Barovia Goes to the Birds: Curse of Strahd Session #8
“We’re Off to See the Wizard”
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
PC Level: 4
Previously, the group had lost their friend Ireena to an attack by vampire spawns, and eventually killed the spawns, but at the cost of many lives in the village of Vallaki.
Cleaning Up Our Mess
Ahk-wa talks with the guards in the wake of the attack, while the rest investigate the church. According to some survivors, a swarm of bats had entered, manifested as Strahd, and taken Ireena. She is undoubtedly lost to us for the time being.
We return to the coffin-maker’s house to find him dead and the vampire coffins vacated. We search the place and find the bones that should ward off future attacks, and return them to the church, making sure a few people know that this is the case so that they can feel safe in the church again. We also stake the coffin maker through the heart to be sure, and decide that if no one knows he’s dead, we can stay in his place for a little bit, until we find another place to use as a base of operations.
We rest for the night, tired and beat to hell, waking up around 10am.
Dining & Wining
We return to the inn where we had a room (that we didn’t use) and talk with the owner, Erwin Martokov. Since the place is empty, we get him to reveal his hatred for Strahd and his dislike of the Baron of Vallaki. He states that his wine – more than the mandatory festivals where people are required to “be happy” – are what actually keeps people sane in this town. He asks us again to investigate the Wizard of Wines Winery, where his shipments have stopped. We agree, sensing an ally, and wanting to bolster Vallaki as much as possible, since we still need a haven from Strahd.
We also have more wolfsteak at the inn, which we all agree would be a badass name for an NPC. OOC, we take to calling the innkeeper Wolfsteak Martokov.
He shows us a map, which Ahk-wa is able to memorize due to her Explorer abilities, and we take a couple-hour flight to the winery. The hope is to figure out the issue, then return with some wine to Vallaki in time for the evening’s festival, where we have other plans.
Off to See the Wizard
Once we arrive, a cloaked figure motions to us from a nearby forested area. We approach cautiously, and more come out of the woods. But hey, it’s just more Martokovs! We speak with Wolfsteak’s father, and they run us through what happened. A group of druids and needle creatures took over the winery. They tried to fight, but had no chance. Ok, we’ll try to clear it out in exchange for a bunch of wine.
We have them create a diversion in front before retreating to the woods, allowing us to sneak in the loading dock. We do so, but it’s not long before we run into a druid and twig/needle blights, who see us and attack. The fight is a rough one. Aial gets swarmed and nearly gets knocked out before going into bear form, then gets knocked out of bear form and does get knocked out. Ahk-wa goes down shortly after, having taken the brunt of a thunderwave Landroval cast, albeit with Ahk-wa’s blessing since the wave took out a ton of the twig and needle blights. But at least we split them up, and are victorious. More are out front, though, and we’re in the winery. We debate leaving the same way we came to take a short rest in the woods before returning, or simply holing up and defending the winery. With this discussion still ongoing, we call the session.
It was impossible for this session to go worse than the last (barring TPK), so hopefully we’re back on track. We’re just down a helpful NPC (Ireena).
Notes are important, and a handful of sessions ago I highlighted my transition to mind mapping as a note-taking style. I do think it’s useful, but since we as a group have been doing a lot of note-taking, we’ve started to coordinate.
I do scenes and narrative, mainly because I’m turning them into these session reports. Gwaihir’s player does “details” including clues, NPC names and relations, etc. Aial’s player is our quest log person, with a bulleted list of plot hooks, and brief notes to help us prioritize them. Landroval’s player apparently gets off the hook on official duties, but we’re all contributing details as we recall them.
This seems great, though we’ll see how it works in practice. But I enjoy the coordination, and think that the group’s dynamic works well, both functionally and from an RP perspective.
Up Next: Defending the winery and racing back with the wine!