The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes fought a deadly High Templar, lost a druid friend, destroyed an ancient Observatory, and returned to the village only to discover that their friend the young priest had been kidnapped and dragged into the woods!
Play time: 4 hours
- Drew the human Eldritch Knight (3)
- Ray the human Lore Bard (3)
- Ward the human Gloom Stalker (3)
- Rainen the dwarf Beast Master (3
- Hugo the human Knowledge Cleric/Time Wizard (3)
Having found Brother Vanya in the clutches of a vampiric-looking woman in a ruined tower, the heroes quickly rushed in. Hoping to save the priest, Drew plunged into the dark space as his companions filled the doorway. And that’s when the second vampire appeared from the shadows. Chains rattled above, and humanoid figures crawled on the ceiling.
The following battle was chaotic and deadly. Drew tried to put the vampires to sleep, but only poor Brother Vanya passed out. This left the two Vampire Thralls and six Vampire Wretches on the ceiling free to attack! They converged on Drew, biting and tearing at the mighty fighter.
Ray Suggested that the Thrall woman lie prone on the floor, and she did! A series of attacks from the whole team soon killed her, and she exploded into dust. But the Wretches swarmed around Rainen and Hugo, biting and clawing wildly. Ward succeeded in snarling the remaining Thrall in a tangle of vines, trapping him against the ceiling for a few moments. Hugo unleashed spell after spell to Slow his foes and Shield himself. Magic blades flashed and flew, and burning arrows sliced through the shadows like tracer fire.
Then many things happened. Drew fell unconscious. The Thrall tried to capture Hugo, but sensing his own imminent death, released the cleric and leapt up through the ceiling to flee into the sunny woods, burning and roaring in pain. Ward chased the burning vampire, but the creature turned into a bat and escaped into the sky. Meanwhile, the Wretches tore down Rainen, and then Hugo, all while chanting, “Virune! Virune!”
Things were looking grim!
But then Rainen and Drew made massive Death Saves, popping back into the world of the living (but playing dead on the floor!). And one by one, they took out the remaining Vampire Wretches.
It was a long and dangerous battle, but everyone survived (all with single-digit HP). Brother Vanya helped with the healing, and everyone took some time to rest and recover.
Unfortunately, three of our heroes fell to zero HP, which means they had to roll on my custom Wounds table:
- Rainen’s injuries resulted in permanent and painful nerve damage, giving her disadvantage on all Acrobatics checks.
- Hugo suffered a broken nose, whose sinister appearance gives him disadvantage on all Persuasion checks.
- But poor Drew, who was most savagely clawed and bitten by the vampires, lost his entire nose! And now he has disadvantage on all Perception checks.
The search for a new nose for Drew starts now!
Searching the ruined tower revealed a number of hidden goodies. Ward and Drew found a ring, fur hat, and key on their own. Hugo detected magic to help them find a pair of boots under the floor and something on the roof. Ward went upstairs and found the scorched skull-less skeleton of Nikita, and under it, a third Eldritch Eye! This one was green (Poison). Rainen placed the Green Eye in her mystwood hammer and it was instantly empowered by the arcane item.
Meanwhile, Ray and Hugo debated the merits of worshiping Virune and embracing different types of magic. They went back and forth on whether Virune was evil, or just being used by an evil Temple. Hugo revealed that he was on a personal quest to master Time Magic, and while this might not be holy, it was very important to him.
Brother Vanya looked at the copper ring that Drew found. He identified the rose design on it as the crest of the Torescu family that ruled the mountains to the south at Castle Torescu. The ring also had a small needle that pointed inward at the wearer, so Drew did not put it on.
Hugo identified the other items as a Hat of Vermin, Boots of the Winterlands, and Mystery Key.
Into the Woods
During their rest, Ward stood watch up on the roof. At one point he heard a strange rumbling to the south. Later, he spotted something moving in the distance, but he couldn’t see it through the trees.
Having rested and recovered a little, everyone wanted to get back to the village before sunset. But as they headed into the forest, Rainen continued to glimpse signs of movement behind them. Something was definitely following them. She tried to relate this to the rest of the group, but the ensuing game of telephone garbled her report and the team almost stopped to set up an ambush before she could straighten things out.
Home again, home again
Back in Frostwyck, the group invited Brother Vanya to stay with them, just in case the surviving vampire tried to abduct him again. They discussed all the problems in the area, and seemed to identify the magic barrier and the vampires as two separate and unrelated threats.
Rainen went out to gather herbs and Ward went out to hunt rabbits. Hugo took a few hours to pray over the chain-sickle of Irina the Inescapable, hoping to master it as his own weapon soon. Everyone had a lovely supper and settled in for the long night ahead.
And that’s where we stopped!
The vampire battle ran WAY longer than I had planned/hoped. It ended up being something like 2.5 hours for one combat! That’s nuts. On the upside, the players seemed to like how dynamic and deadly it was. But I’m sure they were feeling the fatigue just as much as I was by the end of it. Lessons learned, definitely make the creatures hit harder (to be dangerous) but die easier (to be quick about it).
I was surprised that no one went outside, either to escape the vampires or to lure them out to a fiery doom. Hugo briefly considered attacking the ceiling to let the sunlight inside (great idea!) but he chose not to.
Now that we are back in the village, we’ll probably have more interactions and investigations and less combat for a session or two (or maybe not, who knows!).