- Alvyn, forest gnome monk, level one (John)
- Ewok, hill dwarf warlock, level one (Igor)
- Frau Holga, goliath fighter, level one (Alice)
- Godzilla, elf cleric, level one (Chad)
- Gravrot, tiefling warlock, level one (Matt)
- Hesk, half-orc ranger, level one (Caitlin)
- Lister, human fighter, level one (Milo)
- Mehen, dragonborn paladin, level one (Liam)
After saving a human village near Neverwinter from destruction by orcs, the party — realizing that the killing of the orcs has left many orc children orphans — the group helps establish an orphanage and repatriation effort for displaced orc children. Then, hearing news of a village to the north harried by a white dragon wyrmling, the party leaves Neverwinter.
Traveling to the village six days north of Neverwinter, the party’s travel is uninterrupted and uninteresting until the third evening, when a thick fog develops. The evening passes uneventfully, but travel the next day along the road is slow going given the fog — which lingers. The party realizes that the road has narrowed somewhat, not that uncommon as roads lead further out of populated areas. But the group also notices that the trees lining the road, the forest alongside the narrowing thoroughfare, have also changed. The trees aren’t the same trees they’d seen since leaving Neverwinter.
The gravel road leads to a village, its streets empty. Hearing a whimpering sound, the party meets a pair of children. The girl, older than the boy, says, “There’s a monster in our house!” and points to a tall brick row house. The group talks to the two briefly — learning that the children haven’t seen the monster but have heard its howls, and that their parents keep the monster locked in the basement — before Mehen detects something odd about the two: that they’re undead.
Mehen attacks them, and they disappear. Holga kicks open the gate to the property and approaches the house, accompanied by others. Alvyn, Hesk, and Lister check out the alleyway to the east of the house, eventually rejoining the party at the entrance to the house. Holga takes down a windmill-emblazoned shield from the wall before entering, while Mehen clumsily mangles one of the portraits trying to remove it from its frame; Lister cuts the other from its frame, rolling it to put it in his backpack.
In the main hall, Holga takes a long sword mounted on the wall. Several of the party head into the room to the west, while Holga and Mehen head upstairs, Mehen hurrying past her. In the den, Lister tries a drink from a cask of wine, finding the wine sour. Using a crowbar, the group opens a locked cabinet, finding several crossbows and bolts. Alvyn takes a hand crossbow, and Alvyn, Igor, and Gravrot each take 20 quarrels. Alvyn also takes a deck of playing cards from the other cabinet.
Upstairs, the party finds another portrait, of a family: mother, father, brother, sister, and an infant. To the east, there is a library. The party finds a writing set, an iron key, and multiple books on the shelves, including titles such as The Volume of Maleficarum, The Hidden Formulae of Resplendent Hexes, The Seven Vale Medium of the White, and The Touch of Eyes. Examining the bookshelves, the adventurers find a secret lever, which opens a secret door.
Behind the door is a smaller, secret library, comprising older, more exotic texts. There is a chest, into which a skeleton — the remains of a man — leans, pierced by three darts and clutching a letter. The letter is signed Strahd von Zarovich. Inside the chest, the party finds several blank journals, scroll cases, two deeds — to the house and a windmill in Vallaki — and a will leaving both to two children: Rosavalda and Thornboldt.