After receiving a mysterious letter inviting them to rescue the Burgomaster of Barovia, the party of five (Travis, Gideon, Aike, Leowen, and Ulfrik) entered the mists… and found themselves in the land of Barovia – a dour, bleak foggy landscape where the sun never shines through the dense clouds above.
The characters delved into an evil, sentient house known as the Durst House, inhabited by the undead, and festooned with lethal traps. In the basement, a monstrous fungal creature known only as “Lorgoth the Decayer” attempted to overcome the party, but their combined might destroyed it. They escaped the house and set free the spirits of the innocent children of the house’s inhabitants, Rosevalda and Thornboldt Durst. However, they did so at the cost of one of their party’s life — or was it? Ulfrik, thought at first dead, revived supernaturally on the steps of the house…. which then proceeded to disappear into the mists.
Searching the town they encountered a maddened mother known as Mad Mary, whose daughter Gertruda was taken by a figure known as “The Devil Strahd.” Entering the local tavern the characters met a young man named Ismark “the Lesser” Kolyanovich, whose sister Ireena Kolyana seemed to be the current target of Strahd Von Zarovich, determined to be a vampire lord. Strahd was indeed a formidable foe, for it was he that controlled the very land itself, and it was he that the evil cult inhabiting the Durst house worshiped as a god.
The Burgomaster of Barovia, Ismark’s father, did not seemingly write the note that the characters were delivered before they entered the mists. This became apparent as Ismark showed the dead body of his father to the party as they entered his mansion. To help protect Ireena from the advances of this undead foe, the party traveled to the local church and helped to bury the Burgomaster’s body in the family crypt. They met with the local priest, Father Donavich, whose son, Doru had been turned to a vampire and left to starve in the undercroft of the church while Donavich prayed to his god for a cure. The party stormed the basement and destroyed the vampire, much to his father’s dismay.
Leaving the village and travelling to the west, they encountered the local camp of gypsies known as Vistani. Their leader, Madam Eva seemingly knew of their arrival and performed a special magic card divination known as a Tarokka Reading that foretold the parties’ fate in dealing with Strahd.
After travelling further to the west with Ismark and Ireena in tow, the party discovered a seemingly abandoned windmill which hearkened back to the windmill crest of the Durst family. After observing a nearby raven that intimated a foreboding omen, they entered the mill and found that the windmill was the home of three hags who had been obtaining children from the local village and grinding their bones into their magical baked Dream Pastries. Destroying these foul creatures, they found two children who they took into custody.
Venturing further to the north west, the party entered the town of Vallaki. The burgomaster of Vallaki forced his townspeople to put on the pretense of happiness through endless weekly fesitvals in order to seemingly ward off the evil of the vampire lord. While in town, the party made several notable acquaintances at the local Inn, The Blue Water Inn, and Ireena and Ismark found a room to rest in while the party scouted out the town. They spoke with the inn’s proprietors, Urwin Martikov and Danika Dorakova, who asked them to help find out why the local winery, the Wizard of Wines, had not yet delivered wine to their establishment.
After leaving the two children in the custody of the local priest, the characters discovered that sacred bones had been stolen the crypt of the town’s church. After interogating the locals, they determined that the bones had been stolen by the coffinmaker Henrik Van de Voort as part of a deal with an unknown individual. The party investigated the coffinmaker’s shop, and was horrified to find that a nest of vampires had taken abode in the coffinmaker’s attic. The party fought valiantly, but Travis lost his life to the foul undead spawn. Retreating across the street, they made an ally in the old monster hunter Rudolph Van Richten whose true motivations seemed unclear. With their combined might, they vanquished the vampires and brought back the bones to the Church, reconsecrating the edifice. Also, two new allies presented themselves to the party, an elfen rogue named Mahel and a Goliath warrior named Gae-al Thuliaga.
While this occurred, some of the characters hightailed it back to the Blue Water Inn to make sure that Ireena and Ismark were secure. They were not.
Strahd himself had come to take Ireena and proceeded to impale Gideon through his chest, instantly killing him. However, Strahd was thwarted in his plan to take Ireena by the efforts of the party, Ismark and Van Richten, although Ireena was wounded in the process. Strahd seemed enraged by the intervention of the old man, and vowed vengeance on the party. Retreating to the church, the characters learned not only was Ireena the reincarnation of Strahd’s true love Tatyana, but that her current incarnation was the long lost sister of the local burgomaster’s vicious and deformed henchman, Izek Strazni. Seemingly obsessed with Ireena, Izek seems ready to take her by any means necessary….
Meanwhile, Leowen separated herself from the party to attempt to learn more about the Vistani. Hearing that there was a Vistani Camp nearby, she waited until The Festival of the Blazing Sun had ended (with her help, of course) and walked a raven-strewn path through the forest to the camp. There, she encountered a dusk elf named Kasimir Velikov, who spoke to her about the Amber Temple, an arcane resting place of ancient evil high in the mountains to the south, that may hold the secrets to destroying Strahd once and for all….