Dark Wings, Dark Words

Adventure 03

When our Adventurers last met, they found themselves walking with Ismark to his home. They made the journey quickly, and soon found themselves standing outside the dilapidated Burgomaster’s Mansion. The mansion had fallen into a state of disrepair, every window broken, and the yard overgrown. Strangely, while the grounds were overgrown, there was a well worn path surrounding the home. The wood of the outer walls was covered in deep gouges and black soot from a fire long ago. The group approached the old home, and Ismark knocked on the door. “Who’s there?” is replied in a hushed whisper from the opposite side. Ismark replies with a greeting, and the party can make out the sound of wood scraping on wood as Irena removed the barricade on the door.

Upon entering, our group notices that every room in the home has some form of holy symbol hanging on the walls or standing on a table. Every window is boarded up and there are only a few sparse candles burning in their candelabras. In a side room, the Burgomaster lays still in a handmade coffin. Ismark remarks that he died almost 3 days ago, his heart gave out from fear of Strahd taking his daughter. Tracer is able to convince Irena that they need to leave, and make for a safer place, but she refuses to go until her father is buried in the local cemetery. “He was an honorable man, he deserves an honorable burial”, she remarked as they tried to convince her to leave. Eventually the group agrees to bury the Burgomaster, and they make for the church.

The trip to the church goes quickly. As the group approaches, they find the church sitting atop its hill, and while the building is just as worn as the rest in Barovia, it is well lit and inviting. The church is a grey, sagging edifice of stone and wood. It’s obviously weathered the assaults of evil for centuries on end and is worn and weary. A bell tower rises toward the back of the structure, standing stark against the dark pillar of stone that supports Castle Ravenloft.

When the group enters the old building, they’re greeted by a screeching from under the floor. “Let me out Father! I know you can hear me! I’m starving! Please!” screeches out from the floorboards of the shabby structure. A short entryway ends in a large chapel, which is in shambles. Shattered pews and torn books litter the floor, and dozens of candlesticks light every dusty corner in a fervent attempt to rid the chapel of shadows. As the far end of the church sits a claw-scarred alter, behind which kneels a priest in soiled vestments. Again, a screeching voice from below calls out “Please! I can smell you, I know you’re there! Let me out!”

The Priest recognizes Ismark and Irena, and upon seeing Wrev crying the coffin, realizes that their father must have died. He offers his condolences and tries to start a conversation with the party, but the screaming quells his start. Upon inquiry, the Priest informs the group that the screams are coming from his son turned vampire spawn, who’s locked in the Undercroft of the Church. After some debate, KP is able convince the Priest that it would be better to release his son from his torment, rather than let him remain alive and imprisoned. He finally concedes, but not without a fight. He’s clearly quite bothered by the idea, and huddles in a tight group with Ismark and Irena. Wrev spends some time boarding up the Church’s doors and windows, while Tracer fashions some Wooden Arrowheads from the broken pews before heading to the Undercroft. A quick swing of Wrev’s mighty hammer, and the lock keeping the Undercroft closed is smashed. Cautiously, our Adventurers open the door set into the floor and start to descend the steps.

As the group entered the Undercroft, they could make out the shape of a man standing in the corner. Slivers of light entered through the cracks in the floorboards of the old Church, illuminating their entry. Wrev lead the way down, followed closely by Tracer and KP. As Wrev’s foot made contact with the hard packed earth floor, the spawn scuttled to a corner, and hid it’s face. Wrev made to charge the thing and swung his mighty hammer in its general direction. Mistaking the vampire for frail and weak, he missed and the spawn pressed itself against the wall. The spawn didn’t have time to hear the bolts whizzing it’s direction before they plunged into it’s back, sizzling as the sharpened wood pierced it’s flesh.

In this moment of weakness, KP rushed forward and called upon the might and grace of his Holy Lord, Lathander, fueling his pointed war pick with energy. He levied a piercing blow to the vampires abdomen, piercing the being, and filling him with the holy light of Lathander. The spawn stumbled back, realizing that he was out of his depth, and grabbed a hold of the packed earth wall. Using what strength it had left, it crawled up the wall, digging it’s long, pointed fingers into the earth. It quickly moved to the wooden ceiling, and started for the hatch the adventures had left open.

Tracer took aim and fired a few more bolts, but narrowly missed the being, underestimating its speed and grace. Wrev wouldn’t have any of it however, and ran after the being. Reaching up, he managed to snag on of it’s feet and ripped it from the ceiling, smashing it to the floor. KP saw his opening and rushed forward, again calling on Lathander, and smote the spawn where he lay. The vampire burst into flame and disintegrated quickly. The only remains were a pile of grey, smoking ash. Wrev collected some into a small jar and they made their way back to the main level of the Church.

KP spoke with Donavich, the Priest who’s name they finally learned, and conferred his condolences as well as the ashes. Wrev disassembled his fastening on the entry doors and the group stepped outside to finally bury the Burgomaster’s body. The grave digging went quickly, and after the Donavich said his holy words, they dug a small grave for his son as well. It was after they packed the dirt down on the second grave that the rain started. Light at first, but it started to pour quickly enough. As the group started to make their way back to the Church, an eerie green light suffused the Graveyard. From this light emerged a ghostly procession. Wavering images of daughters women toting great swords, wood wise men with slender bows, dwarves with glittering axes, and archaically dressed mages with beards and strange, pointed hats. All these and more marched forward from the Graveyard, their numbers growing by the second. The started a long march down the road, headed westerly.

The group decided they best follow, so they began the slog through the rain and mud, down the high hill that the Church sat atop. The road rounded a curve shorty into their trip, and as the group came passed out of sight of the Church, they found themselves facing a group of wolves, sitting curiously in the middle of the road. Wrev and KP drew their weapons, readying for a fight, when Tracer noticed that more of the pack and slunk from the woods adjacent to the path, surrounding them.

Wrev started the fight by running toward the set of beasts sitting on the road and leaping over the first. Landing behind the group, he swung his hammer, smashing into two of them. Tracer unleashed a volley of bolts while KP prayed to Lathander, asking for his blessing on the group. A wolf leapt at Edric, who managed to sidestep the thing, and with a wave of his hand and a magic utterance, ignited four of the wolves, bringing them to their death. A flash of lightening illuminated the shadow of a tall, slender man standing much further down the road. Wrev and Tracer finished off the last of the bigger wolves, and the remaining few ran off, headed for safer grounds. Once the wolves had gone, the party looked for the man they had noticed, but he had vanished.

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Adventure 02

When we last met our Adventurers, they had worked their way deeper into the cursed village, in seek of the crying sound echoing out from the center of the small town. They quickly came across a fork in the road. A sign stood with a painted board pointing right that said “_Blood of the Vine Tavern_”, but the wailing sound was coming from the left.

The party elected to head left, toward the wailing, and agreed to visit the tavern after they had determined the source of the weeping. It didn’t take long for the group to find the home that was emanating the sound. The two story town home stood higher than the rest, but was rotting just the same. A quick inspection told KP that the home was once decorated immaculately, and likely was owned by a prominent member of the village.

They made their way inside by smashing down the water logged door. KP and Tracer headed to a door in the back of the room while Wrev and Edric made their way up the stairs on the right. KP threw the door open and saw two rats fighting over a small body. The rat closer to the door let go of it’s pretty and leapt to bite KP, but Tracer felled the beast with a quick crossbow bolt to the side. The other rat scampered down the hole in the floorboards, taking the body with it.

Meanwhile, Wrev and Edric stood at the top of the stares and formulated a plan. Edric opened the door with his haunted Mage Hand, while Wrev summoned an illusion of himself inside the room. Wrev directed the illusion to walk into the room, in an attempt to break any traps. Nothing happened, so Wrev and Edric continued into the room.

There they found a woman, slumped in the corner, weeping. Wrev quickly finds that yelling at the women is proving to be unhelpful. KP, having found nothing of note in the back room of the home, headed upstairs. KP is able to get the women to stop sobbing long enough to learn that her daughter had been taken from her, and that she wanted the Adventurers to bring her child back.

Mad_Mary.png

While the rest of the party was upstairs, Tracer stayed in the back room. She noticed that the surviving rat from earlier scuttled back into view, and took a shot at it. Pinning the rat down, she dropped down into the hole and finished the rat off. Upon closer inspection, Tracer realized that the body wasn’t a child’s corpse, but a very lifelike doll. The doll’s dress had a tag attached that read “Is no fun, is no Blinsky!”.

The remaining members of the party stepped back downstairs to convene, and Tracer showed them the doll. They decided that the doll must be the “daughter” that the woman upstairs lost and so Tracer took the doll upstairs and presented it to the women. She exasperatedly informed him that the doll wasn’t her daughter, but that it did belong to her. She then explained that her daughter was taken by the Devil, Strahd.

The women explained that Strahd is a vampire that rules this land. He’s the master of Barovia, the region that the group found themselves whisked to. She tells them that anyone that attempts to leave the region is swallowed by the mists, and if they don’t perish, they find themselves walking back the way they came.

KP informed the women that they’d do their best to get her daughter back, and the party left the old home. They decided the local pub would be their next stop. They quickly found themselves standing outside The Blood of the Vine Tavern quickly. It’s the first building that they’ve seen with light in the windows, and smoke coming from the chimney.

Upon entering the party notices the barkeep behind the counter, washing a glass, three cheery looking men in a corner, one of which was playing music. and finally a lone man sitting at a table near the fire. He waves the adventurers over and offers them drink. He asks their names and introduces himself as Ismark. He explains that he’s the son of Barovia’s Burgomaster and the conversation quickly moves to Strahd and his obsession over Ismark’s sister, Ireena.

Ismark_the_Leser.png

Ismark explains that his father passed away a few days ago, and he wants to move Ireena to a village further west called Vallaki. Ismark has heard that Vallaki is free of Strahd’s curse, and thinks that Ireena will be safe there. He asks the party to follow him home to meet Ireena and help him get her to her destination safely.

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Adventure 01.5

DM
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When we last met our Adventurers, they had left the muddy trail through the woods and made their way into a dark and damp village. Wet cobblestones underfoot, they made their way slowly into town, inspecting the homes on the outskirts.

KP’s connection with his God allowed him to sense an undead presence in one of the homes, and our adventurers stormed the place. There, they encountered two creatures, human like, flesh rotting from their bones.

After a brief encounter with the zombies in which Wrev smashed one of them with a hooded lantern, the party found themselves safe again.

In one of cupboards, Wrev finds a mug with the words ‘Blood of the Vine’ etched in the side. The party realized this was likely the name of a local bar or pub.

The party stepped out of the now destroyed home and back into the village street. The only sound is the high pitched wailing of a women coming from further in the dark town.

Wrev
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Well, this bar better still have some ale left over, I don’t know how much longer I can put up with this cursed wailing

KP
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All this wailing reminds me of the day my uncle broke my aunt’s favorite vase. Well they’re not my real aunt and uncle… Because I’m adopted. That’s actually a funny story too. My father, well my adopted father, used to be a great adventurer and he adventured with my mother. Not my adopted mother, she was actually not very pleasant. ​*KP continues to ramble on*​

Wrev
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Kp, have you ever heard of anything as powerful as this curse during your training? It seems like this whole Kingdom was possessed over night

DM
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While Wrev and KP carry on with their discussion, the wailing grows louder and louder, only to stop abruptly. After a short, eerie silence, you hear a high pitched blood curtailing scream. (edited)

The wailing begins again, louder and harder than ever only a few seconds later.

Wrev
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Hopefully we are the only people here

KP
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​*kp stops talking and frowns glancing around at the scream*​ Well… That was strange… ​*he shrugs and then furrows his brow trying to remember anything that could discern what type of curse could be afflicting the kingdom*​

((Need to roll a religion check))

((I rolled in roll20. Got an 18))

DM
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KP reflects on his time in training and remembers reading in a book that old, powerful creatures can have an effect on the lands that surround their domain. As a student of Lathander, he learned specifically that it takes a great evil to cause the dead to rise from their grave and walk again.

((Lathander being the Morninglord, favors those that dispell the Undead))

DM
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Make a perception check!

​KP rolled 1 20-sided die:​ ​*15*​ ( 15 )
Wrev rolled 1 20-sided die:​ ​*6*​ ( 6 )
Edric rolled 1 20-sided die:
​ ​*2*​ ( 1 ) + 1
Tracer rolled 1 20-sided die:
​ ​*23*​ ( 19 ) + 4

DM
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The party is milling around the town’s damp cobblestone streets, wondering in awe what could have happened to this place. While KP reflects on his knowledge of curses, he looks to the sky, to Lathander.

As he stares into the nothingness that is the fog, it slowly starts to dissipate with the coming morning, and he can start to make out a dark shape in the sky.

As KP stares on, he slowly realizes that the shape in the sky is the form of a large, ancient castle. The fortress sits atop a high cliff overlooking the village.

What does the party do?

Wrev
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As far as I know I see nothing different and continue on

KP
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​*KP blinks slowly then turns to look at the others in the party*​ If I had to guess I’d say that to affect a whole town like this, whatever the cause is big. And evil. ​*He mutters*​ Not unlike Great Aunt Margo… ​*He starts again and points up at the looming fortress speaking louder once more*​ And I’d guess it’s probably up there…

​*KP understanding the severity of what they are probably about to face prays silently to himself asking Lathander to bless and protect the party, giving them the strength and fortitude to rid this land of whatever evil plagues it*​

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Adventure 01
Enter Barovia

Our Adventurers found themselves sitting around a low burning fire, part way through their trip from one city to the next. During Tracer’s watch, she dozed off, and when she awoke, she found herself and the party in unfamiliar territory. Where the night before our Adventurers found themselves surrounded by tall grass and sparse trees, they now were surrounded by think evergreen trees and a thick mist floated around them.

They quickly found their way to a road and began to follow it. Eventually the party came across a huge gate, situated in a wall, with two headless stone guardians standing watch. Wrev and Edric approach the wall, getting close enough to cast Mage Hand, with the intention of opening the gate. When they cast their respective spells, they find their illusory hand to be rotting and decrepit. Initially taken aback, they quickly realize the hands mean no harm, and they behave like normal.

Mage_Hand.png

After their initial spook, Wrev and Edric are able to push the gate open without resistance. The party decided to enter though the gate and continue down the road. Night falls quickly, and the darkness is overwhelming. Tracer light’s a hooded lantern, and as a precaution, the Adventurers wrap a rope around their wastes, connecting themselves together.

As they walk down the road, they’re ambushed by a pack of howling wolves. Standing higher than the average wolf, the beasts are mensing. Tracer quickly dispatched the wolves, and our Adventures continue, hardly scathed. Eventually the dense trees start to thin out, and the group can make out a dark shape in the distance. As they approach, they come to find that the dark shape is a village.

The village is bleak. The mist hangs thick in the air, and there are no signs of life, apart from a ceaseless wailing coming from within the small town. The cobblestones underfoot are wet and slick, and the sparse homes on the outside of the village look to be rotting and hardly standing. KP calls upon his Lord, Lathander for guidance and senses 2 creatures of evil nature in one of the homes. The party finds the front door to be boarded up, so Wrev and Tracer make their way to the back of the home. There they find a second entrance to the home, also sealed by boards. Tracer heads back to the front of the home.

Almost simultaneously, Wrev and KP break into their respective doors. KP looks upon a dilapidated wooden home, dark and dusty. The furniture in the room is broken and scattered, and it appears as if no one has been here in quite some time. Across the room, KP sees a door leading further into the home. Wrev kicks in the back door to the home and enters a kitchen. The room is dark, and Wrev doesn’t immediately notice the threat in the far corner of the room. KP walks across the front room and opens to door, only to see Wrev as he steps forward into the home.

As Wrev takes his first few steps, two body shaped masses of rotting flesh fall in Wrev’s direction. One looses it’s balance and falls straight to the ground, while the other finds itself hanging from Wrev, entangling itself with him. The party takes quick action to dispatch the creatures. Tracer lets a flurry of arrows fly from her crossbow’s, while Edric casts spells to burn the flesh from the zombies bones. Wrev smashes the creature on him with his hammer, and finishes it off by smashing the things head with Tracer’s hooded lantern.

Having defeated their foes, the party takes stock of the home they find themselves in. The front room holds nothing of note, but in a cupboard in the kitchen, Wrev finds an old wooden mug with the words “Blood of the Vine” etched on the side. He recognizes this as a commemorative cup from the opening of a tavern or bar. KP realizes that the home must have been uninhabited for a minimum of 50 years for it to be in the state that is is. The wood is swollen and rotting, and the house looks like it may come down with a strong wind.

Having finished in the home, the party steps back out into the street, again being assailed by a women’s wailing coming from the interior of the village.

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