The session started out kind of slow. Ash was all alone on the second floor (Noggin doesn't count) and mostly waited around for someone else to join her.
On the bottom floor, the party examined a creepy rug that looked like a spiral staircase, played around with a screaming monkey head, and examined the first-floor stained glass. Zakhar was able to properly interpret it -- these weren't monsters being released from the box, these were monsters being harvested for components to build a phylactery.
They also found a murderous red scarf in a library, which tried to strangle Phoof when she went for one of the books. Kaito and Altei managed to get it off her, even though it seemed completely invulnerable to everything. Kaito tied it to the dagger on his bandolier that he hadn't been able to penetrate it with, for safekeeping.
Elsie wasn't interested in any of that and headed back up to join Ash. Briefly. The next room they checked was trashed except for a single portrait turned to face the wall. Elsie turned it back around, revealing a portrait of Aldin's wife, Alsea? Or something like that. Elsie was instantly possessed and tried to kill Ash, who held her off by fighting defensively for a few seconds before turning and running for backup. The two arrived back at the bottom floor just as the compulsion wore off.
Ash was no longer interested in keeping Elsie company. "Get away from me!" Elsie decided to do this by sulking off to try to find the third floor on her own again. It wasn't that hard -- there was only one more door to check.
After a little more time on the first floor, the others headed up to find her, and caught up on the third floor, which seemed to be under construction. One room had holes in the roof, most of the others had all the furniture covered in sheets. The third floor stained glass just had pictures of the two original Foxworthies, before all the haunting and curses happened.
There was a trapdoor to the roof, tied up and secured with multiple ropes. Kaito cut them free, and sent Altei up to converse with the crows that Noggin found up there. Unfortunately, they weren't very talkative, unless you count 'Caw! Caw!'
Meanwhile, Elsie and Ash were running ahead again, even though they didn't like each other anymore, and found a visible ghost crying in a corner, behind a mirror, angled to trap her in the corner with her own reflection (or something). Elsie moved the mirror, and the ghost revealed itself to be quite corporeal -- not *alive* mind you, but physical. It also didn't seem immediately hostile, but Ash ran away screaming 'ghost!' anyway.
Kaito approached it, and it showed great interest in the red scarf tied to his bandolier. He untied it for the monster, and it took it and tied it around its own throat, filling in the strangulation marks he could see there.
Ash and Elsie were able to indentify it as the remains of Aldin's wife. Apparently, he'd murdered her, and now she was... doing... something? They got out of her way, and most of them followed her down to the first floor, where she stared at the spiral-staircase stain in confusion.
Kaito lifted the stained rug to see if he could lead her around with it, but it had the opposite effect -- she went berserk and started attacking... the floor. She was REALLY killing that floor. Kaito stayed to watch her do that, while Phoof, Noggin, Altei, and Elsie headed downstairs to the basement (the basement door turned out to be right next to the stain).
Upstairs, Ash, Val and Zakhar were searching the last attic room, which turned out to be another library. They found some strange sea charts, some magic scrolls, and a small copper key.
In the basement, they found a mostly empty room with a couple bunkbeds and not particular haunting, and then... rats. All the rats. All the ghoulish rats swarmed out of the walls and started trying to eat them. Altei ran up and got Kaito, who smashed a jar of alcoholic pickles he'd been carrying around for alcoholic pickle emergencies into the middle of the swarm, at which point Elsie could set them on fire.
That didn't work very well. Punching and stabbing them didn't work that well either, although it worked a little. Phoof tried to run away from them, but the basement was too small... they crawled up her trunk and started eating her healing berries! That killed some of them, since they were undead, but not enough.
Luckily, Zakhar arrived with his 'healing bombs' and not only managed to heal their rat bites with splashing healing potion, but kill off the rats in the process.
By that point, the ghoul lady they'd been following had finished digging a hole in the floor, revealing a real spiral staircase below. She jumped down and vanished into the darkness of the sub-basement!
Kaito, Elsie, and Altei followed, jumping down gracefully. Altei encouraged Val to follow, but she was... less graceful. She landed *on* the staircase badly... couldn't steady herself and started falling down the stairs, and was then possessed by a haunting which levitated her into the air and started to tear her flesh! Kaito dragged her out of the stairwell and fed her a healing potion, but she was done with the staircase and found another way out of the tiny room they'd jumped down into.
It turned out that that was the proper entrance to the basement spiral staircase room, and she joined up with the rest of the party who'd come down the normal way. The copper key from the attic had let them into a final Stained Glass room, this one a laboratory.
Ash examined a waterlogged book there and had a haunted vision about the final chapter in the story the windows were telling -- the original owner of the mansion had gone to great lengths to brew the potion to turn himself undead, and construct the phylactery to hold his soul, but his wife had accidentally(?) interrupted him and ruined the process. Instead of becoming a lich, his anger had boiled out and cursed the entire mansion, dooming his descendants to their sorry fates.
While they were examining the lab, Elsie headed down the dark stairs, followed by Altei and Kaito who didn't want her to get eaten by rats or ghouls by wandering off alone. Sure enough, in a maze of twisty limestone passages, she found a bunch of ghouls for them to fight, and managed to get herself paralyzed and nearly eaten. Kaito and Altei finished off the survivors (Elsie had killed half the ghouls in the first round, before they paralyzed her), but there were more ghouls further on and they needed to get some healing before advancing further... even if they'd seen the lady ghoul they were following pushing her way through the pack.
Eventually, the rest of the party caught up with them, and started passing around healing spells and potions to get them back in shape. Except for Noggin, who wandered off down a completely separate passage to see what was there.
Shawn: "We'd better stop here."
Tom: "But there's only two rooms left!"
Me: "And that door I can see on the map. And the other *half* of the map."
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