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Death House

Purpose / Function

Death House was once the home of the Durst Family and was used to perform dark rituals by their cult in order to obtain immortality. The House has gained a form of sentience due to the meddline of a Dark Power called Norganus

Architecture

Death House is a tall 4-story house with faded white brick walls and a gray roof. It is about 55 feet wide and gives a nice, cozy and quaint feeling. Across is a stable and servant quarter that is clearly emptied

History

Death House is the name given to an old row house found on the road in the Svalich Woods in Eastern Barovia. It consists of the house proper, and across the road from it an old stable and abandoned servant's quarter. The house has been burned to the ground many times, only to rise from the ashes time and again - by its own will or that of Strahd. Locals avoid the house outside the village from a belief of evil spirits inhabiting it.   The wealthy family that built the house, the Durst family, were an upper-class household of minor noble descent that managed to retain power under the new regime by cozying up to the new lord in Castle Ravenloft. As time went on, however, Mr. and Mrs. Durst were affected by the darkness that swept over Barovia. Mr. Durst became solemn and depressed, while Mrs. Durst felt herself grow older and uglier.   In search of the brightness that had escaped his life, Mr. Durst turned to his children’s nursemaid, a young and single woman by the name of Margaret. Flattered by the older and wealthier man’s charms, Margaret enjoyed a brief affair with him that accidentally ended with her pregnancy.   As she watched Margaret’s belly swell with her husband’s bastard child, Mrs. Durst lost herself to jealousy and hatred, convinced that her increasing age was responsible for her husband’s adultery. Drawing on tales of Count Strahd von Zarovich’s eldritch power, Mrs. Durst founded a cult dedicated to the secrets of immortality and youth. Mr. Durst soon found himself involved - and complicit as well.   The cult would lure travelers, neighbors, and servants alike into the Durst household, murdering them in ritual sacrifice on the altar in the basement in an effort to draw forth their life force. However, nothing ever worked.   Each time Mr. and Mrs. Durst performed these sacrifices, they locked their children in their rooms in a sincere attempt to protect them. However, soon after Margaret’s bastard son, Walter was born, Mrs. Durst lost her patience completely.   One stormy night, Mrs. Durst murdered Margaret in her sleep, and took Walter down into the basement. Standing alone before the altar, she chanted an unholy prayer and sacrificed the infant upon its stone surface. This act of infanticide attracted the notice of a Dark Power - Norganus, the Finger of Oblivion. Amused by the depravity and desperation of the Dursts, Norganus granted the Dursts and their cultists the immortality they so craved - by turning them into ghouls and ghasts.   Mr. Durst, upon seeing what his wife had done, was overcome with guilt, and hanged himself in the basement. Mrs. Durst soon lost herself to madness, and lost herself in the catacombs of the dungeon beneath. With no adults left to remember them, Rose and Thorne starved to death in their room.   Mrs. Durst’s final sacrifice, so perverted and malignant in its nature, transformed Walter himself. This act of betrayal twisted and broke the infant’s soul and body, morphing Walter’s spirit and flesh into an enormous, horrible monster that anchored Norganus’ curse to the very foundations of Death House.


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