The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes slayed (slew?) the witch queen Dama Zhadna and freed the village of Frostwyck. Now they hope to tie up a few loose ends and continue their long journey home…
Play time: 4 hours
- Drew the human Eldritch Knight (4)
- Ward the human Gloom Stalker (4)
- Rainen the dwarf Beast Master (4)
- Hugo the human Knowledge Cleric (1), Time Wizard (3)
- Asmund the human Divine Soul Sorcerer (4)
Back in their own humble cabin, the heroes settled down for a few more hours of sleep. Drew stood a lonely watch, and heard a creature approaching from the forest. He dashed out and hurled his spear, drawing first blood. But the intruder turned and ran.
Drew quickly chased it down and captured a frightened one-eyed thief. Dragging it back to the cabin, he and Hugo determined that it was a simple creature, frightened, and essentially harmless. After making sure that it hadn’t stolen anything, Drew gave it a Goodberry and let it go.
In the morning, Drew went to tell Brother Vanya that the witch was dead and Ray had died a hero. The little priest was suspicious, but gathered his courage and followed Drew into the woods to confirm his story. But when they found Ray’s grave, the burnt wreckage of the witch’s walking cabin was completely gone. Still, the violent marks in the ground convinced the priest that something did happen here. He agreed to give Ray his last rites.
Rainen later pointed out that Ray, who hated the Temple, would have hated this.
As Drew returned to his companions, there was a bit of commotion at the pond. Several villagers began hacking at the ice, and soon pulled an old man’s frozen corpse from the water. No one knew who he was.
Meanwhile, Ward headed out to visit the hunter Andrei. He too saw the hubbub on the frozen pond. Andrei was mostly recovered from his wound and eager to head out, perhaps to go hunting with Ward. But Ward merely gave him his bow and a few arrows, and wished him well.
The group headed over to Yurikai’s invisible tower to say goodbye. The wizard appeared in the guise of the woman Renata at first. But then he invited everyone inside and changed into himself when the group began talking about their mystwood weapons and the Eldritch Eyes that empowered them.
Yurikai displayed his mystwood longsword and its Necrotic Eye. There was a bit of haggling that ended with Yurikai taking the Fire Eye and Ward taking the Necrotic Eye. Yurikai remarked this was a good trade for him, as fire is potent against vampires. The heroes rolled their eyes (because they are heading to vampire territory), but hoped the Necrotic Eye would still be good.
As they left, Yurikai commented that the body in the pond was probably Boris, the old man who had been turned into the vodnik. Unfortunately, his soul must have been restored while he was still down in the freezing waters. So he drowned moments after being freed of the witch’s curse. Oh well!
The team then made a quick stop at Nina’s house and spoke to her guardian Petya. Ward realized that she had an Eldritch Eye as well… in her eye socket. The violet eye gave her headaches, so she was willing to trade it for the green Poison Eye. And now Ward had the gray Necrotic Eye in his dagger and Rainen had the violet Psychic Eye in her hammer.
Lastly, the heroes returned to the wreckage of the bard barge, and found it entombed in green ivy and moss. Inside Ward found Shaela’s dead body resting peacefully in the greenery.
And finally, it was time to leave Frostwyck!
Campaign 2: Fangs of Vulgoth!!!
Heading southeast, the team agreed it was time to take their chances passing through the vampire lands instead of risking passage through the Temple-controlled roads. They reached the crossroads and turned toward the ominous sign for “Torescu”. Rainen remarked that in her experience, “Vampires have proven more reasonable than Temple priests.”
For several hours, they headed down the snowy road through the quiet forest. Suddenly two figures came running through the trees, one chasing the other. The first figure was thin and pale, and partially on fire. The second was tall and dressed in wild furs. As the flaming vampire rushed toward him, Hugo tried to freeze him in time. But just then, the pursuer reached out with a crackling whip of energy, caught the vampire by the neck, and beheaded him in midair. The burning remains floated slowly down through Hugo’s spell.
The group then met Asmund, a very talkative fellow who made it quickly clear that he worshipped Virune and loved killing vampires.
So much for quietly crossing the vampire lands!
A short while later, Rainen and Sasha led the group to a massive tree that had been scraped of its bark and sprayed with urine. Ward identified the marks as those of a bear and a tiger, but of unnatural sizes. Rainen also noticed the tracks on the ground, that these huge beasts had oddly shaped feet.
The group finally sighted a town in the distance. Asmund identified it as Rukesti, a place he had heard of but never visited. Hugo immediately recognized the name Rukesti from his spellbook and found a reference to an Oracle nearby. He was intrigued!
They crossed over a small bridge decorated with vampire skulls and entered the town proper. Here they discovered more sturdily built houses with solid roofs covered in wooden spikes. Small children were sweeping dust from those roofs. The homes also had locked doors with the symbol of Virune on every one. Also, the houses all had narrow arrow slits instead of windows.
Lots of people were bustling about, and the weary travelers saw signs of cattle, poultry, a tailor, a smithy, and other welcome marks of civilization. But as the sun continued to set, the townsfolk very rapidly began heading indoors. Every door was locked shut with many metal locks. They asked a boy where they could find an inn, and he told them to go to the Vanator House, the large estate in the middle of town.
A fussy, well-dressed butler hurried out to greet the heroes. After inspecting Sasha (the dire wolf) with a silver ring, he allowed her to stay in the stables and ushered everyone inside. The house proved to be large and beautiful, but old and worn. Small weapons, knives and wooden stakes, hung scattered among the coats in the foyer.
The butler, Geoffrey, brought them water and beer, and went to summon their host. Moments later, they were greeted by Armand Vanator, a distinguished older gentleman who spoke proudly of his vampire-slaying career and studies, and displayed his peg leg. They also met Armand’s son Carlos, an energetic young man with a passion for cooking and baking, and also vampire slaying.
In addition to learning about the local blacksmith, and that Armand had other vampire-hunting children, they learned that Sister Xenia was here in town! The same Sister Xenia who went missing from Frostwyck.
And lastly, Armand revealed that in addition to being plagued by vampires, these lands were also the hunting grounds of Shapeshifters, yet another faction of murderous monsters.
After a substantial supper, Armand gave the group a short tour of the basement, including his library, wine cellar, and armory. The heroes practically drooled at the sight of so many weapons, although Hugo quickly determined that only a few of them had any magical blessing. Ward requested, and received, some silver-tipped and ironwood-tipped arrows.
With some light reading materials in hand, the group retired to the bunk room on the top floor for the night. They noticed that their new friend Asmund had some bizarre tattoo-like markings on his skin. And as the night set in, they fell asleep to the sounds of distant crossbows twanging and voices crying out over the spiked roofs of Rukesti.
No combat this time, but everyone had a blast. Negotiating for Eldritch Eyes proved popular, and the players all speculated about the possible Eyes and mystwood weapons that they may not have found, as well as the mysterious “Timberwolf” whom they never met.
The introduction of the new character Asmund went smoothly, and everyone (especially his player) seems very happy with the addition.
More importantly, everyone was super excited to arrive in a “real” town with lots of people and shops and opportunities to learn things, and buy things, and meet people. Apparently being stuck in a boring dead-end village for a while has made them appreciate the “finer” things in life! They love Armand Vanator, and already have a long list of things they are excited to do in and around town. So I’m feeling great and really looking forward to sinking my fangs into the new campaign.