The Riven Realms
Located close to the shores of lake Zarovich, the town of Vallaki (pronounced vah-/ah-key) seems like a safe haven against the evils of the Svalich Woods, if not Strahd himself. The town lies beyond the sight of Castle Ravenloft and doesn’t, at first blush, seem as depressed as the village of Barovia farther east. Characters who spend time in Vallaki, however, quickly realize that there is no happiness here, only false hope-which Strahd himself cultivates.
Vallaki was founded not long after Strahd’s armies conquered the valley by an ancestor of the town’s previous burgomaster, Baron Vargas Vallakovich. The Vallakoviches have royal blood in their veins and have long believed themselves superior to the Zarovich line. Baron Vallakovich had deluded himself into believing that hope and happiness are the keys to Vallaki’s salvation. If he could make everyone in Vallaki happy, the burgomaster thought that the town will somehow escape Strahd’s grasp and return to the forgotten world whence it came.
Staging one festival after another to bolster the spirits of the townsfolk, despite most Vallakians considering these festivals to be pointless, meaningless affairs more likely to incur Strahd’s wrath than to provide any hope for the future.
The town is the primary haven for the rebellious Keepers of the Feather, a group lead by Werewavens seeking to relive the lands of Strahd’s rain. The count is aware of them, but pays them little notice as they have yet to become a real threat for him.
Another influnce in town was the Lady Watcher whom had strong family ties to the Zarovich line and despised the current burgomaster, actively seeking to overthrow him with the help of a loyal band of cultists.
This all came to a head recently when a group of adventurers arrived in town seeking safe haven for a young lady stalked by the devil himself. Until recently, the church was protected from Strahd’s depredations by the Ashes of St. Andral, which were sealed in a sarcohpigas at it’s centre. The town was at risk once it was discovered that someone broke in and stole the ashes, discovered to be the work of Lady Watcher and her cult. Urwin, the Inn Keeper and leader of the Keepers of the Feather had sent his sons to investigate the Watcher crypt outside of town, but days had passed without their return. Seeking to help the townsfolk and provide the safe harbour of their companion, the adventurers delved into the crypt and retrieved the ashes.
Unfortunately, despite their best attempts, they were unable to save the two sons, nor prevent a calculated attack by both the cult and Strahd’s minions. Battling through the town with the assistance of the Keepers, the group were able to reach the church once more and restore the Ashes to their rightful place – protecting the town once more. Unfortunately Strahd was able to escape and the town was heavily damaged by the attack. The town was heavily burdened by the attack, with the town burgomaster and priest both slain in the attack. It is unlikely the town will come to rest without suitable replacements for both.
Places of Interest:
THE BLUE WATER INN
The Blue Water Inn is Vallaki’s main gathering place for locals, especially at night. The innkeeper, Urwin Martikov, considers the inn a sanctuary from the evils of this land. The Blue Water Inn offers food, wine, and shelter to visitors.
ST. ANDRAL’s CHURCH
This church is dedicated to the Morninglord and named after St. Andral whoes ashes help protect it from harm. Often cited as the only place beyond Strahd’s sight.
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 allowed Blinsky to stay in business by giving him a couple of gold pieces a month to make festival decorations. Following his death, his future in town is now unclear.
In the past six months, the only paying customer who has set foot in the store is a visitor from a faraway land came in two weeks ago and bought a stuffed Vistana doll. Realizing that the toymaker was lonely, the man gave Blinsky his pet monkey, Piccolo. Overjoyed, Blinsky has begun training the monkey to fetch toys from hard-toreach shelves. The toymaker has also fitted Piccolo with a custom-tailored ballerina tutu.
Blinsky believes the only way to escape from Barovia is to make everyone in town “happy.” 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 (listed below) but he also revels in the chance to make custom works for people who ask:
- 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
- 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)
The owner, Bildrath Cantemir, sells items from the Adventuring Gear table in the Player’s Handbook, but only items with a price lower than 25gp in the table. He sells everything at a highly inflated price, but recent events allowed the Keeprs to convince him to lower prices for the adventurers whom saved the town. Prices are as standard for them now.