N11. Vallakovich Reformation Center
The Vallakovich Reformation Center is a building that combines the function of a courthouse, a guard barracks, and a prison. However, despite its prominence as a place of law, it is far from just. The Center has a dark reputation for torture, both physical and mental, and for making innocent folk disappear. The people of Vallaki have come to fear the Reformation Center far more than the stocks.
Built generations ago by one of Vargas Vallakovich’s ancestors, the Reformation Center is a large, two story structure built around a stone lookout tower. Originally, it was made to protect the people of Vallaki from Strahd, should the evil lord of Barovia ever decide to attack the town.
More recently, the building was renovated and upgraded by Vargas’ grandfather as a place to help “reform” corrupted minds. Anyone who breaks Vallaki’s laws, shows doubt in Vallakovich rule, or sympathizes with the Devil Strahd are taken to the Reformation Center to learn the errors of their ways.
Reformation Center Adventure Hooks
Captured in Vallaki. With all the laws and oppression in Vallaki, the chance that players will cause some sort of commotion and attract the attention of the guards is quite high. Instead of being driven out of town as the RAW material suggests, captured players are sent to the Reformation Center to serve a sentence for their crimes.
Revolution at the Festival of the Blazing Sun. During the Festival event, it is very likely that Fiona Wachter will somehow cause an uprising amongst the people of Vallaki. Should this occur, the mobs will overrun the Reformation Center in defiance of the Burgomaster, setting the prisoners free and tearing down the building, brick by brick.
The Process of Reformation
The Reformation Center’s primary goal is to reorient people’s minds into the “correct” way of thinking. Those who question the Burgomaster or cause public unrest must be trained to be better citizens. This happens in a series of steps depending on the level of an offender’s corruption.
Step 0: The Stocks and Execution. The most initial and basic of offenses are punished with a time in the stocks in the town square. This is the “slap on the wrist” punishment that is openly displayed as a warning to both the offenders and to the onlookers. A prisoners’ time in the stocks usually ranges between one and seven days.
On the opposite end, those who commit extreme, public crimes are put to death in the gallows in the town square. Those who murder town guards are automatically executed because their crime is not in their minds. Extreme public figures like Lady Wachter would also be better off made as an example by being put to death. As a result, the gallows are not used often and public executions are quite the event in Vallaki.
Step 1: Incarceration. Criminals are captured by the city guard and sent to court where they are more often than not declared guilty. The presiding judge is either one of the three Reformers or Baron Vargas Vallakovich. There is no jury.
Step 2: Subtle Convincing. First tier offenders are sent to the 2nd floor ward. The prisoners here receive treatment from the Reformers, a trio of elven siblings that use magic to alter mindsets and behaviors.
First, the Reformers use a combination of detect thoughts, hypnotic pattern, and suggestion to make the subject’s mind more pliable. They use their charismatic skills to make the prisoner’s objections seem baseless and try to convince the subject of their own foolishness. They cycle through the prisoners, usually affecting a handful each day. After a few weeks of treatment, many weak minded individuals begin to believe these thoughts are their own.
Step 3: Your Worst Nightmare. If step 2 seems ineffective, the Reformers move on to more sinister forms of treatment: using the subject’s worse fears against them.
The Reformers cast Phantasmal Force to summon the form of a subject’s loved one and make that illusion attack and berate the subject. Sometimes the Reformers work in tandem, summoning two images: one of a loved one and one of a torturer who interact while the subject watches helplessly.
They also cast Fear on the subject to further the emotional trauma. Finally, the Reformers use Dream to plague the victim’s sleep with horrific night terrors.
Step 4: Sensory Deprivation. If prisoners are able to resist the treatment, they’re moved to the underground solitary cells and are considered second tier offenders. Repeat offenders or those convicted for higher level crimes from the start begin automatically at Step 4.
The solitary ward cells are small and pitch black. The cells are under the constant effect of a Silence spell, which the Reformers recharge each day. Prisoners in these cells are left blinded, deaf, and alone for weeks without any human interaction. Even their food is slid through a small flap at the base of the door each day, which they can only find by feeling around in the darkness.
After a few weeks at a time, the prisoners are then forcibly taken from these cells and thrust into a room of light and noise before going back into the darkness. The constant strain on their senses breaks their minds.
Step 5: The Forgotten and the Damned. If prisoners still seem unresponsive to treatment, they are considered the highest tier of offenders and must endure penance for their criminal and corrupted minds for the rest of their lives. Execution would be but a release for such souls.
These people are moved into the depths of the underground cells. The cells are isolated and dark. Besides the food left through the door each day, prisoners here are left to rot.
The Results of Reformation
After enduring any amount of time or treatment at the Reformation Center, tier one and tier two prisoners are released back into Vallaki once they show adequate mental readjustment. These people show signs of their trauma in varying degrees for the the rest of their lives.
Most former residents of the Reformation Center have a myriad of nervous ticks as well as fragile dispositions. Many are plagued by debilitating forms of anxiety and depression. Players who spend enough time in Vallaki may come across a handful of survivors of this prison.
Notable NPCs at the Center
Izek Strazni. Izek is Captain of the Guard. However, he rarely makes appearances at the Reformation Center. Izek much prefers being on the front lines, openly patrolling Vallaki before retiring to his room at the Baron’s Mansion. As far as he’s concerned, Izek’s responsibility is to catch criminals. What happens to them afterward is someone else’s job.
Baron Vargas Vallakovich. Two days a week, Vargas spends his hours in the courtroom acting as judge. Otherwise, Vargas does not venture far into the Reformation Center, much preferring to leave such nasty business in the hands of the Reformers. Every couple months, he takes a cursory tour of the main floors to admire the work being done.
Quote: “Oh come now, my dear. You mustn’t cry to me! The first step in your rebirth is accepting you’ve no one to blame but yourself, after all.”
Reformers. The Reformers are a trio of elven mages responsible for using their magics to condition and brainwash prisoners at the Reformation Center. They were given their positions by Vargas’ grandfather when he updated and renovated the building.
Consisting of two brothers, Legalai and Ilimir, and a sister, Ivalice, the Reformers came to Barovia over one hundred years ago with a traveling band of adventurers. The group fought together valiantly and aspired to defeat Strahd. However, Strahd annihilated them. The high lord hunted down the party and their allies, murdering them and leaving nothing but ruin in their wake. As the siblings watched their friends die horrifically at the hands of the devil, they abandoned their adventures and hid in Vallaki where the Burgomaster at the time took them in.
The Reformers have since vowed to never let someone willingly oppose Strahd again, for they know the consequences personally. They truly believe that blissful ignorance is a far better life and use their magics to help the people of Vallaki remain happy. If a little pain is needed to promote that happiness, then so be it.
The siblings aren’t particularly enamored by Vargas. They are far more intelligent than the Burgomaster and find his belief that he can somehow combat the devil with smiles exceptionally foolish. However, they still want the people of Vallaki to be happy and to fear Strahd, and so keep up their work.
For Your Consideration: Victor Vallakovich is actually secretly learning magic from the Reformers, thus gaining the spells and methods he would need to break Stella Wachter’s mind. The elven siblings are unaware Victor has been carefully observing them and creating his own spellbook.
Guards. The Reformation Center is positively teeming with guards. The building serves as a training ground for newer recruits and a base of operations for the captains. Most guards are loyal to the Burgomaster, raised from birth to follow the Vallakovich line unwaveringly. Some guards are former prisoners at the Center, now reformed and ready to serve. However, there are a few who’ve retained their free thinking minds and are deeply disturbed by the goings on in the Reformation Center.
Prisoners. The prisoners are a variety of people. The majority are normal townsfolk caught saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the right people. Some are dissenters who tried to actively oppose the Burgomaster. Some are thieves and bandits and actual criminals. However, none will leave this place with minds intact.
The Mindlost. The mindlost are brainwashed human servants that live in the underground prison. While normal guards deliver meals to the first tier prisoners on the second floor, the mindlost serve meals to the offenders in the cellar.
The mindlost were the worst of the worst offenders. A couple are former sadists and serial killers. A couple others are Strahd supporters. One even tried to plot the assassination of the Burgomaster. The Reformers ritualistically casted a modified version of Feeblemind on these individuals and left them to attend the dungeons. The mindlost are virtually brain dead and incapable of speech, able only to mindlessly follow the Reformers’ orders.
The mindlost are neutral human non-combatant commoners. However, their Intelligence and Charisma scores are 1. They’ve been given the following duties and know nothing beyond them: 1. Deliver food to the prisoners. 2. Collect dishes and plates as well as they can and leave them by the dungeon entrance for removal. 3. If a cell hasn’t shown signs of life for a month, stop delivering food. After another month, check the cell for a body and bring the corpse to the dungeon entrance for disposal along with any piled dishes.
Areas of the Reformation Center
Not far behind the Burgomaster’s Mansion stands a fortress-like complex that brims with authority. The two story building is supported by a tall, stone lookout tower, atop which you catch the faintest glimpses of guards peering out over Vallaki. The front of the building bares two, giant wooden doors that sit heavily in their frames.
Locks and Keys
Most doors in the Reformation Center are locked. Usually, a guard patrolling the area carries a key to one or two nearby doors.
Vargas Vallakovich has a skeleton key which opens all doors in the Center, which he has on his person when he visits. Otherwise, the key is in a locked drawer in the desk in his library (Area N3L) at the Burgomaster’s Mansion.
Each of the three Reformer siblings also carry a skeleton key, which they keep attached to a bracelet on their wrists at all times. They never remove the bracelets.
All locked doors can be opened with DC 15 thieves’ tools unless otherwise stated.
1. The Courtroom
This large, two story courtroom has a pitched roof with rafters. Several wooden benches are separated from the front of the room by a two foot high wooden divider fence. A large, ornate chair sits on a raised dais at the end of the room like a throne.
Informally and much more popularly known as “Executioner’s Court,” this is where those accused of breaking Vallaki’s laws come to prove their innocence or, at the very least, ask for mercy in sentencing. However, nearly all cases that come to this courtroom are declared guilty and sentenced anyway, giving the area its nickname.
One of the Reformer siblings holds court the first two days of a week and Vargas Vallakovich holds court on the last two. On other days the courtroom is closed. Both the Reformers and the Burgomaster serve as judge and jury and their rulings are never merciful.
When court is in session, two elite guards and four guards stand watch over the proceedings. When court is not in session, two guards stand watch near the judge’s dais.
The courtroom’s front doors are unlocked when court is in session, and locked otherwise. One guard carries a key to the front doors and another carries a key to Area 3. None have a key to Area 2 except the Reformers.
2. The Reformers’ Chambers
You find yourself in a cozy, but well furnished room. There’s a bookshelf and a couple desks on the east wall and a tall wardrobe, slightly ajar. There’s a wash basin in the corner of the room and a number of plush pillows are piled by the fireplace. A similarly plush couch sits nearby and tucked in the far corner is a small footlocker.
Because the Reformers are elves and don’t sleep, this room contains no beds. Instead, the Reformers use this room for their meditations and to further their studies.
The door to this room is both locked and trapped by a glyph of warding spell. The only keys to this room are the skeleton keys. To notice the glyph, a PC must succeed on a DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check. The glyph activates if someone opens the door without saying the password: “Waterdeep.” If triggered, all creatures within 20 ft. of the door must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or take 5d8 thunder damage or half as much damage on a save. The thunder also makes a loud noise which alerts all creatures within 60 ft.
Treasure: The desk contains three leather pouches, one containing 50 gp, the second containing 10 sp, and the last containing 25 cp. Tucked into the cushions on the couch is an ornate, silvered dagger. The footlocker contains a carefully folded Cloak of Elvenkind, equipment from the siblings’ adventuring days.
The wardrobe has a false back which can be found with a DC 15 Investigation check. In the hidden area is a mid sized metal chest that is both locked and guarded with a poison needle trap (DC 20 Investigation to find and DC 15 thieves’ tools to disarm). If triggered, the opener takes 1 piercing damage from the needle and is paralyzed for 1 hour.
Inside the chest is a spellbook containing the Reformers’ spells from their spell list, an aged map of Waterdeep (the Reformers’ hometown before they were brought to Barovia), and a signet ring with a ruby gemstone worth 50 gp (Formerly owned by Ivalice’s fiance who died by Strahd’s hand). The chest also has a false bottom, which can be found with an additional DC 15 Investigation check. Beneath the false bottom is a Spell Scroll of Feeblemind.
3. Prisoner Processing and Holding Pen
Three armored guards resolutely stand watch. Two benches, a pile of discarded clothing, and some lockers sit along the western wall. To the east, behind floor to ceiling iron bars, is what appears to be a large prison cell with a handful of huddled occupants.
Newly captured criminals (reformation step 1) are placed in the holding pen to await their day in court. If they’re found guilty, they’re further processed in this room before being taken to their cell.
The doors to Area 1 and Area 8 are locked. There are always three guards on duty here in alternating shifts, one of which holds the keys to the locked doors.
The lockers contain various confiscated objects from the currently confined prisoners. If they’re found guilty, these objects become the property of the Baron and are sold off to pay for and support the Reformation Center.
Treasure. Currently the lockers contain a gold wedding band worth 1 gp, a pouch containing 5 sp and 9 cp, a dagger, a set of thieves’ tools, and a hooded lantern.
4. The Main Hall
This seems to be the main walkway of the building. Of the many doors leading into this room, one heavy wooden door sits on a curved, stone wall. A wide staircase takes up the center of the room.
This hallway gets a lot of foot traffic, mostly between guards and prisoners. Each floor is only decorated with a mounted shield bearing the Vallakovich coat of arms and twin plaques of the Vallakovich family crests.
There are always two elite guards making rounds here, one on the first floor and one on the second, who alternate shifts every six hours. The guard on the first floor carries a key to the far western door, which leads down to the underground prison. The guard on the second floor carries keys to the locked doors to Area 10, Area 9, and the cells in Area 9.
5. Mess Hall
The mess hall smells of burnt food and starch. While a makeshift kitchen makes up the far corner of the room, tables and benches take up the rest of the space.
A skinny old man simply known as Cook (N human commoner) mans the pots and pans in the makeshift kitchen. He makes large pots of starch heavy gruel each day for the Reformation Center’s many prisoners. He makes hearty stew and tough breads for the guards. Cook is in the kitchen from the early morning until sunset, when he returns to his home for rest.
At any given time, 1d6 guards are in the mess hall eating a meal.
6. Guard Barracks
Rows of simple beds take up the space of this room, each with an accompanying footlocker. Besides the spartan furnishings, a shield bearing a coat of arms hangs in the center of the far wall.
The shield bares the Vallakovich coat of arms. Most of the elite guards have their own homes and families in town. Long term guards tend to share communal lodgings elsewhere. Newer guards, trainees, and cadets sleep in these barracks.
At any given time, there are 2d4 – 2 guards in each barracks either sleeping, rising, or readying themselves for bed.
7. Training Room and Armory.
This tall, stone tower far outdates the rest of the building. The watchtower is hollow, save for a large, stone staircase that spirals up to a ladder which leads to the rooftop hatch. The ground floor contains several lockers and shelves bearing a variety of weapons, the majority of which are longswords, shortbows, and pikes. Suits of armor sit on stands waiting to be donned. Hay litters the floor in the center of the room, serving as padding around a pair of training dummies.
During the day, the training area is occupied by one elite guard teaching four guards fighting maneuvers. During the night, the training room is unoccupied and the door locked.
Treasure. The armory contains multiple longswords, pikes, shortbows, and quivers of arrows. The armor is all chain shirts and shields.
8. The Gated Yards
A wrought iron fence encloses most of the building. Each post is topped with a sharpened point so that the barrier stretches up like hundreds of deadly spears. The ground beyond the fence is well trodden and guards patrol the area like vengeful spirits searching for an outlet for their wrath.
The fence is ten feet tall and topped with sharpened spikes. The gates are always locked but can be opened with thieves tools, DC 15. The fence and gates can be climbed with a DC 20 Strength (Athletics) check. However, an additional DC 12 Dexterity saving throw must be made or take 1d4 piercing damage from the spikes.
There are perpetually two guards on patrol in the front gated area and three guards on patrol in the back gated area which change shifts every six hours. One guard in the front gated area carries the key to the gate and the door to Area 3. One guard in the back gated area carries the key to the gate.
9. Second Floor Prison
This prison ward contains rows upon rows of cells, locked by floor to ceiling iron bars. Each contains a makeshift cot and a single bucket for waste. The majority of the cells have occupants, all in varying states of mental health. Some pace their cells angrly. Others cower from unseen evils and talk to themselves in long lines of gibberish. This place feels more like an insane asylum than a prison.
The first tier prisoners undergoing reformation steps 2 and 3 are held here. Should a PC be arrested and sentenced, they might be moved to any of the cells marked with an X.
There are two windows at the ends of the main hallways which let in minimal light. These windows are barred from the outside.
Two guards patrol the hallways and switch shifts every six hours. Neither guard has keys to the cells. The elite guard on the second floor of Area 4 has the keys instead.
10. The Reforming Chamber
Darkness clings to the corners of this room like a curse. Heavy black curtains separate the space and warp the walls, making the room seem somehow unstable. The entrance way contains shelves stacked with small, cloudy jars on one wall and a shield with a coat of arms on the other. The central chamber contains a single chair that’s been mounted to floor. Leather straps are attached to armrests and legs of the chair, open and waiting for their next victim. The only wall unshrouded by drapes displays a massive painting depicting a demonic figure on a flaming horse. The figure smiles cruelly and clutches the mutilated corpse of a dead child while other witnesses flee in terror.
This is where the mental torture and conditioning takes place. The Reformers usually focus on two or three prisoners a day, using the methods detailed in “The Process of Reformation” to break them.
The painting is a depiction of Strahd, but much more devilish in appearance than he actually is, with horns, a tail, and other ghastly features. While all other iconography of Strahd is banned throughout Vallaki, this painting exists solely to promote fear and is accepted as a necessity of reformation. Vargas adamantly avoids the painting, however, and refuses to acknowledge its existence from his own personal fear of Strahd.
The door to this room is always locked.
11. The Watchtower
The top of the tower has four impressive ballistas mounted into place. The view here overlooks most of Vallaki and provides excellent vantage points over the grounds surrounding the building.
One elite guard and three guards are always on watch here in alternating six hour shifts.
12. The Sensory Deprivation Cells
Upon entering this area, you’re shaken to find that you’ve gone deaf. You can no longer hear your footsteps or the gentle sound of your clothing rubbing together. In the center of this dark, soundless hallway is a pale blue orb emitting only the faintest of light.
This is where second tier prisoners are held. The door from the stairwell into the hallway is locked and guarded by an elite guard.
The doors beyond that are made of heavy iron and are locked from the outside by heavy latches and bolts. They require no keys. Each door has a two inch metal flap on the bottom that can be lifted for plates of food.
Both the hallway and the eight cells are pitch black. The glass orb isn’t a legitimate source of light, as it only creates dim blue light for 2 feet. It would be impossible for prisoners to see such light unless they looked directly at the orb.
The glass orb is a large magical item about one foot in diameter that can contain and maintain one spell for a continuous 24 hour period. If the orb is moved at all, the spell currently contained within is immediately deactivated and lost. The orb is also exceedingly fragile. If a creature should hold the orb and attempt to move faster than their normal speed or perform any strenuous physical activity (such as fighting or climbing), roll a d6. On a 1, the orb cracks and loses all its magical properties.
One of the Reformers comes down to this hallway each day and deposits a silence spell into the orb.
13. The Halls of the Forgotten
These long, underground hallways are dark and suffocating. The foul stench of human waste and decomposition permeates the air like the faint cologne of a dead god.
This is where third tier prisoners are held. Each cell contains a deteriorating straw mat and a hole in one corner for a makeshift toilet. The people down here are not tortured or taken from their cells, but are instead left to rot.
The doors are made of heavy iron and are locked from the outside by heavy latches and bolts. They require no keys. Each door has a two inch metal flap on the bottom that can be lifted for plates of food.
Four mindlost roam these hallways and distribute food to the cells each day. The door from Area 12 to Area 13 is also locked from the outside by the same deadbolts, meaning the mindlost are incapable of leaving the halls as well.
Everyday, guards from the upper levels deliver pots of gruel beyond this door, but venture no farther. They also collect dirtied dishware and the occasional corpse which the mindlost have gathered for disposal. The only other time guards come down to this level is to deposit a prisoner in one of the cells.
If players end up down here, they may be placed in the cells marked with an X.
13a. The Mindlosts’ Room
This cell looks identical to all the rest, save for the fact that it is unlocked.
This is the only cell that is never latched. The mindlost gather here to eat and sleep.
13b. The New Corpse
This room reeks of recent death. The body of a man lays curled in the corner. Flies swirl around his corpse and maggots eat at his flesh.
The mindlost have yet to find this man for disposal.
13c. The Lovers’ Cell
These two cells are exceptionally dirty, with piles of earth pressed into the corners. A small tunnel, no more than a couple feet in diameter, connects the two rooms.
One individual driven mad from years of isolation, clawed their way through the walls to the neighboring cell. The two were strangers, but have since taken solace in each other’s company.
The tunnel is small and narrow. A medium creature can fit through by crawling on their stomach.
13d. Vallaki Redemption
This cell is piled high with dirt and displaced stones. The area that once likely held the makeshift bathroom has been completely excavated. An earthen tunnel descends into the darkness.
One prisoner escaped the Reformation Center, tunneling their way to freedom. The mindlost found the tunnel, but are too brainless to understand that it is an escape. They’ve since left the cell as it is.
The tunnel is exceptionally narrow. A medium creature would have to crawl on their bellies to make their way through. If that medium creature is quite bulky or large, they will have to roll two different DC 14 Dexterity saving throws to successfully slither through the tunnel. On a fail, they become stuck in the tunnel and may try their save again in six hours.
The tunnel comes up just outside the prison walls, in an area surrounded by underbrush. Due to its small size, it is quite hard to find. Any player actively looking around the prison, perhaps because they’re casing the building, spot the upset earth with a DC 25 Perception check. If a player is actually looking for the tunnel, they find it with a DC 16 Perception check. If a player spots the tunnel without knowing what it is, simply describe it as a patch of disturbed dirt.
Events at the Reformation Center
During their wanderings of the streets of Vallaki, the players might attend a session of Executioner’s Court. You might use a court session to further exemplify Vallaki’s totalitarian government. Perhaps the players are attracted by a crowd at the courthouse. Perhaps they follow another NPC. In any case, the following trials might take place.
Siggurd Rilsky. Siggurd missed the Wolf’s Head Jamboree because of his mother’s recent passing. She grew ill over the course of a few days and died on the day of the festival. Siggurd is sentenced to five days in the stocks, for which he is incredibly grateful.
Mrs. Ivana Mironova. Mrs. Mironova is a cultist and avid follower of Lady Watcher. Her son, a fourteen year old boy, once spent time at the Reformation Center and came back broken. Ivana has since come to hate the Baron and joined the cult to stop him. During her trial, she remains adamantly tight lipped and bitter. The only things she has to say are some vulgar obscenities aimed at Vargas. For her refusal to cooperate and her open hostility, Ivana is sentenced as a tier two criminal and is lead down to the sensory deprivation ward.
Jonathan Ulbrek. Jonathan got into a drunken altercation three nights prior and he ended up in a fight with some guards, giving one a nice, black eye. Though he remembers nothing of the event and is incredibly remorseful, Jonathan is sentenced as a first tier prisoner.
Breaking In to the Center
Throughout their stay in Vallaki, players might have multiple reasons to try and infiltrate the Reformation Center. Perhaps another player has been imprisoned. Perhaps they’ve been recruited into an underground revolution. Perhaps the goodness in their hearts simply demands they investigate and liberate. Here are some hooks and sources of information that may entice them.
The Martikovs. The Keepers of the Feather primarily work against Strahd. However, they aren’t particularly fond of other sources of evil either. Urwin and Danika Martikov, the wereraven proprietors at the Blue Water Inn, have had their eye on the Reformation Center for quite a while. If players show interest in the center or otherwise ally with the Martikovs, they may suggest the players do something about the Reformation Center.
Guards at the Blue Water Inn. Every so often, guards from the center spend their time off duty drinking wine at the Inn. If coaxed, the guards, Laslo and Burns, will provide information once drunk enough.
These two know the general layout of the 1st and 2nd floors of the prison. They also find it annoying keeping track of all the different keys for the many locked doors in the prison and wish they had a skeleton key like the Burgomaster’s.
Cook. Cook has his own cart, pulled by a single mule, which he uses to get food and supplies for the Center. Cook isn’t terribly observant and one or two players can easily sneak into his cart when his back is turned.
The Escapee. Andre Duveskov is the man who tunneled his way to freedom from the underground prison. Andre has been living in secret at the Church of St. Andral, under the care of Father Lucian.
Andre’s wife was once coveted by another man before their marriage. When she chose Andre over him, the rejected man falsely accused her of Strahd worship in retribution. Andre’s wife was sentenced to the Reformation Center and returned home months later mentally broken. She took her own life weeks later.
Wrought with grief and anger, Andre lashed out at the Burgomaster during one of the festivals and was taken to the Center as well. However, his anger far outlasted the many steps of torture the Reformers dished out. Eventually, he was sent to the underground cells to be forgotten.
Andre is the only one who’s seen and experienced the full extent of the Reformation Center’s tortures and lived to tell the tale. He’s a broken man with nothing but anger left in his heart. He speaks in circles, often mixing the past and the present and often rockets between extreme anger and extreme grief.
However, players who can successfully navigate his madness can gain a myriad of useful information on the Center, including the relative location of his tunnel.
Breaking Out of the Center
On the opposite end, if a player ends up a prisoner in the center, you don’t want them to sit idly by waiting to be rescued. Here are some hooks an imprisoned player might use to break out of the center.
The Kind Guard. Livius Groza is a middle aged man who’s been a guard for most of his life. He’s not terribly enamored with life in Vallaki, but he’s also smart enough not to actively oppose the governing law.
Livius is one of the main guards on alternating duty on the second floor. If a prisoner looks particularly down or beaten, he whispers them careful words of encouragement. Charismatic players can convince Livius to turn a blind eye to their actions or smuggle them small things. In an escape attempt, Livius is the kind of man who will point his fellow guards in the wrong direction.
Other Prisoners. The cells on the second level aren’t walled off. The barred doors allow prisoners to both see and speak to those in neighboring cells. Though this is discouraged by the patrolling guards, the more level headed prisoners converse anyway.
Players might learn various intel on the prison and Vallaki in general. Particularly creative players might be able to work together with other prisoners to arrange a group escape.
The Key in the Corner. Down in sensory deprivation cells, a former inmate managed to swipe a skeleton key off a Reformer a few years prior. The former inmate unfortunately didn’t survive their treatment and the Reformer has since replaced the key with a copy. The original was never found.
If a player is locked in one of the dark, soundless cells, they can find the key tucked into the grout between stones with a DC 20 Investigation check. The key won’t work on their cell door (as it’s locked with a bolt and latch from the outside instead of a standard keyhole), but if players hold onto it when they’re moved back to the upper levels of the prison, they have a useful tool.
The Tunnel. Other prisoners tell the story of an old prisoner named Andre, who went mad under the torture. Andre actually believed that if he were moved to the lower, less guarded but more isolated levels of the prison, he may be able to tunnel his way to freedom.
Andre did get what he wanted: he was eventually moved to the lower cells. The other prisoners who tell Andre’s story all believe him a fool who’s still trapped down there.
Vive la Revolution
As mentioned in the Adventure Hooks at the beginning of this module, it is entirely possible that the Festival of the Blazing Sun will lead to city wide revolts against the Burgomaster, lead by Fiona Wachter.
Should this occur, once the mobs are let loose from the square, the angry people of Vallaki will rush the Burgomaster’s Mansion and the Reformation Center. The players have the option of joining them in their storming of the Center, either as allies or openly leading the mobs alongside Lady Watcher.
Should players join in a city wide attack against the Reformation Center, they will be accompanied by six angry mobs as well as one fourth of the guards currently employed at the center.
The players can influence whether or not the Reformers and other guards are either captured or killed as well as whether or not the building still stands after the dust settles.