Halloween Hootenanny X – White Wolf Storytelling System – I6: Ravenloft

Game summary for October 31, 2015, I6: Ravenloft adventure module; present characters Dr. Aleksei Abramovich (physician), Arabella Hillebrandt (crossbowman), Dirk Osterhagen (grave robber), Eryk Sikorski (cleric of the Morninglord), Georgi Serebrov (circus performer), Haimrich Eckard (rogue), Kelemen Czako (woodcutter), and Kirsztina Mullner (paladin of the Morninglord).

This was a one-shot game for our six-hour Halloween Hootenanny gaming event. We converted the classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure module I6: Ravenloft to a White Wolf Storytelling System adventure and made fantasy characters using rules from the Mirrors supplement. For magic use, we used a very basic mana point system and limited range of spell effects pulling a few things from Mage: The Awakening with an eye on very, very fast play.

In the interest of time, the players were read a backstory of how they ended up trapped in Barovia and that destroying Count Strahd von Zarovich was their only recourse. The game began with a reading from Madam Eva to be followed by a search through Castle Ravenloft for the items to destroy the vampyr, and then, if they had not found him yet, they knew Strahd would find and attack them when only one hour of game time remained.

The fortune reading went as follows:

This card is a symbol of great power.  It tells of a powerful force for good and protection against the forces of darkness. This is in the mother’s resting place. There is a very good influence there.  If you are there, the powers of good will aid you.

This card tells of history.  Knowledge the ancient may help you understand a foe. This is in a place of dizzying heights that all loathe to travel.  The road winds ever upward and the rocks themselves live here! The diamond blesses your skill there, but bodes poorly for your protection.

This is the object of your search!  Ah!  I see darkness and evil behind this card!  It is a powerful man whose enemy is light, and whose powers are beyond mortality. This is a very bad sign.  This is in the very heart of darkness; his home, his source.  It is his center and his life.  It is the one place to which he must return. The diamond blesses your skill there, but bodes poorly for your protection.

This card is good for you.  It is a card of power and strength, the victor’s card.  It tells of a weapon of light, a weapon with a vengeance. A king’s throne is the place to find this. The spade is a dark shadow of evil cast over that place.  You fight under its influence here.

And here is the root card.  Out of darkness and chaos, this card finds the reason and foundation for darkness and chaos.  This card shows the purpose of all things.  It is the key to life and death and else beyond. Not yet, but soon, one who appears to be your friend will become your enemy.

The party entered Castle Ravenloft and followed the sound of organ music. They encountered Strahd in a great dining hall! Kelemen hurled a helmet at him and discovered it was an illusion. The torches went out, and they could hear all the doors, gates, and portcullis slamming shut as well as the drawbridge raising. The group discovered a secret door behind the organ and learned someone had used a mannequin and mirror trick to project the illusion. They proceeded to a stairwell leading up and down and descended further below the castle. Down in the depths, they were assaulted by a mob of skeletons swinging rusty maces. The team made short work of the undead and pressed on.

They discovered a stairway up, and found themselves in a large wide tower. The group started up when suddenly halberds darted out of the darkness and the entire tower seemed to come alive! It bucked and twisted, trying to hurl them into the darkness as a loud rhythmic thumping filled the air. The halberds hacked and slashed, and Haimrich found himself hurled from the stairs! He plunged to the bottom and was badly injured. Dr. Abramovich tried to go to him and was hurled off as well. Before long most of the party had fallen, but some made it to the top and discovered an enormous beating heart! They killed it, and the tower settled down. At the top of the tower they found and read the Tome of Strahd!

They then returned to the main entryway to find a different way up and were attacked by gargoyles! The fighting was intense for a few moments, but the team took them out. They then ascended the grand stairs and sprung a trap of flailing armor. Moving on, they ascended to the throne room and were stunned when an old metal sword hilt sprang up and merged with the blade carried by Haimrich! They had found the sunsword.

From there, the group proceeded down a wide hallway. At the end they saw double doors, and Arabella decided to charge into and through them. Her momentum carried her through the doors, passed two thrones, and over a railing down into the darkness below! Two Strahd zombies rose up from the thrones and attacked the party. The team was horrified to find as they chopped the zombies up the various pieces continued attacking! Before long the hallway was filled with ambulatory limbs all attacking the team! Meanwhile, Arabella used a grappling hook to climb up. They ended up tying up all the parts and leaving them behind. The group took the rope down into a large chapel.

As they started to explore, Strahd came into the room and attacked! The team took several hard hits but dealt a lot of damage of their own. Suddenly, a crossbow bolt from Arabella slammed into Strahd’s chest, and his features began to melt and shift! As he died, he took on the form of Haimrich! Horrified, the group turned to Haimrich who laughed and shifted into the form of Strahd! He hurled the sunsword through the stained glass window and attacked in earnest. He snatched up Georgi and drained him of his blood! The team was under an onslaught as Eryk jumped through the stained glass and found the sunsword out in the yard. He ran back in and gave it to the paladin Kirsztina. She dropped her blessed sword (picked up by Kelemen). The two engaged Strahd with their holy blades. Meanwhile, Dirk took his shovel and snapped the handle. Taking the makeshift stake, he plunged it through Strahd’s chest, paralyzing him! Kirsztina then decapitated the vampire lord!

The group looked out over the town of Barovia as sunlight filtered down on a new day, the people freed from the oppression of the wicked undead.