Tine and Tanine Snodgrass were resting in a tavern in Daggerford on a foggy night when suddenly the door burst open and a gypsy man walked in. Spotting the two, he approached and announced that he was there on behalf of his master, one Kolyan Indirovich, the burgomaster of a village called Barovia. He placed a letter on the table in front of the two dragonborn, paid handsomely for their drinks, and departed into the night as mysteriously as he arrived.
On the envelope was an unfamiliar wax seal, and three additional names: Khagon, Coraline Tealeaf, and Lucius Vrago. The letter within bade the adventurers to journey into Barovia in an attempt to help the burgomaster's daughter, Ireena Kolyana, who was recently bitten by a vampire. After making each other's acquaintance, the party decided to depart for Barovia at dawn, as the gypsy had advised that it was dangerous to travel the Svalich Road at night.
The fog from the previous night was just as thick and oppressive the following dawn, and before long the party found themselves in unfamiliar territory. Soon, a pack of wolves apparently led by a dire wolf attacked them. The dire wolf seemed content to observe for a time, and after the tide of battle shifted to the party, seemed to order the other wolves to break off their attack and retreat. A cosmetic piece of Khagon's shield was broken off during the melee and could not be located.
A short distance further down the road, the party encountered another mysterious individual who was staring ahead on the path. Not offering a name, the rest of the party took to calling him Strider, and he accompanied them the rest of the way to the village.
Upon their arrival, they came across two small children outside their home, terrified of a monster in their basement. The party entered the house to investigate and were promptly trapped inside, as the house itself seemed to want them dead. Exploring the apparently uninhabited house, it became evident that the children's parents were members of some kind of cult. In a secret room off the library, the party found a letter from Strahd von Zarovich, ridiculing the cult for their activities and expressing disinterest in their fate. The handwriting on this letter matched that of the letter the party received in Daggerford; meanwhile, Strider had found the real letter from the burgomaster, which actually warned people to stay away from the cursed land.
Continuing upstairs, the party found the ghosts of the real children (the ones outside being a lure generated by the house). The kids had died from starvation after their parents locked them inside their room. Fearing abandonment, the children possessed the two dragonborn briefly, but Lucius frightened them into stopping. They instead accompanied the party until their remains were laid to rest in the family crypt under the house. They seemed confused and concerned before they faded from view, however….
Finally, while exploring the cult's chambers under the house, a detect good and evil spell by the paladin discovered that Strider was, in fact, a vampire himself. Deciding to allow him to continue with the party until they could escape the house, the group found themselves in a large room with an altar. Apparitions of the cult members in dark robes appeared to demand a sacrifice, and when the party refused, a shambling mound attacked them. Strider took a crushing blow to save Khagon from the creature's grasp and fell unconscious as a result. The group defeated the mound and made their way frantically out of the house.
This initial challenge met with difficulty, how will the party deal with the unknowns that await them in this land of Barovia?