Curse of Strahd: Blasts from the Pasts

Please forgive that there is another D&D post. I’m trying to compensate for lost time as the players are much further along than where these posts are. I’m doing two a week until we get closer to where the party currently is in the campaign.

The party left the tree and started toward Vallaki. Given that the windmill is on the way, they stared down the fork in the road that led to the windmill. As they did, the mists began to coalesce around them, pushing them toward the windmill. They go within about 20 feet of the windmill when the mist formed a circle around the party and the windmill, trapping them within the radius of the mist. One of the first things they noticed was a shadowed figure moving inside one of the windows. However, their attention was also drawn to four large megaliths that were implanted in the ground around the windmill; two of them on the left of the windmill and two of them on the right.

As they glanced at them, they all noticed small pictures engraved on them. The two on the left had a symbol of a sun with intricate colors interweaved in the rising/falling sun. The two on the right had the same symbol, however the symbol was desecrated and engraved with a new symbol, one with a flaming purple border around a black circle.

Nedda decided to use Detect Magic on the megaliths and saw that each of their names were magically engraved on each megalith along with the symbol of the seasons. Varis and Nedda were on the two megaliths on the left with the symbols for Spring and Summer respectively. Dollie and Cabel were on the megaliths on the right with the symbols for Fall and Winter respectively. As Nedda began focusing on the magical pings from the megaliths, a bright energy shot out of each megalith and warped itself into the minds of each party member. Their minds became adrift in a sea of something bizarre and…from the past?

SPOILER ALERT FOR THE PLAYERS IN MY CAMPAIGN
From this point until I put an “end of spoiler” part, the following information is something that each party member experienced independently and not all of them have shared it with the other players. I still want people not participating in the campaign that read this blog to be able to experience the story as they have been but with all added aspects to it since my players also read this blog from time to time.

Varis entered into a dreamlike state where he saw a spring-laden city sprawled across the entire landscape of existence. It was a metropolis of sorts with large buildings made of stone and wood and monuments clad in symbols of blooming flowers. People walked amongst the streets and a bright sun shone down from the sky. A large figure sat in the sky with robes emblazoned with the symbol of the Morninglord. He reached his hand out to Varis, but Varis refused to take it. The man frowned and spoke of his disappointment in Varis’ refusal.

Nedda entered into a dreamlike state where she saw a summer-laden city sprawled across the entire landscape of existence. It was a woodland city of sorts with buildings made of trees, stone, and mossy wood along with monuments clad in symbols of a roaring flame. Many people walked amongst the streets and a bright sun shone down from the sky. A large figure sat in the sky with robes emblazoned with the symbol of the Morninglord. He reached his hand out to Nedda and Nedda took it. She floated up into the sky and looked down upon the city with the man. He spoke a poem to her and watched with a smile as they looked upon the city below.

Dollie entered into a dreamlike state where she saw a fall-laden city sprawled across the entire landscape of existence. It was a hill and valley city of sorts with buildings built directly into the earth like the Shire from Lord of the Rings. It contained large monuments that were once clad in bright orange leaves which had been crossed out, desecrated, and replaced with the large black circle with the purple fiery border. While many people walked the streets, cries of screaming and despair rang out in the air. A dark sky canvassed the area and a large figure sat in the sky, her robes emblazoned with the same purple and black circle. The figure smiled and the night became darker. The woman reached out her hand to Dollie and Dollie took it. Dollie floated upward and looked over the city with the woman. She spoke a poem to her and they watched the land below as it was ravaged and destroyed in a gruesome way.

Cabel entered into a dreamlike state where he saw a winter-laden village sprawled across the entire landscape of existence. It was an old village of sorts, the buildings made out of stone and wood with monuments clad in snowflakes that had been desecrated and replaced with the large black circle with the purple, fiery border. The night grew darker and a large figure sat in the sky, her tattered robes emblazoned with the same purple and black circle. Just before she could reach out her hand to Cabel, a dark mist filled his vision. His dream shifted before he could take her hand and he saw the mist descend around him. Looking forward, he noticed two figures deadlocked in a monstrous battle in the middle of the village. A large wolf lunged at the figure in front of it, a large man, desiccated and undead. The wolf transformed into a bat and lunged at the undead figure. Swatting it away, the undead man tried to fight back but the bat transformed into a man and fired off magical beams of energy. Eventually, the man transformed once more into a bat and flew off into the sky. The undead figure turned toward Cabel. He noticed that the figure was missing his left hand. It raised its right hand at Cabel, palm out, and a large eyeball sat in the middle of the palm. The gaze from the eyeball pierced Cabel’s mind and he heard a dastardly-spoken poem. The eye disappeared and the figure reached its hand out toward Cabel. Cabel took it. Just then, however, Cabel felt a tug at his inner consciousness, almost like taking the hand was a dangerous act. The undead figure dissipated and a new man, sleek, handsome, and gaunt stood before Cabel. He smiled and spoke a poem of love to Cabel. He then reached his hand out, but Cabel refused to take the hand. The man became irritated and confused and spoke of his disappointment in Cabel’s reaction.

END OF SPOILERS

All of them snapped out of the dream at the same time. A moment of pure confusion and mild panic set in for the adventurers. After a few moments of conversation and contemplation, they finally decided to move toward the windmill. A lone raven sat on a perch above the door and squawked at them incessantly. After discussing how best to deal with the situation, they finally entered into the windmill as stealthily as possible.

Old Bonegrinder Windmill

They entered into the first floor of the windmill and saw that it had been transformed into a makeshift kitchen, but it was completely and disgustingly dirty. They saw a small peddler’s cart along with cabinets and other random pieces of furniture. They looked through the cabinet and found some small phials with labels on them. The first one was labeled Youth, the second one was labeled Laughter, and the third one was labeled Mother’s Milk. Varis decided to try and sneak upstairs to take a peak at the second floor.

Upon arriving on the second floor, Varis spotted the same old woman that had stuffed the small child in the haversack back in the village of Barovia. She was sweeping the floor and humming to herself. Nedda then tried to sneak up there as well, however, she made a little bit too much noise and the old woman noticed them. She turned around, happy to have a customer that had showed up to buy her Dream Pastries. She introduced herself as Morgantha and began bartering with them for the sale. Dollie agreed to purchase all of the Dream Pastries she had available at the moment. Morgantha went downstairs with Dollie to box up the pastries currently in the oven.

While Dollie did that, Nedda or Varis (my notes didn’t specify which one, but I think it was Nedda) took a glance at the third floor and saw two more figures that looked similar to Morgantha dancing around the large gear shaft in the middle of the room. The scene shifted back down to Dollie and Morgantha. Morgantha was bent over the oven, scooping out the pastries when Dollie tried to cast a spell on her. Unfortunately, Morgantha noticed what was happening and screamed out for her two sisters upstairs to attack.

Night Hag (Bella and Offalia)

The fight was on, and it wasn’t going to be a pretty one. The two sisters upstairs, two night hags named Bella and Offalia, rushed down and met Ireena, Nedda, Varis, and Cabel head on. Dollie ended up fighting against Morgantha on the first floor. The two sisters did some considerable damage, slinging spells and attacking with their claws at opportune times. Ireena fell unconscious several times, Nedda became paralyzed and was unable to get up, and Varis and Cabel took some considerable hits during all of it.

Dollie stood toe to toe with Morgantha, however, little did Dollie know, Morgantha was toying with her food. Every time Dollie would cast a spell at her, she would cast one back. Morgantha knew the young girl in front of her was no match for her, so she wanted to savor Dollie’s panic and fright. Unfortunately for Morgantha, Dollie had encountered far worse in her lifetime. She held her ground, showing no fear, but instead heated resolve.

Eventually, the four upstairs started to retreat, running downstairs and attempting to leave the windmill. Cabel ended up having to carry Nedda as they ran downstairs and they were hit with a massive lightning spell that did a lot of damage and left Nedda unconscious and dying. Varis threw some caltrops on the stairs and backed out. This slowed the descent of the sisters. They eventually all escaped to the outside where Cabel healed Nedda. Nedda, infuriated at the events, cast one final spell, using the power behind it to end Bella’s life. Bella was flung against the wall in an unmatched fury. As soon as Bella was defeated, Offalia began to wither and disappear, almost like her life was linked to Bella’s.

Morgantha, on the other hand, gave out a scream of rage, and in an instant, she turned on the spot, disappearing into the Ethereal Plane. As soon as all three hags were gone, the mist ascended into the air and dissipated, allowing for free travel once again.

The hags were gone, the windmill was freed, but the party wasn’t about to forget the battle anytime soon. Licking their wounds, bruised, bloodied, and overcome with exhaustion, the party was finally free to explore and nest inside the windmill. The question, however, was this: was it safe to do so?

The stats/levels depicted above represent the current stats/levels of the party. They are not reflective of where the party was when this session took place.

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