I’m currently DM’ing a Curse of Strahd campaign for some friends. These posts will act as a journal of their progression, challenges, and victories.
Read the whole series of posts here.
In the morning the party left Vallaki, and returned to the ruins of the Vistani camp. They reunited with the Dusk Elf, Kasimir. They said that they were about to go to the Amber Temple, and he could travel with them (as was their arrangement for receiving the Sun Sword). However, they had a small detour through Krezk first.
They detoured via Van Richten’s tower for supplies, and to retrieve Ireena’s corpse. Inside, Ezmerelda found a note: “My secret identity in Vallaki was found out, no longer safe, have moved on. I’ve heard you were near but it would be too risky for us to reunite. I’m sorry – VR”. She recognised the writing as her mentor, Van Richten. The party recognised the handwriting as Rictavio the bard from Vallaki. Ezmerelda had the party board her carriage (after disarming the explosive trap), and demonstrated a command word that caused two phantom steeds to appear and pull the carriage along.
In short time they arrived at Krezk, and there was much work out the front of the gates. Villagers were working wood and constructing some manner of platform. When questioned why, they said they were ordered to by the Burgomaster. The party carried Ireena’s corpse in a trunk to the Abbey, and his prize of a wedding dress for his flesh golem.
The Abbot made true on his deal, and laid a hand upon Ireena’s corpse. The party noticed his appearance wavering and flickering rapidly between human and something angelic; though it’s feathers were tarred and stained with something black. With a scream Ireena returned to life, snatched a flask from a nearby party member, and drank the lot. She was despondent and non-communicative. The things she had experienced on the other side of death had left a mark on her.
They talked with the Abbot, who was sure that Strahd’s hold on the land would lessen once he met his new bride. They talked of the Amber Temple, and he warned them that it was a dark place and any of them could lose themselves to darkness there. Kasimir insisted, so the party left.
Walking through Krezk, there was no-one around. Coming to the front-gate they saw the platform was a hangman’s gallow, with two hooded figures standing with nooses around their necks above trapdoors. There were three Vistani and three vampiric figures standing guard. The lead Vistani, standing with his hand on the release leaver, told them to approach no further, that Strahd was done playing and was ready to make a deal. If they did not hand over the Sun Sword and Ireena, he would kill his captives. He removed the hoods to reveal Van Richten and Izmark (Ireena’s brother). Ireena yelled “Don’t do it, it’s a trap!” before the lead Vistani backhanded him.
Battle ensued, and though Rend severed the cross beam Izmark still dropped through the trapdoor. Ireena walked towards him, almost in a sleep-walking manner. Rolen brandished his holy symbol and turned all undead – the vampire spawn fled, and to everyone’s surprise so did Izmark. Izmark had been turned into a vampire spawn by Strahd! Van Richten and Ezmerelda were reunited, and suggested the party make haste. They all boarded Ezmerelda’s wagon and fled.
Van Richten and Ezmerelda bickered on the journey South, as they shared notes and details with the party. Van Richten believed as well that the secret to defeating Strahd may be in the Amber Temple, for it is surely where he was made the monster he is. But he still believed he was cursed, and that he would bring doom to the expedition. Instead, he stayed at the Wizard of Wines. Ezmerelda remained with him, as did Ireena. They promised to keep her hidden and safe, and wished the rest luck at The Amber Temple.
The remaining party travelled up the mountain, arriving at fortified gate sheathed in green flame. Not finding a way to extinguish the flame, the party climbed over the wall. As they did, they were attacked by two Vrocks. Kasimir demonstrated a great command of magic, encasing one in rock and flying to assist the party climb the wall. Surveying their surroundings, they saw a tower topped with golden statues. This matched one of Madame Eva’s readings (a great holy symbol). They entered the empty tower, and climbed through the levels. On the top level they were beset by three ghostly figures of female warriors. They were bested, and as they perished a golden trinket appeared on the ground. It was a great Holy Symbol, it’s power felt immediately by Rolen. Kasimir identified it’s properties and detailed how it works, as they made camp for the night in the tower.