Shadow of the Vampyr

PROLOGUE: TODHAUS
SESSION ONE
  1. A Tiefling Sorcerer and a Gnome Cleric camp for the night and find themselves surrounded by thick fog. When they wake they soon realize that they are no longer in familiar country.
  2. A Human Rogue and a Lizardfolk Barbarian soon cross the path of the Tiefling and Gnome, they decide to travel together as there is safety in numbers.
  3. A thick eldritch fog begins to manifest and seems to purse the four westward along the road until they reach a massive gate which opens of its own accord as they approach.
  4. The gate seems to act as a barrier against the fog, holding it at bay for the moment.
  5. Further down the road they hear desperate cries echoing through the woods.
  6. They discover that the cries come from a young boy named Thornboldt who stands in the middle of the road near a lone manor with his sister Rosavalda. They fear for their safety because their parents have been gone for several days, leaving them alone with a "monster in the basement."
  7. After some investigation the four decide to rid the home of the monster and rescue the children's younger brother Walter. 
  8. The Barbarian attempts to strike Thornboldt when he becomes panicked at the idea of  being forced to re-enter the home.
  9. Both children make horrid, unearthly screams as they are sucked into the house.
  10. The party explores the mansion.

    1. The lower levels are impeccably cared for.
    2. There are several secret rooms and doors.
    3. There is animated armor that attacks.
    4. There is a Spectre of a Servant Woman.
    5. There is a hidden room revealing that the people of the house have a dark story.

      1. Gustav Durst, the children's father had an affair with the Nursemaid (spectre) who had a stillborn child (Walter). The Nursemaid was killed and then haunted the home.
      2. Gustav and his wife Elisabeth were members of a cult that sacrificed humans in the name of Dark Powers.

        1. The Vampire Lord Strahd Von Zarovich wrote the Dursts a letter that outline his contempt for their lowly cult.
        2. They locked their children in their bedroom where Rose and Thorn starved to death.
           
    6. A secret staircase leads to a dungeon below the mansion. There are many features within.

      1. A crypt for each member of the Durst family.
      2. Dead cultists in the form of Ghouls.
      3. Ghostly chanting echoes throughout.
    7. The party retreated back up to the house proper to rest before continued exploration.
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Act One
Barovian Nights

After taking an hour to rest and gather their resources the party continues their exploration of the catacombs beneath the mansion. They make the following discoveries.

  • There are more crypts – these ones with the names of Rosevalda and Thornboldt Durst.


    • Both crypts have empty coffins.
  • A set of stairs leads down towards a chamber with thirteen niches in the earthen walls.

    • Each niche has an item that looks ominous and potentially magical but each one appears to be mundane when investigated closely.
  • A ramp leads downwards into a room submerged in a shallow pool of murky water.

    • The next room is a large stone chamber with an ominous sacrificial altar in the center.
    • The ghostly chanting is revealed to be coming from thirteen shadowy figures in dark robes  – they are saying “He is the Ancient, He is the Land”
    • When Daraxis steps up to the altar the chant changes to “One Must Die!”

      • Daraxis steps down and the chant changes to “Lorghoth the Decayer, we awaken thee!”
      • A pile of refuse – bones, bugs, mold, fungus, slime – comes alive and attacks.

        • After several close calls the party successfully defeats it and the shadows disperse.
    • They explore the remainder of the catacombs.

      • There is a wooden statue of Strahd
      • There is a prison chamber
      • There is a bedroom with defeated adventurers’ equipment.

        • Gustav and Elisabeth Durst attack – they are Ghasts, a more malevolent form of Ghoul – and are defeated by the party.
  • Upon leaving the basement level, the house itself turns into a deathtrap but the mists have dissipated.

    • Fireplaces belch poisonous clouds of smoke, doorways turn into ghostly scythes, and the walls crack.
  • With some injury, the party manages to escape and the house grows quiet and suddenly appears to be in near-ruins as if it aged hundreds of years in an instant.
  • The party continues their progress westwards.

After several minutes’ travel they catch the smell of decay in the wind ahead and they discover a corpse clutching a crumpled envelope.

  • Darastrix speaks with a nearby Raven about the corpse and learns that several “bigwolves” killed the man and ran off without eating the body. The Raven agrees to help them keep watch as they travel in exchange for a “shinyshiny.”

They travel safely and soon reach civilization in the form of a small town in the shadow of an ominous mountain. They sell off some of their treasure to a local shopkeeper and they learn several things about the town of Barovia

  • Many of the townspeople are unnaturally dour and depressed.
  • They meet a woman who is weeping to an extreme degree over her daughter’s disappearance several days earlier. She is convinced that “the Devil Strahd” has taken her captive and is will turn her into a vampire.
  • They meet a young man named Ismarck Kolyanovich, the son of the recently deceased Burgomaster of Barovia.

    • He is drinking at a tavern, mourning his father’s death three days prior.
    • His sister Ireena has –for unknown reasons- become a target of Count Strahd von Zarovich.

      • For two weeks Strahd’s minions assaulted their home at night.
      • The stress eventually resulted in their father’s death.
      • Ireena was charmed by the vampire and invited him into their home.
      • Strahd has fed on her twice but all has stopped coming after the Burgomaster’s death.
    • Ismarck wants to escort Ireena to a better fortified town to the west called Vallaki.

      • Ismarck will not take her without protection from adventurers.
      • Ireena refuses to leave until her father is buried in the Borovian Churchyard.
    • The party agrees to help with the burial and act as Ireena’s escort.
  • At the church they meet a priest named Donavich

    • His son Doru is locked in the church basement.

      • He disappeared nearly a year ago when a mage inspired many Barovians to take up arms against Strahd. The Vampire defeated them all and Doru recently appeared at the church as a vampire spawn.
    • Donavich locked him in the basement and prays day and night for a cure to Vampirism.

      • He will not allow Doru to be hurt in any way.
    • Donavich agrees to bury the Burgomaster at dawn, as is their custom.

      • He also invites the party to see the cemetery at midnight.

        • Every night spectral ghosts of hundreds of adventurers march up to the castle Ravenloft and throw themselves into a chasm.
      • He advises that everyone who stands against Strahd meets one of two fates – they become like Doru or like the Ghosts.
    • He advises the party to take Ireena to the city of Krezk in the far east of the valley and shelter her in the Abbey that is located there.
  • With the Burgomaster buried Ismarck begins the preparation for their departure.

They decide to travel to Vallaki and there they will make a decision about staying there or continuing onward towards Krezk.

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Loose Threads

Loose Threads…

  • (BAROVIA)(VALLAKI)(KREZK) Find a safe place for Myrtle
  • (BAROVIA) Deal with Vampire Doru in the church’s undercroft
  • (BAROVIA/UNKNOWN) Find Gertruda for Mad Mary
  • (VALLAKI) (ONGOING) Plan your vampire hunts with Rudolph Van Richten
  • (VALLAKI) Explore Blinksy’s Toys
  • (VALLAKI) Investigate the manor that "hates itself"
  • (MT GHAKIS) Investigate the Amber Temple with Kasimir
  • (UNKNOWN) Find the Lore item (Miser Card)
  • (CASTLE RAVENLOFT) Confront Strahd in Castle Ravenloft (Ghost Card)

    COMPLETED
     
  • (VALLAKI)Explore the windmill “Old Bonegrinder”
  • (VALLAKI)(KREZK) Decide on where to hide Ireena Kolyana (Currently in St. Andral's)
  • (VALLAKI) Find your ally (Illusionist card) Rictavio/Van Richten
  • (VALLAKI) Find the keeper of the holy symbol (Beggar Card) (Kasimir the Injured Elf)
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Tarokka Reading
The Prophecy of Madam Eva

THE MISER

“This card tells of history. Knowledge of The Ancient will help you better understand your enemy…
Look for a fortress inside a fortress, in a place hidden behind fire.


THE BEGGAR

“This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope…
A wounded elf has what you seek. He will part with the treasure to see his dark dreams fulfilled.”


THE ILLUSIONIST

“This is a card of power and strength. It tells of vengeance: a sword of sunlight
A man is not what he seems. He comes here in a carnival wagon. Therein lies what you seek.”


THE ARTIFACT

“This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness…
Look for an entertaining man with a monkey. This man is more than he seems.”


THE GHOST

“Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him!
Look to the father’s tomb.”


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