AvocaD&D and Tabletop RPG Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 34

Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop RPG thread!  Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop RPGs that you nerds might be into.  Tell us about the games you’re playing, speculate about future expansions, recruit your fellow Avocados into new groups, whatever you want.

Let’s talk a bit about beginnings. What’s your preferred way to start an adventure or a campaign? There are countless methods.  You can drop the players into the middle of a mission or battle.  You can have them wake up imprisoned by some unknown entity.  Raiders could suddenly storm your PCs’ home town.  Everyone could meet up in a tavern.

What’s really important, I guess, is giving the players a reason to go on whatever adventure the DM has planned.  Maybe that means that the PCs are an established mercenary group, or soldiers in a lord’s militia.  Or maybe the DM has mined the players’ backstories and can set up a scenario with hooks for each person at the table.  Either way, I think, the players have to buy in to the adventure the DM sets up.  If one or more players decides that their character doesn’t feel like helping the town blacksmith find his missing apprentice, the game could be over before it starts.

Our AvocaD&D group is playing through the Curse of Strahd adventure module.  Our version takes place in a pseudo-historical 19th century Earth, and the group is playing as representatives of a railroad company sent to the tiny Eastern European nation of Barovia (ruled by Count Strahd von Zarovich) to negotiate the expansion of the railway through the country.

Dramatis Personae

Our Dungeon Master is The Hayes Code, and the party consists of:

  • Txan Einreique, a Half-Elf Stone Sorcerer; the Company Representative and nominal party leader (Josephus Brown)
  • Kissi Farwood, a Human Fighter; a former solider hired as a bodyguard by Txan (forget_it_jake)
  • ENGR-23, a Warforged Artificer; a living machine employed as a railway engineer (our only non-Avocado party member)
  • Peter Peregrine, a Human Barbarian; a Professor of Antiquities with a rage-filled alter ego called Kragen Tempest (The Wasp)
  • Wickerwelt Tanglewood, a Halfling Ranger/Rogue; a Barovian native brought along as a guide (TheCleverGuy)
  • Carabelle Longstride, a Halfling Cleric of Lathander; a Southern-accented American on a personal mission of her own (Wafflicious)
Spoilers for Curse of Strahd

After fighting a battle with the druids at Yester Hill, we rested another night at the winery, then set off escorting the restored wine shipment to the village of Krezk in hopes of some reward for restoring the winery.  In Krezk, ENGR game up with a plan get a wedding dress for the Frankensteined-together bride for Strahd at the Abbey of St. Markovia by gathering bits of cloth from folks all around the town.  We all went off to ask the locals for help.  Txan was very successful, while Wick just got slapped a few times.   Cara and ENGR worked together to design and assemble a beautiful patchwork gown.  After 2 days of work, we made our way up the hill to the monastery.  The Abbott was very impressed with our offering and agreed to provide us with resurrection services should we require it.

abbeyThe Abbott also offered us a tour of the Abbey of St Markovia.  In the courtyard, we saw a chained-up humanoid figure with bat wings and spider mandibles, and horrible screams coming from a building nearby.  The Abbott told us that many of the residents were in such poor condition that they had to remain confined for their own safety and that of the town.  ENGR offered this creature some water, impressing the Abbott with her kindness.  We continued our tour through the madhouse and were confronted with a massive 7-foot-tall flesh golem, which the Abbott identified as his first attempt at creating Vasilka.  The rooms in the madhouse weren’t locked, but the flesh golem kept the dozen or so mongrelfolk here contained.

The Abbott warned us not to wander off on our own within the Abbey, as the inmates were potentially dangerous.  We talked about establishing a home base somewhere.  ENGR wanted to stay in the Abbey, but the rest of us weren’t in love with the idea of living in a literal madhouse full of insane monsters.  We talked about taking over the the old windmill, where we’d killed Morgantha and her coven, but eventually settled on just staying in Vallaki.  ENGR was able to set up a laboratory workshop under Blinsky’s toy shop, thanks to Txan’s magic in excavating a new basement. We decided to hang out in town a few days, so that ENGR could brew up some potions for us before setting out with the duskelves on their expedition to the mountains (which we’d been putting off for a while).

And that was it.  A short game session, in part due to some technical difficulties and in part because of the Easter holiday.  Next week, we’ll finally set out to the mountains with the elves.