Over the last few months I’ve been posting some warts-and-all email summaries of the Curse of Strahd campaign I ran in 2017. This is the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Some of the summaries may be dull, some may be amusing; some are written in present tense, some in past tense – these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them, but I warn you: I’m not Mathew Mercer and this is not Twitch.
At Tsolenka Pass, the party’s wagons had mysteriously disappeared (well that’s what you get for leaving things unattended), but Strahd’s carriage was waiting for them. After a much needed long rest to recuperate from the demon battle, the party jumped in. Steve’s evil Wizard’s two pet hell hounds came along for the ride, smoking up the carriage with their infernal breath, Mark’s Barbarian drank all the courtesy Brandy, Kazimir complained as usual and Dan’s evil Monk whinged about wanting to get back to Vallaki to recover his wagon.
Vallaki turned out to be a deserted ghost town. The party picked up two old NPCs at the ruined church, who had been hiding in the hallowed undercroft – Ismarck and Ireena! They joined them in the already-cramped carriage and headed off to Ravenloft.
Along the way the party jumped ship and headed into the village of Barovia, where many of the refugees from Vallaki had re-located. Mark’s Barbarian bought a climber’s kit at horrendously overinflated prices. Dan’s Monk decided she’d had enough of the pricing structures in this valley, broke into the provisioner at night, killed the poor bodyguard/assistant and owner and stole all their money (she was evil, after all).
Back to the carriage, patiently waiting at the crossroads. Off to Ravenloft, where (of course) it was dark, raining and with lightning flashing everywhere. Across the drawbridge only to have green slime drop on them, in the front door (after lots of discussion about other approaches), then a face-off with Rahadin, Strahd’s Chamberlain, who also happened to be the guy who killed half of Kasimir’s people and sliced off his ears (ouch!). Kasimir initiated the fight and the party ended Rahadin. As Mark’s Barbarian took Kazimir’s sword to throw off the drawbridge (just in case, you know how things come back in this game…), he awakened four red dragon wyrmlings transformed into statues in the foyer. After a gruesome battle (in which the party was burned a lot and Ireena was toasted – AGAIN), the PCs elected to return to the village and lick their wounds.
After recovering at the Old Bonegrinder Windmill (it was closer than Barovia village), the party returned to Castle Ravenloft.
Going back in through the front door (as you do after deciding not to scale the building or use any of the other entry points available), they moved to a corridor of statues, where James’ Fighter/Wizard conjured up a number of minor elementals (ice mephits) to battle a bunch of animated swords. After the mephits were summarily eliminated, the party finished off the swords.
The party found a chapel and a cool magic item (The Icon of Ravenloft). Mark’s Goliath Barbarian and William’s Dragonborn Paladin, who had become very close over the last few weeks, decided to spoon on the altar (it being the safest place in Ravenloft for a short rest). Dan’s crazy halfling Monk decided to sit around and wait.
James’ Fighter/Wizard summoned more mephits (dust mephits, this time) and decided to split the party and go upstairs – solo – to the balcony 50 feet above and fight two Strahd Zombies there. After whipping their butts, James’ Fighter/Wizard moved on to explore, discovering corridors (and fighting a vampire dummy), an empty throne room and a secret corridor. He then headed up to the battlements where he ran into Strahd’s animated armour, which had fun with his mephits and sent James’ Fighter/Wizard finally running back to the party.
The party, now rested, decided to climb the tower stairs to find the Heart of Sorrow. “There it is, up above! Let’s get it…”
To be continued…
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