Strahd’s brides snarled and hissed, spitting on the heroes. In spite of the brilliant daylight shining from Gimble Timbers’ sword, they rushed ahead, fearlessly attacking the celebration. They need to shield the grasp. Inside seconds that they had separated, every one specializing in a unique Affiliate. They grappled, bit, and clawed on the heroes, hoping to maintain them off guard.
Final night time was the 80th session in our epic on-line Curse of Strahd Dungeons & Dragons marketing campaign and we confronted Strahd for what might nicely have been the ultimate time.
For the previous yr and a half we’ve got returned to Barovia on a weekly foundation, spending over 160 hours operating blindly round Strahd’s area within the hope that sometime we might be highly effective sufficient to greatest him. Final night time that last confrontation occurred.
Beforehand in Barovia…
The marketing campaign started as a gaggle of adventurers stumbled upon a burning caravan in a area. From there, our group of heroes have been someway transported into Barovia and shortly came upon that Strhad Von Zarovich, evil vampire extraordinaire, dominated this land and wouldn’t let anybody escape. Thus started a marathon quest to seek out the means to destroy Strahd.
Final session, we discovered our method into the crypt under Fort Ravenloft and armed with the information of the best way to kill him, we approached his coffin. All of the sudden his three vampire brides jumped out from the bottom and attacked us.
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;
Brundle Swash – Gnome Druid, will get electrocuted lots;
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
Kosef struggled desperately, as one of the fiendish brides had him by the throat. Brundle and Baräsh fought off one other, defending Ireena, and Gimble Timbers confronted the final one alone. The sunshine from his Solar Sword was agony for the vampire. Her lifeless flesh burned in its radiance and smoke rose up wherever he struck. The stench of rotten dying crammed the chamber.
We began the session in initiative order, carried over from final week. Baräsh went first; he might have used his Divine Smite so as to add additional injury to the brides, however we have been being tactical and saving our huge weapons for Strahd. Brundle forged Shillelagh on his spear and attacked the identical bride; extra techniques—we have been teaming up on them. The place was this strategic considering once we started the marketing campaign?
Kosef, in the meantime, was having issues together with his magical Employees of Frost. For some purpose it was discharging Wild Magic each time he used it—our DM was making probably the most of the enjoyable Wild Magic desk within the Participant’s Handbook, apparently Strahd had tampered with Kosef’s employees whereas we rested final session. The end result of Kosef’s newest wild magic impact was that he would now teleport 20 ft in a random course on the finish of each flip. At the very least this meant the Bride he was preventing couldn’t get a grip on him.
Nevertheless, it was Gimble Timbers who was doing probably the most injury right here. He carried the Solar Sword, which was dealing an outstanding quantity of injury to the vampire brides simply by being of their neighborhood. They every took 20 factors of radiant injury each flip the Solar Sword was illuminated close to them. Additionally they couldn’t recuperate any misplaced hit factors and had drawback on all assaults. This was the ace up our sleeve. And by the top of two rounds of fight, the three vampire brides have been lowered to smoldering piles of mud, and so we paused to catch our breaths.
The room we have been in was a darkish, cavernous chamber with tons of alcoves alongside the partitions.
Within the coronary heart of the chamber was a elegant black marble coffin sitting on a stone plinth. It had gleaming brass fittings that appeared to glow within the half-light.
With an air of finality, we approached the coffin. Madam Eva’s prediction rang in our minds: “Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose power is beyond mortality. He lurks in the depths of darkness, in the place he must return to.” That is the place we have been destined to face Strahd.
Gimble Timbers took the lead. The Solar Sword he carried was glowing with sensible radiance while filling his thoughts with the will to destroy the vampire. As we stood across the coffin, Baräsh stepped ahead and, with a pure 20 on his power examine, flung the lid of the coffin away from the plinth so it smashed on the bottom. He seemed inside simply as a wash of necrotic power burst out of the tomb. Baräsh was caught with a Blight spell and took 37 factors of necrotic injury, however all he noticed was the visage of a well-dressed man slowly descending by means of the ground. “Strahd, you coward! Come back!” he referred to as.
A disembodied voice instantly crammed the room. Laughing. Strahd appeared behind us, his stealth verify of 29 beat our passive perceptions so we didn’t discover. He forged Fireball at us, clustered round his coffin.
Visibly wincing on the radiance of the Solar Sword, Strahd had risen up, by means of the ground behind us, and forged Fireball. Then initiative started. In fact Strahd was first. He was additionally inside his Lair and had Legendary Actions he might use. This meant that in a single spherical of fight, when every of our get together might take only one flip, he might successfully act six or seven occasions. This was going to be a troublesome battle.
However he was within the presence of the Solar Sword, nevertheless, and like his brides earlier than him this triggered vital disadvantages. So over the course of the primary two rounds he spent most of his further actions making an attempt to wrestle the weapon from Gimble Timbers’ grasp. He additionally punched the gnome repeatedly and forged Blight on Baräsh once more.
Throughout these first two rounds we spent our turns therapeutic ourselves, coping with the ghoulish minions he had referred to as up from the bottom, and, in Gimble’s case, being repeatedly punched.
Strahd vs. Gimble Timbers
By the third spherical of fight, Gimble Timbers had taken the brunt of 4 huge Strahd punches, a Blight spell, and Strahd’s fixed mocking, and was now very low on hit factors, however he by some means resisted all Strahd’s makes an attempt at disarming the Solar Sword. What’s extra, Strahd had managed to summon sufficient minions to distract the remaining of the social gathering in order that it was solely Gimble Timbers dealing with him.
As Strahd forged one other spell, Gimble Timbers reached zero hit factors and fell unconscious. The gnome fell to the ground and dropped the Solar Sword, inflicting the brilliant radiance to be extinguished. Strahd heaved an audible sigh of aid—that was 20 factors of injury per flip and drawback on all assaults. With that out of the best way, he turned his ire in the direction of Baräsh, who had simply defeated one other of his ghoulish minions.
An entire spherical handed earlier than Gimble Timbers needed to roll a demise saving throw. The principles for demise saves are easy. In your flip, you roll a d20. Should you roll decrease than a 10, that’s one fail. Three fails and your character dies. In the event you roll three successes (10 or larger) you’re unconscious however secure (not lifeless). For those who roll a pure 20 on any save, you instantly regain consciousness with one hit level. Luck was definitely with us final night time as on his first demise save, Gimble Timbers rolled a pure 20.
Strahd has already turned to face Baräsh and was preventing him, because the indomitable gnome fighter rose up behind him. Gimble Timbers grasped the Solar Sword and reignited the blade. Strahd screamed. “Ahh! Now, Arnie! I need you!”
Baräsh and Gimble Timbers have been now engaged with Strahd. They have been preventing madly, whereas the remaining of the social gathering handled Strahd’s summoned minions. As soon as the ghouls have been out of the image, all of us started to give attention to the vampire too.
Sensing the tide had turned, Strahd referred to as forth one other ally. One our DM was clearly excited to see in motion. From the bottom close to Kosef and Brundle, an enormous fist punched by way of the stone paving. A thundering roar got here up from the bottom as a 12-foot-tall zombie big smashed his approach into the battle.
This was Arnie. An enormous zombie our DM had concocted as one of Strahd’s remaining bodyguards and was role-playing just like the Terminator. Brundle and Kosef’s consideration fell away from the vampire as they battled the undead big. The mixture of a Grease spell and Greedy Vine incapacitated and restrained the enormous. However he quickly broke free. Though, because of the Grease spell, he didn’t handle to get near the 2 celebration members; we thought we have been protected. Then Arnie began casting a spell. Clearly this was no peculiar undead zombie big.
It forged Cone of Chilly dealing each of Kosef and Brundle 36 factors of injury. In return, it acquired a retaliatory Cone of Chilly from Kosef’s Employees of Frost and a Lightning assault from Brundle. Arnie didn’t survive the 2 assaults.
As soon as Arnie was out of the image we might all flip our consideration to Strahd as soon as extra. This battle had gone on for fairly some time now and we have been all wanting worse for put on. Each Kosef and Gimble had fallen unconscious and been revived a number of occasions by Ireena who was doing a implausible job at holding us within the battle. However we weren’t the one ones who seemed crushed up.
Strahd had been taking rather a lot of additional injury from the Solar Sword every spherical and had now given up making an attempt to disarm Gimble Timbers; as an alternative he was utilizing all his further actions to wail on him and Baräsh as a lot as attainable.
When Gimble Timbers fell unconscious for the third time, dropping the Solar Sword as soon as extra, it seemed like Strahd may get away, however fortunately Baräsh was available. He had been saving his high-powered Divine Smites for this very second. He struck Strahd with two third-level Divine Smite hammer blows, dealing virtually sixty factors of radiant injury—which Strahd is especially weak to. Strahd let loose a demonic wail and tried to show and flee, however he provoked alternative assaults from each Kosef and Brundle. Moments earlier, Gimble had been revived by Ireena and, as Brundle struck the deadly blow, Gimble Timbers ignited the Solar Sword as soon as extra.
Strahd’s physique exploded in a ball of mist. For a second, it appeared to type the form of an previous man’s frail physique, dragging itself again into the coffin. The mist started to sizzle and evaporate within the sensible mild of the Solar Sword. Then it become steam and pale away. END
We’re all in shock. Did we simply kill Strahd? Is that the top? Our DM has stated there shall be a session subsequent week, so we’ll simply have to attend and see.
What did we study?
DM Tip: By no means underestimate the facility of magical gadgets. The battle with Strahd would have gone an entire lot in a different way if the Solar Sword wasn’t in play. Which is why Strahd’s tactic from the beginning was to attempt to disarm Gimble Timbers. However identical to actual life, the machinations of evil vampires don’t all the time go to plan. Additionally, should you assume a battle is perhaps too straightforward, there’s nothing improper with adapting—or altering totally—encounters in a pre-made journey. With out the additions of Arnie and a few summoned ghouls to distract us on this battle, we might have been capable of overwhelm Strahd in only a couple of rounds with out a lot worry of failure. Nevertheless, because it occurred, including in these further monsters meant our consideration was cut up and this gave Strahd a much better probability of survival.
Participant Tip: Reserving your greatest assaults for the final minute can work rather well and add an actual sense of theater to a last boss battle, however provided that you keep in mind to make use of them. Fortunately for us, Baräsh did keep in mind his degree three Divine Smite, nevertheless it wouldn’t have been the primary time if one of us had forgotten to make use of a cool energy or important potential.
Subsequent week we’ll see what the aftereffects of Strahd’s demise are. We’ll additionally need to attempt to escape the Citadel, which appears to be crumbling round us.
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