Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shadowfall Manor

This adventure is Part III of Flight of the Bumblebee, originally run at the Lucca Games 2013 convention. Click here for Part II, Windstone TowerGive the players the handouts showing outside views of the manor, and read them the text printed in brown.

From the Outside: Shadowfall is of a square design, 50’x50’ at the base, with a tower dominating its northeastern corner. A six-foot-tall outside wall featuring an ornate wrought-iron gate encloses the domain. On the house’s north side lies a small cemetery. The surrounding yard looks somewhat neglected, with weeds overgrowing what once was an elegant garden with topiaries and flowerbeds. A small statue smudged with bird droppings stands in a pool now filled with dead leaves. A gravel path leads from the gate to a set of double doors in the manor’s southeastern corner; a wooden awning keeps in the shadows an open gallery just above. A terrace on the third floor partially surrounds the tower. Judging from the windows, the gray and black, Gothic-style manor stands six levels high, including a peaked roof on the tower. All windows are heavily barred. Heavy in the day’s gloom, clouds run steadily to the south, chased by the hills’ cold bluster. A murder of crows caw in the distance.

The manor’s walls are built mostly of stone, while floors and roofs are made of wood. A chimney conduit near the N-E. corner leads from the ground floor to the tower’s roof. A creature the size of a cat could get through this opening. Unless listed otherwise, window panes are colored and hard to see through from the outside. Windows can be opened from the inside. Most rooms have one or more windows. For simplicity, they will not be mentioned in the individual room descriptions that follow, unless players ask about them. Levitating incorporeal spheres provide a faint and sallow lighting in windowless rooms. There are no mirrors in the house. Secret doors reset themselves within a few rounds of being opened. A bell from a grandfather clock somewhere in the manor tolls every hour.

Approaching the Manor: Since Moriluna did not hear back from the Heldannic commander, she remains cautious, expecting unwanted visitors. The domestic staff was sent to their quarters, a large, thatch-roofed cottage, a few minutes up the dirt road leading to Shadowfall. In their place, various folk have been summoned to defend the manor, mostly evil mystics and a few monsters she’d charmed earlier. If the party simply land the Bumblebee in sight of the manor or just walk up the front gate, everyone inside will be expecting a battle. If the party make some effort to approach unseen from surrounding woods, defenders will be rubbing their hands at what seems to be a milk run, giving the party a chance to surprise them as they explore the manor. Once alerted, defenders adopt hit-and-run tactics as much as possible. The best line of approach is to scale the manor’s south side to its open terrace (Level 3, Area 16) since there are only two windows facing that way. Astute observation ought to inform the players of this option.

Moriluna: she starts the session in the Reading Room (Area 17), sitting by a chandelier, with a book. The glow from the chandelier inside the room can be seen through the windows. The truth about Moriluna is that she isn’t Moriluna at all. The one bearing this name, the original lady of the manor, was "magic-jarred" fifty years earlier by a jealous and vengeful nosferatu rival, Synistra, who coveted her husband’s affection, Sir Morianel. He’d resisted the nosferatu’s charming gaze, leading the creature to cast her dreaded spell to impersonate his wife.

The husband passed away several years ago, and the "widowed" nosferatu continued her charade in search of someone else’s affection. Sir Morianel now lies buried in the family cemetery, outside the manor house. Synistra later met Belsaphet, at a wizards’ convention in the Isle of Dawn, a fatal encounter for the old sage as it were. While "unpossessed," Moriluna is a cleric of Tarastia. While in Moriluna’s body, the nosferatu may cast her own wizard spells but otherwise remains limited by her host’s body. During this time, she has the following game statistics:

Moriluna (possessed): AC2, F4, hp 18, MV120/40’, AT1 dagger or spell, Dmg 1d4+2 or by spell, ML8, Save F4+4; St14, In17, Wi9, Dx16, Co13, Ch18, AL C.
  • Special Abilities (while possessed): cast spells as MU9 (see Synistra’s spells); immune to sleep, charm, hold, paralysis, and poison.
  • Equipment: ring of invisibility, dagger +1, leather corset +2, lipstick of protection +4 (duration: 1d4+1 hours when worn; 3 doses left inside the golden tube in her pouch).
  • Appearance: blond, shoulder-length curly hair, blue eyes, about forty, wears a red robe, a dagger at her waist, and pouch (with a silver key inside).

Moriluna (unpossessed): AC2, C4, hp 18, MV120/40’, AT1 battleaxe or spell, Dmg 1d8+2 or by spell, ML8, Save C4+4; St14, In10, Wi17, Dx16, Co13, Ch18, AL L. All other data as above. Her battleaxe +1 is hidden in a secret wall compartment (Area 17).

Magic Jar: the lady of the house carries a set of keys to the manor’s locks. Among them is a magical silver key, which is the nosferatu’s "magic jar." It also unlocks the way to Synistra’s grave (see Area 20). This key contains Moriluna’s life force and radiates an aura when magic is detected. If a dispel magic is cast successfully upon either the key or Moriluna, the spell is broken—the real Moriluna awakes while Synistra returns to her nosferatu body in Area 20. If freed from the spell, Moriluna only remembers confronting Synistra about her repeated attempts to seduce her husband (after which the nosferatu charmed her and cast the magic jar spell). If the key is destroyed, whomever’s life force lies within is destroyed. If Moriluna’s body is killed, Synistra’s soul returns to the key, and Moriluna’s life force is destroyed. If the nosferatu’s life force is trapped within the key, she will bide her time until:
  1. The party discuss destroying the key or use it to enter Area 21, in which cast Synistra returns to her nosferatu body inside the coffin, and escapes in gaseous form to continue the fight.
  2. The party is in trouble while fighting her hirelings, in which case she attempts to magic jar one of the players’ character.
Odds of destroying Synistra’s life force while it rests inside the key are slim. A player character would have to unexpectedly cast a spell or take some action to destroy the key without warning. Even then, it might come down to initiative. If Synistra is fastest, she returns to her body in Area 20.

Synistra: as a nosferatu, she may dwell in sunlight but does not possess the vampire’s normal level-draining ability. She had piping built in the walls, allowing her to escape while in gaseous form anywhere in the manor (roll 1d20+1 if random). The time needed to reach the location is equal to the highest room number minus the lowest divided by two (rounded up), for example escaping from Room 12 to 20 should take four rounds). If she’s badly wounded, Synistra escapes to Area 21. The pipes’ openings are usually concealed in the rooms’ decoration, in the shadows, behind furniture, etc.

Synistra (as the nosferatu): AC0, HD9**, hp 80, MV120/40’/150’(50’), AT1, Dmg 1d4 bite or by weapon or by spell, ML8, Save F9+2; St16, In17, Wi9, Dx16, Co n/a, Ch18, AL C.
  • Special Abilities: cast spells as MU9, charm gaze (-2 penalty to save); regenerates 3 hp/round, +1 or better weapon to hit; immune to sleep, charm, hold, paralysis, and poison; takes half-damage from electrical and cold-based attacks; can change at will into gaseous form, a bat at night, or a raven during daylight hours; summon animals once per day (3-18 giant bats indoors or 2-8 dire wolves outdoors, all arriving in 2-12 rounds).
  • Equipment: ring of protection +2, dagger +2, wand of paralyzation (3 charges left, 30’x10’ cone, save vs. wands or be paralyzed for 6 game turns).
  • Spells Memorized/Spellbook: 1. magic missile x3; 2. detect invisible, ESP*, phantasmal force; 3. clairvoyance, dispel magic, hold person*; 4. charm monster, dimension door; 5. magic jar.
  • Appearance: tall, pale skin, long black hair, in her 40s, suave, wears black lace.
Synistra can be Turned as a vampire (a cleric’s Turning attempt requires a minimum score of 9 to succeed). If she’s Turned, she becomes gaseous and flees to her coffin in Area 21. Since her body wasn’t harmed, she can leave her coffin anytime after a number of game turns equal to the cleric dice roll when Turning Synastra (six game turns = 1 hour). She cannot be Turned while possessing Moriluna’s body.

Mystics of the Ebon Temple: Synistra has acquired the loyalty of a small community of evil Ethengarian mystics dwelling in the woods, not too far from Shadowfall. She uses them as bodyguards when she expects trouble. Given unlimited time, the party could wait aboard the Bumblebee, well out of sight and out of reach, until they return to their temple a few days later. Otherwise, they will defend the manor to the best of their abilities. Typically, they ambush intruders (with Synistra somewhere behind them, withdrawing to safety after casting one or two spells).

Mystic: AC6, HD4, hp 12-16, MV150’(50’), AT1, Dmg 1d6+1 or by weapon, ML8 or 10, Save F4, Int12, Dex14, AL C. Special Abilities: awareness, heal self, move silently 35%, hide in shadows, 24%, climb walls 90%; acrobatic checks: d% roll vs. 3xDex + 2xLvl (50%). Equipment: bo stick or light crossbows; roll 1d4: 1-2. one smoke bomb/party (20’x20’ area for 1d4+1 rounds), 3. one blast bomb/party (2d6+2 damage 20’x20’ area, save for half damage), 4. one flash bomb/party (20’x20’ area, blinds for 1d4+1 rounds, save vs. spell neg.). Appearance: brown robes, shaven heads.

Mystic Leader: AC3, HD7, hp 35, MV180’(60’), AT2, Dmg 1d10+2/1d10+2, ML12, Save F6, Int12, Dex17, AL C. Special Abilities: awareness, heal self, speak with animals, can strike creatures requiring +1 or better weapon; move silently 48%, hide in shadows, 35%, climb walls 93%, acrobatic checks 65%. Equipment: steel claws +1. Appearance: black robe, shaven head.

Mapping Standards: all maps are rendered at a 10’ per square scale. For mapping simplicity/clarity whenever the DM describes a room, the first dimension given refers to an east-west wall, and the next to a north-south wall. Ceilings are about 12’ high, stairways and most doorways are 5’ wide. Stairs are straight and angled steeply.

Map Key

1. Gravel Path (skip this area if the party approaches from another direction): As you advance along the 20’-wide path, gravel crunches under your boots. You see a silhouette moving briefly past a window, up in the manor’s tower.

This silhouette is Moriluna in the Reading Room (Area 17). She heads downstairs to alert her bodyguards. Two mystics with crossbows are hiding in shadows on the terrace above the front door (Area 10).

2. Cemetery: A 50’x30’ cemetery occupies a part of the surrounding yard just north of the house. A wrought-iron fence encloses the plot, with a little over a dozen graves and a small marble mausoleum.

The mausoleum, if inspected, shows the following inscription on the door: Sir Morianel, loving husband, AC910-AC991, Rest in Peace.

The door is locked. The surrounding graves contain the still-rotting corpses of previous family members (names scratched off). They should have "dried away" a long time ago, were it not for Synistra’s presence. They lie dormant in the dirt until summoned or blessed. Though nicely embalmed, Morianel remains dead. Synistra did not love him enough to keep him at her side for all eternity, and felt it poor taste to turn him into a zombie. An old and rusty key can be found on Morianel’s corpse. Its bow is in the shape of a two-headed axe. It unlocks the shrine of Tarastia (see Area 20 for details about the key itself).
If Synistra (as herself or as Moriluna) comes here, she can summon a few zombies from the graves and order them through the secret passage to the Main Hall (Area 4).

Zombies (4): AC8, HD2, hp 13-16, MV90’(30’), AT1, Dmg 1d8 or by weapon, ML12, Save F1, Int1, AL C. Special Abilities: immune to sleep, charm, hold, paralysis, and poison. Appearance: in need of a nose job and better threads.

3. Foyer: four floating spheres near the ceiling bathe the chamber in a faint, sallow glow. Smooth black and white tiles cover the floor of this 20’x30’ room. A staircase in the S-W. corner leads to the next floor up. Double doors stand in the middle of the north and east walls. A single door also opens in the west wall. A mural painting covers the north wall, depicting a lady in a red robe and a lord in fancy gold armor standing on either sides of the doors.

Another door opens just past the staircase, into a 10’x5’ cloakroom (Area 3a). The painting depicts Moriluna and Morianel. A group of mystics occupy the adjacent room (Area 8). Any noise in the Foyer will alert them of the party’s presence. If they expected intruders, Synistra will be with them. Hinges on the double doors to the north have been removed. If someone pulls on the iron rings to open them, the doors crash into the Foyer, thundering loudly and crushing everyone in the immediately adjacent 10’x10’ area for 2d6pts of damage. A successful find traps will inform a thief of the imminent danger.

4. Main Hall: a large tapestry covers the north wall of this 30’x30’ chamber. A banquet table surrounded with ornate chairs stands before it. Double doors open in the south wall. Another door stands in the west wall, near the S-W. corner. Light filters in through a window on the east side. Two stone pillars are located between the table and the double doors. An unlit fireplace occupies the N-E. corner.

A slit in the tapestry enables access to the door in the north wall. A narrow space between the tapestry and that wall allows someone to stand there, unseen from the main hall, watching through small holes. A few mystics may hide there, armed with crossbows if intruders were expected. A secret passage, with which they are familiar, leads to the cemetery outside (Area 2).

5. Privies: the earthy nature of the effluvia suffusing the air in this 10’x10’ chamber should amply inform a visitor of its intended usage. A wooden lid covers a cabinet-like seat against the north wall, behind a partially pulled privacy curtain. Next to it stand a porte-manteau and a pedestal with a washbasin, a water pitcher, and folded towels. A glowing sphere floats near the ceiling.

This part of the manor isn’t as solidly built as the rest and may be breached with an axe or a metal bar.

6. Kitchen: A large table stands in the middle of this 20’x20’ chamber, next to a metal stove, masonry oven, and water well in the corners. Shelves with kitchen- and tableware cover the walls, next to wooden cupboards. Save for a window in the western wall, doors open through the other three sides.

If they haven’t been alerted yet, mystics stand at the ready in the adjacent chamber (see Area 8 to the south). An old and dusty scroll lies on one of the shelves, listing the following items: "carrots, turnips, apples, parsley, onions, flour, honey, garlic." A locked cupboard contains about 300gp-worth of silverware, porcelain dishes, vermeil cups, and fine linen. If someone searches the bottom of the well, a rusty key lies there. Its bow is in the shape of a two-headed axe (see Area 20 for details about this key).

7. Pantry: this 20’x10’ chamber is filled with shelves bearing common victuals, a well-stocked wine rack, and an ornate silver flagon.

The pantry’s door is trapped. If not disarmed, the mechanism fills the kitchen with sleeping gas during the next round (save vs. poison or sleep for 1d4 game turns). The silver flagon is a perfect match to the one in Windstone Tower. It is a magical item enchanted to preserve its contents so that they remain exactly as they were when poured in. This magically locked flagon (requiring a knock spell to open) contains fresh blood of good Boldavian provenance, saved in the event Synistra needs sustenance. The flagon contains 10 measures of blood, each healing any vampire or nosferatu 1d8 hit points. As an alternate development, Synistra may attempt to surreptitiously swap the two flagons, especially if she finds out about the PCs’ intentions and the party left the other flagon on the Bumblebee.

8. Service Room: save for a window in the western wall, doors open through the other three. [If the occupants haven’t been encountered yet or surprised by the party:] Sitting or huddling around a table at the center of the 20’x20’ chamber, a group of people in brown robes and with shaven heads stare back at you. They jump to their feet and charge in your direction.

Mystics can be surprised only with a roll of 1 on a d6. The number encountered should be commensurate with the party’s strength (1 to 1 for a party level 7, 1 to 1 plus 2 for a party level 8, 1 to 1 plus 4 for a party level 9). Mystics who cannot confront intruders directly will circle round adjacent rooms to the party’s back if possible. Moriluna will be present only if intruders were seen coming. If the fight goes badly for the mystics and their bomb hasn’t been used, they retreat to an adjacent room and toss the device to cover their retreat.

This chamber is where normal domestic staff gathers during the day. Armoires and shelves hold staff uniforms, sheets, blankets, and various tools of their trade. The door to the south is locked. Both Moriluna and the mystics’ leader (Area 12) have a key.

9. Upper Stairs Landing: stairs from the lower level lead to this 20’x20’ chamber. Aside from a window in the south, doors stand in the other three walls. A narrow window allows a look out to the east. In the N-E. corner stand three automatons, one with a harpsichord, one with a flute, and another with violin. Amid the clicking and whirring of mechanical gears, they begin turning their heads toward you.

The automatons begin playing as soon as someone enters this chamber. If the party wins an initiative roll and casts a silence spell upon the automatons, mystics in the adjacent rooms (Areas 10 and 12), do not react. Unless the party was seen coming, the door to the east is locked.

10. Lower Eastern Gallery: this 10’x20’ terrace overlooks the gravel path to the manor’s front door. A wooden awning protects the area from the weather and keeps it shadowy.

Two mystics with crossbows hide in the shadows (24% chance of success) here if the party was seen approaching. They can shoot bolts at the intruders walking down the manor’s gravel path. If their foes mean to reach them, the two mystics unlatch wooden panels secured beneath the awning, let them swing down, and lock them in place. Arrow slits still enable bolts to be shot through if anyone is still in sight. If the party approached the manor safely, then no one stands in this area and the door is locked.

11. Guest Chamber: this pleasant chamber provides a four-poster-bed with a red velvet canopy adorned with golden tassels, and a black fur cover. A chest lies on the N-E. corner. On either sides of the window opposite from the entrance stand a small table with a chair and a wooden armoire. A mural painting on the south wall, behind the bed depicts a lord in fancy gold armor confronting a man with two sharp fangs, red glowing eyes, a hooked nose, and pointed ears.

The armoire and chest are empty as no guests are presently visiting. The painting represents Morianel slaying a vampire. It was unfortunate for him and his wife they never understood Synistra’s real nature when they invited her into their house.

12. Guest Lounge: this 30’x30’ chamber contains a number of armchairs over a large central rug. The glowing embers of a fireplace in the N-E. corner cast a warm reddish hue upon the room. A grandfather clock against the north wall slowly ticks away. [If the occupants haven’t been encountered yet or are surprised by the party:] a group of people in brown robes and shaven heads turn to face you, getting ready for battle. Among them, one in a black robe, utters a few words in a foreign language, to which his companions respond with a sharp bellow.

Mystics can be surprised only with a roll of 1 on a d6. The number encountered should be commensurate with the party’s strength (1 to 1 for a party level 7, 1 to 1 plus 2 for a party level 8, 1 to 1 plus 4 for a party level 9). In addition to this, their leader is with them, along with any other mystics who retreated from previous battles. Moriluna/Synistra will be present here only if intruders were seen coming. If she’s in Area 17, she can reach Area 12 in 3 rounds (25% chance). She comes down to Area 12a. She can cast one or two spells through a slit in the door, and then retreat upstairs.

13. Guest Chamber: this pleasant chamber provides a four-poster-bed with a blue velvet canopy adorned with silver tassels, and a white fur cover. A chest lies on the N-E. corner. On either sides of the window opposite from the entrance stand a small table with a chair and a wooden armoire. A mural painting on the south wall, behind the bed, depicts a woman in a red robe bowing before a most serene figure in black plate armor and carrying a headman’s axe. Two narrow windows enable a view to the north.

The armoire and chest are empty as no guests are presently visiting. The party may determine who the serene figure in the painting is with an Intelligence check. It represents Moriluna praying to the Immortal Tarastia, patroness of justice and revenge (a most lawful immortal). She favors those who have been wronged. Players may recognize her from the locket found in Area 23 of  Windstone Tower.

14. Lower Northern Gallery: this 20’x10’ terrace overlooks the cemetery’s west side. A wooden awning protects the area from the weather and keeps it shadowy.

Two mystics with crossbows hide in the shadows here at all times (24% chance of success). They can shoot bolts at the intruders searching the cemetery (Area 2). If their foes mean to reach them, the two mystics unlatch wooden panels secured beneath the awning, let them swing down, and lock them in place. Arrow slits still enable bolts to be shot through if anyone is still in sight. If the mystics leave this spot for any reason, the door remains locked.

15. Moriluna’s Chamber: this 30’x30’ room provides all the amenities of a fine bed chamber. A four-poster bed with a black velvet canopy, red tassels, and golden silk cover lies in the northern end of the room, past a bear rug. An ornate brass tub occupies the area next to a window on the east side. A fire crackles softly in a small fireplace in the N-E. corner. Two stone pillars stand near the staircase in the south, with a 5’x3’ armoire between them. Two small windows flank a door in the west wall.

If Moriluna/Synistra is here, she will stand at the corner of the northern stairwell. If a foe appears at the door or the southern stairwell, she will cast a spell and retreat to the next floor up. If the party reached this chamber without being seen, for example through the outside terrace (Area 16), then initiative must be resolved normally. If the alarm had already been raised, then Synistra will be ready and have the initiative when someone steps into her bedchamber. The stairs on the south side connect with Area 12 on the floor below, while the stairs in the north connect with Area 17 on the floor above.

Synistra, through Moriluna’s possessed persona, uses this bed chamber to share her intimacy with unsuspecting suitors. Moriluna is, after all, a very-good-looking and well-sought-after widow. The nosferatu uses her host to attract such people. During their sleep, she returns to her undead form, dispatches the suitor, and casts a new magic jar upon Moriluna before she wakes up. Host or guest have occasionally awakened at an inopportune time, but Synistra’s wand of paralyzation has so far solved that problem effectively.

For the specific purpose of dealing with the party, Synistra has brought additional help to defend this room, including two ghouls and one elder ghoul under her control as their undead liege. They hide in Areas 15a, 15b, and in the free standing armoire, waiting to pounce on anyone entering the room. These spaces also contain shoes, hats, veils, gloves, coats, robes, blouses, tunics, etc. So when the undead emerge wearing these items, their true nature remains briefly concealed.

Ghouls (2): AC6, HD2*, hp 15 & 16, MV90’(30’), #AT 2 claws/1 bite, Dmg 1d3/1d3/1d3+ paralysis, ML9, Save F2, Int3, AL C. Special Abilities: immune to sleep, charm, hold, paralysis, and poison; paralyzing touch (save vs. paralysis neg.). Appearance: ugly and yet perfectly ridiculous; just don’t lift their veils.

Elder Ghoul: AC5, HD5**, hp 35, MV90’(30’), #AT 2 claws/1 bite, Dmg 1d4/1d4/1d6 + paralysis, ML11, Save F4, Int12, AL C. Special Abilities: immune to sleep, charm, hold, paralysis, and poison; paralyzing touch (save vs. paralysis neg.); green aura expands 5’ radius/round incurring a –2 penalty to attacks and damage rolls (save vs. spells neg.) Appearance: even more hideous and preposterous in Synistra’s dominatrix outfit.

16. Outside Terrace: 10’ across from the parapet, this open terrace borders the manor’s tower on its west and south sides. A door and two small windows stand in the tower’s west wall. A wooden awning partially protects the terrace. On the next floor up, a covered gallery borders the tower in the same manner. The hooting of owls can be heard somewhere on the terrace.

Synistra charmed three owlbears and fed them potions of invisibility. They chat with each other a lot, so their constant hooting may not be cause for alarm inside the manor. They stand at each ends of the terrace (N, SW, and E), remaining invisible until they score a successful attack. If Synistra is in Areas 15 or 17, she has a 25% chance of hearing a fight taking place on the terrace. If so, she will quietly move to the Middle Gallery (Area 18) which overlooks the terrace, cast one or two spells from there, and retreat to the Reading Room (Area 17), locking the door behind her.

Confused Owlbears (3): AC5, HD5, hp 28-32, MV120’(40’), #AT 2 claws/1 bite, Dmg 1d8/1d8/1d8, ML9, Save F3, Int2, AL N. Special Abilities: bear hug for an additional 2d8pts of damage if both paws hit.

17. Reading Room: a small glowing sphere hovers above a leather-padded armchair in the S-E. corner of this 20’x20’ room. Needlework mounted on a tripod stands next to the armchair. Books cram the shelves covering most of the walls. A stairwell along the north wall leads to the floor below. A door and a window stand in the west wall.

If the party have already defeated the mystics defending the manor (Areas 8 and 12 below), Moriluna/Synestra is likely in this room, ready to make her stand. Otherwise, she will dimension door to Area 12 and await the party there.

A secret panel behind the armchair opens on a duo-dimensional space similar to a bag of holding. It contains what’s left of Moriluna’s wealth, valuables left there by Synistra, and Belsaphet’s head, now slowly mummifying. This panel is magically locked. A detect magic spell will reveal the outline of a hand. It requires Moriluna’s touch or her late husband’s to open, regardless of whether they are dead, in separate pieces, or have long since turned into desiccated husks. Asking Synistra nicely for her hand won’t do either, though she might appreciate the offer.

Among the valuables secured in the magical space are 3,000gp in gems and other jewelry, a potion of super-healing, a ring of holiness, a +1 battleaxe (if Moriluna didn’t already retrieve it), a large jar of good and wholesome Boldavian dirt, Belsaphet’s head mounted on a black ceramic vase and topped with a large red candle, and a circlet of Tarastia.

The circlet of Tarastia, when worn by anyone of Lawful alignment enables its owner to bring to life the statue of Tarastia standing in the alcove outside (see Area 18) and control her every gestures up to a range of 360’. The user can clearly see through the statue’s eyes. If the statue comes within 20’ of Synistra, Tarastia takes control of the construct and seeks to literally beat the devil out of the nosferatu’s host with the flat of its battleaxe. Each successful hit prevents the undead from turning gaseous for 1d4+1 rounds. In this instance, if Moriluna is reduced to zero hit points, Synistra’s spell is broken and her life force returns to the undead body in her coffin (Area 20). At this point, Tarastia relinquishes her control of the statue. After Moriluna is healed, and the situation explained to her, she will eventually ask for that circlet back. If Moriluna is already dead, the statue will only seek to slay Synistra, after which it breaks apart.

Statue of Tarastia: AC0, HD8, hp 60, MV90’(30’), #AT 1, Dmg 1d8+3, ML12, Save F8, Int12, AL L. Special Abilities: immune to sleep, charm, hold, paralysis, fire-based attacks, and poison; protection from evil 15’ radius; half-damage from edged or piercing weapons.

18. Middle Gallery: a wooden awning protects this 10’-wide shadowy gallery. It borders the tower on its west and south sides. A door and a narrow window stand in the tower’s west wall. A staircase along the south wall leads to the floor above.

A one-way force field protects this gallery from outside visitors. A dispel magic has a 25% chance of temporarily knocking it down (1d4+1 rounds). It enables spells and objects to cross out but not in. Stairs along the south wall lead up to Area 19. An alcove occupies the space beneath the stairs, with a statue of the Immortal Tarastia standing in it (see Areas 13 and 17 for additional details). The statue’s body and battleaxe seem to have been carved from obsidian. It is immune to damage while in the alcove (returning it there repairs 1 point of damage per game turn).

19. Upper Gallery [seen from outside]: creeping ivy covers this part of the wall, extending to the wooden awnings just above and below. [Seen from inside]: creeping ivy hangs from the awning above, with little light filtering through the leaves into this 10’x5’ gallery. A small window and a door stand in the wall.

Stairs lead to the gallery below (Area 18). The ivy isn’t what it appears to be. It attacks everyone on the gallery or on the awnings if someone touches the door, the window, or the ivy itself. The ivy does not react to either Moriluna or Synistra.

Strangle Vine: AC5, hp 8 per sq. ft., MV0’, #AT 1, Dmg 1d4/round, ML12, Save NM, Int0, AL N. Special Abilities: save vs. paralysis or become entangled and incur 1d4pts of damage per round; those entangled can hack at the vine with a –4 penalty to attack rolls; any 8pts of damage to the vine clear an area 1 square foot large; a burning torch will keep the vines at bay; half-damage from blunt weapons.

20. Synistra’s Grave [depending on which key is used, the door opens onto a different chamber]:

Non-Magical Key: this 20’x20’ room harbors an altar against the west wall, with two tall everburning candles aglow. On the altar rests a black rose.

Synistra’s Magical Key: this 20’x’20 room harbors a black marble dais and an ebon coffin on top, with a tall everburning candle on each side. A white rose rests on the coffin.

The door to this chamber is enchanted and heavily reinforced. Any damage inflicted upon the door harms the attacker instead. Both of the rooms described above occupy the same space, somewhat like two dimensional planes on different wavelengths. Picking its lock or using magic to get past the door is equivalent to using a non-magical key, as is breaking through windows or merely peering through the colored glass panes.

The non-magical key, somewhat rusty now, can be found in Morianel’s grave. It is one of two keys he and his wife used to visit their shrine prior to Synistra’s intrusion into their lives. The other, Moriluna’s, was tossed into the kitchen’s well (Area 6) soon after her husband’s death.

The black rose is a permanent illusion cast by Synistra veiling the altar and what lies on it. It will radiate both evil and magic if spells are cast to detect them. The illusion cannot be dispelled or removed by touching it, however, it remains insubstantial. One’s hand would go right through the rose and feel what lies beneath: a black headman’s axe (+2 battleaxe of slicing). Morianel used it as the shrine’s holy symbol. Neither Synistra nor Moriluna while she’s possessed can touch it, even indirectly, or order minions to do so. When wielding this axe, an attack roll of 19 or 20 (counting the +2 modifier), requires the target to save vs. death ray or be stricken dead; if the saving throw succeeds, the target still suffers 3d8pts of damage plus all other modifiers. The weapon’s special talent can only be used against undead and major criminals.

Moriluna now carries Synistra’s silver key. The nosferatu assumed that whoever defeated Moriluna would want to know what this key opened, and naturally, would bring it back to the nosferatu. If the silver key comes to Moriluna’s attention after she’s been freed of Synistra’s magic jar, she will be aware that it is a duplicate or her own key, though one made of silver, and she will want to find out why it was made. All three keys’ bows comes in the shape of a two-handed axe’s head.

The white rose on the coffin is poisonous. Anyone touching it must save vs. poison or become catatonic for a month. The coffin is the resting place for the nosferatu’s body. If Synistra returned to this area of her own free will, she remains in gaseous form just outside the vines (Area 19). She will quietly materialize and attack the last member of the party. If she was forcibly returned to her coffin (i.e. the party have already defeated her while in her true undead form) she will lie there, wholly unable to defend herself while she regenerates. This process will require until the next sunset. Beheading her or driving a wooden stake through her unbeating heart (preferably both) will destroy the nosferatu. Synistra’s spellbook is concealed inside her coffin’s lid.

A trapdoor concealed in the shrine’s ceiling leads to the attic.

21. Attic: dust and cobwebs fill this otherwise empty 20’x20’ space.

The attic’s floor is enchanted and will radiate magic if such is detected. The floor dimension doors anyone stepping onto it 360’ away in a random direction, 60’ above the ground (no save). This area can be reached through a concealed trapdoor in the ceiling of Tarastia’s shrine just below (see Area 20) or by breaking through the roof. The attic is empty.

This concludes Part Three. The next installment will provide a summary of game statistics and pre-generated character sheets.

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