We are back! My goal here is to give a few highlight reels of my party’s playthrough of Curse of Strahd catching us up to where my group is currently, that way I can dive into full session breakdowns!
Without further adieu here we go!
Sitting in a quaint Inn, the party were approached by a robed rider, who carried a plea for help from Barovia’s town burgomeister (hint this wasn’t actually sent by someone looking for help). Buttkiss, feeling it his duty to help got the group organized and they set out immediately, traveling into the woods, the party is soon engulfed by a mysterious fog. After walking for several hours in this dense fog they realize the woods look slightly different, and they begin to hear the howling of wolves.
As they travel at increasing speeds, they begin to catch sight of a pack of massive dire wolves pursuing them, terrified the party flees, coming upon the gates of Barovia, which swing open in welcome to the party, not ominous at all…
Sprinting thru the gates their wolf pursuers are blocked on the other side. Nearby they saw the colorful tents of the Vistani, celebrating around a bonfire. Joining the celebrations the party soon had their fortunes read by Madam Eva, with a fortune telling deck I made!
For those of you familiar with the Curse of Strahd adventure you know I jumped the gun a bit on the party meeting Eva, but I really wanted to do the fortune telling the first session to give the party some momentum and direction.
The fortune reading:
Card 1: “This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy.”
The Monk– The treasure you seek is hidden behind the sun, in the house of a saint.
Card 2: “This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope.”
The Charlatan– I see a lonely mill on a precipice. The treasure lies within
Card 3: “This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight.”
The Bishop – What you seek lies in a pile of treasure, beyond a set of amber doors.
Card 4: “This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness.”
The Seer – Look for a dusk elf living among the Vistani. He has suffered a great loss and is haunted by dark dreams, Help him, and he will help you in return.
Card 5: “Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him!”
The Darklord – He lurks in the depths of darkness, in the one place to which he must return
Pretty cool. After this the party rested and then the next day headed into the run down town of Barovia.
Once in Barovia, the party found Ismark, son of the burgomiester who supposedly sent the letter for help. Unfortunately, Ismark claimed his father sent no such letter, and had been dead for several days. Taking the party home to his manor, there the party met Ireena, Ismark’s sister, who has been being hounded and pursued by the devil of Barovia himself Count Strahd von Zarovich. The manor showed signs of frequent attacks by Strahd’s servants.
On the trip to the manor, the party passed a house with a woman loudly crying inside, while Buttkiss wanted to investigate the rest of the party was adamant to not bother whatever was making the noises.
Resting in Ireena’s and Ismark’s manor, the party felt very uncomfortable with the knowledge that the corpse of their dead father rested in the living room. The next day the party had agreed to help bury the father, and then wished to help find Ireena some true shelter.
Unfortunately for the party, their night’s rest would not go undisturbed. Eogan, visited with nightmares of the burgomiester rising from the dead, decided to investigate the body. Not trusting to the corpse to remain a corpse, the savage barbarian smashed the body repeatedly with his double handed maul, smashing the head and chest.
Roughly at this same time, a group of Strahd’s Zombies began to assault the mansion, tearing down the boarded up windows and attempting to batter their way in. While the zombies were slow, there were a lot, and their numbers began to push the party back. Buttkiss, using his Protection versus Evil spell, was nearly impossible for the zombies to hit, and stood at the center of the swarm, slashing and slaying where he could. The rest of the party was being pushed back by the waves of monsters.
Right when it began to look like the party may push back the monsters, Buttkiss saw a finely dressed nobleman standing outside the window, smiling, and asking if he could come inside. Failing his charm save (at this point we hadn’t realized that Protection versus Evil protects versus this) Buttkiss invited the kindly gentlemen inside. This was of course, the Count Strahd himself.
Thanking the Paladin for his politeness (the niceties must be observed) Strahd casually strode into the mansion, which was met by the terrified groans of the already greatly weakened party. Three massive dire wolves also leaped into the mansion. Shaking off his charm, Buttkiss met the furry beasts’ charge with one of his own, giving the lead she-wolf a tremendous cut.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party began to fire shots into the melee attempting to hit the wolves or Strahd.
Not wishing to see his pets further injured, Strahd used one of his legendary actions to charge forward and open palm hit Buttkiss in the chest, dealing half the paladin’s health with one strike. The paladin, terrified, slumped to the ground, feigning being stunned, realizing this foe was far beyond him.
At this point the rest of the party realized they were greatly over-matched; however, unfortunately this revelation came right when it was Strahd’s turn. Smiling wickedly, the vampire raised his hand and shot a fireball into the crowded room, destroying the remaining zombies but also knocking out Mikhail and greatly damaging Eogan.
Terrified, Occulus, deciding that it was time to “Cheese it” closed the door in the face of the bleeding out Mikhail, as Eogan also fled the room, sprinting to the up stairs of the mansion. Occulus, fled into the room housing the dead burgomiester, hiding under the corpse, which he noticed had been oddly smashed.
Haita, realizing that Strahd was after Ireena commanded Ismark and her to follow him and sprinted upstairs, barricading the three of them in a library. Eogan, in the meantime hid underneath a bed.
During this chaos, Strahd calmly strode past the incapacitated ranger and began to stride up the steps to follow Ireena and the remnants of the party.
Buttkiss, faced with three massive wolves, and already half dead, decided to continue to play dead. The wolves watched him, but seeing him not moving left the house thru the window.
As Strahd climbed the stairs, the panicking Haita began to push furniture and anything he could in-front of the door, preparing to make a heroic final stand. Eogan remained shaking under his bed.
Occulus, getting a spark of inspiration, yelled out, “Ireena, quick, while he is upstairs lets run outside,” passing his Deception check, convinced Strahd that they had run outside. (I think he rolled a Nat 20 for Deception!) With a flurry of movement Strahd burst down the steps leaving the mansion, but saw there was no one outside. Amused, Strahd realized he would need to regain an invitation to the mansion, since he had just left it. Turning into a bat, the vampire flew off, planning to return at a later date.
Having heard Strahd left, Buttkiss rushed to his dying companion and stabilized the ranger, one turn before the man bled out. Whew!
Right well that gives some great insight into my first two sessions! I remembered far more details then I thought I would, so it looks like I will need to break these into a few recaps. I hope you have enjoyed this overview so far. The battle with the zombies and Strahd, as you can probably tell, was a great deal of fun and really helped set the tone for the adventure.
For those of you playing CoS how and when did you first meet the beast? Did anyone end up dying?