Session 6: What's Insurance like in Barovia?
The party split up according to their choices and means. Komodo alongside Bruno and Roukai opted to sleep at the inn to rest and recuperate. Heinrich, Alistair and Billy decided they would press on in the night to the forge in an attempt to meet the dwarves. Along the way, Alistair howled into the night, seized by a sense of playfulness which swiftly turned to regret as prowling wendigo heard and converged on their position. As they clashed and came close to potential death, they were driven off by sunlight-cast by an old Vistani woman who had been looking for them.
Taking them back to her Caravan, she introduced herself as Madame Eva and revealed she had been helping them since the moment they came to Barovia. With her power, she had sent visions to the party as well as protected them in their sleep from Baba Lygasa of Strahds Black Fist-the hag had apparently been attempting to strike them through their dreams since the windmill and only stymied by her power,though she warned she could not keep it up forever.
As to why, she claimed the party was a force for change in Barovia and warned them there was far more at stake should Strahd get his hands on Ireena. And in response to Heinrich asking what, she showed him a vision that made him down the vodka fortified tea she had served them. When asked for more clarification, she said that she could only show so much at the present time and would share more when she could.
When asked about the Ghost, she said simply that he had always been in this region and added with mild scorn that he cheats at cards. Before the party left, she graciously offered to take the body off their hands and sent them away with a Lantern of Revealing-a magical object that could show invisible things in its light. As they left her wagon, they noticed John the Felyne watching them from a rooftop though they made no attempt to do anything but express disappointment.
The next day at the inn, the party went over their options and decided that it was best to get the Dwarves and the town on their side. Which meant infiltrating and finding ways to free the hostages kept by the Lord Mayor to impose order.
John, who just invited himself to their table offered to lead them through a tunnel he and the Ghost used. He also mentioned how deliveries were made to the foundry and it's possible to slip in that way. When suspicious party members brought up the fact he was friends with the Ghost, John simply said he was friends with everyone. Also he had been paid a quarter and proudly displayed a necklace with the quarter on it.
And so, Roukai, Alistair and Billy went with the delivery route and Komodo and Heinrich would follow John underground.
Bruno and Kalin would go to the wood shop and wouldn't realize what happened till the explosion(but all in good time).
The forge was built into the mountain, with a half moon shaped wall creating an open space before it that when seen, had been designed after a Concentration Camp. Starving Dwarves would be watched over by constructs, those of the town that sided with the Lord Mayor and hostages-skimpily dressed youth, with glazed eyes who served water to the guards. As they made their deliveries, one of the hostages shook off her dazed state, took in her current surroundings with horror and began to flee. Billy stopped her by shooting the ground before her, prompting her swift recapture by the guards. As they congratulated him, the false Ghost approached and invited them to his office for a job.
Two targets to be killed, one 'a crazy hermit in the woods' who sniped any of their men who tried to approach his territory and 'some Vistani hag' who showed up to town. Negotiations fell short when Roukai insisted on a greater pay than the False Ghost was offering, prompting him to shoot him in the leg. Roukai immediately flung a lightning bolt, dodged by the false ghost which went out a window and hit one of the transport wagons.
This immediately sparked a fight, that ended with the death of the false ghost, a petrified Roukai and the subsequent wagon full of gunpowder exploding.
And triggering a chain reaction from the traffic jam of gunpowder wagons leading into the forge.
Meanwhile, Heinrich, Komodo and John traveled the tunnel, past a golem guard the dwarves made on the sly and encountered a disquieting thing.
Six dwarves corpses, with holes in their heads and covered in webs spoke in unison for a sacrifice, claiming to serve 'The Beast Below'. Heinrich decided to hell with this and with John, ran immediately back just in time for an explosion.
The ground collapsed into a pit. The camp, the foundry was destroyed. Corpses were scattered everywhere in pieces, smoke rose as fire burned and explosions continued to pop. In their weakened state, things got worse as the rains began to fall and Strahd descended from the skies as he asked for an explanation.
What followed was an incredibly surreal scene as Strahd the more the conversation progressed looked less and less like a Dark lord and more akin to a harried teacher who isn't paid enough for this shit. Right down to the party raising their hands to speak, like a classroom of students. They managed to secure his interest by mentioning the fake Ghost as well as the fact that they attempted to put a hit on the Vistani matriarch-they then progressed from Strahd washing his hands of them by volunteering to deal with the Lord Mayor for his obvious plans that seemed to subvert his own.
Conceding this, he grabbed John and told him to inform the Ghost that to ensure the party does his will, that he will join them for now.
He then told them to inform Madame Eva that they have permission to restore Roukai after the party told him he would be useful and was gone.
Battered, ash covered the party returned to the Vistani as Madame Eva fed and comforted them. They also managed to buy a few magical objects with Alistair offering a favor in future to the Vistani.
It was then Rob appeared-jovial and grinning as he mentioned how impressed he was with the explosion. He also shared information on what to expect from the Mayor's house, citing a Hellish influence. In the end, Komodo volunteered to talk under flag of truce and see what he could discover. Accompanying him would be Bruno in gecko form and an invisible Billy, who had claimed a ring of invisibility from the corpse of the false ghost.
Alistair would go alone with Strahds Black Fist, the latter who warned him he may just push him off the sniping point. When he decided to go anyway, he seemed surprised but in the end, got along fairly well as they prepared themselves just in case.
The diplomatic party would succeed in a meeting, Komodo speaking to the Lord Mayor as Billy and Bruno explored and spied.
The mayor introduced himself as Henry Sutton and offered information in exchange for a delay of a day and a half. Komodo agreed and Henry shared the reason he had taken power.
In Barovia were three objects that combined, allowed the users to kill Strahd and the Dark Lord had taken pains to remove all information on them. What he knew for sure was that one of them was guarded by Strahds Ghost, who lived in the woods and slew all who came for it. Infesting Wendigo into the forest to flush him out did nothing and any obvious show of force would draw Strahds eye. The starvation, the false ghost-all of it was for a chance for Henry to obtain what the Ghost guarded-a medallion of his house, wrought in silver. A holy item.
A symbol of Ravenkind.
Komodo then returned and would attempt to delay as promised. And so here is where the party stands. With the Ghost of Strahd over their shoulder, Strahd himself watching them as the rains have yet to clear and a promise of hope and damnation.