Points of Light (DM: Michael)

A new day with plans to meet up with old friends
Dec. 6, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

Last night, Jocylin was unable to rest, plagued by nightmares. But, following a harrowing attack by werewolves, the rest of you have had a peaceful night’s sleep, waking up to a new day and somewhat refreshed. Mort also survived a second assassination attempt, attacked by swarms of bats and a black-clothed figure while alone down by the lake, transporting treasure on his broom to your other companions at the nearby tower. You are now preparing to travel back to that tower to meet up with your other companions and travel back to the Town of Vallaki, along with one werewolf prisoner and numerous frightened children. While preparing to leave the caves, the weather turns nasty. Heavy gusts of wind howl into the cave as a light rain pelts the ground, stinging your faces, and occasional flashes of lightning brighten up the sky. Traveling on a broom could be dangerous today and definitely not pleasant. Does Mort wish to stay on the ground until the weather improves?

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A pile of treasure!
Dec. 5, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

We last left off with most of you entering the werewolf lair where you did battle and easily defeated the residents. While searching the place you came across an altar to a deity called Mother Night. It was there that you found a huge pile of treasure accumulated by the werewolves that had been given to Mother Night as an offering. Jocelyn began to grab the treasure, move it, and study it. She also handed what appeared to be a magical sword to Brick. After that, most of you gathered together in preparation of investigating the last bit of the caves you have not yet explored. Once that is done you plan to spend the night, waiting for Mort to return with the wagon you sent him off to retrieve. While waiting, Mort has whisked off on his broom back toward the tower and wagon on the other side of the lake, where you left some of your other companions.

And this is where our story continues…

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In search of werewolves
Dec. 5, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

You are currently being guided through the woods by Szoldar Szoldarovich and Yevgeni Krushkin in search of some caves. The two hunters, decked out in their wolf furs, have brought you to this area to search of a suspected den of werewolves. A short time ago, you ran across a strange tower with an abandoned wagon out front. A spell determined that both the tower and the wagon were heavily infused with magic. After knocking on both the tower and the wagon and getting no response, you decided to leave them alone and take a rest. While doing this, your newest companion wandered off and found some strange mushrooms as well as a nightcap partially buried in the dirt. Taking the cap, he put it on with no apparent effect. Meanwhile, Mort scouted around the area on his broom, searching for cave entrances and looking for wolves or men. He spotted a group of wolves that disappeared into the woods and later spotted several cave entrances. After reporting this to the group, everyone agreed to investigate a small cluster of caves on the opposite side of the lake first. So you quickly packed up and set out again. The guides led you back to the road and around part of the lake to a thick forest. There, they told you that to get the caves it would be quickest to cut through the forest and follow the lake’s shoreline. While doing this you ran across a half-naked druid running through the woods accompanied by twig blights. The druid shouted “must have it!” and manically charged Jocelyn, setting off a thunderwave spell before being skewered by Brick’s lance. After that, you disposed of the twig blights. That was a few hours ago. Now your feet are a bit sore from your travels. Fresh from battle, you continue to trudge through the woods and head toward the hills Mort told you about. Mort, flying overhead, scouts ahead and is using his alone time to continue pondering his recent decision to double cross Strahd and the assassination attempt on his life.

And so begins today’s adventures…

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Fall of the burgomaster
Dec. 3, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

Five days ago you explored the suspicious-looking shop of a coffin maker and found a group of vampires hidden in the attic. The vampires killed one of your companions and chased off the rest of you. Fleeing to the burgomaster’s mansion in terror you discovered that the vampires had stopped following you. You spent the night in the mansion awaiting the safety of daybreak before venturing outside again. You then spent several days searching in vain for signs of the missing vampires who had left the shop and apparently moved their resting places to different, unknown locations. A day later, while continuing your search, you heard screams coming from the town’s church. Investigating, you discovered the church was under attack by the same vampires that had attacked you and that people were fleeing the church. The vampires attacked the church and the priest inside it. You saved the priest from certain death and drove off the vampires, returning to the burgomaster’s mansion to report what had happened. The next day, most of the townsfolk, along with many of the town guard, rose up in anger and marched on the Burgomaster’s mansion in an effort to kill him. Your party intervened and convinced the mob to spare the burgomaster’s life. In return, you gave them assurances that the burgomaster would never again rule and that Brick would instead become the town’s burgomaster and eliminate all the festivals. when making this deal you also made a deal with the burgomaster telling him that you would spare his life and keep the townsfolk from lynching him as long as he assisted you in providing advice on ruling and the town’s taxes and finances and such. Brick then decided to spend the next few days with the former burgomaster to learn from him and take over his duties. While he did this, Mort and a few others set off to investigate the strange fisherman who kept going to the lake and not returning with any fish. They discovered the man was under a strange trance and followed him to the lake where he then tried to get into a boat with a bundled-up girl. Freeing the girl from his clutches you then decided to take her to safety. She said that her father could be found at a Vistani camp near town. While traveling toward the camp, the girl has become sullen and started to act strange. You have just brought her to town and you are now preparing to take her home, calming her and assuring her that she will soon be with her father. Stopping in briefly to report your findings to Brick, you have now gathered up the girl and are setting out again on the road to take her back to her father at the nearby Vistani camp. As you do so, a large human approaches you. He is over six feet tall and very muscular, a young man, you guess about 18, outfitted in old, antiquated armor you don’t recognize and carrying a shield. A warhammer hangs from his belt and a crossbow is strapped to his back. Around his neck he wears an amulet fashioned to look like a shield with a hammer emblazoned on it. His hair and eyes are dark brown in color. He introduces himself, saying his name is Luther and he has heard of you and your most recent battle with the vampires, and that you are hoping to defeat Strahd and leave this realm. “Well, I would like to join you,” he says. “If you’ll have me. I wish to leave this world, too. My parents came from another world 18 years ago, a different one than yours, and they died when I was young. I’ve lived in this nightmarish place ever since, and I want out. I don’t care where. Anywhere but here. I can be of help. My father taught me about Krom, our god, and told me bits and pieces of our world. Taught me to fight. I have never seen their world, but that is how I got all this:” he points to his equipment. “This was all my father’s: the armor, weapons, amulet. It is he who taught me to speak to Krom, though the connection feels strained here and sullied by Strahd’s repressive magic.”

Have Brick’s uncle Amdol step in with a gruff, commanding voice. He says, "A brave enough lad, sure enough, and big… Hmfff…any help is welcome, that’s for sure… but definitely wet behind the ears. One nibble on his neck will drop him dead like a fainting maiden, I recken. I say he stays to the back of our group and out of the way. "

Have Ismark add in a lisp, “I’ll watttch over him. He can ssstay in front of me, in casthe theirs an ambuth.”

As the others begin to add to the discussion, Arabelle, the girl they are escorting, butts in and looks at him strangely and says “Yes, it is him…I see it now.” What she means by this you are not sure, but then she suddenly begins to convulse and goes silent, falling to the ground and continuing to shake, frothing from the mouth and uttering strange words, her eyes rolling into the back of her head.

What do you do?

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Death of Rumple
Nov. 28, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

We last left off with the majority of you investigating a shop in the town. Inside, you disturbed the rest of six vampires in the attic. Fleeing downstairs Rumple found himself alone in one of the rooms without a light source. Upon creating a magical light, he revealed that that he was no longer alone: the six vampires from the attic had come downstairs and surrounded him. He was then attacked and killed. Meanwhile, the rest of Rumple’s companions, seeing this, fled the building and ran all the way to the burgomaster’s home. There they spent the night and waited for dawn to arrive before venturing outside and heading back to the shop. At the shop, they found the body of their dead companion and burned it outside in the street. Investigating the attic, they discovered the vampires were now gone. The shopkeeper, under questioning, claimed he had no choice in letting the vampires take up residence there and feared for his life. He was then hauled away by the town guard and taken to the stocks in the town center for punishment. After that, the group of you went around town pounding on doors and investigating homes to see if you could find the missing vampires, but failed to locate them. While doing this, though, you came across a suspicious-looking demonic-like person and arrested her. She pleaded innocence and says that she is from your world. She explained that she is a tiefling, not a demon, and that she had found herself taken to this mysterious land by a strange mist. This happened two weeks ago and she has been trying to survive in this strange land ever since, finding her way to this town.

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Festival of the Sun and a successful rescue
Nov. 27, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

Our last session consisted of most of you returning to town where you took a day and night to rest up. Waking up the next morning there was a rap on the door and you answered. A courier stood there and delivered a message to you from the Burgomaster. It gave you orders to encourage the populace to participate in that day’s festivities in the town square as well as to maintain peace and order. As you did so, you noticed several people being punished in the town stockades and that several of them were wearing strange clothing. Right after that, you began to hear the distant shout of “All will be well!” along with the occasional clanging of a hand bell. Minutes later, under threatening skies, a parade of unhappy children dressed as flowers trudged through the muddy streets, leading the way for a group of sorry-looking men and women carrying a ten-foot-diameter wicker ball. The burgomaster and his smiling wife, were holding a sad bouquet of wilting flowers, following the procession on horseback.

As weary spectators watch from their stoops, the ball was borne to the town square. There, it was hoisted and hung from a fifteen-foot-high wooden scaffold, and townsfolk took turns splashing it with oil. Before the wicker sun could be set ablaze, though, it began to downpour. “All will be well!” cried the burgomaster as he brandished a sputtering torch and marched defiantly through the rain to light the wicker ball, only to have his torch go out as he thrusts it into the sphere. A singular laugh erupted from the crowd, drawing the burgomaster’s fiery gaze as well as gasps from the townsfolk. The burgomaster ordered the man to be punished and taken to the stockades alongside the others already being punished. Your drunken dwarf companion then caused a disruption and the burgomaster ordered his arrest as well, but Mort sent his magic broom to him and the dwarf got on and was whisked up into the air where he continued to taunt the burgomaster from a safe distance. You then heard screams from the distance. A moment later, a huge beast appears (a saber-tooth tiger). The beast bursts into the town square, coming from the east, and startled people, sending them scurrying. Panic ensued and people began to disperse, the festival ruined. The beast lets out a roar and ran rampant, disappearing between two buildings west of the town square. The burgomaster ordered his men, and all of you, to hunt down the beast. In the confusion, one of you freed the people in the stockades. Doing this, you received thanks and learned from one of them that he was Brick’s missing uncle, who was accompanied by a few of his retainers. Eventually, Mort led the beast (which turned out to be a saber-toothed tiger) across town to its owner, a man named Rictavio. Out of gratitude, Rictavio joined your party temporarily to assist you in your next adventure. Brick’s uncle convinced all of you to make an attempt to rescue Brick and Jaylin. So together, all of you traveled back to the winery. It was there that you did battle with the druids and their minions again, eventually going inside the winery to search for Brick and Jaylin. You encountered what appeared to be a crazy druid and searched the place, finding your companions tied up in the cellar. You then freed them and returned to town. While there, you have taken another day of rest and been contemplating your next actions.

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Defeat at the Winery
Nov. 24, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

We left off with all of you being defeated at the winery in a battle against the druids and their strange plantlike creatures. This was after you struck a deal with the burgomaster of Vallaki, reducing the number of festivals in the town to once a month, freeing his guards and Izek, accepting the burgomaster’s continued rule, and becoming employed by him. You also asked for him to provide assistance in going to the winery to deal with whatever problem was going on there. He agreed to let Izek go with you. Later, when you introduced Izek to Ireena, you learned they were biological siblings. Izek then went a little wacko and tried to carry Ireena away. Preventing him from doing this, you overpowered him and tied him to a chair. You then left him in the care of Ireena and Ismark, to be dealt with later after you returned from the winery. On the way to the winery you were then attacked by werewolves. After defeating them, you continued to the winery. At the winery, you encountered a family of people in the nearby woods who told you they were the owners of the winery and they had been driven from their home by druids and their creatures. You later discovered that the entire family suffered from a form of lycanthropy and were wereravens. For unknown reasons druids had taken possession of their home. As you approached the winery to investigate you were attacked by plantlike creatures and the druids as well as the remaining werewolves you had fought before. Those of you who escaped fled back to the Town of Vallaki where you decided to heal up and rest for the night. You had left behind Brick and Jaylin whose fates now remain undetermined. They had fallen in battle, and when Mort had returned to check on them and try to rescue them he discovered their bodies were no longer there. He also discovered your horses had been brought to the front of the winery and tethered to the building. Meanwhile, upon talking to the wereraven family again, you learned that they had decided to relocate to a safer location away from the winery, leaving one of their family members with you to act as a messenger should you wish to contact them again and to assist you in making new plans to possibly take the winery in the future. Upon returning to Vallaki, you then learned that Izek had escaped his bonds and forcefully taken his sister out of town. Mort went on a search to find them and learned that they are most likely at the old mill near town, the same one occupied by the hags who collect children. Mort reported his findings to the rest of you. It was almost night so everyone then decided to rest up and go to sleep because nothing could really be done until after the festival tomorrow, which you promised to attend. It is now morning, and you are awaking to the dawn of a new day.

Rap, rap, rap…there is a loud banging at the door…

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A visit to the burgomaster
Nov. 21, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

During our last session, you entered the town of Vallaki and spoke with the guards at the wall. The sergeant shared a bit of information with you, telling you how to get to the burgomaster’s mansion. After that, you came across a stockyard with many sheds and warehouses as well as a carnival wagon that was being stored there. You spoke with the husband and wife who run the establishment and discovered that they also run a general store at the site. They told you of an old, abandoned smith’s shop at the town square, and agreed to supply you with fuel and materials in return for the wolf pelts you skinned off the wolves you fought outside the walls of the town. After that you paid a visit to the burgomaster’s residence, seeking an audience with him, and was told to come back the next day. You then went back to the town square to investigate the abandoned smith’s shop and along the way saw a few people in stockades in the middle of the town square, apparently being punished for some sort of crime. You also noticed a sign hanging on the post near the abandoned shop that stated “Festival of the Blazing Sun” (written in big letters at the top) and “Show your good cheer this Third Day in the town square. All must attend.” (which was written underneath in smaller letters).” After that, you removed the boards on the boarded up door of the shop and entered. While investigating the rooms inside, you were attacked by swarms of rats. Killing them, you then set about finding the shop’s forge and cleaning up the place. You also paid a visit to the town’s inn, making arrangements for food. While there, you met a couple of rough-looking men who offered their services as guides or hunters. You also learned some information that might prove valuable in pursuing one of your card-reading fortunes: these brothers told you of a lake surrounded by hills and suggested that might be the place you are looking for. You also encountered a few other people, including the innkeeper. He asked a favor of you: to investigate why his latest shipment of wine is way overdue. While in the tavern, you also learned that the burgomaster holds festivals every week and the next one is in three days, and attendance is mandatory. One person whispered to you that the burgomaster holds the festivals in an attempt to create cheer and happiness among the populace, believing that a happy populace will remove Strahd’s curse from the land. The next day, you returned to the burgomaster’s mansion and spoke with the burgomaster. He arrived with his wife and a silent, sullen man with a deformed arm. The wife constantly giggled at everything her husband said, clapping hands in delight, and inviting you all for tea. Meanwhile, the burgomaster agreed to allow you to use his library. He also agreed to let you fix up and purchase the old blacksmith’s shop in the town’s square. He then invited you to be his special guests at the upcoming festival. You agreed and went back to the old shop to continue repairing it, as well as encouraged Mort to speed off on his flying broom to the far-off wineries to determine what has been holding up the latest shipments to the tavern. In addition, while in town, you also heard the following rumors: 1) purple flashes of light have been seen emanating from the attic of the burgomaster’s mansion; 2) west of town is a haunted mansion. Legend has it that a dragon died there long ago; 3) It’s too dangerous to go fishing on Lake Zarovich, but the threat of Strahd’s wolves hasn’t stopped Bluto Krogarov, the town drunk, from trying. He sets out each morning and returns every evening, but hasn’t caught any fish in a while.

This, my friends, is where our current session begins…with Mort having just arrived at the winery and the festival scheduled to take place two days from now. Meanwhile, Brick has decided to go around town asking questions and investigating answers to some things he’d like to know 1) what are the guards numbers? 2) What is their equipment 3) What do the outer defenses look like, and 4) would like to purchase a map of the town of Vallaki

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A surprise visit from Strahd
Nov. 19, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

During our last session, while on your way to the town of Vallaki, the group of you approached a derelict mill even though you had been warned against entering it. As you did, Lomac noticed a raven on the doorstep acting erratically. He determined it was trying to communicate with you and so he cast a spell to see why. Through the sharing of thoughts, he learned that the raven was trying to lead the party somewhere. He also saw images of three old women who entered the mill periodically, sometimes bringing children with them. Our heroes, after sharing information and thoughts, decided that they were night hags like the one previously encountered in the village of Barovia. The raven then led you all around the outside of the mill to a path that led down to the edge of a forest. There you found four large stone monoliths and a flock of fretful ravens. While investigating them, you learned the monoliths were an ancient holy place dedicated to a group of old gods, but they had been desecrated by the hags. Each stone depicted a different city. And one of you remembered an ancient legend that told of these Four Cities, said to be the cities of paradise where The Morninglord, Mother Night, and the other ancient gods first dwelled. Lemac then found a pile of children’s teeth on the ground between the stones…and a bit of dream pastry like those previously encountered back in town that were taken from the hag’s cart. Additional images from the raven showed you that the hags often come there to leave the offerings to Ceithlenn of the Crooked Teeth, an archfey that they apparently worship, as a way to desecrate the holy place. It was about this time that the characters decided that the coven of three hags inside the mill might be too much for them so they decided to avoid it after all and head on toward the town of Vallaki, escorting Ireena there in hopes of bringing her to safety and away from the clutches of the vampire Strahd. As you approached the town, though, you spotted a large cloud of bats approaching through the air. Many of you hid with Ireena and her brother while two of you continued toward the town with the wagon and ponies. While hiding you heard movements and then saw a pack of wolves sniffing and searching the area. Meanwhile, a mist rolled in and formed into an ominous figure on the road…and a group of zombies converged from another direction. Strahd demanded you give him Ireena, but you all refused. That was when you were surprised to discover that one of the zombies was your dead companion Tic Tac, missing part of his arm. A battle ensued as Mort tried to whisk Ireena to safety inside the town’s wall upon his magic broom. Your priest turned most of the zombies and Lemac entrapped the wolves with a spell. The vampire then turned into a bat and tried to intercept Mort and Ireena. The vampire attacked in bat form once and then flew off into the distance never to be seen again. Mort and Ireena joined the other companions inside the safety of the town’s walls while the rest of you drove off the last of the wolves. You then skinned the wolves and carried the pelts into the town, marching past several wolves heads mounted on pikes that had previously been placed outside the town’s gates before you even arrived.

It is here, in the town of Vallaki, where our session now begins…

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Arrival at the old mill
Nov. 19, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

During our last session, you spent the night at the old church in the Village of Barovia. You discovered that the wolves and bats and the vampire Strahd had left by morning. You then decided to leave the village and head for the Town of Vallaki, escorting Ireena there in hopes that she will be safer. Accompanied by her and Ismark, you left the village and decided to take the shortcut by the Tser Pool where a group of Vistani were encamped. You then decided to visit the tent of Madam Eva, the Vistani elder of the clan. She recognized all of you when you entered and seemed to know details about your lives, even from before you came to this strange land, and asked if you would like to have your fortunes told. You agreed and sat down. She pulled out a deck of cards and proceeded to give a reading. She drew the following cards in this order, and said:

  • 3, Soldier of Swords: This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy. Go to the mountains. Climb the white tower guarded by golden knights.
  • 9, the Torturer of Swords: This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope. There is a town where all is not well. There you will find a house of corruption, and within, a dark room full of still ghosts.
  • 5, the Myrmidon of Swords: This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight. Look for a den of wolves in the hills overlooking a mountain lake. The treasure belongs to Mother Night.
  • the Tempter of Crowns: This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. I see a child:—a Vistana. You must hurry, for her fate hangs in the balance. Find her at the lake!
  • the Raven of Crowns: Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him! Look to the mother’s tomb.

After the reading, you spent the rest of the day and the night with the Vistani around their fire and heard the following story:
“A mighty wizard came to this land over a year ago. I remember him like it was yesterday. He stood exactly where you’re standing. A very charismatic man, he was. He thought he could rally the people of Barovia against the devil Strahd. He stirred them with thoughts of revolt and bore them to the castle en masse. When the vampire appeared, the wizard’s peasant army fled in terror. A few stood their ground and were never seen again. The wizard and the vampire cast spells at each other. Their battle flew from the courtyards of Ravenloft to a precipice overlooking the falls. I saw the battle with my own eyes. Thunder shook the mountainside, and great rocks tumbled down upon the wizard, yet by his magic he survived. Lightning from the heavens struck the wizard, and again he stood his ground. But when the devil Strahd fell upon him, the wizard’s magic couldn’t save him. I saw him thrown a thousand feet to his death. I climbed down to the river to search for the wizard’s body, to see if, you know, he had anything of value, but the River lvlis had already spirited him away.”

One of the Vistani then warned you to avoid an old mill you will encounter along the road to Vallaki.

After leaving the encampment, you came to a roaring falls and magically searched the rocks below. When doing so, you found a mirror that glowed with magic. After that, you continued along the road and came across the old mill that you were warned about. You have decided to approach it despite the warnings you were given.

And this is where we are now…

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