The Adventure Continues: The Search for Strahd

Last we saw our new band of heroes they were inexplicably stuck in an alternate reality trying to figure out how they woke up in what may well be, not only another place, but another dimension, and more importantly how do they get back!? There we find them in the basement of a long abandoned home trying just get themselves out… 

 

As we return to find our adventurers where we left them: looking for the next place to go and solve their way out of this misty nightmare. While Lythander ventures back up the stairs of this abandoned home to find the skeletal remains that the group found earlier, Andromeda found a quiet place to meditate for a bit with Shamesh waiting patiently near her in the event something unexpected happened. Lythander shortly returned after putting bones in the third, and last casket, that was the only remaining place for a body to be laid to rest.

As they venture further into the lower level of the home, they find a new area to explore; before they enter Lythander dips into the room stealthily to inspect and after some thorough searching he finds a little collection of items including a small sack (made from some type of skin) that had a few dozen gold and silver coins. With nothing left in this area the group ventures in a different direction on the same level and finds an area that is made of dirt walls, separate from the finished look of the rest of the home. It looks and feels almost like a crypt, but crude and not well to do at all. In the walls of this “room” there were dug out caverns of sorts each walled off by stone slabs, save for one particular cavern that was left open with the slab set aside. As they examine the slab closer they find a name etched on the front: “Walter the Durst”. No one in the party has any idea who this person might be;  while Andromeda listens to her companions discuss the slab, she grunts some incantation which seems to be a protective enchantment of sorts and approaches the slab, touching the stone to inspect. The group stopped discussing and watched her intently, unfortunately (or fortunately) nothing happened, and they did not find anything further. 

As they move further and deeper into the basement crypt they begin to hear tantric chanting off further in the distance. Melrick took the lead and headed directly for what was certain to be an encounter with something; before he can even advance into the darkness ahead, four ghouls emerge from the ground in front of them. Seeing the dwarf attacked by the nearby ghouls the instinctive nature of Shamesh triggers and he moved to put the ghouls at a disadvantage defending his companion, but it’s not enough to protect the stunty warrior and the dwarf is quickly laid low; the heroes are shocked, but steady themselves to fight. Before the dragonkin priest lunges forward to try and save Melrick, he is touched by a protective aura from Andromeda. After Shamesh is out of the way, Andromeda sees Melrick on the ground and immediately makes her way to the fallen dwarf and cures his wounds bringing him back to the battle; now ready for action, after a quick playful tug of his beard by the the little girl, Melrick was back on his feet… not than anyone around would notice him standing! Meanwhile Bent who was trying to lay back at a safe distance was still unaware of what was going on up ahead still trying find his way toward the action and Lythander raced around in the darkness to find a vantage poin; the rogue layed down some shots from his bow putting another hole in the ghoul. As two of the remaining three ghouls surged on the dragonkin priest, Andromeda would not let her friend be taken down, she produced flame from her fingertips and continuously poured fire on to the nearby ghoul flanking Shamesh, while he hacked down another ghoul. As the dwarf found his way back to the fray, the last ghoul was felled after another arrow from Lythnader, who had appeared on the far side of the room, struck true; for now the dust settled.

Andromeda was able to use the flame on the tips of her fingers to create enough glow that they were able they move closer toward the chanting with some ability to see in the darkness. Now that they had some visibility, in the next room they entered they saw a statue of a man positioned in the middle of the open space that had a peculiar glowing orb resting in his hand. Just as they were starting to take in their surroundings, four more shadowy figures appear and it did not take long for the situation to become quickly dire! All the heroes were attack and caught off guard; Andromeda most of all, however she immediately transformed into a panther in an attempt to protect herself become agile enough to escape the shadow nearest to her. She slipped away in time only to see the vile shadows across the room envelop Bent; with the tiefling sorcerer on the ground and both of the groups’ healers engaged, there was nothing they could do as they were fending for their own lives. Lythander found his way through the melee and used his remaining stored healing potion to bring Bent back from the brink of death. The heroes continued to fight the shadowy figures fending them off the best they could as they all were weakened by their foes every second the fight went on, having already been worn thin by fighting their way through this whole crypt, they did not having much fighting spirit left. Andromeda growled an incarnation at her quarterstaff and the long piece of crudely crafted wood gnarled, twisted, and emanated a glow as she charged in hacking at the nearby shadow, bringing it down. Bent now on his feet was able to sling a series of magical missiles at the shadows blowing holes in them and Shamesh on his last legs swings wildly smiting his foes down with the final blow; barely the group found a way to stay alive, but after a short rest they had to press on.

As they moved toward the next opening further into the darkness they exited the area of the standing statue and off they go; however Bent hung back long enough to take the glowing globe in the hands of the stoic stone man. While he was examining the globe, Shamesh moved to go through the darkness and encountered a door on the far side of the room that he did not see or notice before. As he grabbed the door handle to turn it, the door animates and grabbed onto the gold skin priest and would not let go! Shamesh proceeds to try to beat the door off of him but the attacks seem to splinter and create new ways for the door repair itself. Shamesh was quickly dragged down and was unconscious on the floor; then the door seemingly stepped over the fallen dragonkin priest ready to take down the next hero. Andromeda empowers her quarterstaff once again, and takes a big swing at the door but did no damage. With the door distracted Melrick lunged forward putting blow after blow into the door with his axes and it started to splinter into pieces, this time, however the door was not able to recover. Bent fires upon the door with a blast of energy and the door splintered further, and began to retreat. Before it could get away Andromeda sent another blast of fire at the door and the back side was deeply charred as it seized up, lost animation, and subsequently fell onto Shamesh who was still laying on the ground. Lythander was able to stabilize the dragonkin priest and as he found his feet he took the last of healing potions the party had. The group was growing very weary while the chanting grew ever louder.

They really needed to rest further but they know they could not; so the group pressed further.  With the chanting growing louder by the minute as they moved closer they know they need to find the source to end of this nightmare. In the next open area further into the basement crypt they find what appears to look like a bedroom, with some boxes and trunks in the room; this room is set off the open space they were just in, almost like a resting place for someone that might tend to the area, perhaps. After some careful inspection of the foot locker and chest, they find a sack full of items. Bent sees a cloak he would like to inspect further; as he grabs the cloak from the trunk, pushing past Lythander, two more ghouls manifest from the chest and rise up attacking everyone nearby! The sorcerer is immediately overwhelmed by the creatures and falls to the ground; almost simultaneously the dwarf is hit and paralyzed, falling helpless on the ground as well. Lythander instinctively rolls out of the way to try to save himself, but he cannot get away fast enough as the larger ghoul that had taken down Bent grabs him slamming him into the wall and he falls helplessly on the ground. Shamesh, seeing how quickly the situation had turned bad, summons all his strength and was able to use his blessed weapon to take the smaller ghoul down. Andromeda again produces fire from her fingertips and started setting the larger ghoul ablaze; as the ghoul attempted to turn his eyre toward her she unleashed all her power, in what appeared to be a last desperate effort to save herself and her companions, a wave of thunder blew the creature and everything in the room into the wall. Before the abomination could steady itself, Shamesh lashed into the weakened ghoul and another fiery blaze is sent forth from Andromeda and the creature falls.

The heroes are bloody, weakened, and running out of resources. In the trunk they find the items they were searching through, and store them. They barricaded the door, listen for chanting and take some badly needed rest.

After a long rest, they gathered themselves with renewed strength and remove the debris barricading the doorway and head toward the chanting, one final time. As they moved closer they confirm to each other that the chanting never stopped at any point while they were resting. Heading toward the chants, they grew louder, at this point they sounded essentially like rhythmic screams.  They walk through a room with grotesque drawings on the wall and a horrific collection of items in thirteen seemingly specific areas, including severed body parts, and other unspeakable things. They reach the room that was clearly where the chanting was coming from and when they enter… nobody was there.

The room has a ledge around the upper exterior, where Bent went to light the torches on one wall and Andromeda, taking the cue, lit the torches on the other wall then she descended the stairs and used her quarterstaff to check the water depth. Seeing that it was only about two feet deep she waded in, with Melrick and Shamesh following. As soon as they step into the water, the chanting burst out again and thirteen human like forms appear on the upper ledge of the wall screaming the loud chanting again. Lythander discerns from the chanting that a sacrifice must be made; he offers his pet rat to complete cause, doing his best to yell above the screams and chanting coming from above. Bent yells back not to make the sacrifice, fearful that they might inadvertently complete the ritual which could bring forth something even worse. The heroes agree and they do not make the sacrafice, instead they make for the portcullis at the rear of the room to try and find a way out, but before they do the chanting changes, abruptly, and now what they hear is the yells calling for… for a monster “come forth Loregath the Decayor!!!”

From the pile of refuse piled in front of the room emerges a monster the likes which they had never seen, or smelled before; and as soon as it grows to full size, it began to lurch directly toward our heroes; chaos was about to ensue…

 

It seems we find our our adventurers at yet another cliff hanger, until next session to see if they will in deed survive another day in the nightmare of Strahd… 

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