The Marx Brothers Missions: Operation Ravenloft
Code Name: Bookbag
On June 1, 1986, the Marx Brothers were sent by their agency through a dimensional portal in search of two missing agents, Vic Tayback and Bert Convy. This new universe they found themselves in was governed by physical laws that included some kind of energy field that could be harnessed by man. This “magic” allowed individuals to “cast spells” and to endow objects with magical properties. Although this world had much in common with Earth, they discovered that it was inhabited by a large number of alien races and many species of animal and plant life unknown on their home world. They found that some creatures (both sentient races and animal life) were nearly immune to “normal” weapons, so they began carrying swords “enchanted” by magical energy that allowed them to kill such creatures.
After several adventures, they were given a lead that Tayback and Convy had gone to see the Master of Twixt. They arrived at Twixt on July 3rd only to discover that the Master of Twixt was, in fact, Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa told them that he had sent Vic and Bert back to Earth. Hoffa offered to hire the team on, and once they accomplished a mission for him, he would likewise send them home.
On July 6th, they formally met with Hoffa and began their employment with him. They spent a few days in Twixt observing the local culture, buying items to prepare for the mission, and hiring on two clerics for their party. (Clerics use divine magicks to cast spells; their speciality is healing spells, which the team figured they just might need.) Hoffa also provided them a teamster to organize their possessions and drive their horse-and-cart, and a young mage to assist them.
On July 11th, the Marx Brothers got your mission briefing. It’s a confiscation-type mission. They are told to travel to an area known as “old Barovia”, an ancient village ruled by the Count of Barovia. There they are to seek a magical book called The Malakandra and return it to Hoffa. They are ordered to tell no one of this quest, not even their new party members, as there are others who seek this tome.
Hoffa told the group that the Malakandra is very large and very old, bound all in black with red and gold trim, and the text on the pages is hand-written in red ink.
The Marx Brothers headed for old Barovia the next day. According to Hoffa, the trip takes 33 days each way. He expects the team to have the book back to him within 73 days. There were a number of fights along the way; during one fight, the team's mage was killed.
On August 18th, they arrived in Barovia. They discovered that their arrival had been foretold by the village priest, and that the Burgomaster of the village, now dead, had attempted to send them a warning. The Count of Barovia, Strahd von Zarovich, seems particularly interested in the Burgomaster’s daughter Ireena, and the team took her with them.
Oh, and Strahd? Yeah, the team found out that he is, in fact, a vampire.
The group later encountered a gypsy camp, and an old gypsy woman read their fortune.
On August 20th, around dawn (0700), the team headed for Castle Ravenloft, in which the Count von Zarovich lives, presuming he is the one who has the book that Hoffa wants, in exchange for their return home.