After being attacked on the road by swarms of bats, the adventurers made it to the town of Vallaki.
The Old Svalich Road meanders into a valley watched over by dark, brooding mountains to the north and south. The woods recede, revealing a sullen mountain burg surrounded by a wooden palisade. Thick fog presses up against this wall, as though looking for a way inside, hoping to catch the town aslumber.
The dirt road ends at a set of sturdy iron gates with a pair of shadowy figures standing behind them. Planted in the ground and flanking the road outside the gates are a half-dozen pikes with wolves’ heads impaled on them.
After a very good persuasion roll, they convince the guards to allow them to enter, even though it’s getting dark out at this point.
A lot of information was covered, so here are the bullet points:
- The Blue Water Inn offers food, wine, and shelter to visitors. A stranger with pointed ears is staying there. He came to Barovia from a distant land, riding into town on a carnival wagon. It’s run by Urwin and his wife Danika. They have 2 small boys, Brom and Bray.
- The burgomaster, Baron Vargas Vallakovich, has decreed that the Festival of the Blazing Sun will be held in the town square in three days. The previous festival, which he called the Wolf’s Head Jamboree, was less than a week ago.
- Vallaki has endured at least one festival every week for the past several years. Some Vallakians believe that the festivals keep the devil Strahd at bay. Others think they provide no protection or benefit whatsoever. Most consider them dismal affairs.
- Those who speak ill of the festivals are declared by the burgomaster to be in league with the devil Strahd and arrested. Some are thrown in the stocks, while others are taken to the burgomaster’s mansion so that the baron can purge them of their evil.
- The burgomaster’s henchman, Izek Strazni, has a history of violence as well as a fiendish deformity: a monstrous arm with which he can conjure fire. Fear of Izek keeps the baron’s enemies at bay.
- Rictavio is the guest staying at the inn. He does not wish to speak of his past, here in Barovia. You sense it is a tragic tale. He refuses to accompany the group, but will help in any way he can with their quest. He mentions that he may be leaving soon to return to his tower to the West and North. His carnival wagon contains a tyger.
- Szoldar Szoldarovich and Yevgeni Krushkin are wolf hunters that can be found in the inn. They will serve as a guide for 5 gp per day, or 100 gp at night.
- A Vistani camp lies outside the town to the South.
- The innkeepers have taken charge of the children, Myrtle and Freek, and will see they are placed in proper homes.
- St. Andral’s Church: St. Andral’s bones have been stolen, removing the protection for the church. A month ago the priest had told a terrified boy, Yeska, about the bones to put the fearful boy at ease. After the theft, the priest asked Yeska if he had told anyone else about the bones. The boy nodded but wouldn’t divulge a name.
- Wizard of Wines: The innkeeper of Blue Water Inn noticed the Paladin in the group and asked the party to look into the delayed shipment of wine from the Wizard of Wines, run by his uncle.
- Coffin Maker’s Shop: A lonely man shunned by the townspeople for the ghastly nature of his work.
- Blinsky Toys: A toy maker with a fascination for eerie playthings, causing most other locals to avoid him.
- Wachterhaus Mansion: A local noblewoman, Fiona Wachter, hates the local baron. She wishes to overthrow him and take over the town herself.
- Amber Temple: Located in the Balinok Mountains, far to the South.
- Argynvostholt: Located to the South.
- St. Markovia’s Abbey: Located in the village of Krezk to the West.
- A Mad Mage: Can sometimes be found along the shores of Lake Zarovich.