The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes cared for a dying tiger and found the Crossroads, where they killed an old friend and discovered a buried relic with immense holy power…
Play time: 4.5 hours
- Asmund the Divine Soul Sorcerer (7)
- Drew the Eldritch Knight (7)
- Hugo the Time Wizard (6), Cleric (1)
- Rainen the Beast Master Ranger (5), Druid (2)
- Ward the Gloom Stalker Ranger (6), Rogue (1)
Dream a little dream…
The party rested at the Crossroads inside Hugo’s protective dome. No one kept watch.
Admund dreamed of the terrifying whirling rings of the angel Virune, and suffered intense mental anguish, but he awoke to find his new holy gauntlet had become an entire sleeve of protective armor.
Drew dreamed of strangling the dead witch Baba Kruska. In the morning, he felt better rested than ever before, and found a small bone knife in his hand.
Ward dreamed of battling his own were-self, but the wyvern spirit overpowered him and he awoke transformed into his were-wyvern form.
Hugo dreamed he was crawling through the mountains, picking through the ancient dead of a forgotten battlefield, before slinking into a hot, stinking cave.
When they emerged from the dome, they found the bones and remains of the vampires and some animals had been arranged in a complex design around their camp. Disturbed, they moved on.
The Wailing Pond
The morning came cold and dark. Snow continued to pile up in deep drifts. The party headed north into the forest in search of the town Rukesti. Several hours later, they emerged from the trees on the frozen shore of a small pond. Ward heard screaming on the wind.
They carefully crossed the ice and found an old log frozen in the pond’s center, with a rusty chain wrapped around it. Drew smashed the log free and Ward spotted something deep down at the end of the chain. With great effort, the team hauled the chain up and an ancient iron cage heaved onto the ice.
Inside the cage lay the decrepit form of a decaying, starving vampire. He claimed to be Baron Cazamir, a servant of Queen Dragoslava Torescu. The knight Lucien thought he was a rival for Nicoletta’s affections, and so imprisoned Cazamir in the pond. The Baron was pleased to learn Lucien was dead. Then Asmund slashed his holy gauntlet through the bars and destroyed the vampire utterly.
What dark secrets and strange powers did this undead prisoner take to his final doom?
Ruins of Rukesti
Late in the afternoon, the party found the remains of Rukesti. Every home and shop had been reduced to smoldering debris by the vampire attacks and their dread wyverns. Only the scorched chimneys remained, standing like tombstones in the thick smoky haze. But the heroes heard small sounds of movement all around them…
They hurried through the blasted hellscape in search of House Vanator, hoping to find weapons and treasures. They were intercepted by a pack of feral vampire wretches that lunged and leapt from every angle, desperate for blood. The adventurers unleashed a few spells and attacks, quickly reducing the wretches to bone and dust.
They found the mansion destroyed, but Hugo detected some magic buried within. They went to work, excavating the debris to find the undercroft. There in the darkness, they found the Hellsing dagger and the Holy Ring of the Dread Maiden, as well as various mundane weapons and armors. Hugo also found a copy of the Inkara Saga, but tossed it aside, uninterested. Asmund kept the book.
Emerging from underground, the party found themselves surrounded. A dozen vampire thralls stood all around them, calmly and quietly waiting in the smoky mist. And then they attacked. The battle was fast and desperate. These powerful vampires, the victims of the attack on the town, quickly bit and clawed the team to shreds. Asmund used his holy gauntlet to drive some away, and Hugo froze several in time. One by one, they slashed and crushed the vampires into ash, until the few survivors turned and fled into the gloomy ruins.
The remains of the town
With the day drawing to a close, the team hurried to the ruins of the Temple of Virune and excavated a Holy Amulet of Ariel, a Holy Ring of the Templar, and a Holy Staff of the Pilgrim. Asmund also found a dozen human corpses laid out on the temple pews in the nave.
They sought out the apothecary’s shop next, but found only a blackened crater filled with a noxious green ooze. Drew then found the remains of Oscar’s house, where the old man, still alive and human, sat on the wreckage of his home, waiting to die, unwilling to leave.
Hurrying south out of town, the team spent the night in Hugo’s magic dome inside the old mill, where the night passed quietly and the snow continued to pile higher. The next morning, they used the Master Shovel to slowly continue south to the destroyed village of Cherat, and then farther on before making camp again in the deep snow.
A strange night
During Asmund’s watch, a lone woman walked up the snowy road and stopped to stare at him. He stared back. She turned and walked on into the snow. He called to her, but she did not respond, and continued south.
During Drew’s watch, a sound drew him away into the woods where he met a strange figure hunched over a dead rabbit. Dressed in feathers and staring with wide round eyes, the stranger whispered that she was Striga, someone very old and tired, with some knowledge of the underground horror called Shernavoth. Striga hated the huge numbers of vampires, and wished a return to the old ways. It was she who arranged the bones around their camp. She also revealed that one way to defeat a vampire is by invoking its True Name. Drew left her in peace, and she vanished into the night.
Ward’s watch passed with event, and the morning came, dark and freezing.
And that’s where we ended.
Another solid session. Everyone enjoyed their strange dreams. The encounter with Baron Cazamir was spooky and strange, and now everyone wants to know what might have happened if they had not destroyed him so quickly. The vampire battles in Rukesti were quick and dangerous. The first was theater-of-the-mind, and the second was on a map.
Discovering the magical loot seemed to make everyone happy. Most of the items are attunement, so they have to constantly re-evaluate which things to use and which to set aside. The journey south was quiet, and I think it set the tone well, being very cold and silent and strange. I wanted to shift gears from the heat and violence of Rukesti, and I think that went well.
Next time, I believe we will finally enter the mountains and begin the attack on the vampire stronghold at Castle Torescu!