Chapter 5: To Vallaki
Session 10, 11, 12
- Danika and Urwin Martikov tell the party they are running low on wine and if they are back on the road soon if they could investigate the wine shortage coming from his family's vinyard, about a day's ride away.
- The party discusses with Rictavio his going ons. He only tells them that he is a trapped wanderer, like them, who tries as he might to get by in this evil land. He tells them that he is from a faraway land and owned a carnival once. He mentioned that he gave his monkey, Piccholo, to a sad toymaker who needed a friend. He fell into the mists while traveling, just him, his horse, and his cart. The players notice he takes an apple and a steak each day and after following him discover that he has a horse in the stable and his cart is on the other side of town in the stockyards. It seems there is a large beast within his cart. While searching in the night, Lectos notices a magical aura from a building near the stockyard that later turns out to be Henrick's coffin shop.
- While searching the stockyard the players encounter a small group of misguided cultists and fend them off. One escapes. While the party is camped overnight in the abandoned building, the cultists return in greater numbers. They capture one and interrogate him. They belong to a group of people who follow the teachings of Lady Fiona Watcher, who can summon demons and is out to overthrow the burgomaster's reign in town.
- At Blinsky's toy shoppe the group is attempting to find the girl Gurtruda from Barovia who was missing and find a rather rotund man who is immensely animated. He also has a pet monkey named Piccholo, whom does tricks for trinkets, coins or treats. Blinsky goes on to try and show them each of his newest toy inventions and explains in fine detail the craftsmanship that goes into the disturbingly bothersome toys. During the conversation they find a series of dolls that look exactly like Ireena. He explains that he makes the dolls for a man names Isek, who is the right hand to the Burgomaster. The man is mean and gruff, and has been describing a girl he has been dreaming about. Each doll gets closer to the likeness. Isek demands the toymaker create these toys for him, but always pays.
- The party investigates at the Burgomaster's mansion to learn about Isek. They have a meeting with the Burgomaster and are uncomfortable with the man's insistence that they be happy and that he was the reason Strahd and his minions were not a problem for the town. He explained to the party that both his butler and his wife's lady in waiting had disappeared over the last week and that his man Isek had launched an investigation. Assuming that the party was here with information about this he sat down with them for tea. When he realized they had no information for him he became frustrated quickly and told them to report to Isek and angrily left them, not before reminding them that they would be expected to attend the festival.
- The party discusses Blinsky's toys with Isek. Isek denies any knowledge of the toys in question, even when presented with one of the dolls. He demands he has work to attend to and leaves the mansion in haste, on horseback.
- The party save Blinsky from his burning toy shoppe as Isek leaves the scene. After saving Blinsky, Treller yells out to the gathered crowd that Isek tried to kill this man, that he set fire to the building. The crowd looks uncomfortable and quickly disperses. Blinsky's shop is lost to the flames.
- Confronting Rictavio with Blinsky in tow, Rictavio doesn't know how to help the party. He can't take on Blinsky, despite being friendly with the man. He recommends the party take Blinsky to Father Lucian at the church. When questioned for more information, as the party believes Rictavio is hiding something, Rictavio explains that he will allow the party access to his wagon only if they can either find what it is the Martikov's are hiding and who they hold allegiance to, or if they can discover what is happening with the Dusk Elf encampment outside of town and why there is a Vistani camp seemingly staying with them. If they can bring any of that knowledge to him, he will allow them to look through his wagon in the stockyard.
- While trying to investigate the Martikov's on the lead from Rictavio the party skulk around their dwellings and the rest of the Blue Water Inn. They discover a raven roost with hundreds of ravens above the stables. Additionally they find that the bedrooms of the Martikov family are all a facade, and that they have a private roost above in the attic. While investigating in the bar, a young orphan boy who works for the church approaches Hanif and tells them that he heard a rumor they had a paladin in their group. If so, Father Lucian wanted to meet them!
- They bring Blinsky and Ireena to Father Lucian at Saint Andral's church. After a long discussion the priest feels confident in the party after discovering that Krackle is a paladin. He explains that the sacred bones of Saint Andral were stolen from the church, that these bones are the true reason that the surrounding area is free from the undead. That if they are not returned, Strahd and his ilk will be able to overrun the town. They were stolen the night before, and only the Priest and his young orphan assistant knew about it. Father Lucian agrees to keep an eye on Blinsky and Ireena, giving them a safe place to stay while the party investigates and a safe place to keep Ireena away from Isek.
- The party confronts the Henrick at the coffin maker's shop. After repeated attempts to convince him to let them in, they break in. The man is clearly charmed, but willingly gives up once cornered that there are Vampires among the boxes upstairs and that the bones from the church are also among the boxes. He warns them against disturbing the Vampires, and believes he had no choice but to work with the creatures after a noble man from out of town promised him a great sum of money and prolonged work for his establishments services. The man's name was Vasili von Holtz. Henrick readily agreed and invited the man in to discuss, and was shortly afterwards put into the services of Vampires, and storing the bones until they could be collected.
- The party opens up all the windows in the house and forces the vampires to fight them in daylight. They seemingly kill them all, except one escapes. To be sure, after winning the encounter they proceed to put stakes through the chest of each, while having them rest in the crates filled with dirt that they were resting within. Afterwards they each turn to ash.
- The party attempts to give chase to the one which escaped, following it's trail as best they could. Eventually the trail begins to run cold and the Festival of the Blazing sun is about to begin so they give up the hunt.
- During the "Festival of the Blazing Sun" the group raced to gather with the crowd of townsfolk in order to attend. They made it just as the main parade was beginning and attended the affair with as much enthusiasm as the rest of the crowd. Especially knowing that such things were not what kept the town safe, but instead the sacred bones they carried with them even then. At the end of the parade, the effigy of the giant sun was to be lit by the Baron. Unfortunately a massive torrent of rain came upon the town at this time, and the burgomaster couldn't get the effigy lit. The crowd stood through it, silent, except one guard. That guard burst out laughing. Not to be embarrassed, the burgomaster soaked the man in oil and forced him to try and light it himself from below the oiled wooden display. After complaining that he had no way to light the torch, the monstrous Isek unveiled a demonic arm beneath his cloak, throwing fire upon the man and effigy both. As the man screamed and the blazing sun effigy burned, the town clapped and cheered in a depressed and sad semblance of joy while the burgomaster proclaimed "All will be well!". The characters were unable to commit to action fast enough to stop it all, or perhaps chose discretion was the better play?
- As the Festival of the Blazing Sun was coming to an end, Karl and Nikolai Watcher came sprinting down the main road from the stockyards, screaming of a beast hunting them! Just behind them came a bounding, massive and monstrous tiger. He jumped into the crowd, roared, and ducked in through the buildings. A chase ensued, with the characters splitting up to give chase through the alleyways and the town guard rallied to find and kill the beast. During the chase, Hanif managed to hit the tiger with a rock, seemingly driving it into a further rage. Later, Rictavio bumped into Treller while hunting the beast and explained that the Tiger wouldn't hurt anyone. It had a "specific prey" and that he needed help getting the tiger away from town.
- The party made a plan to get the bones back to the church, check on Rictavio's cart which had the prophesized item they were looking for, check on the coffin maker, and reconvene.
- Krackle knocked out the coffin maker after it was obvious he wouldn't leave his wrecked shop due to magical compulsion and carried him away.
- The investigated the remains of Rictavio's cart. Discovering that the Watcher brothers seemed to have broken into it and set the tiger loose by mistake. After going through the wreckage the party discovered that Rictavio was no carnival operator, but a man named Rudolph Van Richten, an aging monster hunter of seeming renown. They also discovered a sword hilt that seemed to emotionally overwhelm whomever touched it with desires and feelings.
- By the time Van Richten arrived at his cart, the party had gathered and repaired the cart. Van Richten proceeded to explain that he is a monster hunter, in this land with the sole purpose of finding a means of killing Strahd. He gave them a copy of his guide to Vampires and eventually gave them the Sun Blade, a magical hilt that was once a blade created to kill Strahd. The blade was broken and destroyed, but the hilt remains, able to cast a blade of pure light to combat Strahd. The blade is sentient and both hates Strahd, and fears him, knowing that Strahd wants to see it destroyed completely.
- While discussing the prophecies laid out to them, Van Richten explains that he has a pupil, a Vistana warrior named Esmerelda D'Avenir. The description seems to fit her, based on Madam Eva's prophecies. He tells the party that she can be a staunch ally of theirs, if they can find her.
- Van Richten gives them what knowledge he can of the lands and people before departing. He was cursed by Vistani and knows that any who he gets close to and aid him in his fight against Strahd are doomed a terrible fate due to his Curse. So even though their goals align, he can't travel with the party or aid them directly. Van Richten believes that the Wereravens belong to a cult of sorts called the "Order of the Black Feather" and mean to work against Strahd. However he hasn't been able to completely prove it as of yet and isn't willing to tip his hand to them for fear of Strahd becoming aware of his presence. He recommends the party investigate further. He also has immense distrust and disdain of the Vistani with the exception of Esmerelda and warns the party against trusting them. He also explains that the Watcher family is opposed to the current Burgomaster.
- The party returns to the church to find a black carriage leaving as they arrive. As they approach the long drive of the church, they see dozens of zombies storming the church. The party rushes to the church, with the bones being given to Krackle who manages to call upon her divine powers to pass through the smallest of cracks in the window shutters, into the main hall of the church. He and Father Lucian quickly put the bones back in Saint Andral's tomb, sanctifying the church and surrounding town once more. The zombies outside seem to be simultaneously dealt a massive blow and all fall to the ground, slain, at once.
Below are the EXP rewards for the sessions.
50 EXP: Learn about the wine shortage at Blue Water Inn
50 EXP: Find Rictavio's cart and discover the beast inside
200 EXP: Defeat the original cultists in the abandoned warehouse.
500 EXP: Defeat the cultists that returned to fight the party.
50 EXP: Learn about Fiona Watcher's desire to take over town leadership through interrogating the cultist.
50 EXP: Uncover Blinsky's toy making and Isek's desire to recreate Ireena's likeness.
300 EXP: Save Blinsky.
50 EXP: Rictavio's request for information on the Wereravens and the Vistani's involvement with the Dusk Elves.
50 EXP: Learning about the truth of Saint Andral's bones.
200 EXP: Attended the Festival of the Blazing Sun and went on a tiger chase.
200 EXP: Recovering the Sunsword and uncovering Rudolph van Richten's identity and purpose.
5,500 EXP: Uncovering the Vampire Spawn and defeating the Vampires to recover the bones.
500 EXP: Returning the bones of Saint Andral, hallowing the surrounding area of Vallaki
3,000 EXP: Roleplay Bonus
300 EXP: Email Roleplay Bonus
100 EXP: Letter to widow of Dimitri Dalca
Group Session Total: 11,100 EXP
Individual Session Total: 2,775 EXP
Lectos Total: 8,888 EXP (Level 5)
Krackle Total: 8,888 EXP (Level 5)
Hanif Total: 8,888 EXP (Level 5)
Treller Total: 8,888 EXP (Level 5)