Dungeon Father Gaming – Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh session 1

This afternoon saw our inaugral session of Dungeon Father Gaming with a party starting to play the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh set on the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms.

The players:

  • Jack G playing Ned Burningmourn, a human rogue
  • Jon A playing Naxhelus, a triton barbarian
  • David M playing Ted, a human tempest cleric
  • Vincenzo M playing Wayne, a high elf wizard
  • Sarah E playing Kimiko, a tabaxi warlock

After waking up in cells for being in a drunken brawl that none of them remembered, their bail was posted by a local businessman and his butler had come to invite them to a meeting with him to discuss an “opportunity”.

The meeting was at a local manor house over a sumptuous breakfast and the businessman introduced himself as Anson Welldeck, owner of a small fleet of fishing vessels here in Saltmarsh. He explained that he wanted to help bring the town into the “modern age” and become a member of the Lords Alliance but several of the “old guard” within the town wanted to maintain the current status quo, led by the Primewater family who owned a larger fishing fleet. To aid his cause he wanted the heroes to investigate the old haunted house outside of town in the hopes of showing everyone that he was capable of “getting things done”.

Our heroes readily agreed, and with a purse of gold decided to grab a quick potion of healing (just in case) from the local quartermasters. The store was run by strangely dressed red tiefling woman, her oufit reminiscent of a pirate, who offered to sell them a potion for 75 gold pieces. Unable to bargain her lower and unwilling to pay her price the party left her and decided to try the local temple of Chauntea. The priest there was much more helpful and sold them a potion of healing and two vials of holy water for 65 gold pieces. Feeling more prepared they set off along the cliff path to the house.

From the outside it looked abandoned and dilapidated, the garden overgrown and the outerwall crumbling. They spied an old well and headed for it to check if it still worked. As the rogue wound the winch the party were attacked by a pair of large poisonous snakes. The party made hardwork of the fight and had to take a rest afterwards, during which the rogue finished raising the bucket and retrieved some coins from the well. Meanwhile the wizard walked a circuit of the house while Detecting Magic, discovering three instances on the ground floor.

Refreshed the party entered the house spying a discarded blanket in the room with a trapdoor that had tripped the magic detecton. The blanket proved to be just a normal blanket but after unsuccessfully trying lift the trapdoor with a fishing rod the barbarian just pulled it open releasing an otherwordly voice screaming “Welcome fools, to your deaths! Bwah ha ha!” Undeterred the heroes follow the stairs to the cellar below.

The long cellar had a table set for a meal, some of the food still steaming hot, several beds each with a footlocker, a cooking fire/fireplace and two doors (one of which was barred and had the word DANGER written across it). The heroes opened the other door to find a comfortably appointed bedroom. Going through the desk, wardrobe etc they uncovered some interesting books, candles and piece of parchment with some sort of code upon it. While they searched the room they heard movement back in the larger room (which had been empty?). A leather clad figure appeared in the door and was quickly despatched, the rogue then moved to check if anymore were waiting only to be downed by a bowshot. The triton summoned a sea fog to obfuscate the archer but there remained another swordsman. The heroes quickly dealt with him and prepared to face the archer as the triton dismissed the mist, but the archer was nowhere to be seen.

Bringing their thieving friend back to action they turned their attention to the Danger Door, unbarring it and looking inside. The room was littered with bones that began to coallesce into humanoid shapes. They party all agreed that they wanted none of that, pulled the door shut and re-barred it quickly. Leaving with with scrabbling noises behind them and heading back upstairs.

Keeping an eye out for the missing archer they began to investigate the rest of the ground floor chambers, beginning with the former study. Here they found a bottle holding two portions of a potion of healing (its not like they’ll need this, right?). Another room was the former library, most of the shelves were empty but someone had stacked several books near the fireplace. Some of them caught the wizards eye, being treatise on magical propertie and components by notable mages.

As the heroes entered the main hall they heard a bump from somewhere above and decided to head up to investigate – carefully!

They went past two doors to the one they thought the noise had come from, there was a key on the floor in front of the door. Carefully the picked the key up and tried it in the door, it unlocked, and they pushed the door open. A human man in his undergarments was bound and gagged on the far side of the otherwise empty room. The warlock strode forward to check if he was alright and had to rely on her cat-like reflexes to leap backwards as part of the floor gave way having rotted away. Now aware of what to look for they made their way around the edge. The man appeared to be unmoving but when they suggested stabbing it to make sure his eyes flicked open and he tried to speak through his gag. The heroes removed the gag and discerned why he was there, apparently he’d taken shelter during a recent storm but was jumped by “guys in leather with swords” and left here. The heroes freed him, lending him one of the swords they had taken from the bodies in the cellar.

They began working their way back to the landing above the hall, checking the next door. they noticed the tell tale signs of rotted floor and as they saw nothing else of interest moved on to the next door. This ones floor looked more solid, with several cobwebs and the glint of something in the fireplace. The warlock moved to investigate, instantly regretting the choice as hundreds of tny spiders descended upon her. She rapidly exited the room as her allies killed off the spiders crawling over her and blocked the bottom of the door with the corpse of the snake the barbarian had brought with him from the garden.

Crossng the landing they investigated further, finding what looked like the former master bedroom and its wardrobe, containing some useable boots and a cloak with an ivy-like pattern on it. They passed these to the guy they rescued (finding out his name was Ned) who happily put them on, only to suddenly go stiff as a board and fall over dead!

Carefully checking the body they found a mustard coloured fungus inside the robe taht seemed to have caused the death, they wisely decided to leave it alone and moved on to the next door down the corridor. This looked to be a guest bedroom, with the bed still mostly intact but nothing else of interest.

Heading to the side wing of the house they another bedroom with some mouldy paperwork that they let alone and a storage room with some spoiled laundry and a pile of clean and undamaged clothes (they deducted they were Ned’s). Further north along the corridor was a landing with a rickety looking staircase going back downstairs and a broken stair to the attic. The barbarian easily jumped up and used a rope to help the others up, a search of the attic uncovered an old porcelain doll with jade eyes, maybe still worth something. Not wanting to risk the other stairs they returned to the main hall and descended the stairs there before neading into the ground floor north wing.

The first room they opened looked like a drawing room but at the sght of all the cobwebs they just pulled the door closed and left it alone. The door on the opposite side was apparently the dining room but long since ruined and of no interest to the heroes. At the end of the corridor they opened the door into the kitchen, the cooking fire still having iron cookware hanging above it beside the stone sink. As they explored the room the cleric heard movement under the floorboards and smashed his mighty hammer into the floor, easily cracking the boards open and squashing a large centipede beneath, unfortunately the other centipedes burst forth.

While the heroes despatched the insects with relative ease, one of them did get a bite on the cleric who at first shrugged off the bite then suddenly went a sickly shade and fell to the floor unmoving. Once they had dealt with  centipedes they used one of their healing potions to revive the cleric but he still felt unwell.

Cautiosly they opened the next door to the scullery, site of the third “ping” of the wizards earlier detect magic. The magic seemed to be coming from the stairs which led down into another part of the cellar. Gathering their courage and led by the barbarian they descended the stairs, getting about a third of the way down before a spectral figure appeared below, skin pulled taught across the face as if floated arms outstretched and lurching at the party screaming maniacally as it passed through each of them. Their nerve held and as it reache dthe top of the stairs it disappeared.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs they found what looked like a wine cellar, unfortunately the bottles were all broken and the floor covered in their broken remains, they could see a door leading south which they worked out led to the chamber they had faced the swordsmen in (but they hadnt seen any corresponding door when they were in there). There was also a human male in plate armour laying motionless on the floor with a shield and sword alongside.

Examining the body it looked to have been dead a few weeks and as the cleric began to strip the armour off, maggots crawled out of the corpse and began burrowing into his shield arm! As more maggots began crawling slowly towards the heroes they smushed them to paste and realised they needed to burn the maggots out. The rogue pushed his torch into the clerics arm and dealt with the threat. Unperturbed the cleric continued to remove the armour and swap it with his own.

Time defeated us and this is where we had to call it for the session, wow, those insects etc were more dangerous than the couple of guys in the basement. the party had to keep stopping to wait for members to regain consciousness (at least three times). Level one characters are super squishy heehee.

Some of the players did make use of our chrity re-roll option, earning some extra funds towards our charity pot too.

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