Monday, May 11, 2020

The Convent of Our Lady in the Mists

The Convent of Our Lady of the Mists
Our online D&D game set in Ravenloft continues.

The Characters
Tekla Vardagen, half-elf warlock
13 Shattered Mirrors, tabaxi warlock/rogue
Tank Orkerson, half-orc fighter
Gnagar the Bloody, kobold monk
Al', drow cleric

When we last left our heroes, they were disturbed that there was a group portrait painted by the hand of Donna Pietra Sangino that depicted a party that resembled there own. Afraid that the portrait could be used against them, they endeavored to steal it from the Watersilk Gallery. Unfortunately, almost everything went wrong during their attempted heist. Caught red-handed, they were surrounded and thrown into one of East Riding's many dungeons. Even though Nikolai and Agniezka testified on their behalf at the trial, the group could feel a thumb tipping the scales of justice--Marquis Stezen D'Polarno made a point of attending the trial, and it was likely that he pushed for a guilty verdict behind the scenes. The punishment: death by hanging. On the gallows, nooses were fitted around the necks of our heroes; then, the sudden drop with a short stop. The darkness closed in.

But in Ravenloft, death is not always the end. The party found themselves in a long corridor of black stone; light shown from a door, opened just a crack, at the end of the hallway. The door opened upon a chamber, in which a pale woman with a crown of twisted iron and a cloak of raven feathers awaited them. The group recognized her from the idol they had restored to the Old Bone Church: they had an audience with the Raven Queen.

She explained that they were currently hovering in the liminal space between the Shadowfell and the afterlives that awaited them on the outer planes. She said that their deaths could, for the moment, be avoided by agreeing to become her agents in the world. She was in need of champions to find a prophesied woman who is destined to either give birth to an apocalyptic monster or a savior for the haunted land of Ravenloft. The bargain was sealed; each member of the group drank something suspiciously coppery tasting from a chalice. They awoke, oddly pale and still bearing the marks of the hangman's noose, on a dusty road with a vardo wagon approaching.

As it turned out, the wagon was being driven by their old friend Bela Drachen. Bela had received information about his runaway sister Emilia's whereabouts: she had been taken by an unknown party to a convent. Sensing that Emilia may be the pregnant woman the Raven Queen had sent them to seek, they joined Bela and traveled to the Convent of Out Lady in the Mists, a nunnery perched atop a seaside cliff in Mordent. When they arrived, they discovered that the convent buildings were surrounded by an encircling stone wall in the front and a sheer cliff face behind.

The wall's only gate was guarded by four figures clad in knightly armor, their faces obscured by steel casques. Strange fungal patches also appeared to be growing on their armor. One of the knights told them,  in a rasping voice, they would not be admitted inside. They entered via alternate means, scaling the wall out of sight of the knights stationed at the gate. Exploration of the grounds commenced. A tower was found to be empty, save for a coffin filled filled with dark soil and a strange mixture of black, red, and pink roses. The ruins of a building that was once a nursery was investigated; amid the broken cribs and rubble, a silver grail was uncovered. The rim of the grail was decorated by a motif of shields and swords.

After leaving the nursery, the party saw a group of fungus-encrusted women wearing the habits of nuns gathered around the tower. They attempted to sneak past them, but Tank and Al's armor was just too noisy. 13 Shattered Mirrors suggested kiting the monstrous sisters--a strategy that worked well until the party found themselves sandwiched between more nuns and the knights from the gate. The party dealt with the nuns just in time; they were able to duck behind a hastily erected barricade inside the ruins of the knight's keep. The barricade made it difficult for the knights to get at them, but wounds were delivered on both sides. Noting that the situation had evolved into a stalemate, the fungal knights retreated. The group used this opportunity to quickly explore the remains of the keep and then slip out an unobstructed back door.

Now that the knights were nowhere in sight, the party entered what appeared to be the cottage of the man who maintained the convent's gardens. They found a historical account of the convent. The convent was dedicated to Ezra, a goddess of protection in the Land of the Mists. It was founded as a home for fallen women and women who become pregnant out of wedlock, which explained the nursery. The nuns were guarded by the Knights of Benefaction--many of whom were originally children given birth to on convent grounds. Clearly, though, something had gone horribly wrong. 

The party decided to rest inside in the cottage and then resume their search for Bela's missing sister after catching their breath.