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!