So because I am a bad person, I lured my game group (modern supernatural investigators) through the mists into Ravenloft for a game Friday night.
The details of the background campaign are less important. We had a powerful group; a wizard, a superhero, a half demon, a cyborg, a geomantic line walker, and a telepathic prophetess. The general idea was, a dimension-traveling Vistanti lured them in through the mists to retrieve powerful relics from a cursed dimension. Once there, they tipped to the score pretty fast. So how to get clear of Strahd?
Get this. They checked in with the priest, then sent their smooth-talker to the Burgomeister. Dante convinced the Burgomeister he could rule over a bigger territory and be out from under Strahd if they could collaborate on taking Strahd out so they could escape Barovia. He appealed to greed and self-interest of a thug in charge (I had the Burgomeister as Strahd’s collaborator, dealing with the vampire as a necessary evil as long as he got to be king of the pathetic little hill of Barovia as a thuggish brute.)
So… they worked fast while there was yet day, taking the biggest cell in the dungeon under the Burgomeister’s house and using pitch and tents to make it air-tight (no rabbiting in mist form!), and they pretended to be chained up; the telepathic prophetess was apparently a reincarnation of Tatyana, so when the Burgomeister told them he had all the visitors prisoner, Strahd (overconfident, naturally) went to investigate himself. And once in the cell, they slammed the door–
Magic flew, stabbing commenced, and though Strahd nearly unmanned them with his burning presence, the wizard managed to hole him with magic. They whacked Strahd (but knew Ravenloft would resurrect him the following dusk) and they grabbed the Burgomeister, left the priest in charge to continue the resistance, and booked it.
I thought this was inventive, I enjoyed watching their plan unfold. Sure, I worked up the whole castle and thought they might spend a number of sessions in Ravenloft, but when they use the tools at hand to fashion a different fate, that’s neat. “Okay, so the locals are corrupt and vicious–how can we use that to advance their self interest and our own by getting rid of Strahd, however temporarily?”