Ravenloft: Curse of Strahd

The Vampire Nest
week 8 game log

Zean went to the bugomaster's mansion where he saw a villager named Udo being escorted by guards through a side door. He then met briefly with the Baroness, before speaking with Burgomaster Vallakovich about the vampires hiding in Henrik's shop. The burgomaster wanted things handled quietly, so as to not negatively impact morale ahead of the upcoming Festival of the Blazing Sun. He dispatched 8 guards along, with his "right hand man" Izek Strazni, to assist the party in dealing with the situation.

The party members that remained behind searched the ground floor of the shop. Along the way they removed several lamps from the walls and doused the rooms in flammable oil. Henrik pleaded with the party to not "burn down everything he has" but they continued on with their plan. Henrik, apparently trying to pick between the lesser of two evils, fled upstairs to awaken the vampires in an attempt to save his livelihood.

The party set the oil ablaze as they fled the shop. They saw thin wisps of smoke coming from a few of the windows for a short time, but before long the shop was quiet and still once again.

Zean, Izek, and the town guards arrived some time later and knocked on the door of the shop. When nobody answered, Izek demanded that Henrik open the door or they would break it down. Henrik complied hesitantly.

Izek spoke briefly with Henrik, had him arrested, and taken to the burgomaster's mansion "to be purged of his evil." Half of the dispatched guards setup a perimeter around the house, while everyone else made their way into the shop.

Evidence of the small fire set earlier (now extinguished) could be seen on the first floor. The floor was thoroughly searched before everyone moved upstairs. A large neglected junk storage room with a dozen crates dominated the 2nd level, and when no evidence of vampires were found, the party decided to open up and search some of the crates. As soon as one of the crates was opened, the 6 hiding vampires burst from their concealment and attacked.

The vampires proved far too formidable for the town guards, who were cut down mercilessly. After putting up a brief fight, Izek made the call for everyone to retreat outside. While he left immediately, the remaining party members withdrew more slowly, trying to block the path behind them with flammable debris. Another fire was set, this time on the stairs, with the aim of trapping the vampires.

While this was going on, Zean had moved to search some of the other rooms of the 2nd floor prior to his escape. He found Henrik's bedroom, and the wardrobe Henrik had mentioned, but the bones weren't inside. Zean noticed a secret compartment in the bottom of the wardrobe that contained a dark, locked box with heavy iron fixtures. As he opened the secret compartment, a vampire, turned earlier by Zean, watching from outside the window let out a bellowing screech as an apparent signal to his comrades.

Zean dove out the window into the alleyway, quickly followed by 3 of the vampire spawn. He tried to open the locked box without success, so the paladin decided to make a run for St. Andral's with the vampires giving chase.

The remainder of the party joined Izek and the guards, along with a growing crowd on onlookers, across from the front of Henrik's shop as the fire inside began to grow more intense. Rolen in particular made a notable entrance before the gathered crowd when she, in the form of a ferocious lion, crashed thru a 2nd story window into the street.

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The Stolen Bones
week 7 game log

The party stayed at the church after delivering Freek & Myrtle into Father Lucian's care. Assisting Father Lucian was an orphaned altar boy named Yeska, and a brawny lad with a perpetually furrowed brow named Milivoj who tends the grounds and digs graves.

Father Lucian confided in Zean (a paladin of the Morninglord) about a situation he needed help with.

Until recently, the church was protected from Strahd's depredations by the bones of St. Andral, which were sealed in a crypt beneath the church's main altar. But now the church was at risk because someone broke into the crypt a few nights ago and stole the bones. Until recently, Father Lucian was the only person in Vallaki who knew about the bones, but he recalls mentioning them to Yeska over a month ago to put the fearful boy at ease. After the bones were stolen, Father Lucian asked Yeska if he told anyone else about the bones. The boy nodded but wouldn't divulge a name.

Father Lucian correctly suspected Milivoj had something to do with the missing bones of St. Andral, but the priest was reluctant to confront him because the lad is so temperamental. Father Lucian has not reported the theft for fear of the distress that the news might cause, and he doesn’t want to ruin burgomaster Vallakovich’s festival

When questioned by the party Milivoj admitted that Yeska told him about the bones. He also admitted to passing along the information to Henrik van der Voort, the local coffin maker, and to stealing the bones in return for money to help feed his younger sisters and brothers.

Rask tried to get a sense of the goings-on of the town by eavesdropping on some conversation. He was able to learn several bits of Vallakian Lore.

The party traveled across town, made a stop at Arasek's Stockyard for provisions, and on to the coffin shop. Henrik looked exhausted and edgy and gave up the truth of the matter with little coaxing. He told the party where to find the bones (in the upstairs bedroom wardrobe) and about the vampire nest.

It was noon and the party, betting that the vampires were asleep, retreated across the street with Henrik to watch over the shop while Zean went to speak with the burgomaster about the situation.

Henrik said that one night several months ago, an imposing, well-dressed nobleman named Vasili von Holtz promised the coffin maker "good business" in exchange for his help. Since then, Henrik's workshop has become the lair of a pack of vampire spawn. The vampires seemed to be lying low for the time being and they ordered him to steal the Bones of St. Andral.

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Old Bonegrinder
week 6 game log

Fought the 3 hags in very tight quarters. they tried to use sleep and paralysis spells on the party to no effect. the hags pummeled the paladin with magic missiles until he went down, but the battle had already been decided. sensing imminent defeat Morgantha used a stone in her possession to become ethereal and made her escape, followed immediately by her daughters.

the party freed Freek and Myrtle from their cages and did a quick search of the windmill before setting out for a midnight run back to Vallaki. they decided to shave some time off the trip by taking a shortcut through the woods, but just before leaving the road they were set upon by a small pack of werewolves. after a brief scuffle the werewolves ran off back into the night.

the party was allowed through the town gates by the night watch, and the children were taken to St. Andral's Church run by Father Lucian Petrovich.

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The Old Svalich Road
week 5 game log

We meet Ismark and he tells us that there's a problem, his father has died and his sister is refusing to leave until he receives a proper burial.  So we load into the carriage and go to their house, grab the dead guy and head to the cemetery. When we get there I turn into a giant badger and dig a grave but then the sister is all insistent that her dad had to be buried at sunrise. We heard a scream from the basement and the priest told us it was his son Doru, turned into a vampire spawn by Strahd after following a wizard from a far away land on an assualt of Castle Ravenloft. we decide to go back to the inn for the night except for the lunatic and the ranger who stay in the church and come back the next day talking about ghost parades.

The next morning we bury the dead guy and get on with our trip. Everything's going good until we get to the woods and there's some creepy weirdo staring at us but he runs away. We travel for a bit until we come to an empty carriage sitting in the middle of the road, which we investigate and figure out belongs to Strahd. Obviously we don't get in and we et back on the road.

We're making good progress till we find some inured kid in the middle of the road. I give him some basic first aid and am about to leave him to find his own way home when the sister insists that we have to save him and the rest of the kids in the place he escaped from.So we split up.  Ismark, his sister, the kid, the rouge, and the sorcerer go onto the village while the rest of us scout the windmill.

On the way to the village the carriage gets attacked by some wolves but they manage to fight them off.They reach the village and the rouge stays behind to protect the sister while Ismark and the sorcerer return to help us. Along the way they see a ghost and a bundle of rags. 

Once we are all together we move on the windmill. The lunatic throws an axe through the window and a hag pokes her head out the window and starts screaming at us. I turn into a lion to attack her and then Roar roar roaaaar roaro roraooroaoraaaarrrrrr roar roaro roar rooooaaaar roar roar orarororoaroaororoa roaraaarrrrrr rawwa araarorwowowroar roar.

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Madam Eva's Card Reading
week 4 game summary

So after fighting the extras from The Walking Dead, we decided to go downstairs into the darkness (smart). Downstairs, there's a room with some rejected treasure. Apparently, the bone knife was not good enough for the cult. Around the corner from the reject treasure room, there was a little pool of water and a door leading to a room with even more water. In the middle of the water, there was a nice little island. For whatever reason, my little dire wolf friend (she's little because I am so tall) Rolen decided to jump onto the panel/island thing in the middle of the room. Of course because this is the Death House™, instead of just letting us have a second of peace and quiet, more stupid ghosts show up. They're staring at Rolen chanting about death and we just decide to ignore them because this house sucks and we just want to leave. Mara jumps onto the island thing with Rolen and nothing changes. So Rolen decides to jump off the panel and follow the weird rotting salad smell all the way to the giant lettuce monster, who is asleep. Because we are So Done with everything, we just figure, hey let's bribe this thing. Rolen gives it some jerky, hoping that Swamp-Thing's weird cult obsessed uncle isn't a vegetarian. The thing doesn't wake up, so we decide to just leave it alone. Then, I notice Mara stepping off the platform and I warn her that it's probably a stupid thing to do. Nobody ever listens to me, so of course Mara steps off the platform and awakens the veggie monster. We attack the thing a few times but we don't seem to be getting anywhere. So Thokk decides to lure it into the water and electroshock it. It sounds like a great idea but because this house is the actual worst, the electricity actually heals the monster. After what seems like forever fighting this stupid thing, it finally dies and we make our way back up the trap door into the first floor of this stupid house. We then realize that the house is trying to keep us in by blocking the door with swords. Joke's on the house because we're all master gymnasts (except Thokk, sorry man). We get through the swords alive and finally escape the house for good. However, we find ourselves in a small town where everything just seems shady and wrong.

For whatever dumb reason, the second we get into town, everyone wants to go right into the tavern that has "blood" in its name and take a nap. I talk everyone out of doing that because why… would we do that. I say that we should look around the town first and see what our other options are. Finally, everyone listens to me. We decide to stick together and take a stroll around the town. All of the townspeople look miserable and scared of us, which is odd, considering we just look like a bunch of circus freaks. We come across one weird lady who is rolling around a cart. She stops at a house and two parents answer the door. They give their little kid to her, and she shoves him in a bag. Obviously, that freaked us out so Rolen decides to question the parents. The parents just explain it away by saying they owed her a debt and they sit there and eat their pastry. We decide to follow the old lady, and she is shady as hell. She has meat pies with her and can't really give us a straight answer on anything. I tried to steal something off her, but she caught me. We let her go after I tried to get more info on the town from her and she didn't really have much to give. Then, we decide to walk around the town more until we got to the convenience store we saw earlier. We went inside, and the others spoke to the clerk. I tried to find something worthy to steal but there really wasn't anything we even needed. The clerk told us to go bother the Vistani at the blood tavern place, and then he kicked us out of his store by using his nephew to do his dirty work for him. Oh, he also tells us the weird old lady's pies are spiked with drugs that make people in the town all loony. Great.

At the blood whatever tavern, we approach the Vistani women and ask them for information about why we were dragged to this stupid town. They tell us we have to ask the magic Vistani lady who is a carriage ride away. Because I'm tired and annoyed, I ask if they serve food or coffee or anything but wine and they say no. I sigh and we sit at a table. The others drink their wine while I sulk in my chair because this really hasn't gotten any better since we left the murder house. We're then approached by some dudes who want us to help them because apparently we're Heroes For Hire now. One of the guys tells us that his sister needs to leave the village because this guy who is The Worst™  has a crush on her (we all know that feeling). Apparently, his crush thing is bad for everyone so she needs to leave ASAP. They offer us gold and the help of this dude named Rask. He seems alright and like he could be useful. We say that we need to go visit the Vistani camp first and then we will help them in the morning. Rask decides to tag along on our journey to the camp. Not sure why, but we like him so we don't ask.

At the camp, the old Vistani woman we were told about offers to tell us our fortunes. Because we have nothing better to do, we let her tell us. We're all given very vague fortunes. Mine had something to do with a wounded handsome elf guy. I've had a string of bad luck since I met these guys, so I hope this elf is worth my time (aka I hope he looks like Lee Pace nudge nudge).

Anyway, that's all I have. My memory isn't so great so someone else probably has a better side of the story than I do. I tried.

I demand at least 5 gold for this quality storytelling.

Madam Eva's Card Reading

Berserker
This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy. Find the Mad Dog's crypt. The treasure lies within, beneath the blackened bones.

Beggar
This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope. A wounded elf has what you seek. He will part with the treasure to see his dark dreams fulfilled.

Wizard
This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight. Look for a wizard's tower on a lake. Let the wizard's name and servant guide you to what you seek.

Executioner
This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. Seek out the brother of the devil's bride. They call him "the lesser" but he is a powerful soul.

Ghost
Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him. Look to the father's tomb.

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Exploring The Death House Dungeon
week 3 game summary

We secured the hallway after the ghouls ambushed us so that we could take a short rest before moving on. A strange (and perhaps delirious) man wandering the dungeon hallways stumbled upon us. Without much in the way of explaining his goals or what he was doing there, he took it upon himself to join in on our efforts to escape the house.

We then moved to an adjoining room containing a long wooden table along with evidence of some kind of cannibalistic banquet. Rolen went to investigate a darkened alcove at the far end of the room, but as soon as she approached a huge worm-like monstrosity viciously lashed out at her. The rest of the party moved to her defense, but the fight was quickly ended by the strange man now accompanying us. With a strength he seemingly should not possess, he seized up the wooden table and charged the alcove, crushing and killing the worm creature. Thankfully Cora was able to jump out of harm's way as the crazed man didn't seem to notice she was in his intended path.

We then came upon a large room festooned with moldy skeletons hanging from rusty shackles. This room appeared to be some kind of shrine and featured a wooden statue, painted to resemble a gaunt pale-faced man, in a wide alcove along the south wall.

While inspecting the room we found the secret door leading up to the first floor, as had been revealed by our examination of the doll house in the children's room. All was quiet until we disturbed the statue, causing five dark entities composed of living shadow to rise up from the floor surrounding us.

Mara had keen insight into the nature of these dark creatures and quickly took action to brightly illuminate the room, by way of setting the wooden statue aflame. The effect on the creatures was immediate, and while they persisted in their attacks, we were able to dispatch them in short order.

We saw a short hallway with a heavy door right off the shrine room, but as soon as Mara touched the handle, it's true nature was revealed. The "door" roared to life opening a gaping maw, and trapping Mara's arm with its' forceful bite. We fell the deceptive beast and moved on to explorer what looked like the quarters of the cult's leaders, Gustav and Elisabeth Durst.

In the leader's quarters was a footlocker containing several valuable treasures, but as soon as we disturbed them, the ghasts of the former cult leaders clawed their way from out of the earthen walls to attack. The stench of the undead creatures was overwhelming, nearly causing some members of the party to falter, but we managed to persevere.

Having fully explored this level, there is only one remaining option… a stairwell descending further down into the darkness. Hopefully we will find a way out of this damnable house soon.

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Death House
week 2 game summary

After taking a moment to tend our wounds, we found an unconscious halfling in a nearby closet along with a magical broom that immediately attacked us. We fell the animated object with a few quick strikes and turned our attention to searching the rest of the house with our new roguish companion.

We inspected an adjoining bedroom, which turned out to be the nursemaid's quarters. The room was quiet until Rolen opened the door to the adjoining nursery, causing the horrific spectre of the nursemaid to ferociously attack the party. It was tense, but we managed to disperse the ethereal creature.

We then discovered a secret door which revealed a flight of stairs going up to the attic. In the dusty attic we found a door locked from the outside that lead to a children's bedroom. In the bedroom were the skeletal remains of the two children, Rose and Thorn, that we originally saw outside the in the street.

While we looked thru the room's contents the spirits of the deceased children appeared before us. They explained that their parents had locked them in the attic, where they were left until they both starved to death. The children also told us that it was not them the party had seen out in the street earlier, rather it was just an illusion created by the house to lure them inside.

When we tried to leave the spirits became very upset. In a panicked attempt not to be "abandoned again" the two ghosts possessed Cora and Rolen. Thokk was able to intimidate the younger child to leave Cora's body, but Rose stubbornly insisted on remaining within Rolen while the party explored the rest of the house. Having no other options before us, we carried on.

In the attic's large storage room, we found the remains of the nursemaid along with a secret door to a narrow spiral staircase leading all the way down thru the house to a sublevel, where the Priests of Osybus conducted their depraved rituals.

At the bottom of the staircase we found ourselves in the family crypts, but all the coffins were empty… except for the swarm of giant centipedes that poured out from behind one of them. After dispatching the insects, we proceeded on to find the area housing the quarters of the cult's initiates and acolytes. The chests in several of the rooms held various treasures that we collected.

We then proceeded on to explore the westerns parts of the sublevel. We were ambushed by several ghouls clawing their way out of the earth at an intersection of narrow corridors. After slaying the evil creatures we have taken a moment to rest before continuing on.

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The Defenders of Daggerford
week 1 game summary

We were dinner guests of our benefactor, Lady Morwen of Daggerford, when she tasked us with rousting a band of disruptive travelers camped outside of town. We learned the people were a gypsy people called the "Vistani." They were exceedingly pleasant, and agreed to heed the Lady's order to move along… after we sat and let them share the story of their people with us.

Their leader, Stanimir, told an old tale about a noble prince who was rescued by the Vistani while deep in the territory of his enemies, earning his eternal gratitude. It was at that time we started to realize we were under some kind of strange influence, one by one we all started falling fast asleep around the bonfire. Our half-orc sorcerer, Thokk, says he was able to shake off the effects, but the last thing he remembers was being overcome by several men with staffs.

We woke the next morning the immediate are was unchanged, but the surrounding countryside had changed. There was no sign of Daggerford or the Vistani, just a gravel road extending in one direction to an opaque wall of fog, and in the other to a small decrepit village. Just as we started entering the outskirts of the village, two children in the street caught our attention and we went over to investigate.

The children, Rose and Thorn, told us about a "monster" in the basement, but when we entered the house (some by the front door, and via 2nd story window) the children suddenly vanished and the house sealed itself shut. Leaving us trapped in the quiet and well furnished home. By this time the same wall of fog that we had seen earlier had advanced and surrounded the house as well.

We thoroughly searched every room on the ground floor, but could find no signs of any kind of basement entrance, so we started redirecting our attention to exploring the rest of the house.

The 2nd floor was similar to the first, but we did find something interesting the library. In a hidden side room we found racks of books related to the the dark arts and fiend-summoning, and a cult called the Priests of Osybus. We also found some legal documents related to Gustav & Elisabeth Durst's properties, and that their children (Rose and Thorn) should inherit everything in the case of their deaths.

We then proceeded on the the 3rd floor, which stood in stark contrast to the rest. While the first two floors were in pristine condition, the 3rd floor was aged, dusty, and draped in cobwebs. As soon as we set foot on the landing, a suit of old armor against the wall loudly creaked to life as it began moving toward us.

The armor brutally pummeled us with it's iron fists. While we suffered several painful injuries, we were able to finally stop the animated horror. The healing potions Lady Morwen had equipped us with quickly got us back on our feet.

We're about to go on exploring the rest of the house to see if we can find any way out of this mess…

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