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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dice, Camera, Action: Episode 8 - Curse of Strahd

Diath & Strix
Episode 8: Really Most Sincerely Dead

You can watch this episode on youtube here.

Special thanks to Durian, who graciously allowed me to use her depiction of Strix and Diath in this article. She is an awesome artist and a nice person! I see she has made more DCA art. Check it out on her tumblr here.

Jared couldn't play this week, so we have only 3 players. It feels really weird.

Last Time: The group got split up in Vallaki. Strix met Lady Wachter and Diath was about to be hung...

The Waffle Crew

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

Strix is with Lady Wachter. She brings Strix down to the cellar to meet Wachter's "book club" (band of devil worshipers). Strix is freaked out, so she makes up a story about cats on fire but Lady Wachter sees through it.

Strix pulls out the demon ichor that she took from the hags. She throws it on the ground and casts firebolt on it. She rolls a natural 20 and ignites it! There is an explosion and the cultists robes burst into flames. Strix tries to run to the stairs but a skeletal hand reaches up from under the floor and grabs her ankle.

Meanwhile, over in the Blue Water Inn, Evelyn wakes Paultin up. Ireena is there, too. They head out to the stocks to find Diath. They spot a huge flock of ravens hovering over the town square. The heroes hear what sounds like children screaming.

Back in the cellar, Strix casts Misty Step. She teleports out of the hand's grasp and appears at the top of the stairs. She opens the door and is looking for an exit. Her brother, Izek, is banging on the door outside the house calling for Strix. She runs over to him. Wachter's spy, Ernst, is lying on the ground. Apparently Izek beat him up.

Strix teams up with Izek and they head down into the cellar. Five skeletons rise up from the ground and attack Izek. Strix tells Wachter to "Suck it." As Izek does battle, Strix runs away out of the house and in search of her allies.

In the town square, a guard is being attacked by a flock of ravens.  Evelyn spots Diath. He's dead, hanging from a noose.

Evelyn prays for Diath and Paultin plays a song. Suddenly, time slows for Evelyn. The world is responding to her dismay. Evelyn calls on the Morninglord to save Diath. Evelyn senses that Diath has not gone into the light.

Looking up, Paultin sees a massive skull in the clouds. It dissolves. I am not sure what this is all about.

Strix arrives and the group is united once more. The group brings Diath's corpse to St. Andral's church. Ireena heads to the inn.

The group meets a handsome gravedigger named Milivoj. In the church they meet an old, thin priest named Lucian Petrovich. Evelyn asks him to perform last rites.

The group starts arguing about whether Diath's spirit can move on or not. The priest says nobody's soul can leave Barovia.

The priest says that the Abbot of St. Markovia Abbey might be able to help. We're going to Krezk! To get there, "You must travel through wolf-infested forests.."

The group leaves the church and both Strix and Evelyn say goodbye to the handsome gravedigger. He stares at them dumbly.

The group pays two wolf hunters (Stoldar and Yevgeni) to come along with them. The heroes are told by the owner of the Blue Water Inn that, if they can, they should check out the Wizard of Wines winery. Wine shipments have mysteriously stopped arriving.

Diath's body is wrapped up in a blanket like a "corpse burrito." Paultin flirts with some really harsh guards, and the heroes leave Vallaki.

As they hit the road, they spot a Vistani camp nearby. The NPC hunters refuse to go visit the vistani. The group goes to check out the camp. Strix has a spontaneous freakout over Diath.

When they get themselves together, the group approaches the camp. A guard warns them that they should go away. The guard is an elf with dark eyes and skin (he's a dusk elf). He tells Evelyn that most of the vistani are out looking for a missing child named Arabelle.

The group decides to turn back and head to Krezk. They want to find the kid, but they feel like they need to try to raise Diath first. The dusk elf warns them that St. Markovia's Abbey is a place of madness.

Strix says, "The Waffle Crew will be back." I think that's the first time the waffle moniker has been uttered in-game. I still don't think they've gotten to eat waffles yet. Maybe once Strahd is dead...

During their journey on the road, the group passes Argynvostholt, home to a silver dragon. The wolf hunters are alarmed at the lack of wolves. Strix assumes there's a wolf army waiting for them.

The group arrives at Krezk.  That's where we stop.

Chris says the next session will be crazy. I am guessing that Diath rises up as a revenant, but who knows!

  • (55:30) Removing Diath from the noose.
  • (1:13:30) Evelyn is so distraught.
  • (1:30:43) One of the guards is a little crabby.

NPC Juggling: I admire how Chris is able to handle so many different 'factions' and how some of them actually oppose each other. The whole world isn't against the heroes. Even the bad guys will sometimes aid them if their motivations line up.

The Mythical DM: It's funny, after reading about Chris Perkins for so long I had this image in my head of the "perfect DM." As a DM, I always felt like I was mediocre at best and that Perkins was doing things really differently.

I've been pleasantly surprised to see that Chris Perkins is a dude just like us. He's a very good DM, but it turns out that there is no mythical DM who is operating on another level. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and our own way of running the game. We are juggling a million things at once, and it's not easy for any of us.


jerry247 said...

this was a really good episode and we got to see Anna emote more than she has before giving evelyn a third dimension.

I sure hope DMChris uses the revenant rules, might give them a leg up in Argyvostholt!

Sean said...

jerry247: Anna is such an awesome player. She's always in a good mood and fully engaged. I'm interested to see if Diath is going to be a revenant, or if Chris has something else up his sleeve. I think Chris said that Krezk is where Ezmerelda is, so we'll get to see how Chris runs her soon, too, which I am looking forward to.

Konrad Ferlangen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Konrad Ferlangen said...

thanks for that many time you invested so far. I like reading your thoughts about the show.

One thing interests me. You said Chris Perkins ist just one of us. So please give a run down on this. What does he (IYHO) better than you and what do you (IYHO) better than him.

I know I stick to muchto the rules and don't say yes to players. Anna and Holly bending and twitching the rules all the time and Chris just Yeah" which ist awesome.

Sean said...

Konrad Ferlangan: Thanks! I appreciate it. I feel funny criticizing other DMs or comparing them to myself. Chris is awesome. What I meant was that I had it in my head that certain DMs were on another level that I couldn't reach.

What I learned was that nobody can keep all the rules straight. Chris wrote the PH and he made some errors! For me, that's a relief. The vast amount of multitasking required when you run a game means that you either have to grind the game to a halt to look things up or sometimes you handwave it for the sake of pacing. And in that case, I don't think doing one or the other is better or worse, it's just a different style of the same game.

Melody M. said...

May I ask who made the beautiful portrait of Milijov? :) And the other portraits as well, they're absolutely stunning work!

Sean said...

Melody M.: I tried to find who did Milivoj but I didn't have any luck. There's about 12 artists who did work in Curse of Strahd and I can't figure out who did this one. It is very hard to find a lot of this art online! I wish they'd put up online galleries like they did in 4e. For Milivoj (and many others), I have to take a photo of the book and then try to fix it up in photoshop. I had to smart blur the crap out of that Milivoj pic in this article. The original is a million times better! Thanks!