TL;DR: 6 adventurers accept a quest from a stranger to help a damsel in distress (and a promised reward!), only to find that they are transported by The Mists to a dark land. These mists guide them to a mysterious house with a morbid history that they are only beginning to unlock.
The Adventure Begins
After completing a caravan escort job from Waterdeep to Neverwinter, 6 adventurers decide to stick together and travel North to Luskan on the tip that there will be more work for a rag tag band like them. And, so they set off on an inland route hugging the Neverwinter Woods.
Halfway to Luskan, our adventurers stop at a modest roadside inn to rest for the night. But, of course, they find that they’ve already spent all the gold earned from their last job. As the group downs what they believe to be their last pint of ale before camping out in the woods, a swarmy character in brightly colored clothes enters the inn and heads directly to their table. In a heavily accented voice, he says,
“I have been sent to you to deliver this message. If you be creatures of honor, you will come to my master’s aid at first light. It is not advisable to travel The Svalich Woods at night!”
He pulls from his tunic a sealed letter, addressed to all present in the group, and in beautiful flowing script. He then drops the letter on the table, and tells the group,
“Take the west road from here some five hours march down through The Svalich Woods. There you will find my master in ”/wikis/barovia" class=“wiki-page-link”> Barovia."
Afterwards, the strange character drops a small pile of gold coins on the table, walks over to the barkeep dropping a bag full of coins in his waiting hands and tells him to pay for the entire inn’s evening and put the adventurers up in a room for the night.
The letter is sealed with a crest that no-one in the group initially recognizes and reads:
Hail to thee of might and valor,
I, a lowly servant of Barovia, send honor to thee. We plead for desperately needed assistance.
The love of my life, Ireena Kolyana, has been afflicted by an evil so deadly that even the good people of our village cannot protect her. She languishes from her wound, and I would have her saved from this menace.
There is much wealth in this community. I offer all that might be had to thee and thy fellows if thou shalt but answer my desperate plea.
Come quickly, for her time is at hand! All that I have shall be thine!
After some discussion regarding accepting a quest from a stranger who suddenly disappears from a tavern out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night; our brave adventurers agree to turn in for the night with a plan to head west in the morning after restocking supplies.
The following day, the group leave the small roadside stop with sunny weather. However, as it became close to noontime, there was the rapid descent of a fog, and after only an hour, the group found that they could barely see for than 5 feet in front of them.; the Elven mage even lost track of the group momentarily after he went after a rare herb he spotted on the side of the road. Nevertheless, our brave adventurers went forward without even once considering to go back.
The mist soon started to recede, if only slightly, and before long certain members of the group, such as Grom of Nesmé who grew up close to this Sword Coast region immediately realized that their surroundings had changed dramatically. It was concluded that they simply were not where they had started out before. As if the entire group had been transported elsewhere.
Soon, the group came upon a very large gate, flanked by tall headless statues and then an enormous wall which went on in either direction as far as they could see (given the limitations of the mist). These gates opened spontaneously as the group approached and then closed on their own after they passed. A futile attempt was made to try and open the gates again. Upon further investigation of the area a dead body was spotted about 15 feet off the road. On this body, the group found a second letter, signed by the same Kolyan Indirovich from the letter received back at the inn, however this letter strictly warns any reader to stay away from Barovia. It is noted that this second letter has a very different seal.
The road then opened into a valley which the group spotted a small town in the distance. As the group approached the town, The Mists began to rapidly close in on them again, such that as they approached the town, they could only make out a few houses in their immediate vicinity. As they walked to the first intersection, there was a whimpering noted in front of a fancy row house. There, they found two children, Rose and Thorn. Rose emphatically pleaded with the group to enter their house and take care of a “monster” in the basement. Apparently, their parents had not been seen all day and there is also mention of a baby, Walter, who may also be found on the third floor. An attempt was made, by the rogue, to tie up the children, but they immediately vanished. As soon as the group entered the house, The Mists closed off any escape and the outside double doors slammed shut.
The first floor of the house was noted to be in good shape. Clean. Fireplaces and lamps lit. Strangely, it was obvious that the inside of this house is clearly larger than would be expected by any initial outside investigation. The house was empty and seemed quite harmless. Decorating the house were various emblems of a windmill and various paintings that, upon closer inspection, revealed a spookier side to the initial artistic impression.
The second floor was also clean, however it was darker. No lit lamps. No fireplaces lit. Again, no signs of life, but no danger found. Again noted are various paintings that show a hidden and morbid style. It was on this level, that the group stumble upon their first clues to the origin of this odd house. It is owned by a Gustav Durst and Elisabeth Durst. Apparently, they also own a windmill nearby. This family seems to have a hidden and darker side as well. It is in a secret study that a multitude of arcane books are found with topics related to the dark arts. It is here that they discover that other adventurers may have been here recently; at least one is dead after an unfortunate encounter with a few poisoned darts.
It was upon climbing the stairs to the third floor, that our group of fine warriors have their first encounter. It was with a living suit of armor! After getting in a good whack on the halfling fighter, Milo Saggywacker, our deft group of adventurers take it down without much trouble. This floor is clearly in disarray. Not at all like the two prior floors. Dusty, cobwebs, musty smelling. In the first room investigated on this floor (what appears to be a maidservant’s bedroom), the group finds a secret door leading to a stairway that takes them up to the attic.
Taking the hidden stairway to the attic, the group enters the room directly in front of them, revealing a bedroom clearly for children. And on the floor in front of them are two small skeletons. Also in this room was a realistic replication of the very house they stood. A cursory investigation of this doll house revealing that every detail was present. However, the ghost of the small children did not seem to like them toying with their doll house and their apparitions appeared before the group. Rose and Thorn tell the group of a more horrific tale than was previously revealed. Their parents had left them in the attic to starve to death one day. Like may times before, they were left in the attic so that they would be “safe” from the “monster” in the basement, however this time, nobody ever came back. Their spirits have never left since.
Our intrepid group decided to take a rest at this point. They believe it is safe to rest in the children’s room. After an atmospheric, but mostly uneventful investigation of the first two floors, they’ve barely explored the upper levels which are clearly more dangerous. What will they find in the basement?