Empire of the Ghouls Session 11 – The Arborstone

In our 11th session, we continued with the Warlock Lair, the Garden of Shade and Shadows by Brian Suskind, as a side trek. Here’s the write up which contains spoilers for the campaign. 

8th Redleaf, 92 FY 

The party battle the manor’s former servants – now zombies – in the ballroom. After taking care of the undead, they enter the sitting room. Bubbles takes an ornamental longsword down from the wall; Louthin straps it onto his swordbelt. 

Next, the characters head into the library where they are attacked by a sigilian and four inklings – strange constructs that lurk inside books. They destroy the creatures and search the room; Penumbra finds a book containing some rare shadow spells. Meanwhile The Gears tries to pull one of the shadow-filled portrait frames off the wall with his mage hand, and then slashes it with his scimitar. Neither tactic works. 

Low on resources, the adventurers withdraw outside to the gardens for a long rest. They are attacked on Zygmunt’s watch by vampire thralls. Tulip is killed. 

9th Redleaf

Zygmunt holds a funeral ceremony for Tulip as the rest of the party bury her in the gardens. 

Back inside the manor, Bubbles is grabbed by shadow hands from a portrait, and takes 34 hp cold damage! The party enter the study. Penumbra finds some notes on the Arborstone but they are written in code and she can’t figure them out. The others find a wand of magic detection and a potion of greater healing. Bubbles drinks her potion of cold resistance to protect her from the shadow being inside the portraits. This is just as well as she is attacked again in the hallway. Louthin drinks his potion too. 

Lord Mazar by Phil Stone

In the Dining Hall, Lord Mazar, now an umbral vampire, welcomes the characters, offering them the chance to serve as his Shade Knights. The Gears tries to turn him, but only succeeds on sending Mazar into a rage. The vampire summons shrouds and orphans of the black from the portraits, then vanishes.  The orphans incite violence in the characters, encouraging them to attack their comrades. The Gears’ resentment at having to carry Zygmunt’s lantern in his mage hand boils over, and he blasts the paladin with sacred flame

Once the Lords “children” have been destroyed, The Gears breaks down the door to the kitchen where the cook, Rozalia, has barricaded herself in. When Penumbra and Zygmunt calm her down, she tells the party that the Arborstone is in the garden maze behind the manor. There is an altar there to Yarila and Porevit where it will be easier to destroy the stone.

The characters enter the maze and are attacked repeatedly by Lord Mazar who strikes from the hedges with surprise. The Gears uses his mage hand to grab the Arborstone from its pedestal and carry it to the altar, but he comes under attack from Lord Mazar. Everything goes dark, making glaivework a risky business. When the dim light returns, The Gears smashes the stone to smithereens with his spiritual weapon. Lord Mazar shrieks in agony as his shadowy body implodes. The party have won!

Main image by Phil Stone

Published by richgreen01

D&D gamer | Freelance game designer | Writer & publisher – Parsantium: City at the Crossroads

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