By reader request, we’re trying out something new that we’re really excited about sharing with you: session recaps from our home game!
We try to include pieces of these in our D&D Duet Community updates, but these campaign diary posts will be longer and go into greater detail about what’s going on in our game in hopes that it sparks some ideas for you as you play and/or DM!
We have a dual origin for the campaign we’re working through at the moment: it started with a desire to adapt Curse of Strahd for one-on-one play and to wrap up a loose story end from our main campaign.
We have a few posts where we talk about the Curse of Strahd adaptation, but it quickly became clear that we had gone so far astray from the CoS campaign that we were doing something else entirely. One of our hopes for these posts is that they’ll give you ideas for taking inspiration from officially published campaigns and running with it in your own way!
We’ve run one encounter from the CoS campaign, and Jonathan’s pulled a few ideas from the CoS Reddit community for some of the larger stakes in Steymhorod.
A Loose End
But let’s go back to the loose story end from our main campaign.
Our primary adventuring party, who you see featured in art around the blog like the picture above, is made up of a druid-ranger, a paladin, a rogue, and a bard. My PC, Iellieth, the druid-ranger, has a dire wolf companion as well.
Before they were all adventuring together, back when we were around level three and made up of just the druid-ranger, paladin, and rogue, our party faced the BBEG of the starting region of our world: a vampire in disguise who served at the right hand of Xarmev, the god of undeath.
While we were in no position at the time to defeat the vampire, we did drive him out of the region, and local military forces pursued him while our party continued on with their storyline.
As more immediately engaging plot lines unspooled in front of the party and more immediate needs commanded their attention, we decided to let a few of our NPCs handle this vampire. Our main party would learn updates about them and their quest every few weeks—how many had been lost in the struggle, how the vampire was pushed further and further back into his lair—and our party remained focused on their other tasks.
Once we’d reached a transition point, following a few action-packed months for our main party (and at least a year if not more for us), we decided that, while they rested and recovered, we would take a break from that campaign for a while, recharge, and delve into this dropped storyline.
And from there, our Steymhorod campaign was born!
What were the secondary PCs doing?
While our main party was busy on the other side of the world being heroes, a much-adapted and better developed version of my first-ever PC, Briseras Ravisthinia, along with a very suave NPC of Jonathan’s, Lord Jorgan, worked with local soldiers to rid the region of this vampire menace for good.
Many died in the weeks and months of fighting that ensued as they delved deeper into the estate where the vampire hid. Briseras helped the troops to train and prepare. Jorgan provided the support of the nobility and the passion that drove the efforts forward.
Finally, an elite force came together. They drove back the dark forces and destroyed the vampire’s minions. Briseras and Jorgan were joined by four others, and this team plunged into the depths of the castle, into the very crypt of the vampire lord.
We’ll go through our party members, their backstories, and some of their basic stats in future posts!
Our first session began:
The six vampire-hunters surrounded the coffin, stakes in hand. They plunged their weapons into the vampire’s corpse before he could regenerate.
And then something strange happened.
A whirl of blood began in the corner of the room, dripping off the corpse, swirling closer and closer together.
A blood tornado, if you will.
The vampire’s spirit was escaping.
Jorgan leapt into the bloody portal, ready to avenge his fallen love. Briseras and her wolf companion Vera followed quickly after him.
When she awoke, Briseras found herself and Vera alone in the middle of a dense forest. A river rumbled by to the south, and the howl of a wolf to the north broke the otherwise tranquil woodland environment.
There was a chill in the air. It had been late summer when she left.
Briseras was no longer in Linolynn, but somewhere else entirely.
And that’s where our first session picked up!
We really hope you enjoy these campaign diaries, and we’d love to know what you think in the comments below!
In future posts, we’ll go through our PC, DMPC, and sidekick characters and their backstories, and then we’ll dive into the sessions themselves and how things are unfolding in Steymhorod!
If you like what you’re reading, please consider supporting the blog by purchasing our adventures and supplements in our shop or on DMsGuild or sponsoring us on Patreon. We’d also love for you to follow us on Twitter and Instagram. We appreciate you so much! Thank you for reading. – Beth and Jonathan