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Tread carefully, Adventurers: The Haunting of Benthem Manor contains spoilers. Plot and/or ending details follow. Caution is advised.

The Haunting of Benthem Manor is chapter one and the premiere episode of the show, Relics and Rarities. A mysterious letter summons four adventurers to an unassuming curio shop called Relics & Rarities. They are recruited by its owner, Professor Roundland, who sends them to investigate the disturbances at Benthem Manor. Featuring special guest Matthew Lillard.

Synopsis[]

Welcome to Relics & Rarities[]

Each member of the party had previously received a mysterious letter written in ink only they could read. In it, they were told to go on a quest to find magic items. As they looked for these items they met each other and now, guided by a second letter with an address, they brought the magic items to a little curio shop named Relics and Rarities in the middle of a small town called Bellbrook.

Inside the shop, they are met by a plump cheery gnome woman, Professor Roundland. She greets the four adventurers: Verosa human fighter hailing all the way from Azure Haven, Beryl the brutal a half-orc barbarian, Annabella the human bard who is very ready to go on a mission, and Rikki Huckster the charming and stylish gnome druid.

Professor Roundland explains that after working on the renowned compendium of curiosities, she noticed all the terrible things that happened in the realm, so she and her adventurer friends formed the R&R brigade. And now the brigade extends an invitation to the party to do some work for them, and in exchange the party can keep any loot they find on their way.

The reason she has gathered them is that some very strange and horrifying events have taken place around these realms. Mutilated bodies washed up on shore, corpses disappear from abbeys. The brigade reached out to an oracle for aid, a seer named Sarah Benthem, However, her wife informed them through a letter that Sarah is unwell; suffering from an unnatural ailment. Strange and unspeakable things are happening at Benthem manor and she feels powerless to stop them... someone or something has her beloved.

Before they go on their quest to aid Sarah Benthem, Professor Roundland introduces them to an ally to join them in this mission, a massive, intimidating golden dragonborn sorcerer: Allister Goldfang.

She also offers the partyto choose one of the tagged items in the shop to take with them for aid in their quest. Veros takes a cane with a ram head, which will make it so they don’t have to worry about narrow pathways, Beryl shyly chooses a tiny locket, which can store some words whispered to it, Annabella gets a pair of dark glasses, that will help when they’re in the dark, and Rikki borrows a pocket watch that when winded will make time seem a little different to him. Allister gets to pick too, and he takes a small leather pouch, it produces gold coins but they’ll disappear at dawn.

Arrival at Benthem Manor[]

They travel to Benthem manor, which is on an island in the middle of a lake. They are met by Mr. Powell the groundskeeper who takes them on a rowboat to the house. On the way Allister tells them of his ability to commune with ghosts, Rikki casts Goddberry and gives one to each of the party members. Through the fog they see Benthem manor, a dilapidated building, with boarded up windows and doors. At the front door they are met by Mrs. Powell who tends to the house as best as she can. She ushers them into the office to have a word before they head upstairs. The office is kind of drab, there is a painting half hidden by a canvas cloth on the wall.

Mrs. Powell tells them of Sarah’s recent strange behavior. She would sleep all day and at night they’d find her gorging herself in the dining room and throw dishware around; they’ve had to keep them locked in her room as she was doing damage to the property and to herself. She would speak to something, or they’d hear her speaking in a voice that was not hers. Things in the house have started moving around on their own.

This all began a few weeks ago, shortly after Sarah and her wife moved in. Rikki asks how long have Mr. and Mrs. Powell worked here, to which she replied that they were hired by Simon Benthem, the house’s previous owner. Simon had moved in with his children and second wife, Lucy; but they left after a terrible tragedy, both of the children passed away in their sleep, a mysterious event which Lucy blamed on herself, even though no one knew why it had happened.

Beryl asks about a graveyard, to which Mrs. Powell answers that Simon spoke of a mausoleum, but they’ve never seen one in the grounds. Morwin Benthem, who built this home, was very fond of puzzles and secrets, supposedly there are many secret areas in the house.

Mrs Powell provides a property ownership record telling the story of the house. Morwin built and resided in the house first, with his wife Eleanor and Kathryn. Then, Simon Benthem inherited the house who lived there with his two children, Luke and Gwyneth, then Lucy, his second wife, joined them. After this the house stayed empty for many years until it was transferred by sale to Sarah Benthem, Simon’s niece, who currently resides on the property with her wife  Dr. Mary Kennefick.

Meeting Sarah[]

They are led by Mrs. Powell to Sarah’s room, on the second floor of the manor. As soon as they approach they start feeling cold and uneasy. Beyond the door they find an empty room but for a bed and a fireplace that does little to take away the chill that they feel in their bones. The windows have been broken and boarded up. They see Dr. Kennewick is sitting on a chair next to a bed, where there is a bundle of sheets that rises and falls in tandem with a slow wheezing breath that comes from under it.

Beryl gently touches the bundle and says they’re here to help. She is suddenly met by the frightening sight of Sarah, face pale and bruised with sunken eyes and a twisted expression. She stands and in a raspy voice says no one can help.

Allister quickly throws a shroud on the floor, takes out a candle and holds hands in a circle with the party and Mary Kennewick. The room darkens and the candle lights up. Led by Allister everyone begins to chant. The creature speaks to them, through Sarah’s body, it wants despair, to watch this girl rot. Sarah runs and begins banging her head against the wall.

Annabella casts zone of truth, she wants to talk to Sarah, not the demon. Sarah falls to the floor and begins writhing, when Annabella reaches out she sees her eyes seem a little clearer ‘Please... Please... I’m here’ is the only thing she can whisper before the raspy voice returns in a cackle and stares at them curled up from the bed.

Beryl summons forth Chief, the spirit from her barbarian ancestral path, to protect Sarah. In response, Sarah’s head begins spinning and frightens most of them, including Beryl, which makes Chief disappear.

Mary ushers them out of the room, afraid that Sarah will hurt herself more due to their presence, and asks them to come back when they have a new plan.

Exploring the Manor[]

Mrs. Powell provides them with the keys to the house, asking them to lock all doors, and also points out the secret passages, mentioning that they cannot get into the library, since there is a short stair that goes straight into the wall. She also provides a list of all the damage they’ve been trying to repair, most of it in the nursery, a place where many tragedies happened, Gwyneth perished in her sleep and other deaths, they do not have a key to that room.

Benthem Manor Puzzle

They decide to try to get in the library. Close to the wooden wall, where the stairs lead into a dead end, there is a group of little disks with intricate designs. Allister uses his mage hand cantrip to spin the disks around. The disks seem to have a pattern that can be aligned with a hole to the side of the panel.

They start by checking if there’s anything that would fit into the hole next to the disks panel.  Their search takes them to the greenhouse, where they find books and a tea set on a little table, a little doll sits on one of the chairs. Rikki finds a box that used to hold deadly nightshade, a dangerous plant. There are strange blue rims on the tea cups and the hand of the doll where it seems to have been sucked on. Annabella weaves a basket where they take the doll and tea set as an offering to the spirit.

In the Nursery[]

As they go up the stairs again, they see the door to the nursery is now mysteriously open. When closer, Allistair hears a soft voice of a child whispering a nursery song. Inside, they find two small beds, and a mess of charred remains of the burned room. On a wall there is a decorative painting of a tree, with the words ‘knock knock’ etched in the center. When Beryl knocks, one of the knots in the tree turns into a mouth that asks ‘who’s there...’

Allistair gathers all in a circle holding hands and everyone begins chanting. Slowly a shroud in the middle of the room rises, a figure of a child inside of it, she warns them to be quiet or the bad man will come. She wants to be reunited with her brother Luke. It is  the spirit of Gwyneth. she says they could possibly move on if they were reunited.

All she remembers is that she went to sleep and never woke up. She tells them that she remembers playing with her new mother, Lucy, in the greenhouse. Allistair asks about the ‘bad man’, she tells them that he’s very tall and thin and wears a scary top hat and carries a cane. He can go through walls; he is a spirit like her.

They then turn their attention to the talking tree on the wall. After trying several names to no effect, they investigate and see many joke books that kids would read. Annabella then tries telling a knock knock joke to the tree, it works and then it opens like a door and they find a passageway.

At the end of the passage they find a kid sized door that leads into an attic space, that has many toys, a long mirror and a mannequin with a red dress. As Beryl looks at herself in the mirror, she sees the face of a woman behind her. Allistair tries to commune with the spirits again but fails.

Rikki deduces that the red dress must’ve belonged to Elleanor, since it’s the same as in the painting.

A book flies and hits him on the head, then a mysterious force slams him up on the ceiling and drops him to the floor. Beryl sees the dress move and sets in on fire. Everyone seems confused as to what is attacking them, Beryl and Veros try locking the dress in the trunk. Annabella dresses up Rikki with clothes from the trunk, for him to pretend to be Luke, and through the mirror he sees the tall angry woman looming over Veros. He dodges her attack and tries to fight back but she is still invisible.

With help from Allistair, who points out the spirit’s position by looking through the mirror, Beryl manages to hit with her handaxes. Veros misses with all his attacks, but Annabella uses her magic to talk in a child's voice, which seems to distract the spirit. Rikki manages to call the specter’s attention by posing as the child, she slowly descends toward him, then turns and disappears inside the trunk.

They decide to try and take the mirror out, since it could reveal other invisible spirits. While Veros is trying to hack open the tunnel for the mirror to fit, Rikki finds Eleanor Benthem’s diary. In it she describes how Kathryn died in a fire; she blamed Morwin and Morwin her. She was buried in the mausoleum beneath the house. After this, their relationship festers and they grow old. She mentions spending time in the library and that she has figured out a way to keep Morwin out, and it’s in this room.

Reuniting Spirits[]

Allistair finds a small wooden door knob with a piece in the back. They head back downstairs, with the mirror, and find the door knob fits into the door with the puzzle. After many tries they figure out the pattern needed to move the door knob to open the door. The whole wall comes back and slides to the side to reveal the dark library.

As Beryl is investigating the library’s fireplace, she finds a stone that pushes back and they find a stairway that goes down into the mausoleum.  There are four plaques on the wall: Katryn Benthem, Morwin Benthem, Eleanor Benthem, Luke and Gwyneth Benthem. There are etchings scratched beneath the plaques, and next to them symbols that look like a letter B.

They decide to look for Luke’s spirit, to reunite him with his sister. They check the dining room, an Allistair senses laughter, they all grab hands and chant, and a small figure with glasses appears under the shroud. He is excited to have someone to play with, and agrees to go meet his sister. Allistair offers Rikki’s body as a vessel, to which he taciturnly agrees.

Everyone runs upstairs into their room, and see a little blue floating light by the children’s table. Rikki feels Luke’s spirit leave his body, and another blue light comes out of his body. The two lights meet and dance on the table, and disappear.

As a result of Luke’s possession, Rikki suddenly finds himself inspired to draw something. He draws a picture of the mausoleum, and marks the etchings on the plaques. They go back to the mausoleum, and analyze the etchings. Allistair uses the tracing paper to trace the glyphs etched into the plaques, and reveals a message in latin when combining all the tracing papers  “Unclean spirit I banish thee”, an exorcism incantation.

Sarah's Exorcism[]

Back upstairs, they open the door to the master suite, and enter the room. Mary lays unconscious on the floor, and Sarah stands on the bed and watches them, ready to do battle. Allistair chants the newly learned incantation, and Sarah’s body contorts and she screams now in her voice, and a blue light emerges from out of her body. On top of the bed is now the ghostly apparition, tall and thin with a top hat and a cane.

Annabella tries her hypnotic pattern, but to no effect. Rikki rushes to check on Mary, she is unconscious but stable. Beryl and Veros attack the apparition with their weapons, slashing through him but dealing damage. Allistair blasts him with his fire breath and Annabella hits him with Shatter. But the spirit still stands.  

Beryl finishes the apparition off with one final swing of her axe. And it dissipates into the air.  Rikki sees Sarah’s body is badly hurt, he heals Sarah with a healing word, and she regains consciousness; she starts looking immediately for Mary. Beryl helps Mary wake up with her good berry, then Sarah and Mary embrace.

The Prophecy[]

After, Mary tells Sarah that the adventurers come in search of her aid as an oracle. They need to make sense of the ominous events happening in the realms. Sarah pulls herself up and closes her eyes and concentrates, then speaks to them the prophecy:

“Three born of the same womb. Powerful beyond compare. Alone they are dangerous. United, deadly they are.

The youngest; swift of thought and devoid or moral, she names herself Akiva.

The medial; a power bought and honor sold, she names herself Uloo.

The eldest, fright and rage are her chosen trade, she names herself Margosa.

Search far and wide for items three that shall empower all of thee; only then shall you stand a chance.

A spirited dance burning bright banishing all but darkest night, this interred within a stone and to harden all alone.

Born of earth strengthened in fire, honed until its edge is dire, blessed by holy persons true, shall vanquish those who live anew.

Made by cloth of magic spawn it blocks out all beneath the sun. It covers what’s real, reveals what’s true, no face no eyes but senses new.”

They bring this new knowledge from the oracle Sarah to professor Roundland back in Relics and Rarities. She prepares a large parchment with the prophecy, and after consulting with them she lets them go rest while she tries to figure out what the items they’re looking for could be.

Allistair bids everyone farewell and as he takes his leave he dedicates kind words to the adventurers of Relics and Rarities and does a big bow before exiting the room.

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