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Sidequest Saturday (Macabre Manses): Trapped Within

macabre manses map

After the PCs’ strange encounter in the forest during Finding the Macabre Manses, they find themselves facing down a long dark courtyard revealing the mansion’s distinguished foyer. Though the estate’s grounds suggest that there haven’t been any visitors to the site in a long while, the mansion’s interior—with its clean wooden floors and illustrious decor—brings such a theory to question. As the PCs enter the mansion a magic circle appears around the building and across its wooden floors, which begin to glow a deep purple hue. A strong gust of wind forces shut the inward swinging front doors to the foyer, and a strange orange and green glow floods the room.

There are a particular series of rules that govern the way the party is able to interact with their environment, and many hazards to face in their pursuit of freedom. The entire mansion has been manipulated by the cult Fomalhaut in the pursuit of their dark lord’s liberation—both they, their god, and the party are trapped within!

  • Portals of all kinds including doors, windows, and dimensional travel malfunction within the mansion. Instead of leading to the locations desired by the user, they pop anyone to the locations as indicated in  the omnidirectional doorways of confusion.
  • Fomalhaut’s dimension thrives on and feeds chaos; all spells of the chaotic subtype are cast at caster level + 5.
  • Looking outside of the mansion is hazardous for one’s mental health, and can have a debilitating effect on a party’s teamwork.

Gruxm Goretooth has let his cultist followers loose upon the mansion with strict orders to detain intruders on site so that they may be offered to Fomalhaut as a living sacrifice, a means to bind its life force the the Material Plane, a process that will likely kill its victims when they reach their destination as Fomalhaut exits the vessel(s). Fortunately for the PCs, the occultists have no advantage over the omnidirectional doorways of confusion, the twisted visage hazard, or any of the other devious obstacles within the mansion, leveling the playing field to their advantage.

Within rooms 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 30, 34, 35, 38, and 39, Gruxm has placed random summoned monsters. Since dimensional travel is only one way within the mansion, summoned monsters do not dissipate after being defeated and any objects or treasure that they would ordinarily carry is easily collected. Additionally, due to the nature of Fomalhaut’s dimension, there is a 25% chance that any monster summoned within the mansion gains the star spawn template.

Monk-2In room 12, Gruxm is makes preparations to honor Fomalhaut with the living tribute. Should the PCs find their way into this room there is a 70% chance that the goblin is present and preparing for their demise; Gruxm gives a long speech about his master and what the party’s purpose in the mansion is. If the adventurers approach Gruxm, he uses monster summoning VII to conjure a powerful creature to assist in subduing the PCs.

The remaining rooms are filled with beautiful decor, but are otherwise lacking anything of interest. A number of Gruxm’s followers equal to the party’s size (CE Human conjurer 7; see the “Conjurist” entry in the NPC Gallery section of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide) were inside the mansion when it traversed the dimensional rift. The odds of encountering an occultist in any of the rooms is 20% and should be checked by the GM every time the adventurers enter a new room. Occultists attack the PCs on sight and without warning, weakening them and depleting the party’s resources.

In the event that the party kills off every foe within the mansion, they are stuck within the demiplane for the rest of their lives, however long that might be (though a sufficient amount of thorough research might yield another means, any hope of escape requires years of study and experimentation that ultimately leads to the same conclusion). It is absolutely necessary to make the living sacrifice to Fomalhaut in order to bridge the dimensions so that they might all travel home. Discovering the specifics about the ritual from Gruxm requires successive Intimidate checks of increasing difficulty, the first DC 25 followed by DC 30  and DC 35.

Bridging the gap not only frees the players to return to the Material Plane, but allows Fomalhaut to hitch a ride on their coat tails bringing a new chaotic element into their world. What impact will Fomalhaut have on their home? Only time will tell.

 

[Submitted by Jeremy Kleve]

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