The Adventure Continues: Would You Like Some Pie?

The heroes were left being overtaken by the city guard of a town in Barovia, and we not not of their fate, the druid escaped, and the rogue was left behind and everyone else was capture; is this the end?


 

The next morning Shamesh and Melrick wake up in a cell battered, beaten, and bruised. They are awoken by the clang of a mug against the bars on the jail cell they are lying in and the clink of keys opening the cell door. As they exit the station and pick up their belongings they see Andromeda with Lythander, who himself had missed the whole previous incident, and their new friend the Innkeeper. Being a business owner in town he had some political sway and made arrangements to have them released. Bent is nowhere to be found, but they are told he is at the infirmary. Before they leave the area they are warned by the local authorities “no need to cause more trouble here”

The adventurers are now desperate to leave town and simply want out, they decide not to rest and press on immediately to find any clue that might lead to their way out. As such the group heads toward the Bonegrinder to find another piece of this puzzle that hopefully leads home; the heroes travel in the direction noted on the map where they expect to find this character. As they approach Lythander checks the entryway of this dilapidated home for traps, finds one, and steers the group around it. Over the archway of the door they hear another crowing raven; Andromeda fears that this is a dark omen, and does her best to warn her companions.

They enter the creepy looking home, and as they make their way in there is an awful smell from something apparently cooking in the kitchen. They inspect the area briefly and see what appears to be a pot of ichor and a box that might contain some toads. They don’t open the box but they decide to descend to the lower level before heading toward the upper levels where they hear some noises. When they head to turn the corner to the sunken old living room they see an oddly chipper old woman who is alone and mildly cackling to herself. She speaks in a very high pitched voice and is offering them some odd looking pie, “would you like some pie?!?”. Shamesh looks around and notices the crunching below their feet… it’s bones; he immediately identifies the pie as evil and the woman as a covert demon! He loudly calls the old woman out as an evil creature, and demands she show her true form. She is not bothered, and does not respond. Melrick draws his weapons and demands again she show her true form. While this is happening Lythander hears some children upstairs and immediately strokes an arrow and looses it into the demon woman, the arrow sinking deep into its flesh but seemingly doing no damage. In response to the damage the demon woman finally shows her true form: a sickly, gangly, older woman. Melrick then charges and sinks two axes into the creature and again seems to do little damage. The old hag turns her anger towards Lythander and pours her unholy might into a blow on the rogue; Lythander is unable to dodge the incoming claw and is struck, whimpering and falling back after taking the impact. Andromeda heals Lythander’s wounds and heads to the corner of the room to steer clear of the melee. Shamesh then calls down for some divine help to smite his foe, and finally the abomination is wounded. Melrick is not deterred as two new creatures descend the stairs talking to the old woman as if it’s their mother. They are oddly cavalier and don’t seem to be in any sense of rush; they seem to be discussing, loudly, whether to help their “mother”; and then, nonchalantly join the melee. Andromeda sees the creepy younger hags leave the stairs to engage the rest of her companions and the druid girl climbs the wall to the upper level in order to avoid the eyre of these creatures. Once upstairs she sees a bedroom of sorts, with a tattered throw rug on the floor pealing pale red and green wallpaper exposing the wood sheath underneath and the worn wood floor and baseboards that smell of moth; she goes directly toward the crates that are the source of the whimpering. She opened the wooden boxes, prying it apart with her staff and watching the wood splinter around her; she finds wounded children inside. Andromeda immediately helps them out of the crates and conjures some good berries in her hand offering it forward encouraging the children to eat them. Her kind eyes and gentle touch makes them feel safe enough to eat the delicious berries; they immediately feel better. She finds their clothes in the corner of the room sitting on an old single cushion sofa chair that has several rips and a spring poking through the seat. She gives them the clothes to put on; even without words they understood she was helping them.

Andromeda, making sure to keep the children safely behind her as she moves to re-engage the melee below stepping lightly to the top of the wooden stairs only to see Lythander ascending the stairwell toward her; he stops pivots and drops another arrow in the back of the mother demon who finally fell where she stood. Her two children became enraged when they saw their mother fall and they turned their anger toward Melrick and Shamesh; the paladin took blow after blow as his holy aura drew the focus of their hate and down he went. Andromeda went immediately to her friends aid, and healed him to keep Shamesh in the fray. Melrick, still fighting feverishly, but is failing to overcome the evil hags. Lythander, stumbling his way up the stairs further, failes gain his footing and tries to loose another arrow but is unable to be accurate. Shamesh finds his feet and heals himself further to continue to stay on his feet. Andromeda pushes past Lythander, and she takes the form of a large black panther, as the room turns to hear the roar the beast leap off the stairs and surges forward to pounce on the hag fighting Melrick. With the hag now pinned to the ground beneath the panther Melrick, Lythander and Shamesh beat down the hag. Andromeda is forced back into human form as she took damage from the abomination in a last gasp. Seeing the holy weapon of her paladin friend fall to the ground, as she transforms back to her natural form landing on her behind; the druid girl finds her feet quickly growling some incantation and the air around her staff swirled as the shape of the quarterstaff began to curve, bend and look like a crooked shillelagh. She then turned to her attention to help Shamesh; saving him yet again, this time before she would watched him fall in battle. With another grunt, Andromeda was able to stabilize and keep the paladin from bleeding out. He rose, and the two continued to sink magical attacks into the last remaining hag. Melrick closes in on the final melee, and the evil creature made a desperate grasp at the stunty foe to try and bite at his neck, in a move to repulse the creature he pulled his axe up through the middle of the creature to split it in half. The frenzied melee ended, and the adventurers looked upon each other with both a sense of relief and terror. These creatures were torturing children, to what evil end they do not know. While they saved this day, the real challenge is still ahead. Weary, they silently left the home, with the children in tow, ready to face whatever horrific thing may come next…

 


 

Our heroes have lived to fight another day, but grow weary in Ravenloft, the prospect of escaping grows ever more dim. They have a map, but no clues on where to go next, we’ll see if they can figure out anything in the next session! 

The Adventure Continues: The Toy Store

We left our heroes back at the inn looking for more clues that would lead them out of this nightmare when the realized they were being surrounded by ravens!


 

… the ravens the adventurers had discovered were decorating the inn all around. The more they looked the more they saw the theme of the ravens surrounding them, including above the bar where they saw a diorama depicting a nest of ravens. This clearly harkens back to the tarot cards where they were foretold some cryptic info about their future by the gypsie. What it means they do not know, however they have keep moving; they are losing time and need to keep gaining ground on Strahd if they are going to survive and ever return home. After some quick discussion, they decide to head to the toy store to investigate further.

After they arrive at the Toy Store, they arrive at Bolinksi’s to find an eclectic collection of creep toys. As they are looking around, Gaydolf Bolinski himself comes out to the front to greet the group of adventurers, he’s a robust man above average in size with a monkey on his shoulder. “Welcome to Bolinski’s, I make magical toys for children”. He was a bit odd, but it seemed genuine that he was a shopkeep with no hidden agenda so far as they could tell. Andromeda meanders around the shop but finds nothing of particular consequence. The group notices that there are two dolls in particular that are notably interesting; one that appears to look like Strahd and the other that looks like Irena. They ask why there is dolls that look like these two characters, and Bolinski that he made the one that looked like Strahd from what he heard in the stories, and the other doll that looks like Irena he is asked to make one each month and it’s picked up by the Burglemeisters’s main thug Isaac. This seems to anger Shamesh and Bent in particular. They press him for more information and the situation escalates quickly. Bent becomes very aggressive as he rips a head off a doll and demands answers as to why the doll is being made and when it’s being picked up. Gaydolf does not seem to want to back down, nor answer anymore questions, and demands the adventurers leave, immediately. Bent nearly loses his cool as the rest of the group watches on in disbelief, the sorcerer charges the shop keep and knocks him to the ground, then unleashes a whirlwind of cantrips that tear up the shop. Bolinski is visibly shaken and tells them that Isaac comes each week to pick up the doll; then he begs for the his safety as his monkey climbs to a high shelf to get away from harm and screeches at the group. Satisfied with the information that Bolinksi has now given up, the tiefling drops a gold on the shopkeep and leaves, followed by the rest of the group. Andromeda, who seemed to be unaware of what was going on, comes to the front, noticing the shop in disarray, helps the shopkeep to his feet and consoles the monkey that has returned to his master. She scratches the monkey lovingly on the head and gives Bolinski another gold coin. Elated he gives the little girl a handful of dolls to which she accepts and excitedly runs outside eager to show her friends. The group then decides to bring it’s cheer to the Burglemeister’s house.

Because the Burglemeister is asking the toymaker to create this doll that looks like Irena, which seems uncomfortable at best, they want to know more. They arrive at the home and they are welcomed in by the Burglemeister and his wife, plus his dogs. After the Burglemeister greets them, and introduces his wife; she laughs lightly in response, in a relatively uncomfortable manner. Bent and Melrick start in, without much tact, on questions around the dolls. They explained that they went to the toy shop and found the dolls and were interested in the collection of dolls that he had. The Burglemeister seemed miffed by the conversation and asked Isaac, who was overseeing the conversation, to escort the group out. The group questions the motivation to have them removed so quickly; then, attempting to de-escalate the situation, they trying to explain they are only interested in resolving the issue of the missing children that belonged to Mad Mary. He concedes his position and offers to let them see the collection of dolls that belong to his son. His son is in the attic and doesn’t come down, he doesn’t explain why stating only that he wastes his time in the attic all the time. He continues to deny that he has dolls made and that there is even any interest in having dolls made. The adventurers brought to the son’s room and there is in fact a collection of creepy dolls clearly from the toy store.

Melrick presses the conversation and wants to know the stance the Burglemeister has on Strahd and the situation in the land of Barovia. The nobleman states that he thinks Strahd is a monster and the constant celebrations are what is keeping his town of Valliki safe. The Dwarf boldly suggest that it’s possible that Isaac may not be loyal and could be working for Strahd; the Burglemeister is skeptical but is willing to listen. Melrick and Shamesh suggest they can get proof for the Burgelmeister if he would be willing to give them a letter for Bolinskii which would allow them to release the next toy doll to them instead of Isaac. He agrees, goes to a desk in the room, scribes it, signs it, folds it neatly and hands it to the dwarf, they heads downstairs to find that Isaac has his own plans, and was waiting with a dozen soldiers. He demands they lay down their weapons; without hesitation, the Melrick draws both weapons, and Bent ignites his palm and the battle ensues. Isaac immediately is on Shamesh and buries him in a big swing from his great axe. The Paladin was staggered but steady and fought back breathing fire. Melrick was overwhelmed quickly, but steadfast, despite being surrounded by four combatants. Bent litt up half the guards with fire and despite the burning they were emboldened, surrounding him. Andromeda realises quickly how desperately the situation is getting  and moves to the wall, crawling like a spider to the ceiling. Shamesh continues to try to fight off Isaac, and it barely making a difference, fighting to what will likely be his last. The dwarf was not dismayed landing two axes, but felled neither guard; this was bad. Isaac was furious, landing another great axe into Shamesh who was on his knee and finally onto the ground. Andromeda was quick to respond, and growled in anger about her friend being felled, and the Paladin was saved. Bent was not faring well, but still burning the group around him; he was running out of life to give. The guards were continuing to press their advantage on the heroes, but were starting to falter. Shamesh tried to save himself by doing some additional healing but it wasn’t enough. Isaac wasted no time in putting the Paladin into the dirt, again. Andromeda would not allow her friend fall, growling in anger, and keeping the Paladin breathing. She moved to above Isaac, and leaped from the cieling to knock the captain guard prone, but he still gripped his great sword. Shamesh, unable to gather himself, is unable to land any blows on Isaac, despite him being on his back. The guards them jump to the opportunity to get to Andromeda, and they start beating her, forcing her to disengage immediately. Bent made a decision he was going to give his life, unleashing a fireball on Isaac, while he is exposed, but it cost the sorcerer dearly, as the guards around him beat him to the ground. Andromeda makes for the wall again and climbs quickly, and Isaac turns his attention back toward Shamesh, and brings him down yet again. Melrick finally took down two guards, but that was the last he had, before he was taken down by the remaining guards around him. There was one hero still standing, Andromeda was alone. She look around and realized there was no salvaging the situation and climbed across the ceiling to the door, and the guards were unable to reach her before she escapes, leaving the heroes battered, beaten and on the floor surrounded by the guards…


 

Will our heroes survive?! See if Andromeda can save them next time… 

The Adventure Continues: A Map to the Answers?

We left our heroes on the edge of their seats finding out what may be all they need to know to find their way out of this nightmare, or is it? 


With the group in adventurers hanging on every word from Madame Eva; she decided to make it a spectacle ensuring they received their monies worth. In a wisp of magic she took a map of Barovia (the land they are in not the town they had just left), and telling them what they were looking at and threw it into the fire… and the map did not burn! Instead it was emboldened with marks that indicated specific locations and places. In awe and afraid to touch it as Madame Eva heald it out, Andromeda, the only one among them that was unafraid, reached forward and took this magic riddled unburnt parchment very delicately in her hands.

As they left Madame Eva’s tent they heard an older gypsy man telling stories to children in the camp. They stop to listen for a few minutes and they hear about a man who lead a group that had battled against the vampire Strahd. Could this be the people from town that tried to rebel that they saw as ghosts just a night ago? The location where this battle occurred was called Tser Falls; they were ultimately defeated. The legend goes that anyone that is defeated by Strahd has their soul trapped and is eternally bound to the cemetery. They rise every night and march to his castle… to what end they do not know. Before they leave the camp they take some time with the older male gypsy, and they find out that there is a tower in a lake that was a “wizards’ tower”; which seemed to connect with one of their tarot card clues. The tower is somewhere to the east of Vallaki; it is supposedly in Lake Baratok. One last question from Melrick to the old gypsy before they left is how Strahd became a vampire. There was a story about a knight that came from another realm, that was mortally wounded by a group of assassins; he was saved and nursed back to health by the gypsies, and while the details aren’t known of how he transformed to the tyrant he has become, what they could share was that the gypsies were granted the ability to come ago in the land as they please as payment for their kindness, the only ones that have ever been allowed to leave Barovia. Supposedly the legend goes that he can only be killed by fire, sunlight, or a stake through the heart. With that, they did not speak a word and headed solemnly toward the lake that may house the wizard tower they have decided to try and find as the first step in solving this nightmare.

As the group was preparing the leave town, Lythander decided to try and sell his wares. He found a merchant in town who did not have enough in gold pieces to buy what they rogue had but he was willing to trade. After some negotiation, he was able to garner a couple potions, a couple more scrolls, a hat, and a dagger; the latter two appeared to be magical (according to Bent). The group seemed happy with the haul, and off they went heading west…

Heading down the road, not too far into their new journey they come across a man at a distance who appeared to be cloaked feathers. While Lythander is jittery and immediately hides, Melrick scoffs and heads right toward the stranger and addresses him, “hello there!” It turns out the stranger is heading to the town they just left, en route to Barovia proper; he is in search of a larger quantity of wine. “My name is Sergei Martakov” is how he introduces himself and the group chats with him for a bit. The dwarf questions why the man is travelling alone, and the man dismisses the questions as erroneous. During the conversation Lythander reappears in an uncomfortably conspicuous manner and asks some questions about Boliski, stating he is a toy maker in Vallaki. Sergei also mentions to them to visit his brother if and when they arrive in Vallaki; he is the innkeeper of the Blue Water Inn. He also warns them to not leave the roads, as it’s much safer than the roaming off.

As they continue to travel along the path, they find themselves in a large canyon with ridges rising up a thousand feet above them; as they gaze up they see a large stone bridge connecting the two ridges on either side of the canyon on the far side they see a castle, the adventurers believe this, indeed, is Ravenloft Castle where the vampire Strahd calls home. As they exit the large cavern it appears to the group that something is amiss; in fact this would be a perfect place to spring a trap. Their fears were quickly affirmed as a they see an animal looking creature, that was something between human and animal bipedal but crawling, flanked by animated twigs. Melrick immediately heads toward the bipedal animal and lands an axe in the middle of it’s chest. He carves through and buries his second weapon just to be sure in a complete coup de gras. As the dwarf pulls his axes from the rib cage of the fallen animal, the twigs were easily dispatched by the rest of the party, save for Andromeda who put two bursts of flame into a nearby twig figure and is unable to bring it down; apparently her druid sense compelled her not to destroy the animated plant life. Thankfully Ismark and Irena were there to finish off the final animated twigs despite Andromeda’s best efforts to keep it alive.

After more time passed, however uneventful, they see a gate that leads to… well, where they don’t know; they believe it might be the manner of Castle Ravenloft. The gate is fallen and on the ground and they decide to leave it be and head further toward the task at hand. As they journey farther they come towards a fork in the road and find a sign that says “Bonegrinder”; they look farther up the road and see a windmill on a hill. They decide to stay the course and go farther, still, up the road and after another half mile or so and they come up on another lone figure clad completely in armor, appearing aggressive in nature and seemingly looking for a scuffle. As they approach further they noticed a symbol on the breastplate of the human figure. They move close enough to see the anger in his eyes, but he does not charge but puts his hand on the hilt of his sword and once again Melrick fancies himself the party spokesperson and calls out “do you serve the cursed one!?” only to hear him respond “it is YOU who serve the cursed one” in a gruff voice. Shamesh does not recognize the symbol but denies the assertion on behalf of the heroes. Seeing that the group was questioning him looking for a better answer, “I serve the order of the Silver Dragon and if you are who you say you are you should find Vladimir Hornguard, leader of my order.” The knight of sorts proclaims his crest of that belonging to the Ravenkind and he advised the group that his order is found Argynvostholt and dedicated to clearing the area of the cursed Strahd. The heroes ask if he wants to join them in their pursuit of Strahd, however he advised they have to go to Vladimir to seek his counsel before going further.  They agree to seek out Vladimir and head toward Argynvosltholt.

As they leave together they pass a lake and see a man in a boat in the middle; after a closer look Lythander notices a sack next to the man in the boat that seems to be moving a bit, almost as if there is something or someone inside of it. As they are watching he throws the sack in the water and then drops a fishing line into the water. Aghast, the group hurries to pull out the magical hat that they had, which they previously found out was a hat of water breathing, and the dwarf heads in the water with the hat to find out what was in the sack that was moving. The Dwarf rushes to the sack under the water and slices the bag open to see a little girl in the sack who was not moving. He brings her to the surface water and then rushes her back to shore where Andromeda grabs the young girl and immediately forces her to spit up the water she had swallowed finally able to stabilize her. While the druid was saving the little girl Melrick was rushing back to the boat; however Lythander was even quicker to notich an arrow on his longbow; he loosed an arrow dead on target at the man in the boat and caught him square in the chest. By time the dwarf got to the boat to capsize it and pull the clearly devious man under, he found the man with an arrow through his chest. With a disdainful look backs toward shore, he let the man sink to the bottom got into the boat and rowed it back to shore. Once there he finds the group having a conversation with the girl who shared that she was taken from her family, is currently only seven-years-old, and doesn’t know why she was taken. They offer her some food but she doesn’t want anything to eat; she is, however, from Vallaki, so they tell her they will take her back home.

They arrive, finally at Vallaki, and they are greeted at the gate, but not granted entry; told by the guard at the front “if you’re alive in the morning, we’ll see you in then!”. They set camp outside, set watches, and take rest until morning. While the group sleeps, Lythander and Andromeda are on watch. Throughout the watch Lythander starts to nod off (pretending he would later say) and the Druid enters a meditative state. Suddenly, Lythander’s awareness kicks in and he notices four wolf shaped figures on the edge of the camp, not engaging but lurking. He wakes the group, and Andromeda eagerly moves to the edge of the camp ready to defend her friends from the incoming frey, but does not engage. As she is waiting Shamesh lunges forward and sinks his blessed weapon into one of the wolves. Immediately following that Bent and Andromeda are unexpectedly put asleep; falling to the ground. From the opposite side of the camp, they hear that silky regal voice “that was not kind to do”. Shamesh wheels around, and sees for the first time… Strahd. He walks up to Irena, the woman of his desires and caresses her face as he strolls through camp. Shamesh demands he get away from her, and with a wry smile that seemingly encouraged his apparently pet wolves jump the paladin from behind tearing at his clothes. Not too long after, the Burgermeister’s children both fell asleep. Melrick lunges towards a wolf and puts an axe into one wounding it badly and Shamesh turns around lands another blow in the hurt wolf, but it does not fall. Lythander proceeds to engage and fight, however is quickly and inexplicably turned into a toad. The situation is quickly growing dire; Melrick and Shamesh are determined to go down fighting and take down two wolves with them, and while they are busy fighting the overgrown canines, Strahd whispers something in the Irena’s ear then turns snapping his cloak around him is gone. Shamesh is overcome by one of the remaining wolves, not before being fended off by Melrick then the wolves take off into the wood; the dwarf is the only remaining hero on his feet.

Looking around he is absorbs the situation in enough time for Lythander to turn back from a frog as quickly as he had turned into one while Bent and Andromeda wake from their forced slumber. The rest of the night passes uneventfully, however the group is clearly aware of what they are up against at this point and they are terrified at the disadvantage they face. Nearly despondent the group barely rests through the night  and when morning approaches they clear camp and approach the gates again. This time it’s a different guard of Vallaki and they announce their desire to see Sergie’s brother, the innkeeper from the Blue Water Inn and they are granted entry into town.

As they walk through town they see a man posting an announcement about a great celebration called the Wolf’s Head Celebration, and no sooner are they done reading the announcement when a man walks by ripping the announcement down and putting up a new one called Celebration of the Rising Sun. Lythander briefly questions the change in celebration notices and the man will have none of the questions. As the man walks away he is hawk eyeing Irena in a manner that makes the whole group uncomfortable after Lythander points out to everyone the glare of the man. After looking around, with some urging from Lythander and Andromeda, they decide to bring the little girl home while Irena and Ismark decide to go to the Inn. They approach the camp of the Bisconi and they find their way to the little girl’s house. They speak with her father who is elated, he gives the group a large sum of gold in great gratitude for returning his daughter. As they go to leave Melrick steps in and asks the man why his daughter would have been taken; he claims he doesn’t know. The group tries again to leave, and the dwarf presses further and asks, “does it have something to do with Strahd?” The man rushes over in hushed tones and asks them to keep their voices down when they speak his name. He advised he only serves Strahd as he must but that this camp is loyal to Strahd. They find out that those who complain about the festivals are deemed malcontents and draw the eyre of the Burgermeister of Vallaki. About this time they notice that those roaming around outside are taking extra notice of their conversation and decide to bring it to a close, thank the man for his generosity and head back to town.

On the way back to the town the group decides to head to the inn to find Irena and Ismark. When the arrive they find the familiar face of Sergei who is back already and he introduces them to his brother, Irwin. After sitting down to a good meal and making arrangements for the night they find out some more of the happenings around the town. Apparently the Valleki Burgermeister is a bit overbearing to all save for one woman in the northern part of town. This particular woman is very much despised by the Burgermeister here but he leaves her be because she is rumored to have strong ties to Strahd. They also find out about an abandoned camp outside of town, it was supposedly by Strahd for an offense against him; though that has never been verified. In town the continued celebrations are supposedly to keep Strahd away, though the people in town don’t believe it works nobody will dare speak out against it because of the Burgermeister’s fear mongering. This week is the celebration of the Rising Sun. With further discussion the site of the fallen dragon comes up again, and once again they find themselves being compelled towards Argynvosltholt. a silent nod amongst the group and they all concur this site of the religious sect and fallen dragon needs to be visited.  After a good meal they decide they to find Irena and Ismark and update them on what they have discovered. Irwin agrees to show them to their room, and en route they hear what appears to be a large congregation of birds in a room, they stop and…


The heroes are seemingly never safe! Next week we find out what the inn had waiting for them… 

 

The Adventure Continues: The Gypsies, Strahd, and the Riddle

We return to find our heroes in the midst of a melee with a being very much their supperior surrounded by screams of illusionary cultists. The nightmarish scene is complete chao, and Andromeda was the first to gather her wits. In a thunderous wave she pushes back the creature of refuse while Shamesh grabs Melrick, who has passed out from the horrific odor and fear, and begins to drag him backwards through the swampish water on the floor. Bent, taking cue, begins to send magic missiles at the abomination, as does Lythander. Andromeda moves to help Shamesh pull Melrick to safety, thankfully this pile of muddy earth and refuse moved very slowly giving the druid girl a chance to unleash another thunderous wave pushing the abomination yet further back and away from the portcullis doorway.

Lythander and Bent continued to ravage the being from a far unleashing missiles, both mundane and magical, while Shamesh and Andromeda continue to pull Melrick to safety. The monstrosity seemed to not be interested in their unconscious friend any longer as he now moved toward Bent and Lythander, who were clearly now much more than an annoyance each taking pieces out of it with every attack. Shamesh seizing the moment rushes toward the beast diving his weapon into it’s midriff, with a large gasp the monstrosity was clearly hurt, and the gash unleash a noxious gas while the abomination delivered a muddy angry claw in response that threw off the paladin. Andromeda, who was about to cure the dwarf, now had to help Shamesh back on his feat after being on the receiving end of a big muddy claw or the group was done for sure; none of the other heroes could hope to stand up to this creature. Her instincts were right, as she revived her friend and cured his wounds the big muddy beast was back on top of Shamesh throwing him into the nearest wall. Meanwhile Bent and Lythander continued to take chunks off the monster from afar. Seeing that this was not going to work much longer Andromeda threw herself in front of the beast unleashing what was likely a final thunderous wave blowing off the front bits of the base of the creature, and seeing it wobble as Bent and Lythander continued to fire upon it with their last bits of bows and magical energy; it tobble backward into the wall falling into a pile, all three remaining heroes slumped having their energy and resolve all but exhausted.

After defeating the abomination, they quickly exit the house and exit that nightmare. As they move to leave the home, the heavy thick mist that surrounded the house lifts and they see the town around them. It’s now almost as if they are again, in a different place, not being able to see the creepy emptiness of the town or haunted house they just left behind them. Knowing they are clearly in a place they don’t understand. They head toward what appears to be the center of the town where they now find themselves. The s heroes are seeking locals to garner some insight into where they are and see if they can find a place to rest as well as sell their new found wares. They still don’t know where they are but they need to heal their wounds get their bearings. They find a merchant shop, but the unfriendly shopkeep is not interested in most of what they have, save for the sword; which Lythander did not want to part with. They leave the shop and decide they need rest, so they find an inn.

On their way to the inn, they hear a faintly wailing woman as they pass one particular house, but after a brief conversation they decide they can’t solve all the problems in this town in one day, and at this point they don’t even know what day it is and as such Melrick pushes the group on towards the inn. Once there the dwarf immediately heads for some ale while Shamesh and Lythander try to make arrangements for the night. The bartender, who is also the innkeep, is curt at best; he wants two silver pieces per adventurer for the night. They counter with two silver pieces for the group, and savvy inkeep is unyielding, as he counters back with the same two silver pieces per adventurer per night; he will clearly not be negotiated with. Growing short on patience and wanting rest Bent throws two gold on the bar and says how about some food, lodging, and drinks for the night. The innkeep doesn’t crack a smile, takes the money and tells them to have a seat.

Once settled in at the bar, a stranger from the across the bar, fairly stately in stature, asks the group to join him, his name is Ismark. The heroes, wanting a friendly person to speak with and potentially someone to garner any information from, are easily persuaded to go and join him. At this point Andromeda leaves the bar, without anyone noticing not even her friend Shamesh saw her sneak out.

Once sitting with Ismark, the rest of the group find out that this man is the Burgermeister’s son, and the girl referenced in the letter they found is his sister, Irena. After a little more conversation he realizes the group is a bunch of adventurers and he offers them a healthy amount of gold to help his own cause asking them to join his barbarian friend to protect his sister. Irena has a house in town and there is a very unholy being, one who oversees, dominates, commands this land. A vampire that is an overlord of these lands who has taken an unhealthy interest in his sister; the vampire’s name is Strahd. They don’t know why he has taken an interest in Irena, but she is not safe. It seems Strahd himself has not tried to enter her home but his minions keep trying on a nightly basis, though there hasn’t been any attacks on the home the last two nights; Ismark is asking for their help.

After some deliberation they realize they need to do something, as it currently appeals to their good nature to want to help, but it sounds like they are outside of their ability to deal with this problem. That said, they are do gooders at heart and decide they want to help.

While they are talking to Ismark, Andromeda is moving around town and comes across a gypsy selling some pies from her rickety cart. She is peddling something called “dream cakes”. Andromeda detects something poisonous in the cakes, but wants to learn more about this place, and feels like she might be able to garner more info about the land they are in if she can pick through the cake. She begins to approach the cart and suggests she wants to purchase one; out of the shadows to her right appears a very intimidating but well groomed and very well spoken cloaked man. He warns “excuse me young lady… do not buy one of those cakes” in a sultry voice. Eyes wide, Andromeda is taken aback by the stately gentlemen and his presence is thick near her; so much so it almost makes her shrink. As her eyes grew wide, and she could feel the evil surround her, not knowing who she was dealing with she must have instinctively shrunk backwards. The man spoke again, “tell your friends their plan will not work…”; then he turns and in a cloud of smoke that turns into a flock of birds that fly away and the man was gone. Andromeda, trying to figure out what she had just encountered, decides to heed the strangers advice and head back to the inn.

Once back at the inn, Andromeda meets her friends and they are discussing what they can do for the young woman and her brother that has offered to help. They still don’t know where they are, what time of day it is or how they can get back to Daggerdale. They start to conversate about the vampire Strahd which catches Andromeda’s attention. She looks at her dragonborn friend inquisitively, and he explains that the town aristocrat’s son had told them of a vampire in town and he was terrorizing his sister whom they were considering helping. The horrific look on the young girl’s face seemed to indicate she had intimate knowledge of the vampire of which Shamesh had spoken; the paladin realized his friend had seen this frightening being. He asked what had happened and Andromeda acknowledged the conversation with Strahd; she described on a piece of parchment that the vampire lord had told her that what they were trying to do won’t work.

The adventurers made the decision to go to the one house in town that they believe Strahd can’t enter, where Irena is staying and apparently they have been able to keep these monsters out. Once there they set up watches throughout the night and the group mostly rested or meditated. During the night, as the moon reached its peak, they saw a parade of ghosts from the cemetery in town rise up and walk towards the castle where Strahd supposedly resides. Terrified they stay clear of the ghosts outside, but in the morning they immediately go see Ismark to discuss what they have seen. He informs them that the ghosts marching towards the castle happens every night and that the ghosts are the souls that rebelled against Strahd; or so the gypsies have told. Unfortunately those storytellers are gone now, having headed west out of town, but alas, back to the matter at hand.

They find out that they are in the land of Barovia and in the town of Barovia (yes one in the same name); additionally there is a nearby town, Valeekey, where they think the best place to keep Irena safe. If they can get her out of town and beyond the potential reach of Strahd they may well be able to solve at least this one problem for the family. After discussing the potential solution amongst themselves they present the notion to Irena who is apprehensive. She does not want to leave the safe confines of the home but reluctantly agrees to leave if they agree to bury her father in the cemetery in Barovia, the same cemetery where they saw they dead rising earlier. This perplexes the adventurers but they trust her intentions and believe she is truly trying to set the soul of her father to rest. They found out the father died two days before they arrived and they have not been able to bury him, being afraid to go into that cemetary themselves.. They agree to help her, and head toward the church.

On the way to the cemetery they once again hear the loud moans of the woman they now know is called Mad Mary; they still do not have interest nor time to investigate that further, but it is clear that they need to at some point. They arrive at the church before heading to the cemetery and they talk to someone who appears to be the resident priest. Shamesh explains what they are there for, and the priest is amiable, though he has a request of the dragonborn priest, he asks them to help his son who is ill. They ask what the problem is and he doesn’t know, but he would like them to do it while they prepare a new burying spot for Burgermeister.

They head down the stairs into the basement of the church and the paladin detects evil to discover immediately that the son is an undead being, in fact a vampire. As the group descends to the bottom of the stairs the son screams “I can smell your blood!” and begins to rush the heroes. Lythander immediately slips past the party to gain a vantage point so he can deliver a critical blow to sick boy. Shamesh casts a blessing on the party and Melrick curses the unholy being where he stands. The boy’s priest father quickly tries to put himself between the heroes and his son, only to slip and fall. As he falls to the ground Ismark’s barbarian mercenary charges and collides with the vampire. After tearing into him, it seems that the wounds were meaningless to this being. Bent sends flames leaping towards the vampire and sets him ablaze, and the heroes can see him start to take damage. Lythander emerges from his new vantage point and lands some advantageous blow to try and divert the vampires attention toward himself and away from the barbarian. It did not work as he tears into the barbarian more, whose wounds look grievous. Shamesh then lays his blessed weapon into the abomination, and Andromeda then produces flame sending it toward the vampire that lights the undead man ablaze again, this time once and for all, as the priest’s son screams in agony burning and collapsing to the ground..

The priest curses the adventurers for destroying his son, they offer condolences but he will have none of it. He dismisses them from his church, so they leave him in the basement, however they decide to take it upon themselves to finish burying the body of the Burgermeister and bless his final resting place as they had promised Ismark and Irena.

They leave the cemetery and realise the moans of Mad Mary have not stopped since they entered the town and after a brief discussion on what they learned at the inn, she has been wailing for a week and nobody has checked on her. On their way out of town they decide to stop at the house and see if they can help her. The adventurers go to the house and when the knock the wailing gets softer, they call her name and the moaning stops. The barbarian goes around the back of the home and breaks a window to see if he can see inside the house. Lythander sneaks up the stairs to the backdoor with the barbarian and when he arrives at the top of the stairs he sees an old woman crumbled on the floor crying and clutching a deformed baby doll. The woman does not seem to acknowledge them and the rogue  immediately runs back to tell the rest of the party; the barbarian instead heads straight into the room and tries to interact with the woman. The rest of the party heads up once Lythander tells them what he saw, with a sigh the rogue follows and the Burgermeister’s kids stay behind. The group spend some time trying to garner the woman’s attention, and she responds only slightly but never really changes her current state. They eventually give up and leave the woman to her misery feeling that at least they tried.

Out of town they head moving west toward the town of Valeeky. On their way, the encounter a gypsy encampment, to which Melrick immediately stopped wanting to speak with them; partly his own excitement, and partly remembering the conversation a day earlier with the Ismark. After a few short conversations with a few gypsy they meet as they head into the camp, they are eventually introduced to Madame Eva; a very old gypsy who tells them she knows them, and asks if they made a mistake chasing those bandits in Daggerdale. Dumbfounded the adventurers are all of a sudden listening intently, she says she knows all of stating each of the heroe’s names. Seeing they are eager to learn more, Madame Eva sees an opportunity to solicit some gold from this group, and they do not disappoint handing over healthy payment to learn more. She says she must read their future, the dwarf excited to see the gypsy magic sits front and center while Andromeda, unimpressed, looks on skeptically while the rest of the heroes listen intently. The old gypsy shuffles a deck of cards and deals five cards, four a circular order and the fifth in the middle. Here is what she saw…

 

The Rogue: history, knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy. I see a nest of Ravens there you will find your prize.

The Wizard: Powerful force for good, a holy symbol of great hope. Look for a wizards tower on a lake, let the wizards name and servant guide you to that which you seek.

The Druid: This is a card of power and strength and tells of a weapon of vengeance, a sword of sunlight. An evil tree grows atop a hill of graves, where the ancient dead sleep. The Ravens can help you find it, look for the treasure here.

The Ghost: This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. I see a fallen paladin of a fallen order of knights. He lingers like a ghost in a dead dragon’s lair.

The Artifact: Your enemy is a creature of darkness who’s power is beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him. He lurks in the darkness where the morning light once shown, a sacred place.

 


 

What does it all mean? Where will this lead our heroes? The adventure continues next week…

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… 

A New Dark Omen Adventure Begins!

Once again our favorite gamers from DOGC are embarking on another heroes journey, this time in the world of D&D, where they have new comers and veterans alike to tackle one of the most classic story lines in the history of RPGs, and so it begins… 

 

In the the most famous of settings and in the most famous of cities in all of D&D is where we find our group of heroes. Welcome to Daggerdale, where many of the greatest adventurers that have braved the Forgotten Realms have begun their journeys. We find our newest band of adventurers on the edges of a rocky enclave just a mere days walk outside the town. These were an eclectic group, with nominal history working together for this noble before. We meet Lythander, a rougish chap who favors his bow, known to have a good hart and quick draw is always available for good coin. Melrick, a dwarf who is never seen without his two trusty axes that he uses for all manner of activity not the least of which is dealing with rif raf around Daggerdale. A shadowy Teifling that most don’t interact with named Bent, he dables in the dark arts, and is only available for the most dangerous of opportunities, or is that the only the most dangerous things find him? Lastly we have two long fast friends Shamesh and Andrameda, a holy Dragonkin that befriended this lost and wild young woman who doesn’t seem to speak any discernible language but somehow the two have an understanding that nobody else can follow. They are rarely found apart and the young human girl rarely interacts with people in town and prefers to be on the outskirts in their woods encampment and leaves the business of adventuring to her friend, and Shamesh has ever been loyal to her and kept them far from harm and gainfully enough employed. 

This motley crew has worked together before, once or twice; this time themselves here, on this enclave, after being propositioned by a familiar noble, tasking them with dealing with a pesky group of bandits for a more than modest 10 gold pieces each. These undesirable petty thieves have been harassing the travelers and traders along the main road into the city and the local aristocracy want them dealt with in an expeditious manner. The bandits were found at the top of the rocky incline just before dusk, after a simple ambush, they were soundly defeated by our heroes. Due to the steep incline and the rapidly falling sun with nightfall upon them, the group decided to stay atop the enclave and wait for dawn to make their way back to town. After a completely uneventful evening, they wake in the morning surrounded by a thick heavy cold mist, and after a bit of gathering themselves, and their things, all with an uneasy manner compared to when they fell asleep they realize the all-of-a-sudden uncomfortable setting is really not where they were when they fell asleep. In fact they are longer on an the edge of the rocky enclave at all. Bewildered, Shamesh and Melrick concur that they should head east back in the direction of Daggerdale, or at least where it should be; it’s a good a place as any to start. Clearly bewildered by some magic, the group was keenly aware, with weapons in hand, that they should be ready for anything.  After travelling for long enough to realize that despite the fog obscurring Daggerdale is clearly no where near where it should be, and in a rather unexpected turn of circumstances, as they begin to realize they are not close to where they should be, the fog begins to lift. A town, slightly gothic in appearance, perhaps abandoned, with an ornate gate out front flanked by two guaredsmen is now nestled directly in front of them on their path; it was not Daggerdale. They pause, look at each other and head towards the gate, the Dwarf addresses the guards out front, but they don’t speak, and upon closer look they appear to be inanimate. Having few options at this point, they decide to go through the gates and see what they can find out, and try to figure out this rapidly developing bizarre circumstance. They enter the town through a large iron gates and as they go through the gate slams behind them…

Weapons drawn and fully gripped, they find a body just past the gate, Andrameda does not hesitate to approach the deceased, after looking closer she can see the body has begun to decay and has been dead for a long while, partially eaten by crows. The body was a man, and he is holding a note with a large B on the front and sealed in wax. She gives the letter to her friend, and the Dragonkin, despite potential danger, opens the letter. After a cursory read through, it’s from someone named Colian writing about his daughter, Irena; her health is poor and he is writing a letter to ask for help from the town. The letter is not addressed to anyone but appears to be written to a Burglemeister, otherwise known as the mayor, presumably of the town they are in; but who knows such things. As they look for any evidence of where they are or what they are doing there, Andrameda notices that there are paw prints that lead to the body that came from the road but the road is heavily trampled; they can’t see beyond that. As they walk to the main road of the town inspecting the tracks, or trying to, seemingly out of thin air what looks to be two young children in the road appear, drawing them further into this town. The child is whimpering and the older of the two states there is a monster in their house. They point to the row of town homes that appear to make up the bulk of the town they are in. Looking abandoned, and the town might be lifeless aside from these two children for all they know, but looking in the direction they were pointed by the children the find the house they are referring to as their home and the monster is supposedly in the basement and a baby on the third floor. There seems to be no easy solution to this situation, and Shamesh does not detect any evil on these children, with Lythander and Bent having hardly spoken a word to this point, and the inept Dwarf unable to make heads of tails of the situation; the group decides they will take the clear direction this unexpected journey has set them on and they head towards the home to see where this child may be and what monster awaits them.

Once inside everything is covered in dust and the home looks like it hasn’t been lived in for a very long time, they search the main floor and find that there seems to be a basement below as well as stairs going up. They ascend the second level and decide to skip it and head to the top floor where the baby is supposed to be. They go to the third floor and look around but there seems to be no access to what they now see as a floor above; oddly the home did not appear to have that many levels from the exterior, but nothing at this point was what it seemed to be. The group, adamant in staying together, decided to exit to a terrace outside the home and see if they can climb to the next level. Despite the Lythander’s best efforts, there was no way to ascend the the top level. As the Dwarf is looking around, and watching the rest of the party search the third floor he leans unexpectedly onto a wall taking a load off from carrying his two weapons and the dust releases from the wall and slides the wall aside to reveal the staircase to the next level they have been looking for all long; an all too convenient answer to their problem. The group feels this a clear problem and apparent solution so they quickly make the decision to take the mysterious stairs and find, on the other end, what looks like it was once a child’s room, and in the middle of the room are two skeletons that clearly look like those belonging to young children, perhaps… those that they had just met in the street?! As they look around there is a pile of toys near a chest to one side of the room. Lythander, who had helped himself to a teddy bear on one of the previous floors unbeknownst to the rest of the group, decides to take the doll and place it with the rest of the toys. Andrameda notices quietly, however Melrick couldn’t help himself, “what are you doing?!”, Lythander claims he was keeping the toys together, and the Dwarf with a quizzical look accepts the answer not knowing what follow up question to ask. 

As they look around the room further looking for a clue as to what they are supposed to do next, the two children they met outside on the street in town appear inside the room at it’s center adjacent to the bodies. The fear was tangible among the group, as at least this part of the story had now come together. The adventurers tried to leave the room but the children protested, “don’t leave us” they yelled; indicating they were left before, suggesting that this the reason they are now ghosts and their skeletons lay at the center of the room. Lythander, with an unspoken look towards his companions, offered to play some games with them and their dolls while the rest of the group tried to find a solution to their protests. The group looks at each other while Lythander sat and folded his legs on the floor to interact with the children, and the beads of sweat could be seen on his brow. Melrick became tired of the whole situation and in a display of his mounting frustration attempted to leave the room; immediately as he made for the exit one of the children rushed him in a terrifying ghostly form with a loud shrill shriek. He seemed to stumble and shake off a bit of fog as the ghostly form of the child washed over him; he appeared to be okay, despite the encounter. Seizing the opportunity the rogue realized the time for games with the children was over, he made for the bones of the children threw them in his satchel and made for the door not before being rushed by the second child and being consumed by the ghostly form of the second child complete with a second shriek, unlike the Dwarf, Lythander broke down into frightful tears and frustrations that amounted in nonsensical ramblings. It was clear the ghosts, in their rush washing over him, had done something to affect his temperament and were testing his will. Andrameda pulled him to his feet and dragged him out of the room where the group made for the door to leave the building but find the stairs only lead to the second floor where they had failed to investigate previously, instead of leading down to the main level where they could exist; the house was one illusion after another.

While inspecting the room to find a solution, Lythander finally gets his wits about him, and starts to help the group, just in time to encounter a bewitched broom in a closet that beat the unsuspecting rogue and thankfully he was saved by the Dwarf, and healed by Andrameda so he could muster on to help find a way out of this house. As the Dragonborn, who had been mostly on looking the day thus far, continued to look around the room; he encountered a creature in the the only other doorway in the room where he thought they might have a way out. He was lashed savagely, and Andrameda had to rush to save her friend before he fell victim to this abomination. The Melrick rushed in and split it in two with repeated axe blows after the Tiefling lit it up with consecutive bursts of flame. After clearing the creature the group decided they must find a way to the basement to clear this monster in the house as it appears they will not be able to find their way out until this thing is dealt with. As they descend the stairway they are able to make their way to the basement, finally…

In the basement the heroes are immediately attacked by what Shamesh would later identifiy as a grell, and the Dragonborn priest is savagely attacked once again; stumbling back the Druid used the remnants of her healing power to keep her friend upright. While distracted the Lythander found a vantage point with his bow and mortally wounded the creature; then the Dwarf put the final blows to make the situation stable again. With the group still whole, barely, they gather to their feet to figure out what pieces could be left for them to resolve so they can simply get out of this house, they notice in their are three empty caskets. Lythander realizes that the bones he had instinctively taken from the top floor should be laid to rest in these caskets, he received some odd looks from his companions, but they help him sort the bones into the casket for their final resting place. Once done they realize they only have bones for two of the three caskets; they cannot yet leave… 

 

Until next time when we see if our heroes can find their way out! 

 

DOGCGBL Week 3: Brewers rise to the top!

It’s still very early in the year, but the Brew crew have separated from the pack after the first three weeks of play lead by co-league leading scorer Friday and Captain Tapper! Here’s the how the rest of the league fared:

Butchers 12 Morticians 8
Goals: Bonesaw (2), Shank (1); Take Outs: Ox (2), Shank (1), Boiler (1)

In a wild one the Butchers hung on to best the Morticians in the unlikely battle of two struggling teams so far this year. The Butchers paced the game with early take outs of Silence and Dirge thanks to Ox and Boiler, but Obulus found Bonesaw for two goals to even the score. Shank responded with a score thanks to another take out by Ox, on Silence again (because the midfielder kept Butcher players Shutout and Tucked most of the game). With a narrow lead Obulus siezed control of the moment; the Puppet Master had the ball passed to him by an unsuspecting player, after a few quick smacks on Tenderizer the Mortician Captain had a clear shot on the goal but alas despite a Bonus Time buffed opportunity it missed wide. The missed shot on goal left Boiler a chance to respond with a final takeout to end the game in victory for the Butchers!

Engineers 12 Alchemists 2
Goals: Velocity (2), Salvo (1)

The surprising start to the season continues for the Engineers who jumped all over the Alchemists early thanks to unsuspecting strikes from Velocity and Salvo. In fact the only points the Alchemists put on the board were due to Rachet Overclocking Mainspring causing him to Overheat in an offensive play to damage the surrounding Alchemist players and buying time to create the last score by Velocity to put the game away. Tough start to the year for the Alchemists as they find themselves in a full fledged tail spin while the Engineers are one game off the early pace of the top team in the standings.

Union 8 Masons 12
Goals: Flint (1); Take Outs: Chisel (1), Rage (1), Honour (1), Gutter (1), Brick (2), Blackheart (2),

The best contest of the week was this wild one between the Union and Masons, as they traded bloody take outs between Brick, Blackheart, and the rest of the crews in attempt to gain advantage. One missed opportunity by Mist left an opening for Flint to show why many think he is the best Striker in the game; taking a Pass and Move from Honour to score the decider and Run the Length! Union dropped their first match of the year and the Masons regain form after dropping a tough one in week two.

Fishermen 8 Brewers 12
Goals: Shark (2), Friday (1); Take Outs: Friday (2), Stoker (1), Tapper (1)

Match of the week was this fast paced contest between the Brewers and Fish featuring the two league leading scorers in Friday and Shark. As one would suspect an early goal from Shark set the pace, but instead of trying to respond in kind Tapper had his team get physical and take out two Fisherman in the opening turn. With a level match starting the second round Shark seized the moment again and scored his second (and league leading) goal while simultaneously trying to choke out the game from the Brewers many of the opposing crew found themselves Caught In A Net. However not be deterred the Brewer game plan was firm, Tapper again lead the move to by physical with the light footed Fish and another take out despite the Legendary play kept the game close. With a momentum advantage to start turn 3, the Brewers seized control of the game, Friday picked on Angel, whom she found nothing charming about, and took her out for the second time in the game, tackled the ball and scored the game winner!

STANDINGS

W L PCT Scored Allowed
Brewers 3 0 1.000 38 24
The Union 2 1 0.667 32 20
Butchers 2 1 0.667 32 20
Engineers 2 1 0.667 24 24
Masons 1 1 0.500 26 12
Fishermen 1 2 0.333 30 24
Morticians 0 3 0.000 16 36
Alchemists 0 3 0.000 14 38

LEAGUE LEADERS

Points

Player Team POS Goals TOs TPs
Friday Brewers ST 5 2 24
Shark © Fishermen ST 6 0 24
Midas © Alchemists CM 3 0 12
Ox © Butchers AM 0 6 12
Mallet Masons DM 2 2 12
Bonesaw Morticians ST 3 0 12
Gutter Union CM 0 5 10

Goals

Player Team POS Goals TOs TPs
Shark © Fishermen ST 6 0 24
Friday Brewers ST 5 2 24
Midas © Alchemists CM 3 0 12
Bonesaw Morticians ST 3 0 12
Mallet Masons DM 2 2 12
Velocity Engineers ST 2 0 8
Flint Masons ST 2 0 8
Mist Union WG 2 0 8

Take Outs

Player Team POS Goals TOs TPs
Ox © Butchers AM 0 6 12
Gutter Union CM 0 5 10
Rage Union AM 0 4 8
Stoker Brewers DM 0 3 6
Blackheart © Union CM 0 3 6