Cast of Characters:
Mordecai, a Cleric-6: Adam
Forlorn, an Elf-4: Bo
Mister Moore, Magic User-5: Mike
Shy, a Fighter-5: JR
Phat Kobra, a Dwarf-5: Jeff K
Leonidas the Paladin-4: Nogal
Digit, the Elf Thief-5: Z
Zeke, a Fighter-4
Grumble the Smug, Halfling-4
Serge, a Fighter-4
Ireena, a Fighter-4
AD&D 1E, I6 Ravenloft
Time for a game report! It's been a few weeks since the last session, and we've got a game set for tonight, so I need to hurry up and get out the last report.
Recent events had seen the group return to the village after destroying one of Strahd's brides, Sasha the Vampire Queen. The villagers greeted them as heroes and liberators, but the greatest regard was saved for Ireena, the daughter of the previous mayor. Concerned about losing control of Barovia to Ireena, Mister Moore agreed to marry her; he'd hold the title of Lord of Barovia and she'd be Lady Mayor of the town.
When we resumed last session, the group had returned to the tavern to share the news of the future wedding with the gathered townsfolk. The news went over well, but they noticed some furtive glances from the gypsies. The gypsies clearly had a previous arrangement with Strahd, and it seemed natural they'd be uncomfortable with the changing power structure in Barovia. They decided to put the gypsies to the test.
Mister Moore discretely quaffed his Potion of ESP, and Mordecai conversed with the gypsies while Moore sat a discrete distance away to eavesdrop on their thoughts. This gave them the chance to glean useful information about the gypsy concerns. Seeing as memory of any dialogue is a few weeks stale in my mind, I'll just skip to the results: they moved from meeting the gypsies in the tavern to visiting Madame Eva outside of town; they brokered a deal whereby the gypsies would continue to act as scouts and guides for the new regime and would continue to be paid well
Two threats were emerging as the next obvious targets - they knew of a vampire in the woods that called herself the White Lady and haunted the fields and streets of the village; from the gypsies they learned that Strahd consorted with a coven of witches. The witches were deemed the more immediate threat.
Horses were bought from the gypsies at an exorbitant price, and some carpenters were engaged to head up the mountain with them in the morning; the first order of business was to fix the drawbridge to make it safer to enter and leave the castle. A wagon loaded with planks and lumber was prepared.
I should point out that a few of the players added new characters after they lost their previous ones at the hands of the Banshee a few sessions ago; these travelers were met in the tavern and billed themselves as vampire hunters, and were willing to join BK Inc (the player character's adventuring corporation) in return for shares and the chance to face undead. One of the new guys is Leonidas, a Paladin; the other is Digit, an Elven Thief.
The following morning, the party set out early to ascend the mountain and reach Castle Ravenloft's gate; the carpenters built a ladder to help the group climb the inner wall, and then set to repairing the draw bridge so it could bear future horse and wagon traffic. A few of the PC's stayed behind to help guard the carpenters, while the rest went hunting for the witches' coven.
The witch fight was anti-climactic. Madame Eva had indicated the large tower was where Strahd did his magic rituals with the witches, so the group had a starting point for exploration. Leonidas guided them fairly well to the summoning chamber and confirmed a great evil beyond a heavy door. Concerned with spell casting, Mordecai prepared Silence 15', and when the group won initiative upon forced entry, the Silence Spell proved decisive. A half dozen witches were quickly slaughtered by hand weapons; witches with daggers were no match for heavily armored fighters.
While the party cleaned blood off their weapons, they noticed a weighty tome propped on a lectern near the witches' cauldron. It reeked of evil, remarked the Paladin, but it also looked old and valuable. Unsure what to do with it immediately, Zeke went to pick it up and slide it into the Bag of Holding.
As soon as he touched the book, he begin to convulse and shake in pain, and collapsed to the ground at zero hit points, near death. To be continued...