Hills of Barovia

A letter to Ismark
A story of three failures

Dear Ismark,

it is with great sadness that I send this letter to you, but I felt you deserve the truth and you deserve to hear it from me, because I gave you my word. We have failed you and Ireena in our promise to save Ireena from the Monster on the Hill.

We have guarded and protected her during our travel from Barovia to Kresk and she bravely fought side by side with us in a battle against a pack of werewolves, making you proud. We ensured that she would be allowed to enter Kresk, by helping the town to secure supplies and finally left her in the safety of the abbott of the temple of St Markovius. We deemed this a safer place than Vallaki but alas, that proved to be a fatal error in our judgement, being our first failure.

The abbot, a powerful Daeva in disguise, took her in and promised us to keep her safe and protected in his abbey. However as powerful as he was, he was also misguided and had removed himself from reality. While we saw it, we failed to recognize the danger, because by his nature he is a sworn enemy of the Monster. Our second failure.

The abbot believed that the monster could be appeased and the curse be lifted from the land by showing him love and compassion and the vessel he chose for that love and compassion was Ireena. So he called upon the Monster and offered him her hand in marriage and conducted the ceremony himself.
While we arrived in time to witness the vows, a foul stroke of fate by whatever evil gods are left in this realm, we were too late to prevent them… The Monster applied his final bite to her and turned her fully into her creature. All of us engaged him and his stewart in combat trying to kill him and free Ireena with the help of the abbot, but he prevailed. Only the power of the Daeva pulled us back from the brink of death and he sacrificed himself in doing so and in his final moments realized the error of his ways. This is where we failed you the third and final time.

Despite her body is still alive, she is now called Tatjana by the Monster and while she still might look the same and even recognize you, she is truly dead and lost to you. It is through our failures that she was taken from you.

For what it is worth I vow to not rest until the Monster is killed and your sister freed from the spell and the fate she is doomed to now. If you will accept me as a brother, then I will avenge her or be utterly destroyed in trying, because death holds no longer any sway over me and cannot stop me from exacting the revenge that the Monster so deserves in your name. That, I swear to you.

Vilrune Siegardson, Paladin of Hextor
Forever in your debt.

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A Loyal Doge
Session 5

Velrune and Fiminian continued their quest to make contact with the Mad Mage. Instead, they only managed to befriend a blood hound, which they later learned must be Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound… or at least once was.

With a new mouth to feed, and no further clues, the two abandoned the loud gypsie camp so that they could deliver Ireena Kolyana to safety in Vallaki or Krezk.

A few miles outside of the Village a Barovia, FImian and Velrune realized something was wrong as a flock of Ravens drew their attention to the Chapel of Saint Ecataria. There they found injured Donavich, distraught that he had been forced to murder his vampire son Doru, in self-defense, after Doru had returned to torment his father.

Velrune made sure the evil had truly been slain and left the priest to deal with his own sins. Fimian, on the other hand, stayed around and managed to bring the light back to Donovich, keeping him from embracing the darkness growing within him.

The session ended as a loud knock emanated from the door of 13 Hemwick Charnel Lane, the former Durst House. Its source, an elf claiming to be chamberlain of Castle Ravenloft, offering each character a personalized invitation to join Strahd von Zarovich for dinner.

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Wizard in the Mist
Session 4

The morning began slowly as hung over Visani crawled out of bed. It seemed only Fimian and Velrune were functional so they left the Vistani and Phin, who had had a bit too much partying herself, behind to go investigate the rumors that a mage had falled to his death at the nearby waterfall.

Along the way the were attacked by a pack of wolves, who where quickly fought off by the two warriors before reaching an old stone bridge crossing the cliffs on both sides of the river 1000 feet overhead. Once they reached the misty falls, they began searching for clues.

After remembering that the story they had heard from the Vistana the night before, Velrune and Fimian made their way toward an area where rocks had been blasted from the cliffside. There they came across a goat, who surprisingly turned into a Mad Mage. He had no interest communicating with Velrune and Fimian, believing that they were agents of Strahd. A quick fire blast at Velrune and the mage vanished.

An hour and many arm fulls of rubble later, Fimian and Velrune found a badly damaged wizard’s spellbook, hinting that the mad mage they saw may have been the same mage from the story. After returning to the camp and running the clues by madam Eva, they learned that this mage may have even been the legendary Mordenkainen himself!

In hopes they would be able to communicate and befriend the man they returned the following day, only to find a Bloodhound sitting patiently upon the rocks.

Rewards: 135 experience to Fimian and Velrune

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Madam Evas Fortunes
Session 3

Velrune and Fimian were brought to the Durst House by Phin in order to get some sleep and find some supplies. While there, the party learned that the house had many curiosities such as magical dinnerware and library, along with many secrets such as a hidden attic and library. There must be more secrets to find.

After a nights rest the party set off toward the Tser Pool Encampment where they were told they would find Madam Eva. Two Vistani men met up with the party, one was named Radu Radovich, who was out searching for a missing Vistani girl named Arabelle, who had been gone a day.

Upon reaching the River Ilvis Crossroads Fimian saw himself hanging upon the gallows. The party assured him it was not him, but he knows what he saw. Meanwhile, Velrune, acting strangely, set off toward Castle Ravenloft instead of Tser Pool.

At the Tser Pool Encampment Madam Eva was waiting, greeting each character in her tent as if she could see their entire lives before them. She proceeded to give them a fortune reading. She laid out 5 cards in a cross:

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1) Lady Blackwood, this card tells of history and power. Knowledge of the ancient will help you understand yourself and your enemy. The Master of Coins is a wounded soldier returning from war, embraced by a loving family. I see a nest of ravens. There you will find your prize.
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2) Fimian Frostfury. This card speaks of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope. The two of pentacles, a missionary, dances with her silver pentacles against the night sky. Although her moves may seem effortless, they come with great practice and concentration, which you will need to find harmony. I see a garden dusted with snow, watched over by a scarecrow with a sack cloth grin. Look not to the garden but to the guardian.
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3) Velrune, shadow of “Heironeous”, your card is one of power and strength. It tells of vengeance, a sword of sunlight. The five of pentacles is a lost soul, searching for salvation. I see walls of skulls, a chandelier of arms, and a table of bones – all that remains of enemies long forgotten.
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4) This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. AH [Madam Eva says, flipping the card], the worst of all truths. The Emporer dominates all around him with confidence. Pleased with his achievements he looks towards other areas of conquest. You must face the evil of this land alone!
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5) Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him. In this card the fool begins his journey by wandering into the Ilvis, unaware of his surroundings. He has no experience of life therefor he has no fear of it. I see Strahd, dwelling with the one whose blood sealed his doom, a brother snuffed out too soon. Here you must be ready to make your stand against the Dark Lord or die.

After the reading the party dispersed and enjoyed the festivities of the Vistani encampment if only for a night.

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Burial at Dawn
Session 2

O Dawnmaster, support this soul as we lay Koylan Inidirovich to rest by the strong arms of Thy Brightness and the fragrance of Thy consolations. Let Thy Shining Mercy pour over him and let Thy own body be his food, and Thy blood his sprinkling; and let Thy glorious Chanticleers and our own dear Saint Ecataria smile on us who bid him farewell, that in and through them all he may die as we desire to live, in Thy Arms, in Thy faith and in Thy love. Praise the Dawn!

-Priest Donivich

As the shadows of Ravenloft were finally cast away by the diffused light on the sun Priest Donovich finished the burial of former burgomaster Koylan Indirovich. A smalll group of haggard forms stood gathered to witness his final disposition. Koylan’s children, Ismark Kylanovich and and Ireena Kolyana, along with the newest collection of strangers in Barovia, Persephone Phineas Blackwood: “Phin”, Vilrune Siegardson, and Fimian Frostfury.

The night had been long. The party fought Preist Donovich’s son Doru, in the undercroft of the Chapel of Saint Ecataria. Unfortunately, his vampiric speed and strength allowed him to escape into the mists of the night. His last words, “Father, I’m coming home!”.

After the battle the party had time to meet Velrune, paladin of “Heironeous”, and whitness the March of the Dead as souls of former warriors make their nightly procession to castle Ravenloft, where it is said they fell at the hands of the Devil Strahd. The party also learned they should seek out Madam Eva at Tser Pool Encampment because she may be able to give them answers as to why they are in Barovia.

Now the party heads to the Durst House, so they can gather or salvage any supplies that will help them make the journey to the town of Vallaki.

Items found: Hymns to the Dawn , The Blade of Truth .
Quests Finished : Bury a Burgomaster , Cleanse Doru .
New Quests : Fortunes of Ravenloft
350xp gained

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Death of a Burgomaster
Session 1

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Tall shapes loomed out of the dense fog that surrounds everything. The muddy ground underfoot gave way to slick wet cobblestones. This is Barovia, where the tall shapes are drab village dwellings, most boarded up, whose windows stare out into the empty streets from pools of blackness. No sound cut the silence except for mournful sobbing that echoed through the streets.

It was here that the confused Fimian and Phin met as they stepped onto the slick cobblestone streets of Barovia for the first time. There was no need for lengthy discussion. It was understood that they must work together if they want to leave this bleak land.

The first task was to stop the damn sobbing. A short search led the party to Mad Mary. Using her charm, Phin was able to calm Mary down and find out her daughter Gertruda has gone missing. She fears the “Devil Strahd” took Gertruda as one of his consorts. Contract: Find Gertruda

Once that was settled, Fimian made way to the Blood of the Vine Tavern only to find that in these lands wine is happiness and there is no ale to be found. Luckily, Ismark the Lesser was ale to offer up some imported dwarven ale in hopes the newcomers would help him. He desperately wants his sister Ireena Kolyana to be escorted safely to Vallaki, away from Strahd von Zarovich. Main Quest Escort Ireena

After finishing their drinks the party visited the burgomaster’s mansion. Its windows boarded up, charred with fire and cut deeply with claw marks. Recent works by “the minions of Strahd”. The constant harassment by the devil’s pawns proved too much for the old burgomaster’s heart and he passed away three days prior. Ireena refuses to leave Barovia until her father receives a proper burial. Secondary Quest: Bury a Burgomaster

In an effort to get things done quickly, Fimian and Phin immediately escorted Ismark, Ireena, and the dead Koylan to the local chapel, dedicated to the Morning Lord. They found the chapel in shambles, carrying similar burns and claw marks on the outside. Within, among broken heaps of furniture, say the drunken preist Donavich, frantically praying while his son Doru screams for food from the undercroft below. It turns our Doru is a vampire and has been trapped in the undercroft by his father for over a year. Contract: Cleanse Doru

Donavich lets the party know he will perform the burial for Koylan, but must do so at dawn. The party must now wait the night at the chapel.

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Through the Mists
Session 0

6th moon, 735

Persephone Phineas Blackwood, the Teifling bard, awakes on a surgical table in an abandoned clinic with an IV in her arm. With no memory of how she got there, she followed fellow patients out of the clinic and across the street into the abandoned Durst house. The others never made it out, but “Phin” became the newest resident of Barovia.

Fimian Frostfury found more than ale in a small tavern while looking for work. A Vistani man handed him a letter from the burgomaster of Barovia himself, Koylan Indirovich Letter II, begging for assistance. The next day, Fimian Found himself walking through the stone gates of Barovia and stumbling across yet another letter on a corpse, Letters from Burgomaster Koylan Indirovich I. He narrowly avoided becoming wolf dinner before making his way to the Village of Barovia.

A Paladin of Heironeous took his life to repent for his sins.
Vilrune Siegardson stumbles through the woods half mad from thirst and hunger. His clothes are torn and his armor is splattered with dirt and blood. His hands desperatly grip the hilt of a massive great sword, the blade and crossbar soaked and dripping with blood. The blood seems to be burning his skin down to his bones and his very soul and there is no release from it. Desperate he stops, having lost his way, stabs the blade halfway into the ground and calls the name of his patron ‘He…’ a thunder rols and swallows the rest. With wide eyes he grabs his stock of lantern oil and douses himself in it before setting it aflame. Finally an end to the terror and the haunting eyes of the others
And then he wakes with a start. Clear air stabs his lungs and the dim light of a day, not yet fully begun (or ended?) greets him. Can this be? Was it all for naught? His patron feels distant, the pain dulled…
And then something else grabs his attention… Pleas for food… A father being called to end the suffering, end the hunger and release him. In the name of He… this cannot be.
Hastily he grabs his belonging, with one hand pulls the sword from the ground and follows the sounds. A small chapel to an unknown deity, shadows moving inside and yet, the place is hallowed and it pulls him forward…

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