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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Dice, Camera, Action: Episode 3 - Curse of Strahd

Episode 3: What Sweet Music

You can watch this episode here on youtube.

Check out the Dice Roll Stats right here. Evelyn is rolling a steady stream of natural 1's, unfortunately.

Welcome to a summary of Episode 3! Timestamps are at the bottom.

It looks like there are some people who aren't thrilled with Dice, Camera, Action! so far.

I can see what they are saying, but it hasn't hampered my enjoyment of the show. I am assuming that it will take this group a bunch of sessions before they find a rhythm.

To me, this is a D&D game. I'm not watching this like it is a TV show where the performers need to entertain me. I am watching this to gain insight into how Chris runs an actual game, and to see his vision of how this adventure should be run.

Warning: You might want to skip the first 30 minutes of this video. There is a lot of sound interference. I guess it was rain and thunder from outside..? It's pretty hard to watch. The good news is that once it stops, I'd say this was the best session yet and the group really clicked.

Last Time: The Wafflers went to bury a guy and fought a vampire spawn, who ran away. We left off with the group in the cemetery, surrounded by dozens of wolves...

The Party

The Waffle Crew

(Anna) Evelyn - Human Paladin of Lathander
(Holly) Strix - Tiefling Sorcerer 
(ProJared) Diath - Human Rogue
(Nathan) Paultin - Human Bard

The wolves surround the heroes. The nearest wolf is about 30 feet away. Ismark says that they are the eyes and ears of the devil. Strix tries to intimidate the wolves and rolls a one. The wolves roll their eyes.

Lightning flashes for a moment - they spot a humanoid shape. It disappears. The wolves sort of back off.. it's kind of like the ending of The Birds.

In real life, Holly's cat jumps onto her chair.

Strix befriends a crow. It perches on her head, then flies over to a tombstone of someone named Escher. It flies out of town toward a place called Vallaki. The group decides to follow it.

The heroes walk down a road for a bit. They pass an old gallows. When Diath looks back at the noose, he sees a body hanging from it. The rest of the group sees it. Evelyn wants to go poke it. The body looks just like Diath. Diath examines it and is freaked out.

The group goes to Tser Falls. There are vistani (gypsies) camped there, and they are drunk. Paultin jumps right in to party with them. Evelyn does too.

Diath and Strix creep around. They slip into a tent and meet a fortuneteller - Madame Eva. Chris does a great Madame Eva voice.

Madame Eva knows a lot about Strix. We get confirmation that Strix was a member of the Dustmen in Sigil (they pick up dead bodies in The Hive and bring them to the mortuary). Eva says that Strix was actually born in Barovia and that the villagers would have killed her if she had stayed. The vistani brought her to Sigil when she was a baby.

Madame Eva says: "You were raised in the city of doors. All doors lead home."

Strix has an aunt, a brother and three cousins. Her brother is dangerous and special, like Strix. He is a "bad man." Madame Eva says that when Strix sees rotten wolf heads, her family is close.

The rest of the Wafflers gather in Madame Eva's tent. Paultin is drunk. Madame Eva knows much about them, and freaks everyone out.

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."

Madame Eva does the tarokka reading. It is fun to follow along in the Curse of Strahd book to see what the results mean. I won't spoil it here. This reading determines the most important details in the entire adventure.

The best part is that Chris actually mailed the players tarokka cards a month ago. The players haven't been allowed to open them until now. The envelopes are sealed with wax. Here's the results of the reading:
  • (Diath's card) The Tome of Strahd: Bishop - They'll find it "..beyond the amber doors."
  • (Evelyn's card) The Holy Symbol of Ravenkind: Abjurer - The symbol is in "a fallen house guarded by a stone dragon."
  • (Strix's card) The Sunsword: Anarchist - "Wall of bones - remains of enemies long forgotten."
  • (Paultin's card) Strahd's Enemy: Mists - "A vistana searching for her mentor at St. Markovia's Abbey."
  • (Chris's card) Strahd: Raven - "Look to the mother's tomb - the mother of evil." Madame Eva straight tells them that the mother of evil lies under Castle Ravenloft.
Evelyn gets jealous when Madame Eva says the vistana will be very important to Paultin. Later on, she convinces Paultin to come visit a windmill with her once the adventure is over.

The Mysterious Envelope
Diath asks Eva why he saw himself hanging from the gallows. She says the land is trying to turn the heroes against each other and themselves.

Paultin, still drunk, almost barfs on the table. He wants Madame Eva to rank his mystery woman's looks on a scale from 1-10. Madame Eva starts swearing at the heroes, which is most amusing. 

Hanging out with the vistani, the group learns about a wizard who rallied the people to fight Strahd at Castle Ravenloft, but the wizard fell a thousand feet to his death during the conflict. The vistani went to find the wizard's body, but it was gone.

The group learns that Strahd once had a consort named Tatyana. They also learn that many Barovians have no souls - they have no charm and no spark. They don't cry.

Strix asks the vistani about ravens. Ravens carry lost souls with them. They don't associate with people. Strix gets on her horse and is described as a "moth-eaten heap of sadness."

The adventurers borrow horses from the vistani. Strix and Evelyn have to share one. It is named Valentina.

The group argues about whether or not to check out the windmill that they specifically were told to avoid.

The adventurers travel the road and pass numerous landmarks. They come to another set of massive gates.

They spot.. a windmill! And the mysterious crow is there. That's where we end it.

Chris asks the group if they want to go to the windmill. Everyone but Diath wants to go.

Time Stamps
  • (22:00) "My son is gone!"
  • (26:38) Ireena ruins Evelyn's happy place.
  • (36:10) The hanging body.
  • (58:36) The tarokka reading.
  • (1:11:10) Madame Eva has a surprisingly foul mouth.
  • (1:35:18) Diath and Paultin share a horse... and maybe more.
  • (1:36:38) Comparing notes on the windmill.

The Water: There were some serious sound issues for the first 30 minutes. It honestly sounded like someone taking a pee. It was very distracting, to the point that I could barely focus on what was happening.

Everything Comes Together: I can imagine people tuning out from the sound problems, which is too bad because once we got past the flushing sound, the group really started to gel. The tarokka reading was really fun and all of these players are really fun and funny. You could sense the group forming a cohesive whole.

Good episode!

Click here to proceed to episode 4.


David Given Schwarm said...

Awesome Summary! I really enjoy reading your reflections on the episode--helps to underline some of the things I see Chris doing well & man he does a lot well! You mention his Madame Eva voice which is just ONE of the great voices he does. Please keep these summaries coming.

Sean said...

David Given Schwarm: Thank you! I plan do do a summary of every Curse of Strahd episode. He does a million good voices, it's awesome.