Tobold's Blog
Friday, April 16, 2021
Curse of Strahd - Session 4

In the previous session the group started to get their revenge on the coven of night hags that in the Old Bonegrinder windmill, ambushing one of them on the road, away from the others. Hags are much less dangerous when not in the coven. So this session started by the heroes taking on the other two "sisters" in an assault of the windmill. That was a harder fight, but they managed to kill one hag and made the last one, Bella, flee into the ethereal plane. She might come back later to haunt them in their dreams. In the attic of the windmill they found the Tome of Strahd, one of the three artifacts the fortune teller told them about, and an important source of information on the history of Strahd, and how he became a vampire.

After this, they went back to Vallaki. There the merchant they saved two sessions ago, Vasili von Holtz, introduced the group to Lady Fiona Wachter. Lady Fiona was opposed to the rule of the Baron Vargas Vallakovich, who had made it illegal to be not happy, and organized a festival every week so that the happiness would keep Strahd away. Lady Fiona proposed a coup at the next festival, and the group agreed to tackle the baron's main enforcer, Izek Strazni. Apparently there was an old rivalry between the von Zarovich family and the Vallakovich family, and Lady Fiona proposed to the group's paladin/hexblade Gustav von Zarovich to become the new baron.

So the festival starts, and rain spoils the main event, where the baron tries to light a sun made out of wicker. Gustav takes the opportunity to mount on the fountain in the central square and hold a speech, proposing to overthrow the baron. Combat with Izek and some guards ensues, but the group wins that relatively easily. However, meanwhile the citizen of Vallaki have risen up as a mob and are deposing the baron. Everything is going according to plan. Except ...

On the way to the baron's house, Vasili von Holtz and Lady Fiona call the group into a side alley and thank them for their role in overthrowing the baron. And then Vasili transforms into his true form and is revealed to be actually Count Strahd von Zarovich! The whole encounter with the group "rescuing" him was staged, so that he could gain their trust and manipulate them into doing his bidding. The group is shocked, and realizes that this means that Strahd could now easily capture Ireena. So they leave town towards the village of Krezk, and the Abbey of Saint Markovia, taking Ireena with them for protection. With that, the session ended.

This session was pretty fun. One of the big difficulties in campaigns against a powerful archvillain is how to let the group have their successes, while still making it appear that the villain has his wins too, and is getting more and more present and dangerous. This session did exactly that, the group won every battle, and feels as if they are losing the war. Great for a horror campaign!


I have to say, my first thought on reading the story was "WHY ARE THEY TRYING TO DEPOSE THE BARON WHO IS FIGHTING STRAHD???"
I just got the Curse of Strahd box for my birthday. I plan on starting to read it this weekend. Your session recaps are great and that's one of the reason i wanted to run this story.
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