|Creepy Kids: Rosavalda & Thornbolldt Durst|
Picking up from our first experience of Dungeons & Dragons 5e, with Simon as Dungeon Master, back in September, The Tuesday Knights resumed their adventuring in The Forgotten Realms this week...Having met up with our old drinking buddy, the notorious halfling burglar Rufus Longhole (aka Rogue Juan aka Juan Cornetto), Ragar - our dwarf cleric - reminded us we still needed to be looking for one of our missing employers.
Taking the ox cart, we headed off towards Cragmore, but as night fell we decided to make camp, but the mists rolled in bringing in the howls of a large pack of wolves closing on us.
It was then we noticed a village down the way - a village that shouldn't have been there!
But shelter's shelter, so we rolled into the village, which turned out to be eerily abandoned except for two strange children (pictured above).
The children said the village was called Barovia, but that name meant nothing to any of us, but they
urged us to be a quiet as there was a monster in the basement of their house.
Inexplicably - in retrospect - we agreed to venture into their house and drive out this troublesome beast.
Rufus scouted ahead at first, but it quickly became clear that the house was seemingly deserted... but really creepy.
For instance, there was a lot of intricately carved wood panelling throughout, but upon closer inspection it included strange - inappropriate - scenes of monsters, death and torture.
A windmill motif was also quite common and we suspect that's the sigil of the family Durst (we discovered that was the name of the family. The father and mother were Gustav and Elisabeth, the two children - waiting outside with our wagon - were Rosavalda & Thornboldt).
There was even a strange item of headwear in one of the cupboards. Something called a "top hat", which certainly wasn't any kind of fashion that I, of the great House Dobbin, had encountered before.
In a hidden room behind the bookshelf, we came across the corpse of what appeared to be a previous adventurer, darted in the back by some kind of trap.
It was around this time, and having found no clues towards the location of the "basement", that we began to suspect that this whole house was some kind of elaborate trap we'd been lured into by the children for some reason.
As well as the parents' will, and deeds to the house and a windmill in somewhere called Vallaki, there was a disturbing letter:
My most pathetic servant,We had no idea what it meant, or who this Strahd was (yes, I know, but my character doesn't!), but it just compounded the unnerving nature of the house we found ourselves in.
I am not a messiah sent to you by the Dark Powers of this land. I have not come to lead you on a path to immortality. However many souls you have bled on your hidden altar, however many visitors you have tortured in your dungeon, know that you are not the ones who brought me to this beautiful land. You are but worms writhing in my earth.
You say that you are cursed, your fortunes spent. You abandoned love for madness, took solace in the bosom of another woman, and sired a stillborn son. Cursed by darkness? Of that I have no doubt. Save you from your wretchedness? I think not. I much prefer you as you are.
Your dreadlord and master,
Strahd von Zarovich.
We'd discovered several suits of armour along the way, and Dolly - fancying herself a bit of an expert on armour - had a habit of opening the visors to check inside.
Unfortunately, up on the second floor, this rather came back to bite her... as the empty suit came to life and attacked her.
Kao and I waded in, with your hero, Syr Edvard of House Dobbin, landing the critical blow that eventually destroyed it.
Our impetuous elf ranger, Kao, went off to investigate a spooky nursery, and drawing back the dark shroud around the cot was ambushed by a pair of tiny creatures (which we later called 'gibberlings'), but striking one caused it to explode into a swarm of fist-sized spiders!
Dolly rushed to her aid, while the rest of us were attacked from the shadows by four undead creatures.
Ragar used his divine powers to repel two of the hungry dead, while I dispatched the others.
Then I strode to the wall where the craven pair of zombi were trying to claw their way out of the building.
Two swift blows with Foulbane, my mighty greataxe, and they were sent back to whatever vile hell spawned them.
Meanwhile, Dolly and Kao eventually squashed the spiders, with the assistance of the saucepan-wielding Rufus.
And we got a moment of respite in this haunted house of death.
Until someone sat back against a secret door!
To be continued...
- Rufus Longhole - Pete
- Kao - Erica
- Dolly Spartan - Clare
- Ragar - Kevin
- Syr Edvard of House Dobbin - Me