Carnival of the Apocalypse - Mists of Ravenloft

March 2016 Session Recap 1
The Barrow-Mound

With the conspiracy in Red Larch at least partially unmasked and most of the would-be cultists rounded up and brought to justice, the party was unsure of how to proceed. They were aware of a looming threat somehow connected to this “Earth Cult” they had uncovered, but leads were slim.

The Carnival was in disarray and Feldspar himself was still missing. Secomber was accosted by the wagon drivers who had been paid off by Ilmeth Waelvur while trying to track down his wayward direwolf pup, and general confusion reigned.

The decision was therefore made to follow up on a few more leads provided by the townsfolk while the Carnivlal made repairs from the quake damage and salvaged what was salvageable. The elderly woman who owned the local poultry business had mentioned that her grand daughter, a free spirited young girl prone to wandering, had recently spotted a “ghost” near an old burial mound close to town. The girl would simply not stop talking about it, so Grandma approached the newly appointed deputies to investigate and put the child’s fears and fancies to rest.

The party set out to find the location, which was located in a heavily wooded area about a mile from town. The forest was strangely quiet in light of all of the recent events, but the group took that to be a good sign as they neared the old barrow mound.

A trail of sorts led to the tomb, with signs that travelers or perhaps Red-Larchers had recently frequented the area. The entrance, a yawning archway leading into an overgrown mound looked forbidding, but given its proximity to Red Larch, the party reasoned that any real danger must have been dealt with years ago.

With the driftglobe providing light and Onika in the lead, the party descended into the burial mound down a narrow flight of debris-strewn steps which soon gave way to a large ante chamber. No ghosts appeared, but there were signs of recent occupation of the more mundane sort: the remains of a campfire, discarded trash, and other refuse revealed that the place was inhabited sporadically.

The only feature of any real note in the antechamber was a ancient iron door set into the wall, long rusted shut, it showed signs that indicated someone or something had attempted to force it open in the past with no success.

As the others searched through the scattered refuse for anything of use or a clue to the identity of the “ghost”, Onika Zordal cracked her knuckles and put all of her massive strength to bear against the door. Straining mightily, the barbarian gave a grunt of satisfaction as the door gave way and fell to the tomb floor with an echoing crash.

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Onika's Journal

Went in hole, killed rats, saved little boy from rock. Ask boy why he under rock. Boy say Dad did it. Need to have serious talk with Dad. Went to burial place cause some little brat said there were ghosts. Brat was right, but also stupid orc and little gobblin. Had to save fancy man, little man, horn man, holy man, and bird man AGAIN. When we go back to circus, mist come. Not by circus anymore. Don’t like new place. Smells bad.

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Adventure Log Post - Supplemental (said in Shatner's voice)
The Burgomaster's Letter

Hail to thee of might and valor:

I, the Burgomaster of Barovia, send you honor – with despair. My adopted daughter, the fair Ireena Kolyana, has been these past nights bitten by a vampyre. For over four hundred years this creature has drained the life blood of my people.

Now my dear Ireena languishes and dies from an unholy wound caused by this vile beast. He has become too powerful to conquer.

So I say to you, give us up for dead and encircle this land with the symbols of good. Let holy men call upon their power that the devil may be contained within the walls of weeping Barovia. Leave our sorrows to our graves, and save the world from this evil fate of ours.

There is much wealth entrapped in this community. Return for your reward after we are all departed for a better life.

-Kolyan Indinovich, Burgomaster
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February Session Recap - Part 4
Ad Victorem Spolia

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The “Bringers of Woe” attacked with silent fervor and determination, but in the end proved no match for the erstwhile circus performers turned adventurers. In the aftermath of the brief but fierce battle, the party set about questioning one of the surviving attackers. They quickly discovered that the wounded assailant was a fanatic who could not be reasoned with or persuaded to talk, and so they summarily executed the man.

The triangular symbol which the attackers bore on their armor was becoming an all too familiar sight, and the group began to wonder just how wide-reaching the influence of this secretive cult might have spread. Red Larch certainly held many more secrets… far more than a rough and tumble frontier town should.

The group paused to rest and recuperate before claiming the treasure scattered around what they now believed to be some sort of makeshift altar. A small fortune in coins and precious gemstones were scooped into backpacks and belt pouches, but the real treasure turned out to be the mysterious dagger which felt slightly and unnaturally cold to the touch. Stranger still was the name in an unrecognizable tongue graven on the hilt of the blade Reszur.

A’Nance A. Ke-yote whispered the strange word and his eyes widened as the dagger began to glow with a faint, eldritch light which seemed to emanate from within the weapon itself. Cleaning the disturbingly recent dried blood off of the dagger, the priest slipped the magical item into his belt.

The room presented the group with three choices of egress in addition to the way they had come from. Identical doors aligned with the points of the compass were set in each wall of the room. They briefly considered exploring the passageway the Bringers of Woe had come from, but instead chose the western exit, which opened into another worked stone corridor.

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February Session Recap - Part 3
Sticks & Stones

Leaving the monstrous rats behind, the party continued their exploration of the dwarven ruin. Once again, the passage opened into a small chamber; perfectly square and unremarkable save for a small black stone which hovered in the air without and visible means of support at the room’s center.

Fascinated by this, A’Nance A. Ke-yote cast detect magic and found that the stone itself was quite ordinary. However, the incantation revealed a cylindrical column of arcane energy stretching from floor to ceiling which seemingly had the property of levitation. Further investigation revealed that any object placed within the cylinder would float in place.

Though this phenomena was intriguing, the party could discern no purpose for the enchantment and reluctantly moved onward. The strange column of magical energy remained an enigma to be revisited later.

Beyond the odd room, the party once again traversed a long and narrow tunnel which eventually ended in closed door. Never one for subtlety, Onika Zordal shouldered the door open with a grunt, revealing a large room beyond.

Yet another mystery confronted the party as they beheld the contents of this new chamber. In the center of the room, a lifelike statue of a dwarven warrior stood sentinel. Surrounding the statue was a fine ring of gravel. Between the gravel and the statue were scattered a large number of coins (primarily copper) and other items.

Closer inspection of the statue revealed that it was propped up by a wooden frame and that it had likely been shattered at some point and carefully pieced back together. An inscription on the wooden frame read (in the Common Tongue):

Petrified Ironstar (?) Dwarf
Found 1459 DR in Red Larch West Quarry
in broken condition

Once again, A’Nance sensed the presence of magic, this time coming from amongst the scattered loot at the statue’s base. Creed grew impatient and let his curiosity get the better of him. The tiefling stepped over the gravel circle in spite of warnings concerning magical wards or traps. Unharmed, the warlock flashed a wry smile at the rest of the party before reaching for an ornamental dagger which glowed with an eldritch dweomer.

Before Creed could grasp the weapon however, the door opposite the one the group had used to enter the room was flung open and six leather clad humans bristling with weapons burst into the room. Emblazoned upon their armor was the same triangular symbol the party had seen earlier carved into the skulls they had discovered. With grim confidence, the apparent leader approached the adventurers, scimitar held menacingly before him.

“We are the Bringers of Woe. We have come to reward your curiosity.”

With that menacing pronouncement, the man and his five companions attacked…

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February Session Recap - Part 2
The Rats in the Wall

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The party is quickly able to rescue the frightened children to the relief of their frantic parents above who shower the adventurers with praise. The companions find themselves faced with a decision: Follow the muddy, ascending passage or investigate the mysterious dwarven door.

Noticing that the aforementioned passage seems to incline, and the numerous tracks, the group surmises that this must be a route to the surface which they decide to investigate later. Approaching the door, the party notices a pair of discarded travelling cloaks and a water skin nearby. Creed examined the cloaks, but finding nothing unusual he left them where they lay.

Feeling that subtlety was not necessary, Onika Zordal gave the door a mighty kick and was surprised to find that it opened easily, revealing a worked stone passage beyond. The group advanced down the silent passage until they came upon a pair of statues; dwarven sentinels who stood a silent watch. The statues actually turned out to be doorways leading to the north and south respectively.

After a few moments reflection, the group decided to take the northern doorway, which revealed another corridor. Following this new passage, the party soon began to notice a rancid odor coming from somewhere ahead. As they advanced, the stench became more pronounced until the passage abruptly widened into a small room. The recent earthquake had riddled the walls of the chamber with cracks and crevasses.

The source of the smell was immediately apparent. Three bloody humanoid corpses lay sprawled in the center of the room, nearly stripped clean of flesh and organs. A pair of mastiff-sized rats, their bellies distended and bloated, feasted on what little flesh remained on the bones. Beady eyes reflected from A’Nance’s light spell regarded the intruding party with a kind of disinterested malevolence.

Onika felt an old childhood fear creep to the surface… she loathed rats; bringers of plague and other horrible diseases. Unlike lesser folk however, Onika dealt with her fear by channeling it as white-hot rage. Without pausing to see how the rest of the group would react to the slaughterhouse scene, the barbarian let out a fearsome warcry and charged at the rodents.

The filthy creatures were so intent on their easy meal and sated from gorging themselves that they didn’t react until it was too late. The half-orc’s great axe came slashing down, nearly bifurcating the closest of the unfortunate beasts. In spite of their food-induced sluggishness however, the vermin were quick to react to the sudden violence against one of their own. Onika was rewarded for her hasty charge with a savage bite from the closest remaining rat.

Pack instincts kicked in and three more giant rats burst from the cracks in the wall to attack the interlopers, who responded with spells, crossbow quarrels, and defiant and rousing song! Although the party sustained a few more wounds from the frenzied rodents, they quickly dispatched the beasts and began inspecting the room and its grizzly contents.

Francisco Ilozaren knelt to get a closer look at one of the humanoid corpses and recoiled in shocked recognition. Carved into the forehead of the unfortunate so that it penetrated the skull was a symbol that they had all seen before…

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February Session Recap - Part 1
The Sinkhole

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Leaving the Slaughtered Stag and its resident drake behind, the party began the day long journey back to Red Larch. The trek was uneventful until late in the afternoon when a severe earthquake struck, creating a massive crevasse which forced the group to divert from the road, adding hours to their journey.

Breeze flew on ahead, concerned that Red Larch may have been damaged by the quake. Arriving at the village, his fears were confirmed. The clearing where the circus had encamped had been partially obliterated by a massive sinkhole, and a scene of chaos unfolded below. Among the rushing figures, Breeze was able to catch sight of Secomber Jon (“Sec”) Richhome frantically trying to see to the safety of both fellow performers and his beloved animals.

A crowd from the village had gathered around the sinkhole, and Constable Harburk Tuthmarillar was trying his best to maintain order with a handful of militiamen. Several of the waqons had fallen into the thirty foot deep pit as well as some village children.

The rest of the party arrived on the scene as Breeze began to organize efforts to get a rope lowered to assist in aiding any survivors who might be trapped below. A small group of townsfolk, led by the surly wagon merchant Ilmeth Waelvur were arguing that outsiders (namely the player characters) should not be assisting in the rescue. Mutters could be heard, including the cryptic phrase “They must not disturb the Delvers”.

Harburk was having none of the nonsense and quickly intervened on the party’s behalf, yelling harshly at Ilmeth and his cronies to disperse while the newly appointed deputies did their job with the constable’s blessing.

The group wasted no time descending into the pit and were surprised to find a door of worked stone in the large cavern below and evidence of more mysterious dwarven ruins similar to those they had encountered previously at the Brandyfoot Farm.

Of more immediate concern however were the smashed wagons, dead horses, and the two small children who had miraculously survived the fall with only superficial injuries by landing on a loose mound of dirt which formed when the ground above had collapsed.

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Feldspar's Fables

The carnival has been dubbed Feldspar’s Fables! More to come…

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