SPOILERS BELOW for The Beast of Graenseskov
The party, a fourth session at Level 2. And no, they aren't levelling up until they complete some story milestones!
- Ser Alys de Rouge (a half-orc Fighter with a soldier background, currently the leader of the town militia of Daggerford), played by Tom (Guvnor). Lawful Neutral
- Kelwarin (Kel) (a half-elf Sorceror flush with the powers of wild magic, an outlander), played by Graham (First Age). Chaotic Good.
- Gaddock Teeg (a halfling wizard and former prizefighter), played by Alex (Doggetay), Neutral Good.
- Roscoe Tosscobble (a halfling Cleric of Life, a follower of Diancecht, god of medicine and healing, former hermit and companion of Ser Adon), played by Jag (Jagusti). Lawful Good.
At the end of the last session, we left the party camped with the Vistani having agreed to help find Ruzina's mother's body and return it to her people. There was also the shock news that Ruzina was the illegitimate daughter of Boyar Borje Volchykrov. A plan was made to re-enact the ritual that caused the curse to come to be the next day, as Sir Cedomir and his father had agreed to do so after Kel's eloquent persuasion which Gaddock had foreseen.
- Ser Adon of House Starbright (a half-orc Paladin, from a knightly background, with two human retainers and a priest), played by Paul (dr_mitch). Lawful Good.
A cold, crisp morning found the characters, accompanied by Ruzina Nostrova, heading back to Volchykrov Manor without incident, despite the tuneful but loud singing from the group. On arrival, they collected Merje the Druid, his assistant Eralda the Herbalist and Father Fiofan and headed to the manor and the pub, passing by the burned out bonfire where the worg bodies had been destroyed the day before. After a few drinks, they headed across the small square and past the dias erected for the ritual. There was almost a party atmosphere. Today was the day that the Beast of Graenseskov would be revealed and slain!
A dark thought crossed Kelwarin's mind that perhaps Sir Cedomir would use this as a chance to kill his father and assume the lordship of Graenseskov, but he dismissed it as cynicism.
The ceremony began, re-enacting the execution of the Hag which brought the curse upon the people of the manor perfectly until the moment that the killing blow was meant to be withheld. Kel's fears were true as Cedomir lopped off his father's head, and his men (the Hounds) killed the Boyar's bodyguard. A fight developed, and Kel called down witchbolts from the sky upon Cedomir, only to be cut down with a crossbow bolt. Fortunately, Roscoe healed him. Ruzina and Father Fiofan proved to be very effective with shortswords and Cedomir was brought down. Roscoe stabilised him, but an angry Kel witchbolted him again. Ser Adon struggled against one of the Hounds, with Fiofan helping.
Cedomir started to tranform and became a huge Dire Wolf like beast; the Beast of Graenseskov was revealed. He howled, and answers came from north and south as Dire Wolves and a wolf pack started to pour into town. Panic ensued and the party focussed their attacks on Cedomir. Ser Adon moved to block the entrance to the square while Gaddock and Roscoe continued to support. The Beast, badly wounded started to flee, only to be cut down by magic. One Dire Wolf fled, and the other was slain by Kel and Roscoe with magic. The wolf pack was driven away by Merje (throwing fire and using his quarterstaff) and Eralda (casting rays of frost and sickness).
As the battle ended, a silence came other manor. A debate was held with Ruzina, who was persuaded to take over as Boyar, giving her people hope and a place to stay. Ser Alys dissented slightly, but kept her peace when Ruzina Volchykrov was acclaimed. The party ran late into the night.
Using magic, the sorceror, cleric and wizard soon found the ashes of Ruzina's mother.
A letter was found in the Boyar's possessions, dated two days before the Beast was slain.
Boyar Borje Volchykrov, I am displeased with the death of my servant at the hand of your visitors and you bear full responsibility. However, the interlopers have my attention and interest. Do what you can to send them to me. Do not fail me again. Strahd.
Roscoe consulted his amber jewel. It was drawn towards the letter, and towards the northwest, along the Old Svalich Road into Barovia proper.
The party rested and prepared to head deeper into the domain of Count Strahd.
GM Notes: This session was an extended fight scene, as the story of the Beast of Graenseskov came to a close (or so the party think). There were a lot of NPCs involved as that's what the story demanded, and my dice betrayed me, putting the monsters at the bottom of the initiative order. Chrome crashed three times, which was frustrating.
I need to consider disengaging more; it failed here, so the chance to use lair actions failed.
Because of this, the level of threat was very reduced.
The party levelled up to Level 3. Overall, it feels like they worked harder for it than the 'Death House' scenario would have required.
- Where has Pretty Kolchya gone?
- Is the Beast really dead and the Curse broken?
- What will Strahd do next?
- How can the party escape this place?
The game will return later in the year, as now we have a break for a few weeks and then Coriolis!
3rd March 2020