Werewolves in the Mist

The Adventure begins

It all started a few days ago. My faction rep, Davra Jassur, sent a message to me to have a meeting. It seems that I wasn’t the only one in the area. There appears to be a problem east of Daggersford that involves werewolves. Davra says that there is a group of adventurers going to go and try to fix the problem. Davra’s husband was in a caravan that is missing and she fears the worst and would consider it a personal favor if we would do what we can to get an answer for her. We said we would do it.

The meeting of the adventurers was in a local tavern and included two dwarves, an elf and three half-elves. It looks as if there will be a barbarian, a cleric, and three other magic users beside myself. We were told that the werewolves were coming out of the Misty Forest and attacking people on the night of the full moon. It is about three days til the next full moon. No time to lose.

As a group we decided to leave the next morning. One of the magic users had a local source and was able to get one weapon for each of us silvered at no charge. This will be helpful as silver will be needed to kill the werewolves.

We took off the next morning heading out to the area where an attack occurred. After entering the forest, the mist seemed to close in. I was able to find and follow the tracks for several hours. Finally the tracks disappeared. We traveled a ways further and came upon a massive set of gates. Our barbarian went right up to the gates and opened them and entered pretty much without checking anything. About all the rest of us could do was follow.

Once we had all gotten past the gates and were looking around, the gates closed on their own. At that time I spotted a rider a distance down the path. As I looked closer, I could see that both the horse and rider were skeletons. I called out to him and he sat there for a short period and then turned and rode away. I saw something fall as he took off.

We talked and decided that we were still looking for the werewolves so we should continue on down the path. We traveled for a few more hours when four creatures came shambling down the path towards us. Before we knew it we were fighting the zombies. We noted that these zombies were different than those that had been fought before. They still fought when limbs and heads were cut off. Even the unattached limbs fought. Very strange.

We spent the night on the trail in the mist rotating watches for safety. On my watch I smelled death and ended up finding a mauled body. All that was found on the remains was a letter.

In the morning we continued down the path. The only tracks I could find were of shod humans and wagons and none were fresh. Not long after starting a carriage came down the trail toward us. The driver was an elf that seemed to grey skin, not as dark as drow, but still grey.

-————————— to be continued -——————

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Andor's Adventure Begins

Andor, you, Ergan, and Martess are sitting in a tavern in Secomber. You’ve just returned from a trip to the Greypeak Mountains where your group was fighting goblins who’d been kidnapping people from nearby settlements.
You were successful in your efforts and are celebrating your newly acquired wealth (162 GP) and looking forward to a bit of a rest.

Outside the tavern, a fog lies over the town this evening. The damp, cobbled pavement glistens as the lights of street lanterns dance across the slick stones. The fog chills the bones and shivers the soul of anyone outside.
Yet inside these tavern walls the food is hearty, and the ale is warm and frothy. A fire blazes in the hearth, and the tavern is alive with the tumbling voices of country folk.

Suddenly the tavern door swings open, and a hush falls over the room. Framed by the lamp-lit fog, a form strides through the doorway. His heavy, booted footfalls and the jingle of his coins shatter the silence. His brightly colored clothes are draped in loose folds about him, and his hat hangs askew, hiding his eyes in the shadows. Without hesitation, he walks up to your table and stands proudly in a wide stance with folded arms.
In an accented voice, he says, “I have been sent to you to deliver this message. If you be creatures of honor, you will come to my master’s aid at first light. It is not advisable to travel the Svalich Woods at night!” He pulls from his tunic a sealed letter, addressed to all of you in beautiful flowing script. He drops the letter on the table. “Take the west road from here some five hours march down through the Svalich Woods. There you will find my master in Barovia.”

Amid the stares of the patronage, the gypsy strides to the bar and says to the wary barkeep, “Fill the glasses, one and all. Their throats are obviously parched.” He drops a purse heavy with gold on the bar. With that, he leaves.

The babble of tavern voices resumes, although somewhat subdued. The letter is lying before you. The seal is in the shape of a crest you don’t recognize.

Burgomaster-letter.jpg

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Journal Entry 1: Peregrination and Predicament.

Ivo,

Forgive the deep encryption of this recent correspondence. The decrypt crystals in my study should assist in any complications you might have while attempting to decipher. The mixing of giant and goblin might seem to be excessive, but one can never be too careful. Remember the incident at Rahn-Lo?

We don’t need another repeat. I certainly learned my lesson, and the last thing I need is another scar.

You know the pretense in which I embarked, and there is no change in my scutwork. However, I have found myself, quiet possibly, in another dimension. Perhaps an astral plane? How would I guess with such foolhardiness? Trust me it has nothing to do with my dotage, which I’m sure is your first instinct. How can I blame you? However, it namely has to do with the planeta and stars, including various mountain ranges we’ve grown accustomed too: they simply do not match any known formations. When did I cross over? Where was this sigil, or necrotic entryway? How did we cross it without experiencing minor neurological side effects? It has left me scratching my beard. My companions seem unaffected, with the exception of one dewy eyed elf, who I believe is only present physically.

But we’ve come to expect this from elves.

I will contact you further upon the revelation of new artifacts or musings. Here are the coordinates and bearings of where I believe such an astral re-configuration might have happened. A simple scouting party will suffice to ascertain any known necromorphic anomalies.

May the Shields of Faith prevail!

Valko

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Andor's Adventure pt 2

You set out the next morning to follow the directions provided. The day is overcast and foggy. You walk a full morning in the cold, somewhat wet weather before you find the path into the woods that the stranger spoke of. The morning fog hasn’t lifted and indeed seems to linger and cling to the trees along the path.

Black pools of water stand like dark mirrors in and around the muddy roadway. Giant trees loom on both sides of the road, their branches clawing at the mist.

You march on for an additional five hours.

The fog spills out of the forest to swallow up the road behind you. Ahead, jutting from the impenetrable woods on both sides of the road, are high stone buttresses looming gray in the fog. Huge iron gates hang on the stonework. Dew clings with cold tenacity to the rusted bars. Two headless statues of armed guardians flank the gate, their heads now lying among the weeds at their feet. They greet you only with silence.

As you approach, the gates swing open. Ergan stops short. “Was that the wind?” Martess laughs. “Big strong fighter jumping at every sound! Don’t worry tough guy, Andor and I will protect you.” With that, she winks at Ergan and walks forward through the gates. You notice that she is speaking something quietly and moving her fingers in complex patterns, so maybe she’s not quite as fearless as her words would suggest.

Ergan, taking the bait, hurries to be the first through the gates. He always did have an over-developed protective streak where Martess was concerned. You wonder, not for the first time, if there is something going on between them. Well, no time to worry about that now. The three of you pass through the gates and continue on the road.

You travel on for the last few hours before what light there is begins to fade with the approach of dusk. Ergan spots a bit of a clearing on the side of the road that looks like a good place to camp for the night.

As you go about the well-practiced tasks of setting up camp for the night, you see signs that this spot has been used recently. Martess calls that a good sign. You spend a companionable few hours eating and conversing around the campfire. Ergan breaks out the shawm that he acquired from that merchant in Daggerford. Gods! will he ever learn to play that thing? He ‘plays’ for a time and Martess encourages him. Yeah, something going on there.

Finally it’s time to turn in. Martess offers to take first watch. Needing very little time for your own meditation, you sit up with her for her shift. When midnight comes, Martess puts away the spellbook she’d been studying, bids you good night, wraps herself in her bedroll, and quickly falls asleep.

You spend the next few hours praying, reading, perhaps making notes in your journal, and making sure that the fire stays going strong. When the time comes you waken Ergan, then lean back against a tree trunk for your meditation.

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Andor's Adventure pt 3

When you open your eyes several hours later, it is dawn and the fog is thicker than even the day before. Ergan bids you good morning and starts to prepare breakfast. You stand and let him know that you need to, um, step into the woods for a moment. He reminds you, unnecessarily, to bring your sword with you. “Remember that time a goblin caught me with my pants down last year?” You step into the fog-cloaked woods, but only go a few yards reasoning that the added fog affords you all the privacy you need. A few minutes later, you turn to return to camp. You walk back several yards in the direction you came from, but the camp is not there. You figure you just got turned around in the fog and move a little ways to first your left, then your right, looking for your camp, but you see nothing. Feeling quite foolish, you call out to your fellows. But there is no reply. Surely you can’t have traveled so far away in just a few moments walking! You attempt to retrace your steps again, but nothing seems familiar. A few minutes pass, then more time. You estimate that an hour or more has passed and you are more lost than ever. Lost, separated from your friends, even your stout heart is feeling the encroaching panic. Finally, after 3 or 4 hours, you stumble from the woods and onto a road, likely the very road that you were following the previous day. You want to laugh and cry from the relief. Looking left and right, you decide that you will jog along the road to your right for a bit to see if you can find any recognizable landmarks. After about 10 minutes, you come upon your campsite, now empty save for a note pinned to a tree. Taking the note, it reads:

Andor,

Ergan and I waited for you for quite a long time. This fog is damnably thick, so I suppose you might have gotten lost. We are setting out to look for you. We will continue along the road on our path. If we don’t find you along the way, we hope and pray to Kord that he delivers you safely to this place, Barovia where we expect to see you. I’m sure we will be laughing about this tomorrow, but DAMN YOU ANDOR! How dare you worry us like this!

Please be safe. Please.

-Martess

While you are disappointed at not finding your friends, you are extremely relieved to have found your bearings. Your friends have taken all of your supplies. All you have are your weapons, armor, coin purse. Everything carried in your backpack is gone. You hurry after your friends. Several times along the way, you spot evidence of recent travel along the road, and once you find one of Martess’ hair ribbons tied to a tree. Martess; she really is quite clever.

After several hours of rapid travel, you emerge from the woods into grasslands. The fog has cleared significantly and while the day is still gray and overcast, it is much less wet here. The road is no longer muddy and you haven’t seen tracks from your friends for the last mile or so. It is early evening. You see a low house in a field off the road. You head over to investigate and find that it is deserted and dilapidated. But, good news! You do see another of Martess’ ribbons tied to the handle of the door. Though you would very much like to press on, you haven’t eaten all day, and have been pushing yourself for hours. You decide to take advantage of the empty shelter and rest for the night. Searching the small home, you find a meal of cold chicken, hard-tack bread, and a skin of wine, along with a note.

Andor, thought you might be hungry ☺

-Martess

Clever girl! You tear into the food. Belly full, you settle in for the night.

During your evening prayers, and over the course of the night, you hear a great deal of howling from wolves. There is so much howling, that, while you do get a full night’s rest, you still feel a bit tired in the morning.

You are in such a hurry to get going, you almost neglect your morning stretching, but skipping two days in a row would really be an affront to Kord, and besides, you always feel better after limbering up. Morning routine complete, you head out, continuing west toward Barovia.

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Letters to home

Naneth,

I hope things have been going well back home. How is little Lillian? Is she doing well?

So my first stop was a large city called Waterdeep. I took a tour through it trying to get a feel for the place but I didn’t find anybody worth while. Then made my way down to Daggerford. I met with the local nobility and manage to get a good relationship with them. Got a rumor of a pack of werewolves terrorizing the country side. Some adventurers and myself decided to track them down and put and end to the threat. We thought it would be simple; we were wrong.

We tracked them to a local forest and proceeded to follow them in. It was a mistake. After many hours in the forest we came across an very large and old human ruin (well old for humans). After fighting some… fascinating zombies, the possible lord of the realm came to meet us. We’ll he seemed to only want the females in our party.

From there we manage to get to a town to try and find lodging and get our bearings. The town is deserted. We’re now about to help these two human children out with a “monster” in there basement. Hopefully we can find some answers to where exactly we are.

Oh and there is a name I need you to research, Barovia. It is the name of the land I think that these werewolves are from.

Your son,

Adrien

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Journal Entry 2: Woebegones and Wonderings

Ivo,

Message decrypt: Use crystals 86B, with accompanying cantrip (you know the one). And tell Rhalin to stay out of my study!

Needless to summarize, this new dimension has major instabilities, and damn near fatal poltergeists at every turn. Are we in the realm of the dead? Is this hell? If it is, its nothing dear Ivo, as our forefathers have described. If it isn’t, then there is nothing on record I can think of that remotely hints at our current predicament.

Nevertheless, we lost someone today, a dwarf of mixed heritage. He was damn near reckless and impulsive, but no amount of tactical advice helped the situation. It was a shame, he had the bravery of a mountain bear, but the wits of a canary with syphilis. He was knocked down, ass over tit, by some creature and devoured. We simply couldn’t get to him. Perhaps it was his orc upbringing, they are a rash, impulsive and barbaric…I simply lay the blame at his clans feet. But, nevertheless, I will bring the news to his clan once we are released from this ghoulish utopia. His name is presented here, but will remain in code. Please identify his clan so, with my hopeful return, I may bring my condolences, to what I assume to be, his next of kin.

Thus concludes my ruminating and reflection. I hope to see you again soon, dear brother. My next letter will use crystals 73xV for authentication and decrypt. And again…if Rhalin borrows yet another journal from my library, I will tan his hide with the broadside of my war hammer upon my return. He may be smart, but he’s a damn nuisance and his mother should know better.

Till then, may the Shields of Faith prevail!

Valko

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Ven's Journal Entry 36

I found this verse in a book of Borovian poetry. I wish I had time to inscribe the poem in its entirety.

Nights of bliss with thee I spent
You left, my love, I do lament
You traveled to a faraway land
Caught in Talos’ mighty hand
And drowned within the raging sea
So I brought your soul inside of me

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Ven's Journal Entry 37

We interred the bones of two children today. Their names were Thorn and Rosavalda Durst. They had been locked away by their parents and had starved to death when their parents didn’t return. I guess that’s one thing I can be thankful for, my mother always brought me food.

While it is the reason I was locked away, it is also the reason I am free.

I found a ring in the Durst house. When I put it on a female voice spoke to me. I thought, for a fleeting moment, that it had taken a new voice and personality but no. Mariska Dimitru’s soul had been trapped in the ring. When we left the house her soul departed and I was left alone. Totally alone. I could no longer feel it and it could no longer speak to me.

I gave the ring to Thadius. I don’t want to be alone.

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Thad's Personal Musings

The personal musings of Thad

I’m not too sure just what is going on. It seems that ever since went through those large gates, the world has changed for the worse.

As an example, after spending the night on the road, we came to a strange town. We walked along several streets and saw no one moving, even though it was time that businesses would be open. I think that the town is called Barovia. It only gets stranger.

After a short while of walking on the deserted streets, I spied a couple of children standing alone in the center of the road. It took a few minutes of talking to find out that they were Rose Valda an eleven year old girl and her younger brother Thorn, a seven year old. Soon they revealed that they were afraid to go home because there was a monster locked up in the basement. Their house was just across the street from where we were. They also told us that their younger brother Walter was on the second floor in the nursery. Rose said that she didn’t know where their parents were.

We asked if they would like us to get rid of the monster for them and Rose said yes. While most of us were figuring out how to proceed, our dwarf barbarian Dench went up to the door and started to go in. The rest of us finally got him to wait for the rest of us. Dench seems to run into a fight, a door, never thinking what may happen or that he should wait for the rest of us. Sometimes I wonder if he has a death wish by the way he acts. Entering, we found a neat and clean entry. I noticed that hidden in the intricate carvings were other strange carvings. More of these hidden carvings will be found throughout the house. Some were disturbing.

It took a while for us to search the first floor, finding nothing. I did notice that there was a place that seemed out of place in the corner of one room. Carefully we took the stairs up to the second floor. There were several doors around an open area. There was also a set of armor standing in the far corner.

As I was checking the doors, the armor animated and attacked. It was a tough fight but we finally prevailed. I checked the first door on the left and determined that it was safe to enter. No sooner that we were in the room, this strange apparition appeared. Again it was a tough fight and several of us were injured. Our cleric Wolfe said that the thing was a specter. One of the doors leading out of this room went into a much smaller room. It looked like a nursery, complete with a shrouded crib. Removing the shroud displayed what looked like a baby sized bundle wrapped in swaddling. Wolfe unwrapped the cloth and found nothing inside.

We returned to the open area and I went to the next door. Opening it showed that it was nothing more than a broom and cleaning closet. I stepped in to do a quick search and immediately was attacked by a broom. To make matters worse, it hit really hard and I went down.

After the fight I was healed and we continued searching the floor, finding another storage room and what we think was the parents’ bedroom. This looked like a good place to rest so we camped.

We finally ascended to the attic, it had several doors and one of them had a padlock in it. Cracking my knuckles and taking out my thieves’ tools I made swift work of opening the lock. Then someone hands me the key. Thanks a lot after its open. Just inside the door, lying on the floor were two skeletons. They were dressed just as the children outside. The boy was even clutching the same type of doll as the one outside. Shivers ran up my spine. Looking around I could see that the windows had been boarded up from the outside. Two small beds, a doll house and a toy chest were the only other things in the room.

I went to look at the chest. Right above the two skeletons, the two children appeared and it was easy to see that they were ghosts. We talked with them for a few minutes and they told us how to get to the basement. As we went to leave they tried to stop us.

As I had thought, the strange area on all the floors, held a hidden stair that could only be accessed from the attic that was obscured behind a secret door. We descended all the way to the basement. There we found crypts that belonged to the members of the family. We also found the empty crypts for the children. We returned and retrieved the skeletons of Rose and Thorn and laid them in their respective crypts. Wolfe preformed last rites as he knew them hoping they would suffice in this strange land.

Now in the basement we could catch an occasional sound of a chant but nothing intelligible. We explored for some time, finding several rooms, some with moldy mats, some with old beds. We found a pit trap in the floor and luckily no one died. Soon after the trap we were attacked by a pack of zombies. It seems that everything we fight in this place is tougher than those I’ve faced in the past.

The chanting has become louder and now we can make out the words. Not wanting to leave a possible enemy behind us, we continued to explore this area before going down a set of stairs.

We found a room with a statue of a man with his right hand on the head of a wolf statue. We wondered if this had anything to do with the werewolves. In his left upturned hand he held an orb that was about the size of a large apple. One of the ladies of our group spent a few minutes and cast Detect Magic. She said that she saw the items that we carried that were magic. She them cast Mage Hand and started to lift the orb.

This turned out to not be a good idea, as three shadows appeared and started attacking the party. We managed to get one of them down when two more appeared. Not good. Soon several of our party were down but those still able to fight finally dispatched the shadows. We really keep our cleric Wolfe busy healing us. Our young half-elf Ven picked up the orb and put in her pack.

Next we took to the stairs following the increasing volume of the chant. A strange room with small niches along the walls was at the bottom of the stairs. The niches held weird items that out bladesinger said would be useless in some rituals he read about in some books recovered upstairs. He said the rituals were bogus. Leading out of this room were two openings. I decided to inspect one and found a series of cells. Most were empty but one held a skeleton that was wearing a ring. Our sorceress again used mage hand to remove the ring as the rest of us stood guard, ready for what may happen to appear to challenge us.

As I stepped back out of that particular cell, I noticed something in the cell across the aisle, a secret door. As usual Dench went charging through. Within the room, was a large pool of murky water with a raised platform in the center with an altar on it. Above the altar were chain hanging from the ceiling and dried blood could be seen on them. Surrounding the pool was a walkway. To the left of the secret door was a portcullis that was down. On the wall near it was a wheel that would most likely open it.

To the right of the secret door what appears to be a large trash heap can be seen through another opening in the wall.

What is becoming common place for Dench, walked around the room and looked at the trash heap. Then he proceeds to go on to the platform and look at the altar. This is when it really hit the fan. This strange creature seemed to appear out of the trash. It was gross. Naturally Dench ran to attack and was soon engulfed by whatever this was. The rest of us had no choice but to try to kill this thing.

After taking Dench it put down our Warlock, it then came after me. One hit and I was down. The next thing I remember was opening my eyes and finding myself on a rickety platform high up in the air. All I could see was what looked like clouds or fog below me. Looking a little closer I could make out other platforms poking through the mist. The closest was about 20 feet away and was occupied by a cloaked figure. Hearing a sound I looked toward the base of my platform and could see nothing but vermin. Looking closer I could see them starting to make the climb up to me with blood in their eyes and their yellow teeth ready to tear me apart. I felt at my waist but found that I was unarmed. Looking out I could see the cloaked figure reaching out to me. He said jump I will catch you.

How could I jump 20 feet? It is too far. I looked over the edge again and could see that sever of the rats were nearing the top. What to do? Fight with my bare hands and probably be torn to shreds in agonizing pain or jump an impossible distance and maybe being caught with the possibility of falling to a quick death.

I backed up to the edge and leaped for the hand. All went black. Then I opened my eyes and I was back in the pool feeling fine. I moved to get out of the pool. Knowing I didn’t want to get within reach of that thing again I used my short bow. Soon Wolfe went down and the creature moved after its next victim. I ran across the pool and was able to make Wolfe stable. I returned to the assist our bladesinger in finally killing the creature.

It seems that the only casualty was poor Dench. We found a secret door and a set of stairs that took us directly to the first floor. For some reason we had not been able to find this passage except from beneath. All the items in the room have seemed to have aged extremely fast in the length of time from when we had been here before. We returned to the second floor finding here also that things were aging. We decided to take a long rest and to lick our wounds. Wolfe planned to give Dench last rites.

In the morning I ate my trail rations before we left the house. I can only call this place a death house as one of our party died in the awful place. Looking around, I was not surprised to not see the children. Within 15 minutes of eating, I was having horrible pains in my stomach, my vision was blurry and I felt like I was going to die. I think I will ask Wolfe to take a look at me.

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