Curse of Strahd Reloaded: A Campaign Guide by /u/DragnaCarta – Old Bonegrinder

Curse of Strahd: Reloaded

A Campaign Guide by /u/DragnaCarta

Chapter 4: Old Bonegrinder

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Table of Contents

Chapter 6: Old Bonegrinder

?? Worth a Thousand Words – Old Bonegrinder’s Exterior

?? The Sound of Music – Old Bonegrinder Ambience

Morgantha’s Coven

?? Know the Monsters – Morgantha & Her Coven

A Hag’s Bargain

Ownership of the Mill

Dream Pastries

Approaching the Windmill

?? Worth a Thousand Words – Windmill Exterior & Battlemap

Areas of the Windmill

?? Strands of Fate – The Treasure of Old Bonegrinder

O1. Ground Floor

Conversations with Bella

O3. Bedroom

?? The Butterfly Effect – Freek and Myrtle

?? Module Milestone – Rescue the Children

O4. Domed Attic

The Megaliths

Purifying the Forest Fane

?? Module Milestone – Cleansing the Forest Fane

After the Battle

?? The Butterfly Effect – Ireena and the Hags


Chapter 6: Old Bonegrinder

Old Bonegrinder is perhaps the grimmest section of the Curse of Strahd setting. Delving into the darkest aspects of Brothers Grimm-style horror, it deals with human trafficking, child abuse and murder, and drug addiction. Before you begin your campaign, it is highly advised that you confirm that all players are comfortable with the darker topics that Old Bonegrinder and similar areas of Barovia are likely to touch upon.

?? Worth a Thousand Words – Old Bonegrinder’s Exterior

You can use either one of these two pictures when describing or presenting Old Bonegrinder’s appearance to your players.

?? The Sound of Music – Old Bonegrinder Ambience

This ambient sound board may help you set the scene when your PCs enter Old Bonegrinder’s structure.

Morgantha’s Coven

The most important thing to remember about Morgantha and her daughters, Bella and Offalia, is that they are saleswomen first, corrupters second, and monsters last. If presented incorrectly, this encounter can easily lead to an unfair TPK for a low-levelled party. The purpose of this area is not to present an immediate combat scenario. Instead, your goal should be to either: 

  1. present a sympathetic group of NPCs whose ethically questionable sales practices lead to the discovery of great evil later on

  2. shock your players with a thinly-concealed monstrous den whose inhabitants intimidate or weakly imprison the PCs, setting up a long-term enemy that can be conquered later

  3. create an opportunity for your PCs to give into the corruption of Barovia, either by incriminating themselves through association or inaction, or by cutting dark deals with the coven

The first priority of the hags is self-preservation. If attacked outside of the coven, Morgantha or her daughters will beg the aggressors to stop, claiming to be innocent bakers who wish only to feed the people of Barovia and care for its children, while portraying their attackers as unruly, rude, and violent barbarians. The hags portray themselves as weak, and only use magic if absolutely necessary. 

If pleading does not seem sufficient to stop their attackers, the hags offer knowledge in exchange for their life. As in the village of Barovia, the hags can offer the following information:

  • Strahd has mastery over the land and the weather, and his spies include the Vistani

  • Strahd has undead enemies in Barovia – the fallen knights of the Order and the Silver Dragon. The revenants can be found in a ruined mansion west of Vallaki.

  • Strahd’s most carefully guarded secret is a temple of forbidden lore hidden in the mountains. The temple can be reached by following the long and winding Tsolenka Pass.

The hags can also provide basic information and insight regarding the Tarokka readings given by Madam Eva. However, they pass on the content of these readings to Strahd shortly afterward.

If no amount of pleading or negotiation is sufficient to deter their attackers, the hags vanish into the Ethereal Plane. If the PCs are still present at the windmill shortly afterwards – for example, if they busy themselves with the task of freeing the children upstairs – the hags are waiting downstairs for the PCs when they return, alongside the third member of their coven.

Once the hags have assembled their coven, Morgantha has one of three goals:

  1. turn the PCs over to Strahd, if she knows that he has an interest in them

  2. cripple the PCs by striking a deal that forces them to sacrifice some part of their power or moral character

  3. force or convince the PCs to act in a way that draws them down a path of fear or corruption

As per their entry in the Monster Manual, night hags find the souls of evildoers to be the greatest delicacy. Morgantha knows that strangers in Strahd’s domain are prime targets for temptation and corruption. She may promise an ambitious young wizard power, obtained by sacrificing one of the children upstairs. She may even promise to set both children free – if only the paladin leaves his squire behind.

?? Know the Monsters – Morgantha & Her Coven

An encounter with Morgantha and her daughters will come to blows only if the coven feels genuinely offended or threatened by the PCs – and even then, only if all members of the coven are present. In combat, the hags’ primary aims are to (1) incapacitate; (2) intimidate; and (3) cripple their enemies, in that order.

If only one or two hostile PCs are present, or if the hags believe the PCs to be low-levelled, the coven will use Polymorph to turn one of the PCs into a toad (L4; Wisdom DC 15) as an intimidation tactic. If that fails, they will attempt to target that PC with Eyebite’s unconscious condition (L6; Wisdom DC 15). The goal: to render that PC harmless, and to toss them into a cage with a cackle.

Whenever possible, the hags will cast Bestow Curse using a level 5 spell slot, and Hold Person using a level 4 spell slot. If facing a magic user, all three will attempt to preserve their level-3 spell slots to cast Counterspell when necessary. See the table below for a list of all spells that the hags will use in combat. Bolded spells are preferred at that spell slot; italicized spells are cast at a higher spell slot than their own.

Make sure to remember that the hags share their coven spell slots. If Morgantha casts Counterspell at 3rd-level, Bella and Offalia only have two 3rd-level spell slots remaining.

Level

Slots

Spells

1st Level

4

Identify; Ray of Sickness

2nd Level

3

Hold Person; Locate Object

3rd Level

3

Bestow Curse; Counterspell; Lightning Bolt

4th Level

3

Phantasmal Killer; Polymorph; Hold Person

5th Level

2

Lightning Bolt; Bestow Curse; Contact Other Plane; Scrying

6th Level

1

Eyebite

When facing a larger group of enemies, two hags will open with Bestow Curse at 5th-level, if feasible, to curse one PC’s Wisdom score. The third will follow up with an Eyebite attack at 6th-level, aiming to infect the most threatening PC with the Sickened condition. They will then use Polymorph together at 4th-level, attempting to turn all hostile PCs into toads. If that fails, two Hags will cast Hold Person at 2nd-level, while the third casts Ray of Sickness at 1st-level or uses her action to Change Shape, dealing critical-hit claw attacks on paralyzed PCs. A 3rd-level Lightning Bolt is a panic button – if a dying hag sees an opportunity to kill multiple PCs at once with it, she’ll cast it from pure spite.

Once the hags begin to run low on resources, they turn to their innate spellcasting abilities. Two hags will focus-fire a PC with their at-will Magic Missile, after which the third will cast one of her two daily Sleep spells in an effort to render that PC unconscious.

If any hag dips below 30 HP, she uses her action to slip into the Ethereal Plane. Note that this doesn’t break the coven – due to the Material and Ethereal Planes’ proximity, ethereal hags still count as present for the purposes of maintaining the coven. If two hags go below 30 HP, any member of the coven dies, or the coven runs out of spell slots and daily innate spells, however, the remaining members use their action to flee into the Ethereal Plane.

The PCs can learn more about the hags in Vallaki. Rictavio, Ezmerelda, Urwin Martikov, or a book in Baron Vallakovich’s library (DC 15 Investigation check) can give the party information on the history and interests of night hags (should the coven reveal their true forms, or hint at their true nature); their damage resistances; their haunting ability; and the heartstone and soul bag.

An Intelligence (Arcana) check can allow any PC to attempt to recall information about night hags. This information is gained at the following DCs:

DC 15: Night hags are demonic creatures of nightmares. Like other hags, they can form covens with exactly two other hags, which vastly increases their power.

DC 20: Night hags thrive on corruption and fear. They are tempters and dealmakers, and consume the souls of evildoers for pleasure and nourishment. Their skin is hardened against elemental forces, and they fear no mortal metal save silver. So long as the members of a hag coven remain nearby to one another, their arcane power is greatly increased.

DC 25: A night hag is said to have passage through the Ethereal Plane, slipping away into the realm of spirits to better haunt her prey. It is said that the touch of a night hag from the Border Ethereal can torment her victim with terrible nightmares and exhaustion. Night hags are fond of devouring children, and must do so to produce their foul offspring.

DC 30: A night hag keeps two artifacts that are precious to her. One is a heartstone – a lustrous black gem allows a night hag to become ethereal while it is in her possession. The touch of a heartstone also cures any disease. The second is a soul bag. When an evil humanoid dies as a result of a night hag's haunting, the hag catches the soul in a black sack made of stitched flesh. A soul bag can hold only one evil soul at a time, and only the night hag who crafted the bag can catch a soul with it. 

The PCs can also learn more about the hags in Vallaki. Rudolph van Richten knows all the information in the above table, while Ezmerelda knows all of the information up to DC 25. A book in Baron Vallakovich’s library (Intelligence (Investigation) DC 15) can be found that contains all information up to DC 20 of the table, while Urwin Martikov knows the information at DC 15.

A Hag’s Bargain

If the PCs come to the hags seeking information, or otherwise seek a deal to free children or themselves from imprisonment, the hags are happy to offer it – at a price. The hags are dealmakers, and they are happy to trade away things of value at an accompanying price. A hag does not volunteer the description or mechanical impact of a deal – only its name. See the table below for some example deals that the hags might offer.

Deal

Value

Description

Your Final Breath

Medium

A PC that accepts this deal dies after two failed death saving throws, rather than three.

Your Victories

High

A PC that accepts this deal can no longer make the final blow on a weakened enemy; even if their attack hits, the enemy is able to miraculously avoid taking any damage.

Your Luck

Medium

Three times per day, the DM can impose disadvantage on a roll made by a PC that accepts this deal.

Your Memory

Low

A PC that accepts this deal has disadvantage on any History, Arcana, Religion, or Nature checks made to recall information.

Your Body

Low

A PC that accepts this deal must provide the hags with a vial of blood or a lock of hair.

Your Courage

Low

A PC that accepts this deal gains disadvantage on saving throws against any fear-related effects.

Your Hope

Medium

A PC that accepts this deal gains the flaw: “The world is a dark, terrible place, and no man’s fight can ever push back the darkness.”

Your Swiftness

High

A PC that accepts this deal gains disadvantage on initiative rolls.

Your Voice

High

A PC that accepts this deal becomes mute and cannot cast spells that require verbal components.

Your Tongue

Medium

A PC that accepts this deal gains disadvantage on all social Charisma-based checks.

Your Breath

High

A PC that accepts this deal heals only half hitpoints from hit dice and magical healing, and regains only one-fourth of their total hit dice upon completing a long rest.

Your Heart

Low

A PC that accepts this deal gains the flaw: “The suffering of others does little to stir me.”

The hags store their gains from these deals in small glass vials stored near the childrens’ cage on the third floor. Any ephemeral profits (e.g., “Luck”) are stored as brightly colored essences that slosh, bubble, and swirl within the glass like liquid or gas. If one of those vials are shattered, the essence within escapes back to its owner, and the deal is broken.

Ownership of the Mill

If the PCs find the deed to the windmill in Death House, they may infer that they are now the owners of the property. However, if confronted with the deed, the hags are able to provide paperwork sealed and signed by Strahd that legitimizes their business practices and the storage of Barovian children for use thereof.

Dream Pastries

To create their magical power, dream pastries must be baked from the flesh of children with souls. When the hags first bring a child to the windmill, they prick the child’s finger with a needle. If the child howls in pain, the hags take this as evidence that the child has a soul, and harvest their victim to cook the pastry filling. If the child suffers the pain silently, the hags view the child as soulless, and use their bones to grind the pastry flour.

When a PC eats their first dream pastry, they feel a bit drowsy and pleasant. When they next take a long rest, that PC has wonderful, happy, vivid dreams. Any PC sleeping under the influence of a dream pastry sleeps a full eight hours and cannot be woken. When the PC awakes the next morning, they feel hollow and somewhat depressed.

Each day a PC awakes after sleeping under the influence of a dream pastry, they must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or consume an additional pastry. If the PC fails this saving throw and has no dream pastries easily accessible, they feel a strong craving for more and have disadvantage on all skill checks until they consume another pastry. An addicted PC that is unable to consume dream pastries has terrible nightmares when they attempt to sleep, and cannot gain the benefits of a long rest.

The DC of this Constitution saving throw increases by 2 for each additional day that the PC consumes at least one dream pastry, up to a maximum DC of 26. The DC also decreases by 2 for each day that the PC goes without consuming any dream pastries, down to a minimum of 4. The only exception is the day after the PC consumes their first dream pastry; at noon, the PC may roll an additional DC 4 Constitution saving throw. On any day, if the PC succeeds when the DC for the saving throw is 4, the PC is no longer addicted to dream pastries.

The first day an addicted PC fails to consume a dream pastry, they gain disadvantage on all saving throws. On the second day, the PC gains disadvantage on all skill checks and saving throws. On the third day and beyond, the PC has disadvantage on all skill checks, saving throws, and attack rolls until they consume a pastry or are no longer addicted.

If a PC goes seven consecutive in-game days without eating dream pastries, they are no longer addicted. This happens regardless of their save DC and immediately alleviates any and all disadvantages they might have gained as a result of their addiction. Should a former addict ever eat a Dream Pastry again, their starting Constitution saving throw DC will be 15 instead of 10.

Approaching the Windmill

As the PCs approach the windmill, they notice an abundance of rodents, snakes, and spiders in the grass nearby. Characters that stray into the tall grass are attacked by a poisonous snake or swarm of spiders the following turn. Beasts with an intelligence of 2 or lower are aggressive, due to their proximity to the corrupted Fane marked nearby.

At the intersection where the windmill’s path meets the road, the PCs can find a small twig figurine discarded upon the ground. It was left here by Offalia, who enjoys crafting them and has a small collection in the attic.

A soft, curling stream of smoke from a crooked pipe chimney gives the windmill a homely, comfortable appearance. The smoke comes from the oven on the first floor.

?? Worth a Thousand Words – Windmill Exterior & Battlemap

Should a fight break out on or outside the first floor of the windmill, consider using this map to depict the location.

Areas of the Windmill

When the PCs arrive at Old Bonegrinder, Morgantha is away, returning from a successful business venture in Vallaki. Bella instead greets the PCs at the door cheerfully inviting them inside. If asked, or if she is in the process of showing the PCs around the first floor, she informs the PCs that “Mother” should return within the hour. Bella refuses to lead the PCs to the second floor or above, and informs them that her sister is working up there, and hates to be disturbed.

Should the PCs attack Bella, she and Offalia vanish into the Ethereal Plane. Morgantha returns home shortly thereafter.

?? Strands of Fate – The Treasure of Old Bonegrinder

If one of the three treasures is located here, only the hags, Baba Lysaga, and the Keepers of the Feather know of its presence. The wereravens spotted it while scoping out the windmill before a failed rescue attempt. Even Strahd is ignorant to its location.

O1. Ground Floor

Just behind the door, the hags keep a small umbrella stand that contains an ugly green parasol with rotted fabric and a rusted longsword. If asked about the sword, Bella claims that it belonged to an old lover of hers who left it to her as a memento. In truth, the sword belongs to a former adventuring party that stormed the hags’ windmill and were swiftly and brutally destroyed. Bella herself fondly remembers using the swordsman’s bones as toothpicks after consuming him and his friends.

The acrid smell coming from the barrel of demonic ichor isn't potent. Rather than mixing with the smell of the pastries, the ichor’s scent is only detectable if the PCs place themselves directly beside the barrel.

The windmill isn't filthy. It's certainly not clean, however, and has a musty, lived-in air about it. There are no bones littering the floor; instead, the children’s bones are kept in a burlap sack beside the oven. You can describe the chamber thusly:

A large brick oven takes up most of one side of the room. The oven emits warmth and you can smell something sweet baking inside. Surrounding the oven on some shelves are several jars of condiments and ingredients. You can also see a few bins filled with animal bones and bits of discarded dough.

Because of their size, the bones could be easily mistaken for animal bones. A PC can make a DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) or Intelligence (Nature) check to correctly identify the bones as belonging to human children.

Conversations with Bella

There isn’t much room inside the windmill’s first floor for everyone to be comfortable, but Bella makes a show of trying to be hospitable. There is a single unused chair in a corner, piled high with Offalia’s twig dolls, that Bella clears off to provide one of the PCs a place to sit.

Bella informs the PCs that she, her sister, and her mother don’t often have guests, and apologizes for not making things nicer. Bella freely says that her sister is hard at work upstairs, calling her “Sister” rather than “Offalia.” When the PCs enter the windmill, Bella calls up to invite Offalia downstairs; Offalia quickly calls down that she’s hard at work, and reminds Bella that “Mother” will be home soon.

Bella and Offalia can inform the PCs that their mother, Morgantha, often goes into town for a few days at a time to peddle their wares. They have a little place in Barovia to stay, but much prefer to live in their cozy windmill. Bella and her sister are the primary bakers of their business.

If the PCs have previously met Morgantha, Bella is delighted. Bella is further pleased if one of the PCs has sampled one of her dream pastries, and asks for the PC’s critiques on the taste, texture, and consistency of the pastries. She doesn’t discuss the content of the pies unless specifically asked, and even then admits that it’s a family secret passed down from her mother’s mother, and asks the PCs not to inquire further.

Bella is aware of Morgantha’s usual excuse for her fiendish aura (that Morgantha’s mother had a bad encounter with a wicked witch), and appears sad when she tells the PCs that Morgantha doesn’t often talk about her grandmother’s misfortune.

If the PCs bring up the deed to the windmill obtained from Death House, Bella looks devastated. She tells the PCs that the windmill was abandoned for centuries before their grandmother came to live there, and asks the PCs if they plan to shamefully evict “three old women” from their home.

Otherwise, Bella does her best to keep the conversation about the PCs. She asks them where they're headed, where they’re from, and how they're handling Barovia.

If Bella offers the PCs a dream pastry as a sale or free sample, the wereraven outside hops onto the windowsill and caws loudly in warning. Bella quickly closes the shutters and asks the PCs to shut the other windows. If the PCs do not obey, the raven hops into the window closest to one of the PCs and attempts to get their attention. An instant later, Bella throws a kitchen knife at the raven’s chest, and attempts to use an Intelligence (Sleight of Hand) check to conceal the Magic Missile spell she is casting around the knife. Whether the knife hits or misses, the wereraven is wounded in the side by Magic Missile and flies off soon after. 

Bella attempts to play down the incident by claiming that the ravens have been terrible bothers to her and her sister ever since a falling tree destroyed their only scarecrow. She informs the PCs that the ravens frequently fly inside to eat their pies, defecate on their floor, or attack their mothers’ hairpiece. If the PCs notice and point out her use of magic, Bella claims to be a simple woodswitch who has grown used to using her small arcane talent to keep her home clean and safe.

O3. Bedroom

?? The Butterfly Effect – Freek and Myrtle

If the PCs are able to rescue Freek and Myrtle, the children can be taken in by Father Lucian Patrovich in Vallaki, or Burgomaster Dmitri Krezkov in Krezk.

If the PCs attempt to rescue Freek and Myrtle and fail, or fail to find the children while visiting, only Freek is still alive when they return.

If the PCs burn down or otherwise destroy the windmill without rescuing the children inside, they can later find a pair of child-sized corpses charred or otherwise killed in cages within the wreckage. The cages have been ravaged by fingernails, and the PCs can clearly hear Freek and Myrtles’ screams as the windmill is destroyed.

?? Module Milestone – Rescue the Children

If the PCs rescue Freek and Myrtle from the windmill, you may choose to award a milestone and allow the characters to level up.

O4. Domed Attic

A small collection of twig dolls and fetishes is kept here on a shelf by Offalia, who fashions them in the shape of the children she devours.

If one of the three treasures of Madam Eva’s reading is present here, it is displayed reverently atop a small shrine dedicated to Strahd. When Saint Markovia marched upon Castle Ravenloft, only one of her followers – a coward of little faith – survived. He filled his bag with treasures and fled the fortress – only to be taken in the night by the hags of Old Bonegrinder as he camped by the road. The hags believe that the treasure’s presence is a sign of Strahd’s favor in them.

The Megaliths

The megaliths of Old Bonegrinder are home to the Forest Fane, the shrine of the Huntress. The Huntress, a member of the Rozana, or the Ladies Three, lost much of her power when Strahd perverted the rituals of the druids of old Cerunnos to claim the seat of her power for himself.

The Forest Fane is one of three Fanes throughout Barovia that have been claimed by Strahd to provide him power over the land, weather, and beasts of Barovia. The Fane of the Huntress is the source of Strahd’s dominion over the feral wolves and other beasts of the Barovian woodland. It also provides him the continuous protection of a nondetection spell, which protects him from the detection of all divination magic. If cleansed and reconsecrated, the fane’s boon fades from Strahd’s grasp.

The Fane itself is a small stone shrine that stands in a small underground cavern beneath the megaliths. It is flanked by a pair of stone etchings that depict the Huntress: a tall, long-haired, well-muscled maiden wielding a spear and a bow-and-arrows. The left etching shows the Huntress chasing a deer through a forest alongside a trio of friendly wolves; the right carving depicts the Huntress devouring the freshly-carved heart from a boar’s fresh corpse, a bloodstained stone dagger in her other hand. 

The wall behind the altar is covered by a half-rotted tapestry depicting a trio of old crones, one of whom resembles the Huntress. The second woman, the Weaver, bears short, ravenlike hair; the third, the Seeker, has sharp-angled cheeks and long, flowing black hair. All three women wear ragged tunics of leathers and rough cloth.

The front of the altar itself bears the following words in Druidic script: 

Mistress of the green,

Lady of the forest,

I offer you my sacrifice.

I ask you for your blessing.

You are the eye in the trees,

the hunter of the woods,

who brings life to the dawning spring.

You are the deer in rut,

mighty Horned One,

who roams the autumn woods,

the hunter circling round the oak,

the antlers of the wild stag,

and the lifeblood that spills upon

the ground each season.

Mistress of the green,

Lady of the forest,

I offer you my sacrifice.

I ask you for your blessing.

The cavern is accessible through a small hollow at the center of the circle, which has been covered up by a large boulder. A DC 12 Intelligence (Nature) or Wisdom (Perception) check can inform the PCs that the boulder is made of a different type of rock than the standing stones around it. It can only be moved with a successful DC 20 Athletics (Strength) check. The hags moved it here to bury the Fane’s entrance tunnel after moving into the windmill beside it.

To keep the Fane freshly desecrated, the hags scatter children’s teeth in small mounds across the grass in front of the megaliths. This is done as an offering to the entity they worship, the wicked archfey Ceithleann of the Crooked Teeth.

If any of the hags observe the PCs attempting to move the boulder sealing off the cavern, they exit the windmill and attempt to persuade the PCs to leave the Fane alone. Morgantha tells the PCs that the Fane is the place of power of a barbaric and cruel Fae spirit who demanded human sacrifices from the people of Barovia, and tormented her subjects through torture and disfigurement. Though the hags may be evil, they at least only commit evil acts with the consent of their victims.

If the PCs make any further attempts to unseal or sanctify the Forest Fane, Morgantha and her daughters attack, fleeing only under the conditions listed above. Morgantha believes that a return of the Huntress will invite the Lady’s retribution down upon the coven’s heads for their sustained desecration of the megaliths above. If the Fane is successfully restored, the night hags do not return to Old Bonegrinder until Strahd has slain the PCs and reconquered the Huntress’ shrine.

Purifying the Forest Fane

After the PCs learn the history and rituals of the Fanes from the Tome of Strahd, the berserker spirit Kavan, or the berserker tribes, they may return to the megaliths of Old Bonegrinder in an attempt to restore the Huntress’ place of power. The Forest Fane can be reconsecrated by carving the heart from a hunted beast and placing the organ into a stone bowl resting atop the shrine’s surface. The Huntress’ stone dagger must be used to accomplish this act; it lies atop the shrine beside the bowl.

When the offering is completed, the eyes of the Huntress in the tapestry and stone etchings glow, and a wolf’s howl can be heard in the distance. If all three Fanes have been reconsecrated, the tapestry is restored to pristine condition, and its depiction of the Ladies shifts from old crones to beautiful maidens. After the Forest Fane has been restored, Strahd loses the benefits of its nondetection spell and can no longer command the feral wolves of Barovia. Moreover, any PCs that participated in the ritual gain the benefit of its nondetection spell for as long as they stay in Barovia.

?? Module Milestone – Cleansing the Forest Fane

If the PCs cleanse the Forest Fane, and have previously reconsecrated the Mountain and Swamp Fanes, you may choose to award them a milestone and allow them to level up.

After the Battle

Fights with Morgantha and her daughters are more often the beginning of a story than the end of one. If the PCs drive the hags away from Old Bonegrinder, any survivors of the coven will haunt the party from the Ethereal Plane, pushing them toward the brink of corruption so that the PCs will be driven to commit evil, and so become a tasty meal for the hag’s soul bag. 

If one or more hags were killed in the fight, the survivors instead focus on achieving vengeance against the PCs. They pursue the PCs at any cost, haunting them with nightmares. and step in to finish the job whenever the party appears weak or outnumbered.

If the PCs are able to flee from battle, the hags let them go. However, if any one of the PCs appeared to have a Neutral or Evil alignment, Bella or Offalia attempts to scry them one or several nights thereafter, and focuses that PC with her Nightmare Haunting ability in an effort to corrupt that PC’s soul. Under no circumstances does a single hag reveal herself from the Ethereal Plane, save for an opportune moment when she believes she may be able to obtain a lock of hair or personal possession to strengthen Morgantha’s Scrying spell.

 

Any haunted PCs should be unaware of the source of their nightmares. Only Rudolph van Richten and Ezmerelda recognize the symptoms of a potential night hag haunting. Van Richten, Ezmerelda, and the Abbot are the only creatures able to drive off the hags through the benefits of a Magic Circle spell. The hags are also unable to enter the Church of St. Andral.

If one or more of the PCs are knocked unconscious or taken prisoner by the coven, the hags keep them tied up alongside the children on the third floor. Bella and Offalia torment their prisoners by murdering and devouring Freek in plain view, and promise the PCs that they plan to fatten the characters up until they can serve as supper themselves. Morgantha will make a deal to allow any one of the PCs to go free – but only at the cost of one high-value or multiple low-value deals as described in the section above. 

A captured PC that accepts a deal in this way is made into a “volunteer” that Morgantha swiftly puts to work. The PC’s gear, arcane focus, and any weapons are taken and locked away in a safe whose key hangs around Morgantha’s neck. The “volunteer” is then tasked with selling pies or retrieving children from impoverished parents.

So long as any of the PCs remain as prisoners or “volunteers” at Old Bonegrinder, the hags torment them nightly using their Nightmare Haunting ability.

?? The Butterfly Effect – Ireena and the Hags

If Ireena is with the PCs, the hags place her unconscious using a Sleep spell, and proceed to abandon her unconscious at the bridge to Castle Ravenloft. Ireena is narrowly saved from Rahadin’s notice by a pair of helpful wereravens, who escort her to Vallaki. If the PCs are still imprisoned in the windmill the following day, Ireena persuades Urwin Martikov to allow her to lead Muriel and Guswin, two members of the Order of the Feather, to the PCs’ rescue. The wereravens wait until Morgantha has taken her cart down the road to Barovia, and attempt to chew through the ropes keeping the PCs tied up. Bella and Offalia target Guswin first in their efforts to recapture the PCs. If Guswin is killed, this sours the relationship between the PCs and the Keepers of the Feather.

If any of the PCs die in battle with the hags, Morgantha leaves their bodies between the megaliths behind the mill to be eaten by crows. Any PCs killed this way before level 5 should have an opportunity to be resurrected through a Dark Gift.

If the PCs have piqued Strahd’s interest to the point where he views one or more of their party has a potential successor, the hags put the party to sleep and proceed to load them onto Strahd’s black carriage, which carries the PCs to Castle Ravenloft before dumping them in the courtyard. The PCs must then succeed on a skill challenge to evade a pair of hungry vampire spawn crawling from the upper towers and cross to the other side of the chasm before the drawbridge is completely raised.

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