Curse of Strahd – Episode 5

Due to the funeral last week, I didn’t get a chance to post the latest adventure and I don’t really recall much of it, so I will just quickly summarize.

Only three members of the group could make it this week; Bonk the Cleric, Guunt the Barbarian and Ombra the Tabaxi Monk. First they visited Rictavio in his tower, where he gave them some guidance on deciphering the cards from Madame Eva. Ricatavio told them his real name and his curse and he mentioned his lost disciple Esmerelda as well as a dark place known as the Amber Temple.

They headed off (with Victor the kid from Vallaki, who is now a member of their party) toward the Wizard of Wines and met the old man who runs the place. Before they could get inside the trig blights attacked but were quickly dispatched. Then the evil druid appeared with his corrupted Treant which they quickly killed. After that, they headed over to Yester Hill to track down the missing gem stone. Immediately upon arriving Guunt heard the call of the Blood Spear. There were six Barbarians and six Druids there, worshipping the crude wooden statue of Strahd. Ombra cast darkness on the statue and climbed up to remove the stone, just as Strahd appeared on his flying horse. Strahd took a look at his old home and his presence distracted the druids so that they did not see what the Tabaxi was up to. As Strahd turned to leave, he gazed up at the effigy and said aloud “it is a poor imitation of me.” By this point the druids were starting to freak out, I depicted them as completely maniacal, dirty, savages. Guunt managed to avoid confrontation by telling the druids what Strahd had said about the ugly statue. Upset that they had disappointed their dark lord, the druids began shrieking and stabbing themselves with sharp sticks. The Barbarians nearby wanted no part of what was happening and decided to pull back once they were sure the party was not going to disturb their burial mounts. Guunt had acquired the Blood Spear and the Barbarians were not sure what action to take to please their ancestors so they left them alone, perhaps thinking Guunt had been chosen, which was true, since he heard the voice of the original bearer telling him exactly where to find it. The small group did a fantastic job this session of talking their way out of situations.

The group returned to the Winery and gave back the gem stone. They learned from the Keepers of the Feather where another stone might be but decided getting wine was their primary concern. They took the last of the old wine in a cart and dragged it to Kresk which bought them passage into town, where they headed for the Abbey of Markovia. They met the mongrelfolk, who didn’t seem the least bit disturbed by a Tabaxi, Half-Orc and Furbolg, and they led them inside. Immediately the party began searching for the symbol of the sun where the relic was hidden, which they found in a wicker sun shaped effigy in the garden. Upon removing the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind, seven Wights rose from the ground and surrounded them. It was a tough battle, especially since they were outnumbered, but the group managed to pull through it. As the battle finished, they found the mongrelfolk all around them, watching them with great concern. “You must come with us to the Abbott.” They demanded, and there we ended that session for the week.

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Curse of Strahd – Episode 4

I did not post last week’s game because we had a tragic death in our family and I was not really up for it. I still went and DM’ed for my group, mainly because I was in shock over our loss and wanted to keep to our regular routines as much as possible. The game must go on, right?

The previous week, Guunt had turned himself into the Vallaki guards for the murder of Izek Strazni. He was crucified in the town square but after a few hours was rescued by a group of cultists. Ombra returned to the group in time to track his scent and followed the group to the house of the Wachters. Guunt awoke in bed next to Lord Wachter’s corpse, where the polite lady of the house returned his gear to him and invited him downstairs to eat. Ombra watched from outside the window and when they exited the bedroom Ombra snuck in, took a look around, picked the lock on the chest and stole the bones of the guard who participated in the murder of Strahd. I let him make an Arcana check to recognize the name on the plaque inside the chest. I don’t see the point in having characters find things when there is no way for them to know what those things are. Meanwhile the rest of the group, Sir Saggamore, Bonk and Esmerelda, left Ireena and her brother in the care of the church and went to the Blue Water Inn. They had been ordered to leave the town by nightfall but were of course going to take the longest route possible. They did not want to leave without the rest of their party. Muriel, a were-raven who had warned them about the Vistani back at the camp, told them they could hide safely at the Lake north of town, or the Vistani camp to the south, but they never made it there this week. Instead, they met the people inside the Inn and then decided to find the rest of their group.

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Lady Wachter fed the big Barbarian and asked him if he would do herself and the town a favor and kill the Burgomaster. Given Guunt’s crucifixion at the hands of his guards, it was not tough to convince him. She told him about the mirror on the second floor of the Burgomaster’s house and the words to activate it. Doing so would summon an assassin that would kill the Burgomaster without leaving any evidence they had been involved. Being a Barbarian though, she also said that if him and his friends decided to kick in the door and kill everyone, that would as well. So the party reunited and rode to the Burgomaster’s mansion.

First Ombra went ahead and snuck into the mansion window at the rear of the house, sneaking passed the two guards that were on patrol. Two more guards stood at the front doors, their faces hidden by their grinning masks. Ombra snuck into the window and found the mirror. Unfortunately, Ombra is blind and could not see what was happening when she spoke the words. So Guunt decided to join her, climbing up the wall to the second floor. Unfortunately he was spotted by the guards who began shooting at him with their heavy crossbows. Ombra was quick to get to his aid as he clung to the side of the building and cast Silence on the guards. They quickly dispatched them and hid the bodies in the nearby bushes before climbing back into the house. This time Guunt went to the mirror and of course he ordered the invisible assassin to kill Strahd. Strahd appeared, tried to charm him and then bowed to him and disappeared. This gave me the seed of an idea.

At the front door, the other three members of the party engaged the guards, dispatching them easily. They rushed into the house and began spreading out through the downstairs floor, searching for the Burgomaster. Instead they found a room full of ladies, one wealthy, the rest poor and hungry, sitting around eating biscuits and drinking tea. They left them alone and headed to the kitchen, where the cook made a hasty retreat out the back.
Upstairs, the Burgomaster heard the screams from the floor below (the poor Vallaki women ran for their life, I believe!) and sent out his guards.  The guards ran downstairs, leaving a clear path to the Burgomaster for Ombra and Guunt. A bloody battle ensued which horrified Esmerelda. She might be a bard, but she was a nice old granny and was not ready for the brutality that Sir Saggamore unleashed on the guards. Ombra and Guunt found the attic and Guunt took Victor’s sigil full in the face when he walked into the room. Victor remained invisible but Ombra could sense him and coaxed him out. Upon seeing a Tabaxi woman, Victor appeared and ran into her arms. He offered to help them rid the town of his father and asked if they could help him leave Barovia. Seeing his skeleton cats and knowing he knew some magic, they took the boy with him.

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The Burgomaster was soon cornered and tried to beg his way to freedom. At this point I wanted to add a bit of drama, so I rolled to see if Strahd could stealth into the room, as tight as it was. I rolled a 17, with his +14 there was no way the party detected him. He turned from mist into human form and rammed both his hands through the Burgomaster’s back, then pulled him apart like a melon. Then he cordially invited the party to dine with him at his castle. They told them they would come and he left as a bat. They were impressed by how polite he was. The Baron’s giant hounds died of fright from the sight of Strahd.

So they left with Victor riding Guunt’s shoulders, proud of themselves for saving the town of Vallaki. They had saved the church and cancelled the festival. They wanted to see Lady Wachter but when they went to her house, her two sons answered the door and refused to let them in. They snuck in and made their way to the basement, but when the skeletons began to rise of from the ground the beat a hasty retreat. They were not ready to face another battle, having sustained some serious wounds at the hands of the guards (I used the Knight stats, which means the guards had great swords and plate mail). They returned to the Inn where they were given a room and introduced to the Keeper’s of the Feather. They also met Rictavio, who invited them to his tower after telling them the story of Strahd and how he became a vampire. I believe they felt sympathy for him and are beginning to wonder whether he is really a monster. He also told them about Argynvostholt, where one of the relics they are searching for might be hidden.

The next morning they returned to Lady Wachter’s who invited them in, overjoyed that her “Book Club” was in control of the town. They also took Victor, who saw Stella and told the group their relationship. Lady Wachter told them everything; that she served Strahd, that she would take control of the town and see that the people were treated better. They asked why he sent Zombie Beholder’s after them and she explained that he often tested newcomers to his realm, that it was rumored that he might be looking for someone to replace him on the throne. So a bunch of new paths opened to the players, and I believe I added another layer of depth to the story line. They were a little bit suspicious of Lady Wachter’s cult taking over Vallaki, but it was better than the previous regime. I made the Burgomaster such a fiend that there was no doubt he had to go.

Next week I have a ton of stuff to do for my family who is still coming to grips with our loss, so I am kind of railroading the players toward The Wizard Of Wines. Dealing with the grief and loss in real life has changed the direction of the campaign. Right now we all need a little hope in our lives. Let’s see how it goes. . . .

 

Curse of Strahd – Episode 3

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I began this session by killing one of the characters. As I mentioned back at the beginning of the campaign, this is an experienced party of players. I’ve had to give the bad guys maximum hit points and full damage just to make them a threat to this group. The session began with a random encounter during the night with a group of Berzerkers. I figured one Berserker per player would be a hard challenge, with an extra Bandit Leader thrown in. Unfortunately this was a bad move, as they completely overpowered the party. The problem was that I prepared the encounter for the larger group, but only four players made it to the game this week, one of them a new player who had not played with us before. That’s the nature of AL gaming every week, you never know who is going to show up. This week’s group consisted of Bonk the Furborg Cleric, Guunt the Viking Barbarian, Sir Saggamore the Paladin and a new player, Esmerelda, an old lady Bard. The old lady was lost in the midst and saw the windmill, which lead her to the party just as they discovered the stones where the hags had left all the teeth of the dead children.

The group did not want to sleep in the windmill, so they camped in the forest bend in the road toward Vallaki. The Berserkers managed to stealth their way close to the camp while Bonk was on watch. Without Ombra’s exceptional Perception skill, they were caught by surprise by the mud-covered barbarians. As they rushed the camp, two of them charged at Bonk. I am pretty sure I rolled a Critical, (that’s a natural 20 for new players) and did a lot of damage. As the rest of the party was awakened from their sleep to fight, Bonk was unable to withstand the wave of angry barbarians. I don’t think the rest of the party noticed that he was making death saves (and failing), as we had only just started the session and everyone was still distracted and getting settled in. By the time they noticed Bonk had failed his final save. I really did not want to take a guy out of the game in the first half hour. I looked up any AL rules I could find, but because he had just gone up to level 5, I could not use a faction res to bring him back. I also forgot I could have used Ismark or Ireena to stabilize him, although there were still berzerkers around so that probably would not have worked. The berserkers retreated after two of their own were slain, mainly because I felt bad for throwing such a tough group at a smaller party. The group themselves came up with a solution: They called Genny Greenteeth and paid her to raise dead. Poor Sir Saggamore spent the gold he had been saving for plate mail to resurrect his companion.

I was actually planning on running DDAL04-07 this week but the new guy Robin, playing Esmerelda the Bard, was only level 4 so the party went on with the mission to Vallaki. When they arrived, the guards were wearing very peculiar masks. They demanded the party smile, as everyone in Vallaki must be happy at all times. A sign on the gates read “A smile a day keeps the devil away.”

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I made them roll Charisma checks with a DC 10 difficulty to give a false smile. Each time they encountered guards in the town they would have to make the same check. They all passed and were allowed into Vallaki, Sir Saggamore riding high on his spectral steed, Apparition. He wasn’t very pleased that his “Summon Steed” spell gave him a creepy, ghostly, horse but that is the way the world of Ravenloft works. Great choice of name, though!

The group rode passed the coffin maker and Sir Saggamore complimented him on his workmanship. “Thank you!” the coffin maker responded, “I hope you are not a customer of mine!” They reached the church and were told about the missing bones, that the church was no longer a safe place until the bones were returned. They questioned the altar boy, who led them to the older boy digging graves. They intimidated him into confessing he stole the bones for Henrik van der Voort, the coffin maker, and Sir Saggamore gave the boy 3 gold pieces. They headed off to the shop, Guunt kicked in the door (even though Sir Saggamore offered to use Shatterspike to open it) and scared poor Henrik into telling them everything. Henrik did not tell them what the creatures were that would kill him, but he told them the creatures were upstairs in the spare room. The party walked in and demanded the monsters show themselves, at which point six vampire spawn burst out of the crates of dirt around them. After the disastrous first encounter I did not beef up the monsters and I gave them a warning that they had a hard time with ONE vampire spawn just two weeks before. They felt confident they could do it and I must admit, Guunt the barbarian can take a shit ton of damage. The vampires could not get a hold of anyone to use their bites, so they really only had their claw attacks. Bonk kept an eye on everyone’s health and they actually managed to kill all six vampire spawn. Sir Saggamore was crucial to this battle, his sword’s radiant damage blew the vampires to pieces. A couple vampires fled out the window, crawling to the next adjacent building and Guunt went out after them. He slipped off the wall but managed to catch the window sill, and the vampires thought they could take him, so they dropped down to the ground to face him. They were wrong, and although he did not have a magic weapon he was able to destroy their physical form. With the vampire spawn gone, they found the bones of the saint and returned them to the church. They left Ismark and Ireena there and headed back to the inn they had passed earlier.

On the way back they ran into Izek and two more masked guards. Izek demands they tell him where the woman is they were seen with. No one in the party would tell him anything, so he left them with a warning. This was only supposed to be an introduction to Izek, but they decided to follow him. He lead them to Blinsky’s Toy Shop, and they followed him in. They see him with a doll that looks like Ireena and Bonk decides to grab it from his hands. Guunt gets in his face and a battle ensues. I really didn’t want Izek to die so soon, and he hit Guunt with a few good hits, but he only had two guards (I used Knight stats for the guards) and with the Cleric and Bard behind him, Guunt was buffed enough to take out Izek pretty easily. During the battle, thunderous smite was used by Sir Saggamore, blowing out the windows of the shop and destroying the more fragile toys. Blinsky howled in the corner as Izek missed with a flame attack, setting the curtains of the shop aflame. There was no way for Izek to escape and so he went down hard, as did one of the guards. The second guard they decided to take prisoner and they took off before more guards could arrive. The guards tracked them back to the church and demanded they turn over Guunt for the murder of Izek Strazni ( as well as the guard they took, who we forgot about). Guunt peeked outside and I had a guard with a readied action and I rolled a Crit, so Guunt got hit with an arrow and his HP were very low. I know he wasn’t happy about it, it was a bit cheap on my part, but a 20 is a 20. Guunt decided to surrender while the rest of the group was ordered to leave Vallaki by nightfall. The session ended with the guards taking Guunt to the town square and crucifying him on a wooden cross. They left him there to fetch the Burgomaster, who would decide the manner of his death. Before the Burgomaster arrived, a mysterious group in hooded robes took him off the cross and took Guunt to a safe place. The session ended with Guunt being taken to a mysterious place while the rest of the party was left to decided whether they would flee the town or stay and face the guards. They haven’t even set foot in the Inn yet. . .

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Curse of Strahd – Episode 2

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What a crazy session this turned out to be. For most of the week I tried to figure out how to make their first encounter with Strahd a memorable one. What monsters could I throw at them that would be a challenge? At first I thought of having Strahd challenge them to a fist fight, teaching the players humility with his own hands. A bare knuckle fist fight, surrounded by Vistani, it would have been a scene straight out of Snatch. In the end I decided to use two Zombie Beholders, which I felt were “thematically appropriate” to Ravenloft.

Two new players joined this week, a Paladin dedicated to trade and commerce named Sam and a Viking Barbarian from the Nocturnal Sea who came to Barovia to find meaning to the dreams he was having about places he had never been to. The party had rested earlier that night, in fact they had only just woken up, taken the dead Burgomaster’s body to the church and killed the vampire spawn in the basement. I did not want to send them out again without getting a long rest, so they spent the day getting acquainted with the new members of the party. Ireena’s father was laid to rest in a simple ceremony, after which some of the adventurers helped Donavich burn the church to the ground. After laying his son’s destruction, there was no reason for the old pastor to stay there anymore. No one visited the church and it was haunted by ghosts, so Sir Saggamore and a couple others helped him burn the building to the ground. Other members of the group picked up winter gear, as it was getting very cold in Barovia, then they rested for the night.

Travelling to the Tser Pool, they came to the crossroads. As they passed by the creaking old gallows, I rolled randomly to see which player would see their character hanging there. Of course I rolled Ombra, the blind Tabaxi monk. How do I get a blind character to see their own dead corpse? This is how I did it: As the monk passed the gallows, in the rear of the party, they heard a sudden thud of a weight behind them. She could hear the body swinging and smell a familiar scent coming from it. Ombra told the party about it and they all gathered around, telling her that it was HER hanging there. Guunt the barbarian cut the body down and held it. It was identical to Ombra in every way, even the eyes. They could all see it, and described it to her. Finally the paladin Sam decided to lay on hands, even though it was clearly a corpse. As soon as they touched the corpse with their holy hand it faded to smoke, which I described as similar to dry ice. I think it had a good effect on them and was a eerie start to the session.

When they arrived at the Vistani Camp, they were welcomed as friends, invited to join the party, where the wine flowed freely. Guunt wanted food, but alcohol was all the Vistani were serving. Stanimir told them the story of a wounded warrior that the Vistani protected, a warrior who was now cursed. This is actually the story used in the “Story Hooks” chapter to get the players to Barovia. Once this tale was told, they were invited in to meet Madam Eva. Not all of them could fit into the tent, so half the party went in while the others waited outside.

I did the deck reading before the session, so I had one of them flip the cards that were pre-arranged to fit with the results. I won’t put the results here, because some of them might read this and know where the clues are pointing to. Midway through the reading, I had Thalamir make a perception check to figure out what was going on, as the mood in the camp suddenly took a dark turn. He failed, so all he heard was the sound of wagons approaching down the dirt path. Just as the reading was finished, Madam Eva jumped up, sending her crystal ball crashing to the floor. The party gathered together in front of her tent as a beautiful black chariot appeared. Inside they could only see the hand of a pale man holding what appeared to be a glass of wine. Inside the carriage with him were three vampire women, scantily dressed, a red-head, a blonde and a brunette, who laugh and mock the players. Behind him is a beaten old carnival wagon, with a driver hidden beneath a large hat and long coat.
“Welcome to Barovia!” The man says, waving his glass of wine. The vampire women laugh louder this time and the carriage pulls away. As the players watch the Guunt decides to charge forward, hoping to grab the carriage. I let them prepare any spells or weapons before we rolled initiative as the driver pulls a latch and drops the side of the wagon. Two large orbs of rotting flesh drift out of the wagon’s interior, a large white eye opening in the center. The little eye stalks on its head swivel toward the players and I put down the color picture of a zombie beholder.

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Well the effect worked they were certainly engaged, but they did not hesitate to attack it. I actually expected the cleric Bonk to Turn Undead but he didn’t, they just went straight at the pair of rotting eyes. The very first beam of attack was a disintegration beam but the player managed to avoid it. They all made their saves and the beholders really didn’t last long. I was pleasantly disappointed, which is only possible playing D&D. All my worries about them all getting disintegrated were for nothing. Sam, who had jumped up on top of the wagon, did end up paralyzed but the monsters died before they could follow up. It happened so fast that Guunt wanted to chase Strahd’s carriage on foot but the rest of the party called him back. Then they all proceeded to violate the stinking, disgusting corpse. I mean they cut out the eyes, squeezed the stalks like wringing a towel, all kinds of weird stuff. I guess they were just really happy to have destroyed such nasty creatures. The Vistani ran for the hills, stunned by the group’s power. Madam Eva tells them that she never truly believed they could face Strahd until now. They camped for the night up the path, mainly because of the stench coming off the beholder corpses. I was kind of hoping one of the beholders would make their Con save and pop back up but they both failed. I knew I should have made it three, kobold.club ranked three beholders as a deadly challenge but that was for 6 people, the extra player would have offset the difficultly. That’s just the way it goes with AL, sometimes.

During the night as they tried to rest, 11 Strahd zombies rose from the Ivlis River, the bodies of those who had drowned in its frigid waters. My goal was to disrupt their rest but they managed to kill them fast enough that they could return to sleep right away. The last two zombies were killed by Sam’s smite that shattered them into a thousand pieces. Ireena and Ismark chopped the remains up so the party could get the rest of their long rest. Once again I was foiled. I don’t want to kill the players, but I certainly want to challenge them the b

As they headed toward Vallaki, they saw the windmill down a winding path. Ombra told them what he had learned from the old lady selling the pies, that this is where she would have brought the child she took from Barovia. Of course they wanted to deal with these hags right away, after all Strahd had challenged them and they had overcome it easily, so why worry about three old ladies? Except I gave all three of them almost maximum hit points, I did not use the average. Also, I upgraded Morgana the mother hag to a Bauer Hag, which I believe is from Volo’s Guide. Together, and with Morgana’s upgraded winter abilities, they proved to be quite formidable. The small confines of the wind mill worked for the hags, keeping players from surrounding them. Instead, Thokk the Half-Orc Warlock began boosting people in through the second story window, first of which was Thalamir. Here’s how it began:

Morgana saw them approaching on horses and yelled out the window. They told her they wanted to buy pies. Unknown to the players, she had JUST killed that poor boy from Barovia (I know I am a horrible person.)
Thokk stands under the window, boosts Thalamir up, which I allowed as his movement, breaking through the window and firing two arrows at Morgana. Both arrows hit, but she takes reduced damage because they are not magic or fired from a magic bow. Half the party rushed in through the first floor door while the rest made their approach. For her turn, Morgana used her Maddening Feast. The hag feasts on the corpse of one enemy
within 5 feet of her that died within the past minute. Each creature of the hag’s choice that is within 60 feet of her and able to see her must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of her for 1 minute. While frightened in this way,
a creature is incapacitated, can’t understand what others say, can’t read, and speaks only in gibberish; the DM controls the creature’s movement, which is erratic. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the hag’s Maddening Feast for the next 24 hours.
Yes, she began to eat the dead child. Thalamir failed his save and stood there in fear.

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Meanwhile, Ombra on the first floor pushes over the barrel of disgusting slug, which had a demon thing in it called a Dretch. The disgusting thing released Fetid cloud, making it difficult for anyone to pass through the room. Most of the guys ran for the steps, or backed out of the windmill. Ombra climbed the wall to the second floor and fought Morgana. The rest of the battle was pure chaos; people getting knocked down, only to be healed again, the witches hitting them with powerful spells (including polymorphing Thokk into a goblin child), but eventually Sam the Paladin of Commerce used his smite and got a critical on Morgana. With only 1 hit point left, she fled the building by moving into the Ethereal Plane. The other sisters tried to follow her, but when she went too far, their coven magic was broken. Her daughters tried desperately to reach her, if only to have their coven powers back. The night hag was blocked in the doorway, while her sister was trapped on the third floor with Guunt and another player (maybe Sam?, as well as Bonk. She knocked one of them out with sleep and ran for it. Morgana appeared 120 ft away and cast Ice Storm on the front door of the house, hitting her daughter as well as the heroes who blocked her. Thalamir, now recovered, took a shot with the long bow and killed her. Seeing her mother die, the hag disappeared into the Ethereal Plane while the third one ran down the stairs to catch up.  Guunt, awakened from his sleep, decides to leap out the third story window to attack her. I made him roll his attack with disadvantage and he failed an Athletics check and ended up hurting himself more than her, but it was enough to scare her into fleeing on her turn to the Ethereal Plane. I ended the session there, even though the hags still had a lot of HP left, mainly because I believe they are cowardly creatures and the loss of their mother was heartbreaking for them. Now the party has to continue on their way to Vallaki with two mad Night Hags still on the loose. Not sure what I’ll do with them, but it will be something good, don’t you worry. The player who plays Thalamir won’t be back for two weeks, so he was given the task of returning the two children they found in boxes in the floor back to the town of Barovia and better parents than the ones who traded them away for drugs/pies.
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Curse of Strahd – Episode 1

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Adventurers League Rules

My AL group had their first visit to Barovia on Wednesday. SPOILERS!!!
 
A lot of them are seasoned players, but for some reason they never actually played that hardcover. Their only experience was the AL adventures tied into season 4. One character had previously visited Barovia, died by a ghost and come back as blind, so he informed the group about the laws of the land.
 
Their first encounter was with a skeletal rider racing down the road, which they dispatched easily. They reached the gates and found a dead body nearby, with a note ( Version 2) When they decided to stay off the main road, the wolves came. Rather than throw a pack of wolves at them, which would be far too easy for this group (they are starting CoS at level 4) I upgraded the enemies to a Winter Wolf with two smaller wolves next to him. The party was a bit surprised when the wolf hit them with a 15 ft cone of icy breath.
 
Soon they reached the village of Barovia. I made the mistake of telling them there were two children on their left on the first road, who told them there was a monster in their house. Because the party was already at 4th level, they did not need to visit Death House, but because I read the text they followed Rose and Thorn to their house. They began searching the rooms of the house, but I had NOT prepared in any way for that side adventure so I was a little thrown off. They found the ‘man-cave’ room with the stuffed wolves and the hatch in the floor. Using Shatterspike and a +2 Axe they broke open the floor and headed down into the basement.
Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, the shadows came alive and attacked, taking down one of the party members, the brave Sir Saggamore. The party decided that this was not a battle they wanted to fight yet and they fled the house, which I allowed because I didn’t have it prepped.
“The House isn’t going anywhere,” said Thokk, the Half-Orc warlock. Thokk BTW, believes himself to be a cleric of Gruumsh. He likes to give blessings to other party members that do nothing, but Thokk doesn’t know that.
 
Finally they made it to the center of town, two characters, the blind Tabaxi and a fulborg named Bonkk headed to the general store while the others went straight to the inn for a drink. As soon as Bildrath saw them he yelled for help, bringing the massive Parriwimple to his side. Once he realized Bonk had gold to spend though, he relaxed and gave them what they wanted (at his inflated prices too!)
 
Inside the Blood on the Vine they meet the three triplets who own the inn, Mirabel, Alenka and Sorvia. Thalamir, the Elven Ranger, tried to hit on them and made a good Persuasion role. The sisters decide to turn the tables on him and they stand up, circle him, and use their Vistani Charm Person ability on him. However, being an Elf he got advantage on the roles and was able to resist their charms. “He doesn’t have what it takes to make us happy.” The sisters tease. Thokk puts up his hand and says “I’ll take his place.” Impressed by his bravado, the three sister take a liking to the Half-Orc while Thalamir the Elf Ranger strikes up a conversation with Ismark. I mentioned to Ombra and Bonk that as they cross the street from the store to the inn, they see (and smell in the case of the blind character) an old lady pushing a cart of pies. Bonk goes into the tavern and meets with a member of the Harpers. While the others eat nut bread and sliced cheeses offered by the Vistani sisters, Ombra decides to pursue the old lady. When he finds her again, she is delivering a few pies to one of the houses. As he listens, he hears the parents hand over their child for the pies! The old lady drags the little boy back to her cart, opens up a cabinet in the bottom and shoves the boy in. The Tabaxi moves closer, buys a pie and asks the old lady where he can find more. She tells him that they are made at the old wind mill and he can go there to find more. Ombra then drops the pie on the ground and runs back to the inn. He throws open the door and shouts “Guys, there is an old lady taking a child away!” Well Bonk shrugs his shoulders, Thokk says “I’ve got three women on my hands right now.” Sir Saggamore has already headed to bed for a long rest and Thalamir has just discovered what is happening to Ireena. So the party decides its just not worth the hassle to rescue the kid. Most of them had already faced Jenny Greenteeth in Tales Trees Tell and they believed the old lady was probably a hag. They think every old lady is a hag.

The next morning they meet Ireena and agree to bury her father. They carry the coffin up the street, where Ombra hears a woman weeping. He finds Mad Mary, learns what happened to her daughter and finds the Blinsky doll. I told the group that the Blinsky doll can give them inspiration 1 time while in their possession and that there were other Blinsky dolls hidden throughout Barovia that they can find. Once they reach the church, Donavich has been crying all night and his voice is very hoarse. The child in the basement keeps yelling “Papa! I’m hungry papa!” Donavich tells them that the beast in the basement is no longer his child, but a monster created by the devil and explains what happened with the wizard.
The party carries the coffin outside and begins digging a hole. Bonk decides to sneak off, break the lock to the trap door and face the vampire spawn himself. Thalamir sees him and asks “Where are you going?” His reply was “To kill a kid!”
The battles doesn’t go well for Bonk. The vampire hugs the ceiling, so the players can’t see him from the floor above. First Thalamir investigates and seeing that Bonk is being attacked, he shouts for the others. The Tabaxi runs down into the basement and pins the vampire to the floor, in the hopes that they can stake it. It over powers him and on its turn it gives him a painful bite. Chaos ensues, as the players try to overcome the vampire. They shout at Donavich to find holy water, but the old priest can’t seem to find any. Sir Saggamore, the only person with a weapon that does radiant damage, doesn’t hear a thing. Eventually they manage to hit the vampire with enough damage that it doesn’t regenerate back and Bonk uses Guiding Bolt to destroy the creature once and for all. Thokk walks over and slugs the wounded Bonk right in the mouth, for trying to face a vampire spawn by himself.

That was where we ended session 1. Next week the players meet Madame Eva and perhaps even Strahd himself!

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New Campaign: The Rise of Count Orlok

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So I am planning on starting the first non-AL campaign at our local game shop.
I am planning on running CoS, but as a homebrew campaign called The Rise of Count Orlok.
The basis of the campaign is this: A rival vampire Count Orlok, lord of a land known as Wisborg, is challenging Strahd’s domain. The players will be forced/hired by Strahd to invade his enemies lands and defeat his seven Lords of Sin.
The first four game sessions will feature in this order:
 
-Suits of the Mists: AL adventure, in Faerun
-Night of the Walking Dead, AD&D Ravenloft adventure, set in Marais d’Tarascon, a swamp town in Wisborg.
-Banquet of the Damned by Benoit de Bernardy, set it Womford, another town in Wisborg, the Lord of Gluttony resides here.
The players will then be able to cross over to Barovia through a group known as The Carnival, an old Ravenloft supplement. The carnival will take them to Old Svalich Road. That should begin their journey to Ravenloft. . .
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SALE!

Upcoming sale on THE CORRUPTER.

April 19, 2017 at 8:00 AM (PST) 80h $0.99 67%
April 22, 2017 at 4:00 PM (PST) 80h $1.99 34%

If you haven’t picked up a digital copy, now is your chance!
https://www.amazon.ca/Corrupter-Richard-Evans…/…/B00KMH8MA6/

 

TheCorrupter

Sword of Grayskull

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Legendary, Requires Attunement

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This great sword of power does 2d6 slashing damage on a strike. When attuned, the wielder can use an Action to raise the sword over their heads and say the command words “I have the power!”

Once activated with the command word, the wielder grows larger and stronger. Their strength becomes 21, the wielder also has advantage on Strength Checks and Strength saving throws. The weapon’s damage increases by 2d6 and all damage becomes Radiant damage.

Every friendly creature within 20ft when the command words are spoken, including the wielder, are immune to the Fear condition. As a Bonus Action, when the command words are spoken and if the character is a Beast Master Ranger, they can also cast Enlarge on their pet. The pet gains advantage on all Fear or Charm Saving Throws and becomes one size larger. The pet’s attacks also do an additional 1d4 radiant damage. If the player is not a Ranger, they can instead cast Summon Steed twice per long rest.

After the command words are spoken, both the wielder and their pet gain a +1 to AC as matching magic armor appears over parts of their body to match their new, larger form. All the characters worn items change in size, as do all weapons, wands, armor, etc.

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