Castle Ravenloft Session 1 / Part 2
by, 05-27-2009 at 06:16 PM (8520 Views)
Castle Ravenloft Session 1 / Part 2
“Ah my guests…please join me for dinner…after that last encounter with some of the denizens of my castle you must be famished.”
My skeptical group walked into a dining room where strahd sat at the head of a table facing him (Honestly didn’t understand why the book originally sat it up for him to be RIGHT next to them as they entered the door with his back to them…that’s not the Strahd I’m roleplaying anyway). I tried to set this up as a skill challenge and even gave a disclaimer when they rolled initiative that it’s not a battle…nor does it have to be…but I think my group heard INITIATIVE…LET’S KILL SOMETHING. Lol So I didn’t run it as much of a skill challenge as I wanted to and set it up more as a roleplaying encounter with Strahd, for them to know a little about their main villain as well as for him to get a chance to know what THEY know of him. He offered succulent steak and a nice Cabernet Sauvignon Wine from a small wine vineyard that lied just outside Barovia prior to the Dark Powers swallowing up Barovia. Flaunting his wealth and arrogance he carried his conversations with the weight of his human actions, as well as told stories of the traitors of Leo Disilnya that assaulted him and how he eventually got his revenge upon him. At one point the group asked a question that, though I don’t remember the exact question, it was something to do with them intruding on his castle and that they are a threat to them in kind with, “I view you not as a threat I assure you…..to me I view you as little more a threat than the steak on your plates. To me you a footnote in history where as I am eternal.” It was a great line…showing his arrogance, but seconds later the sword mage lifted her glass in toast and said, “To Love…the Love that Tatyana and Sergei must of felt on their wedding night” Drinking the wine, her and the avenger had taken in a bit of Strahd’s vampiric blood making them more susceptible to Strahd’s Domination Powers….but that was only an after effect because by this point the party had gotten their wise cracks in and the angered ancient vampire unleashed his powers upon the group. Even as he turned party member against party member, he moved with lightning speed across the room and lifted the artificer off the ground by his throat choking the air from him. As the Artificer reached for a stake in his belt he instead turned to a salve of slipperiness and coated himself with it’s oily substance, sliding out from Strahd’s grasp as the vampire drew him closer to drain his life blood from his neck. But what the party didn’t know was this was only a test of their strength and seeing that the adventurers posed little threat to him he decided to lead them into a trap instead. Strahd attacked on last time casting a necrotic powered lighting bolt that hit 3 of the party members hard before he assumed his mist form and slipped through the cracks of a hidden passage way….a passage way that would hopefully lead to their dooms.
DM Notes: It’s important to note that my original intent was to run this as a skill challenge but as I said earlier I don’t think it was clear to the players that this was indeed what it was and not a combat encounter waiting to happen. So while a couple of the players tried to be diplomatic, it was said in the original and also part of my skill challenge that certain topics would anger or bore Strahd which would result in a small fight. I concluded that their end remarks failed the skill challenge (if you could call it that) and that prompted the battle. I believe it was really well done from a DM standpoint…I really got to play Strahd up, which is an encounter I’ve waited for since the start of this campaign. A summary of the battle thus in detail was that the pc’s entered the dining room where I had placed Strahd…after a bit of roleplaying…he attacked them relying on the wine a player drank to fully dominate that character turning it against the rest of the party while attacking the party’s “leader” class. (I can play this off because at this point he’s seen the party in battle several times and knows that if he could disable the party’s “healer” then they will quickly fall one by one.). After a couple of rounds he shot 3 closely positioned pcs with his “Necrotic Lightning Bolt Power” (Strahd is a spellcaster and necromancer in the older versions…and I wanted to keep a bit of that so I took the Wizard’s Lightning Bolt Power and added the Necrotic Keyword…even though it’s a power that Strahd uses in this encounter…it’s not something he’s going to rely on..which is why it’s not in his stat block I posted earlier…and also it’s something I wanted to keep to my chest to surprise the group…..SURPRISE!!!!! lol ANYWAY, following up this he escaped down a web covered passage way in his mist form…in the original module there was nothing there…but why would he escape down an empty web covered passage way when he could lead them into a trap where 3 phaseweb spiders awaited the weakened party members?....EXACTLY so with my party in pursuit they were ambushed by these beasts. The creatures were a standard encounter and really not much of a threat but the lack of their encounter and daily powers did give the pc’s a bit of a disadvantage. Finally, the spiders were defeated and the pc’s were left to think about their next course of actions…..follow the direction Strahd was leading them to…or go back the way they came and explore other rooms of Castle Ravenloft….I guess we shall soon see this week.
P.S. Did I mention how much I ENJOYED playing STRAHD???....It was so cool