The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes went back to Rukesti to tell master vampire hunter Armand Vanator that they destroyed a village of vampires, gathered up some new clothes and armor, and then tried to spend the night in an old wind mill full of rose briars and vampire bones. But now they’re about to arrive in the village of Cherat…
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
Party Time? Excellent?
As the sun rose, Asmund saw not a disc of light but a compass ring and needle, with shafts of light pointing to the houses of Cherat. Hoping that this was a good sign from Virune, he led the party into the village. They saw hundreds of goats, and some festive ribbons, and signs of activity, but no people.
Drew tried to kick in a door, failed, and then turned the handle in a manly fashion. Inside, they found a young couple bound and gagged at their dinner table, with flower crowns on their heads and banners strung up that said, “All hail Dragoslava!” and “Nicoletta is the best!”
Once freed, the captives explained that two vampire women had come into town last night, tied everyone up, and decorated everything to stage a party to cheer up their mistress, the vampire knight Nicoletta. They would return tonight!
Everyone in town quickly gathered whatever they could carry and rushed off on the road, heading back north to Rukesti. Hopefully they could make the journey before the sun set, and before the vampires returned to Cherat.
The party briefly discussed the idea of staying in the village and trying to ambush, or at least observe, the vampire knight. But they decided caution was the better part of staying alive, and they bravely ran away to the south.
Night in the Woods
The party spent most of the day walking south toward Brishta, and then turned off the road to find a safe place to spent the night. Following Armand’s notes, they found a small stone cottage in the woods that seemed solid and isolated.
Here, Asmund seemed to get into an argument with himself. Then, while praying, an angelic form ripped free of his body. The man was now scarred and plain-looking, and introduced himself as Tiodhloc, or “Tee”. Apparently their new companion was two people in one body!
During first watch, Rainen saw a huge winged creature fly overhead. It raced north in a peal of thunder and lightning. During second watch, Tee and Drew heard a strange noise out in the woods, but decided not to investigate. During third watch, Ward saw a huge winged creature fly overhead. It raced south in a peal of thunder and lightning.
In the morning, the team compared notes. Rainen and Ward agreed that the dread wyvern they saw was tremendous and terrifying. They seemed all-the-more eager to capture one for themselves.
Tee and Drew went to investigate the noise they heard in the night. They found a strange scene. A deer had been killed, its skin removed and spread out on the frozen ground. The bones had been separated and laid out on the skin and ground. The meat and organs were gone, and little blood marked the area. Was this a vampire kill? A shamanic ritual? They decided to leave it untouched.
Before heading out, Rainen led the group in some animal training exercises. She taught her dire wolf Sasha to Rescue, Fetch, and Seek her teammates by sniffing them out and dragging them around the woods for a while.
Tee also had a little success teaching the ravenwolf puppy Bud to Hush on command.
Hooray for fun (and useful) shenanigans!
Ill Met in Brishta
The village of Brishta was destroyed by vampires 20 years ago, and the party discovered overgrown fields and broken stone walls. No surprises there. But the lanes between the ruins were full of fresh vampire ash piles. And also a severed human leg.
Rainen and Sasha followed the blood trail to a house where two women hid in the shadows. One one was lying down, covered in blankets. The other woman knelt beside her.
The party quickly learned that the woman on the ground was Rosette Vanator, and she had cut off her own leg last night after being bitten by a vampire. If only the party had arrived earlier to help! Her companion was named Bianca, and it was fairly obvious they were more than friends. Rosette insisted she was fine and the party should leave before they attract any attention. The party thought that was crazy talk and tried to insist on taking Rosette back to her father in Rukesti.
And then some baddies showed up.
Ward dashed out to chat with the strangers, but the strangers turned out to be a family of Shifters, fully transformed were-boars who were in no mood to chat.
Hack and Slash
The team ran out of the ruins to fend off the eight-foot-tall boar people. Tee quickly incapacitated three of them with a holy illusion. Ward fired silver arrows and slashed with the Eldritch Dagger (with the necrotic eye). Drew blasted the boars with the Eldritch Spear (with the force eye). Hugo created three duplicates, manipulated time and fate, blessed the fighters, and occasionally bumped people with his shield.
Meanwhile, Rainen unleashed a healing spirit, her Eldritch Hammer (with the psychic eye), and her dire wolf Sasha. Bianca also waded into the fray, transforming into a massive were-bear and tearing the face off one of the boars.
The were-boars did some terrific damage, but with half of them incapacitated for most of the battle, and with Hugo changing so many rolls to favor the party, they managed to kill all of the monsters without any losses.
And that’s where we ended!
This session was just about perfect. The team resolved the situation in Cherat very quickly, but they did talk about a few interesting options before running away (which was the smart play!). The overnight stay in the cottage was also quick and smooth, with lots of fun moments. Everyone liked seeing the dread wyvern, and the mystery of the dead deer, and playing training games with Sasha and Bud.
The discovery of Rosette Vanator was a little bumpy. After learning that she had been bitten by a vampire and cut off her own leg, the team was not very sympathetic to her tough-girl attitude and seemed pretty keen to forcibly take her home. I’m not sure what might have happened if the combat had not interrupted.
But the combat did interrupt! This was the first battle at Level 5, and I had high hopes that I had prepared a suitably challenging setup. Unfortunately, my players are too clever and well-prepared, and managed to nerf my were-boars at almost every turn. If the die rolls had gone in my favor, however, I think they would have been in serious trouble, even with help from Bianca and Rosette.
My sense from this fight was that I probably got the difficulty level right… I just happened to lose hard. I think the other dangers that are nearby are also appropriate, and hopefully the dice will make things a little scarier for the team next time.
Speaking of next time: Rosette, and then… the ruins of Castle Dalca?