This session began immediately after the last one ended. With the Burgomaster lying dead, slain by the parties ranger under the control of Strahd. The fair Ireena huddled over his body in tears, and the party as a whole somewhat in shock.
Since I failed to do so in the last session, allow me to outline our humble party here. It consists of a Human Paladin, though if the man is driven more by his god or by greed is debatable. There is a Human Warlock who claims to follow a celestial being while traveling with a brimstone tinged imp on his shoulder. A Tiefling Rogue whose shadowy past has led the party into trouble multiple times as she is chased by strange rag-clad men seeking her blood. A “Human Knight” with oddly pointed ears and who rarely draws a sword, yet appears to have a great mastery of song and lute. And an Elven Ranger traveling with a great Panther. It was the arrow of the last that slew the Burgomaster.
After taking a moment to collect themselves, the group attempted to comfort Ireena, who instead demanded that they take her father’s body to the nearby church immediately for burial. Her voice full of fear of what might befall him if not properly interred. After a little hemming and hawing, the party agreed and placing the body in a cart from the mansion grounds they trek up to the church. As the party traveled up through the small village of Barovia the Knight played a fine dirge, to fill the quiet streets. Though a few candles could be seen in the windows of buildings they passed, not a single soul was seen. The party reached the old church after an uneventful march but were wary when they saw the building. It stood battered and worn, claw and burn marks scared its stones and a portion of the roof was caved in. It was wreathed by the unkempt hedges and rusting iron fence that surrounded the graveyard beyond.
Entering they heard a mix of quiet monotone prayers and the occasional screams of some unknown being wracked by pain. Everywhere they looked the building was a shambles, dirty and disused. The priest, Father Donavich proved to be slightly mad, but at seeing the body and Ireena he hurried the party to the graveyard. Actions that apparently piqued the suspicion of the Knight and Rogue, who discussed her slipping away to investigate the chapel while the rest dealt with their sad burden.
Outside the party and Father Donavich hastily began digging a grave, which to the surprise of the party already contained a coffin, its lid covered in runes. They watched aghast as the priest defiled the grave, prying open the coffin to reveal a body already interred, and scratch marks on the inside lid. Angrily he bid them lower the Burgormaster’s body to share the coffin, which to the parties surprise Ireena and her broth Ismark* hastily agreed.
Within the chapel, the Rogue traced the screams to the undercroft beneath the church. Easily defeating a lock meant to prevent access she entered cautiously with weapon drawn. The area was near pitch black, but thanks to her nature she was able to discern a humanoid figure huddled at the far corner of the room. And could hear his whimpering and plaintive calls to his father for food. Whimper occasionally punctuated by his screams of pain and anger.
Outside, Father Donavich had resealed the coffin and conducted a blood ritual with Ismark and Ireena to seal the box, setting the faded runes alight. Climbing out he bid the party fill the hole while he knelt in prayer. As the last shovel full of dirt was patted into place the Father finished his prayer, and the air filled with an eerie blue light.
Within the undercroft, the Rogue was suddenly illuminated by that same light, and from the corner charged the shadowy form. His eyes glowing red and his fangs shining in the dim light, the vampire roared out his hunger for her blood. With quick reflexes she recovered from her shock and closed the distance, bringing her blade to bear before the beast could strike. The battle was very rough and tumble, but eventually resulted in the rogue pinned beneath the creature, he managed a minor bite before she was able to throw him and with a mighty swing decapitate them.
Back outside the party was witness to what they learned was but a nightly event in Barovia, and one reason no one set foot out of doors after dark. Marking out of the mists came a long column of spectres. According to the good father, the trapped spirits of the many adventurers who had tried and failed to defeat the devil Strahd. They watched the column for some minutes, completely unaware of the battle taking place beneath the Chapel, heading back into the church just as the last of the ghosts marched out of sight and Donavich noticed the Rogues absence.
Inside they met her coming down the hall, blood streaming down her neck, a scowl on her face, and holding the vampires head by its lank greasy hair. As it turned out it was the priest’s son. Long thought dead in a failed raid on Ravenloft castle, he had instead returned to torment his father and been imprisoned beneath the church while Donavich attempted to find a cure and prayed for help from the Morning Lord. After some weeping, he thanked the Rogue for putting his son out of his misery, something he had been too weak to accomplish.
The party decided it was time to take a rest, and spent the night in the church. While uncomfortable it was at least uneventful. While the session did continue on, I think this post has rambled long enough so I’ll end it here. But expect a follow on in a few days.
*: Ismark it must be noted had been briefly met in the last session as a guidepost to the Burgomaster’s mansion, and played a small but unimportant part in the battle at said mansion. As the Burgomaster’s son, he may play a bigger part later in our campaign.