- We follow the path.
- We come to a stone bridge. Big river, clear and blue. 50ft wide.
- As we approach, some creatures come out and try to attack us. Awakened plants, apparently. They're ugly. Also there's 7. And apparently called Needle Blights(?).
- Arkan sets one on fire, per the standard.
- Lilly insults the same one and makes it wither to dust and die.
- Seir charges in and hits one with his longsword, making it die instantly.
- River uses Shatter and they all fucking fail. Not dead though.
- Belial mind attacks one and making it explode.
- The plants shamble on up to Seir and Belial and hit them both. A couple other try to shoot needles at me and River, and fucking miss.
- Arkan sets another on fire. It's still up and smoking, and it thinks it looks cool. It doesn't.
- Lilly VMs the same. "You don't look that cool!" It dies.
- Seir one-shots another and makes it disintegrate.
- The plants try to attack Seir and Belial and fail.
- River tries to mace the one attempting to gnaw on Belial. Fails.
- Belial spears the one chewing on him and it falls apart.
- Arkan bursts the last one into flames.
- Ireena is impressed by us defeating the plants. It's kind of pathetic.
- Crossroads. Tser pool to the northwest, Ravenloft/Vallaki to the southwest, Barovia to the northeast.
- Belial looks at the gallows and hears the music from his dreams in the distance. We all hear nothing. He insists we go to the pools. We have no reason to not, so we go down that way.
- We head into the woods and hear a creaking. A body is hanging from the gallows. All of us but Lilly see a Barovian commoner. Lilly sees herself and is very spooked. Arkan gives her a head pat to calm her down.
- We leave the sight and decide to keep an eye out for weird things, since Lilly is seeing stuff and Belial is hearing stuff.
- Deep voice calls out, "Who goes there?" Large man with a spear steps out of the mist. Five other people with him.
- We get interrogated a bit. They make fun of Belial holding a broom and say that it's dangerous in the woods. They then turn into werewolves, because of course they do.
- Arkan creates magic darkness he can see through.
- Belial does some mind shit to see through it too.
- Some blows are tossed. I forgot to record this fight. No one died, though.
- Arkan pulled out his silvered shortsword and attacked one of the werewolves, so it reverted to human form and yelled, "They have silver!"
- A deus ex machina with a silvered sword showed up and attacked them as well.
- The werewolves run off with knowing there's silver.
- We move on. We approach the pool and hear the music Belial has been humming.
- Route becomes dirt and has wagon marks. We come upon an area with a bunch of tents and wagons.
- Lilly pulls out her lyre and begins to play along. She does TERRIBLY but the people laugh.
- We sit around the campfire and have some wine. The people are called the Vistani.
- Belial remembers a blue wagon, but these are mostly orange, green, red, yellow, etc. Slightly off-put, but feels relaxed. Music spot on.
- Tells a tale of a mighty wizard that came a year ago. Charismatic man. Thought he could rally the people of Barovia against Strahd (they all spit). He tried to fight Strahd, but ultimately died.
- Arkan and Belial hold hands and Belial leans on Arkan as they sit around the fire. It's pretty cute.
- Our coming was foretold by Madam Ava. She's a future seer apparently. We get encouraged to have our fortunes told.
- We go in. Ava pulls out some tarot cards and Belial cuts the deck.
- Belial sits in Arkan's lap and they entangle arms. It's gay.
- Card One
This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy.
Look to the one who sees all. The treasure is hidden in her camp.
- Card Two
This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope.
Look for a den of wolves in the hills overlooking a mountain lake. The treasure belongs to Mother Night.
- Card Three
This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight.
The treasure is hidden in a small castle beneath a mountain, guarded by amber giants.
- Card Four
This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness.
A Vistana wanders this land alone, searching for her mentor. She does not stay in one place for long. Seek her out at Saint Markovia's abbey, near the mists.
- Card Five
Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him!
He lurks in the depths of darkness, in the one place to which he must return.
- Ava gives us permission to search the tents and wagons for whatever the treasure is.
- Arkan asks Ava about the woman from her dream. She instead replies that his destiny is different and that he has many choices to make. "The devil makes many deals, and temptation is not always what it seems."
- He reveals that the woman he saw was Ireena. She laughs and insists he go help his friends search.
- Belial finds a sack of jewelry.
- River finds a bag with gemstones. They're worth a good number of gold.
- Belial finds a Greater Healing Potion.
- Lilly is drawn to one particular necklace. Gold chainz with a treasure chest. The wizard owned it.
- Apparently the wizard gave it to Ava. It's what drew him to Barovia and inspired him to try and overthrow Strahd.
- Came with a note. "LOL" (signature line) "M".
- The chest opens to a bard who can make him laugh and forget about his worry.
- Lilly tells a terrible pun. A real chest appears! It has a folded up cloak in it with a note on top. Misc adventuring supplies and a very big book.
- "Congratulations, if you're reading this note, I must already be dead. But, you found the necklace I left with Madam Ava, and inside here you'll find the knowledge to maybe finish what I started. (Post script: This is a magical chest and necklace. Once per day, you can summon and dismiss this chest as long as you have this necklace.)"
- The book is a diary written by Strahd himself. A lot about when Strahd was still alive.
- I am the Ancient. I am the Land. My beginnings are lost in the darkness of the past. I was the warrior, I was good and just. I thundered across the land like the wrath of a just god, but the war years and the killing years wore down my soul as the wind wears stone into sand.
All goodness slipped from my life. I found my youth and strength gone, and all I had left was death. My army settled in the valley of Barovia and took power over the people in the name of a just god, but with none of a god's grace or justice.
I called for my family, long unseated from their ancient thrones, and brought them here to settle in the castle Ravenloft. They came wih a younger brother of mine, Sergei. He was handsome and youthful. I hated him for both.
From the families of the valley, one spirit shone above all others. A rare beauty, who was called "perfection," "joy," and "treasure." Her name was Tatyana, and I longed for her to be mine.
I loved her with all my heart. I loved her for her youth. I loved her for her joy. But she spurned me! "Old One" was my name to her—"elder" and "brother" also. Her heart went to Sergei. They were betrothed. The date was set.
With words she called me "brother," but when I looked into her eyes they reflected another name: "death." It was the death of the aged that she saw in me. She loved her youth and enjoyed it. But I had squandered mine.
The death she saw in me turned her from me. And so I came to hate death—my death. My hate is very strong. I would not be called "death" so soon. I made a pact with death, a pact of blood. On the day of the wedding, I killed Sergei, my brother. My pact was sealed with his blood.
I found Tatyana weeping in the garden east of the chapel. She fled from me. She would not let me explain, and a great anger swelled within me. She had to understand the pact I made for her. I pursued her. Finally, in despair, she flung herself from the walls of Ravenloft, and I watched everything I ever wanted fall from my grasp forever.
It was a thousand feet through the mists. No trace of her was ever found. Not even I know her final fate.
Arrows from the castle guards pierced me to my soul, but I did not die. Nor did I live. I became undead, forever.
I have studied much since then. "Vampyr" is my new name. I still lust for life and youth, and I curse the living that took them from me. Even the sun is against me. It is the sun and its light I fear the most, but little else can harm me now. Even a stake through my heart does not kill me, though it holds me from movement. But the sword, that cursed sword that Sergei brought! I must dispose of that awful tool! I fear and hate it as much as the sun.
I have often hunted for Tatyana. I have even felt her within my grasp, but she escapes. She taunts me! She taunts me! What will it take to bend her love to me?
I now reside far below Ravenloft. I live among the dead and sleep beneath the very stones of this hollow castle of despair. I shall seal shut the walls of the stairs that none may disturb me.
- Arkan is officially freaked out and even lets out a gasp.
- River mumbles "Strahd is a major edgelord" under his breath.
- Ava says that now Strahd plays with the realm that traps him. The diary is extremely old. Whole land was cursed with living eternity with Strahd.
- Ireena is a reincarnation of Tatyana. Ava believes it's the land taunting him and continuing the hell cycle.