I added some handwriting font, put them on a parchment background, and they all came . Thick tendrils of waste wriggle from it, reaching for nearby surfaces. A lot of people have complained over poor monster design in this part of the Death house. The most important is the silvered shortsword in 25E (page 218). If you start at level 2, Id say have them level up to 3 before they proceed into the Dungeon Level. I find this last bit of information a potential let down for the settings tone. Secret Room.- Theres a letter by Strahd here. This fight should prove to be much easier than the Animated Armor. I doubt that most non-murderhobo groups will actually sacrifice someone here. What font did you use for Strahd when you were making these? We ran this as a Halloween one shot a few years ago. They become caught in the mists and can't travel to the afterlife. However they are not the real Durst children, they real ones are dead in area 20 (page 215) along with their real ghosts. There are 38 locations in the Death House. There are plenty of deadly combat encounters that can take place here, from giant spiders to undead revenants and phantom warriors. Castle Ravenloft is the home of Strahd Von Zarovich and is quite a terrifying location. Ghoulish Encounter.- Depending on the partys reaction to this, it can be a very lethal encounter. While frightening at first, it quickly loses its charm. Balcony.- The animated armor can be challenging if PCs dont react properly. 32. Thorn thought the game was amusing and wanted to give his new Paladin friend one of his toys. if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[728,90],'tabletopjoab_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_19',125,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-tabletopjoab_com-medrectangle-3-0');At least in the top 3! Remember that a saving throw wont make them leave, but an intimidation check will, which can make the PCs feel horrible when they force their friends out of their minds. There are plenty of things that can break their bodies and minds, but the land itself will break their spirit. There is no escape, not without first defeating the seemingly unstoppable vampire Strahd Von Zarovich. Covering the hottest movie and TV topics that fans want. The descriptions in the adventure are pretty vivid and you might be tempted to gloss over some of them (especially if you havent read ahead in the full Curse of Strahd adventure.). Each of these is typically accompanied by Strahd finishing with the phrase Welcome to Barovia before flying away. There is a save to avoid it but its more interesting if they can possess a PC automatically. Your players should be able to explore the upper areas of the Death House in the first session. If you have fewer players, its easy enough to remove some of the enemies or lower how much HP each enemy has. Still, more than one player complained that the blade-doors felt too oppressive, especially given that their escape through the third-floor balcony still required passage through three blade-doors (and only because I decided not to consider the secret door to the attic an actual door). Be careful when you use these, though. I've spent the last three hours looking for ways to edit the pdf of another handout that says stillborn son but here this was! Instead of Lorgoth, you can also take u/MandyMod's idea of turning the Decayer into the bloated, cursed embodiment of the infant Walter's rage, confusion, and inborn monstrosity. For starters, that kind of monster is completely out of place here. Death House is a modern Dungeons & Dragons horror classic. Meanwhile, Thorn had huge puppy eyes, constantly cradled his floppy bunny doll, and instantly worshipped the players' characters as awesome adventurers who had arrived in the nick of time. According to the book that works, but you might rule otherwise. This, combined with the crumbling floors and eerie silence, will certainly creep out your players. Emphasize the sections of the house that reveal the eerie lore of the Dursts, and simplify all else. Jeremy Blum (@PixelGrotto) is a journalist, gaming blogger, comic book aficionado, and fan of all forms of storytelling who rolled his first polyhedral dice while living in Hong Kong in 2017. Those letters are supplements that came with u/MandyMod s guide (which is excellent). Tabletop Joab is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: Ideas For Running A One-Shot. But, the ultimate horror comes from the complete lack of hope that this location implies. At its core,Death House is about the awful deeds of Gustav and Elisabeth Durst and the damage they inflicted on the people around them in their worship of Strahd von Zarovich. Plus they do not have the Horrifying Visage ability. Thank you for this. But this isnt an article about Curse of Strahd. Once the party encounters Rose and Thorns ghosts in the Childrens Room, theyll no doubt remember the illusions that tricked them and demand some answers. Im really loving the halloween content this year! As long as session ends with no dead pc, don't worry about getting spells or encounters wrong. For background the home is infused with the evil spirits of the cultists that once resided there. When Death House is rejected, it gets mad. Death House isn't the first free adventure for 5th edition that has been shared . Use. Oooh this is actually really neat, love the little modifiers you added. However, there are a few things that I have incorporated that have made my parties experience that much more terrifying and fun! Childrens Room .- The remains of Rose and Thorn are here. Obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons and a close personal friend of Pocket (an interdimensional teleporting ferret). Alternative to Death House Pt 2. Maybe as a specter, she now desires vengeance more than anything else and mourns for her son. You can really play on this unease to build up tension within the party, building it up until they are constantly on edge. my article on running horror in your own D&D 5e games! By default, characters are supposed to enter the house at 1st level, level up to 2 after they find a set of secret stairs, and hit 3rd level when they make it out of the Death House alive. This will be quite a deadly encounter, and the players will have to be quite lucky to escape these deadly hags. Give them your quest hook and get them into Barovia. Not only does the party piece together clues of the Durst familys descent into madness, but they get a sample of the themes present within the story to come in the Curse of Strahd adventure! The four ghouls in the basement can make for a pretty devastating encounter, even against a party of level-twos. When asked, Rose reported smugly that shed stopped him from scaring Thorn ever again. Be brave, dear reader, as you enter the haunted Durst Mansion. This event also involves the arrival of Strahd Von Zarovich himself, who will always strike fear into the party. RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: The Best Adventures From Candlekeep Mysteries. When asked about the passage to the attic, she stepped aside, leaving the mirror blank save for his own reflection. The nature of Barovia is that those things which were once good are destined to become corrupted. It's all important, because it also teaches the players to pay attention to the environment. Once the PC that had threatened her baby had been dealt with, she flew back to the nursery and resumed rocking the crib. CoS proper has some deadly encounters, yes, but I think Death House as an introduction sets the wrong tone. Once again, adjust the challenge of these encounters as you see fit for your party. Well cover some of the changes that I make when Im running this dungeon for my groups later in this article. The Death House is intended for a party of level 1 characters. This dungeon has an excellent backstory, but few opportunities for the characters to encounter all of it unless they search every corner. Or an evil PC could finish off a severely hurt ally. However, there is enough information provided to add your own spins to the Death House. If the PCs decide to take a long rest in the house, allow them to roll an Intelligence check to recall the relative safety of the Servants Quarters. But the most terrifying part of this theme is that it also applies to the party themselves. This prompted him to investigate the mirror, revealing the passage up. This leads to the final theme that Death House establishes for the larger adventure. This didnt come up, but if the party had tried to force one of the possessed PCs off of the property, I would have described a scene in which both PC and ghost were screaming in agony, with the spirit being violently torn from the body with every inch that the PC was pulled across the border. . If they arent seizing the chance to be heroes, appeal to their love of coin and youll have all the hook you need. Dress Up This October With This Month's Free Subscription Perks! And then level 3 after escaping the house. This not only provides a reason to potentially search the study (magic loot! There is no escape, not without first defeating the seemingly unstoppable vampire Strahd Von Zarovich. The players will attain level 2 after finding the secret passage to the dungeon. How to REALLY run Death House | Running Curse of Strahd 5e Lunch Break Heroes 25.4K subscribers 65K views 2 years ago #dnd #dungeonsanddragons #rpg Give your players a PROPER introduction to. 25. Moreover, there are a lot of things that the party can miss (e.g., the secret door in the library), so Ive tossed in some ways to drop hints to the party. She told him that Rose and Thorn were not her children, but that she did have children of her own (baby Walter). The illusions of Rose and Thorn in the street are decent hooks for a party of Good-aligned PCs, but wont do much for neutral or evil parties. How to D&D 29.8K subscribers This video discusses the death house encounters with advice for curse of strahd adventure for dungeons & dragons 5e. This is all really helpful and wish I'd seen this before I'd run DH. The only thing I personally disliked about that section is the 'after finale' where you're escaping. Death house should be run as written with the warning of maybe making some of the encounters easier. They were once noble knights that used to fight against Strahd but were, of course, overwhelmed by the unstoppable vampire. Darklords Shrine.- Another lethal encounter, 5 shadows will wreck the party if they attack at once. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Perhaps she legitimately loved Gustav and hoped to free him from the cults influence. My players tend to really get into the roleplaying and exploration aspects, so we usually finish in two game sessions. Avoid making it an outright execution if you can! If the PCs damage anything (the chairs, the wallpaper, etc.) That said, Death House can be a brutal experience. All this can be achieved in 6-10 hours of playing. Full Guide to Warlock Pact Boons in D&D 5e, The Legend of the Peasant Railgun in D&D 5e, Attack of Opportunity in D&D 5e Explained, Best Druid Spells By Level: A Top 10 List, I Had an AI Make a D&D Character (and it got really weird! Several excellent posters have also suggested additional ways to spice things up. I provided their flaws through PM, and both had a blast roleplaying it. Tsolenka Pass is relatively isolated from the rest of Barovia, making it quite an unsettling, lonely path for the party to travel down. Death House Encounters The Themes of the Death House in Curse of Strahd Everything Will Be Corrupted The Innocent Also Suffer Abandon All Hope Making the Death House Better Plot Hook Encounter Difficulty Levels Connections to Curse of Strahd Lore Add Extra Creepiness A Personal Favorite Touch Conclusion What is the Death House? (If youre feeling generous, or really want your players to see the entirety of the house in a quick Halloween night of gaming, you could even run it at 3rd level.). She was then stabbed by the cultists for unexplained reasons and cast aside. You will be sure to terrify your party with this location, especially when they hear that horrible shriek of that feathered fiend and have nowhere to run. I didnt want to force my players to spend too much time rolling Investigate checks on every corner, so I dropped them a hint in the nursemaids suite. Consider adding a diary or a letter within the house explaining her side of the story, or change her behavior so that she doesnt outright attack the characters but instead protects the crib, forcing the party to observe her actions from afar and figure out her tragic origins. Heading further up Mount Ghakis, it is also freezing cold at night. Dungeon m. AboutPressCopyrightContact. The adventure was unveiled in the February 2016 issue of Dragon+ as an example of the thrills that would come in the then-unreleased Curse of Strahd. For inspiration, consider Gustav Dursts reasoning for the affair in a letter from Strahd that can be found in the Secret Room. The book says that players retain control but have to take a temporal flaw and role play accordingly (page 217). Since I've warned you already about spoilers, I'll state it up front: to avoid the house turning against the PCs, a creature has to die at the sanctum in the basement. Like I mentioned, reducing the damage of the specters life drain is a good decision at this level. Dunno.the Death House is pretty much the perfect setup for CoS. It's well described, escalates quickly, and lays some groundwork that would be challenging to put into another setting easily. Your group might choose to fight it and risk death. As adventurers reach the top of the attic, they will find themselves in an aggressive place, they house is trying to kill them (page 220). Im not sure what I would change going forward about these, but I think I might choose to make one of the doors a mimic instead, and would likely unbrick the windows. Create an account to follow your favorite communities and start taking part in conversations. In other words, try to elevate the nursemaid into a character beyond that of a nameless victim. If you already have level 3 players you can jump right into the action of Barovia's encounters. If the PCs comply and a living being is killed off on the altar, the house is appeased and they will be able to leave peacefully and level up. Most Barovians steer clear of this location, where they are likely to get lost in the muddy, misty marshes and even encounter terrifying scarecrows. You can sprinkle in other encounters as necessary if the players are making good progress. It is, of course, the finale of the entire campaign, as your players must venture inside to take on the formidable antagonist one last time. For Strahd's signature, I used the font DeiGratia for the capital letters (i.e. Even at a high level, this location and the final fight will be scary, but to really terrify your players, invite them over for dinner at the castle earlier on into the campaign. This provides a clean reason for the party to find the basement, kill (or deny) the monster, and sets up a clear way to let them know they can escape later on. Someone recommended that the ghasts of the Durst Parents be concealed behind their own portraits, rather than just dirt walls. Ideally, everyone is happy to assist the children and play the game. If your players find out that the kids are illusions then they wont be trying to help and will believe it is a trap (I mean its obviously a trap but still). Recommended: I Had an AI Make a D&D Character (and it got really weird!). Consider also reducing the number of ghouls and/or shadows in the Dungeon Level. Master Suite.- Theres a jewelry box with jewels worth 900 gp. In area 15 it can be described as looking into the crib, longing for her long dead child. Once theyve explored the first, second, and third floors (plus the attic if they find how to get there! From the moment the party steps into the town, they'll get a great sense that nothing is right here. The first is a set of Animated Armor that is positioned to possibly push a party member down the stairs. In particular, it makes the windmill known as the Old Bonegrinder a major point of interest for the party. Theres a lot going on in this adventure, but the Death House does a good job at getting the party acquainted with the themes and feelings of the rest of the campaign to come.if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[728,90],'tabletopjoab_com-mobile-leaderboard-1','ezslot_25',146,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-tabletopjoab_com-mobile-leaderboard-1-0'); I cant say that its perfect for every group. How to Play Ravenloft in a Single Night. Your email address will not be published. They were wearing the exact same gear but seemed to not have their faces painted on. Free D&D Adventure: Fight as Dragons and Explore a Crystal Dragon's Lair! Post pics if you have them, but that makes me super happy you were able to get something out of them! Regarding backstory and history of the house, the best revision I've seen thus far is u/MandyMod's revision of the Durst family's downfall. Or jump from a balcony. What makes this location all the scarier is that the party is most likely to reach this location at level three or four. You are correct about how death works in Curse of Strahd. Shadowrun: Astral Ways (Sixth World Setting Book), Star Trek Adventures MISSION PDF 022 Eight Layers Deep, BattleTech: Recognition Guide: ilClan Vol. In my game, I gave Rose the personality of a sassy older sister who was fiercely protective of her younger brother. ), its a good stopping point for your first session. Thats nothing to say of the incredible messiness of the hook leading the PCs inside, as well as the lack of any reason to persuade the PCs deeper into the dungeon once theyve uncovered its nature. The true horror of this location comes from a specific event that can take place if the players are not careful. Ending the Cycle. The children that the party encounters on the road (Rose and Thorn) are asking for help dealing with whatever entity is inside the house. Dungeon master guide and advice with the. Give little clues or observations that are simply meant to unnerve the players. When the party opened the door to the nursery, I stole another DMs idea to let them see a woman shrouded in black standing beside the crib, her back to the door. A lot of good ideas to make the story flow. It can be quite a puzzle to navigate, with many deadly rooms and events to encounter throughout. Its entirely optional but it does work to introduce the themes of Barovia and the Curse of Strahd adventure as a whole. Curse Of Strahd is one of the best campaigns for Dungeons & Dragons. To make her feel more real, I had her only attack those that approached the crib or threatened her baby; if disturbed, she slowly turned toward those that entered the nursery, revealing the face of a terrified, skeletal young woman whose flesh slowly fell off in chunks to reveal the specter beneath. 20. Theres a third baby in the picture in the fathers arms, Mrs. Durst looks at the baby with scorn. When the party tries to leave the house, Rose and Thorn do not let them. Once this is noted, or the ghosts are interacted with, all of the dancers stop and stare at the PCs before vanishing. This is a list of important bits of information, important locations and specific advice to run the different locations in the Death House. Honestly, even if the party is level 3, this can be a very tough fight! Add some emotion to the childrens request. You can start with Mad Marys encounter (page 44). She deserves more development, especially in a stripped-down Death House emphasizing the evil nature of the Dursts. ), The Themes of the Death House in Curse of Strahd. (Quick side note: stop them from immediately going to the Bonegrinder. Thats awesome!! Im a big fan of running it in my Curse of Strahd games. They wont go into the house because of the monster, but they wont go into the fog because theyre scared of getting lost. You can find the Death House adventure here for free from Wizards of the Coast. Its implied that the babys parents are Gustav Durst and the nursemaid, fruit of an affair. She and her daughters are, in fact, a coven of Night Hags. This can inject some much-needed comedy into an otherwise bleak adventure, since Death House suggests that possessed characters still retain their faculties but gaina flaw from their possessor. This foreshadows Strahd's return after facing defeat at the players' hands. Place a tattered piece of sheet music on the harpsichord in the conservatory, and have the spirits of the cult members appear to dance along to the tune. You can see the tendrils grip on the walls tighten with crushing force. Its possible to have been a good person who now lives a life of fear and misery as a result of another persons evil actions. Running the Death House The main Curse of Strahd module encompasses levels 3-10. You made Rose and Thorn like Bianca and Nico DiAngelo! The party is expected to take them at face value and enter the house as soon as possible. This probably explains why he loves story-driven games so much. The final confrontation in Death House is an odd one. This video discusses the death house dungeon encounter disasters that you want to avoid in the curse of strahd adventure for dungeons & dragons 5e. I am actually in the process of setting this up as a one-shot for some of my experienced gamer friends. What has been your experience with the Death House? Here, the children seize full control over their hosts bodies. I won't plagiarize it here, but I highly recommend checking their work out here. What is it? Depending on your group, and how roleplay heavy they are. I added some handwriting font, put them on a parchment background, and they all came up well. Running Curse of Strahd. Death House is that deadly. Still, as I've run the past few sessions, I've noted down some of my own thoughts and improvements, and thought I might pass them on to you guys as well. Locals give the building a wide berth for fear of antagonizing the evil spirits believed to haunt it. 12. Well look over those now. Also PCs will find the houses deed and a deed to the mill near Vallaki. Death House is a classic haunted house tale, starting with two ghostly children pleading for help outside. They also tried to find other houses in the fog, but quickly realized that they were being railroaded inside once the constitution/exhaustion checks started. Where the Death House really stands out is its use of theme. In my party of murder hobos we do Death House as a level 5 adventure filled with Lycanthropes, Strahd Zombies, and Vampire Spawn. It's a horrific truth that will send a shiver down your party's spines. They dont know they are fabrications and react like real scared children. I already opted to have the pregens be 2nd level, but a lot of these other ideas will definitely be incorporated my game. Id greatly recommend also checking out my article on running horror in your own D&D 5e games! However, that feels a little ham-fisted. Its important to note that after exiting this place, its unlikely that the adventurers will visit it ever again. If they kill any creature on the altar, the cult is appeased and the characters can leave the house freely. Death House is a modern Dungeons & Dragons horror classic. Death House is a meat grinder meant to kill low-level players. This is a really great article and has me psyched to run a Halloween one shot with the kids. From gaming trends to the latest blockbuster anime, DualShockers keeps you ahead of the curve. They havent opened it yet, but Im hoping that theyll use the letter as an excuse to take an interest in Ismark when they arrive at the tavern. Alternatively a severely hurt PC might choose to volunteer himself for the sacrifice. The nature of D&D 5e is that it is almost hilariously easier to die at lower levels than it is at higher levels even as tougher enemies appear. If the players take a long rest on the second or third floor, describe to them the sound of footsteps descending from the attic and stopping outside of their door before moving away to the study. So today, were going to be taking a look at the Death House. Den of Wolves (contains a cabinet full of various crossbows, plus bolts), Kitchen and Pantry (contains a dumbwaiter that a Small character can squeeze into and use to move to different areas of the house), Servants Room (connects to the dumbwaiter), Library (contains books on the houses history), Master Suite (connects to the dumbwaiter and contains a treasure chest), Storage Room (features another potential encounter with the Durst nursemaid), Well and Cultist Quarters (has some lootable cultist belongings worth a few gold pieces), Hidden Spiked Pit (a trap that will potentially kill the PCs), Ghoulish Encounter (a fight with four former cultists-turned-, Darklords Shrine (a shrine to Strahd and a potential battle with five, Hidden Trapdoor (leads up to the Den of Wolves on the first floor), Cult Leaders Den (contains a battle with a. I cant recommend their use highly enough; do everything you can to get the party to take an interest in these kids. Absolutely do not show the party the image of the children in the book. After meeting the illusions of two children, and learning there is a monster in the house, the characters are forced in by the choking mists. I'm hosting my second ever session tonight and my party will be heading into the dungeonhave I missed something? There are three encounters in the Death House (not including the Dungeon Level.) It was amazing. Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, their respective logos, and all Wizards titles and characters are property of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. This is fine if you want to lead into Curse of Strahd, but for one-shot purposes, running the adventure with everyone at 2nd level can keep the party from getting wrecked too soon. This site works best with JavaScript enabled. Even just traveling around Barovia can be a spooky experience. Each and every doll in the chest had a face painted on it, though. The house is not at all that dangerous if your players pick the right choices. Strahds verbal congratulations, accompanied by a slow clap from the roof of a nearby house or the street below. Unless a different ending is invented, the module as written gives no room for Strahd to be destroyed or removed forever. This makes the encounter with a coven of hags all the more imposing. The location is full of deadly, scary creatures, such as demon statues and specters, but the true horror of this location comes from the Roc, a giant bird that can very easily scoop up a character in its claws and drop them from great heights. Give the party a chance to rest and level up (if they started at level 1) before they work their way to the Dungeon Level.if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[250,250],'tabletopjoab_com-leader-1','ezslot_12',135,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-tabletopjoab_com-leader-1-0'); In the Dungeon Level, the party will encounter a Grick and several undead. Immediately afterward, a grinding noise (the sound of the secret passage) can be heard from the attic. So what purpose is there behind being a good person then? They will sing to wake up Lorghoth the Decayer, a Shambling Mound hiding in the southernmost alcove.
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