Thursday, August 28, 2014

Endless Night: Notes

ENDLESS NIGHT
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2014
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Index.)


Endless Night Notes

This adventure was somewhat inspired by the movie, Thirteen Ghosts, which I’m not really recommending.  Great concept though, with everyone locked in a prison-like house, having to defeat the ghosts in order to escape.  Given the appalling lack of traditional ghosts in this adventure, I obviously didn’t stay very close to the source material.  
 
If you can believe it, this adventure started off being called The Haunted Dojo.  It used a pagoda map out of a Dungeon magazine.  I re-did the encounters and roughed out the adventure where the characters needed to cleanse the temple.  Every time they defeated one of the ghosts, the gong in the foyer would ring out.  Somewhere along the way, I decided I’d want to post it, so I’d need an original map.  At that point, I decided to go with a more traditional haunted house.

From there, the main inspiration was from a computer game: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, specifically the Oceanside Hotel encounter.  I will recommend this game.  It’s a good time.  The old haunted hotel is a unique challenge in the game.  There’s nothing fight.  It’s just a matter of finding clues and avoiding traps.  The atmosphere is awesome.  Play it at night, in the dark, you will jump.   However, this adventure was going to need some monsters to fight.   

From there, I ran through a couple of concepts.  How about the house was the residence of an occult-obsessed serial killer?  He was a mortician, who let’s say drummed up his own business at times.  He took mementoes of his victims and that’s what did him in.  He was killed by the ghosts of his 13 victims.  The house would have to be cleared of the 13, then the party could face the mortician.  Hey, that sounds good.  Why didn’t I use that?  It just fizzled for me. 

Next inspiration was Castle Amber, as mentioned at the beginning.  From there, I toyed around with the notion of a bunch of insane ghosts, family and servants.  They were all demented in some way to begin with.  Their undead existence would reflect their flaw, such as compulsive gambler, gluttonous hoarder, sex pervert, or renegade scientist.  Some of this stayed, but Undead Downton Abbey (as sure as I post this, somebody will start on the manuscript), faded into the background a bit.  I wanted ghouls, grimlocks, and gillmen fighting in the behind the scenes as bickering servant classes, but ultimately had to trim that down.

Inspired by the movie, Clue, I would have liked to have inserted a murder mystery into the house, unlocking a dark secret and the treasure.  Of course, there’d be multiple possible endings.  But in the end, it seemed a little too complex, maybe too subtle.  I thought it’d be best to stick to the action.

So, where’d the Astral Plane stuff come from?  It was definitely inspired by the Sandman comic book.  Likewise, some of the spirits are clearly super-villain inspired.  Elves and goblins fighting over the house took after several sources, like Thor and a Midsummer Night’s Dream.  A couple of quests were added.  One doesn’t just walk into a fey party after all. 

There’s a little Lovecraft here and there, though I haven’t read much of his stuff.  Carter the cat certainly came from the Dream Realms.  Lastly, the more ambitious ideas I had about portals to dream kingdoms or distant foreign kingdoms for adventure quests (a la Castle Amber again) proved too daunting for me.  I had to content myself with the psychedelic landscapes of the second floor.

There’s lessons to be learned here.  Go where your ideas take you, rather than forcing them to follow your initial impulse.  You’ll save yourself a lot of time, effort, and frustration.  Also, when you run out of ideas for adding to a project, that’s your signal that that is the project’s limit.  Again, it’ll save time and sanity.  Finally, let ideas that don’t fit fall away.  Don’t expend a bunch of effort trying to force them in.  You can always recycle them for something else.  If the adventure itself doesn’t give you some ideas, hopefully this behind-the-scenes epilogue will.  Have fun with this in whatever form you choose.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Endless Night: The Astral Graveyard

ENDLESS NIGHT
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2014
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Index.)




The Astral Graveyard


Description: The characters appear in a foggy, nighttime, full moon, Hollywood set-like graveyard.  Of course the characters see several open graves with their names on the tombstones.  They also see graves for any of the characters lost during the adventure.  I’m sure we’re all seeing where this is heading.  Underneath a pair of large, dead trees is a short stairway leading to an ornate throne.  Upon it sits, the Goblin Queen.

Status: Wide open, like an open grave.

Inhabitants: Natasha the Goblin Queen, her two (?) pet Drakes, and some pissed off dead Characters.

Objective: Defeat the Goblin Queen’s attendants and win the gold.  Award 3 XP for this final encounter.  This counts as a major accomplishment.



Natasha sits on an elevated dais upon a highly Gothic-looking throne, attended by two small pet dragons.  “You’re here for the treasure?  I thought as much all along.  Well, you’ll have to go through them to get it.”  Crawling out of the graves are all of the dead and reserve characters from the adventure.  Natasha motions to her dragons to join the fight, and it’s on.

It’s impossible to know what the character party’s composition is by this point in the adventure.  There should be at least four.  Use a 5 HD Elven, Goblin, Gillman, or Ghoul hero to round out the group, if needed.  Adjust the number of dead character opponents (or even Drakes) so that the party isn’t outnumbered by more than double.

This fight will probably get confusing, since you’ll be running a party of characters instead of monsters.  Given that the dead characters are dead, I wouldn’t play them terribly smartly, the Drakes as well.  (Natasha will not want her pets fighting to the death, at less than 10 hp they fly off at her command).  But, you should know your group pretty well by now and what they’re capable of, even playing the wrong characters.  (Certainly, the players will be highly motivated to beat you in this encounter, and possibly physically afterward.)  You might want any additional characters killed here to join the fight on the other side, or not.  I also have the dead Characters having only ½ their hp to move things along quicker, but go full if you think it’s necessary (but make the decision before the fight starts).

Natasha will not join the fight.  (The group is no match for her at this point in their lives.)  She’ll only applaud or taunt the characters and their actions.  If she’s attacked, in the unlikely event she’s hit and takes damage, she’ll simply fire a Magic Missile at the offender in a huff, “How dare you!  You miserable worm!”  No, the only way to win this is to kill off the dead Characters and Drakes.  

Goblin Queen Natasha
10th level Wizard, Hp 60, AC 20 (+2 Protection Ring, Permanent Shield spell, blocks any Magic Missiles), Permanent Reflection Spell (see below),
Enhanced Init +4
Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +11
Melee: Does not engage in melee
Ranged: Natasha owns an assortment of magic wands, none of which come into play here.
Reflection Spell (Unique spell): Any hit (melee, ranged, magic) that does not roll at least a natural 16 and up is reflected back on the attacker.  

Spellcheck +9 to cast, DC 17 Save Against, 3 failures per turn/encounter
Has a full assortment of powerful, high-level spells, but will only be using this one in the encounter.
1st level, DC 13
Magic Missile: 13 impact damage + Knocked down. (Ref Sv all damage) Short range.

Dead Characters
All stats and weapons the same, but half their hp.

Drake (Brutus, Butch)
HD 7 (d12), Hp 59, AC 18 (natural)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +6
Melee: Talon +10 to hit 2d6+4 and bite +10 to hit 2d8+4
Ranged: Fire Blast 3d6 fire damage + 1d6 continuing until extinguished, DC 12 Ref Sv ½ damage, once per encounter
Can Fly


Afterward
Natasha applauds the remaining characters, “Well played.”  She snaps her fingers and suddenly a pile of riches appears before them, “Your reward.”  Suddenly, the group reappears in the real world, at the house entrance, with the treasure.  (And bodies switched back.)  There’s 100K in gold (coins or bars) and another 100k in gems and jewels.  Also of this is in 20 wooden boxes and chests.  If any of the residents from the house joined the party, they take their cut, and disappear back into the Astral Plane. 

Fairy gold always comes with complications.  If this is part of an on-going campaign, the first problem is going to be how to move this very heavy stash and where to.  From there, there’s no telling who’s going to suddenly be after them for the treasure.  Earthly Goblins and Elves are likely candidates.  Somebody is also probably going to notice the characters moving a bunch of stuff out of the house.  That’ll cause rumors around town.  Until the characters figure out how to spend this wad, they should be in constant jeopardy of losing it and living very nervous lives.

If not part of a campaign, as soon as the group’s made an initial count of the booty, suddenly Natasha appears.  Leaning over the pile of gold and stroking it, she purrs, “I’ve got a proposition for another adventure.  How about double or nothing?”  And you’ve got your hook for a follow up adventure. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Endless Night: Master Bathroom

ENDLESS NIGHT
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2014
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Index.)



The Master’s Bathroom


Description: Again, it’s a nice bathroom.  Nothing special, though I’d certainly like to have a showplace bathroom myself.  Of more importance, there’s a tall, pale fellow, dressed in a black robe inside, holding and petting Carter the cat.

Status: The door opens when the group completes the Elvish Trial.

Inhabitants: The Sandman himself and Carter the cat.

Objective: Receive an explanation of sorts for Azimuth House.  The door to the treasure opens.

Carter’s Introduction: After the trial, the characters see Carter again.  He runs off into this bathroom.

“Greetings,” says the inherently mysterious figure, “I am the Lord of Dreams, the Sandman.  I rule the Astral Plane, where you have been all this time.”  From here, the Sandman tells the group about the house’s existence in both the real and unreal world and how he needed help in fixing things.  He’ll describe how he lead the group here (providing details to explain events in an on-going campaign).  The Sandman will take some questions (Carter may even answer instead), but he won’t put up with any crap from the characters.  (Seriously, you don’t want to mess with the Lord of Dreams in his own domain.  If the group wants revenge, they’ll have to lure him into the real world first, and that’s a whole another adventure.)

At any mention of the treasure, he says, “As you’ve done me a favor by cleaning up this mess, I shall do one for you.”  He points out the bathroom door and into the now open Mistresses’ Bathroom door.  “I have opened up a portal to the house’s treasure.  I believe you’ve already met the owner.  Good luck and farewell.”  The Sandman suddenly adds one last item, “Oh, there may be some, temporary disruption to yourselves in transit.”  Then he and Carter disappear.  “Meow.” 




The Mistresses’ Bathroom

Description: Another pretty bathroom.  This one’s girly and smells nice.  This is just a transit area. 

Status: The door opens at the Sandman’s direction.

Inhabitants: No one’s in the bathroom. 

Objective: Activate the portal.

There is a large mirror in the Ladies Bathroom.  It is fogged over, though there’s no steam or heat in the room.  If the mirror is cleaned off, it reflects, but the characters do not appear in the image.  Suddenly they notice they are on the other side of the mirror looking at themselves.  The mirror images can’t see them and are completely confused. 

If this adventure hasn’t pissed off the players yet, here’s where they’ll officially hate you.  This is the final trick the house plays on the characters (go ahead and tell the players this if they threaten to leave).  Collect all of the character sheets and then redistribute them to different players.  You may choose to tell them to pass them to person to their right, or you can personally decide who gets who, based upon the inappropriateness of the character to the person. 

Say, “All of you no longer quite feel like yourselves.  In fact, you are all now seeing yourselves through another party member’s eyes.”

Monday, August 25, 2014

Endless Night: The Master Bedroom (The Elvish Trial)

ENDLESS NIGHT
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2014
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Index.)




The Master Bedroom (The Elvish Trial)


Description: Elegant and opulent.  The enormous canopied bed dominates the room with a large trunk sitting in front of it.  There are dressers, a small sitting area for light reading before bed on his side, and a chair and sewing table on hers.  On either side of the room are walk-in closets/dressing rooms, with their doors opened.  Lots of nice clothes inside.  There are also closed doors to the His and Hers bathrooms. 

None of this matters.  As soon as the party enters, they’re transported elsewhere.   

Status: The double doors are locked.  They cannot be entered until the characters clear out all of the other rooms on the floor.  The doors will then stand open.

Inhabitants: None in the room itself.

Objective: Here the characters face the music for crossing the Elves.  They must face a trial by combat against Prince Alex.  Award 2 XP.

Carter’s Introduction: After the characters clear out all of the rooms, they will see the cat running by.  He’ll lead them to the open doors of the Master Bedroom and then disappear out of sight.


The Master Bedroom immediately fades from view and is replaced with a large open arena.  The seats are all filled with Elves calling out for vengeance against the group.  Don’t bother with trying to escape or attacking the crowd.  The arena is magically shielded against such intrusions.

From the royal box, Queen Elaine rises and addresses the group, “You are accused of crimes against the Seelie Court of the Astral Plane.  Your actions have damaged our abode.  By unanimous consent of our people, it has been decided that you mortal interlopers shall face a trial by combat.  You shall combat our chosen champion, Prince Alex.  Your valor and skill will decide your fate.”

Alex’s tactics are listed with his stats.  He’s a powerful wizard and fighter.  Play him as smart as possible.  Decide on what order the characters need to be taken out and always finish off anybody seriously wounded.  The characters will have the advantage in numbers, and, while max’ed out on hp, he’s still low compared to the entire group.  It’s seriously possible that Alex could kill off the entire group, so you might want to leave a sole survivor as an Elvish warning.  The remaining replacements will appear in the Master Bedroom afterward, and the players can carry on from there, suitably chastened. 

At 5 or less hp, Alex will yield.  (If killed, the trial is immediately ended as Elvish healers will rush to treat Alex.)  Queen Elaine will announce that they have passed the trial and that the Elves have no further quarrel with the group.  With a wave of her hand, surviving group members are completely healed.  Like a dream, the arena fades, and the group is returned to the Master Bedroom.  Any replacement characters needed will already be there waiting. 

Prince Alex
8th level Arcane Ranger/Wizard, Hp 48, AC 17 (Elvish chain mail suit),
Enhanced Init +3
Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +6
(Immunity to sleep spells and effects, ghoul paralysis, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.)

Melee: +2 Magic Rapier (Slasher) +13 to hit 1d6+5
Ranged: +3 Magic Longbow (Striker) +14 to hit 1d8+7

Spellcheck +8 to cast, DC 16 Save Against, 3 Failures/encounter

4TH-LEVEL SPELLS (DC 16 to cast)
Invisibility, Greater: As invisibility, but subject can attack and stay invisible.  0 Bonuses to hit by melee or ranged, +4 Saving Throws vs spells, disrupted by any hit.  Encounter.
Ice Blast: Hail deals 20 freezing damage + Stun 1 rd + dropped to last in Initiative. (Ref Sv ½ damage) Medium range.
Wall of Fire: 20 fire damage + 1d8 continuing damage until extinguished out to 10 ft. and 1d6 out to 20 ft. Passing through wall deals x2 damage. Lasts 4 rds. (Ref Sv ½ damage to avoid initial appearance.) Short range. Note that this spell does have the capacity to set off flammable objects in the area and go out of control quickly.
Wall of Ice: Ice plane creates wall with 23 hp or hemisphere can trap creatures inside. (Ref Sv to avoid being trapped.  Can batter their way out.) Short range.

3RD-LEVEL SPELLS (DC 15 to cast)
Fly: Subject flies at speed of 60 ft./rd, disrupted by any hit.
Lightning Bolt: 18 electrical damage + Stun 1 rd + Knocked Down. (Ref Sv ½ damage) Medium range.

2ND-LEVEL SPELLS (DC 14 to cast)
Acid Arrow: 16 acid damage + -1 to non-Dex bonus AC. (Ref Sv all damage) Short range.

1ST-LEVEL SPELLS (DC 13 to cast)
Shield: Invisible disc gives + 4 to AC, blocks magic missiles. Encounter.
Magic Missile: 12 impact damage + Knocked down. (Ref Sv all damage) Short range.

Alex will attempt to become invisible and then take flight after the introduction.  He’ll attempt to “bomb” the group with airborne arrow attacks.  On the first hit, Alex loses his invisibility, on the next, he drops to the ground.  From there, he’ll use his spells, using Wall of Fire and Wall of Ice to separate group members.  He’ll use the rest of the spells, starting with the most powerful.  Shield would only be used if a Wizard successfully casts a Magic Missile at him.  If he’s down to his last spellcasting failure, he’ll just use Magic Missiles.  Finally, Alex engages in melee with his rapier.  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Endless Night: The Tower Observatory

ENDLESS NIGHT
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2014
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Index.)




The Observatory


Description: Climbing up the pull-down ladder, the first character up will see a messy, steam-punkish lab, along with an overhead dome and a large telescope.  The dome is currently slit open, revealing nighttime stars outside.  Blocked from view, the sounds of incomprehensible chattering can be heard.

Status: There’s no door.  The ladder can only accommodate one person at a time.  The characters will be screened from viewing all of the lab upon entry (but they are also screened from the occupants).

Inhabitants: Four creepy Squidheads and their Robot

Objective:  Defeat the Squidheads and restore Copernicus’ brain to his body.  The characters all gain 2 XP.  They also gain the Brain Lashers’ blaster guns.  (after they learn to use them). 

Carter’s Introduction: “Meow.  Professor Copernicus Creighton always looked up at the stars.  He wondered what was out there and cried out to them every night.  One night, they answered him.  Their reply drove him mad.  Meow.”


What happened to Copernicus is up for debate, but we’ll never know.  The reality of it is that there are four squid-headed aliens from the Astral Plane in his observatory.  Copernicus’ body is lying on the floor with his skull chopped open and his brain removed.  Currently, said brain is residing inside the clear top dome of a large crude robot that the aliens are working on.  The robot is not finished yet.

With a DC 12 Stealth check, a character can spy the rest of the layout and the inhabitants.  The character will hear a whispering voice in their head, “Put my brain back.”  If the characters are undetected, the Squidheads suddenly stop working.  They stand in a circle, hold up their hands, and start emitting a loud hum.  A careful character will be able to sneak around them with a DC 12 Stealth check each rd.  Trying to get the brain out by stealth will require two Stealth checks and a DC 12 Climb check to get across the room and climb up robot, pop the dome (simple latch), and grab the brain.

If the brain is taken out, the aliens will suddenly be aware of the characters’ presence and attack, wanting to get the brain back.  (They can use minor telekinesis to re-insert it.)  Under this scenario, the robot never activates.  Otherwise, as soon as the aliens detect the characters, three of them will attack, while the fourth mentally controls the robot.  The robot will only work with them controlling it.  Busting the clear dome on top will also shutdown the robot.  The first Squidhead death causes a DC 12 Will Sv to the rest.  Failing it, they teleport away.  Each death after that is a DC 18 Will Sv.

If the brain is put back into Copernicus’ skull, it will immediately disintegrate.  The grandfather clock chimes again.  If somebody wants to look through the telescope, it’s a DC 18 Will Sv.  Failing it, they go hopelessly insane and attack the rest of the party, before running off (to reappear in the last act).  Activate a replacement.  Success, the character gains +2 to their Will Sv and +1 to their Spellcheck, if appropriate.       

Searching the observatory, if this adventure is part of an on-going campaign, this would be a good place to find a journal detailing various planets that Copernicus saw in his dreams.  There should be a map to a place that would possibly allow transport to these places. 

Squidheads (4)
HD 4, Hp 16, AC 14 (natural), Enhanced Init +3
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +6
Melee: None 
Ranged: Blaster +4 to hit 2d12 single shot, DC 12 Ref Sv ½ damage
Counts as a magic weapon, DC 12 Int check to figure out how to use (uses one charge to test, fail take ½ damage), has 1d4 x 5 charges

Mind blast DC 12 Will Sv or Stun 1 rd, Anyone failing that save, next rd DC 18 Will Sv or controlled for 1d4 rds.  Lasher may not attack while controlling, any hit will disrupt their control.

(The Squidheads will usually try to Mind Blast and control opponents first, using their Blasters on anyone who is able to resist.)

Robot
HD 9, Hp 65, AC 18* (armored, Magic to hit), Always last in Init
Brain dome AC 12 (Called Shot DC 12), Hp 10  
Fort +10, Ref +0, Will +0
Melee: 2 Shock Tentacle attacks +9 to hit 1d6 + DC 18 Fort Sv or stun 1d4 rds
Ranged: Not yet installed, thankfully

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Endless Night: The Study (The Oriental Room)

ENDLESS NIGHT
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2014
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Index.)




 The Oriental Room (or The Study)


Description: This was once the Azimuth House Study, a quiet room for work and reading.  It was later transformed into something of a pleasure den.  The whole room is filled with a thin fog from Opium smoke.  In one corner (across from the chair), there’s a sling hanging from the ceiling, along a rack full of whips, restraints, and other S&M implements.  Next to the comfy chair is a hookah pipe.  There are corpses of the characters lying around it.  All dead, but with smiles on their faces.

Status: The door is closed, but unlocked.  There’s a strange-smelling fog rolling out from under the door.

Inhabitants: Octavius Creighton and 2 Succubi

Objective: Defeat Octavius and his Succubus girls.  Award 2 XP. 

Carter’s Introduction: “Meow.  Doctor Octavius Creighton returned from the Orient rich from the Opium Trade.  He also returned with a nasty addiction and a nastier collection of sexually transmitted diseases from frequenting the whorehouses too often.  However, when one pleasures the geishas at the House of the Blue Oni, your taint is not only permanent, but demonic.  Meow.”


Entering the room, all of the characters must make a DC 12 Fort Sv from the effects of the opium fog.  Failing the save, the character is disoriented and stunned until they make the save.  After making the save, the spell-using characters gain +1 to their Spellcheck, and everyone gains +1 to their Will Sv.

The girls, a pair of very attractive Succubi, will make their appearance out of the dark fog and present the good doctor.  Octavius looks reasonably normal, if bookish with his Coke bottle glasses, until he suddenly displays four tentacles coming out of his torso.  There’s no subtly to this, they just want to drain the life out of the characters.  The fog disappears after they are defeated (and the grandfather clock chimes), revealing the chain to bring down the ladder to the Observatory.

Octavius Creighton (Mutated Vampire Spawn)
HD 4 (d12), Hp 29, AC 15* (natural, Magic or silver to hit), Enhanced Init +4
Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +5
Melee: Tentacle Slam x 4 +5 to hit 1d6+4 + Energy Drain, DC 18 Will Sv or 1d4 negative hp (only one energy drain per opponent, regardless of how many tentacles hit)
If two tentacles hit the same opponent in one rd, they are grappled.  DC 18 Str or Escape Artist check to get loose, otherwise automatic Energy Drain possibility.  Octavius will let go if successfully hit, or he kills the victim.

Succubus (Ariel and Belle)
HD 6, Hp 33, AC 16* (natural, Magic or silver to hit), Enhanced Init +3
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +7
Melee: Claw +6 to hit, 1d6+1 + Energy Drain DC 12 Will Sv or 1d4 negative hp + Stun 1 rd
Soul-Draining Kiss: Energy Drain used on victims unable to actively resist (tied up, stunned, etc).  DC 18 Will Sv or 1d10 negative hp + Stun 1 rd.  Both victim and Succubus are helpless during the act.       
Has ethereal wings and is capable of flight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Endless Night: The Abyss

ENDLESS NIGHT
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2014
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Index.)




The Abyss Room


Description: This room has been nearly completely destroyed by fire damage.  The walls, floor, and furniture are all ruined.  On one unburned patch of wall are crude fingerpaintings representing the characters.  There are bodies (also the characters) hanging up in the rafters 10’ above, dangling at the end of nooses.

Status: The door is closed, but unlocked.  The door and the doorknob are radiating noticeable heat.

Inhabitants: It’s just the characters and a bit of a warm spell.

Objective: Find the Good Luck Charm before everyone dies of the heat.  Award 1 XP to all of the characters.  The Charm allows every failed Saving Throw to be rerolled.  (Ironically, it obviously didn’t help the victim.)

Carter’s Introduction: “Meow.  The family doesn’t like to talk about what happened in this room.  Meow.”


Upon entering the room, all of the characters must make a DC 12 Fort Sv, failing which causes 1d6 burning damage.  Each rd, they must continue to save, but increase the DC by 1 every rd up to DC 18 and the damage by +1, up to +6.  The door will also be locked behind the characters.  Touching the knob immediately causes 1 hp of burn damage. 

A disembodied female voice will call out, wanting her good luck charm found.  It’s on one of the hanging bodies.  Determine which body has the charm.  First, the characters will have to figure out how to get them down.  It’s a small item, roll a DC 18 Find check to locate it.  (The character with the highest Find ability can roll with +1 for everyone with +1 Int or better helping.  Or, the characters can all search separately, making separate rolls.)  After the finding it, the grandfather clock chimes, the heat ceases, and the door opens.