The PCs are entering session 15 of their playthrough of #curseofstrahd. I wish I'd done some stuff differently, particularly in the beginning, but that's what happens when the rubber hits the road, as it were. You learn.
So, up to this point, the PCs have been playing in Strahd's sandbox (which is also his prison). The place is depressing. The populous is dour, mostly humorless, and preyed upon not only by Strahd but by wolves, werewolves, zombies, revenants, and other horrors. And they can't leave either.
Oh, it's great. I love it.
Let's introduce a few PCs.
There's Kostya, the human ranger monster slayer and a vistani. Vistani are the Roma of the setting, which write them as heavily in league with Strahd. I've eased off of that in the RAW and wished I did that sooner, but I've sort of corrected because he and another NPC Vistani are featured pretty heavily story-wise in this campaign.
Kostya's Vistani parents left their main clan at some point--why they did so may present itself soon.
Grin is a tiefling ex mercenary fighter. His merc band was involved in some morally questionable jobs, and he left the band. He may be meeting one of them soon. Why's someone of his merc group in Barovia? Good question!
There are two other PCs that are now NPCs. Revus, a tiefling warlock that the party left with a particularly nasty, vampiric staff that was in no way a bad decision, and Sigruin, a drow that liked how the sun never really shines in Barovia.
They've suddenly vanished for reasons the PCs haven't discerned.
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