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Subject: Kai's PbV Games: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh Session #1 rss

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Kai S.
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Drama Llama Roleplaying Society
Participating Players
DM - Kai
Abe 'Wave' Dover (water genasi druid lvl 1) - Fred
Luther Tideguard (aquatic half-elf sorcerer lvl 1) - Pieter
Sounds of Waves Roaring aka White Noise (tabaxi bard lvl 1) - Freddie

Date played
15 August 2019

There have been tales and rumors about a haunted house close to the small port town of Saltmarsh for along time. Most of these tales are warnings, of course, advising people to stay clear of the building, for anyone who dare to enter it either returned insane or not at all. Luther Tideguard, a middle-aged shipwright, is in desperate need of money after a ship he built with his own money mysteriously disappeared. He is now approaching the infamous haunted house together with Sounds of Waves Roaring aka White Noise, who wants to raise funds to hire an adventuring party so they can get rid of a tribe of lizardmen that attacked his homelands, and Abe 'Wave' Dover, a druid who wants to raise ecological awareness. Rounding out their small group is Argos, a mute fighter they hired in Saltmarsh to provide them with some muscle.

The road winds towards the haunted house, which is located atop a small cliff directly at the coast. The closer the party gets to the house, the quieter the townsfolk accompanying them get - they leave in haste once the adventurers reach the foot of the cliff. The building is shaped like a inverted ’T’ and is surrounded by a small, partially collapsed wall that encircles a overgrown vegetable garden. Luther walks right up to the door and rattles it - the door seems stuck, probably because it’s warped. He quickly gets to work on it with his carpenter tools to get it to open. White Noise, meanwhile, peeks in through a (very grimy) window, but all he sees is an empty room.

Once the main door has been fixed, they examine the entrance hall behind it. Corridors lead left, right and straight ahead, while a set of stairs leads to a balcony on the upper level at the back of the hall. Abe points out two sets of tracks on the ground, one coming down the stairs and leading into the corridor on the left, while a second set of tracks leads from the main door to the hallway at the far end of the hall. They decide to follow the second set of tracks into the northern wing of the building, with the tabaxi taking the lead - when no-one‘s looking he takes a swig from his wineskin.

In the northern corridor there are doors on the left and right wall as well as one at the end of the corridor, where it makes a turn for the right. The tracks lead through that door, so this where the party goes as well. They enter what once was the kitchen. The light in here is very dim and has a greenish hue to it, because of the moss and lichen on the windows. A second door leads to the right, which is where the tracks go. There is also a set of stairs that leads to the upper floor, but several treads are missing. They search what little furniture is left in here, but accidentally disturb four giant centipedes that were hiding in the drain of the old sink. The creepy crawlies are quickly dispatched, but Argos is bitten by one of them and collapses to the ground. The fighter seems paralyzed by the centipede’s poison, so Abe quickly heals him up.

Since it will take about an hour for the paralyzing effect to wear off, the party leaves Argos in the kitchen to recover and continues exploring. The tracks lead into the old scullery, which is covered in regular grey mold. A set of stairs leads into the basement, which is where the tracks go. The party decides to not investigate the basement without Argos, and moves a large copper cask into the kitchen to block the door to the scullery. They return to the corridor and investigate the eastern door next.

This room is mostly empty, with only a fireplace, the remains of two stuffed armchairs and a broken table in here. Luther examines the fireplace, when suddenly lots of spiders stream down the chimney and swarm the sorcerer. Abe quickly grabs his companion and drags him out into the hallway. Suddenly alone in the room with the spiders, White Noise skewers one of the spiders on his rapier and then rushes out into the hallway as well. He slams the door shut, pressing his back against it and panting heavily. When he sees the expression on his companions’ faces, he adds: „Spiders.“ The party discusses how to deal with the spider swarm and - after a failed attempt to flush them out with fire - settle with magically putting them to sleep. Luther again investigates the fireplace and finds a wooden box in a hidden compartment. They leave the room and open the box which contains two small pouches containing a powder-like substance and a few copper pieces. The pouches contain alchemical reagents, it seems, which are worth quite a bit. They examine the western room as well, which apparently was a dining room once. A quick search of the room doesn’t reveal any treasure though.

They return to the kitchen to check on Argos, but he has not recovered yet. The party therefore decides to examine the eastern wing of the building next. The corridor is located below the balcony and goes the entire length of this wing right up to the outer wall, with two doors leading south. The first room is the one White Noise peeked into earlier, but they search it anyway. Small mushrooms grow around the fireplace, which they carefully examine. The tabaxi finds a loose stone behind which a leather pouch is stored. It contains two pieces of blue quartz - they decide to not share that information with Argos. The next room also contains a fireplace, but nothing else and searching it doesn’t reveal any treasure. Luther does notice though that the ceiling looks unstable in several places - he makes a mental note of that, should they explore the room on the floor above.

Since Argos still hasn’t recovered yet, they explore the western wing of the building. The corridor is rather small, with one door on each side and another one at the end of the hallway. The footprints lead to the latter door. The southern room was a library once, but the books seem mostly ruined. There is a pile of books on the floor, which they examine, but the books seem rather uninteresting, so they leave them alone. The room to the North looks like a study, with a large desk set below a window. Most of the drawers have been broken open except for the center one. White Noise picks the lock on the drawer, but they only find piles of notes in it: recipes, receipts for purchases, and similar stuff. Luther rummages through them and finds a secret compartment at the bottom, in which two vials filled with a clear liquid are resting - healing potions. There is nothing else for them to find in this room.

By now, Argos has recovered and is approaching them. He looks slightly grumpy, because his companions left him in the kitchen and went exploring without him. The party now moves into the final room on the ground floor: it’s fairly large, with a door that leads out onto a old patio. Other than a pile of refuse in a corner the room is bare. The tracks lead to the northern part of the room, where the outlines of a trapdoor are visible. They quickly debate whether to investigate the upper floor or the basement next and settle on the trapdoor.

When they approach the trapdoor, a malevolent voice greets them, welcoming them to their deaths. White Noise is visibly shaken by this, while the rest of the party merely wonders where that voice came from. Abe reasons that if someone puts that much effort into scaring them off, something valuable must be hidden down there. The others agree that this was probably just an alarm and Luther pulls the trapdoor open. He peeks down and sees a set of stairs that goes down into a large basement room. The room looks like someone lives down here: there are ten simple beds at the southern wall while a large wooden table is occupying the center of the chamber. A small makeshift kitchen is located in the northeastern part. Two doors are visible in the southeastern corner. Luther speculates that a criminal gang might be using the house as their lair.

The party is then ambushed by three thugs that had been hiding in the beds. They are no match for the adventurers though and are easily dispatched: Luther incinerates one of them with a Burning Hands spell, while Abe kills the second thug. The third man hightails it out of there and runs to a corner where he vanishes from sight. The party goes after him and has no trouble finding the secret door the thug must’ve used to escape. They follow him into a wine cellar where a corpse in platemail is lying on the floor. A flight of stairs in one of the corners leads upstairs, most likely connecting this room to the scullery. From upstairs they can hear a metal clank, when the fleeing thug discovers that the door to the kitchen is blocked by the copper cask, followed by the breaking of glass. Abe and Luther rush upstairs and knock the man out just as he’s trying to climb out of the window.

They tie the unconscious thug up and then return to the wine cellar where they found the corpse. The man was killed quite some time ago, it seems, and his armor is in bad shape. Suddenly, several rot grubs emerge from the body and go for the adventurers. Everyone manages to quickly step away and starts smashing the unpleasant critters, except for Argos who is bitten and infested by several of the creatures. Just a few seconds later the fighter dies when one of the rot grubs reaches his heart. The adventurers kill the rest of the nasty creatures and then discuss what to do with Argos’ body. They decide to leave it here for now, worried that they might have to fight more rot grubs. Instead, they examine the rest of the room: most of the bottles on the wine racks are broken, but White Noise finds one undamaged bottle on the ground. He uncorks it and takes a swig: the wine is cloyingly sweet and not that great. Both Luther and Abe realize that the tabaxi is drinking a pretty rare vintage, but, with the bottle open, they probably won’t be able to sell it anymore. They sit down and pass the bottle around…

The party returns to the large basement room and searches it. At the foot of each bed stands a chest, all of which are locked. The three thugs they dealt with carry keys that unlock several of the chests - they contain quite a bit of coin. Luther then breaks open the rest of the chests with his carpenter tools. Since the captured thug is awake again by now, they interrogate him. He reveals that he‘s part of a smuggling outfit, his companions are somewhere in the building. There is a secret door in the southwestern corner of this room that leads to a cave they are using to smuggle their goods. Luther bars the trapdoor to prevent the smugglers from sneaking up on them.

They examine the two doors in the southeastern corner of the room: the one on the left looks normal, while the eastern door is barred and has the word ‚Danger‘ written on it. They ask their prisoner what’s behind the second door and he reveals that some undead are in that room. They decide to not investigate that room for now and instead enter the other room, which looks like fairly comfortable living quarters. Lit candles in this room indicate that someone must’ve been in here not that long ago, so they pull open the door to the wardrobe - but it’s empty. They search the desk and find a hidden compartment which contains a spell book, indicating that they’re up against a mage. On the floor they also find a bull’s eye lantern and a piece of parchment that contains some code for signals. They reason that the smugglers use this to contact a ship.
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