Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Ravenloft Campaign: part 2

The Ravenloft Campaign: Part 2
{ ~ A Short Mid Week Filler ~ }
How “The Cow & the Horn” Got Named:
~ A Barkeeps Tale ~
I met her on the outskirts of Barovia. Something in her eyes spoke of an intelligence beyond that usually found in her kin and from her bulk I knew her to be a fighter. I cautiously approached and sat down next to her. "Greetings, friend,” I started, hoping that my tone of voice would convey my respect. "Mooo,” she replied.
Now that I was closer I could see the scars on her tough hide, the furrows where dirty claws had scored her. Her one horn was cracked and filthy, yet she still stood there chewing her cud with a quiet dignity. I took a closer look at her scars. Yes, I recognized these... only a vampire could have left them. "I am going to the castle Ravenloft to kill the count," I said, watching her ear twitch at that hated word, "Do you want to come along, help revenge the death of my girlfriend?"
With hardly a backwards glance at the other cows, the massive beast spat out some unchewed grass and lumbered along behind me.
-- Time passed –
I shivered under my tattered cloak. Once a warm, furry garment, it had been reduced to little more than rags by armies of the crazed walking dead. I had been fighting undead all day and was ready to collapse. This abandoned storage closet seemed like the safest place to sleep, but it was damned cold. My stomach grumbled, reminding me... that last Wight had corrupted all my rations with its foul touch. But when ones sword breaks, you fight with whatever you can, be it a chair leg or a leg of ham. I glanced over to where Bessie was guarding the door.
She had proved a staunch companion, fighting by my side and trampling the undead horrors with bovine glee. Her enraged mooing had rallied me time and time again.

A thought crossed my mind... she was a cow... and cows give milk. Surely she wouldn't mind sharing some of her bounty? Bessie caught me eyeing her udder and gave me a slow, warning moo. With a slight blush I turned over, facing the wall. It was so damned cold!

Then, with a slight sigh, Bessie knelt down beside me. I leaned back against her huge, warm bulk and sighed with contentment. Why don`t more adventurers travel with such companions?

 -- Time passed –

This was it. The final showdown. We had covered that damn castle from dungeon to spire and there was only one place left where that vampire could be lurking. I was wielding the Holy Symbol of Ravenloft while Bessie had the Icon on a string around her neck.

"Careful now, Bess", I said, patting her flank.
She shifted from side to side impatiently, but she saw the wisdom of not charging in blindly. I prepared my wooden stake and checked that the bottle of holy water was uncorked.
"Ok, let’s do this."
With a mighty "Moooo!", Bessie kicked down the door leading to the highest spire of Ravenloft. I jumped in and bathed the astonished count in the holy light from my artefact. As the count screamed and clutched at his eyes Bessie thundered past me, her head held low.
"Bessie! Wait!" I screamed, as I saw the glint of a dagger in the fiend's hand.
But too much horror had driven Bessie over the edge. Too many friends turned into vampy-cows or eaten by zombies, it had all... finally... broken her mind. Like a cow shaped spear from the gods; like a milk powered battering ram; like a cow that has nothing left to lose, she threw herself on the vampire.
With a mad chuckle the count slashed with the dagger, sending a spray of blood across the room and cutting poor Bessie's head clean off. But he was too late! Bessie's one good horn had pierced his chest! With eyes like the portals to hell the count looked at me... and exploded.
While pieces of vampire rained down around me, I dropped to my knees, cradling Bessie's head in my lap. How will I ever get over this loss! A faithful companion torn away from me forever! And then my traitorous stomach grumbled...
Through a mouthful of prime steak, I promised to honour Bessie's memory as best I could. I would tell all the other cows in the herd of her bravery and sacrifice! I would take her head with me and mount it above the door of the village tavern! I would insist that the tavern be renamed to "Bessie the Vampire Slayer!" And... and... and I sure could do with another rack of ribs...
--Time Passed –
Years later, I would end up buying that accursed tavern, but by then the memory of Bessie was a fading tale, even in my mind. But I did end up keeping my promise - by calling the place "The Cow and the Horn." Both of which (the skull and her single bone spike) now hang nicely, if not a little dusty with neglect, as ornaments, over the entrance archway. I must get the carpenters to fix the wood rot some day. Though I suspect, like with most things, I probably never will.
The end
Karl Urnst: Tavern Barkeep at Barovia Village.
NPC Patron
One Time Fledgling Adventurer: retired.
Marital Status: single.
Siblings: none.
Other Family: unknown.
Article by Stephen



  1. Damn, just when I was really starting to hope we might one day get to meet the cow in session, you went and turned her into delicious chops. Excellent babes, and reminds me once again, just what a crazy group of gamers I have gotten myself mixed up with. I`d suggest we call ourselves "the Society of Daisy" except its already been done haha.

  2. This could almost have been called `An Ode to.. "The walrus and the carpenter" its so very Dodgson. Sort of gauche turned on its head and made hyper cool, like Tim Burton does. I really love this, and cant wait now to travel to Barovia village and meet Karl Urnst first hand. *wonders if he has a soul, or stands behind the bar endlessly polishing glasses*

  3. Hahaha a fun frolic! Nicely done Steve, a very unusual fighting companion....

    1. HAha, we do that sort of thing a lot, to break up the tension of a game session from time to time. All blood, gore, and horror can so easily lose its tension for the players (and readers) when its non stop full on (like the desensitising of endless slaughter... such as you find nowadays in most action type computer game).

      lol, glad you enjoyed it mate :)

  4. Another completely unexpected tale of a Ravenloft that suits my sensibilities. As one of the adventures I ran had the players disguise themselves as a pantomime horse coloured like Mr Blobby, I think this is a Ravenloft i've already visited. If you'll excuse me - my Gingerbread golems need to come out of the oven now. Angry faces this time round, I think...that'll teach those kids who egged my house.

    1. *grins* I hoped you might get a kick out of this one Jez. Glad you did. Oh God, your pantomime horse escapade sounds a hoot... strangely enough I have a pantomime horse (and also repeated in both halves) among my collection... by Eureka miniatures, sample gift from Nic Robson. No idea if it ever reached public consumption but its a lovely cameo set of three miniatures.

      Mr Blobby style coloured horse hahaha, now that's MY kinda game. Wait until Alan Abbey makes some contributions to the site (he asked if he could, and I invited him to do just that.. he is a pro game/novel author and an all round excellent fellow and top whole friend of mine), he writes some pretty off the wall, totally zany material lol.

      *sniffs the air keenly* mmmmm gingerbread golems.. my, my what big eyes they have grandma. *looks at the kids strung up on Jez`s wall being force fed angry faced candy*

  5. Weirdly amusing. Not at all what I was expecting.

    1. haha, got ya did it *winks* hehe, good.. good mate, glad you liked it :))