Barovia Goes to the Birds: Curse of Strahd Session #27
“Bathtub Full of Butter”
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 #27: “Bathtub Full of Butter”
PC Level: 10
Previously, we left our heroes mid-fight with Strahd, who seemed hopelessly trapped inside a Wall of Force, with the light from our Sun Sword harming him.
The Devil Escapes
The bathtub title’s not a joke. You are not expecting where this session went. Neither were we. Let’s get into it.
Strahd shifts into the ethereal plane and begins conversing with “The Dark Powers.” Mordenkainen uses True Sight and tells us as much. We debate what to do. Ireena bleeds out in the Wall of Force. Then, a massive army of Strahd’s minion on the horizon. So we have to make a call, and we drop the Wall.
Strahd bamphs away and we take Ireena’s corpse, flying above and away from the approaching horde of minions. We regroup near Krezk and hide out in Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion, debating next steps. We also fail to find the Abbot, who we’d hoped would resurrect Ireena. We surmise that he’s traveled to Strahd’s wedding in the castle, perhaps.
Reuniting the Family
Lhando and Gwaihir get into a fight about who Lhando should use his Dark Power on, to resurrect them. Gwaihir wants him to use it on Ireena, but Lhando wants to save it. Eventually he gets so upset that he takes the urn with our father’s ashes in it, smashes it and casts his spell.
And the party’s father – who hasn’t seen us since before we were adventurer’s – arises to see his zombified son and magically aged son. A minor freakout ensues, and eventually the entire family is reunited in these strange circumstances. Ahk-wa is livid with her brothers, but happy to see their father. After attempting to catch him up, he sleeps. We continue arguing while trying to form a new plan to take out Strahd.
Mystical Tub Butter
Among the plan is that we don’t need to resurrect Ireena, Aial can reincarnate her. This may also throw Strahd off her trail. We sleep and she preps the spell. But – we’re reminded – we need 1,000gp in “rare oils and unguents” to perform the ritual. We brainstorm, and the DM generously says that the servants can prepare food items that will suffice. One montaged scene in the mansion later, and we have a bathtub full of olive oil and butter.
Our father wants to watch, having no idea of the power we possess. Ahk-wa tries in vain to calm him while five birds crowd into a bathroom and his daughter dips a corpse into a tub of butter and begins chanting over it. In and out of character, I wonder what’s become of my life, then decide whatever it is, it’s awesome.
Mordenkainen wanders in with a newspaper, no doubt hoping to pop a squat. Seeing the nonsense, he turns around and walks away.
The ritual succeeds and Ireena is reformed as…a Dusk Elf. Another minor panic, but she calms herself eventually. Ahk-wa calls in the mansion’s servants to begin wiping butter off her and Aial.
Breakfast With Pops
We have an interesting breakfast with father, who learns of the romantic interests of Gwaihir and Aial. Excited at the possibility of making her siblings nervous about their non-aarakocran love interests, Ahk-wa reverts to a teenager and happily shares details.
Unfortunately for Ahk-wa, dad’s a pretty open-minded guy despite his paternal instincts. He grills us with questions, and seems quite shocked at everything that’s happened, although happy to be alive.
Losing Ireena (again)
With some time on our hands to plot another attempt at Strahd, we leave for the winery, minus Mordenkainen and Aial, who got a Tome of Wisdom she needs to read. Once outside, Ireena feels called to the pool inside Krezk. We accompany her, and she sees the reflection of Sergei, Strahd’s brother and her lover. They reach out to one another. After some hesitance, we allow this, and a flash of lightning takes her away to Sergei. Strahd’s voice booms through the land at losing her, and we realize that – hey! – this was actually a good thing. We pay our respects to her spirit, hoping she’s in a good place with Sergei.
Ahk-wa and Gwaihir take a fair amount of lightning damage though.
Look Who’s Coming to Dinner
Dad meets Adrian and dismisses the overly excited Ahk-wa, who just wants to see Adrian’s nervousness. Dad charms Adrian for quite a while, but does offer a threat should Adrian harm his daughter. Lhando and Dad also exchange a bunch of dad jokes, and Dad seems to accept Lhando a bit more (he had been treating him awkwardly due to his deathly appearance).
[Sidebar]: Dad’s name is Aqal, we decide (from which the names Ahk-wa and Aial came). We tentatively stat him up in a way that jives with our backstories (Dad was an arcane trickster rogue, from which the brothers got their trickiness and love of magic; mom was the more traditional ranger that Ahk-wa/Aial takes after)
Similar meeting with Ezmerelda, who remarks that our father is cuter than Gwaihir, probably just to provoke a reaction.
Gwaihir decides to use the magic assassin mirror again, but ends up discerning that it can corrupt people. He ultimately destroys it, but not before having an “Aragorn/Sauron” scene where he calls Strahd’s name and he appears in the mirror (Gwaihir even shows Strahd the sword, just like Aragorn!). They talk briefly before Gwaihir destroys the mirror.
We decide to leave our father at the winery, and Ezmerelda agrees to protect him. We head back toward our sister and Mordenkainen, intent on returning to Strahd’s castle soon to end him once and for all…
So everyone – including the DM – figured this was the final session. And then THAT happened. Quite possibly our most ridiculous RP session ever, and I don’t think I can accurately describe the atmosphere at our table during the butter-tub scene. And our father came back, resulting in like five delightfully awkward scenes. None of this was planned. We may have another couple sessions before the end now, alas. But heck, it was worth it.
It also required us to flesh out more of our backstory on the fly. We now have the name of the circus master (Etienne), the names (Aqal & Zara) and relationship (and classes) of our parents, and a few other details.
Into the Castle for our fated (hopefully) final encounter with Strahd.