Curse of Strahd

A bard's perspective on his new companions


I have had some time to evaluate my new companions and will quickly note my first impressions. I realize I probably haven’t induced the greatest confidence in my abilities, but I know I will shine soon.

Nicomedes- He is a bit different. Sort of quiet and strange, but is real handy to have around in a fight. I feel kind of bad about moving him in the way of those scary shadows which resulted in his death. I don’t think he believes me when I told him I thought he was going to move also.

Delavan- Part paladin and part crazy. I try not to laugh at him because his honor is very important to him, but…it can’t be helped. Well between getting beat by a broom and being fondled by a Grick he has kept me entertained. When he retires from adventuring he will surely find work as a court jester. I can’t deny his bravery though. He died protecting the group, of course it was his brashness that landed us in the situation with the shadows in the first place.

Garrin- I think he is really in his element fighting all these creatures. His spells and abilities have been godsend in this horrible place.

Gogall- He is big, ugly and not the smartest, but he has proven to be a steady ally. I think with his help the group might survive this land

Garrin's Journal Entry #5
13 Feb 17

Garrin’s Journal Entry #5
13 February 1017

After the Grick slunk back to its lair, Adderath offered to keep taunting it until it died. We chose not to do this and instead proceeded out of this room to the next area of the basement/dungeon/crypt. As we moved out of the room, the floor in the hall before us erupted and four or five ghouls came out and attacked us. Gogall was in front and he wisely backed into the room, forcing the ghouls to come attack us rather than all of us try to attack five ghouls in the narrow confines of the corridors of this crypt. Remember the Grick that we chose not to taunt to death? We should have let Adderath finish it. It now came forth from its lair and proceeded to abuse Del some more with its floppy, disfigured tentacle. I turned two of the ghouls. One of them successfully fled; the other was cut down while attempting to flee. We managed to finally destroy the Grick and the remaining ghoul before following the turned ghoul to destroy it.

We found it sheltering under the statue of some man, apparently a noble, with one hand resting on the head of carved wolf and the other holding a grey crystal orb. My comrades and I made short work of the remaining ghoul and then Del did something stupid. I admire Del’s courage as a holy warrior, but I think it might be prudent for him to pay more attention to the holy, and one hopes, wise, portion of that duality rather than just the reckless warrior mentality. Del decided to smash the crystal orb and we were immediately beset by five shadows who were trapped therein. Shadows appear exactly as their name describes them, but they also hate life and drain the strength from those they attack, especially those of good heart. We barely survived this battle, fortunately the radiant light of Lathander was particularly baneful to these creatures. When the shadows were defeated, Nicomedes and Del were both unconscious and the rest of us were forced to haul both of them all the way back to the attic where we locked ourselves in the children’s room to rest and recover. It has taken us twelve hours, but I have regained most of my physical stamina and prayed and fasted and once again am filled with the strength and light of Lathander. The rest of my comrades seem similarly ready to return to the fray.

As difficult as this has been, I’m glad the fog pushed us into this house. Laying those dear children to rest and allowing their ghosts to leave this existence was a blessing beyond belief to me. Destroying the other undead, Lady Agatha, the ghouls and these shadows has also been rewarding. Lathander is not the god of the sun or light, he is the god of dawn. Dawn is a time of new beginnings. Undead creatures, particularly sentient undead have turned their backs on a new beginning to remain in their tortured former life. In doing so, they blaspheme Lathander and torture those in this life who they encounter. It is right and proper what we have done here so far, and I look forward to finishing our work.

Garrin's Journal Entry #4
08 Feb 17

Garrin’s Journal #4
08 February 2017

We then moved into the master bedroom of the house, and to our surprise discovered Scratch! He had not been eaten by dire wolves after all. I greeted him excitedly, happy to have been wrong about his demise. He seemed more fidgety than ever and somewhat distracted. He was attempting to gather papers from a desk in the room and kept going on about not wishing to be distracted from his master’s work. Aderath was able to pry the name of his master from him, Strahd von Something. ( I could have sworn I heard him say von Strahdovich, but that doesn’t sound right.) When asked about meeting his master, Scratch responded with some vaguely ominous nonsense about how we would be meeting him soon enough and laughed somewhat menacingly. He went on about how Strahd had called him even before he got on the ship from Baldur’s Gate. Gogall confirmed that he’d been a bit strange even before the storm. We rested for a bit to allow ourselves time to recover however little, from our wounds.

After a bit more searching, we confirmed that there was a fourth floor. However, we had yet to find a means to access it. We then started searching the interior walls of the house for secret doors, passages or stairwells to lead us to the fourth floor. We eventually found it in the room of the children’s late nurse, Lady Agatha, who we had met as a specter. It was positioned behind a mirror in her room and we made our way up to the attic.

We searched and found the remains of a woman who had been stabbed to death. We then found the remains of two children. At this time, the ghosts of Rose and Thorn reappeared and confirmed that the remains of the woman belonged to Lady Agatha. The children’s room held a beautifully ornate and doll house, which was also an exact replica of their own house. Looking at it, we found the secret stairs that would lead us to the basement. Rose and Thorn were not happy at being left when we told them we would go to the basement to see about their parents. Thorn tried to possess me and Rose tried to possess NicomedesEach of us was possessed of sufficient strength of will to fend off the children’s ghosts. After that the ghosts disappeared. We gathered up the remains of Rose and Thorn and the late Lady Agatha and carried them down into the basement. We immediately found the Durst family crypts and eventually found empty tombs for Rose and Thorn. We also found an empty, unmarked tomb that we used for Lady Agatha. The three were laid to rest with all the honor and dignity that time and circumstances would afford. While trying to open the tomb for Thorn, Gogall was attacked by a swarm of centipedes. We managed to destroy them, but not before they did significant harm to our half-orc friend. We were forced to use one of our healing potions. I used the last of my spells for this day while healing Del after our battle with the dire wolves.

We made our way to another section of the basement and found some sleeping mats. We found some items there, an ivory hair brush, a silver short sword and an eye patch. Unfortunately Nicomedes decided to try on the eye patch and it drove him mad with fear. He took off running. Fortunately, he took off without a light source, which allowed Del and Gogall to run him down. Del caught him, ripped off the eye patch and held him fast until the magic had run its course and he could be calmed down. I did instruct Nicomedes to not try foolish experiments like that again.

We were on our way again and making our way through the dungeon when Del was attacked by a tentacle monster that Nicomedes identified as a Grick. It hurt Del some, but we were able to damage it enough that it retreated into its lair.

Nicomedes Journal Entry #1
Haunted Houses and Dogged Brooms

Stranger and stranger! What manner of place is this? Like no other place I have seen during my travels so far. After our shipwreck, we were enjoined by an old man to head towards the nearest town called Barovia, and we were warned not to stray close to the castle, and well put of that place we were! A ghastly castle on an imposing cliff, no thank you! My companions are strange to say the least, but friendly enough. Garrin son of D’kkin is a religious sort, and Adarath can be a bit too flamboyant for my taste. The paladin, Delordan – he is a true believer that one, not one to be trifled with I would imagine.

We set upon a house, and after knocking on the door, were greeted by two children – to our surprise, they turned out to be ghosts! We explored the house, fighting off foes as we went. almost being bested by a broom… A BROOM!

We shall see what awaits us down the road.

Garrin's Journal Entry #3
01 Feb 17

Garrin’s Journal Entry #3

After leaving the corpses of the dire wolves behind, we continued on with our newfound companion, Gogal. As we walked east down the road, we noticed it was newer and nicer than the track we had been on previously. We also noted fog starting to form in the woods to the side of the road and behind us. Nicomedes decided to experiment with the fog. Taking the end of a rope, he had Gogal hold the other end and had the rest of the party continue walking away from him as he stayed in place. The fog continued advancing behind the main body of the party and as it approached Nicomedes, who by this time was about twenty-five feet behind us, he reported that the whorls in the fog seemed unnatural and almost to be like fingers or tentacles grasping at him. He ran forward to join the rest of us.

After walking another half hour or so, we noticed a lovely four story masonry home off the road to our right. At the same time, we noticed the fog moving more quickly around the house and crossing the road in front of us, forcing us into the home unless we wanted to brave whatever was in that fog.

As we approached the house, we noticed blue and violet flowers growing in a garden near the walkway. I’m not certain why that caught my eye. I think it might have been the first sign of color I had seen in the plant life since we washed up on the shore last night. We knocked on the door but received no answer, but we did hear a child crying on the other side. We went ahead and opened the door and found two children, a boy of about six holding a stuffed animal and a girl of about eight, who I presumed to be his sister. When asked where their parents were, the children told us that they were in the basement keeping the monsters locked up. We asked them to show us the way to the basement entrance but they said they did not want to leave the vicinity of the front door. When pressed, they disappeared. We heard childish laughter coming from up the stairs. Del, our paladin, told us that although he had sensed great evil coming from the entire house, he had sensed none in the children.

We explored the first floor of the house and found no stairs leading to a basement. The house seemed to be decorated in woodland/forest/nature/animal themes of a pleasing nature. We found a long sword mounted to the wall with a windmill embossed in the hilt. The windmill was a recurring theme as we explored the house. I believe it may be a family crest. We went up the stairs, exploring the second floor and finding a seal with the same windmill crest and two suits of plate armor standing in the hallway. Moving to the third floor we encountered another suit of armor which animated and attacked Del. We successfully beat it into pieces. I opened the door to a room on the third floor and was attacked by a specter. After it attacked me it went after several other members of the party. We were very fortunate that she did not hit any of us, as this type of malevolent spirits drain life from their victims. I attempted to turn her, but before she could flee, Del hit her and cancelled the turn. I spoke with Del after the battle and informed him that damaging a creature that had been turned would prevent it from fleeing. He seemed more interested in destroying the creature than turning it. I understand and concur, but the potential harm a creature like this can do should encourage a wiser approach. After dispatching this specter, we examined the room. It was dustier and had more cobwebs than the rest of the house. The children appeared again and I learned that they were named Rose and Thorn. The boy, Thorn then tried to possess Edderthan but, he threatened the boy with destruction and the boy withdrew. Del also threatened them. I explained to them that we wanted to help but we needed them to let us work and not try to “play” with us. “Play” seemed to be their term for possessing other people. As we were finishing up our investigation of the third floor, Del opened a broom closet and was severely beaten by a broom. If he hadn’t been seriously injured, it would have been humorous. Del, the brave and mighty paladin, soundly beaten by a cleaning utensil. We tried beating and slicing it with little success. Nicomedes finally set it on fire and we were able to pound it enough that the magic animating it dissipated.

Garrin's Journal Entry #1
02 Jan 17

Journal Entry 1
Garrin son of D’kkin
Dawnbringer of the Morninglord, Lathander

What a glorious start to this latest adventure, all praise to the Morninglord. One of my new friends, Edderthan, had a meeting with an old acquaintance of his, one Shevin, who is a Sergeant Major in the Baldur’s Gate town watch. Shevin extended an offer to join the Baldur’s Gate Navy in an expedition to hunt pirates under the employ of Neverwinter. This struck me as odd, since I was unaware of any hostility between Neverwinter and Baldur’s Gate; but I was happy to join this expedition to see just what lies at the heart of the matter as well as stopping brutal pirates.

We made our way to the docks and met Sub-lieutenant Ned Bilfrim. He is a popinjay, a martinet and lacks proper respect for the gods. He pointed us to Captain Covul. Captain Covul is everything Sub-Lieutenant Bilfir is not. He is strong, well-proportioned, courteous, and a true leader of his men. He informed us we would be leaving the next day, so I made my way to the temple of Lathander to seek shelter for the night. I was put to work healing several wounded sailors. I was able to heal two of them completely of their injuries and aid the recovery of several others. Many of them were also ill and I was able to diagnose them with cholera, a disease I know to be caused by contaminated water. I made an intention to speak to Captain Covul the next day, but as I write this journal entry, I realize I have failed to do so. I must remedy that upon the morrow. With all the sick and injured, I was not given a place to sleep in the temple and so joined my comrades at the Spiked Wheel.

The Spiked Wheel is an unpleasant little inn with a less than genteel clientele. Sure enough, by the time we woke the next morning, Nicomedes, the foreign wizard had been robbed. He accosted his roommate and beat a confession from him and forced him to lead him to his gang who hid out at Evergreens, an herbalist shop. In the alley behind the shop, we were confronted by six thugs who threatened us with our lives. Nicomedes managed to put two of them to sleep immediately. I wounded the leader and was struck a resounding blow by a large tough with a two-handed sword. Fortunately, we were aided by an Elvish Paladin of Shevarash. He assisted in taking down the toughs and healed me so that I could regain consciousness and heal myself. No one else was injured. We went inside Evergreen to find Nicomedes stolen coins and found the owner of the shop and his daughter, who had been intimidated by the gang into silence while they used their shop as a front for their illicit activities. I instructed them to send for the town watch, which they did, and the watch was most pleased to find this gang of thugs tied up and ready to be carted off to the gaol.

We then made our way to the docks to join the crew of the Terito on its mission of justice against the pirates. There we were informed the ship would not be ready to set sail until the next morning, but were offered quarters for the night. These we accepted and the next morning, after a prayer for Lathander’s blessing of our voyage and our ship, we set sail.

Only a few days from Baldur’s Gate, I was taking air at the bow of the ship while my comrades were similarly on deck, when the water erupted around us and seven or so sahuagin leapt onto the deck of the ship. Their leader was directly in front of me on the bow of the ship and so I smote him with the pure radiance of Lathander’s guiding bolt. I was then surrounded by two or three more of the fiends, but struck the leader again with more of Lathander’s radiance. Then Captain Corvul came vaulting from the quarterdeck, raised the ship’s ballista and impaled the Sahuagin leader with a bolt the size of a spear from the ballista. I was then smote a blow that knocked me unconscious again, but was again saved by Dell, the paladin, who at great personal risk, came to my aid. I also understand that Sub-Lieutenant Bilfrim acquitted himself gallantly, leading the off-duty crew from below decks into the fray. The Sea-devils were killed or driven back into the sea with the loss of only a single crew member. I have healed and this morning, will seek to tend to the injuries of other crew members.

I can also feel that Lathanders is pleased with me and I have grown in his power. Praise be to the Morninglord.

Garrin's Jounal Entry #2
16 Jan 17

Garrin’s Journal
Entry #2

As promising as our enterprise started out, it quickly turned bitter. Shortly after our victory over the Sahuagin, we were delivered into the hands of Tempus, the god of storms. A huge gale blew upon us that sank the Terito and as far as we can tell took her entire crew. Only we four seem to have survived the disaster that struck the Terito and her crew.

Fortunately we had warning enough to gather our equipment and get on deck before the ship sank. We witnessed Captain Corvul strive valiantly to save his ship, but to no avail. The mast which he was climbing, broke off and threw him into the raging sea. We attempted to throw him a line, but the wind and the waves made our attempt fruitless. Shortly thereafter, a huge wave capsized the Terito and threw us into the sea. We were fortunate enough to find pieces of flotsam to keep us from drowning. Sub-Lieutenant Bilfrim and the rest of the crew were not so fortunate. We were forced to watch them drown with no means of saving them. At this time we also realized we had lost Dell. We shouted ourselves hoarse calling for him to no avail before we decided to make our way in the direction of the coast.

After hours kicking, we finally arrived at shore, cold, wet and fatigued. Interestingly enough, before our feet touched land, the water turned from salt to fresh. I assumed we had somehow swum into the mouth of a river. We found ourselves on the shore surrounded by forests and overshadowed by fog. We managed to start a fire, and dried our equipment and ourselves, and set up watch, and rested our battered and weary bodies. During the first watch, while I was on watch, we were approached by a man who inquired why we were here. He seemed puzzled when I mentioned a shipwreck and ocean. And he mentioned fishing this lake. One of us is very confused. I suspect it is him. He did suggest that we get away from the shore and pointed us in the direction of the nearest village, Barovia. During the third watch, Dell arrived on the beach with us. After finishing our rest, we made our way to the nearby clearing and found the road that the stranger had indicated would be there. As we prepared to get on the road, we saw two strangers approaching. We met them and found them to be fellow sojourners in this land. One, a strange human named Scratch and the other a half-orc named Grugal. Scratch wanted us to hurry along to a destination he knew about, but we refused to run after him. I believe he may have been eaten by the dire wolves that then attacked us. All members of the group acquitted themselves well in the fight and the wolves were defeated. The last one tried to run but was cut down as it tried to flee. With any luck we will arrive in Barovia before nightfall.

Garrin Bio

Garrin son of D’kin
Dawnbringer of Lathander

D’kin and J’ney were the proud parents of a healthy baby boy. They held the birth in the Spires of the Morning in Waterdeep and the next dawn, the dawn of the summer solstice, the child was dedicated to Lathander. To the surprise of his parents and the assembled clergy, the babe was limned by a rosy, red glow as the dedication ceremony came to a close.

Twelve years later, the boy was brought back to the Spires of the Morning where he was enrolled as an acolyte or Awakened, in the church of Lathander. There he learned the teachings of Lathander and excelled in all aspects of his training. He was especially enamored of tales of St Wilhelm, a bear of a man and priest of Lathander from ages long past. Garrin learned the stories by heart and will still use them to accentuate a point. Young Garrin is also unshakably optimistic, which befits a cleric of the Dawn.

Garrin measures himself against the teachings of Lathander:
Optimism: leaving the past behind to focus on the promise of a new start. “There is always a new dawn.”
Hatred of undead—They are a mockery of life and creation. Further, the intelligent undead have failed to leave their pasts behind and move on.
Good works: bringing light and life to the people who need it.

He dreams of finding the lost mace of St Wilhelm.

Unfortunately, and he does not even know, his glowing experiences as a youth and acolyte have left him far too trusting of a church hierarchy, who, however much they profess the ideals of Lathandar, are men and not gods and thus prone to the failings of men.

He has recently been given the robes of a Dawnbringer and has only recently left the Spires of the Morning to seek the way of Lathandar in the wider world.

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