Curse of Strahd

Shops of Vallaki

The group awoke to find Mal downstairs at the Blue Water Inn, having breakfast and chatting with Danika. They joined her and filled her in with the events so far. She was particularly curious about the bones missing from the church and asked Danika if she knew where they could find Yeska. Danika bet they could find him in the town square, throwing rocks at the people in the stocks.

He was there and after an intimidating conversation with Karolinus he admitted to telling Milivoj about them. Milivoj is responsible for digging the graves in the graveyard behind the church. A bit more persuasion and they found he had sold them to the coffin maker:

“This uninviting shop is two stories tall and has a sign shaped like a coffin above the front door. All of the window shutters are closed up tight, and a deathly silence surrounds the establishment.”

Henrik van der Voort is a mediocre carpenter and a troubled, lonely man. He profits from the deaths of others, and no one desires his company, because of the ghastly nature of his handiwork. One night several months ago, Strahd visited Henrik in the guise of an imposing, well-dressed nobleman named Vasili von Holtz and promised the coffin maker “good business” in exchange for his help. Since then, Henrik’s workshop has become the lair of a pack of vampire spawn—former adventurers who were turned by Strahd. These vampires are lying low for the time being.

With a bit of persuasion and intimidation, they find out he was hired to get the bones for creatures staying in his shop. Thulrum goes upstairs to investigate, battle ensues against 6 vampire spawn.

When the battle is over they find 2 large sacks in the bedroom, one with the bones and the other with 30 sp and 12 ep. They return the bones to a very grateful Father Lucien who blesses the group and their endevors.

At this point they are joined by Ireena and decide to check out the toy shop, “Blinksy Toys”:

“This cramped shop has a dark entrance portico, above which hangs a wooden sign shaped like a rocking horse, with a “B” engraved on both sides. Flanking the entrance are two arched, lead-framed windows. Through the dirty glass, you see jumbled displays of toys and hanging placards bearing the slogan “Is No Fun, Is No Blinsky!””

Vallaki’s toymaker, Gadof Blinsky, calls himself “a wizard of tiny wonders,” but he has been consumed by despair lately because no one seems to like him or want his toys. His fascination for eerie playthings causes most other locals to avoid him. The burgomaster enables Blinsky to stay in business by giving him a couple of gold pieces a month to make festival decorations.

GADOF BLINSKY AND PICCOLO

Blinsky is a heavyset man who wears a moth-eaten jester’s cap during store hours, more out of habit than to humor visitors. In the past six months, the only paying customer who has set foot in the store is a visitor from a faraway land named Rictavio, who came in two weeks ago and bought a stuffed Vistana doll. Realizing that the toymaker was lonely, Rictavio gave Blinsky his pet monkey, Piccolo. Overjoyed, Blinsky has begun training the monkey to fetch toys from hard-to-reach shelves. The toymaker has also fitted Piccolo with a custom-tailored ballerina tutu.

When he meets new customers, Blinsky recites a well-rehearsed greeting: “Wyelcome, friends, to the House of Blinsky, where hyappiness and smiles can be bought at bargain prices. Perhaps you know a leetle child in need of joy? A leetle toy for a girl or boy?”

Creepy Toys

Blinsky believes the burgomaster is right—that the only way to escape from Barovia is to make everyone in town “hyappy.” Blinsky would like to do his part by making sure that all the children in Barovia have fun toys. On display are a few of his creations:

  • A headless doll that comes with a sack of attachable heads, including one with its eyes and mouth stitched shut (price 9 cp)
  • A miniature gallows, complete with trapdoor and a weighted “hanged man” (price 9 cp)
  • A set of wooden nesting dolls; the smaller each one gets, the older it gets, until the innermost doll is a mummified corpse (price 9 cp)
  • A wood-and-string mobile of hanging bats with flapping wings (price 9 cp)
  • A wind-up musical merry-go-round with figures of snarling wolves chasing children in place of prancing horses (price 9 sp)
  • A ventriloquist’s dummy that looks like Strahd von Zarovich (price 9 sp)
  • A doll that looks remarkably like Ireena Kolyana (not for sale)

Ireena Kolyana Dolls. Blinsky makes special dolls for the burgomaster’s henchman, Izek Strazni. Izek doesn’t pay for the dolls but instead threatens to burn down Blinsky’s shop unless the toymaker delivers a new doll every month. Every doll is modeled on a description given to Blinsky by Izek, and each doll has been closer to capturing Ireena’s likeness than the last. Blinsky doesn’t know that the doll is meant to be modeled after anyone in particular.

Von Weerg’s Masterpiece. Blinsky considers himself a student of a great inventor and toymaker named Fritz von Weerg. Blinsky has heard rumors that von Weerg’s greatest invention—a clockwork man—lies somewhere in Castle Ravenloft. Blinsky asks if the group goes to Ravenloft if they would be so kind as to find the clockwork “myasterpiece” and “dyeliver” it to him, in exchange for which Blinsky offers to make them any toy they desire. Because “byusiness” has not been good, he says, he has no other reward to offer except, perhaps, his new monkey companion.

While staring at Ireena and the doll with her likeness, one of the group notices movement in the corner of their eye. Izek had spotted Ireena in the shop, looking at the dolls and has now disappeared from the town square.

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