Fifteen generations of human nobility, spanning back half a millennium. It was a time when the name Damien Gildenloewe resonated with prestige and ambition. Collaborating with eight other eminent magnates, he orchestrated the inception of Wyrdstadt—a township that arose like a phoenix from the vestiges of an ancient, forgotten Ilufae temple. This endeavour held the intention of asserting dominance over the trade in refined Blue Resin within the Servasberg region. Their strategy was cunning: seize control by establishing proximity to the primary source of this coveted resource, Nebelwald.
Yet, veiled from the knowledge of these pioneers, the Ilufae temple they repurposed had itself been erected upon the bedrock of an antiquated Ilufae installation harkening back to Safyr's golden age. Two decades ago, the venerable Gilderoy Gildenloewe, in the twilight of his years, at last completed the meticulous excavation of the ancestral Gildenloewe manor's subterranean layers. His existence had been a continuum of inquiry and pursuit since first encountering the cryptic tales enveloping the temple's grounds. Gilderoy's quest, spanning three generations—himself, his son, and his grandson Ervig Gildenloewe—proved fruitless in deciphering the purpose of this ancient edifice or unlocking its mysteries.
Six months prior, an incident transpired that marked a pivotal juncture. Ervig stumbled upon the enigmatic truth that lay beneath the colossal metallic annular structure presiding at the facility's heart. Serendipitously, his servant Rydell unwittingly turned the rings, setting in motion a revelation. Drawing upon his scholarship in the arcane tongue of the Ilufae and his mastery of mathematical constructs gleaned from his tenure at the venerable Grand College of Servasberg, Ervig in a symphony of intellect and calculation, unveiled the equations essential to configure the coordinates and awaken the dormant gate.
Yet, the outcome diverged starkly from his aspiration of unveiling an untouched realm of splendour. Instead, the portal rent the fabric of reality, unleashing an eldritch entity—the Greater Us—from an abyss beyond imagination. This abomination, inscrutable and cosmic, extended its tendrils into Ervig's essence, subsuming him into a grotesque fusion of mind and matter. The Gildenloewe manor metamorphosed into a crucible of dread, as the Greater Us grew and consumed with inexorable fervour beneath the mansion's foundations.
The annals of loyalty bore witness to Theodoric Maclaidir, the Gildenloewe family's unswerving steward since the epoch of Gilderoy's reign. A colossus among men, a former Fire Lions mercenary hailing from the Giantkin breed, he discerned the disturbing transformation manifesting within Ervig. Instinctively, he reached out to an erudite confidante within the academic citadels of Servasberg. Lines of ink bore witness to his plea for succour and comprehension.
Yet, machinations unbeknownst to both man and malevolence had been set into motion. Even the Greater Us, primeval and insidious, saw its designs accelerated beyond intention. Lady Elisaweta, consort to Ervig, unveiled the abhorrent tableau barely a week before, as she chanced upon her husband amidst the heinous assimilation of an unwitting servant girl. Fuelled by maternal instinct, Elisaweta endeavoured to spirit her offspring, Gregory and Martha, to safety. Tragedy struck as Rydell, ensnared by the Greater Us' dominion, severed their flight. Martha's anguished cry was silenced by a single, merciless stroke, only to be risen from the dead later by Ervig’s memory forcing its will on its captor.
Yet, hope dwelt in the heart of chaos. A Safyrian servant boy, bearing the name Wendell, surfaced as a harbinger of salvation. With the valour of innocence, he thwarted Rydell’s sinister intent, seizing an opportunity from a barrage of falling furniture and spiriting the traumatized Gregory to sanctuary beyond malevolent clutches.
The narrative, intertwined with tragedy, continued its dirge. Theodoric, the last bastion of unassimilated resistance, navigated treacherous halls now rife with the demented echoes of erstwhile comrades. A dance of survival ensued, yet the odds proved insurmountable. One by one, the untainted dwindled, yielding to assimilation or a gruesome end.
Five days ago, an anomaly shattered the threshold. Talhoffer, an infamous serial killer, engineered a brazen escape from Servasberg's clutches. His intent led him to the Gildenloewe manor—a haven or a fortress, he could not have foreseen the chilling tableau awaiting him. Instead of potential hostages, he was greeted by a nightmarish theatre of the grotesque, a pandemonium that demanded the last vestiges of his cunning to evade the clutches of eldritch horrors. Only a slender thread of fortune granted him respite, as Theodoric—once a stalwart guardian, now a spectre of resilience—hauled a maddened Talhoffer to sanctuary within the library's hallowed confines.
Three days ago, a cohort of intrepid adventurers embarked upon the manor's threshold, guided by whispers of justice. Their quarry: Talhoffer. Yet, the peril they encountered eclipsed their pursuit. Within the mansion's venerable halls, the Greater Us ensnared their minds in a labyrinth of hallucination and dread. Illusions danced like phantoms as the adventurers fought imagined spectres and quaked before spectres conjured by their own terror. In their desperate struggle against the boundaries of sanity, their hearts faltered, succumbing to the crushing grip of heart-stilled terror.
On the 10th of Tayonos, in the year 10125 GA, a resolute group of daring bounty hunters made their way to the mansion of Gildenloewe. Their journey had been motivated by a series of clues pointing to the possible whereabouts of the elusive figure known as Talhoffer.
Upon their arrival, a firm knock on the mansion's grand door heralded their presence. The door swung open to reveal Rydell, the mansion's servant, who, after considerable persuasion, reluctantly granted them entry. The looming specter of Talhoffer's potential danger seemed to be the decisive factor in Rydell's reluctance. Guiding them through the opulent interior, Rydell led the hunters to the mansion's elegant dining hall, where they were seated and attended to by the servant girls Leah and Feah. This interlude allowed the hunters to await an audience with Lord Ervig, who held the keys to their quest.
Amidst the lavish surroundings, Taela, Varjo, and Tron engaged in a conversation with Lord Ervig. However, an insidious gas, unnoticed at first, began to take its toll. The hunters found themselves poisoned by its weakening influence. Through their exchange, they learned of Ervig's preoccupation with delving into the mysteries of ancient ruins—a pursuit that had been passed down through generations of his family. As the gas's effects became increasingly evident, Ervig's demeanor shifted, and a battle erupted, unveiling the horrifying truth that both Rydell and Ervig bore the mark of eldritch abominations, capable of assimilating flesh. An arduous struggle ensued, culminating in the separation of Rydell's twisted form from its grotesque appendage and Ervig's attempt at escape, resulting in the detachment of his arm.
With the conflict quelled, a chilling realization descended upon Svetle as he gazed out of the dining hall's windows—an unsettling revelation that the mansion was enveloped within a fleshy cocoon, ensnared in an otherworldly grasp.
Descending deeper into the mansion's depths, the hunters encountered a formidable door, its ornate steel surface reinforced with rudamite. A lion emblem, embossed in gold, adorned the door, inscribed with a stern warning in Vanello, emphasizing the exclusive authority of the manor's stewards to grant access. Adjacent to the door were three palm-sized indentations, taking the forms of a circle, triangle, and square.
Venturing forth, they confronted another door, revealing the harrowing sight of Lady Elisaweta's lifeless form, suspended from the gallows—an apparent victim of suicide. Only her signet ring and a locket, containing portraits of her children, provided any trace of her identity amidst the decay.
Their exploration led them to an art room where an enchanted canvas presented them with a cryptic directive: "Use your head, to paint me red." Quick thinking allowed them to decipher the riddle, as they utilized blood to reveal a faint scarab sketch. Averting further bloodshed, they uncovered a jar of fresh blood concealed in a macabre wardrobe, which, when employed, granted them a scarab-shaped key from the fiery depths of the canvas.
Further revelations awaited them in a chamber harboring a statue of Damien Gildenloewe, the family's progenitor, clutching a stone tome inscribed with the ancestral maxim "With Gold, Comes Strength," rendered in Ilufae script.
Navigating past a treacherous ambush sprung by fleshly aberrations mimicking statues, the hunters gained access to the door sealed by the scarab key. Emerging from this passage, they found themselves in the mansion's garden, where fleshy tendrils extended upwards, encasing the structure in a surreal cocoon, while permitting glimpses of the distant sky.
As they sought communication with potential allies, a shadowy figure fleetingly materialized, retreating upon Taela's arcane assault. But tragedy struck as Taela was abruptly seized by a lurking tentacle, vanishing into the mansion's abyss.
In their relentless pursuit, the hunters encountered both wonders and horrors. They encountered an undead Martha Gildenloewe, ensnared within her own bedroom. Her unnatural survival, bound by a mystical red handkerchief, bore testament to the eerie forces at play. She recounted her terrifying ordeal at the hands of Rydell, recounting her brother Gregory's possibly similar fate.
Guided by arcane clues, they navigated the mansion's labyrinthine depths, encountering enchanted objects, cryptic symbols, and enigmatic figures. In the heart of the mansion's darkness, they confronted Carla, a being both trapped and transformed, whose actions and thoughts cycled endlessly due to the trauma of her condition.
In the cavernous kitchens, a sulfurous miasma enveloped the air, a harbinger of the treachery that awaited. Encountering the servant Leah within a fleshy wall and her twin sister Feah, the hunters' intentions clashed violently with their devotion to Lord Ervig's cause. Confrontations escalated, resulting in a tragic climax as Leah attempted a desperate act of self-destruction as her sister fell to Guy's onslaught.
Their journey through the mansion's sinister depths had only just begun, and the mysteries that shrouded the Gildenloewe estate seemed boundless, leading the intrepid bounty hunters deeper into the heart of darkness.
Ascending to the manor's second level, the party moved with stealth and caution, their exploration taking them through the dimly lit corridors. In this eerie setting, a startling encounter awaited them. Taela, her form coated in an unsettling clear substance, burst onto the second-floor walkway above the dining hall, frantic cries escaping her lips. She relayed her harrowing experience of being pursued by grotesque monstrosities, swollen and bloated with tentacled arms. Reacting swiftly, the party closed the doors behind them as they retreated. Tron, thinking on his feet, cast an Entangle spell to impede the relentless creatures' progress. They then attempted to pick the lock of Lady Elisaweta's room, seeking refuge within, but inadvertently triggered an alarm concealed within. Svetle came to the rescue, casting Silence to stifle the alarm's insistent blaring after Thunder's attempts to forcefully breach it failed. The party managed to maintain their hushed composure, and the pursuing monstrosities diverted their course. Inside the room, they uncovered a key in the shape of a butterfly.
Initial suspicions arose regarding Taela's true identity. Covered in the clear goo, she recounted her escape from a fleshy pod, but her ordeal seemed too surreal to be believed. Nevertheless, she managed to persuade Guy that she was indeed herself, dispelling doubts for the moment.
Their journey led them to the library, where they encountered Theodoric. Thunder's initial approach was to forcibly hack through the tough doors, only to find an obstructive barricade of furniture on the other side. A warning was issued in the form of a molotov cocktail, urging them to stay away. After persistent efforts, Thunder and Guy succeeded in convincing Theodoric of their genuine intentions, and he allowed them entry. Within, they also found Talhoffer, his mind fractured by the unspeakable horrors of the mansion. The party had initially contemplated claiming the bounty on Talhoffer's head, but Theodoric insisted that he face justice in a proper court. Theodoric also revealed another glass stone—a Square with a Triangle etched onto it—along with a mysterious explanation regarding their purpose. He explained that Ervig divided the three stones among himself, his children, and Theodoric for added security, although he remained ignorant of their collective function. Theodoric shared the layout of the entire manor with Guy, outlining his futile attempts to locate a viable escape route, blocked by former associates turned adversaries.
Progressing to the east wing, Theodoric and a bound Talhoffer in tow, they confronted a barricaded door. Together, they forced their way through it, sending the furniture tumbling and creating a cacophonous disturbance that reverberated throughout the mansion. Further exploration revealed an armory, where they also encountered Wendell, a Safyrian servant boy in his teens. With Theodoric's assistance and persuasive reassurances regarding Martha's absence, they convinced Wendell to unbar the massive doors, allowing them entry. Inside, they also discovered Gregory's presence. Wendell recounted his daring rescue of Gregory from Rydell a week prior, confirming Martha's tragic fate. With newfound allies in Wendell and Gregory, they seized the opportunity to acquire explosives and smoke from the armory before instructing the two to remain fortified within while they continued their exploration.
As they emerged from the armory and Wendell secured the doors behind them, the clamor generated during their entrance drew the attention of the creatures that had been pursuing Taela earlier. A fierce confrontation erupted, with Theodoric proving his mettle by engaging one of the monstrosities head-on. The remaining party members swiftly dispatched the other two assailants in the corridor.
Within Ervig's private quarters, Taela embarked on a solo investigation of his study, while the others explored the immediate surroundings. Ervig's diary unveiled the gruesome details of his experiments beneath the manor, focusing on a mysterious ring-like structure. It also hinted that Ervig was not under constant domination by the assimilation process. Amidst these revelations, the party unearthed the final glass stone, bearing the shape of a Circle with a Square etched onto it.
Taela, on her solitary quest, discovered a room bereft of furniture but harboring the remains of five adventurers. Svetle conducted an examination, concluding that they had perished from inhaling hallucinogenic poison, succumbing to fatal heart attacks. Their search yielded valuable potions, but Wendell had evidently already looted the bodies before their arrival.
The butterfly-shaped key that had piqued their curiosity, and which they had inquired about with Theodoric, led them to Ervig's private collection. Above the keyhole, they spotted the symbol of a butterfly. Using it, they gained effortless access to a room adorned with three golden statues wielding magical treasures. These statues, however, came to life in the darkness as Varjo attempted to steal a fine leather cloak of one. Svetle and Tron, who had remained outside, witnessed the door slam shut.
The battle inside the room unfolded in total darkness, with Varjo and Guy attempting to disable the statues using the necessary glass stones for the basement door. They succeeded in deactivating the statues by inserting the glass orbs into pedestals at the back of the room, ending the hostility.
Investigating further, they discovered miniature resin engines within the chests of the statues, which they extracted, enabling them to retrieve the glass stones while keeping the statues inert.
The battle had taken a toll on the party, prompting them to barricade themselves within Ervig's private collection to rest for the night. Most of the party members slumbered peacefully, but for Tron, who remained vigilant and heard sporadic groans from stone and woodwork echoing throughout the house during the night. Upon waking the next day, they realized that the powered light fixtures, which had illuminated their path, had all extinguished, and the fleshy mass enveloping the mansion now blocked out all natural light.
Descending to the first floor to acquire supplies from Carla's bar, they noticed a disconcerting change beneath their feet. The texture of the floor had altered as they trod through the darkness. Wood had given way to squelching flesh as the entire first floor had succumbed to a grotesque transformation, with tendrils bursting through cracked floorboards, walls, and stonework, engulfing every piece of furniture and every inch of the mansion's contents. Even Carla, her lower half submerged in the fleshy morass, appeared as little more than a vacant husk.
Varjo Kov : A Human Shadow Monk and bounty hunter on the trail of Talhoffer.
Guy Normal : A Coretex Stars Druid and bounty hunter on the trail of Talhoffer.
Tron : A Coretex Moon Druid and bounty hunter on the trail of Talhoffer.
Taela : A Fey Great Old One Warlock and bounty hunter on the trail of Talhoffer.
Svetle : A Dwarven Grave Cleric and gravedigger at a Leylaxian temple in Servasberg seeking revenge on Talhoffer for his adopted mother's murder.
Thunder Frostborne : A Farangian Wild Magic Barbarian and bounty hunter on the trail of Talhoffer.
Ervig Gildenloewe : The current patriarch of House Gildenloewe,
Elisaweta Gildenloewe : Wife of Ervig, she tried to flee with her children Gregory and Martha, only to lose them in the process. She hung herself in despair when she was unable to find a way out.
Martha Gildenloewe : Ervig and Elisaweta’s daughter. She was killed by Rydell, but the assimilated Ervig’s memories compelled him to raise her as an undead being.
Gregory Gildenloewe : Ervig and Elisaweta’s son.
Gilderoy Gildenloewe : Ervig’s grandfather, who spearheaded the excavation of the Ilufae ruins below the family manor.
Damien Gildenloewe : The primogenitor of the Gildenloewe house, who built the town of Wyrdstadt alongside the founders of 7 other nobles houses.
Theodoric Maclaidir : A 97 year old Giantkin retired veteran of the Fire Lions mercenary company. He served the Gildenloewe house faithfully from the time of Gilderoy as their majordomo.
Rydell : Ervig’s favourite servant. He was among the few that were assimilated early by Ervig.
Wendell Zimmermann : A 15 year old Safyrian servant boy. He rescued Gregory from Rydell before the child could be assimilated.
Carla : One of the last few to be assimilated in a hurry. She retained her autonomy, but can only remember and repeat the last hour of her life.
Leah : One of the last few assimilated by Ervig. Her assimilated self detonates in anger when the heroes kill her host’s assimilated sister, Feah.
Feah : One of the few assimilated early by Ervig. Her assimilated form was destroyed by Guy in the kitchens.
Talhoffer : A serial killer escaping justice. He snuck into the Gildenloewe manor hoping to take hostages, only to be stuck in its nightmare.
The 8 noble houses that founded Wyrdstadt are:
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