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Murder Hobo Squad: A Lost Mine of Phandelver/Dragon of Icespire Peak & Beyond D&D 5E record (Beware Spoilers!)

Murder Hobo Squad: A Lost Mine of Phandelver/Dragon of Icespire Peak & Beyond D&D 5E record (Beware Spoilers!)

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S42 The Haunt 2: In to the Basement

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SPOILER WARNING: This week are playing through the DMs Guild module “The Haunt 2”.  If you think you might end up playing it please stop reading and skip this and the next session or two.  We played through the first module months ago, back in S15-17.  The party have no idea this isn’t part of the main adventure, and may not even know The Haunt is a small series.

Karson, Bilba and Reidoth couldn’t make it this week.  The party has no dedicated healer, which makes this interesting/challenging. 

We are playing this map with Dynamic Lighting enabled again, meaning people can’t see through walls or without a light source or Darkvision.  This restricts what the player can see to what the characters can see, which is great if it works properly.

Roll20 assigns everyone a colour when they log in so when anyone draws on the map you can tell who drew what.  I’ve realised it assigns the same colours to the same people week after week, so I’ve colour coded everyone’s tokens so they are easier to identify at a glance.

 

Looking down in to the uncovered basement, Karson cast Aid on himself, Ramond, and Melandrach.  Then, Araloth, Melandrach and Karson went to scout ahead down the stairs.  The only light down there came from behind them, but they all had Darkvision.  The stairs led down into a 10-foot-wide hallway. Double doors led to the south, while a chamber appears to open to the east.  Moving past the double doors, and into the chamber to the east, the corridor opened around a corner to the south, revealing a rectangular area. Rotten wooden chairs orderly lined the walls, as if waiting for someone long gone to sit in them.  At the southern end of the room sat the broken remnants of a desk with a hole about a foot wide visible in the back. A similar chair, in similar condition, sat behind the desk.

They held back from exploring and ushered the rest of the party down quietly.  With no immediate danger they decided to open the doors before searching the room.  The doors opened in to a long crossroads corridor with more double doors opposite.  Araloth and Melandrach explored ahead while Karson kept an eye on the waiting room and entrance, revealing the full cross junction.  The opted to explore west, reasoning it was probably a dead end.  The party moved up while the scouts checked the door, finding only a horrible smell.  Ramond opened it, revealing a room holding eight beds. Despite decades of disuse, the room is still home to four desiccated corpses, which lie in the beds where they likely died.  Four large pools of old vomit remained on the floor.  As the doors opened they were hit by the bottled up foul stench finally being released.

Vomit SpawnVomit Spawn

As Ramond cautiously edged in, Aaloth found a tiny fleck of stone and threw it at the nearest vomit pool, and it stuck and slowly sank in.  When Ramond drew adjacent, a jet of vomit rose up and launched itself straight at Ramonds face.  Little bits of vomit got in his mouth and seemed to move around in there.  He spat it out and the little bits reformed with the larger spout, now formed up like a serpent.  Melandrach hit it with a Sunbolt, then ran in to punch and flank it from between two beds.  Thorivor hit it with two arrows as Araloth stepped up and cut it down.  He then asked where Ramond wants him to stand, expecting more vomit monsters from the other pools.  (DM: Last session during the long chat there had been a chat about Araloth’s fighting style being very unhelpful as he always jumps out after each attack.)  Ramond said there were no good places.  The others outside the room moved up as best they could.  Talindra stood in the doorway and readied a Sacred Flame.  When the other pools also rose up Talinda scorched one with that spell.  They then moved up.  Two attacked and badly hurt Araloth, and the third hit Ramond.  All attacks seemed to be aimed for the mouths, like the vomit was trying to get back inside.  Ramond moved over and focussed two attacks one of the vomit monsters ganging up on Ramond, and cast Shield of Faith on himself.  His piercing spear didn’t seem to be being as effective as he would expect.  Melandrach hit Ramonds attacker with his longsword twice and a solid kick, but couldn’t quite finish it off.  Thankfully, one of Thorivor’s arrows did the job and a second nearly killed the other.  Araloth killed his injured attacker and stabbed the last one.  Near death, he then chose to back away.  Talindra stepped in to the doorway and double Blasted the last Spawn, but it wasn’t enough.  The spawn moved over and attacked Ramond, but he got his shield in front of his face in time.  Ramond then struck it down with two swings of his spear.

(DM: They had to make regular con saves to avoid being poisoned by the foul smell during this fight. None of them could make a save.  This becomes a running theme for the whole session)

With the threats dead, and the smell slightly less dreadful, Araloth took a swig of his magical rum flask to remove the taste of stale vomit from his mouth, and got his second wind.  He asked where Reidoth was when he needs healing, while eyeing Talindra and Ramond.  They quickly discussed if they wanted to explore the room, or keep pushing forwards and chose to keep moving whole Ramond’s spell is active.  They ensured the desiccated bodies were definitely dead, and headed towards the doors to the east. (DM: Bilba, Karson and Reidoth never made it in to the fight.  As they move across the corridor to the other doors no one lays eyes on those three.  Mostly, no one comments on this IC.  I’m giving them a half-pass on this as they must know I’m just getting them out of the way as their players are AWOL, but a reaction would have been nice at some point)

Melandrach listened at the new door and heard a low buzzing / droning noise on the other side.  Ramond opened the door.  Three tubs filled with rusty stagnant water lined the western wall, two were made of iron, the third was constructed of tarnished copper.  Small braziers beneath each tub, once used to heat this water, now sat filled with only ashes and rust. A swarm of mosquitos buzzed menacingly about the area. The buzzing of these creatures was extremely disconcerting as it sounded like a blending mix of flying insects and the cries of infant children. Blood splattered curtains separated this area from the eastern area beyond.  Ramond used his Divine Sense, and registered only a low level latent evil in the air all around, but nothing in particular beyond that.  As they advanced in the swarm started to try and snack on everyone.  As they flew in to his face and tried to drink him, it became too much for Melandrach and he became scared by it all.  The party defended themselves and quickly made short work of the swarm.

I couldn't find a suitable picture of a spooky ro filthy bath.  I did find out theres a death metal band called I couldn't find a suitable picture of a spooky ro filthy bath. I did find out theres a death metal band called "Ghost Bath" though so I guess all the good names were already taken?

Melandrach regained his composure and went to listen and the filthy curtain, and said he could hear a child crying.  He pushed through the curtain in to the next room, and Ramond did the same.  Talindra then used prestidigitation to draw the curtain fully to one side before anyone else could walk through.  This revealed a long room with floor tiles missing, exposing ancient floorboards.  A series of beds and bassinettes lined the opposite wall.  The bed in the northeast corner was splattered with fresh, wet blood. The faint sound of a baby crying could be heard from the bloodied bassinet next to this bed.  Melandrach made to head towards the baby, but Ramond asked him to stop, pointing out it isn’t in any immediate danger.  Ramond cast Divine Sense and picked up a faint red fiendish glow from each of the bassinettes, and a stronger one from the one with the baby in it.  Melandrach surveyed the room, and then walked slowly towards the baby.  As he was walking over the exposed floorboards, the wood gave way under him and he began to fall.  He reacted quickly and was able to grab hold of the tiled floor before he could fall much past his waste.  He could feel his legs moving freely in an open space below.  Ramond inspected the exposed floorboards and discovered they were all rotten and weak, while Melandrach pulled himself up with the aid of a rope from Talindra.  Talindra sent her Familiar in to the narrow hole to inspect below, and looked through the owls eyes.  Below was a dark room, with many humanoid shapes within.  There were lots of people with loose fitted straightjackets running around excitedly, trying to jump up towards the hole, way beyond their reach.  In the midst of them was one stationary figure.  A woman in an old nurse’s uniform, her head bowed, hair over her face, and her hands tucked in the opposite sleeves.  She did not move or react at all, and she creeped out Talindra.  None of the people looked quite right, or healthy.

Ramond went to look inside the nearest bassinette.  It was empty, but filthy.  Araloth went back to the previous room, emptied his cantina, and filled it from one of the filthy tubs.  He then poured it in to the bassinette just north of Ramond’s one to see what would happen, but nothing interesting occurred.  Talindra cast Light on a bit of timber that had fallen off of Melandrach and gave it to his owl.  She then took possession of her familiar again, used it to drop the Light off towards the north, and then flew it over at ceiling height to peer in to the crying bassinette.  Ramond advised everyone to be ready to shoot whatever rose up in response.  As she drew near she could see a baby curled up with its back towards the room, except it looked a little big to be a baby.  More toddler or young child sized, but with the chubby proportions of a baby, almost swollen.  It was crying and wailing, and it turned over to look towards the owl.  Its eyes were big and black.  As it stood up in the bassinette its mouth began to open revealing needle like teeth and a grin that reach almost to the ears; far too far to be human.  Its mouth opened wide, possibly dislocating its own jaw, and unleashed a bloodcurdling scream that hurt everyone’s ears, and killed the familiar, who vanished from reality.  The previously empty bassinettes then began to slowly fill with bubbling blood.

Fiendish ChildrenFiendish Children

Dodging the faulty floorboards, Melandrach took a few steps towards the evil baby and threw four Sunbolts at it, hitting three times.  Thorivor critically hit it with a thunder arrow, enough to kill it.  As the arrow boomed, the blast knocked it backwards and the body fell down out of sight, between the bassinette and the bed.  Then, out of the bumbling bloody bassinettes, five more evil babies arose and attacked the nearest enemy, biting Araloth and Melandrach.  The party coordinated and defended each other, and were able to cut down the toddlers before they could act again.  As they died, the blood stopped bubbling and the room went calm again.

They had a long chat about what to do next.  Talindra proposed clearing the below room from up here.  They could make the hole bigger and pepper them with arrows, or drop down oil and ignite it.  They agreed fire could be dangerous to everyone.  While they liked the plan of attacking from safety, the decided to explore and see if they could find the way down to that room so they could potentially attack from two angles when the time comes.  They decided to head through the south exit of the mosquito room for now.  Melandrach listened at the door, but didn’t hear anything from the other side.  While he was doing this they all heard a scream from behind them, in the general direction of the entrance.

They headed back the way they had come looking for the source of the scream and arrived at the stairs out without seeing anyone.  They noticed that they could no longer see the sky or sunlight from up the stairs.  There appeared to be a dimly lit room up there now, where before there had been their entrance.  They also realised they should have passed Karson, Bilba, and Reidoth but there had been no sign of them for a while now.  Melandrach, Ramond and Araloth went up the stairs to explore while Talindra and Thorovir covered the rear.  They found themselves in a large chamber containing three overstuffed couches of fine make, but in ill repair. Tapestries depicting the heroic works of a lady in armour adorned the walls, but had long faded and were thick with dust and dirt.  The room was evident with faded, rotten luxury.  There were two large windows that were too dirty to see through but allowed some dim light in.  Ramond beckoned the others to come up.  He then tried to clean a window to see out, but whatever was blocking vision must have been on both sides of the glass.  He grabbed his spear and tried to smash the glass, but it just bounced off, not even chipping it.  Melandrach listened at the western door, but heard nothing.  He then tried to open the door, but for whatever reason he couldn’t grab the handle.  Either he hand was passing through it, or it was just sliding straight off.  He couldn’t quite decide.  Meanwhile, Talindra tried to use prestidigitation to clean both sides of a window, but couldn’t improve the visibility.  Talindra announced that she thinks they’re in a pocket dimension.  Araloth listened at the southern double doors, but heard nothing.  He tried the handle and could get a grip, but he didn’t open it yet though.  Ramond tried the eastern door and had the same experience as Melandrach.

The got in position, and Ramond opened the southern door, into another crossroads corridor. Oil paintings depicting a girl, two women, a man in military uniform, a nurse, and an infant hung on the walls in this hallway. The oil paintings hurled insults, taunts, and dark prophecies as they passed down the corridor.  They realised they recognised some of these figures.  The beautiful woman was the dark adviser Gertrude, who had turned out to be a hag living in a seemingly abandoned house in Neverwinter Wood.  They had stopped there to avoid a storm a month ago.  They had seen the ghost of a little girl get murdered by an evil doll there.  She was in one of these painting too.  Her father, General Montarthas was the military man.

They headed down the western branch and Melandrach listened at the doors.  He then tried the handle.  The latch released, but the door wouldn’t open, like it was blocked from the other side.  They tried the other two doors with the same result.  The debated forcing a door, but Talindra said she thought this would be like at the manor.  They’d need to do things elsewhere in the house to open these doors.  They headed back down the stairs, to the mosquito room door they were going to try earlier.

Ramond opened the door in to a large room.  Six beds lined the eastern and western walls. Next to each bed was a small table covered with bizarre, rusted medical equipment.  In the south western most bed a shape could be seen; a man without arms and legs.  He reacted to the newcomers and called out for help.  He tried to sit himself up but couldn’t.  He said he was in a lot of pain.  The party entered the room but kept well away from him.  He kept calling out for aid.  Ramond cast Divine Sense and could tell he was undead.  They asked him what had happened to him, and he said the people who run the place had taken his limbs and it hurt bad.  It hurt to shout too.  Could they come closer and he’d tell them more.  No one was buying it.  They cautiously advanced and Ramond got his spear ready to use its Entangle power on him.  As he got adjacent, the body made a poor attempt at a lunge to bite Ramond, so he ran him through with his spear and a Divine Smite, killing him.  Talindra inspected a tray of rusty tools and concluded they were designed to inflict pain, rather than for medicinal purposes.

They explored through the last door from this room and found a set of stairs leading down.  As they approached the bottom the temperature went through a sharp drop, and there was a large patch of mould at the bottom which caused them concern.  Rather than walk through it, the party held back as Melandrach took a running jump over it.  As he passed nearby the cold became painful and damaged him.  When he landed he had frost formed on his face and hair.

Araloth tried to cover the mould with his cloak to see if that blocked off the cold effect, but it didn’t.  Talindra took a good look at the mould and realises she had seen something like this once before.  It is Brown Mould.  It feeds on heat, sucking it out of everything around it.  It is killed by cold.  They didn’t have access to any cold magic so they thought on this for a while and came up with a plan.  They tore up some mattresses from the previous room and made a series of small pre-bonfires leading up the stairs and in to a corner of the previous room.  Everyone got out of the way and Talinda used magic to ignite the fires one by one.  The mould grew to expand over and consume the new fire, and then died off where it had been before once the new heat could not sustain its new size.  She did this again and again, until it was out of their way.

DM: it was very late and so very very hot.  We ended the session there, with the party trapped in a weird house and three of their numbers missing.

Basement 1 (Entrance level) (The printed letters are room identifiers.  The scribbled letters are GM notes the players couldn't see.)Basement 1 (Entrance level) (The printed letters are room identifiers. The scribbled letters are GM notes the players couldn't see.)
Sub BasementSub Basement
Reformed Ground levelReformed Ground level
Player coloursPlayer colours

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