Curse of Strahd: A Chance at Renovation and Exploring Vallaki

After their bloody battle with the hags in the windmill, the adventurers were finally ready for a much needed break. However, before they could rest, they needed to explore the rest of the windmill and make sure nothing was lurking in the shadows. The party began with the first floor of the windmill. They found that the potion cabinet had been emptied out, Morgantha apparently taking her stock with her when she disappeared into the ethereal plane. They found the rest of the Dream Pastries and Nedda grabbed what remained of them and shoved them into her bag.

They made their way upstairs and eventually found the third floor was a bedroom of sorts. They found some crates up against the wall and upon looking inside, they noticed scattered gore and bones. Because of the size of the bones, they recognized them as the bones of young children. Cabel did some searching in the room and found himself a little treasure in the form of a Potion of Growth. After gathering themselves and attempted to steel against the smell and thought of the slaughter of young children, they proceeded to take the bones outside and burn them in a funeral pyre.

After they went back inside the windmill to make plans and relax, they heard a knock on the door. Upon answering it, they found a stout male dwarf standing there. He had auburn hair, light pink-toned skin, leather armor, bulging muscles, and a goat patch beard. He carried a large book with him and had an associate named Vasili von Holtz standing behind him.

He introduced himself to the party as Orim Earthdelver, a nearby laborer, stoneworker, and carpenter. He overheard the battle taking place at the windmill and wanted to check what happened. Upon finding the players there, he asked if they were the owners. They showed him the deed to the windmill and he became ecstatic with excitement. Orim had been wanting to fix up the windmill for quite some time and now had an apt reason to do so. Orim described his dream of turning a run down place into something extravagant but the hag threat that was once there was far too livid for him to complete that dream.

He hands the large book he was holding to the party and let them know that everything they needed for renovating the windmill and expanding their piece of land was in there. He introduced his colleague as Vasili von Holtz, his accountant and bookkeeper. Vasili kept to himself in the background and gave a slight nod to the adventurers. Orim informed them that all they had to do was send a message to him via the raven that stood outside the windmill squawking at them and he would come to meet them in order to fulfill an order. Orim left with Vasili and the party was free to do as they pleased.

The building and renovating costs were quite extravagant, so the party marveled at the prices and opportunities in the book for a bit and then decided they needed some rest. After getting some good sleep and recovering from the battle with the hags, the adventurers decided it was time to head off to Vallaki with Ireena.

They traveled for a while with no issues or encounters and finally came across the town of Vallaki in the heart of Barovia. As they approached the town, they noticed it was the largest town they had seen in Barovia up until now. It was surrounded by a 15-foot-high wall, much like a palisade in medieval times. Flanking the gate on both sides were dozens of pikes with wolf heads mounted on them. They approached the gate and two guards stopped them. After some speaking, Ireena speaks to the guards and they let them enter the town. Upon entering Vallaki, the guards give them a crudely drawn map of the area and tell them about the upcoming festival in the town square called the Festival of the Blazing Sun. They tell them to check it out and end the conversation by saying, “All will be well!”

Map of Vallaki

The party enters the town and decides to split up and explore. Ireena and Cabel head to St. Andral’s Church, Dollie heads to the Blue Water Inn, and Nedda and Varis decide to go visit the Arasek Stockyard. They all agree to meet up at the town square when they are finished with their exploration. Before they all head their separate ways, they visit a few shops and sell some of the gems and jewelry they had acquired during their travels. Varis buys a special potion called Entangling Sap and asks the armorer to make his leather armor studded. After all of the shopping, they split up to explore.

Let’s begin with Nedda and Varis. Nedda and Varis visit the Arasek Stockyard and find it to be a large storage area with a few buildings and houses throughout the area. One of the most noticeable things they see is a large carnival wagon parked at the south end of the stockyard. It has large words painted on it that displays, “Rictavio’s Carnival of Wonders.” They peruse the general store run by the owners of the stockyard but find that the options for purchasing items are limited due to the inflated prices.

Moving on to Dollie, she headed over to the Blue Water Inn. Upon arriving in the taproom at the inn, she noticed there were quite a few patrons sitting around talking and drinking. She headed right for the bar and ordered a glass of wine. A older man sitting at the bar adorned in colorfully dressed robes began talking to her. They spoke for a minute and he introduced himself as a man named Rictavio, a traveling carnival ringleader. They bought some more wine and he asked her if she wanted to hear a story. She agreed.

He regaled her with a story about a man named Rudolph van Richten. He told her how Rudolph was a scholar and doctor from a land called Darkon where he married his childhood sweetheart, Ingrid, and they had a son together named Erasmus. When Erasmus was younger, he was stolen from a group of people called the Vistani and sold to a vampire named Baron Metus. When van Richten found his son, he found that Erasmus had been turned into a vampire spawn. Erasmus begged for his son to be put to rest and Rudolph begrudgingly did so by driving a stake through his heart. Baron Metus took his revenge by capturing, torturing, and killing Van Richten’s wife. Even though he swore to destroy all vampires, Rudolph was broken and destroyed at the loss of his family. Rictavio watched as Rudolph’s life became upside down and vowed to tell the story of one man’s fight against evil and how it changed his life for the worse.

Upon finishing the story, Rictavio grabbed a few apples and a cooked wolf steak and departed the Inn with a small bow to Dollie along with the wish to speak with her again in the future.

Rictavio

Cabel and Ireena headed over to St. Andral’s church. The church is a large and imposing figure against the perpetual night sky of Barovia. It has a bulging, large steeple and stained glass windows adorning many aspects of the building depicting pious saints and symbols of the Morninglord. A small graveyard sits next to the church. Upon entering the church, Cabel and Ireena first notice a young, sturdy man with a furrowed brow standing in one of the doorways of a side room. He holds a shovel and scowls at them as they walk by.

They find the priest, Father Lucian, standing at the altar and praying. Upon approaching him, he greets them merrily. Cabel and Lucian speak for a few moments before Father Lucian finally breaks down and informs them that he worries for the safety of the church and the people of Vallaki. Recently, the church lost its prime protection from the forces of evil when the bones of St. Andral, a supposed form of protection, were stolen from the crypt beneath the main area of the church. Lucian hadn’t told anybody out of fear of the repercussions and reactions of the people.

Lucian did recall telling a young altar boy named Yeska about the bones. Upon asking Yeska if he knew who stole the bones, Yeska would nod but wouldn’t tell him a name. Lucian asks Cabel to look into the matter seeing as he is an outsider and wouldn’t raise suspicion about it. Cabel agreed and went to talk with Yeska. Through some magical means and spellwork, Cabel was able to invoke his deity and get an answer out of Yeska. Yeska informs him that the groundskeeper and gravedigger Milivoj stole them. Yeska says it’s the man standing in the doorway when they first entered.

Cabel goes over to talk to Milivoj and eventually gets the information out of him. Yeska told him about the bones, so Milivoj stole the bones for the local coffin maker Henrik van der Voort. For payment, Henrik told Milivoj he could get him out of Barovia and provide him with the means to survive while doing so. Milivoj wanted nothing more than to care for his family and escape Barovia, so he stole the bones for the coffin maker. Cabel finishes the conversation, gathers Ireena, and they both leave to head to the town square.

Milivoj

As the party arrives at the town square to meet up, they begin regaling everything that happened so far. Unfortunately, Cabel starts to feel like they are being watched by somebody and sees a man observing them quietly from the shadows. Before Cabel can react, a group of people walk into the town square: a group of guards flanked by a large bald man carrying a battleaxe. He leans against a nearby pillar and lifts a monstrosity of an arm. His arm, adorned in barbed spines, elongated fingers, and long nails, flicked a small mote of fire back and forth between his fingers. The guards began hanging up signs around the town square that advertised the upcoming festival.

The party decided they needed a quieter place to talk, so they began heading out of the town square toward the Blue Water Inn. Unfortunately, right as they passed where the bald man was standing, he took a look over and saw Ireena walking with them. As soon as he saw her, he reached out his long, monstrous arm toward Ireena and said in a menacing voice, “MY DREAM!”

The stats/levels depicted above represent the current stats/levels of the party. They are not reflective of where the party was when this session took place.

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