About a year or so ago, my wife asked me to run a Dungeons and Dragons campaign for her best friend, her sister and her best friends boyfriend. Other than my wife, who had some minor experience at the time, none of the other players had any experience with RPGs.
I decided to run a baby’s first Curse of Strahd, mostly using it as more of a guideline while writing an adventure around it. The party was a Human Wizard, Wood Elf War Cleric, Drow Rogue and a Tiefling Warlock.
At first, I wasn’t going to play a DMPC, figuring I would have enough trouble running the adventure, but pretty much the entire group, including my wife, asked me to do so anyway. They apparently wanted someone to point them in the right direction given their inexperience. I put my brain to it, and I came with a great idea. Voltag Redblade was born.
Voltag was a human barbarian, and at age sixty-seven years old with eight children, he was a fountain of advice and information. In his youth, he had been a mighty warrior and conqueror for his tribe. When the party entered Barovia, they sat around his campfire and told the party that, unlike the party, he had come to Barovia on purpose.
After going through the Death House, the party soon learned why Voltag game to this hellhole. His barbarian rage was causing his heart to fail him, and hoping to have one last battle before his death.
My wife was playing the warlock, and her character hated humans, but Voltag grew fond of her, claiming that she reminded him of his youngest daughter Magna. Her patron became sort of a secondary villain to this campaign. He would occasionally show up to annoy the party and offer the occasional help. One night, while the party was camping, the party woke up to find the patron having a conversation with Voltag. When asked, Voltag said nothing.
When the party finally reached Castle Ravenloft to stop Strahd’s wedding to Ireena, Voltag offered to stay behind and hold off the wedding guests while the party dealt with the vampire. “Run along, children. I shall deal with these.” The last thing they heard before leaving was a furious roar that shook the very walls of the castle.
The victorious returned to the wedding hall to find it in complete and utter chaos. The corpses of the undead wedding guests were strewn across the floor in various pieces, and Voltag was propped up against a table, breathing shallow. When the party went to his aid, he looked at them all and said “Go back to sleep, Magna. I’ll take you fishing in the morning.”
With that, he breathed his last. Before the party had a chance to mourn him, my wife’s patron showed up.
“Voltag Redblade, as per our agreement, I have come to take what is mine.” he said as he waved his hand, causing Voltag vanish. The party began to protest, but the patron placed his thumb on the Warlock’s forehead, and after a burning, searing pain, she was free from her pact. The patron revealed that was what he and Voltag had been speaking about earlier, offering up his soul to make her a free woman.
The party has moved on from Barovia since then, but they still remember their warrior grandfather quite fondly.