It was a normal, boring night in a random tavern in a random town, when a mysterious stranger appeared and approached our intrepid adventurers. He had a letter from someone named Kolyan Indirovich, pleading for help in saving his daughter, Ireena Kolyana. After delivering his letter (oddly address to each member of the group), the stranger left with a flourish and rode off into the night. The group decided to settle their bill and head out in the morning.
It only took a few hours before the terrain started to look different, with thick green forests on either side of the road crowding in to give a feeling of being watched. They soon came to a set of massive gates that opened on their own to admit the group. Once passed, the closed behind the group with a sense of finality.
Eventually, everyone arrived at the Village of Barovia. The streets stood deserted, with buildings appearing worn and ill-maintained. Those not empty had doors and shutters closed fast, and all was quiet except for some mournful sobbing from somewhere further into town. A strange, heavy mist settled around the town making it impossible to see.
Before heading further in, the group spotted a pair of children standing forlornly in the street. Approaching them, the children told of a monster under the floor in their house – our adventurers bravely agreed to investigate.
Exploring the house which appeared abandoned except for the children, our group found nothing amiss until they began exploring the upper levels. They were attacked multiple times – a suit of armor, the ghost of the nursemaid – but they continued on, finding that the upper floors were in disrepair like the rest of the city, while the bottom floors appeared new.
Eventually the found the children’s room, along with the skeletons of Rose and Thorn as they had died, locked in their room. Discovering a way down a secret spiral staircase to the basement, they began searching it – all the while hearing a strange chanting in the distance. Eventually, they got close enough to understand the words, “He is the Ancient. He is the Land.”
They made their way to a room partially submerged in water, with an altar stained in blood, when the chanting stopped. Exploring the altar, they were surprised to be surrounded by apparitions that demanded, “One must die. One must die.” Refusing the demands of the altar, they move away from the center of the room and caused the ghostly cultists to summon their guardian – a giant monster of vegetation that attacked the group. Fighting desperately, they managed to defeat the creature and dispel the apparitions.
Continuing to explore the basement dungeon levels, they were nearly killed by a group of ghouls that crawled forth from the floor, saved only by the heroics of Effi. Later, the divine strength of Zana protected the group from the parents of the children, Gustav and Elisabeth Durst – risen from the grave as undead.
On their attempts to leave, they found that the house was unhappy at their refusal to participate in the ritual, and had bricked up all the windows and filled all the doorways with scything blades. Escaping the first room, Jameson discovered that the walls – while decrepit and easy to destroy – were full of rat swarms, and all the rooms with fireplaces were belching forth a poisonous smoke.
Deciding to seek a balcony from which to lower themselves, the party was stopped when they realized that Effi had been possessed by the ghost of Rose and refused to leave the house and her brother. Everyone decided to collect the children’s bones and try to put them to rest in the family crypt down in the basement. In doing so, Effi was finally set free (much to the chagrin of her party, as her back luck – absent during the possession – returned full strength).
Dodging blades, avoiding rats and holding their breath against the smoke, the group was able to make their way onto the 3rd floor balcony, where they lowered themselves safely to the ground. The mists, which had previously been observed circling the house and ensuring they were unable to leave with matters unsettled, had dispersed and the group determined to make haste into the village in search of the Burgomaster.