Cast of Characters:
Mordecai, a Cleric-6: Adam
Forlorn, an Elf-4: Bo
Mister Moore, Magic User-5: Mike
Shy, a Fighter-5: JR
Leonidas the Paladin-4: Nogal
Digit, the Elf Thief-5: Z
Phat Kobra, a Dwarf-5
Zeke, a Fighter-4
Grumble the Smug, Halfling-4
Serge, a Fighter-4
Ireena, a Fighter-4
AD&D 1E, I6 Ravenloft
Only a short report for this week - after a full week of writing, I'm glad for it!
Resuming shortly after the butchering of the witches, the group noted that they still had a few hours of daylight left before it would be time to head back down the mountain before night. They decided to visit the crypts and hunt some undead.
The presence of a paladin has dramatically improved their ability to find and destroy the various undead haunting the crypts - wandering the catacombs, the group was able to locate a crypt with wights, and a crypt with a spectre, which they quickly handled. Then they found an old friend returned as a vampire, which was a different story. Here's how it went down.
Mister Moore realized they left Soap's spell book in Soap's backpack when they stuffed Soap and the other 2 dead party members into one of the empty crypts; you may recall, Soap, Arden and Starkweather were all slain by a Banshee's scream a few weeks ago.
The problem was, the paladin was now detecting evil from the area where they left the bodies - the four of them were slumped on the floor where they left them. The players noticed I said 4 bodies instead of 3 bodies, but didn't stop me at that time to take a closer look - instead they proceeded with their plan of sliding the slab off the stone sarcophagus. So when that 4th body started to shamble to its feet, they weren't surprised, but they still lost initiative when they rolled poorly. It was their old friend Barzai, the cleric henchman who was abducted and murdered by Strahd some time ago. (In this case, weeks or even months of "real world time" was only 4 calendar days "in-game", so he was only recently risen as a vampire).
Barzai whined out the expected "I'm so hungry guys, I need your life energy…" that we come to expect from the cliché newly risen vampire, and then he attacked Shy, whose back was to him. Barzai was quickly destroyed, but not before Shy lost a few life energy levels. Vampires are nasty.
After the encounter, they all chimed in that while they clearly heard me mention 4 bodies in the crypt where they expected 3, they thought maybe I misspoke or it was an unimportant detail, and no one spoke up to question it. There's a lesson for you.
By now, it was time to head down the mountain before it got dark; it was snowing again outside, and while it might have been more fun for the DM for them to try and stay overnight in the castle, they persevered with leaving. Their carpenters had fixed the drawbridge well, and the party managed to negotiate the mountain tracks with their horses and wagon and roll into Barovia shortly after dark.