Ravenloft: Curse of Strahd

The Druids of Yester Hill

week 17 game log

The party turned and dealt first with the druid poisoning the vat of wine, allowing the twig creature escape to the far side of the room. It climbed the side of the easternmost cask, and disappeared into a large crack on the side. The druidess fought with the self-sacrificing determination only a crazed zealot could posses. As the first blows of the fight were landed the party could see the twig creature re-emerge from the crack it had just crawled into. Followed by another, and another. The huge cask rocked slightly just before the crack burst open pouring forth dozens and dozens of the wicked plant monsters all over the eastern portion of the room. The mass swarmed towards the group as quickly as the creature's little legs would carry them. As she lay mortally wounded the druidess called forth a twisted and barbed bramble of plant growth to engulf her enemies, but it only delayed the inevitable briefly.

With the druidess felled, the group turned their attention to the twig blights. They fought back the wave after wave of the little creatures with the assistance of some ravens that had been perched on the beams above.

After the battle, the party tended to their minor wounds and took the opportunity to help themselves to several bottle of wine. Both from the poisoned vat, and from the non-contaminated ones. They then explored the remainder of the first floor including some storage areas, the crushing tubs, and the barrel maker's workshop, but nothing notable was found. The party proceeded back to the spiral ramp in the eastern part of the winery, and went up to the 2nd floor.

Looking down a short hallway the group could see into a room with a ten-foot-square hole cut into the middle of it. Looming over the hole was a wooden loading winch positioned above the cart previously seen in the loading dock below. Perched atop the winch was a man with wild hair, rotted teeth, and skin painted red with blood. He wore no clothing and waved a gnarled staff made from a black branch as he babbled incoherently at you.

Acting quickly, Rolen cast a thunderwave at the man causing him topple over backwards and crash into the wall 10 feet behind him. The rest of the party moved to subdue the man while he was prone.

The druid managed to land one blow against Visenya with his black staff before he was overcome. As the weapon struck the life seemed to drain out of her, rejuvenating the crazed druid as red blood oozed from the staff's pores.

Even with such a wicked weapon at his disposal, the druid was no match for combined forces of the party. Visenya decided that the dark staff was better in her care, then left out in the world for anyone to fall victim to.

Rask noticed a from this area to the adjacent master bedroom, and moved on through two more children's bedrooms before coming upon a room dominated by a large contraption, presumably some kind of printing press. Rooting through some of the cabinets in this room was one final druid along with two accompanying vine blights, who were all vanquished by the party in short order.

The party signaled to the Martikovs hiding in the nearby woods that it was safe to return to their home. As the family thanked the heroes, the topic quickly shifted to the missing gemstone. Dag said "If none of the druids here had the gem, they must have already taking it back to Yester Hill." Once again the family pleaded with the party to recover the stolen gem, not only for themselves, but for all the people of Barovia.

The group left immediately for Yester Hill. After an hour's trek they emerged from the thick woods leads to a hill covered with dead grass and cairns of black rock. Dark, ominous clouds gathered high above, and a single bolt of lightning struck the hilltop. West of the hill, the land, the woods, and the sky vanished behind a towering wall of fog. Dirt trails ran along two concentric rings of cairns that encircle the hillside. Each cairn was a ten-foot-high mound of slimy black rocks.

That is when the spirit of Kavan, a long-dead barbarian chieftain, reached out from beyond the grave. Rask heard a whisper, a deep voice carried on the wind "Long have I waited, for one who is worthy. My spear hungers for blood. Retrieve it, and rule these mountains in my stead, just like the mighty warriors from the early days of the Whispering Wall." Rask felt drawn to one of the cairns on the hillside. As he approached it, he could sense the presence of Kavan's magic spear under the rocks. The rocks of the cairn were heavy but rolled aside, revealing a blood spear lying amid Kavan's moldy bones. Rask took possesion of the spear adn the party moved on.

Atop the hill was a wide ring of black boulders and smaller rocks that collectively formed a makeshift wall enclosing a field of dead grass. Lightning struck the edge of the ring from time to time, illuminating a ghastly, fifty-foot-tall statue made of tightly woven twigs and packed with black earth. The statue depicted as a towering, cloaked man with fangs. It bore an eerie resemblance to Strahd von Zarovich. Closer inspection revealed roots sprouting from the ground around its base wrapped around the statue, providing added support and durability.

As the characters inspected the statue further, a dozen druids rose up from hidden "graves" scattered around the hilltop and began muttering a ritualistic chant. At first the party held their ground at the top of the hill, but when they realized the druids were more focused on completing their ritual than advancing upon them they began to worry. The group started trying to subdue the chanting fanatics, but it was too late. Lightning was now striking the statue repeatedly as the ritual came to a climax.

A horrific thirty-foot·tall plant creature burst forth from of the statue, sending twigs and earth flying. The creature resembled a undead treant with green light seeping out of it. several of the surviving druids cried out the name "Wintersplinter!" in gleeful triumph.

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