Expedition To Castle Ravenloft - Forgotten Realms
Abridged Game Session Synopsis
13 Mirtul (May)
- Gevyen Tallmer, a scribe to Lathander’s church in Zazesspur, Tethyr discovers an old parchment.
- A small Lathanderan sect is active in a remote region of Damara.
- Orders described: the Ecaterine Monks, and the Knights of the Raven.
- 3 holy shrines dedicated to Saints Markovia, Ecaterina & Bogdan.
- holy symbol that shines like the sun; and the first sun blade.
- Hikar Bartaen, Abbot of the Zazesspur Church of Lathander, rebukes Gevyen for his overexcited nature.
16 Mirtul (May)
- Hikar Bartaen promises Gevyen to arrange an expedition to seek the holy treasures in Damara.
5 Kythorn (June)
- Hikar Bartaen assembles an expedition party of horses, wagon and two grooms (Seth and Pardrey)
- Seymour de Crecy, cleric of Lathander, assigned as spiritual guide and mentor.
20 Flamerule (July)
- Hikar negotiates with clerics of Shaundakul to open a portal to Northern Faerûn.
- The party is to be transported to Sembia, to their sister Lanthanderan church in Yhaunn – the Sunspire Cathedral.
25 Flamerule (July)
- The party travels by a portal from Zazesspur to Sembia, opened by rangers of Shaundakul
- Party arrives in Sembian city of Yhaunn
- Ash Torden, a Lanthanderan paladin, assigned as an additional guard.
- Abbess Simla Tartufo of Yhauun’s Sunspire Cathedral suggests that the party are venturing into more dangerous lands.
28 Flamerule (July) to 4 Eleasias (August)
- The party cross the Sea of Fallen Stars from Sembia to Impiltur aboard the Wavecrest; a trading ship carrying a cargo of smoked sausages, captained by Michely Albignoni.
4 Eleasias (August)
- The Wavecrest docks at Lyrabar, the capital of Impiltur.
6 Eleasias (August) to 30 Eleasias (August)
- The party travel with the Blue Hand Mercantile Company from Lyrabar to Heliogabalus, capital of Damara.
4 Eleint (September) to 12 Eleint (September)
- The Lathanderans travel from the Damaran capital, Heliogabalus, to the frontier town of Ironspur.
12 Eleint (September) to 14 Eleint (September)
- The party travel from Ironspur into the region of the Galena Mountains, reaching “The Weary Horse Inn” late in the afternoon of 14 Eleint.
- Glor, a dwarven mage from the Icewind Dale, meets Gevyen and Seymour in the inn’s common room as Ash and the grooms see to the horses.
- A rough halfling messenger with bedraggled yet colourful clothes (a Vistani), marches to the bar and throws a letter in front of the drinkers.
- “The village of Barovia is in need of heroes,” he says in a thick accent, “You’ll do as well as any.” He then turns on his heel and marches for the door.
- Seymour and Gevyen open the letter, which reads:-
Barovia. The worms creep beneath our floors and our streets, they feast on the flesh of our dead.
High in the castle, the once lord no longer, the new lord is not yet, without form, void. All is void and vanity.
Ireena, Ireena, Ireena! Long have I kept you at my side, long will I keep you close to my heart! Save my Ireena!
I am the Burgomaster. The Master! Kolyan am I! Soon the worms will feast on me.
Come! Do not tarry!
- Gevyen is unsure but thinks that a Burgomaster is likely to be Barovia’s mayor, and a person to seek.
- Gevyen is mildly annoyed by Seymour making a great show of expressing his desires for all forms of luxurious food and drink.
- Valarion Ulthedran explains that he is familiar with the region of Barovia, and offers his services as a guide.
- Saldek Strongarm introduced as a companion of Valarion
15 Eleint (September)
- Expanded party of (Gevyen, Seymour, Ash, Seth & Pardrey); Glor, Valarion and Saldek set off early in the morning towards Barovia.
- Long day by wagon, through dimly lit yet seemingly peaceful forests.
- For hours the party hears nothing from the dull, silent trees.
- They are forced to camp overnight within the gloomy forest.
16 Eleint (September)
- Last night’s rest in the forest disturbed by incessant howling of wolves, both distant and disturbingly close.
- Saldek notices swooping flights of bats careering through the camp in the early hours.
- The travellers reach the gates of Barovia a little past midday.
- Total distance from “Weary Horse Inn” about 30 miles
- Gates of stone pillars with huge iron gates hanging from the stonework.
- 2 stone statues of armed guardians with wicked polearms, their carved heads lie at their feet
- Valarion walks towards gates and they slowly open automatically with a screech
- Saldek or Valarion wedge the stone heads firmly under the gates.
- The party enters Barovia en masse and the gates swing violently shut – propelling the stone heads with force towards the party.
- Barovia in thick fog appears as tall shapes and slick cobblestones.
- Dilapidated wooden sign reads “Welcome to the Village of Barovia” lying across the stones, torn from its mountings.
- Street battles against zombies, carcass eaters, vargouilles, dire maggots and a deathlock.
- Saldek does lots of slicing, Seymour some turning; Glor and Valarion get ambushed by zombies emerging from houses.
- After the battle, the party finds the sole untouched corpse of a local carpenter named Viktor Litmunova.
- Gevyen implores the party to secure his body; but they ignore him completely.
- Saldek nicks the necklace off Viktor’s corpse.
- Town square lined with barricades, and a female paladin named Ashlyn fighting off many zombies.
- Ashlyn & Ash are both interred by a bizarre entombing zombie, but the battle is eventually won.
- Party seeks refuge in the village’s central tavern – “The Blood of the Vine”.
- Some party members note that the sign has been “humorously” changed to “The Blood ON the Vine”.
- Bursting with many village families sheltering from the zombie infestation.
- Ashlyn is stabilised with healing, she reveals that she’s a “paladin of the Lightbringers of Lathander.”
- No one has heard of this sect before, though it’s not surprising.
- Ashlyn reports that the Lightbringers have a doctrine of slaying undead wherever they could be found; and that she and her companions had heard that Barovia was thick with the horrors.
- Ashlyn’s companions had included Thendrick (cleric) and Mathilda (fighter).
- Ashlyn’s quest is the legendary Sunsword.
- Ashlyn says, " Madam Eva would know of the sword’s whereabouts if anyone did. Thendrick & Mathilda wanted to check out the church to the northwest. The townsfolk believe that’s where the zombies arise. Everyone told them to talk to Madam Eva first – she’s some sort of wise woman who lives west of town, the same one who apparently knows about the Sunsword. But they wouldn’t listen, the arrogant clods. They went to the church, confident they could handle whatever they found without needing advice. That was three days ago. I haven’t heard from them since, and haven’t been able to venture beyond this square.”
- Ash and Glor go to the assistance of the townspeople in reinforcing their makeshift barricades
- The rest of the party remain in the “Blood of the Vine”.
- Saldek & Valarion seek out the ruler of the village.
- Arik, the bartender, directs them towards Ismark, the Burgomaster’s son.
- Ismark reveals that his father has died ten days previously and is lying in state at his family’s mansion.
- Kolyan’s body is guarded only by his daughter Ireena, who’s barricaded herself within.
- Ismark says, “The plague began in the church. Danovich the priest used to ward the church and the village, but his vigil lapsed when his son Doru was slain by brigands on Old Svalich Road. No one knows what became of Danovich, but soon afterwards the zombies began to walk.
- The zombies didn’t get my father, and the infection began after Kolyan was already dead. No – it was the master of the castle, or his servants, that killed Kolyan Indirovich!”
- This is the first that the party hears of Strahd, the ruler of this land.
- A few months ago the ruler of the castle paid Barovia a visit, a lord by the name of Strahd, for what reason Ismark can’t explain.
- Kolyan bravely stood up to Strahd using the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind.
- The Holy Symbol is a powerful amulet that hurt Strahd.
- After Strahd’s attack Ismark & Ireena woke to find their father dead from poison
- After this attack the power of the amulet won’t work for Ismark or Ireena.
- Saldek and Valarion mock Ismark by taunting him for his apparent inaction, and failure of leadership.
- Ashlyn and Gevyen remain holed up in the inn as the rest of the party attempt to seek the counsel of Ismark’s sister Ireena in the Burgomaster’s mansion in the south of the town.
- Ireena won’t let them enter the mansion as she fears infection.
- No further zombies, but the group attends the house of a troubled woman; her wails have been piercing the night air.
- Mary Bogoescu, is apparently inconsolably weeping for the loss of her daughter Gertruda.
- Ash barks orders at her like a soldier
- Valarion calms her with more measured speech
- There’s no suggestion that she has been overrun by the zombie plague, but Mary blurts out that she thought that the master of the castle holds her daughter Gertruda now.
- Ismark provides the group with a deserted warehouse that he assures will hold against the zombies.