Leaving the dead body behind, the adventurer’s continued along the Old Svalich Road heading what they presumed to still be westward. It was hard to tell what direction was which, or even what time of day it was, with the mists so dense and thick, obscuring all traces of natural sunlight.
The road wavers between an unkempt but still obvious road and chaos. Parts of it have gravel layered in the dirt and others are nothing but the thick ooze of mud dotted with small bushes and entangling grasses. Spots off the road are sometimes almost a bog, despite the steady and unrelenting persistence of the pine trees standing ominously nearby, as if guarding the road.
A half mile of journeying later and the Tamar notices something shining just off the road ahead of the Vistani wagons being driven by Brume. This was in a spot where the road was barely present, a rough and haggard stretch of thick grasses. She had found a small mirror, reflecting more light than what was really there to reflect.
Coming up to help her inspect (the cries of “something shiny” acting as catnip to the curious pair), Tobin and Yenkin approached Tamar to see what she had found. Tobin unknowingly stepped right into a wolf trap buried in the thick grass! Luckily for him, it was so rusted that it didn’t quite shut around his leg.
While examining the mirror, everything it’s light touched appeared to age right in front of their eyes, with it having the grasses go brown and Tobin’s hand become that of a gaunt old man. The visual changed seemed to have no real affect, as the grasses were still alive after being reflected, and Tobin’s hand went back to normal after a few seconds as well.
Tobin also found a long, fancy pipe made out of some dark stone, perhaps a black marble or something similar.
Yenkin wanted to make sure there were no more wolf traps in the area, so he went looking for them — and completely missed the one just a few feet away from the first. Knowing that the wolves in this area were sure to be mistreated — he’d seen his own party members slaughter some, after all — he wanted to disarm the trap and set out to do so with his thieves tools. Tamar shook her head and grabbed his arm before he ruined his tools, and handed him a stick to simply press down on the plate. Thanking her, Yenkin used his newfound ‘tool’ and set off the trap – which again failed to fully snap back in place due to rust.
Leaving this small bit of excitement behind, the party continued for another mile and a half before reaching a gate blocking the road, in the middle of the Svalich Forest with nothing around. High stone buttresses loomed gray in the fog, with huge iron gates hanging off of the stonework. Two headless statues flanked the gate, their heads lying among the weeds at their feet, greeted the players with silence.
Bogdan approached the gates and they opened automatically. Curious, the party drove through, and the gates clanged shut behind them.
Now slightly freaked out, the heroes continued for another two miles before reaching the edge of the forest and entering a clearing, with another half mile between there and the first signs of town. They had reached the village of Barovia. Boarded up houses, abandoned shops, and the cries of a young child were all that greeted them.
Following the sounds of cries, the party encountered Rose and Thorn, a pair of young children. Ten-year-old Rosavalda and her seven year old brother Thornboldt were standing in the middle of an forlornly empty street, with Thorn crying and Rose trying to hush him. As the party approached they could see that Thorn gripped a stuffed doll close to him as he cried.
Rose cried out, begging the heroes to help remove a monster from their house. Their parents, Gustav and Elisabeth, had kept the monster locked up in the basement. But when they went down to the basement to finally kill it, they never came back. The children also though their younger brother Walter, just a baby, was in the nursery area of the third floor.
They’d never seen the monster, having only heard it and been told about it by their parents. Its howl was the worst noise they’d ever hear, saying it sounded like some part of it must die each time it howled.
While trying to do a cheap parlor trick with a coin behind Thorn’s ear, Yenkin was surprised when the boy snatched the coin away from him and pocketed it. Tobin tried the mirror out on the kids, and the boy happily played with it for a moment. Neither of the kids reflections seemed to change any, despite everything else having done so. When he asked for it back Thorn became sad and started to cry again, so Tobin gave him a gold piece in exchange for the mirror (and that gold piece vanished just as quickly into the boy’s clothing).
Placing the children in the wagon and admonishing them not to drink the wine and to stay out of trouble, the party approached the house. Bogdan climbed up the side of the house to the third floor balcony and nimbly clambered up top. The doors were locked, but by breaking a single pane of glass in the door he was able to peak inside before opening the doors. The insides were covered in dust, thick enough to clearly have been a long time since this area was livable. The room was a bedroom of sorts, but it was too dark for Bogdan to make out more.
Tobin wanted to climb up as well, and managed to make it easily up to the underside of the balcony. But when it became time to work his way around the balustrade he fell and landed hard on his back.
Seeing his companions difficulty, Bogdan climbed back down and the party entered together into the front door of the house.
The lower levels of the house were spotlessly clean. Entering from a gated portico into a foyer and then an entrance hall, the house was very well decorated and clearly well-cared for. Motifs of windmills and wolves were here and there, on shields mounted on walls to suits of armor placed near stairwells and empty doors. Before leaving the foyer area Tobin notices that the mists outside have gotten even closer to the house.
Oil lamps and stocked fireplaces are in many rooms, allowing for lots of light once the characters light them. Going up the stairs from the main hall, the party arrives to the second floor. There hangs a large wood-framed portrait of the Durst family, with presumably Gustav and Elisabeth standing behind Rose and Thorn, while Gustav holds a baby that is presumably Walter. Oddly, Elisabeth’s figure is seen regarding the baby with a slight hint of scorn.
Continuing up the stairs to the third floor, a cold draft is felt, and suddenly the rooms they are in are no longer clean, but caked with years – if not decades or more – of dust. Here there’s a dusty balcony, a landing overlooking the floors below.
A black suit of full-plate armor stands near the fall wall, covered in cobwebs. Yenkin lights the oil lanterns and Brume moves to open the northward lying doors towards the back of the house, but Bogdan gets to close to the armor and it animates to life.
Delivering a mighty haymaker to him, the monk decides its time to back away and get to safety. Tobin fires a shot and misses, but Tamar snags it with a spell and wraps it with vines of thorns, yanking it towards the stairs – and back towards Bogdan. Yenkin slips into a corner and shoots at it but misses, while Brume moves to stand in front of the halfling and calls upon Lathander to blast the armor with radiant fire.
Deliver several head-rattling blows to the party before Bogdan finally bashes the wolf-shaped visor right off, the armor finally collapses into a pile of clanging regular (if dented) armor.
Exploring the third floor more, they find a master bedroom. Tobin grabs some jewelry; Brume looks for Walter, the missing baby; Bogdan decides to try out the dumbwaiter and sends the wolf head visor of the armor downwards. Yenkin meanwhile explores a linen closet before decided there’s nothing worth anything in there.
Standing at alert in the balcony area, Tamar finally gets a bit bored before going to see something described to her by Yenkin in the closer, something weirdly shaped covered in a sheet. It turns out to be an Broom of Animated Attack, and it proceeds to batter Tamar about hard, dropping her to the floor after a few, ahem, clean sweeps to the head.
Rushing to her defense, Brume charges in, yelling “Two Brumes enter but only one leaves!” It’s clear Brume does not know how to spell broom. It’s also clear he and his sword don’t care as he chops into the animated object. Tobin manages to get behind Brume and fire off the finishing shot, breaking the broom into pieces.
Worried about Tamar, Brume uses his healing kit to stabilize her before carrying her on his shoulder back to the entrance of the house. They now notice that the gate to the portico is shut and locked, and that the mists are thick and ever-present all the way up to the edge of the house. Yelling for Rose and Thorn, Brume gets no answer.They take a short rest while figuring out what to do, and decide they cannot stay here, so they go back to the master bedroom in the third floor area. Barricading the door with pitons, the party rests to recover from their wounds, Yenkin snug in his new tigerskin cape/blanket.
Brume has a dream that night. The rising sun of the Morninglord is bright and clear, and suddenly gets occluded by darkness. It’s as if the sun started casting shadows instead of light. Eventually the whole sun is dark, and from the darkness a pale, pallid white face appears. The face blots out the darkness and then starts a mocking laughter, causing Brume to awake in a panic, also waking everyone else.
Continuing to explore the third floor area, the party find the nursery area, which were the rooms originally seen by Bogdan when he scaled the walls to the front balcony. A side room holds a crib, but there’s no cries of a baby in it. Pulling back the black shroud over it, Tamar sees a tightly wrapped, baby shaped bundle in the crib. When she touches it, however, the blankets collapse in on themselves, revealing that nothing is there.
Leaving the room, however, she does notice an odd strip of wall that has less dust along its floorboard. They discover a slight draft that blows the dust away, and soon have a secret door open that leads up more stairs to the attic.
Once in the attic, they find a door locked with an thick iron padlock. Sensing this is where they must store treasure, Yenkin runs to it and unlocks it. On the inside, however, there is no treasure.
There’s a room with child-sized beds, a toy chest with windmill motifs, and a dollhouse that’s an exact replica of the house they’re in. And there’s two small skeletons on the floor, dressed in the same clothes that Rose and Thorn were dressed in, and Thorn is holding the same stuffed doll they saw with him before. Clearly, the children the party saw outside were not alive…
- tigerskin rug/blanket/cape for Yenkin
- silver jewelry box with gold filigree (75gp). inside are three gold rings (25gp each) and a thin platinum necklace with a topaz pendant (750gp)
- For declaring a Broom on Brume action, Brume (not Broom) is inspired. (Broom is ded)
- For being inquisitive and thinking of how to best use devices (like the mirror on a child), Tobin is inspired.
- For nearly dying because of a broom, Tamar is not inspired and in fact is rather ashamed and can we please not talk about it?