Session 1 – I, Strahd – CoS 5e

Episode 1 –  Mists, Wolves, and Creepy Kids with Whistles

Our party started their journey on the road towards the Misty Forest on a rainy, stormy, afternoon, travelling for half a day, and seemingly reaching the Misty Woods in record time. As night falls, the distant cries of wolves could be heard nearby. After some searching of the area, finding an old fountain with a stone statue depicting an ancient deity of unknown definitive origin. The cleric and the warlock seemed unsure what the font could have represented. 

As nighttime fell, Our party settled in for a good night’s sleep in tent or bedroll to wait out the night, trading off on taking watches.  Aenar and Skamos built a blanket fort inside the tent for extra comfort. Nuz was the first on watch, settling in by the fire, playing his pan flute.  Out of the tent bursts Aenar in dramatic fashion, playing along in sync with his Viol to accompany his companion’s pan flutes, resulting in a very cross scolding from the cleric.  After a couple of hours the wolves howling seemed to draw nearer as Nuz woke Adrik for his watch.  Adrik began his watch and a short time passed before he perceived that there were wolves seemingly closing in on the camp, pacing a wide circle around the clearing where the camp was set up. Adrik quickly alerted the party, yelling into the tent to “Wake up and get out here, we’re not alone!”  

Skamos exited the tent naked, went back in the tent, and came out again armored up, while the sleepy bard picked up a rock from the forest floor, cast light on it, and threw it into the bushes.  A set of glowing eyes belonging to the wolf appeared.  Aenar grabbed his viol, playing a shrill note only the wolf could here, instantly making the wolf’s brain explode from the inside and killing it easily.  

With one wolf dispatched, Skamos moved further to the south of the camp, and prepared a eldritch blast for anything that may jump out to react to him. As the warlock stepped near the fire pit, a huge burst of flame shot forth from the campfire nearly missing him.  Looking out into the mists, Skamos noticed a pair of red eyes glowing through the mists and immediately launched his eldritch blast into the mists.  Unfortunately the knee jerk reaction was not successful in hitting the source of the glowing red eyes but the blast illuminated two more pairs of glowing wolf eyes off in the direction of the sinister eyes. One of the wolves ran up to Skamos, biting him in the ankle.  

Nuz then attempted to swing at the wolf biting Skamos, missing and doing a full-on sweep with his greataxe. Sevahn then cast Shield of Faith on the injured tiefling and attempted to lay into the attacking wolf with his mace – missing and doing a full on sweep with his mace, almost identical to the barbarian’s attempt. The dwarf, swinging in the direction of the wolf attacking Skamos dealt it heavy damage with his crossbow bolt, killing the wolf with one well placed shot.   

On Aenar’s turn, he remained cowered in the tent, weeping softly to himself and peeking out to see what was going on periodically. 

Skamos, relieved of any immediate threat from the ankle biting wolf, moved back toward the perimeter only to be met with another wolf emerging from the bushes.  After a comical few seconds of looking back and forth between the remaining threats, Skamos cast a powerful hex and launched an eldritch blast at the wolf behind him, searing a hole into the animal with the powerful bolt and decaying the flesh with additional necrotic damage, maiming the animal. 

The remaining uninjured wolf strolled over to Nuz casually and sat down, looking at the barbarian with interest. He sat down at the feet of the half orc in a non-threatening manner.  Nuz then reached his hand out to touch the wolf, and with his (critical success) skill of handling wild animals he was able to tame the wolf, who borked excitedly and licked his hand. Nuz then yelled to the group “He’s with us! Nobody touches Onyx!”  

Adrik then attempted to put the poor maimed wolf out of it’s misery, just missing the animal with his shot.  Sevahn then yelled out into the creatures in the mist, challenging them, only to be met with horrid, twisted bestial/human hybrid laughter, the eyes vanishing, and the wolves seemingly falling back in the forest The one remaining wolf, being grivousely injured, succumbed to its injuries. An attempt to revive the animal or bring it comfort was unsuccessful. 

After the ordeal, the warlock and the cleric pondered the magic of the fire and determined that whatever was out in the mists was definitely magical and supernatural.  They were unsure whether the incident was led by werewolves or something more sinister. 

Adrik then resumed his watch, trading off with Sevahn for the last part of the night, and the party got a long rest, however after the nights events everyone was left on edge, Nuz resting his head on his new canine companion.  In the early morning hours, the cleric completing his watch began his morning meditation, being joined outside by Skamos.  The cleric and the warlock came to heads about each other’s worship practices but in the end agreed that they were both working towards the greater good. 

Nuz went to rustle up some breakfast with his new companion the wolf while everyone else milled about, they soon realized that the tree line around the camp looked very different from the night before. The cleric went to the fountain again, and it indeed had changed, the statue more clearly representing what was believed to be “Mother Night” and confirmed by Skamos that it likely had to be.  The dwarf decided to put a mark into the stone with his tools in an effort to create a mark that could help orient their location later should they wind up lost. 

Unsure of their whereabouts currently, they collectively decided to press on. After travelling for several hours, the road beneath them turned to a paved gravel, and the barbarian spotted what looked to be a building on a hill in the distance.  Adrik advised the group to proceed with caution. The party came upon a 4-story brick house, its outward appearance in shambles, a single, solitary light emanating from one of the windows. Two children, Rose and Thorn, stood outside of the house. 

“Hello sir, can you please help us?” Rose said in a weak, soft voice. 

The party took turns speaking to the children “on their level”. They learned from the children that there was some creature, “a monster”, in their house, that they had not seen their parents in a long time, that they heard howling coming from the basement, and that their baby brother, Frederick, was somewhere inside the house.  They mentioned their bedroom was on the second floor, however the children seemed quite confused and terrified, so no one knew what to think of the things they were saying. The tiefling with the solid black rune strobe eyes scared the crap out of Thorn both times he spoke with the child.   

Suggesting they follow the party into the house, Rose then requested the party enter first to check and see if it was all ok to go back inside.  Adrik knealt down to make himself smaller as he spoke to the children and gave the girl a whistle. The bard also created a magical imbued note rune that was also given to Rose with the instructions to use it if they got into trouble. As the party entered the main hall/foyer of the house, the door slammed shut behind him.  Adrik determined the doors needed some force to open.  After a direct assault on the door from Adrik, the door easily swung open to a solid wall of inpenetrable mist, with the children nowhere in sight. 

Nowhere left to go but forward into the depths of the house. 

The party searched through the first level of the house, discovering the main hallway with its ornamental long sword with windmill crest, the grand red marble stairway leading up, the well-appointed kitchen and pantry with its dusty dumbwaiter, which Skamos used to send a piece of cheese up to the second floor. The formal dining room with its pristine polished silver and crystal and elaborate tapestries.  Aenar opened a door to the southwest only to be met with three glowing pairs of eyes, and quickly noped and shut the door. Nuz took over and popped his head in, and there he could see three wolves, they all appeared to be staring him down.  While recounting to the party what he was seeing, Sevahn pushed up his glasses on his nose as he squinted into the dimness and his eyes adjusted.  “Taxidermy wolves”.  

They decided to slice the stuffed wolves open for good measure.  One wolf had a set of old woman’s clothing and spectacles (the big bad wolf in the red riding hood fairy tale), one stuffed with sheep’s wool (a sheep in wolves clothing- the opposite of the term “a wolf in sheeps clothing”) and one stuffed with chicken feathers and rags (from the short story “Salvador Late or Early”). The city guard detective effectively broke into the locked cabinet of the house and removed some crossbows and bolts, stashing the heaviest one for himself.  

After seemingly searching the entire first floor save for one door believed to lead to the basement, the party stood at the red marble staircase, ready to ascend to the upper levels of the house. 

“Salvador inside that wrinkled shirt, inside the throat that must clear itself and apologize each time that it speaks, inside the forty-pound body of boy with its geography of scars, its history of hurt, limbs stuffed with feathers and rags, in what part of the eyes, in what part of the heart, in that cage of the chest where something throbs with both fists and knows only what Salvador knows. ” – Excerpt from “Salvador Late or Early” by Sandra Cisneros

 

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