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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dice, Camera, Action: Episode 25 - Curse of Strahd

Episode 25: I Dream of Vistani
We had a week off after TwitchCon and now Dice, Camera, Action resumes! Check out this Strix doll that Holly made:

The eyes glow in the dark. How awesome is that? Where did she learn to do this stuff?

Nateless in Seattle: No Paultin again this week. He's sick. Is he still on the show or what? He's missed probably half of the episodes of the series so far. I think this episode was meant to be Paultin-centric.

It's funny how that works. I ran The Shackled City adventure path (using 4e rules, so.. yeah) and I had this one player who rarely showed up. I thought I could lock him in by giving his character a cool crystal staff called Alakast that was important to the plot. What happened is that he stopped playing and I had to awkwardly shift Alakast over to another party member.

Wiggling: Chris is wearing a wig. He was going to wear it as part of his Strahd costume at TwitchCon but it was too hot.

Leveled Up: The heroes are now 7th level. Strix has her first fourth level spell - dimension door. She swapped out alter self for enlarge/reduce. She wants to shrink Strahd, which is a hilarious idea. She took see invisibility too. Nice!

Dee is a "wall of meat." She has 112 hit points.

The Party

(Anna) Evelyn - Human Paladin of Lathander
(Erika) Dee - Human Fighter
(ProJared) Diath - Human Rogue
(Holly) Strix - Tiefling Sorcerer

Last Time: The group went to Van Richten's Tower and Paultin got into a scuffle with Van Richten. Witches attacked and Diath got beat up pretty bad by a broom. Strix slaughtered all of the bad guys.

The heroes check out the severed vistani head in Van Richten's chest. Van Richten says he casts speak with dead on it. The head belongs to a vistani named Yan.

Van Richten wants to turn the Strahd doll into a magical receptacle. They are going to need the blood of a vistani to make this happen.

Anna trolls Chris by asking Paultin for a song. Chris evades. The group rests. Diath is on the ball! He asks Dee to keep an eye on Paultin's shadow. The night passes without incident.

The wolf hunter NPCs, Zoldar and Yevgeni, are outside. They've been outside all night! They had been wounded during the witch battle. Yevgeni is dead!

Zoldar demands that Van Richten bring him back to life. Hmm... will Diath use his power? Wait, I just remembered, he needs a 1,000 gp diamond to use his resurrection power, so... no. Van Richten says that Yevgeni can't be brought back - Yevgeni didn't have a soul. He was a soul shell (see Curse of Strahd page 25).

Evelyn doesn't believe that some Barovians don't have a soul. The group offers to bury Zoldar.

The adventurers loot the dead witches. The man-witch has a potion of polymorph on him. Strix loots a witch hat. It has three snails on it. She asks Dee to name them and then immediately eats one. Yeargh. I think Slooey and Gooey are still alive but I doubt they'll survive the episode.

Ezmerelda's Wagon

Oh no. They're going to check out Ezmerelda's wagon. I've been waiting for this encounter for a long time. This could be really bad (see page 168). Oh geez... Diath is messing with the door. Wait... Strix checks for traps. Nice! Chris points out she'd need the detect magic spell to really know if there's a trap. Oh no.

Diath checks the lock. The whole group is right there by the door. He rolled well, but he doesn't detect the real trap inside. He opens the door to the wagon.

Inside the wagon, there is a wire looped around the doorknob. It snaps. A flask drops to the floor and bursts into flames, which ignites 100 more of these flasks lining the wagon walls. The entire wagon blows up and there's a massive explosion!

Get ready.. 55 damage if they fail their save. Looks like the whole group made their saves! Strix is a tiefling so she only takes half damage from fire. Not too bad!

The NPCs fare poorly. The wolf hunter dies in the explosion and Van Richten is down! Evelyn heals Van Richten with lay on hands, but she only gives him 10 units of well being because she doesn't really like him.

Chris goes into excruciating detail on all of the stuff that was destroyed. The group is quite perturbed about all of the loot they missed out on. There was even a chicken in there. Now it's dead.

In case you are wondering, here's some of the stuff that got burned:
  • A wooden chest containing a gold holy symbol of the Morninglord (worth 100 gp), three vials of holy water, three vials of perfume, two vials of antitoxin, and a spyglass
  • Two spell scrolls (major image and remove curse)
  • A map of Barovia (showing all the locations marked on the Curse of Strahd map of Barovia)
Strix finds a page of Van Richten's journal. Strix reads it out loud. What an invasion of privacy.

Here's the short version of what the adventurers learn:
  1. Vistani abducted Van Richten's son, Erasmus.
  2. They sold Erasmus to a vampire named Baron Metus. 
  3. His son became a vampire spawn, and Van Richten had to kill him. 
  4. Metus killed Van Richten's wife in retaliation. 
  5. Van Richten killed Metus and became a vampire hunter.
  6. Van Richten is cursed by a vistani. He brings doom to all that he befriends.
Does this mean that Dee is doomed?

Van Richten

Van Richten says that this will be his last vampire hunt. He's old. Evelyn thinks everyone should hold hands and sing a hymn.

Van Richten insists that they rest. He heals the adventurers to full hit points. The day goes by, and at night the group goes to sleep. Diath is taking watch and... there's something outside.

After a lot of amusing panicking among the characters, something slips an envelope through the floorboard beneath them. I think this is the Strahd invitation. Yup! Strahd wants them to come to the castle.

Van Richten tells them not to go. Diath is pretty sure that the vampire who delivered the invitation was Ezmerelda.

The group goes back to sleep. The group needs vistani blood.... Diath almost cuts the slumbering Paultin to get his blood. He takes the hag pin and immediately starts having visions. The hags from the windmill are urging Diath on. He gets weirded out and decides not to do it.

The next day, Van Richten wakes up and says he had a prophetic dream. The group needs to go find Arabelle, the missing Vistani girl. He says that Dee and Paultin need to stay at the tower. Van Richten says that Paultin can not be trusted. They leave on foot. The horses are staying with Dee, too.

Uh oh. Dee's alone. Paultin's shadow creeps up behind her! She fails her perception! We don't find out what happens next.

The group goes to the lake. They see a guy in a rowboat. Evelyn flies up to him. He has a burlap sack that looks like there is something in it - a little girl. The guy is about to chuck her into the lake!

Strix dimension doors onto the boat and brings Diath with her. That's where we stop!


This was a very good episode. Some might say that this one is skippable because there were no major plot advancements, but to me this is worth seeing just because it's a lot of fun all the way through. Everybody was in a great mood and the whole thing gelled really well.

When you have a good campaign going, it almost doesn't matter what happens in the game because it is fun just to see everyone interacting and joking around.

Character Art: Each character is very well-rounded in this campaign. If Force Grey could get professional art of their heroes done, I don't see why we can't get official art of the waffles. If somebody ponied up for a piece of art depicting Chris Hardwick's joke character from Force Grey, then in my opinion it is a grave injustice not to do the same for this group.


Raul said...

Agreed, I'd love to see some official art of the Waffle Crew. They'd have to work closely with the players, since Holly, for example, doesn't really agree that the Strix doll from the opening looks like the actual character, but it would be great to see.

Sean said...

Raul: Yeah we need a nice group pic or something. They should put out a pdf of the characters and their stats and stuff.