The Bardic Chef

Broiled Beholder and Other Dungeon Delicacies

Adventurers: Bom [Amanda], Tynnathier [Jeremy], Nicholas [Greg], Rose [Kiel] EXP from this session: 4,200 total // 1,025 each Fulfilled ...

Session Recap - CoS - #08: The Strahd Squad

By 8:16 AM


Adventurers: Bom [Amanda], Tynnathier [Jeremy], Nicholas [Greg], Rose [Kiel]

EXP from this session: 4,200 total // 1,025 each

Fulfilled your contract to Victor - 300xp
Met Strahd in person - 300xp
Identified Lady Wachter as a possible murderer - 300xp
Discovered a second Vistani camp - 300xp
DISCOVERED THE MASK OF MELORA - 3000XP

Treasure Found: A wooden chest containing 1,200 ep, an iron chest containing 650gp, an onyx jewelry box (worth 250gp), six cheap pieces of jewelry (worth 50gp each), a potion of poison in a crystal vial (worth 100gp), a wooden throne with gold inlay and decorative stones (worth 750gp), a 10-ft s
quare rug with unicorn motif (worth 750gp), a small box containing unidentified potions in stopped gourds, a mask made of leaves.


The team, or what was left of it this morning, gathered for their usual breakfast in the main room of the Blue Water Inn, and were stunned to find themselves surrounded by tons of were-ravens. Crying ones, shaking ones, worried ones, all suspicious of them and anything that wasn't one of their own kind. They came and went from the downstairs to the upstairs church, and back again. There were more here now than they had ever seen, and neither the Innkeeper and his family, nor Emeric were anywhere near the bar or serving actual breakfast. Instead of looking around for either of them, the party decided to go check out other things and make their plans for the festival that day. They came up with a vague plan to have a puppet version of Strahd they'd purchased from Blinksy's attack one of their party members to cause chaos, and have that be their cover for other things they wanted to do. They sent out messages, paying the wereravens to fly off and do this for them, to both Ireena and Victor, explaining what was going on and double checking that all things were good. Ireena responded confirming she would stay at the church. Victor confirmed that his father could be harmed with a simple "fuck him up" response. 

Rose decided to sneak around the inn and try to see what was going on in the church. Upstairs, the children and families had gathered with beds and other such things, as if they were planning on settling here for quite some time in secret. Emeric paced back and forth by the statue of the Raven Queen, looking highly concerned. Rose walked up to ask him about what was going on, and it was revealed that two more murders had happened that morning - one, a noble woman who was discovered in her home, and another of one of their own, a were-raven. The were-raven's murder had happened hours after the woman was discovered and news had begun to circulate, and a skull was carved into his chest, a common symbol of warning used by the cult of Orcus. He believed that whoever was murdering these people were making a cult of Orcus believe it was their doing, and they were retaliating. It could potentially start a massive holy war - and Emeric was confused about where all of this could be coming from. He asked Rose, very blatantly, if she knew of anyone who would be involved in Orcus worship, and running such a thing in the town. Rose denied knowing anything, but promised to let him know if they found anything. Emeric let her go, but wasn't impressed knowing that she had just blatantly lied to him. He own informant had told him the entire story already, and he had been hoping she truly had been tricked into following such an evil deity - her actions spoke otherwise, and he made note of that for the future.

The party knew they had bigger fish to fry today. The murders? That sucked, but they had a festival to destroy. They headed out into what was now a torrential downpour of rain - so thick they couldn't even see the other side of the town square. Izek stormed forward, making a fuss about how they were late and should've been here to prep earlier. He led them to the stage, unimpressed by their attempts at bravado and intimidation, and told them they were to perform there. He told them, pretty blatantly, that he wanted the humans to perform first, as he was concerned that the weirder races would "frighten the children". He was called elsewhere by a falling tent that had gathered too much water, and he left the party to their own devices. The party was joined by Nick, who had finally let himself out of his room, but he kept his distance, not actually getting involved in any of their plans - something they had already anticipated he would do when he refused to sign the contract to ruin the festival in the first place. Looking around, waiting for the start of the festival, they spotted the Wachter boys, drunk as ever, stumbling past them - they decided to let them go and not bother with them. 

The festival began with a trumpet blast, and with only the sound of hooves clopping and the terribly thick rain, the baron riding his horse led a procession of miserable children in a spiral around the entire town square, until he got to the soaken wicker ball in the center. He declared the ball to be a symbol of Vallaki's joy and light in dark times, and as he went to light it, the torch went out completely. The town was silent for a few seconds, stunned by what had happened - but one string of clear laughter rang out in the crowd - the laughter of the baron's own son Victor. He wheeled around on him, slinging insults and terrible words at his own flesh and blood, swearing he would never hold any sort of power in this town for his behavior, and demanded that the guards arrrest Victor immediately and haul him off to the prison. Rose, panicking, rushed forward without sneaking or anything, and used her scroll to wield a magical weapon and stab the Baron before the guards could get hold of Victor. it didn't seem to make any difference, the guards didn't leap to his defense immediately and were more stunned by this action than anything else. In fact, no-one seemed to have an adverse reaction to this assassination attempt at all... until Tynnathier loudly called out to her companions, referring to herself and them as the "Strahd Squad", causing all the town to instantly believe they were in league with the devil Strahd after all. Oops.

With some... quick thinking (?) the party, sans Nick who simply watched on in horror, tried to play the entire thing off as Strahd having possessed Rose, causing her to commit this terrible crime. Tynnathier was so dramatic in her presentation of this that the town panicked immediately - although those near Rose were very certain this wasn't the case, as her acting was very poor. Mass chaos ensued, townspeople running every which way, with soldiers and guards running after them to try and keep them from running outside the gates and into worse danger. Rose, in an overdramatic fashion, "fainted" into Bom's waiting arms as she was dosed in holy water. This performance drew shocked and concerned looks from most the remaining onlookers - obviously these people were completely insane - but then they all lost color in their faces as a single round of slow applause broke out from behind the adventurers. Standing there behind them, in all his splendor, was Strahd himself, having dropped in personality to witness this travesty of acting. Surely none of the festivals in this awful town had come close to being this much of a clusterfuck, and it entertained him endlessly. He personally delivered an invitation to dinner at his castle in two day's time, and asked that they bring al the stories of their adventures in his valley when they came. When asked why they were brought here in the first place, he flippantly suggested that they were having so much fun here, and getting into so much mischief - why wouldn't he have brought them? He exchanged glances with many people around town, including the very colorful man they had seen around town many times now, and he made his leave - but not before revealing to the entire party that Rose had gotten married to Victor, and that this marriage was... probably still valid. He vanished, leaving the party and everyone else stunned. The baron, now passed out from shock, was carried back to the mansion, and Victor expressed his concern about the party's decisions. Yes, he was fine with his father being hurt - but... he had expected, based on Rose's talents up until that moment, that she'd be more... discreet about it. He was very disappointed by how badly it had been handled, and seemed to not have such a high opinion of anyone on the team, including Rose anymore.

Nick, fairly sure that he had avoided being lumped in with this mess, took control, heading over to the remaining frightened townspeople and announcing that he, himself, would be the one to take care of Strahd. He would protect the town, and obviously their baron had lied to them, and the festivals did nothing if the vampire was able to come into town anyway. Half of them ran in fear, while the other half were in agreement with this way of thinking. The others, with their dramatics, they weren't too sure of. Nick, however, who had spent a lot of his time in the past few days avoiding the party during their bad decisions, still had some kind of reputation here, and his words held more weight.
Nick also attempted to talk to Lady Wachter, who brushed him off and had no time for him in her life. He noticed that her brooch on her dress was decorated with real raven's feathers, which put a very foul taste in his mouth - it felt like this woman was broadcasting her possible relation to the murder of the wereraven.

it suddenly occurred to the party that no-one had been keeping track of Izek this entire time, and that no-one had seen him since the start of the festival. In a dead panic, they ran to the church, only to find the doors had been busted down, the priest laid out unconscious, and Ireena missing. Nick had his two mastiffs smell some of Ireena's hair they'd found on the floor, and one of the dogs picked up the scent, leading them right out of the nearby gate, and off into the forest. The trail suddenly stopped cold, and a few of the party members could faintly hear the sound of a song being sung, one they knew from their last visit to a Vistani camp. Following an off-path trail, they broke through a clearing to find a hill surrounded by little houses build into it, barrel wagons in a circle on the top, and a large Vistani tent right smack in the middle of it all. Ignoring the little houses entirely, they climbed the hill to check out the wagons, which seemed to be all empty. One wagon was completely locked up, padlocks and all, and seemed more special than the others. Rose snuck up to the tent, and listened closely to hear two men arguing about a girl's presence and how they weren't sure if she should even be here to help them - the girl piped up shortly after, and the team recognized that voice to be that of young Tatyana, the healer Vistani girl from the last camp. Dropping the sneaking, they headed in to say hello, much to the shock of the two grown brothers who weren't expecting guests - but seeing how kindly Tatyana treated them was enough for them to lower their weapons. Nick instantly seduced one of them.

Talking with Tatyana revealed that Madame Eva had sent her here to help these men locate a little girl, around age seven, who was lost. When she heard that Ireena was also lost, she made a face, and was upset about it - but Rose quickly saw through it. The girl was hiding something. With pushing from Bom, the sixteen year old revealed only that "Ireena was safe", but refused to give up a location, only that Izek had been after her, as had Strahd, and they no longer felt she was safe in the care of the church or the party. She seemed determined to not reveal any further information.

Nick managed to charm the same brother again, seducing him, and barely missing a sucker punch from the other man. They fought with each other, obviously angry that someone had come between them like that, and the first man was knocked out cold by a sucker punch to the face. Seizing the opportunity, Nick used his special All Eyes on Me princess ability, causing both the remaining man, and also Rose, to be completely charmed by him. He easily seduced the larger man and coaxed him into sleeping with him - he left Rose be, not wanting to play his hand by asking any particular questions.

Rose, having attempted to unlock the wagon outside but having a poison needle trap sprung on her, quickly located the key to the lock on the passed out brother's body, and ran to see what was inside of the wagon. So many riches! More treasure than she could shake a stick at. She reluctantly only took a jewelry box, realizing that she couldn't get all of those big pieces home without being noticed. 
Picking up a bottle of wine - or two - maybe three - Rose got completely trashed. The treasure cart haunted her, all that wealth was so close but so far away. In her drunken state, she took two horses, hitched them up to the wagon, and took off with it while everyone was preoccupied (or still passed out), leaving most of her party behind her as she went back to town. She woke up in the back of the cart, surrounded by treasures, and completely hungover, right in front of the inn.
She was delighted to find a mask made of leaves, which she immediately put on. A powerful "I'm free and I'm superwoman" kind of feeling coarsed through her veins, and a voice called out through her mind - "Come find me in the woods!"

Emeric, having been strolling around town, saw her stumbling around with this mask, and froze in place, staring in horror at what he was seeing. He roughly pulled her aside and demanded an explanation. He demanded to know if she was a follower of Melora.

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They had been lied to.
Years.
Years and years.
Festivals would make the devil go away.
The vampire did not attack as long as they attended the festivals.
Festivals. Festivals. Festivals.
The devil had entered their town. The devil was not held back.
It was all lies.
The liar must pay.

it had started the night before. The priest had stumbled into the inn, telling everyone of the Vistani attack on the church. How they had broken down the doors, how they had harmed him, how the red-haired girl living in his church was now missing. A man in colorful clothing, with a jovial demeanor stood up, backing up his story. Of course the Vistani had done that - they were all in league with Strahd! Had they not seen what happened today? How Strahd had casually talked to that... Vistani royalty? Vistani were Strahd's chosen people, they were in league with him, they answered directly to him, and all of them needed to die. They should start with the prince! 
Emeric, overhearing all of this, came to Nick's defense, explaining that he wasn't at all in league with the Vistani, that he was a trusted person, separate from all of this, and going on a witch hunt for an innocent man would do them no good. The innkeeper agreed, and the crowd was swayed given his influence over them.

But the mob was angry.
The mob needed to be satiated.
The liar must pay.

Before sunrise, the doors of the baron's mansion were broken through, hundreds of screaming, angry people pouring into the halls. A few guards were foolish enough to get in their way as they ransacked the place, those guards quickly lost their lives in the fight. Most of the guards were smart enough to take sides with the angry swarm of commoners, helping them to trash the place completely. As the sun came up over the horizon, casting a gray light through the clouds, the baron's head was lifted onto a pike in the square for all to see. The baron's son was nowhere to be found, his room empty, and no-one in the basement dungeon either. Perhaps he had run away? Perhaps he had been killed and done away with earlier in the night? No-one knew for sure. The one thing they did know was that the town of Vallaki was now without a leader.

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