Thursday, 10 February 2022 17:23

Ravenloft Game 35 - 02/04/22 - Freakshow Featured

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We explored the monastery.  We found half-dead, disfigured insane people and decayed furniture. Finally, while exploring we encountered a large lumbering figure.  An assemblage of human body parts.  As we approached the area, we heard chanting screaming etc.  The creature did 20-30 per hit.  Worse it exploded after it died.

Afterward, we further explored and found room after room packed with mutant surgical experiments. One room had a guy holding a shiny sphere, another with a group singing around a statue.  Another room with a brawl (fight club). Another room full of hungry mongrels. The last had rabbits and turnips.  Ambrus almost fled in terror.  We retreated to have a long rest before we decided what to do with them.  The flesh golem was the guard and the guy to give the inmates food.  We then spent time figuring out how to feed them without the flesh golem.

Irina had a guilt trip about the dream pastries incident and insisted on staying at the Abbey and becoming the Abbess.  As a reminder, there was a riot because the people of the city couldn’t get their cookies made of murdered children, since we killed the child-killing hags.  Because we didn’t think to warn her brother of the sudden lack of opiates, the town rioted and people died.  Fortunately, few children died since their parents had already sold them to the hags to be made into cookies.  For some odd reason, no one in the party cared about the deaths of the rioters.  She was the only person that had healing and cooking so in her head it seemed to have made sense.

We left the Abbey and soon met with Serena Lousyrescue (or so it sounds).  She was the NPC we rescued from the demon at the cost of Brian’s original character.  Later she was kidnapped by Strahdania.  She had a chain around her neck, that boded ill.


 Notes from the GM:

A few things not obvious from the Summary (and which at first seemed to be only a couple minor points and bloated into a wall of text)...
Group is on a slight detour to the Wizard of Wines (which is nearby) to ask about all the crows seen around Barovia (and which seemed to be in higher concentration at the Wizard of Wines).  Afterwards I believe Berez is the intended next stop.
Ezmerelda seemed keen on working with the group to deal with Stradhanya, so she might be an ally for the eventual fight.  She also seems to have a thing for Jon's PC.  Having a Human 12th+ level Wizard (Bladesinger) on your side might not be a bad thing.  She is staying at the Abbey researching history and magic stuff for an eventual Strahdanya battle.  She mentioned she had a (boobytrapped) wagon full of Vampire fighting gear at Von Richten's Tower.  At some point it should be fetched, but be careful of the explosives.  She has faith that the group can handle it...  Ezmerelda also was puzzled about some missing books (BTO's character has them and took them to his alternate dimension...these are the books that BTO specifically indicated he was surreptitiously putting in a pack).  I didn't want to undo something a PC did just because the player was missing and as a GM I was amused by the paradox.
...and yes, Van Richten is apparently in Barovia.  He too has beef with Stradhanya.  Von Richten is also a racist a-hole (something about a trained Tiger that he planned to release at the Vistani camp to indiscriminately kill), so Ezmerelda warned Karn might want to be in disguise or absent if he is met (assuming the group wants to make a good impression).  She does consider Von Richten a valuable ally, but also a huge a-hole that eventually should be put in his place.
It also came up that Ezmerelda doesn't believe Strahdanya is all seeing and all knowing in Barovia.  She would need spies (most think the Vistani are her agents) or scrying to keep tabs on the group.  It did occur to the group that y'all were given gifts from her soon after arrival.  Additionally, one of Lord Quevan's boots was stolen by a pack of wolves just before arriving at Vallaki.  It's not clear if the first helps scrying, but clearly having personal property of a target helps (regardless of how / where said property was acquired...yes the boots were found at the Durst Manor, but they had been with Lord Quevan since with no replacement intentions...hence personal property).
Ezmerelda also relayed (with a 25+ History roll) that Karn does seem to be the spitting image of a man named Tatius.  Said person was apparently a love interest of Strahdanya before she became a Vampire (again those missing books or she could have shown the group a sketch of Tatius).  It was on the day before his wedding to Strahdanya's sister that Tatius (and Strahdanya's sister) died...this also seemed to be the eve of Strandhanya becoming a Vampire and Barovia becoming stuck in a perpetual overcast.  Presumably Karn has the reincarnated soul of Tatius and somehow the soul has an impact on the looks of a person.
Karn's memory of an event with Vasili Von Holz (Vallaki Accountant) resurfaced during this conversation.  Vasili had taken Karn aside for a discussion just before the group crawled into the "dungeon" (at Yester Hill) with his apparent love interest, Ireena.  While away from the rest of the group, Vasili transformed back into Strahdanya, took a second "sip" from Kharn and then blanked Karn's memory of the event.  Laces out.  Vasili is Strahdanya, Strhdanya is Vasili. Ireena's reaction == "Ew!" and queue crying game music.  (It is a (mostly) medieval society.)
Ireena is indeed staying behind at the Abbey because of guilt over the Cookie Riots of Ought-Nine (and being Lawful Good in alignment as well as a follower of the Morning Lord).  For a short time she will have support from Ezmerelda, but Ireena hopefully can use her cooking / medical feats to help the tortured folks at the Abbey (as a side note, expect cereal in the form of dried beat or carrot flakes to make an appearnce as a healthful breakfast stapple).  Maybe the Lesser Restoration waters in the pool down below will help.  She will be leveling up now as a Cleric, so when the group gets 8th, she will be 7th level lame NPC class / 1st level Cleric.  This is when I fully expect the group will return and either kill Ireena or cause her death...this action (killing all religious authorities) is either part of the group's secret charter or just an ongoing meme.
The group left Kerzk at the end of the game.  A lavish tent was spotted ahead at a crossroads.  It was assumed to belong to Strahdanya.  Discussion ensued about how it should be avoided at all costs (similar to the innocuous dinner invitation from Strahdanya which the group received weeks ago).
It was amidst the "how do we sneak around or past the tent" that the group noticed Serina Lazarescu (the NPC Vistani girl rescued a week back from a Demon sacrifice and kidnapped outside the Wizard of Wines) standing outside the tent with a chain around her neck.  It was hard to make out details at extreme range, but the impression is she is nervous.  This seemed to be an implied threat of some sort.  That is where the game ended...
 
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