Posted by : David Guyll December 17, 2014
- Felicia (level 4 human thief)
- Gamamyr (level 5 elf wizard)
- Kyr (level 5 living star)
- Locum (level 5 slayer)
- Mim (level 5 witch w/ familiar)
SummaryThe last time they had visited the village, the townsfolk were still mostly gathered near the town square, so they weren't too surprised to find the edge dark and silent. They made their way to the center, but found it just as disquieting: had Urik betrayed them, or had they already left while they were away?
Locum tried the door to the inn. It was not only locked, but barred as well. He loudly knocked, and when there was no answer they began devising methods to gain access, most of which included Mim transforming into various animals and either scuttling under the door or flying through the chimney.
Before they could convince her the shutters from one of the windows above them creaked open, and a voice angrily hissed at them to be quiet. It was after all midnight, and the townsfolk had had a pretty rough week or so, what with them slaughtering their own loves ones as they struggled for survival, and then torching the remains out of fear that they'd rise again.
Given their persistence the man was forced to stagger downstairs, unbar the door, and inform the party that the inn was currently at capacity. Though to be fair, given that even the tables and floor space were also occupied it would have been more accurate to say that they were well beyond it's expected capacity.
After a heated exchange—mostly from Locum—and ultimately unfulfilled promises of food and comfort, the party decided to give the church a try. Unfortunately given that the townsfolk had not yet gotten around to disposing of the dead that were still littered about, it was also, well, "at capacity".
Gamamyr tried using his magic to burn it down, determining that even the building was beyond redemption. Someone else must have disagreed with him, as not only did his magic have no affect but his arm burst into flame. While the rest of the party helped put him out Locum gave a tried and true torch a try. Though it likewise failed to catch, he took some comfort in the fact that he also did not.
If they couldn't find sanctuary in the church, then they'd hopefully find luxury in the mayor's house. Or, rather, they might have if any of them actually knew where it was, and after a brush with a merchant's house in which Felicia briefly entertained the idea of her particular definition of "re-supplying", they eventually settled for a cozy, more importantly well-barricaded dwelling with only one way in.
The next day while Gamamyr and Felicia recovered the rest of the party made themselves useful: Kyr helped the blacksmith, Mim offered her services pro-bono as a healer and fortune teller, and Locum gathered both information about Strahd and materials that would be useful against him.
His tour took him by the mayor's house, which caught his attention for two reasons. The first was the look of it: not only did it easily dwarf every other building in the village, including the church, but it's demeanor contrasted greatly from the more rustic houses. The second was the door, which had been cleanly torn from the hinges and discarded nearby. He knew that this was not the work of zombies. Yes, they were strong, but they would have battered their way through it, leaving it in pieces.
Curious, he drew his kurki and slipped inside. Despite the mayor's obvious wealth nothing seemed to have been disturbed, and he couldn't find any signs of a conflict or struggle. He checked all the rooms on the ground floor before heading up stairs. Only one of the doors was locked, probably for a good reason, and figuring that the previous owner was dead or otherwise gone kicked it in.
The room was dark and thick with the stench of death, and when he lit a candle quickly discovered the source: a recently deceased corpse of a man was lying on the bed. He could have been mistaken for sleeping if it weren't for the fact that his throat was torn out. Given that the blankets still covered him and were relatively unstained by blood, he reasoned that whatever had done this had been swift and silent.
Locum checked the rest of the room and found that the window had been nailed shut, and given that the door was locked he concluded that the murderer was probably a vampire, or possibly a werewolf. Even if the door had been sealed after his death, a zombie wouldn't have been so precise (and wouldn't have possessed the mental faculties to lock the door), and a ghoul would have at least eaten part of the corpse.
He severed the head and bagged it: couldn't be too careful, especially when it came to the possibility of having another vampire lurking about. He continued exploring the house and discovered a basement level. There were numerous shelves, trunks, barrels, and even an impressively stocked wine rack. As with the rest of the house nothing seemed out of place, so he snagged four bottles of wine and headed back to their temporary residence.
When Kyr and Mim returned he told everyone what he had done and found. Gamamyr said that while he was out, he had overheard some of the townsfolk murmuring about the mayor's missing daughter. Locum surmised that she might have been part of the attack, and the next day they all decided to stop by and further investigate.
Mim consulted her bones and determined that while there were no hidden passages, there was something hidden on the premises. They again checked the basement, but when they found nothing consoled themselves by loading up Gamamyr's ghost bag with the rest of the wine.
Locum searched the grounds and came across a small tombstone, almost completely concealed by grass. It was plain, bearing only the name Galena. Mim had said that there was something hidden, and since their search inside the house had been fruitless grabbed a shovel and began digging. The casket was small, just large enough to hold a child, but when he opened it was somewhat relieved to find that it contained the skeletal remains of a cat.
A gem-encrusted collar was still wrapped around it's neck, and something was glinting inside it's skull: a silvery disk bearing a raven, with it's wings spread wide. He at the least knew that it was a holy symbol of the Silver Raven, the patron deity of the villagers. He showed it to Gamamyr who, with the help of his magic, was able to learn that it was a potent relic, capable of keeping undead at bay and grant healing powers to whoever wore it.
Convinced that they were still missing something, Locum staked out the house with Mim, but as far as they could tell the night passed uneventfully. Since they still for some reason had the mayor's head on tap, Gamamyr called forth his spirit and asked who had murdered him. Unsurprisingly he replied that Strahd was responsible, and since all of the other signs pointed to his castle they spent the last day preparing for the trek.
After the third day, with Felicia and Gamamyr fully recovered, they loaded up their newly bought wagon, hitched to their newly bought horses, and again left the village. The journey took them past the bases of squat mountains and around the edge of foreboding forests, and after a surprisingly and ominously uneventful hour they arrived at Castle Ravenloft. The drawbridge was lowered, and the doors of the gate were wide open.
It was almost as if they were both expected and invited.
Behind the ScenesThis was kind of a slow session. I honestly didn't think that the players would spend a lot of time exploring the mansion, but at least it wasn't all for naught. As with other parts of the adventure I've changed what the holy symbol does. Or maybe it's the icon? At any rate I wasn't sure they'd actually find the damned thing, not that it's pivotal to the adventure.
Icon of the Silver Raven worn, 0 weight
Anyone of a good alignment that wears the icon can use the cleric's Turn Undead move. They can also use the Cast a Spell move to cast cure light wounds.
There's also another ability, but you have to be a devout worshiper of the Silver Raven for it to kick in. I'm going to keep it a secret in case one of the players decides to actually convert. Currently Mim is using it since she is good and has a decent Wisdom, but given Adam's roleplaying I've allowed him to take paladin moves whenever he wants, so he'll probably end up with it at some point.
The highlight of the session was probably the part where Locum dug up the grave. I tried to play it up like he was digging up a child just to add to the tension, only to have him open it and find a cat's skeleton.
Something Felicia is doing is working with Locum to concoct some kind of substance that would perform a similar function as poison, but work on undead. I'm fine with this as poison can be a big deal for thieves, but most of the things they've fought in this campaign are undead. She just needs to hit 6th-level and snag Alchemist and they'll be good to go.
Finally, tomorrow's the big day: they'll actually be going into the castle. What awaits them, I'm not sure. I know where some things are (like Strahd, muwahahaha), but who knows where they'll go or what they'll do.