D&D Encounters – Curse of Strahd – the story so far

Curse of Strahd CoverI have been very lax in my posts recently, especially with regards to my adventures in the latest season of D&D Encounters, which is a shame as for the first time in ages I’ve got the chance to play rather than DM.

The adventure this season is Curse fo Strahd, a 5e expanded and updated version of one of my all time favourite adventures, the 1e classic I6 Ravenloft.

My character for this season is Kahdish, a black dragonborn swashbuckler rogue, who is kitted out with my collection of DM reward items (bag of holding, gray bag of tricks, goggles of night and a brooch of shielding from running the Death House adventure for the DM’s pre-season). I also used some of my DM xp to advance up the ranks a little quicker too.

I began play on our newest DM’s table, Matt, but after a few sessions with inconsistent numbers Matt and Patrick’s tables are usually combining on a regular basis so to even numbers out a little I’ve moved over on to Jon’s table and join his party as they leave the town of Barovia to escort Ireena to the church at Vallaki.

The party is to wary to take any form of shortcut through the ominous looking Svalich woods so agree to travel on the open and obvious road. We encountered a few “hiccups” along the way, including a fight with group of horrifying wolfmen.

Battered, bruised and bitten (nothing to worry about surely), we come across an old windmill which we recognise from the painting in the Durst house and approach to see if it could offer any shelter. Myself and the monk sneak up and hear the sound of 3 elderly women’s voices, as I head back to alert the rest of the party the warlock strides up and knocks loudly on the door. An old women answered and ushered him inside closing the door behind him.

The rest of us began heading up to the windmill to make sure our companion was ok, telling Ireena to wait in the bushes. Inside the warlock is given a pastry to eat and collapses unconscious. The burly fighter shield charges the door, busting through and leaving a fighter shaped hole in it as he engages the women. Myself and the monk climb up on to the broken walkway and I smash a window and drop through on to the stairs behind one of them – but they look nothing like women. Tall dark-skinned with gangly arms, warty skin and long wicked clawlike finger nails.

The close confines of the interior make it difficult for many of our allies to assist in the brawl but my attention is taken by the creature before me as it slashes out with its claws. Thankfully my silver short sword bites deeply into its hide and it appears to recoil almost in fear. As the fight progresses the one that still looks like an old woman (and is standing over the warlocks prone form) begins rapping on a barrel of goo causing a horrible figure to begin emerging. I wasnt sure what it was but I knew it would be bad news so I spray my acid breath across the room, hitting the horror, the old woman and unfortunately the warlock. The weird creature howls in agony and dissolves, the barrel it was in begins to leak from several acid-burnt holes and the old woman hisses a curse at me as she cast a magic missile spell at me. The energy darts streak at my chest which I clutch as she grins in pleasure. Then its my turn to grin as I stand up straight, showing no sign of injury as my brooch glows gently from the absorption of the missiles and her grin changes to a scowl of anger.

My allies continue to assault the trio with spell and blades and I turn my attention again to the one in front of me, I spot an opening and my silver blade strikes deep, severing one of her arms. With a cry of “Mother, we can’t defeat them!” she suddenly disappears with a pop, quickly followed by the other two. Whilst the fighter and cleric rush outside to see if they’re there I head upstairs in case they have gone there.

As I make my way up through the mill my companions see that the creatures have found Ireena and are threatening to harm her but the fighter doesn’t even slow, barreling into them as once more they pop out of sight, this time seeming to have gone for good.

A search of the mill yields little more than some trinkets, so we make a temporary repair to the broken door and settle in for the remainder of the night. However our sleep is not totally undisturbed as we each seem to have dreams of a visit to a fortune-teller (very strange for me as I don’t recall being there!). When we awake and prepare to move on we discuss the dreams and are able to piece together  what they showed us.

tarokka reading

MyrmidonThe first card she revealed was the 5 of swords “This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy. Look for a den of wolves in the hills overlooking a mountain lake. The treasure belongs to Mother Night.”

 

 

SoldierThe second card she revealed was the 3 of swords “This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope. Go to the mountains. Climb the white tower guarded by golden knights”.

 

 

PaladinShe revealed the third card, the 2 of swords “This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight. I see a sleeping prince, a servant of light and the brother of darkness. The treasure lies with him”.

 

TempterAs she turned the fourth card she revealed the Tempter “This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. I see a child-a Vistana. You must hurry, for her fate
hangs in the balance. Find her at the lake!”.

 

 

Broken OneThe final card she turned revealed the Broken One “Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him! He haunts the tomb of the man he envied above all”.

 

Conferring with Ireena we hoped her local knowledge might give some insight to the cryptic locations but it was inconclusive. We agreed our best course of action was to continue to the church at Vallaki with all haste.

The road led down into the valley of Lake Zarovich and we saw what appeared to be a widely travelled pathway through the woods, hoping it was a short cut we followed it but found that other than a crude pit trap which was designed to draw attention away from the more cleverly concealed poison darts traps either side of it before looping back onto the road.

Continuing onwards our way was blocked by a cloaked figure with a staff telling us we couldn’t pass. This turned out to be a druid with some twig-men allies that swarmed out of the woods beside us. The fighter and a giant elk I had summoned from my bag of tricks charged the druid while the rest of us tackled the twig-men. Unfortunately I had commanded the elk to destroy the druid so when the fighter tried to subdue him the elk dealt a death-blow. Angered, the fighter struck out at the elk. As we had already dealt with the twig-men I just watched the fight, content to let the fighter duke it out with the elk. It was close but the fighter was finally able to land a finishing blow and the elk dissipated into smoke.

As we prepared to continue onwards I used the bag once again to summon a creature, the furball forming into a large black panther than padded along beside us. We eventually came in sight of the gates of Vallaki, its guarded wooden palisade and the many pikes planted before it adorned with wolf heads – this seemed to be disconcerting to another of my companions the ranger, Luna.

And that’s where we left it. I must say I’m really enjoying the season not only as a player but as most of this is new expanded content not in the original module.

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