Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop Gaming thread! Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop games 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.
Sorry, no time to come up with a discussion topic this week, so it’s just a free-for-all. As always, I’m open to suggestions for future topics as well.
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.
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)
We picked up this week having just returned to the town of Vallaki after our expedition to the Amber Temple. We spent a day in Vallaki, and Cara used some of the treasure we had taken from the Amber Temple to create holy water vials for each of us. Wick spent the day carving some more wooden stakes for everyone as well. After that, we bought some horses and a cart for our entourage and set out for our first foray into Strahd’s castle.
We followed the road eastward up the mountain towards Castle Ravenloft. As we got near the castle, we decide to leave ENGR’s Shield Guardian with the horses and cart, hidden out of sight from the castle. Then we approached an old, rotting drawbridge spanning a 50-foot-wide chasm. On the other side was the main courtyard of Castle Ravenloft, with an iron portcullis standing open. As we crossed the drawbridge, a rotting board snapped under Txan’s weight and he nearly fell into the chasm, a drop of about 1000 feet. Luckily, Kissi was able to grab him before he fell. One of Peter’s Hell Hounds also nearly fell, but was saved. As we passed under the portcullis on the other side, Txan noticed a blob of green slime hanging from the top, but it didn’t seem to react to us passing through. The courtyard itself was covered in cold mist. The main door of the castle was open, and we could see light inside.
A couple of vampire spawn emerged and saw us. We recognized them as two of the ones that had killed our friend Edwin.1 They kindly offered to escort us to Strahd, but we decided against that. Txan used a twinned Polymorph spell and turned them both into sheep. They started running and Kissi knocked one off the drawbridge, and Wick shot an arrow near the other to scare it into falling as well. The fall probably didn’t kill the vampires, but at least they were 1000 feet below us now. We didn’t really want to walk in the front door to Ravenloft. Looking around the courtyard, we found two other side entrances to the castle, both blocked by closed portcullises. Kissi was able to force the southern portcullis open, and we entered into another small courtyard and through into a chapel garden. We couldn’t get into the chapel from here but there was another gate to the east. These led to an overlook where we could see the town of Barovia below. Continuing around to the north, we found a carriage house with a sleek black carriage inside. We also found a wooden door leading into the keep, that was swollen shut with the rain. Kissi yanked open the door and we were finally inside the castle proper.
Inside, we found a table with a book open on it, an two skeletal guards flanking a staircase. Kissi read the book, only to find fresh ink saying “please register for your convenience.” We ignored the book, and made our way down the stairs. The skeletons didn’t react, and we noticed as we passed that they were just hung together with wires.
Downstairs, we entered a mist-shrouded larder and encountered a mongrel-folk man coming towards us with a lantern set on the floor behind him. He offered to take us to our rooms. Kissi knocked him out so that he wouldn’t raise an alarm, and we took an iron key and a pendant with a human eye in it off of him. We stashed the mongrel butler into a wine cellar and Txan used some spikes to seal the gate shut. While Txan was working on that, ENGR identified the eyeball pendant as a hag eye. The hag coven that it belonged to could probably see everything that the eye could see, but if the eye was destroyed, the hags would be blinded and damaged. Txan wrapped the hag eye in cloth and stuck it in his back pocket.
The mongrel man had been heading towards a door to the south, so we decided to go that way first. A narrow hall led to two stairways, one up and one down. The one leading down was covered in webs. As we headed down the corridor, a set gates crashed down both behind and in front of us, trapping us all in small chamber that started rising. And filling with sleeping gas. Kissi and Peter managed to resist the gas, but the rest of us passed out. As the elevator rose, Kissi slapped Txan awake. The elevator stopped at the top and the rest of us were awakened. The doors opened onto a dark landing, with two stairs, leading up and down. As we exited the elevator, we saw small chamber with an ornate rug on the floor. The rug rose up and attempted to smother Txan as he stepped off the elevator. Txan managed to avoid being grappled and hit the rug with a Fire Bolt. The rug didn’t really want to play with us anymore after that and slithered away under a door.
With no way to get the elevator to go back down where we were, we went through another door in the western wall into a tower, where a young man in fancy clothes (but pretty clearly undead) was lounging in a chair. He told us his job was to keep Strahd entertained–Txan made some small talk while we tried to figure out whether we’d need to kill him or not.
We stopped there for the night, though, so we’ll have to see what happens with the undead bard(?) next time!