Fate Comes to Call

What's Behind Portal #1

As Dakras steps through the portal, energy twist and turns around him as he leaves his companions around him. All around him is pure darkness. Within a moment’s glimpse, he is in a different room. No mist, no undead, no evil influences. Just Dakras.

Dakras looks around him in his new location. It’s dark and dank in this chamber.

“Surely, this cannot be the Church of Soldral. A church that is usually revolves around the sun probably does not have a room that is dark ad dank. Although, I do like ambiance. Dark, dank, no annoying lighting mages. I can get used to this.”

He walks around the room trying to stay in range of the portal. However, he hears movement. Dakras turns to the direction to where the movement occurred.

“State your business.”

Nothing was said. Just more shuffling noises.

“Let me clarify. State your business or I shall free your skeleton from its fleshy prison.”

Nothing yet. Dakras was trying to intimidate a human, hopefully one that wasn’t a cleric of Soldral.

He moves towards the movement with what’s left of Thanifex in one hand. Just imagine Dakras as an modern middle-aged woman with curls in her hair approaching danger with a flat iron in one hand. It’s essentially what he’s doing.

He finally approaches the source of shuffling movement. His face turns from curious to horror as he sees a person he’s familiar with. The one person that can cause him emotional distress in the world. The one person that leaves his blood pressure high in the mere sight of him. The one person that causes him to sigh every time the person does something. The one person to cause Dakras to dread his next interactions with him. The one person Dakras did not want to see. It was Maximilian McCloud.

Dakras is now panicking. “Am I in Siendart or am I still in Ravenloft,” he thought to himself.

“Or did this idiot follow me through the portal?! I thought Antonio said it was an individual trip!” Dakras contemplates the possibility of this occurrence happening. But then Max said something.

“When is Dakras coming back? He’s taking his time. Or he probably left us. That jackass.”

Dakras then hears a familiar voice.

“He’ll be back. I don’t think he’s going to leave us… yet.”

It was Antonio. But they seem to be continuing a conversation as if Dakras was not there. He then heard Juliana’s voice. Then Jolias’s voice. Dakras paced around the room to see that all his companions, including Femur were there… except the Undead creations.

Dakras tried to wrap his head around the dilemma that he’s in.

Then, something also stirred out of nowhere. A glittering skull with some dust came from nowhere. A familiar sight. One that Dakras did not want to see. The demilich.

“Well done, young Necromancer! You passed another trial! I see your friends have not! Hahahahaha!”

“What do you mean another trial?!”

“Well as soon as you entered this room, a puff of gas enveloped you all. Your gypsy companion failed to track that trap. It’s hilarious. You guys think you’re dying from whatever encounter brewed up in that fleshy brain of yours. You guys have been just walking around in this chamber for a while. Every time I see you guys ‘die’ it’s just you guys running into a wall and knocking yourself out. It’s the most hilarious thing I’ve seen.”

Dakras looked perplexed. All that time in Rvenloft, just an illusion. A mere trap of the mind.

“Oh don’t worry about your friends. They’ll soon die off. But you, my friend, I’ve got a deal for you. How about you would like to live eternally.”

Dakras looked confused but then realized what the demilich was saying. “No, please no! I don’t deserve this. I was meant for greatness. To surpass my master and to control legions of undead that beckon to my COMMAND! YOU WILL NOT SWAY ME FROM MY PATH! I WAS MEANT TO BE IMMORTAL!”

But it was too late. Dakras saw his body collapse as he’s looking from inside his crystalline prison. The demilich trapped Dakras’s soul into one of the gems on the skull.

“You now have what you always desired, necromancer. Immortality. Hehehehehehehehe. It’s a win-win situation in my eyes! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!”

A maddening laugh echoes through the lair of the demilich.

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Portal

It appears that the portal that I expected from the key was indeed true. After a short fight with a demon (and then deal with another) we discovered that the locked away portal was indeed a way back to Seindart. We had a short debate amongst ourselves about what to do with it. I was on the side of using it to return home with Axe being the most outspoken for staying. I should have expected no less from the one who is the most likely to throw himself in front of an enemy blade. While I argued that we are needed back home and can simply take the book and leave he argued that we owed it to the people to push on.

There are certainly reason for us to stay and push on but that is likely one that I disagree with the most. We owe nothing to these people. The most that they have done is house us and provide food, in return we have defeated their enemies and loosened the masters grasp upon the land. It could be argued that by leaving we are dooming them to the masters wrath, the issue with that is there is no reason to believe it will be any worse than when we arrived and the way it has been for as long as this plane has existed. This land seems to have a history of hard times that eventually ceases allowing the town to recover before the next disaster lands. The idea that All of them would be slain is preposterous for a simple reason, they are needed. Even if Strahd were the most sadistic and cruel man in all history he still has a survival instinct, and to survive he needs blood, human blood.

The most logical way to continue living for him is to allow the town to survive. To him the people may be no more than meals but they will have their lives, not easy lives but lives.

In the end it was decided to stay as no others were willing to abandon the land without killing Strahd. In a cruel twist of irony it was then decided that somebody needed to traverse the portal in order to get information and resources. The group decided to choose me as the person to go since my connections and spells were the most useful. The lone voice for leaving and not returning was chosen to be the one to go. This is likely the most that has been trusted to me since Antonio first outed me as a Necromancer, whether I shall betray this trust or not… I do not yet know

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Message from beyond
WWDD (What will Dakras do?)

Gentle reader, I pen this writing wondering if we have just made a colossal mistake once more. If it seems that I say this a lot, well good! You’ve been paying attention all this time.

Our latest self inflicted calamity concerns our resident undertaker and whether or not we have just sent him to his death. It also touches upon the fact that he may just walk away from us all if he gets to the location we have sent him.

In short, we have found a portal back to Siendart. Unfortunately not only is it highly risky to use, not everyone wanted to use it to get us the hell out of here. It seems the more noble and kind hearted of my companions wish to settle our differences with the master of castle post haste. I cannot blame them as we have suffered greatly at the hands of this black hearted fiend, but I also have grave reservations about whether or not all or any of us will survive this quest for vengeance.

The undertaker himself was the lone companion to vote for leaving (I myself abstained), but circumstances dictated that he be the one to go through the portal to send messages to our employers and find out what manner of peril threatens both the old world the new.

If ever he has been tempted to leave us all behind, now would be the time. True, he did leave his creations and his familiar behind but I well know that one can always get more of those.

In truth, I have thought of taking my chances with the portal myself, but there is still powerful abilities to be found here, if the gods I follow allow it.

So for now I have chosen to stay here and join this battle against the master of the castle. I hope that we all don’t end up regretting this decision.

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The Final Countdown

The final encounter draws near and I cannot help but feel a twinge of fear at the thought of facing him, but if we set aside our differences I believe we can win, divided we will be nothing more than his playthings. I must remember that I am not alone. Strahd will fall. May the gods that I only recently have begun to believe in help us.

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Report 21st of the Goodmonth

Ventured through backdoor of castle. In crypts faced monsters that assumed our shapes and identities, although they didnt outright kill us… Their mistake. I overcame their paralysis and was able to warn Jolias and Max. Ive been nervous of other such imposters since, to be honest. Whenever someone wanders away I make them show an ability unique to them. Better safe than sorry especially here.

Met up with Cyrus. I felt a little bad that Dakras and Max used him to get some magical items but honestly it worked out great for us. We found the other half of the portal key. We have an escape just in case things go south. I still remember Antonio’s words, and as much as I hate it he’s right. If something bad should happen, Five Port needs some sort of warning. We know there is trouble already happening. They don’t know what exactly. And I have at least some pages of that book.

No matter now. After meeting Cyrus we went to find the necromatic power. We instead found an imprisoned lycanthrope. He wasnt evil, and personally I wish we were able to help him.

After a few more fights we found an alter down giant ant tunnels. Fought what Antonio calls an Eidelon. It turned Max against us.

Once the fight was over, Dakras began his ritual. He ended up killing himself retrieving a black arrow from a giant werewolf skeleton. He didn’t come back. Everyone stood around waiting like he was going to come back at any second. I walked over and waited at first. But he didn’t come back. Antonio was nonchalantly speaking with his scythe about it like they were talking about a spilled drink and not a human body. It scared me. Max also didn’t come back right away when he died. Antonio warned us about death and Max spoke to me about a dark monster under a table. I placed his body on the alter and thank the Lady he came back.

We decided to wait here the rest of the night. Perhaps its for the best, despite the werewolf corpse and ant husks.

Monsters Fought:
Eidelon
Giant ants
Zombies
Doppelgangers
Bone claws

Rooms Uncovered:
Nicoramus den
Ant cavern
Flooded hall
Flooded prison
Flooded necromancy lab

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Growth through loss

The ritual is finally complete. It required sacrificing a strong magical item of death that we found. When the ritual was complete Thanifex sat there silent, the handle completely burnt away and a spectral Smokey outline left in its place. As of now he remains silent but hopefully that ends soon so I can work on figuring out the new powers it gained.

As the universe knows, power cannot be gained without sacrifice. It appears that this was continued by the loss of my new champion. It saddens be greatly as it requires a huge amount of resources and effort to create, but the work was rewarded by raising my most powerful minion to date, and he was taken so soon.

Hopefully the power gained through the ritual is worth it.

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Fear no evil

Gentle reader, this missive comes to you from the bottom of a dark pit somewhere in Barovia. We quested here on behalf of our undertaker friend who needed to complete a ritual of power that has left me concerned for the generations that follow ours. Apparently it is no longer enough to endanger our present, now we must become the catalyst of future doom as well.

The ritual required freeing an elder being. Not completely mind you, but the largest of avalanches begin with the smallest of footfalls. We obtained what we wanted, but I believe that the long term cost will be higher than we can imagine.

Of course we still have not dealt with the master of the castle yet, I fear the godchild is growing completely overconfident in regards to facing him. We did get a taste of what it will be like to face off against Raiden recently and it wasn’t pleasant. Fortunately my “alternative plans” for dealing with him are still on the table and unknown to the others.

Lying here staring up at the elder power we have begun to free, I can’t help but wonder what the future price will be in our quest for power.

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2 Years and We're Still Not Dead
A Recap of the Adventure So Far

Hey guys, instead of doing a character post today, I would like to take the time of the adventure that all of us went through so far. So to top it off, the original adventuring party arrived to Siendart. Although, the captain threw the party overboard as their welcoming gift. Our original crew was comprised of Hogthorpe, a noble from a land forgotten; Jolias, a Priest of the Austere Lady; Juliana, Jolia’s brother and Paladin of the Austere Lady; Dakras, a necromancer; Antonio, an adventurer; and Mallard “The Duck,” an alchemist and “healer.” Together, this group set out to make their living in the new world, trying to help explore the new world and make a name for themselves. Within the first session, mayhem struck the city of Fiveport as the docks were being attacked by some gang. Juliana and Jolias charged ahead to help fight while the others helped the villagers controlled the fire. The encounter almost proved to be fatal as Jolias almost dies from the first swing of one of the gang members. The next day, the enigmatic Red offered the crew a job with one of the guilds within Fiveport, The mission bestowed onto to them was one of great importance. Retrieve a signet ring from a thief hiding out in Gonost. However, the signet belonged to Lord Eirwright, one of the most important nobles of Fiveport. The misuse of the signet ring can lead to the falsfication of documents or even the starting of wars.
The group travels to Gonost, but everything was not smooth sailing. The group trespasses into the territory of The Three Sisters, sea hags who attack any poor person that trespass into their territory using malignant magic and horrible monsters. The party brave through the obstacles of the Sisters and arrive at Gonost to find the thief. The group makes their way into the TImberway Forest, not without some casualties. Dakras was the first to fall to Timberway Lions but was the first to discover the power that lies in all of the heroes. The group finds the thief in an abandoned cabin but finds morphed into some hideous monster: the Wendigo. Everyone but Hogthorpe and Antonio is bitten and is overcome by the course of the Wendigo, craving flesh to feast. But alas, fortune is met at the crossroads as a gypsy caravan is there and helps the group get cured of the curse, not without a price to pay. The next day Hogthorpe disappears in a brilliant flash of lighting, leaving nothing behind. However, the group does not mind and continues with their adventure. During the time we met Axe, a earnest and brave warrior. Jolias bought a wagon of rocks and died from drugs of “The Duck.” The group’s ties with the alchemist was strained enough with previous events. However, the group cast aside “The Duck” and he was ex-communicated from the party. With their mission in Gonost complete, they return back to Fiveport. However, an accursed beast sits on top of the mast, with two heads and an aura of mishap. The Devil Eagle causes those on the ship to go through catastrophic mishaps. Examples of such was the spoiling of food and the attraction of the ghost ship. With enough appeasement and a full belly, the Devil Eagle left. But, one more misadventure happened. The ship crashed and the party comes across a Demilich’s Labyrinth. With all sort of evil machinations and inventions, the group made it into the inner sanctum of the lair, to find that Duck has betrayed the party and has made a pact with the demon Pazuzu. After a bloody battle, Duck retreats with the demon, for now. The group eventually makes it to Fiveport and return the ring to Lord Eirwright and holds a feast for the party. At the party, the party meets Maximilian McCloud, an weaponsmith and lightning mage with a short temper. After the party, another raid was struck onto a temple of Soldral and find that a map was stolen by some thieves with the a faint silhouette of an alchemist. The thieves were dressed as the night watch to sneak into the church.

Thus, Book 2 starts. The party is tasked by the Church of Soldral to retrieve the map because the map hides a sinister secret to the location of the BOOK OF VILE DARKNESS. The group travels to a forest near the city of Gonost, where legends say that people enter the forest do not come back. The group rests at a village nearby and seeks a hunter who knows their way around Mith Taure, the forest. The hunter agrees to guide the group through the forest and eventually comes to the Ancient Archives. In the archives, the group goes through all sorts of ancient traps in order to get to the Book before the thieves do. At the last trap, Max accidentally set off an trap that blended Axe. After Axe’s resurrection, the group encounters the thieves but fail to catch them. The group believes that their job in the forest is done. However, during the night, the group gets transported into the plane of Ravenloft, a land plagued by undead, ruled by the Lord of the Lands, Baron Strahd von Zaronvich, a ruthless vampire. Now the party embarks on an epic quest to figure out where the map is within the land of Barovia before it gets into the hands of the Baron himself.

So that’s the recap so far because we all can remember what happened up to this point. But the point of the post is to look back, laugh, and reminisce on the funny, serious, or just really special moments in the campaign. So here’s to two years. So with that I say “Thanks Andrew for making the campaign really fun. The group and I appreciate the monsters, traps, and other horrible stuff that you’ve thrown at us. It really makes for some interesting but memorable encounters. Thank you and here to the group’s demise. May rocks fall and everyone die.”

Let’s have a feast!

turkey.jpg

Oh wait, sorry. That’s a paladin you’re eating, not turkey. Oh well!

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Hope is found Down in the Damp Dark Below
Stormlord

While we delve deeper into the caverns underneath the castle we discover the area neede for Dakras and his Scythe. Once again we encounter more traps, and again they are designed to separate us via teleportation. Strahds main tactics seem to be inclined towards dividing us both literally and figuratively, now more than ever we need to remain united. At last I saw some cooperation from Dakras in assisting Axe’s paralysis, perhaps there is hope of regaining his trust. We discovered a captive down here after being teleported into his jail cell. I let him know that we are not here to harm him and that we will get him out of here. He seems to fear Dakras, but I openly assure him that Dakras is a good man and does not wield his power over death with malicious intent. Secretly I hope that Dakras can hear this, but I still speak this truly regardless. Perhaps I can instill new hope in this captive in this dark place. This man, should we rescue him from this place I will ask him to spread my story of what happened here, spread his new hope and perhaps he will be the first of many to follow, for now I am but a mortal, but I will forge the path ahead towards the Harpoon and then through the Leviathan to my destiny. First though, Strahd must fall.

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A New Perspective

Ever since my conversion from the Austere Lady to Lord Tyrenyt, I feel some tension between the majority of the group, especially my sister. Since we were children, the Austere Lady was basically our family. However, we were forced into the religion by the mercenary group. I was only a devout follower because I needed something to cling onto to alleviate the grief of losing our family. But in recent days, I came to the conclusion that the past was holding me back. The Austere Lady is a reminder of that grief and how some wounds cannot be healed by magic. It is time to shed my skin and be a new person. It is no time to stand in the back and cower in fear. It is no time to be afraid of the dark. It’s time for battle.

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