The Sanguine Rose
A group of would-be adventurers found themselves lured to a remote tavern outside of Daggerford, called The Sanguine Rose. Each of them had received a letter promising them knowledge, power, fame or glory – whatever would entice them to make the journey.

 When they arrived, they got to talking while waiting for the contacts they were there to meet and realised that they had been brought to the tavern under false pretences. The barman, a Vistana named Stanimir told them a tale about the Vistani and their history – they had saved the prince of Barovia from death, only for him to be struck with a vampiric curse. He had terrorised the lands for centuries, and the Vistani want to break this curse, end his suffering and allow the land of Barovia and its people to live in peace once more. Stanimir asked if they would go to Barovia, seek out Madam Eva at the Tser Pool and learn more about the curse. Destiny, a young tiefling wizard, was nervous about making the trip – especially after hearing that other travellers had not returned, but the holy members of the group – a Paladin named Dagark, Xenia – a Cleric of Lathander – and a Sun Soul Monk named Idrim saw it as their duty to rid the world of these vampires. The dwarves, Varus and Adrik, were merely anxious to get their fill of ale before the journey. As they left the tavern they were engulfed on all sides by mist, but managed to find their way into a forest clearing – it was clear they were no longer in Faerun.

The trees were black and decayed, and wolves howled in the distance. As they had been warned about the fabled Svalich Woods, Destiny spent a few moments summoning her arcane familiar, an owl, to scout ahead and see if their path through the forest was clear. Seeing through the creatures eyes, she didn’t spot any wolves, but she did see a body lying in a freshly dug grave. Dagark led the party forward to investigate, reaching out with his divine sense to detect any evil in the vicinity. The body gave off a strong aura of undeath. As the corpse was unmoving and showing no signs of life, Varus decided to check the body for any obvious signs of vampirism. He used his mage hand to turn over the corpse in the grave and was startled to see that it was an undead version of himself. With this, the corpse reanimated and began to climb out of the grave to attack the party. After making short work of the zombie, they began to celebrate – until 5 more of them shambled out of the woods, all of them representing a member of the party. The zombies tried their best to impede our adventurers, but they proved too strong – spells flew around the clearing, axes were swung, and blows were landed – aided by blessings from the Paladin – until their enemies lay dead at their feet.

As they caught their breath, a cold voice rang out from behind them, congratulating them for dispatching their enemies. He introduced himself as Strahd Von Zarovich, Master of Ravenloft and Lord of Barovia, and made it very clear that he considered them trespassers in his land. He toyed with them for a moment, seeming to relish the potential distraction they might offer, before vanishing into a cloud of smoke and disappearing. After examining the grave, they saw their names engraved on the stone – a clear warning from Strahd.

The mists began to part, and they managed to find their way onto the Old Svalich Road, and as they made their way down this winding track, a village began to appear on the horizon. A nearby signpost informed them that this was Barovia.