Session Date: April 28, 2017
After some discussion, the PCs decide to take Ireena to Vallaki as opposed to exposing her to more danger. Before they get much further, however, four hunched figures with red caps spring from the bushes. Eli and Lor warn the party and no one is surprised. The group kills the creatures before anyone is seriously hurt.
En route, Ireena mentions that she has had dreams of someone like Strahd, but younger and appearing more kind. These dreams are juxtaposed over the scene of a castle, old and new at the same time.
The party decides to send a several of their group into Vallaki: Solveig, Talia and Tyrexia. The other three stay behind to watch Ireena.
The group going into Vallaki makes it past the guards and heads to St. Andral’s Church. There, they meet Father Lucian Petrovich. Father Petrovich is initially cautious around the PCs but becomes more talkative once they reveal they do not work for the baron.
Father Petrovich confides in the PCs that the church has lost an important relic—the bones of St. Andral. After some convincing, Father Petrovich explains the only other person who knew about the bones was Yeska, the altar boy. The PCs confront Yeska who, in turn, says he told Milivoj about the bones for a gold piece. The party then heads to the house of Milivoj and Tyrexia convinces the townsfolk to look away with some telepathic prodding.
Milivoj shares the small house with his younger brother and sister. Faced with imminent violence, Milivoj explains he gave the bones to the coffin maker, Henrik van der Voort. Solveig, Talia, and Tyrexia then return to the others.
Meanwhile, Blaze, Eli and Lor rest on the top of the hill, camouflaged by Lor’s woodcraft. While there, they spot a band of Vallaki pass their hill. The entire group appears slightly to moderately drunk. When one of the Vistani chooses to relieve himself at the base of the tree, Eli uses magical chicanery to lead him astray. As the group walks away, the party overhears two names spoken in hushed tones—Luvash and Arrigal.
Once the party is rejoined, they decide to bring the child tagging along to the Blue Water Inn, while leaving Ireena at St. Andral’s church. While at the Blue Water Inn, the PCs ask Urwin about the first gem lost. He explains that night he followed his wife’s voice around the vineyard all night and that the gem was gone when he came back.
Father Petrovich takes Ireena into the church and promises to shelter her.
The PCs then follow-up on Baron Vallakovich’s invitation for dinner. At the Baron’s Mansion, they join an awkward dinner with the Baron, his tittering wife, and several nervous village women. At one point, the Baron’s son, Victor, comes down to grab some food and then leaves after glaring at the PCs.
The Baron expresses excitement over the fact the Festival of the Blazing Sun will now overlap with St. Andral’s Feast. He also expressed frustration over the proliferation of “malicious unhappiness” since Izek’s death.
A mysterious sound above draws the party’s attention and Tyrexia sends Oona to investigate. The invisible vampire fairy flies up and discovers two interesting facts: 1) there is a greenish light sporadically emanating from a trap door leading into the attic from the master bedroom; and 2) there is a man tied up and gagged in the closet. At the dinner table below, the PCs note one of Tyrexia’s eyebrows raise as Oona telepathically communicates this information below.
Tyrexia and Solveig take the opportunity to excuse themselves and are led upstairs by one of the village women. The latter offers to provide a distraction as Tyrexia and Solveig take the trapdoor leading into the attic, finding several rooms above, including a storage room. Both find places to hide as they overhear Victor saying he needs another test subject. Victor passes them as he heads downstairs.
Things start moving quickly. Victor sees the village woman below and dispatches her with a spell. Solveig and Tyrexia move into Victor’s room, where they see an arcane circle and several children with their faces turned toward the wall. They enter, discharging a magical trap and taking significant damage. Victor teleports back to his room to face his intruders and blasts them with a cone of cold.
Lor and Solveig rush upstairs to find the dead villager. Baron Vallakovich jumps up from his seat. Eli points a bow at him, which momentarily keeps him in his seat. Solveig and Tyrexia kill Victor. As the Baron hears his son’s cries, he presses forward and is shot dead by Eli.
After ensuring no other threats wait for them, the PCs gather the surviving NPCs. They offer the village women work at the mansion as servants. They (eventually) release the captured man, a shoemaker named Udo Lukovich. The party gathers treasures from the house and learns that the “children” in the attic were strange life-sized wooden dolls dressed to look like children.
They then call the current captain of the guard, who readily accepts the situation. The captain further explains that the coffin maker’s shop has been closed the last two days.
The party then heads to the coffin maker’s shop, which appears boarded up and abandoned. Entering through a back door, they make their way upstairs, where they are set upon by a half-dozen vampire spawn. The fight goes poorly until Talia draws upon the power of her god and send four of the six into the corners. After the PCs take out the two still threatening their ranks, they begin taking out the other vampire spawn, one by one. Eventually, the party is victorious and they find St. Andral’s bones, which they return that night.
After they deliver the bones to the church, the party gets some well-needed rest.
In the morning, the party learns that the wine shipment from the Wizard of Wines Winery has arrived. Two barrels are uncorked for preliminary festivities. Ricardio plays a somber tune, but for the most part, the villagers are happy. At the peak of the celebration, the PCs announce that the Baron is dead, which is greeted with cheers. The party then announces that Urwin Martikov will take over leadership of the town, an announcement greeted with uncertain optimism.
After this celebration, Rictavio approaches the party. He reveals that his actual name is Rudolph van Richten and that he is a monster hunt who comes from a strange city named Greyhawk. Van Richten explains that the secret to Strahd’s destruction likely lies in the hands of the only inhabitants alive when Strahd was still human—the dusk elves.
Specifically, Van Richten tells of a dusk elf community to the south of Vallaki guarded over by evil Vistani, led by particularly brutal brothers named Luvash and Arrigal. This group has kept him from speaking with the dusk elves, as well as serving as Strahd’s spies. Van Richten’s plan for dealing with the Vistani involves a sabertooth tiger contained in his circus wagon, allegedly trained only to kill the Vistani.
The PCs dissaud Van Richten from killing all of the Vistani immediately but assure him that they will deal with the problem upon their return to town.
Before leaving Vallaki, the party checks on their assets at the Wachter house. There, they find Ernst Larnack torn apart, with pieces scattered from room to room. In the secret cult chamber below the house, Ernst’s head awaits and begins screaming threats as soon as the PCs arrive.
The party also considers purchasing some wares from Jenny Greenteeth. She offers tremendous discounts for innocuous sounding favors. The party instead pays full price for the potions they purchase. Eli stocks up on silver arrows.
The party then leaves Vallaki behind and travels on horseback to Lake Bartok. The trip is uneventful.
Once there, they approach through the woods and find a cave at the base of a cliff shaped like the gaping jaws of a wolf. The PCs sneak up to the entrance and Oona precedes inside. She scouts out several rooms filled with werewolves, including one covered entirely in white fur. Another is praying to a mysterious statue with rotting corpses nearby and children in cages.
The party bursts into action and takes out the initial werewolf guards. Talia scorches nearly a dozen wolves with one fireball and Eli uses the corners to launch unseen attacks on his foes. One of the werewolves (the one praying to the shrine) refuses to attack the PCs and instead allows them to cut down her other pack members.
After the hostiles are dealt with, the PCs learn that the surviving werewolf is Zuleika Tornescu. She explains that the previous pack leader, Emil Tornescu, was contested by another named Kiril Stoyanovich. Emil wanted to turn all captured children into werewolves to increase the pack size, while Kiril had them battle to the death to weed out the weak. Kiril gained the backing of Strahd and captured Emil. Zuleika believes he is probably in the dungeons of Castle Ravenloft, assuming he is even alive.
The party notices a pile of treasure at the feet of the statue. A book appears of particular importance and, though she is loath to disturb the treasure, Zuleika retrieves the book when the PCs promise a) to dispose of Kiril; and b) to return Emil. A quick glance informs the reader that this is the Tome of Strahd, which contains his secret past as well as other knowledge concerning Barovia.
Zuleika warns the party to be ready as Kiril could return any minute.