file000754002172Grab the popcorn. Your party is about to descend into the bowels of White Rose Manor for the thrilling conclusion to The Lady of White Rose Manor. Does your party stand a chance? Can the characters survive? Or will Lady Ilinca bleed them dry? Let’s find out. Roll initiative…!

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Part Three: The Cellar

cellar

(Cartography by Dyson Logos: Fantasy RPG Cartography by Dyson Logos.)

B1. The Feeding Chamber

A stairwell cut from the stone ascends in one corner of the room. Three doors exit the chamber. One, a slab of dark wood, is covered with intricate carvings of roses in various states of bloom, the handle carved into a thorny stem. The second door, opposite the stairs, has a five-foot-tall mirror attached to it and an iron, bolted latch keeping it closed. The third door is a simple wooden one with an identical latch to the second. A long, low cushioned bench stands in the center of the room. In front of the bench, a wooden table bears an unlit candelabra and a bowl of fresh fruit.

This is where Ilinca does most of her feeding these days. She pulls her latest captive from B2, leads them to the couch, and drains them. Occasionally, she lets them eat something first if they haven’t been too annoying.

B2. The Cell

This chamber is unfurnished and utterly featureless with the exception of dark stains here and there around the seam of the door.

The cell currently holds Ghenadie, a cartwright from a neighboring village who was knocked unconscious by the burgher while sharing a drink and brought here yesterday. When conscious, he is in excruciating pain due to having his right eye torn from his head the night before by the creature in  B3. He remembers little of the event since it occurred entirely in the dark of the Area B1. If freed, he makes his way to the nearby home of a friend to rest until it is safe for him to return to his home village.

B3.  Wine Cellar

A ceiling-high, wooden rack holds a dozen barrels along the wall opposite the single door into this room. The faint odor of spoiled meat taints the air here, and a pile of rubbish molders in one corner.

This room is guarded by an exotic “pet” given to Ilinca by her guest, Vasili, last evening. It was first unleashed on Ghenadie for Ilinca’s amusement and then placed here.

Horakh

Resembling a cave cricket the size of a dog, this beast wraps its victim in spiny legs and claws when it attacks. A horakh’s black, chitinous thorax is topped by a translucent digestive sac—often containing half-digested eyeballs of varying sizes, colors, and species.

Leaping Claws. Insectoid killing machines with a penchant for consuming their victim’s eyes, the bloodthirsty horakhs travel in small packs and make lightning-fast attacks against the weak or vulnerable. Their powerful rear legs enable enormous bounding leaps, while the sharp hooks at the end of their powerful claws help them to climb and latch onto prey. Heads dominated by scooped mandibles that can shoot forward like pistons, shearing meat from bone.

Leaping Screech. When attacking, a horakh leaps from its hiding spots while making a deafening screech. Horakhs are highly mobile on the battlefield. If threatened, horakhs return to the shadows to attack from a more advantageous position.

Herd the Blinded. After blinding their prey, horakh often herd the blind like sheep until they are ready to consume them and even use them as bait to capture other creatures. Many an explorer has been ambushed, blinded, and condemned to death in the bowels of the earth by these predators.

HORAKH

Medium monstrosity, neutral
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 161 (19d8 + 76)
Speed 40 ft., climb 30 ft.

 

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
18 (+4) 19 (+4) 19 (+4) 8 (–1) 15 (+2) 10 (+0)

Saving Throws Dex +12
Skills Athletics +8, Perception +6, Stealth +8
Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 30 ft., passive Perception 20
Languages understands Undercommon
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Shadow Stealth. A horakh can hide as a bonus action if it’s in dim light or darkness.
Standing Leap. As part of its movement, the horakh can jump up to 20 feet horizontally and 10 feet vertically, with or without a running start.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The horakh makes two claw attacks and one bite attack.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (4d8 + 4) slashing damage. If the bite attack hits a target that’s grappled by the horakh, the target must make a successful DC 16 Dexterity saving throw or one of its eyes is bitten out. A creature with just one remaining eye has disadvantage on ranged attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight. If both (or all) eyes are lost, the target is blinded. The regenerate spell and comparable magic can restore lost eyes. Also see Implant Egg, below.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (3d8 + 4) piercing damage. If both attacks hit the same Medium or smaller target in a single turn, the target is grappled (escape DC 14).
Implant Egg. If a horakh’s bite attack reduces a grappled creature to 0 hit points, or it bites a target that’s already at 0 hit points, it implants an egg in the creature’s eye socket. The deposited egg grows for 2 weeks before hatching. If the implanted victim is still alive, it loses 1d2 Constitution every 24 hours and has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks. After the first week, the victim is incapacitated and blinded. When the egg hatches after 2 weeks, an immature horakh erupts from the victim’s head, causing 1d10 bludgeoning, 1d10 piercing, and 1d10 slashing damage. A lesser restoration spell can kill the egg during its incubation.

SECRET DOOR. The secret door to Area B4 is neither trapped nor locked and consists of a single slab of stone. The door is opened by pushing the bottom in until the top tips outward and then grabbing the edge and pulling it free of the doorway altogether. This requires a DC 20 Strength check. Failure may result (25% chance) in the slab falling outward toward the creature making the check. Avoiding the falling slab requires a DC 15 Dexterity check to avoid taking 13 (3d8) bludgeoning damage.

The door cracks in half if it falls to the floor, making quite a loud noise and alerting the lich hound in Area B6 and prompting Ghenadie in B2 to begin screaming for help.

B4. Secret Nook

This concealed area is roughly three feet tall, six feet wide, and three feet deep. Within sits a long, low, ironbound trunk.

The trunk is neither locked nor trapped and contains the following items: blue velvet drawstring bag containing 18 bloodmarks, lacquered wooden case with a slotted interior holding 500 gold pieces, blue clay jar containing 3 doses of keoghtom’s ointment, clear glass vial containing a potion of poison, rib from a horse covered in etchings which functions as a scroll of phantom steed, and a bag of holding.

B5. Dressing Room

Three wardrobes line the walls of this octagonal room, and the center of the floor is covered in a rug woven with a border of intertwined rose stems and leaves surrounding a single white rose bloom. A large mirror stretches from floor to ceiling near the stairs. Across the room from the stairs, another door stands closed.

If they haven’t already responded to noise or someone triggering the trap in Area 2, a pair of lich hounds stand in the center of the room, waiting for intruders. They attack immediately. Audible combat in this room draws the attention of Ilinca, but she will not enter the room until her lich hounds are killed, expecting them to be victorious and not wishing to risk herself.

Lich Hound

Their howls echoing from another plane, lich hounds always arrive wreathed in mist. Half bone, half purple fire, they are creatures of hunger and the hunt. Nothing makes them happier than taking down creatures larger than themselves—or racing through the air to catch a surprised bat in mid-flight. All cruelty and fang, lich hounds are only happy when praised by their great undead lords.

Fiery Bones. Bright white skulls with a heavy jaw and thick, robust skeletal bodies define the ferocious lich hounds. Their eyes burn green or blue, and their tongues resemble black fire. Fueled by necromantic power, these creatures are loyal servants of either ghoul high priests or liches.

Echoing Howls. Even on their own, lich hounds are relentless hunters, pursuing their prey with powerful senses and a keen ability to find the living wherever they may hide. Lich hound howls fade into and out of normal hearing, with strangely shifted pitch and echoes.

Murdered Celestials. The dark process of creating a lich hound involves a perverse ritual of first summoning a celestial canine and binding it to the material plane. The hound’s future master then murders the trapped beast. Only then can the creature be animated in all its unholy glory. Hound archons have long been outraged by the creation of lich hounds, and they occasionally band together to rid the world of those who practice this particular dark magic.

LICH HOUND

Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 119 (14d8 + 56)
Speed 30 ft., fly 50 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10 (+0) 18 (+4) 18 (+4) 6 (–2) 10 (+0) 16 (+3)

Saving Throws Dex +4, Con +4, Cha +3
Skills Acrobatics +6, Perception +4
Damage Resistance piercing and bludgeoning from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned Senses blindsight 100 ft., passive Perception 14 Languages understands Darakhul
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Keen Hearing and Smell. The lich hound has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.

Actions

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d12 + 4) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Ethereal Jaunt. As a bonus action, the lich hound can magically shift from the Material Plane to the Ethereal Plane, or vice versa.
Gut Rip. As a bonus action, the lich hound tears into any adjacent prone creature, inflicting 19 (3d12) slashing damage. The target must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be incapacitated for 1d4 rounds. An incapacitated creature repeats the saving throw at the end of each of its turns; a successful save ends the condition early.
Howl. The eerie howl of lich hounds as they close in on their prey plays havoc on the morale of living creatures that hear it. Howling requires and action, and creatures that hear the howl of a lich hound within 100 feet must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 5 rounds. Creatures that successfully save against this effect cannot be affected by a lich hound’s howl for 24 hours.

Treasure. The wardrobes contain a number of fine dresses whose total value comes to 175 gold pieces.

B6. Crypt

Rough stone steps descend to a cavern that forks in two directions. In one direction, a cavern lined with the shelves of a funerary catacomb extends into darkness. In the other, the passage expands into a wider cavern.

If the sun has set or sufficient noise has been made, Ilinca will be here, awake and ready to fight like a cornered animal. If the PCs have been stealthy in their approach, she will be resting in a casket on one of the shelves in the corridor.

VAMPIRE SPAWN

Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 82 (11d8 + 33)
Speed 30ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
16 (+3) 16 (+3) 16 (+3) 11 (+0) 10 (+0) 12 (+1)

Saving Throws Dex +6, Wis +3
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +6
Damage Resistances necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from non magical weapons
Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 13
Languages the languages it knew in life
Challenge 5 (1 ,800 XP)

Regeneration. The vampire regains 10 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point and isn’t in sun light or running water. If the vampire takes radiant damage or damage from holy water, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the vampire’s next turn.
Spider Climb. The vampire can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
Vampire Weaknesses. The vampire has the following flaws:

Forbiddance. The vampire can’t enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.
Harmed by Running Water. The vampire takes 20 acid damage when it ends its turn in running water.
Stake to the Heart. The vampire is destroyed if a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into its heart while it is incapacitated in its resting place.
Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The vampire takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sun light. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.

Actions

Multiattack. The vampire makes two attacks, only one of which can be a bite attack.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 8 (2d4 + 3) slashing damage. Instead of dealing damage, the vampire can grapple the target (escape DC 13).
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one willing creature, or a creature that is grappled by the vampire, incapacitated, or restrained. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the vampire regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.

B7. Natural Cavern

A nameless beggar ghoul crouches here behind a boulder, surrounded by the cracked and gnawed bones of humans. This is the butler of the manor, gifted to Alinca some time ago by the Blood Lord. He will not assist Lady Ilinca when she is attacked, and he will not act to defend himself. He has spent the last several days marshalling what little willpower he maintains in order to control his urges and find a way to end his miserable existence, and he considers the arrival of the PCs the answer to his unspoken prayers. He begs for death, and in exchange, he tells the PCs about the hidden places in Area 5 and Area B4 if they haven’t already discovered them. He can also tell the PCs anything they want to know about the other inhabitants of the manor, though he is in a bit of a hurry to die before he loses control and attacks someone.

Ghoul, Beggar

This emaciated, gray husk of a creature wears rags and picks hungrily at a sliver of bone. It moves in a crouch so low that it’s almost crawling, but its eyes glow like flickering coals and it exudes a desperate ferocity with each raspy, rot-fouled breath.

Lesser Ghouls. Most citizens of the ghoul empire are not darakhul but lesser strains of ghouls and ghasts. Beggar ghouls are by far the weakest of these. Though they make up the majority of any military action involving the legions, they are employed as fodder, and the most wretched of them are barely suitable even for that. They eke out miserable livings by scrounging for food near the surface or by begging in the ghoul cities.

Withered and Deprived. Thin and emaciated even for undead, beggar ghouls are shriveled versions of their standard cousins—little more than flesh-covered skeletons. While some beggar ghouls spend their entire existence in undeath as this weak strain, at least a few were once stronger ghouls who withered when they were trapped far from sources of flesh.

Others were exiled from the empire without the resources to fend for themselves.

BEGGAR GHOUL

Medium undead, chaotic evil
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 13 (3d8)
Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10 (+0) 15 (+2) 10 (+0) 12 (+1) 11 (+0) 14 (+2)

Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages Undercommon
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Pack Tactics. The beggar ghoul has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one other allied beggar ghoul is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.
Savage Hunger. A beggar ghoul that hits with its bite attack against a creature that hasn’t acted yet in this combat scores a critical hit.

ACTIONS

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) piercing damage.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) slashing damage. If the target is a creature other than an elf or undead, it must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. A paralyzed target repeats the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Conclusion

If the PCs escape with the bloodmarks and get them to their benefactor, their mission is a success. The children, already in the care of the priestess, are saved and spirited away far from Morgau, and their father will dedicate his life to the service of Yarila and Porevit.

If Lady Ilinca is destroyed, it leaves a power vacuum in the area surrounding Sulca for about a week. The fact that her sire is the Blood Lord sets her just a little outside of the established hierarchy of nobility in Morgau & Doresh, and few in the region are brave or greedy enough to risk offending the Blood Lord by taking territory he might consider his own. In fact, he doesn’t care in the least about the land and not much more about his lost paramour, of which he has many.

If Ilinca lives, however, she will hunt the PCs, forcing the villagers to aid her in the task. So long as the PCs make good their escape and aren’t foolish enough to rest after a day’s travel, they can safely get away. If she catches up to them, she will be accompanied by 5 beggar ghouls she keeps in an covered pit near her home.

-THE END-

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