Welcome to Barovia, a mist-shrouded forest valley in the southeastern foothills of a brooding mountain range. This minor realm is little visited, being far off the major trade routes and having a poor reputation in surrounding lands. Ancient curses, gloomy weather, and vicious werewolves plague the long-suffering peasants who bend beneath the yoke of a cruel nobleman.

(4e conversion of 3.5 and ADD; started off true to the source material, very quickly became entirely home-brewed for a first-time DM.)

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Wrap it up

While near-defunct, figured I owed you guys some closure. Don't really want to do a formal write-up, so this is basically a behind the scenes look:

The weary adventurers returned back to Barovia, but it is a broken shell of itself. Unable to find anyone left in the town, the gang finds signs of a werewolf attack- the dwindling population is no more and there are no further signs of Ireena. Realizing they may well be the only signs of benevolent (well comparably, I mean Nikhil still traveled with them) life left in this cursed realm they move to quickly leave. They catch sight of a few red scarves during their departure, but gratefully neither the scarves nor the mist harangue them any further as they, at long last, leave the shadow realm of Ravenloft.


You might have been surprised as to why the Necromancer sacrificed herself in order to help destroy Strahd. Well Timmy was basically a back-up card: she cast a ritual to make him her phylactery before imbuing herself with a dark magic allowing herself to act as a "magnet" to any other undead. Strahd was compelled to absorb her life force with his; while it killed her, it also weakened him severely allowing you to finish him off. She gambled her immortality on you guys coming through. Unfortunately for poor Timmy he will have his own memories and personality slowly replaced by that of the Necromancer's over the next few decades.

While ending on a dark note, Ravenloft was a dark place and ultimately your crossing through helped both expedite and ease its passing in a far less painful way then seemed destined. While sometimes the heroes don't triumph and escape with the girl, in this case they at least played a large role in ending a cycle of caustic despair.

Once clear from Ravenloft, our heroes ultimately split ways. While there was some lingering tension, it was decided that the evils of the land might have played as much of a role as anything and it would be best for each to do their best to forget about the atrocities encountered. As far as is known the gang might have stayed in touch, but never again met up and took up arms against another force. The heroes never heard from Ashlyn or Madam Eva again.

It was a great time guys, thanks for playing!

(I will try converting this to EpicWords eventually too, so we can better preserve it without taking up Facebook "side space").





Ultimately I was hoping to tempt you all with out-of-game private messages to see if you would be able to be lured to the "dark side". Jack I was going to actually start giving bloody visions and ultimately get the opportunity to become a vampire (I would have done this after having him be bit in combat). Abraxus would be recruited by the werewolf gangs (again, he would contract some sort of affliction and start "returning to madness" come the full moon) and Nikhil was going to have the Vistani offer him money to help them smuggle weaponry with his shows as a cover.

In the end it was still going to be everyone's choice how they wanted to handle it, but I thought some "hidden" strife among the party would be an interesting role-playing opportunity and it would fit the theme of Ravenloft's corruption pretty well.

Unfortunately both school and a poor out-of-game platform got in the way of this (Facebook messaging was pretty hard to stay on top of); if only I knew of EpicWords back then!

Just some more behind the scenes info
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Act 4 - Meeting 7 (August 9th)
Silence pervades all.


The Dumb, the Hanged Man, and the Fool- what a motley gathering and what a quest they are on. You see the Moon and the Abused went off on a wicked adventure together; both hope to make their lives better. Why should that gathering of doomed morons disrupt their happiness? No more lapping waves grace your slumbers, instead your cursed skull has fallen deathly silent. Abraxus and Jack's small talk capered off pretty rapidly and even Varikov's giant bear seems to walk so quietly.. so quietly that all... they... hear... is... silence.
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Act 4 - Meeting 6 (March 1st)
The sound of lapping waves soothes you to sleep every night. For once you are feeling well-rested and at peace with your position in this new realm.

For the blood of your Dragonborn warrior Emetress shared her insight on how to satisfy the necromancer's bargain. For the threat of your musician's life you have won the needed component for the necromancer, the tongue of a still living humanoid. For "flexible" judgement, Nikhil has even earned both Varikov's respect and admiration for beating him at his own game (with the aid of some trickery). Only the future will tell what degree of bad that will turn out..

All in all the party is making great strides towards defeating Strahd. Back in the Vistani camp they have had yet another off-putting encounter with Madam Eva which cluminated in them re-enacting the legendary fable, "The Forgetful Dwarf and the Octoong".

For now there are a few dilemmas on the group's plate:

1) The necromancer has let them know there would be great boons bestowed upon the group for bringing her a live child; one she promises will be instructed in the arts and taken care of.

2) They have found "Timmy the Abused" at the Vistani camp who begs to be taken with them, as they are the first people among the Vistani not to (horrendously) ridicule and beat him for his misshapen face and orphan status.

3) Madam Eva, with a flare in her eye, has stead-fastedly denied knowing the existence of any of Strahd's ties to the land of Ravenloft. That being said she believes the one near the mountains can be found nearby, at the price of defeating the nearby Ooblong terrorizing a lake in dangerous territory. A small buff has been placed on the party, allowing them safe passage.

It will be a hard day's work a head of you, but you look forward to relaxing to the sound of waves again.
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Act 4 - Meeting 5 (Dec 8th)
Panting, the party scoured the turncoat Khamul's body and his companions for weapons, secrets, and more importantly answers. Their friend of the last week, unfortunately Khamul had turned out to be yet another bloodsucker bent on destruction. Hiding behind the powerful magics of his amulet his torpid corpse lay beneath a powerful charm, now broken and ruined.


It is time the adventurer's turned their focus back towards defeating Strahd once and for all. Though one powerful foe lay slain, there are potentially many more out there... Varikon the Skinner... the old Werewolf Pack Leader... even their temporary ally the Necromancer seems to be less of a trustworthy foe.



Swag
Jack: A warm cloak has found its way around your shoulders in the battle's aftermath. Thought it does not quite rival Abraxus's wolf pelt, it has a charm of its own to it. You scour a few other knick knacks find their way into your pockets as well.

Abraxus:You strip Log- I mean Khamul of his trusty bracers. They feel as if they are made of thousand year skin, which is to say most pleasing and soothing on your wrists. There is the slightest smell of blood upon them... as a minor action you may treat the closest enemy to you as if they are bloodied. One per day you may reduce an attack you take's damage by 10.

Nikhil: Upon one of the slain vampire spawn you find a bow whose strings twang with a musical resonance. Gain a +2 resounding shortbow (+2d6 thunder damage on crits, daily free action to create a sonic boom on hit to daze an enemy). This bow acts for an implement for you, provided you use it in some musical manner.
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Act 3 - Meetings 3 & 4 (Nov 9 & 23)
Strahd
T’was a dark and stormy night and Strahd more restless than usual. “Ireena… Ireena, my love...” he would listlessly moan as he paced about the room. “My beloved, soon you shall be mine. Soon, soon.” Strahd was clearly having a bad night. After several more hours of moaning her name and looking crazy he seemed to snap a little out of his stupor and put a look of determination on his face. “A scale from The Hanged… A sock from The Fool… and a string from the lute of The Moon. What an impressive motley of items my servantsss have gathered.” 10 minutes later and his gaze was sharp and focused on you…

“Damn that witch and her protective charms. What could she have told them- ah, the ol’ ‘Jack with a Lemon Twist’! Let’s see those Vistani scum swindle those urchins for all they are worth!” His glee soon turned into rage as Nikhil successfully out-cheated the cheaters and turned a profit. “Ah, but surely they will fall for the ol’ flaming sword trick! Plus that wolf fur looks ridiculous on the 2-legged dragon!” Frothing at the mouth Strahd made a mental vote to publically flog the Vistani children for failing to trick the group.

“Perhaps I have underestimated these thorns in my side… another personal visit might be in order, just to set things straight. The prophecies are a little too playful in their role this time…”

Varkiov
It had been a good day. Molth had gotten away from his ambush unhindered, and Skalrth’s corpse would make an excellent stew- plus he was running low on bones for some of his traps. “The way that tiefling bled…” Varikov’s smile grew bigger. This was the kind of hunt the Devil had promised him.

Ashlyn
Sighing, Ashlyn wiped the sweat from her forehead and went back to restoring the church. Not much activity has happened in the town since the adventurer's came back looking for the Sacred weapon. She'd have to ask about borrowing it once the Devil Strahd has been supressed. She knew her superiors would be mad she hadn't already insisted, but Ashlyn knew it was just about the only hope this town had left. Shaking her head. Ashlyn humerously realized she had been standing at the spot that oaf Nikhil had fallen at. “I wonder if they've got what it takes...” Then again Jack had recovered in style...


The Pack Leader
The old elf watched Ireena curiously. This was no longer the forest of the elves and the wolves. Times had changed; as much as it pained him to deal with that bastard Strahd, the pack needed to adapt to surivve, to avoid starving. Once foes, now allies, this old wolf had a few more jobs left to do if his pack was to survive the slaughter at Emetress's cave.
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