Ravenloft

All will be well?
Back at the tavern...

Rothwulf spoke with the saber-toothed tiger and found out its master is a man with pointy ears and gray hair. He returned the cat to its cage and the party set off for the Church of St. Andral to speak with Milivoj about stealing the bones. On their way Ramas noticed a flock of ravens flying overhead that turned toward the center of town and he decided to follow them and the party went with him. The ravens landed at Raven’s Roost and the party settled down inside for a meal and drinks.

At Raven’s Roost, Ezmerelda described a traumatic event from her childhood and told the party about her mentor, Dr. Rudolph van Ricten. Booger caused all sorts of mischief by playing cards (he got away with cheating) and insulting nobles who in turn called the town guard. Booger stared down the town guard with no regard for anything really and killed two of them easily. The leader of the guards, Izek, appeared eager for a good fight, but was quickly overwhelmed by the party who barely took a scratch. Booger bound Izek with rope, and despite his best efforts, Izek couldn’t escape so he pleaded for his life. Booger, with apparently zero fucks to give, decapitated him. Rothwulf found a very creepy doll on Izek that looked surprisingly much like Irena, which gave him second thoughts about Irena’s safety with the Baron.

Upon the death of Izek, the towns folk appeared to be getting worked up with thoughts of removing the Baron from power. It wasn’t clear if Booger was leading them or following them to the Baron’s residence with Izek’s head. Meanwhile, Urwin urged Ramas to follow him upstairs and Rothwulf was speaking with the elder half-elven man downstairs as a revolt was brewing outside.

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"All will be well!"
Vallaki

The party found entry to Vallaki much easier in the morning. They noticed a large number of patrons leaving the local church, the Church of St. Andral, as they made their way to The Baron’s estate. Upon arriving the party noticed people coming and going, but mostly leaving piles of twigs in the yard of the burgomaster. They were greeted warmly by The Baron, which didn’t sit well with most of the party. The Baron ensured Ireena’s place within the family and safety within Vallaki.

After leaving the Baron’s estate, the party had different motives and split up. Ramas went to the Church of St. Andral to meet with Father Lucian in hopes of finding some cure for his disease, while Rothwulf and Booger went to the town square and market looking for equipment. Rothwulf and Booger traded their war horses for various items through deft negotiation, then made their way to meet up with Ramas. At the Church of St. Andral, Father Lucian did provide Ramas with the healing he sought and found Ramas quite receptive to the words of the Morning Lord. Father Lucian confided in Ramas that he was concerned for the safety of his patrons as the bones of St. Andral himself had been stolen. He had recently confided in a young boy, Yeska, that the church was protected from Strahd through the power of St. Andral’s bones. Yeska’s father is the local coffin maker and the party decided to pay him a visit. There Booger and Ramas met Henrik van der Voort (Yeska’s father) and Yeska revealed that he had mentioned the bones of St. Andral to another patron, Milivoj, who frequents the church and is often carrying a shovel or other tools of labor. While Booger and Ramas were in the coffin maker’s shop, Rothwulf investigated a strange carnival wagon nearby and discovered that it was holding a sabre-toothed tiger, which he immediately set free.

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To Vallaki! Still!

The party defeated the harpies and didn’t waste any time moving off the exposed cliffside and decided to take a short rest at Lake Zarovich. Ramas meditated under a tree, Rothwulf and Ezmerelda discussed the Ireena situation, and Booger decided to take a swim which the attention of a large sea creature. The creature lured Booger into the water by charming him, then grappled him with its tentacles. Ramas sprung to action and began slashing and punching tentacles trying to free Booger. Rothwulf joined the fight, but the turning point was Booger breaking out of the charm of the creature and launching a devastating four slashes with his longsword, killing the beast. However, the beast might have made the final move in diseasing Ramas with one of its tentacle attacks, causing his skin to turn translucent and slimy. Ramas found his body wasn’t healing properly as his skin was drying out causing him serious pain. He decided to create a salve for it, which appeared to work in alleviating the drying and pain, but Ezmerelda determined that it would likely take magical healing to cure.

Dusk was setting in when the party arrived at Vallaki and they noticed wolf heads on pikes outside of the city walls. Rothwulf addressed the town guards for entrance, stating their business was with the Baron (burgomaster) and delivering Ireena to safety. However, despite Rothwulf’s best efforts, the town guards would not risk letting in any servants of Strahd after sunset and so the party decided to camp out for the night. They made preparations as Rothwulf took the first watch, and using his keen hearing and smell he was alerted to a rider approaching. Booger was abruptly woken up and he sprang into action. The skeletal rider was quickly defeated and Booger found a strange signet ring on the undead warrior.

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To Vallaki!
But first, let's tie up a priest!

The party negotiated firmly with Father Donavich after destroying his undead son. They left him tied up and the church unlocked through the night with the body of burgomaster Kolyan Indirovich. Much to their surprise, Father Donavich kept his word and was prepared to bury the burgomaster in the morning. After the burial, the party secured two war horses and set out for Vallaki with Ireena under their protection. They made it to a bridge spanning a wide and incredibly deep chasm (kasm; my bad (English)). It was there that a flock of harpies sprung their trap to lure the party over the cliff edge with their enchanting song. While most of the party staggered towards the cliff edge, Rothwulf and Ezmerelda tried to break them out of their trance. Then harpies started firing arrows from their elevated position, in an attempt to drive them over the cliff; however, the party had little difficulty slaying the harpies once they regained their senses.

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Meanwhile in Barovia

Rothwulf, Booger, Ramas, and Ezmerelda followed Ismark to the Indirovich estate and met with Ireena. There they formed a plan to bring Ireena’s father’s body to the church to prep is for burial in the morning after prayers to the Morning Lord. Only after a proper burial would Ireena agree to be escorted to Vallaki, a fortified town west of Barovia. The party set out to the church and met with Father Donavich who was praying in a disheveled church. It wasn’t long before they heard inhuman screams calling from the basement. Despite Father Donavich’s pleading, the party found their way into the basement in search of Father Donavich’s son who was bitten by Strahd.

In the basement Ramas lit a torch and was immediately attacked by Doru, the vampire spawn. There was also a giant spider lurking that briefly trapped Rothwulf in some webbing. Booger went after the spider and Ramas and Rothwulf destroyed the vampire. Father Donavich resealed the trap door and barricaded it; however, Ramas used an ability which blasted a number of support beams and created a large hole in the church floor (the basement’s ceiling).

Now all the party has to do is make sure Father Donavich, whose son they just killed, is on schedule for burying the body in the morning so they can set out for Vallaki with Ireena.

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The Blood on the Vine

Ramas, Booger, and Rothwulf each began their evening in Invidia and unbeknownst to them, they wouldn’t be in that realm come the following morning. Booger set out to look for an Ussuri, but was presented with an opportunity to earn some coin protecting a Barovian woman for a powerful being. Luckily for him, the Ussuri, Rothwulf, was also heading to Barovia for his own reasons. Rothwulf was planning on ending his evening at the Laughing Maiden when a stranger set him on another course. Rothwulf was torn about putting his quest on hold in order to assist Ezmerelda with her mission of killing a powerful vampire. Ezmerelda had a lead on a Barovian woman that was of particularly interest to her vampire and they decided to start their investigation with her. Meanwhile, Ramas was contacted by a elder Vistana who asked for his assistance in freeing the realm of their dark lord’s curse. He was given information to find a Vistani woman that would aid him.

The three adventurers with different goals and motivations found themselves together in a tavern, the Blood on the Vine. What brought them together at that moment? Was it fate? Or something else, possibly something deceitful or even sinister in nature?

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A New Threat

Following the demise of The Dukkar, the Deepwood Trio went their separate ways, each drawn to their own destiny.

Rothwulf joined the Ussurian resistance and helped his people reclaim their land and the rule of Invidia. More of a feud that a war, the two lycanthropic dynasties fought tirelessly for two years, pushing their species to the brink of extinction. While Rothwulf’s experience in battle did teach him to master his shifting, it did little to prepare him for the horrors of war, but it was his memories of Rufias that would haunt him and render him unable to settle down.

Sam followed her hellbent heart into Barovia in search of that dying vineyard and her long lost daughter. Sam faced perviously unimaginable evils on her journey. She became hardened to suffering and merciless on the battlefield; a true survivor. Sam was prepared for anything and everything, except for the moment she laid eyes on her blissfully happy daughter. Nothing could have prepared her for such conflicted feelings.

Ramas reimagines the battle with The Dukkar nearly every night.He retraces the decisions that were made up to the point where he unleashed the Fist of Unbroken AIr that dispatched his foe. He struggled with the emptiness that followed. He returned to his hermitic ways in order to answer a defining question, “Was The Dukkar the great evil he was meant to vanquish, or is there another, greater foe out there that he must face?” Ramas found the question as troubling as either answer.

It would appear that the paths of the Deepwood Trio were only aligned for a moment, like three lines that intersected at one point and then continued in opposite directions for eternity. A Vistana would disagree, however. They would point out that the lines were never straight to begin with and probably compare them to the trails of light made by fireflies in the night sky. If you watch closely you can follow the paths and even predict where they will reappear.

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The End of the Dukkar

The party found themselves being stalked by a vampire spawn just outside of the cliffside mansion where the Dukkar resided. They were alerted to its presence by Vladimir, who turned out to be a fellow Ussuri. They party failed to sneak away from the threat, but quickly dispatched the foe. The battle made enough noise to draw the attention of the Dukkar, who released the (hell) hounds, causing further trouble for the party. Ramas was gravely injured by a hell hound bite, but Rothwulf pulled him to safety while Vlad and Sam held off the hounds and the approaching Dukkar, who revealed his true demonic form. The Dukkar made several attempts to charm the party and delay their retreat, but Vlad resisted and continues to maul the Dukkar. Sam stabilized Ramas and when the party hid in the forest they took a short rest which allowed him to regain consciousness. The Dukkar searched for the party by flying over the forest, but was unable to spot the party and teleported away. The party regained their strength and with a little inspiration from Sam, their resolve. They made their way back to the mansion for a final showdown, which ended quickly as Ramas pulled out all the stops and used his now signature Fist of Unbroken Air.

The Vistani were watching remotely and approached the party after they defeated the Dukkar to congratulate them. Marcella told Sam of another vision of her child, this time playing in a dying vineyard in Barovia. Rothwulf was encourage by Vlad to join the resistance in Barovia in overthrowing the vampire lord. When the party asked about Rufius, Marcella informed them that he had fallen into madness at the hands of Bane. Ramas was left with a little soul searching as he had completed an enormous personal quest.

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At Cliffside Mansion

The party found themselves under attack just before daybreak. Scar had tracked them from the dog fights and was out to kill the Ussuri (Rothwulf). Ramas went down early, but was revived by a fellow monk before joining the party in defeating the werewolves and capturing Scar. Rothwulf took Scar’s hands, but let him go free and the party went on their way to the Haptmeyer mansion to confront the Dukkar. They stopped at the Laughing Maiden to meet up with Matton Blanchard, but rumor had it that he left with Gabrielle the night before. Something had frightened her enough to leave Karina.

At the cliffside mansion, the party waited until nightfall when a dark figured, assumed to be the Dukkar, returned. Before they could confront him, several swarms of bats swept in.

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Finding the Dukkar
and saving Rufius?

Sam and Rothwulf made their escape from the Citadel and headed back into the heart of Carnival in search of Old Barovian ales… and maybe the Dukkar… and maybe Rufius? They followed Matton Blanchard to the Laughing Maiden tavern where he was working up some liquid courage to go find Scar Tabor, who Rothwulf was told would know how to find the Dukkar. After accepting a hefty sum of gems and coin, Scar informed the party that Gabrielle Aderre was the mother of the Dukkar and the both could be found in the old Haptmeyer estate on the cliffs. A mysterious stranger also approached Scar, but was turned away, discouraged. Sam took note of the man and followed him, leaving Blanchard and Rothwulf with Scar. Sam met the mysterious Ramas who invited her to join him at the local monastery to discuss his interest in finding the Dukkar. Eventually Sam found Rothwulf and the two of them agreed to help Blanchard search the mansion in the morning, and they then met up with Ramas at the monastery and discussed joining forces to deal with the Dukkar.

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