Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The Favorites of Selune campaign - Ravenloft Session 5

Our heroes had ended the previous session by killing the vampires in the dining hall of Castle Ravenloft. As they had used up a lot of resources like healing surges and daily powers in the last two fights, this session started with them looking for a place to take an extended rest. They wisely decided to take that in the chapel, and nothing happened during that rest. Refreshed they entered the dining hall again, where Count Strahd von Zarovich was still playing the organ. The players half guessed that this must be an illusion, him not having reacted to the combat and still playing hours later, but didn't go and try to disturb him. Instead they took the stairs down to the kitchen.

Downstairs Igor with his big spoon was stirring his "ghoulash" in a big cauldron, with arms and legs sticking out of it. Igor clearly wanted them out of his kitchen, but was still friendly enough to talk with the adventurers. They asked him what was in his "ghoulash", and got the reply: "Ghouls, of course!". Behind Igor was a double door, and when asked he told them that this was his fridge, and they should stay away from it. Not heeding that, and not making an effort to negotiate passage, the players tried the door, causing Igor to become angry and to attack by spilling his cauldron into the area where 3 of them stood. That not only scalded the characters standing there, it also spilled the 4 ghouls from the pot. Two of the players standing in the ghoulash spill, and taking ongoing damage from it, had high initiative and scrambled away. The third, the cleric, unfortunately had a low initiative and took the brunt of the first ghoul attack, ending up dying on the floor before he could do anything, and failing his first death save.

Fortunately for the players it isn't all that easy to kill a character in 4th edition, especially not in a group with two healers. One healing spell from the warlord later, the cleric was back up on his feet, and blasting the ghouls with turn undead. The group concentrated on the ghouls, and took them down in a few rounds. Igor wasn't much of a fighter, but his cauldron was filling up again, and he got off a second soup spill, this time without ghouls in it. So the players tried to get him away from the cauldron, and managed to push him into a corner and kill him. Searching the room they found only a ring of keys, and no treasure. After a short rest they were ready to look what was in the fridge.

The fridge turned out to be a 30' x 30' room with a magical cold effect. The floor was iced over, and 6 corpses hang from butcher's hook, clinging against each other from the draft when the door was opened. Iron bars with a locked door cut the room in two halves. The rogue approached that door, with two other players in the room, and the remaining 3 still in the kitchen, when the other door at the opposite side of the room opened and 6 vampire guards armed with crossbows rushed in.

Now the idea for the fight was that the players would try to open the iron bar door to reach the vampires, as not everybody in the group was good in ranged combat. But as a DM one has to get used to the fact that things not always work as intended. Instead of rushing forward, the players fled the room, back to the kitchen. They expected the vampires to follow, but the guards didn't have the keys. So when opening the fridge door again, the players were greeted by a hail of crossbow bolts. Expecting that they had constructed a barricade from kitchen tables giving them partial cover. And so they exchanged spells, arrows, and sling stones with the vampires. That wasn't terribly efficient, because only the ranger and mage were really good at that sort of combat. But having run out of the room the players didn't want to press forward again, wanting to deny the vampires the chance to regenerate by biting them. They ended up having to move into and out of the line of fire, retreating and healing the wounded when necessary. But they kept up the attacks on the vampires, concentrating their fire so that they fell one by one. After a long combat, the players ultimately succeeded in killing all vampire guards, and that is where we ended the session.

Did you just have to cop that, or did you have a laugh with the players about how that fight ended up playing out?

It's a bit meta-game, but I'm interested to know.
We did a tactical post-mortem after the session.
Igor must have had a huuuuge cauldron to fit four ghouls in! :)
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