Chilled by Strahd’s determined taunts, the Associates ran as quick as they might to the stairway and up. First Kosef and Brundle, then Baräsh, Ireena, and Gimble. They needed to depart Victor’s physique the place he lay. There was no time for ceremony or commiserations. As Gimble Timbers reached the underside step, he might hear the growl of one of the Hell Hounds because it handed via the door throughout the room. He turned simply because the hound roared a blast of hearth, uncooked and untamed, in his path. Gimble Timbers screamed.
Final night time was session 78 in our on-line Curse of Strahd D&D marketing campaign, and we have been on the run from the dreaded vampire overlord, going from the very highest level of the citadel, proper right down to the dungeon depths.
Beforehand in Barovia…
Our social gathering is exploring Citadel Ravenloft, hoping to discover a approach to defeat Strahd and convey an finish to his tyranny. We’ve got fought him a pair of occasions since arriving, almost besting him the final time we met.
Final session we stumbled upon the Coronary heart of Sorrow, an enormous beating coronary heart that was someway related to Strahd. We destroyed it and fought the vampires that defended it. Within the battle, our wizard Victor died, however earlier than we might do something about it Strahd’s voice echoed across the tower we have been in and we might hear his footsteps approaching.
Nepharon and Associates: The Kosef Division
Kosef – Human Rogue/Wizard, carries the Employees of Frost, performed by me;
Baräsh – Dragonborn Paladin, follower of St. Andell and the Morning Lord;
Gimble Timbers – Gnome Fighter, proprietor of the Solar-Sword, has a pet canine referred to as Kevon;
Brundle Swash – Gnome Druid, will get electrocuted so much;
Ireena – Human Cleric, Strahd’s would-be bride, blessed by St. Andell, NPC.
The Kosef Division of Nepharon Associates. L-R: Ireena, Gimble Timbers, Barash, Kosef, Brundle Swash, and Victor
“What have you done!” Stahd’s determined, disembodied voice rang out. The footsteps grew louder and, as Baräsh reached the ground, he might see the silhouette of Strahd via the hall past. “It’s Strahd!” he referred to as out, “Run!”
“You fools. You cannot hide from me in my own home. I AM Ravenloft! Besides I’m not done with you yet. I have some old friends for you to be re-acquainted with. ”
Because the session started we needed to determine what to do. Strahd was not distant, however we have been all too harm to struggle him now, and there have been the 2 Hell Hounds to cope with as nicely.
After a really fast dialogue, we agreed to run. There was a door on the second flooring of this tower that led to the roof and we hoped we might discover someplace to relaxation for a minute there. If not, preventing Strahd on the rooftops of Citadel Ravenloft can be a reasonably epic remaining battle.
Earlier than we received an opportunity to flee, Strahd despatched a fireball crashing into the room. Ireena, Gimble, and Baräsh took the brunt of it and solely barely survived. With Strahd sending fireballs from one aspect and two Hell Hounds coming from the opposite, we knew it was time to go away. So we began to make our mad sprint up the spiral stairs that encircled the inside partitions of the tower.
As we ran, we assumed that Strahd was following us. However by the point we reached the second flooring, he was simply standing on the base of the steps staring up, his Hell Hounds mendacity obediently at his ft. There was one thing very disconcerting about the best way our DM described Strahd’s grin.
We reached the exit that lead onto the citadel roof and, simply as we handed by means of the door, one other fireball scorched the body behind us. Strahd was taunting as we ran. “You can’t run forever. I will find you. I will mount your heads on spikes.”
Out within the open
Gimble Timbers was the final onto the roof. He turned to the door simply as one other fireball hit and he took the blast face on. This very almost killed him. In retaliation he yelled an obscenity on the vampire and clumsily laid a forged iron bear lure throughout the doorway, hoping it’d decelerate any pursuers.
We battled towards the lightning, wind, and rain as we dashed throughout a parapet that ran out from the fort’s tower. We have been on a excessive walkway that circled across the maintain when a bolt of icy frost caught the paving stones behind us. With our imaginative and prescient hampered by the apocalyptic climate, we might solely maintain operating. Gimble Timbers stored to the rear of the get together, holding the sun-sword aloft, hoping to maintain again Strahd, ought to he attain us.
Kosef was in entrance and the primary to note an immense tower looming over the get together. It rose excessive above the pitched steeples and furrowed roof of the fort. There was a ladder. Following a quick dialogue relating to ladder physics—in D&D as in actual life, just one individual can scale a ladder at a time—he climbed it.
He pushed his method by way of the lure door on the prime and climbed up onto the very best level of Citadel Ravenloft. He might see out in all instructions, however the storm that was raging made it troublesome to determine any landmarks. There was nothing extra of observe up right here so, after pausing to think about the life decisions that led him so far, he climbed again down the ladder to hitch his buddies.
On the foot of the ladder, a swarm of bats circled across the get together. It didn’t assault; it simply stored flying in circles round us. We knew that Strahd might flip into creatures and swarms like this, so we did some extra operating.
As we ran alongside the excessive passes of the fort, we started to listen to heavy thudding, metallic footsteps behind us, and infrequently, by means of the torrential rain, we caught glimpses of a big determine slowly, ominously, following us.
We have been operating alongside the western aspect of the fort once we handed a bay window that caught out from the primary maintain. At this level the heavy footsteps have been nonetheless shut behind us, so we made a fast, rash determination.
Baräsh dove via the window and the remaining of the get together adopted. Glass shattered because the mighty dragonborn wrestled with the pink velvet curtains. He landed on an ornate rug, and, remembering our earlier periods with the Rug of Smothering, he dealt with it very delicately.
Brundle investigated the room. It was nicely furnished and never dusty or derelict like the remaining of the citadel. There was a big four-poster mattress with curtains pulled within the middle of the room. Pulling again the curtains, he noticed a lady asleep on the mattress. Feeling this was a fragile state of affairs, he stepped again and let Ireena take the lead. She acknowledged the sleeping lady as Gertrude, a younger woman whom went lacking from Barovia. However once we woke her she was clearly underneath Strahd’s affect and never prepared to go away.
Baräsh, being a pious paladin and completely good, couldn’t depart her, so after casting Safety from Evil, he carried her out of the room. We have been going to save lots of her whether or not she appreciated it or not.
Nevertheless, simply as we have been about to go away the room we heard the uninteresting, metallic, thudding footsteps coming from past the smashed window. All of us stopped the place we have been, making an attempt to be at nonetheless as attainable. Excessive stealth checks from everybody meant the determine handed us by.
All of us exhaled closely and, as we exited the room, Gimble Timbers upset a ghost that splashed out from a shower tub crammed with blood, leapt to the ceiling, and scuttled into the shadows within the nook. We determined this was in all probability not a protected place to linger.
Wedding ceremony Room
We left Gertrude’s chambers, with Baräsh carrying her over his shoulder, and ended up in a room Kosef and Brundle had been in earlier than. This room was darkish and dusty and full of cobwebs. It additionally housed a set of wedding ceremony presents for a celebration that apparently by no means occurred. There was a big cake that had been smashed—by Kosef in session 70?—and much extra apart from. The final time we have been right here we didn’t have lengthy sufficient to research completely, so this time we made positive to test it out correctly.
Among the many presents have been two lovely musical devices, a lute and a harp. An investigation examine from Baräsh revealed them to be magical so we every took turns to play, hoping we might activate the magics. None of us rolled greater than 12 on our efficiency checks so nothing occurred. Then Ireena took the harp and rolled a pure 20.
Lovely Music rang out from the harp and blue sparks and lightweight shone from her. All of the sudden a brief man sporting a purple tunic and dunce’s cap appeared earlier than her and stated:
Within the crypt under the citadel,
Thou shalt discover a treasure,
Worthy of one gifted as thee.
It is going to assist put this troubled place
Once we questioned the small man he merely repeated the riddle, solely deviating as soon as to say, “I am Piddlewick, an inventor. A fool I was until my untimely death. I fell from the stairs. Or was I pushed? Yes I was pushed. By my own creation. Beware! Beware! He’ll push you down the stair…”
With these last phrases the apparition pale away and we have been left scratching our heads.
The flooded crypt
Outdoors the storm raged on, because the Associates made their approach to the crypt down under Citadel Ravenloft. They handed by way of acquainted rooms and corridors, the scenes of previous encounters and missed alternatives. A gut-wrenching howl pierced the night time’s silence, adopted by the sound of metallic scraping on stone flooring. Blood-curdling, maddening screams got here subsequent, echoing by way of the halls; it was the sound of struggling. They spiraled down and down till ultimately reaching the shadowed, dank crypt under. Darkish, foreboding water lapped towards the steps. The crypt was flooded. END
We began final night time operating away from Strahd, and for the entire session we didn’t cease operating. It was good to have a purely roleplay-based session—we haven’t had one for some time—and our DM nonetheless managed to maintain the strain excessive.
Enjoying RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons by way of Skype is a good way to maintain a marketing campaign going. Prior to now, we’d have began a recreation with the perfect intentions, however life all the time has a behavior of getting in the best way, making it troublesome to maintain up a weekly and even month-to-month recreation. Nevertheless, with increasingly on-line choices obtainable—we use Skype however there are nice options like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds apart from—all you must do is discover a couple of hours in a night, at some point every week, and you may play from the consolation of your personal residence. So long as you’ll be able to put up with the snorts of derision from relations who stroll previous as you thrust your exalted dagger deep into the enemy Warlock. It additionally means that you could have an entire session with none fight in any respect, as a result of you understand you’ll play once more subsequent week and make up for it then. Typically these roleplaying-focused periods deliver up some of probably the most memorable moments.
What did we study?
DM Tip: When exploring a dungeon like Citadel Ravenloft, there might be occasions when your gamers return to rooms and passageways they’ve been in earlier than; you’ll be able to both do that in the identical superb element as the primary go to or, in the event that they’re simply passing by way of, hand-wave the exploration and have them arrive at their vacation spot with out a lot incident or fanfare. Keep in mind: it’s completely as much as you. On this session, we needed to go from one of the excessive towers right down to the crypt many flooring under. During the last 4 periods, we’ve been up and down these stairs and completely explored some of the places alongside the best way, so on this occasion our DM simply stated, “Sure, you make your way down, through familiar corridors and passageways until you reach the dank crypt below.” He might have had us roleplay every room, preventing issues alongside the best way, however that would have slowed us down or side-tracked us away from our goals, so simply he made the choice to allow us to arrive the place we needed to be.
Participant Tip: Attempt to remember of what the opposite gamers in your group may need to do in sure conditions and don’t be a roadblock should you may help it. It’s rather more enjoyable if everybody will get to do one thing cool, relatively than only one participant stealing the limelight. Nevertheless, when you do go forward and do one thing that your gamers won’t like, be ready for penalties.
Subsequent week we discover the crypt beneath Fort Ravenloft. Will we discover no matter it’s we have to lastly defeat Strahd? Will we make sense of Piddlewick’s riddles? Will our gnomes have the ability to swim in water that’s three ft deep? We’ll simply have to attend and see.
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