Chapter 2: Death House
Session 3, 4, 5
As the group made their way back to Barovia, they came down a quiet and empty road when entering town. Finding two young children in the road, one clutching a toy doll. The group approached the children and found out that they had escaped their home across the street, fleeing a terrible monster in their basement. They also feared for their little brother, a baby named Walter, whom they claimed was still trapped in the home. After finding a safe place nearby for the children to wait, the group went into the home to investigate.
The home turned out to be much more than it appeared. They explored the interior of the home, noticing grim depictions in every decoration they studied of violence, death and evil. As they explored deeper into the home they eventually found letters and information that led them to believe the home was actually a front for some cult, meant to appease the vampire Strahd von Zarovich.
In one of the upper floors they actually came upon the bodies of the two children they had encountered outside, and the ghosts of those children. The children seemed to have no idea about the interactions outside, instead their ghostly forms tormented by a feeling of abandonment and fear. They seemed to have been left to starve to death in their rooms, locked in from the outside years and years ago. The party did uncover more about the home though and came to conclude that the home had much more nefarious uses than simply a monster in the basement. When trying to leave the children, the children attempted to possess the party without success.
Deeper into the house the party found themselves battling a ghoul whom they later established was the once-maid of the home, along with animated armor and flying brooms. They eventually made their way to the home's library, uncovering a letter from Strahd to the cultists who ran the house, demeaning their attempts at his favor and making mention to a curse they had wrought upon themselves. It seemed as though the owners of this house would never gain his favor. They also found the body of an adventurer in a hidden alcove in the library that was also filled with later uncovered bogus spellbooks and rituals. Lectos attempted to contact Pandlewick without success, and after resting the party moved on.
They eventually discovered a way into the basement. A narrow spiral staircase led them from the attack all the way into a series of crypts and tunnels below the home. The crypts seemed to be for the family members, and the tunnels led to a series of rooms and storage facilities for a cannibalistic cult whom was seeking Strahd's attention. The deeper they delved into the tunnels they discovered that the cultists had all succumbed to various forms of undeath. Zombies, ghouls, ghasts made up the cult members. In the battles the party eventually lost Gwendolyn, as she was overcome in a desparate battle that took place in a narrow four-way intersection.
The party eventually found the owners, Elizabeth and Gustav Dhurst as ghouls whom hunted through the home. They quickly dispatched of Gustav as the ghoul's charged, but Elizabeth ducked into the darkness, and a fevered hunt began. Eventually Elizabeth led the party through the tunnels, causing them to activate a Mimic disguised as a door in an attempt to weaken them before she came out to attack again. In a struggle that left the remaining party nearly defeated they eventually killed both Elizabeth and the Mimic, retreating for a day and a half into the upstairs library to recover.
When they continued on into the lowest levels, following a nefarious chanting through the caverns. They eventually discovered a prison deep down in the tunnels, and surprisingly found a living bird-man within. Although there seemed to be a very big language barrier, the prisoner could only mimic and repeat, not form language of it's own. Lectos found the solution with telepathy, exchanging thoughts and coming to realize that the creature was a Kenku from a far away land, he and his party had followed a similar path to the group nearly a year previous. The rest of the party being killed by the cultists, where the Kenku, appearing as a raven-man, seemed to hold some sort of importance to the cultists. They did not kill the Kenku, named Krakle, but instead paraded him in front of a statue to Strahd, attempting to gain his favor to no avail for going on a year.
After establishing the who, how and what of the new addition to the group they fought on. Ending up in a lower level of the tunnels with 18 pedestals that had seemingly important artifacts on them in the room the chanting emanated from. They followed another tunnel to come into a half submerged marble ritual chamber, with a raised sacrificial platform in it's center. When Krakle and Hanif stepped onto the platform two dozen ghostly images appeared in a ring around the raised platforms surrounding the room, demanding a living sacrifice. When the party refused, a massive heap of refuse rose from the water to destroy them. Although using a tight doorway to their advantage, the party managed to destroy the creature with relative ease.
With the monster defeated, the two dozen ghostly images disappeared and the chanting ended. The tunnels seemingly becoming inert. The party went to leave the house, believing that they were free of the curse bestowing it only to realize that the house above had come alive, looking to destroy them. Each doorway was full of magical blades swinging through them, every room with a fireplace or stove spewing acidic clouds of acrid smoke, and the walls full of enraged rat swarms. The party bashed through the home, fighting off all the challenges and eventually spilling out into the road just before the entire home collapsed in on itself. The ghostly children were also nowhere to be found.
Regaining their composure, the group left the house to the nearby Blood of the Vine tavern, hoping for a moment of respite and time to make plans for their next steps.
Below are the EXP rewards for the sessions.
400 EXP: Survive the flying brooms.
300 EXP: Defeat Nursemaid's Specter
700 EXP: Deal with the children's ghosts.
100 EXP: Defeat Centipede Swarm
450 EXP: Defeat Grick
800 EXP: Defeat 4 Ghouls
500 EXP: Defeat 5 shadows
450 EXP: Defeat Mimic
900 EXP: Defeat 2 Ghasts
1,800 EXP: Defeat Shambling Mound
1,500 EXP: Roleplay Bonus
Group Session Total: 7,900 EXP
Individual Session Total: 1,975 EXP
Lectos Total: 2,713 EXP (Level 4)
Krackle Total: 2,713 EXP (Level 4)
Hanif Total: 2,713 EXP (Level 4)
Treller Total: 2,713 EXP (Level 4)