It seems there was more to do in the hellhole before leaving. First on the agenda seems to be communing with more dark gods and accepting their profane gifts. When in Perdaith, do as the Perdaithians do, I guess. Immediately after Kasmir accepted his gift, we went looking for more. Twenty steps away, there were three amber blobs giving out gifts. However, a death slaad was inexplicably hanging out with them. Just waiting for someone to come inside, I guess? This place is drokking insane. Slaad suck, but anything that bleeds can be killed. Well... mostly. Sometimes you can kill things that don't bleed, and some things that bleed can be immortal. But that doesn't matter. Slaad can be killed, and we killed it. I swear this place is making me dumber...
With the frog corpse still warm, Davin agreed to take the gift of "Tarhaak, the Five-Headed Destroyer" and now he can punch through walls. Also, he's a bit of a dick. Barovia seems to screw with each of us differently. Not wanting to be left out of this insanity, Hernwyn decided that he needed to introduce himself to all of these gorram gods. He met with "Yerga, the Eye of Shadows", and refused a gift of sight; "Norganas, the Finger of Oblivion", and I swore I'd murder him if he took the gift of turning life into undeath; "Vaund the Evasive" tempted Hernwyn and Mateo, but ultimately both refused; "Sirach, the Hell-Hound Whisperer" would give us, shocker, hell hounds. It took us several rooms to meet all these abominations, but it seems that everything that wants to kill us would wait considerately in their rooms until we disturbed them.
And disturb them we did. While looking for some treasure, we angered not one, not two, but three poltergeists. These are one of many things that don't bleed but can be killed. It seems that these ghosts were guarding some sort of ancient armory. Sadly, it seems that another adventuring group had already looted anything useful and left behind some of their own corpses. (The corpses also had no loot on them.) In better news, the adjacent room was full of treasure. More than we could ever consider carrying out. But first we had to collect it. Since it had been more than eight minutes since we had been attacked by something, of course there was a guardian golem in the treasure room. I hate golems, even inactive ones. Before anyone could stop it, slash! Golem activated. Golem killed. And no one died! We are really getting a lot better at this.
Most of the piles of treasure were either useless mounds of coins, or useless stacks of (non-poetry) art. One even was a wooden hobby horse. But not all of it was useless. Hernwyn found himself a pretty pink rapier. Mateo picked up an obsidian scepter. There was also a good deal of silver, which are being turned into arrow heads.
Behind the golem was a crack in the wall. Concerned that something sinister would be behind it, Katja (I forgot I was supposed to be writing this memoir in third person...) slipped through to find a full room and a creepy set of stairs. Soon the others joined and... nothing immediately tried to kill us. This is always suspicious. Quickly Hernwyn solved that problem by opening one of the crates that were weirdly embedded in the floor. Popping open one crate seemed to activate them all. In a flash, six vampire spawn burst forth and tried to steal all of our blood. We communicated, we organized ourselves, we employed sound tactics. They are still frelling hard to kill. Mateo borrowed the terrifying presence of Dra to keep the grekkers where we could stab them or, for Kasmir, grab them with a giant hand made of dirt. Again, no one died. Katja didn't even drop unconscious. This hellhole is turning us into great killers.
In the room, after beheading and staking the spawn, we noticed three giant amber blocks. Knowing the drill at this point, it was time for Hernwyn to commune with some Great Old Ones. The first one was "Zaduin, the Corpse Star". It seems that this one is what Kasmir was looking for (and not Delbin), since it granted him the power to raise the dead. Seem like a good call, and will likely help him bring back his sister. Of course, something awful is definitely going to come from it. The next was "Tenebrious, the Gift of Lichdom", which was soundly (and thankfully) rejected by all. The final Elder God didn't seem to have a name, but was clearly the being Strahd communed with, as it promised the dark gift of the Vampyre. Frak.
Elder Gods dismissed and accepted and then dismissed again, we went up the creepy marble stairs into... the least creepy room we've been in since we got here. It was a library with self-lighting candles, comfy chairs, and lots of books. As we sat down and relaxed we looked up and then unrelaxed. Nowhere can just be nice. This place is clearly Strahd's study. The ceiling of this library contained a masturbatory portrait of Strahd himself. Standing in dark, foreboding grandeur, Strahd was flanked by two sinister hyenas. Behind him, the Dannenbrock hovered, dripping with blood, as a mound of corpses littered the foreground. Among these were all of the gods, with Vuul being placed most prominently. Strahd was accompanied by a robed figure which, after a moment's glance, was clearly Nyssis, the Lost God.
Then things began to click. The golems weren't jackal headed - they were hyena headed. The bodaks we fought before Baba Lysaga were robed in black and yellow, Nyssis's colors. Every dick and their undead dogs were carrying kris daggers. It seems that Barovia is the "outer realms" where Nyssis was banished. He and Strahd seemed to have made a pact, and now Nyssis is worshiped in Barovia as "Father Night".
Obviously, this is where we decided to sleep for the night.
Knowing that the resurrection power has been claimed, and the vampire power was too, it made sense that the lich power had been taken too. Shocker of shockers, that bastard was nearby. Liches need stitches. A few secret doors later, he was found. Unfortunately, Davin and Hernwyn got in first and closed the door. To "talk" to the undead abomination deserving nothing but the painful release of redeath. A piton sealed those two traitors in with their new "friend".
The recap of their conversation was basically that is name is Xanthier. He was familiar with the history of Strahd but nothing new. Also, he still exists. After Strahd, and finding Senuni or Grada, this skinjob is priority number one.
On the way out, Hernwyn introduced himself to the rest of the profane deities. He met "Drizlash, the Nine-Eyed Spider", "Dalvernar, He of Many Teeth", "Xanthas, the Kingmaker", "Saunok, the Inscrutable", "Tarchemedes, the Grave Wyrm", "Sharmiomore, Lady of Delights", "Fecre, Queen of Poxes", "Zrinhalia, the Howling Storm" and "Psycane, the Soul Hungerer". All of them seemed like delightful beings, but we politely declined their generous gifts.
Finally, we were out of one hellhole, but sadly we were headed to another. After we get the Sun Sword from Kasmir, and pick up a crazy wizard, we have to go storm a castle.
Pillows are designed for relaxation. If they are fighting, what hope do we have?