Curse of Strahd: Reloaded – The Wizard of Wines

Curse of Strahd: Reloaded

A Campaign Guide by /u/DragnaCarta

Chapter 6: The Wizard of Wines

Click Here for Additional Chapters

Got a question or suggestion? Message me on Reddit!

Click here to support me on Patreon & get great patron perks!

Table of Contents

Ch. 12: The Wizard of Wines

?? Strands of Fate: Hooks to the Winery

History of the Winery

The Wizard of the Wines

What the Martikovs Know

Anger of the Druids

Approaching the Vineyard

The Martikov Family

The Keepers of the Feather

?? Strands of Fate: The Travellers Four

Approaching the Winery

Skill Challenge: Escaping the Horde

Stage 1: Investigation

Stage 2: Evasion

Stage 3: Flight

Stage 4: Barricade

?? Worth a Thousand Words: Winery’s Exterior Battlemap

?? Extra Credit: Unearthed Arcana’s Mass Combat Rules

Areas of the Winery

W9. Fermentation Vats

?? Know the Monsters – Druid Assailant

W14. Wine Cellar

W15. Brown Mold

W16. Loading Winch

Gulthias Staff

?? Know the Monsters – Druid Naturalist

W20. Printing Press

?? Know The Monsters: Vine Blights

?? Worth a Thousand Words: Wine Labels

Special Events

Wine Delivery

?? Strands of Fate: Purifying Food and Drink

Wintersplinter Attacks

? Expanded Event: Wintersplinter Marching

?? The Butterfly Effect: The Winery’s Destruction

?? Plot Hook: The Missing Martikovs


Ch. 12: The Wizard of Wines

?? Strands of Fate: Hooks to the Winery

A Martikov’s Plea: Urwin or Danika Martikov at the Blue Water Inn in Vallaki may invite the PCs to investigate the mysterious delay of shipments from the winery.

Vistani Vittles: Arrigal and Luvash of the Vistani Encampment outside of Vallaki may agree to part with the Sunsword, Tome of Strahd, or Holy Symbol of Ravenkind if the PCs retrieve a fresh shipment of wine for their camp.

Gates of Krezk: Burgomaster Dmitri Krezkov of Krezk is naturally suspicious of outsiders, but will allow the PCs entry if they retrieve a shipment of wine from the Winery.

All Will Be Well: Baron Vargas Vallakovich of Vallaki may ask the PCs to restore the shipments of wine from the winery in order to ensure the success of the Festival of the Blazing Sun.

Mission For the Devil: Strahd may ask the PCs to rescue the winery from the “creatures” that have infested it, both to test their mettle and to ensure that his own stores of wine do not run dry.

History of the Winery

The Martikov family line has been the keeper of the Wizard of Wines winery for the past two hundred years, after marrying into and subsuming the branch house of the Krezkov line that had originally owned it. The winery itself, however, predates even Strahd’s invasion of Barovia.

The Wizard of the Wines

It is common legend – purposefully spread, in fact, by the Martikovs themselves – that the three magical gems that produce the grapes of the winery were created by a powerful wizard, hence its name. Only the Martikovs, however, know in truth that the gems were not a creation of the wizard, but a gift bestowed upon her by the ancient spirits of the valley.

After falling in love with the green, sweeping landscapes of this land, the mage forged a bond with the druids of the old country, whose ancestral homes and ancient ways had been swept aside by the cold steel of their invaders. As a reward for her friendship, the druids drew upon the ailing strength of the Rozana, the Ladies of the Fanes, and gifted her with three enchanted gemstones that would allow the mage – a connoisseur of wines – to produce hearty, delicious grapes in the wilderness of the woods.

What the Martikovs Know

The Krezkovs, gifted the winery for their loyalty to Strahd, soon fell in love with the land in much the same way as the wizard had more than a century before. Soon after the end of the war, however, a rebellious faction of druids approached them and begged for shelter against the purges that Strahd’s servants had wrought upon their people. The Krezkovs accepted, and so entered a year-long guerilla war that allowed these druids to evade Strahd’s eye and gather resources while building new, hidden encampments on Mount Ghakis.

With their last breath of defiance, these rebellious druids offered the Krezkovs of the Winery a gift: the curse of lycanthropy. Once, all druids had enjoyed the power of wildshape, but as their power had waned, the totems that allowed these transformations had cracked and decayed, leaving only the Raven’s totem behind. As a token of gratitude, the rebellious druid spirited the Raven’s totem away from the camp of Strahd’s servant-druids and delivered it to the Krezkovs. This item would bestow upon them the gift of a wereraven’s lycanthropy, providing them the ability to defend their land from Zarovich’s forces should he discover their treachery from his castle. 

These friendly druids also gave the Krezkovs instructions for the Hatching, a year-long ritual by which the Krezkovs and their mates could share and master the wereraven’s transformation – without this ritual, any lycanthrope would soon lose their minds to the animal’s instincts. The Krezkovs accepted, and became wereravens themselves.

When Strahd von Zarovich accepted the curse of vampirism, the Krezkovs were alarmed at the shroud of darkness that fell over their new home. They joined together, recruiting extended friends and family, and formed the Order of the Feather – a secret society that aimed to protect Barovia’s citizens from the monsters that now surrounded them. Years later, when the Martikovs married into their line, the Krezkovs shared the secret of lycanthropy with them, and so passed on the wereravens’ order to a new generation.

Anger of the Druids

For three hundred years, the betrayer druids that served Strahd searched in vain for the Raven’s totem that the Gatekeepers had stolen. Finally, after beseeching the aid of Baba Lysaga in the ruins of Berez, the druids learned by her scrying that the Martikov family were the inheritors of the wereraven’s lycanthropy, and resolved to attack.

However, even with the use of the Moonbeam spell known only to the most practiced of the druidic naturalists, the Keepers of the Feather were too wary, too quick, and too well-defended for the druids to attack directly. The enemy druids retreated to their gathering place upon Yester Hill, and glared from the shadows of the Svalich Wood.

Decades later, the soul of Tatyana Federovna was reincarnated in the body of Ireena Kolyana, a young woman from the town of Barovia. Strahd’s newest wife, an ornery, psychopathic vampire by the name of Volenta Popofsky, felt threatened by the emergence of this threat to her stature as her husband’s favored bride. In a visit to the crone Baba Lysaga, she learned of the feud between the druids and the Keepers of the Feather, and resolved to orchestrate the destruction of the winery in a self-aggrandizing display of cunning and power.

Through the use of Volenta’s shard of the Heart of Sorrow, the druids separated a branch from the Gulthias Tree and infused it with the essence of the tree’s power. The Gulthias Tree had always ambiently produced blights of varying shapes and sizes as a defense mechanism, but this staff would allow the druids to control them, directing an army of blights against the wereravens’ winery. With this horde, the druids soon invaded the winery, driving the Martikovs from their ancestral home and spiriting away the final gem for their own purposes.

Approaching the Vineyard

As the PCs make their way to the Wizard of Wines, you can use the Random Encounters table (pg. 29) to establish the themes and creatures that they can expect to encounter. If you want to set up the enemies they’re likely to run into, run the Druid and Twig Blights encounter. If you’d rather focus on the Martikovs or the raven motif, use the Hidden Bundle and Swarms of Ravens/Wereraven encounters instead.

Any ravens that the PCs encounter en route can serve as guides that lead them to the grove where Davian Martikov is hiding. You may also want to use the Druid and Twig Blights encounter earlier in the module in order to foreshadow their appearance later.

The Martikov Family

The Martikovs’ grove is filled with three swarms of ravens, which Davian Martikov treats as pets. From this, your PCs know that the ravens within the Winery are allies, rather than enemies.

To prevent the PCs from fighting through the horde of needle blights concealed within the vineyard, Davian warns the party that they will need to sneak past the horde to deal with the druids inside. He believes that one or more of the druids may have some knowledge of how to dismiss or destroy the blights, and advises the PCs to flee or sneak through the lines of blights. He advises them to inspect the vineyard thoroughly before entering, and to make their way cautiously toward the winery to avoid disturbing the blights. If the PCs take Davian’s advice and make their way toward the winery, run the Skill Challenge: Escaping the Horde below, starting at Stage 1: Investigation.

Once the Winery has been freed, Davian begs the PCs to retrieve the stolen wine gems from Yester Hill, noting that without it, the Winery will have to close its doors forever. The location of the third gem is unknown to both Davian and Urwin Martikov, and is not described in the module. If this retrieval is successful, Davian then asks the PCs to retrieve the gem from Berez, noting that Baba Lysaga likely has further plans for an attack on the winery.

The Keepers of the Feather

Once the PCs have proved their worth through the restoration of the Wizard of Wines winery and the retrieval of the gems from Yester Hill and/or Berez, the Keepers of the Feather may choose to reveal themselves, though they will maintain the secret of their lycanthropy. They will present themselves as a secret society that opposes Strahd, training ravens as messengers and spies. At this stage, the PCs will be able to use the Keepers to send messages around the region, scout out dangerous locations, and receive occasional updates of current events elsewhere in Barovia.

The Keepers of the Feather are hesitant to reveal their lycanthropic nature, or to commit to physically fighting alongside the party. The PCs are not the first adventurers that the Keepers have assisted, and the Keepers would rather they not be the last. The Keepers’ central goal is the maintenance and expansion of their intelligence network; should the PCs fail, the Martikovs and their allies will do their best to retrieve their gear, consolidate their findings, and prepare for the next group of adventurers.

Only in the most critical of situations will the Keepers voluntarily reveal their lycanthropy to the PCs. Even then, any physical aid they provide will be limited to tactics and mobility alone. A pair of wereravens in hybrid form can provide an emergency airborne evacuation to any single PC.

Under no circumstances will the Keepers of the Feather offer to spread their lycanthropy to a PC. Unlike the werewolves, the control they exercise over their lycanthropic nature is a gift from the wind spirit, Stribog, obtained through intimate rituals and months of transformation and meditation. A Keeper of the Feather would sooner die than allow their gift to be stolen and misused by a PC with no appreciation for the care and control it requires.

For more information on the Keepers of the Feather, see their description in Residents of Vallaki.

?? Strands of Fate: The Travellers Four

If you are using the “Travellers Four” campaign hook from the beginning of this guide, Davian Martikov remembers that, after hosting them at the winery in exchange for labor, the three travelers ran afoul of Baba Lysaga, with one captured by the hag while the two survivors fled into the mountains.

Approaching the Winery

If the PCs choose to inspect the vineyard from the outside before entering, run the Escaping the Horde skill challenge described below, starting from Stage 1: Investigation.

Alternatively, if the PCs pass through its front gate without investigating, or if they do so after achieving only one or no successes in Stage 1 of the skill challenge, read:

As your boots break the boundary of this crumbling vineyard, you hear the rustle of dead vines all around you. Inhuman shapes emerge from the vineyard, their limbs crackling as they trudge forth through the mist and rain. One dozen – two dozen – there are too many to count! Fighting clearly isn’t an option. You can either flee from the scene – or you can make a mad dash for the winery.

If the PCs choose to continue toward the winery, run the Escaping the Horde skill challenge described below, starting from Stage 2: Evasion.

Skill Challenge: Escaping the Horde

This skill challenge has four stages. Each time the PCs complete two skill checks, succeed or fail, they proceed to the next stage of the challenge. By the end of this challenge, the PCs should have attempted eight skill checks in total (or six, if they skipped the first stage). 

For every two failures that the party accrues, each PC must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d6 damage from the advancing needle blights on a failed save, or half damage on a successful one.

Throughout the entire challenge, the PCs are followed by a pair of ravens that squawk for the PCs’ attention. The PCs can gain the guidance of these ravens, as detailed in the skill checks below.

Stage 1: Investigation

In the first stage, Investigation, the PCs have the opportunity to scope out the winery before actually passing through its outermost fencing – and, therefore, before the blights have even emerged. Unlike the other stages, the party may skip this one entirely or choose to complete only a single check. If the PCs choose to skip this stage completely, they automatically accrue two failures for their skill challenge, and are attacked by the needle blights as soon as they enter the vineyard. 

The PCs can make as many skill checks as they like during this stage of the skill challenge; however, only the first two checks matter for the purpose of counting successes or failures.

Some of the skill checks that the PCs might make include the following:

  • History (DC 20 – Hard) can allow a PC to recall common layouts of vineyard construction, directing them toward safer and speedier routes.

  • Animal Handling (DC 15 – Moderate) or Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Beast Bond, Speak with Animals, or Beast Sense can allow the PCs to interpret the intentions of the ravens and follow their birds’ eye vision to a safer route.

  • Perception (DC 15 – Moderate) will reveal the shadows of several needle blights lurking nearby.

  • Survival (DC 15 – Moderate) can let a character use the tracks left by the many needle blights to infer their likely hiding places.

Stage 2: Evasion

When the PCs reach the second stage, Evasion, they must escape the notice of the needle blights and make their way toward the winery. The first time the PCs fail a skill check in this or a subsequent stage, or if they enter the vineyard and made one or no successful checks in the Investigation stage, the army of needle blights begins to emerge, approaching the PCs with an air of clear hostility. When this happens, read:

You hear the rustle of dead vines all around you. Inhuman shapes emerge from the vineyard, their thorn-covered limbs crackling as they trudge forth through the mist and rain. One dozen – two dozen – there are too many to count! Fighting clearly isn’t an option. You can either flee from the scene – or you can make a mad dash for the winery.

Before the first skill check the PCs attempt to advance in this stage, read:

You tear your way through the vines, making a beeline for the building at the center of the yard. Above you, a pair of ravens squawk and caw as they circle in the air. All around you, you can see dark shapes rising between the vines and fence posts, their needle-covered forms lurching toward you. What do you do?

Before the second skill check the PCs attempt in this stage, read:

The vines swallow you up, shriveled grapes and yellowed leaves forming a dense forest around you. You dash toward the winery, but as you pass through an intersection of weaving ditches and fences, you see two groups of blights advancing on your position from either side. What do you do?

Potential skills that may be used to pass either skill check include:

  • Acrobatics (DC 10 – Easy) or Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) such as Jump, Longstrider, or Expeditious Retreat allow the PCs to nimbly make their way past long stretches and small obstacles, such as a ditch, fencing, or overgrown plantlife.

  • Stealth (DC 10 – Easy) or Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) such as Pass Without Trace can allow the party to escape notice by ducking through one of the many rows of grapevines.

  • Arcana (DC 20 – Hard) and Nature (DC 15 – Moderate), if the blights are visible, can let a PC recall information about their nature and abilities, including the details of their blindsight and the range of their attacks.

  • Animal Handling (DC 15 – Moderate) or Levelled spells (Automatic Success) can allow the PCs to interpret the intentions of the ravens, and follow their birds’ eye vision to a safer route, if they have not already been used in this way.

  • Perception (DC 10 – Easy) can allow the PCs to detect and avoid blights moving toward them through the vineyard.

  • Intimidation (DC 20 – Hard) or Arcana (DC 20 – Hard) can force the blights to hesitate in their pursuit, if used in conjunction with some form of fire magic (e.g., Create Bonfire, Aganazzar’s Scorcher, Scorching Ray).

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Gust of Wind, Web, or Wind Wall; or cantrips (DC 15 – Moderate) such as Mold Earth can be used to give the PCs cover from the blights’ ranged attacks. Spells that interact with vision such as Fog Cloud, Minor Illusion, Silent Image, or Darkness automatically fail due to the blights’ blindsight.

  • Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) with large areas of effect such as Tidal Wave, Fireball, or Call Lightning can halt the blights’ advance long enough to allow the PCs a few additional seconds of time.

Stage 3: Flight

In the third stage, Flight, the PCs have passed through the vineyard and must make their way safely into the winery. They have four doors to choose from: the padlocked double doors in area W5; the locked door at area W3; the half-open door at the rear of area W2; or the closed stable doors of area W1. The players may also suggest choosing to make their way around the house to area W10 or W8, or attempt to climb the thick ivy covering the walls in order to make their way into area W16. Depending on the route that they choose, their options during the skill challenge vary as follows:

W1. Stables

The doors to the stables are unlocked. However, if the PCs attempt to take shelter here, they must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity (Stealth) check to hide from the blights outside (who soon force the door open) and a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to evade the blights waiting at the door. If they fail either of these checks, or if they choose not to hide after entering the stables, the party automatically gains two failures, inciting another attack by the needle blights as described above. Regardless of the outcomes of these rolls, the PCs must then choose another entrance into the winery.

W2. Loading Dock

The south door that opens into the main floor of the winery has been forced open and hangs ajar. Due to the open space of this area, the PCs must take additional evasive action to avoid the routine volleys of needle blight thorns now falling like rain around them.

Before the PCs make their first skill check in their dash for the Loading Dock, read:

You run for the loading dock, taking evasive action around a pile of barrels and crates as the main horde of blights marches forth from the vines. A shower of thorns is about to rain down upon you. What do you do?

Before the PCs make their second skill check in their escape to the Loading Dock, read:

You dash inside the loading dock, the roof covering your escape from the main horde. However, as you run along the wooden platforms on either side of the docked, barrel-laden wagon within, you see a second group of blights lurch into view, their forms darkening the entryway. The hook of a crane up above trembles with a metallic jingle, the earth shaking from the weight of the oncoming horde. What do you do?

  • Athletics (DC 20 – Hard) can allow one or more PCs to collapse the pile of barrels or pull the Martikovs’ wagon in front of the door, preventing the blights from getting too close and blocking their line-of-sight.

  • Athletics (DC 15 – Moderate) can allow the PCs to swiftly scale the crane’s rope to the Area W16 on the second floor.

  • Acrobatics (DC 15 – Moderate) can allow the PCs to nimbly jump or sway as they ascend the crane’s rope, avoiding the blights’ volleys of thorns.

  • Acrobatics (DC 15 – Medium) or Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) such as Jump, Longstrider, or Expeditious Retreat allow the PCs to nimbly make their way along the top of the wagon, obstructing the blights’ view and redirecting their thorns into the barrels and wood paneling of the cart.

  • Intimidation (DC 20 – Hard) or Arcana (DC 20 – Hard) can force the blights to hesitate in their pursuit, if used in conjunction with some form of fire magic (e.g., Create Bonfire, Aganazzar’s Scorcher, Scorching Ray).

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Gust of Wind, Web, or Wind Wall; or cantrips (DC 15 – Moderate) such as Mold Earth can be used to give the PCs cover from the blights’ ranged attacks. Spells that interact with vision such as Fog Cloud, Minor Illusion, Silent Image, or Darkness automatically fail due to the blights’ blindsight.

  • Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) with large areas of effect such as Tidal Wave, Fireball, or Call Lightning can halt the blights’ advance long enough to allow the PCs a few additional seconds of time.

W3. Barrel Maker’s Workshop

The north door to this room is barred from the inside. The PCs will need to break in before the needle blights fall upon them. After two checks, the PCs automatically break in, but risk taking another volley from the blights if they reach another two failures in the process.

When the PCs first attempt to open the door, before making their first skill check of this phase, read:

You make a break for the front door of the winery – and the handle rattles in your palm as you struggle to push against whatever obstruction is barring the other side. The horde is advancing, and you’ve only seconds before the blights send forth another volley. What do you do?

When the PCs succeed their first skill check, if that skill check was made in effort to break down the door, read:

The door crunches and cracks beneath the weight of your efforts. You’re so close now – but so is the horde, whose shadowed figures are steadily advancing. Every second you have is precious. What do you do?

  • Athletics (DC 20 – Hard); Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) such as Scorching Ray, Thunderwave, or Knock; or cantrips (DC 20 – Hard) such as Firebolt or Eldritch Blast can allow the PCs to break through the door. 

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Gust of Wind, Web, or Wind Wall; or cantrips (DC 15 – Moderate) such as Mold Earth can be used to give the PCs cover from the blights’ ranged attacks. Spells that interact with vision such as Fog Cloud, Minor Illusion, Silent Image, or Darkness automatically fail due to the blights’ blindsight.

  • Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) with large areas of effect such as Tidal Wave, Fireball, or Call Lightning can halt the blights’ advance long enough to allow the PCs a few additional seconds of time.

W5. Veranda

These two sliding wooden doors are chained shut from the outside, and the smaller door is barred shut from the inside. After two checks, the PCs automatically break in through the smaller door, but risk taking another volley from the blights if they reach another two failures in the process.

When the PCs first arrive at the veranda before attempting their first skill check of this phase, read:

You climb the steps to the winery’s veranda – only to find that the three tall barrels had obstructed your view of an iron chain and lock wrapped around the handles of the larger wooden doors. To their side, a smaller door promises entry inside.

You run for the small door, eager for an escape – but the handle rattles in your palm, and you struggle to push against whatever obstruction is barring the other side. The horde is advancing, and you’ve only seconds before the blights send forth another volley. What do you do?

When the PCs succeed their first skill check, if that skill check was made in effort to break down either door or unchain the larger, read:

Sweat beads on your foreheads as your efforts mount to a climax. You’re so close now – but so is the horde, whose shadowed figures are steadily advancing. Every second you have is precious. What do you do?

  • Athletics (DC 20 – Hard); Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) such as Scorching Ray, Thunderwave, or Knock; or cantrips (DC 20 – Hard) such as Firebolt or Eldritch Blast can allow the PCs to break through either door.

  • Thieves’ Tools (DC 15 – Moderate) or Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) such as Knock can allow a PC to unchain the large sliding doors.

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Gust of Wind, Web, or Wind Wall; or cantrips (DC 15 – Moderate) such as Mold Earth can be used to give the PCs cover from the blights’ ranged attacks. Spells that interact with vision such as Fog Cloud, Minor Illusion, Silent Image, or Darkness automatically fail due to the blights’ blindsight.

  • Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) with large areas of effect such as Tidal Wave, Fireball, or Call Lightning can halt the blights’ advance long enough to allow the PCs a few additional seconds of time.

W8 & W10. Storage and Glassblower’s Workshop

The PCs can attempt to make their way around the eastern or western sides of the winery to gain access to these unlocked entrances. No skill checks are required to do so. However, if they take either of these longer routes, each PC must succeed on a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 1d6 piercing damage from the blights on a failure.

W16. Loading Winch

To gain access to the second-floor windows or loading dock of this chamber, the PCs must either attempt to scale the ivy on the outer walls of the winery, or they must try to scale the crane hanging down into area W2.

Before the PCs make their first skill check of this phase, read:

Your feet pound on the dry, dusty dirt of the winery’s yard, and you come to a stop beside the forest of ivy covering the building’s stone exterior. You try to find purchase, scrambling for grip on the vines, and begin your ascent to the second-story windows. The blights continue to advance, however, and you realize that they’ll soon have a clear line of sight. What do you do?

Before the PCs make their second skill check of this phase, read:

You’re so close now – three feet to go; two feet; one foot left! As you glance down at your allies, you see that the blights have formed a crescent around the building’s base, their shoulders bristling with fresh thorns. Your fingers are so close to the windowsill now, but it’s clear that the hordes’ next volley is closer. What do you do?

  • Athletics (DC 15 – Moderate) allows the PCs to swiftly scale the vines or rope to a higher level.

  • Acrobatics (DC 15 – Moderate) can allow the PCs to nimbly jump or sway as they ascend, avoiding the blights’ volleys of thorns.

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Gust of Wind, Web, or Wind Wall; or cantrips (DC 15 – Moderate) such as Mold Earth can be used to give the PCs cover from the blights’ ranged attacks. Spells that interact with vision such as Fog Cloud, Minor Illusion, Silent Image, or Darkness automatically fail due to the blights’ blindsight.

  • Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) with large areas of effect such as Tidal Wave, Fireball, or Call Lightning can halt the blights’ advance long enough to allow the PCs a few additional seconds of time.

Stage 4: Barricade

In the final stage, Barricade, the PCs must lock themselves inside the winery, and keep the horde of encroaching blights from coming in after them. Due to the blights’ low intelligence, they will not attempt to chase the PCs by taking alternate routes. If the party has not yet failed a skill check upon reaching this stage, they have successfully avoided disturbing the needle blights and automatically pass this stage of the skill challenge.

  • Investigation (DC 15 – Moderate) or Perception (DC 15 – Moderate) allow a character to locate a suitable item for use in barricading the door. (e.g., a barrel or chair)

  • Athletics (DC 15 – Moderate) can allow a character to jam the door by damaging its frame or warping its planks.

  • Athletics (DC 15 – Moderate) can allow a character to barricade the door using a number of large, heavy objects (e.g., barrels or crates).

  • Sleight of Hand (DC 10 – Easy) can allow a character to reset any lock or chain that had previously been used to keep a door shut.

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Gust of Wind, Web, or Wind Wall; or cantrips (DC 15 – Moderate) such as Mold Earth can be used to obstruct the advancing blights long enough for the PCs to find a means of keeping it shut.

  • Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) with large areas of effect such as Tidal Wave, Fireball, or Call Lightning can halt the blights’ advance long enough to allow the PCs a few additional seconds of time.

Once the PCs have completed all eight (or six) skill checks, they are able to successfully barricade themselves inside the winery. Depending on their success, they may be hale and hearty, or exhausted and wounded. If they find themselves in area W9, they may find themselves with little opportunity to recover before they are suddenly thrust into a fight.

?? Worth a Thousand Words: Winery’s Exterior Battlemap

If you are interested in running this encounter on a printed or projected battlemap, consider using /u/x_calderhead_x’s Wizard of Wines Approach Battlemap.

?? Extra Credit: Unearthed Arcana’s Mass Combat Rules

If you choose to run the battle as-written, given that this combat includes up to 64 creatures, you may find this to be a good opportunity to apply the Mass Combat rules released by WotC in this Unearthed Arcana update. The free playtesting PDF can be found here.

Areas of the Winery

Should your PCs choose to take a short rest within the walls of the winery before the druids have been defeated, they may take refuge in areas W3, W17, W18, W19, or W20. If they do so, they can attempt a DC 20 Strength (Athletics) check to barricade the entrance against any intruding druids or blights (with advantage if two or more PCs are working together to do so). 

If this or similar defensive measures are not taken, the druids rally together to hunt down the PCs, and force their way into the party’s resting place after 3d6 minutes have passed. Each of the druids and blights within the winery’s walls join together to attack, with the three swarms of twig blights leading the way, followed by two druid assailants and five needle blights, who are then joined by two vine blights and two druid naturalists.

If the PCs successfully defend their resting place, the party can hear a suspicious banging coming from the entrance to their sanctuary, though the sound soon subsides. The druid naturalists spend the next hour preparing a trap for the PCs. The five needle blights and two vine blights are lined up on opposite sides of the room’s exit. 

One druid naturalist casts Fog Cloud, shrouding the corridor in heavily-obscuring mist (which doesn’t affect the blights due to their blindsight), while another casts Spike Growth just before the PCs exit the room. The transformation of the ground by Spike Growth is camouflaged to look natural. Each PC that exits the party’s resting place must make a DC 12 Wisdom (Perception) check to recognize the terrain as hazardous before entering it.

Any druids or blights that the PCs manage to slay or drive off before beginning their rest should be subtracted from the group that attacks the PCs during or following their short rest.

W9. Fermentation Vats

For the sake of simplicity, you may employ the following stat block for a swarm of twig blights, with each swarm containing approximately 8 twig blights (thereby replacing 24 blights with 3 swarms).

Rather than utilizing the usual stat block, the druid in this room is a druid assailant. The druid assailant has exactly the same statistics of an ordinary druid, but has the following spells prepared:

  • Cantrips: Druidcraft, Thorn Whip, Shillelagh

  • 1st Level: Earth Tremor, Longstrider, Healing Word, Thunderwave

  • 2nd Level: Darkvision, Barkskin

?? Know the Monsters – Druid Assailant

The druid assailant, if given time to prepare before combat, always begins by casting Barkskin and Longstrider on herself. It can also always be assumed that she will cast Darkvision immediately upon entering any dark- or dimly-lit area, due to its long duration and lack of concentration. Finally, the druid assailant will cast and continually refresh a Shillelagh spell in order to maximize the damage dealt by her quarterstaff.

Once combat is entered, the druid assailant will prioritize weaker, squishier targets over hardier, well-armored ones. She will use Thorn Whip to force her prey closer, and cast Thunderwave to maneuver to a better position if cornered. Thunderwave is also used if the druid assailant is given the opportunity to push the PCs over an elevated edge, potentially rendering them prone and dealing fall damage as well. 

Once bloodied, she will cast Healing Word as a bonus action to restore her hit points, and cast Shillelagh as needed to refresh her staff’s enchantment. Otherwise, she will prioritize the use of her quarterstaff as a weapon, employing Earth Tremor only when accompanied by berserkers or melee-oriented blights able to take advantage of prone PCs. In general, a druid assailant will never flee from combat, preferring instead to die a glorious death in battle.

W14. Wine Cellar

The druid in this chamber is a druid assailant, and has been alerted to the PCs’ presence if the PCs failed the skill challenge while evading the needle blights outside, or if combat has occurred elsewhere in the winery, and has prepared accordingly. She begins combat with a Thunderwave spell as mentioned in the module, and proceeds to hand-to-hand combat while the needle blights assault the PCs from a distance.

W15. Brown Mold

As described above, the source of the Order of the Feather’s lycanthropy is the three Ladies of old Cerunnos, ancient fey creatures who created the Fanes of Barovia. This cold, secret chamber serves as a hiding spot for a raven-shaped totem that was used to extend the Ladies’ gift to each new generation of wereravens.

The druids attacked the winery in order to steal back this totem, which they believe belongs to their tribe as the land’s original inhabitants. The totem cannot be used to turn a PC into a lycanthrope, as the process of becoming a wereraven involves a year-long procedure of meditation and primal ritual. 

W16. Loading Winch

Rather than utilizing the usual stat block, the druid in this room is a druid naturalist. The druid naturalist has exactly the same statistics of an ordinary druid, but has the following spells prepared:

  • Cantrips: Druidcraft, Produce Flame, Infestation

  • 1st Level: Faerie Fire, Entangle, Speak With Animals, Fog Cloud

  • 2nd Level: Spike Growth, Moonbeam

Additionally, rather than using its as-written statistics, the Gulthias staff that he holds has the following properties:

Gulthias Staff

Staff, rare (requires attunement)

Made from the branch of a Gulthias tree, a Gulthias staff is a spongy, black length of wood from which ashen smoke wisps at a constant rate. It has a strangely spongy texture, and leaves behind a bloody residue on one's hand when touched. If squeezed, blood oozes from its pores. If the staff is broken or burned to ashes, its wood releases a terrible, inhuman scream that can be heard out to a range of 300 feet. All blights that can hear the screams immediately wither and die.

Blight Bane. A character that has attuned to the staff has the ability to command blights around them of CR 2 or below using simple, one-word commands. While you are attuned to the staff, blights and other evil plant creatures don’t regard you as hostile unless you harm them.

Sower of Corruption. The Gulthias staff has 5 charges. As an action, its wielder can expend charges to create any of the following creatures:

  • 1 charge: 1x Twig Blight

  • 2 charges: 1x Needle Blight

  • 4 charges: 1x Vine Blight

When all charges are expended, roll a d20. On a 1, the staff crumbles to dust without releasing its blight-killing shriek. Otherwise, it regains 1d4 charges each dawn.


Vampiric Hunger. The Gulthias staff draws its power from the blood of its wielder, extending tiny black roots into the veins beneath the owner's skin. For each day that a character is attuned to it, that character must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw, taking 2d6 necrotic damage on a failure. The target's hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken. The reduction lasts until the target destroys or unattunes from the Gulthias staff and finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.

When the PCs first arrive in this room, if any combat has taken place elsewhere in the winery, or if the needle blights outside were disturbed, they find that the druid has already used the staff to create one needle blight, and is currently in the process of creating a twig blight, which is grown from a knot toward the end of the staff.

Given the size of the horde outside, it is likely that this druid’s Gulthias Staff will prove a vital resource in destroying or redirecting the needle blights populating the vineyard. However, this druid naturalist is skittish, and immediately attempts to flee upon being encountered. As he leaps from the winch into the room below, he points the staff toward the PCs and commands the blights in Sylvan to attack them. As he delivers his orders, the ash around the staff thickens noticeably, and it weeps crimson blood from its pores.

?? Know the Monsters – Druid Naturalist

The druid naturalist never fights alone, and immediately flees if isolated. If provided with the opportunity to affect nearly all of the enemy’s forces, he casts Faerie Fire to make it easier for his druidic, berserker, or blight allies to hit with their attacks. Otherwise, he casts Entangle in an effort to restrain the most dangerous melee combatants in their place. 

If any PCs are looking wounded, he releases his concentration on his Entangle or Faerie Fire spell and instead casts Moonbeam in an effort to finish them off, shifting the beam on each turn to deal additional damage. If not casting a higher-levelled spell, the druid naturalist attacks with Infestation or Produce Flame, depending on whether his target has some cover or no cover, respectively, and actively focuses down any enemy spellcasters. If cornered or reduced to zero allies, the druid naturalist casts Fog Cloud and vanishes into the mists.

W20. Printing Press

The druid in this room is a druid naturalist, preferring to fight from behind while his vine blights keep any intruders from entering the room.

?? Know The Monsters: Vine Blights

The two vine blights within the winery can use their Entangling Plants ability to restrain any members of the party that get too close. This ability will not affect their fellow blights. Because this ability also has reach, a blight can restrain a creature ten feet away, preventing a melee victim from moving any closer to attack.

?? Worth a Thousand Words: Wine Labels

If you wish to provide printed wine labels for your players’ aesthetic enjoyment, consider using /u/thewarehouse’s Wizard of Wines Wine Labels image.

Special Events

Wine Delivery

Once the PCs have restored the Martikovs to the winery, the characters will likely look to deliver a shipment of wine to one or more locations throughout Barovia. There are three barrels available for immediate delivery (located in the cellar), and twenty poisoned barrels’ worth of wine available in the fermentation vats. Note that the barrels that the PCs can immediately deliver are not tainted by poison.

It is your choice whether Davian Martikov recognizes the spoiled nature of the vats’ wine. If he does not, any further attempts by the PCs to deliver their shipment result in a plague of poisoned customers across the location of delivery. Assume that these characters will link their illness to the PCs’ “gift,” and react accordingly.

?? Strands of Fate: Purifying Food and Drink

It is a rare adventure that involves the use of poison or disease as a notable plot point. As such, it is unlikely that any of your PCs will have voluntarily chosen or prepared Purify Food and Drink. If your party lacks a cleric or druid capable of preparing this spell, consider placing a Spell Scroll of Purify Food and Drink or similar wondrous item as a reward for a previous encounter within Barovia. This scroll may be a relic of a previous adventuring party, loot from Death House or Old Bonegrinder, or a special on-sale item from Jenny Greenteeth.

Wintersplinter Attacks

If your PCs are uninterested in pursuing leads at Yester Hill or Berez, be prepared for Wintersplinter’s attack to take place in the background while the party travels elsewhere in Barovia. This event is a key opportunity to show your players that Ravenloft is an active, changing setting, and that their choices and priorities can have a major impact on the way the story unfolds.

Keep in mind that the event as-written specifies that the PCs return to the Wizard of Wines almost immediately following Wintersplinter’s attack. Given the distance between the winery and Yester Hill, the tree blight is perhaps no more than a half-hour’s travel southward. If you wish, you may run a scene in which the Martikovs mourn the loss of the winery and their newfound status as refugees. In that case, if your PCs pursue Wintersplinter down the road, use the tips found in the Wintersplinter Marching box below.

? Expanded Event: Wintersplinter Marching

Wintersplinter’s goal in this encounter is to return to its masters, the druids of Yester Hill. You may choose to employ the details of the Missing Martikovs quest hook below, in which case one of Wintersplinter’s limbs has been transformed into a cage holding Adrian and Elvir Martikov in raven’s form. This cage has AC 12, 20 hitpoints, and regenerates 10 hitpoints at the beginning of Wintersplinter’s turn.

As Wintersplinter is likely unable to outrace your PCs, it will engage the PCs in combat if they attack it first. Once combat begins, Wintersplinter grapples up to two PCs on each of its turns, focusing its attention on the last creature to deal notable damage to it. It instantly focuses its attention on any creature(s) that hit it with fire damage. Once a creature has been grappled, Wintersplinter holds that creature fifteen feet away to prevent melee attacks, and attacks them with its two branch attacks and bonus bite attack, tossing them aside once they fall unconscious.

Alternatively, you may choose to have the PCs return to the winery hours or even days following Wintersplinter’s attack. In that case, consider having a single NPC, such as a mournful Urwin Martikov or Muriel fill the characters in. 

When the PCs arrive at the destroyed winery, read:

In the distance, thunder rumbles as a light drizzle begins to fall. You follow the muddy trail southward, descending through the woods until the trees part on either side. You turn westward toward the mist-shrouded meadow that lies in the valley below—and beyond it, the Wizard of Wines winery.

But the winery is no longer there.

In its place, a great, misshapen pile of stone, wood, and smoke sits at the center of the vineyard. The entire front facade of the winery has been torn away, the stones and wood planks cast aside like refuse. Beyond it, the stone pavilion and flagstone floors have been cracked and crunched, as if pressured beneath an enormous weight, while the walls and roof have been torn away as if by a wrathful deity. A single stone staircase, miraculously still standing, leads silently to a landing that no longer exists.

Not a single wall stands to its full height—most have been reduced to lumpy, contorted piles of rock no more than five or six feet tall. The second floor is simply gone—its pulverized remains lying in tiny, debris-ridden piles across the earth of the vineyard. The stable has been stomped flat, the tiles of its roof cracked and mixing with piles of mud-stained hay. Smashed stone blocks mingle with the splinters of finely-made barrels; the twisted wreckage of the loading winch and crane lies on its side, the rigging torn to bits. Chips and shards of furniture—beds, dressers, tables, chairs—have been thrown across the meadow, trampled and broken.

The vineyard beyond has fared no better. The fences have been smashed into kindling, the earth gouged with deep muddy ditches and piled high with mounds of soil mixed with plant matter. Not a single whole grapevine remains, the pale green of life soiled by the dark brown of earth and spreading purplish puddles that resemble gaping wounds. Through it all, a keen eye can follow lines of massive, inhuman tracks that lurch through the destruction.

The mist swirls silently across the wreckage as droplets of rain run like tears across the mud. The meadow around it is as silent as the grave.

?? The Butterfly Effect: The Winery’s Destruction

Other NPCs throughout Barovia are likely to comment on or react to Wintersplinter’s siege. If this event occurs concurrently with the Dinner with Strahd special event, consider having Strahd arriving late to the castle, and making reference to an “event” on Yester Hill. Baron Vallakovich is likely to take drastic action upon hearing of the destruction of the winery, and the Blue Water Inn will find itself in dire financial straits following the addition of several new permanent residents of the Martikov family. Krezk Burgomaster Dmitri Krezkov may offer the PCs an alternative means of entry into Krezk, should the PCs offer proof of the winery’s destruction. It is likely that the Order of the Feather, save for any specific allies that the PCs make, will blame the party for its failure to stop the druids from executing their plans.

Once Wintersplinter has returned to Yester Hill, it will likely remain there, either rooted within the center of the Druids’ Circle, or lurking within the woods nearby. Should any nearby settlement, such as Krezk, Vallaki, or Argynvostholt, anger Strahd due to the provision of sanctuary or aid to Ireena or the PCs, he may order the druids to direct Wintersplinter to siege that settlement’s walls alongside a small army of blights as punishment.

The destruction of the Winery will likely serve as a low point in the PCs’ friendship with the Martikovs, and may create a dangling sense of a job unfinished. If you wish to provide the PCs with a further reason to explore Yester Hill and Berez, consider employing the following plot hook:

?? Plot Hook: The Missing Martikovs

When Wintersplinter attacked the Wizard of Wines winery, most of the wereravens fled, save for Stefania Martikov, Davian’s daughter. Stefania fought back against the tree blight, assuming raven’s form as she flew between Wintersplinter’s brambles – only to be ensnared in a cage of brambles and branches grown from the great tree’s claws. When Stefania’s young son, Martin, broke from Davian’s grasp and pursued his mother, he too was captured, and both were spirited away to Yester Hill.

If the PCs are friendly with Muriel Vinshaw, the wereraven approaches them and begs their help in rescuing Stefania. Many years ago, before Stefania married her husband, Dag, she and Muriel shared a long, deep romance that Muriel still treasures to this day. If the PCs do not know Muriel, another member of the Keepers of the Feather may arrive to give them the quest instead.

When the PCs arrive at Yester Hill, they find Stefania Martikov bound and unconscious in a cocoon of sap and branches bound to the trunk of the Gulthias Tree. The druids have been preparing her body as a sacrifice to the vampiric tree, leaving her body scarred with ritualistic cuts, poisoned with strange fungi and roots, and smeared with soil, feces, and rotted honey.

If Stefania is rescued, she informs the PCs that her son, Martin, was traded to a group of animated scarecrows in exchange for a delivery of foul-smelling honey. If the PCs make their way to Berez to rescue Martin, they find him trapped in raven’s form in one of Baba Lysaga’s bird-cages. The hag has threatened to eat him, and plans on baking him into a pie once he’s fattened up.

Any surviving Martikov or member of the Order of the Feather may assign this quest to the PCs. If the PCs ignore this quest for two days or more, Stefania dies of her wounds soon after being rescued, and the original quest-giver can be found dead in Berez, having attempted to rescue Martin themselves and failed. Martin himself survives, having been forgotten in the cages by Baba Lysaga.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *