Death House. Who knew that name would be casting a terrible fate upon six adventurers as they landed themselves in a land known as Barovia. Drawn to the house by a thick and frightening mist, a group of six adventurers went into a house in hopes to liberate an evil that was terrorizing the parents of two children, Rose and Thorn. With exploration, they found themselves uncovering much more than an evil monster but an entire cult lead by the parents of the children! Oh, side note, the children were ghosts and died of starvation.
With the exploration of the house, the party found a secret room full of different tomes and letters from a man named Strahd von Zarovich. From the letter, the party got their first hint that the parents weren't just regular parents and the misguiding decor of the house was also another hint as what would seem like harmless depicting carvings and paintings turned into hideously terrifying images.
Eventually, the party found their way to the dungeon and found traps, monsters, and a door mimic to block their paths but also laid to rest the children who wanted nothing more then the love and affection of their parents while their parents gave the love and affection to a dark power. However, the party wasn't ready for what was to become of them.
With two of their own back outside keeping watch; Niro, Lilianna, Faye, and Grijo continued forward – hoping to free themselves from this plot and stop the evil lurking in this house. They found themselves into a large dark ritual chamber in which had a small island altar surrounded by two feet deep of water. Grijo, investigating the area, went upon the altar space to see what symbols or markings were about but was startled by the appearance of thirteen apparitions that began chanting for the room to hear, "One Must Die! One Must Die". Meanwhile, Niro using his Wild Shape powers changed into a Giant Spider and explored the sides of the room and a pile of refuge in a corner; this awoken the beast hiding inside: a shambling mound named Lorghoth, the Decayer.
Trying to fight the beast, the party was overwhelmed and Niro, Faye, and Grijo succumbed to monster's strength and died. Lilianna, was able to outrun the beast and escaped back to the house, which now had some deadly traps set aside for her. Swinging scythe blades, poisonous black smoke, and swarms of rats from a deteriorating wall. But Lilianna was able to make it past most of these deadly traps and challenges with not much issue, until she got to the front door in which she mistimed her jump and was sliced in half by the swinging blades, spilling her limbs and torso into pieces at the feet of the remaining party outside; Kettle, Serendipity, and Rayis.
Horrified by what just happened, Rayis rushed to the Lilianna's torso and pulled out a diamond and began to cast a Revivify spell. Brilliant white and gold light shone from her hair and her eyes glowed a brilliant green as the soul of Lilianna returned to her and with her resurrection came a horrible scream from her mouth.
"Alright, lass. What the hell happened?" Kettle asked Lilianna. His eyes were sharp with anger.
"Something came at us, some shambling mound creature and then the house turned into this giant death trap and then Niro died and then Grijo and then Faye I think died and oh my gods, I can't believe this happened. What do we do. How do we save them. What is even happening" Lilianna spoke very quickly and her words stumbled in her panic.
Set with determination and with the guidance of Rayis' instructions, "If you can bring me their bodies, I can save them" she said with a smile, Kettle and Seren returned to the house. Upon entering, the house, Kettle was met with a familiar child-like giggle as a trap door opened on the other side of the room. It would seem laying to rest the kids paid off a little more in their favor as the trap door lead straight into the dungeon into an area where a huge wooden statue of Strahd stood. With caution, the duo reentered the basement level.
Finding the bodies of their fallen comrades, they too met the same apparitions with their chanting. Ignoring their cries for sacrifice, the two of them left with Niro and Grijo on Kettle's back. But where was Faye? Kettle noticed some tracks in the dust leading through a secret door, so while being pursued they quickly tracked down Faye and Serendipity helped carry her out of the dungeon as well. Once leaving through the trap door, the creature stopped chasing them but now the house became alive again with its perilous traps and dangers.
Long story short (too late), the two of them were able to get through the traps with some minor cuts which Kettle used his divine powers to heal both himself and Serendipity. Rayis, using her magic once again was able to cast Raise Dead on both Grijo and Faye but ran out of diamonds when it came to Niro. The party learned they had ten days before he would need a more powerful spell in order to be resurrected. So with the plan in motion, and with Grijo's agreement to help and then she was going to try and leave <u>Barovia</u> and go back to <u>Waterdeep</u>, they turned to leave but was greeted by something they definitely weren't ready for; Strahd himself.
"Going somewhere, Grijo Vegras?" he asked her. His smile widened, baring his fangs.
It was apparent that the vampire lord himself has caught up to the party and with a grin, asked the group "So where are you going with my play things?"
"See, you are nothing more than my amusement here and this house is one of my fun little playgrounds for luring and killing you petty adventurers. But now you try and take my trophies? That is rather rude of you." His hands clench as he cast a spell of Animate Dead, bringing back Niro to a undead stance with glowing green eyes. He then flipped his hand and cast a Fireball spell at Lilianna, instantly rendering her unconscious and possibly even dead again. The amount of evil in the area made Kettle sick to his stomach. With a snicker, he turned to Grijo and charmed her with his powers and slowly but forcefully sunk his teeth into his neck.
Kettle raised his sword high as he wsa about to strike down Strahd with a Holy Smite but was half interrupted with a soft "I'm sorry, Kettle" as Rayis cast Teleport and transported Kettle, Serendipity, and Faye to <u>St. Andral's Church</u> in the town of Vallaki, smashing a pew upon impact from his crushing blow.
With tears streaming down her face, Rayis looked to the survivors "I'm sorry about your friends, but I couldn't watch the rest of you join them. You bring hope to this land and I had to do what I believed was right. I'm so sorry". She collapsed to her knees and sobbed.
The rest of the party would stay here for the next month in the town of Vallaki, helping the townspeople, training them, preparing them, and restoring some hope to a land that has very little. This town, protected from Strahd's influence with its armed guard and determined by slightly insane Burgomaster seems to be a good safe haven.
So for the next month, they stay and wait. Gathering information and waiting til Stahd lures another unsuspecting group to Barovia to which they might be able to team up and take down the devil that plagues this land.