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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.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Cool" and "far-fetched" are hard to measure objectively. If the question is whether your players will enjoy the hook, then you should ask your players. Other than perceived coolness, do you have some concern about this adventure hook? What issue do you want to solve? \$\endgroup\$ – MikeQ Jun 17 '19 at 1:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mainly what I'm trying to fix is them being too low level for the area they're now in, and Death House is too cool a thing to just pass on. I'm just not sure "Strahd induced some kind of dream about the house but it's actually happening as well" is the way to go with it. I think it's a cool idea but I wanted to sanity check it past my fellow DMs to see what they think. :P \$\endgroup\$ – John Clifford Jun 17 '19 at 1:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JohnClifford definitely pop into Role-playing Games Chat if you have a minute. I know of a couple regular chatizens (incl. me) who've run CoS and/or Death House, and I'm sure we'd be willing to kibitz. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jun 17 '19 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand, how you make that they are still level 1 and at vallaki? With random encounter and all else, they should have been at least level 2 \$\endgroup\$ – Rorp Jun 17 '19 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rorp I'm using milestone progression rather than XP, and also the random encounter rolls have resulted in very few encounters on their travels so even if I were using XP they probably wouldn't have levelled much. :P \$\endgroup\$ – John Clifford Jun 17 '19 at 10:52