Argynvostholt

Argynvostholt

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!

  • I am 

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:

    1. He is a knight of the Order of the Silver Dragon

    2. He does not know how long he has been hanging

    3. He hung himself because there is nothing left to live for.  There is no hope for tomorrow, no escape for today

    4. 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

Several hundred feet ahead of you, the path completes its journey by encircling a large statue of a dragon.  Looming behind the statue, stands an impressive three story manor.  Battlements line the roof and a tower stretches upward from the rear of the building.  It appears that violence and warfare befell the manor, the southwestern wing has collapsed and black stains on the walls hint at a past fire and smoke.  

Another structure rests further to the south.  Little more than ruins, it's original purpose is unclear.  A stone wall, perhaps twelve feet high in some places, holds aloft a trunk of a large tree that toppled onto the structure years ago.

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

Flagstone steps flanked by stone railings climb to a landing in front of a pair of tall, wooden doors with rusted iron bands and knockers shaped like small dragons.  The lintel above the door has been defaced, obscuring the manor’s name that was carved in its surface:   Argy*******lt

Knocking draws the attention of the Knights in Q13.

Q3 Foyer

Entering the manor gives you the impression of a large tomb.  At its widest point, the room is about 50 feet wide.  A massive grand staircase at the far end of the room leads up to a balcony held stone pillars and arches.  Two statues stand at attention in alcoves on either side of the main entrance.  Six sets of double doors line the stone walls.  Two chandeliers of wrought iron hang from the ceiling like monstrous black spiders.

Every sound seems to slightly echo off the stone walls and floors.  

If the knights in Q13 have not been alerted.

As you take in your surroundings, you hear a *thwack* from somewhere deeper within the manor.  The way the sound bounces off the walls makes it difficult to place its source.  A second passes before another *thwack* and another.

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

This entire area is full of rubble and debris from the collapse of the two floors above.  Remnants of the western wall still stand, but all that remains of the eastern and southern walls and both of towers is a pile of broken stone.  You see evidence of the wooden floors of the second and third stories sandwiched between layers of the collapsed exterior.

Broken pieces of furniture can be spotted throughout the debris, but more so on the northern side of the room.  When recovering from the event that caused this destruction, any broken furniture still inside the manor was added to the heap.

Treasure?

Q5 Stable

Move spiders to stables.

The structure south of the manor is defined by four stone walls, badly in need of maintenance.  Moss, ivy and other plant life cling to the crumbling stonework.  Most of the roof seems to have collapsed, or rotted away.  In its place, a large, dead tree leans heavily against the far wall.  It’s rotting branches serving as home for new growth creates a canopy that prevents only a few rays of light to penetrate the interior.

A decomposing mass, possibly once a set of wooden doors, rots in front of a fifteen foot wide passage that acts as the entrance inside.

(With lightsource or darkvision)

It is eerily silent inside.  Light momentarily reflects off of something – all you see is a thin line of light in the darkness, as if a silver thread spans the interior.

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.

Encounter:  SPIDERS!!

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 

At one time, this could have been a den.  Fire has destroyed most of the wood-paneling along the walls.  Standing upright against the north wall is a sarcophagus made of black wood.   Between two narrow windows, an old, dark hearth, covered by soot and ash,  dominates the western wall.  [PC with highest passive perception] notices a dying member amongst the ash.

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

https://www.reddit.com/r/CurseofStrahd/comments/e41dho/fleshing_out_curse_of_strahd_argynvostholt/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

Investigating / searching the fireplace

The stone hearth spans about 10 feet in length.

Q7 Parlor

No change

Q8 Servants’ Entrance

The narrow hall runs between the two towers on the northern side of the manor.  Each end of the hall ends in short staircase ascending to a landing in front of a large door.  An arched passage in the center of the north wall leads outside.  The passage is blocked by an iron gate, held tightly closed by chains and a heavy padlock.  

DC 20 Dex to pick padlock w/ thieves tools.  DC 15 Str check to break lock.

Q9 Servants’ Quarters

This large room occupies the bottom of the northeaster tower.  Several beds fill the area, unused for quite some time by their appearance.  Against the far wall, a dresser has had all of its drawers removed.  The drawers are nowhere to be seen.

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

Q10 Kitchen

Fireplace

The large kitchen has all of the equipment you would expect in a fine manor, though everything is coated in dust.  The only thing you lack to make a good meal is food.  A quick look around and not a single morsel of food is located.

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

Description

TO DO.

From the dining hall, party can definitely hear people in the chapel.

Q13 Chapel

Approaching from Q12.

Cracked wooden pillars support a wooden, U-shaped balcony that overhangs this stone-walled chapel. Shrouded in darkness, narrow archways on the northern and southern walls hint at staircases beyond.  Another door, set into the north wall, has a wooden beam barring it. At the east end of the chapel rests a stone altar flanked by iron candelabras. Tall, arching windows set with panels of stained glass decorate the walls behind the altar. One of the windows has been shattered allowing thick fog to enter and fill the room.

A makeshift archery target has been placed in front of the broken window.

Unless encountered elsewhere, three revenants are present.

Occupying this chamber are three armored figures.

One stands less than ten feet from you, facing away.  The figure wields a bow and is focused on the target at the far end of the room.

Another figure stands near the archway along the northern wall.  His arms are crossed over his breastplate and a sword hangs at his side.

The third figure sits in a pew near the altar.  He appears to be studying an object that he is holding.

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.

MORE?

Encounter

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

No change.

Q15 Cemetery

Description from the chapel:

A small stone path and a short set of stairs leads into a well-kept cemetery.  A wrought iron fence defines the cemetery apart from the rest of the wilderness.  In the far corner, looms an oddly shaped structure.

Description from outside:

A wrought iron fence spanning out from the manor defines what appears to be a cemetery.  Two orderly rows of gravestones occupy the space within the fence.  A stone structure, perhaps a tomb, rests in the northeast corner.  

If the party arrives near dawn and has not drawn attention to themselves, Dame Edith is here, tending to the graves.

Encounter

“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.”

Q16 Mausoleum

Exterior Description

The well-crafted stone walls of this structure stretch at least fifteen feet high.  On each of the four peaks of the roof, clings a  silver-plated gargoyles shaped like dragon wyrmlings 

An eight-foot-tall, four-foot-wide white marble door set into the southwest wall is engraved with a name: ARGYNVOST.

Interior Description

TO DO.

Q17 West Staircases

Narrow windows illuminate this dusty, five-foot-wide spiral staircase.

Q18 Foyer Balconies

You find yourself on one of two stone balconies that flank the main foyer. An elegant stone railing runs the length of both balconies, supported by balusters carved to resemble knights in shining armor.  Weapons and shields festoon the walls along each walkways.

Along the northern balcony, two stone statues flank a passage leading into a short hall.  On the opposite balcony, two statues flank a similar collapsed passage.  At the west end of each balcony is an archway that leads to a spiral staircase going up.

Q19 Bedchambers – DO NOT EXIST

Q20 South Alcove

The alcove in the southeast corner of the hall is empty.

Q21 North Alcove

A red velvet curtain hangs in front of an alcove in the northeast corner of this hall..

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.

Q22 Bathroom

Q23 Storage Room

Soggy floor

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

The hall extends 40 feet from the foyer balcony. A damaged door on the eastern wall conceals the room behind.  The end of the hall ends in a T-shaped passage heading east to west.

Unlike the balcony, the floors here are wooden instead of stone.

See CoS pg 136 for trap description

Encounter

Description

As you approach the wooden door, you hear a brief crackle of energy.

-zzzzzzz

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.  

Possible Encounter
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

Fireplace

Q27 Knights Quarters

Possible Encounter

Q28 Knights’ Quarters

Possible Encounter

TREASURE!

Q29 Northwest Guest Room

Fireplace

Q30 Curtained Staircase

Q31 East Staircases

Q32 Ruined Bedchambers

Q33 Collapsed Ceiling

Q34 Ruined Bathroom

Q35 Upstairs Gallery

Q36 Dragon’s Audience Hall

The west wall of this fifty-foot-long, thirty-foot-wide audience hall has crumbled, leaving a gaping hole and a pile of rubble.  Blood spilt long ago stains the stone floor.  A large, wooden throne carved to resemble a dragon with unfolding wings faces three tall windows to the west.

Slumped in the throne is a gaunt, armored figure with one gauntlet wrapped around the hilt of a greatsword.  “You will not find what you seek here.  Leave now while you can.”

If the party does not immediately leave:

The creature's grip on the greatsword tightens. "If you have come to destroy me, know this: I perished defending this land from evil over four centuries ago, and because of my failure, I am forever doomed. If you destroy this body, my spirit will find a new corpse to inhabit, and I will hunt you down. You cannot free me from my damnation, nor would I wish it.

"If you have come to free this land from the creature that feasts on the blood of the innocent, know this: There is no monster I hate more than Strahd von Zarovich. He slew Argynvost, broke the life of the knight I loved, and destroyed the valiant order to which I devoted my life, but Strahd has already died once. He can't be allowed to die again. Instead, he must suffer eternally in a hell of his own creation, from which he can never escape. Whatever

can be done to bring him misery and unrest, I will do, but I will destroy anyone who tries to end his torment."

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

Encounter

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

Fireplace

Through the dust and cobwebs, you see faded war banners adorning the walls of a spacious chamber, in the center of which stands a heavy wooden table. An iron chandelier hangs above the table, which is surrounded by six high-backed chairs with wood-carved dragons perched atop them. Slumped in five of the chairs are skeletal humans in tattered chainmail.

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.

TODO more

Q38 Closet

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

Two knights stand motionless on the roof.  They both stare far into the distance at the same unseen object.  TO DO IMPROVE

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

Name

Location (Most likely)

Type

Description

Sir Ainsley

Q13 Chapel

Revenant

Armed with bow/arrows

Sir Wilmot

Q13 Chapel

Revenant

Stickler.  Uptight.

Sir Euneus

Q13 Chapel

Revenant

Depressed.

Dame Edith

Q15 Graveyard

Revenant

Dutiful.

Sir Belos

Road To Mansion

Revenant

Lost all hope.

Sir Lionel

Q27

Phantom

Sir Jarin

Q27

Phantom

Sir Gareth

Q27

Phantom

Sir Hankin 

Q27

Phantom

Dame Sela

Q28

Phantom

Dame Ellyn

Q28

Phantom

Sir Oweyn

Q28

Phantom

Sir Alein

Q44

Revenant

Broken mind.  Stares toward Strahd

Dame Ysmay 

Q44

Revenant

Broken mind.  Stares toward Strahd

Vladimir Horngaard

Q36

Revenant

Sir Godfrey

Q37

Revenant

Sir Cedric

Q37

Revenant

Dame Branwyne 

Q37

Revenant

Stupor

Sir Petrus

Q37

Revenant

Stupor

Sir Rolph

Q37

Revenant

Stupor

Servant letter

Dear Evelyn,

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.

Sincerely,

– Father

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