Posted by : David Guyll January 24, 2015


Cast
  • Felicia (level 6 human thief)
  • Gamamyr (level 6 elf wizard)
  • Kyr (level 6 living star)
  • Locum (level 6 slayer)
  • Mim (level 6 witch w/ familiar)

Summary
Gamamyr poked his head through the door that the woman had retreated through. The room was spacious, unexpectedly clean, and illuminated by a crackling hearth.

A pair of large, comfortable red chairs squatted before the hearth, and an enormous painting of a woman hung above it, easily twice their height. A long red couch was positioned against the far wall, between two doors, and there was a third door in the left wall.

Three doors, and no sign of the woman. Not wanting to split up to increase both the odds of finding her and—more likely—getting picked off, they examined the room for any clues as to which way she might have gone. Locum noticed two things. The first were the streaks on just one of the surfaces inside the hearth, suggesting a hidden passage.

The second, more pressing observation was that none of the shadows in the room moved. He quietly muttered this to the rest of the party, and explained that they would need to expose whatever was lurking about the room in light to make it vulnerable. Kyr started to glow; his light pushed the darkness away, revealing several inky "pools" on the floor. They hissed at him, and began slithering forth.

Mim held the silver holy symbol above her head and began praying. Nothing happened until Locum procured an appropriate holy symbol from his bag and followed suit: the silver raven flared to life, bathing the room in a silvery light that forced the shadow pools back.

Gamamyr noticed another shadow behind the door. It differed from the rest in that it was much, much larger, had a vaguely humanoid shape, and was wielding a very solid-looking black sword. Mim's holy symbol seemed to also be keeping it at bay, but rather than take any chances he sealed it in a prison of force.

Felicia and Kyr went about dispatching the shadow pools, but this broke the symbol's protective power, allowing them to strike back. Though Gamamyr couldn't use his magic he could still bash them with the silver raven statue, but when he went to club one it suddenly lunged at him. He recoiled, tripping over a table and tumbling to the ground behind one of the chairs. This blocked his line of sight to the shadow he had contained, which caused the prison to dissipate.

It stabbed Mim in the shoulder. She screamed and dropped the symbol, and the room was engulfed in darkness. Locum dropped to his knees and desperately searched about for the holy symbol, but accidentally struck it with his hand and knocked it away.

Gamamyr briefly entertained the idea of hurling a fireball where he believed the sword-wielding shadow to be, but wasn't sure if he'd hit Mim. He instead touched a chair, instilling it with magic. It began to glow, but the light wasn't much, and he could tell that it was rapidly dwindling: the shadows were somehow siphoning his magic away.

Even so it was enough for Kyr to see it, and as it again stabbed at Mim he crashed into it, pummeling it with his fists. He could tell he was hurting it, but it was much stronger and tougher than the pools. It raised its sword, but before it could strike Locum began relentlessly hammering it...with a burning painting.

Yep, a burning painting.

At some point he had torn the canvas from the painting free, doused it in wine, lit it on fire, and was now wielding it against the shadow. Their combined light and fire caused it to, well, evaporate was the only word they could use to describe it, and with no more immediately recognizable threats they investigated the room.

They found a box brimming with silver and gold pieces above the fireplace, nearly a hundred coins in the couch cushions, and an unopened bottle of wine. Once they gathered everything up into the ghost bag, Locum pointed out the secret passage in the hearth. Mim asked if the treasure they sought was behind the fireplace, and her bones came up yes.

They extinguished the fire, discovered that it opened by pulling on one of the fire pokers, and crawled through. The room beyond was cramped, and contained a chest, several gold coins scattered about, and an armored skeleton clutching an unlit torch was slumped against one of the walls. The wall bore two torch sconces, one of which was empty.

Felicia inspected the chest and discovered that it was in fact a trap. This was honestly only surprising insofar as it was the first trap that they'd found since they'd intruded into the castle. It was set into the floor, and when opened would release poisonous gas. In hopes that there was something inside, she pried one of the panels off and disarmed it, but was disappointed to find it empty.

The wall behind the chest concealed another hidden passage, which Felicia opened by simply placing the torch into the empty sconce. A portion of the wall slid away to reveal a cobweb-choked hall. Kyr burned them away, and at the end of the hall they found a set of double doors. They groaned loudly when opened, and lead to a second passage that was similarly clogged with thick webbing.

Kyr again torched them, but when they got to the end they only found a rope that extended high above them, out of sight. Suspecting another hidden passage, or at least a lengthy climb, they carefully inspected the walls. While examining one of the sections Gamamyr heard magical energies chiming from beyond.

They discovered a crack, and when Kyr peered through could see something glinting. They could find no buttons, levers or even any seams, which made sense since Strahd could simply turn into mist whenever he needed to. So, they went to work tearing the wall down.

To say their labor was well rewarded would be an understatement. In fact, calling it an understatement was itself an understatement: tens of thousands of coins made of silver, gold, and even platinum were heaped in the center, along with gems, small statues and idols, and weapons. This was in turn surrounded by numerous paintings in ornate frames, larger exotic statues of various types of stone, hanging tapestries, urns, racks of weapons, mounted shields, and suits of armor.

While everyone was understandably transfixed, Gamamyr looked past all of it to see a black book resting upon a table. It called to him, literally, because of the magic it radiated.

Strahd's book.

He thumbed through the pages, and though he didn't completely comprehend the contents was able to ascertain their general meaning: methods to create all manner of undead, storing and consuming souls, increased longevity, possibly immortality, creation of potent, deadly magical devices, and more. So, so much more.

Felicia snatched his ghost bag and, along with Locum, began piling treasure inside. When they were about halfway done a bright light shone from within the heap of coins. It was a massive diamond, larger than both of his fists combined. It was heavy, so multifaceted that it was almost like a sphere, and shone as brightly as the midday sun. Outside of Barovia, of course.

He presumed that it was somehow linked to the Sunsword, but when he couldn't figure out what to do called to Gamamyr for assistance. Shaken from his reverie, Gamamyr turned about...and saw someone standing at the vault's "entrance".

Strahd.

He looked at each of them before calmly asking who had destroyed his painting. Locum had barely begun speaking his admission when Strahd mentally commanded Gamamyr to seal Kyr in a magical prison. With Kyr and Gamamyr taken out of the fight, his hands transformed into terrible claws and he charged at Locum.

Locum easily evaded his attacks, and after they'd ransacked part of the chamber Mim held out a poppet. It had some of Ireena's hair affixed to it, and she told Strahd that if he did not allow them to leave with everything they had, she would stab it and kill her. He stood there, obviously considering her words and a variety of other factors, before flatly agreed and left.

Moments later the castle began to rumble. At first they were uncertain as to what was happening, but then the ground began to buckle, stones fell from the ceiling, the statues and armor that Felicia hadn't stuffed into the ghost bag toppled over, and the floor began to sink and collapse into the ground level. He was going to try and bury them in the castle.

They quickly retraced their steps to the ramparts and, well, descended to the ground in their own way: Kyr and Mim tried using flight, but the falling stones and tumultuous terrain prevented even them from escaping unscathed.

Exhausted and battered, they limped back to the village. Their horses were gone—after all they were not part of Mim's bargain—but while the trek was long it was at least uneventful. They arrived at the village to find it completely abandoned. Doors were torn from the hinges, corpses of animals and livestock littered the streets, but there were no human remains. Food was left on some tables, but that was it.

Everyone was gone.

Behind the Scenes
The living star is going to get several tweaks, the major one being the reduction of radiance to a flat 10. So, if you own it check for that email in the next few days.

Technically there're two more sessions, but both were very short so I'm just going to mash them into one. Not sure when the finale will be up, but I will say that someone dies.

We talked about what we want to do next, and last session (which will be covered in the following play report) it was decided to do a full on, for real Sundered World campaign. It'll be nice to return to the setting for something besides one-shots and playtests.

On that note, Melissa is working on the cambion art. We've only got one Wacom tablet between us, so we just take turns using it. Once she's done I'll be busy cranking out the deva, as well as more art for A Really Simple Dungeon Crawl. We're also working on a cultist and oni playbook, as well as a fourth 10+ Treasures volume.

So, business as usual for us.

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{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Locum was living in the moment and doing what is known as adapting, and overcoming. It just so happened to take the form of beating the shit out of shadow monster with a very sentimental and expensive painting.

    No judging.

    ReplyDelete

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