Everyone present tonight, which was nice, especially as we thought that Alex wouldn't make it originally. We enter the game with our newly levelled up characters, now at the giddy heights of level four. Of course, the threats have also risen...
Our dramatis personae:
Ser Alys de Rouge (a half-orc Fighter with a soldier background, currently the leader of the town militia of Daggerford), played by Tom (Guvnor). Lawful Neutral. Imagine a slightly greener take on Grace Jones...
Kelwarin (Kel) (a half-elf Sorceror flush with the powers of wild magic, an outlander), played by Graham (First Age). Chaotic Good.
Gaddock Teeg (a halfling wizard and former prizefighter), played by Alex (Doggetay), Neutral Good
Ser Adon of House Starbright (a half-orc Paladin, from a knightly background, with two human retainers and a priest), played by Paul (dr_mitch). Lawful Good.
Overnight at the Blue Water Inn, Vallaki. A good night's sleep. Over breakfast, the party discussed the prophecy, trying to glean what it was all about.
Madame Eva dealt five cards on the table, and this is what she saw.
2 of Coins — The Philanthropist
This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy. Look to a place where sickness and madness are bred. Where children once cried, the treasure lies still.
7 of Glyphs — The Charlatan
This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope. I see a lonely mill on a precipice. The treasure lies within.
2 of Swords — The Paladin
This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight. I see a sleeping prince, a servant of light and the brother of darkness. The treasure lies with him.
Queen of Clubs - The Raven
This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. Find the leader of the feathered ones who live among the vines. Though old, he has one more fight left in him.
King of Hearts - The Ghost
Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him. Look to the father’s tomb.
They decided that the landlord of the Blue Water Inn, Urwin Martikov, must be the focus of The Raven and that they needed to find a way to talk to him about whether he would oppose he who can't be named in this town (by the Baron's order). Ser Adon suggested that they had a conversation after the funeral of Alana Martikov, the woman who they had found murdered and partly transformed into a raven, at the gallows beside the River Ivlis crossroads. She was the cousin of the family here, and they suspected that she may have been a lycanthrope, perhaps a were-raven. After a short debate between Ser Alys and Ser Adon as to whether Ser Adon should wear his best tweed clothes or his armour, they headed to the Church of St Andral.
The form of the funeral service, led by Father Lucian, was familiar to the party, despite the words and the name of the deity differing. The service invoked the protection of St Andral against evil and the Morninglord's guidance. After the service, Ser Adon respectfully asked Danika Martikov if they could talk, later on, only to have her young son, Bray, the bolder of the twins start to ask his mother why she was talking to the people whose fault it was that Alana had died. She apologised and gave the child a ticking off.
Urwin Martikov approached Ser Adon and Ser Alys, asking if they were holy warriors. Ser Adon announced that he was [much mirth amongst players as Dr Mitch managed to get his character's god's name confused with Kelwarin]. Urwin said that Father Lucian would like to talk to him then, and invited the party to join the wake back at the pub afterwards.
Talking in the sacristy, Father Lucian asked for help. Someone had stolen the reliquary and bones of St Andral, an item of holy power that protected the church from creatures of evil. The party examined the hidden spot in the floorboards which gave access to the small crypt and Gaddock ascertained that the damage to break-in looked like it could have been done with a shovel, perhaps like that used by the groundkeeper Milivoj. Father Lucien told the party that the only other person who knew about the crypt (which had been concealed years before and was a secret of the priests who tended the church) was Yeska, the young (16) altar boy whom he hoped would follow him into the priesthood. He'd told him of the power of relic when he was terrified after an attack against the town. He'd questioned the boy and was convinced he'd told someone but he wouldn't say who it was.
Ser Adon committed to help the priest and find the missing relic. After this, everyone headed back to the Blue Water Inn, where they joined in at the wake. Gaddock persuaded Yeska to come outside for a discussion, and then cast a suggestion spell, making the boy admit that he'd told Milivoj about the bones of the saint which protected the town when the older lad was in a dark mood, to try and lift him the same way that Father Lucian had done for him. He pointed out Milivoj to Gaddock; as the wake ended, Kel and Gaddock slipped out and followed the dour looking lad. Kel noticed that he'd taken a large amount of food off the tables which had been laid out. Using Gaddock's familiar, an owl, they followed the boy. He stopped at a poorly maintained house in the eastern part of the town, handing the food to several younger children. He then turned back towards the west and the Church so Kel and Gaddock moved to intercept.
Unfortunately, Milivoj noticed that they were following him, and he turned and ran. Gaddock made a rude joke about the boy's mother, casting Tasha's Hideous Laughter, but the boy resisted the spell. A running chase through the city streets ensued and eventually Gaddock and Kel managed to grapple the boy and stop his escape. Kel drew himself up to his full height and told Milivoj that he'd better tell him where he'd stashed the reliquary if he knew what was good for him. Cowed, the boy began to tell his story...
Meanwhile, Ser Adon and Ser Alys enjoyed the afternoon air and some more excellent wine, noticing a commotion in the street with the guards heading down to deal with it. Adon stuck his head in the kitchen, and asked Danika if they could have a word with her and her spouse. After most of the guests had left, they sat down at the kitchen table and drank a toast to Alana. Alys and Adon made it clear that they opposed Strahd and were looking for allies. The conversation delicately moved around matters of trust. Urwin said that they would need to talk to his father, who managed the family vineyard if they wanted overt support from the Martikovs. Adon noticed a conflict in Urwin as he said this, and he suspected that there were some points of disagreement between father and son. Urwin suggested a way that they could prove their worth; he would give them a letter of introduction and they could head out to the Wizard of Wines vineyard to collected the overdue delivery of wine. The two warriors agreed to this; as they drank more Urwin confirmed that Alana was a were-raven and that others in his family had the same ability. They had been covertly helping those that oppose he who can't be named in Vallaki.
Alys and Adon continued to make small talk, and Danika asked how long they'd been married. All of a sudden matters came to a head, with both of the half-orcs admitting their love for each other and Ser Adon going down on one knee and proposing, and Ser Alys accepting. More drinks. A discussion on when and where to wed; they decided that Vallaki would be a good place, as it had a church and good still prevailed. The Martikovs sent for the priest...
...Milivoj admitted that he'd sold the bones of St Andral to Henrik van der Voort, the coffin-maker and undertaker. He'd often bought small items from the boy before (often procured from the bodies of strangers who had died in town) and the day after he had found out about the reliquary had turned around and asked for the boy to get it for him for silver. He'd done this so he could feed his younger siblings as his mother was gone, and his father incapable.
At this point the guards arrived, and asked what was going on, and why these strangers were accosting one of the priest's retinue. Desparate not to have to admit his crime to the guard and end up in the stocks for a few days, Milivoj tried to cover for what had gone on, and between Kel and Gaddock they succeeded. Their papers were checked and stamped, and the guard went on it's way.
Gaddock gave the boy all his remaining gold (2GP) and told the boy not to skip town. Kelwarin added another gold piece, and the boy went away happy. As he left, the two of them noticed a dark haired, thick-set man watching them. He turned and disappeared into the crowd. A quick talk between Kel and Gaddock, and Kelwarin went invisible, gently fading away into the background and set out after the rogue. Gaddock headed back, but used his owl to guide Kelwarin.
Kel caught up with the suspicious character, and followed him into what he later found out was the Wachterhaus, the home of Lady Fiona Wachter. He followed the man to a study, where a dark haired, quite severe looking middle-aged noblewoman discussed what he had seen. This was Lady Fiona; her agent was Ernst Larnack. She told him to watch the characters further, so that they could understand if they would be useful to help overthrowing the Baron. She also asked if he'd found the butler, who had absconded some days before. As Ernst set back off, Kel lingered and saw an imp emerge from under the desk and onto the shoulder of the noblewoman. He decided that discretion was the better part of value and headed back out of the study.
Kel decided to check out some more of the house; he peeked upstairs and heard a girl scratching and calling 'here kitty kitty'. At this point, he decided to leave. He successfully followed a servant out through a door and went back to the pub. He arrived at the kitchen to see Gaddock drinking a toast and lamenting that Ser Alys' strong thighs were now lost to him. Apparently the former wrestler admired the half-orc warrior.
The wedding date was set for 3pm on the Feast of St Andral, two days hence. More drinks. Kel asked about Lady Wachter. Noble, doesn't attend the festivals, the Baron seems a little afraid of her, anyone else would have ended up in the stocks. Has an agent, Ernst Larnack working for her. Two sons, Nikolai and Karl who were layabouts and often at the Blue Water Inn. Apparently Lady Fiona has a book club and is a very irregular attendee at church. Her butler Haliq has disappeared. Her daughter, Stella, has not been seen since her engagement with the Baron's son, Viktor, was broken off. Idle speculation whether the Butler had run off with Stella or perhaps it was Gertruda?
A plan was hatched to go in and charm the undertaker into handing the bones back the next morning. if this didn't work out, they'd use force...
18 November 2020
GM Notes: I forgot about Ireena and Ismark, and Rictavio, but there was already a lot of stuff going on in tonight's session. They've now entwined into three of the four main plot threads for Vallaki, and the wedding just tops it off. A fun session, albeit with lots of moving parts.
The three proposals? Find the Relic, Pick up the Wine, and Ser Adon to Ser Alys...
Curse of Strahd will return on 2 December 2020