We pick things back up at the Tser Pool Encampment, where Stannemeir and the rest of the Vistani, where none of the things that would typically happen to strangers among gypsies have not happened to us. We are invited to stay in the encampment as guests for the time being and instructed that we could talk to Madam Eva in her tent down by the water. No one is escorting us there, so we are free to investigate the camp or do as we please
Stannemeir and his associates, in addition to being all the things Vistanti usually embody, are talent scouts. We have been recruited to help in their matters, and they are settling in for the night. Every one of the Vistanti look depressed. Jarry wanders off to one of the multiple cookfires to tuck in to some wild game and ale. One of the Vistanti approaches Jarry and asks him if he wants to know the real story of what happened in Barovia. A mighty wizard came to this place a year ago, he remembers. He thought he could rally the people against Strahd, but when the vampire came down, the wizard’s peasant army fled, except a few, never seen again. The wizard and Strahd did battle and after some truly epic clashing the vampire slew the wizard.
Jarry recounts the story to the rest of the group and tells it masterfully. Krusk, foaming at the mouth, explains that we have no time to spare and cannot delay the Vistanti’s suffering any further, and storms in to Madam Eva’s tent.
Inside the tent, a cackling voice greets us each by name and says “finally, you have arrived!” Magical flames illuminate the crone. We are alone with Madam Eva, and she appears unarmed. We pull up a seat around her table and she recounts to each of us a detail of our background, and speaks of our adventures in Hommlet and Waterdeep.
-Carries knife of dead friend Bobo
-recruited into mercenary life from youth hostel
-snuggler-thought his fault his friends got killed
– First stepfather
– town guard-Mother
– obese stay at home back the blue wife
– they all love the cops
– he has a younger brother Kenny
-responsible for death of comrade on battlefield by neglect
-doesn’t believe in taxes
-likes the color blue
-disgusted by lavender
-left behind family of 12 and forgot about them until just now
-secret behind weird earring
-killed master wizard one day with a fireball
-has a tail
Lauris: CHOOSE FOUR
As we marvel at the facts that Madam Eva reveals about all of us, she cackles and brings out two decks of cards and puts them within reach of the party. She instructs us not to touch them. We will draw a card from the High Deck, which tells of good and evil, and the Common Deck, which tells of the things that happen throughout life.
Krusk draws the first card, pumped at being chosen to go first. Lauris draws next. Balyx objects to drawing from the Common Deck, and Madam Eva tells him to be quiet lest she speaks more of his past. Krusk points at Balyx and laughs as he pulls the card. Jarry draws next.
“History: Ancient knowledge will help you better know your enemy”
“A great power: A holy symbol that will aid us”
“Power and strength: A weapon of vengeance, a sword of sunlight”
“This card sheds light on one who will aid us greatly in the battle against darkness”
“Your enemy is an enemy of darkness whose powers are far greater than mortality, this card will lead you to him”
Madam Eva tells us to ask our questions of the cards’ meanings. Krusk asks about the holy symbols, certain it is a reference to Lathander. It is the symbol of Ravenkind.
Balyx asks how the card will lead us to the enemy. Is it literal? She says “Look to the Wizard of Wines, in the woods,” she says of the card that will lead us to the enemy.
The first card, The Merchant, references a cask that once held the finest wine, of which not a drop remains. We are to seek it. Krusk becomes confused. “The first card drawn the thing you seek lies with the dead under mountains of gold coins.”
The second card, The Warrior, references the womb of darkness, the devil’s lair, the one place to which he must return.
She says of the third card, The Trader: Look to the wizard of wines, in the wood and sand the treasure lies.
The Seer: Look for a dusk elf living among the Vistanti. He has suffered a great loss and is haunted by dark dreams. Help him, and he will help you in return.
Caela asks if we have met any of these people. We have not, we will meet them in the future.
The Horseman: I see a dead man of noble birth, guarded by his widow. Return life to the dead man’s corpse and he will be your staunch ally.
Among the confusion of all this fortune telling, Madam Eva exclaims: Your destiny is now written. Begone! The tent begins to fill up with smoke, which he recognizes as a very high level casting of Obscuring Mist. He compliments the spell and says he has more questions but hears nothing. The tent flaps open and the Vistanti ask about fire and begin to pull us out.
We are given a map of Barovia. We debate where to go. There is some debate as to whether or not there are more Vistanti out there, and Krusk yells the question at them. There are plenty more. Jarry and Krusk see Lauris running from tent to tent. Krusk says alout “Hey, what Lauris doing?” and suddenly everyone looks for him. Lauris, realizing he has been seen, convinces everyone that he was so frightened that he had to relieve himself. Everyone believes him.
Someone mentions that a dusk elf might be living among Vistanti in the village of Vallaki. We nonetheless resolve to head to Barovia to gather information. None of the Vistanti help us pack up, and we make the trip in a few hours without incident. Tall shapes loom out of the dense fog that surrounds everything. The muddy ground underfoot gives way to slick cobblestones. The tall shapes become recognizable as village dwellings. No sounds cut the silence except the sounds of mournful sobbing that ring out from a distance. We proceed along the semi-maintained cobblestone path.
We come to a fork in the road and follow the crying until we come to a building marked as Bildraf’s Mercantile. The crying is coming from due south. We follow it. A moaning sob rings through the streets, filling our thoughts with sadness. It is coming from the second story of a two-story townhouse. The building is about forty feet square and is boarded up from the inside. Balyx knocks on the door and the sobbing pauses before continuing. He knocks again. We hear sounds of scraping along with the sobbing, as if something was trying to get into a corner. Caela suggests breaking down the door and Krusk happily obliges, overwhelming the poorly barricaded door with relative ease. We hear the sobbing turn into a panic, and it is upstairs. Caela suggests sending Jarry upstairs on account of his friendly appearance, and Jarry decides to pose as a health worker from the village and announces he is here for a wellness check.
Caela commences a search of the first floor and finds nothing of value. Jarry advances to the second floor to find a human woman desperately holding onto a raggedy old doll, terrified out of her mind and sobbing. Jarry approaches warmly and slowly with a smile, asking what the matter is. Jarry offers her something to drink, and the woman explains there is nothing in the house. Clutching her doll, the woman reaches out for her hand. She seems to respond to Jarry in a familiar way, following Jarry downstairs. Jarry explains that her friends are downstairs. The woman introduces herself as Mary, and Mary explains she is now fearful for her teenage daughter Gertruda. They have lived in this house all their life, and barricaded themselves in when the nastiness started but Gertruda broke out a couple weeks about and fears the worst. Caela asks her to be more specific about “the worst” and does not get much of an answer.
Krusk and Jarry both notice that the doll does not appear human, or even quite humanoid, malformed in all sorts of ways. The doll has an odd leer to it, something of a mean face. Jarry asks about the father, and Mary tells us he died in an accident years ago. She invites us to stay with her for the evening. Krusk asks about the doll. It is Gertruda’s. He asks the doll’s name. The doll’s name is No Fun. Krusk asks Jarry if the doll looks odd to him. Jarry asks to see the doll, and it was made by Galdof Blinski, a toymaker in the village of Vallaki. Stitched into the hem of the doll’s dress are the words “Is No Fun, Is No Blinski.” We give her some goodberries and some jewelry before leaving. She begs us not to leave but we do so anyway. We head back to the Blood of the Vine Tavern.
Gems (page 45 blast)
3 paintings worth 75gp each234 gold1079 silver1891 copper24 platinum52 electrum
9 gems valued at 50 gp each
1 amulet of Saint Cuthbert2 Potions of Animal Friendship
1 Potion of Fire Breath
3 holy symbols of Saint Cuthbert, valued at 150g apiece.
A jade symbol of Saint Cuthbert
A bag of material components
2x Fine leather armor
1 heavy mace
A black scepter with violet gems
A small violet sphere
A black metal scroll case+1
An unidentified scroll