Sidequest Saturday (Macabre Manses): Golem Patch

The blood red moon rising signals the coming of Hensley’s Mansion again on this Hallow’s Eve. As per usual, the mansion manifests itself in a yellow fog, atop the hill. Lights flash from the top of the old house, briefly outlining a strange figure with a large head  in the darkness. A small crowd has gathered a fair distance from the estate—as they always do every Hallow’s Eve—anticipating the coming of the yellow fog which takes the mansion away before daylight. Prayers are uttered as the local priest consecrates the ground and anticipation is high as the moon sets when the yellow fog arrives to take the house away. As the mist closes, lightning spirals out from the top of the Hensley’s Mansion, illuminating the entire hillside and dissipating the fog. In a stunning development the entire estate has returned and this time, it seems, for good. Even though sunrise is nigh, the region grows darker and colder; evil is clearly afoot.

The approach to Hensley’s Mansion has been cleared; the grounds in front of the entrance, while not manicured, have opened up to make a path from the battered iron gate fence to the front door. The grounds are covered in thick vines that snake up the sides of the house—it is almost as if there is one giant vine covering the entire area. The doors of the old manse are slightly ajar.

When the PCs approach the house the temperature drops as a light mist obscures the ground, swirling at the party’s feet. In the fog, the shapes of jack-o’-lanterns appear and when the PCs enter area 1, the scared to death haunt takes effect.

macabre manses map

The vines covering Hensley’s Mansion act as a black tentacles spell (CL 15th); climbing the walls requires a DC 15 Climb check.

The inside of the house is mostly empty. Peeling paper hangs from the walls, the wooden floors have deep scratches in them, and every window is covered by the vines from the outside. Even so, a cold breeze blows down the hallways and shadows shift about on the walls. Most of the rooms are sparsely furnished as either bedrooms or parlors.
The entire area is dimly lit unless otherwise noted.

Rooms 17 and 24 are open and the alcoves at the ends are painted with pumpkin themed frescoes.
Area 3 is an entryway opening up to the roof with staircases on either side.
Room 7 is a dining room, with the adjacent 8,9,10,13 and 14 rooms being kitchens and larders.
Most of the 2nd floor rooms are studies and libraries with many books, scrolls, and treatises on golems and horticulture. The entire collection is quite obscure and rare and is worth about 5,000 gp to a collector.
With the exception of the observatory (42) and the cellar (43-44), each room has a 20% chance of containing a jack-o’-lantern.


The cellar downstairs is dark.
Room 43 is full of scrolls, reagents, tools, and potions. There are 2d4 random potions and 1d4 random medium scrolls in this room. Roll on the magic item tables in the Core Rulebook to figure out type.
The door to area 44 is locked (DC 30 Disable Device) but not trapped. The door is made of thick iron, and has been barricaded from the inside (DC 30 Break, 10 hardness, 90 hp, DC 25 Strength to open once unlocked or broken due to barricade). Inside the room is a grotesque display—a skeleton lies in the back corner, surrounded by several withered vines and broken pumpkins. It clutches an old journal in one hand and an expended wand in the other.

The book details Hensley’s research into creating inexpensive golems with enough intellect to carry out tasks. It acts as a pumpkin golem manual. Towards the back however, Hensley has scrawled several notes on harnessing extra-planar intelligences and infusing them into golems. His last entries detail his attempt on fusing this intelligence into his newly made pumpkin golem—Hensley believed that he could create a super-vine and craft several golems at once from it. Drawings in the book show what appears to be a ritual to be completed in the observatory of the house (on the roof). Underestimating the forces he was dealing with, the mage opened up a gateway to a previously unknown plane that feeds on terror. His new golem, rather than a faithful, intelligent servant, became a horrifying conduit to this plane of terror. He barricaded himself in the workshop and closed the gate as a few of his creations began to attack; one of his golems escaped, but he managed to destroy the others. His last words detail his house leaving this plane, drawn into the plane of terror for good. Hensley thinks that he closed the gate permanently, but was obviously mistaken.

When the PCs climb the stairs to area 3b, they see a small wooden platform containing a pedestal holding a thick tome; this is the hangman trap.

Pumpkin GolemAt the top of the spiral stairs a trap door leads to the observatory (42). It is locked (DC 30 Disable Device) and reinforced (DC 30 Break, Hardness 6, 70 hp). When the PCs get to the observatory, a single pumpkin golem stands near a brass telescope. The vines that cover the house all meet here, under the device. Mist cascades from its eyepiece, blanketing the vines—as the mist travels along them, several pumpkins begin to form faces and the vines twist, creating a great golem patch.

The pumpkin golem attempts to keep the party away from the telescope. Moving the device breaks the ritual, something any PC discovers with a DC 30 Knowledge (planes) check. Moving the telescope requires either a DC 40 Strength check (a standard action) or a DC 25 Knowledge (engineering) check and a full round action. The ritual completes in 2d4+4 rounds if uninterrupted; 10d6 pumpkin golems immediately animate in the vines and begin to scour the area, looking for victims to terrify and kill.

When the ritual is interrupted the vines wither and die, imploding the pumpkins. This breaks the black tentacles effect of the vines as yellow mist begins to form around the house; in 1d4+1 rounds, Hensley’s Mansion is transported to the plane of terror (along with anyone inside it), never to return.

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