Cast of Characters
Mordecai, a Cleric-7: Adam
Forlorn, an Elf-5: Bo
Mister Moore, Magic User-6: Mike
Shy, a Fighter-6: JR
Leonidas the Paladin-5: Nogal
Digit, the Elf Thief-7: Z
Konstantine, Magic User-5: Smitty
Ireena, a Fighter - 5
Phat Kobra, a Dwarf-5
Grumble the Smug, Halfling-5
Vlad the Inhaler, Magic User-1
In which the party learns about the ancient sorceress Iggwilv, and makes plans to find her lost trove of treasure… and a request for Wiki software recommendations near the bottom. Hold tight folks, here comes an exciting yarn of logistics, diplomacy, planning, and library research - the very Meat and Drink of High Adventure. The kids were banging their heads on the table by the end of this one. "Pounds, rations, and mules, oh my", grumbled Nogal.
While opening trade negotiations with the Flannish highlanders down in the river valley, the party learned their old enemy, the witch known as Grizelda (Auntie G), was heading into the Crystalmist Mountains with her troop of orcs, trolls, and gargoyles, seeking the lair of the legendary sorceress Iggwilv. They didn't know anything about Iggwilv, other than she once owned a book of Evil Chaos, so they headed home for the distant valley of Barovia to research in Strahd's old, but voluminous, library.
But first, Mordecai reach out to Cadman, the chieftain of the hill folk, to see if they could hire a few sturdy mountaineers (level 1 Rangers) to accompany them back to Barovia and act as guides. Boris the Druid did his best to infiltrate the druids of the hill folk to see if there would be a backlash against Mordecai's healing of the chieftain and the boss's subsequent adoption of the new faith and decision to build a church. There was a high druid that counseled the chieftain, and each of the 10 clan leaders had their own druidic advisors. As a group, they conspired to take no immediate action against the new chapel, but to influence the various clan chiefs to ignore the new church for now and watch it disappear through neglect, especially with Mordecai returning to Barovia.
Days later, back in Barovia, the party got a sizeable info-dump as they consulted Forlorn, their 200+ year old Elf, and also surveyed Strahd's library. The elves remembered well the tyranny of Iggwilv, when cartloads of tribute were sent into the high mountains and the powerful sorceress cast a shadow over Geoff, Sterich and Keoland. She was the most powerful wizard of her age, binding demons to her will and documenting her methods of demon summoning in a notorious tome, The Demonomicon. The player conveyed to the others it would be bad if it fell into the hands of Cyris Maximus, an avowed servant of the demon prince Orcus; the book would give his apparent new ally, Calcidius, the ability to open a demon gate for the prince.
Further research indicated Strahd himself had been seeking Iggwilv's lair, a place called Tsojcanth, a hundred years ago. He was ultimately driven out of the mountains by a powerful holy man, and compelled through divine power never to set foot out of Barovia again, consigning the land to Strahd's powerful curse. But the players discovered that there should be a gnome valley within 50 aerial miles of Barovia, and this would be a landmark towards finding the ancient mountain called the Horn of Iggwilv, the location of Tsojcanth.
There were details about the treasures, something about a magic lantern, stuff like that. Surveying the map, the party theorized they had a fair shot at finding Tsojcanth ahead of some of the other questing, supernatural villains - Cyris Maximus, Calcidius, the Witch, the Red Duke, and the Prince of Lost Dreams. Plans were quickly made to secure the barony while they were gone, and they loaded rations, feed, horses, mules and gear, and prepared to set out (it took about a week for preparations).
Boris used the time to go find an animal companion (level 1 Druid spell), a hawk, with the hopes that he could use Speak with Animals and training to get the animal to do some long distance scouting out in the wilds.
Forlorn had been reading a book liberated from Death Mountain and the Orcus cult, The Book of Unspeakable Shame, and after months of reading it, it was complete. (The Book of Unspeakable Shame traces all the way back to LOTFP's Death Frost Doom). He would either be permanently feebleminded by the blasphemous knowledge, or ascend to godlike wisdom; Forlorn now has a 25 wisdom. But he possesses wisdom that know mortal should own, and a cloud has passed over his heart. Forlorn drew twice from the Deck of Many Things a few months ago, and both times he selected The Flames, indicating the presence of a powerful enemy in the world.
Perhaps the demon prince Orcus doesn't want his book in the hands of a mortal Elf? Muhaha.
We've had a couple of sessions now with heavy book keeping and planning, as we transition into mid-level play and domain ruler ship; we're considering setting up a campaign wiki so the players can work out their domain details and equipment lists and whatnot during the week, maximizing time at the table. Does anyone have experience with Obsidian Portal, or have recommendations for simple (cheap or free)Wiki software? Thanks!