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Little is known about Lord Kelnor. From what he tells the player character at the beginning of the game, he inherited the title and enjoyed a vast fortune and prosperous domain, until his sister Margaret died in unexplained circumstances, which led people to flee his domain and giving his mansion a gloomy reputation.
It is eventually revealed that this reputation is in fact well-earned, due to the activities of the demon-worshipping cult he leads, and the many people he abducted to sacrifice them in gory ceremonies. In fact, his sister was killed by her husband, a vampire named George of Danvers who is one of his lieutenants.
Lord Kelnor presents the facade of a dapper, courteous and refined gentleman to the outside world, while he is in fact a cruel, vicious and remorseless zealot who would sacrifice anyone to his idol, who did not care the slightest for his family and who gets rid of all witnesses. He seems quite close with his butler Franklins, who partakes in the cult, and the cultists hold him in very high regards.
He made a pact with demons who granted him magic powers and control over the forces of darkness, enabling him to swarm his mansion with monsters. He shares the command of the cult with a mysterious Demonic Master: the cult's main idol with whom he made the pact in the first place.
Role in the storyThe gamebook takes place in the English countryside, around the 1980. You play as an every day person whose car just broke down during a stormy night, forcing you to seek shelter in the nearby mansion: the House of Drumer. The book has a total of Fear that must be kept as low as possible. If you exceed this total, you die of fright and the game is over. Also, you must reduce your total of skill (power-level) by 3 when you lack a weapon. The gamebook is a very difficult survival, full of dead-ends, riddles, and passwords, forcing you to process very carefully and avoid fighting more than two foes at once…
At first, Franklins the butler leads you to the dining room. Lord Kelnor welcomes you warmly and provides you with dinner, before inviting you to spend the night here since the phone (allegedly) does not work. Chose the food and drinks wisely lest you die poisoned. Later that night, you must ambush Shekou the hunchback sent to capture you and lead you to be sacrificed; and learn from him that one of Lord Kelnor's disciples is about to get initiated.
You must then explore the mansion, whose rooms are each named after a demon or an evil mythical being, and look for a weapon and clues. Avoid the kitchens, the cells, the torture room, the pentacle and the ceremonial room at all costs, follow the ghost maid, kill the attack dogs of the old woman to get her to talk, get some garlic in case you run into the vampire George of Danvers, and investigate closely.
Beware of the prisoners, maddened by their tortures, who might backstab you to escape. Among them is the Man in White, a cultist who got on Lord Kelnor’s bad side, whose indication proves useful, but not mandatory. When you meet Shekou again, get him drink with brandy to get the right clue or he leads you to a trap. You must get the Kriss Knife (a type of Malaysian dagger) that the cult uses for sacrifices, and the Iron Key that opens the room with walls as red as hellfire, the only place where Lord Kelnor and the mysterious Master can be defeated.
The Final Battle
The Red Room happens to be the dining room where it all began, under its true aspect. Use the bell to call for Franklins and get ready to confront both Lord Kelnor and his butler. The Earl of Drumer is a dangerous enemy with 9 in skill and 10 in stamina (life-points), but if you slay him, the Master reveals himself and kills you in a rage. You must target Franklins, who has 8 in skill and 8 in stamina, but the battle ends as soon as you strike him...It now appears that Franklins is but an alias for the Master, who is in fact a highly powerful, goat-legged, rat-tailed, Hell Demon covered in sulphurous fumes, using an unassuming aspect to go undetected! The Master reveals his true form, and this experience alone gives you 3 points of fear. The Hell Demon is a formidable foe with 14 in skill (2 points over the normal maximum) and 12 in stamina, ready to gore you with his huge claws. Only the Kriss can harm him, without it you are doomed. If you wield it, you gain 6 points of skill, enabling you to hold your own. If your original skill total was high enough, you can win without major troubles, but if not…
The Master's destruction sets fire to the House of Drumer, leaving the Earl, his disciples and his monsters to perish in the flames while you escape. A fiery inferno that is, as the narration puts it in: "a fitting end for a house of hell"... Unfortunately, having saved the region from the cult will not fix your car...