The Shade Isle Campaign
Castle Melènkâr is an enormous mansion that seems to exist in a separate dimension from Færith‘s universe: perhaps the dream-plane, perhaps the limbo between universes. The adventuring company was able to travel to the strange castle by spending the night sleeping in the Abandoned Shack on the eastern edge of the Lornwood, within two nights of the full moon. Whether they’ve been physically plane-shifted or are somehow astrally projected into a dream-realm is presently unclear.
So far, the company has only made a thorough exploration of the castle’s east wing. Many rooms contain giant mechanical toys (some of which are also hostile automatons), while other rooms are strangely enchanted. Wandering monsters have been encountered in the castle’s rooms and halls, as have at least a couple of the castle’s queer inhabitants, the family Melènkâr.
The house itself seems to be completely surrounded by a nearly opaque, slightly luminescent, purplish mist. It’s visible through all of the windows, and it’s also the only thing one can see from the house’s front porch. (There does seem to be some sort of solid ground upon which the house stands, however.) From time to time, a talking lark makes an appearance, flitting through the walls like some sort of incorporeal ghost. Addressing the company with a woman’s voice, the Lark has said that she’s watching each of them to see which one will be worthy of “the prize”, whatever that may be.
The East Wing
1. Foyer. After going to sleep in the Abandoned Shack, the company woke up here—animals, hirelings, wagon, and everything, all in this single room. The floor here is marble, with an emerald-green carpet running across the middle of it. Near the roof hangs a brass chandelier set with unlit candles, where magical dancing lights twinkle and sparkle and illuminate the room. (Well, hung, if I’m being particular. At one point, some of the company knocked the chandelier down, to see what would happen. Naturally, the illusory lights remained in place. This began a destructive rampage by Klaus, from whom no room’s random furniture was henceforth safe.)
While most of the party set out to explore the castle, Partrix (later joined by Henrik) remained here to calm the animals (which at the moment happened to include a hobbled and wing-tied hippogriff that the company had subdued and captured in the Lornwood, and which Frieda had named Kristoff).
2. Façade. A large front porch with eight great columns and broad marble steps, there are lots of large clay pots here which contain dry soil and dead plants (which Viktor and Frieda were unable to identify, despite their great skill at woodcraft). Under one of these pots, Connor found a small wooden token, shaped like the hammer Mjölnir—the holy symbol of Thünor.
Beyond the steps, the whole of the mansion seems to be surrounded by an opaque purple mist. None of the company dared venture any distance into the mist, but after breaking a pot and throwing some potsherds into the distance, they at least heard the clay shards clatter against solid ground.
3. Greenhouse. This room has a roof of glass (although the only light to be found here is reflected off the purple mist that surrounds the house). There are more dead, potted plants in here. Connor found a mythrill greatsword stuck blade-down in a pot with a dead lilac bush. (The company also had a rather tense encounter with a wandering monster here. A displacer beast strolled casually through the room on its six legs, regarded the adventurers with a tilted head and four alien eyes, and then yawned and left.)
4. North Sitting-Room. A mostly ordinary sitting-room with comfortable furniture and a grand piano (perfectly tuned), which Viktor sat down at to play for a time. A fireplace against the east wall contained rainbow-colored logs which, when lit, produced rainbow flame and smoke, but otherwise proved harmless. There was also a catch in one of the fireplace bricks that opened up the secret room at 4a. This turned out to be a coat-closet filled with warm, heavy coats of brown bear-fur. A discolored stone in the wall of the secret room bore the following inscription, in Jeroise: “This stone was taken from Castle Amber in the year A.D. 1581. It was set into place here in the year 6134 of the First Age of Gaia.”
5. South Sitting-Room. This room is apparently unused, with all of the furniture covered over with white sheets.
6. Trophy Room. The walls of this room were lined with stuffed heads: stag, lion, boar, bear, manticore, griffon, pegasus… meanwhile, the center of the room contained three pieces of statuary or taxidermy: a stuffed basilisk, a set of ceremonial dullachan armor welded into a metallic statue, and a stone statue resembling the Great Sphinx of Giza. The adventurers found a potion in the stuffed stag’s head and another wooden holy symbol (a horse with a mane braided in Celtic-style knot-work, the holy symbol of Epona). Gibli, who examined the stuffed basilisk and wound up paralyzed for several minutes, took the basilisk’s eyes.
7. Waiting Room. This room looks like every hellish doctor’s or dentist’s waiting-room, with beige furniture, boring old magazines, and bad elevator music sounding from somewhere overhead. There’s a receptionist’s desk near the south wall, but the only objects to be found there are a Rolodex filled with blank cards, a beehive wig, a set of wing-frame glasses with opaque lenses, and some gaudy makeup.
8. Silent Hallway. The main hallway stretching across the length of the castle’s east wing has that same emerald-green carpet from room 1 all the way down. The hallway is also under the effects of a permanent and pervasive silence effect: there is no sound in the hallway.
9. Globe Room. This large room contains only one feature: a great stone globe, very slowly rotating, depicting an utterly alien set of continents and seas. The Lark made an appearance in this room, perched on the globe, and explained to the company that the world depicted on this globe was called Ordwyrd, which happens to exist in the same universe—same galaxy, even—as the adventurers’ own Færith. The Lark explained that she keeps the globe in this room because she’s fond of the people of Ordwyrd, who are “stupid and naïve, small-minded and ridiculously honorable, but fun to fool around with.”
10. The Flower Prison. This bizarre room is filled with a maze-like array of plant-troughs, all of them lined with small bars about the size of birdcages. Planted in the troughs are daises and sunflowers, some of which have tiny sunglasses on. Whenever anyone approached any of the flowers, they would suddenly animate, sprouting small leafy arms and grabbing at the bars, begging to be set free, jabbering on about how they can’t take it in the pokey/slammer/hoosegow/sing-sing anymore, they’re in on a bad rap, they didn’t do it, the judge was crooked, and they don’t want the electric chair/gas-chamber, mixed with sundry other examples of freakishly anachronistic and decontextualized 1930s gangster lingo.
Conversing with the flowers proved fruitless; nothing said to the flowers would change the subject-matter of their speech. Likewise, getting closer to the flowers only made them belligerent, causing them to fight each other or ineffectually punch and slap at the curious adventurer. Plucking the flowers caused them to fall dead with an electric whine, while sparks snapped from the naked wires exposed where the stems were severed. At long last, the company took to digging up several of the troughs; they found that the animatronic flowers were indeed all wired together, but the wires themselves ran to no kind of discernible power-source.
11. The Haunted House. This large chamber is essentially a great Halloween exhibit, with an animatronic witch and werewolf cackling and howling next to a cauldron filled with steaming dry ice. There were several buckets of candy in here, and the ceiling and walls were hung with sheet-ghosts, cotton “webs”, and paper spiders and jack-o-lanterns. One of these hanging pumpkins actually proved to be a wooden medallion, the holy symbol of Samhain.
12. Doctor’s Office. This room contained shelves upon shelves filled with organs preserved in formaldehyde, and also a large operating-table in the middle of the room, covered in a sheet. Removing the sheet revealed a twisted sight: an outline of a man, with a red light-bulb for a nose, and a number of depressions in the table filled with squishy, bloody organs. A larger-than-life game of Operation, in other words. A nearby tray had some comically oversized (but still quite real and sharp) surgeon’s tools, so Connor and Gibli grabbed some giant forceps and decided to test their agility. Once they finally removed an organ without lighting up the buzzer, an electronic voice told them to dispense of the waste in the biohazard container; this innocuous wastebasket in the corner of the room proved to contain a veritable mother-lode of treasure. Also, hanging from a framed diploma on the wall (which read, “M.D. awarded by the School of Hard Knocks, Accidental Lacerations, and then the Bleeding and the Screaming…”), Connor found a wooden wolf-token, a shamanistic totem of the spirit Brother Wolf.
13. The Halls of Addiction. The three doors in this short hallway each have a sign hanging from them. The first door, at a., reads “Gamblers Anonymous”. The second door, at 13., reads “Alcoholics Anonymous”. The third door, at b., reads “Chocoholics Anonymousse”.
The north room (13a) proved to be a miniature casino, albeit unoccupied. There were just a roulette and baccarat table in here, and a row of Joker-themed (and quite unwinnable) slot-machines.
The center room (labeled 13) contained a dozen monkeys plugging away at typewriters, while a strange man dressed in an artist’s smock and beret played on barrel-organ and yelled at the monkeys to work harder and write better. When the company came into this room, the strange man called for break-time (immediately, all the monkeys went for coffee and cigarettes and started making mundane small-talk), while their ringleader introduced himself as Rydel Melènkâr. He claimed to be both an “artiste” and an “ace reporter extraordinaire”, and he pressed all of the adventurers for their biographies. As soon as this grew the least bit tiresome to the adventurers, though, Rydel turned violent and had to be handled with extreme prejudice. After Rydel was dead, the Lark appeared and bewailed the death of her “darling son”.
The south room (at 13b) was a confectioner’s kitchen, filled with chocolate everythings—cakes, puddings, mousses, bonbons, bars, cookies, and in the center of it all, a giant chocolate bunny. Approximately zero-point-two seconds after the players yawned and said, “it’s going to animate, isn’t it?”, the Chocolate Bunny Golem attacked (and it managed to scare off Frieda with its fear gaze). The rest of the company fought and defeated the golem, which melted away, revealing a weird pink crystal shard, jagged and irregular, about a foot in length, and apparently made of the same substance (crystallized ectoplasm and soul-energy) as a mana stone.
14. Slinky Kennel. This room was filled with giant rubber dog-toys and an oversized dog dish, as well as a mechanical attack-automaton: a Giant Slinky Dog. The company defeated this creature as well, and they found a second pink soul-shard inside its head, attached to the clockwork mechanisms. They also discovered a secret door in the south wall of this room, which opened into a passageway on the inside of a long, curved courtyard-wall just barely visible from the room’s single southward-facing window.
The South Wing
31. Chantry. The company found this room at the end of the long secret passageway from room 14 in the East Wing. It contained a brass bell hanging from the ceiling overhead; several pillows and cushions arranged on the floor underneath; gongs; chimes; and a crate of hymnals. In the crate, they found another wooden holy symbol: a token with a stylized depiction of Hugin and Munin, the pet ravens of Alfader.
β1. Earth Temple. This room contained a central altar with a large stone carving of a cornucopia, very reminiscent of the Starshrine to Jorða. The altar also had Jorða’s holy symbol upon it, a small wooden medallion in the shape of a ram’s-horn mead-cup. When Gibli snatched this up, though, the whole room started to shake with an earthquake, and the earth-goddess’s temple suddenly filled in with dirt and pebbles. Gibli barely escaped unburied.
β2. Den. Something of a plush man-cave, this chamber contained a central fire-pit underneath an iron hood and stovepipe, along with a rack of pokers and several easy-chairs arranged around it. One wall was stacked high with several kegs of very nice ale, and another corner of the room had a coal-bin. Viktor went digging through the coal and came up with a wooden Caduceus, the holy symbol of Mercurius Trismagistus.
|Weird Objects Found|
|Mjölnir, holy symbol of Thünor|
|Horse, holy symbol of Epona|
|Jack-o-lantern, holy symbol of Samhain|
|Wolf, totem of Brother Wolf|
|Soul shard inside the Chocolate Bunny Golem|
|Soul shard inside the Giant Slinky Dog|
|Hugin & Munin, holy symbol of Alfader|
|Caduceus, holy symbol of Mercurius Trismagistus|