The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes rescued a young priest from a nest of vampires, and discovered a few ancient secrets and treasures! They headed home, hoping to have a quiet night to recover…
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)
Everyone settled in for a solid night’s rest in the abandoned cabin in Frostwyck. Ward took the first watch, climbing a tree to survey the area. He detected an intruder in the woods, so he climbed down and set a bear trap near the cabin. Unfortunately, the trap made a horrible squealing noise and the intruder never came near.
Then Rainen came out to sit the second watch while weaving a small basket. Inside, Ray and Hugo awoke to discover Brother Vanya vomiting live eels all over the floor. The eels wriggled out under the door and slithered into the freezing pond.
Drew took the third watch. He was barely paying attention when the flaming skull of Nikita floated up. Nikita thanked him for killing all the vampires hiding out in his ruined tower. He noted that Drew had lost his nose, so the two of them became “No Nose Bros”. Drew learned a little more about Nikita and his relationship with the dreaded witch Dama Zhadna, including how to summon her: Go into the woods at midnight and say her name three times, and she will appear. Easy to do, hard to survive.
As dawn approached, Rainen dreamed of a wood-skinned angel with green leafy wings. The angel summoned a giant white wolf to destroy a monster with many yellow eyes, telling her to “Protect Vulgoth.”
The group woke and told Brother Vanya that his nightmares about vomiting eels were all too real, and the poor fellow ran home. They then began a new religious debate about Virune and the Temple. Hearing some noise outside, they emerged to discover a huge white wolf, Sasha, the wolf they fed at the hunter’s lodge a few days ago. She arrived to be Rainen’s beast companion (dire wolf!).
Over by the pond, the villagers were again angrily debating the need to make a sacrifice to the vodnik, the monster in the water. The vodnik attacked Andrei last night when he went to pee in the water. The group went to Andrei’s house to confirm the story, and also traded him a copper samovar for some arrows.
Then they went to check on Marta, who they found grieving her missing sister Elisa. But Rainen refused to give up hope. She asked for a cloth that smelled like Elisa and used Sasha as a bloodhound to track the scent. Sasha led the group to a nearby cabin, and while smoke rose from the chimney, no one responded to their knocks. Drew attacked the door, but could not open it. Then Ray, Ward, and Rainen suddenly felt that the cabin was perfectly normal and they wanted to leave. Hugo and Drew still suspected that some strange magic lurked inside, but they agreed to leave for now and go witch-hunting!
Let’s get Rufina!
Following a trail west, they headed out in search of the rumored witch Rufina. Along the way, Sasha and Rainen smelled the faint scent of a corpse.
The trail led to a poorly tended cabin with a large rabbit hutch. Inside, a little girl told them to go away, and when the group tried to push their luck, a sudden wind and dark clouds convinced them to back off. In the woods, Sasha led them to the long-dead corpse of a woman, seemingly killed by a tiger. Everyone suspected this was Rufina. Drew carried the corpse back to the cabin and started digging a grave (out of sight).
Strangers with spells
Ray charmed the little girl in the cabin and convinced her to come outside and talk. Little Nina was filthy, but otherwise fine, and wanted to pet the giant wolf. Then Ray broke the news that her mother was dead, and Nina freaked out. Her distress summoned a strange protector: a pale woman riding a stag emerged from the forest and threw up a wall of wind to shield Nina from the group.
This stranger, Petya, said that she was a sorceress who protected Nina since her mother was killed by a tiger. The group convinced her that they meant no harm to Nina, and Petya answered a few questions. She revealed that the vodnik in the pond was a cursed creature made by Dama Zhadna, and that another new Zhadna-creature had recently appeared at the river nearby.
The group debated their many open quest lines, including killing Dama Zhadna, killing the vodnik, and killing this new river monster. They suggested many plans. Eventually they decided they would try to defeat as many of Dama Zhadna’s servants as possible before trying their luck against the witch-lord herself.
They were about to go hunt the tiger as a sacrifice for the vodnik when Petya mentioned that the river-creature was living in the nearby wreckage of a skald barge… so the bard Ray changed his mind and swung the vote another way.
Let’s get the river-monster!
Heading down to the river, the team soon found the rotting wreckage of a brightly painted barge on the river bank. Ward found some strange humanoid foot prints nearby. Hoping that the river-monster might have left, he ran up to the barge and leapt on board.
In response, two glowing green orbs emerged from the cabin to hover and hum, while a disturbing cackling laugh echoed up from below. A small figure hobbled up on deck, her hair falling out, her ears and nose drooping, her skin green and mottled… and a horrible black gash across her throat.
Ward recognized the strangely altered appearance of the halfling druid Shaela, who died on the prison barge the night they escaped into the forest!
And that’s where we ended.
This was a great session. There was tons of excellent roleplay between the PCs about their backgrounds and motivations and goals. They all got to interact with different NPCs having weird problems and crises. We moved the needle on a bunch of open mysteries: Marta’s missing sister, Nikita and Dama Zhadna, the vodnik, Rufina the supposed witch, and now the supposedly dead Shaela!
And there wasn’t a single combat.
Next time there will be high-stakes encounters, most prominently with Shaela. What happened to her? Is she still alive? What did Dama Zhadna do to her?