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.
The party destroyed the Heart of Sorrow (“Don’t go breaking my heart,” sang Strahd), and fought off an assault by animated halberds and vampire spawn, only to face the big dude, Strahd himself!
Poor old Steve K’s wizard was made into mincemeat by Mark’s Goliath Barbarian after Mark was mind-controlled by Strahd (“Kill the wizard next to you!”). Steve realised the gravity of his mistake after he decided to take shelter from the melee by sitting next to the Barbarian. Doh.
Everyone tried to knock Mark back to his senses, but in the end they had to put him down (knock him unconscious) to stop him trying to kill William’s Dragonborn Paladin.
I was very impressed by everyone’s tactics and witty repartee:
- “New boss says I have to kill you, old boss,” cried Mark to William, as he threw a javelin at the spider-climbing paladin, hitting him. “Great shot, Rock,” replied William, encouragingly.
- Dan’s halfling Monk used some skilful manoeuvres to make sure as many of the vampire spawn were caught in the light of his sun sword as possible, and scowled like the devil when the DM sent more vampire spawn into the fight (Cheer up, Dan, it was an epic battle!).
- James’ used his summoned elemental Xorn to turn his enemies into chowder.
- Steve K used his Fireball spells very effectively to whittle down the vampire spawn’s resistance and take out the Heart
- Dan’s monk fell 160 feet to the bottom of the tower and came out all good! Thumbs up, monky monk!
The session-long battle ended with Strahd ducking his tale between his legs and nicking off to recover!
Next week – quite possibly the final chapter in this long campaign! Due to his lack of a living character, I’m letting Steve K play Strahd and he won’t be holding back. Prepare for doom or gloom. Or something better.
After much discussion and a short rest the party decided to take the fight to Strahd before he had a chance to recover too much from the last battle.
Mark’s Goliath Barbarian recovered from being mind-controlled, William’s Dragonborn Paladin lead the charge (quietly, but with his armour giving everyone away), Dan’s deformed Halfling Monk was keen to stun and the NPC Kasimir/Lashnikov wanted to get on with it (“I just want to raise my sister!” he bemoaned constantly).
Down to the catacombs they rushed, down into the tomb of Strahd’s parents, where they used a portable pit from the Paladin’s Robe of Useful Items to get past a wall of blue light. There, they found and confronted Strahd. After a huge battle (actually, a bit of a fizzer since they had him in sunlight from the Sunsword all the time), Strahd was dispatched in 3 rounds. Damn it, Steve K – Strahd has more than just fireballs, y’know!!
The heroes watched as Strahd dissolved into dust, then saw the spirits of Sergei (Strahd’s slain brother) and his long lost love Tatyana reunited, the mists over Barovia clear and the sun shine for the first time in centuries.
Mark’s Barbarian promptly announced he was the new king of Barovia and that he would be a kind and benevolent leader, with the ‘law of the rock’ to replace all current legalities.
Kasimir raised his dead sister, who turned out to be a right cow.
Dan’s Monk and William’s Paladin headed home through the mists.
—The End —
And so ended the Curse of Strahd, a very enjoyable face-to-face campaign run in a games shop with a variety of people ranging in numbers every week from 4-9 players. I’ll no doubt run it very differently if I ever do it again (especially the ending – from that point on I made sure I ran all of my endgame boss battles. Delegation is cool, but sometimes it’s not lol). But that’s the fun of D&D – every campaign is different, and as long as it’s fun, that’s all that matters.
So, what’s next? How about Tomb of Annihilation?
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