In which the dead are spoken to, a father is left to decide his son’s fate and hunted comrades are tracked across Mount Ghackis.
Kuru talked up the three Vistani ladies who owned the Blood of the Vine Tavern.
“Judd, what is the name of the tavern?”
“Blood of the Vine…”
“Of course it is…”
They learned that the previous team had been driven from town for assaulting an old lady who is a witch – the bad kind, that the Vistani saved Strahd when he was mortal and some serve him as penance for helping create such a devil.
Trundle, when he entered the inn, offered a prayer against fiends (his chosen enemy) in Infernal. Just a nice bit of color that I loved.
Also, we learned that Jusko’s family, the Hajeks, rule a city in the west, Vallicki.
These details didn’t mean anything today but I adore them and sometimes they end up being THE thing that changes the campaign. Ya never know.
The team witnessed the March of the Dead, in which the ghosts of adventurers who have fought Strahd and died rise and march to re-live their deaths as they walk to Castle Ravenloft.
They dug up the body of one of their former comrades from another team, Dylan was a warlock. Strahd ripped out his heart with his bare hands. When they asked Dylan how he suggested they proceed he said, “Don’t. This mission is folly. Pay the Vistani whatever they ask and make your way to Gloomwrought. From there you should be able to make your way home eventually through the Shadowfell…”
They learned that the previous team had headed west to find something called the Amber Temple on the western slopes of Mt. Ghakis.
They found Father Donavich holding his son, Boru, in the undercroft while sobbing. The boy, inspired by strangers recently in town. After some discussions about morality and such, they decided to chalk this up as a local conflict and leave it be. They vampire-bitten young man had gone berserk right about when Bugwump cast Leomund’s Tiny Hut (scrying doesn’t penetrate the hut).
As they left, the priest to the Morninglord was sitting atop the undercroft door, sobbing quietly.
They tracked the previous team as they went off the road and headed west. They team left glyphs to let any other Outlands Expedition Teams know that they were headed to the western slope of the mountain and that they were being hunted by something following them.
One of the awesome players at our table suggested that these glyphs teams leave for one another are an off-shoot of thieves’ cant; so rogues can often tease out more details or leave more nuanced messages.
The pack of werewolves hunting the team (7 in total, Trundle the Dwarven Ranger could tell) suddenly headed westward, up the mountain. It didn’t make much sense. They found a barrow adorned with goat and deer skulls where one of the werewolves was interred, having been killed by silver arrows and a pit trap and some more silver arrows. Helewyn wisely dug out the silver arrows.
Next week we begin with the pack trying to flank a lone archer on an old goat path known as the Blood Moon Path.
This game being a mission, where they want to get their comrades out and get back home to Sigil has changed the tenor of the game. Destroying Strahd is a tertiary goal. The team is very willing to leave situations be and not get embroiled in what they see as endless local nonsense. They are invested but they have their eye on the prize – getting their friends out. Very interesting…
Today’s shirt reads: “I survived the Satanic Panic and all I got was this t-shrit, creative lifelong friends and a love of fantasy, history and literature.”