Welcome back to another catch up post of my Curse of Strahd campaign. Word of warning, for some reason these sessions are not as clear in my memory as the past ones I detailed, because of this some events won’t be as well described as I would like.
Right, so the party had just gained entry to the walled town of Vallaki. Waking up after a mostly fitful sleep, the group decided to head to the church of St. Andrals. Their theory was this could be a safe haven for Ireena. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the church the kindly priest confided in Buttkiss that the holy protection for the haven was gone. Someone had taken the saint’s bones, which had protected the church for years.
After some investigation, and a little intimidation on Eogan’s part, the party discovered that the local coffin maker had bought the bones off of a grave digger, who had stolen them. Angered, the party rushed to the coffin maker’s house, they had 30 ish minutes of sunlight left, so they reason it would be enough time.
Outside of the house Buttkiss used sense evil, and sensed a great deal of evil radiating from the home. The party knocked on the door; however, they were ignored. Growing impatient, Eogan kicked down the door, and they were greeted by the cowering coffin maker, who pleaded with the party to leave. The party shoved past him, beginning to search the two story house.
At this point, Buttkiss and Eogan began to head to the second story, and seeing his chance, the coffin maker attempted to sprint out of the house. Mikhail, reacting with lightning reflexes shot the man thru the ankle, pinning him long enough for the party to tie him up.
This is where things started to get hairy, Occulus, convinced the coffin maker was hiding something (he would be right) began to question the man. While Buttkiss followed his divine sense, finding the center of the house’s evil aura radiating out of a specific room. Being the impetuous paladin he is, Buttkiss kicked in the door charging in to vanquish the evil, while Tordek loudly protested behind him. Unfortunately for him, the room contained 4 Vampire Spawn, who began to rise out of their coffins.
Eogan, ripped the door off its hinges and rushed into the room, attempting to pin one of the vampires in its coffin. Buttkiss cast Protection versus Evil on himself and strode into the dusty room, swiping at a vampire. Haita, began to shoot blasts of energy at the foes, while Tordek moved to support Buttkiss. Hearing the melee upstairs Mikhail rushed up to help his friends; however, Occulus remained downstairs, questioning the prisoner.
The vampire Eogan was pinning punched thru the door, and began to try to claw the Barbarian. Buttkiss, glowing with holy energy used a divine smite on a vampire, causing a great deal of damage, unfortunately, the rest of the party lacking magical weapons was dealing half damage to their undead foes. Fast forward several rounds, with a little luck the party had vanquished one vampire, while Buttkiss desperately fended off two, one in his front the other on his back, the Protection versus Evil combined with a high AC was saving him, though he continued to take damage here and there. Occulus had finally joined the battle, but he was struggling to make a meaningful strike.
One of the party had fallen unconscious to severe damage, I can’t remember which. At this point Haita missed narrowly with a Eldritch Blast and blew a hole in the poorly thatched roof, letting a line of fading sunlight stream into the room, striking an enraged vampire. This gave the party the idea to destroy even more of the roof, allowing a great flow of light. Eogan, enraged, gappled a vampire, pushing and pinning it into the sunlight. After several more tense rounds of combat, the party was victorious, but only narrowly. The group found and took the saint’s bones, and then walked downstairs to question their prisoner.
The party then questioned the coffin maker, who had been working for Strahd. The coffin maker had been housing the vampire spawn, who were going to attack the church, now that its protections had been removed. Viewing the man with disgust, the group agreed to bring him alive to be tried by the town, but first, with night quickly approaching, and the party very weak, the group would rush to the church and rest there.
After returning the bones to the grateful priest, the party took a much needed rest. The priest agreed to give Ireena shelter. Ismark, eager to continue to pursue vengeance on Strahd volunteered to join the party, they agreed. Disrupting the party’s planning, they heard a loud clanging of a hammer in the town proper. The group walked to see what was happening, Ireena, not one to stay clueless in the church, also joined.
Entering the town square, the party saw Izek Strazni, the vindictive henchmen of the baron of the town, along with a squad of town guards nailing in a sign, proclaiming an upcoming festival. The party immediately was put on edge by Strazni, as he had a mutated demon claw for a left arm.
Izek, glancing at the party became hyper focused on Ireena, demanding that she come with him to his room in the Baron’s home. Ismark and the party drew protectively around Ireena, keeping her from being taken. A scuffle broke out between Eogan and Izek, with Izek insulting the barbarian and striking him. Unfortunately for Izek, Eogan’s short temper wouldn’t allow such insult and he attacked the Izek. Calling for the guards to slay the party Izek and the party clashed.
Buttkiss yelled to his recently summoned Paladin steed, Bastion, to take Ireena to the safety of the church. Ismark, enraged at his sister yet again coming under attack slew two town guards, while Eogansliced left and right, trying to cut his way to Izek, who was drawing behind a line of guardsmen. Tordek and Mikhail, torn between helping their friend and slaying the guards attempted to fight dealing non-lethal damage.
Slaying many guards, but unable to catch Izek, the party withdrew to the church. Unfortunately, soon a group of 20 guards came to arrest the party. Haita, seeking to come peacefully, left the refuge of the church, alongside some hesitant party members, while Mikhail hid in the church, Buttkiss disguised himself as a member of the town congregation, and Tordek smashed out a window to flee with Eogan.
The guards, enraged at the party, slapped Haita to the ground and began to shake him. Unfortunately, the Warlock loss control, unleashing a vortex of unholy energy, slaying the majority of the guards, and causing the rest to flee. The party, horrified at having slain 90% of the town’s guards fled the church, hiding in a nearby town house. While attempting to hide out the night roving mobs of townsfolk searched for the party; however, they remained hidden.
As the night progressed it was Occulus’s turn on watch. The Rogue heard some movement outside the home, and peaked out the window to investigate. He saw a horrifyingly familiar, well dressed nobleman standing by the window, Strahd! I secretly rolled a save versus Strahd’s Charm; however, the inquisitive Rogue was not known for his high Wisdom (in fact none of the party had a great Wisdom). Strahd kindly asked Occulus to open the door and invite him inside, to which the Half-Elf was more then happy to oblige.
Passing a Perception check, one of the party (I can’t remember who) woke up and saw Occulus heading for the door. Failing to beat the quick Rogue’s initiative they watched in horror as Occulus opened the door and invited Strahd in. The vampire strode into the haven, nodding his head in a slight bow of thanks.
At this point the Charm spell wore off and Occulus was horrified at what he had done. The one party member awake yelled a word of warning to the group, while comically scrambling for the back door (In real life total chaos ensued at every party member began to quickly yell out variations of “Cheese it,” “I get the fuck out of there,” or “oh shit, oh shit”). While the party scurried for the back door, Strahd used one of his legendary actions to deal a deadly blow to Occulus, knocking the Rogue out.
As the rest of the party fled, Buttkiss, seeing his friend in danger cast Protection versus Evil and uttered a prayer to his god, then charged into combat, unwilling to abandon his friend. Striking a mighty Divine Smite (I think he crit), the Paladin cut a deep burning hole in the vampire’s side. Despite the horrific damage, Strahd smiled, and the majority of the wound closed up. Strahd then began a flurry of strikes, one of which landed denting Buttkiss’s armor and dealing a great deal of damage.
Meanwhile the rest of the party fled into the alleyway behind the abandoned house they had sought refuge in. Most of the party used a large hole in another house, fleeing into the building, while repeatedly telling each other “Don’t look out the windows no matter what, if he can’t see you he can’t charm you!” As random chance would have it, this house had a trio of cultists attempting to sacrifice a child, which the group quickly put a stop to.
Haita; however, feeling bad at abandoning Buttkiss and Occulus began to look for a way to circle back behind Strahd. During this time, Buttkiss had used all his Lay on Hands and was on his last leg, with Strahd still going strong. Things were looking grim for the Paladin, though Occulus had managed to stabilize himself. Buttkiss managed to survive yet another round of combat, literally only thanks to the Half-Orc toughness ability, staying up with 1 hitpoint! At this point, the gallant Paladin apologized to Occulus, making a break for the street, leaping on the back of his plucky mount Bastion, galloping off into the distance. Strahd, amused drew back to suck the life from Occulus; however, at this point Haita shot two well aimed Eldritch Blasts which struck the fiend of Barovia, distracting him from feasting on the Rogue.
Haita yelling out, “Oh shit,” quickly turned tail and ran from the advancing vampire, ducking into a nearby house. Scanning his new surroundings Haita saw a family having been suddenly awakened by the intruder. The frightened Warlock put his finger to his mouth to shush the family; however, outside they could hear Strahd approaching, taunting. The vampire began to chant an arcane spell, and Haita started sprinting for the front door trying to get the family to flee too. Suddenly the side of the building was blasted apart by a fireball, consuming a side of the house in a fiery orgy of destruction. Terrified the majority of the family survived fleeing for the alleyway, leaving behind several family members, including a small child. Haita, looked back guiltily; however, he saw a second fireball streak forward and dove into the alley way, just as the second ball of fire consumed the rest of the house, collapsing it.
Shaken, the Warlock ran back into the original hideout, dragged Occulus’s unconscious body back into the building for the rest of the party, and rocked back and forth terrified, as he heard Strahd walking thru the alleyway taunting. Soon the vampire grew bored and left, flying away on his nightmare.
Relived but shaken, the party regrouped in their new hideout, and were soon joined by Buttkiss. And this is how I ended my 6th session of Curse of Strahd and seems like a good stopping point for this recap, I hope you enjoyed it.