Curse of Strahd

Recent magic items of import

Here are the three key new magic items that the party has picked up in the last couple of sessions. Just wanted to document the details as it’s been a while:

The Sunsword: Finesse weapon. The sword does radiant damage/2 attack and damage/d8 damage to undead. Emits bright light in a 15’ radius, dim out another 15’.

Found at the very top of the ruins of Argynvosthold this long sword has a finely wrought iron hilt and a glowing blade of pure energy once it is attuned. Nephus currently has it. The sword is sentient, as Nephus is learning, and has an Int of 11, Wis of 17 and Cha of 16. It communicates with the bearer by transmitting emotions/images. Nephus is realizing that the sword has an agenda— destroy Strahd in revenge for destroying it’s original crystal blade. But it secretly fears its own destruction.

The Blood Spear: Once used by a ruthless chieftain long before Strahd came to valley, the spear is slightly vamprirc. +2 attack and damage. When you reduce a target to 0 HP with the spear you gain 2d6 temporary hit points. Garret currently has the spear.

Woodsplitter Axe: Found buried in the trunk of the Gulthias tree this axe weighs half that of a normal battle axe and does an extra d8 slashing damage to plants and plant creatures.

Let the wine flow!

I will send an email to everyone on this as well, but you all achieved 7th level (you’re currently at 6th level right? Just want to make sure.) when you thwarted the druidic ritual, faced Strahd again and chopped down the Gulthias tree… We can spend a few minutes leveling up at the table if you need the books, etc.

This is going to be quick, but since Chris missed so much of the last story arc…

Having secured Irena with Burgomaster Krez in Krezk the party explored Arganvostholt, meeting several members of the Order of the Silver Dragon, now revenants, their souls trapped in Barovia. They learned that if they can retrieve the skull of Arganvost, the sliver dragon, which is secured somewhere in Castle Ravenloft then they can put the spirits of the old paladins to rest as well as perhaps having a positive effect on the whole valley.

They recovered the Sword of Sunlight (it actually sheds sunlight) and then traveled to Yester Hill to try and retrieve one of the magic gems stolen from the vineyard. Garret was gifted a magic spear with some cool/dark powers and the party fought off a group of druids and barbarians who were attempting to complete a ritual for Strahd. The party thwarted said ritual and was confronted by Strahd himself, eventually driving him off with Nephus’s new holy symbol.

They then realized that Yester Hill was the home of a Gulthias Tree which spawns blights (twig, needle, etc.) and killed the blights defending it and chopped it down, finding a cool magic axe in the process.

Where do we go from here? You still have not found your ally against Strahd… Irena was left in the care of Kez family, there’s still a missing gem from the vineyard thought to be held by a hag in the ruins of the town of Berez. Just some food for thought :)

The Abby of St. Markovia and moving on

For Jeff, Chris and Justin’s benefit since we ended last week with combat about to break out…

Nephus, Leroy and Jinn went up to the Abby perched on the cliffs above the village of Krezk to see if it was an appropriate place to dump Ireena and discovered several disturbing things…

The Abbot appears to be completely insane… and he’s some sort of Celestial (discovered by Leroy doing his Paladin divine sense thing) which is why he hasn’t aged in the 100+ years he’s been there.. It seems that decades ago he took an inbred leprous family called the Bellviews under his care. They had all manner of physical deformities due to the in-breeding but actually liked some of those features (bat wings allowing flight, spider climbing abilities, etc.) so the Abbot agreed to help “breed” them to strengthen those physical attributes while at the same time curing their leprosy.

Generations later the Bellviews are now dozens of “mongrelfolk” who are insane and dangerous and all but three of them are locked in rooms or small sheds to keep them from killing each other and the villagers below. He feeds them but keeps them locked up and, frankly, is not particularly proud of the results of his experiments… but what are you going to do?

What is proud of are his mad golem-creation skills manifested in Vasilka, an incredibly hot flesh golem that he has created to be the bride of Strahd. He is convinced that if he can find Stahd a suitable mate that the curse will be lifted from the valley. But he does need a wedding dress so he can formally present Vasilka to Strahd so he asked the party if they’d be so kind as to find one for him.

They didn’t appear too excited at the prospect so he mentioned that perhaps he would ask the Burgomaster and offer to raise his recently deceased son in exchange for him finding a wedding dress for Vasilka. The party left him after he gave them a quick tour of the Abby.

No wanting to tackle Yester Hill to retrieve one of the Wizard of the Winds magic gems without Garret, their Druidic friend, they chose to head to Argynvostholt in search of the magic weapon that Madam Eva’s reading foretold.

After a run in with some dire wolves they explored the first floor of the four story, partially ruined castle of Argynvostholt finding some clues to the Order of the Silver Dragons’ activities and a badly injured Vistani lad. Besides a nest of nine giant spiders in the ruined part of the castle they didn’t find anyone/thing else until they approached the chapel where three skeletal figures were kneeling before an alter… they looked up at the party with anger etched on their features and that’s where we ended.

Madam Eva's Taroka Card Reading

Finally free of the Death House the party pauses only briefly in the Village of Barovia and some of the characters go to the Blood of the Vine tavern and meet Arik the bartender and Ismark Kolyanovich, the son of the Burgomaster of the village.

He relates to Joan a little about Barovia and it’s people and “the Devil Strahd”. He also implores her to help him get his sister Ireena, out of the village and as far away from Castle Ravenloft as possible. It seems that Strahd has taken a liking to her and has charmed his way into their mansion and fed on her. Meanwhile, Janus does a rousing set of music for the bartender, Ismark and the three Vistani who own the place and makes a little coin.

After encountering a rather spooky graveyard and an old gallows at the River Ivlisk crossroads (where Garrett sees a ghostly version of his corpse hanging from a noose) they defeat a lone barbarian berserker and make their way to the Vistani camp.

There they meet Madam Eva who insists on doing a Taroka card reading of their fortunes before she answers any questions about their current predicament. Here are the results of the card reading (with some additional info that I forgot to read at the table):

Card 1: “This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy”

The Master of Swords— Warrior: “That which you seek lies in the womb of darkness, the devil’s lair; the one place to which he must return.”

Card 2: “This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope.”

7 of Coins— Thief: “What you seek lies at the crossroads of life and death, among the buried dead.”

Card 3: “This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight.”

4 of Stars— Abjurer: “I see a fallen house guarded by a great stone dragon. Look to the highest peak.”

Card 4: “This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness.”

The Broken One: “Your greatest ally will be a wizard. His mind is broken but his spells are strong.”

Card 5: “This final card will lead you to your enemy; a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality.”

The Donjon: “He lurks in a hall of bones, in the dark pits of his castle.”

FYI, I read the wrong line in the book for that last one so it probably doesn’t jive with what you wrote down if you were taking notes.

When we kick off next session you will have an opportunity to question the Vistani to better understand the land of Barovia and it’s people, Strahd’s backstory, and how to interpret the Taroka cards in the reading.

The only treasure from last session was a 50 gp gold ring that Nephus found on the skeleton in the prison before you escaped Death House.

See you all in a couple of weeks!

Into the basement

During a combat filled exploration of the first level of the Death House basement the party discovered a stranded Leroy Jones, a Paladin of (Conor who is your deity?) as well as quite a bit of loot, including:

  • another silvered shortsword
  • a Cloak of Protection (+1 AC and saving throws, must be attuned)
  • a crystal orb worth about 25 gp, can be used as an arcane focus
  • another 11 gp and 60 sp in a sack made from human skin
  • a black leather eye patch with a carnelian sewn onto it, worth about 50 gp
  • a shortsword of Warning/Adv on initiative checks, you and all allies w/in 30’ can’t be surprised and it awakes you if combat breaks out and you’re asleep, engraved with eyes on the blade, hilt and handle (must be attuned)
  • chain shirt
  • mess kit
  • flask of alchemist fire
  • bullseye lantern
  • thieves tools
  • Spellbook with a cracked yellow leather cover with the following spells: Lvl 1:
    disguise self, identify, mage armor, magic missile, protection from evil and good. Lvl 2: darkvision, hold person, invisibility, magic weapon.
  • Luck Stone: +1 on ability checks and saving throws
  • 4 potions of healing but I think Nephus drank one?
I Don't Think We're in Faerun Anymore...

After our first session, the characters advance to 3rd level.

Here’s a list of the treasure and items so far:
2 spell scrolls of Remove Curse
2 short swords, 1 longsword, 1 greatsword and a quiver of 20 crossbow bolts, all silvered
Spell scrolls of Bless, Protection from Poison and Spiritual Weapon
Creepy letter to the house’s owners from Strahd von Zarovich
Deed to the house that you’re exploring
Deed to a Windmill located to the east of Barovia and South of Vallaki
150 gp worth of misc jewelry and a platinum pendant with a topaz worth about 750 gp

And a quick session overview:

The party heeds a call to defend the Sword Coast against werewolves after returning from their first adventure together. They meet a group of Vistani (aka gypsies) just outside the Misty Forest who provide shelter from the constant pouring rain, good wine and warm food. The leader, Shanimir, recounts a story, centuries old, of an injured prince who came to a Vistani camp and whom they protected, escorted back to his lands and still serve to this day.

However, they share that he has fallen to a dark curse and they implore the party to help them put an end to their dark lord’s curse… and in the process find the source of the werewolf attacks.

The party agrees and on their way to Barovia they are attacked by a werewolf and two of the Vistani are badly injured. They hurry toward their camp and to Madam Eva, who they say foretold of the party’s coming to their aid, but lose the characters in the choking mists that surround them just as they enter the village of Barovia.

The Mists lead them to a house and two ghostly children who ask for the party’s aid to kill the “monster in the basement”. After exploring the house they finally discover the way to the basement and the remains of the two children who were locked in their room by their parents and starved to death. As they open the secret door leading to the basement they discover a narrow and treacherous spiral staircase going down and hear a mysterious chanting coming from far below…

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