Apache Vampire

A Horse is A Horse Of Course Of Course
And no one can talk to a half orc druid, of course

In Barovia, Ismaark suggests trading for horses with the Vistani since it will take too long to get to Vallaki without them.

They go down Old Svalich Road and reach a crossroads. There is an old gallows and blank gravestones. As they leave, Rakanishu sees himself swinging from the gallows, dead. Nobody else sees this grisly vision.

They found the Vistani camp and the men standing watch advised them to speak to Madame Eva. She mentions something eerie to each of the members of the party, things she could not have known about them. She does a tarokka card reading for them.

  1. The Traitor: This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy. Look for a wealthy woman. A staunch ally of the devil, she keeps her knowledge under lock and key, with the bones of an ancient enemy.
  2. The Monk: This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope. The symbol you seek is hidden behind the sun, in the house of a saint.
  3. The Avenger: This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance. The weapon lies in a dragon’s house, in hands once clean and now corrupted.
  4. The Innocent: The card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. Your ally is not who she seems. Born of the mists, she knows not her own past or her strength.
  5. The Seer: Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him! He waits for you in a place of wisdom, warmth, and despair. Great secrets are there.

They ask for more detail and get none. Ireena seems disturbed by the reading. Ismaark trades for two horses and a cart. The party joins some vistani by the fire. Dalinar keeps watch hidden in the woods. The vistani tell them the story of the cursed prince who came to them for aid when he was injured, and granted them safe harbor in his lands once he was returned to his home. The vistani said they were waiting for adventurers to free the prince of his curse. The drink and the warmth of the fire made them drowsy. They sleep through the night but the vistani are gone when they wake up. Kozac communes with a horse and becomes a horse. They check out the Tser Falls. Vannah carves “Vannah was here” into a tree.

They backtrack to the high road and reach a canyon with a bridge. There are mossy stone gargoyles on either side. Balthazar licks the moss. It tastes humid. Dalinar sneaks down the bridge. Spatula casts an illusion to make it seem like nobody is on the bridge from the other side for extra stealth. They make it past the bridge uneventfully.

They reach another crossroads. There is a black carriage with two black horses drawing it. A man steps out. He says he heard rumors of adventurers asks if that was them. They ask his identity, and he introduces himself as Strahd von Zarovich, the lord of these “cursed lands”. He mentions he is also cursed. Spatula checks on Ireena and Ismaark in his compact mirror. They seem dazed and their eyes are glazed over during this interaction.

Strahd gives them open invitations to dine with them at Castle Ravenloft. He gets in his carriage and leaves. Once he is gone, Ireena and Ismaark look around and seem confused. Ireena asks if that was Strahd and if he invited them to dine with him. She vehemently refuses to go to the castle. She strongly suggests they do not go either. Spatula asks “What is it he did to you again?” And Ireena says “He sent his minions to attack my house!”

The group decides to drop off Ireena at Vallaki, get paid, and then go to the castle for dinner.

On their way to Vallaki, they notice a disturbance in the woods and are accosted by bandits. Vanna attempts to intimidate them by pulling out the wolf’s heads. They step back but don’t run away, asking to be paid gold instead of demanding it. The party refuses and a fight ensues.

During the fight, Vanna is knocked out. Spatula has magic surges that cause him to shout and to have three copies of himself. Kozac surprises the bandits by attacking and they are very confused why this horse has it out for them. Dalinar jumps out of the woods to save the day with his rogue super powers. One bandit and Rakanishu are locked in a duel where neither one can hit the other. Vanna is healed by balthazar and taunts the bandits saying “These wolves put up a better fight than you.”

Dalinar finishes off the last bandit by cleaning out his ears with a dagger. They loot the bodies and find some delicious gold. Balthazar wants to take the bodies with them to be buried. Ismaark looks very uncomfortable about this. The party builds cairns for the bandits instead. That was nice of them.

They continue to Vallaki. They convince the guards that they aren’t vampires. The guards tell them about several interest points in the town and about the festival of the blazing sun.

In the town square, they witness a man and two guards replacing posters. The old posters are about a Wolf’s Head Jamboree, the new posters advertise the Festival of the Blazing Sun. The man explains that the Burgomaster throws these festivals every few days and attendance is mandatory. Ismaark runs into the bank to withdraw money for the party and pays each of them 300gp. They begin to discuss where to go next.

Welcome to the Village of Barovia
Our little slice of horror :)

Our inscrutable heroes found Kozac unconscious under a tree; he awoke with no memory of how he got there. They followed the sound of the echoing sobbing and, on their way, found the Blood of the Vine Tavern. Inside were three women playing cards and ignoring the party. The barkeeper welcomed them in monotone, saying “Welcome to Blood of the Vine Tavern, where all our wines are blood red.”

A young man sitting at the bar named Ismark welcomed them heartily. He bought drinks for them as he asked for their help “moving some heavy items.” He said he didn’t feel comfortable discussing the details there, but would tell them everything at his mansion. The party decided to investigate the town further and come back later.

They found the source of the sobbing: a woman named Mary who claims her daughter Gertruda was taken by Strahd, but did not actually witness anything. Mary told them Gertruda is 13 and blonde. Not able to get much useful information out of her about Gertruda’s supposed abduction, they continued on.

Vannah entered Bildrath’s Mercantile down the street, and checked the price of a bow. Bildrath carried mediocre weapons at a hefty price. She offered services as payment, but Bildrath refused. Dalinar strongly considered stealing from the merchant (for justice, obviously), but Vannah convinced him to move on.

Ismark took them to his mansion, which had evidence of claw marks and scorch marks, and boarded windows. A young woman opened the door, who Ismark introduced as his sister Ireena Kolyana. They learned that the house had been attacked by Strahd’s minions every night for weeks. Three days ago, the stress of the attacks had overcome their father Kolyan Indirovich, and he died from a heart attack. The body has been kept in a coffin in their side room, since none of the villagers were brave enough to help them move the body. Ismark and Ireena ask for the adventurers’ help in taking their dead father to the church to be buried. Afterwards, they asked for an escort to Vallaki in order to escape Strahd.

They carried the coffin to the church, where they found more claw and scorch marks. Upon entering, they heard a voice coming from below the church yelling “Father! I am starving!” The pews in the chapel were destroyed, and the priest was praying at the altar. He seemed disheveled and sleep-deprived. He insisted on burying Kolyan at dawn, as per tradition.

The party searched the church and found a locked trapdoor to a basement. Dalinar handily picked the lock, and they found a man trapped below. Baring his sharp fangs, he hissed “I can smell your blood!” They learn the man is the priest’s son, Doru, who Ismark says supposedly died a year ago. Suspicious that Doru might be a vampire, Spatula pulled a piece of garlic bread from his pouch and tossed it at him. It did nothing. The results of the experiment were inconclusive.

Vannah used a spell to communicate with Doru from a distance, and asked him about Strahd. All he revealed was “Strahd is my master!”

Donavich the Priest claimed that the church is safe from attack, despite the markings being recent. Dalinar intimidates him and Vannah charms him to see if he is lying, using the old Good Cop Bad Cop routine, but he believes the church is safe. Donavich revealed that. Doru stormed Strahd’s castle a year ago with a group of angry Barovians, and returned home changed. Donavich had kept him locked up ever since, hoping that prayer would one day change him back. He has never fed him blood.

They asked Donavich to make holy water in his charmed state and he complied, saying “Anything for you, friend!”. They took the holy water into the basement and splashed Doru with it. He screamed and disintegrated as if burned by acid. They convinced Donavich to bury Kolyan at that moment, in the midafternoon.

One Must Die
Is that a giant pile of garbage? Oh no it’s just your FACE

Spatula tried to mess with the swirling shadow orb that the statue was holding and ended up running away from the spooky shadows that appeared. The only place left to explore were the stairs going down, so down they went, following the ever-growing sounds of the eerie chanting. They found a large room with an altar closed off with a gate, and an adjoining prison area. They inspected the prison and found Rakanishu, who had disappeared earlier, and a woman named Zyllana who was rightfully suspicious of these weirdos. Both had been shackled somehow, and did not recall how they got there.

After checking the walls of the prison, they found a hidden door leading to the altar room. The room had a shallow pool of water surrounding the altar, which Spatula acrobatically backflipped onto to avoid touching the water. Balthazar thought it was a good idea to drink the gross trash water, and began hallucinating immediately. Once Spatula was on the altar, the chanting changed to “One must die.” They tried to trick the spooky voices with a skeleton, but the spooky voices were too smart for that. When they attempted to leave without making a sacrifice, the Shambling Mound in the corner sprang to life and attacked.

During the battle, Spatula tried to electrocute the monster, but shocked Zyllana instead, who was pissed about that retaliated. After a short battle, they emerged victorious and left the altar to go up one floor. When climbing, they managed to lose Kozac. Sure is easy to get lost in this spooky dungeon.

They made it back to the crypt area where they entered the basement, but found that the way was caved in. After some searching, they found a secret ladder leading upwards. At the top of the ladder was another trapdoor. Spatula was suspicious and threw his shoe through the trapdoor to see if anything would attack them. When nothing happened, they opened the door and found themselves on the third floor of the house. They saw that the house had changed, as if to keep them from leaving. The doorways had changed to swinging scythes, and the fireplaces had smoke billowing into the rooms. It did quite a bit of damage, but they managed to escape the house alive.

The house was now decayed and rotted compared to the houses around it. The children outside before were nowhere to be seen. All they heard was disembodied clapping, which was gone as soon as they had heard it. Then all that could be heard was the echoes of distant sobbing.

Vicious Mimicry
I was in the pit. You were in the pit. We all were in the PIIIT.

Our intrepid adventurers next explored the hallway adjoining the room with the statues. Spatula found a hidden spike pit by falling into it. After pulling him out, ghouls attacked them. Spatula cast an illusion to cover the spiked pit and to show a flashing sign which read “Injured Halfling This Way” to lure the ghouls into the spiked pit, which worked because ghouls are dumb.

After dealing with the ghoul threat, they backtracked to explore another room which appeared to be the quarters of an important person in the cult. Dalinar was intrigued by the large wooden chests in the room, and attempted to open one for research purposes. This awakened a ghast that exploded from the wall, who bore a resemblance to the man in the paintings they saw upstairs.

They defeated the ghast and took a rest, and woke to find a bard woman looking for her cousin, Vanna. Her name was… Vannah. They told Vannah the bad news about Vanna, and teamed up with her. She tried to open the door to the quarters to leave and… got stuck. Because the door was a Mimic in disguise, oh no!

Angered, Vannah viciously mocked and taunted the door for all it was worth. She informed the door that its mother was a hamster, and its father smelt of elderberries. The mimic couldn’t stop crying, its self esteem ruined forever, and was defeated. They left the quarters and entered the room with the statues.

Ghosts, Gricks, and Good Riddance to Traitors

The party found stairs to get up to the attic. Balthasar explored another room in the attic, and found the remains of the nursemaid. He inspected the remains and discovered she was stabbed to death. Spatula City used a key he had found earlier to open a door in the attic that led to a room. The room had a dollhouse, a toy chest, and the remains of two children, wearing very familiar clothing. Spatula City and Ysuran tried to open the toy chest, which angered the the ghosts of the children. The ghosts appeared before them and yelled at them for messing with their toys. Spatula was briefly possessed by Thorn until another member of the party intimidated the ghost out of his body.

The children lamented about their loneliness and said their spirits were lingering because they did not have a proper burial. Spatula and Ysuran offer to find their crypts to bury their remains and the ghosts agreed happily. The children revealed to them there was a stairway to the basement down the hall, which they could see on the Dollhouse.

On the way down to the basement, Balthasar took the nursemaids remains down to the first floor and left them there. In the basement, they found the family’s crypts. Spatula was able to pull the crypt door aside to bury Rose even when nobody else could. Then Spatula shot a thunder blast through the door of Thorn’s crypt. Ysuran acrobatically tossed Thorn’s remains through the hole into the coffin, where they landed perfectly (SWISH). He received a high five from the ghost before it disappeared.

The group continued to explore the basement. Dalinar entered a dining room area and saw some Gricks hanging out in an alcove, then backed away before they noticed him to wait for help. The party fought the two gricks. The beasts dealt some serious damage to Rakanishu but they made it. They rested uncomfortably on a picnic table before moving on…

When the party woke from their rest, they noticed that Balthasar and Rakanishu had disappeared without a trace. They continued to explore the basement. Down the hall on the other side of the crypts, they found some abandoned bedrooms. They eventually got the chests in each room open, and received various treasures. Spatula City bought Kozac’s eyepatch, so that he could sew his diamond into it and then wore it.

Vanna drank from the well in the middle of the quarters. Then she dropped a silver coin down the well and wished that her family and farm will be avenged. Spatula went down the well with Dalinar’s help. The chanting was amplified down the well and Spatula was stunned in fear. They carried Spatula while he was stunned, and went down the corridor but found one path blocked by a Wall of Force. They continued into a Shrine.

Walls of force suddenly blocked the exits. Vanna pulled Ysuran to one corner of the room and shouted “My wish will be fulfilled. I will avenge my carrots! And my family.”

Ysuran also shouted at the group: “You fools! You were all brought here by Strahd, don’t you see that? Didn’t you sense the sinister force all around us? It’s obvious that I am the only one worthy of his gifts!”

Vanna cast Spike Growth on the ground in the room, making the terrain difficult and painful to cross. Ysuran cast Gust of Wind to keep the party from attacking immediately, and it pushed them through the spikes. Spatula shouted over the wind “This is different from the Vanna I knew!” and could not sense anything strange about her. She yelled “The Vanna before this was a facade!”, her face contorted with rage. He replied grimly “This means war.”

Ysuran animated a skeleton to assist him in attacked Samurai Jack, who had been able to hold his ground against the gust. Kozac used vine whip to bring Vanna closer to him so he could attack her. This broke her concentration on the spike growth spell, and the terrain improved. Kozac beat Vanna ruthlessly with his club, and her life began to fade. She shouted “Prince, why have you forsaken me!” before falling unconscious and eventually bleeding to death.

Spatula turned his skin blue and cast Chromatic Orb to attack Ysuran, which broke his concentration on the gust spell. Ysuran managed to deal a killing blow to Samurai Jack with magic missiles before Dalinar snuck his way to Ysuran and stabbed him through the eye socket. The rogue stabbed the traitorous wizard one more time after that for good measure. Kozac made short work of the animated skeleton. An ominous, disembodied laughter filled the hall and the walls disappeared, leaving the exits clear.

Once the threat had passed Dalinar turned to the party, exhausted, and shouted “What the hell just happened?!”

Into the Death House

Vanna Helmsong, Spatula City, Rakanishu, and Dalinar met another group who were swallowed and transported in the fog. They were Samurai Jack, Kozac, Ysuran Auondril, and Balthasar. Ysuran said “hey” and that meant they were to adventure together. Rakanishu licked the stone wall and discovered it tastes like stone. Ysuran checked for any creatures hiding on the path and found nothing.

The group ventured down the path to the town under the cliff. All the houses, shops, and taverns were boarded up and had no lights in the windows. They encountered two children in fine clothing standing in the road across from a large house. One was an 8 year old girl and the other was a 5 year old boy. Rakanishu sensed something undead in their vicinity. The boy was whimpering and clutching his doll. The girl answered the group’s questions, and they learned:
There is a monster that their parents keep in the basement of the house
The children were never allowed in the basement, but they can hear the howls of the monster
There is a baby on the third floor whose name is Walter

Spatula City tried to be thrown onto the third floor balcony. Rakanishu threw him but he just hit the ground. Samurai Jack also threw him and he hit the wall of the second floor.
The group walked inside the house and explored. Balthasar kept a close watch on the children, checking in on them when he could, but they stayed outside.

On the first floor, Dalinar picked the lock of one of the cabinets in the den and took a crossbow. Ysuran looked at a tapestry depicting a dog hunt in the den. He saw the dogs were frothing at the mouth from rabies and the flesh on the faces on the hunters were decaying; he went temporarily mad from the scene and ran outside to eat some dirt. Vanna Helmsong searched the dining room and noticed that the carving on the wood panelling had twisted faces and wolves among the trees. It frightened her so badly, she hallucinated a friendly spider to make herself feel better. Spatula City found a dumbwaiter in the kitchen he could fit into. Samurai Jack hoisted him up to a servants room on the second floor.

On the second floor, the group found a library with a desk and chair. Rakanishu cut the legs off the chair because he doesn’t like chairs. Spatula City started pulling books off the shelves to try and find his brother in them, and found a book-shaped switch that opened a secret door. In the secret room, they found a treasure chest with a skeleton inside. The skeleton was someone who had triggered a poison dart trap inside the chest and died. It was clutching a letter signed by Strahd Von Zarovich.
Ysuran inspected the tomes in the secret room and found that they were rituals for the cult of Osybus, but the spells were bogus.
Across the hall on the second floor, Vanna Helmsong explored the conservatory. She looked at some figurines on the mantelpiece and discovered that they were well dressed skeletons. She was stunned from fear for a short amount of time. Kozac played the harp in the conservatory just for kicks while Vanna was stunned. Having left the library and entered the hall, Spatula City touched the painting of the Durst family and started screaming for 10 minutes like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E6d5j3qrss

Something freaked out Ysuran in the second floor hallway, and he fled to the third floor. While running in terror, Ysuran was grabbed by 1 animated armor which cleared his terror. The group caught up to Ysuran and defeated the armor. Kozac explored a closet and discovered two angry brooms, which he slowly backed away from. Down the third-floor hall was a nursery with a black veiled crib, just like the children had told them. Spatula City unwrapped the bundle in the crib and found the skeleton of a baby. His disturbing the remains summoned an angry specter. Spatula was able to speak to her though she was enraged. While distracting her, he stealthily and totally on purpose cast invisibility on the rest of the group. He learned from her:
She was the nursemaid of the family and had an affair with the father of the family, Gustav Durst
Rose and Thorn, the children of the family, are dead
Her baby, Walter, was sacrificed for the cult

Something very disturbing indeed is going on in this house…

Wolf Hunt

Vanna Helmsong, Spatula City, Rakanishu, and Dalinar happened to arrive at the same tavern at the same time, and all took on a bounty listed on the notice board there:

There is a pack of wolves causing mischief in the woods near Daggerford.
The party that brings their heads to the Lord of Daggerford will receive 500gp each.

The barmaid in the tavern told them that the wolves had been terrorizing the village folk. Children who had wandered into the forest had gone missing, assumed to be taken by the wolves. The only other strange thing happening lately was a pervasive fog that had settled in the town. The group decided to enter the forest to find the wolves. Spatula City made howling noises so that the wolves would hopefully find them more quickly. Vanna Helmsong lit a torch to help guide their way through the fog.

After traveling down Daggerford Trail into the forest, they walked through a heavy fog. They noticed the trees had changed and Vanna Helmsong noticed the dark red sap running down the trees like blood. The group (except Dalinar, who is potentially the wisest of them) took turns licking the sap, learning that it tasted metallic like blood but was still, in fact, sap.

Further down the trail, they encounter a wolf pack headed by a Dire Wolf. The Dire Wolf had glowing red eyes and could cast a Shield spell to protect itself. During battle, with the pack, the Dire Wolf did not attack the party but simply watched them. Spatula City helpfully cast confusion on himself, Rakanishu, and Dalinar during battle. After defeating the rest of the wolves, the Dire Wolf disappeared in the fog.

The party attempted to turn back down the road with the heads of the wolves to claim the bounty, but encountered a grove of trees on the path that had not been there before. Spatula City tried to set the trees on fire, but the humidity of the fog and the presence of sap made this impossible. Dalinar jumped into the trees to scout and learned that the town of Daggerford was nowhere to be seen, and all around was forest.

Seeing no other path but the one ahead of them, they pressed on. They came upon a gate flanked by large stone walls and humanoid stone statues, which opened as they approached. The group warily moved into the gate. Spatula City attempted to climb one of the doors for some reason but failed. As they entered, the gate slammed shut behind them and pushed them inside. Trapped inside the gate, the group decided to camp since the sun was setting and Dalinar kept watch.

In the horizon, they could see large cliffs with a castle atop it overhanging a small village about two hours away…


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