Having survived the wolf attack, our party bandaged their wounds and then decided to split up in search of Baba Lysaga. This acting as a convenient explanation in world for why so little of the party was present for this session. This also marks my first attempt at running a game through Discord.
Chimer our Kenku Rogue, Asyrule the redneck Paladin, and newcomer Riyah the Cleric set forth into the swamp in search of their quarry, and the group began to get to know their strange new companion a bit better.
Riyah has a great hatred for the undead, and those who might raise them, which gives her motivation to join the group in hunting Baba Lysaga, who rumors state has been raising zombies to serve her. She is also curious about these strange adventurers from another realm, and what they might plan towards the realms dark undead lord, Strahd. She is also a denizen born of Barovia and thus is tainted somewhat by the realm in which she has lived her entire life.
With Chimer scouting, and Asyrule using his power to sense evil, the party moved through the thick mud and even thicker mists of the swamp. I tend to adjust the rules of sense good and evil a bit, especially when playing in Ravenloft. While rule wise it has a sixty-foot radius, I prefer to make it accurate within that range, and more like a compass at longer ranges. So he could sense the taint of evil within his new cleric companion, and feel the evil that pervades Barovia, he could also make out a much more powerful source in the distance south of the group.
Following his senses, they eventually heard the screeching of dozens of birds in distress. A sound that led to a strange small hut built upon an ancient rotting tree stump, and a massive skull covered in strange ruins floating upside down in the marshy water before the hut.
As there were only three players they were very cautious as they investigated the area around the hut and then crept up to it, first inspecting the skull, and then the hut itself. The Skull was that of a Giant of some sort and the party quickly decided it must be a cauldron. Of course, that notion was dissuaded moments later when Asyrule the Paladin strode into the hut and all hell broke loose. His ears were assaulted by the screams of dozens of ravens, locked in cages hanging from the ceiling, and then his footing was thrown as the hut began to tremble and shake as if in an earthquake.
For the genre savvy or those who know their old legends, Baba Lysaga is of course based loosely on Baba Yaga, the ancient Slavic witch with the chicken-legged house. And like that strange construct, Baba Lysaga’s house rose up from the ground on gnarled legs made of the roots of the stump it was built on. At the same time, the rune-covered skull rose from the muck, glowing with an eerie blue-green light before launching itself eastward into the mists, a more macabre version of Baba Yaga’s flying mortar.
Our three brave adventures rolled for initiative and began to do battle with the gargantuan construct before them. An old ramshackle hut creeping through the marsh on 8 massive legs, like some bizarre giant spider of the marsh. Asyrule made good use of the magic axe recovered several sessions back, using its bonuses against plants to hack at the tree root legs, while Chimer sadly had a string of rotten luck as his arrows failed to hit home. Riyah was the star as her holy magic, tinged with a demonic form, ravaged the hut and healed her allies. Making this a tense and exciting battle rather than a total party wipe.
As they fought they began to hear a cackling laughter in the distance that appeared to be getting closer with each passing moment. Something evil rushing towards them. Noticing a strange green glow coming from inside the hut, Asyrule decided to take a risk and used the hut’s legs to scale it and dive in through a window. At the same time, Chimer turned and darted into the mists to meet the new adversary heading their way and hopefully give his allies time to subdue the hut.
Inside the hut Asyrule spied the glow coming from beneath the floorboards, and began attacking them with his axe, soon revealing a deep compartment in which rested the gem they sought, small roots connecting it like a heart to the tree stump and hut. While the hut could not attack him directly as he tried to grab the gem, it did do its best to disrupt him by shaking itself and sending him hurling around within its confines.
Out in the mists, Chimer soon spied the oncoming form of Baba Lysaga herself, riding within the giant skull and cackling as she hurtled towards her home intent to destroy the trespassers. As is his way he ducked into hiding and sent crossbow bolts hurtling her way. A distraction that slowed her down and gave Riyah time to meet the witch with her magic. Spells of death versus Baba Lysaga’s ability to manipulate the marsh for its poisons and its more dangerous denizens.
Between her magic and Chimers sneak attacks, Baba Lysaga was quickly on the defensive. She got in some very good hits that left the party very bloodied, but the intervention of Asyrule after ripping out the huts heart soon convinced her that running would be the smart move as he attempted to turn her into a shish keBaba Lysaga (my favorite joke of the night from a party always full of one-liners).
After chasing off the witch the party retreated to her now dormant hut to free the ravens, and take a long rest. Riyah standing watch as she informed the party that she needed no sleep.
With two of the gems found, the party currently has no leads on the third, but perhaps the Wizard of Wines knows something, or they do happen to know where to find a fortune teller whose sight may help. We will have to see next session whose help they choose to seek out.