I’m currently DM’ing a Curse of Strahd campaign for some friends. These posts will act as a journal of their progression, challenges, and victories.
Read the whole series of posts here.
The party left the Vistani encampment via a dirt road. However they found themselves at the base of Tser falls, a great waterfall spilling into the canyon below. One thousand feet up was the bridge, but no way to reach it from here. Studying the map, they backtracked.
On the way back to the Vistani encampment, they were set upon by three wild mountain folk. The mountain folk were hardy, but retreated in the face of overwhelming strength.
After half a day’s travel, the party reached the Town of Vallaki. They decided to bee-line to St Andral’s Church, hoping that they could leave Ireena there safe. They passed by The Blue Water Inn, a Stockyard with a colourful carnaval wagon parked in it, a shop proclaiming itself to be Blinksy Toys, and the town square. In the town square were numerous occupied stockades, with crudely made donkey masks placed on the prisoners. Guards were pulling down flyers talking of a festival named THE WOLF’S HEAD JAMBOREE, and replacing them with flyers of THE FESTIVAL OF THE BLAZING SUN. One of the guards, they noticed, had a horrifically burnt and demonic appearing arm – he did not notice the party.
They entered the church, and told Father Lucian Petrovich of their hope that Ireena would be safe here. Quietly, he told them that the church was no longer safe. That the bones of St Andral had been stolen from beneath the chapel, and he had kept it secret from the town to prevent widespread panic. He suspected the grave digger, Milivoj, but due to his temper did not wish to confront him. He said that the only two who were aware of the bones were himself and an altar boy named Yeska.
They questioned Yeska, and when a horrifically burnt Half-Orc named Rend gave him his toothiest smile he wet himself. He admitted to telling Milivoj about the bones. The party decided to question Milivoj indirectly.
Milivoj was outside tending to the cemetery. They shared a bottle of wine with him, and he downed most of it himself. He was gruff, but the party liked him. If asked questions he didn’t like, he would grip his shovel more tightly as if it were a weapon.
The party returned to the church, were many townsfolk had gathered. They talked to some of them, trying to get a clue as to what was happening. But no clues came to light.
With nightfall approaching, they decided to spend the night at the Blue Water Inn. Ireena paid for a room for the night, and the party settled in drinking. They drank heartily with two wolf hunters named Sioldar and Yegeni. They suggested the party try to sell their dire wolf pelts at the stockyards. They discussed the alcohol on offer with Danika Martikov, who was serving in the tap room. She admitted that their stock was getting low, that they had not had a delivery from the local vineyard (Wizard of Wines) for longer than expected. The vineyard is ran by her husband’s father (Davian Martikov, father of Urwin Martikov. Often known as “The Old Crow). Urwin won’t talk to his father, but Danika asks the party if they could investigate and make sure nothing has gone afoul.
At dusk, a colourfully dressed half-elf entered the taproom from the stairs. His name was Rictavio. Upon seeing his cane, the party wondered if he was the “Wounded Elf” that Madam Eva spoke of. He was friendly and open, though Rolen did not seem to trust him. He talked of travelling from far off lands and collecting history of Barovia as a passion of his.
The party asked him about Madam Eva’s reading – Ricatvio admitting that he had desired to meet Madam Eva but had not done so yet. He had no idea about a “Wizard’s tower on a lake”, saying in all his travels he had seen no such thing in Barovia. For the “Tower with the golden knights” he suggested Tsolenka Pass, but warned that the weather was especially cold up there, and they would need many layers of fur to survive the journey. For the “Wounded Elf” he laughed saying he was as fit as he ever was, but it would likely by Kasimar – a dusk elf in the Vistani encampment outside of Vallaki. The Vistani in this camp were not to be trusted, and were not much better than wild animals. He decided that they would have to fight their enemy alone as being complete balderdash – friends who opposed The Devil were everywhere in this land. And the “beating heart of the castle” was an obvious reference to Castle Ravenloft, but he himself had not been there yet nor did he plan to.
With that, Rictavio ordered a few apples and a wolf steak and left – saying he was sharing a meal with his beloved Drusilla.
Milivoj drank heartily at the inn, and staggered home drunk. Rolen and Rend followed him, to learn where he lived. After he entered the house, he locked the door. The party searched around the house for a way in, but none presented themselves. As they were about to leave, Milivoj stumbled outside with a chamber pot. He poured it’s contents in the gutter, and proceeded to add more vomit into the gutter. As he turned around to enter the house he saw Rolen, who cast Hold Person on him before he could react. They dragged him inside and closed the door.
They searched his home, but only his sleeping siblings were there. They then carried him back to the graveyard, terrifying the lad. They interrogated him, and he admitted to stealing the bones – he was paid to do it by the coffin maker, Henrik Van Der Voort. They freed him, and returned to the inn to sleep.
The next day they knocked on the coffin makers shop, only to hear a yelling voice telling them they were closed and to go away. They forced a back door, and found the coffin maker in a state of terror. He admitted that he was forced to do it, and that the bones were upstairs, but he was too scared to go up there.
The party searched, and found the bones in the bottom of his wardrobe. But they weren’t alone, they were set upon by Vampire Spawn. Rolen cast Turn Undead which scared two off, but another 4 entered the room. They grappled and bit at him, eventually knocking him unconscious and close to death. Diesa and Rend managed to force open a boarded up window, hoping the sunlight was keep the vampires away – but although they flinched it did them no harm. They realised that the fog kept full sunlight from harming undead. Rend cast thunder-wave, shattering most of the wood in the bedroom but doing
little damage to the vampires. Diesa leaped from the window with the bones in hand, and started sprinting directly for the church.
Rend picked up Rolen’s body as Ireena battled with the spawn. They heard heavy bootfalls as guards kicked in the front door and started coming up the stairs. Rend retreated to the open window, and Ireena tackled him out of it – Rend casting Feather Fall so that they took no injury.
The guards closed the door to the shop, and burnt it to the ground – killing the Vampire Spawn. They arrested the coffin maker, and took the party in to ask a few questions.
Diesa returned the bones, and the priest quietly returned them to their resting place. The rest of the party were questioned, but did not mention anything about the bones. Ireena was not among them, as she had disappeared into the crowd. They were released and told to make no trouble for the festival tomorrow.