Points of Light (DM: Michael)

The Tome of Strahd
Dec. 13, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

During our last session, survivors from the battle at Yester Hill set fire to the wooden statue that resembled Strahd. This revealed one of the missing gemstones from the winery, a stone that had been embedded inside the statue. Our group of adventurers then decided to leave the hill and take the magic stone to the winery where they decided to regroup and heal. They decided to leave behind the strange bleeding tree with its shambling figures and the skeleton and the shiny ax embedded in its trunk, choosing to avoid any kind of potential conflict while still hurt. Instead, as they descended the hill to leave, an apparition of a long-dead chieftain appeared and approached Lemac telling her that she is worthy to claim his spear of power. The apparition led her to one of the cairns. The entire group removed the stones and revealed a magic spear that now belongs to Lemac. Meanwhile, Mort rushed the body of Luther to the abbot in Kresk in hopes of bringing him back to life. The abbot agreed to do so only when Mort told him that he and his friends would help him secure a priceless beautiful wedding dress for his flesh golem bride to wear and a magic glowing necklace for her to wear as well. Mort then returned with the resurrected Luther. The party split up again, this time Luther, shaken up by his recent near-death experience stayed at the winery while Mort went to Vallaki to get the dress and items needed to create the necklace, teaming up with your magic users to work on creating an amulet of light for her to wear. While doing this, Brick and several of you traveled toward Mount Ghakis and Tsolenka Pass, following the road that leads there. They came to a gated portcullis and guard tower with golden statues, barring their way. It was positioned strategically in a choke point where the road dropped off to an 800-foot ravine on one side and had an icy sheer cliff on the other side. As they approached, the gate facing them magically opened, revealing a magical curtain of green flame on the inside that barred further passage. Brick threw an object into the flame that got vaporized. He then decided to climb the gate wall and lower a rope to the others in an attempt to circumvent the green flames. Upon reaching the top, two massive statues of demons came to life and attacked. One of them screeched, stunning Dainen. It grabbed the helpless Dainen and carried him out over the ravine and dropped him into the 800-foot precipice. Brick and the others continued battling and finally prevailed. Believing Dainen to be dead, they continued on and investigated the tower beyond the snowy portcullis. Climbing to the top of this tower they saw several dead bodies half buried in snow. As they approached, they were attacked by snow spectres. Again, they prevailed. While searching the bodies they found an old, worn book that turned out to be a valuable tome that had been written by Strahd himself. Inside, you learned some very useful things: including how to harm him. It was about this time that Mort showed up after helping the magic users start their work on the magic necklace. Brick told him to fetch the body of Dainen at the bottom of the ravine. When he did so, he miraculously discovered that Dainen had survived the fall. He flew him back up to the others. After this joyous reunion, you are now ready to decide what to do next and to descend the tower. And this is where we begin today’s adventures…

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Battle for the winery
Dec. 12, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

During our last session, some of you traveled to the winery to help out the wereravens. The farm was under attack by a giant tree creature, and while investigating the situation, you fought seven magical scarecrows, an assassin, two swarms of bats, and an old woman with powerful magic, all of whom had attempted to ambush you, but failed to catch you unaware. You soundly defeated the scarecrows and assassin. After flinging an explosive fireball at you, the old woman turned into a swarm of insects and fled into the woods. You were unable to find her. You then destroyed the giant tree creature from a distance.

After the battle, you went into the winery where you found a woman and several youngsters huddled inside in terror. They were part of the wereraven family. After calming them down, they told you that Davian, the elderly patriarch of the family, and Dag, the woman’s husband, had fallen in battle outside with the tree creature. You went and found their bodies: Davian was still breathing, but Dag had died. Mort scooped up Dag and flew him to the abbey in Kresk where he convinced the abbot, a deva, to bring him back from the dead.

When Mort returned with the now-living Dag the family was extremely grateful and shared more information with you about the missing seeds (magical gems that allow the family to make their wine). Davian, the old man, urged you for the good of Bavaria to find and reclaim these magic “seeds.” He describes them as gems the size and shape of pinecones, each one containing a glowing green light as bright as a torch. He believes one was taken to the ruins of Berez (area U) by the ancient hermit there and another to Yester Hill (area Y) where the druids of Strahd have made their home, but he has no idea where the third one might be. Even one seed will make it possible to produce wine again, but the more gems recovered, the better the quality of wine they can make. He then told you that their farm had been attacked several times in recent weeks by the old woman, her scarecrows, and the druids. He suggested you go and get the gem from the druids first.

Taking his suggestion, you traveled to Yester Hill. There, you made your way to the top of a hill surrounded by burial cairns, and found a giant statue that looked a lot like Strahd. While investigating this statue several druids and barbarians hidden within the nearby burial cairns burst forth and attacked. Luther died, and the battle was a harrowing one, nearly claiming all your lives. You prevailed, though, and now Mort has rushed off with Luther on his broom to ask the abbot in Kresk if he will bring him back to life. While waiting for him to return, you nervously eye the statue and, in the distance, an ominous-looking copse of sickly trees with a huge misshapen tree at its center. Blood oozes like sap from the tree’s twisted trunk. Skulking around it are six gangly humanoid creatures covered in needles. Embedded in the tree is a shiny axe, beneath which lies a humanoid skeleton. Oddly the the figures have paid you no heed, even when you were battling the druids and barbarians. Instead, it looks as though the figures are tending to the trees.

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Return to Vallaki
Dec. 10, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

Our last session found you leaving the old mill, failing to find and rescue Ireena. You decided to return to Vallaki for a few days before perusing your next goal: a visit to to the village of Kresk, followed by another visit to the Wizard of Wines where you have heard there is trouble again. A storm of many days finally passed and the weather turned to fog and clouds. Along the way, you also decided to stop by the mysterious tower again. Upon returning to Vallaki, though, before setting out on this journey, you discovered there had been sightings of the hags in town delivering pies to households and occasionally taking children. Ismark told you that one of the guards who had been watching the children from the werewolf den had decided to make some money by selling some of those children to a local couple who had an interest in them. Apparently, he thought nothing of it, that no one would care or notice. He was right for a time until your uncle personally decided to check in on them and, while doing so, overheard one of the children fearfully praying not to be taken away like the others. When he asked the child what she meant, under some additional prompting and delicate questioning, she said three of the other children had been taken away on different days during this week, told to go potty, but never returned. Hearing this, your Uncle Fred continued to ask questions. He determined they all went missing under the watch of the same guard, a man named Goltin. Goltin, it turns out, had been giving them to a couple who said they had always wanted children, but couldn’t have any of their own. The couple then gave the guard a bit of money as a “finders fee” for any children he could bring them. He had brought them three over the course of a week. Further investigation determined that this couple had actually been more or less holed up in their home for days at a time, and seen buying pies from the hags. A neighbor also said she saw the hags take a large squirming bundle from their home on one of the days after giving the couple pies. Several of you then decided to pay the couple a visit and arrest them. Mort offered them one of your pies if they would tell everything they know, and it worked. The couple said there was still one of the children at their home, locked in a hidden space under the stairs, and that the hags were due to return the next morning to claim the child for more pies. You then set up an ambush for the hags, killing two of them. But the third escaped. After that, you then finished preparations for your journey and set out. At the tower, you figured out how to get inside safely and explored all the levels. There was little of interest except for an elevator manned my magical golems, and on the top level you saw signs of someone living there recently. You also found an suit of armor that after you spoke Khazan, the word you saw on the front door, it animated and followed your orders. Satisfied there was nothing else of interest in the tower, you then exited the tower to have another look at the wagon outside. It was then that an injured rider on a horse came racing across the causeway to the tower’s island and pulled up near the wagon. The figure dismounted. It turned out the wagon belonged to her. Discovering it to be a woman, you decided she was no threat and healed her. In gratitude, she sat with you and told you some of her story. You then happened to mention you were looking for Rictavio. She excitedly told you that she was, too, and that he at one time was her master. She then told you more about herself and her relationship with Rictavio and why she was searching for him: that she had been following in his footsteps, looking to assist him in doing battle against Strahd. You then convinced her to stay with you and assist you in your fight against Strahd and to find Rictavio. After that, you left the tower and traveled to Kresk. Your reception was polite, but cold. The people did not want you stirring up trouble and told you to go away. You then snuck into the village and made your way up to the local abbey. While there you found all kinds of deformed human-like beings, and you tied up a few that could talk and then went around the abbey slaughtering many, many others. While investigating the rest of the place you came across the abbot who was in the process of teaching a woman he had created out sewn together flesh to be a proper bride for Strahd after having magically animated the flesh into a golem. He explained that he had spoken to Strahd and that the vampire had agreed to leave Barovia once he had a wife. That was why he had created the golem and was teaching it etiquette. You also learned that the abbot was actually an angel in disguise, a deva. You determined his intentions were good and he also explained that all the deformed people you had murdered were from the same family, a family that had lived here prior to his arrival and had been cursed. He had tried to help them, and failing that, did the next best thing: kept them out of mischief and many of them locked up, but alive and well fed. After hearing the angel’s story, you decided to make a deal with him: all of you would share the abbey and not get in the way of each other’s goals.

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A deal with Lady Wachter
Dec. 8, 328 F.N. (since the fall of Nerath)

When we last left off, Lady Wachter had made a deal with you. If allowed to round up her followers and belongings and to leave town peacefully she agreed to never come back to town. She agreed to not oppose you ever again in the future and would do her best to never cross paths with you again. She then spent the whole day loading up a couple of wagons and preparing to leave town. While doing so, she warned you that she has many followers and spies watching, so if you double cross her Brick’s uncle will die. She then rode to the edge of town with 36 of her cult members, Nikolai and Karl (her two sons), and with all her belongings in a couple of wagons, as well as “Ernst” her spy (but actually one of you in disguise) and Father Lucien (the town’s priest who you learned was in her possession and has his hands tied). Once outside of the town’s gates she left one of her sons, Karl, with you as collateral, and took Father Lucien with her for additional security. Once she and her cultists felt safe, Ernst returned to town a while later along with the priest, carrying a message from her. Ernst (actually Jocelyn) then handed over her message which led them to Brick’s uncle. You successfully retrieved Brick’s uncle, and decided in the end to not seek out Lady Wachter. Instead, you sent Mort invisibly on his broom to the town of Kresk to scout it out. Along the way, he was shocked to find Lady Wachter’s entourage dead on the road with the wagons looted and left nearby, blood everywhere. Bite marks on their necks. He gathered up the bodies and burned them. After that, while continuing his mission toward Kresk, he came across Strahd and a number of his spawn waiting at the crossroads, smiling. Strahd was scrying him and because of it knew Mort was nearby. Somewhat guessing, Strahd flung a fireball toward where he thought Mort was. Mort evaded it and flew on. While visiting Kresk he spoke briefly with the burgomeister there and told them to expect a visit from the new burgomeister of Vallaki. The burgomeister did not seem thrilled about that and told him that their town would prefer not to have them visit. Mort continued his visit and scouted out the place. He found a fountain with water that has healing properties. He also went up to the doors of the town’s abbey. There he encountered two misshapen humanoids that behaved strangely. He also heard a bell ring followed by strange hoots, hollering, laughter and sounds. The two figures invited him to meet the abbot. But Mort thought better of it and decided to leave. He flew back to Vallaki to report his findings. All of you then decided, before going to Kresk, to go to the Old Mill and see if you can rescue the abducted Ireena. You arrived at the mill expecting to encounter the hags. But while exploring, you saw no sign of the hags, only burnt pastries still cooking in the oven, an overturned cart you remember the hags used to gather up children and distribute pastries, some blood, as well as the body of Ireena’s brother Izek with bite marks on his neck. You can only assume that Strahd now has Ireena. After burning him, Luther decided to eat a pastry, falling into a slumber. That is where we left off, with all of you deciding to move onto your next goal, which is to leave the mill and head for Kresk, stopping off by the magical tower of lightning along the way. You are going to return to Vallaki first and take a few days to prepare for this journey.

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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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