Dungeon Nights: Genesa's No Good Very Bad Day
Tonight was the fullest table we’ve ever had, with Clovis, Tsafnur, Andrew, Enkirash, Talisa, and Rook all here as we finally get Genesa home after all these months.
On their way through the woods to Orintheldir Manor, the party encountered many of their missing companions, who had joined up with the local elves and each brought news of the new “town” and the goings-on around it. Enkirash had been travelling with Kaos, an elf veteran, and they were bringing news that the town was harbouring not only human soldiers, but orcs as well, that the orcs had dismantled an entire town elsewhere and moved the buildings here. They were on their way to the farm that our players just left to warn the farmer and help raise a militia (which he is already doing, conveniently enough). Enkirash joins them to help return Genesa home and Kaos goes on to the farm to spread the news.
A little further on, they meet up with Talisa, Rook, Mija, and Rovnik on a similar mission. Rovnik is another elf warrior, very grizzled and a little paranoid, who hates orcs with a passion. He claims that there are hundreds of orcs being transported to the town and kept out of side in caverns below. He thinks the only chance they have is if they strike first, killing the orcs while they are relatively trapped in the underground, before they burst forth to destroy the surrounding sparsely populated and undefended land. Both Rovnik and Kaos are working with an encampment of elves putting together a defense force, along the other fork of the road, and Talisa knows Rovnik has many there who support his idea of striking first, but by no means all do.
They reach the edge of the forest and the beginning of the manor grounds and almost immediately notice that the area is strangely quiet. No gardeners or other servants are visible at work, even the birds are silent. Enkirash turns Rook invisible to scout out the manor. On her way to the door she finds three traps, all disabled already. She picks the lock on the front door and slips into the hallway. All the curtains are drawn and no lights are lit, so coming in from the brightness of the day outside it feels quite dark. The hallway goes back towards the kitchen and also has stairs to the upper floor. To the right is the parlour and to the left is the drawing room. She can see someone standing quietly in the gloom of the drawing room and gets closer. It is the butler, quite dead, yet still standing at his post near the door to the kitchen, pantry, and scullery. She goes over to the empty parlour and through to the dining room, where two maids are seated at the dining room table, also both dead. She hears footsteps on the stairs and returns to the hallway only to see Genesa’s uncle (who Rook killed last time she saw him) coming down the stairs. He still had the arrow wound that killed him, and wasn’t breathing except to bark out a sharp command. The butler and maids began shuffling towards the hallway. Rook belatedly realized they were all zombies and didn’t want to be surrounded by them, or give herself away by going out the front door, which they could all see from the hall, so she headed further down the hallway to the kitchen. There were two zombie cooks who she passed by, heading down some stairs, finding a back door. The whole house smelled of death, but the smell from further down the stairs in the basement was almost overpowering and Rook was glad to be out of the house, back into the fresh air and sunshine.
After she reported back and following some discussion, they decided to lure the zombies out into the open rather than trying to take them on inside the house. They were tempted to just leave and deal with the orcs, but as long as there was a chance Genesa’s father might still be alive they wanted to try to find him. As they approached the front of the house, the door opened and five zombies emerged: the butler, armed with a poker from the fireplace, the maids (one with a hefty candlestick and one carrying a sturdy chair) and the two cooks, both with meat cleavers. They fanned out, all muttering helpful words (“welcome home, miss”, “can I take your coat, sir?”, “cup of tea, madam?”) and the party took them out without too much effort, although Rook got hit by a chair and while Andrew finally steeled himself to fight this evil and killed a zombie with his mace, he got pretty icked out by getting zombie brains all over himself. They heard heavy footsteps coming from the house and the entire doorway was blocked by something too large to fit through it. Tsafnur and Clovis headed for it, Talisa climbed a tree for a better shot, and the others readied themselves. The doorframe and the wall around it gave way and out came a creature with the body of a small t-rex, but with six human torsos sewn onto it. The human bits were also former servants of the manor and also murmurred helpful words as the thing attacked. It was thick-skinned and resisted many of their attacks, but Clovis got a good whack at it’s body and Tsafnur slipped between its legs to stab his rapier deep into its tail, sawing and hacking the tail nearly off. Unbalanced, the dying dead thing fell over. Unfortunately, Clovis didn’t get out of the way in time, so it landed on her, pinning her down as the human parts of it squirmed and kicked, releasing the stitches that held them, and pulling their legs free from the t-rex body, kept up the attack. Andrew smashed another zombie skull, and the others all kept up the fight, even Clovis managed to disembowel one (which was unfortunately above her) from where she lay still pinned under the remains of the beast. While they were all engaged with this monstrosity they heard hoofbeats as Genesa’s uncle took a horse and disappeared into the woods.
After they defeat all the zombies, they venture into the dark, still house, opening curtains along the way. In the kitchen Andrew (and to a lesser extent Clovis) wash up, then many of them venture into the stinking cellar. What was merely an extensive wine cellar and armory is now a charnel house, with dismembered corpses and body parts in piles. The smell is horrific. In the centre of it all, on a low rack of wine, is a silver platter with a domed lid. Under the dome they find a head, almost certainly belonging to Genesa’s father. Counting the body parts, they estimate that the rest of the house staff are accounted for here. Genesa gives them permission to take any weapons and armour they like, and Tsafnur helps himself to three bottles of the wine (in his pack).
Genesa does not want to stay in the house, she will need to raise a new staff, have the door repaired, and have it thoroughly cleaned, with proper funerals for all of the dead, so they decide to all travel to the encampment to the north. She goes upstairs with only Andrew and brings out a considerable number of jewels to reward the heroes who saved her and who liberated her house. Each of them received 800 coins worth of gems (with an extra hundred to Rook who was out that much from “buying” her in the slave auction.) Genesa herself suits up in armour and straps on a sword before they leave, arriving at the elf military camp just as night falls. They share the meat of the Pig of Prosperity with the militia forming there and camp for the night.
It was good to have (most of) the party back together, but are they ready to take on caverns filled with a thousand orc? We’ll find out next time! Rook, Andrew, and Enkirash levelled up!
Full disclosure: The Zombisaurus illustration is by Nathan Jones, from A Market in the Woods