Way back in episode 6, Rictavio helped the group understand Madame Eva's Tarokka reading. Basically, the group learned where the items that they need are:
- Evelyn: The Holy Symbol of Ravenkind is in Argynvostholt.
- Diath: The Tome of Strahd is in The Amber Temple.
- Paultin: Ezmerelda is in St. Markovia's Abbey.
- Strix: The Sunsword is in a bone ossuary in Castle Ravenloft.
How Will Storm King's Thunder Fare? Storm King's Thunder, the new D&D adventure, is about to be released. I am wondering how it will do seeing how ridiculously popular Curse of Strahd is. Just judging by visits to the different pages on my blog, Curse of Strahd blows the other three away.
It is also nice to see that these reviews get plenty of traffic, too. It makes me feel good to know that there is interest in this show. I have learned a lot from watching Chris run this and for the past two or three months it has been consistently excellent.
The dancing minotaur is back. I like it better than the mind flayer. The mind flayer is somehow too unwholesome, creeps me out.
Jokes: There's some really good jokes on this episode which I kind of spoil, so if that matters to you maybe watch the episode first.
(Anna) Evelyn - Human Paladin of Lathander
(Nathan) Paultin - Human Bard
(Holly) Strix - Tiefling Sorcerer
(ProJared) Diath - Human Rogue
Last time: Paultin is in Castle Ravenloft, about to meet with Strahd. The rest of the group is trapped in the Amber Temple, running from a giant amber golem.
Kasimir brings Paultin up to a chamber where Strahd is, standing near a portrait of Ireena. There appear to be two people sitting in chairs facing away from Paultin.
Strahd tells Paultin a story about how he befriended the vistani in the past. They can come and go from Barovia freely. Strahd says that Paultin is only alive because he is a vistani.
The people in the chairs:
- Gertruda: A young woman with eyes full of childlike wonder. She seems to like Paultin. She has a little plate of biscuits. One biscuit falls and cracks on the floor. (see Curse of Strahd K42, page 68).
- Escher: A grey-skinned, beautiful man with grey skin and fangs. He's a vampire dressed in fine clothes (he's the NPC on page 236, lower right column).
Strahd wants Paultin to join him and be his eyes and ears. The other option is to rejoin his friends in the dark tomb and die with them.
Paultin asks for food first. Paultin notices that someone is lying on the floor, dead. It's Father Donavich, the priest from the second episode.
Paultin is led to the dining hall by Gertruda and Escher. The hall is covered in dust. There's an ancient wedding cake, green with age (K36 page 65). They pass through the room and go to another dining room (page 56, K10, one of my favorite encounters in the book).
Chris keeps subtly trying to get Paultin to interact with Gertruda but Nate isn't taking the bait. Nate in general takes a long time to make any decisions or even respond to dialogue.
Finally Gertruda tries to talk to Paultin. She shows him a pendant that Strahd gave her. Nate still not doing much more than giving four-word responses. A mongrelfolk guy comes in. He gives Paultin soup with an eyeball in it.
The dusk elf bullies the mongrelfolk a bit. He hits on Paultin and shakes hands with him - then holds it. "Your hands are so warm," he says.
Evelyn spots a skeletal figure who might be controlling the golem (this person is in X27 on page 188). It looks like the creature told the golem to leave the heroes alone.
Diath and Evelyn hide in a closet.
The creature is a lich. Time has worn its memory and body to the bone. He explains to Strix/Strahd that the golems can't bash the door out of the temple because they can't leave the temple proper. Chris does a hilarious and awesome lich voice.
He explains that there are ancient entities here who know great secrets. He repeatedly refers to them as the "Dark Powers," which tickles me every time. The Dark Powers of Ravenloft! They were such a big deal in 2nd edition in my games.
The group wants to restore the lich's memories, so they take him to the library (X30 page 189). Right downstairs are the "entities." The lich says that they can grant powers. I really hope the group goes down there.
Strix is staying in the library. The lich leads the group down to the entities. They go right down to my favorite entities! The group realizes that these are the vestiges of dead gods.
Anna points out that during Madame Eva's tarokka reading, she said an item they need is beyond amber doors. They find amber doors and spot a big pile of treasure in a weird fold in reality.
Escher is still hitting on Paultin, so Paultin shuts the door in the guy's face.
In the guest room, all of the candles go out one by one. Paultin senses that someone else is in here. He uses faerie fire, but it reveals nothing.
Mist comes out from under his bed. It's Strahd! Holy...
Strahd wants an answer. He wants to know if Paultin will join him and be his spy. Nate kind of stammers for a really long time... ugghh. A lot of stammering and silence for over five minutes. I went back and timed it: 5 minutes and 44 seconds. Finally Strahd grabs him by the throat and demands an answer.
Then Paultin... ever so slowly.. finally, signs on with Strahd.
Back in the Amber Temple, Diath pokes an inert amber statue. Evelyn really wants to find a way to cure her lycanthropy. Evelyn tries to use a magic command word to control the statue, but it doesn't work.
Back in the castle, Strahd leaves, annoyed. Escher tells Paultin that he made a smart choice. That's where we stop!
(43:00) Escher really likes Paultin
(1:03:10) Strix pretends to be Strahd and talks to a lich
I would have a hard time using all these NPCs at once and keeping them all straight. Watching this will really help you run Curse of Strahd. I really do feel like I could run this adventure without ever having read it if I watched this show instead.
I don't know what the deal with Nate is, but I really hope he rejoins the group ASAP. The game comes to a complete stop when the spotlight is on him. I don't know why it is happening. It makes the show very hard to watch at certain points.