Ravenloft

Bane's Lair 3
Further Down the Rabbit Hole

The party found themselves exploring the rest of Bain’s lair and made their way into what appears to be his personal quarters and inner sanctum, but he was no where to be found. Booger found a letter that was eerily similar to one that he received and assumed was from the Burgomaster of Barovia. Bane appeared somewhat frustrated at the party’s damaging of his property and wandering off course and he urged them to return from where they came.

Along the way they found a mutilated and incapacitated Muriel, a collection of brains, including Rufias’s, and a strange door that compelled them to touch the prismatic orb. While all three party members touched the prismatic orb, only Ramas and Booger appeared to be affected by it, which included a heavy dose of confusion.

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Bane's Lair 2
Booger Loses his Freaking Mind

The party found Booger lying unconscious next to the prismatic orb and quickly began tying him up. When Booger came to he found himself tied up by three people he had no memory of. Booger tried to escape and attacked he Ramas, but Rothwulf removed his weapons restrained him. The party tried to convince Booger they weren’t a threat and would need each other to survive. Booger aimed his crossbow and was engulfed in a strange fire-like aura. He tried to figure out how to control it, but was unable.

Together, the party explored a side room which contained a relatively shallow pool. Rothwulf and Booger each retrieved a necklace from the bottom of the pool. Rothwulf felt a positive energy when wearing his and the necklace Booger found appeared to drain his very life essence when he touched it (so he tried it again to make sure, the Ramas tried to make extra sure). After enough damage had been done the party returned to the large room with the orb in it. There they immediately noticed a very large hand blocking their way. Bane informed the party that his first experimentation was on the rats in the colonies. The very large hand was made up of hundreds of rats with exposed brains and a strange glow about them, much like Booger had. This time Rothwulf charged first, but found himself somewhat confused about where he was going and ended up not where he intended. Despite the confusion, the party easily overwhelmed the rats, especially when Booger fired a crossbow bolt and discharged his eerie glow, which stunned an entire swarm.

After defeating the cranium rat swarms, Ezmerelda disclosed that she betrayed Rothwulf in exchange for the Sun Sword, which Bane provided to her. Overcome with guilt she turned invisible. Rothwulf forgave her and was hopeful that she was still in the general area to hear him. Bane began gloating about his retribution and revealed (again) that he manipulated Ramas’s visions to lead the party here. He also promised more tormenting in the near future.

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Bane's Lair
It's a Trap!

The party were unsure if taking on Bane in his own lair was a good idea, especially after fighting the witch. Ezmerelda was very hesitant to enter the cavern, she seemed very unsettled and quite bothered a strange coincidence that Bane’s lair was right below the very place they found a sword to defeat Strahd?.Could they escape or would Bane just be lurking around the next corner?

Booger had no time for such questions and beckoned for his companions to follow him into the depths, which they did, reluctantly. Rothwulf warned the party that Bane can read their thoughts and would be three steps ahead of them at all times.

The cavern was no cavern at all, but a strange structure that was created by a colony of beings like Bane. Bane revealed that information via telepathy with the party. He also revealed that he was cast out of his colony for pursing arcane knowledge, which he eventually mastered. Bane sought revenge on his colony and convinced an undead army, the Order of the Silver Dragon, to slaughter them. Bane reclaimed the colony’s lair, which is where the party currently is. He has been using his time to study various supernatural creatures in an attempt to harness their abilities.

That is what he was doing when Rothwulf (and Rufias) found him in the Citadel in Invidia. After Rothwulf severed one of his tentacles Bane has been planning his revenge. He elaborated on how he was behind Ramas’s visions and how he used them to lure the party where he wanted them.

While exploring the cavern the party found themselves at a crossroads of paths. Booger greeted two Kua-toas (fishlike humanoids) by firing his crossbow at them. They quickly ran through the doors of a temple and barricaded it. Booger was quickly deterred by the barricade and the party wandered the tunnels. They wandered for several minutes before determining that they couldn’t leave as they kept returning to the same crossroads despite the direction they traveled.

After breaking down the barricade they made their way into a large dome shaped room with a large prismatic orb in it. Bane communicated that it was his most prized possession. Booger immediately shot at it with a crossbow bolt, then threw holy water on it and then appeared to jump into it. Unable to determine what happened to Booger, the party continued their exploration and found the Kua-toas, which they quickly slaughtered (the last one appeared to commit suicide). They were speaking Undercommon, which the party did not understand. When the party returned to the large room they heard Booger groaning and lying on the ground.

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Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

The party made their way across the Luna river and through the thick fog into Berez. Once they were on the other bank they noticed they were standing in a field of graves. The began hearing the sounds of battle and the fog took the form of soldiers engaged in battle. A huge dragon made of fog swept in and killed all of the soldiers, end the battle and returning the fog to its normal state. Booger pushed ahead and saw a church through the fog, but found nothing of value or use inside. Just beyond the church was a peculiar hut built upon a ginormous stump with a giant’s skull floating just below the door.

Booger tried to vault himself from his horse to the door of the hut, but fell short. Meanwhile, Ramas searched for a way in and found his entrance after climbing and doing a round-off into a chimney. Ezmerelda casted invisibility on Rothwulf and herself. Rothwulf using some stealth in climbing into the hut. Ramas was the first one in and he immediate fell for an illusion of a baby in a craddle, and his attempt to grab the baby triggered a poisonous cloud of gas. Booger found his way into the hut and decided to throw a vial of holy water into a large tub of blood, which disturbed the resting Baba Lysaga. The blood turned black and formed tentacles that attacked the party while Lysaga turned into tiny black flies and fled. With Lysaga out of the way the party was determined to find the source of a green light coming up through the floorboards. Their attempts at damaging the floor boards brought revealed the hut was an animated being and it grew teeth and began walking with the party inside. Booger managed to grab the gem and escape, which incapacitated the hut. He also discovered a cavern where the hut was formerly seated. The party joined up with Booger while Ezmerelda searched the hut (while invisible) and found the Sun Sword. The party reunited at the cavern’s entrance where Rothwulf heard a very familiar voice in his head which stated, “I’ve been waiting for your return.”

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To Berez!
The gang gets back on track

In the wake of dispatching a swarm of vampire spawn there was an issue of settling Booger’s ransom. Ireena stepped up to the plate and offered Booger a role in her takeover of Vallaki. Booger turned the offer down, but she gave him three familiar war horses for killing the Baron (Booger dropped him off a roof). Ireena used the fear Booger put over the crowd to seize power in hopes of improving her hand against Strahd.

Not to be deterred by the lie of a small child, the party set out to find the bones of St. Andral. Unsurprisingly, the party split up immediately upon arrival at the Coffin Maker’s shop and didn’t communicate a plan, so three plans were put into motion. Rothwulf simply opened the door while Booger burst through the rear entrance and Ramas climbed in through a window (right?). Henrik surrendered the bones easily and Booger seemed curious as to how he did it, but not why… oh well, with the bones returned to Father Lucian the church became hallowed ground once again.

The party decided to try something they haven’t done in a long time, talk to each other. Ramas explained his vision and the merging of two quests- one for the weapon to destroy Strahd and one to recover a stolen magical stone to gain the Order of the Feather as allies. After resting for the evening in the sanctuary of the church (except Ramas who was outside meditating under a tree), the party departed for ruins of Berez, a village that was drowned by a river.

When they arrived in Berez they met a wereraven of the Order of the Feather, Muriel. Muriel and Ramas recognized each other and explained their task- the stone was being held in a hut by a powerful witch, one that has haunted Ramas’ visions for some time now.

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Attack at St. Andral Church
Booger's master plan

The party made their way and met up at the Church of St. Andral where a handful of citizens were holding up while the town attempted to oust the Baron. Booger escorted the Baron to the church where he proceeded to time him up after discovering a small group of vampire spawn in the attic. The Ramas and Booger fought the vampires in the church while Rothwulf made an exit through a stained-glass window to investigate chanting outside. The chanting was a vampire sorceress who was raising zombies from the graveyard. Ezmerelda met up with Rothwulf and helped defeat the undead outside and they both returned to the church to aid their comrades. After defeating the vampires, Booger quickly took the Baron upstairs and held him out the window where he attempted to ransom the town for exotic mounts with the Baron’s life.

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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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