So I had my first session for my group running Curse of Strahd yesterday, which was awesome and everyone had a great time. Only problem is I started them at level 1 and totally missed the part about it being a good idea to run Death House first to get them to level 3 before they leave Barovia, and they didn't find the house themselves, so they're now in Vallaki at level 1.
I kind of retconned things and told them to advance themselves to level 4, but then I had what I think is a cool idea: while they're sleeping in Barovia, they all have a shared dream where the mists close in and force them back to Barovia, where they'll see the ghosts of the children and be led to the house. From there they'll do the Death House adventure, and at the end of it wake up back in Vallaki but will retain the levels they gained from the adventure, at which point they can go from level 3-4 as they would have done had I done this in the first place.
Do you think hooking Death House in like this would be a cool way to incorporate it and level them up via something plot-related rather than just saying "so hey you're level 4 now"? Or is the whole mist-dream idea a bit too far-fetched even for the Ravenloft setting? I don't want to force them to actually travel all the way back to Barovia to level up only to then travel all the way back to Vallaki again, so this struck me as a decent compromise.