Madam Eva has popped up multiple times in the adventure so far, and so the party sets out in search of her. And in finding her they hope for answers as to how they might return home. As well as more knowledge about their great enemy, Strahd.
The party left the Village of Barovia with the dawn and headed toward the Tser Pool in search of the Vistani. Though because the players were absent, the Paladin and Ranger remained behind to help shore up the village’s defences. As did Ismark, who felt it was his duty to lead his people following his father’s death. The rest of the party traveled through the day, a mostly pleasant trip that brought them to their destination without event.
While the book for Curse of Strahd recommends random encounters and even has a fancy table for them, I have never been a fan of random encounters. I prefer to design encounters specifically for the moment, and more importantly I typically design them with options so that the players can avoid combat if they so desire. As such you may be surprised at how uneventful the day to day journeys of this party as they wander along the road. But fear not, they are quite good at getting themselves into trouble without my help.
They arrived at the Tser Pool at midday, finding a large caravan of Vistani wagons circled around it, with the smell of campfires and roasting meat wafting through the air. Soon enough they had been pulled into the daily festivities of the nomads, singing, dancing, and eating with them as they asked of the whereabouts of Madame Eva. Surprisingly, the directions came not from one of the gipsies, but from a hunched figure hiding in the shadows below one of the wagons. While most of the party investigated this strange form, the Knight followed the directions given to meet the much spoken of Madam Eva.
The hunched form turned out to be the newest party member, a Kenku, abandoned by the party with which he had arrived in this cursed land. One at a time they had died off as they sought their own escape from its misty borders. The feathered rogue remains a bit of a mystery to the party, and a confusing and odd one as well. His player has decided to play up the Kenku’s unique nature, with everything he says being a mimic of either the current party members or of those of his lost friends. Meaning he speaks with a half dozen or so different voices, and almost always in the third person.
While a strange addition, as a DM i’m very excited to have this player and especially this character join the campaign. He adds another way for me to pass along some information as he’s been surviving in Barovia for awhile, but his strange mode of speaking means the party may not always understand what he is trying to tell them. And for those who have the adventure module, his appearance is going to have some interesting reprecussions later one, depending on where the party goes and what they decide to do.
While I left the Rogue and Warlock to a bit of freeform roleplaying with the Kenku, the Knight found Madam Eva and obtained some answers. Madam Eva is a woman of great knowledge and even greater secrets. Though whether this party will learn any of them I do not know. For now, however, they were happy to gain a bit of information about their own plight and how to escape it. But as with everything so far, they were far from straight. For those who have played in Ravenloft before, or simply have the book, you know of the Tarokka deck, Ravenloft’s version of the Tarot. And naturally, it was with those cards that Madam Eva answered the erstwhile Knights questions. Though not before revealing she knew something of his true nature as a Half-Elf and a Bard.
I won’t reveal the full nature of the fortune our party heard, but the photo reveals the cards as they were drawn. Which for those who own the module will provide some information. The Illusionist, the Rogue, the Healer, the Raven, and the Mists. Within those cards, they learned of an ally and some tools that might aid their cause. With mention of a man in a Vistani wagon who was not Vistani, a feathered thief, a blessed pool, and a wizard toiling amongst the vines.
The party took in the Kenku as their feathered thief, and after some discussion decided that it was time to find a safe place to leave Ireena so that they could head to more dangerous places in search of answers to the other cards. After spending the night with the Vistani they headed North West to the village of Vallaki
There they found a church unmarked by the evils they had so far seen, and so left the girl in the care of Father Lucian. Though they may have neglected to mention the full nature of her danger. Still, they have hope that within the churches sacrosanct wall she will be safe for the time.
Meanwhile, they have heard tell of a Wizard of Wines winery farther to the West. Which to their ears sounds very much like the tale told by Madam Eva. The party has also noticed that wherever they go there appear to be ravens watching them. Which reminded them of something Madam Eva had said to them before they left her.
“There are those who think the Ravens are spies, and they are, but whose eyes are they?”