Curse of Strahd: Reloaded – Town of Vallaki (Revised)

C???? ?? S?????: R???????

A Campaign Guide by /u/DragnaCarta

C?????? 5: T?? T??? ?? V??????

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Table of Contents

C???? ?? S?????: R???????

C?????? 5: T?? T??? ?? V??????

W?????? ?? V??????

O??????? ?? V??????

V???????? G????????? & S??????

T?? D????’? S?????

V???????? L??

C????? & P??????????

M???????? U??????????

G?????? C?????

B??????? ??? L??

?? K??? ??? M??????? – V???????? T??? G????

R????? E?????????

P??? H???? & S?????? E?????

T?? M?????? V??????

B???????? ??? Q????

D???????????

C????????? ??? Q????

D???????????

L??? W??????’? W???

B???????? ??? Q????

D???????????

C????????? ??? Q????

D???????????

B???? V??????????’? I?????????

B???????? ??? E????

D???????????

C????????? ??? E????

D???????????

T????, T????

B???????? ??? E????

D???????????

C????????? ??? E????

D???????????

F??????? ?? ??? B?????? S??

B???????? ??? E????

D???????????

C????????? ??? E????

F???? ?? S???? A?????

B???????? ??? Q????

D???????????

C????????? ??? Q????

D???????????

T?? C????? O????????

B???????? ??? Q????

D???????????

C????????? ??? Q????

D???????????

R???????? ?? V??????

T?? R??? & P???????

T?? H???? ?? V??????????

B???? V????? V??????????

A? U?????? F?????

T?? M?????? ?? V????? V??????????

B??????? L???? P???????

B?????? V????? V??????????

V????? ??? S?????

T?? J?????? ?? V????? V??????????

I??? S??????

A D??? P????’? B???????

T?? S??????? S??????

T?? H???? ?? W??????

L??? F???? W??????

D????????????? ??? D?????

F????’? P???????

L??? W??????’? F????????

R?????? F???? W??????

S????? W??????

N?????? II & K??? W??????

E???? L?????

T?? K???????????? & W???-C????????

T?? C????? ?? S???? A?????

F????? L????? P????????

M??????

Y????

T?? K?????? ?? ??? F??????

A N?????? ?? R?????

R?????? ??? K??????

What the Wereravens Know

U???? M???????

D????? M???????

B??? & B??? M???????

T?? O???????? & O???????

T?? O???????? ?? S???? A?????

H??????????? C?????? B??????

F???x

C?????

T?? M?????? B???

T?? O???? O??????

R???????

M?????? R???????

W??? R??????? K????

R????? E?????

K?????? V??????

T?? S??????? ?? ??? D????

V????? ??? H????

G?????? ??? J?? D???

E????????? ???? V?????

?? P??? H??? – T?? R???????? C??????

H????? ??? ??? V????

L??????? V????????

A???? ?? V??????

A?????????? ??? T???

S??????? I??? V??????

N1. S?. A?????’? C?????

?? S?????? ?? F??? – H???? ?? S?. A?????’? C?????

?? W???? ? T??????? W???? – C????? ?? S?. A????? B????????

N2. B??? W???? I??

?? S?????? ?? F??? – H???? ?? ??? B??? W???? I??

R??? & B????

P??? H???? & R?????

?? T?? B???????? E????? – A S??? P????

N3. B??????????’? M??????

?? S?????? ?? F??? – H???? ?? ??? B??????????’? M??????

I??????????? ??? B????'? M????

N3T. V?????’? W???????

N4. W??????????

?? S?????? ?? F??? – H???? ?? W??????????

N4S. C?????

N5. A????? S????????

?? S?????? ?? F??? – H???? ?? A????? S????????

?? T?? B???????? E????? – S?????? R?????? F???

N6. C????? M????’? S???

?? S?????? ?? F??? – H???? ?? ??? C????? M????’? S???

N6E. H?????’? B??????

?? T?? B???????? E????? – T????????? ??? R????

N7. B?????? T???

?? S?????? ?? F??? – H???? ?? B?????? T???

N8. T??? S?????

?? S?????? ?? F??? – H???? ?? ??? T??? S?????

?? W???? ? T??????? W???? – P?????? ??? ??? F??????? ?? ??? B?????? S??

D?????-H????? C????????

S???? ?? V??????

T?? C?????? A????

L?????? T??????

E?????? D?????? C????????

V?????? W???? R?????

T?? A?????????

N9. V?????? C???

?? S?????? ?? F??? – H???? ?? ??? V?????? C???

N10. S?. A?????’? O????????

N11. V????? V?? H????’? H????


W?????? ?? V??????

O??????? ?? V??????

At more than seventy-five pages, this guide is easily the longest chapter in the Curse of Strahd: Reloaded compendium. It’s not hard to see why. Vallaki is a centerpiece of plot hooks, significant NPCs, and interlocking politics. 

However, don’t be too intimidated by this chapter’s extreme length. Rather than a mire of criss-crossing hooks and political snares, you can view Vallaki as a “home base” for your players to return to while completing the campaign. Many of the events discussed in the Plot Hooks & Special Events section should be taken as special occasions that can only happen when specific conditions occur, and most of these events can be comfortably spread out across the length of your campaign.

V???????? G????????? & S??????

Like Krezk and Barovia, Vallaki is ruled by a burgomaster: Baron Vargas Vallakovich. A cruel yet cowardly man, Baron Vallakovich believes that Vallaki can be kept safe from Strahd’s predations if its citizens retain an eternal state of happiness and mirth. To foster this goal, Vallakovich holds weekly festivals, for which attendance and smiles are mandatory. As your PCs arrive in town, the previous festival – the Wolf Head Jamboree – has recently finished, and the Baron’s servants are preparing for the next event: the Festival of the Blazing Sun.

Few residents of Vallaki are happy with their lives. Baron Vallakovich rules sternly, though not wisely, and his weekly festivals have long since lost their charm. The citizens of Vallaki dare not speak against the Baron’s “happy” world for fear that his guards will throw them in the stocks or exile them from Vallaki, forsaking them to die. 

Unlike Barovia, the streets of Vallaki are teeming with people and obvious signs of life. In contrast to the dreary emptiness of Barovia village and the lively wilderness of the Tser Pool Encampment, Vallaki should feel like a familiar, near-normal location for the PCs.

At first glance, the tyranny of the Baron’s rule is not immediately visible. The people here, though oppressed, do their best to live their lives as well as possible. Vallakovich actively encourages his citizens to smile, so a passive, jovial countenance is not uncommon amongst Vallakians, however clearly fake it may be.

Fear of the burgomaster’s justice is matched only by the residents’ fear of Strahd. Long ago, this fear drove a powerful paranoia that fueled the Vallakovichs’ rise to power. The Vallakovich family is an old noble house, and has always believed that strict laws are required to keep Vallaki safe from the Devil of Castle Ravenloft. The severity and nature of these rules have varied from Baron to Baron, but they are built into the very foundation of Vallakian society.

T?? D????’? S?????

Strahd has not openly visited Vallaki in the last century. Though he has entered the town in disguise as Lord Vasili von Holtz, he has had no reason to take a direct hand in the town’s affairs. For the past one hundred years, he has waited patiently for Tatyana to be reincarnated, and so allowed the Vallakians to live their lives free of his personal influence.

Because of Strahd’s absence, the people of Vallaki have come to believe that their methods – guards, curfews, laws, and festivals – are effective in keeping the vampire at bay. None suspect that Strahd’s absence is caused by simple apathy. As a result, the Vallakovich family has effectively consolidated its power within the town’s walls, turning the elected position of burgomaster to the hereditary title of Baron.

V???????? L??

C????? & P??????????

M???????? U??????????

Under Baron Vargas Vallakovich, Vallaki has the following laws:

  • None shall speak Strahd’s name aloud or carry written documents bearing his name. Vallakovich believes that to speak his name is to summon his attention or presence. When they must, Vallakians refer to Strahd simply as “the Devil.”

  • None may speak ill of the Baron or his festivals, nor hold any documents that present either in an ill light. The Baron believes that happiness is the key to the town’s safety, and severely punishes any resident that threatens to harm “morale.”

  • All visitors and residents shall assist with the festivals. This includes both preparations and clean-up. These duties rotate through the general public on a random basis, in a manner similar to jury duty.

  • All visitors and residents shall attend the festival. Guards routinely go door-to-door in the time before and during a festival, and patrol the streets to ensure that no attendee has been left out.

Any Vallakian charged with breaking these laws is charged with “malicious unhappiness,” and sentenced to 2d6 days of public humiliation in the stocks. The length of the criminal’s stay in the stocks depends on the severity of the crime and the intent of the offender.

G?????? C?????

Theft and “public brawling” are punished with 4d6 days of public humiliation in the stocks, with the length of the criminal’s stay depending on the severity and intent. Theft from the Baron’s estate, repeated minor offenses, or major injury to another civilian are punishable by exile from Vallaki to the wilderness of the Svalich Woods.

Murder is rare to nonexistent in Vallaki. However, on the rare occasion that a Vallakian kills another – intentionally or not – the perpetrator is sentenced to a public hanging from the gallows in the Town Square. While awaiting their sentence, the perpetrator is imprisoned in the stocks alongside other criminals, and is executed at the next sunset following their arrest.

B??????? ??? L??

As-written, if the PCs get on the Baron’s bad side by breaking one or more laws, he accuses them of being “spies of the devil Strahd” and sends twelve guards to arrest them, seize their weapons, and run them out of town.

?? K??? ??? M??????? – V???????? T??? G????

The guards (and Izek, if present) make every effort to subdue the PCs, only moving to attack the PCs if one of their own has been slain. Under no circumstances do the low-level guards outright attack a party of high-level PCs, instead preferring to incapacitate their enemies one at a time through ambush, overwhelming force, and the use of rope ties to render their opponents incapable of fighting back. 

The guards first attempt to grapple the PCs. Once a PC has been grappled, any guard will try to shove them prone. Once a PC is prone and grappled, any of the guards can attempt to tie the PC’s hands behind their back, making a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the PC’s choice of Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) to do so. A prone PC’s contested check is made with disadvantage.

The rope can be snapped with a DC 15 Strength check, and has AC 12 and 2 Hit Points. Any creature bound by the guards’ rope gains the restrained condition, but can still move at half speed. A second length of rope can also be tied around the ankles, capping any creature’s movement speed at 5 feet per round (barring the use of the Dash action).

If it becomes clear to the guards that they face an overwhelmingly powerful force, they take the Disengage action and swiftly flee.

If the guards fail in their duty, the baron sends Izek to rally a mob of thirty commoners to lynch the party. These commoners attempt to grapple and drag the party to the stocks, at which point a makeshift gallows is erected. Any PC lynched by the commoners has a single round to act before the impact snaps their neck.

If the commoners also fail, the baron summons the twelve remaining guards to defend his mansion, giving the characters the run of the town.

R????? E?????????

d6

Encounter

1

While walking through the streets, the PCs pass a puppet show run by a brightly-dressed man – Rictavio. His small stage is surrounded by a half-dozen drab Barovians watching from the muddy cobblestones.

2

While walking through the streets, the PCs pass a Dominionist follower of Lady Wachter preaching of “the coming of the Sun” to a paltry audience of three Barovians. One Loyalist jeers at the preacher, and a passing guard quells any dispute.

3

The PCs are watched by a raven with blue-tipped wings. This raven is secretly Muriel Vinshaw of the Keepers of the Feather in raven form.

4

The PCs notice two children pointing at Ireena and whispering. If approached, the children mention that Ireena looks exactly like Blinsky’s dolls.

5

An wild-eyed old man grabs the PCs and yells about dark magic and purple flashes of light from the attic of the Burgomaster’s Manor in the night. Two guards rapidly approach and drag him away.

6

Two orphans stand on a street corner, singing a hymn to the Morninglord in off-key voices. The poorly-spelled sign on their bucket invites donations to St. Andral’s Orphanage. On closer inspection, one of the children has a dark bruise on their arm.

P??? H???? & S?????? E?????


Key: (+) = Positive Outcome / (-) = Negative Outcome

Link to Full Image

T?? M?????? V??????

Bluto Krogarov, a Vallakian fisherman without a soul, has been unable to catch any fish at Lake Zarovich for the past several weeks. In a fit of maddened desperation, he recently kidnapped the Vistani child Arabelle while she played in Vallaki with her friends at the Orphanage of Saint Andral. Using Blinsky toys to keep her quiet, Bluto is currently preparing to drown Arabelle in Lake Zarovich as a sacrifice to the lake with the hopes of filling his nets with fish once more.

B???????? ??? Q????

The PCs can learn of this quest at any one of the following locations:

  • If the PCs talk to Arrigal and Luvash at the Vistani camp near Vallaki and view them punishing Alexei, the characters may offer to rescue Arabelle in exchange for goodwill, a monetary reward, or a treasure placed in the Vistani treasure wagon by Madam Eva’s Tarokka reading.

  • If the PCs encounter Bluto at Lake Zarovich as he prepares to sacrifice Arabelle, the characters may decide to row out to meet him and rescue Arabelle from her sack before she sinks beneath the waves.

  • If the PCs encounter a group of travelling Vistani on the Old Svalich Road, or if they meet Savid in Argynvostholt, the characters may offer to journey to the Vistani camp in order to learn more about Arabelle’s disappearance and her abilities as a seer.

D???????????

Neither Luvash nor Arrigal has been able to search for Arabelle within Vallaki, due to the laws barring Vistani from entry. However, Arrigal knows that Arabelle has been known to sneak into town to play with the children of St. Andral’s Orphanage, and that she is especially fascinated by the festivals that take place within Vallaki.

If the PCs agree to find her, Luvash gives them a small necklace bearing a bronze tab decorated with a trio of twinkling stars – Arabelle’s favorite. He tells them that she will trust them if that necklace is presented to her. A transformed druid or ranger’s companion with the Keen Senses feature can use Arabelle’s necklace to track her to the Orphanage of Saint Andral, Blinsky Toys, Bluto’s home, and Lake Zarovich (in that order) with a successful DC 15 Perception (Wisdom) check. 

Otherwise, the orphans of St. Andral’s Orphanage can inform the PCs that they recently saw a grimy-looking man wearing a straw hat and carrying a bottle of wine watching them play when Arabelle was last in Vallaki. Danika Martikov or Headmistress Claudia Belasco of the Orphanage can quickly identify that as Bluto, the town drunk and local fisherman, and point the PCs toward his home.

Bluto’s neighbor Camilla Veredov, a gossipy dowager arranging pots of sickly-looking flowers, can inform the PCs that Bluto has not been seen in more than a day, having vanished after boasting of a new “good-luck” charm that he hoped would solve his fishing woes. Danika Martikov can share the same information.

C????????? ??? Q????

When the PCs arrive at Lake Zarovich, they will have to pass the following skill challenge to save Arabelle, the Vistana child that Bluto Krogarov has kidnapped. See here for more information on how to run skill challenges.

In this skill challenge, the PCs must accrue three successes before three failures. If the PCs pass this challenge, they are able to rescue Arabelle before she drowns. If the challenge is failed with at least one success, the PCs are able to recover Arabelle’s corpse from the lake. If the challenge is failed with zero successes, Arabelle’s corpse falls into the depths of Lake Zarovich, lost among the dark silt and cold currents. 

This skill challenge is divided into three separate stages: Sprint, Recovery, and Revival.

During the Sprint, your PCs must reach Bluto’s boat before Arabelle’s sack sinks too deep in the water. One success is required to progress from this stage to the Recovery stage. Your PCs may use several skills or abilities to pass this section of the skill challenge, including any of the following features:

  • Athletics (DC 13 – Moderate) can be used to swim from shore to rescue Arabelle.

  • Athletics (DC 8 – Easy) can be used to swim to Arabelle’s rescue if the PCs previously took a rowboat out onto the lake.

  • Nature (DC 18 – Hard) can be used to spot currents in the water’s surface that can speed one’s progress.

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Enlarge, Gust of Wind, Alter Self, or Misty Step; or cantrips (DC 8 – Easy) such as Shape Water can be used to speed a PC’s attempts to swim toward Arabelle.

In the second part, the Recovery stage, your PCs must swim deep enough to retrieve Arabelle’s sack before it sinks into the murky depths. One success is required to progress from this stage to the Revival stage.

  • Athletics (DC 8 – Easy) can be used to carry Arabelle’s sack back to the surface.

  • Perception (DC 13 – Moderate) can be used to peer through the silt-choked water to track the movement of Arabelle’s sack.

  • Investigation (DC 18 – Hard) can be used to feel the motion of the water currents to track the displacement of the sinking Arabelle.

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Enlarge, Gust of Wind, Alter Self, or Misty Step; or cantrips (DC 8 – Easy) such as Shape Water can be used to speed a PC’s attempts to dive down to Arabelle.

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Levitate, Tenser’s Floating Disk, or Feather Fall; or cantrips (DC 8 – Easy) such as Gust or Shape Water can be used to raise Arabelle through the water toward her rescuer.

With Arabelle saved from a watery fate, the PCs find the girl unconscious, unmoving, and unresponsive. In the Revival stage, she must be saved from the liquid in her lungs before it suffocates her. If the PCs achieve their third success in this stage before failing, they complete the skill challenge successfully.

  • Medicine (DC 8 – Easy) or Survival (DC 13 – Moderate) can be used to pump the water from Arabelle’s lungs.

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Healing Word; or cantrips (DC 8 – Easy) such as Shape Water can be used to remove the water suffocating the girl.

D???????????

If the PCs succeed in rescuing Arabelle, the precocious young Vistana thanks them for their aid, and asks them to deliver her to the Vistani encampment near Vallaki. Upon arrival, Luvash greets Arabelle joyously, and showers the PCs with praise, offering the party the choice of an artifact or treasure from the Vistani treasure wagon. As the party prepares to leave, Arabelle’s gifts as a seer overtake her, and she delivers a foreboding prophecy that foreshadows a great danger or reward in the trials to come. From this point forward, the PCs are always welcome at the Vistani encampment here, and Arrigal refuses any assignments Strahd may make to hunt or steal from the PCs.

If the PCs fail to rescue Arabelle before she drowns, or if they ignore this quest entirely for seven days or more, Arabelle is drowned beneath the waters of Lake Zarovich. With her dying breath, Arabelle curses Bluto with the power within her Vistana blood. Her malediction, strengthened by the trauma of her death and her relation to Madam Eva, disfigures Bluto’s face into a wolf’s muzzle, so that he may resemble in body the predator he has become in spirit.

Bluto flees for Vallaki and hides himself away in his home, ashamed and terrified of discovery. Two days after drowning Arabelle, Bluto emerges into Vallaki’s market to purchase basic foodstuffs and supplies, and is discovered by the town guard when the rag he has wrapped around his face falls loose. He is captured and imprisoned in the stocks. Baron Vallakovich proceeds to parade Bluto about the town in chains during the next festival, releasing him shortly before the burning of the wicker sun for the townsfolk to stone him to death.

L??? W??????’? W???

Lady Fiona Wachter has become embittered by the inept and malicious rule of Baron Vargas Vallakovich and his line, and wishes to destroy his family for the harm that Victor inflicted on her daughter, Stella. To this end, she seeks a worthy accomplice or mercenary to dispose of the Baron’s greatest asset and protector – his enforcer and Captain of the Guard, Izek Strazni, who has terrified Vallaki with his barbarity and supernatural power.

B???????? ??? Q????

Lady Wachter has seen many adventurers come and go, and knows only that a special group of newcomers will be useful to her plans. Fiona’s interest is roused if the PCs do anything that makes them stand out as potential defenders of the citizens of Vallaki or enemies of Baron Vallakovich, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Deliver barrels of wine from the Wizard of Wines to the Blue Water Inn

  • Defy Baron Vallakovich and rescue Lars Kjurl at the Festival of the Blazing Sun

  • Successfully resist arrest by the Vallakian guard

Once Fiona has identified the PCs as an asset to her plans, she sends Ernst Larnak or her sons to deliver a standing invitation to dinner at Wachterhaus.

D???????????

Upon meeting the party, Wachter will inspect and politely interrogate each of her guests.  She favors tieflings for their “beautiful” Abyssal nature.

During this meeting, Wachter is quite open, if politely so, about her distaste for the Baron. She makes the following points in their conversation in an attempt to sway the PCs to her side:

  • Vargas is not the first terrible burgomaster of the Vallakovich line. Each Baron has been just as terrible as the last, if not worse. His father, Vargon, was a mad tyrant who ruled Vallaki with an iron fist and cruel, inhumane punishments.

  • Vargas and his captain, Izek Strazni, are brutes. It is common knowledge that Izek relishes the torture of prisoners, but Fiona believes that Vargas has his own mean streak. The Baron’s wife, Lydia, is a fragile, delicate woman – she likely fears her husband’s wrath.

  • Fiona attempted to create an understanding between their two families by arranging the marriage between their children. However, she was unaware of Victor Vallakovich’s cruelty, and the apathy Vargas had toward her daughter’s wellbeing. Though Wachter does not know what Victor did to Stella to destroy her mind, she knows it must have been horrific. It clearly pains her to share this story with the party, but she does so to convey the hereditary corruption of the Baron’s family line.

If the flow of conversation allows, Fiona may relate the story of her meeting with Strahd as a young woman. As-written, she shares her belief that Strahd is, at worst, a negligent landlord, and points out Zarovich’s calm and diplomatic nature, as well as her belief that Vallaki would remain safe under the vampire’s rule if guided by the correct leader.  She uses the Devil’s name freely, and claims that “a servant of the light has no fear of the dark.”

Toward the end of the meeting, Fiona makes an effort to feel out the party’s sympathy toward herself and her cause. If the atmosphere is hostile or suspicious, she thanks the PCs for their time and sends them on their way. She then assigns Ernst Larnak to tail the party, who reports back to Fiona immediately if he witnesses the PCs conspiring against her.

If Fiona feels she has earned the party’s trust, she informs them that, as a young woman, she received a prophecy from a seer that told of their coming. Wachter believes that the party’s arrival in Vallaki foretells the beginning of a new age, and she wants dearly to bring this to fruition. Under no circumstances does she reveal the true nature of her “book club,” though she may make reference to her “friends” amongst the Vallakian populace.

If the PCs seem willing, Fiona asks them to assassinate Izek Strazni, the Baron’s top enforcer and main protector. If the PCs appear reluctant to do so because they have begun the I???’? O???????? quest, Lady Wachter asks them instead to persuade Izek to turn on the Baron himself – or, if he cannot be persuaded to kill the Baron by his own hand, to step away and allow Fiona’s agents to remove him from Vallaki themselves. Fiona is not interested in the prospect of killing or exiling the Baron while Izek remains present to retrieve and/or avenge him.

C????????? ??? Q????

The PCs can find by visiting or with a successful DC 10 Intelligence (Investigation) check that Izek can often be found patrolling Vallaki’s Town Square during the day, and sleeping in his quarters at the Baron’s manor by night. Alternatively, if the characters have met the necessary conditions for triggering the I???’? O???????? quest, Izek seeks out his sibling at the Blue Water Inn or other place of residence to introduce himself and show them around Vallaki.

If he is neutral or hostile to the PCs, Izek is a dangerous opponent. At no time does he leave the side of his trusty greataxe, and he is always hungry for a fight. He may mock his assailants for failing to face him in a fair two-man fight, but will happily employ any dirty tricks (e.g., attacking bystanding PCs with surprise) as necessary. In combat, Izek uses his Hurl Flame multiattack as he closes the distance to his enemies, and switches to his greataxe once entering melee. In a melee fight, Izek attempts to corner the most vulnerable of his opponents before attacking them with his greataxe, focusing fire on one weakened PC at a time. His childhood tragedy and blossoming sociopathy have left Izek without fear, and he does not flee battle once engaged.

If the PCs attempt to convince Izek to assassinate or allow them to assassinate the Baron, only his sibling is able to do so. Even then, a successful DC 15 Charisma (Persuasion) check on the part of his sibling is required, and the party must provide direct evidence that the Baron’s removal from power will have positive consequences for Izek or his sibling (given that Izek is, above all else, a creature of selfish desires). Izek cannot be convinced by arguments for the greater good of Vallaki, and believes that he alone knows what is best for himself and his sibling.

If the party is in need of a place to stay, Fiona offers her own home to them. She makes her sons’ rooms fit for guests, informing the PCs that Nikolai and Karl stay out most nights anyway. She notes, however, that Stella’s room, the basement, and the master bedroom are strictly off limits.

D???????????

It is likely that the PCs may remain skeptical of Lady Wachter’s intentions, especially given her lack of antagonism toward Strahd. Sufficiently paranoid parties may even discover the true nature of her inner circle. If Fiona suspects that the PCs may betray her, she hands Ernst a bag of 100 gp (taken from area N4q) and instructs him to deliver it to the Vistani camp outside town, along with a letter from her that asks Arrigal to dispose of the characters once they have left town. The Vistani burn the letter after reading it, as per Lady Wachter's request. If the characters have rescued Arabelle (see T?? M?????? V?????? above), the Vistani return Lady Wachter's gold to Ernst and do nothing. Otherwise, a Vistana bandit watches the road east of Vallaki and reports back to camp if the characters are sighted leaving. Arrigal pursues the PCs thereafter, attacking from the shadows during their next short or long rest outside of civilization if he feels confident that he can take them on.

Otherwise, once Izek is assassinated or otherwise removed, Lady Wachter directs her three cult fanatics, guided by her imp, Majesto, to sneak into the Baron’s manor by night and take him and his family captive. Following an arcane duel that leaves Lydia and two of Fiona’s cult fanatics dead, Victor Vallakovich flees his father’s manor for an abandoned cottage just beyond Vallaki’s western gates. The surviving fanatic and two of Lady Wachter’s cultists take the unconscious Vargas and Vallakovich servants to Lake Zarovich, where Ernst Larnak slits their throats and drowns the corpses beneath the waves.

The following morning, Lady Wachter publicly drafts a search party to search for the Baron and his family, ensuring behind the scenes that their mission is a farce. Meanwhile, she claims the title of “acting Baroness,” which is indisputed without Izek to challenge her power. 

Once her power is consolidated, Lady Wachter implements the following reforms:

  • Abolishment of all town festivals, excepting those held as part of a normal seasonal celebration

  • Immediate release of all prisoners kept in the stocks due to “malicious unhappiness”

  • Prohibition of the word “Devil” to describe Strahd von Zarovich. “Lord Zarovich” or “Count Zarovich” will suffice instead.

  • Regular meetings with Rahadin and Anastraya Karelova at Wachterhaus, transported by Strahd’s black carriage after sundown in full sight of Vallaki’s citizenry and guards. (Fiona claims that the meetings are “diplomatic summits” in order to “keep the peace.”)

  • (Eventual) reinstatement of the centuries-old practice of paying Strahd’s twice-annual taxes via the provision a young (and preferably attractive) Vallakian citizen, delivered willingly or by force in Strahd’s black carriage. Twelve potential sacrifices are chosen by lots, and the final sacrifice is selected by Anastraya (who specifically chooses a sacrifice with a soul).

Lady Wachter is driven by four things: Her loathing for the Vallakoviches, her love for her children, her loyalty to Strahd, and her belief in a better Valalki. Once Vargas’ legacy has been thoroughly stomped out, she will implement reforms that she believes will drive Strahd to look upon Vallaki more favorably. If Ireena is present in Vallaki, Strahd may reach out to her in an effort to drive her into his arms. Fiona will also receive orders to begin hunting for Rudolph van Richten, and will actively forbid entry to Vallaki for the PCs if they are enemies of Strahd.

B???? V??????????’? I?????????

Baron Vallakovich is ever-fearful for the stability of his position, and fears especially the machinations of Strahd’s agents within the walls of Vallaki. The Vallakovich line has long maintained an enmity for the house of Wachter, and that rivalry has only deepened between Vargas and Fiona.

Vargas believes strongly that Fiona Wachter has designs on his position, and suspects Fiona to be an active conspirator and servant of the Devil. He knows also that two of his servants have vanished in recent weeks, and believes – incorrectly – that Lady Wachter abducted them to steal information regarding his habits and defenses. 

However, he has been unable to act on his suspicions, as the ancient house of Wachter is well-established in town and has both wealth, property, and friends in many places, including a number of vassals that work the land Fiona owns. If Vallakovich were to move openly against Lady Wachter, Vallaki would erupt into riots, and his life’s work would be lost. As such, he has faced difficulty in recruiting guards to investigate Lady Wachter’s secrets. Izek, of course, is far from a subtle inquisitor.

B???????? ??? E????

If the Baron learns that the daughter of Barovia’s burgomaster is in Vallaki, or if the actions of the PCs lead him to believe that they may be potential allies, he swiftly sends Izek to personally invite the party over for tea. The PCs might also request an audience with the Baron in an effort to find sanctuary for Ireena, or to gain access to his library or a treasure hidden in his attic.

Should he find them trustworthy and firmly opposed to the Devil’s servants, he asks them to investigate Lady Wachter’s home for signs of conspiracy or heresy. As a reward, he offers to assign a pair of guards to watch over Ireena Kolyana for as long as she remains in Vallaki, as well as the substantial sum of 200 gp for their services.

He invites the PCs to begin their investigation in his mansion, and suggests they interview his wife and son. Lydia is able to provide no useful information, but the PCs are likely to uncover the servants’ fate upon recovering Victor Vallakovich’s journal from his study in the attic.

D???????????

Should the PCs accept the invitation (which Ireena strongly urges for the sake of diplomacy), they are welcomed by Vargas’ wife, Lydia, and guided into the Den (area N3E), where the Baron meets them after a few minutes of waiting. In the meantime, Lydia does her best to entertain the PCs, though she is so lost to Vargas’ beliefs that it is clear that she is barely able to process any other information. If the PCs make any questionable remarks or questions, Lydia only laughs fearfully and ignores their words entirely.

While enjoying a bitter-tasting tea brewed by the cook, the Baron asks the PCs their opinions of his “magnificent society.” He waxes at length regarding the work he has done to keep Strahd’s influence out of the valley, and brags about the “perfect happiness” enjoyed by his subjects. His speech patterns are streaked with nervous tics and repeated phrases (e.g., “All will be well!”), and his face never loses its constant, gritted smile. During this time, Lydia falls entirely silent, speaking only when spoken to and making clearly scripted responses.

Should the PCs degrade or question Vallaki’s laws or culture in any way, the Baron’s attitude toward them quickly chills; if the PCs insult any tenet of Vallakian society, the Baron orders them to leave. Should the PCs directly challenge the Baron’s authority, or if the situation otherwise goes rapidly downhill, he waits for the PCs to leave before sending twelve guards to arrest them, seize their weapons, and run them out of town. For more information on running the Baron’s animosity, see B??????? ??? L?? above.

Should tea-time go well, the Baron asks the PCs to investigate the indiscretions of Lady Wachter or the disappearances of his servants. Additionally, should Ireena’s appearance and personality charm him, he is likely to begin making preparations for an engagement between her and his son, Victor. After the “travesty” of a mate that Stella Wachter proved to be, it’s important the the Baron find a properly blue-blooded and demure woman for his son to marry. If the PCs or Ireena mention her need for a place to stay, the Baron instantly offers his own home – after all, there can be no greater sanctuary from the Devil than the domicile of his greatest enemy.

If the PCs reject the Baron’s invitation to tea, he is grossly offended, and orders Izek to punish them severely if caught making the slightest infraction.

C????????? ??? E????

In the course of carrying out the Baron’s wishes, the PCs may choose to investigate Lady Wachter further, either by infiltrating her estate or through subterfuge.

If she catches PCs snooping around her home – especially after breaking and entering – Lady Wacher first attempts to persuade them to leave peacefully, claiming full innocence of any crime or ill behavior. If the PCs claim to be convinced of her guilt, Lady Wachter leads them to the room of her daughter, Stella, and describes the terrible crimes that Victor Vallakovich has brought upon her family. If the PCs appear sympathetic, Fiona may then attempt to assign them the quest L??? W??????’? W???, as described above.

If the PCs approach Lady Wachter and attempt to engage her socially, with the goal of gaining access to her secrets or tricking her into revealing incriminating information, she is more than happy to invite a party of newcomers to dine with her at Wachterhaus. If the PCs appear sympathetic, Fiona may then attempt to assign them the quest L??? W??????’? W???, as described above.

D???????????

If the Baron is informed of Lady Wachter’s treasonous plans, he instantly asks the PCs to seek out incriminating evidence that will sway the town to his side. If the PCs have any information regarding incriminating objects within Wachterhaus, the Baron writes a warrant of investigation and assigns Izek and a platoon of six guards to ransack Fiona’s manor. Once any evidence is found – including the corpse of Nikolai Wachter or the animated skeletons in the basement – the Baron orders the immediate arrest of Lady Wachter and her children. Fiona and her sons are swiftly imprisoned in the stocks following a mockery of a trial, and Stella is locked away in St. Andral’s Orphanage for the rest of her maddened life. Fiona is able to escape arrest through the use of her arcane powers, and flees alongside Majesto and her three cult fanatics to seek refuge at Castle Ravenloft. Nikolai II and Karl are later tied to stakes above the wicker sun at the Festival of the Blazing Sun and burned alive as an example.

If Ernst or another of Fiona’s spies are alerted to the Baron’s intentions, Lady Wachter quickly moves to cleanse her home of all incriminating evidence, relocating any questionable items or texts to the secret chamber in her basement. If she is prepared for her own imminent arrest, she takes shelter in the cellar of one of her followers’ homes, and from there directs a guerilla rebellion that begins with the arson of the Burgomaster’s Manor.

T????, T????

Karl and Nikolai Wachter are young, foolish men from a proud noble family. The drunken brothers sneak into Arasek's Stockyard while everyone else is attending the festival in the town square. On a dare, one of them rocks the wagon. The saber-toothed tiger locked inside becomes enraged and smashes through the wagon door. The characters and everyone else in town hear the screams of the young men as the tiger escapes. The tiger flees the stockyard without harming the Wachters and begins to prowl the streets, looking for an escape. Reports of a tiger running loose in the streets ruin the festival and send townsfolk scurrying for their homes.

B???????? ??? E????

If the PCs are in Vallaki on the day of the Festival of the Blazing Sun, they are alerted to the tiger’s escape by the sound of Nikolai and Karl’s screams nearby. Alternatively, if the PCs encounter and befriend Nikolai II or Karl in the days before the Festival (e.g., sharing drinks at the Blue Water Inn), either of the siblings may invite the PCs to ditch the “boring” Festival and share in some mischief instead.

D???????????

The saber-toothed tiger doesn't harm anyone until it takes damage, whereupon it attacks the perceived source of the damage. If he is still alive, Izek Strazni gathers six town guards and hunts down the beast with the intention of killing it. Meanwhile, Rictavio does his best to lure the beast back to his wagon while assuring townsfolk that it won't harm them.

C????????? ??? E????

The tiger, which Rictavio has named Rameses, makes its way to Blinsky Toys, following the scent of the monkey Piccolo in an effort to rejoin its master. The PCs can track it using a skill challenge (see here for more information on running skill challenges), employing the following skills in an effort to gain three successes before three failures:

  • Stealth (DC 18/20 – Hard) may be used to avoid disturbing the tiger or drawing attention to the party’s investigation.

  • Animal Handling (DC 13/15 – Moderate) may be used to coax the tiger out of the store.

  • Nature (DC 13/15 – Moderate) may be used to calculate the tiger’s likely path or identify its species, thereby predicting its behavior.

  • Perception or Survival (DC 13/15 – Moderate) may be used to find and follow the tiger’s tracks.

  • Investigation may be used to infer the tiger’s trail from the site of its escape (Moderate – DC 13/15).

  • Persuasion, Deception, or Intimidate (DC 8/10 – Easy) may be used to draw clues from startled eyewitnesses.

  • Athletics or Acrobatics (DC 13/15 – Moderate) may be used to take shortcuts through twisting Vallaki alleyways or across nearby roofs.

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) or cantrips (DC 13/15 – Moderate) may be used at the DM’s discretion to achieve any of the goals listed above.

The different DCs (e.g., 13/15) reflect the increase in difficulty that skill challenges undergo when the PCs reach level 5. If the PCs are below level 5 during this challenge, use the first given number; if they are at or above level 5 (and below level 10) during this challenge, use the second number.

If the PCs pass the skill challenge, they arrive at Blinsky Toys to find Piccolo perched on Rameses’ shoulder as the tiger prowls the length of the store, and Gadof Blinsky cowering on an upper shelf. If the PCs fail the challenge, they arrive to find that a platoon of four guards has arrived before they, and are currently aggravating Rameses with their pikes while preparing to attack. It is instantly clear to any PCs that Rameses has no intention of fighting, and is only hostile if cornered.

A DC 15 Animal Handling (Wisdom) check will allow any PC to calm Rameses. If the PCs fail both the skill challenge and this check, Rameses lashes out at the guards nearby, which provokes a full-on brawl. Rictavio arrives as soon Rameses is calmed, or at the beginning of the third round of combat. If the guards are present, he calms Rameses and attempts to gain the PCs’ support in persuading the guards to allow him to leave with the tiger. If the PCs refuse, or fail to persuade the guards, Rictavio nonlethally dispatches the guards and flees with Rameses in tow.

D???????????

If the PCs provide any aid to Rictavio during this encounter, or if they succeed in finding and peacefully securing Rameses before he arrives, Rictavio thanks them for their assistance and invites them to join him at the tower at Lake Baratok should they need a safe haven. He then vanishes with Rameses into the alleys of Vallaki, gathering his possessions from the hidden compartment of his wagon and fleeing for refuge at Van Richten’s Tower.

If he's still in power, the burgomaster conducts an investigation to find out where the tiger came from. Guards and local witnesses are questioned. The Wachter boys feign innocence, insisting that they were at the festival, but Gunther and Yelena Arasek admit to hearing "evil growls" and scratching sounds coming from inside the carnival wagon parked in their stockyard. When pressed, the Araseks admit to seeing the wagon's "weird owner" routinely drop food into the wagon through a hatch in the roof. They also confess that the half-elf paid them for their silence.

After the burgomaster learns that the tiger belongs to Rictavio, he commands his guards to arrest the mysterious bard. If Rictavio thinks the characters can help him, he asks them to distract the burgomaster and the guards while he gathers his horse, wagon, and tiger (in that order). If the characters ask Rictavio where he plans to go, he tells them about an old tower to the west where he can lie low.

F??????? ?? ??? B?????? S??

B???????? ??? E????

The Festival of the Blazing Sun begins at sunrise on the third day after the PCs enter Vallaki, exactly one week after the Wolf’s Head Jamboree. That morning, all the townsfolk are shepherded (though few need to be led) by the town guards into the Town Square for a day of “light and liveliness.” This Festival has been prepared specifically by Baron Vallakovich as a political countermeasure to Lady Wachter’s growing popularity and the expanding membership of the Dominionists within the town.

Throughout the morning, the townsfolk are made to endure a program of poorly-prepared musical numbers, enforced “decoration appreciation,” a lengthy session of prayer and off-key song, and a two-hour speech on security and obedience by Baron Vallakovich. Several shopkeepers set up stands in the square during this time, including Gadof Blinsky, who displays his best work of the month, and Rictavio, who puts on a small puppet show for the local children.

D???????????

Shortly before noon, Baron Vallakovich directs his guards to assemble the Parade of the Blazing Sun, during which the wicker sun is brought out of the Burgomaster’s Mansion and placed in the center of the street behind a parade of children wearing poorly made flower costumes. When noon arrives, Vargas rides his horse through the streets, leading the parade back into the Town Square. The wicker sun, carried by a quartet of guards, is set upon a platform constructed beside the stocks and gallows, and is set alight following a speech by Vargas that ends with his traditional phrase, “All will be well!”

It is at this point that the storm clouds that have gathered over Vallaki erupt, dousing the wicker sun.

C????????? ??? E????

See F??????? ?? ??? B?????? S?? in the original module for a complete discussion of how this event unfolds.

F???? ?? S???? A?????

Nearly five weeks before the PCs arrived in Barovia, Ludmilla Vilisevic – Strahd’s most loyal and highest-ranking bride – visits Vallaki to gather intelligence on the town’s sociopolitical situation. After learning of Tatyana’s most recent incarnation, and without prompting by Strahd, she makes the calculation that Ireena will need to be guided to Castle Ravenloft through the absence of any other safe haven that the girl might use to escape her fate. Ludmilla then takes it upon herself to monitor the hallowed ground of the Church of Saint Andral, in case that it might provide sanctuary to the embattled Ireena.

B???????? ??? Q????

If Ireena remains within the Church of Saint Andral for at least three days, Ludmilla concocts a plan to both deconsecrate the Church and destabilize Vallaki’s social situation, leaving the town completely unfit for Ireena’s habitation. She visits Henrik van der Voort, finding him a suitable proxy for her plan due to his cowardly personality and social isolation. Through a combination of thinly-veiled threats and the promise of a substantial reward, she tasks him with uncovering the secret to the Church’s holy ground.

The next day, a cloaked and hooded Henrik recruits Milivoj to his cause, providing the gravedigger with fifty gold pieces and a cursed locket that Ludmilla promises will seal him to secrecy. This same locket later finds its way into the hands of the orphan, Felix, sending St. Andral’s Orphanage spiraling into tragedy. See T?? C????? O???????? quest below for more information on the fate of this transaction.

That night, Ludmilla employs Castle Ravenloft’s Teleportation Room to deliver six vampire spawn to Henrik’s shop, both in preparation for their assault, and as incentive for the coffin maker to expedite his work. The next evening, Milivoj – grown sick and pale from the passive influence of the demonic locket – meets with an anxious Henrik in the Town Square to report his findings. Milivoj receives instructions to steal the bones and deliver them to a cart near Wachterhaus, outside the home of Bluto Krogarov, the town drunk. Milivoj steals the bones from Saint Andral’s crypt at midnight, and receives his sack of gold upon their delivery. 

The following morning, Milivoj makes his way to the Blue Water Inn, where he hires the wolf hunters, Szoldar Szoldarovich and Yevgeni Krushkin, to find three orphans that have gone missing from St. Andral’s Orphanage. Upon his return to the Orphanage, he collapses into unconsciousness, falling fully under the spell of the demon imprisoned in the locket he had brought home.

On the seventh day of Ireena’s presence within the Church – the dawn immediately following the bones’ disappearance – Father Lucian discovers the theft. The bones serve as his holy symbol while he is within the church; without them, he bears none of his priestly abilities and is reduced to the statblock of a commoner. If the party includes a cleric or paladin known to him, Father Lucian immediately seeks them out and relates the church’s plight to that PC before begging for their help. Otherwise, he informs Ireena of the church’s dilemma, and she seeks the PCs out to ask their aid as quickly as possible. If she is friendly with the Martikovs at Blue Water Inn, Urwin notices her distress and offers to dispatch a messenger raven to the PCs, which arrives no more than two hours later bearing a note requesting their urgent help.

D???????????

When the PCs arrive, Father Lucian clears out the Church, and proceeds to lead the PCs down into the hidden crypt beneath the stone altar at the head of the sanctuary. There, he reveals the stone slab where St. Andral’s bones once lay, and informs the PCs that the remains must be restored to their previous resting place to re-consecrate the once-hallowed ground.

Unlike the module, Father Lucian does not suspect Milivoj to be the culprit. He views the boy as something close to a son, and would never break that trust. However, he and Yeska were out of the Church during the night that he suspects the bones were stolen, and Milivoj was assigned to dig a trio of fresh graves that evening. Lucian hopes that Milivoj may have seen any strangers entering or exiting the Church. Lucian provides the PCs with basic directions to St. Andral’s Orphanage, where Milivoj lives, and wishes them luck.

C????????? ??? Q????

In order to complete this portion of the quest, the PCs will likely need to complete the C????? O???????? storyline first. See below for more details on running this subquest. Otherwise, a PC may employ the Locate Object spell in order to detect the bones directly.

Once they have uncovered the truth of his crime, the PCs may pursue Milivoj’s leads at any one of several locations. Do remember that all clues involving Bluto, Baron Vallakovich, or Lady Wachter are red herrings, and should be presented to force the PCs to either critically examine their clues or waste precious time.

Blue Water Inn: Danika Martikov can inform the PCs that Bluto has not been seen in more than a day, having vanished after boasting of a new “good-luck” charm that he hoped would solve his fishing woes. She can also relate the recent death of Bluto’s wife, a sickly woman named Vanessa. If provided the description of Milivoj’s employer, Danika is able to quickly match it to descriptions of Bluto, Henrik van der Voort, and Ernst Larnak (who served as a laborer before his employment to Lady Wachter). Szoldar and Yevgeni can inform the PCs that, after tracking the boys that fled from the Orphanage, they lost the trail close to a favored haunt of the werewolf pack. They believe the boys to be dead, or else taken to the pack’s den and turned. Both advise the PCs not to investigate further.

Bluto Krogarov’s House: Bluto’s neighbor Camilla Veredov, a gossipy dowager arranging pots of sickly-looking flowers, can inform the PCs that Bluto has not been seen in more than a day, having vanished after boasting of a new “good-luck” charm that he hoped would solve his fishing woes. She can also relate the recent death of Bluto’s wife, a sickly woman named Vanessa, and believes that the cart left outside his house that night belonged to the local coffin maker, who had delivered the coffin in which Vanessa was buried. Any PC that visits Bluto’s house immediately notices that it sits across the street from Wachterhaus, caught in the shadow of the grim, larger structure.

Arasek Stockyard: Any exploration of Rictavio’s carnival wagon risks setting free the saber-toothed tiger within. The owners of the nearby general store have no knowledge of Milivoj’s nighttime meetings, but can pass on their observations of multiple shadows moving behind the upper-floor curtains of Henrik van der Voort’s shop – a man who lives quite alone.

Eventually, all clues should point the PCs toward the shop of Henrik van der Voort, Vallaki’s sole coffin maker. As written in the module, Henrik refuses to allow the PCs entry to his shop, but quickly cracks if the party forces their way in. He is able to provide the PCs with the following information:

  • A dark-skinned woman named Ludmilla approached him several weeks ago, and forced him to discover the source of the church's hallowed ground.

  • After Milivoj obtained the secret of the bones of St. Andral, Henrik directed him to steal the bones using funds Ludmilla had provided.

  • Ludmilla forced Henrik to house crates containing multiple vampire spawn in his home, both as an incentive to expedite his work and for some dark plot that Henrik doesn’t fully understand.

  • Two vampire spawn currently rest in a straw-stuffed crate on the upper floor; four others have been relocated to the Town Square.

  • The bones of St. Andral are tucked away in a wardrobe on the upper floor, in the room that serves as Henrik’s bedchamber. Ludmilla has warned him not to disturb them, threatening grievous harm if he does.

Henrik has not dared to look at the bones since receiving them, and is unaware that Ludmilla has added additional magical protections since their delivery. He does not know Ludmilla’s true identity or intentions, and is unsure whether she is a vampire or a mortal servant of Strahd. He does his best to conceal his original willingness to participate in Ludmilla’s plots, and portrays himself entirely as a victim, rather than a well-paid (albeit intimidated) proxy.

Should the PCs investigate the vampire spawn, they can evade their notice by succeeding on a DC 14 Stealth (Dexterity) check while approaching the crates. The spawn attack if disturbed or attacked, and can be easily dispatched while asleep using a wooden stake carved from the lumber within Henrik’s workshop.

Should the PCs disturb the bones, they trigger a pair of Glyphs of Warding placed by Ludmilla as additional insurance. One of the Glyphs casts Clairvoyance, which alerts Ludmilla to the PCs’ interference. She immediately uses one of her third-level spell slots to cast Sending, directing the vampire spawn in the adjacent room to confront those that removed the bones. Both spawn fight to the death, too terrified of Ludmilla’s wrath to flee if outmatched.

If the PCs return to the Church of St. Andral in an attempt to restore the bones and after triggering the Clairvoyance Glyph of Warding in Henrik’s shop, Ludmilla Vilisevic is waiting for them in the pews, disguised as a worshipper. Upon the PCs’ arrival, she swiftly takes Father Lucian hostage – with the aid of a subordinate vampire spawn if the PCs failed to prevent the vampiric rampage before sundown. She attempts to bargain with the PCs for Father Lucian’s life, demanding the bones in exchange for his release. If the PCs refuse, she attempts to kill Father Lucian, but diverts her offensive efforts to the PCs once attacked.

Ludmilla’s primary goal is the death of the PCs and the recovery of the Bones of Saint Andral. She flees only if reduced to one-half of her maximum hitpoints, or if all of her spell slots are expended. She retains a single level-one spell slot to cast Disguise Self, and vanishes into the crowd of Vallakians outside the church. Upon fleeing Vallaki, she returns to Castle Ravenloft in disgrace, where she is scorned by Strahd and sealed within his crypt for her “sloppy, incompetent efforts.”

D???????????

If the PCs bring their findings to Baron Vallakovich before confronting Henrik, the Baron assigns four guards to independently investigate the shop and recover the bones. Henrik immediately confesses his crimes to the guards, and two guards return to recruit Izek for assistance in destroying the vampire spawn upstairs. The remaining two guards disregard Henrik’s warnings and attempt to retrieve the bones themselves, alerting Ludmilla and triggering the events described above. When Izek or the PCs return to the shop, they find both guards and Henrik slaughtered and drained of blood, with the lone vampire nowhere to be found.

If the PCs bring their findings to Baron Vallakovich after confronting Henrik, but before removing the bones, the Baron assigns six guards to accompany Izek Strazni on a mission to apprehend Henrik and destroy the vampires within. The cowardly Henrik flees Vallaki for Krezk, and is killed just outside Vallaki’s walls by Ludmilla if the bones are disturbed soon after.  If one of the PCs has remained at the shop to ensure Henrik’s compliance, Izek immediately melts the man’s head into slag using his Hurl Flame ability as punishment for “high treason.” Izek is able to dispatch two vampire spawn, though not without the death of all of his men. The remaining vampires remain within the coffin shop, awaiting an opportunity to attack the church at dusk.

If the PCs arrive at Henrik’s shop after dusk on the day immediately after the bones are stolen, they are too late to stop the slaughter from beginning. The six vampire spawn have already awoken, attacking the Church of St. Andral, where they slaughter any worshippers present and are soon joined by Ludmilla herself.

If the PCs fail to arrive in time to prevent the rampage of the vampire spawn through Vallaki and two or more locations are destroyed in the ensuing spree, or if the party fails to restore the bones within three days of their arrival, public unrest boils into revolutionary fervor. With Vallaki’s rules and customs proven useless against the vampiric menace, the terrified citizens of Vallaki erupt into a riot during a mass burial at the town’s cemetery the next day. 

Baron Vallakovich and his wife are lynched in the town square and their mansion is burned to the ground. Vallaki’s southeastern sector (including Blinsky Toys, the Town Square, and Arasek Stockyard) is scarred horrifically by fire, and the central market district is raided by a plague of panicked looters.

When the dust settles the following morning, following a moot of minor nobles, Lady Fiona Wachter takes over as Baroness – if she is still alive. If not, the town remains a place of lawlessness and quiet terror for the foreseeable future. Many Vallakian citizens rendered homeless by the fires establish refugee tents in and around the Blue Water Inn, avoiding the burnt husk of the Church of Saint Andral. The remaining members of the town guard seize control of the streets and demand exorbitant payments as “tribute” while ruling the ruined settlement like a gang of common thugs.

T?? C????? O????????

An orphan raised at St. Andral’s Orphanage, Milivoj now lives there as a caretaker, contributing whatever meager earnings he makes from his gravedigging career to provide for the structure’s upkeep and the childrens’ care. The children love him, and revere him as an elder brother. Milivoj is a jaded, sullen nineteen-year-old, but holds an enormous soft spot for the other residents of the Orphanage.

The Orphanage is home to Milivoj, Headmistress Claudia Belasco and nearly two-dozen orphans. Two months ago, the Orphanage’s most recent addition arrived: an eight-year-old boy named Felix. Socially withdrawn and suffering from nightmares of his parents’ demise at the claws of a pack of werewolves, Felix drew the sympathy of Milivoj, who took the younger boy under his wing. After receiving his first payment from Henrik van der Voort for investigating the Church of St. Andral, Milivoj provided Felix with a gift included in that reward: a rusted tin locket engraved with an inscription written in Celestial. The inside of the locket is engraved with an inscription in Celestial that means "Let darkness hide from the gaze of the light."

Unbeknownst to Milivoj, Felix, and Henrik, the locket is the prison of a maurezhi, a demon summoned and bound long ago by Strahd. Ludmilla Vilisevic provided Henrik with the locket as a means of destroying any evidence of Milivoj’s crimes – but did not expect him to give it away. Instead, Felix is the locket’s wearer, and his body now serves as a flesh disguise for the cruel fiend within.

From its place within Felix’s skin, this demon has been secretly tormenting the other children of the Orphanage, giving them night terrors and feeding off of their vitality, leaving terrible bruising and wounds behind. It is also responsible for the disappearance of another orphan.

An atmosphere of fear has shrouded the Orphanage in recent days. Three boys, terrified of their nightmares and fearful of the Headmistress’ motivations, recently fled Vallaki for the woods, and are currently captives at the Werewolf Den. Drained and tormented by the demon’s hauntings, Milivoj has fallen gravely ill as well. Cedrik possessed no soul, much to the demon’s disappointment.  However, Milivoj does – and once the demon is strong enough to devour him, it will be freed from its locket prison forever.

More information on the areas of the Orphanage can be found in N10. St. Andral’s Orphanage below.

Credit for the creation of this section is attributed to /u/MandyMod and her original guide to the location.

B???????? ??? Q????

Should the PCs accept the Bones of Saint Andral quest from Father Lucian at the Church of Saint Andral, he will naturally direct them toward Milivoj, the gravedigger, who has not come into work in a few days. The PCs can find Milivoj sick and unconscious in bed in his room at the Orphanage.

If the PCs had an encounter with the hags at Old Bonegrinder, they may leave the windmill with 2-3 new children in tow, including Myrtle, Freek, and Lucian. These children, effectively orphaned, can find a loving, if crowded home at St. Andral’s Orphanage.

Finally, if the PCs accepted the Misting Vistana quest from Luvash at the Vistani Encampment, they can learn from Arrigal that Arabelle often snuck into Vallaki to play with the children of the Orphanage during festivals. The orphans can tell the PCs that Arabelle departed after the Wolf’s Head Jamboree in the company of a man fitting the description of Bluto Krogarov, the town drunk and local fisherman.

D???????????

When the PCs arrive at the Orphanage, they are greeted in the yard by Headmistress Belasco, who has just finished a solemn discussion with Henrik van der Voort, the coffin maker. Two somber-looking children are also playing in the yard, but their hearts clearly aren’t in it. Henrik has just delivered a child-sized coffin for Cedrik, who died two nights ago. As Henrik packs his cart and leaves, Belasco sadly informs the PCs that Milivoj has fallen gravely ill, and is confined to his room. If the PCs push to speak with him, or if one among their number is a healer, Belasco leads them to his room.

Upon arrival in Milivoj’s room, the PCs are greeted by Keller and Ema, two of the older children within the Orphanage. Ema sadly informs Belasco that Milivoj has yet to wake after fainting the previous night, and Keller asks the PCs if they have come to cure him. A DC 14 Arcana or Medicine check will reveal that Milivoj’s condition is magical in nature, and not contagious. Use of the spell Detect Magic reveals an aura of necromancy magic shrouding Milivoj’s unconscious form, while the Divine Sense feature will reveal traces of demonic energies feeding from Milivoj’s spirit.

Healing magic and potions have no effect on Milivoj. His illness can only be cured by a Greater Restoration spell or the elimination of the demon.

C????????? ??? Q????

If the PCs have impressed Headmistress Belasco with their sympathy, compassion, or intelligence, she takes them into her office and presents what little information she has. Following her discovery of a strange array of runes carved into Cedrik’s bedpost, she fears the presence of a spirit or curse within the Orphanage’s walls. She believes that the children may know more, but despite her good intentions, fears that her strict and authoritative nature has aroused the orphans’ mistrust. Belasco invites the PCs to investigate the Orphanage and inquire with – though not interrogate – the children regarding the recent strange phenomena. Perhaps the orphans will be more likely to trust a friendly stranger than “Belasco the Bully.”

Belasco does not suspect Felix to be the culprit, but if asked about him following the PCs’ investigation, does reveal her suspicions that the boy may have been driven somewhat mad by his parents’ gruesome deaths.

A cursory investigation of the Orphanage will soon direct the PCs’ suspicions toward the evidently sociopathic Felix. Upon confronting Felix in his attic hideaway, the PCs must defeat the maurezhi that has devoured him. If the demon successfully destroyed, Milivoj awakes soon thereafter.

D???????????

If the PCs do not cure Milivoj’s illness before sundown, the maurezhi devours his body and soul entirely, using its power to break free of the locket forever. The entire population of the orphanage is slaughtered and devoured that same evening. Should the PCs later visit the Amber Temple, they find that the demon has taken up residence in one of the chambers within.

R???????? ?? V??????

T?? R??? & P???????

T?? H???? ?? V??????????

B???? V????? V??????????

A? U?????? F?????

Baron Vargas Vallakovich is the product of his father, a dour, cruel man named Vargon Vallakovich. Vargon ruled Vallaki with an iron fist, and believed that Strahd’s presence was punishment for the moral failings of his sinful subjects.

Under Vargon, Vallaki enforced a strict curfew from dusk till dawn. Public torture was commonplace for criminal activity, including public beatings and whippings. Children showing signs of ill temper were taken from their families and re-educated at Vargon’s training camp, where they were raised to be cold-hearted, broken members of the town guard.

Vargon Vallakovich died young, at age forty-six. His son, Vargas, took his position as Baron at the young age of twenty-one. Though Vargon’s official cause of death was illness, several suspicious circumstances surrounded Vargon’s death. However, the young and idealistic Vargas was quick to rescind his father’s cruelest laws, and few Vallakians cared to investigate the old tyrant’s premature death.

In contrast to his father, Vargas Vallakovich is a man motivated and controlled by fear, absent of any semblance of wisdom or reason. His father, Vargon, took his cruelty home regularly, and often took out his frustrations on his family. Vargas’ mother, Lavinia, bore the brunt of her husband’s anger, leaving Vargas to watch helplessly as his sense of weakness and self-loathing grew. He watched his mother suffer a string of miscarriages due to Vargon’s beatings, leaving Vargas an only child.

Because of his father’s abuse, Vargas was raised in an environment of constant fear. As a child, he became extraordinarily careful about his actions and words, perpetually afraid of angering his father unintentionally. Vargon justified his cruelty and abuses to himself and his family with a single scapegoat: the Devil, Strahd von Zarovich. To rid Vallaki of the Devil Strahd, Vargon told his son, strict laws and severe punishments are necessary. No conspiracy or ill behavior was too light to be ignored. Vargas soon came to believe that his father’s cruelty was not his own fault, but that of Strahd.

As he grew, Vargas came to believe that all evil in this world could be traced back to Strahd – all sadness, all anger, and all tragedies and hatred. As his delusions grew, he began to see the evil in his own father. As he saw Vargon descend further into cruelty and abuse, Vargas came to believe that his father had become possessed by the Devil, and decided to take action.

On a night when the Baroness’ pained whimpers were near drowned out by the noise of the storm outside, Vargas decided to take action. He placed a sleeping draught in his father’s drink and smothered the man in his sleep. Strahd, Vargas believed, had been excised from his household forever.

T?? M?????? ?? V????? V??????????

Today, Vargas does not physically abuse his family. However, his harsh childhood instilled him with severe problems with anger and control. He wants Vallaki run in a very specific way; when his designs are ignored or fail, he tends to panic and lash out.

Vargas refuses to lay a hand on his own wife or child. Instead, he limits his outbursts toward those who “deserve it,” believing his rage to be a holy implement wielded against the influence of the Devil. Each week, as mentioned above, he selects randomly a dissenter from the stocks and imprisons them at his house. In that time, he takes out all his frustrations on this lone individual, inflicting his father’s abuses tenfold.

According to Vargas’ delusions, feelings of panic and anger are signs of the Devil. He does his best to conceal those feelings when they stir within him, and roams Vallaki with a constant, strained smile. “All will be well!” has become his catchphrase, bordering on a nervous tic. It is his constant assurance that he is right, that he is succeeding, and that Strahd holds no sway over his heart.

The few happy memories of Vargas’ childhood are the festivals held in town, including Yuletide and Spring Coming. He believes that those feelings can be replicated eternally, and so holds his weekly festivals in an effort to stave off the Devil’s darkness forever.

B??????? L???? P???????

Lydia Petrovna and Vargas Vallakovich came together under an arranged nature. Lydia’s complacent nature appealed to Vargon’s controlling tendencies, and his son and new daughter-in-law were married soon thereafter, little more than a year before Vargon’s murder.

Lydia is a Morninglord-fearing woman. She is gentle and reserved, and does her utmost to keep “bad thoughts” from her mind. If she observes something violent, disturbing, or painful, she actively suppresses her knowledge of it and enters a state of complete denial.

She has only the most superficial likes and dislikes. She avoids involvement in more complicated matters, and leaves political matters to her husband. She is aware that Vargas makes use of Vallakian prisoners as outlets for his own rage and frustrations, but denies that his beatings take place – even to herself. Beneath her shell of denial, Lydia fears her husband greatly, and is grateful that he has yet to turn his anger toward her.

B?????? V????? V??????????

Victor Vallakovich is the eighteen-year-old son of Vargas Vallakovich and Lydia Petrovna, only months younger than the gravedigger, Milivoj. He is a disobedient, irreverent, and irritable young man, and loathes both of his parents. He is also a precociously powerful mage, an eagerly amoral experimenter, and the source of Stella Wachter’s insanity.

Due to Vargas’ terror at the possibility of repeating his father’s mistakes and Lydia’s inability to convey any semblance of genuine emotion, Victor has grown up entirely within a cold, neglectful household. He considers his mother a horrid simpleton and his father an ignorant and coldhearted buffoon. As a boy, Victor was isolated from his peers due to his father’s status and his own attention-seeking behaviors. As youth became adolescence, that loneliness solidified into resentment and selfishness toward both his family and the rest of Vallaki.

It was an afternoon of utter boredom and self-loathing that drove Victor to explore his father’s study for the first time in a lifetime. That day, he made the discovery of a lifetime: an ancient, dog-eared book containing the incantations and instructions for three spells: Friends, Minor Illusion, and Charm Person. He mastered Minor Illusion easily, and turned then to the fascinating concept of mental enchantment. 

His first use of the Friends cantrip was magical – and terrifying. An older, prim-and-proper guard was turned into Victor’s personal toy and amusement-maker – for a single minute. If the guard’s family hadn’t already suspected his wits to be failing, Victor would have been found out and punished for sure. Instead, the older guard soon retired from service for the sake of his mental health, and Victor grew wiser and more cautious in the exercise of his burgeoning arcane power.

It was through independent study that Victor further developed his magic. Gifted with a near-eidetic memory, Victor began to advance his prowess as an enchanter further than he had ever believed possible.

Still, Victor began to question his ambitions. What use were hypnosis and suggestion in a town of fools and thugs? He began to fantasize of achieving what no other wizard had ever achieved: escape from Barovia itself. Beyond its misty walls, surely, he reasoned, there must be some gleaming city worthy of his gifts and control. And so, Victor began to develop his preliminary designs for the Teleportation Circle spell.

At the time of the PCs’ arrival in Vallaki, Victor Vallakovich is a mage with the following spells prepared and recorded in his spellbook:

Cantrips: Friends, Minor Illusion, Frostbite

1st Level (4 slots): Charm Person, Shield, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Ray of Sickness

2nd Level (3 slots): Suggestion, Misty Step

3rd Level (3 slots): Hypnotic Pattern, Fear, Animate Dead

4th Level (3 slots): Blight, Confusion, Greater Invisibility

5th Level (1 slot): Modify Memory, Dominate Person

Victor also has the Enchanter’s Instinctive Charm feature:

Instinctive Charm (Recharges after the Enchanter Casts an Enchantment Spell of 1st level or Higher). The enchanter tries to magically divert an attack made against it, provided that the attacker is within 30 feet of it and visible to it. The enchanter must decide to do so before the attack hits or misses. 

The attacker must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the attacker targets the creature closest to it, other than the enchanter or itself. If multiple creatures are closest, the attacker chooses which one to target.

Additionally, he is responsible for the mysterious disappearance of two of his family’s servants in the pursuit of testing his faulty Teleportation Circle. He is also the cruel and intentional instigator of Stella’s madness, having used her as a test-subject for mind-altering magic repeatedly until she finally broke.

V????? ??? S?????

As an early scheme to seize the reins of power in Vallaki without endangering her own position through open revolt, Lady Fiona Wachter employed old favors and newer allies to manufacture an engagement between her daughter, Stella, and the Baron’s only son, Victor. The Baron was reluctant to trust Lady Wachter’s offer, but ultimately accepted in the hopes that Lady Wachter might be brought to heel if her daughter’s livelihood lay beneath his thumb.

Though Stella was an innocent and kind-hearted girl, Fiona pushed her to ingratiate herself into Victor’s life. Longing to teach her daughter the ways of manipulating a husband, Lady Wachter forced Stella to return again and again to the Burgomaster’s Mansion in the hopes of winning Victor’s trust. However, Victor had no plans to allow her to do so.

Resentful toward his parents for pushing Stella into his life, and resentful of Stella for disturbing his concealed research and experimentation, Victor did his best to push Stella away. Stella proved unwilling to disappoint her mother, and remained a constant thorn in Victor’s side for the first three days of their engagement. Finally, infuriated with the world and maddened at Stella’s incessant attempts to start a conversation, Victor snapped and cast Fear upon her – the first spell since Friends that he had cast upon another human being.

As Stella cowered and sobbed in the corner of the attic, Victor panicked at the thought of destroying his cover, alienating a powerful noble, and angering his father. He swiftly cast Modify Memory, doing his best to purge her memory of her fear. Stella fled immediately afterward, leaving Victor with a cold, terrified lump in his stomach.

The following morning, an abashed Stella returned to the mansion – and apologized profusely for her outburst the day before. Victor realized that, in his panic, he had only edited the memory of the spell he had cast, leaving behind the memories of Stella’s terror. However, without any recollection of the fear’s cause, Stella’s tale led her mother to dismiss the experience as a silly girl’s fit of pique. Stella did her best to accept this explanation, and was quickly horrified at the way she had fled Victor’s room the previous night.

Another mage would have taken this stroke of luck as an indication to exercise caution and humility. Instead, Victor was satisfied with the evident success of his spellwork in Stella’s mind, and hungry to put the rest of his theoretical magic into practice. Emboldened by his narrow escape and arcane skill, Victor welcomed Stella into his laboratory – and locked the door behind her.

The next several days were a whirlwind of cruel experimentation with Stella’s mind, driving Victor’s maddened sense of curiosity wild with the endless possibilities that seemed to lie before him. He repeated several tests of the Fear spell, erasing the trigger each time using Modify Memory while leaving her experience of terror intact. He cast Phantasmal Force upon Stella in secret, haunting her with visions and sounds that only she could perceive. Suggestion allowed him to exult in the finesse of his control over her mind, and planted the subconscious seed that convinced her to return to him each morning, no matter how barbaric and cruel the previous night had been.

Victor’s first use of Dominate Person was a rush of adrenaline and pride. With a spoken word and a twitch of his hand, Stella was his to control, little more than a puppet dancing from strings upon his fingers. However, cognizant of his inability to cast Modify Memory using the mana he had spent on Dominate Person, Victor was careful to only push her toward shameful actions that Suggestion would easily bury. Uninterested in sex to the point of asexuality, Victor thankfully never abused Stella in that way, but did force her to humiliate herself in painful, terrifying ways. He enjoyed the way she meowed and purred when he commanded her to walk on all fours like one of his skeletal cats, and continued to return to that instruction time and time again.

As Stella slipped slowly into madness, her mother, Lady Wachter, remained fixated on the foothold she seemed to have created in Baron Vallakovich’s home. Obsessed with Stella’s obvious “success” in gaining Victor’s attention and preoccupied with the machinations of her most trusted cultists, Fiona was simply too distracted to notice or care that her daughter was rapidly growing erratic, confused, and terrified of anything that moved.

Within several weeks of their first meeting, Victor came to the realization that Stella was more of a distraction than a boon to his research. His magnum opus – a full-fledged Teleportation Circle that should allow egress from Barovia – lay unfinished and underdeveloped. However, a part of Victor could not divorce itself from the cruel joy it gained from touching Stella’s mind with his magic. At the end of the day, she was an excellent means of relieving his stress.

To keep her new strange behavior from distracting him from his studies, Victor employed a number of minor spells to keep her in the company of his skeletal cats. Soon, he decided that her irritating behavior might be reduced if she acted like a cat as well. Victor noted that Stella was growing increasingly receptive to his Suggestion spells, her degrading mental state making even more of his requests appear “reasonable.” Before long, Stella found herself slipping into her “role” as “Little Kitty” without any spellwork at all.

One day, Stella didn’t come “out of character” when Victor grew tired of her. Victor was forced to use magic to make her “normal” enough to return home. The next morning, Stella woke up “in character” once more – and didn’t come out.

The widespread belief that Stella’s madness was caused by “cruel words” was an invention of Victor’s, who used magic to persuade his father’s guards that he and Stella had shared a contentious relationship. Soon, the story grew to include several words that Victor said “he regretted,” an argument that swelled into a raging conflict, and Stella’s irrational breakdown flight back to Wachterhaus.

T?? J?????? ?? V????? V??????????

If the PCs explore Victor’s hidden laboratory in the attic of the Baron’s mansion, they find a tome containing Victor’s experiences, research notes, and spellbook. Several of its entries are as follows:

Journal Entry #1

My miserable parents have found yet another way to drive me mad. It’s not enough that they drag me down to their meals and force me to sit in on their meetings. No – now they’re finding new ways to ruin my work by shoving this vapid little girl into my life. Her voice, her face, and her very being are pure frustration to me. Surely if I keep trying to work in front of her, she’ll be frightened and tell my parents of my work. How can I remove her?

Journal Entry #2

I might be in trouble. That irritating little girl was sent up into my workroom with me. “Spend some time with her,” Father said; “You need to get to know each other!” I don’t want to get to know this stupid girl; I want to be left alone! 

She kept trying to talk to me, interrupting what little bits of work I could do in front of her. I finally cast a Fear spell on her to shut her up and drive her away from me. She spent the next minute cowering in the furthest corner of the room. It was only by the time the spell ended that I realized what I had done. She’ll tell someone what happened!

I used one of my more difficult spells on her. I MADE her forget her fear. I hope it was enough.

I’ve never used magic like that on a person before.

Journal Entry #3

I’m not in trouble! I’ve never been happier to see that round little face at my door. The magic worked! She doesn’t know what happened! She actually apologized for her panic attack and for embarrassing herself in front of me and assured me that it “wasn’t a regular occurrence.”

On the other hand. I’m stuck with her again. But perhaps that’s a good thing. I have a lot to learn about magic, after all.

Journal Entry #4

Somehow, I forgot how ignorant this imbecilic town is. I don’t know why I worried so much. The stupid girl doesn’t know anything about magic. I tried a few more spells on her today, and even before I erased it from her mind, she had no idea what was happening. Still, it’s best to be careful.

I couldn’t resist pulling a little prank on her, though. As she was leaving the house today, I gave her a little illusion that only she could see. It was pathetic how many people came running to see her scream.

Journal Entry #5

This is incredible! Magic is incredible! I’m like a god! I command her and she obeys; I wish her to be frightened and she is. And all the while, she doesn’t even know what is happening! 

Today, I finally used a spell on her that I have never been able to actually cast before. It seized control and bent her to my will – she could do nothing that I did not let her, yet she was aware the whole time!

But I’ve found that that spell uses too much mana to allow me to alter her memory until tomorrow. I decided to kill two birds with one stone: I both got to see the extent to which I could control her, and embarrassed her enough that it was simplicity itself to plant the idea that she shouldn’t keep this incident a secret. It’s become so laughably easy to Suggest that she come back in the morning.

Journal Entry #6

As I expected, the stupid Wachter girl crawled back to me this morning, red-faced and quiet. I tidied up her memories, then sent her on her way. I couldn’t do anything too blatant to her today, given that I’d already changed her memories once. I decided to have a little fun instead. After a few illusions that no one else could see and a spell to scramble her stupid brain, she caused quite the hilarious scene.

Journal Entry #7

The stupid girl didn’t show up today, I guess she’s playing sick after her little episode yesterday. That won’t do; I have more things I want to test. There’s another spell I haven’t tried yet. It’s supposed to let me enter someone’s dreams and control what they see.

Journal Entry #8

Well, it worked. The stupid girl is back. But now that she is, I realize how much of my time she has been taking up. Even under my control, she’s still a nuisance. A distraction. 

Still, I’ve learned much about magic because of her. I think I’ll just have her play with the cats while I work.

Journal Entry #9

The girl is getting annoying again. She’s acting strange and can’t seem to keep a straight thought in her head until I pound her stupid brain into shape with a spell. Still, at least she’s becoming more responsive to my Suggestion spells; I don’t have to work twice as hard to twist her mind as I did a week ago.

Playtime with the cats isn’t enough to keep her out of my hair. Maybe I can get her to pretend she is a cat. Meowing doesn’t distract me.

Journal Entry #10

This is excellent. The girl stays out of my way, a quick spell shoves her into her role as a cat, and from there she obeys without a single other spell. I can finally focus on what’s important – and she’s still handy if I become frustrated. Even when my work is at its hardest, it’s always satisfying to see my power in action.

Journal Entry #11

Father says the stupid girl isn’t coming back. Apparently, she woke up stuck in her role, still acting like a cat. I suppose this was bound to happen eventually. Her stupid little brain just couldn’t handle magic like mine can. Some of Father’s guards wanted to ask me what happened. It was easy to convince them that I’d had some arguments with the stupid girl, said some things I regret, and that her own delicate constitution had done the rest.

Ignorant, weak-willed idiots.

It’s a shame, too. I’d finally gotten used to her. I guess I can admit that when she wasn’t annoying me, she was a nice piece of scenery to have around. Maybe once I finish my work, I’ll take her with me. She’s already shown herself a good test subject, and it would be a nuisance to have to break another one in.

Journal Entry #12

I think it’s ready. Maybe now I can finally get out of this place. It’s a shame that girl isn’t here. I could have her try it out for me. I’m certainly not testing it first. Perhaps one of the servants might prove useful.

Journal Entry #13

Evidently, it’s not ready. Will keep trying.

Journal Entry #14

What am I doing wrong?

I??? S??????

Izek is Baron Vallakovich’s Captain of the Guard, and is quite dedicated to his job. He is quick to act against threats to the Baron, and happy to shut down any public displays of malcontent. Most Vallakians fear him, including his own subordinates. His mere presence brims with authority, in sharp contrast to the Baron’s snobbish, cowardly personality.

Soon after his father’s death, Baron Vargas Vallakovich found Izek Strazni lost and orphaned in the woods near Vallaki. He saw Izek’s arm as a physical version of his own anger: a sin of their parents that both must bear. Unable to give the boy up to the orphanage, Vargas brought Izek into his own household, and raised him as his own.

Izek holds the Baron in the highest regard. While Izek doesn’t hold all of Vallakovich’s beliefs regarding Strahd and the festivals, he considers himself duty-bound to carry out the Baron’s will upon the town. He is loyal to a fault – save where his true sibling is concerned.

Since Izek entered manhood, Baron Vallakovich has grown to rely heavily on his service, both militarily and emotionally. Vargas views Izek as his right-hand, as his confidante, and as his personal protector. If Izek is slain, Vallakovich dresses one of his bulkier guards in Izek’s clothing and places red-painted padding around the guard’s arm in an effort to fool his citizens into believing that Izek is still alive.

A D??? P????’? B???????

Izek’s arm was at once a gift and temptation from the Dark Powers, who saw the vast potential for cruelty present in the boy and restored his missing limb with the arm of a barbed devil when he reached adolescence. Over time, Izek has honed his sadism to a fine point, allowing him finer control over the powers granted by his demonic arm.

Should Izek live long enough, he will soon begin to descend into acts of increasing barbarity. If Izek harms his sibling in any way, he gains the Barbed Devil’s Barbed Hide feature, and an appearance to match it. If the PCs push Izek to commit other atrocities, especially crimes against innocents, he gains the Devil’s Devil’s Sight and Magic Resistance abilities. Once both abilities are obtained, if he still lives, the Dark Powers invite Izek to travel to the Amber Temple. Upon his arrival, Izek communes with the Powers in the dark chambers of the Temple, emerging with the the appearance of a full Barbed Devil, an additional 50 hit points, and the ability to make three Battleaxe attacks or two Hurl Flame attacks when he takes his Multiattack action.

T?? S??????? S??????

From the time of the tragedy that killed his parents, Izek has been haunted by dreams of his lost sibling. The dreams resemble a dark void containing a blurry figure; as Izek approaches the figure, it slowly becomes more resolved until its details are crystal-clear – but vanishes when he reaches out to touch it. As the years have rolled by, the figure has aged accordingly, allowing Izek to watch his lost sibling grow up day-by-day.

His sibling was never found by the residents of Vallaki. Though he has been told otherwise by the Baron and the older generation of Vallaki, Izek adamantly believes that his dreams mean that his lost sibling still lives.

As-written, Izek’s sibling is in truth the adopted daughter of Burgomaster Kolyan Indirovich of Barovia, known to the PCs as Ireena Kolyana. However, if you chose to make one of your PCs an orphan or former resident of Barovia, you may wish to make that PC Izek’s sibling instead, especially if that PC is human or a tiefling.

Since adolescence, Izek has used the income from his work with the Baron’s guard to commission dolls of his sibling from Gadof Blinsky, the toymaker. Izek keeps hundreds of these dolls mounted on shelves in his room at the Burgomaster’s Mansion, and has grown to obsess with the idea of his lost sibling to a point bordering on worship. 

If presented with his sibling – even if that sibling has dyed their hair or made other superficial changes to their appearance – Izek recognizes them immediately. From that point on, Izek begins plotting to recover the relationship that he has been denied for the past two decades.

There are two potential ways that you can run Izek’s actions from this point onward. He can be an antagonist to the PCs, committing horrific acts in his pursuit to take his sibling for himself. Alternatively, he can serve as a strange ally to the party, defending his sibling from the Baron’s wrath while doing his best to continue his responsibilities as usual.

Your mileage may vary in either case, depending on the kind of game you want to run and the kind of Vallakian environment you choose to manufacture. However, generally speaking, Izek is preferred as an ally if one of the PCs is his sibling (in order to preserve player agency); and excels as an antagonist if Ireena Kolyana remains his sister (in order to maximize tension and conflict). Additionally, if you choose to make Izek the party’s foretold ally in Madam Eva’s Tarokka reading, it becomes almost necessary to play him in a friendlier, more diplomatic way.

Antagonist. If you choose to play Izek as an antagonist, from the moment he lays eyes on his sibling, his only desire is to see them by his side – even if by force – and to eliminate all others that may come in his way. In this state, Izek is fiercely territorial of this sibling’s interest and affections, and may believe that the only way to truly rebuild his relationship is the death of all others who may compete for his sibling’s love. Due to his obsession, Izek covets his sibling in an unwholesome – though non-sexual – way, and won’t allow anyone or anything to come between them. 

The next time his sibling is alone, asleep, or otherwise vulnerable (whether in the Blue Water Inn or Saint Andral’s Church), Izek attempts to take them by force to the Burgomaster’s Mansion, where he plans to hold them captive in his bedroom. If the PCs are outside of Vallaki at this time, Izek orders the guards to bar the gates to them, forcing the party to assault or sneak past the town’s walls to enter. If the PCs are in Vallaki when his sibling is kidnapped, Izek doubles the guards outside the Burgomaster’s Mansion and soon tries to arrest the PCs on trumped-up charges once it becomes clear that his sibling won’t give up their loyalties easily.

Ally. When Izek finds his long-lost sibling, he recognizes them immediately and greets them with an unnerving level of elation and interest. Any nearby guards and commoners are disturbed by his obvious joy, and quickly make themselves scarce.

The PCs will probably meet Izek during a scuffle with some of the Baron’s guards after breaking one of Vallaki’s many laws. If swords are drawn in Vallaki’s walls, Izek will arrive fairly quickly. If the party is accused of a minor offense, he will use his authority to excuse the party’s wrongdoings and do his best to bring them to the Burgomaster’s Mansion, where he promises they will be safe while he catches up with his sibling. After all, any friend of theirs is a friend of his, and the Baron is happy to entertain guests if Izek approves of them.

If the PCs break a major law, Izek will do his best to follow the law and keep his sibling safe. If a PC commits a notable crime – such as killing or grievously wounding a guard in a scuffle – Izek still happily invites the party to the Burgomaster’s Mansion. He then quietly locks the criminal PC in the secret closet containing Udo Lukovich, the shoemaker, where they are to await the arrival of the guards for exile from Vallaki. Izek does his best to keep his sibling ignorant of the criminal’s fate, claiming that they left the mansion to explore Vallaki, or that they have departed the town entirely.

If, by chance, the worst criminal of the party is Izek’s sibling, he will actively betray Vallaki for their sake. He will not use lethal force when dealing with the Baron’s guards, but will happily cut through scores of enemies to keep his sibling safe. If all else seems lost, he offers to escort his sibling and their companions to Krezk himself.

If Izek is the party’s foretold ally, or if the party offers him the choice to journey with them alongside his sibling and succeeds on a DC 15 Persuasion (Charisma) check, Izek throws away his loyalty to the Baron in an instant and follows his sibling wherever they may travel. If this occurs, Izek is likely to struggle with his darker nature and violent impulses, and may be further corrupted by the Dark Powers should the party fail to prevent his fall.

T?? H???? ?? W??????

L??? F???? W??????

D????????????? ??? D?????

The bright and charming scion of the ancient house of Wachter, Lady Fiona grew up in a politically tumultuous Vallaki. Vargas’ father, Baron Vargon Vallakovich, ruled Vallaki as a police state, setting early curfews and strict, barbaric punishments. Fiona was privately optimistic when the young Vargas Vallakovich succeeded his father, but quickly disappointed when his idealism proved a mask for his more secretive, chaotic rule.

As a young woman, Fiona grew to despise the rulers of Vallaki, unable to comprehend the sway that their atrocities could hold over the town. Compared to the violence and fear of her childhood, a distant vampire lord hardly seemed a threat. At age fifteen, she persuaded her parents to sanction a trip to the village of Barovia – a political pilgrimage, she assured them, to strengthen the family’s ties to their southern neighbor.

Unbeknownst to her parents, Fiona was determined to meet the “Devil” whose horror had driven her home to madness. She attempted to persuade her escort to allow a brief detour to Castle Ravenloft, and when that failed, slipped away in the night and vanished across the drawbridge.

Strahd had little interest in the young Fiona, but served as a gentlemanly host throughout her brief visit. Her intellect and natural charm intrigued him, and while he found her natural beauty lacking, he offered her a place among his consorts – as a vampire.

Fiona politely – and carefully – declined. However, she was impressed by Strahd’s reserved nature, and quickly decided that this “monster” was far less monstrous than the man that ruled her home. She countered with an offer: She would depart Castle Ravenloft as a mortal, and instead serve his interests from within Vallaki’s walls. Strahd agreed to this tentative alliance, and provided her with two gifts: a tome on diabolic magic; and an imp bonded as her familiar.

It was hours later that an innocent Fiona rejoined her escort, and resumed her journey to Barovia. Her time in the village was brief, though she befriended the young burgomaster, a handsome man named Kolyan Indirovich.

F????’? P???????

On the road back to Vallaki, Fiona bullied her guards into a final detour: Tser Pool Encampment. Driven by a passing whim to meet the famous Madam Eva, Fiona was impressed by the warm welcome she received from the Vistani, and soon found herself within Eva’s tent.

From her Tarokka deck, Madam Eva drew three cards: the Hooded One; the Executioner; and the Healer. Thus she spoke:

“I see an outsider – a foreigner to this land. They are the Hooded One, the stranger whose arrival will mark a new age within Vallaki’s walls

“The Executioner marks the coming of a great ruin. The coming of this outsider will bring a purge upon this land like no other.”

“In the hands of the Healer, there is a purifying flame. When the ruin has finished, and the land has been torn asunder, the sword of the outsider will shed sunlight on Vallaki yet again.”

Like most fortunes, this reading was vague and far-reaching. Yet in that instant, Fiona felt her eyes open like never before. She latched onto Madam Eva’s fortune and it became her obsession.

L??? W??????’? F????????

Today, Lady Fiona Wachter commands the respect of her “book club” with her wit, her charm, and her natural charisma. The Wachters have long maintained a base of support within the walls due to their philanthropic efforts, and Fiona has made a point of continuing them. From her charitable work for the poor and sick of Vallaki, she has created a faction all her own, and through them spread the word of her prophecy.

Though the bulk of her followers believe that the Outsider will destroy Strahd and so free Vallaki, Lady Wachter’s visit to Ravenloft has persuaded her that Strahd is not the evil that the Outsider must destroy. Instead, she – and a small group of Vallakians that have become her inner circle – believes that the Outsider will kill the Vallakovich line, root and branch. Once Vallaki has been purged of the Baron’s poison, she will bring peace to Vallaki beneath the “sunlight” of her own rule.

R?????? F???? W??????

Lady Fiona Wachter is quite the opposite of the arrogant, neurotic Baron Vallakovich. Her manner is both comforting and commanding, and she never raises her voice. She prefers to listen, rather than speak, and speaks only in a calm, unhurried manner. The only hint to her hidden, darker nature is the near-religious fervor to her words and her obsession with a “purge” of blood and the unclean.

Wachter is the only person in Vallaki who will call Strahd by name, even in defiance of the Baron’s laws. She has no fear of the Devil, and privately sees no monster in the land but Vargas himself. She believes that Vargas’ fear of Strahd is merely an excuse to bolster his own power, and that Vargas actively sows that fear to sway the citizens of Vallaki away from thoughts of rebellion. At worst, Fiona believes Strahd to be a “negligent landlord,” but shares this only with her most trusted associates.

Fiona Wachter is cool, calculating, and knows how to manipulate others. However, she is no sociopath. Her late husband, Nikolai, was her world. They met when she was sixteen, and he nineteen. Nikolai was a banker’s apprentice, but his interest in and support for Fiona’s goals and beliefs easily won her heart.

The two fell madly in love, much to the chagrin of Fiona's parents. Fiona threatened to elope if they weren’t allowed to marry. Rather than suffer such a scandal, her parents allowed it – under one condition: that Nikolai adopt Fiona’s surname, and so join her household. Weeks later, the two were married.

Lady Wachter’s three children – Nikolai II, Karl, and Stella – are her life’s great loves. She has done her best to nurture them, and has watched as the three have grown into largely capable young adults. Fiona loathes herself for allowing Victor Vallakovich to destroy Stella’s sanity, and holds a personal grudge against the Baron’s house.

All the same, Fiona is, at her core, a woman of strong beliefs and stronger ambitions. While it would tear her apart to do so, if the only way to destroy the Vallakovich regime was the murder of her own child, she would seize the knife herself and see the task through.

S????? W??????

Before her mental breakdown at the hands of Victor Vallakovich, Stella Wachter was a sweet, kindly girl. She was patient, well-mannered, and eager to please those around her. These attributes, of course, made her easy prey for Victor’s manipulations. Nikolai and Karl could only occasionally persuade Stella to join them on their nightly revelries, but Stella never truly enjoyed them. Though she is the youngest of the three Wachter children, Stella often found herself chastising and looking out for her older brothers.

N?????? II & K??? W??????

Karl and Nikolai (II) Wachter are the heirs to the ancient line of the house of Wachter. As such, they spend their time doing everything in their power to avoid that responsibility. Over the past several years, Nikolai and Karl have acquired a reputation as drunkards, revelers, pranksters, and generally promiscuous. However, while they may be irresponsible and crude, neither brother would ever intentionally hurt an innocent, either physically or emotionally. Both brothers despise Victor Vallakovich for his crimes against their younger sister, though, and would happily cause him harm if they thought they could get away with it.

The two brothers prefer to avoid the politics of Vallaki. While they maintain a respected position among the Dominionists due to their familial ties, both Karl and Nikolai are uncomfortable with their mother’s followers and do their best to keep away from any sociopolitical events. Were they to discover Fiona’s sacrificial rites or the depth of her loyalty to Strahd – or even the fact that she has preserved their father’s corpse in the master bedroom – both would be horrified.

E???? L?????

Ernst Larnak is a callous, cruel man motivated primarily by gold and his own dark amusements. While Lady Wachter finds his lecherous and irreverent personality unpleasant and unbecoming, she nonetheless tolerates him due to his many connections throughout Vallaki’s underbelly, as well as his own unmatched skill as a forger and informant. He is well-paid by Lady Wachter’s house – a rate of one hundred gold pieces a year – and fears her enough that he will only consider betraying her for a sum three times that amount.

T?? K???????????? & W???-C????????

T?? C????? ?? S???? A?????

F????? L????? P????????

In contrast to Father Donavich of Barovia, Father Lucian is a warm and welcoming man who has dedicated his entire life to the service of the Morninglord. However, any PC that spends time with him will soon discover a strong fanatical streak to the man’s faith, which often culminates in the attribution of the PCs’ hard work and efforts to the favor of the Morninglord, or the well-intended critique of others who seem to lack sufficient faith. Father Lucian’s religiosity is so forceful as to border on irritating, but is so obviously old and broken that the party can clearly tell that his faith is all he has left.

Lucian’s fanatical personality stems from his experiences with the darker natures of Vallaki’s residents. As head of the local church, he provides private confessional services twice monthly, receiving and sealing to silence the most monstrous secrets of his neighbors. Bound by faith never to divulge the knowledge confessed in this way, he has been driven close to madness after decades of fruitless preaching.

Lucian knows the following pieces of information, and can only be persuaded to share them with a DC 25 Persuasion (Charisma) check. A Deception or Intimidation check will always fail to evince the desired information.

  • Vargon Vallakovich abused his family before his death (Source: Vargon Vallakovich)

  • Baron Vargas Vallakovich murdered his father (Source: Vargas Vallakovich)

  • Fiona Wachter’s cult practices ritual sacrifice in the basement of Wachterhaus (Source: Ivana Mironova)

  • Fiona Wachter keeps the corpse of her late husband in her bedchamber (Source: Ernst Larnak)

M??????

The nineteen-year-old Milivoj is a moody, jaded young man. A former orphan at St. Andral’s Orphanage, Milivoj contributes the bulk of his earnings as the town’s gravedigger toward the care of the other children remaining there. His foster siblings adore him, a relationship that he secretly treasures despite his own misgivings about his self-worth.

As an orphan with no family, no inheritance, and no education. Milivoj has few prospects. Though Father Lucian has done his best to teach the young man to read and write, Milivoj has stubbornly stuck to his gravedigging job, an occupation that few other Vallakians wish to do. Milivoj bears no fondness for his work, but values the higher wage he earns from the public coffers compared to similar menial labor.

Y????

Yeska is the altar boy at St. Andral’s, and the product of a tragic history. When Yeska was four years old, his mother brought him to confession on the night of the full moon. Yeska’s mother – unstable and maddened with sorrow and self-loathing – confessed how she had abandoned the boy’s father after he was bitten by a werewolf in the woods outside Vallaki. She then slit her throat and bled out on the altar, still cradling the bawling Yeska in her other arm.

Father Lucian took Yeska in from a sense of misplaced guilt. Unable to save the boy’s mother, he reasoned that he might be able to save the boy in her place. As a result, he raised the boy as his own, and was delighted to find him an intelligent, dutiful child.

Now approaching ten years of age, Yeska is a wide-eyed, fearful, and scrawny little boy. He completes each of his chores with a constant nervous energy, and is easily intimidated or frightened.

T?? K?????? ?? ??? F??????

The Keepers of the Feather are the sole organization actively working against Strahd in Barovia, and the Martikov family sits at the core of the operation. As the largest single family in Barovia, as well as the sole purveyors of the Wizard of Wines winery, members of the Martikov family can find a welcome place near everywhere they go. As a secret society, the Keepers of the Feather are largely unknown by the average Barovian and Vistana. Strahd is aware of them, but allows their work to continue for his own amusement.

While wereravens are immune to direct weapon damage, they can be overwhelmed and killed in other ways. In Barovia, the Keepers of the Feather are heavily outnumbered by creatures that would kill them if given the chance. As such, they prefer to avoid direct combat wherever possible.

A N?????? ?? R?????

Functionally, the Keepers of the Feather operate as a decentralized spy network that employs the local raven population within the valley as spies and messengers. Because a wereraven can speak with natural ravens while transformed, the birds themselves can carry simple verbal messages to other agents throughout Barovia.

All natural ravens in Barovia reflexively defer to the Keepers of the Feather, but not all ravens are actively employed as spies or messengers. The Keepers do, however, maintain several hosts of ravens throughout the region assigned to warn travelers of danger; monitor specific enemies (including Baba Lysaga, the werewolves, and the hags of Old Bonegrinder); and inform the Keepers of the entry of any outsiders into Barovia. The reports provided by the natural ravens tend to be simplistic, and require confirmation by a Keeper agent if further investigation is merited.

Barovia is host to a scattering of Nests, which house a group of wereravens who “command” a resident flock of ravens. The Blue Water Inn is one such Nest, as is the Wizard of Wines (though not all Nests lie in civilized areas, or even human-built structures). The leader of an individual Nest has a large amount of autonomy, but ultimately reports any notable information to Urwin Martikov, the spymaster of the Keepers and the owner of the Blue Water Inn in Vallaki.

There are limits to the knowledge of the Keepers of the Feather. Ravens tend to avoid entering homes or similar structures, both for reasons of subtlety and instinct. The Keepers are aware of any movement between towns, and are generally kept informed of notable events in the wilderness of Barovia.

R?????? ??? K??????

The Keepers of the Feather were formed two centuries past to support one of the earliest rebellions against Strahd von Zarovich. While that revolt failed, the Keepers were able to fade quietly into the background, and have worked subtly against the Devil’s machinations ever since.

Any non-evil party interested in bringing about Strahd’s downfall will have the wereravens’ support. This support, however, will not always be obvious. Earlier on, the Keepers will do their best to aid the PCs without revealing their true nature. Members of the Keepers of the Feather may act as “quest givers,” pointing the party toward hidden secrets, potential allies, or notable dangers. Danika and Urwin Martikov especially can provide intelligence to the party in the form of rumors. If the party is stripped of gear, the Keepers will personally see that their belongings are restored.

Once the PCs have proved their worth – likely through the destruction of Old Bonegrinder or the restoration of the Wizard of Wines winery – the Keepers may 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 Ladies of the Fanes, 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.

What the Wereravens Know

Old Bonegrinder. The Keepers of the Feather know that Morgantha and her children are, in truth, a coven of hags that abduct children and bake addictive pastries from their bones. They are fully aware that open combat against the hags is suicide, and instead do their best to rescue any children when the coven is absent or distracted. A raven is permanently stationed near the windmill, and makes an effort to warn away any travelers who approach the structure. As the Keepers are careful to always operate in raven form around Old Bonegrinder, the hags have not yet been able to ID them, though the coven harbors a deep mistrust of the ravens of Barovia.

The Werewolf Den. The Keepers are peripherally aware of the recent schism in the werewolf pack, and that Kiril’s leadership has led to a surge in new captives for the werewolves to turn. The wereravens have thus far been unable to intervene – while neither lycanthrope can truly harm the other, the werewolves are stronger, and could easily grapple and bind any wereraven that openly attacked.

Currently, the Keepers are focused on observation, gathering all of the intelligence they can in the hopes that a group of skilled individuals can be directed toward the Den.

Lady Wachter. The Keepers of the Feather are as well-informed of Lady Fiona Wachter’s beliefs and aspirations as any other member of the town, but are ignorant to any of her true secrets. They are horrified at Stella’s current mental state, as the girl used to watch Brom and Bray while Danika and Urwin were minding the taproom.

Baron Vallakovich. The Keepers are well aware of the excesses of Vargas Vallakovich. The Martikovs take it upon themselves to smuggle food and drink to those people locked up in the stocks, and do their best to defuse or conceal any situations that may invoke his wrath. Despite Lady Wachter’s position as the likeliest person to take control of the town, the Martikovs mistrust her judgment and motivations. The order has historically remained neutral in political matters for fear that intervention will destroy the integrity and secrecy of their organization, and will not take action against either faction’s leader without good reason.

The Abbey of St. Markovia. The Keepers are vaguely aware of the twisted nature of the Abbey’s current inhabitants. Several flocks of ravens have previously observed the mongrelfolk, and the Abbot has been a subject of personal interest to a scattering of wereravens over the past century since he arrived in Barovia. However, both mongrelfolk and Abbot appear relatively benign, and so the Abbey is subject to only the occasional observation.

Argynvostholt. The Keepers know of the revenants of Argynvostholt, and know a small amount of the place’s history. They know that several revenants haunt the dark paths of the Svalich Wood in search of Strahd’s servants, but are wary of Vladimir Horngaard, whose opposition to Strahd’s enemies resulted in the failure of an attempted alliance decades previously. Both the revenants and phantom warriors that fight under Horngaard’s command are lethal even to lycanthropes, so the Keepers tend to keep their distance.

Tsolenka Pass & the Amber Temple. The slopes of Mount Ghakis are far too cold for ravens to visit. All the Keepers have are rumors of an ancient treasure said to be lost amidst the mountain’s peak. They will warn any travelers of the Roc of Mount Ghakis, and advise the PCs to purchase warm clothing before climbing the winding mountain pass.

Van Richten’s Tower. The wereravens are aware of Rictavio’s residence within the tower at Lake Baratok prior to his arrival in Vallaki. While they are suspicious of his motivations, and know that his appearance is a magical disguise, the Martikovs have thus far allowed him to remain as a guest at the Blue Water Inn, though he remains under close surveillance. They have largely avoided the tower, however, wary of the arcane traps and dangers that may lie within.

The Wizard of Wines. The Martikovs are aware of the blight infestation at the winery, but are powerless to clear it out. The druids of Yester Hill have never controlled an army of this size, and the blights within and without easily outnumber those wereravens capable of combat. Due to Urwin’s feud with his father Davian, Danika and Urwin Martikov have been kept in the dark regarding the winery’s current situation, and are currently hoping to steer a group of adventurers toward the winery to investigate the reason for the delayed shipment

U???? M???????

Urwin Martikov is Davian Martikov’s second-born son; the current spymaster of the Keepers of the Feather; and the owner of the Blue Water Inn. He is well-known and well-respected in Vallaki, and maintains the current intelligence of the wereravens of Barovia.

Because of his skill as a cook and his place at the Inn, Urwin has friends throughout the town of Vallaki. He can easily gather – or spread – rumors without arousing suspicion from the Loyalists or Dominionists. 

As a person, Urwin Martikov is one of the few genuinely nice residents of Barovia. He is kind-hearted, selfless, and willing to forgive nearly any transgression. He is able to see the best in the worst of people, and maintains a personal code of strict nonviolence. If Vargas Vallakovich, Fiona Wachter, or even Strahd himself required a kind word in their defense, Urwin would be among the first to speak. He is quick to give aid to those in need, freely providing room and board at the Inn for those with nowhere else to go. Without Danika’s business-savvy mind, Urwin’s generosity may have driven the Blue Water Inn into bankruptcy long ago.

D????? M???????

Danika Martikov is the Blue Water Inn’s bartender, waitress, and accountant. As the face of the Inn’s taproom, she has gained an expertise with gossip and rumors like no other in Barovia. She collects information like a collector might gather stamps – and is exceptionally skilled at doing so.

Unlike her kind-hearted husband, Danika sees herself as a realist. She is slower to trust strangers, but is always willing to give a newcomer a chance if she believes their heart to be in the right place. Regardless, Danika is always happy to chat with any who enter her bar, from the dour fisherman Bluto to Izek Strazni himself. Any PC should find her both relatable and easy to talk to, two traits that are strengthened by Danika’s uncanny ability to read others’ emotions.

Danika’s love for her husband and children outweighs all else in her life. She would let the world burn before allowing any harm to come to Brom or Bray, and adores Urwin with all her heart. She admires her husband’s kindness, and often defers to him in charitable matters.

B??? & B??? M???????

Brom and Bray are eleven and seven years old, respectively. Patrons of the Blue Water Inn know them as harmless pranksters and generally adorable children. As such, the tavern’s customers tend to ignore their presence, which allows both boys to easily eavesdrop on conversations while “playing” with a favorite Blinsky toy. Even if they’re caught hiding beneath a table, most patrons won’t suspect anything beyond a youthful proclivity for mischief.

Brom and Bray have turned their spying into a brotherly game and competition. They make constant efforts to push the limits of their sneakiness, with each attempting to one-up the other on information they overhear, places they slip into, or items they are able to snatch. At the end of each week, Urwin and Danika declare one of the boys their most useful informant, a contest that entertains and motivates the two to no end.

At times when the boys have pushed their boundaries too far – for instance, playing near the stocks or irritating a drunk Izek Strazni – Urwin and Danika have done their best to rescue their children and chide them appropriately. The boys have learned that spying can be a wonderful game, but have also learned that they are to scram at the first sign of trouble, or else be grounded for a month.

Both Brom and Bray are resourceful children, having learned a number of tricks from their many “Aunties” and “Uncles” among the Keepers of the Feather. They are able to use their youth to manipulate many adults with ease, though Danika and Urwin are able to see through their wiles without a moment of hesitation.

T?? O???????? & O???????

T?? O???????? ?? S???? A?????

H??????????? C?????? B??????

A shrewd woman in her early fifties, Ms. Belasco loves propriety and order. She wears her grey-streaked brown hair up in a tight bun, and has developed fine wrinkles around her mouth from years of disapproving frowns.

The previous headmistress of the Orphanage was an older woman named Victoria Moldovar, who passed away six months ago. Belasco was previously a caretaker for the children before Ms. Moldovar passed away, but has struggled to control the children as Victoria did, and has resorted to stricter rules and punishments. As such, the orphans have grown particularly resentful of Ms. Belasco, the primary source of discipline in the house. They’ve taken to calling her “Belasco the Bully” behind her back, and swapping stories of Ms. Belasco eating naughty children for her meals.

Despite her harshness and abrasive nature, Ms. Belasco cares for her children very much. She is still struggling with the idea of being liked in return. Still, so long as the children are safe and healthy, she will dish out as many lectures and confiscations as she sees fit.

If the players get on her good side, possibly by showing their similar and heartfelt concern for the orphans, she’ll share what little information she’s gathered.

F???x

Felix has only lived at the orphanage for little more than six months. Prior to his arrival, Felix was the son of a pair of gardeners who tended a grove of apple trees just outside of Vallaki. However, on one fateful full moon, his parents were slaughtered by wolves, leaving the sobbing Felix to flee for the town as his parents bled out onto the forest floor.

For months, Milivoj noticed that Felix was withdrawn, shy, and isolated. In an attempt to bond with him, the ever-awkward Milivoj provided him a gift: a rusted tin locket engraved with an inscription written in Celestial. However, that same locket was the prison for a shadow demon native to the Shadowfell, and that demon’s dark consciousness soon dominated Felix’s own.

Felix’s demon was sealed within the locket by a cleric who was unable to conquer it. While the demon has great power now that it has a humanoid vessel, it is still not technically free of the locket. Only by devouring an exceptionally strong soul can it finally find release. The illness that is slowly killing Milivoj is actually the draining of his soul. When Milivoj dies, the ritual will be complete and the demon will slaughter the residents of the orphanage.

Currently, Felix isn’t Felix – he’s the demon. He acts like a young sociopath with a talent for lying and falsehoods. His emotional range is quite shallow and he shows almost no sympathy for the plights of others, even smiling if Cedrik’s death is mentioned. If approached, he speaks monotonously, and with great disinterest, but quickly descends into a volatile emotional state if questioned or challenged.

C?????

Now deceased, Cedrik was a mischievous troublemaker while alive. An orphan from birth, Cedrik soon learned that his attention-seeking activities were the easiest and fastest way to receiving attention from the adults around, even if that attention was more negative than positive. As a result, he became a bully toward some of the other children at the Orphanage. While he never injured another child, it was common for Cedrik to be punished for the theft of another child’s toy or cruel, taunting words said toward a fellow orphan.

On the day before the PCs’ arrival in Vallaki, Cedrik stole Felix’s locket from around his neck while he was sleeping. The shadow demon possessing Felix was enraged by the theft, and pushed Felix to steal the locket back before pushing Cedrik out of a second-story window. Cedrik died upon impact. Currently his body is kept in storage in the basement of the Orphanage, awaiting the arrival of an appropriately sized coffin from Henrik van der Voort, the local coffin-maker.

Before his death, Cedrik nursed a hidden crush for Tessa, another member of the Orphanage. The two were close friends, with Tessa the only resident who could persuade Cedrik to return a stolen doll or apologize for a crude comment.

T?? M?????? B???

Six days prior to the PCs’ arrival in Vallaki, three of the younger boys of the Orphanage fled in the night, driven to a maddened terror from their dark dreams, bruises, and fear of Headmistress Belasco. By some stroke of terrible luck, they managed to slip past the guards at the gate and into the western woods around Vallaki. It was only three days later that Milivoj managed to uncover the details of their disappearance. The morning after, he hired the wolf hunters, Szoldar and Yevgeni, to follow the boys’ trail into the forest and bring them home, if possible.

The boys’ names are Marek, Stefan, and Anton. They are currently being held at the Werewolf Den, and Kiril plans to bite and turn them on the next full moon. Szoldar and Yevgeni managed to track them as far as the Wolfrun region before confirming that the boys had been taken by a pack of werewolves. They report back to Vallaki shortly after the PCs’ arrival, and sadly inform Milivoj of the boys’ fate.

T?? O???? O??????

Many of the orphans sport various bruises and mild injuries. These come from Felix’s demon feeding on their life force in the night. None of the children have any idea how they received their injuries. 

All the children have been suffering from horrific night terrors. Most nights are interrupted by more than one terrified scream.

R???????

Rictavio is a colorful, flamboyant, and entertaining half-elf bard staying at the Blue Water Inn. He rolls his r’s, speaks with constant delight, and has a never-ending stream of amusing and lighthearted anecdotes. However, his bright personality is a mask that conceals the true identity beneath: the renowned vampire-hunter, Dr. Rudolph van Richten.

Van Richten is a veteran hunter of undead and monsters, and uses his Rictavio persona as a means of avoiding suspicion by Strahd’s servants. Under no circumstances does he reveal his true identity to the party while within Vallaki’s walls, instead saving a proper introduction for Van Richten’s Tower.

It is possible that the party may uncover hidden depths to Rictavio’s public persona while still in Vallaki. If this occurs, Van Richten claims to be a spy for an anti-Strahd faction scattered across Barovia. He refuses to reveal any additional details, such as the name of the faction or the identities of any other members. He informs the PCs that he is currently monitoring the political climate of Vallaki while keeping an eye out for any activity by the vampire’s servants. He has suspicions regarding the motivations of Lady Fiona Wachter, but no clear proof.

M?????? R???????

If the PCs rent rooms at the Blue Water Inn, Rictavio approaches them on the second or third night of their stay to warn them about the strange customs and citizens of Vallaki. He specifically advises them against any courses of action that may get them into trouble, depending on their current goals and prior experiences. If the PCs have been planning a break-out from the stocks, Rictavio relates an anecdote regarding a criminal’s torment within Baron Vallakovich’s mansion. If the PCs have recently met with Lady Wachter, Rictavio tells them that she is a dangerous woman, and warns them to be wary of her motivations and followers.

If the PCs push for further information; accuse Rictavio of “knowing too much”; or single him out due to a related Tarokka reading, he leads them to his room for a more private conversation. There, he reveals that his role as a carnival ringmaster is only a front for his spying ventures. As the PCs are outsiders, Rictavio notes that he feels morally obligated to warn them that Vallaki is neither a safe nor a welcoming place. 

He tells them to leave town as quickly as they can, and advises them to keep their heads down in the meantime. He will then proceed to ask the PCs their goals in Vallaki and prior experience in Barovia. Rictavio also provides basic directions to his tower on Lake Baratok in case of trouble, but neglects to provide them instructions for opening the door in order to force them to figure it out for themselves as a test of skill.

W??? R??????? K????

If the PCs mention Madam Eva’s Tarokka reading, Rictavio is intrigued, and offers to interpret her card reading as best he can. While he knows little more than the locals regarding the geography and history of Barovia, he can direct the PCs toward specific locations including Argynvostholt, the Dusk Elf slums, or the Abbey of St. Markovia in Krezk. 

If he believes himself to be the prophesied ally, he keeps that information to himself until he believes the party to be strong enough to overcome Strahd. If the PCs ask him outright to join their party, he offers to serve as their spymaster and informant until such a time that they feel prepared to investigate Strahd’s secrets directly. He also confirms the rumored existence of the legendary Sunsword, and promises to join the party’s side once they have obtained it.

If the PCs ask after a Treasure that's in his possession, Rictavio either guides them to his carnival wagon in Arasek Stockyard, or gives them directions to his tower at Lake Baratok.

If the PCs mention the Keepers of the Feather, Rictavio notes that he is watching them, and advises the PCs to be wary before alerting them. He believes them to be enemies of Strahd, but does not wish to disturb them before he is fully aware of their members and motivation. If the PCs mention the Vistani, Rictavio warns the party to avoid them entirely. Despite his affinity for Ezmerelda, he has nursed a deep prejudice against the Vistani in the decades since his son’s death, and believes that nearly all of the Vistani in Barovia are willing servants of Strahd.

If asked about the Mad Mage of Mount Baratok, Rictavio shares his belief that the Mad Mage and the wizard that stormed Castle Ravenloft the preceding year are one and the same. He suggests that the PCs find him and restore his madness; if the PCs lack any means to do so, Rictavio mentions that he has his own ways of curing insanity. Should the PCs apprehend the Mage and send for Rictavio, he prepares the Greater Restoration spell the following day and uses it to remove the Mage’s madness.

R????? E?????

Rudolph van Richten first came to Barovia four months ago with the intention of destroying Strahd von Zarovich, whose name was legendary even among elder vampires. Employing dark secrets and the blood of a Vistana, he slipped through the mists of Ravenloft in the guise of an archaeologist named Relyon, bringing with him a wagon holding a “guard-dog” saber-toothed tiger named Ramses that he had trained from birth.

As Relyon, van Richten steadily plotted his invasion of Castle Ravenloft while investigating Strahd’s abilities, allies, and enemies. Through observation of a meeting between Muriel Vinshaw and Adrian Martikov, he is peripherally aware of the Keepers of the Feather and their antipathy toward Strahd, but is wary to approach the lycanthropes due to his own ill fortune with a tribe of werewolves and a gang of wererats. He believes that Urwin and Danika Martikov may somehow be connected, but is unaware of their lycanthropic nature.

According to legend spread by Vistani storytellers, the vampyr Strahd von Zarovich is known to slumber for years or decades at a time, only to awake when a great disturbance has shaken his lands. When Relyon arrived in Barovia, Strahd was still hibernating in his coffin. Relyon quickly seized the opportunity to explore Castle Ravenloft in disguise, and therefore has a basic knowledge of the layout of the first floor, as well as the Larders of Ill Omen. However, Rahadin discovered him before he was able to enter the Crypts, and Rudolph barely escaped with his life. 

As he dueled a trio of ghasts, Relyon’s Hat of Disguise slipped, allowing Rahadin a brief glimpse of the true form underneath. Rahadin later learned from the Vistani at the Tser Pool Encampment that his description of the invader’s appearance perfectly matched that of Rudolph van Richten, famed vampire hunter. He would relay this information to Strahd as soon as the vampire awoke.

K?????? V??????

A mutilated and grief-stricken dusk elf, Kasimir has been trapped in Barovia since the elves’ surrender to Strahd’s conquering army. Should the PCs seek out knowledge of the history of the land before Strahd’s ascension, or if they learn that one of the three treasures is in Kasimir’s possession (or if Kasimir himself is their prophesied ally), they will be able to find him at the small circle of dusk elf shacks located by the Vistani Encampment near Vallaki. Additionally, either Ezmerelda d’Avenir or Rudolph van Richten can inform the PCs that the leaders of the Dusk Elves are among the few peoples left in Barovia who may be able to recall the location of the legendary Amber Temple.

As a dusk elf, Kasimir Velikov is one of the eldest living residents of Barovia – likely even older than Strahd himself. His memory runs long, and if prompted, he can share stories of Strahd’s original military campaign to conquer Barovia. He regrets Sergei’s death, and wishes that the younger prince could have eventually ascended the throne, rather than Strahd’s own undead hand.

T?? S??????? ?? ??? D????

V????? ??? H????

Vasili von Holtz is the alter ego of Strahd von Zarovich. From time to time over the passing centuries, Strahd has disguised himself as Vasili in an effort to explore his domain without triggering an inevitable reaction of fear. In the past, he’s used the Vasili persona to amuse himself by stirring up petty politics, toying with foreign adventurers, and romancing Tatyana’s reincarnations without revealing his true nature.

Publicly, Vasili claims to be an accountant in Vallaki who assists several shops and the Baron with their finances and tax payments. If the PCs ask around, they can find that no shopkeeper remembers ever working with him, but all agree that it’s common knowledge that he works with everyone else. The Baron barely recognizes the name, but doesn’t ever work with the taxes himself, leaving the job for his more qualified servants.

At all times, Strahd’s true appearance is carefully hidden using a Disguise Self spell. This illusion lasts for only one hour, and he must take periodic breaks to renew it (e.g., stepping into an outhouse to “freshen up,” or “losing” the party temporarily while they’re exploring). A suspicious PC can make a DC 18 Intelligence (Investigation) check to see through his illusion. However, the illusion spell that hides his appearance is concealed from Detect Magic and Identify through the use of Nystul’s Magic Aura, which also hides his vampiric nature from the Paladin’s Divine Sense feature. 

Due to his natural Charisma score of 18 (+4), as well as the charming and aristocratic appearance of Vasili von Holtz, Strahd has no need for the Charm feature of his original stat block, and actively avoids the use of any magic that might reveal his true identity. However, due to his vampiric nature, he avoids entering any household without invitation. (The Blue Water Inn and unconsecrated Saint Andral’s Church don’t count, because the constant influx of visitors has worn their spiritual thresholds down to nothing.)

Vasili uses the stat block of a noble with 16 hitpoints and a Dexterity of 18 (+4), and uses the multiattack feature of his original stat block to make two rapier attacks every turn. 

G?????? ??? J?? D???

Vasili’s primary goal while the PCs are in Vallaki is to woo Ireena Kolyana. He believes that, if he gains her favor while in disguise as Vasili, he can reveal his true identity as Strahd and persuade her that he is neither a monster nor her enemy. 

His secondary goal is the investigation of the adventurers (the PCs) that have recently entered his territory. While he bears no real interest for them until they achieve some notable act (e.g., overthrowing the Baron, retrieving the Bones of St. Andral, or cleansing the Winery), he still does his best to briefly greet each new party in disguise to gain their measure and a peripheral awareness of their background and purpose.

If you chose to run an encounter with Vasili while on the road to Vallaki, your PCs should already be aware of him. If not, Vasili introduces himself to the PCs while they’re dining or drinking at the Blue Water Inn on their first day in-town and shares a few pieces of advice regarding Vallaki’s laws and society. He then offers to show them around town. He makes a point of stepping inside the (unconsecrated) Church of Saint Andral, as if to subtly prove that he’s no undead.

He has a basic knowledge of the culture and layout of Vallaki, and makes every effort to assist the PCs if requested. While he does not directly intervene in the politics of Vallaki, he will join the PCs against the vampire spawn during the Feast of Saint Andral event if the party appears likely to win regardless.

At any time when the PCs encounter Vasili in a peaceful setting, he makes an earnest effort to strike up a conversation with them. An inquisitive or philosophical PC will soon find that Vasili has a wide variety of interests, including ethics, metaphysics, history, and the nature of magic and immortality.

E????????? ???? V?????

At any point while the PCs are out and about in Vallaki, if Ireena has been left behind at the Church or the Inn, Vasili approaches her and invites her to dinner. The two meet that evening in the taproom of the Blue Water Inn, with Vasili bringing a bottle of Champagne du Stompe wine from his “private collection.” Should the PCs return to the Inn that evening, they find Vasili and Ireena enjoying each other’s company, both seemingly half-drunk on wine and merrily swapping stories. The following morning, the PCs can find Ireena eagerly reading a book of fiction left by Vasili that details the tragedy of Marina of Berez, and the wrath visited upon the town for the incestual lusts and jealousy of her father (without mentioning Strahd at all, and never disclosing the identity of Marina’s suitor).

Once the PCs have proven comfortable with Vasili, he approaches them with a request and one of the following plot hooks:

?? P??? H??? – T?? R???????? C??????

If the party includes a fighter or paladin, Vasili approaches the PCs one morning and informs them that one of his clients, a Vallakian merchant named Zhenya Romanov, recently vanished along the Old Svalich Road on her way toward Krezk. This merchant, Vasili claims, possessed a ledger detailing her transactions and accounts that Vasili badly needs for his records. Should they accept, the PCs are tasked with confirming the destruction of the caravan, rescuing Romanov (if alive), and retrieving the ledger from the rusted tin lockbox in which it is kept. 

Vasili adds that Romanov also carried a purse containing money for making purchases and change, and that one of her guards, a man named Elya, wore an enchanted suit of armor that is said to be able to fire bolts of arcane energy. Should the caravan have been destroyed, Vasili invites the party to recover both items for their own use.

If the PCs ask around and succeed on a DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) check, they can learn that Romanov is a moderately well-known merchant who set off for Krezk three days prior. If the PCs pass a DC 18 Intelligence (Investigation) check, they can learn from one of the nearby guards or shopkeepers that Romanov set off late in the afternoon – a foolish decision, given that night would surely fall before her arrival in Krezk. This is because Vasili enchanted her with a Suggestion spell, speeding her planned departure by a day in order to get her killed by the werewolf pack while planting a set of magical plate armor on one of her guards.

Romanov’s caravan can be found two hours’ travel west on the Old Svalich Road. Romanov, Elya, and two other guards can be found slain, savaged, and dismembered. A DC 12 Wisdom (Medicine) or Wisdom (Nature) check can make it clear that they have been partially consumed, as if by a large wild animal. A DC 15 Wisdom (Nature) check can confirm a large wolf as the culprit.

Elya can be found wearing the plate armor described by Vasili, which is itself miraculously unharmed (though the helm has been lifted and Elya’s face torn off, rendering him unrecognizable). The purse can be found attached to a finely-dressed dismembered lower torso and pair of legs that once belonged to Romanov; it contains 22 gp, 29 sp, and 78 cp. The lockbox containing the ledger can be easily found on the wagon beneath sacks of grain, textiles, hide, and dried fruit and fish. It can be opened with a successful DC 13 Dexterity (Thieves’ Tools) check, and contains the ledger that Vasili described.

If worn, Elya’s suit of armor gives a PC who wears it the same benefits to Armor Class as does an ordinary suit of plate armor. However, it is in truth Strahd’s Animated Armor. If examined with Detect Magic when first found, it reveals an expected aura of Evocation magic. However, after 24 hours of discovery, it instead reveals an aura of Conjuration magic as Strahd’s Nystul’s Magic Aura spell expires. However, Strahd believes that the PCs will be too greedy to be suspicious. He has planted it here as a cruel joke and a means of testing the PCs’ trust in his alter ego.

Any PC that wears the armor and is proficient with it gains the ability to wield the Animated Armor’s Shocking Bolt attack (though without the Armor’s Multiattack feature). At any later point, Strahd or one of his servants can speak the command word: “Mordent.” Upon hearing this command word, the Animated Armor immediately moves to restrict and control its wearer’s movement. At the beginning of each of its wearer’s turns, the Armor and its wearer must make a contested Strength (Athletics) check. If the wearer wins, they can move at half speed and make attacks with disadvantage. If the Armor wins, it can force its wearer to move at half speed, and can force its wearer to make attacks (also with disadvantage). The Armor’s helmet also rotates 180 degrees to blind its wearer.

Three successful Strength (Athletics) checks are required to remove the Armor from its wearer completely – one each for the helmet, chestplate, and legs. If the helmet is removed, the wearer’s sight is restored. If the chestplate is removed, the wearer can no longer be prevented from making attacks, or forced to make attacks against its own volition. If the legs are removed, the wearer can no longer be prevented from moving or forced to move.

Vasili will also make regular appearances around town. You may consider having him greet the PCs after he has finished doing business with Lady Wachter at Wachterhaus, or sadly eye the prisoners in the stocks in Vallaki’s town square. The PCs should receive the overall impression that Vasili is:

  1. an ordinary part of Vallakian society

  2. an exceptionally curious and/or friendly Vallakian resident

  3. an independent-minded man who is troubled by Vallaki’s harsh system of justice

Should the PCs ever become suspicious of Vasili’s nature or intentions, he “admits” that he has become concerned by the cruel and unusual society that Baron Vallakovich has created. He informs the PCs that he has been searching for a group of outsiders who may be more able and willing to investigate means of changing the regime, but hasn’t had the courage or connections to do so himself. He has kept his intentions to himself for fear of being reported to the Baron’s guards, or losing the business of his several clients.

As the party grows more used to Vasili, he eventually confesses his interest in Ireena to one of the PCs, and asks for guidance in courting her. From this point, he begins to bring Ireena a number of gifts, including a rose, a bottle of wine, or a collection of Barovian folktales.

H????? ??? ??? V????

Henrik van der Voort is a mediocre carpenter and a troubled, lonely man. He was visited six weeks ago by a well-dressed, dark-skinned woman who named herself “Ludmilla Vilisevic” (rather than Vasili von Holtz, as in the book). Ludmilla promised van der Voort “good business” in exchange for his help.

Henrik was tasked with securing intelligence on the Church of St. Andral, in preparation for an attack by the vampire spawn Ludmilla had left in his shop. While Henrik knew of this dark plot by eavesdropping on the vampires, his cowardly nature has kept him from reporting it to the Baron. Upon his discovery of the bones beneath the Church, Ludmilla ordered him to steal them – which he did by proxy soon thereafter, paying the gravedigger, Milivoj, to snatch and deliver the bones under cover of night.

Should the PCs discover his possession of the bones, Henrik does not allow them to enter the store, claiming that his shop is “closed.” If the party attempts to gain entry by posing as customers, Henrik tells them (through the door) to slip a piece of parchment containing their desired coffin’s dimensions and the address of delivery beneath the door. He delivers the coffin using his cart and mule two days later.

If the party breaks in, Henrik offers no resistance, clearly intimidated. He can provide a clear description of Ludmilla’s appearance, persona, and name, but does not know her vampiric nature. He pretends to be ignorant of Ludmilla’s plans for an attack on the Church of St. Andral, and takes care to paint himself as an innocent and waylaid bystander. He immediately throws himself on the mercy of the PCs, asking for aid in avoiding the wrath of the vampire upstairs. He can also inform the PCs of the location of the other four vampires, having stored their coffins beneath the hangman’s stage in the Town Square while making repairs to the structure.

L??????? V????????

At nearly 200 years old, Ludmilla Vilisevic is Strahd’s oldest bride. Where other consorts have been cast aside as Strahd grew tired of them, Ludmilla has survived by keeping to herself while tending to matters he deems important. She serves as the unofficial leader of his harem, and reins the others in when necessary.

Ludmilla first came to Barovia as a little girl, stowing away in a Vistani caravan that passed through her homeland of Amn. When she arrived in Barovia, she made a living by stealing and hiding in the shadows. It was only as a young woman that a kindly family in Vallaki found and adopted her.

Life with a family was better than life on the streets, but the dark color of Ludmilla’s skin marked her as an outsider – and, in some ways, an outcast – to the other citizens of Vallaki. At the age of eighteen, Ludmilla fled Vallaki, following an ancient map that provided directions to the Amber Temple. There, she believed, she would find the answers and belonging she sought.

It was on the snow-covered slopes of Mount Ghakis that Ludmilla met the dusk elf, Rahadin, for the first time. Ludmilla was entranced by him; Rahadin saw her as a pleasurable and intriguing distraction for his master. He offered to guide her to Castle Ravenloft, where he promised her a partner, a teacher, and a home.

For the next three years, Strahd taught her the secrets of the arcane arts alongside the minutiae of courtly etiquette. He fed upon her regularly, and was impressed by her stoic, yet thoughtful response to his hunger. Her intelligence and charisma were apparent, and Strahd soon offered her a position as his bride. She gladly accepted.

As a vampire, Ludmilla soon learned from Rahadin that Strahd would inevitably tire of her – unless, that is, she proved herself useful. She set about serving him in the advancement of his arcane studies, and personally took on the task of recruiting and training his next bride, Anastraya. She now carefully stays out of Strahd’s way unless he requests her presence directly, and has formed close ties to Rahadin.

Ludmilla is cautious, reserved, and cunning. She has the stat block of a vampire spawn, but with 100 hit points, a Charisma score of 15, and an Intelligence score of 17. Ludmilla is also a deadly spellcaster, having learned the arcane arts from her master, Strahd. Her spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks) and she has the following Wizard spells at her disposal:

  • Cantrips (at-will): Message; Mage Hand; Produce Flame

  • 1st level (4 slots): Fog Cloud; Disguise Self; Magic Missile

  • 2nd level (3 slots): Blindness/Deafness; Invisibility; Levitate; Misty Step

  • 3rd level (2 slots): Counterspell; Sending; Clairvoyance

In combat, Ludmilla never resorts to traditional vampiric attacks unless she is truly desperate. Instead, she begins by casting Levitate with concentration on the most threatening melee combatant, followed by the use of a Blindness/Deafness spell on any identifiable spellcasters. If she has any level-three spell slots available, she reserves her reaction to cast Counterspell. Once her enemies have been incapacitated, she uses Magic Missile to whittle down their health.  She always reserves a single 2nd-level slot for escape using Misty Step, Fog Cloud, or Invisibility. If she runs out of levelled spell slots, if her enemy reveals the Sunsword or the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind and she does not have melee-capable allies nearby, or if she is reduced to one-third of her hitpoints, Ludmilla immediately flees from combat. If the Sunsword or Holy Symbol are used in combat against her, she casts Fog Cloud to conceal herself while allowing her allies to do her dirty work.

As is her wont, Ludmilla is doing Strahd’s work before he has realized it himself. Knowing that her master is hunting the maiden Ireena, Ludmilla soon takes note should Ireena find sanctuary in the Church of St. Andral. She is the mastermind of the plot to steal St. Andral’s bones, rather than Vasili von Holtz, and intends to destroy the church permanently soon after the Festival of the Blazing Sun. Once her plan is set into motion, Ludmilla stores her coffin in Arrigal’s wagon, and staying with the Vistani as his “special guest.” For more information on Ludmilla’s plots, see the Feast of Saint Andral section above.

A???? ?? V??????

A?????????? ??? T???

When the party arrives at the border of Vallaki, the guards will halt them from behind the closed iron gates. They will hold the following interrogation with the gates remaining locked, only allowing the PCs through when they have answered all questions to the guards’ satisfaction.

The guards will ask the PCs for the following information:

  • Names, occupations, and business in town. The guards will latch onto any hesitation or suspicious answers, and will grill the PCs on all potentially relevant information. If a PC fails a DC 12 Deception (Charisma) check in a lie to this question, the guards will be annoyed, and will request the truth. On the second lie, the guards will shutter the doors to the PCs, leaving the situation salvageable only by Ireena’s best efforts.

  • Opinions of Strahd. The guards will do their best to ensure that the PCs have no sympathy or even apathy toward the Devil.

Should the PCs appear to be struggling with the guards’ questions; if the guards appear liable to forbid entry into the town; or if the guards have refused to allow visitors to pass through the gate due to nightfall, Ireena will intervene. As a burgomaster’s daughter, she has the social skills and niceties to grant the PCs advantage on all of their interactions with the guards. Should the guards remain skeptical, Ireena will warmly and proudly present herself as the daughter of the Barovian Burgomaster’s daughter, drawing on the respect her father’s name commands and her own diplomatic expertise to convince the guards to allow entry. Should Ireena reveal herself in this way, one of the guards will inform Izek and Baron Vallakovich of her arrival soon after.

Once the PCs’ have passed the guards’ interrogation, they will be allowed to enter through the gates for a briefing on Vallaki law. The guards will review the following rules with the party:

  • The mention of the name “Strahd” is strictly illegal, even in written form. If he must be referred to, “the Devil” is the commonly accepted term.

  • The town holds weekly festivals in to promote merriment and honor the Burgomaster, Baron Vargas Vallakovich. As guests, the PCs will not be required to assist in the preparation of these festivals, but their attendance and participation in each festival is mandatory for the length of their stay.

  • The next Vallakian festival is the Festival of the Blazing Sun, to be held in five days’ time in the Town Square.

  • Failure to comply with any Vallakian laws will brand the PCs as criminals, and will lead to punishments in accordance with the local justice system, including imprisonment in the stocks and, in extreme cases, exile.

The guards will begrudgingly answer any questions the PCs may have, but will make sure to reinforce any and all of these laws with the party as many times as necessary. The guards will refer to the festivals and the Baron in only the most positive light. The guards will not discuss the stocks or the Burgomaster’s private torture of prisoners.

S??????? I??? V??????

If the PCs have been exiled or otherwise barred from entry into Vallaki, they can successfully make their way into Vallaki undetected by sneaking over the walls. To do so, they will need some means of ascent (e.g., a rope, ladder, or Levitate/Fly spells), and to pass the following skill challenge.

In this skill challenge, the PCs must accrue three successes before three failures. If the PCs pass this challenge, they make it over the wall and into town undetected. If the challenge is failed, the PCs are discovered just after cresting the wall, and the guards successfully raise the alarm, summoning 2d4 additional guards in three rounds. 

The PCs may use several skills or abilities to pass this skill challenge, including any of the following features:

  • Athletics (DC 13 – Moderate) can be used to ascend a rope quickly.

  • Sleight of Hand (DC 13 – Moderate) can be used to lasso the rope to a secure and concealed portion of the palisade.

  • Perception (DC 13 – Moderate) can be used to locate a portion of the palisade wall that provides the greatest cover from the patrolling guards’ prying eyes.

  • Levelled spells (Automatic Success) such as Invisibility or Charm Person; or cantrips (DC 8 – Easy) such as Minor Illusion or Friends can be used to disguise the PCs’ ascent from view or dissuade the nearest guard from raising the alarm.

  • Nature (DC 18 – Hard) can be used to detect when the wind is blowing in such a way to cover the scent and sound of the PCs.

  • Stealth (DC 13 – Moderate) can be used to conceal the sound and sight of the climbing PCs.

  • Investigation (DC 8 – Easy) can be used to observe the pattern of the guards’ patrol schedule, and so calculate the best time to climb the wall without drawing their notice.

N1. S?. A?????’? C?????

?? S?????? ?? F??? – H???? ?? S?. A?????’? C?????

When the PCs first arrive in Vallaki, the party’s cleric or paladin may wish to visit the church and meet the local priest, Father Lucian. Father Donavich of the village of Barovia may also suggest that the PCs deliver Ireena to the safe haven of St. Andral’s Church. Finally, Danika Martikov is happy to inform the PCs that the church is commonly rumored to be consecrated ground, protected from the influence of vampires or dark magic.

At the church, the PCs can learn from Father Lucian that the bones of St. Andral have been stolen, rendering its hallowed ground impotent. Father Lucian can also inform the PCs that the local gravedigger, Milivoj, is the most likely person to have witnessed the theft, and can point them toward St. Andral’s Orphanage, where a sickly Milivoj is currently resting. Finally, if the Feast of Saint Andral event is allowed to proceed, the church is specifically targeted by Ludmilla Vilisevic, Strahd’s most senior bride and the organizer of the attack, along with one of her subordinate vampire spawn during the rampage.

?? W???? ? T??????? W???? – C????? ?? S?. A????? B????????

If your PCs face an encounter within the Church – likely with Ludmilla Vilisevic after recovering the saint’s bones, or with Izek Strazni as he pursues Ireena – you can use this battlemap.

When the PCs first arrive at the Church of St. Andral, no matter the hour, they can find Willemina Rikalova in the pews, praying. If it is day, Father Lucian is beside her, comforting her. She has not left the chapel since her son, Udo Lukovich, was taken by Baron Vallakovich’s men. 

On any given evening, Father Lucian can be found delivering a sermon to 3d6+2 Vallakian worshippers. Otherwise, he can be found tending to the grounds, cleaning the pews or altar, reading to Yeska from a book of holy stories, eating a meal, or praying before the altar. Only on rare occasions does Father Lucian venture forth from the Church.

Unlike in the module, the bones of St. Andral were previously stored on a large stone slab at the center of a ten-by-ten foot crypt concealed beneath the chapel of the church. This crypt is accessible by means of a hidden shaft built into the stone altar of the Morninglord, whose secret door opens when the trigger, disguised as the westernmost line of the carved sun’s rays, is firmly pressed down.

N2. B??? W???? I??

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Should the PCs request assistance finding lodging for the night, any guard or Vallakian resident will point them toward the Blue Water Inn for room and board. The PCs may also visit the Inn to obtain information or rumors from Danika, especially regarding the disappearance of the bones of St. Andral. The PCs may also go into hiding at the Inn in the event of political turmoil, and can find refuge in the secret loft on the Inn’s highest floor.

At the Inn, the PCs can obtain information regarding the disappearance of Bluto Krogarov and the delayed shipment of wine from the Wizard of Wines winery. They can make friends with Nikolai and Karl Wachter; obtain the services of Szoldar Szoldarovich and Yevgeni Krushkin; and interrogate the half-elf Rictavio regarding a Tarokka reading that describes him or the saber-toothed tiger within the carnival wagon in Arasek Stockyard. If the PCs are collaborators with the Keepers of the Feather, they can also send and receive messages through Danika and Urwin Martikov to other members of the order.

If a new PC is planning to join the campaign, the Blue Water Inn is a good place to introduce them. This PC might be an associate of Rictavio or the wolf hunters; a wounded adventurer nursed back to health by the Keepers of the Feather; or a local resident of Vallaki.

R??? & B????

Should the PCs request a room at the Inn, Danika will have her boys, Brom and Bray, lead the way to their lodging. Brom and Bray are liable to prank one of the PCs with one of their Blinsky toys, but will happily shower the PCs with innocent questions regarding their race, equipment, and experiences in and outside of Barovia.

Danika will charge the PCs 5 sp per person for each night they stay at the inn, though Urwin will offer the room free of charge if he gets to the party first. The menu here is roasted wolfmeat, aged venison, dried apples, crusty bread, goat’s cheese (imported from Krezk), and wine – specifically, Purple Grapemash No. 3. A mug of wine normally costs 4cp, but has been raised to 8cp due to the currently limited supply. A loaf of bread costs 2 cp, a hunk of cheese 1 sp, and a cut of wolfmeat or venison 3 sp. A modestly portioned meal of meat, potatoes, cheese, and dried carrots costs 1 sp. Should all of the PCs partake of the wine, Danika’s supply runs out that evening; otherwise, it runs out the following day.

P??? H???? & R?????

Should the PCs ask about the wine shortage, Danika informs the PCs that a shipment of wine is usually delivered from the nearby Wizard of Wines winery once per season. However, the latest shipment is more than a week late, and the inn’s supplies are running dry. She shares that her husband, Urwin, has family at the winery, but adds sadly that Urwin and his father, a gruff man named Davian Martikov, had a falling-out years ago. As a result, Urwin hasn’t yet sent a message to his father regarding the winery’s fate, and has not received any information from the winery in turn. If the PCs appear amenable to further investigation, Danika asks them to investigate, and provides directions to the Wizard of Wines from Vallaki’s western gate.

Danika Martikov is a talkative barkeep, and can provide the PCs with any or all of the following rumors, often without any prompting:

  • One of the Inn's best patrons and the town drunk, Bluto, hasn't been seen for a couple days. He's often found uselessly fishing on Lake Zarovich, north of town. At his last appearance in the tavern, he boasted of a special “good-luck” charm he had found that would ensure the success of his next fishing expedition. Bluto’s wife, Vanessa, recently passed away due to illness.

  • There have been no recent sightings of the Mad Mage of Mount Baratok. Folks used to see him skulking along the north shore of Lake Zarovich, shooting lightning bolts into the water to kill fish. His first sightings began around eleven months ago.

  • The Baron’s henchman, a brute with a demonic arm named Izek Strazni, recently arrested the local shoemaker, a man named Udo Lukovich, for “malicious unhappiness.” Using some kind of dark magic, Izek burned his house to the ground as punishment for resisting arrest. Udo’s family fled the burning house, and are currently staying with his mother, Willemina Rikalova, who spends much of her time at the church.

  • The Vistani at the nearby western encampment have been restless over the past day or so. Rumors abound that they’re searching for something, but no Vallakian has been brave enough to ask what.

?? T?? B???????? E????? – A S??? P????

Should the PCs run afoul of Vallakian law, the Martikovs will do their best to provide the party with sanctuary. The wereravens will put the party in the secret attic (area N2Q) to hide them from the Baron’s men, allowing them entry and egress through the secret passage in area N2I. If any of the party’s belongings are stolen or confiscated by the Vallakian guard, the Martikovs will steal and return them soon thereafter. Once the PCs’ trail has cooled, the Martikovs help them escape over the walls in the night and provide them with directions to the Wizard of Wines (if it still stands) or Krezk.

The wolf hunters Szoldar and Yevgeni can provide the PCs a crude map of the area immediately surrounding Vallaki, bounded by Krezk to the west, the Winery/Argynvostholt to the south, Lake Zarovich to the north, and Old Bonegrinder to the east, providing it to the party for the cost of a night’s worth of drinks. They can also provide information to the PCs regarding their pursuit of the missing boys of St. Andral’s Orphanage, and explain their belief that the boys were taken by the werewolf pack of the Wolfrun region – alive or dead, neither hunter can say. 

The hunters can provide the PCs direction to Milivoj if they wish to take up the quest, but do not know the location of the den, and view the mission as hopeless.

N3. B??????????’? M??????

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If the PCs are searching for a safe place for Ireena to stay, they may visit the Burgomaster’s Mansion in order to obtain an audience with the Baron; after all, as effective Barovian nobility, it’s not unlikely that the Baron would be willing to host her indefinitely. The Baron happily grants Ireena an audience and a spare bed in N3F, the Servants’ Quarters.

The PCs may enter the mansion on a wild goose chase in search of St. Andral’s bones, or to investigate the strange purple lights that have been seen in the attic. If Izek has kidnapped Ireena, the PCs will be able to find her kept captive in his room on the second floor. In either case, the Baron will bar them entry, forcing the PCs to sneak in.

If the players meet Lady Fiona Wachter and earn her trust, she might ask them to investigate the mansion for signs of the Burgomaster's corruption. Fiona also desperately wants to know what Victor did to her daughter to cause the girl's madness. Baron Vallakovich, of course, will not willingly allow the PCs to investigate his own domicile, requiring the party to break in and snoop around unless they bring an excellent cover story and succeed on a DC 20 Deception check.

If one or more of the PCs have been imprisoned in the stocks, the party may seek mercy or information from the Baron in order to set their friends free. If the PCs succeed on a DC 20 Persuasion or Intimidation check, the Baron agrees to release the PC in exchange for a fine commensurate with the crime committed, with a minimum fee of 50 gp.

Finally, the PCs may also visit the Burgomaster’s Manor in order to obtain information from his library. Alternatively, if the party’s Tarokka reading directed them to the Burgomaster’s Mansion, they can find a treasure in the N3S, the Attic Storage, forgotten amongst piles of junk. If the PCs are upfront regarding these requests, the Baron allows them inside only with a successful DC 15 Persuasion or Deception check – but only after summoning Izek Strazni, who accompanies the PCs inside to ensure that they don’t steal anything.

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If the PCs attempt to enter during the day, the front door and rear door are unlocked. However, the family’s cook can always be found working in Area N3G (Kitchen), and there is a 40% chance that the family’s maid is cleaning in one of the rooms adjoining Area N3a (Entrance Hall and Vestibule). Additionally, if PCs sneak in before the Festival of the Blazing Sun, Lydia Petrovna and eight peasant commoners can be found preparing decorations in Area N3c (Dining Room). The PCs must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity (Stealth) check to sneak past any occupied room; a PC that fails this skill check must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity (Stealth) check to duck into one of the adjoining rooms and hide.

If the party infiltrates the Baron’s mansion during the night, the PCs must evade the attention of the Baron's two slumbering mastiffs, who sleep in N3i., the Upstairs Gallery. While asleep, their collars are chained to a ring set into the wall. The dogs awake if the PCs pass by and no attempts are made at stealth.

  • Nature (DC 20 – Hard) can provide information regarding the best way to avoid awakening a slumbering canine.

  • Animal Handling (DC 15 – Moderate) can allow a PC to calm the dogs if awoken. This check is made with advantage if the PCs provide some kind of food.

  • Stealth (DC 15 – Moderate) can allow the PCs to sneak past, letting the sleeping dogs lie.

  • Levelled Spells (Automatic Success) such as Animal Friendship; or features like a Firbolg’s Speech of Beast and Leaf (Persuasion DC 10 – Easy) can allow a PC to keep the dogs quiet. 

If the PCs fail their check, the dogs awaken, requiring an Animal Handling check (DC 15 – Moderate) to quell their barks, or a Stealth check (DC 15 – Moderate) to hide elsewhere in the mansion before the Baron arrives.

If the PCs enter the mansion during the day, the Baron and his dogs can be found in Area N3L (library), with the door closed. Additionally, if the family’s maid is not cleaning downstairs, there is a 60% chance that she is cleaning one of the rooms on the second floor. (Otherwise, she is out running errands about town.)

Should the PCs be discovered inside of the manor by Lydia, the maid, the cook, or Lydia’s female peasant helpers, they can successfully persuade their discoverer that the Baron has requested their presence with a DC 12 Charisma (Deception) check (made with advantage if the PCs are disguised as ordinary Vallakians, or if the PCs have been discovered by one of Lydia’s helpers). If a PC fails this Deception check, their discoverer prepares to call for Baron Vallakovich in his study on the second floor, and can only be dissuaded from doing so if the party promises to leave immediately and succeeds on a DC 15 Charisma (Persuasion) check.

Should the PCs be discovered inside of the manor by Baron Vallakovich, only a DC 20 Charisma (Deception) check can convince him that the PCs have a legitimate reason for being there (made with disadvantage if the PCs have broken in at night, and with advantage if the PCs were allowed in by Lydia or one of the servants and mention that fact). If the PCs succeed on this check and were not discovered in a compromising position, the Baron leads them to Area N3l (library) and commands them to explain themselves. If this check is failed, or if the PCs were discovered in an obviously criminal position (e.g., searching the Baron’s bedroom or freeing Udo Lukovich from his restraints), he swiftly calls for Izek to arrest the PCs on the spot (if it is night) or sends Lydia to alert the guards on duty that his home has been invaded by servants of Strahd (if it is day).

Under no circumstances does Izek use his Hurl Flame ability if fighting within the mansion’s walls.

N3T. V?????’? W???????

The Glyph of Warding set into the door of this room casts the Suggestion spell, rather than triggering lightning damage, when opened. Any creature that opens the door must succeed on a DC14 Wisdom saving throw or else be Suggested to proceed downstairs and ignore whatever reason they may have had for entering.

If the PCs enter this room at night, Victor has fallen asleep at this desk.

N4. W??????????

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The PCs may snoop around Wachterhaus under the direction of Baron Vallakovich, who wants the PCs to obtain evidence of Wachter’s treachery. They might also join Lady Wachter for dinner on the invitation of Ernst Larnak, or request access to the Wachters’ library to search for information. If the party’s Tarokka reading directed them to Wachterhaus, they can find a treasure in the closet of N4O, the Master Bedroom, in the iron chest containing Leo Dilisnya’s bones.

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If a snooping PC encounters the skeletons in Lady Wachter’s basement and confronts her about it, she claims that she had them raised to serve as builders for her unfinished wine cellar, but found them to be far too unintelligent to properly construct anything, and is in the process of having them repurposed as guards. She justifies her use of necromantic magic by claiming that “so long as any action is taken beneath the Morninglord’s sight, it is good and proper and just.”

N5. A????? S????????

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If the PCs are searching for a general store where they can purchase basic adventuring gear, nearly any Vallakian citizen can point them toward Arasek Goods, located at the southwestern end of Arasek Stockyard. The PCs might also choose to investigate the Stockyard after awakening Milivoj at St. Andral’s Orphanage to search for clues left from the meetings between him and his mysterious employer.

It is also possible that the PCs (correctly) deduce from clues elsewhere that Henrik van der Voort, the coffin maker, is the man who persuaded Milivoj to steal the Bones of St. Andral. If so, they can locate his shop on the southeastern side of the Stockyard.

Finally, if the PCs become suspicious of Rictavio, or believe that his wagon may contain one of the treasures referenced in their Tarokka reading, they can easily discover that his wagon is hitched at the center of the Stockyard. If the PCs first confront Rictavio in person and mention their Tarokka reading, he asks them to meet him in his room at the Blue Water Inn within the hour and slips away to retrieve the lead-lined box containing the treasure from his wagon.

When the PCs enter Arasek Stockyard, they can see two signs at the southern end: “Arasek Goods,” and a coffin-shaped sign bearing no words that marks the entrance of the coffin-maker’s shop (N6).

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If the PCs open the back door of Rictavio’s carnival wagon without Rictavio present, they must succeed on a DC12 Dexterity saving throw and a contested Strength (Athletics) roll to slam the door shut on the saber-toothed tiger before it can escape. Otherwise, the tiger (whom Van Richten has named Rameses) breaks from his rickety prison and bounds away into the alleys of Vallaki in an effort to locate Rictavio or Piccolo. For more information on running this encounter, see the Tyger, Tyger special event.

N6. C????? M????’? S???

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If the PCs interpret Milivoj’s clues correctly, they may deduce that Henrik van der Voort, the coffin maker, is the man who persuaded Milivoj to steal the Bones of St. Andral. Once the party learns that Milivoj met with his mysterious employer at Arasek Stockyard, they might attempt to ask Henrik if he saw those meetings from his shop window (and, of course, be turned away).

Instead of barred from the inside, the side door to the Coffin Maker’s shop is locked, and may be unlocked with a successful DC 15 Dexterity (Thieves’ Tools) check. Henrik keeps the only key upon his person.

N6E. H?????’? B??????

Soon after Henrik takes the Bones of St. Andral from Milivoj, he stores them here, in the secret compartment of the wardrobe in this room. The night after he informs Ludmilla of his success, she enters the bedroom in secret and places two Glyphs of Warding beneath the sack containing the bones. These glyphs are triggered when the sack containing the bones is removed. Both glyphs are nearly invisible; only a successful DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check can allow a character to detect the thin lines of arcane energy poking past the edge of the sack.

The first Glyph is a Spell Glyph; once triggered, it casts a Clairvoyance spell that provides Ludmilla with a direct line of sight to this chamber and any characters within it (assuming that Ludmilla is present in the Vistani Encampment, Vallaki itself, or any of the surrounding area). 

The second Glyph is a set of Explosive Runes that erupt with magical energy in a sphere of 20-foot-radius when triggered. Each creature in the affected area (even if around a corner) must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 5d8 cold damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one. Ludmilla chose the cold damage type to prevent anyone outside the shop from hearing the explosion of the runes.

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If the glyphs are triggered, the two vampire spawn in the Vampire Nest (N6F) instantly awaken and attack any characters on the second floor before searching for survivors lurking on the main floor. 

If the PCs or the Baron’s guards forced Henrik to retrieve the bones himself, he is killed in the ensuing explosion, leaving the location of the five hidden vampire spawn a mystery. Only through asking the right questions and a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check can the PCs learn that Henrik was recently commissioned to make heavy repairs to the gallows’ platform in the Town Square.

If Ludmilla sees only Henrik when her Clairvoyance spell is triggered, she casts Clairvoyance a second time to confirm that the bottom of the shop is empty as well. If she detects the presence of the PCs in the shop, she quickly presumes the worst and casts Sending to direct the six vampire spawn to eliminate all intruders in all rooms of the coffin shop. She then makes her way to the Church of Saint Andral to await any characters that may return with the bones.

N7. B?????? T???

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Picking Up a Present: The PCs may make their way to Blinsky Toys to purchase a toy for Arabelle after accepting Eliza’s Picking Up a Present sidequest in Tser Pool Encampment. If they do, Blinsky recognizes Arabelle’s physical description and is happy to do business with them.

The Man with the Monkey: The PCs may make their way to Blinsky Toys after learning from Danika Martikov of an “entertaining man with a monkey” that fits the relevant Tarokka reading for Strahd’s Enemy. Blinsky protests any idea that he might be suitable for opposing the Devil of Castle Ravenloft, but can inform the PCs that he purchased the monkey from a man named Rictavio, who is currently staying at the Blue Water Inn.

The Missing Vistana: If the PCs accept the Missing Vistana quest from Luvash and Arrigal at the Vistani Camp outside Vallaki (area N9), the residents of St. Andral’s Orphanage can inform them that a grubby-looking man offered to purchase Arabelle some toys at Blinsky Toys. Blinsky can inform them that the man was Bluto Korgarov, one of the local fishermen. Bluto came by the previous day accompanying a girl fitting Arabelle’s description and bought her a pair of zombie dolls before leaving. Bluto told Blinsky that he was “taking Arabelle fishing.” Blinsky found the entire affair strange, as he did not know Bluto to have any children of his own.

Tyger, Tyger: If the PCs chase after the escaped Rameses, the saber-toothed tiger, either during the Tyger, Tyger special event or accidentally freeing him themselves, they can find him here, having broken through the window of the shop in an attempt to reunite with Piccolo, the monkey. The PCs find Piccolo happily perched on Rameses’ shoulder while Blinsky hides and whimpers from a top shelf of his shop.

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Due to its nature as a nexus of transportation rather than a destination, it is rare that your PCs will head toward the Town Square specifically. Instead, they are likely to pass through it while traveling between Arasek Stockyard and the Burgomaster’s Mansion. Any PC that takes the time to explore Vallaki will also naturally find themselves passing through the Town Square, a central point of commerce and travel in Vallaki.

Additionally, several shops are located in the Town Square. Any PC searching for some kind of commerce will be able to find their way to the appropriate shop within 30 minutes after succeeding on a DC 5 Intelligence (Investigation check), or within 15 minutes by passing a DC 10 check. Before ascending Mount Ghakis toward the Amber Temple, it may behoove the PCs to commission sets of warm winter clothing from Endless Delight Clothiers, located on the southeastern side of the square.

If the PCs decide to attend the Festival of the Blazing Sun, they will be able to enjoy the climax of the Festival at the center of the Square.

The Town Square is the heart of Vallaki. Between the posters advertising the Festival of the Blazing Sun, the watchful eye of Izek Strazni, and the spectacle of the stocks, any party visiting the Square will quickly gain an appreciation for the culture and current state of Vallaki.

Because Izek can often be found lurking within or nearby the area, no Vallakian will freely speak with the PCs while in or around the Town Square. These citizens may glare and snarl at the PCs when approached; happily bubble with Baron-approved propaganda; or entirely ignore the party if approached.

Though a stone fountain lies at the geographic center of the Town Square, the stocks are the clear centerpiece. Unlike in the module, Izek cannot be found here when your PCs first arrive. Instead, the townsfolk speak of his name in terrified whispers if the PCs suggest any hint of disloyalty or conspiracy.

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While exploring the Town Square, the PCs can find many copies of this poster advertising the Festival of the Blazing Sun.

Should a tense situation descend into combat, feel free to use this Town Square battlemap.

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If the PCs approach the men and women in the stocks, a terrified Vallakian peasant approaches to warn the party that providing comfort or aid to criminals in punishable by ten days in the stocks, while attempting to free those in the stocks is also punishable by a public flogging. If any PCs try to free the prisoners anyway, or are caught doing so, the peasant swiftly vanishes into the crowd, but swiftly reports their crime to Izek when he next returns to make his rounds.

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There are several shops in Vallaki’s Town Square where your PCs can purchase basic goods and supplies.

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Owned by blacksmith Dragomir Ulbrek, The Cracked Anvil is the proud purveyor of functional pieces including horseshoes, nails, hinges, spearheads, arrowheads, and daggers. Dragomir can also sell shortswords and longswords at twice the listed price in the Player’s Handbook, and can repair any nonmagical weapon or piece of armor for half of its normal price. He can also silver weapons for the PCs, but at the exorbitant price of 200 gp per weapon, and only has enough materials to silver two weapons without the PCs purchasing more from the Vistani.

As raw materials for new equipment are so hard to come by in Barovia, he will also pay the listed price in the Player’s Handbook for any weapons offered for sale. Because of this, he often has a small and eclectic collection of weapons and armors for sale obtained from the remains of dead adventurers.

Magda Ulbrek, Vallaki’s only fletcher and Dragomir’s wife, also works out of this shop. She can make bows and arrows for sale at twice the normal price, and will take a period of two days to create a new bow from scratch.

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Lukresh Tannery is owned by the dark-humored and abrasive Fatima Lukresh. She is most experienced in the production of straps, harnesses, and belts, but can craft normal and studded leather armor on commission if asked. Her work is crude, but functional.

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The three Alastroi siblings, Alek, Andrej, and Alana own and operate Endless Delight Clothiers (formerly named Alastroi Clothiers, until the Baron pressured them into renaming it). They are a weaver, cobbler, and tailor, respectively. The Baron frequently commissions their shop to produce the outfits and decorations for his festivals, leaving them highly skilled at their trade in a constant effort to please him. They are experienced crafters of warm clothing.

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Vallaki’s most experienced wainwright is a gruff, unpleasant man named Tural. He occasionally exits Vallaki to do business with the Vistani, which leaves him a social pariah amongst some of the more mistrustful townsfolk. However, if the PCs need an introduction to the Vistani near town, Tural is happy to provide it.

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The Apothecary is owned by a soft-spoken, but nonetheless eccentric man named Harkus Stefanovich. Possessed with an unnerving bedside manner and a lack of appreciation for personal space, Harkus is nonetheless a simple apothecary, rather than a potion-maker or alchemist. He is perfectly qualified to produce simple remedies, poultices, and tinctures, but quite ignorant of the materials or skills needed to produce Potions of Healing or similar items. He can sell the PCs a Healer’s Kit at twice the normal price.

N9. V?????? C???

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The Missing Vistana: Upon rescuing Arabelle from Bluto at Lake Zarovich, the PCs will be directed to return her to her father, Luvash, at this encampment. Should they recover her drowned body, she is recognizable as a Vistana from her clothes and complexion.

Tarokka Treasures: If Madam Eva’s Tarokka reading informs the PCs that a treasure can be found here, it is located within the Vistani Treasure Wagon (area N9I).

If the PCs successfully rescue Arabelle, Luvash tells them that some members of their camp routinely make trips to the world outside Barovia. Should the PCs pay half of the price upfront, the caravan would be happy to pick up some minor mundane or magical items on their behalf, deliverable in four days. The Vistani refuse to purchase holy water or any items hazardous to the undead, however, due to their stance of neutrality toward Strahd.

N10. S?. A?????’? O????????

Click here for N10. St. Andral’s Orphanage.

N11. V????? V?? H????’? H????

Few Vallakians know where to find the home of Vasili von Holtz, Strahd’s secret alter-ego. A DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check can allow the PCs to find someone who can point them there. Urwin and Danika Martikov can also provide the PCs with directions, having observed Vasili leaving his home on at least one occasion through the eyes of their ravens.

Vasili’s home is located in an old two-story townhouse in a somewhat wealthier part of town. The front door is locked, and the first floor shutters have been bolted closed. A DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check can break the door down, while a DC 15 Dexterity (Thieves’ Tools) check can unlock it. Given the wealthy nature of the neighborhood, breaking and entering Vasili’s home is swiftly reported by a neighbor, which may lead Izek or another local constabulary to track down the one responsible.

The first floor of Vasili’s home is divided into a front and back area. The front of the house contains a simple, well-kept living space, which includes a stove, a pile of neatly-stacked firewood, two comfortable-looking armchairs, and an old sofa adjacent to a brick fireplace. A PC with a passive Perception of 16 or higher notices a faint layer of dust on the floor and furniture. Inspection of the firewood reveals it to be quite old and nearly rotten. A doorway at the rear of the space leads to the back of the first floor.

The back area contains a small washroom, an empty pantry, and a set of wooden steps leading to the second floor. The washroom’s corners are full of dirt and grime, and a thick layer of dust covers the shelves of the pantry.

The second floor contains a single large room largely bereft of any furniture or decoration. The only exception is a large, king-sized bed whose bed frame has long since rotted. The mattress is moldy and infested with a colony of cockroaches. Many of the floorboards are clearly aged and creaky, and the room is coated with dust, cobwebs, and patches of mold and soil.

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