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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dice, Camera, Action: Episode 12 - Curse of Strahd

You can watch this episode on youtube here.

They used to have a graphic of a dancing mindflayer going while we waited for the stream to start. Now it is a dancing minotaur. And he's completely naked.

Time for some Strahd!

No Holly this week, as she's flying home from Australia. Mark Hulmes from High Rollers is back as Ezmerelda.

The Party

The Waffle Crew

(Anna) Evelyn - Human Paladin of Lathander
(Nathan) Paultin - Human Bard 
(ProJared) Diath - Human Rogue  
(Mark) Ezmerelda - Vistani NPC

Last Time: The heroes got into a sprawling battle with werewolves and Strahd. Strahd grabbed Ireena and was flying away with her on his nightmare, but Strix used a spell to cause Ireena to fall 40 feet. Strahd let out a cry of anguish....

Strahd calls out, "Tatiana!"

Strix runs so we can sort of write her off the episode. She spends most of the session on a horse trying to get through the gate. Evelyn runs around the building to find Ireena. She doesn't spot her.

Strahd turns invisible. The group is extremely alarmed. Strahd has greater invisibility, meaning he won't become visible when he attacks or cast a spell.

Ezmerelda joins Evelyn and spots Ireena. Evelyn gets to her. She's dead! Ireena is dead! Wow, I did not expect that.

An invisible force grabs Evelyn's throat and drops her to 0 hit points.

Ezmerelda heals Evelyn for 13. Nathan again uses faerie fire to outline an invisible enemy. He is the only person I have ever seen use that spell and it is coming in handy big time. Strahd fails his save!

Diath is on Strix's horse. They are riding toward the gates.

Evelyn climbs on Paultin's horse and heals herself.

Strahd approaches and attacks the horse! The horse's throat is slashed. Then his guts pour out. Walter the horse is dead. Paultin and Evelyn roll poorly and they are trapped underneath the corpse of the horse!

Paultin gets free and pulls Evelyn out, too. Her eyes are little hearts.

Ezmerelda puts her sword at Ireena's throat. She warns Strahd to back off or she'll mutilate Ireena's corpse. Egad. I have no idea what is going to happen here.


Strahd casts a fireball on Ezmerelda and Diath. Ezmerelda takes 38 points. Diath yells, "Uncanny Dodge!" and takes only 9 points of damage. Ireena's corpse is incinerated.

Holy cow. I thought maybe Chris was going to use the pool here but.. yikes. Ireena is not a little dead, she's totally dead.

Ezmerelda has a good idea. She realizes that since Strahd is a vampire, he can't enter a residence unless he's invited. She races into a building and urges the others to join her.

Paultin runs in and hides behind a pig.

Diath thinks this house thing is a terrible idea. He's pretty sure Strahd will just hit the house with a fireball. Diath chucks a dagger at Strahd and hits, but rolls nothing but ones on damage.

Is Evelyn oath of devotion? She'd have sanctuary and she could turn the unholy. She could try to turn Strahd, right? I think she entangled somebody once, so maybe she's the nature oath.

Diath climbs a roof and Strahd follows. Strahd tries to charm him or something but Diath makes his save.

The rest of the group is going to flee.

His name really is Beucephalus, the wonder horse
The nightmare tries to trample Diath. I think Chris is giving Jared a chance to jump on the nightmare. Diath does! They fly up into the air, about 40 feet off the ground.

Evelyn casts find steed. She gets to choose what it looks like. She describes a majestic beast. But Barovia twists it into a hideous undead monstrosity.

It is skeletal and it has bits of tattered flesh clinging to its bones. It is loyal to her and has a tattered saddle. Ezmerelda casts protection from evil on Evelyn and tells her to find Rudolph van Richten.

Diath rolls well as he jumps off the nightmare, slides down a roof and plops to the ground taking no damage whatsoever.

Strahd bites Ezmerelda! She's down. Chris gives Ezmerelda one final, dying action. Ezmerelda utters a vistani curse! What an awesome idea. They are swallowed up in the fog. We don't know what happens to Ezmerelda or Strahd after that.

Paultin is shocked, as Madame Eva had told him that Ezmerelda was important.

The group flees. They leave Krezk and come to a frozen river. Paultin spots a wagon that he's seen before when he was young. It reminds him of his mother.

He hears Ezmerelda's voice say "remember." Hey, sounds like Paultin was a vistani. Yup! He remembers how to cast the vistani curse and use the evil eye.

Strix the NPC seems to know something but won't say. Paultin finds a Blinsky toy - the Strahd puppet! Paultin is instantly terrified of it. He saw it when he was a kid.

Diath asks Paultin if the name Rudolph van Richten means anything to him. It does! He remembers Dr. van Richten murdering his family. Wow. Crazy.

That's where we stop.

Timestamps
  • (55:30) Strahd kills a horse.
  • (1:36:35) Evelyn names her skeletal steed.
  • (2:00:00) Paultin recognizes a wagon.
Overall

Strix the Murderer: So... Strix basically killed Ireena, right? Literally! I'd imagine Strahd will want revenge.

Strahd and Evelyn: If you remember, in the very beginning of the campaign, Evelyn was singled out by Strahd. Now that Ireena is dead (presumably), I wonder if Strahd will shift his focus. Here's a quote from my summary in session 3:

Eva says that Evelyn was brought to Barovia by Lathander. Evelyn is the "key" to everything that is happening. "It is a wonder that Strahd hasn't noticed you, yet."

Find Steed: I just read this spell the other day for that arcana check article. Find Steed is supposed to take 10 minutes to cast, but Evelyn cast it in a single round. I have no problem with that whatsoever. This kind of stuff is going to happen when you're trying to keep a game moving. We could just explain it away by saying that since Evelyn had prayed to the Morninglord while hiding in the house, the Morninglord reached out and enhanced the spell.

I think Strahd also can automatically make a certain number of saves. Again, I don't care! As a DM you can always explain these things away and it made for a fun fight. Maybe Strahd simply didn't think the faerie fire was worth using his legendary resistance on. The group clearly was no threat to him.

Strahd: I like how Chris was able to get the seeming invincibility of Strahd over so well. It will make the final victory (?) over him that much more satisfying. The group still has none of the three items they need to defeat him.

Epic Session: This was another awesome episode from start to finish. The last three have been fantastic. Everyone was great, I don't really know what more you could ask for in a D&D show.

6 comments:

Andrew Morris said...

I cannot believe how well Chris links all the characters backstories into the adventure. I can't wait for them to encounter Van Richten again. And I wonder if Van Richten will blame himself for what happened to Ezmerelda?! It's just incredible.

Anonymous said...

If this were a TV series I'd call this session the first season finale. It had all the stakes necessary, plus some awesome call-backs (faerie fire) and character reveals (Paultin is a Vistani!).

Greg Kramer said...

The show really seems to be hitting its stride. Each episode better than the one before. I only wish the guy who plays Paultin got into it a bit more. Even with the spotlight on him at the end with the Vistani reveal he seemed . . . flat or uninterested. Now I only listen to the audio as a podcast, so maybe on the video he reacts more.

Sean said...

Andrew Morris: He's really got it down to a science! I am terrible with backstories, so seeing how he does it is very helpful.

Anonymous: Agreed! The last 3 episodes have been epic.

Greg Kramer: Nate is hard to read! He spent the last two sessions getting a horse, pretty much. I think he might just be shy.

Anonymous said...

i mean curse of strahd was nate's first dnd experience, i think? So by those standards being thrust into the world of dnd like this i think he is doing pretty ok! i cant wait to see how the story goes! never expected paultin to be a vistani, and didn't think that chris would actually have irena die!

Sean said...

Anonymous: Yeah the Paultin thing really threw me for a loop! Van Richten killed his parents. That means that Paultin's parents might have been vampires or werewolves...? Thanks!