Chapter 24: The Crimson Castle
The game continued from Chapter 23: Flagstaff.
Let's Play the Feud
game session #120
played on February 12, 2013
One by one, the group awakened in separate rooms of a dilapidated old house, taunted by an obnoxious game show host called Amaranth and his laughing invisible audience. They were told that they were here to play the "Crimson Castle" and might live long enough to find treasure. Each room presented them with some combination of death trap, hostile attacker, puzzle, game, and riddle. Elijah used the available keys of a broken typewriter to ask for help, then started a fire to survive a freezing room. Caleb escaped a blob made of his own emesis and gave a surly gnome something to eat. Sagesse escaped from a burrowing monster on a stone patio and remembered a sequence of flowers for a prize. Vic outwitted a yeti and swarm of rats. Elise solved a missing-letter puzzle. Deke used new guns to fight off a living bear rug. After Vic received a brief communication from Holgrave that the group was not on Earth and he was trying to find them, Amaranth let slip to him that the "audience" had more in mind for one member of the party than just being entertained.
Elise for rapidly solving the puzzle and riddle in the library
You are the Weakest Link
game session #121
played on February 26, 2013
Vic entered the master bedroom, where the house's owner, Mr. Al-Izarin, had found the secret to eternal life: Being an undead mummy. Vic defeated him and survived a narrow walkway to a tower, but opted not to enter the collapsed room on the other side, a guaranteed death-trap. Downstairs, Caleb and Deke found themselves in a bloody room, where a key was hidden underneath a literal death-trap: A mousetrap on the floor. They fought an invisible attacker, learned the hard way that Amaranth couldn't be shot, and easily won a round of "Name That Tune" in the music room that led to revelations of rooms beyond locked doorways. After solving some word games separately, Elise and Elijah and Sagesse met upstairs, where they found a bodybuilder named Tamarillo in a gymnasium and defeated him at arm-wrestling. They soon encountered Vic at the upstairs landing to the stairwell.
Deke for a near-perfect score in "Name That Tune"
Sagesse for solving the hangman puzzle after one letter
The Tribe Has Spoken
game session #122
played on March 12, 2013
When Caleb and Deke emerged in the house's grand hallway, Amaranth taunted them with mention that they would have to sacrifice one of their own to escape. The group met on the grand stairwell between floors and compared notes about where they had been, then interrogated the gnome in the kitchen to learn that winning the game (and leaving) meant passing a timed "final challenge" in the basement. The stairs to the basement required items from around the house, some of which the group had already, and they set off in pursuit of the others. They battles statues in a statuary, a plant-like spider creature in the conservatory, a mad preacher in a chapel, and a pack of zombies in the graveyard, where the seven headstones bore their full names, including "Enid Thompson," which the group deduced must be Gao's birth name. A distant agonized scream from Gilbert made them hurry their progress. They acquired the last item and opened the door to the basement.
Elijah for deducing the meaning of "Enid Thompson"
Vic for deducing the meaning of "Enid Thompson"
Door Number One, Door Number Two, or Door Number Three?
game session #123
played on March 26, 2013
At the basement entrance, Amaranth warned that as the group was now close to finding the treasure, the traps would become much deadlier. Elise rearranged wine bottles in a pattern to unlock a secret. Sagesse led a game of "Twenty Questions" in which former ally Fayt Leigngod came up. Elijah solved a pentagram-and-coin puzzle. Through a reflection, Holgrave warned "the game is a ruse; they're plotting to kill--" before he was cut off. As the group struggled to find their way out of a maze, painful mind-drains nearly paralyzed them. Deke and Elijah fought off an eight-tentacled beast in an underground lake. Amaranth realized that Vic's "remote punch" ability was still working, and disabled it with magic, much to Vic's frustration. Despite advice from the group, Vic failed to stop Sagesse's infection from spreading during a laboratory experiment, which nearly cost her hand. The injuries were accumulating, and everyone in the group seemed to worry about imminent death if they didn't escape soon.
Elijah for solving the pentagram puzzle
Elise for solving the wine bottle puzzle
Sagesse for solving two of the "Twenty Questions" games
Is That Your Final Answer?
game session #124
played on April 9, 2013
The group donated blood to save Sagesse's assistant Gilbert on an operating table, fended off an attacker made of dry rice, defeated three vampires that refused to harm Sagesse, and figured out a way across a fragile rope bridge outside of the Castle. Elise was knocked into the chasm below. When Deke was lowered into the chasm in a fruitless attempt to find her, he saw that the Castle was floating in space. They proceeded to the final room, a treasure vault, where Amaranth taunted them by injecting his prisoner Elise with a poison that would kill her in sixty minutes if they couldn't crack the very difficult combination lock. Amaranth revealed the nature of the entire Crimson Castle: He and the "audience" were the Fellowship of the Crimson Dawn, a cult that Elise had attacked months earlier in Washington. They had created this elaborate "game" for their own sadistic entertainment, to enjoy watching her die. Deke cracked the vault's combination, and the audience revealed themselves by lifting the spell sealing the Castle walls. The cult's leader, Elise's old enemy Clementine Grose, turned Amaranth to cinder as punishment for failing to kill Elise with his "game." Through teamwork and careful use of their restored abilities, the group fended off the cult's attacks, led by Caleb, who drank his serum from Dr. Jekyll and temporarily became a changeling, able to melt and change into any solid form. When the group tried to use the only available parasol (the Fellowship's mode of transport) to leave, Clementine swore to chase Elise to the ends of the Earth, but Deke violently executed her. One of the cultists, a teenager named Rose MacAvoy, pledged her service to Elise if her life was spared. She helped them use Clementine's grimoire to cancel the seal keeping Elise out of the Manor. Fleeing what was left of the battle, they took Rose, the spellbook, and the only parasol through to the Manor, trapping the few surviving cultists forever in their own deadly dimension.
Caleb for taking Clementine Grose's form as a ruse
Deke for cracking the vault's combination lock
Deke for solving a majority of riddles in the Crimson Castle
The game continued in Chapter 25: Hong Kong.
In the guise of their characters, the players write reports summarizing the chapter from their own perspective.