The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes arrived at Grashta, met a vampire hunter, saw a vampire knight on a dragon, and then burned down a village full of vampire vintners! Which means now they need to figure out how much danger they are in…
Play time: 4 hours
- Drew the Eldritch Knight – Level 5
- Ward the Gloom Stalker – Level 5
- Rainen the Beast Master – Level 5
- Hugo the Knowledge Cleric/Time Wizard – Level 1/4
- Asmund the Divine Soul Sorcerer – Level 5
Where to Go?
We’re going to Brishta to find another missing vampire hunter! No, we’re going to the haunted crossroads to find a holy artifact! No, we’re going back to Rukesti to report on the whole burning-the-vampire-village business.
With that settled, the team (including Amelia Vanator) headed north to stay the night in Dinesti again and then proceed back to Rukesti to talk to Armand Vanator.
On the road, Ward noticed a pile of shiny, sparkly items in the woods. Coins, buttons, and beads! He led the group over, but did not approach. Asmund approached for him and started to pick up the loot. And he was immediately attacked by six strange creatures with the heads and wings of ravens and the bodies and legs of wolves. Ravenwolves!
A vicious battle broke out. Hugo froze some of the monstrosities in time. Sasha tore one to pieces. Rainen hurled hatchets. Drew spear-stabbed. Ward unleashed way too many arrows. And Asmund teleported to safety in a tree. Seconds later, the ravenwolves were dead!
But then Sasha heard something nearby. The huge direwolf led Rainen over to a small den under a dead tree, where she found a (now-orphaned) ravenwolf pup. The adorable little scamp mimicked her words and wagged his tail, and soon was eating out of her hand. She named him Bud and added him to her furry squad.
To Kill or Not to Kill?
Arriving in the one-family village of Dinesti, Amelia went off to chat with the locals while Asmund threatened the starving vampires sequestered in a nearby house. They passed the night peacefully enough, although Ward did hear the vampires scratching inside their house like before.
In the morning, Asmund again interrogated the dying vampires to learn more about the vampire knights Adrien, Nicoletta, and Lucien. It seems Adrien is the most ambitious one, trying to set up a vampire kingdom. And very few people have seen the queen Dragoslava lately.
Despite the vampires being very helpful, some heroes still wanted to kill them. The team then rehashed whether they would murderhobo these vampires, or whether there were moral shades of gray to be considered. Vampires are victims, they used to be people! Aren’t they technically undead monsters now? These vampires aren’t hurting anyone! Won’t they turn feral eventually?
While this was happening, professional vampire slaughterhouse and notetaking-enthusiast Amelia Vanator overheard them and came over. Learning that there were vampires here, she immediately wanted to kill them too. Eventually, compassion prevailed and the team headed out for Rukesti.
But somewhere on the road, Amelia slipped away from the party. When they noticed that Amelia was gone, they all looked back to see smoke rising from Dinesti. It appeared that Amelia circled back and burned the house sheltering the Vampire Liberation Front.
Amelia rejoined the group just as they arrived in Rukesti. Ward, Drew, Hugo, and Rainen made a quick circuit of the local businesses to pick up their armor, clothing, and healing potions. Amelia headed back home to report to Armand. She described the great success of her plan to kill the vampires and earned the coveted “Armand’s shoulder pat of approval.”
Armand agreed that there was a danger of vampire retaliation. So he and Amelia made preparations to double the town watch and fortify against a coming assault.
On the Road Again
The team decided to get moving. They had a lot of places they wanted to visit! So they struck out eastward at mid-afternoon. Armand marked a few locations on their map where they might rest safely between towns.
As the sun set, a freezing rainstorm began. The team found one of Armand’s boltholes, an abandoned windmill. The stone tower seemed safe and normal, except for all the rose brambles inside.
During the night, the storm gradually abated. Drew had nightmares of being stabbed in the back by Baba Kruska. Then the clouds parted and the moonlight illuminated the old mill, and the rose blossoms began to open. Tiny spore-like motes floated up from the flowers, and the heroes began to choke and gasp.
With a little light, they quickly discovered a skeleton with fangs lying in the center of the brambles. The roses had grown out of the stake in the dead vampire’s chest. Drew approached, spear raised to strike. The corpse begged him to remove the stake. But when Drew pulled it out, the corpse began to rise up and reconstitute itself, so Drew re-staked it!
The corpse exhaled a cloud of toxic spores! So everyone coughed and clawed their way to the exit. Ward fired a flaming arrow into the corpse and ignited the remains. Minutes later, the tower was smoking, dark, and still.
Deprived of their Long Rest, the team continued down the road in the small hours of the morning. Just as the sun began to rise, they spotted the village of Cherat ahead.
And that’s where we ended!
So, lots of good stuff here. The ambush of ravenwolves was fast and interesting. Plus the discovery of the the puppy “Bud” was perfectly calculated adorableness. Everyone seemed glad to revisit town and get some supplies after the Grashta battle. The corpse in the mill worked really well as a creepy mini-puzzle, and as a way to disrupt their sleep and cause a little damage to keep them on their toes.
I was a little disappointed that the team changed their plan at the last minute to go back to Rukesti instead of the crossroads/Brishta, mostly because I had prepped a bunch of things for it. Obviously, none of that is wasted and it will be used later. I just was personally looking forward to those events because I had spent several days getting excited about them.
A few players made comments that they were having some struggles with their characters. It sounded like there was a disconnect between what they personally would do, or wanted to do, and what they thought their character would do, or should do. So I think I will check in with each of them individually this week to chat about this.
Next time: Cherat and beyond!