Curse of Strahd

Reunited
Session 9

Bernholdt, at the burgomaster’s mansion, is greeted by a maid and is brought the up to library to meet Izek Strazni. Izek is conducting an investigation on Rictavio and his tiger, as well as the disappearance of servants of the baron and the baroness. Bernholdt is asked a few questions about their plans, but is interrupted by a guard who informs Izek of a stranger by the north gates. Izek retrieves his battleaxe from his room and brings Bernholdt with him to the gates. However, Bernholdt manages to sneak a peak into Izek’s room before they leave, and is surprised by what he sees. The room is filled with dozens of dolls that all resemble Ireena Kolyana.

Nardresh meets Bernholdt and Izek at the north gates of Vallaki. Though the Barovians are suspicious, Bernholdt learns that Nardresh is a stranger to these lands like him. They see that they have both suffered a tragic past and were brought to these mysterious lands by an unnatural force. Izek allows Nardresh in, as long as Bernholdt is with him. They make their way back to the mansion to meet the burgomaster.

Burgomaster Vallakovich is not a pleasant man. He is convinced that happiness will break the curse on the lands, and his methods of controlling the villagers will bring happiness. He believes that punishing those who are unhappy by humiliating them in public will bring humour and joy into others watching. Bernholdt and Nardresh are disgusted, by they choose to remain passive. They mention that Ireena, the daughter of the late burgomaster of Barovia, was with the party. Izek does not react and says he has never met her. The burgomaster has also never met her, but he wishes to meet her and declares that she will stay here until at least the Festival of the Blazing Sun. He is unhappy with the idea of bringing her to Krezk. Bernholdt and Nardresh excuses themselves to meet the rest of the party.

Meanwhile…


Suhi and Elnora find the bones of St. Andral, but Alleks is caught by a vampire by that snuck up from behind and choked Ireena unconscious.

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Stranded
Session 9

The hold was broken. Once the second titan arrived, Sea Gate was lost. Although some continued the fight, the wiser folk began to escape. Many did not make it, getting caught and dragged back by the eldrazi appendages. Nardresh was almost caught as well, but he was quick enough with his scimitars to cut himself loose and lose himself in the darkness. He jumped into the pool out of desperation, hoping to find a way out. As he continued to bleed out however, he slowly began to lose focus. His vision became lighter, whiter, and the water began to feel less viscous and felt lighter like air. Like mist. Nardresh black out.


Nardresh wakes up on the shore of an unfamiliar lake, in an unfamiliar forest, surrounded by unfamiliar mountains all shrouded in mist. He remembers passing out, but does not remember how he got here. He also notices 5 tarokka cards in his grasp, as if it was the last thing he clutched onto before passing out. Looking around, he notices a lone fisherman in the middle of the lake and a path that leads into the woods. He takes an old boat by the shore to speak with the man.

The man does not react to Nardresh’s approach, but he throws a large bag into the lake as he continues to fish. Nardresh realises too late that the bag must have been a body. Diving in, he sees the bag sinking into the abyss below. Nardresh is just about to make it to the bag when familiar tentacles emerge from the darkness beyond and wraps itself around the bag. In a panic, Nardresh swims up alone to the boats above.

The fisherman continues to fish, muttering to himself that he is unlucky. Panicked, confused, frustrated, Nardresh enchants to the man’s rod to lure fish, hoping it to get any reaction out of the man. The man begins to catch fish after fish, becoming excited but still oblivious to Nardresh. Then the hook catches something heavier, and with a bit of struggle, the man brings fishes out the eldrazi scion.

The fight with the scion did not go smoothly, but Nardresh managed to slay the abomination as he was being pulled toward its proboscis. Nardresh swims back to shore, leaving the man to his fishing trance. Still lost, he begins to follow the road into the forest. Ravens, hundreds of them, watch Nardresh silently as he makes his way to a walled village. He confronts hunters and guards that all suspect him of being a monster from the lake. Nardresh remains passive and explains he is lost, convincing the others that he is also a newcomer to Barovia, just like the ones that recently arrived to Barovia. Nardresh waits outside with a suspicious guard as the captain of the Vallaki guards is brought over for investigation.


Nardresh’s Tarokka Cards:

Abjurer – 1 of Swords
Avenger
Shepherd
Swashbuckler
Ghost – This card was stuck to the back of Shepherd.

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St. Andral's Trail
Session 8

Bundles of branches are being brought to the burgomaster’s mansion to prepare for the upcoming Festival of the Blazing Sun. Bernholdt decides to stop by the mansion to speak with the burgomaster and Izek, but decides it is best to do-so alone do to the previous interaction the party had with Izek. The rest of the party decide to visit the stockyard to resupply.

Arasek’s Stockyard has a shop with everyday supplies as well as scavenged equipment taken from past adventurers. There are damaged leather armours and blood-stained rapiers. Suhi spots an enchanted longbow stacked with other mundane weapons. Elnora finds a necklace that belonged to her mother, or at least one that resembles it perfectly. The goods are expensive, but they purchase the wares by trading in some of their own equipment.

In the stockyard itself, Rictavio’s wagon remains. Gunther has just finished looking inside and lets the party investigate as well. He tells them that Rictavio payed extra to keep his visits to the wagon a secret, and Gunther never knew its contents. The party finds remains of tiger fur and a puddle of blood on the wagon floor, apparently left from the steaks Rictavio fed him through the trapdoor on the roof. Without finding anything else of interest, the party decides on their next move.

Ireena is becoming impatient. She appreciates the party’s help to get to Vallaki, but does not understand why they are waiting for Oleg’s freedom. She would like to continue to Krezk immediately as was the original plan, or at least secure a place at St. Andral’s church in Vallaki to be temporarily safe from Strahd. The party agrees that Ireena should be kept safe for now, and they head to the church.

Although the church seemed fine from the outside, the party discovers that all is not well. After investigations and interrogations with the church’s residents, the party discovers that the bones of St. Andral that was buried beneath the church has recently gone missing, undoing the consecration on the church. Only Father Lucian knew of the bones initially, but after telling the Yeska the altar-boy to calm his nerves, soon all the children knew, which lead to the groundskeeper Milvoj selling the bones away to a local coffin maker. Milvoj claims Henrik came to him first, and Milvoj only accepted so that he can support the other children, not realising that the consecration relied on the bones.

The party quickly heads to Henrik’s workshop by Arasek’s Stockyard. They find the house in a quiet corner, its doors and windows locked up and barred. Henrik tells the party to go away, but the party manages to convince him that they are powerful magic-users that can help him from whatever is tormenting him. Henrik lets the party in and tells them that he was threatened by vampires. Six vampires lurk upstairs, and the bones are kept in his wardrobe. He apologises and regrets what he has done, but claims he had no choice. He heads out to escape to the church while the party forges a plan to secure the bones…

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Tyger Tyger
Session 7

The Village of Vallaki feels safe, but does not feel welcoming. The streets are actually somewhat busy with people, unlike the empty Village of Barovia. However the people are mostly all dressed in drab, dull greys, and stare rudely at the party as they pass, jaws open and eyes wide. The party arrives to the Blue Water Inn, a two-story tavern and inn with a couple dozens ravens perched on the roof. They enter, and receive the friendliest welcome to Barovia yet.

The Martikovs that run the inn are loud and friendly. Kids on the second floor giggle and spy on the party, scurrying away when the party glances up. Urwin comes to speak with them often, making quick conversation and offering food and wine. Danika is busy at the counter and brings food to the other guests of the inn. Two hunters are staying at the inn, who supply the place with wolf steaks and heads to mount. Two drunk, well-off brothers make rude remarks of how the party will probably not survive for long, as most travellers end up being buried at St. Andral’s church. The entertainer Rictavio also meets the party, but quickly heads out to have dinner with his friend Blinsky.

As the day comes to a close, the party takes a much-needed rest upstairs. Elnora is plagued by nightmares and wakes up early. Shouting is heard from outside, and the party leaves to investigate, leaving Ireena and Alleks behind to rest. They find guards nervously forming a circle around a loose tiger in the streets, slowly following it. The tiger does not seem to be attacking, but slowly moves forward to the middle of the town. A man with a demonic arm and large battleaxe approaches with more guards and shouts orders to slay the beast at once. The party intervenes and convinces the captain of the guards, Izek, to wait and see a bit longer.

Meanwhile, Alleks is woken up by Rictavio that somehow entered their room. He hands Alleks a map and quickly flees, riding a horse out of the village. The tiger reacts and prepares to dash across town. Bernholdt does not risk bloodshed and chooses to attack the tiger, which then retaliates by clawing a deep gash into Bernholdt. A quick but dangerous battle ensues, and the tiger is slain. Izek shows respect to Bernholdt and tells him to get rest. They will speak tomorrow.

The party brings Bernholdt and the children to the church. There, he is healed by Father Lucian, who also takes in the children from the windmill. It seems to be a warm and cozy place. The next day, the party visits the townsquare to learn more of the village. They learn of a weekly festival that the burgomaster hosts, forcing the villagers to attend. They also find men in stocks wearing plaster donkey heads, punished by the burgomaster for “malicious unhappiness.” There they find Oleg the alchmist, Freek’s father. The session ends as Elnora feeds the prisoners water and gives Oleg a nibble of Mother Morgantha’s pie.

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Wolf Head Jamboree
Session 6

Three children sit on the cart with Alleks. Bernholdt leads the way on Misty, Elnora riding Shadowmere guards the left, and Suhi and Ireena are together on Ginger to the right of the cart. The party is stopped once by a Vistani man with a ponytail and soulpatch named Tural. He seems to be in a hurry and asks the party whether they’ve seen a young girl named Arabelle, roughly Alleks’ age. He informs the party that she has gone missing, and his encampment to the south of Vallaki would appreciate any word of her. He then hurries along toward the Village of Barovia, leaving the party the continue their descent through the forested mountains toward Vallaki.

They are of course not fortunate enough to have no trouble. Dire wolves begin to chase the cart, suddenly appearing the forest on both sides. An epic encounter ensues as the horses begin to gallop toward village in sight. The wolves try to bite the horses and slow them down, and one manages to jump on the cart with the children. Most of the party is able to fend the wolves off, but Alleks is pulled off the cart as a large wolf manages to bite into his torso and drag him off. Luckily the wolves are quickly killed, but Alleks is badly injured as his body tumbles along the road.

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The party arrives to Vallaki, a walled village that greets the party with wolf heads placed on pikes. The party speaks with the guards and learn that travellers are rare, but not completely unheard of. In fact, there is a half-elf story-teller named Rictavio who is staying at the Blue Water Inn, a tavern and inn run by the friendly Martikov family. The party finally finds themselves within the safety of a wall that keeps most of the mist out, and they soon discover that village is not quite a welcome sanctuary.

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The Old Bonegrinder
Session 5

The trek to Vallaki winds through the Barinok mountains, slowly climbing higher until the Village of Barovia can be seen in the distance. The journey is made easier for the party thanks to Misty, Shadowmere, and Ginger. The party also encounters a sickly dog by the a bridge guarded by inanimate gargoyles. The dog begins to follow the party after Bernholdt offers it food.

The party passes a crossroads that leads to the looming Castle Ravenloft. They instead pass through another set of gates and begin descending toward Vallaki. They notice a skeletal windmill on a small hill, and Elnora wonders whether it has something to do with her card reading. Bernholdt sees a young girl sitting by a tree. She is Rose, a ghost looking to pass on to the afterlife. The windmill is all that is left of her family, but it is currently overrun by evil. Bernholdt agrees to help her.

Art_-_Rob_Rey_-_Morgantha_s_Pastry_Cart.jpg

The windmill was overrun by hags who seemed to be baking meat-pies out of children’s bones. The party convinces one hag to check the pies in the oven, leading to a shove from Bernholdt and the start of combat. The hags turned invisible to buy time until her mother came back so that they can unleash their true power as a coven. Alleks uses flour in the cupboards and wind-magic to reveal their locations, weakening the hags before their mother arrived.

A raven flies in to warn the party, but was too late. The mother arrived and unleashed a lightning bolt, killing the dog. However the party manages to finish off the daughters before more powerful spells were unleashed. Cornered, Mother Morgantha promises revenge and disappears out the window. The party then rescues three children that was locked up in cages, load them onto the mother’s cart, and continues their travel to Vallaki.

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Madam Eva's Reading
Session 4

1. This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy.
Soldier – Go to the mountains. Climb the white tower guarded by golden knights.

2. This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope.
Monk – The treasure you seek is hidden behind the sun, in the house of a saint.

3. This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight.
Anarchist – I see walls of bones, a chandelier of bones, and a table of bones – all that remains of enemies long forgotten

4. This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness.
Artifact – Look for an entertaining man with a monkey. This man is more than he seems.

5. Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him!
Mists – The cards can’t see where the evil lurks. The mists obscure all!

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Lord of the Mists
Session 4

Bernholdt, Elnora, and Suhi await Strahd as Alleks escorts the Kolyanovichs to the burial. Alleks is greeted by Strahd, who seemed to be waiting outside of the cemetery. He wishes to pay respects to the late burgomaster, but Alleks refuses to let him in. Strahd, undisturbed, puts Ireena under a spell and has her invite him in instead.

Strahd welcomes the party to his land, the Land of Barovia. The party attempts to dispell the charm on Ireena by ‘subtly’ hurting her, but only manages to irritate Strahd. Ireena is ultimately knocked unconscious. Strahd, bemused, informs the party that it is getting late. He wishes the party a safe trip to Vallaki and promises Elnora a conversation about her vampiric curse. With that, he leaves.

The party becomes uncertain whether Vallaki is safe. Donavich remembers a sanctuary named the Abbey of Saint Markovia, located in the village of Krezk a few miles beyond Vallaki. Ismark decides to stay behind as the new burgomaster of Barovia and entrusts Ireena to the party.

A pack of wolves attack the party as they cross a bridge, which Alleks quickly dispatches. Alleks then sees himself hanging at a gallows at a crossroads. The body melts away into shadows when investigated. A signpost signals that Tser Pool Camp is nearby, reminding the party to visit Madam Eva. They make a quick detour to the lively encampment.

Madam Eva calls out the party by name and invites them into her tent. She knows much about the party and claims she sees visions related to Barovia. She pulls out a deck of Tarokka cards and reads the party’s fortunes to help them on their quest. She also provides the party with three horses, and the party sets off to the village of Vallaki.

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What Lies Beneath
Session 3

Wolves watch silently as the party carries the coffin. A raven watches from atop the tavern. The party arrives to the church unharmed, and is greeted by shouting from below the floorboards. The priest Donavich prays by an altar in the ruins of a chapel. He seems weak, only half conscious. He agrees to conduct a funeral service for the late burgomaster, however he is clearly distracted by the screaming from below. Ismark tells the party that the voice belongs to Doru, Donavich’s son. He has been turned by the devil Strahd and is kept locked up in the undercroft.

Donavich believes that the party was sent by the Morninglord to lift his son’s curse. The party heads below and confronts Doru. He is starving for blood and attempts to feast on the party. The party manages to defeat Doru using holy water, skill, and luck. Bernholdt carries the body to Donavich and consoles him, bringing sanity back to Donavich.

Art_-_Doru.png

Two graves are dug as wolves continue to watch the party. The funeral will be held next dawn so that the Morninglord can lead their souls to the afterlife. As the party rests for the night, green light begins to suffuse from the cemetery. Ghosts of past adventurers of varying races materialise from the consecrated earth and march toward Castle Ravenloft. Donavich claims this happens occasionally, but he does not recognise any of the ghosts.

Dawn arrives, along with the sounds of a carriage being pulled by horses. Ismark and Ireena tense up. Strahd arrives.

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Ghost Town
Session 2

The party arrives to the Village of Barovia. They are greeted only by the sound of sobbing that carries through the streets. They decide to enter the townhouse from which the crying is heard, and there they meet Mad Mary. Mary is afraid that the devil Strahd took her daughter away to Castle Ravenloft. The party promises Mary that they will find Gertruda and bring her back.

The village becomes quiet. The only other signs of life come from a woman dragging a cart in the distance, and candle lights shining through the windows of a nearby tavern. The party heads toward the light.

Within, the party is greeted by a silent barkeep, three Vistani women, and a man drinking wine in the corner. The troubled man introduces himself as Ismark Kolyanovich, the son of the burgomaster. His home has been under attack by Strahd’s minions for several weeks. His sister was bitten twice by Strahd. Finally, his father passed away three nights ago. He wants the party’s help to get his sister out of the village and away from Strahd’s grasp.

The party heads to the burgomaster’s mansion to meet Ismark’s sister, Ireena Kolyana. She has two puncture marks on her neck, and is armed and armoured even indoors. Although she seems kind, she is also stubborn, refusing to leave until her father is buried at the church. The party wants to help. They begin to escort a levitated coffin through the streets of Barovia toward the church upon a hill.

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