Friday, September 2, 2011

Gothic Greyhawk Game 38

Cast of Characters:
Mordecai, a Cleric-5: Adam
Forlorn, an Elf-4: Bo
Mister Moore, Magic User-5: Mike
Soap the Wizard, Magic User-4:  Nogal
Shy, a Fighter-4:  JR
Arden, an Elf-2:  Z
Phat Kobra, a Dwarf-4:  Jeff K

Henchmen:
Zeke, a Fighter-4
Starkweather, a Thief-3
Grumble the Smug, Halfling-4
Serge, a Fighter-4
Ireena, a Fighter-4

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AD&D 1E, I6 Ravenloft
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The Day After The Banshee Screamed…

Sasha the filthy Vampire Queen was gone, but so were three long term characters - Soap, Arden, and Starkweather.  The group quickly came back down to the reality of the situation; it was early evening, the dead were walking, and they would either need to spend a harrowing night in the castle or try to make it down the mountain in the dark.

They composed themselves, formed a new marching order, and wended there way out of the crypts, upstairs to Gertrude's suite to survey the fireball damage and plot how to escape.  Previously they had rappelled into the courtyard from the battlements just outside Gertrude's window (to bypass the guardian dragons in the entry hall).

The fireball had destroyed all of the fine tapestries, the four-poster bed, and scorched most of the room, but the vaulted ceiling wasn't on fire; now frigid wind and flurries swirled around the room, since the fireball had blown out the 20' length of windows and the room was exposed to winter.  Outside, snow was piling up on the battlements and large flakes drifted out of the sky.  They decided descending blind down the mountain side, in a blizzard, at night, was a bad idea.

It was at this point, taking stock of their equipment during the mountain climbing analysis, someone realized they never took equipment from their dead companions - the three dead companions, replete with spellbooks and magic items still in place, whom they left in the middle of the corridor 3 levels below in the crypt.  They hurried down various spiral stairs back to the crypt.

They first looted the bodies for magic, but the funny thing was, no one could remember the function of Starkweather's magic ring.  Forlorn put it on.  No sooner had Forlorn disappeared from sight than they all remembered - this was the goofy ring of invisibility that attracted nearby undead.  Putting such an item on in the depths of Castle Ravenloft proved to be unwise; the first energy-draining vampire came screaming into the corridor before Forlon even slipped the ring from his finger.

They quickly beat down the lone vampire, especially now that Shy was armed with the Sun Sword (10 extra damage per hit vs Vamps), but not before Forlorn was level-drained to level 1.  Ouch.  The party chose not to pursue the fleeing mist form, instead stuffing the bodies of their companions into the nearby crypt and making tracks back to the upstairs suite.  They secured a secret room not far from the study and chose to camp for the night, holding lonely vigil in the haunted castle and listening the sounds of distant shrieks, hoping to pass the night undetected.

Morning had brought a deep blanket of snow covering the outer world, but sunrise also drove the undead back into their dark holes.  I’ll skip the logistics of the trip out of the castle; the group carefully descended, and trudged down to the village, arriving before noon.

There was a new atmosphere back in town.  As they mingled with the townsfolk, they learned from the gypsies that the fogs in and out of the valley were gone; the centuries old curse was lifted.  The day was brilliant and white, and when the characters reported that they had ended the existence of the tyrant Strahd, they were declared heroes and borne off to the tavern for drinks.  Ireena, the daughter of the old mayor and beloved of the villagers, was quickly nominated to be the new mayor.  It was even suggested she might rule the valley…

Jaws dropped around the table.  Up until now, the players assumed they'd just take over the castle, sans competition.  How could Ireena the NPC swoop in and claim their prize?  "The mayors of the town have always come from my father's family; though I may only be an adopted daughter, it's clear that I am the people's choice."  But then Ireena got a sly look; "But it's also true that the Lady Mayor will need to wed, and a husband would lay claim to the title of Lord of Barovia."

At this point, I told the players I had no idea if Ireena had leanings one way or the other amongst the various PCs regarding a potential romance; they'd all been on adventures together and had ample time for small talk and a bit of flirting, so let's leave it to dice.  If one of the characters felt like they would have tried to get the lady's attention here and there, they could make a 2d6 reaction roll (+ charisma bonus) to see if they had made a positive impression somewhere along the way.  Ireena was previously described as a knockout, so various PCs jumped at the chance.  Mister Moore, the magic user, rolled highest on the reaction roll; he's fit as an ox (18 constitution!  The benefit of 3d6 in order.) with a high charisma - and he's the de facto leader most of the time - seemed plausible .  Ireena called him out, and claimed that if they would wed, Moore would be Lord of Barovia and she would be the Lady Mayor of the village and wife of the lord.

What an unusual turn of events.  Moore agreed, to the groans of some of the other PCs, and the pair returned to the tavern hall to announce a wedding for later that spring - but first, there was still plenty of evil to be cleared out of the castle.  A new day would dawn in Barovia.  Cheers from those peasants that survived Strahd's reign.  But some of the gypsies in the crowd had a downward cast to their features and flashed angry eyes towards Moore; we wrapped the session there, with the group wondering if they should use an ESP potion and try and ferret out the gypsies' intentions now that Strahd is gone.  The players believe the gypsies had some 'unholy alliance' with the vampire lord.

Meanwhile, the other players have some mixed feelings about Moore's wedding.  Moore's player is like, "18 Charisma wife FTW, baby!  Ready to get hitched!"  Whereas some of the devious players are thinking Ireena shouldn't give up her adventuring career just yet; adventuring is dangerous and the future Mrs Moore might have an accident along the way...