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PC's Main Characters
Full Name: Morgan Knight
Sex: Female [Hiding As a Male]
Class: Rogue / Artificer
BackStory: The Knight family was well known due to Morgan’s father who was a well known detective. There wasn’t any case that he couldn’t solve. Morgan looked up to him and wanted to be just like him.
Morgan’s mother had died giving birth to her so she was raised by only her father. Her father may have been an excellent detective, but raising a child on his own was difficult.
In Morgan’s early twenties her father was killed during one of his investigations. With no family left Morgan began working on her father’s old investigation. Revenge was on her mind.
Everyone thought that she was a boy. Her father said that as a woman she wouldn’t get taken seriously. They hid her gender from everyone. She was a prodigy, but of course she was… She was of Knight’s blood. She barely had time to do anything really fun when she was young, but she did enjoy watching cop shows with her father when neither were busy.
Since his passing she has only worked relentlessly on hunting down her father’s killer.
Her father had been looking into disappearances that seemed to be caused by some form of strange mist. These disappearances seemed to be happening in a lot of different places. He had been tracking them. Her father had been working with several other investigators, but she didn’t try to get in contact with them. She felt she had no need to.
From what she knows her father was alone the night he was attacked. It had been a gruesome sight. A werewolf attacked him. Her father had struggled hard against it before bleeding out. Apparently it hadn’t tried to kill him. It was trying to drag him somewhere.
From her father’s research she believed this evil creature had been trying to drag him into the mists and he had fought every step of the way and when he bled out it had left his body behind.
Hunting for the mists became her whole priority.
What was that saying?
“If you go looking for trouble… It’ll find you…”
That’s exactly what happened. The mists… They found her.
May add Sakomoto as an NPC looking for her. (Sidekick. May not do this now as a lot is going on.)
As for the werewolf have Kiril be the one that ended her fathers life as he was trying to bring impressive individuals to Strahd von Zarovich.
Relic: Ravens Feather- Duty
The feather of roc, Madam Eva's old bird. Or Turul as Eva called her, a guardian of the mountain fane. It wants it's fane concentrated and is raging and losing itself due to this.
It knew her father, a wise and cunning man who had came to this mist. Who had out played Luck in a game of fate and chance, in a dragon chess match to win his freedom but not before leaving information. Leaving it on the mountain pass and taking Roc's feather to give to his believed daughter.
Leave letters and useful things here of the temple and such. (He also befriended the raven's and they know it as a symbol of peace.)
Full Name: Dhalia
Species: Eladrin Elf
Class: Bard College of Eloquence / Warlock
Relic: Sunrise Medallion [Faith]
Taking Ireena’s Place
The symbol will shine at saint adral's church and at the Abbot's church as well. Pulling her and Liam closer to the church. The priest (Andrew Veiss) will be warmer to them both and grateful for their presence. He follows the Raven Queen but has never lost faith in the Morning Lord.
Also in her past life Tatayana she had tricked Strahd with “Love.” Taking her beloved's blade and plunging it into him knowing that she could not best him.. Plunged them both off the castle. (He was shot and distracted by Leo and his assassins as well.)
That and the Ireena reloaded plot hooks.
Version for Curse of Strahd
Full Name: Sarven NightMoon
Species: Dusk Elf [Was] Dhampir [Now] [Life Energy Incubus] [Changed by experimentation]
Class: Warlock Pact of the
“Oh come now… Don’t be difficult… You need my help and you know it.”
Backstory: At one point he knew innocence. Doesn’t everyone though? That is life isn’t it? Nothing can stay innocent forever. He would know that. He had been changed. Altered. Yet he didn’t regret it. Didn’t look down upon it. No. This was a strength. Those that made him suffer though… Ah they deserved pain. Death. He would be coming for their souls. He would collect.
He was once a simple dusk elf. That’s how life started out for him. It was a boring life. Not worth mentioning to anyone. He roamed a camp of his own kind for a while. They were useless though. Not trying to do anything to save their own kind or preserve them. No women so no children born. How stupid could they be? It didn’t matter if the blood deluded a little bit. At least they would be able to have their blood live on. Freedom. They wanted freedom. He at least agreed with that. Sadly… They wanted to do nothing for their freedom other than to dive into a place they never should have. The Amber Temple. He followed Kasimir there before, but that place was too dangerous. He was going to have to do something else. Figure something else out. So he set out like an adventurer would. This would be his mistake and his rising.
“The Silence is circling, like lambs to a slaughter.”
Captured. It was easy. He wasn’t very well versed in battle, at least not at the time. He had been corned. She was smart. Quick. A spawn. A wife. Strong. He would have stood no chance against a regular spawn. She had wanted a test subject and what a wonderful one he would make. None of this would have happened if his own people would have just wanted to put up a fight. Tested on… Abused… Brought close to death… He was weak. He prayed and wished for death. He wanted to die. Yet he wasn’t allowed to. His hatred for his own people seemed to only grow.
“There is something inside you that isn’t right.”
“There’s something you have lost…”
Maybe that was what drew him there. A man who offered wishes… Who offered a contract. What he wanted he would have to offer something of equal value. Tired… Filled with hatred… He remembered looking at him.
“What is the value of my soul to you?”
Willing to give up his own soul. To bind himself to this stranger. He didn’t want just freedom. He wanted power. He wanted to kill those who had done this to him. Willing to give anything even more than just his soul.
Once free he went back to his own people but he wasn’t like them anymore and they turned their back on him. Angry that he had become something else. Something different. A monster…
They would need him though… He knew they would… He just had to find the right people…
He couldn’t fight against the castle alone. He would have to seek help. He couldn’t offer anything else to the man who freed him and gave him power to fight.
Relic amber shard and facing it's corruptions.
Ludmilla will try her best to gain him back and Doru feels obligated to help him and the Dusk Elves.
Also Dmitri the son of Erevas's court mage is learning his blade and it's past.
King Barov had done something truly terrible.. That was what Kasimir had stated.
Kasimir knows that Strahd can scry and read minds.. He waits till the players can at least defend themselves or a safe way to hide before he tells the truth. That his memory was stolen… That he is the son of Erevas. The rightful ruler of the Dusk Elves. (He is careful to share this if shows signs of carnage.)
Rahadin knows this and has not shared it even with his master to play his own games. So that he may reveal it at a time most harmful while hurting him. Dmitri must decide.. If this is a lord he can.. Or should even follow.
Reborn of Hatred
Full Name: Yin
True Name: Argynvost
Species: Hidden Silver Dragonborn
Class: Paladin of Vengeance
Relic: Dragon’s Scale [Inheritance]
“You will suffer… As you have made me… As you have made my people…”
“I will end you…”
“If it’s not impossible, I must be unstoppable.”
A young man with white hair who keeps himself completely covered most of the time. He comes off as benevolent and kind. A lovely man who would help anyone in need. A defender. A shield. He would protect those who of course can not protect themselves. He would do anything to keep the people around him safe. He will also run to the aid of the Revenants. A part of him grieves for them. He loves them. Wants to protect them and free them all… And Yet a part of him wants Strahd to continue his suffering.
Inheritance—The Dragon's Scale
A player seeking inheritance begins the campaign with the
dragon's scale, a large silver scale that always feels cold to
the touch. A Good-aligned creature that touches the scale
feels a fleeting sense of safety, protection, and comfort.
Unbeknownst to the player, the dragon's scale formerly
belonged to Argynvost, the adult silver dragon who founded
the Order of the Silver Dragon. The order's headquarters, the
mansion of Argynvostholt, can be found in Barovia. When it
senses the presence of Death House, the scale burns with an
icy cold, one end glowing with a bright, silver light in the
direction of the house. While the scale glows in this way, a
Good-aligned creature that touches it feels a deep sense of
longing, loss, and hope.
The player who possesses the dragon's scale should have
received the scale from a family member, and should have
strong, vivid reasons to believe that the scale will one day
unlock the secrets of their heritage.
Developments. When the player first encounters
Argynvost's shadow in the foyer of Argynvostholt in Act IV,
Arc O: The Beacon of Argynvostholt, the scale briefly burns
cold in the same way that it did upon sensing Death House.
Each time the player approaches a manifestation of
Argynvost's spirit, the scale burns cold and glows with a
bright, silver light in the direction of the manifestation.
If the player helps to retrieve Argynvost's skull and restore
it to his crypt, Argynvost's spirit greets the player warmly,
naming them his heir to the legacy of the Order of the Silver
Dragon before lighting the beacon of Argynvostholt.
Connection to Godwin and Vladimir and the revenants will add more later.
Full Name: Esme
Class: Ranger [GloomStalker]
Taking Ezmerlda’s place.
The abbot will know them, he will know he is crazy. Finding his old plans but can rethink them. (To trap Strahd at the Abbey when he meets the corpse bride.) As well as bonus hooks to Baratok and wherever Eszemerlda has.
Elvin Blade singer (Half elf)
His father Kasmir had finally caved, for the sake of the blood line and had taken a woman at his side. Unaware of his mother he learned from his father the ways of magic and the art of the elven blade. As well as the injustices done to his people. One had served as a butler.. Rahadin he too would pretend to serve the dark lord.
Away from Vallaki he cannot bring attention to Kasimir his blade lost on the road. He is looking for Kolyan Indrovich and instead finds Ismark and Ambrose.
Is learning the blade's past, his feelings of Rahadin and Sarven and pushing forward.. As the new court mage of the Dusk Elves.
A paladin with a celestial pact. He doesn't remember his past but he knows that he must draw his blade to fight the forces that be including Strahd Von Zarovich himself.
His celestial pact is to that of the blade itself, as it's been touched by the upper planes and happens to be his old partner. He is the reincarnated soul of Sergei Von Zarovich sent by the dark powers to torment him. He feels a closeness to Lily like a big sister and she has been guiding him playing the cruel tyrant but he see's her heart is more fragile than one would expect.
He has once more fallen for his destined mate, he cannot find himself to hate Strahd and is not sure why. He finds himself conflicted but with a resolve to free this land.. And it's master.
Sun Rise Medallion - Faith
Treasure is in mother night pile
Seek a cask that once contained the finest wine, of which not a drop remains.
Seer (Jack of Clubs)
He waits for you in a place of wisdom, warmth, and despair. Great secrets are there.
7 of Stars—Illusionist
A man is not what he seems. He comes here in a carnival wagon. With an expected partner. Therein lies what you seek.
Stella needs aid returning to her body.
Jack needs an exorcism
C11. The Town of Vallaki
C11a. The Vallakian Gates
The road continues forward to the Town of Vallaki, largely as described in Approaching the Town (p. 95). However, remove the first sentence of the descriptive text and add the following text at the end of the first paragraph:
More than a dozen ramshackle tents have been set up against the palisade wall. Among them, dozens of ragged, emaciated people mill about or sit by low-burning campfires and bedrolls, their hollow gazes watching silently as you approach.
If Ireena is visibly traveling with the party, add:
Some of them regard Ireena with dull recognition, but none lift a hand in greeting or make any gesture of warmth.
This area, the Morning Gate, is largely as described in Town Gates (p. 95). The tents are a camp of Barovian refugees, housing those who survived the trek from the village of Barovia in the wake of Strahd's siege.
The Refugee Camp
If she is with the party, Ireena is heartbroken and enraged at the sight of the refugee camp. She suggests that she meet with the refugees while the players find lodging in town, and promises to join the players later. The players can dissuade her with a successful DC 10 Charisma (Persuasion) check. Otherwise, Ireena approaches one of the cookfires, either alone or—if the players have insisted on joining her—with company.
The members of the refugee camp, which include Emeric, a melancholy older man, and Magda, a grief-stricken young woman, can share the following information:
- The Barovian refugees arrived at Vallaki's gates a few days ago, but were barred from entering. When they attempted to breach the gates by force, the guards summoned a man they called Izek, who bore a twisted devil's arm and conjured fire to drive the refugees back.
- Since then, the refugees have set up camp outside the town's walls, clustering together for protection and warmth. They've managed to secure some minor necessities, such as the tents, by bribing the guards at the gates, but have been unable to persuade the guards to allow them entry or to even invite the town's Baron to discuss their plight.
- Swarms of bats and packs of wolves have plagued the camp each night since they've arrived. Thankfully, no one has died yet, but several refugees have been wounded.
- Due to losses they suffered on the road and the threat of the Devil in Castle Ravenloft, the refugees are unwilling to risk the journey back home, instead hoping to wait until the Baron sees reason and allows them to enter the walls.
- Roughly one-quarter of the refugees have become addicted to "dream pastries," a foodstuff sold by the peddler Morgantha. These refugees seek an escape from the misery and despair of their situation. Those who eat a dream pastry fall into a trance as described in Dream Pastries (p. 125).
The refugees are lost in despair. Many are cold toward Ireena, and all are unwilling to accept her offers of help. Some blame her, as well as Ismark "the Lesser" and the late Burgomaster of Barovia, for their failure to protect them from Strahd's awakening and invasion. Others recall a superstition that red-haired Barovian woman bring misfortune, and suggest that Ireena herself has brought a curse upon their people. None have any wish to deal with her further.
Following her interaction with the refugees, Ireena is enraged by the Baron's callousness, and vows to make her best efforts to secure entry for the refugees into Vallaki.
The Guards at the Gates
The guards at the gates largely act as described in Town Gates (p. 95). One has a silvered spear, while the other has a quiver containing a dozen crossbow bolts, half of which are silvered.
The guards demand that each person first identify themselves, then pay 1 gold piece as a toll in order to enter the village. (The Baron has imposed this law to prevent werewolves or Vistani from entering the town.)
The guards refuse to accept payment on behalf of the refugees, who the Baron has specifically barred from entering, claiming concerns of "sickness, unruliness, and malicious unhappiness."
If the players pay the toll, the guards also insist that each entrant opens their purse (or equivalent) and surrender any silver pieces in their possession. (If the players complain, the guards assure them that the silver is needed to produce the silvered weapons necessary to defend the town from werewolves.) In exchange for any silver coins that they give up, the players receive an amount of copper coins of equal value—minus a ten percent tax.
If asked about lodging, the guards can share information about the Blue Water Inn, as described in Vallaki Lore (p. 96). The guards are also willing to provide additional directions to other landmarks in the town in exchange for a bribe of 1 gold piece.
Each time the players pass through the gates, including the first, the guards nod at them and intone the Baron's favored phrase: "All will be well."
Entering the Town
As the players pass down Vallaki's main avenue, read:
You pass from the earthen road onto cobblestone streets, mud staining your boots and the bottoms of your pants. Behind you, the gates close with a slam, and you can see the guards resume their posts behind it. In the distance, you can see two other figures bearing pikes, patrolling the walls as they look down on the twisted forest beyond.
The eaves of the buildings hang with old banners and tattered fabrics that flap and twist in the chill breeze. The banners are painted with faded words and illustrations, but time has robbed them of both their legibility and any beauty they may have once had.
If the players arrive during the day, add:
The streets are filled sparsely with townsfolk, many wearing drab, patched grey clothes that have faded with age. They shrink back toward the sides of the streets as you pass, their pale faces growing paler with faint fear at the sight of you. Their frightened eyes linger on your strange appearances, and quiet whispers fill the air.
A few townsfolk bear strained, silent smiles, but no mirth reaches their eyes. There's not a glint of hope or joy—only weariness, tainted with fear.
As you pass by them, the tension leaves the townsfolk and they return quietly to their business.
Otherwise, if the players arrive at night, add:
Long shadows lurk in the alleyways, where the grass grows long and twisted beneath the stained and sagging wood of the buildings above.
The streets are empty, though you can see a single cloaked figure traveling away from you down the central road. In the distance beyond the walls, a lone wolf howls, and a cold gust of wind cuts through the night like a knife.
The cloaked figure is Willemina Rikalova, as described in St. Andral's Church (p. 97). She is traveling to the church to pray for the freedom of her son, Udo Lukovich.
As the characters pass through the streets, they are noticed by Ernst Larnak, who intently watches them—though doesn't follow them—as described in Lady Wachter's Wish (p. 124). (Ernst does not yet deliver an invitation to dine with Lady Wachter, though he does return to N4. Wachterhaus (p. 110) to report back to Lady Wachter when the players leave his sight.)
C11b. The Blue Water Inn
This area is largely as described in N2. Blue Water Inn (p. 98).
When the players first arrive, assuming they arrive between late afternoon and early evening, the inn contains the following notable NPCs:
- Danika Martikov, who is pouring drinks and serving patrons in the N2c. Taproom;
- Urwin Martikov, who is cooking bread and beet stew in the N2e. Kitchen;
- Brom and Bray Martikov, who are playing with toys in N20. Boys' Bedroom; and
- Rictavio, who is feeding his horse, Drusilla, in N2f. Stable.
Entering the Inn
When the players first enter the inn, Danika greets them and asks them to wait at the bar while she tends to other patrons.
If the characters approach the bar, Urwin exits the kitchen carrying a tray of fresh-baked bread, hot beet stew, and wolf steaks, which he sets down on the bar. (The food smells mouthwateringly delicious.)
Urwin greets the players warmly and welcomes them to the Blue Water Inn. If the players don't direct the conversation elsewhere, he notes that they look like travelers and asks if they need rooms for the night.
Before Urwin can reply to the players, Danika returns and apologizes to the players for her delay. Assuming the players do not interrupt, the conversation then proceeds as follows:
- Danika lightheartedly accuses Urwin of plotting to rent rooms to guests "for free" again, an allegation that Urwin cheerfully denies.
- Danika tells the players that Urwin has already let one other guest stay for free for almost a week, and would "bankrupt the inn" with generosity if she weren't there to keep the books. (Urwin graciously concedes the point.)
- "After all," Urwin says cheekily, "why else did I marry you?" With a smile, Danika replies, "A rare instance of common sense, I imagine."
- Danika pecks Urwin's cheek with a kiss and says, "The table by the window is getting hungry." Urwin winks at the players, picks up the tray again, and exits the bar to deliver the food.
Danika then tells the players the rates for room and board, as listed in N2. Blue Water Inn (p. 98). (Both the large guest room, N2m. Guest Room (p. 102), as well as the two small guest rooms, N2l. Guest Rooms (p. 102), are available for rent.) When Urwin returns, he offers to take the players' orders for dinner, assuming they're hungry.
The players then have a few minutes to talk with Urwin and Danika or amongst themselves. During this conversation, Urwin and Danika can provide the players with information about Rictavio, the Festival of the Blazing Sun, and the nearby Vistani camp, as described in Vallaki Lore (p. 96).
Both Urwin and Danika can provide directions to any major landmark inside of Vallaki, including N1. St. Andral's Church, N5. Arasek Stockyard, and N8. Town Square. If the players ask about the inn's other guest, Urwin and Danika can also share information about Rictavio, which is largely as described in N2c. Taproom (p. 100), except that Rictavio first arrived that same morning.
The inn's most recent shipment of wine is slightly late, but has not been sufficiently delayed as to make Urwin alarmed. As such, he does not ask the players to investigate the Wizard of Wines at this point. (This quest will not become available until the players reach level 5. See Arc K: The Stolen Gem for more information.)
The Wolf-Hunters Arrive
If the players order food or wine in the taproom, Danika offers to seat them at the long table at the south end of the taproom. (See Map 5.2: Blue Water Inn.) While the players wait to be served, Szoldar Szoldarovich and Yevgeni Krushkin enter the inn and proceed to the bar, where they order pints of wine.
Assuming the players do not interrupt, they can overhear the following conversation between Danika, Szoldar, and Yevgeni while Danika pours the wolf-hunters' drinks:
- Danika greets Szoldar and Yevgeni and asks how the day's "wolf hunt" has gone.
- Szoldar tells Danika that they've managed to kill several wolves in the Svalich Wood west of Vallaki, but more keep coming—both ordinary wolves and horse-sized dire wolves.
- Danika thanks the two for their work, and notes that the inn will need another shipment of wolf steaks soon, an order that Szoldar promises to fill.
Szoldar and Yevgeni then take two seats at the south side of the bar, where they nurse their drinks for the rest of the evening.
If the players approach them and strike up a conversation, Szoldar and Yevgeni are largely as described in N2c. Taproom (p. 100). Additionally, the wolf-hunters can tell the players about Lake Zarovich, the nearby Vistani camp, the haunted mansion to the west, and the abandoned village to the south, as described in Vallaki Lore (p. 96).
Profile: Urwin Martikov
Resonance. Urwin should inspire amusement with his bad puns and jokes, gratitude for his fatherly counsel and support, and comfort from his compassion and sincerity.
Emotions. Urwin most often feels amused, satisfied, cheerful, thoughtful, concerned, and hopeful.
Motivations. Urwin wants to raise his children well, serve guests with hospitality and skill, and see the people of Barovia freed from Strahd’s tyranny.
Inspirations. When playing Urwin, channel Vander (Arcane), Greg Universe (Steven Universe), and Linda Belcher (Bob's Burgers).
Persona. To the world, Urwin is a kind fatherly figure, family man, and welcoming host with an ever-present twinkle in his eye. To those he trusts, Urwin is a cunning spymaster and tactician with fierce hope for the future of Barovia. Deep down, Urwin fears for his sons’ futures in a realm ruled by Strahd.
Morale. In a fight, Urwin would immediately attempt to defuse the situation, and attempt to flee if unsuccessful—though not before escorting anyone else out of harm's way.
Relationships. Urwin is the father of Brom and Bray Martikov and the husband of Danika Dorakova. He is also the exiled son of Davian Martikov, and the beloved older brother of Adrian, Elvir, and Stefnia Martikov. In addition to co-owning the Blue Water Inn, Urwin is the spymaster of the Keepers of the Feather.
Profile: Danika Dorakova
Resonance. Danika should inspire amusement with her “straight-man,” good-natured banter with Urwin, gratitude for her hospitality and motherly care, and comfort from her practical, down-to-earth nature and her fierce dedication to her family, home, and guests.
Emotions. Danika most often feels fond, satisfied, congenial, determined, defiant, and affectionate.
Motivations. Danika wants to keep her family safe, run a successful business, and ensure that her children one day see sunlight over Barovia.
Inspirations. When playing Danika, channel Tenzin (Avatar: The Legend of Korra), Bob Belcher (Bob's Burgers), and Garnet (Steven Universe).
Persona. To the world, Danika is a practical, no-nonsense businesswoman with a heart of gold. To those she trusts, Danika is a fierce mother with a deep dedication to the Martikov clan. Deep down, Danika is grimly prepared to defend those she loves—at any cost necessary.
Morale. In a fight, Danika would swiftly attempt to de-escalate, but would fight to the death to defend her family or her guests.
Relationships. Danika is the mother of Brom and Bray Martikov and the wife of Urwin Martikov. In addition to co-owning the Blue Water Inn, Danika is a high-ranking member of the Keepers of the Feather.
Dinner is Served
Shortly after Szoldar and Yevgeni are served their drinks, if the players ordered dinner, Danika approaches their table with a tray of food. As she serves them, she is suddenly jostled from behind, sending one of the bowls of soup tumbling from her grasp. The two players sitting at the northernmost end of the table must make DC 10 Dexterity saving throws, catching the bowl on a success. (If both players succeed, the player with the higher result catches the bowl first. If neither player succeeds, the bowl topples onto the floor, spilling the soup.)
Danika turns, revealing the culprit: a red-cheeked Brom Martikov wearing one of the painted wooden clown masks as described in N2o. Boy' Bedroom (p. 102). (Bray Martikov, wearing the other mask of the pair, is cowering behind one of the chairs of the nearest table.)
If the players do not interrupt, Danika scolds the boys as follows:
- Danika sharply (though not unkindly) addresses Brom and Bray by their full names. Both children snap to attention.
- Danika asks the boys, "What did your father tell you about wearing those masks in the taproom?" Both boys remove their masks, flushed, and Brom says, sheepishly, "We're not supposed to do it."
- Danika then asks the boys, "And what did I tell you about running in the taproom?" The two are quiet, then Bray pipes up, " . . . we're not s'posed to do it?" Danika replies, "Exactly."
If the soup was spilled, Danika directs Bray to fetch a pail of water from N2a. Well outside, and Brom to fetch a mop from the kitchen to clean up the mess. If the soup wasn't spilled, Danika reminds the boys that they're supposed to be helping their father cook dinner, and shoos them into the kitchen.
In either case, Danika apologizes to the players and offers them free meals the following evening. If the players ask about Brom and Bray, Danika smiles fondly and says, "They can be a handful sometimes, but they're good boys."
If the players ask about the children's masks, Danika tells them that Urwin bought them from the local toymaker, Gadolf Blinsky, who works at N7. Blinsky Toys (p.118).
The Brothers Wachter
As the players eat their dinner, Nikolai and Karl Wachter enter the taproom, obviously at least somewhat drunk. (The two are as described in N2c. Taproom (p. 100).)
Slightly slurring his words, Nikolai announces to the bar, "My fellow Vallakians! All is not well!" The room abruptly becomes quiet and tense. If the players do not interrupt, a beat later, Karl steps forward, leaning on his brother, and booms, " . . .at least, not until I've got a bellyfull of wine!" A tense, humorless chuckle rolls through the taproom, and the other patrons return to their business.
Karl and Nikolai then stumble toward the bar, where Danika is regarding them skeptically. If the players do not interrupt, they can overhear the following conversation:
- Danika greets Karl and Nikolai by name, and asks, "Haven't you already had too much to drink, boys?"
- Nikolai waves away her words and says, "Nonsense—we've only begun! Two pints of wine to start, and keep them coming."
- Danika replies, "We're starting to run a bit low on some of our vintage stock—can I start you with some Purple Grapemash No. 3?" Nikolai scoffs and says, "What do you take us for—tasteless peasants? Red Dragon Crush, and don't be stingy."
- As she pours their wine, Danika says idly, "Does your mother know what you're up to this evening?" Karl waits until he receives his pint, then grunts, "Mother's far too busy these days. And what she doesn't know can't hurt her." ("Or us," Nikolai charms in, elbowing his brother. The two chuckle, then return to their drinks.)
Shortly after the Wachter brothers arrive, Urwin exits the kitchen carrying a tray of food, which he sets down at a nearby table. On his way back to the kitchen, he stops at the players' table and asks their opinions on the food.
If the players ask about the Wachter brothers, Urwin can tell them the information listed in N2c. Taproom (p. 100). If the players ask about their mother, or about the response to Nikolai's declaration that "All is not well," Urwin becomes visibly uneasy, and promises to speak with the players further in the morning.
If the players speak with the Wachter brothers, Nikolai and Karl are wary at first, but happy (if prodded) to rant about:
- the Festival of the Blazing Sun,
- Vallaki's recent history of festivals,
- the Baron's response to those who speak ill of the festivals, and
- the flashes of purple light that have been seen from the attic of N3. Burgomaster's Mansion
(See Vallaki Lore (p. 96)). Once the players have won the brothers' trust, the conversation proceeds as described in N2c. Taproom.
The Ringmaster Arrives
Soon after the Wachter brothers receive their drinks, Rictavio arrives, entering the taproom through the front door. He is largely as described in Rictavio (p. 238) and N2c. Taproom (p. 100).
Though Rictavio appears to be headed for the stairs leading to N2j. Great Balcony, Nikolai and Karl catch sight of him and begin to hoot and holler in his direction, calling, "It's the carnival-man! Tell us a story, carnival-man!" (As they do, the players can see Brom and Bray standing beside the bar, helping Danika wipe some glasses dry.)
A few patrons around the bar pick up the cry, and Rictavio turns, flourishing his cape, and beams, vowing, "Who would Rictavio be if he did not quench his fans' thirst for revelry?"
Unless interrupted, Rictavio then leaps halfway up the staircase leading from the taproom to N2j. Great Balcony, where he delivers the following tale:
I was making my way through the forest on Drusilla, my trusty steed, along with my coterie of carnival companions, when I heard something carried to me on an errant breeze. A voice it was, singing a melody so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye.
I couldn't help but follow the sound, leading Drusilla deeper into the woods. And soon enough, I found the source of the singing.
There, before my very eyes, was a plant quite unlike anything I had ever seen. It was gigantic, towering high above me with a mouth that could swallow a grown man whole. And yet, there it was, singing with a voice that could fill an angelic choir with jealousy.
By all the gods, I could not believe my luck. A singing plant! This was just the kind of oddity I had been looking for.
I approached it, trying to get a better look at it. That's when I saw one of my companions from the carnival—a man by the name of Wilfred—approaching the plant with a mischievous grin on his face.
"What are you doing, Wilfred?" I asked.
He laughed and replied, "I'm going to give this plant a taste of what it's been missing."
Before I could stop him, Wilfred dropped his trousers and began to, ah, "water the bushes"—right on the plant's stalk.
Well, let me tell you, that was not the wisest move on Wilfred's part. The plant, it seems, was not amused. It opened its giant mouth and, with one swift movement, swallowed Wilfred whole. There was a moment of stunned silence, and then the plant continued to sing as if nothing had happened.
Despite what I had just seen, I couldn't help but burst out laughing at the absurdity of it all. And as I looked around at my carnival members, their faces a mixture of shock and disbelief, I knew: This singing, man-eating plant would be the star of our next show.
And so it was. "Ladies and gentlemen," I announced not long thereafter, curtain rope in hand. "It is with equal parts caution and excitement that I present to you, the singing carnivorous plant! And do remember, folks—keep your distance, and try not to pour out any libations on it, lest you wind up on the menu."
The carnival erupted in giddy laughter and applause. In a moment, I knew that this would be one of our greatest hits. And, as for poor Wilfred—well, I suppose he'll be singing in a different kind of choir now.
The patrons of the inn burst into laughter and applause—a welcome respite from the previous dreary mood. Rictavio takes another flourishing bow and excuses himself, retiring for the night to N2n Private Guest Room.
Any player who watches as Rictavio makes his way along N2j. Great Balcony sees him pass Brom and Bray, who are crouched along the balcony in front of N2o. Boys' Bedroom. (The boys are dangling the stuffed bat described in N2o. Boys' Bedroom (p. 102) over the bar below, giggling while Nikolai and Karl drunkenly swat at it. The boys used the N2i. Secret Stairs and Hall (p. 101) to scamper quietly from the kitchen to the balcony during Rictavio's tale, unseen by the inn's patrons.)
End of the Evening
The taproom slowly clears out over the following two hours. If the players rented rooms for the night, Danika eventually approaches their table and offers to show them to their rooms. (See N2l. Guest Rooms and N2m. Guest Room (p. 102)). During the tour, Danika lets them know that they're free to request fresh linens or a tub of hot water (for a bath) be brought up to their rooms. "Breakfast is served an hour after sunrise," she says warmly, and adds, "Feel free to let us know if you need anything else."
Milestone. Arriving in Vallaki completes a story milestone. When the party takes its first long rest in Vallaki, award each player 900 XP, plus an additional 100 XP if they successfully escorted Ireena to Vallaki. (The players don't need to bring Ireena to St. Andral's church to receive this XP.)
B4c. Morning in Vallaki
When the players next awaken in the Blue Water Inn, Urwin knocks on their door and asks to speak with them.
Resonance. Rictavio should inspire amusement for his flamboyant dress, his ringmaster’s extravagance, and his colorful manner of speech, which most often includes referring to himself in the third person.
Emotions. To onlookers, Rictavio most often appears to feel amused, delighted, or satisfied.
Motivations. Rictavio wants to maintain his reputation as an amusing, though somewhat outrageous carnival ringmaster.
Inspirations. When planning Rictavio, channel Varrick (Avatar: The Legend of Korra) or a stereotypical carnival barker.
Persona. To the world, Rictavio appears as a flamboyant, irreverent, and occasionally narcissistic carnival ringmaster.
Morale. In a fight, Rictavio would attempt to fast-talk his way out of trouble, fleeing from battle if hostilities seem unavoidable. (He might, however, step in to defend an innocent from harm at the hands of the supernatural—though doing his best to preserve his secret identity.)
Relationships. Rictavio is secretly Dr. Rudolph van Richten, the famed vampire hunter.
After exchanging pleasantries, Urwin warns the players that they must be cautious in Vallaki—both due to the town's harsh system of law enforcement and recent political tensions. Urwin can share the following additional information, as described in Vallaki Lore (p. 96):
- The date of the Festival of the Blazing Sun,
- Vallaki's recent history of festivals,
- The Baron's strict rules regarding his festivals—and the fates of those who speak ill of them,
- The brutish nature and terrible strength of Izek Strazni, the baron's henchman. ("Many have tried to test his strength," Urwin notes grimly. "All have failed.")
Urwin quietly notes, however, that the Baron is known to be highly susceptible to flattery—and that should the players ever need to win his favor, his ego may be a prime target.
If the players ask whether the Baron has any enemies in Vallaki, Urwin can also share the information about Lady Fiona Wachter described in Vallaki Lore (p. 96).
Exiting the Inn
As the players exit the Blue Water Inn on their first morning in Vallaki, they find the street full of townsfolk. Assuming the players do not interfere, the following scene then unfolds:
- The players hear the sound of a whinnying horse from down the street—and the townsfolk freeze and fall silent. A small procession lies to the south: Baron Vargas Vallakovich (as described in Roleplaying the Vallakovich Family, p. 105) riding upon his chestnut horse, flanked by his two mastiffs named Claw and Fang, and followed by three guards. Izek Strazni leads the procession.
- The players can see that an old, frightened-looking woman wearing threadbare commoner’s clothes has just stumbled away from the horse and fallen into a puddle of mud a few feet away from the horse. The horse has come to an abrupt halt, and the procession has stopped along with it. Izek’s devilish arm is outstretched, suggesting that he has just pushed—or flung—the old woman into the mud. (The woman is Willemina Rikalova, the mother of the imprisoned shoemaker Udo Lukovich.)
- The Baron angrily scolds the woman for getting mud on his cloak with her “filthy peasant’s hands.” The old woman, her voice quavering, apologizes and pleads with the Baron to release her son, Udo, claiming that he meant no harm with his “foolish joke.”
- The Baron insists that Udo needs “rehabilitation” for his “malicious unhappiness,” and suggests that the woman does as well. He commands Izek to seize her and lock her in the stocks, suggesting that “a few days in the stocks ought to tighten her tongue.” Izek steps forward, flexing his devilish arm with a cruel glint in his eye.
- Izek grabs the woman, hauls her to her feet, and thrusts her rudely into the guards’ waiting arms. Two of the guards pull the old woman’s arms behind her back and begin to pull her south as she struggles, weeps, and pleads for her son’s freedom. No townsfolk dare to help her.
- As the old woman is hauled away, the Baron turns to the townsfolk surrounding him and announces: “Let that be a lesson as to the dangers of malicious unhappiness! The Devil’s hand is long, but our joy shall overcome his shadow.”
If the players interrupt Willemina’s arrest, the Baron greets them as outsiders and asks, with amusement, whether they seek to claim responsibility for the “old fool’s” rehabilitation themselves.
Diplomacy. If the players make a successful DC 10 Charisma (Persuasion) check or make an argument that sufficiently flatters the Baron’s ego, he directs the guards to release her into their custody. He welcomes them to Vallaki and pompously commands them to ensure that they educate themselves as to the town’s rules and traditions.
Hostility. If the players indicate a willingness to start a fight, the Baron’s eyes narrow and his mastiffs begin to growl. Meanwhile, Izek’s arm burns with a crimson flame, his grip tightening around the haft of his silvered battleaxe.
The Baron first demands to know whether the players are “spies of the Devil Strahd.” The players can attempt to calm the situation and secure Willemina’s arrest peacefully, but any subsequent Charisma checks made to sway the Baron are made with disadvantage.
If it appears that combat is imminent, Father Lucian Petrovich (as described in N1. St. Andral's Church, p. 97) steps forth from the crowd and urges peace. The Baron greets him warmly by name, and Father Petrovich apologizes for Willemina’s behavior, noting that she has been troubled in recent days at his congregations. He promises to escort her to St. Andral’s Church and see that her troubled mind is eased—a proposition that the Baron reluctantly accepts.
Profile: Baron Vargas Vallakovich
Resonance. Vargas should inspire frustration with his obstinance, disgust for his narcissistic arrogance, and mild amusement for his utter and ridiculous self-assurance.
Emotions. Vargas most often feels annoyed, offended, satisfied, outraged, impatient, or smug.
Motivations. Vargas wants to secure his power free from Strahd's influence and lead Vallaki to escape the Mists by forcing everyone in the town to be happy.
Inspirations. When playing Vargas, channel Lord Farquaad (Shrek), Joffrey Baratheon (Game of Thrones), and Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas).
Persona. To the world, Vargas is an entitled, narcissistic, blue-blooded noble with a bad temper, delusions of salvation, and a love for praise and adoration.
Morale. In a fight, Vargas would command his dogs, Claw and Fang, as well as Izek Strazni and any present guards to seize any who oppose him. If deprived of his defenders, Vargas would either attempt to flee, or—if flight were obstructed—grovel pathetically at the feet of his attacker, begging for mercy.
Relationships. Vargas, the burgomaster of Vallaki, is the father of Victor Vallakovich, the husband of Baroness Lydia Petrovna, the brother-in-law of Father Lucian Petrovich, and the son of the late Baron Valentin Vallakovich. He is also the employer and adoptive "father" of Izek Strazni, his captain of the guard and chief enforcer.
Profile: Izek Strazni
Resonance. Izek should inspire disgust with his cruelty and indifference to human life, and discomfort with his unnerving interest in Ireena Kolyana.
Emotions. Izek most often feels irritated, enraged, impatient, sadistic, obsessed, or bored.
Motivations. Izek wants to serve the Baron faithfully—and, far more importantly, find and possess the woman he's been dreaming of.
Inspirations. When playing Izek, channel Ser Gregor Clegane (Game of Thrones), Fenrir Greyback (Harry Potter), and Kratos (God of War).
Persona. To the world, Izek is a cruel and brutish enforcer with a love for fire and blood.
Morale. In a fight, Izek would gladly draw his silvered battleaxe and fight to the death.
Relationships. Izek is the adoptive "son" of Baron Vargas Vallakovich, the captain of Vallaki's town guard, a frequent customer of the toymaker Gadof Blinsky, and (unbeknownst to either of them) the biological brother of Ireena Kolyana.
The Baron also wonders aloud whether he should punish the players for their insolence. Father Petrovich assures the Baron that they are merely outsiders, untaught in Vallaki’s ways, and that he shall see to it that they are properly educated.
The Baron imperiously orders that he see to it, then informs the players that they have caught him “in a good mood,” and that they should be grateful for “the Morninglord’s mercy.” He warns them, however, that future lawbreaking shall be met with harsh punishments.
Departure. As the Baron departs the scene, he announces to the crowd: “I shall expect to see you all at the Festival of the Blazing Sun four days hence. All will be well!”
The townsfolk, bearing smiles that better resemble grimaces, grimly intone, “All will be well.” The Baron nods, evidently satisfied, and continues riding north, followed by Izek, his mastiffs, and any remaining guards. The activity of the street resumes shortly thereafter.
If Ireena is with the party, she has drawn up the cloak of her hood upon exiting the inn. Nonetheless, unless the party has taken specific action to prevent Izek from noticing her, he catches Ireena’s eye and holds her gaze for a long, lingering moment before ultimately departing, leaving Ireena feeling uncomfortable and cold. Arc H: The Strazni Siblings then begins.
If asked, Ireena notes with uncertainty that something about Izek seemed almost familiar, though she can’t remember why.
If the players defied Vargas or Izek in any way, or otherwise assisted Willemina, Ernst Larnak reports their actions to Lady Fiona Wachter at Wachterhaus. Arc G: Lady Wachter’s Wish then begins.
End of an Act. When the players set off from the Blue Water Inn for their first full day in Vallaki, Act I ends and Act II begins.
Design Notes: Journey to Vallaki
The Lansten Family. The encounters with the Barovian scouts and the undead Lansten family have been added to underscore the tragedy of Strahd's siege on the village of Barovia, to introduce Strahd's undead forces, and to foreshadow Strahd's ultimate plan to turn the Barovians into undead to forge his new army upon escaping the Mists.
Encounter with Strahd. Many community encounters with Strahd create situations in which, in order to drive home Strahd's power and cruelty, the players inevitably "lose." Such encounters are likely to frustrate players and endear apathy or despair instead of a tense, yet enjoyable gameplay experience. However, it is equally important that Strahd not be allowed to "lose" his initial encounter with the players, even by proxy (e.g., combat with his minions). To allow Strahd's power to be questioned at this stage would fundamentally undermine his capacity as a villain.
As such, this encounter intentionally creates a circumstance in which both Strahd and the players can "win" by the end—the players, by convincing Strahd to let them and Ireena go, and Strahd, by gleaning useful information from the players' arguments and by clearly signalling that he is merely humoring their efforts.
While running this scene, recall the wise words of Tywin Lannister: "Any man who must say 'I am the king' is no true king." So too for Strahd: allowing the players to successfully irritate, annoy, or otherwise drive him to "punish them" functionally allows the players to gain a certain measure of control over the conversation, reducing Strahd's appearance of real and apparent control, and indicating that Strahd is a petty noble who cares about his own ego. Always remember that, especially at this stage, the players cannot hurt Strahd in any meaningful way—and, as such, he feels no need to hurt them in any meaningful way.
Altogether, the intended effect of this encounter is to introduce the players to Strahd, make the players hate and fear him, put the players on notice of Strahd's minions and servants, to reassure the players that Strahd will be an inevitable antagonist, and to make the players appreciate Strahd's Lawful Evil alignment—that, while inhabiting his Gentleman, he will do them no harm until and unless they give him reason to do so.
The Strix. The greater and lesser strix have been introduced to provide Baba Lysaga and the druids of Yester Hill with a meaningful way of combating the wereravens of the Keepers of the Feather. Muriel has also been added here to foreshadow the Keepers of the Feather, to foreshadow Strahd's prophecy (which the players will have an opportunity to learn after defeating the druids at Yester Hill), and to continue setting up Muriel's existence before her formal introduction at the beginning of the winery quest.
Changes to Lycanthropy. Due to the game-breaking impact that a lycanthrope player character can have on your game, it has been intentionally made as difficult as possible to achieve the full benefits of the curse. This version creates clear-cut rules to delineate lycanthropes who have "embraced" their curse and those that have not, and ensures that these rules rely on character-driven storytelling, rather than arbitrary game mechanics.
Lycanthropic immunity has been changed to silver-based regeneration in order to ensure that lycanthropes resonate with common understandings of lycanthropy and to ensure that all classes can meaningfully contribute to a lycanthrope's defeat, with or without magic weapons or spell. Lycanthropes have also been made weak to necrotic damage (in addition to damage from silvered weapons) in order to provide creative players with an alternate means of halting their regeneration and (more importantly) to explain how Strahd, who owns no silver weapons, is able to keep the werewolves in line.
The Tarokka Reading. Madam Eva's warnings at the beginning of the reading have been added to increase the tension of the reading, to ensure that players treat it with the weight and care that it deserves, and to introduce a minor element of dramatic intrigue in the scenes that follow.
Arturi Radanavich. Arturi Radanavich is a creation of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani. His tale (and his character) have largely been transplanted directly into this guide in order to further introduce Van Richten's legend (and tragedy), to provide an explanation for Van Richten's transformation into a more sympathetic character, to introduce Ezmerelda d'Avenir, and to create player investment in Van Richten's history upon uncovering his burned journal in Van Richten's Tower.
The Dancing Fire. The Game of Stories has been introduced to provide the players with an opportunity to decompress in a relatively safe location while engaging with and exploring one anothers' histories and interests. The Game itself—along with its wagers—introduces an aspect of dramatic tension to the encounter, ensuring that players remain invested and engaged with each story told.
Stanimir's tale indicates the relationship between Strahd and the Vistani, thereby foreshadowing Arrigal's loyalty to him. Eliza's tale introduces the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind and the sympathetic nature of ravens, as well as Baba Zelenna's interference with the Forest Fane at Yester Hill (i.e., by using it to summon Chernovog). Arturi's tale colorfully introduces the tragedy of Dr. Rudolph van Richten, building the suspense for a character that the players will soon have an opportunity to meet. Finally, Ireena's tale foreshadows her relationship to Izek Strazni and her true origins in Vallaki.
A Gift for Arabelle. Madam Eva's request has been added to create a hook to Blinsky Toys in Vallaki (allowing the players to observe Izek's commissioned Ireena-shaped doll) and to the Vistani encampment outside of Vallaki (allowing the players to begin the quest to find the missing Arabelle).
The Skeletal Rider. The encounter with the skeletal rider is a short, but evocative scene that aims to resonate with the themes of undeath, loneliness, and mystery that infuse this arc.
The Watchtower. This short landmark serves to foreshadow the tragedy of the Barovian refugees, the fate of the Order of the Silver Dragon, and the bloodstained history of the valley.
Tser Falls. The encounter with the revenant has been added to provide the players with a clear, though non-urgent hook to Argynvostholt. The revenant's responses are intentionally kept terse in order to ensure that the players learn little of the Order of the Silver Dragon until their meeting with Sir Godfrey Gwilym.
Meeting Morgantha. This scene has been intentionally structured to discourage the players from uncovering Morgantha's true identity, attacking the night hags, or entering Old Bonegrinder. (They will have a full opportunity to do so later in Arc I. The Lost Soul.) Instead, this scene merely introduces Morgantha as a character, foreshadows her domain over dreams, and informs the players that she lives in the old windmill with her two daughters (i.e., her coven).
The Deep Woods. The swarms of ravens have been added to ensure that the players view ravens (and, by extension, wereravens) as friends and allies. Ireena's reaction to Lake Zarovich has been added to further foreshadow her relationship to Izek and her origins in Vallaki.
The Werewolf's Hunt. This brief combat encounter introduces werewolves and provides the swarms of ravens (and Muriel) with an opportunity to assist and defend the players. The wolves' Maul action option has been added to create a more tense and dynamic combat scenario.
Design Notes: Welcome to Vallaki
The Refugee Camp. The Barovian refugee camp has been placed here to provide the players with an additional reason to hate Baron Vallakovich and Izek, and to provide Morgantha with a natural constituency for her dream pastries. By rejecting Ireena's efforts to help them, the refugees progress her character arc by allowing her to realize that she cannot help her people so long as Strahd survives, which fuels her ultimate decision to join the party in their fight.
The Tax. The guards' tax gives the players an additional reason to hate Baron Vallakovich. The silver tariff also indicates to the players the wealth of silvered weapons and ammunition that the Baron has hoarded.
The Blue Water Inn. This sequence has been intentionally structured to slowly and manageably introduce the players to several of the key players in Vallaki: the Martikovs, the Wachters, the wolf-hunters, and the ringmaster Rictavio. Rictavio's tale has been written to be as baudy and comedic as reasonably possible in order to discourage the players from taking him seriously until the reveal of his identity in Arc E: The Missing Vistania.
Exiting the Inn. The players' encounter with Baron Vallakovich and Izek on the roads of Vallaki has been added to provide the players with an immediate reason to dislike them, to introduce the players to Father Lucian Petrovich, to set up the core dramatic tension of the Baron's tyrannical rule over Vallaki, to kick off Izek's pursuit of Ireena, and to provide Lady Fiona Wachter with an actionable reason to invite the players into her machinations. It is essential that the players do not fight Izek here, and all reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure this.
Timelines and Wacther Vallaki
Act II: The Shadowed
In this act, the players are left to explore the shadowed town of Vallaki—a Barovian settlement that has found itself embroiled in tension, tragedy, and intrigue in the wake of Strahd's awakening.
As the players seek to complete lingering obligations—obtaining the Tome of Strahd in Arc D: The Tome of Strahd, escorting Ireena to St. Andral's Church in Arc E: St. Andral's Feast, and delivering a toy to the Vistani child Arabelle in Arc F: The Missing Vistani—they'll meet new allies and enemies, including Victor Vallakovich, the son of Baron Vargas Vallakovich; Lady Fiona Wachter, the Baron's rival for power; Father Lucian Petrovich, the priest of St. Andral's Church; Luvash and Arrigal, the leaders of the Vallakian Vistani camp; and Dr. Rudolph van Richten, the veteran vampire hunter and lone survivor of Doru's rebellion.
At St. Andral's Church, the players will be tasked with recovering the stolen bones of St. Andral before the night of St. Andral's Feast in order to sustain the church's hallowed defenses. At the Vallakian Vistani encampment, the players will be asked to find and rescue Arabelle following her mysterious disappearance. And, depending on the location of the Tome of Strahd—at the Baron's mansion or in Wachterhaus—the players will be asked to help restore Stella Wachter's missing soul or kill Izek Strazni, the Baron's brutal enforcer.
Soon after the players' arrival in Vallaki, Lady Wachter may invite them to dine with her personally at her family estate, Wachterhaus, seeking to recruit them into a dangerous conspiracy in Arc G: Lady Wachter's Wish. Meanwhile, Izek Strazni prowls Vallaki's streets for his long-lost sister, Ireena, in Arc H: The Strazni Siblings. And following a close encounter with the spirit of Erasmus van Richten, the players will be tasked with obtaining a heartstone from the night hags of Old Bonegrinder—a mission that ultimately culminates in an ethereal combat with the vengeful ghost of Leo Dilisnya in Arc I: The Lost Soul.
Act II ends when the players reach 5th level. (See Milestones below.) However, the players can still complete unresolved arcs from this act even after Act III begins—assuming, of course, that those arcs are still possible to complete.
The players begin this act at 4th level and end it at 5th level, with each player gaining an equal amount of milestone XP when they successfully do any of the following:
- restore the bones of St. Andral (1,250 XP)
- find the missing Arabelle (1,250 XP)
- defeat Izek Strazni (1,250 XP)
- obtain the Tome of Strahd (750 XP)
- restore the soul of Stella Wachter (1,750 XP)
- gain entry to the gates of Krezk (750 XP)
Once the players arrive in Vallaki and Act II begins, the timeline of events unfolds as follows.
Day of Arrival
Before the players arrive, the ringmaster Rictavio reserves a room at the Blue Water Inn. That night, the church groundskeeper, Milivoj, steals the bones of St. Andral and delivers them to the local coffin-maker, Henrik van der Voort.
First Day After Arrival
At dawn, Father Lucian Petrovich discovers the missing bones. Players who bring Ireena to St. Andral's Church after this point begin Arc E: St. Andral's Feast.
Izek Strazni and two guards put up posters in the Vallaki Town Square advertising the Festival of the Blazing Sun. Players who bring Ireena to the Town Square at this point in time begin Arc H: The Strazni Siblings if Izek has not already seen Ireena.
Ireena Kolyana seeks an audience with Baron Vargas Vallakovich in order to obtain aid for the Barovian refugees. She is denied, but learns that the Baron's household has experienced a series of recent hauntings. Players who seek to speak with the Baron about these problems after this point begin Arc I: The Lost Soul.
Second Day After Arrival
If the players defied Baron Vallakovich or aided Willemina Rikalova on their first morning in Vallaki, the players receive an invitation left by Ernst Larnak inviting them to dine with Lady Fiona Wachter at Wachterhaus. Players who accept Lady Wachter's invitation at this point begin Arc G: Lady Wachter's Wish.
If Izek Strazni saw Ireena outside of the Blue Water Inn on the players' first morning in Vallaki, he visits the Inn while the players are away—preferably at dusk, during Lady Wachter's dinner—and ransacks it in a search for Ireena. Arc H: The Strazni Siblings then begins.
Third Day After Arrival
If the players accepted Lady Wachter's mission to kill Izek Strazni, Ernst Larnak meets them at the Blue Water Inn with a poisoned bottle of wine and a burlap sack for Izek's head.
That night, if the players completed Arc F: The Missing Vistana and have not yet begun Arc I: The Lost Soul, the spirit of Erasmus van Richten appears to the players as a poltergeist and invites them to meet with Victor Vallakovich.
Fourth Day After Arrival
If the players have not restored the bones of St. Andral to St. Andral's Church, the church's protective wards fail at dawn.
If Baron Vallakovich is still in power, Vallaki observes the Festival of the Blazing Sun in N8. Town Square (p. 119) at noon as described in Festival of the Blazing Sun (p. 123).
At sundown, the parishioners of St. Andral's Church attend a service observing the holiday of St. Andral's Feast.
If the protective wards of St. Andral's Church have not been restored, Strahd's vampiric bride Volenta Popofsky attacks the church during the service, killing dozens of Vallakians and Baroness Lydia Petrovna.
Fifth Day After Arrival
If the players failed to prevent Volenta's attack or otherwise defend St. Andral's Church in Arc E: St. Andral’s Feast, an angry mob forms outside of Baron Vallakovich's manor. The hunter Szoldar Szoldarovich also finds Milivoj, the church groundskeeper, hanging from a tree outside Vallaki—dead by apparent suicide—and returns his body to his family.
Shortly after sundown, if the players failed to prevent Volenta's attack or otherwise defend St. Andral's Church in Arc E: St. Andral’s Feast, the angry mob assaults the manor, capturing the Baron and lynching him in the town square. Victor Vallakovich escapes, taking shelter in one of the abandoned houses abutting Vallaki's western walls. If he still lives, Izek Strazni also escapes, taking shelter in Q9. Servants' Quarters (p. 133) in Argynvostholt.
Sixth Day After Arrival
At sundown, the full moon rises over Vallaki. (Due to Barovia's strange cosmology, the next full moon will arrive just two weeks later.)
Seventh Day After Arrival
If the players have not yet restored Stella Wachter's soul to her body, her spirit vanishes into the Ethereal Plane at dawn, and is reincarnated into a newborn infant in the village of Krezk. If he's still alive, a grieving Victor Vallakovich hears the call of an amber shard buried in the cemetery of St. Andral's Church. Upon unearthing it, he travels to the Amber Temple in search of a means of restoring Stella to life.
The day after she speaks with the refugees for the first time, Ireena attempts to meet with the Baron, using her noble birth as a means of obtaining his attention. Though she expects to meet with him alone, she welcomes the players' support and assistance if offered.
If Ireena has already encountered or heard of the Baron’s temperament, she is under no illusions as to the difficulty of winning his favor. However, she is determined to do her best to at least try to help her people—and, as a noble, she is no stranger to the realities of negotiation, compromise, and manipulation.
During Ireena’s meeting with the Baron—whether the players are present or not—the Baron dismisses out of hand any suggestion that the refugees be allowed to enter the town. However, he is willing to allow Ireena to come and go from the town into the refugee camp without requiring her to pay the toll at the gates. If the players are present at this meeting and befriend or antagonize the Baron, he responds as described in Roleplaying the Vallakovich Family (p. 105).
The town of Vallaki can be a tangled web of assorted paths in the original module. While this guide aims to present it in a more streamlined and predictable manner, DMs may still find the number of possible events, characters, and outcomes to feel overwhelming. To help you digest this act, two of many potential paths have been provided below to guide you in understanding how your players' choices might drive the narrative forward.
The Zealous Crusaders
In this potential narrative, the players are passionate, quick-moving characters with a penchant for action over thought.
Day Zero. After reserving rooms at the Blue Water Inn on their first night in Vallaki, the players befriend Karl and Nikolai Wachter and learn of the Wachter family's hatred of the Vallakoviches.
Day One. Upon encountering Izek Strazni and Baron Vargas Vallakovich for the first time, the players leap to Willemina Rikalova's defense, nearly inciting an all-out brawl until Father Lucian Petrovich steps in to calm the tension. Their decision to act draws the attention of Lady Fiona Wachter in Arc G: Lady Wachter's Wish.
The players and Ireena accompany Father Petrovich to St. Andral's Church, where they receive the hook for Arc E: St. Andral's Feast. After investigating and interrogating Milivoj, the players recruit Father Petrovich and travel to the coffin-maker's shop, where they do battle with Volenta Popofsky and recover the stolen bones.
Later that same afternoon, the players visit Blinsky Toys to purchase a toy for Arabelle, followed by the Vistani encampment. There, they learn of Arc F: The Missing Vistana, and accept the signet ring from Kasimir Velikov.
That night, the players break into the Baron's Mansion, hoping to investigate the ring's history—only to be caught by Victor Vallakovich, who leads them to his workroom and informs them of Khazan's tower at Lake Baratok. A chance sighting of Stella Wachter's silhouette in Victor's spirit mirror sparks a conversation, and the players begin Arc I: The Lost Soul.
Day Two. The players receive a dinner invitation from Lady Fiona Wachter at the Blue Water Inn, thereby beginning Arc G: Lady Wachter's Wish. While waiting for Szoldar and Yevgeni to return, the players visit the Barovian refugee camp outside of Vallaki's walls, meeting the refugee Franz and learning of Morgantha's true night hag nature in Arc I: The Lost Soul.
After contriving an excuse to speak with Victor again, the players travel north to Szoldar and Yevgeni's dressing shack to obtain directions to Lake Baratok in Arc F: The Missing Vistana. The players venture forth on their own, and quickly discover Rictavio's true identity. The players return to Vallaki by evening, confronting Dr. Rudolph van Richten and Arrigal in Arasek Stockyard, where they hear Arabelle's prophecy.
That night, the players dine with Lady Wachter at Wachterhaus, continuing Arc G: Lady Wachter's Wish. Though receptive to her hostility to the Baron, they're suspicious of her loyalty to Strahd, and decline her assassination mission.
Upon returning to the Blue Water Inn, however, the players find it ransacked by Izek himself—thereby beginning Arc H: The Strazni Siblings. Enraged, the players return to Wachterhaus and accept Lady Wachter's offer of aid in killing Izek once and for all. Ireena, upon learning of Izek's attack, demands the right to assist them.
Day Three. The players continue Arc G: Lady Wachter's Wish when they meet Ernst Larnak in the taproom of the Blue Water Inn, where they receive the poisoned wine for Izek. The players sneak into the Baron's Mansion and persuade Tereska, the Baron's cook, to include the poisoned wine as a "gift" to Izek. The players stalk Izek for the rest of the day, eventually killing him on the shores of Lake Zarovich and delivering his severed head to Lady Wachter. That night, Lady Wachter intimidates Baron Vallakovich into surrendering power.
Day Four. The players learn of the night hag binding ritual from Victor in Arc I: The Lost Soul. Following Lady Wachter's speech in the town square at the end of Arc G: Lady Wachter's Wish, the players convince her to lower the protective circle around Wachterhaus, allowing Stella Wachter's spirit to manifest there and recruiting Lady Wachter as an ally.
Together with Lady Wachter and her cult fanatics, the players set off for Old Bonegrinder. There, they steal the night hag coven's contract, allowing Lady Wachter to bind the hags to the Material Plane. The players vanquish the hags and take their heartstones for use in Victor's etherealness ritual.
Day Five. With the full moon—and, in Arc I: The Lost Soul, Victor's etherealness ritual—just over twenty-four hours away, the players take a daytrip to the village of Krezk in Arc J: The Walls of Krezk, hoping to pick wolfsbane that Dr. Rudolph van Richten can use to quell the curse of lycanthropy for one among them.
After receiving Baron Krezkov's quest, the players travel south to the ruins of Berez, where the witch Baba Lysaga scries on Ilya Krezkov in exchange for Baron Krezkov's gift. The players then return to Krezk to pick wolfsbane. Given the proximity of the Abbey of Saint Markovia, the players also ascend to the Abbey's gates, where they meet the Abbot and are informed to return in two days to meet with Ezmerelda d'Avenir, their foretold ally in Arc M: Strahd's Enemy.
Day Six. The players return to Vallaki and spend a day of downtime exploring the town and acquiring gear. That night, the players join Victor and Lady Wachter to travel to the Ethereal Plane in Arc I: The Lost Soul, where they do battle with the spirit of Leo Dilisnya while Victor restores Stella's soul to her body.
The Cautious Explorers
In this potential narrative, the players are cautious, soft-spoken characters with a preference for passivity over boldness.
Day Zero. After reserving rooms at the Blue Water Inn on their first night in Vallaki, the players watch the half-elf Rictavio carefully, viewing him with suspicion.
Day One. Upon encountering Izek Strazni and Baron Vargas Vallakovich for the first time, the players remain quiet along the sidelines, unwilling to risk their necks for a stranger.
The players bring Ireena to St. Andral's Church, where Father Petrovich delivers them the hook for Arc E: St. Andral's Feast. Agreeing that the night of the feast is far in the future, the players, leave Ireena at the church and depart for Blinsky Toys, followed by the Vistani encampment outside of Vallaki, where they begin Arc F: The Missing Vistana.
After accepting the signet ring from Kasimir Velikov, the players visit the Baron's mansion to research its origins. There, Baron Vallakovich agrees to allow them access to his library in exchange for their investigation into a series of paranormal events that have lately plagued the mansion.
As the players investigate the attic, they meet Victor Vallakovich and the spirit of Stella Wachter, beginning Arc I: The Lost Soul. The players decide to bargain with the night hag coven, rather than fighting the hags, and agree to set off toward Old Bonegrinder after rescuing Arabelle and retrieving St. Andral's bones.
Late that afternoon, the players travel to Szoldar and Yevgeni's dressing shack, where they recruit Szoldar as a guide to Lake Baratok in Arc F: The Missing Vistana. When they return to the Blue Water Inn, they find that Izek Strazni has ransacked it in search for Ireena.
Day Two. The players and Szoldar travel west to Lake Baratok, where they uncover Rictavio's true identity. They return to Vallaki and confront Dr. Rudolph van Richten and Arrigal in Arasek Stockyard, where they hear Arabelle's prophecy.
That afternoon, the players return to St. Andral's Church in Arc E: St. Andral's Feast. After investigating and interrogating Milivoj, the players recruit Father Petrovich and travel to the coffin-maker's shop, where they do battle with Volenta Popofsky and recover the stolen bones.
Day Three. The players travel to Old Bonegrinder alone, where they attempt to bargain with the night hag Morgantha for the loan of her heartstone in Arc I: The Lost Soul. Because the players are unwilling to pay her price, however, Morgantha dismisses them without a deal. The players attempt to take her heartstone by force, but are easily dispatched by the coven, which locks them in the attic and infects them with cackle fever.
That night, the players escape from Old Bonegrinder and return to Vallaki, where they learn that the Abbot of the Abbey of Saint Markovia in Krezk can cure their cackle fever.
Day Four. The players set off for the village of Krezk in Arc J: The Walls of Krezk. After receiving Baron Krezkov's quest, the players travel south to the ruins of Berez, where the witch Baba Lysaga scries on Ilya Krezkov in exchange for Baron Krezkov's gift.
The players then return to Krezk and ascent to the Abbey of Saint Markovia, where they meet the Abbot. The Abbot heals their cackle fever in exchange for a promise to undertake Arc N: Something Borrowed. The players are informed that their foretold ally in Arc M: Strahd's Enemy, Ezmerelda d'Avenir, will return to the Abbey in two days.
Day Five. The players return to Vallaki and find that Ireena has been kidnapped by Izek Strazni in Arc H: The Strazni Siblings. The players gain entry to the Baron's mansion with Victor's help and do battle with Izek in the corridors of the manor.
With Ireena freed, the players and Victor discuss the prospect of defeating the night hag coven through a binding ritual in Arc I: The Lost Soul. The players visit Wachterhaus and convince Lady Wachter to lower the protective circle around Wachterhaus, allowing Stella Wachter's spirit to manifest there and recruiting Lady Wachter as an ally.
Day Six. Together with Lady Wachter and her cult fanatics, the players set off for Old Bonegrinder. There, they steal the night hag coven's contract, allowing Lady Wachter to bind the hags to the Material Plane. The players vanquish the hags and take their heartstones for use in Victor's etherealness ritual.
That night, the players join Victor and Lady Wachter to travel to the Ethereal Plane, where they do battle with the spirit of Leo Dilisnya while Victor restores Stella's soul to her body.
Arc D: The Tome of Strahd
In this arc, the players must locate and retrieve the Tome of Strahd from one of two locations, depending on which Tarokka card Madam drew in Tser Pool: the attic in Baron Vallakovich’s mansion or the master bedroom closet of Wachterhaus. To obtain the Tome, the players must somehow gain access to its hiding spot through subterfuge, infiltration, or by performing a task for Victor Vallakovich or Lady Wachter, respectively. Upon finding it, the players must either bypass the magical lock securing it or uncover the passphrase that unseals its secrets . . .
What Happened to the Tome?
One hundred years ago, Strahd used his Tome as a repository for his secret plans involving the Grand Conjunction and the Fanes of Barovia. When he began his hibernation amidst the crypts of Ravenloft, he did his best to hide his Tome away, safe from prying eyes. Nonetheless, it was found—by the wereraven Livius, who was searching for the legendary Sigil of the Sun (later renamed the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind) while Lugdana and Ismark Antonovich kept the guardians of the castle occupied.
When the trio escaped the castle, Livius shared with them the Tome, wondering aloud which of Strahd’s secrets it might hold. Because they could not open its magical lock, however, Lugdana took the Tome to a bookbinder in Vallaki with a reputation for puzzle-solving and lockpicking, hoping that he might be able to open it instead.
Lugdana, however, was betrayed. The bookbinder’s apprentice—a scion of House Wachter—overheard their conversation and made plans to steal the Tome instead:
The Tome in Wachterhaus. If the modern Tome is located within the master bedroom closet of Wachterhaus, the apprentice hid the Tome away in the bookbinder’s desk, then returned that night to steal it. The Tome has remained locked away in Wachterhaus ever since. (Because her parents died while she was still a teenager, Lady Fiona Wachter never learned of the Tome’s true origins.)
The Tome in the Baron's Mansion. If the modern Tome is located within the attic of the Burgomaster’s mansion, the apprentice hid the Tome away in a pile of books with the intent to later return to steal it—but didn’t realize that that particular pile included an assortment of books that Baron Vallakovich’s ancestor had dropped off at the shop for re-binding. The pile of books was picked up later that day, before the apprentice could return and steal the Tome. The Tome itself was soon discarded and forgotten amongst the many items scattered in the Vallakovich attic, where it remained until Victor Vallakovich found it using the detect magic spell. (Victor hasn’t been able to successfully unlock it yet, but is curious to know what the book contains.)
D1. Burgomaster’s Mansion
D1a. Entering the Mansion
The players can gain access to the attic of the Burgomaster’s Mansion through persuasion or infiltration. See F3a. Entering the Mansion for more information. (Because the players are likely to visit the mansion on multiple occasions—either during Arc F: The Missing Vistana, Arc G: Lady Wachter’s Wish, Arc H: The Strazni Siblings, or Arc I: The Lost Soul—it is likely that they will obtain the Tome of Strahd on one such occasion.)
D1b. Obtaining the Tome
The Tome of Strahd can currently be found on the edge of Victor Vallakovich’s workdesk. A player viewing it through a detect magic spell can see that it is surrounded by magic, and can use an action to discern that the magic is of the abjuration school.
Victor won’t relinquish the Tome willingly. After finding it in his parents’ attic and recognizing the Von Zarovich crest, he is determined to one day unlock and read its contents. However, he is willing to surrender it to the players if they first help him restore the soul of Stella Wachter to her body. See Arc I: The Lost Soul for more information on this quest.
As with the Burgomaster’s Mansion, the players can obtain the Tome of Strahd in Wachterhaus through persuasion or infiltration.
Wachterhaus is largely as described in N4. Wachterhaus (p. 110), but with the following changes:
- Lady Wachter’s late husband, Nikolai, was buried in the cemetery after his death several years ago and is no longer in Lady Wachter’s bed in N4o. Master Bedroom (p. 113).
- Stella Wachter doesn't scratch at her door or call out to the players in N4l. Upstairs Hall (p. 113). If found, she is dull-eyed and non-responsive, incapable of speaking to the players or even moving of her own volition. (This is because she has lost her soul, which is currently trapped in the Ethereal Plane. See Arc I: The Lost Soul for more information.)
- Stella's room is neither musty nor dark, and her bed is not fitted with leather straps. Instead, her room is well-appointed, including a woven lavender rug, a comfortable armchair with floral patterns, and a small bookcase with a collection of carved wooden cats atop it. (The cats were whittled by her older brother, Karl, as get-well gifts following Stella’s illness.)
- The manuscript and treatise contained in the iron chest in N4q. Storage Room (p. 114) are now titled Voices of the Mist (a religious text written by Lady Fiona Wachter attesting that the worship of Ezra, goddess of the Mists, can bring peace, understanding, and solemnity), and The Grimoire of Night's Whispers, a ritual book and religious text to Mother Night written by the witch Baba Lysaga.
- The high shelf in N4o. Master Bedroom (p. 113) also holds a thirteen-inch scale model of Wachterhaus, crafted of twigs, clay, and painted thatch.
Additionally, while Lady Wachter still has the statistics of a priest, she has a different list of prepared spells:
Cantrips (at will): light, toll the dead, thaumaturgy
1st level (4 slots): command, sanctuary, bane
2nd level (3 slots): blindness/deafness, zone of truth, hold person
3rd level (2 slots): animate dead, spirit guardians
D2a. Persuading Lady Wachter
The players can persuade Lady Wachter to give them the Tome of Strahd by:
- bargaining for it as a condition to killing Izek Strazni, or
- requesting it as a gift after killing Izek Strazni or restoring the soul of Lady Wachter’s daughter, Stella. (See Arc I: The Lost Soul for more information.)
Because Lady Wachter was an adolescent at the time of her family’s tragic death, her parents never had an opportunity to reveal to her the true nature and origins of the Tome. As a result, while Lady Wachter is aware that the sigil on the cover is the crest of House Zarovich, she has always assumed that the book itself is a record of House Wachter’s service to Strahd, rather than Strahd’s own journal.
If the players make explicit reference to an item kept “under lock and key,” or an item kept “with the bones of an ancient enemy,” Lady Wachter immediately knows that they’re referring to the Tome of Strahd.
If she feels cordial toward the players, Lady Wachter plays coy, pretending to dismiss the idea of keeping “bones” in one’s home and slyly asking the players how they came upon such knowledge. If pressed further, however, she carefully concedes the hypothetical existence of such a book and attempts to bargain with the players as a means of securing it.
If she feels warmly toward the players (e.g., because they have killed Izek for her), Lady Wachter instead gladly retrieves the Tome from her closet and presents it to them.
In either case, Lady Wachter warns the players that she cannot be held responsible for what the book contains. Before handing the Tome over, she also exacts a promise that the players tell no one of where they obtained it.
D2b. Infiltrating the Estate
The players may choose to infiltrate Wachterhaus, rather than obtaining the Tome with Lady Wachter’s permission.
The NPCs in the mansion behave as follows:
- Lady Wachter can generally be found in N4p. Library (p. 113) in the mornings, N4i. Parlor (p. 112) in the afternoons, N4t. Cult Headquarters (p. 114) in the evenings, and N4o. Master Bedroom (p. 113) at night. (Lady Wachter is, however, a light sleeper; treat her passive Perception while asleep as the same as her passive Perception while awake.)
- Karl and Nikolai Wachter can generally be found in N4m. Brothers' Room (p. 113) in the mornings and late at night, and spend much of their remaining time out of the house carousing.
- Stella Wachter can generally be found sitting on a sofa in N4i. Parlor during the day, and lying in N4n. Stella's Room (p. 113) at night.
- Dhavit, Lady Wachter’s cook, can generally be found in N4c. Kitchen (p. 112) or N4d. Storage Room (p. 112) during the day, and N4h. Servants' Quarters (p. 113) at night.
- The four cult fanatics can be found in N4t. Cult Headquarters (p. 114) in the evening.
- Madalena, one of Lady Wachter’s maids, can generally be found on the first floor during the morning, in the gardens outside of the house in the afternoon, and in N4h. Servants’ Quarters (p. 113) at night.
- Amalthia, the other maid, can generally be found on the second floor during the morning, assisting Lady Wachter or Dhavit in the afternoons, and in N4h. Servants’ Quarters (p. 113) at night.
- Haliq, Lady Wachter’s valet, can generally be found assisting Lady Wachter in the mornings, running errands in town in the afternoons, and in N4h. Servants’ Quarters (p. 113) at night.
- Ernst, Lady Wachter’s spy, can generally be found in N4k. Den (p. 112) in the mornings, and spends much of his remaining time out of the house spying.
1. Raising the Alarm
Each of Lady Wachter’s servants carries a small, spherical wax bauble on a cord around their neck. Each wax bauble contains a small iron ingot carved with arcane runes. When a servant crushes or breaks the wax around their bauble and exposes the ingot to air, the runes flicker with grey light and cast a single thaumaturgy spell, creating the sound of a crow’s caw that echoes through the house. If she is in the house, Lady Wachter hears the crow's caw and quickly moves to confront the intruders.
Alternatively, if the players activate the skeleton trap in N4s. Cellar (p. 114), Lady Wachter senses it and arrives from N4r. Cellar Entrance (p. 114) in the second round of combat to command any remaining skeletons to halt.
In either case, Lady Wachter arrives with a crow (her disguised imp, Majesto) perched upon her shoulder, retaining a cool, diplomatic head at all times. (She doubts her ability to defeat the players through force, even with the aid of her cult, and prefers to resolve their differences peacefully. Despite her arcane power, Lady Wachter is no warrior.)
First, Lady Wachter greets the players warmly and asks them their business. If the players refuse to tell her what they’re looking for, she guesses aloud that, because they haven’t assassinated or kidnapped her yet, they’re not here on Baron Vallakovich’s orders, and are therefore looking for an item in her possession. (She further wonders aloud that it is either something incredibly valuable which they seek to steal to enrich themselves, or something non-valuable that they want, but which they don’t trust her to barter for.)
If she has previously met the players at dinner and asked them to kill Izek, Lady Wachter sadly mourns their lack of trust in her and notes that she had hoped to work with them, and in fact still does. She then offers to obtain the item that they seek if they are willing to speak with her as equals.
If she has not met the players before, Lady Wachter instead offers a bargain in exchange for the item that the players seek. (If the players express interest in such an arrangement, she offers their desired item in exchange for the head of Izek Strazni. Negotiations proceed as described in G2d. The Vallakovich Problem.)
Profile: Lady Fiona Wachter
Resonance. Lady Wachter should inspire wariness for her loyalty to Strahd, grudging respect for her streak of pragmatic rationality, endearment for her dedication to her children, and pity for the tragedy of her family.
Emotions. Lady Wachter most often feels concerned, apprehensive, irate, melancholic, satisfied, thoughtful, determined, stern, or (with her children) compassionate and loving.
Motivations. Lady Wachter wants to keep Vallaki—and especially her children—safe from harm. To that end, she hopes to see Baron Vargas Vallakovich removed from power and to reassure Strahd von Zarovich that Vallaki is no danger to his rule.
Inspirations. When playing Lady Wachter, channel Moiraine Damodred (The Wheel of Time), Olenna Tyrell (Game of Thrones), Minerva McGonagall (Harry Potter), and Lady Jessica (Dune).
Persona. To the world, Lady Wachter is a cold, cunning, and cordial noblewoman. To those she trusts, Lady Wachter is a melancholic, wry, yet fiercely determined advocate for what she sees as the good of Vallaki. Only Lady Wachter herself appreciates the depth of love she feels for her children—and her shattered sense of faith and hope.
Morale. In a fight, Lady Wachter would attempt to negotiate or flee, seeking any means necessary to quell hostilities, up to and including outright surrender. If necessary to save her life or those of her children, however, she would fight to the death with bitter ferocity.
Relationships. Lady Wachter is the widow of the deceased Nikolai Wachter I, and the mother of Nikolai Wachter II, Karl Wachter, and Stella Wachter. She is the employer of the spy Ernst Larnak, and an outspoken critic of Baron Vargas Vallakovich.
If the players indicate or imply that they don’t trust her, Lady Wachter asks the players for their permission to cast two spells: one to ensure that they are alone and away from prying eyes, and one to prove to them that she is telling the truth. (If permission is granted, she immediately casts detect evil and good, her eyes flashing briefly gray as she confirms that none of Strahd’s undead servants are currently watching them.)
2. Lady Wachter’s Offer
The second spell that Lady Wachter seeks to cast is zone of truth, which she explains aloud to the players. To prove her credibility, she suggests casting the spell and stepping inside of it, permitting the players to question and interrogate her to their hearts’ content. By doing so, she hopes, they will be able to assuage any of their fears regarding her loyalty to Strahd.
Lady Wachter is more than glad to permit the players to tie her up during the interrogation, and even suggests that the players move their conversation to N4p. Library (p. 113) so that they may question her free from prying eyes and ears. She freely offers the key to the library—both so that the players can unlock the door and lock it behind them—and suggests that the players restrain her to a chair and hold a dagger to her throat if it puts them at greater ease.
If the players point out her extraordinary nonchalance, Lady Wachter asks them, quite mildly, if panicking or arguing would help her situation. “I am entirely at your mercy,” she observes. “Armed foreigners have broken into my house, evidently for nefarious or criminal purposes, and taken me prisoner. Would you have me fight back and die, or attempt to flee and be restrained nonetheless?”
If the players refuse Lady Wachter’s offer and continue their burglary, she makes no effort to resist them. If, however, the players accept Lady Wachter’s offer and choose to restrain her during the interrogation, she asks only that her hands be kept free, so that she may perform the somatic components necessary to cast zone of truth.
Lady Wachter is well-aware that the players may not trust that her spell is legitimate. As such, she invites the players to test the spell in two ways: first, by stepping into the zone of truth and experiencing its effects themselves; and second, by compelling her to share her deepest, darkest secrets.
If asked her secrets when under the effects of zone of truth, Lady Wachter shares any or all of the following pieces of information:
- She has intentionally gathered a conspiracy of Vallakians dedicated to the worship of Ezra, the goddess of the Mists. These conspirators are all fervently loyal to her and aim to overthrow Baron Vargas Vallakovich should Izek be killed.
- The cellar of Wachterhaus, the cult’s headquarters, is protected by nearly a dozen skeletons, which Fiona stole from the town cemetery and animated with dark magic.
- For one full year after her husband’s death, Fiona kept the corpse of her late husband, Nikolai, magically preserved in the bed of her master bedroom. (He eventually received a proper burial when she moved past her grief.)
- The crow upon Fiona’s shoulder is an imp named Majesto, who Fiona summoned and bound using the profane teachings of her mentor, the swamp witch Baba Lysaga.
If questioned regarding her allegiance to Strahd, Lady Wachter truthfully tells them the following:
Lake Baratok Quest
F5. The Svalich Road
As the players exit Szoldar’s shack, any characters with a passive Wisdom (Perception) score of 19 or higher notice a silhouette watching them from the southern treeline. If the players approach, look toward, or otherwise attempt to interact with the silhouette, it vanishes.
The silhouette is Arrigal, who has decided to spy on the players on Strahd’s behalf and to ensure that Arabelle is safely returned should the players find her. Though he remains out of sight for the remainder of the journey, Arrigal continues to track the players from afar.
F5a. Luna River Bridge
As the players cross the bridge over the Luna River, read the following:
The path narrows, flanked by dense, towering trees. Up ahead, you can see an old wooden bridge come into view, its age-worn planks spanning the rushing river below. As you approach, you can see the dark river tumbling over the smooth stones of the riverbed, bordered on either side by gnarled bushes and trees.
As you step onto the bridge, your boots echo against the old, damp wood. To the north, you can see the river meander upstream around the tree line before vanishing around a curve. To the south, the river winds like a ribbon between its banks, then gradually vanishes into mist.
Halfway across the bridge, you notice something odd: a small scrap of white material fluttering on the surface of the far side of the river, caught on a tree root a dozen yards downstream.
If the players retrieve the scrap of material, they find it to be a small, soaked white handkerchief, monogrammed with the embroidered red initials “R.V.R.”
F5b. Luna River Crossroads
The Luna River Crossroads are largely as described in P. Luna River Crossroads (p. 40).
If this is the first time that the players have visited the Luna River Crossroads, four twig blights and two scarecrows are lying in wait here. Modify the area description as follows:
The road comes to an X intersection, with branches to the northwest, northeast, southwest, and southeast.
Scattered across the intersection are four, small dead saplings, their branches and trunks blackened and gnarled. Some lean at slight angles, while others stand stubbornly upright, their twig-like structures idle and quiet in the windless air.
Nearby, a pair of scarecrows appear to have been mounted along two separate trees, bodies hewn of rough straw and weathered cloth clinging to twisted, low-hanging branches. Their painted sackcloth eyes seem almost mocking, and black raven's feathers poke from their stuffed guts.
The lower half of a snapped wooden signpost thrusts upward at an angle near the eastern elbow of the intersection. The top half of the sign, featuring arms pointing in four directions, lies in the weeds nearby.
If Szoldar is accompanying the players, he warns them that the saplings and scarecrows are new additions to the crossroads, and that recent rumors have reported sightings of scarecrows moving of their own volition through the woods.
If the players approach the snapped signpost or move to leave the intersection, the blights and scarecrows attack.
F6. Lake Baratok
Lake Baratok is as described in Approaching the Tower (p. 167). The tower itself is largely as described in Chapter 11: Van Richten's Tower (p. 167).
F6a. Ezmerelda’s Wagon
Ezmerelda’s wagon is largely as described in V1. Ezmerelda's Magic Wagon (p. 168). However, rather than a single wooden sign, a trio of wooden signs has been arranged vertically in a haphazard diagonal across the back door.
The signs read, in order: “Keep out!”, “Home & Property of Ezmerelda d’Avenir,” and “Trespassers will be immediately incinerated.”
Beneath the warning on the third sign, someone has drawn a small frowning face with crossed-out eyes, surrounded by a stylized flame.
A player who approaches the wagon detects a faint scent of sulfur, and notices that the grass around it appears to have been tramped down by many feet. A player who makes a successful DC 14 Wisdom (Survival) check learns that the tracks were left by a pack of wolves the previous night, which evidently inspected the wagon before leaving it alone. (If he is with the players, Szoldar points this out after a brief investigation, and advises them against interfering with the wagon.) The player also learns that the wagon has been parked here for no more than forty-eight hours.
A Chance to React
As noted in The Order of Combat (Player's Handbook, p. 189), combat is a "clash between two sides." A participant in combat need not seek to harm one another—merely obstruct another participant from taking some sort of action or achieving some sort of goal.
As such, when one player states their intent to take an action that another player might seek to oppose—such as opening the door to Ezmerelda’s wagon—ask other nearby players if they’d like to intervene to prevent that action. (For example, a player might wish to shove the first player away from the wagon, or grapple them and pull them forcefully away.)
If so, have all involved players roll initiative. (The first player is, of course, free to change their mind and cease their original action at any time.)
A player that inspects Ezmerelda’s wagon also learns that it was not the only one that has parked here recently. A second set of wagon tracks lies nearby, leading from the eastern woods to a spot nearby Ezmerelda’s wagon, then south along the path away from the lake. A player who follows the tracks south finds that they reach the Old Svalich Road then turn east, toward Vallaki. A player who makes a successful DC 14 Wisdom (Survival) check can ascertain that the second set of tracks was made approximately three days before the players first arrived in Vallaki.
A player who makes a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Survival) check can follow the second set of tracks into the woods, where they end in a dark, sheltered hollow. Much of the forest floor around the hollow is stained with bright yellow and white paint. A successful DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals that the paint was left fairly recently—approximately three days before the players first arrived in Vallaki.
If the player has previously seen Rictavio’s wagon in Arasek Stockyard, they recognize the paint as the same shade as yellow as the sign on the wagon.
If the players successfully enter Ezmerelda’s wagon, it does not contain the burned page of Van Richten’s journal.
F6b. The Tower
1. The Tower Door
The tower door is largely as described in V2. Tower Door (p. 169). However, modify the descriptive text as follows:
The tower door is made of iron, with no visible handles or hinges. In the middle of the door is a large, embossed, blank red seal. Carved into the lintel above the door is a word: Khazan.
The seal appears to be blank. However, if a character approaches within 5 feet of the door, eight fist-sized buttons grow from its waxlike surface in the same positions as the stick figures depicted in V2. Tower Door (p. 169). If the character then moves away from the door, the buttons vanish once more. The buttons emerge in different places each time, but the order of the buttons as they move around the seal always stays the same.
Each of the eight buttons depicts a different arcane rune. A player with proficiency in Arcana, or who makes a successful DC 10 Intelligence (Arcana) check, identifies the runes as the symbols of the eight schools of magic. The order of the symbols, moving clockwise around the seal, is always: illusion, abjuration, necromancy, conjuration, divination, enchantment, transmutation, evocation.
A player who compares the platinum signet ring to the symbols notices that the evocation and necromancy runes exactly match the appearance of their corresponding symbols on the door. To unlock the door, the players must press the buttons in the order given by the pattern of crossed lines on the signet ring, beginning with either the evocation or necromancy symbol and moving along the lines in the proper sequence.
The two possible proper sequences are:
- evocation, divination, illusion, transmutation, conjuration, abjuration, enchantment, necromancy
- necromancy, enchantment, abjuration, conjuration, transmutation, illusion, divination, evocation
Each time a button is pressed, its symbol glows with the color of its corresponding school of magic: evocation (red), divination (silver), illusion (purple), transmutation (green), conjuration (brown), abjuration (yellow), enchantment (pink), and necromancy (blue).
A creature that touches any part of the door other than buttons without first unlocking it receives a mild, but painful electric shock. A creature that attempts to break down the door must succeed on a DC 25 Strength check; on a failure, a stroke of lightning blasts out from the door in a straight line 100 feet long and 5 feet wide. Each creature in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 8d6 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. (Triggering the lightning multiple times doesn't cause the door to collapse.)
If eight different symbols are pressed in an incorrect sequence, their lights briefly flicker, then go out again. The first time this happens, the griffon statues atop the tower roof—four disguised gargoyles—come to life and attack. The gargoyles fight to the death.
2. The Scaffolding
The scaffolding is as described in V3. Rickety Scaffolding. If a creature climbs the scaffolding to the second floor, the four gargoyles on the roof come to life and attack. (Remember that the scaffolding leads to a hole in the wall on the third floor, and therefore has no entry point into the second floor.)
3. Inside the Tower
The interior of the tower is largely as described in V4. Tower, First Floor, V5. Tower, Second Floor, V6. Tower, Third Floor, and V7. Tower, Fourth Floor (pp. 170-71). However, the wooden box containing Yan's severed head has been removed from the tower.
A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check or a ten-minute search of the room reveals two clues:
- A colorful beaded bracelet with several wooden charms sized for a child, wrapped around a silvered dagger and a Tarokka card (the Hooded One).
- Two burned pieces of parchment amidst a pile of charred ashes in the stove, including a burned page from Van Richten's journal and a singed sketch of a sign proclaiming Rictavio’s Carnival of Wonders. (The sketch appears to have been made far more recently than the journal entry.)
A player who makes a successful DC 13 Intelligence (History or Arcana) check recalls that the Hooded One represents mysteries, newcomers, and hidden identities.
As the players search the room, any character who looks out one of the windows toward Lake Zarovich notices something odd: a patch of lily pads approximately fifteen feet from the shore stained a bright, flamboyant yellow, at clear odds with the muted greens of the lily pads nearby.
The Lily Pads
A player who investigates the stained patch of lily pads can find a trio of ceramic pots sunk ten feet below the surface of the water. The pots are each half-filled with rocks; two bear traces of dried yellow paint along their rims and interior, while the third bears traces of dried white paint along its rim and interior.
If the player has previously seen Rictavio’s wagon in Arasek Stockyard, they recognize the paint as the same shade as yellow as the sign on the wagon.
If read, the burned journal page now reads as follows:
For nearly two decades now, I have undertaken to investigate and expose creatures of darkness to the purifying light of truth and knowledge. "Hero" I am named in some circles; "sage" and "master hunter" I am called in others. That I have survived countless supernatural assaults is seen as a marvel among my peers; my name is spoken with fear and loathing among my foes.
In truth, this "virtuous" calling began as an obsessive effort to destroy a vampire that murdered my child, and it has become for me a tedious and bleak career. Even as my life of hunting monsters began, I felt the weight of time on my weary shoulders. I expect that those who think me a hero will change their minds when they know the whole truth about my life as a hunter of the unnatural. Nevertheless, I must reveal, here and now, the truth of my fate—and the fates of those I have loved.
I have related the tragic story of how my only child Erasmus was taken by Vistani and sold to a vampire. I explained how Erasmus was made a minion of the night stalker, and how it was my miserable part to free him from that fate at the point of a stake. What I have neglected to illuminate before, however, is how I returned to track Erasmus's kidnappers once more across the land—and the terrible choice that I made when I found them.
In fact, the Vistani took Erasmus with my own, unwitting permission. They had brought an ill member of their tribe to me one evening and insisted that I treat him—but I was unable to save the young man's life. In fear of their retribution, I begged the Vistani to take anything of mine if only they would withhold their terrifying powers, of which I knew nothing. To my lasting astonishment, they chose to surreptitiously take my son in exchange for their loss! By the time I realized what had occurred, they were already an hour gone.
Incensed beyond reason, I strapped the body of the dead young man to my horse and doggedly followed the Vistani caravan through the woods, naively allowing the sun to set before me without seeking shelter from the night. But when I found them and demanded my son, they replied that he had been sold to the vampire, Baron Metus.
A short time later, I found my dear Erasmus made into a vampire. He begged me to end his curse, which I did with a heavy heart. The darkness had torn him from my loving arms forever, and I foolishly believed that the curse had exacted its deadly toll. I wept until an insatiate desire for vengeance filled the bottomless rift in my heart. I set off into the twilight, in search of the Vistani caravan once more.
When I found that they had gone, I found the grave of the man who had died and carried his corpse with me, in search of his family or one who could tear the secrets from his dead lips. I searched for many months, alone and driven by the fury of the damned.
As I traveled, I was beset by undead that would have slain me, had not their master—a lich—intervened and spared my life, for reasons that I do not completely understand. He somehow detected me and, with his powerful magic, took control of a pack of zombies that wandered in the forest. He spoke to me through the mouths of the dead things and placed a magic ward against undead on me, then animated the dead Vistana and bade it tell me where I could find its people.
Unfortunately (I say in hindsight), the plan worked. I found the child-stealers, and my unwelcome entourage included a growing horde of voracious undead that could not touch me, thanks to the lich's ward. When I finally found the caravan, something inside me snapped. I released the zombies, and the entire tribe was eaten alive.
Yet the story had not yet ended. Before she died, the leader cursed me, saying, "Live you always among monsters, and see everyone you love die beneath their claws!" Even now, so many years later, I can hear her words with painful clarity, haunting me still.
After nearly two decades of bloodshed and agony and loss, it slowly dawned on me that the Vistana’s curse had never slaked its thirst for revenge—and that all the true and stalwart friends I had come to know and lost were victims, not of ourtageous fortune, but of my own actions. True to the words of the dying Vistana, my life had been shielded from fate again and again, while those I esteemed above any treasure had taken my place!
When the horrifying enormity of my revelation swept over me, I railed bitterly at the cruel irony of my life. I contemplated deliberately ending my wretched existence in the most violent of ways—but, thankfully, patience and wisdom stayed my hand. Drained of all spirit, I cast myself into bed and wept, as I had not done since my former, blissful life was forever ripped from me.
But fate had not finished with me yet. When the dawn next came, it brought with it a man whose name invoked terror in me above all else: Arturi Radanavich, a sole survivor of the massacre I had perpetrated. Yet he came not to destroy me, but to heal me—and himself.
I learned that, in commanding the death of his family, I had cast a deadly curse of my own: “Undead take you, as you have taken my son!” As my hands had been stained with the blood of my friends, so, too, had Arturi been pursued those many years by the walking dead, leaving him an exile in the eyes of his people.
For one year, I traveled with him—learning the ways of the Vistani that I had come to hate, so that I could learn their ways and comprehend life through their eyes. When the year had ended, joy and despair filled my breath—joy at the realization that those I had dreaded as my longtime enemies had never truly been enemies at all, and despair for all the wasted years of bitter anger and resentment.
I offered my life to Arturi as forfeit for my crimes against his family, insisting that he must consider my curse on his tribe null and void, for there was little left to forgive. He drew a knife from his boot—but instead of delivering judgment, pulled his blade across our palms, opening them, then clasped our hands together until our blood mingled as brothers.
There was but one task left to complete. Together, we journeyed to the wreckage of the Radanavich caravan, where we both had left it so many years ago. We burned it, defending its blazing husk as undead fell upon us—and when dawn shone over the ashes, there was nothing left there, for them or for us.
F7. The Road Back
The players’ activities at Lake Baratok attract the attention of a pair of werewolves, who lurk in the woods east of the lake, silently waiting for the players to return to the road.
When the players begin the trek back to Vallaki—either by the northern path or the Old Svalich Road to the south—the werewolves follow. Fifteen minutes after the players depart the lake, they encounter the two werewolves in human form. The scene unfolds largely as described in Werewolves (p. 32), but revise the descriptive text as follows:
A deep voice calls out, "Who goes there?" Through the chill mist you see a large man in drab clothing wearing a tattered gray cloak. He has shaggy, black hair and thick mutton chops. He leans heavily on a spear and has a small bundle of animal pelts slung over his shoulder.
Just behind him, barely visible in the gloom, stands a grim-faced woman, her long, dark hair loosely braided. She holds a spear of her own, the tip glinting in the scarce light, and wears a cloak wrapped tightly around her chest.
The two werewolves introduce themselves as Zsolt and Mathilda, trappers from Krezk. (If Szoldar is with the players, he whispers warily that he recognizes neither "trapper's" name.) Zsolt is warm and friendly, while Mathilda is sullen and quiet.
Zsolt warns the players that the road has become dangerous for travelers, and suggests traveling together. Whether the players accept or reject his offer, Zsolt then shares the following story:
A light glints in Zsolt’s amber eyes. "There's been a tale echoing through these woods of late. A tale of a Vistana woman, a kind of phantom, who stalks the paths under the moon's gaze. They say she's not of this world, but from the realms of death itself.”
He licks his lips. "She's said to be a frightful sight, with eyes that burn like embers in the darkness. They say she's clad in a patchwork of cloaks, like a wandering vagabond, but don't let that fool you. For in her hand, she carries a wicked blade—a weapon that thirsts for the blood of innocents.”
He chuckles lightly. "And oh, does her blade drink well! She's been butchering good folk in the woods, they say. Men, women—it matters not. Whip! goes her blade, and off come their heads, trophies for her dark desires.”
He pauses, and his lips spread into a wolfish grin, "But I'm sure we'll have naught to worry about with fine, strong folks like you on the roads. And besides—how deadly can a tale truly be?"
When his story is complete, Zsolt playfully asks the players whether they have good steel to defend themselves, should the murderess find them upon the road.
If at least two characters show that they’re carrying silvered weapons or ammunition, the playful light fades from Zsolt’s eyes, and the playful light fades from Zsolt's eyes, replaced by a momentary glint of wariness. His grip tightens around his spear, and his gaze meets Mathilda's for a brief, near-imperceptible moment. He congratulates the players on entering the woods well-prepared, but the joviality in his voice has become hollow. Unless stopped or provided with a suitable excuse, Zsolt and Mathilda accompany the players in silence as far as the Luna River Crossroads, then depart south toward Berez.
Otherwise, if no characters show that they’re carrying silvered weapons or ammunition, a mocking smirk creeps onto Zsolt's face, and he says, "You seem to be mighty warriors indeed! But it seems you've forgotten something important." If the players ask what they've forgotten, Zsolt's eyes flash with hunger, and he hisses, "Silver." He and Mathilda then assume their hybrid forms and attack.
In battle, the werewolves prioritize players wielding silvered weapons, if any. If one werewolf is killed or both are bloodied, they flee into the Svalich Woods.
The players experience no other encounters on their journey to Vallaki.
Arc J: The Walls of Krezk
In this arc, the players seek entry to the village of Krezk before defeating the druids occupying the Wizard of Wines winery, either to obtain a cure for cackle fever from the Abbot, to pick wolfsbane from the shores of the blessed pool, or to seek out their foretold ally against Strahd.
However, the village of Krezk is suspicious of outsiders, and won't allow the players to enter unless they first perform a task for their burgomaster, Baron Dmitri Krezkov.
The players must travel to the ruins of Berez between Krezk and Vallaki, and there persuade the witch Baba Lysaga to scry the location of Baron Krezkov's son, Ilya, who vanished from Krezk in the wake of a recent werewolf attack. However, Baba Lysaga is a mad and fickle witch, and her methods of magic are twisted and dark. Can the players convince her to fulfill Baron Krezkov’s request, and so win them entry to the village of Krezk?
J1. The Road to Krezk
The journey from the town of Vallaki to the Village of Krezk is six-and-one-quarter miles long and takes two hours.
As the players cross the bridge over the Luna River, read the following:
The path narrows, flanked by dense, towering trees. Up ahead, you can see an old wooden bridge come into view, its age-worn planks spanning the rushing river below. As you approach, you can see the dark river tumbling over the smooth stones of the riverbed, bordered on either side by gnarled bushes and trees.
As you step onto the bridge, your boots echo against the old, damp wood. To the north, you can see the river meander upstream around the tree line before vanishing around a curve. To the south, the river winds like a ribbon between its banks, then gradually vanishes into mist.
The Luna River Crossroads are as described in P. Luna River Crossroads (p. 40). However, do not check for a random encounter when the players reach this area.
As the players pass it, the path to Argynvostholt is largely as described in Approaching the Mansion (p. 130). Read:
A dirt path branches off from the Old Svalich Road here, winding its way south up a craggy mountain spur. The earth of the path is hard-packed, its color a pallid gray-brown reminiscent of cold ashes. The trees on either side stand silent and stoic, their leaves a faded green. As the path winds upward, it's eventually replaced by the deep shadows of the mountain's forested incline, vanishing into the gloom of the woods beyond.
Just before the players reach the Raven River Crossroads, they come across the path to Lake Baratok and Chapter 11: Van Richten’s Tower (p. 167), not far from the path that leads to Chapter 9: Tsolenka Pass (p. 157). Read:
An old hunting trail cuts away from the Old Svalich Road here, winding north between old, gnarled trees before vanishing into the underbrush. A hundred yards beyond it, an alpine path splits from the main road to travel south toward the mountains, rising in elevation until it disappears around a steep, tree-covered escarpment.
The Raven River Crossroads are largely as described in R. Raven River Crossroads (p. 40). However, do not check for a random encounter when the players reach this area. Additionally, add the following text to the end of the area description:
A figure clad in rusty armor stands alone on the bridge, clutching a gleaming longsword in its pale hands.
The figure is recognizably similar to the revenant standing guard at Tser Falls. If approached, it hails the players and asks after their destination.
If the players tell the revenant that they are traveling to Krezk, it warns them that the burgomaster of Krezk, Baron Dmitri Krezkov, has grown wary of the outside world, and that few things have passed between Krezk’s gates in recent weeks. However, the revenant notes that the Krezkov line has long been an honorable one, and that the players may be able to find a way to persuade Baron Krezkov to lend them hospitality.
If the players tell the revenant that they are traveling to the Abbey of Saint Markovia to seek a cure for their disease, it rumbles, “You travel to a dark place, friends. But a being of great age and power indeed dwells there, and may aid you—if not offended.” The revenant is willing to share the following information if asked:
- Years before Strahd von Zarovich arrived in the valley, Saint Markovia, a cleric of the Morninglord, built the Abbey atop a spur of Mount Baratok as a sanctuary for those fleeing from war and devastation.
- When the Mists surrounded the valley, Saint Markovia condemned Strahd as a tyrant, and raised a small army to march upon Castle Ravenloft. Her revolt was put down, however, and Markovia lost her life in single combat with Strahd.
- With Markovia’s death, the monks and nuns of the Abbey withdrew in despair. Before long, paranoia and madness infiltrated their ranks, until none remained alive. Rumors of cannibalism abounded for decades afterward, and most folk shunned the Abbey altogether.
- Just over a century ago, the Abbot arrived in the valley and reopened the Abbey. The revenant isn’t sure of the Abbot’s true nature or intentions, but is confident that he is far older—and far more powerful—than any of the knights of the Order of the Silver Dragon.
If asked, the revenant can also provide directions to the mansion of Argynvostholt: The players must travel east toward the Luna River Crossroads, taking the ash-gray trail that splits south from the Old Svalich Road shortly before arriving.
As the players depart, the revenant warns them that the werewolf pack of Mount Baratok has expanded its territory—and its ferocity—as of late, and advises them to be cautious as they travel the roads.
The road to Krezk is as described in S1. Road Junction (p. 143).
J2. The Gates of Krezk
The gates of Krezk are largely as described in S2. Gatehouse (p. 145). If the players have already defeated the druids occupying the Wizard of Wines in Arc K: The Missing Gem, Baron Krezkov recognizes them from the descriptions shared by Adrian and Elvir Martikov and welcomes them gladly into Krezk. Proceed to J9. The Village of Krezk below.
Otherwise, rather than asking the players to secure a wagonload of wine from the Wizard of Wines, Baron Krezkov asks the players to journey to the hut of the witch Baba Lysaga in the ruins of Berez to the southeast. There, he tells them, they must beseech Baba Lysaga to perform a scrying spell to discern the location and condition of a particular person.
If the players accept Baron Krezkov’s task, he provides them with a few strands of dark hair for Baba Lysaga to use in her scrying, as well as a large gold bracelet inset with intricate carvings of wolves and ravens (worth 300 gp) as a gift to purchase her favor.
If asked, Baron Krezkov confesses that the missing person is his son, Ilya Krezkov, who disappeared several days ago. A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Insight) check reveals that he is not telling the entire truth, though he is unwilling to share more.
J3. The Road to Berez
The journey from the village of Krezk to the Ruins of Berez is eight-and-three-quarter miles long and takes three hours. To get to Berez, the players must first retrace their steps to the Luna River Crossroads, then head south.
J3a. The Needle Blight Horde
Soon after the players depart the Raven River Crossroads, they cross paths with a horde of ten needle blights migrating toward the Wizard of Wines winery. Read:
The fresh corpse of an enormous wolf, easily the size of an elk, lies splayed across the center of the road. Its sides and face have been pierced with hundreds of needle-like thorns, and a pool of blood has gathered beneath its well-muscled neck.
Suddenly, a flurry of black feathers erupts from the trees to the north, as a flock of ravens takes to the skies not a hundred yards from the edge of the road, their panicked cries echoing in the chill air. From the thicket beneath them, you hear the rhythmic and unmistakable sound of numerous, inhuman footsteps, and can make out the outline of a horde of shambling, thorned, shadows in the dim light. The figures, which appear to be approaching a bend in the road a short ways ahead of your position, don’t seem to have noticed you yet—but their silhouettes grow closer with each passing second.
The players can do battle with the blights, or they can hide in the thickets to avoid the horde’s attention with a successful DC 10 group Dexterity (Stealth) check, as described in Group Checks (Player’s Handbook, p. 175).
J3b. The Luna River Path
As the players depart the Luna River Crossroads, read:
Leaving the crossroads behind, you set a southern course alongside the Luna River, whose waters reflect only the gray of the sky above as it winds its way through the valley.
Though the trees of the Svalich Wood close in oppressively on either side to start, it’s not long before the forest’s edge pulls away from the river and road, revealing a tributary that spills into the river from the mountains. The Luna River here encircles a small, forlorn isle dotted with tall evergreen trees, which stand like silent sentinels as the river flows around them.
Not far from the road, upon a small peninsula that juts out into the river, stands a mossy stone slab standing just under six feet in height. It rests on an old, cracked stone circle, and seems to bear some kind of carving.
If the players choose to investigate the slab, they find that it bears a carving of a spider over an engraved three-pointed star, the grooves lined with lichen and moss. (The slab is an ancient monument to the Weaver, and the three-pointed star the symbol of the Ladies Three.) Otherwise, read:
Ahead, twin spurs of Mount Ghakis rise on either side of the road, enclosing it in a valley choked with fog. The mists hang thick in the air here, muffling every sound and glimmer of light as the road grows muddy and wet.
Soon, as the fog swallows up the road behind you, it pulls back like a curtain to reveal a tall gnarled tree, ancient in years and thrusting up through the mist like a hunched-over obelisk. Rusted metal cages hang from its dead limbs, and strands of old spiderwebs cling to its trunk like gossamer veils.
An enormous bird crafted of burlap, wood, and animal skins sits atop the thickest branch, its gourd-shaped head peering at you with coal-black eyes. With a low, grating shriek, it spreads its wings and takes to the air, the mists swirling about its creaking wings as it heads to the south.
The bird is a greater strix, and is leaving to alert Baba Lysaga that outsiders are approaching the swamp. If attacked, it attempts to gain elevation until it escapes the players’ range. As a sentry and scout, it has no desire to do battle.
J4. The Ruins of Berez
J4a. Approaching the Ruins
The players’ approach of Berez is largely as described in Approaching the Ruins (p. 161). However, revise the descriptive text as follows:
The dirt and grass soon turn to marsh as the ground dissolves into spongy earth pockmarked with stands of tall reeds and pools of stagnant water. A thick shroud of fog covers all, though the fog is much thinner on the far side of the river, where a dark ring of standing stones stands amidst a copse of gnarled trees covered in thick, bluish webs.
Before you, the trail splits to form two soggy paths that ring a central, swampy green. One path runs alongside the swollen river, while the other curls inland.
Scattered throughout the marsh alongside the paths are old peasant cottages, their walls covered with black mildew and their roofs mostly caved in. These decrepit dwellings seem to hunker down in the mire, as though they have long since given up on escaping the thick mud. Everywhere you look, black clouds of flies dart about, hungry for blood.
Two old scarecrows lashed to wooden posts flank the trail here, their burlap faces seeming to leer into the mists behind you.
The two scarecrows are as described in Marsh Scarecrows (p. 162). If the greater strix successfully alerted Baba Lysaga to the players’ approach, add:
A light flashes amid the fog beyond the scarecrows, a woman’s silhouette emerging from the swirling mist.
The silhouette belongs to Wensencia, a shrill, mocking, and sharp-tongued Barovian witch from Vallaki who has been studying under Baba Lysaga for the past three months. (Wensencia, like Baba Lysaga’s six other current students, viewed Strahd’s revival as the coming of a dark messiah, and sought out the swamp witch at the advice of Strahd’s vampiric bride, Ludmilla Vilisevic.)
Wensencia curtly informs the players that “Mother Lysaga” has summoned them to her cottage, and that they must follow her if they wish to reach it safely. She asks no questions and answers none, except to tell the players that none come to Berez except to seek “Mother Lysaga’s” favor, and that Baba Lysaga alone will determine whether they may earn it.
J4b. Baba Lysaga’s Hut
Baba Lysaga’s Hut is as described in U3. Baba Lysaga’s Hut (p. 163). However, the sound of a soft lullaby can be heard emanating from the hut’s open doorframe, muffled by the sound of the ravens’ squawks. Additionally, if the greater strix warned Baba Lysaga of the players’ arrival, it is perched atop the hut, silently watching the players as they approach.
Upon arriving at the base of the stump on which the hut is perched, if Wensencia is present, she announces the players’ presence before turning to depart. (Note that, because the hut is built atop an enormous stump, the players must climb the roots of the stump to reach the hut’s entrance and front door.)
If the players enter the hut, they find Baba Lysaga humming a lullaby above the illusory child and crib. Otherwise, the lullaby ends one minute after the players arrive; if Baba Lysaga was alerted to the players’ arrival by the greater strix, she then emerges to greet them.
The megaliths beyond the Luna River demarcate the boundaries of the Swamp Fane: the shrine to the Weaver of the Ladies Three.
(The Swamp Fane is named as such because, before the multiple invasions of the valley, this area was originally a swamp. It was King Dostron who dammed up the tributary to the Luna River from Mount Ghakis to the northeast, thereby creating arable land that his troops could farm—and Strahd who destroyed that dam using the powers of the Fanes as Berez's punishment following Marina's death.)
As the players approach the megaliths, read:
A circle of stout, smooth megaliths stands amidst thick mud at the center of a copse of gnarled trees not far from the river's edge. The trees and standing stones are choked with a thick shroud of bluish-white webs, whose thick cords seem to shimmer with an ethereal quality.
The area within the stones is obscured by the cover provided by the webs, which are described in Webs (Dungeon Master's Guide, p. 105). If the players reach the center of the circle, they find that a five-foot-diameter stone of smooth, black onyx is half-buried at the center of the circle. The stone has no visible marks or symbols upon its surface, and is impervious to all damage and attempts to move it.
The stone is the door to a secret demiplane that contains the Boneshadow Husk, one of the three profane leeches that Strahd set to consume the energies of the Fanes. To open it, the players will need to cut its surface with the cursed dagger of Leo Dilisnya, which they can obtain from the sarcophagus of the Vampyr in the Amber Temple. See Arc U: The Amber Temple and Arc Y: The Ladies of the Fanes for more information about Leo Dilisnya’s dagger and the Swamp Fane.
One minute after the players enter the shroud of webs, their presence draws the attention of one phase spider, which uses its ethereal jaunt to briefly flicker into (then out of) the Material Plane. The following round, the first phase spider repeats the process, now joined by five additional phase spiders, before all return to the Ethereal Plane. If the players remain within the webs, all of the spiders attack the following round.
Baba Lysaga is tentatively willing to grant the players an audience, assuming they have not yet battled the druids occupying the Wizard of Wines winery in Arc K: The Missing Gem. (If the players have already done so, Baba Lysaga attacks them on sight.) However, if the players offend Baba Lysaga—such as by asserting that the baby in the crib is illusory and proceeding to argue about it, or by expressing distaste for Strahd and refusing to apologize to the “baby”—she orders them to leave her hut, attacking if they refuse.
To earn the right to speak with her, Baba Lysaga ordains that one of the players must first pluck a feather from one of the ravens in the hanging cages and lay it in “Strahd’s” crib as an offering. (Baba Lysaga notes that ravens are said to be the servants of prophecy, and that the fate of a royal child should be exalted above all others. The feather, if plucked, falls through the illusory crib to the floor of the hut, but the mad Baba Lysaga pays it no mind.)
Once the players have made the requested offering, Baba Lysaga is glad to do business with them. She is willing to accept Baron Krezkov’s gold bracelet as the payment for a single scrying spell. Should the players request it, she is also willing to accept an item of similar value to cast scrying a second time on a target of the players’ choice.
Upon accepting Baron Krezkov’s payment, Baba Lysaga directs the players to travel to the goat pen beside U2. Ulrich Mansion (p. 162) and fetch a single live goat. (Baba Lysaga needs the blood of the live goat to create a medium through which to perform her scrying ritual.) Though there is no gate in the fence of the goat pen, she informs the players that they can magically create one by speaking the passphrase: “Death to Ravenovia.”
If asked about the strix, Lysaga gleefully explains that they are an artifact of her own creation—excellent for killing or capturing ravens, which she loathes.
If asked about Lady Fiona Wachter, Lysaga’s mood plummets, and she darkly warns the players never to speak “that foolish girl’s” name again in her presence.
J4c. The Scrying Spell
The goat pen is largely as described in U2. Ulrich Mansion (p. 162). However, speaking the passphrase “Death to Ravenovia” while within 10 feet of the goat pen creates a gate in the wooden fence for one minute. The players can capture a goat by knocking one unconscious, by restraining or leading it with a rope, or by grappling it and pulling it directly to the hut. If conscious, a captured goat struggles and bleats pathetically while being led toward the hut.
Baba Lysaga’s Cure
If the players ask Baba Lysaga to cure their disease, she dismisses their request with a cackle, claiming that her price would be far too high for them to afford, and that they would not enjoy her remedy. She refuses to discuss the matter further, hinting only that “flesh must pay for the sanctity of flesh.”
If the players successfully retrieve a goat for Baba Lysaga, she retrieves a rusted, blood-stained dagger from her wicker cabinet and directs the players to orient the goat such that its neck is above the bathtub. Read:
With a swift and seemingly practiced ease, Baba Lysaga slits the goat’s throat. A sudden, hush gush of blood spills into the tub, filling it with a deep, visceral red. The goat’s body tenses, then relaxes, its death mercifully quick as the hut fills with the metallic tang of fresh blood.
Baba Lysaga then commands the players to dispose of the goat’s body in the grass outside of the hut. She warns them that they must not speak a word while she is within the grasp of the spell, lest they disturb her focus. She then begins to cast the scrying spell. Read:
WIth the dripping dagger clutched in one shriveled hand, Baba Lysaga begins to trace strange, arcane symbols across the surface of the goat’s blood with the other, her fingers leaving trails of eerie, shimmering magic.
The light in the room dims as the shadows grow darker, the air stilled by an eerie silence broken only by the witch’s murmuring incantations.
Magic seeps from her fingertips, flowing like water into the tub of blood. Gradually, the crimson pool begins to ripple and churn, shimmering with silvery light—and then abruptly stills, now as smooth and reflective as a mirror. Baba Lysaga leans forward to peer into the pool, her eyes flickering with a gleam of interest and cruelty.
“I see a boy,” she hisses, “adolescent, shaggy-haired, and claw-scarred.” Her voice is a mixture of intrigue and mockery, and she licks her lips in obvious amusement. “They have collared him with silver, and chained him to a post. There he sits, huddled and pathetic. His eyes, oh, they are hidden, buried in his knees as he snivels and sobs.”
She frowns, as if concentrating, and her voice drops to a rasping whisper. “The post is in a cavern—a dismal chamber lit by flickering torchlight. There is another youth beside him—pale-faced and chained to the wall. I see a statue of a woman, wolf-headed—an idol to Mother Night, adorned in garlands and surrounded by a bounty of treasure. Rotting corpses hang from the walls around her, and a she-wolf lies curled upon the floor at her feet. It bears the gift of Mother Night—I can smell it.”
Lysaga’s fingers twitch—and the blood returns to its previous state, rippling faintly as the magic dissipates.
If asked, Baba Lysaga can inform the players that the she-wolf was a werewolf, and that Mother Night is—in addition to her divine portfolio of trickery, death, and the occult—the patron deity of lycanthropes.
Baba Lysaga cannot tell the players, however, where the cavern is actually located, noting scornfully that the scrying spell observes only a creature’s immediate surroundings. To rescue the boy she saw, the players will need to find the cave on their own.
J5. Return to Krezk
Upon their return to Krezk, the players experience the Lost Battlefield (p. 166) event as they pass the point where the Luna River splits.
J6. The Village of Krezk
If the players return successfully to Krezk with information obtained from Baba Lysaga’s scrying spell and share it with Baron Krezkov, he gratefully grants them entry into the village.
The village of Krezk is as described in S3. Village of Krezk (p. 145). Once the players are within the village walls, Baron Krezkov is glad to share any or all of the information provided in Krezk Lore (p. 146).
If the players mention their interest in the Abbey of Saint Markovia, Baron Krezkov warns them of the Abbey’s sordid history, as well as the strange rumors surrounding the Abbot. He is glad, however, to provide the players with directions if requested.
Milestone. Obtaining Baba Lysaga’s aid completes a story milestone. When the players first gain safe passage through Krezk’s village gates, award each player 750 XP.
Seeking the Abbot
If the players have journeyed to Krezk to seek a cure for cackle fever or their foretold ally, they must climb a switchback road up the spur of Mount Baratok, which is as described in S5. Winding Road (p. 147). The road leads to S6. North Gate (p. 147).
If the players awaken Otto and Zygfrek Belview by opening the gate or noisily climbing over the wall, the two mongrelfolk greet the players as described in S6. North Gate (p. 147). If the players accompany Otto and Zygfrek past S7. Graveyard (p. 148), through S10. Abbey Entrance, and into S12. Courtyard (p. 150), the two Belviews ask them to wait while they enter S13. Main Hall (p. 150) and inform the Abbot of the players’ arrival. One minute later, Otto and Zygfrek return and invite the players inside to speak with the Abbot.
The main hall of the Abbey is largely as described in S13. Main Hall (p. 150). If the players seem friendly and ask for a cure for cackle fever, the Abbot is glad to immediately use his healing touch to cure their cackle fever. In exchange, he asks them to promise to secure a bridal gown for his flesh golem Vasilka within the next three days. If the players agree to do so, they immediately begin Arc O: Something Borrowed.
In gratitude for the players’ assistance, the Abbot also offers them a tour of the Abbey. He notes that it’s rare for the Abbey to have more than two sets of guests in such a short time, but suggests that they might enjoy the company of the Abbey’s other temporary occupant—a Vistani by the name of Ezmerelda d’Avenir. If the players accept, the Abbot leads them on a brief tour as described in Arc M: Strahd’s Enemy.
Design Notes: The Walls of Krezk
This early, optional arc has been added to provide the players with a means of entering the village of Krezk prior to defeating the druids at the Wizard of Wines winery in Arc K: The Missing Gem in Act III: The Devil's Hand—an event that, coincidentally, simultaneously opens Krezk's gates and solidifies Baba Lysaga's role as a personal foe to the party.
The Road to Krezk. The revenant at the bridge by the Raven River Crossroads has been added to mirror the revenant at Tser Falls in Arc C: Into the Valley, to remind the players of their standing invitation to Argynvostholt (which will be explored in Arc R: The Beacon of Argynvostholt), to introduce the concept that the players may need to undertake some quest in order to gain entry to Krezk's walls, and to introduce additional lore regarding the Abbot and Saint Markovia herself (both of which will play a stronger role in Arc Q: St. Markovia's Plea).
The Gates of Krezk. Baron Krezkov's request has been added to provide the players with an opportunity to explore Berez and encounter Baba Lysaga in a peaceful context prior to Arc W: Baba Lysaga's Revenge, and to introduce Ilya Krezkov's fate prior to Arc O: The Den of Wolves.
The Road to Berez. The encounter with the needle blight horde has been intentionally adapted from the original module in order to provide an opportunity for a tense, but ultimately harmless roadside encounter for parties afflicted with cackle fever.
The greater strix has been placed as a sentry outside of Berez to expressly connect its origins to Baba Lysaga herself.
The Ruins of Berez. Wensencia and the other Barovian witches in Berez have been added to lend additional character depth to Baba Lysaga and to provide additional context to the coven of witches in Castle Ravenloft, whom the players can encounter in Arc T: Ravenloft Heist. Wensencia and her peers will appear again in Arc W: Baba Lysaga's Revenge to pose additional complications to the players' efforts to rescue the Martikovs from Baba Lysaga's wrath.
The use of the goat in Baba Lysaga's ritual has been added to foreshadow the players' fate should they TPK to Baba Lysaga and her creeping hut in or before Arc W: Baba Lysaga's Revenge.
Strahd and wives interrupting the players at times perhaps.
Use reloaded ver 1 when referencing as well.
Do not forget the fanes.
Strahd's power of the forest fane is waning.
Kavana's grover (Yvadelg village in reloaded) of Barbarians and Druids trying to reclaim their home as well as werewolves that did not agree. (Leo Greystone.)
Derek Watcher an Eldricth Knight that serves alongside his family and was adopted and wants to help the Wacter's change moving forward. (Cousin to the lady herself)
In realilty this is Strahd Von Zaroviches new persona.
Appendix: Amber Shards
Throughout the adventure, the players will have the opportunity to obtain one or more amber shards—fragments of the amber sarcophagi that imprison the vestiges of the Amber Temple.
Though they don't carry the full essence of the vestiges, each amber shard bears a psychic link to the sarcophagus from which it came. Through that link, a vestige can whisper to the shard's holder, offering promises of power in exchange for descent into corruption.
In this stage, the player is a mere possessor of the amber shard, likely unaware of the true power it offers.
The first time that the player is reduced to 0 hit points and knocked unconscious while possessing the shard, a dark silhouette appears to them in a vision and offers to help them escape the specter of death and return to the fight. The silhouette names no price, and remains silent unless the player accepts their offer.
If the player accepts, they regain all of their hit points. The player then proceeds to Stage Two of the shard's corruption. If they decline, the vestige does not appear to them again unless the player falls unconscious in a particularly dire situation.
In this stage, the player is aware of the shard's unnatural power, but unable to contact the vestige for further aid.
The first time that the player is reduced to half of their maximum hit points or fewer while in combat, the silhouette's voice speaks to them in their mind. The vestige offers to grant the player the power to strike down their foes.
If the player accepts, they gain a number of temporary hit points equal to twice their proficiency bonus at the start of each of their turns for 1 minute. During that time, the player can also cast a particular spell once as a bonus action without expending a spell slot and without components, as given in the Amber Corruption section below. Upon granting these boons, the vestige's voice invites the player to commune with its shard if they wish to obtain the power they seek. The player then proceeds to Stage Three of the shard's corruption.
If the player declines the voice's offer, the vestige does not contact them again unless the player is reduce to half of their maximum hit points or fewer while in combat with an enemy that they particularly loathe.
In this stage, the player has tasted of the shard's eldritch power and wishes to pursue it further.
The player can successfully commune with the vestige by meditating for 1 minute while focusing their thoughts on the shard. The vestige's voice then speaks to them in their mind, offering them a permanent boon as a gift, and as a taste of the full power that they can obtain should they travel to the vestige's home in the Amber Temple.
If the player accepts, they gain a particular boon, as given in the Amber Corruption section below. The player also suffers a particular condition, as given on the same table. The condition is incurable without the aid of a greater restoration spell or similar magic.
If the player asks the vestige about the condition, the vestige informs them that the condition is a byproduct of the imperfect connection forged by the shards. It invites that player to the Amber Temple to receive the vestige's full gift and complete their transformation.
If the player declines the voice's offer, they can commune with the vestige again at any subsequent time by repeating the same process.
Fekre, Queen of Poxes
Spell. Stinking Cloud.
Boon. When you make a critical hit, you can force the target to succeed on a constitution saving throw or be poisoned. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.
Condition. Your body is covered in boils and pustules. Other creatures have disadvantage on Wisdom (Medicine) checks made to stabilize you.
Zrin-Hala, the Howling Storm
Spell. Lightning Bolt.
Boon. When you make a critical hit, you can force the target to succeed on a constitution saving throw or be paralyzed until the start of your next turn.
Condition. One side of your face sags and loses all feeling. You have disadvantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks.
Sykane, the Soul Hungerer
Spell. Spirit Guardians (Necrotic).
Boon. You make death saving throws with advantage, and have advantage made on Wisdom (Medicine) checks made to stabilize other creatures.
Condition. Your eyes glow a sickly yellow. You have disadvantage on Charisma (Deception) checks.
Savnok, the Inscrutable
Spell. Greater Invisibility.
Boon. You have advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks.
Condition. Your eyes melt away, leaving empty sockets that can still see. You have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks.
Tarakemedes, the Grave Wyrm
Boon. While aloft, you gain a flying speed equal to your walking speed. However, you can't use this speed to gain altitude, and you descend 1 foot for every 10 feet of horizontal distance covered.
Condition. Malformed skeletal wings sprout from your back. You must eat bones or grave dirt to survive. At dawn, if you have not eaten at least 1 pound of bones or grave dirt in the past 24 hours, you gain 1 level of exhaustion.
Shami-Amourae, the Lady of Delights
Boon. You have advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks.
Condition. You gain an extra finger on each hand. You have disadvantage on Constitution saving throws against poison, spells, and magical effects.
Drizlash, the Nine-Eyed Spider
Shard Location: The Amber Temple
Boon. You can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
Condition. You grow an extra eye somewhere on your body, which is blind and never open. You have disadvantage on Wisdom (Insight) checks.
Dahlver-Nar, He of the Many Teeth
Boon. When you would be reduced to 0 hit points, you can use your reaction to drop to 1 hit point instead and gain 1 level of exhaustion.
Condition. You lose all of your teeth. You have disadvantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks.
Zantras, the Kingmaker
Spell. Charm Monster.
Boon. You have advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks.
Condition. Your skin turns red and your teeth become filed points. You have disadvantage on Wisdom saving throws.
Delban, the Star of Ice and Hate
Spell. Hunger of Hadar.
Boon. When you make a critical hit, you can force the target to succeed on a strength saving throw or be restrained by ice until the end of its next turn.
Condition. Your skin turns ice-blue and brittle. You have disadvantage on Strength checks.
Khirad, the Star of Secrets
Spell. Phantasmal Killer.
Boon. You have advantage on Intelligence checks.
Condition. Your voice becomes a low whisper, and your mouth is frozen in a perpetual smile. You are incapable of shouting or speaking loudly.
Yrrga, the Eye of Shadows
Boon. When you make a critical hit, you can force the target to succeed on a constitution saving throw or be blinded. The target can repeat this saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.
Condition. Your eyes become starry voids. You have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks.
Great Taar Haak, the Five-Headed Destroyer
Spell. Earth Tremor (at 5th level).
Boon. You have advantage on Strength checks.
Condition. Your head becomes lumpy and misshapen. You have disadvantage on Intelligence checks.
Yog the Invincible
Shard Location: Tsolenka Pass
Boon. Your hit point maximum increases by an amount equal to your proficiency bonus.
Condition. Oily black fur covers your face and body. You have disadvantage on checks made to escape a grapple.
Norganas, the Finger of Oblivion
Shard Location: Tsolenka Pass
Spell. Bestow Curse (at 5th level).
Boon. When a creature you can see within 30 feet of you is reduced to 0 hit points, you can use your reaction to gain temporary hit points equal to your proficiency bonus.
Condition. Your blood turns pitch black and viscid, like tar. If you would regain hit dice after finishing a long rest, you regain one less hit die.
Vaund the Evasive
Boon. You have advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects that you can see, such as traps and spells.
Condition. You become twitchy and nervous. You have disadvantage on Charisma (Deception) checks.
Seriach, the Hell Hound Whisperer
Shard Location: Izek Strazni
Spell. Scorching Ray.
Boon. You gain resistance to fire damage.
Condition. The skin of your left arm turns crimson red and gains barbed spines, elongated fingers, and long nails. You have disadvantage on Wisdom saving throws.
Luck Billowstone is a prototype avatar for Vampyre to free himself.
At the time that he encounters the players, Strahd is returning from a visit to Madam Eva’s tent at the Tser Pool Encampment. Finding the Forest Fane’s power difficult to control due to Baba Zelenna’s interference during his slumber, he sought Madam Eva’s counsel in his preparations for the Grand Conjunction. He received the following fortune:
"The Darklord—the master of shadows, the beast in the labyrinth that tears at his chains.
Meaning: Strahd tears at his chains the dark powers and Luck Billowstone and Vampyre has set for him.
"The Six of Stars, the Evoker—the power you covet, a force untamed by mortal hands, raw and wild with burning fury.
Meaning: To harness the fanes with divine power, with countless souls to ascend and to break through the mist.
"The Artifact—the token you seek, the key to power. Divinity’s heart waits, but where?
A shard of Rozana's power, a seer of his bloodline with the right magical traits. This is Arabelle.. Though Escher wishes to take her to gain favor to lower Strahd's goal to take his ritual and ascend himself.
"The Innocent. I see a maid of raven hair and twilit eyes. She is one way to the token.
Meaning: Arabelle is one way to do this
"But there is another—the Broken One. The path of sacrifice opens another door. The wall that whispers awaits your tribute.
He was given a brooch with blood and an engraving of love from Yelena Ulrich. An incarnation that loved him in return the first, the mist tease. She was offered a deal, a way to make herself be with Strahd past the curse. This part writhes in Dalia and loves him as the broken man he is. She said the brooch was from Luck and can be used to make a certain “Deal.” Strahd has yet to find that deal or way.. But he will never destroy or let go of that item it is more precious than life itself to him.
“The threads of fate yet spin. The tempter to find what you desire is to fall further into the abyss. Lost to the laughter of a mad man playing twisted games.”
To gain her.. To have Dalia be his and be loved he would become Luck or rather Vampyre's puppet. To truly lose his will and to be only a shell of the man he was.
"But the One of Stars, the Transmuter, is last. Change comes on newcomers’ wings, the dusk of an era upon us. As one age ends, another is born
It is unsure.. Either the players cut him down and bring down or his self made Battering ram. Made with the souls of the damned and the suffering pierces through he becomes more and ascends and see's.. The light of the sun.
Astrid/Sigmund are vikings at Ydalreg village with Kavani's side. (Yladreg may be Snowfell now.)
(With sword and shield instead and unarmored defense with LV 1 rage uses/bonus weapon is silver and adamintine)
With rage and unarmored defense. (Silvered and atamintine)
16 wisdom and 16 INT (May add a Druid level or two later.)
Wisdom saves added.
Insight/Deception prof bonus and half prof to all INT/Wis skills.
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