The House That Won’t Burn

Session started August 30, 1136 at 8 a.m.

I woke up at Oswald’s ramshackle abode around noon. Another sticky, humid day enveloped us, with the chorus of insects serenading from within the shack’s confines. Oswald had whipped up a breakfast of fish, and after rousing Luke from his slumber, we settled down at Oswald’s table for a chat. The brown parcel we’d received last night rested upon the worn wooden surface. Opening it revealed two finely crafted rings, each adorned with a shield engraving. Oswald, in his enigmatic way, distributed one to each of us, hinting that they’d be handy for our upcoming endeavor. Among the contents was also an envelope bearing Oswald’s name, left unopened and unshared with us. Ignoring this mystery, we marveled at our newfound trinkets, eager for what lay ahead.

Our conversation soon turned to the task Oswald had in store for us: investigating reports of zombies haunting Andelie and its surroundings in recent months. The locals were on edge, and Oswald tasked us with uncovering the source of these undead apparitions. According to Oswald, a house situated twenty minutes to the west of Andelie likely harbored the origin of these disturbances. This peculiar abode possessed an eerie resilience, with attempts by townsfolk to burn and eradicate it futile, as the structure reappeared unscathed after every attempt to destroy it. Oswald urged us to depart swiftly, and so we geared up, eager to escape the oppressive humidity.

The House that Won't Burn.
The House that Won’t Burn, near Andelie.

Setting out, Luke and I traversed the woods bordering Andelie to the west. After about twenty minutes, a creeping fog enveloped the forest, signaling our proximity to our destination. Emerging from the mist, we beheld a towering three-story mansion adorned with stone gargoyles and barred windows, emanating a foreboding aura. Passing through a steel gate that ensnared the entryway like a cage, we stepped into the shadowy foyer. Yet, no sooner had we entered, a metallic click echoed behind us—the gate had sealed shut. Venturing further, the darkness deepened, prompting me to unsheathe my sword imbued with moonlight—a sight that left Luke in a mix of shock and awe, but questions could wait.

Exploring the first floor revealed a series of rooms—dining, lounge, and others—each devoid of dust, an unusual state for a dwelling supposedly long abandoned. The walls, adorned with macabre carvings of skulls and serpents, hinted at the sinister history concealed within. Ascending a grand marble staircase to the second floor unveiled a scene mirroring the first: pristine floors and eerie silence. In the library, I stumbled upon a peculiar book that when pulled, opened a concealed chamber, within which lay a collection of malevolent tomes exuding an aura of darkness. Amidst them, a small chest held a skull and a note, hinting at ominous intentions.

Continuing our ascent to the third floor, we encountered a set of animated armor that sprung to life, engaging us in a brief skirmish. Despite our victory, Luke’s impulsive action—hurling the armor’s sword down the stairs—nearly shattered the silence, much to my chagrin. Pressing onward, we stumbled upon a massive mirror, behind which lay another concealed door leading to the attic. Within, we discovered a grim tableau—a child’s playroom strewn with bones, a grim testament to the house’s sinister past. In the corner of the room was an intricate model house of the one we were standing in. Little did we know a chilling encounter awaited us—a pair of spectral apparitions, a young boy and girl, the deceased children of the mansion’s former owners, revealed themselves, hovering over their deceased bodies. They told us their tragic tale of their imprisonment and demise, locked in a room by their own parents left to starve. They said their parents never let them go to the basement because it was dangerous and the girl showed us the staircase that led to the basement on the little model. Their account made us suspicious, the basement must hold the key to unraveling the mysteries shrouding the mansion. We entered the room the ghost of the girl had shown us. After a tense encounter with a spectral guardian that had appeared, we uncovered a hidden passage leading to a subterranean catacomb, unveiling the darkest secrets of the house.

Shambling mound of salad.
Shambling salad mound, in the dungeons beneath The House that Won’t Burn.

Navigating through the labyrinthine catacombs, we stumbled upon a ritual chamber teeming with arcane energies. Our intrusion triggered a ghastly assault—a monstrous abomination and several undead emerged, forcing us into a desperate battle. The undead seemed to have appeared out of thin air. The monster’s movement was slow an monotonous, out tactics were to use ranged weapons and smart positioning. For some reason, Luke’s magical bolts of fire didn’t seem to affect the creature.

Dispatching the foes, we uncovered a hidden tunnel leading to a secret teleportation circle. Luke and I crawled through thinking this must be the source of the zombies. Inside there was a small circular room with the same markings on the ground as the teleportation pad that brought us to Andelie. Opposite us was another tunnel that led up. We entered the tunnel and emerged minutes later in the forest near Andelie, the entrance was completely covered by growth. When we examined the ground we saw hundreds of footprints leading in every direction, some looking as if they were dragging one leg as they walked. Some prints were fresh and others looked weeks old.

Returning to Oswald, we recounted our harrowing ordeal, prompting him to take swift action to seal off the tunnels and secure the area. Before parting ways, Oswald directed us to meet with a man named Jacob aboard the ship “Free at Last,” leaving us to ponder the next chapter of our journey over a meal at the Driftwood Tavern.

Session ends early afternoon, August 31, 1136.