An alternative adventure hook for the D&D 5e campaign, Curse of Strahd.
By Mark-Alexander Cross
The Curse of Strahd is a dark horror campaign, which sees unwilling adventurers drawn into the desolate realm of Barovia via the mists. You are then forced to contend with all manner of physical and emotional destroying challenges, so who would be mad enough to willingly go to such a place; and for what reason?
Number of Players: 3-6 Character Level: 3
Note: the following is what I used for my players when I ran Curse of Strahd. You can adjust the setting, characters and locations to anywhere you like.
Read this to your players: “After hearing of your adventures the Mayoress of Crossroads has called you all to her office. Despite being a strong and wise pillar of the community you can see that the stress of some situation has gnawed upon her.
Once everyone has settled into the room she is curt in her explanation. “People from the town have gone missing. My town guard are busy getting ready for the upcoming festival and it does not look good for Crossroads if I can not ensure the safety of its people. I need your help in this.”
Choose a location, in my game a local church and ask the players to investigate the area. Include the following details:
- Reveal how many people have gone missing in total. Add stature and position in society if you need to add even more urgency to the mayoress / figurehead.
- Decide on a reason why the location is important enough for a group of people to be there, or its significance to those people or person.
- Mention the strange mist that were seen in the area. If you add more occurrences of people going missing, keep bringing up the mists to establish it firmly in the minds of your players.
- Establish a reward, wherever it be gold, magical items or a powerful favour.
Arrigal and the Child
Take your players to the location and set up an encounter with the Vistana, Arrigal and a local child. He has been ordered to draw people to Barovia by Strahd in order to attract adventurers, and now with interest built for the vampire lord’s schemes, the final phase of the plan can begin.
In a take on the Pied Piper have Arrigal in the middle of the day lure the child away from their parents and into the mists. Get him to taunt your party, anger them, and if they get too close throw an encounter at them with the wolves of Barovia emerging from the mists.
Do whatever you can to willingly begin a chase into the mists and Barovia itself. Add extra incentive with Arrigal being gone along with the child. Plus there is the missing people and their fate. Can your party get them home safely and claim the reward?
Of course being the Curse of Strahd this is only the start (and possibly the least) of their problems…