A Few Notes
CoS describes the manor as a decrepit building, filled with debris and broken furniture. This is fine and good if the place was abandoned. But at least nine revenant’s have called this place home for the past 400 years.
In their current state, they probably wouldn’t mind the mess so much, but early in their undeadness, I think they would have done their best to clean up a bit. Therefore, I changed the descriptions of most of the rooms to eliminate random debris and to illustrate the the Knights care for the manor because it is their home and where their brethren are buried.
The other major change is the collapse of their sanity. As revenants, they should have only survived for a single year. It’s been over four centuries. Every second of every day, they know the direction of Strahd’s current location. They have an deep urge to seek him out and destroy him. But their commitment to the Order and the Horngaard won’t let them. For many, this constant struggle eventually becomes to much and they are driven mad.
Lore and Rumors
Over the centuries, a lot of stories have been told about the haunted manor hidden in the woods. While initially these stories may have been more accurate than not, current tales and information about Argynvostholt contain more fiction than fact.
Argynvostholt was once served as a home for an order of knights. Their leader was secretly a demon and corrupted the knights. The demon knights sacrifice intruders to their demon lord.
The knights once fought against Strahd and lost. Strahd brought them back from the dead and now they serve him. Rumors of the knights still plotting against Strahd is a trick to lure Strahd's enemies to the manor so that the death knights can attack them!
Qi Road to the Mansion
Players come across a body, hanging by the neck from a tree. The body is the current vessel for Sir Belos, revenant and a member of the Order of the Silver Dragon.
Sir Belos is a broken man who has lost all hope. Although he cannot truly die, Sir Belos elected to hang himself instead of continuing his current existence. This was three years ago.
If the party treats the body with respect, Sir Belos reveals that he is undead and warns the party about approaching or entering the mansion. “They will see you as an enemy and you will die. Save yourselves and turn away.”
The knight can be persuaded to talk, but will only provide the following information:
He is a knight of the Order of the Silver Dragon
He does not know how long he has been hanging
He hung himself because there is nothing left to live for. There is no hope for tomorrow, no escape for today
The Order fought against Strahd’s occupation of the valley centuries ago and lost. They have been blessed or cursed with this existence.
Eventually, Sir Belos states that he would like to continue his suicide attempt and stops talking.
Qii Approaching the mansion
Q1 Dragon Statue
The statue does not have any magical aura. As written, the trap doesn’t make sense. Why would Argynvost want the first person to exit or enter the building each day to become frozen?
Q2 Main Entrance
Knocking draws the attention of the Knights in Q13.
If the knights in Q13 have not been alerted.
The sound is arrows striking a makeshift target as Sir Ainsley practices archery in the chapel Q13.
Chains have been wrapped around the door handles leading to Q4. The chains are easily removed (they are not locked in any way) from the foyer, but would slow anybody trying to enter the manor from outside.
Q4 Collapsed Wing
Move spiders to stables.
(With lightsource or darkvision)
Idea: the knights have gotten into the habit of tossing corpses of trespassers into the stables that are not suitable to inhabit on revenant rebirth.
Spiders, mummies. The mummies are incased in webs, occasionally moving. The party likely won't think they are living people, but it may be possible to convince them that the mummy is a Knight that got trapped. Until of course they free it. (Evil laugh.)
TO DO: Expand
Q6 Dragon's Den
Argynvost had the empty sarcophagus converted into a wine cabinet. Now, only shattered wine glasses and decanters are to be found on the shelves. The den's other furnishings include rotted divans, broken chairs, overturned ottomans, and smashed oil lamps.
A secret door at the north end of the east wall can be pushed open to reveal a storage room (area Q11).
Event – Living Fire
CoS pg 132
Investigating / searching the fireplace
The stone hearth spans about 10 feet in length.
Q8 Servants’ Entrance
DC 20 Dex to pick padlock w/ thieves tools. DC 15 Str check to break lock.
Q9 Servants’ Quarters
If the players search the dresser, they find a letter stuck to the underside of the dresser’s top. The letter is belongs to one of Lord Argynvost’s former servants from her family.
See Letter at end of document
Q11 Wine Storage
Five barrels lie in wooden braces along the walls of this dark, moldy storage room.
Hiding behind the barrels is a young human woman, named Yana. She is fourteen years old and carries a medallion with the symbol of the Order of the Silver Dragon. Yana claims the medallion belonged to her her great, great great, grandfather who used to be a knight here. She’s grown up hearing stories about the knights, both the heroic and the terrifying. She came here to follow in her ancestors footsteps and become a knight but got scared and hid.
Lore Opportunity – Yana
An order of knights called the Order of the Silver Dragon lived here centuries ago.
The knights fought against Strahd’s invasion of the valley.
Strahd killed the knights and cursed them with undeath. (This is not true, but she believes it is.)
Q12 Dining Hall
From the dining hall, party can definitely hear people in the chapel.
Approaching from Q12.
Unless encountered elsewhere, three revenants are present.
Moments prior to the conversation below, Sir Wilmot caught Sir Ainsley practicing archery in the chapel. Dismayed, Sir Wilmot lectures Sir Ainsley. All the while, Sir Euneus sits in a pew staring at a skull he holds in his lap. He found the skull several weeks ago, and believing it to be his original skull, has spent the past few weeks contemplating his existence.
Sir Ainsley: Leave me be, Wilmot. I’m not in the mood for lectures.
Sir Wilmot: The chapel is not a place to practice your archery, Sir Ainsley.
Sir Ainsley: What’s the harm with it? That window has been broke for the past four hundred years. It’s not like I can break it any worse.
Sir Wilmot: That is not the point. This is a holy place, intended for worship and prayer. Your actions are disrespectful and interruptive.
Sir Ainsley: Interruptive? Euneus, am I interrupting your slow descent into madness?
Sir Wilmot: Ainsley!
Sir Ainsley: What? He’s been staring at that thing for two months. It’s all he’s done. If that isn’t going mad that I don’t know what is.
Sir Euneus: I’m not mad.
Sir Wilmot: See, he’s fine.
Sir Ainsley: Oh really? How many people do you know have kept their sanity after staring at a skull for two months?
Sir Euneus: It’s not A skull. It’s my skull.
Sir Wilmot: What do you mean?
Sir Ainsley: He’s convinced is his skull, from when he was alive.
Situation 1: The party openly announces their presence.
Wilmot draws his sword and Ainsley moves to the opposite side of the room from the players.
Sir Wilmot: “You’re not welcome here. Coming here was a mistake.”
As he talks, Sir Wilmot moves to a position where he can cut off the party’s exit.
The PCs have a chance to respond. If the party talks about defeating Strahd, Sir Ainsley responds “The Lord Commander believes that Strahd hasn’t suffered enough for his crimes and cannot risk a premature end to his punishment.”
Situation 2: The party attempts to hide, but are detected but not seen.
If the knights hear, but do not see the players, Wilmot draws his sword and Ainsley moves to the opposite side of the room from the players. In an effort to hide the fact that they are aware of intruders, the two knights attempt to continue their conversation. If they find nothing upon searching the room, they begin to patrol the lower levels of the mansion. They tell Euneus to get help if he hears any combat.
Once they begin searching in Q3, Ainsley calls out to the party that they should run before caught.
After searching Q3, the two split up. Wilmot continues to search the lower level. Ainsley does a very quick search of the upper levels.
Situation 3: The party attempts to hide and are seen!
All three knights ready themselves. (Euneus gently places the skull on the altar first.)
Q14 Chapel Staircases
Description from the chapel:
Description from outside:
If the party arrives near dawn and has not drawn attention to themselves, Dame Edith is here, tending to the graves.
“How dare you enter this holy place!”
If the players try to talk their way out, she responds, “You come dressed for battle but claim to want only words. It is a poor lie and reveals your true nature.”
Q17 West Staircases
Q18 Foyer Balconies
Q19 Bedchambers – DO NOT EXIST
Q20 South Alcove
Q21 North Alcove
The alcove is empty except for the narrow windows in the back walls. Whenever the characters part the curtain and leave, the curtain is closed when they return. Only by removing the curtain from its rod can they prevent the curtain from closing on its own.
Q23 Storage Room
Q24 Chapel Balcony
If the party has not entered the chapel yet and the knights are unaware of their presence, see description of Chapel.
Q25 Trapped Hallway
See CoS pg 136 for trap description
As you approach the wooden door, you hear a brief crackle of energy.
A translucent figure emerges from the door. Resembling a human female, the entity wields an ethereal two-handed sword and wears a full set of plate mail armour. The more observant members of the group notice that she does not make any noise as she moves.
Behind the phantom knight, another emerges. This one a male dwarf, armed with hammer and shield. [If pcs are in the way] The dwarf continues forward, passing through PC.
Due to their single-minded nature, the Phantom Warriors do not fear death; due to their damage resistances and immunities, they do not mind triggering attacks of opportunity or placing themselves in harm’s way. Using their incorporeal movement, these warriors weave in and out of the walls of Argynvostholt and any nearby objects or creatures in order to maximize their mobility. Because they lack a fly speed, the spirits are unable to pass to upper floors; however, they are able to “fall” through the ground to a lower floor if desired.
You may also choose to have the phantom warriors begin combat in the Border Ethereal – visible to the PCs, but impossible to interact with. In this case, the spirits ignore the PCs’ attacks as they move into position, preventing any attacks of opportunity and lulling the PCs into a false sense of security. Once positioned, the phantom warriors exit the Border Ethereal and attack one round later.
Q26 Northeast Guest Room
Q27 Knights Quarters
Q28 Knights’ Quarters
Q29 Northwest Guest Room
Q30 Curtained Staircase
Q31 East Staircases
Q32 Ruined Bedchambers
Q33 Collapsed Ceiling
Q34 Ruined Bathroom
Q35 Upstairs Gallery
Q36 Dragon’s Audience Hall
If the party does not immediately leave:
If Ireena is present, Vladimir will instantly note her resemblance to Tatyana, and briefly discuss her tragic cycle of reincarnation. Vladimir will advise Ireena to kill herself, and so continue Strahd’s torment, but will make no move to do so himself, confident that the Dark Powers that keep Strahd entrapped will prevent him from obtaining her.
The party may ask for Vladimir’s help in achieving their goals. Vladimir refuses all such requests one of the reasons below:
Aid in Killing an Ally of Strahd: Vladimir believes that Devil’s Prison is already perfect, and that upending the status quo by killing a notable minion may damage the delicate balance of hope and despair – power and powerlessness – that torments Strahd so beautifully.
Aid in Killing Strahd: Vladimir does not believe such a thing is possible. If it was, he would have already succeeded.
"You are not the first to petition for my aid." Indicate blood stains "I will say to you what I said to them: swear to abandon this misguided quest and leave this place or I shall have to take action."
If the party reveals that they possess the Sunsword or the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind, Horngaard also demands that those items be given to him.
Aid in killing Ireena: The party may try to convince Horngaard to preventing Strahd from breaking his curse. Whether true or not, the party could convince Horngaard that Strahd has his soulmate (Ireena) and is close to turning her and if successful, Strahd's curse will be broken. This would be one or more difficult persuasion / deception rolls. If successful, Horngaard tells the party that his knights will handle it and not to interfere
If challenged, his +2 greatsword blazes with a black-streaked silver light, and he summons the six phantom warriors to his side in a clear display of force. It is only if the PCs remain after this point that Vladimir attacks of his own volition, promising that “a quick death will be easier than the tortures that Zarovich will inflict upon you – and more merciful than the pain I would deliver if you succeeded.”
Q37 Hall of the Knights of the Order
The five figures at the table are revenants and knights of the Silver Order. Three of them appear to be in a stupor and do not react to the players unless provoked.
The other two, Sir Godfrey and Sir Cedric turn their heads to look at the PCs as they enter.
Q39 Vladimir’s Bedroom
Idea: after Horngaard kills intruders, any ideal corpses are stored here and preserved in case of a revenant needing a body. One of the Knights may be casting gentle repose, or perhaps a glyph of never rot is on the floor.
Q40 Argynvost’s Study
Q41 Dragon’s Vault
Q42 Argynvost’s Bedroom
Q43 Hole in Roof
Q44 Dragon Gargoyle
The knights are staring in the direction of Strahd. As revenants, they are always aware of which direction their target lies. This is all they do, day after day. The agony of being a revenant for so long and not being able to pursue their target has driven them mad. They will defend themselves only if the aggressors seem intent on their destruction.
Q45 Ancient Ballista
Q46 Destroyed Ballista
Q47 Roof Turrets
Q48 Roof’s Edge
Q49 Beacon Tower Door
Q50 Beacon, Lower Landing
Q51 Beacon, UpperLanding
Q52 Beacon Turrets
Q53 Beacon Of Argynvost
Current Knights of the Order
We received your letter and the coin with it. It is appreciated, but we value your safety more. Even out in the Dales we hear whispers of armies amassing in the West. Come home before war enters the valley.
I do not care if you work in a Lord's manor that is full of knights. This does not protect you. Instead, it is likely to be attacked and sieged. King Barov's son is a harsh man and we fear what will happen if he attacks the knights.
You have told me Lord Argynvost is a kind and just man. Go to him and tell him that you do not feel safe and want to return home. If he is as you say, he will understand. If not, flee. Just come home safe.