Curse of Strahd

Chapter Twelve: Return from the Amber Temple
Wherein fear and greed lead to loss of gain

costsolenka.jpg

cos13temple.jpg

View
Chapter Eleven: Through the Threshold
Wherein only pain and suffering is to be found.
View
Chapter Ten: The Curse of Baba Lysaga
Wherein a new band of heroes kills a walking house.

berez.png

View
Chapter Nine: The Reclamation of Argynvolt Hold
Wherein our heroes turn on a haunted castle's lights

Argenv.png

View
Chapter Eight: Dread from the Druids
Wherein cursed land is made whole and relics recovered

Ww.png

The teleportation did not go well for the party. For an unexplained reason, the trip was like falling while standing still and time was racing by and frozen at the same time. Sven’s nose began to bleed and he fell unconscious. Rictavio screamed at the group to not lose hold of Sven lest he be lost in the astral plane. The trip was nearly unbearable, but finally and instantly, the party appeared in an attic, a hexagram teleport circle below them.

Skylark was the first to notice that both Galenas and Leolin were also unconscious, though apparently unharmed. Urging quiet, Rictavio motioned for them to leave out a nearby window. Blade decided to ignore the small figure he noticed at the door, and carried the elves up and out to the roof, and Fjornborg slung Sven over his back to do the same. Eventually, they all made their way to the Vallaki streets, for it seems they teleported to the attic of the Burgomaster’s house! They hustled back to Wachterhaus and safety.

There they eat and but not before Rictavio gave each a small coin polished to a mirrored finish, and he demanded they not lose them. He pointed to his black hat, ringed with similar coins. The woman in black nodded, and all could see her hat was the same. Rictavio explained that the tokens kept others from magically scrying upon the bearer. Strahd had been doing just that since they had arrived, Angered, Blade demanded Rictavio give them answers, about him, the woman in black, and Strahd. Fjornborg jumped in about his lycanthropy, grabbing Rictavio.

The woman then told every one to calm down, and the two explained it all:

She was Olivia Avenir and she had come to Barovia after waiting five years for the Civil War to end in order to rescue her Mentor, the great Undead-Slayer Osric Van Ricten / “Rictavio”. He had come to Barovia just before the Civil War, as part of the infamous expedition funded and sent by Grand Duke Stephan himself. Osric was the co-leader of the group, along with Archmage Mandzorion (founder of the Arcane Academy). They had persuaded the other great heroes of Karameikos to end the Curse of Strahd once and for all.

“The Lost Boys” – The lost expedition to Barovia:
Osric Van Richten / “Rictavio”
Mandzorion
Marcus Tempus
Lurien Goldheart
Jehenna the Red
Otiluke
Matthias the Twisted

Their ingenious plan was to take a dwarven dirigible and fly into Barovia, over the fog. Mandzorion’s tests seemed to show it would work, and work it did. Soon, they were over Lake Zarovich, heading towards Vallaki. Then Strahd appeared, astride a nightmare. A battle in the air ensued, and they were doing well, so well, they did not see the enormous eagle attack the dirigible from above. They all fell in the the lake to the foul laughter of Strahd.

Eventually, most of the Lost regrouped, but Mandzorion never was seen again.
In the end, they decided to continue onward to Ravenloft Castle, but one by one, they fell to Strahd. Only Osric, with his hat, was able to escape. Then he went into hiding, having spent little over a year hiding from Strahd. Now Skylark jumped claiming that he was lying. How could Olivia wait FIVE YEARS until the Civil War was over to enter Barovia, if Osric was only hiding for a year here until now? Osric’s answer was that the Curse of Strahd had made Barovia separated from the rest of the world both physically and temporally. Time passes slow in Barovia, with one Barovian year equaling five normal years. While 300 years has passed in Karameikos, only 60 has passed in Barovia. This explains why Ireena Kolyana was in Barovia only for a few months, yet in reality she was missing from Karameikos for over a year.

So now, Rictavio (as he preferred to be called now) wanted to know why Blade and his friends were in Barovia. Fjornborg confessed that he and his soldier buddies just there to find Blade. Skylark said she and Klepto were just along for the ride. Blade had come because of his Vistanti heritage. At this, Rictavio narrowed his eyes, stepping back. In the end, though, Everyone agreed that no matter the reason for their being here, they all were now trapped by the Curse of Strahd the same. They all vowed to destroy Strahd and trust each other. Then they retired and recovered the best they could as nightmares of fire, wolves, falling, and Strahd himself kept them up through the night,

In the morning they discovered that the two monks, Timex and Braavo, had left yesterday to gather herbs, and had not returned. Ireena/Anastasia was fine, and safe under the protection of Izek Strasniand Ismark the Lesser, despite their constant bickering on how to protect her best. Osric and Olivia (who had grudgingly forgiven Skylark and Blade for blowing up her well stocked wagon) told them they needed time to stock and create weapons for an assault on Argynvolt Hold, the probable location of the Sunsword (Osric is sure the silver dragon key unlock something there). But as Sven, Galenas, and Leolin were still unconscious, attacking that haunted castle was not going to happen. Instead, Blade, Skylark, and Fjornborg would investigate the Winery, the quest given by the wereravens of Vallaki.

On their way out of Vallaki, the three joined a painting contest to “Paint What You Think the Sun Looks Like”. Blade’s “Angry Fire” placed second overall! Sadly Fjornborg’s “Hamburger Sunset” had too many rips and tears from his over aggressive painting technique to do well, but Skylark’s entry of a blank canvas did raise the eyebrows of “Baron” Vargas Vallakovich . Hopefully he doesn’t find out that she tried to steal art supplies.

They then decided to jog out to the Winery, as it was only about five miles away. They did so with surprising ease, and after being denied entry to Krezk for a pit stop, found them selves in a light rainstorm, walking between dying and rotting vineyards towards a large farm building. Then they saw a man in a black cloak motioning for them to approach. They did so cautiously, but it turned out to be Davian Martikov, owner of the winery, and father to Urwin Martikov . He explained that evil druids had come and attacked the winery, killing the workers, and some of his family as well. The majority of the druids left south, but a few still remained in the winery. He pleaded for the three heroes to clear out his winery of the druids that remained behind as the main group headed back south towards their home at Yester Hill. A stone circle was found there, the place the druids held depraved rituals to a cthonic and evil god.

They entered the winery carefully, their boots getting stuck in the mud. About the time the reached a loading dock door, numerous scratching twig blights emerged from the vineyards all around. Blade resisted his urge to burn them all, as he knew the winery needed to remain intact for the sake of the Barovians. So the retreated into the darkened winery. One by one, they were able to fins and slay the druids occupying the place, foul dirty men with dirty blackened faces and torn and tattered furs. The twig blights they corralled into a hallways and simply sliced apart in the bottleneck one by one. They searched the place, but founf nothing odd, though they did find one of Blinksy’s toy’s, a black forse with flames for a tail and hooves. It had an engraved name, Bucephalas. They then returned to Davian.

Davian thanked the three, promising them they could take a wine shipment back to Vallaki right away. He then, however, explained that he hadn’t said the whole truth to them at first. Davian explained that the only thing keeping the soil fertile and vital at the winery were the three Ur-Stones he had placed in the Vineyards decades ago. Now, they were all gone and he implored the heroes to recover the three Ur-stones, as they were the only things keeping the vineyards alive, and therefore the Barovians as well. One had been taken many years ago, leading to the end of the popular “Champagne du Stomp” vintage. The winery did fine, however, with just the two remaining stones. Sadly, the second had only disappeared a while ago with an attack by a witch named Baba Lysaga. The third had just been taken by the Druids three days ago when they dug up the final Ur-Stone and took it south to Yester Hill.

cos14yester.jpg

After a short rest, the trio began jogging to Yester Hill. Again, Rictavio’s tokens seemed to be working, as no encounters occurred. As they drew near, the rain increase to a storm, and lightning flashes could be seen ahead. The entered a large clearing and could see a large grassy hill with a circle of stone obelisks at its top. Ringing the entire hill on three levels were more stones, but much smaller. They approached cautiously and stealthily. It became clear that the smaller stones were graves, and the entire site was an ancient burial mound. They reconoiterred the entire hill’s base and discovered two things. First, Blade heard a spooky voice coming from a burial plot, telling him to dig. He reluctantly did so, and found a magic spear with an obsidian spear head. The voice told Blade that he was of the ancient line of Vistani kings that once ruled Barovia and that he was to be its king once again!

Second, they came across a small bench on the side of the hill, seated facing outwards. Yester Hill was right next to the fog wall that was Barovia, and when Skylark sat in the chair, she could see through the fog at a gleaming white citadel. When she got up, she could no longer see it.

wintersplinter.jpg

Finally, half way up the the rear of the hill, they came across a circular grove of dead trees and a terrible half dead tree in its center. There was a skeleton at the base of the tree and an axe planted right in its trunk. The tree was surrounded by dozens of twig blights. Skylark, who seemed to know all about twig blights, knew that the tree was a Ghoultree, an ent that had been killed by a vampire, and now prodeced twig blights. The three again dispacthed the twig blights and burned the Ghoultree down. Sadly the fire burned the shaft of the axe, but they recovered the head, which seemed to be a magical weapon that did more damage to trees and plants.

CbXs0dXW4AEJK2K.png

Then they saw a flying object drop from out of the storm and towards Yester Hill. It was Strahd riding Bucephalas. As Fjornborg retrieved the axe, the rest watched Strahd circle the hill, and clearly notice the fires they had made killing the Ghoultree. Nonetheless, Strahd did not attack, rather he flew over to the top of the hill and landed behind the wall of black standing stones. The trio began to ascend the hill, and the lightning grew more intense as they did. They noticed now that the lightning always struck the tops of the stones, never the ground. They also now could see the huge statue that stood atop the summit: a humanoid shaped fifty feet tall, made of thorny vines and filled with some sort of black mud that oozed from it it wet clumps. In the chest of the effigy was a great green glow, coming from an unknown source. Reaching even closer, they could hear over the din of the storm a distinct whooshing sound and the grumbled chanting of a ritual spell, the same they had heard fighting the druids earlier.

DandD_5_1.jpg

Then they reached the closest standing stone, and hiding still, they could see a circle of the foul druids, their dirty blackened faces chanting over and over a mumbled spell. in the circle stood the effigy and facing it, the vampire-lord himself, Strahd. The time for hiding was over and the heroes rushed in to stop what ever foul spell Strahd was preparing. Blade and Fjornborg’s attack struck, but Strahd simply laughed as his wounds healed. He then charmed Fjornborg, commanding him to attack Blade. Things looked grim as Blade tried to evade Fjornborg while still harming Strahd. Blade was hit again and again, and he became bloodied.

Meanwhile, Skylark had sneaked around and began assassinating the chanting druids. They were deep into concentration and put up no resistance to her blows. To her horror, though, as one druid died, out of the ground itself emerged another foul druid, who began chanting again. Seeing she couldn’t kill the druids fast enough, she figured that the glow might be coming from the Ur-Stone, so she climbed the effigy, thorns slicing her as she did. Sure enough she could then see a stone embedded inside the vines. She sliced away the roots, pulled out the stone, and fell back as a great green explosion blew apart the effigy.

The explosion jarred Strahd’s concentration, and Fjornborg was free from his charm. Holding aloft his holy symbol of the Blessed Triad, he then brought a holy smiting down on Strahd twice. Strahd growled in pain, and retreated in bat form. The trio took this as a chance to get out with the Ur-stone, and before the druids could mount an offense, they ran down the hill to safety.

They made it to the Winery safe and were rewarded with one bottle of Davian’s private stock of the few remaining “Champagne du Stomp”s left. They then loaded up a wagon with a large wine shipment, and in the morning left for Vallaki. Their luck held, and they made it to Vallaki unharmed and hailed as heroes. The Baron called for an immediate celebration, and named the trio “Heroes of Vallaki”, giving them medals. Urwin held up his bargain and gave Fjornborg the Icon of the Raven Queen, a relic holy symbol of immense power. All seemed outstanding and great, and the party lasted all day. Then at sundown, as the celebration was ending and folks were getting ready for the curfew, there came a loud banging at the city gates….

View
Chapter Seven: Tragedy at the Tower
Wherein a prophecy comes true and things are destroyed.

ChN7e72UkAMFGVg.jpg

The heroic soldiers came down from the Abbey, very pleased with their ridding Barovia of another evil. To their surprise, up walked Skylark. She had come to help, and reassured everyone else that Ireena was ok. She knew they were in Krezk from the burning Abbey, as she assumed Blade was up to his old tricks. Then they saw the lines of a fire brigade forming. As the Abbey lay directly over the town, its burning structure was now falling down upon Krezk’s buildings. It too was now alight, and screaming people were running about. Everyone quickly joined in to save the town, and managed to not implicate themselves in the arson they themselves created.

Later, they were told that using all that water was a waste, as it was blessed water, good for holding Strahd at bay. Walking down a bit and into a secluded grotto, they found a pool of clear water. Across the pool was a statue. After Blade fell in twice trying to cross the grotto without getting wet, everyone made it over to the statue, a statue of St. Halav. More investigation revealed that the pool and the statue referred to the Vistanti card readings, and that the water was holy water. They pushed back the statue and discovered a silver key with a dragon head as a turner. Not exactly the item they sought, but clearly this was a step towards it,

wolfman-bob-kehl.png

Happy that they had somewhat solved one of the prophecies, they were interrupted by three figures that now stood on the other side of the pool, getting ready to urinate in the pool. The figures ended up being werewolves, a problem for Leolin especially, as he had no magic or silver to combat them. The rest did end up slaying the beasts, and then they chose to get out of Krezk before anyone found out that they had actually started the fires.

The next morning, the party left Krezk, arriving at the crossroads again. While trying to decide which place to go, either back to Vallaki or to the Wizard of Wines, suddenly a flock of ravens swooshed over them, heading the only other direction, north back up towards the mountains. Knowing of the Wereravens help, they decided to head that way.

Ricthen_TOwer.png

Soon they arrived a small lake up in a hilly valley. In the middle of the lake lay a four story tower upon a small rocky island. Connecting the island to the shore was a wooden causeway 100 yard long. The ravens swooped up and around the tower then landed on the roof. The adventurers carefully crossed the causeway and found the door to the tower was sealed by a magical lock and trap. There was also a Vistanti style wagon parked in front of the tower, with it’s door clearly marked with a sign saying “Keep Out” on it. The tower itself was ancient and in terrible shape. The third floor was missing a large section of its wall. The top story, however had curtains in glass windows and looked intact. As there was no obvious danger, they decided to take a short rest to heal from the werewolf encounter.

The door to the tower’s combination lock was not too hard to decipher, and they gained entry to the tower. Inside, conditions were not much better than the outside. There was a wooden platform connected to chains that went up into the roof and then back down to the hands of four little statues. Blade chose to climb one of the chains, and Sven quickly followed. As they neared the top, Leolin also began climbing. This added weight was too much for the ancient pulleys holding the chains on, and the whole apparatus began falling. Sven was able to grab on to the trapdoor that allowed access to the top story, but Leolin and Blade fell hard to the ground. Sven was able to get up to the top floor and he began looking around what appeared to be a living quarters. He first opened a small chest and was amazed to find a preserved human head that began talking to him!

Before anything else could happen, Blade decided to check out the wagon. He called for Skylark to join him to check for traps. Skylark discovered that the door was indeed trapped, and tried to disarm it. Alas, she was not successful, and set off a huge fireball that destroyed the entire wagon, and instantly killed the girl who thought she was a cat that had taken a liking to Fjornborg and tagged along this whole time! Skylark was knocked unconscious, her clothes and belongings ablaze. Worse, before the rest could go outside to see what had happened, the concussion for the explosion caused the entire tower to collapse! Leolin was knocked out from a huge chunk of masonry struck him on the head, cracking his skull. Only the clerical healing from the also injured Fjornborg and Galenas kept them from dying. AS the group recovered the echoes of the sxplosion and demolition still echoed around the valley, and the ravens were now gone.
697ff8ed6801d01aeb1b73c52bc1c9ba.jpg

But now came a wolf howl nearby, then another, and then a whole chorus. The party desperately gathered themselves together, and began heading back across the causeway, sensing that wolves or worse were coming. Clearly the wolves were coming to investigate the destruction. Sure enough, before they made it past halfway down the causeway, a pack of wolves appeared from the treeline. Then their horror grew as they saw that half the wolves were in fact werewolves. A fight for their lives began, as Skylark and Leolin were still badly injured. The party was able to take down many of the beasts, but only the timely aid of a woman rider in a black cloak and hat saved the day.

The woman did not introduce herself, only immediately began to ask who had blown up her wagon. Before an argument broke out, there was a flash, and Rictavio / Van RIcten appeared by magic. He exhorted the party to quickly join hands and come with him before Strahd appeared, as he surely would be coming to investigate the destruction o the tower. AS he told them all this, he quickly recovered some items from the crumbled tower, chiefly, the head in the chest, and then the entire group teleported away.

View
Chapter Six: Asylum of Madness
Wherein Loelin tracks down friends and helps them burn evil

f6045a7da5cc9fc75ad3c316ad767de4_full.jpg

Meanwhile, in the outside world, the elves of Dorneryll, Galenas’ homeland, were creating quite the stir. Ever since Tempus had been spending so much time in nearby Haven, the Silver Princess had been acting odd. She had not been attending to the upkeep of the nature, and the bonds keeping Haven attached to the world were slipping and weakening. This worried the elves, for if Haven went, surely the goblins of the Dymrak Forest would invade Dorneryll and kill everyone!

Word spread quickly from Dorneryll to all the elves of Karameikos. . . find the Chosen One, Galenas, bring him back, and hurry!

One who head the call was Loelin, another veteran of the Karameikan Civil War, but not of the 13th. He was an archer from the free companies of elven archers that volunteered to fight the evil Black Eagle Barony. His company fled under the onslaught of the great demon brought forth that terrible day among the willow trees near the river. For this, the humans saw only cowardice in the elves, especially Leolin’s company.

Nevertheless, Leolin had happened to have seen Galenas at a veteran’s dinner (see Chapter One!), and had followed him to a Vistanti camp along with some human soldiers. Soon Leolin found himself in the back of a Vistanti wagon heading into the cursed land of Barovia, following about a day behind Galenas and the soldiers. The fog crept over him and he passed out completely.

Back in Vallaki, the group decided to split up. Ireena was deathly afraid to travel outside the town, lest Strahd come for her. Her dreams had grown full of fear and suffering, and Strahd was in all of them. She would be protected by Izek and Ismark, plus Skylark was not well from the battle with the vampires, having been knocked out. The rest would push on to find the artifacts needed to defeat Strahd.

Before they could go, Urwin Martikov. the taven owner, drew them all into his chambers and told them in secret that he was a were raven! The were ravens were the only real forces of good in the land with any hope of fending off Strahd. They had done so for hundreds of years. Urwin possesses the Feather of the RavenKing, and uses it to help fend off Strahd. He would give it to the Adventurers if they would complete a quest for him. The local wine is the only drinkable substance in Barovia. Lately, no wine has been shipped to Vallaki. The Wizard of Wines, as he is called, was Urwin’s Step-Uncle. Also the ravens have sensed terrible evil afoot at the winery. Without the wine, the people of Vallaki would not have anything untainted to drink, as the Curse of Strahd corrupted all the water in Barovia. All of this meant that the heroes could have the Feather if they took care of the problem there.

On the way out of town, the Burgomaster asked the group to take a message to the Burgomaster of Krezk. This way they could also gain entry to the town for shelter if needed. As the group left the gates, Blade spotted a Vistanti encampment, and chose to investigate. There they found Leolin. He was being cared for by Kasimir Velikov an Eladrin who led a small group of other Eladrin sharing the camp with the Vistanti. He told them of a place he wished to visit: the Amber Temple, a place with a huge stone head for a entryway.

Leolin awoke and was reunited with Galenas. He was saddened to hear they all were trapped in Barovia until Strahd was slain. They all then went over to the Vistanti to get answers. Unfortunately, they were busy doling out punishment to a boy who had been found guilty of allowing the chief’s daughter to disappear. Half the Vistanti were out looking for the girl, Arabelle. Blade spoke to the chief, Luvash Korovich, asking for horses, but none would be given unless the daughter were found.

The group then left west towrds Krezk and the winery. They were accosted at one point by bandits, but otherwise the walk was simply a long one. They would not reach the winery by dusk so they headed to Krezk for lodging.

ChN7e72UkAMFGVg.jpg

Krezk lay on the side of a steep mountainside. Tall walls made of stone proved this place was ancient. It was clearly a Republican-era monastery of St. Halav, built for protection and seclusion. They were high enough in elevation that snow began to fall and the fog froze on the group as they traveled up switchbacks to the strong gates of the place. The guards let them in after they showed the letter from Vallaki. Meeting this town’s burgomaster was not as harrowing, but much more serious. Krezk stayed safe by keeping all strangers out and relying on the power of the Abbot of the Abbey. Towering above the main part of the monastery was a abbey with an octagonal tower and attached dormitory. It seems the Abbot came to Barovia after the fall of Strahd’s Curse. The abbot’s holy powers keep Strahd at bay, but at the price of complete obedience from the town’s inhabitants. The abbot’s demands were few, however, and mostly kept to himself in the abbey above.

The party was intrigued by the Abbot and asked to meet him; the burgomaster suggested they leave him alone. Nonetheless, they continued up the side of the mountain as snow began to fall heavily now. They reached the gates of the abbey’s outer wall, and found it unguarded and open. They continued, but Sven snuck around the side of the structure to look for clues. The rest continues up a path to the front door of the chapel. Sven peered though a window and saw a handsome human man in robes teaching a red haired woman how to dance. Sven paused unsure what to do.

By now though, the rest had passed into an interior courtyard of the abbey and witnessed madness. walking past double doors, they saw a row of nine small sheds, each with a small humanoid inside, behind a wired cage door. Three posts stood in front of the cages and chained to one was another figure under a blanket. The group felt a sense of dread as they walked further into the open courtyard, noticing that the octagonal tower lay to the right, and the dorm was to the left. Then out of a nearby well, a sound could be heard, and then a figure climbed out: a grotesque man with spider eyes, a frog foot for a hand, and a taloned raven claw for the other. It leaped at the party, and immediately, the things in the cages began screaming, and the figure under the blanket flew up, it too a mongrel-folk of a woman with spider mandibles and bat wings. She strained at her chains, flying up and screeching a mad wail.
Mongrelmen_2.gif

Inside the tower, Sven saw the Abbot react the commotion by grabbing the woman and heading out a door to the courtyard. Sven went through the window into the room. Outside, the party was fighting off the spider-man, just as the Abbot came out the door. The combat killed the red-head, actually a flesh golem, and this enraged the Abbot. He revealed his true form, a angelic deva, but one with a clear madness about it. They fought and the Abbot was slain.

The Abbot

Inside the dorm, they only found more abominations that it appears the Abbot had created from people that had come seeking help and asylum over the centuries. They decided to burn the place to the ground. They then made their way back down the mountain, the abbey ablaze behind them.

Castle_burning.jpg

View
Chapter Five: Tale of Two Houses
Wherein a power struggle ends in unfortunate violence

howtocosvallaki.jpg
In the morning, the group was told to wear black pins with sad faces, and to attend the mandatory pep session. They did so and watched “Baron” Vargas Vallakovich and “Baroness” Petranova Vallakovich conduct a terrible play and actually kill a villager. The people all began to yell and the dead man, and then cheer the Baron for killing him. Then the entire mob began to yell at the top of their lungs, swearing and calling the death of anyone and everyone. Soon the mob ran out of steam and dispersed back to their homes, all the while hearing the call of Baron Vallokovich that "All is Well!

After the pep rally, the group decided to stop spitting up, and deal with one thing at a time.

Leaving Ireena with Ismark at the inn, first they decided to stop the the nearby Burgomaster and see about the strange dolls of Ireena. They were allowed in by an attractive maid, and taken to a den with a large mounted bear. They of course did not stay and wait, instead leaving and going upstairs. There they eventually met Izek Strasni. He fought them for intruding, but eventually “Baron” Vargas Vallakovich appeared and stopped the fight. They group explained Fiona Wachter’s theft of the Bones of St. Stephen. Vargas ordered his bodyguard to go with the heroes and apprehend Lady Wachter.

p1704414842-4.jpg

So they went to the mansion called “Wachterhaus”. Galenas had seen it in his wanderings the night before. They encountered no one as they entered the house, only encountering a young girl, the daughter, Stella Wachter, the girl who thinks she is a cat. She took an instant liking to Fjornborg. In the cellar, however, they found the vampires, all six and Fiona Wachter, a sorcerer. The fight was difficult, but with the entire party involved, and the help of Izek, all the vampires were permanenly slain. Fiona was able to teleport away, however.

The group claimed Wachterhaus for their own, grudgingly allowed by the Burgomaster as reward. Finally, as Ireena and Ismark moved in, Izek and Ireena met. It instantly stirred both of their memories… for an instant, it was clear she remembered being Anastasia, and the Izek was her trusted bodyguard and companion. but then the memory faded. Ismark was taken aback, thinking that he was her true protector. Nevertheless, the three decided to stay in Wachterhaus while the heroes sallied forth to search for the artifacts promised in the Vistanti prophecy.

Just then, Rictavio appeared, with his wagon in tow, the same Galenas was so interested in earlier. He told them, in secrecy, that the card referred not to Blinsky, but to him. (He had given Blinsky the monkey.) He was in actuality the famous vampire hunter Rudolph van Richten, one of the survivors of the failed Ducal Expedition into Barovia years before the Civil War. All this time he has been in hiding, but the arrival of the heroes has given him renewed hope. But for now he asked them the keep his secret intact for the time being. With that, “Rictavio” left with his wagon, saying he would be back soon, and for the heroes to continue their quests for now.

View
Chapter Four: All is Well in Vallaki
Wherein lodging, prayer, healing, and dolls are procured

2016-05-04-strahdsample.jpg

The rain was lifting and the sun setting as the group neared the gates of Vallaki, half wounded and feeling defeated. The guards let them in, giving them a yellow happy face button, and saying they needed to wear it at all times, unless at a festival, then they had to wear the proper festival button, else face the consequences. Ireena admitted she didn’t know where to go or who to stay with, only that she kept having dreams about a person who could help what lived in Vallaki.

With no other ideas, they went to the inn.

It was named the Blue Water Inn, and was the first pleasant place they had met in Barovia. Sven noticed raven roosting the in the eaves of the attic. They got rooms from the owner, Urwin Martikov. He advised them to visit the Church of St. Stephen, and Fjornborg decided to take Sven with him. Blade and Skylark talked to a half-elf bard named Rictavio. He talked about coming here in search of adventure and told them that Vallaki was safe as long as the bones of St. Stephen were in the local Triune Church. SO then the two wandered around town looking for equipment.

Ireena and Ismark stayed in the Inn. Galenas became bored and decided to go check out a strange wagon he found on the way walking in time.coswagon.jpg

Fjornborg and Sven found the pastor, Father Lucian Petrovich with a serious problem. The Bones of St. Stephen were missing. This powerful artifact was the only thing keeping the people of Vallaki relatively safe from Baron Strahd. They questioned the gravedigger, Milivoj, and he confessed the theft. He had given the bones to the coffin maker. They immediately left to go find the coffin-maker.

Meanwhile, Blade and Skylark came across an odd place: Blinksy’s Toys. The shop was run by a dwarf who made macabre kids toys. He had a pet monkey, and they made them think of the card readings. said he would not go with them though. Skylark noticed that there were numerous dolls that looked like Ireena. He said they were for a man named Izek Strasni who lived with the Burgomaster of Vallaki: “Baron” Vargas Vallakovich. They decided to have a chat with them in the morning, and left to sleep at the inn.

Now in full nighttime, Fjornborg and Sven entered Henrik van der Voort, the coffin-maker’s home. The two interrogated him, and he claimed that the Lady Wachter hired him to steal the bones, which were upstairs. They quickly found themselves surrounded by six vampires, all of them young men wearing uniforms of the Karameikan Army. The fight grew grim, and only the timely arrival of Galenas (who had grown bored of being bored) saved Fjornborg and Sven. The three dispatched four of the vampires, but two of the beasts fled with the bones. The group, badly hurt, returned to the inn and all rested the best they could.

View
Chapter Three: The Vistani Encampment
Wherein fortunes are told and plans are made.

Ismark the Lesser convinced Ireena Kolyana to open the door, and after much discussion, Ireena explained that Ismark the Greater was dead. Ireena was afraid that she had done it, that she was a murderer. Ireena wanted the bury her adoptive father at the church and then leave at once for Vallaki to the east. The soldiers all wanted to take her, as they were all conviced that Ireena was truly Anastasia Karameikos.

They took the body of Ismark to the church, which was still partly on fire. Skylark was able to convince Ireena that they could just bury the body and Fjornborg’s prayers would be enough to lay her father to rest. They then left for Vallaki. Outside of town they met Stanimirand he again urged them to meet with Madame Eva. it was on the way to Vallaki, so agian the group joined the Vistanti cavaran.

eye_38a.jpg

After a while, they came to the camp. A roaring fire and a meal greeted the group, and soon the met with Eva. She gave them a Taroka card reading, and it gave them clues to artifact locations, items and other information that would help them slay the vampire lord Baron Strahd! She told them to leave and to beware as Strahd knows almost everything that happens in Barovia.

The Tome of Strahd

The Feather of the Ravenking

The Sommerswerd

Strahd’s Enemy

Strahd’s Location

At this point the party wanted to continue escorting Ireena to Vallaki. They then traveled up higher into the hills. Rain began to fall. They then could see Castle Ravenloft nearby, no longer above them, but now at the same altitude.
dp6greenwood.jpg
Soon they came to a road running toward the castle, blocked off by a great iron gate. As they approached the road, the gate opened by itself, and the thundering of hooves could be heard. Then out of the rain drove a covered wagon, pulled by four horses abreast.

tser_falls.pngp’s attacks caused one horse to die. Skylark and Timex leapt on the carriage in an attempt to kill the driver. The driver jumped off and the whole carriage fell off a nearby cliff; Skylark and Timex barely leapt to safety themselves. Then the driver revealed himself to be Baron Strahd Zarovich himself. He unleashed a magical fireball into the heroes, knocking some out, and severely wounding the rest. He then told the adventurers they had done well, and looked forward to another meeting. He then invited them to his castle anytime for dinner. He then polymorphed into a bat and left.

Not at all wanting to go to Castle Ravenloft, they continued on the main road. as the sun began to go down, but still raining, they came across an old dilapidated windmill.
old-bonegrinder.jpg
Blade and Skylark got a very bad vibe from the place, so they continued past. They then came through a woods and finally to a large town surrounded by a wooden palisade and towers. It was Vallaki.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.