time Bombs

NEW

  • The Snack Club continues to blow up the Dolmenwood Drunes and not get clues. Oh well.
  • What is up with Willowby Hall?

OLD

  • Thork may be dead, but his wife Aranna isn’t. Her inheritance? 800gp of debt to the cult of Loki.
  • Emma Frog is dead, but her infamous mass prison break in Ilthmar will have consequences.
  • The Redclaws are allied with the Dolmenwood Drunes and HQ at Redclaw Castle

DM Notes to Myself

The Waking of Willowby Hall was actually nominated for an ENnie this past week… for “best adventure”. (“ENnies” are the Oscars of the RPG world). I can see why. This adventure is full of fun interactive elements, a ticking countdown clock where the giant smashes the house and danger escalates, a runaway goose, three trapped heroes. It’s a lot of fun. Highly recommend.