Disclaimer: This includes spoilers for Curse of Strahd so don’t read on if you don’t want to know.
We arrive at the town of Barovia and are immediately aware that some people are different from others. Many don’t laugh, they have no expressions of any kind. We come into the town and meet the son of the former Mayor who asks us to help save his sister. We meet him at his home and ask what the issue is. The sister, Irina, explains that she has been having horrible nightmares and is being visited by Strahd in the night. When he comes he feeds on her, draining her slowly until she can become a vampire. They had boarded up the house and her brother had been standing guard the last few nights. With his prey out of reach, Strahd sent various monsters and ghouls to terrorize the house and force them to let him take her. We agreed to get them out of town.
On our exploration of the city we found an awesome vendor that my husband found online. We walked into a door and found Arterisk’s Astounding Atrocities. My husband didn’t realize it until one of us pointed it out but he had given us Triple A. It was even better when we got cards to find the store because it travels in it’s own pocket dimension and can appear in any door. So now we also had Triple A cards! It was the funniest coincidence that my husband picked that to be our special vendor. We also met an old crone that was selling these cakes. She called them dream cakes and said they would make us feel good and bring us nice dreams. We met her just as she was making a trade with someone for their kid. We tried to intervene but the child had already been promised and magical deals really shouldn’t be broken. We had no choice but to let her take the child.
We finally left the town behind and were on the road toward the city of Valaki, where it was said to be safe from Strahd. Night caught us on the road and we were forced to camp out by a river. Then my PC and Malachi the Barbarian made the choice to sleep outside. For some background, for this campaign my PC was a half-elf gypsy bard warlock with the Traveler for a patron. So since my PC was used to sleeping outdoors she saw no problem with this. Well… we had to roll CON saves and of course the barbarian makes it, but me? Oh no, I was loopy. I had to roll on the madness table, yes there is a madness table, and got extreme paranoia. For 13 hours of in game time I could not stop muttering to myself and jumping at every disturbance. It was awesome having to role play thinking that everything was out to get me.
We woke up the next morning, and my Bard was running on only 4 hours of sleep while paranoid out of her mind. Then in the distance we spotted a windmill. Nothing sinister. Just an idyllic windmill turning in lazy circles with the wind. We get closer and on the way we meet a toy maker named Blinksy. He told us that he had been misted into Barovia a long time ago and just wanted to keep making toys that bring joy to children. He seemed eccentric but not violent so we kept traveling with him. We came up on the windmill and lo and behold, there was the hag from Barovia City. The young boy she had taken was nowhere to be seen so we asked after him and she gave a vague response about him working at the mill. We asked if we could look around and she was fine with it, even going so far as to ask if we wanted a tour. Cheeky B.
We became suspicious when our rogue snuck upstairs while we were distracting the hag and found some kids chained up. Sure enough one of them was the boy we had seen. The hag then started getting jumpy but my Bard had a strip of iron and the Hold Person spell on hold. I cast it as she went to do the same to our Paladin. I got to her before she landed her spell and we left her there. We headed upstairs and found Milo the rogue, he pocketed a few of those cakes before the fighting began when we found another 2 hags working as part of a coven. They ate and boiled away these kid’s flesh to the bone so they could grind it up for the flour to make their dream cakes. That’s right! Dream cakes are children!
The fighting continues and then the Rogue has a great idea. Lets burn the windmill down. While the party is inside. While the kids are still inside. He didn’t think he just set fire to one side of the windmill on the second floor. The fire spread and pushed us up to the top of the windmill as our way down was cut off. We had to jump out of the top of the windmill. The Rogue had just enough spell slots left to cast feather fall on most of the group and I had my new broom of flying, whom I named Treble of course, fly some of the other children down. The rogue left a rope for me to climb down as I was the only one left in the burning windmill. In my panic instead of remembering the rope, my Bard just lept out of the opening and landed in a belly flop on the floor. Unconscious. That’s my early golden gods moment and it has taught me much. We were still dying of laughter by the time the party got my Bard up again.