Cagestruck!

The Birth of Strahd

And so, Barovia was brought to light and life again. There would be tales told and songs sung of the mysterious heroes who disappeared soon after the destruction of Castle Ravenloft. Their faces would be forgotten with the passing of first seasons, then years, then decades, and finally centuries.

But their names would not. The people knew them like they knew their own names. Aubry the Golden, whose deity Berronar Truesilver would come to be worshipped as a light-bringer. The Blade-Dancer, and The Morningstar, who gave their lives to weaken the Master of Darkness. Namfiddle Staffbringer, who planted the Tree of Life that held the darkness at bay. Os Lightborn, the beautiful hero and songwright. Sig Brand-Master, whose burning blade felled a thousand of Strahd’s horrid zombies.

Yes, these names would be etched into the memories of every citizen of Barovia for generations…

So it was only natural that, upon the day that Darkness fell over Barovia once more, these names were called out to by voices numbering in the thousands. But the mists drowned out their terrified cries, the bats began to swarm over the lands, and the vicious wolves prowled the perpetual twilight once again.

And within the ruins once known as Castle Ravenloft, a tree was felled. A hand, withered, ancient and skeletal, reached for the night skies. And a voice could be heard in the wind, over the wretched screams of the death of hope.

“I… live…”

Castle_Ravenloft.jpg

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The Death of Strahd

Aubrey.jpg The fight was one of the toughest fights I have ever been in. Strahd was so powerful and he was killing us one at a time slowly.

We had managed to get down into his lair, but it was here that we discovered his true powers. He kept melding through the walls and attacking each of us one at a time. I was already depleted in my spells and encountering him without having a full array of choices for the day, was foolish. We really didn’t have much time to do things in tho. Kitara was missing and we were trying to find her in a timely manner, preferably before he killed her. But we were too late. It was heart breaking and demoralizing to me to see her petite body strewn over a couch lifeless.

As things continued to get worse for us Strahd didn’t seem to be hurt much at all by our efforts. We were mere flies for his swatting. I knew that this was not going to go well for us so I prayed and called out to Berronar Truesilver with one of the abilities she had granted me just recently. I could feel her presence so close and the room lit up with an aura of pure holiness. This didn’t seem to please Strahd at all.

Atala had attempted to stab Strahd through the wall when he mimicked her actions. She took a deadly blow just as Strahd turned his gaze upon me. I was not able to save her as her body crumpled to the ground. The blade that he was wielding had seemed to pull her very life essence into the blade itself.

It was then that the creature from the pool, Chuck, shifted into something large enough that pushed Strahd into the holy aura that was within the room. Strahd visably was hurt by it, but I noticed that he didn’t try and shift back out of the room. I am thinking that whatever blessing Barronar gifted us with, was one that was messing with Strahd’s magic.

Strahd was now focusing on me. It was my goddess that was inflicting his torment and he was not pleased. The only thing left for me to do was grab the holy symbol I had gotten from Strahd’s brother and hold it up and pray. The light that emanated from it was that of sunlight. It weakened him enough that the rest of the group immediately started hitting him. Near the end we staked him. Like I said, this was the toughest fight ever.

Foolship sacrificed his staff of the woodlands, planting it into Strahds chest and commanding it to turn into a tree. The rest of Strahds world was crumbling around us, and we fled the castle to stand outside peering down at the town, which was now bathed in sunlight for the first time in over 300 years.

Now all I want to do… go home. But where is home for me? Sigil or Faerun?

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Being a No-Bro

I can hardly believe it’s only been a day.

After coming up with the plan to infiltrate the castle, Atala went ahead to see what she could do about the dragon. Apparently, Strahd didn’t like the dragon’s breath or something. Oh well. Plan B worked and she made a new friend with this eel-fish-thingy. Eventually, we make our way down to the crypt of Strahd’s brother Sergi, and I used my power to resurrect his handsome ass. Actually made me feel a little bad about myself, being a “stroke victim” and all.

Part two came up and we went to crash a wedding, and succeeding. The dude who stole my sword did some pretty fancy stuff and killed our new paladin friend. Goddamned waste of my gift. Barely lasted a minute in the fight.

Blah blah blah, a while later, we’re chasing Strahd- who had captured Kitara- and come face to face with a room full of zombies. Couple of vamps sneak up behind us, but the druid had a little play time with them in some water. Finished that room up, and continued on until we found Strahd, who decided to play peek-a-boo with us.

And made me a no-bro.

After Atala finally knocks me out, our Dwarf’s prayer finally kicked in and put
Strahd in a bad place. Blah blah blah, Strahd gets knocked into the room, and after beating the daylights into him- haha- the druid decides to plant a tree in him. So, that was great, except the castle was beginning to crumble, and we had a dead wizard and a soulless/ dead rouge. Carried them out as Aubry and Oswald cleared the way. Of course, I got a feel or two in since they’re currently unable to kill me. Daylight is back in Ravenloft, Strahd’s out of the picture, and now we need to kill a dragon goddess.

I need a drink.

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Water Wierd
Elementals are awesome!

So we’re in Castle Ravenloft. Lost the opportunity to jack with a dragon, but Atala found a new friend who seems to pick and choose who he talks to. Disrupted the wedding. Some storied warrior Sergei turned out to be, he got beheaded in the first exchange. Numb-ass-zombie-warrior wasted an outstanding gift. Still saved the girl only to have Kitara kidnapped by that cowardly vamp. Chased the ingrate down to his dungeons when we got attacked by female vampires. Aubrey turned them, but I didn’t think they should get away that easy. I recently figured out a new ability in my meditations and figured now would be as good a time as any to do it. The others seemed to have fire down to somewhat controlled chaos, so I thought I’d go the other way. Water elemental was a good idea. I was able to hold and crush one of them, but the other got away. Funny thing about that too. Water elementals are aware of every drop of themselves, wherever they go. Engulf a female body, you feel ALL the curves. I think I could help do some damage to Strahd like this. Lets see if we can pin him down long enough to do the job, and hopefully save Kitara from him in the process. How long does it take to create a new vampire?

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Murphy's law
Even the best laid plans go awry

Aubrey.jpg Well we thought we had our plan together and it all fell short. We were going to have the dragon released to distract Strahd during the wedding ceremony, but when Atala snuck down to release it, she ran into a couple of vampires, according to her. These vampires informed her that the dragon was already dead, but Atala managed to charm them into believing that our bard was tastier than she was, which made them leave her alone and come looking for Oswald.

Atala then proceeded to go down to let something out of a darkened pool, that we had gained knowledge about in the haunted house on the hill. I am not too keen on its presence with us, but according to her, it agreed to help us with the fight. All I see is that some of our party members will randomly speak out loud and hold conversations with nothingness. Odd and disturbing. The creature itself was about as small a knife blade, dark glossy slick looking skin, it’s mouth was gross looking and took up the majority of its head with rows and rows of teeth. The body was that of an elongated slug with a tail that looked like a shark fin. Creepy little creature indeed and according to those it chose to speak with mentally, it was older than Strahd himself. I feel like this thing is full of lies and deceit and offers nothing but trouble for us. But I am just the cleric, who listens to me?

We then regrouped upon Atala’s return and moved to the lower depths of the castle to find Strahd’s brother. Atala’s skill in finding traps was uncanny and we managed to get to the crypt. I am not one that likes to disturb the eternally resting, but this was important for our mission and the good of Barovia. I closed my eyes and began the chant feeling the familiar dance of purity from Barronar Truesilver flow through my veins. I touched Sergei Von Zarovich’s resting preserved body and then saw his spirit eyes turn to me. He was not happy about being disturbed, but after explaining the story of his brother and how he was destroying the people and land of Barovia, he agreed to return to the living once more to stop him. This is were it got extremely strange.

Now I haven’t really gone into too much detail yet about the curiosities and gifts our fighter had bumbled upon in the Amber Temple, but in the big picture of things, the gifts, dark as they may be, would be needed in our upcoming fight and right now. I stepped back from the sarcophagus and allowed Sigurd to shuffle forward. Sigurd was looking pretty darn dead himself by this point, and even smelled like it. His body by this point was emaciated and had begun to decompose like a zombie. This was the price he had paid in order to carry the ability to resurrect someone long past departed and resting with their deity.

Suddenly, Sergei sat up and took in a deep breath for the first time in 300 years. By the gods he was so handsome. One could never tell that he had been dead. The good thing is that Sigurd now looked and smelled normal again. Which to me was a blessing upon our own senses. My eyes couldn’t help but fall upon Sergie’s holy symbol. I knew that is was quiet powerful and also knew that there was a reason that we had been sent to seek it out in our fortune tellings. Sergie was given a scimitar and after a few minutes we then proceeded to go and interrupt the wedding of the century.

The hall was truly under decorated for such a grand moment. The walls were bare stone and there wasn’t even a single ribbon or banner. He could have learned a thing or two about weddings and all from Barronar Truesilver. I felt horrid that this was even supposed to be such an auspicious occasion, but at the same time, I knew it wasn’t a true wedding full of love and happiness. This was a wicked forced joining and it had to be stopped. The guests were not even dressed. Their clothing was rotting off the them and the placed smelled disgusting. Of course the wedding guests were zombies and vampires, but still a little effort could have been made. Ugghhh the nerve to call this a wedding.

Upon our entry the guests turned and immediately attacked us. The place was packed wall to wall with undead with intent to have us join their own ranks of deadness. Strahd started the fight with a large fireball and our group didn’t fair too well with its affects. My job was going to be cut out for me and I knew it. Healing was going to be my main concern. Keep the party fighting. Our first casualty was Sergie. It seems we brought him back only to have him killed in the first volley of attack, as Strahd’s elven messenger moved in, with what was once Sigurd’s magic sword, and beheaded him in one fell swoop. Oswald used his spell of telekinesis and pulled the bride to be from her captors bringing her back to us in safety. The guests turned and were greeted with a discharge of lightening from our fighter. At least he was completely back to normal and had use of his left side again after that. Damn dark gifts were useful. After the lightening streaked through the hall and into the corridor it was followed up a wall of thorny vines that popped out of nowhere called by Foolship, killing several. Then Oswald let loose a fireball himself. Seems that the zombies and vampires didn’t care for that too much either as dead flesh and rotting clothes burst into flames. Those that survived that series of attacks were then left for me. I scooped up Sergies holy symbol, which was unimpeded by the lack of his head and held it up, along with mine. I commanded for them to leave and watched at several fell back into the dust in which they were made of and the others turned fleeing. The battle was on and mass chaos was all around us. It was during this chaos that Strahd took advantage of it all and grabbed Kitara moving down into the bowels of the castle fleeing. This was not going to bode well. I could feel it.

It didn’t take us too long to dispatch the wedding party but now we were on the move to hunt down Strahd himself. As we headed back into the crypts, I worried for Kitara and what was happening to her. We came to a portcullis that blocked off Strahd’s main chamber. There were other undead beyond it waiting on us and I did what came to mind. I called upon the powers of Barronar and released a column of flame that filled the room and engulfed them. The strike was incredible and quiet the sight to behold. It was then that Atala managed to get passed the traps and Sigurd opened the portcullis easily with his strength. As we were entering more vampires came in behind us attempting to encircle us. Suddenly Foolship shifted form. Now I have seen him be a bear but this was not what he changed into. A large water elemental looking creature was now standing where he once stood. Talk about blocking the path and slowing creatures down. Foolship will never stop amazing me with what he pulls out of his bag of tricks.

Atala found a secret passage and now we are in pursuit of Strahd. Finding Kitara’s amulet of health on the ground was not a good sign. Hold on Kitara! We are coming for you!

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Hunting Strahd

Aubrey.jpg Strahd… that is a name that I wish I could make go away. So much involved around him and yet the world would be so much better without him. We are getting closer to accomplishing our task, but yet with every corner we encounter a challenge that pushes our limits. I wonder if he is trying to push my faith with each challenge. Keeping everyone alive and well is accomplished only by the graces of my goddess. Strahd we are coming for you.

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What are my Odds

So we have a plan. Admitted it’s a terrible plan that depends on alot of variable and possible treachery. A solo job inside a dungeon that I’d never want to ever send my worst of enemies and an unknown we have not heard from all while under the watchful gaze of our enemy. With any luck he will be to distracted by his prize to pay to much attention.

Nothing about this I like but in terms of time we are out of it. I can’t think of any other good plans right now and personally I don’t think there is much better. We are either going to play a role in a tragedy or somehow squeak by there is no blowout win in this. If there is a god that favors me let’s hope they are watching. if not I may want to look into one.

I’ll need to keep the sunlight blade hidden until the real fighting starts

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Liche

Aubrey.jpg I met a liche and, trust me, I wanted to send it back to the depths of creation. There was only one glitch to this whole reasoning, this liche was there to protect ancients magics. These magics would be detrimental to anyone that might actually get a hold of them, so if there was going to be any protector, it needed to be something powerful. This did not settle well with me to tell the truth.

Sigurd has truly shown me the reason it is important to be cautious in this realm. He has a tendency to run up and open things without caution. He now looks like a walking corpse that sags at one side of his body. He states that side of his body is numb and that the corpse thing is because he pledged to some ancient god and can now bring back an ancient dead. That might come handy, but he certainly has paid the price for his gain.

It is everything I can do to stay on my toes and keep the party alive during this trying time. I so hope that soon we will be powerful enough and have the ability to stop Strahd and to return home or to Sigil.

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Damn it...

Some have begun to think we have been here to long, or at least not where we belong for to long, I’d like to agree. Anything we have thought we good has ether been turned against us or outright killed. All this over one man whom refused to die and now rules these lands like some hunter among the sheep. Although the fact we are being watched right now by does not really bother me..

He’s gone..back on our own world that worthless, no good, self-serving, wretched excuse for whatever he calls a man may actually be gone. I don’t believe it for a second really, that scum sucking pile has many escapes and tricks at his disposal. He probably has some body double or some utterly stupid like some spark of divine luck, maybe he and whatever he fought reconciled had a double dutch rudder behind some rubble.. I don’t care I’m still mad..

.. I am still mad..

right?

Am I?….

The more I think about it the more I wonder if I should be anymore. All those involved are probably dead now or on the run, what little that was stolen mean so much less now that our home is on the brink of collapse I shouldn’t be concerned about the past actions of some worthless knob that no one would cry over if he’s gone. He probably was doing something that looked heroic only for his own selfish needs like that bastard always would serves him right…

.. dear gods am I crying…?

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"Numb-ass!"

I gotta say, the Amber Temple was quite the experience. We came to find secrets on defeating Strahd, and found what we needed, as well as a few more pieces of information regarding a couple of abilities I picked up through sheer curiosity.

The first was the lightning. One of the sarcophagi I opened gave me the ability to create a blast of lightning- the strength of which remains unknown. Unfortunately, however, the right side of my face (and my left butt cheek, hence my new nick-name) gives me the appearance of a stroke victim (another name being “Strokey”) It’s a little weird, but according to the Protector of the temple, using my ability will remove this… or something along those lines.

The other sarcophagus I opened was the really weird one. No sooner that I opened the thing, an image appeared in my mind- The Corpse Star, or Zhudon. He told me that by accepting his gift and by worshiping him (or something) I would have the ability to “Raise the ancient dead.” The only reason I took it was because it might’ve come in handy against either Strahd or even Tiamat. Well, upon accepting this gift, I transformed into what appeared to be a corpse. Unfortunately, the sagginess was still there.

Upon finding the room with the vamps that fled from us, we came face to face with the Protector himself, and he apparently doesn’t like dead guys. Found this out the hard way when he fingered me to dea- I mean Finger of Death-ed me. That sucked ass. Kitara had the excellent idea of telling me to use my most recent ability to raise him. Me, not being the religious guy, did whatever came to me- “By the power of Zhudon, I raise you!”

And boy was that a roller coaster of weird feelings. No sooner had I spoke, a dark mist came forth from me, making me look less dead, and circled the Protector (he was some sort of Lich King I think) but it made it’s way back to me, deadifying me once more.

After the mess that was the battle that ensued after, I got some answers to my abilities, as well as some interesting Intel on my trinket: It was not a totem of Cthulhu as Grister had said, but of a deity who was ancient before even the ancient gods were around. Also, he has offered me the chance to figure out what it means by sending me to a realm of madness where I would find answers. After all this is said and done, hopefully after Tiamat, I’ll go back and see.

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