Curse of Strahd: A Bloody Interrogation

A figure in the mist has caused zombies to rise out of the ground. Our party, simply trying to attend a funeral and allow for those that grieve to pay their respects, find themselves under attack. Everybody jumps into action and begins fighting off the zombies. Ireena and Ismark join the fray, but Father Donavich dives into the hole in the ground currently holding the Burgomaster’s coffin. The fighting is intense, and through some fast zombie attacks, Ireena finds herself laying on the ground unconscious. After a few moments, the rest of the zombies are dispatched.

The figure in the mist can be seen smiling in the distance and says, “Very good, my love, very good.” The mist coalesces into a confined area before dispersing and disappearing off into the distance. Cabel heals Ireena and Ismark cleans off his blade after the scuffle. Donavich appears from the grave and tells Ireena and Ismark that he has the will and testament inside and needs to speak with them about the final rites for their father. The party agrees to follow him into the church.

Father Donavich

Upon entering the church, they hear this awful wailing coming from below the floor saying things like, “FATHER! I’M SO HUNGRY! PLEASE! FATHER, HELP ME!” Upon arriving in the main worship area, the party finally asks the priest what the screaming is. Donavich immediately breaks down, his hoarse voice regaling them a story of his son.

His son, Doru, was tempted by a wizard/mage dressed all in black to attack Castle Ravenloft, the home of Strahd. Doru took part in an attack on the castle but was eventually slain. Now he has returned to Donavich as a vampire spawn. Donavich lured and locked him in the undercroft of the church thinking that he could pray to the Morninglord, his God, for help and an answer to Doru’s problem. He has been praying for at least a week, and no help has come to him. Because of this, and after he witnessed the party and Ireena/Ismark dispatch of the zombies, he asks the group if they would help him with his son.

The party discusses it for a bit while also asking Donavich a few questions. During the process, they bring up the possibility of killing Doru, and Donavich becomes overwhelmed with grief at the prospect, telling the party that he can’t be the one that does it, but he genuinely hopes they won’t do it either. He falls to his knees and begs the group not to kill his son.

The party devises a new plan where they can get some blood and find a way to interrogate the vampire spawn by offering it some blood as payment for answering their questions. Varis grabs a bucket, goes up to Donavich and asks him what he would be willing to do for his son. Seeing the bucket and already overcome with grief, Donavich says, “Anything,” and then proceeds to grab a dagger from his altar before slicing his own throat to help fill up the bucket with blood.

Caught off guard, Cabel rushes forward and heals Donavich, but the damage was done. Donavich lived, but the bucket was half full of blood and now Donavich couldn’t speak. The lingering wound on his neck made him unable to talk.

After a small bit of discussion, the party finds the trap door that leads to the undercroft and Doru immediately starts attacking the door, the smell of the humans above him too much for his hunger. A small opening was made in the door by his claws and so Varis and Dollie begin asking Doru questions and dropping small amounts of blood through the opening made by his claws.

He tells them how a wizard in black robes came from some faraway place and convinced Doru and others to revolt and attack Castle Ravenloft. Doru attacked and with other villagers, fought against skeletons, wolves, bats, zombies, and a skeletal rider on a black horse. Eventually, the wizard was supposedly killed by Strahd and Doru was felled during the battle. Doru returned to Donavich as Strahd’s vampire spawn and was lured into the undercroft by his father. He continues to attack the trap door in an attempt to get to the blood he can smell in the bucket. After the questioning is finished, Varis drops a large bookshelf onto the trap door, and the party proceeds back to the Burgomaster’s mansion with Ismark, Ireena, and Donavich.

Doru the Vampire Spawn

Once back at the mansion, Cabel wants to ask Donavich some questions. Using ink and paper, Donavich is forced to write out all of his answers to Cabel. Cabel casts Zone of Truth and begins asking Donavich questions. It’s a long conversation that involves founding out about the Morninglord and how Donavich feels about his God and the kinds of belief he has in Him. Cabel asks him questions about Strahd and Ireena, the conversation becoming one where even though Zone of Truth was cast, Cabel starts to question how evasive or misleading Donavich was with his answers. Donavich ends the conversation by saying they should take Ireena to Vallaki for protection, and if Vallaki ends up not being a safe place, they should take her to a village called Krezk.

Throughout the conversation, the party learns that Donavich isn’t a very nice or good person. In fact, he is very selfish and views his relationship with the Morninglord to be superior to others. Given his slicing of his throat, his treatment of his son, and how he evades the answers to Cabel’s questions, he actually becomes one of the most hated people they’ve come across in the adventure so far.

The party retreats and discusses things for quite some time. They discuss everything that has happened to them so far on their adventures and whether they should take Ireena to Vallaki or not. They learn from Ireena that Ismark is going to stay behind so that he can run things because his father is no longer alive. Ismark insists that the party should stop at Madam Eva’s place on the way out of town so that they can hear for themselves their importance in this world.

They all vacillate for a while and eventually come to the consensus that they’ll visit Madam Eva and take Ireena to Vallaki as long as Ismark will at least go with them to see Madam Eva. Ireena produces a map of Barovia and they all plot their course. The party also notices a windmill on the way to Vallaki, and wondering whether this is the same windmill for which they now own the deed to, decide they will stop there on the way.

After getting a good night’s rest, the party meets with Ireena, Ismark, and Donavich in the morning where they find out Donavich will go back to the church for any people that show up for services. Because of this, the party hesitates, thinking that Doru could still get loose and cause problems. The party asks Ismark to please put up a notice on the doors of the church that they should not attend services and should go back home. Ismark agrees to this.

Readying themselves, the party heads out of the village of Barovia and toward the Tser Pool Encampment to the west of the village where Ismark assures them they’ll find Madam Eva.

On the way to Madam Eva, they come across a fork in the road containing a gallows with a lone skeleton hanging from a rope. They all stop for a moment and wonder what happened. As they take the northwest road, they all turn back and each party member sees that the skeleton is gone and hanging there instead is their own dead body. Each party member notices himself/herself and as the body floats in the wind, it turns and the cold, dead eyes of the hanging corpses stares back at them.

They travel the road for a bit longer and finally come across a large camp of Vistani, a similar group of people they met at the campsite before being transported via the mist to Barovia. One of the leaders of the campfire notices them, runs over jovially, and welcomes them to the camp.

“Greetings! Madam Eva has been waiting for you!”

The stats/levels in the photos above reflect the party’s current stats/levels and not where they were when this session took place.

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