On Sunday nights, a group of friends and I gather to play Dungeons & Dragons. This is the chronicle of their tale. (This post contains spoilers to “Curse of Strahd”)
A full-on assault is their best option, seeing as how there’s only one way into the cave. But if they go in and clear the way, there’s the danger that others might return to their lair and ambush the group from behind. So Kasimir, Armando the suit of armor, and van Richten’s saber-toothed tiger will stay outside as sentries, watching for any approaching trouble.
Krossa, Malis, Cairie, Fletcher, Ezmerelda, and van Richten head inside, using the ample torchlight to see clearly ahead. Ezmerelda turns invisible as she draws her silvered shortsword. Two women wearing tattered clothing, accompanied by four wolves, come charging at the party about halfway into the entrance. They hold long spears in their hands, and ruthlessly attack.
Fletcher’s truesight reveals to him that the two women – Aziana and Davanka – are werewolves. The group struggles to harm the women with their non-magical weapons, but Fletcher then destroys nearly all of them with a well-placed cone of cold. The wolves and women stand near the entryway as dead statues of solid ice.
Everyone moves further in, discovering a large cave system. It splits off to the right and left on either side of a raised ledge, which seems to act as a sentry point. Taking a moment to listen, the group can still hear the discordant flute music further in the cave. They follow the music to the left and soon find an old man sitting by a fire, surrounded by old bones and seven wolves. As he warms himself, he tries to piece a tune together on a small flute within his frail hands.
Skennis is his name, and the wolves begin growling as the adventurers approach. He sees them and stands, and says they are foolish to have come here. Skennis poorly defends himself against the group, and quickly falls prey to their raid, along with the other wolves.
Everyone moves deeper into the caves, and suddenly finds a twisting maze of caverns, the floors of which are covered in bones – making moving stealthily nearly impossible. As they make noise, a werewolf – Bianca – jumps out at the adventurers, surprising them, and splitting the party in half. As they defend themselves, another werewolf appears – Wensencia – cornering the party and aiming to kill them for their intrusion. They, too, are impervious to the normal weapons that most of the party possess. Only magic, and the silvered weapons that Ezmerelda and van Richten use are of any use.
Eventually, the party does dispatch the two werewolves, and find they were backed up to a ledge leading to a large chamber filled with water. On the other side of the pool lies a large ledge with several boxes. Eager to find something of use, Krossa jumps into the freezing water and swims across to the ledge. Fletcher spider-climbs around the wall to avoid the water, and the two begin searching the boxes.
They are mainly filled with tattered and old clothing – either that of their victims, or perhaps something else. Krossa does find a silvered dagger, however, buried deep inside one of the large boxes, and he keeps that on his person. They find that the main passage out of this water-filled chamber leads back to the entryway – a chamber they would have found had they gone right instead of left at the sentry point. Krossa jumps back into the water and swims back to the rest of the group in the twisting caverns.
Fletcher tells everyone that they should stick together from here on out, so that the rest of the werewolves in these caves can’t pick them off little by little. After saying that, however, Fletcher tells the others that he’ll be right back. Using his spider-climbing ability, he decides to scout ahead quietly by walking on the ceiling of the caves so as not to disturb the carpet of bones on the ground.
Ahead and to the right, the rogue finds a set of stairs that lead down into a much larger cavern. In here, he spies a number of wooden cages housing frightened children, as well as a dark-skinned woman kneeling before a wooden statue of a wolf-headed woman. Fletcher’s inexperienced movement along the ceiling causes a piece of rock to fall to the floor and onto the stairs, alerting the woman.
And we’re back after a lengthy break. My apologies for the time spent there without any new content for you all. Things are getting really busy for me and my players, making it difficult to schedule these games. Plus, my wife and I are expecting our second child in just a few weeks! So these long breaks may become more common in the near future.
Anyway, the players have finally made their way into the werewolf den, which makes me excited for what’s to come. They have the chance, here, to save themselves some trouble later on, if they make the right choices. At this point, I have a feeling they’re just going to rampage through this place, but we’ll see. This woman might be the key to changing how things go.
This is a shorter campaign diary entry, because there wasn’t much to describe. This session was almost entirely combat-based. There were three separate combat encounters, and that took up pretty much the whole session time.
What’s most exciting is, right now, the players have no inkling that there might be more werewolves out in Barovia, who could return to the den at any moment….
Until next time, in “Strength and Hope,” – Well Met!