Carnival of the Apocalypse - Mists of Ravenloft

A Hag's Vengeance

Morgantha the Night Hag stood on the precipice overlooking the valley and the flickering lights of distant Vallaki. If the steady drizzle bothered her, the ancient crone showed no sign of discomfort as her burning gaze surveyed the valley below, fixed on the walled village.

“Doubtless they think themselves safe” she muttered to herself. “Soon they will learn that Strahd is not the only power worthy of fear in this cursed land.” She hocked a gobbet of phlegm on the ground as she spoke the vampire’s name, as if daring him to hear and respond.

Morgantha was an ancient being, a denizen of the Shadowfell, and one of the few creatures in the land of Barovia who did not fear “The Devil” Strahd von Zarovich. She respected him and his power certainly, but the night hag feared no being living or dead.

Turning away from the overlook, she hobbled back towards the decrepit windmill the locals aptly referred to as “Old Bonegrinder” and made her way inside where her two younger sisters were grudgingly cleaning up the mess that the rude interlopers had left behind. She took it particularly personally that they had upended the barrel which held the viscous and vile fluid needed in what was to be her latest summoning ritual. How dare they! The audacity… well soon they would pay the price for their interference. Morgantha swore it on The Raven Queen and Mother Night. By the dark gods they would pay…

“Sisters” she cackled, “Put your backs into it… we’ve a ritual to prepare!”

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Bird Thoughts
Breeze journal entry

I awoke this morning craving a flight. My knees and shoulders have been sore every morning since that damnable haunted house, and I can’t seem to stretch them out. This land has restricted my flight freedom for a time, and I find that has entered my dreams as thoughts of home and mountain flights.

My adventures have been exciting – but I fear I am failing my people. I have not met the kings of this world, nor the influencers of the future. Am I actually failing, or are these adventures the stepping stones to leadership attention? Is all of this a reflection of this land and the incessant mist and attitudes of its inhabitants? And dammit, why are my knees creaking?

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Supplemental: Fortunes of Ravenloft
Madame Eva's Tarokka reading

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Madam Eva lays the worn Tarokka cards out on the silk covered table before her in a cruciform pattern, her motions trance-like, her piercing eyes closed. Those eyes suddenly flicker open, revealing glazed, milky orbs suddenly devoid of pupils. She draws the first card and holds it aloft so that all can see…

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“This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient evil will help you better understand your enemy. Look for a den of wolves in the hills overlooking a mountain lake. The treasure belongs to Mother Night.”

The old seer draws a second card and continues…

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“This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope. Find the mother – she who gave birth to evil.”

Setting The Shepherd aside, Madame Eva reveals a third card…

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“This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight. Look for a wizard’s tower on a lake. Let the wizard’s name and servant guide you to that which you seek.”

Flipping over the fourth card reveals…

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“This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. I hear a wedding bell, or perhaps a death knell. It calls thee to a mountainside abbey, wherein you will find a woman who is more than the sum of her parts.”

Pausing for effect, the Vistana reveals the final card…

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“Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him! He waits for you in a place of wisdom, warmth, and despair. Great secrets are there.”

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March 2016 through September 2016 Recap Part 3
Death House - Part 3

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As the party ascended to the upper levels of the house, the atmosphere took a turn for the worse. Now the manse showed signs of neglect; Dust and cobwebs covered the floor and walls and the rooms and hallways were unlit.

Without warning, a decorative suit of armor animated and attacked the party… a taste of things to come. Reaching the top floor, the group discovered the boarded up bedroom of the children, and once again encountered their apparitions.

At the direction of the spirits, the party discovered a secret door leading to a spiral staircase which descended into the basement and dungeon level that lay below the house. Here the party found themselves in ancient catacombs which stretched out seemingly in no discernible pattern in all directions.

To add to the growing sense of dread, a mysterious, eerie chanting filled the dungeon corridors. The undead occupants of the house began to attack the party in earnest as they made their way through the haunted hallways, eventually discovering a partially submerged chamber and the source of the chanting….

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March 2016 through September 2016 Recap Part 2
Death House - Part 2

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The “children” turned out to be apparitions, long-dead echoes unable to pass over into whatever afterlife awaited them. They pleaded with the party, begging them to enter the house and defeat the monster apparently lurked in the basement and to find their baby brother.

When questioned about their parents, the children would only say that they had been locked in their upstairs bedroom for their own protection, where they had been denied food or care of any kind, eventually leading to their untimely deaths centuries ago.

Seeing little choice, as the ever present mists hemmed them in on all sides save one, the group entered the house. The first couple of floors turned out to be immaculately appointed and clean, filled with tasteful though somehow unsettling paintings and portraiture.

-TBC

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March 2016 through September 2016 Recap Part 1
Death House

The erstwhile members of Feldspar’s Fables now found themselves trapped in a strange land. No one in the party had any inkling as to how or why they suddenly found themselves in the domain they now thought of as Barovia (so named for the only inhabited village they had thus far come across).

The Mists which permeated this grim land seemed to be an almost sentient presence, guiding and controlling their progress, and acting as a seemingly impassible barrier in some cases. Travel through this sparsely inhabited realm revealed few signs of life. Wolves howling in the distance and ravens perched on the treetops were the only living things encountered by the party until they reached the damned village of Barovia itself, nestled in the shadow of Castle Ravenloft, which crouched on a precipice hundreds of feet above.

Upon entering the village, the group found themselves hemmed in on all sides by the Mist and herded against their will down somber, rutted streets lined with decrepit houses which looked long uninhabited. Eventually, they found themselves in front of a well kept yet derelict manse which stood in proud contrast to its neighbors.

It was in front of this house that the party met the children Rosavaldt & Thornbolt Durst. death-house-exterior-217x300.png

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March - June 2016 recap - Into the Mist part 2
We're not in Kansas anymore...

The party was quick to notice that the landscape had changed in some not so subtle ways. The mixed deciduous and coniferous forest near Red Larch had inexplicably given way to towering evergreens that moaned and creaked in the breeze. Also notable was the lack of birdsong save for the distant cawing of a raven.

Unsure of how to proceed, the party set off in the direction that should have led to Red Larch. Breeze took to the air to scout ahead, but barely had he cleared the treetops when the mist began to swirl around him like a living thing, muffling sound and obscuring his vision. His wings began to feel as if they bore a leaden weight and Breeze soon had difficulty breathing as the mist got thicker still.

Frustrated, he landed back amongst the group and noted that the mist receded the closer he got to the ground. Clearly this was no natural phenomena….

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March - June 2016 recap - Into the Mist

Upon leaving the tomb, the party was attacked by a pair of goblinoid bandits; a renegade half-ogre and a goblin respectively. The poorly planned ambush was however easily thwarted by the increasingly skilled group.

Though less than a day’s travel from Red Larch, the party decided to camp rather than return to town in the dark of night. This proved to be a fateful decision, the ramifications of which are just now starting to unfold.

By morning, a thick fog had enveloped the surrounding trees, enveloping the campsite in a shroud of disorienting mist which reduced visibility and obscured the surrounding terrain. It didn’t take long to discern that several things were amiss…

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March 2016 Session Recap 2
Ghosts N' Goblins

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The heavy iron door slammed into the flagstone floor of the tomb with a resounding crash. Almost immediately, the temperature of the chamber dropped to an icy chill as an apparition materialized blocking the now open doorway.

The specter bore the countenance of a warrior clad in archaic platemail wielding a greatsword which it held before it. The visor of its helm was closed, but beyond the eyeslits, flickering pinpoints of blue light could be seen in place of eyes.

“That is quite far enough”, intoned the ghost. “I can not allow you to pass the threshold to my master’s tomb”.

The spirit did not immediately attack, so the party chose the diplomatic path for the moment. Upon questioning, it became clear that the ghost had no memory of who it was in life, nor who its master was, only that it was charged with guarding the tomb. It had not actually left the chamber behind the iron door and so knew nothing of the little girl or events which transpired outside.

Glimpsing a closed sarcophagus in the room beyond, the party grew impatient and attacked the specter. They were able to prevail and as the ghost dissolved into ectoplasmic nothingness, they proceeded to loot the tomb.

The sarcophagus contained a skeleton clad in ancient armor bearing a jeweled locket and clutching a gleaming longsword, untouched by age, to its breast. As soon as the sword was touched however, it animated and attacked.

The party was disappointed that their efforts were apparently in vain when the sword shattered upon finally being rendered inanimate. There was however still the matter of the locket, which upon inspection revealed a miniature portrait on an elven woman clearly created by the hands of a master artist.

Seeing no other exits, the group decided to leave the tomb, with Secomber Jon (“Sec”) Richhome leading the way.

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