D&D Encounters – Curse of Strahd – into Vallaki
Pertinax the warrior in our party strode up to the guards at the gate and began telling them we were great heroes come to ree the land from the evil of Strahd, this caused more than a few laughs. So I growled that were on a mission from the burgomeister of Barovia to escort his sister, Ireena, to the sanctuary of the church here in Vallaki, and that we had had a perilous journey here including dealing with the hags at the Old Bonegrinder.
One of the guards asked for proof so I showed him the hag nails I was carrying which seemed to suffice. They insisted that we be checked for certain injuries before entering and Pertinax and the priest, Rorik, were checked first and allowed in. I went next and they balked at the bite mark I had suffered. I calmly stated that it had been caused by a wolfman a few days ago and I was hoping to have it looked at upon reaching the church which again eased their tension. When it came to Grund the warlocks turn I piped up that he had suffered injuries from “playing” with my cat and gestured to the panther which convinced them enough to let the rest of us in. They gave us directions to the church and also advised that drink, food and rooms could be found at the Blue Water Inn at the center of town. We agreed that heading to the church to deliver Ireena was the priority.
The wolf heads on pikes continued to be a common theme throughout the town as we marched through, several of the locals giving us strange looks and wide berths as we went. Arriving at the church there were several people inside listening to the priest giving a sermon. I decided to “make an entrance” and deliberately tapped my claws on the stone floor as we strode up the aisle. The priest was surprised to see us and agreed to talk to us in private.
After we introduced Ireena and explained why we were there he apologised that the church wasnt the sanctuary we had hoped. Apparently the holy bones that protected the place were missing, and the only ones that even knew they existed were the priest and the altar boy. I offered a deal, his prayers to help myself and Grund’s possible affliction in return for our retrieving the bones, however I suggested he do the healing first as he wouldn’t want a pair of wolfmen-dragonborns running around eating his parishioners. He agreed and performed the prayers, to be honest I didn’t feel any different but better safe than hairy!
Then we went and talked to the altar boy, I loomed over him menacingly demanded “who did you tell about the bones?” his eyes flicked to another boy in the congregation who began to edge towards the door, but my companions had spotted this and intercepted him. His name was Milivoj, and after a little persuasion (I may have inferred that I would feed him to the panther) he confessed that he had stolen the bone sand sold them to the coffin maker in town. We got the priest to agree to keep both boys in the church until we returned and then set off to the coffin makers shop.
The place was closed and locked up, not surprising as it was getting well into evening. Pertinax and Rorik took the main entrance while myself, Grund and Aris the monk took the side door. We heard a thud as the others tried to break through the front door, I tried a more subtle approach and picked the lock. The door opened into a store area with lots of coffins and three more doors leading further into the building. I unlocked another of these as we heard another thud and the sound of breaking glass, we soon found out that Pertinax had managed to break a window and get in to an adjoining room. The door I opened led to the main shop and the main door, but before I opened that I opened a side door to the room Pertinax had broken in to. Eventually we were all inside and in a moment of spite I decided to leave claw grooves in the shops workbench.
There was one more door to open, which revealed stairs leading up to a small landing with doors leading left and right. Aris and myself went up first in an attempt to be stealthy but Grund stumped up after us. We opened the left door first revealing a room will lots of crates and for some reason soil on the floor. Not seeing the coffin maker I turned around and opened the right hand door.
The room beyond was a small kitchen-dining room, with shuttered windows and another door. I could hear Aris and Grund moving boxes (breaking them from the sounds of things) but I wanted to find our prey. Opening the door I entered his bedchamber, the old man had been awoken by the noise my companions were making (ok, by now it sounded like they were fighting someone, or something, as Aris had shouted “EVIL” and Pertinax had bolted up the stairs. I could also hear Rorik in the street outside shouting for the guards to come and assist) and launched myself across the room at him.
“Where are the bones?” I snarled, and whimpering he told me they were in his wardrobe. I didn’t wait for a further explanation, slashing my short sword into his headboard (eliciting a frightened squeal from him) and then plunging my rapier through his eye and into what passed for his brain. By now I could hear my companions in heated combat, it sounded like they were losing, so I wrenched the wardrobe open. I was about to assume it was empty when I spotted something, which turned out to be a false bottom. Opening it revealed a sack with the bones in, along with another with coins which I also pocketed (it wasn’t like the coffin maker was going to need them). Pulling the skull from the sack a headed towards the landing where Pertinax and Aris were battling some undead creatures, the powers of the bones seemed to disturb them a little so I handed my companions one each to aid in their combat.
I couldn’t get past Pertinax (but this in turn meant the undead couldn’t get past either) so i pulled another furball from my magic pouch and threw it over the head of the enemy, happily if formed into a dire wolf which began attacking them from behind. Seeing as there was little else I could do I smashed the window in the kitchen-diner and leapt out, I meant to land gracefully but misjudged it and hit the floor with bump. Dusting myself off I yelled to Rorik that I was taking the rest of the bones to the church, passing the approaching guards en route.
I got to the church and told the priest what we had discovered, shortly afterward my companions joined us. Well, all but Grund, the plucky dwarven warlock had been slain by the undead and his corpse burned along with theirs by the guards, though two of the vile creatures had escaped via a window. The rest of the bones were handed to the priest and he press-ganged the two boys into helping him put them back and reconsecrating their resting place.
Leaving Ireena in his care we headed off to the Blue Water Inn where the priest had arranged for a free nights board for us. It was comfortable but not lavish. In the morning we headed down to the taproom and mixed with a few of the locals. Pertinax and Aris were talking to what looked like an elf (or half-elf) dressed in garish clothing while I decided to talk to a sturdy looking pair of gents wearing wolf furs – hunters by their demeanour. Turns out they were personally responsible for the majority of the furry ornaments around the town. I decided to see if the cryptic message in our shared dreams had any references they recognised. The den of wolves in the hills overlooking a mountain lake and the Mother Night references they believed refered to a known haven of a werewolf pack that had some sort of shrine to the Night Mother (some form of deity they worshipped). I managed to get them to agree to guide us there for thirty-five gold pieces, twenty up front, the remainder on arrival. We sealed the deal with a round of drinks.
By now Aris, Pertinax and Rorik had managed to annoy a well dressed couple of young men (from the close resemblance I’d guess they were brothers). They pair left the Inn with a few dirty looks back at my companions, I know trouble when I see it and they have a capital T.
And that was where we left it. Poor Josh’s Grund had fallen prey to voracious undead but thankfully his corpse was destroyed before it too could rise to swell their ranks.