Chapter Fourty One – Strahd Defeated

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Chapter 41: Strahd Is Defeated

No sounds from the Crypts. Battered, bloodied and bruised, barely a word is spoken as seven brave souls emerge from the decayed bowels of Castle Ravenloft. Where thousands before them, across lost centuries, had been mocked, toyed with and slain without mercy or a jot of pity, the Daggerford Seven had somehow defied the incessant onslaught. The incalculable odds stacked ever higher against them, the doubts that had plagued their thoughts, the heinous evil that had sought to infect and divide, was, at last abated.

Triumph though, was muted. All had suffered brutal wounds. The most meagre and rustic of healing was all that kept the warriors from meeting their gods…gauze and prayer….the slender thread of hope and faith. The slosh of blood in boots, stumbling feet, numbed minds and suppressed groans  at the unutterable pain that set constellations of nerves awash with searing agonies. 

The priest, slowing progress as he grasped tightly upon comrades shoulders, kept up a constant utterance of prayer. A reflex perhaps, or mayhap intended to raise flagged spirits or, as likely, to assuage the anguish of his dark new world. Yet to reconcile that within the opaqueness he would surely find his god more readily.

As they made their torturous descent from the Crypts to the Village of Barovia, far, far below, sunlight began to pierce through the steely clouds, delivering shards of warmth to numbed bodies, slowly thawing the terror that gripped stout hearts

Map - The Village of Barovia
Map – The Village of Barovia

Only the Thief seemed unperturbed. He whistled a jaunty ditty as his brain whirred into action, calculating odds and chance. Collating lists of uncollected booty. Congratulating himself on outwitting Count Strahd Von Zarovich and even more so for confusing his own comrades.

The Vistani campsite, where Madame Eva had set them on an inexorable path, was now abandoned. Count Strahd’s vassals no doubt recognising that retribution would soon fall upon their heads.

The village of Barovia is unrecognisable from that which they left two long days previously. Colour has changed forlorn grey into the radiance of hope.

The townsfolk rejoice at the sight of their saviours and raise cheers and hurrahs for the conquering heroes.

Inside the battered and ramshackle church of Holy Divinity, Father Donavich sings praises to the high heavens for the divine deliverance.

Even Father Tobias extols Frimly for preventing further desecration of the body of Ismark by placing him in the Holy Crypt in the Catacombs.

Frimly is quick to suggest that Barovia would be well served by erecting statues to their saviours. Embarrassed coughs all round.

Father Donavich used his limited powers to heal Thora and Sigune as they were the most damaged of all the party.

The party then began to debrief the villagers and themselves on all that has befallen them.

After their first good night’s sleep in days, Spell Points are regained and good humour returns. Healing is carried out by Father Tobias, despite his disability and Magical Items further bolster the party’s state of health.

Mirafir, the Wizard, looks to start examining the items that have been taken from Castle Ravenloft.

Castle Ravenloft
Castle Ravenloft

Several items, found within the CRYPTS, are examined:

  1. Three Rings from the Witches:
    1. Ring of protection +2 (ANY)
    1. Ring of protection +2 (ANY)
    1. Ring of Armouring (WIZARD ONLY)
  2. Doss Lute: (BARD ONLY)
    1. Delay/Neutralise Poison
    1. Cast ‘Hold Person’ (once per day)
    1. Cast ‘Mirror Image’ (once per day)
    1. Last Strongest Ability Unknown
  3. Alchemy Jug (ANY)
  4. GEM: Periapt of Proof against Poison: (ANY)

After some ado, and much pimply imploring from young Sir Ly, it is decided to return to Castle Ravenloft and attempt to find Gertruda – oh she of the imposing cleavage; if she has not already succumbed to the last vestiges of foulness still lurking within.

The Cleric, unable to find a cure for being blinded by spitting Spider Venom, elects to remain with Father Donavich and send Holy prayers via St Cuthbert.

St Cuthbert this…St Cuthbert that….yadda, yadda….Holy this….yadda that. Frimly’s ears glaze over….Gertruda, Gertruda…who the fuck’s Gertruda?

Confidence is high and once across the rickety drawbridge the search party heads around the courtyard and towards the rear of the Castle. The party check the Carriage House:


The double doors swing open to reveal a sleek, black carriage fitted with glass windows, a polished wood roof and brass lanterns.

K04. Carriage House
K04. Carriage House

Here Frimly has the bright idea to use this magnificent carriage to transport their well-earned booty. The heroes then move around past the garden area to the Overlook which they knew about, above the Crypt of the King and Queen of Barovia.


Dead leaves turn spirals about your feet, wheeling and careening over the stone railing. Dark clouds overhead drizzle constantly. A flagstone avenue passes between empty outbuildings, leading to a stone-paved overlook. The overlook has a low stone wall adorned with outward-facing Gargoyle carvings.

By looking over the edge of a low stone wall, you see that you are on a construction jutting out at least 20 feet from the cliff face.

A flash of lightning illuminates the dismal village of Barovia, its rooftops visible above a smothering blanket of fog one thousand feet below.

Underneath the platform on which you stand, about one hundred and ten feet down, a stone construction protrudes from the cliff face. Three dirt-caked windows are set into it.

K06. Overlook
K06. Overlook

Then the party head immediately for the Chapel, where the Icon of Ravenloft is assumed to have returned. The healing power it bestows could well be pivotal.

The Paladins take the fore and barge through the large bronze double doors and enter the cavernous Royal Chapel beyond. Skeletons litter the floor around the central dais, but little attention is paid them. Instead Sigune strides forward and picks up the ‘Holy Symbol of Ravenkind’ that is indeed now upon the Holy Altar. Whereupon the prostrate Strahd Skeletons immediately rise up and seek to attack the noble warriors. Directing the cohort of bony foes is a Skeleton Warrior wielding a two handed sword.

Despite parrying – while waiting for the rest of the party to force their way past the giant double doors that had slammed shut as the ‘Holy Symbol of Ravenkind’ was lifted from the altar – separating the allies – Sir Ly takes a ferocious blow and quickly realises that despite Strahd’s seeming demise, these Strahd Skeletons are part of the Vampires enhanced legion.

Frimly quickly opens one of the doors, allowing Thora to charge in to the chamber, closely followed by Galan.

Within moments they have downed two Strahd Skeletons, while Mirafir takes aim at the Skeleton Warrior with his ‘Magic Missiles’.

Sir Ly remembers that the Skeleton Warriors were controlled by Undead of greater power. But with Strahd gone, the Skeleton Warrior must now be the one who controls all the Strahd Skeletons here.

Mirafir again aims his ‘Magic Missiles’ at their leader and they all hit their target.

Magic Item - Sword Flame Tongue
Magic Item – Sword Flame Tongue

Sigune drops another foe while Sir Ly’s ‘Flametounge Sword’ sweeps an arc of magical fire, and for the third time Galan hits for ferocious double damage!

Thora and Galan despatch the last of their four foes.

However, the Skeleton Warrior has taken flight, disappearing into the darkened stairwell up to the first floor, this highly intelligent entity sensing that doom would soon be upon its damned soul. The Dwarf and Elf follow leaving the Paladins to fight the last of the remaining Strahd Skeletons.

As Thora steps through doorway expecting to be hit, the Skeleton Warrior indeed attacks, but misses. In an instant Thora replies with a shuddering blow. The finely robed Undead Warrior then drops from the combined assaults of Thora and Galan.

The few remaining Strahd Skeletons halt, but the Paladins do not!

Sigune: “Back to the void with you fiends!”

Elsewhere, Frimly has scaled the wall, heading up 50’ feet towards the balcony overlook, expecting to see two Zombies on their thrones and they are indeed there.

Thora urges on her comrades and a huzzah for St Cuthbert as the last bone monkey is felled.

But why and how many of Castle Ravenloft’s undead still haunt its Stygian gloom and CRYPTS.

Upwards goes the Dwarf and two Holy Warriors in search of Zombie brains, while Galan takes aim from below. Within second both Zombies are felled but not before Thora took a sharp enamel nip from one of the fell creature.

Monster - Zombie, Strahd
Monster – Zombie, Strahd

Sigune now has the ‘Holy Symbol of Ravenkind’ in her possession to both aids in turning and healing

A Platinum Circlet with two sapphires is taken from the Skeletal Warriors head by Thora, unsure if it bestows some Magical power.

Onwards and down into catacombs in search of Gertruda. Thoughts turn to healing Sir Ly; again, Sigune uses the ‘Holy Symbol of Ravenkind’ to amazing effect restoring him to near full health.

Sir Ly proceeds to relight as many of the torches as he passes by them.

At the bottom of the high tower stairs are the bodies of the dead Vistani Wizard and two warriors on which Mirafir discovers two ‘Potions of Healing’.

Thora heads straight to the Banshees CRYPT 21 which, thankfully, is now free of its deadly occupant but stacked full of coinage Platinum, Gold, Electrum and Silver.

Frimly: “We need to check all of the CRYPTS.”

A Crypt by Crypt search is undertaken as the party splits into well matched pairs along each row of Crypts.



‘The stone door of this crypt has been carefully laid to one side and it bears no epitaph. Through the slow moving mists of the perpetual fog you can see a stone tomb in the centre of the Crypt’.

On the tomb, freshly engraved letters spell out the words ‘Ireena Kolyana: Wife”. The Crypt is empty and has been swept clean. Is this where Strahd had intended to keep Ireena once he turns her into a Vampire?

Crypt 18
Crypt 18


Sir Erik Vonderbucks

‘A gilded man lies atop a marble slab in the centre of this otherwise barren Crypt.

This Crypt contains the gilded corpse of a nobleman, but little else of interest.

Crypt 22
Crypt 22


Artimus (Builder of the Keep): Thou standest amidst the monument to his life

‘A Skeleton draped in rags lies atop a marble slab in the centre of the Crypt’.

This Crypt contains nothing of interest.

Crypt 19
Crypt 19


Sasha lvliskova – Wife

Webs as thick and pale as linen cover a shapely female form lying atop a marble slab in the centre of this dusty, web-filled Crypt.

This Crypt is also empty and no evil is detected by Sir Ly.

Crypt 20
Crypt 20


Frimly Greenish

The name of Frimly Greenish is etched into the door. Opening the Crypt releases a horrid stench of decay and reveals a corpse lying on the marble slab within. The corpse looks like Frimly Greenish.

Touching the corpse caused it to melt away, whereupon the inscription faded. The Crypt is empty.

Crypt 23
Crypt 23


Sir Sedrik Spinwitovich (Admiral Spinwitovich): Confused though he was, he built the greatest naval force ever assembled in a landlocked country

An 11’ foot long funeral barge dominates this Crypt, wedged diagonally into the available space. Lying in the boat is a skeleton draped in rags, with hundreds of gold coins piled around it.

Frimly, on closer inspection, notes that the coins are made of clay painted gold and are worthless. The funeral barge, which was assembled inside the Crypt, is too big to fit through the door. More CRYPTS are searched.

Crypt 17
Crypt 17


Sir Leonid Krushkin (Sir Lee the Crusher): Bigger than life, he loved his jewellery

Here we find an oversized skeleton draped in Jewellery and rags lies atop an elongated marble slab in the centre of the Crypt. Leaning against the slab is a bloodstained Maul strung with cobwebs.

Sir Lee stood well over 7’ feet tall. 3 Jewelled Necklaces can be seen on Sir Leonid Krushkin’s corpse.

Crypt 10
Crypt 10


Elsa Fallona von Twitterberg (Beloved Actor): She had many followers

A skeleton draped in rags lies atop a marble slab in the centre of the crypt. Nine shallow alcoves are carved into the surrounding walls. The back wall of each alcove is painted with a full -body image of a handsome man.

Some of the men wear fine clothes; others wear armour. At the feet of each painting rests a skull atop a pile of bones.

The bones in the niches must belong to Elsa’s nine, long now dead, consorts. Despite Frimly’s initial fears it reveals nothing to fear, there is nothing of value here.

Crypt 16
Crypt 16


Khazan: His word was power

A skeleton draped in rags lies atop a marble slab in the centre of the Crypt. The skull has ‘2 Black Opals’ set in each of its eye sockets and ‘Shards of Amber’ where its teeth should be.

The adventurers now realise that his word of power is now eliciting no effect and they more on to other CRYPTS..

Crypt 15
Crypt 15


Pidlwick – Fool of Dorfniya

A small skeleton wearing the remains of a fool’s costume lies atop a stumpy marble slab in the centre of the crypt.

The Slab in this Crypt is 4’ feet long (instead of the usual 6′ feet long). The bones atop the slab belong to the fool and servant of Duchess Dorfniya Dilisnya (CRYPT 8).

Here among the bone of the fool Frimly finds, and takes, a leather book sized pouch containing a deck of ivory cards – purpose unknown.

Crypt 09
Crypt 09

Galan: “How many more of these CRYPTS do we need to enter, I wish to leave this place of Darkness and Evil.”


Duchess Dorfniya Dilisnya

Within this Crypt can be seen a tapestry unspoilt by the passing of centuries and worth several hundred gps according to Frimly appraisal.

Crypt 08
Crypt 08


Endorovich (Endorovich the Terrible): What the blood of a hundred wars did not do, the spurn of a woman accomplished

The Crypt gapes open. A skull, some bones, and a few bits of rusted armour lie atop a marble slab with 2 spaces held a leering stone Gargoyle squatting at each end.

This Crypt is where Gargoyles burst out from, within Thora finds a vast sack of coins 3,000 gps worth and 60lbs in weight.

Crypt 07
Crypt 07


Prince Ariel du Plumette (Ariel the Heavy)

This, remembered Thora, was the Crypt of that of the overweight Ghost. This Crypt is bare and completely Empty, unlike the other CRYPTS.

Crypt 04
Crypt 04


Artank Swilovich: Friend and member of the Barovian Wine Distillers Guild

You are greeted by the faint smell of wine. A skeleton draped in rags lies atop a marble slab in the centre of the Crypt. Heaped around it, covering the entire floor, are hundreds, if not thousands, of empty wine bottles. Each bottle’s label shows that it is from the Wizard of Wines winery, and the label names the wine inside:

Champagne du Ie Stomp, Red Dragon Crush, or Purple Grapemash No.3.

Red Dragon Crush
Red Dragon Crush

However, there is nowt of value here within and so we more to investigate the remaining CRYPTS.    

They continue on to Count Strahd’s Tomb, avoiding the Brown Mould creature that emanates deathly cold, which lurks nearby. The Counts Tomb is empty.

Crypt 05
Crypt 05

Frimly: “But where are those three female Vampire bodies, which had wooden stakes set into their hearts. We have not come apon them in any of these CRYPTS?”


Stahbal Indi-Bhak: A truer friend no ruler ever had. Here lies his family in honour

They move on to the Wights Crypt 14, now devoid of the original inhabitants but now holding a few Skeletons instead. Sir Ly ‘Levitates’ down while Sigune uses her ‘Arachnid Climbing Ability’. Thora and Galan climb down the ladder. Thora, as she is climbing down the ladder, and Sir Ly, as he is slowly levitating down, get hit by the Skeletons.

There are 6 Skeletons within the sunken tomb that are easily cut down but nothing else of value is found therein, more disapointing CRYPTS.

Crypt 14
Crypt 14

The party move across to the SOUTH side of the catacombs.

 CRYPT 34:

King Dostron the Hellborn

Resting in the centre of this crypt is a 7’ foot long gilded sarcophagus, its lid painted with the likeness of a screaming king wearing a ‘Crown of Horns’. Looming behind the sarcophagus is a stuffed Owl Bear frozen in a roar, with claws outstretched.

Crypt 34
Crypt 34

Sir Ly concentrates and attempts to ‘Detect Evil’ within. It is only the stuffed Owlbear that emanates a mild taint of Evil.

Sir LY: “I feel we need to check this Crypt, it troubles me more than the other CRYPTS.”

Sir Ly steps into the Crypt and moves towards the sarcophagus, while keeping his ‘Flametounge’ held high.

Impish Voice: “I wouldn’t do that if I were you!”

Sir Ly starts talking to no one, and then enters the CRYPT, in an instant he screams and runs away at full tilt, heading straight foe the hollow Stairwell.

Sigune: “We must go after him or he will be lost amoung the CRYPTS.”

Thora: “No he will come back on his own.”

Thankfully he soon returns.

Sir Ly: “I was impelled by a disembodied voice within the CRYPT to RUN!?

Galan has a plan.

Galan: “Elves are much harder to mind control.”

He enters but is not affected; Mirafir aids him in lifting lid of gilded sarcophagus. A belch of Fire and Brimstone erupts as a Huge, Red, and Winged Demonic Gargoyle looking creature bursts from the Sarcophagus. It is a minor demon no less.

Demon: “You will all pay for my imprisonment.”

Demon - Pit Fiend
Demon – Pit Fiend

Mirafir: “These CRYPTS have been nothing but misfortune for us all.”

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