Ravenloft - 5th Edition

Billy the kid
Session 0 Recap

After a long, extraneous few days of burning down a village, Martam Hornsraven and his fire-wielding friends, Dolf Bresarik and Lily Azzeroth, arrive in the small village of Ashenport. With no other options, and maybe as fate would have it, they take up residence at “The Slow Decline”, the quaint bar / inn run by none other than the High Elf Percey.

Through interactions with Percey, and catching the ear of the wandering Gnome, Judge, they learn of an upcoming yet curious event taking place the next morning. The hanging of a child. Confused, they pry deeper, and learn of other strange events; townfolk go missing for days and return with no explanation, other locals act slightly out of character, and most recently, the local butcher was ripped apart at the chest and discovered amongst his body was the 7-year old Billy.

With nothing else to do, and falling victim to their own adventurous instincts, the group investigates further. They head to the town hall to speak with the incarcerated boy. At the reception area, they meet Derek, a local guard, with two black eyes and a re-set nose. He explains that the boy caught him off guard and sucker punched him, but luckily Johnson showed up in time and they were able to detain him.

In talking to the boy, there’s not too much to him, but his story doesn’t add up. Stealing a steak for your father in the middle of the night… Breaking a guards nose… oh and that little instance of being caught literally red-handed while digging out the organs of the butcher. Still, it’s hard to really get a read on the kid, he’s definitely lying, but what’s he hiding? Dolf Bresarik, not falling for it, casts “Detect Evil” and sure enough, the magical effect lights up Billy like a Christmas tree.

Still without answers, they decide to question the boys father, Merle. Margaret, the mother, answers the door, a little distraught, but pretty well together considering. Merle doesn’t offer much in the way of information, but both parents make it apparent that they don’t want to see their boy hang from the swift justice of this town.

Whelp, only one last place to check, the scene of the crime! They head to the butcher shop to find it still open and undisturbed. Blood cakes the walls and floors. Bloody hand prints streak down the walls and footprints of a child track across the tile. With their combined extensive sleuthing, they discover a very large fist indent in the back counter, bigger than even Martam’s fists put together! While they’re examining the indent, Judge notices blood dripping from one of the cupboards. They open it to find the body of… Billy!, wait, Billy? But he’s in the jail… nope, he’s right here with his chest ripped opened and organs missing.

Now a little frazzled, they split up and send Dolf Bresarik to go talk to Merle, and the others go to town hall to talk with Mayor Silverstein. When Merle is brought to his sons body, he collapses and is at a loss for words. He carries the body off to the church, to lay it to rest.

Silverstein’s decision is pretty much made for him, there’s only on thing to do… The boy must hang!

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Trapped in Barovia

I don’t know much about these things, but that mayor of Ashenport keeps some strange secrets. The Billy-creature caught slaying the butcher was some kind of grey shapechanger; Lily called it a doppleganger. As we tried to hang it, it wiggled its child-like neck out from the noose and crashed through the wooden frame. Martam’s axe put a quick end to the thing as it tried to steal his shape and run off into the crowd.

Well, the mayor sees us and invites us back to the town hall later, all subtle-like. After a couple of drinks at the Slow Decline, we went there and he shows us this magic gem, big and blood red. As I grab it the thing whispers in my mind Ireena, and feels all warm. Lily takes it, yells out Ireena, and soon the whole lot of us are falling into a dark night, the mayor’s face leering sinister before becoming a moon above.

My companions rose slowly to find a caravan approaching. We tried to hide ourselves, but Percey decided we should make introductions. They tell us we are trapped here, that the Master lives in Castle Ravenloft overlooking the blighted town of Barovia. The gypsy hag reads our fortunes – some guidance on how we might get home. We bought their wolfsbane charms and map, before following their directions towards the nearest, and impossibly only town nearby. They give us a note about some Ireena, adopted daughter of the burgomaster.

The crazy gnome that follows us decided to go dance with the wolves – dread, unnatural looking beasts. Those wolves and the eerie mists following us seem to be the guardians of this boundary forest. A dead body is found on the way back to the road bearing a runed sword, and another note about Ireena. It exhorts any who find it to surround the land with holy wards and leave those within to the Master. Since we seem to be drawn in to this place through dark magic, it doesn’t seem the best of idea to get stuck inside.

It wasn’t until we saw the town of Barovia ourselves that I understood my Lord’s visions. The disaster wasn’t to befall Ashenport, but instead to befall us, bringing us to this land of sunless days. He has prepared us though, for speaking to the priest of Pholtus of this town fire and silver are our boon against the servants of the Master – a master that preys upon the folk brought into and trapped in this accursed place.

We brought the girl Ireena and her half-brother to the cathedral, for the burgomaster is dead, and Martam has destroyed the barricade that protected that estate. The girl is bit upon her neck, and strangely the wounds do not fester despite their depth. We also carried these Richten books back with us – their father prized them for the knowledge on the creatures of these lands, as well as some hoarded silver.

Tonight we face whatever follows us, for some of the townsfolk are pledged to the master and claim to be his eyes. Judging from the claw marks upon the doors and windows of these buildings it will be a long night.

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tests, allies and enemies
From town to Castle

The priest at the main church in town helps our heroes and barricades the doors to their last line of defense in the building. Dolf, Lilly, Percy, Judge and Martam kill off 2 DIre Wolves and a Were-wolf causing the battle to end. Recovering for a short time and discussing how to proceed, we decide to move the gem clser to Castle Ravenloft in hopes that Stahd will leave the village alone. Percy expertly convinces the Burgemeister’s son, along with his sister to take over his father’s role and rally the town to safety in our absence.
The Heroes Five, set out on the main road towards the castle and come across a magical horse and carriage which whisks them towards the gates of Ravenloft at a breakneck pace.. Traveling through the mists, Lilly and Martam get affected by its deadly power and Percy administers the one potion we possess to combat the effects on Lilly to save her. Meanwhile Martam endures the pain and is hurt but makes it through the entire ordeal .
Arriving at Ravenloft our Heroes Five proceed into the castle where more tests and enemies meet them at every turn. Over the rotten drawbridge Lilly steps on plank that practically disintegrates and she loses her balance and falls through heading towards her doom. Percy and Martam attempt to grab her quickly, though Percy can’t grab ahold, Martam lifts her back up and onto the drawbridge.
Two winged creatures get their arses kicked…

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Castle Ravenloft

After we managed to defeat the wyverns (and Dolf gave us some much needed healing), we ventured through the castle in order to find this “Master” called Strahd. But there is only one true Master and his name is Asmodeus… So anyways, we walked down a hallway with stone statues with eyes that watched us. We entered an old chapel with what appeared to be another stone statue but upon examination looked to be a Holy Warrior encased in stone with a holy symbol medallion. Dolf managed to chisel out the holy symbol and gave it to Judge to wear since we think it was the object of his tarot reading. Oh yes, and Judge, Martam, and Percey found a pair of banshees upstairs. We avoided the banshees and proceeded to go up a spiral staircase that just kept going up. However, we changed our minds and went back down to look for the library that Judge kept talking about.

We walked up another floor and came across a very strange fellow named Cyrus who appeared to be eating dead people. He also claimed to be a cook for Strahd. He wanted to feed us his “dinner” and have us go to our rooms to await our fate with Strahd but Martam really did not like this man and started to beat him up. Judge burned the dead bodies so they may rest in the fires of Asmodeus. And we found some wine bottles! We also found a demon in one of the rooms and easily defeated him with light.

We searched through another level of the castle and found… an accountant fellow. Judge was a spider at this point and the man thought he was one of Strahd’s men. The accountant was about to pull a rope (an alarm maybe?) so Percey shot his arm with an arrow and ended up mortally wounding him. Next, we found a large throne room and found a platinum hilt of a sword. Dolf decided to hold onto this. Meanwhile, Judge found and operated a dumbwaiter while in spider form. We decided to take the secret passage behind the throne room instead.

After finding another staircase in the secret passage, we came upon a dining room with the most disturbing cake decoration (a creepy doll). We then stumbled upon a cloak closet and Percey found a very nice black cloak. We peered into a bedroom and heard a young women who seemed to be loyal to Strahd. Martam proceeded to tie her up after Judge spider-webbed her face. We tied up Cyrus, the accountant, and the girl to the bed. Finally we found the library! We picked up a book that seemed to be Strahd’s journal. We walked down another hallway of stone statues but these ones answered questions we spoke aloud. We discovered that the runed sword we found in the woods matched the hilt and they magically fused into a weapon to defeat Strahd.

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