Barovia Goes to the Birds: Curse of Strahd Session #24
By MARK WILSON
DM: A Friend
(Me) Ahk-wa – Female Aarakocra Ranger
Aial – Female Aarakocra Druid
Lhandroval – Male Aarakocra Sorcerer
Gwaihir – Male Aarakocra Bard
System, Setting, Adventure: D&D 5e, Barovia/Ravenloft, Curse of Strahd
Session #24: “Temptations”
PC Level: 9
Our journey through the Amber Temple continues with a fight against an Amber (i.e. Stone) Golem.
Lightning & the Thunder
The fight goes pretty well, with Aial’s turtle form taking the brunt of the damage. Lhando does a fair amount of lightning and thunder damage, while most of the others flail uselessly with poor rolls.
Hide & Seek
We wander some more, and make our way to the main chamber, where a large statue looms. A couple of us drop down behind it and inspect some doors. We find some ghosts (that can’t leave their room) and a door we can’t open due to poor strength rolls. A Fireball attacks us (from…somewhere? We suspect the statue). We return to the balcony where we entered and continue our trek around. Gwaihir finds a secret door leading downward and smelling of death. Assuming this is our path, we head down.
We find something that feels like a tomb, but there are blocks of amber with dark orbs inside them. Also some undead, which we fight and dispatch. The orbs offer a reward but with some kind of price we must pay, which we only find out about once we’ve accepted.
Ahk-wa touches one that promises a piece of immortality. She looks at her now-older brother, smiles, and takes her hand off it before saying that it offers nothing of value.
Gwaihir touches one that promises him the influence of a king. Intrigued, he accepts, and (after making a successful saving throw) finds himself even more charismatic, though with a flaw that he “can’t take no for an answer.” OOC, it boosts his CHA to 22!
Ahk-wa also engages Kasimir and seems wary of his intentions, given that he wishes to bring his sister back. She is worried about the bargain her brother just struck, though everything seems ok for the moment. The last “temptation” in the room promises the ability to climb on walls, at which the birds laugh and Kasimir is uninterested.
We retrace our steps and make our way over to where some men and women (likely werewolves, we later realize) are resting near the entrance. We make tentative “friends” with them, though they leave soon after. They warn us about fire skulls in the adjacent hallway.
We also take a short rest to do some recovering from the earlier fights.
Killing 1E Skulls
The skulls have some damage immunities and resistances that are likely winks to 1E Ravenloft creatures, but it has the effect of confusing us as we try to do damage and avoid being killed by their fireballs and other spells. Eventually we whittle the skulls down, though, and see the charred body of the wizard we had heard about earlier.
There’s a frosty staff that Lhandroval takes, and it comes with a note. He guards the note furiously, causing no small amount of consternation among his siblings, mostly Ahk-wa and Aial.
We search some adjacent rooms, discovering another secret door, and end it there.
Three level 9 combats in a single session. We went a little longer than normal but still finished closer to three hours than four. So that’s a first for me; though in fairness, none were massive, setpiece-style fights.
Gwaihir’s continued transformations and the note that Lhando is keeping to himself (it’s apparently something quite interesting), are starting to fracture the group a bit. We may have some contentious sessions moving forward.
On the plus side, Lhando has a bunch of sweet gear and Gwaihir now has 22 Charisma. We’re a powerful party, even for our level. Aial and Ahk-wa are lagging in gear that’s tailored to us, but no one’s complaining. Ironically, the biggest “complaints” are from my fellow players who want me to have a magical bow. I’m less concerned.
On that note, I got a taste of what it’s like to do full damage for a change in the fight with the ghasts. Ahk-wa is a force when she’s able to unleash, but for most of the campaign I’ve been halving the non-magical damage of my bow.
More Amber Temple. I’m not sure how much more there is, but it’s probably another couple sessions’ worth. We’re realizing that there are more of these temptation rooms in here. So we may be in for more changes. Fingers crossed that the group remains intact…