Whinnystrad
The House Of Enchanted Comics, Part Three

Whinnystrad
As the light settles, you find yourselves in a dark and sinister forest. A pale moon peeks just through the trees and overcast skies. In the distance, a small castle sits on a mountainside, a single light gleaming from the upper floor window. As you look down, you find yourselves bedecked in gear taken straight out of Van Hoofsing, including wooden stakes, a wreath of garlic, a few bottles of celestial water,a lantern, a bullwhip, a crossbow with 10 bolts, and a cord of braided rope.

As you take in your surroundings, a sense of uncanny dread fills the air. Wherever you are in this forest, you do not seem to be alone…

Give the party a bit of time to gather their wits and decide what they want to do. As the party travels through the forest, make a few calls for checks reflecting the characters' awareness, in order to really let the party know that something is following them. Once things begin to cool down, the Headless Horse appears from the shadows, ready to chase down the PCs.

The Headless Horse is meant primarily as a chase scene, in order to drive the characters into Castle Blucher. Each turn, the Headless Horse chases after the PCs. The group can use any method they choose to try and escape, and together must accumulate 10 total successful checks to get away from the Headless Horse. On a failed roll, the Headless Horse deals Health or Willpower damage to the character whose roll failed, depending on which is more appropriate. (For example, a character who fails in an attempt to run away from the Headless Horse might trip over a loose root or rock and take Health damage, while a character who fails to hide might take Willpower damage from the fright of being found.)

After the party has accumulated a total of 10 successful checks, they cross a bridge to Castle Blucher, and the Headless Horse gets left behind, waiting at the bridge, unable to cross it. The only way forward is into the castle…



Castle Blucher
As you enter through the door, the light of the moon illuminates the dark castle hall. Cobwebs and dust cover almost every surface of the hall, while long unlit torches decay in sconces along the walls. At the far end of the hall is a grand staircase ascending to the castle’s second floor, flanked by two doors on the left and right walls. 

Once inside Castle Blucher, the party is free to explore the castle as they wish. Excepting the main hall and the upstairs hallway which connect the rooms together, there are five total rooms in the castle. These rooms will be elaborated on in further detail below. 



The First Floor, Left Door
The left door squeaks open softly to reveal a massive library. Shelves line the walls, stuffed to bursting with enough books to fill two floors. At the far corner a massive fireplace holds a flame, surrounded by exceptionally comfy looking seats and couches. In the other two corners, small manually cranked elevators serve to ferry visitors up to the second floor. A chandelier hangs from the middle cross of the second floor catwalks, which are suspended by massive pillars circling the room. At the center of the room, on the second floor, a strange looking device sits. 

The library is easily the largest room in the castle, taking up the entire north wing of the castle, both the first and second floors. The library contains not much in the way of help, but it does contain one important clue for defeating the Vampony Queen: the large device in the center of the second floor is an orrery, a device for observing and recording astrological data. The orrery points out the layout of the castle; namely that the library is located in the north wing, and that the castle entrance, as well as the windows in the Vampony Queen’s lair, face to the east.

Otherwise, the library is relatively unremarkable, at least from a plot perspective. The books lining the walls cover nearly any subject the party can imagine, and the room provides a bit of a safe haven from the dangers of the rest of the castle. Finally, the elevators in the library can be used to quickly move between the first and second floors of the castle (although they haven’t seen too much use of late. After all, the Vampony Queen and her minions can all fly!)



The First Floor, Right Door
Beyond the door is a huge banquet hall, with a long table dominating the center of the room. The table is piled high with food, all topped with blood-red apples. Around the table, a group of six Vampony thralls sit and bicker amongst themselves as to whether they should start the feast without the Queen. Upon your arrival, the six thralls turn, peering at you through the darkness with hungry eyes…

Inside the banquet hall are six Vampony thralls, who will immediately pounce upon any intruders to the room in a feeding frenzy. The thralls are easily dispatched minions, but serve as a warning to the party to travel carefully through the haunted castle.



The Second Floor Hallway
Climbing the stairs, you are met with a long hallway, lined with four doors. At the far end of the hallway sits a large door, from which an ominous organ tune echos through the darkness.



The Second Floor, Right Doors
The door opens up into the library’s second floor, a series of catwalks dividing the room below into four squares. More bookshelves line the walls, and at the center of the catwalks stands a massive orrery, a model of the stars in the sky and their relation to the Earth. The small dots of light in the stars mirror those in the sky above, visible through great glass windows in the ceiling.

These two doors merely continue the library, and are connected via the elevators to the library room below. 



The Second Floor, First Door On The Left
This door is stuck, and if the party wishes to get through it, they need to make a check to push open the door. However, the only thing on the other side of the door is a slide down to the banquet hall below. If the party hasn’t cleared out the vampony thralls in the banquet hall already, the poor pony who opens the door will crash right down into the table, right in the middle of the thralls.



The Second Floor, Second Door On The Left
In the center of this large room is a large casket, carefully decorated to look like an ornate canopy bed. The room is littered with books, trinkets, and other personal effects. 

This room is the Vampony Queen’s bedroom. In the room, the party will find several personal objects of the Vampony Queen, including a small, ragged, plush dog with a collar reading “Sprinkles.” On one wall hangs a magnificent painting of Cloudsdale, with a scenic vista below. Finally, if the party searches underneath the casket, they discover a small book; the Vampony Queen’s diary. The diary is sealed with a lock, but can be opened with a check. Inside the diary is an account spanning almost a hundred years, from the Vampony Queen’s childhood in Cloudsdale as a pegasus named Rain Blossom, to her days spent traveling with a handsome young stallion named Aluclop, to his eventual betrayal and the Vampony Queen’s conversion to undeath. The information in the diary aids the party greatly in any attempts to talk down the Vampony Queen, acting as an appropriate tool for any such check.



The Second Floor, The Final Door At The End Of The Hallway
The imposing doors swing open to the harmonies of the organ music from the room beyond. At the far end of the room, stationed in front of a massive wall of windows, is a huge pipe organ. Sitting at the organ is a deceptively young looking pegasus, batlike wings wrapped around her back like a cloak. As you enter, her music stops, and the pegasus turns to face you. 

“Ah, I see my visitors have finally arrived.” she croaks, with a voice as old as dust, yet somehow still strangely compelling. “It’s a good thing too. All this music can make a mare thirsty.”

The Vampony Queen is a difficult opponent, fighting off any attempt to pin her. Typically, she will fly into the air, out of reach of anypony in the party who cannot fly, and attempt to use her compelling voice to turn the party against one another. This attack requires a check to resist, and deals Willpower damage on a failed check. If the target is Sidelined, they are stunned, torn between loyalty to their friends and the Vampony Queen’s compelling voice. As a special rule, characters with Loyalty as their Guiding Element gain a +2 bonus against the Vampony Queen's voice.

The Vampony Queen cannot be defeated by force. Instead, the party has three options for defeating her:

Sunrise
First, if the party is able to last 15 rounds against the Vampony Queen, the sun will rise, pouring through the east-facing windows and causing the Vampony Queen to dissolve into dust.

Appeal
The party may also be able to talk down the Vampony Queen, getting her to repent her evil ways and use her immortal gifts for good. Doing so requires the group to make several difficult checks, which of course can be helped if the group found the Vampony Queen’s diary or personal effects.

Flee
Finally, if the battle is truly going poorly, the party can run, to try to escape the castle--pursued, naturally, by the Vampony Queen.

The group is transported back to the Enchanted Comic Shop the moment they leave the castle, or as soon as the Vampony Queen is defeated.



Back In The Shop
Once the party returns from their trip, Page is waiting at her desk, reading an ornate copy of "Interview With The Vampony."

“Ah, you’re back! What did you think? Would you like to try something else?”

Page remains silent on petty issues such as “What the hay was that?” and “How does that work?”, simply switching the direction of the conversation to the other two featured books if they have not yet been completed.