Chapter Sixteen – Reaching The Catacombs

The door is locked, what is Frimly Greenish and Galan Tara to do?

With no discernible mechanism visible to either pick or smash. All of the adventurers apart from the two, who have passed into the mysterious chamber beyond, Frimly and Galan, stare at the blank portal with a mixture of frustration, apprehension and danger.  Sigune growls beneath her helm and wheels towards the balcony above the watery torture chamber, her gaze focused on Detecting any Evil. Sir Ly does the same, and beneath their stern but righteous gaze they spot a shadowy form beneath the surface of the water that clearly bears the interlopers ill will. Sigune draws her bow and takes aim on whatever the creature may be, but without a clear target, elects to withhold her shot and wait for a better opportunity.

Observation Balcony Curtain
Observation Balcony Curtain

Sigune: “By zee Cudgel! Something beneath zee water!”

Thora, thoughtfully stroking her beard:

Thora: “What is it lassy? Another of the Count’s zombies?”

Sigune: “I cannot see it, but I know it iz zere!”

Suddenly, without warning, both Frimly Greenish and Galan Tara come back through the locked door!

Frimly: “There’s like a big egg timer! When it gets to the bottom, one the two statues come to life! We threw a stone into a pot and then the door opened. We went through the eastern door and there was a spiral staircase beyond. We were stuck and isolated. We figured that each gem must open a door. I then opened a chest in the room and it was trapped, with lots of nothing inside it. But the chest is solid gold!”

Brazier Room Hour Glass
Brazier Room Hour Glass

Engraved on the pot:

In the palm of my hand – Is the time left to thee – When it’s consumed – Will the flame set you free?

Mirafir suddenly has a flash of inspiration and checks the spot where Strahd was standing for tracks. The tracks were definitely real. The Count was there.

Galan gives his sword to Ismark. In the meantime Mirafir casts Detect Magic from his scroll. He has astrong hunch there is something to be found in the chest… And indeed there is a faint emanation of something on the chest… There is something inside it… He sees five separate emanations of glowing magic! All the doors plus the golems etc. radiate the same type and strength of magic. Of the six things in the chest 1 strong 2 moderate 2 faint radiations.

A Cloak of Displacement.

Magic Item - Cloak of Displacement
Magic Item – Cloak of Displacement

Apolished Stone.

Magic Item - Stone of Good Luck
Magic Item – Stone of Good Luck

2 glass vials with a clear liquid (Potions of Extra-Healing).

Magic Item - Potion Of Extra-Healing
Magic Item – Potion Of Extra-Healing

Another potion in a Metal Flask (Symbol depicting a Flaming Man).

Magic Item - Potion Of Fire Giant Stength
Magic Item – Potion Of Fire Giant Stength

A Scroll case, very strong Necromancy (Heal & Resurrection).

Magic Item - Cleric Scroll
Magic Item – Cleric Scroll

The adventurers enter the room with Mirafir going straight to the chest. He takes out the stuff from the chest – to the others it still looks invisible unless they can see through the illusion. Frimly Greenish throws the red stone into the brazier and the adventurers leave through the same door.

Outside they examine the items. The ‘Potion in a Metal Flask’ insignia is a Flaming Man. The ‘Polished stone (Agate)’ cannot be deciphered. The ‘Magic Scroll’ is clerical, ‘Resurrection and Heal’ spells are inscribed upon it. ‘2 potions of Extra-Healing‘. Sir Ly puts on the ‘Cloak of Displacement’. Thora takes the ‘BLack Mace’ that Sigune found in the chapel. Mirafir keeps the Polished stone (Agate).

Observation Balcony Curtain
Observation Balcony Curtain

The adventurers go back into the room and Mirafir checks again for Strahd’s tracks that go to the door that so far hasn’t been opened. The adventurers decide to go through the middle door, with Galan, Sir Ly, Thora, Mirafir, Father Tobias, Ismark, Frimly Greenish and Sigune.

Brazier Room
Brazier Room

Up the stairs, which then turn sharply to the right the adventurers go up. Thora moves to the front. There is a kind of mist on the floor. Mirafir tries to ‘Detect Magic’ along the passageway but doesn’t see anything. Thora steps up and searches for natural traps. Are they on level -2? Or Level -1? Somewhere between the two, most likely.
They continue with caution, Mirafir suddenly notices a magical aura on the wall just as his spell reaches the end of its duration… It’s a ‘Glyph’, in all likelihood. Father Tobias can dispel it.

Thora: “It’s a trap, like a greeting. Come on Frimly Greenish let’s have a look…”

Galan opts to try and get past the trap by himself. A brave but potentially fatal act!

Count Strahd: “You have worn out your welcome. Whatever gods you believe in cannot save you now!”

Galan: “IT IS STRAHD!”

Galan waves the invitation at him:

Galan: “You invited us!”

Ismark: “Stand back! I have the light of God!”

Strahd tries to hit Galan and misses!
But he then casts magic missiles of bats at Galan from point blank range inflicting a serious injury on him!!!
The others jump past the floor trap, suspecting the ‘Glyph’ of summoning Count Strahd.

Catacombs Passage
Catacombs Passage

Galan strikes Strahd, who then bizarrely dissolves… An illusion?

Galan’s injuries also mysteriously vanish.

Father Tobias: “I have the icon! I can defeat you!”

The party arrives at the door. This tunnel is cut into the very pillar of Ravenloft rock. Visibility is limited. The door looks more like the door to a mausoleum.

Frimly: “This reminds me of old graves I robbed. We have to push it or pull it.”

Thora steps forward, flexing her mighty sinewy muscles and cracking her bristled knuckles.

Thora: “Aye, I’ll crack this like a nut!”

Mirafir: “It’s about 3:30 am in the morning. Not long until dawn!”

Mirafir fondles the ‘Agate Stone’. He senses nothing but suspects some power lies within.
Galan and Thora try again to open the door, Thora sliding her fingers into the dark slit and wiggling them around to gain leverage. Between them they manage to prize the gap open and widen the crack until it gapes open, revealing a catacomb within. Cobwebs hang limp in the foul-smelling misty air. Looking up, it is not a ceiling, but full of bats.



Buried deep beneath the walls of Ravenloft, can be found the ancient catacombs, with arched ceilings supported by wide, hollow columns that double as crypts. Cobwebs hang limp in the musty air. A thick fog clings to the floor, which is covered in putrid waste. The black ceiling is moving.

The floor is covered in several inches of bat guano. The catacombs are made up of 10’ foot wide arched walkways running between 10’ foot square crypts, which serve as pillars that support the 20’ foot high ceiling.

Each crypt is sealed with a chiselled stone “door”- actually a tight-fitting stone slab measuring 3’ feet wide, 5’ feet tall, and 3’’ inches thick. Removing or resetting a stone slab requires an action and a successful Strength Lift Gates check.

The party enters the catacombs, no tracks can be discerned and the bats are agitated. Frimly Greenish wants to check the portcullis on the left hand side of the room, his insatiable curiosity constantly driving him towards increasingly dangerous undertakings. The rest of the party eye the misty darkness with foreboding, sensing an ancient malignant evil lurking within.

Ravenloft's Catacombs
Ravenloft’s Catacombs

A single step in the wrong direction at this juncture could amount to the difference between life, death and a fate worse than both – an eternity of undying death in the service of a contemptible count. Yet these adventurers are made of sterner stuff than their predecessors in the realm of Barovia; resolution, courage, cunning and resourcefulness are among their great strengths, but it is their unity and single purpose that has enabled them thus far to defy the machinations of the loathsome, Machiavellian Count Strahd.


The Forgotten Realms Wiki