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5E Curse of Strahd: Krezk

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
Does anyone know of anything interesting for the PCs to do in the village of Krezk (as opposed to the abbey)? My players are about to head there next session, and I'm worried that it's going to fall flat. They will be bringing some wine from the Wizard of Wines, and they do want to consult the abbott, but that's all I've got for them.

I believe it's an alternate location where Ezmerelda can show up, but I'm not even sure why she'd be there.
 

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Retreater

Legend
Well, the abbot is a crazy deva and there is an evil cult of mongrelfolk around him that has corrupted the once sanctified Abbey into a den of evil. So perhaps your party would be interested in freeing the villagers from this evil influence and eventually restoring a place of goodness to Barovia? I think there is a lot to do there.
 

pukunui

Hero
Has your party still got Irena with them? If so, there's that whole thing with the pool in the upper west corner of the village. My players had that happen.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
Well, the abbot is a crazy deva and there is an evil cult of mongrelfolk around him....
I know. I'm just wondering if there's anything to do that doesn't directly involve the abbey.

Has your party still got Irena with them?
Yes, but she's being played as a PC, so no way she'll take Sergei's offer. And it could still be a cool scene, but it kind of depends on them deciding to visit this pool, which I don't consider a given.
 

pukunui

Hero
Yes, but she's being played as a PC, so no way she'll take Sergei's offer. And it could still be a cool scene, but it kind of depends on them deciding to visit this pool, which I don't consider a given.
That's right. You could always give them a reason to visit the pool. Maybe a tiny shaft of sunlight breaks through the clouds and sparkles on the waters or something.

Are there any connections in Krezk to the werewolf clan up in the mountains north of them? I can't remember.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
Are there any connections in Krezk to the werewolf clan up in the mountains north of them? I can't remember.
No--there's a supplement that suggests having the burgomaster set killing the werewolf chief as the conditions to enter the town, but I already missed my chance for that.
 

Merifluous

Explorer
When the PCs first got there I had them interact with the mayor, and make sure they know about his recently lost son. I think I also had them do the event with the birth there that is supposed to explain that many people in Barovia dont have the real spark of life. After the PCs gave the deva the wedding dress, I had the deva raise the burgomeister's son, He came back as a murderer though so the next time they came back to Krezk, then they had to solve the murder (not too hard since he started sniping the PCs eventually).
 

Savage Wombat

Adventurer
My old man memory is foggy, but I remember I had the abbot's "daughter" capture somebody - maybe Ireena's brother? - and the party had to follow her to a barn and try to talk her down before everyone got attacked by mongrelfolk for harming her.

There was a good bit of natural tension because the party had decided to take a forced march to make it to town by nightfall, and so the characters were all making their Persuasion checks at disadvantage.
 

By now, I don't remember if I made it up of just read on the web but:

  • Burgomaster just lost his last child named Ilya. He already begged Abbot to cure him, but Abbot declined, so now, burgomaster desperately wants Abbot to raise his son from the dead and is willing to give players anything they want if they only promise to help him.
  • Abbot doesn't want to help Burgomaster, because he thinks people are better off dead than living in this land.
  • Abbot won't hurt people of Krezk BUT if they will make him angry, he will force mongrelmen to brutally punish themselves instead.
  • If players leave very good impression on the Abbot, he will raise Ilya, of course bringing anything but joy, because Ravenloft.

Between that, Ireena big revelation and some less important developments belonging to our campaign, we had great session in Krezk.

Just for the mood, I made graves in Krezk protected by metal cages (anti-graverobbing measure) because of mongrelfolk digging up the bodies.
 

The werewolf part can be brought this way.
Have the werewolves attack the PCs in the middle of the night. Make them steal something from the PCs and capture a few children. This should set the PCs on the werewolves in no time.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
Eh, maybe I should just hurry them through Krezk and get them to the abbey as soon as possible. The main reason they're even going there is because they want to ask the abbot to cast raise dead on Doru, the priest's son who is a vampire. And the player of our cleric is not-so-secretly hoping for her character to be corrupted; the abbot seems like a good chance to do that.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
Update: Right after typing the previous entry, I decided to do a Google search, and I did find a few suggestions for expanding Krezk that aren't just expansions or reworkings of the abbey:


 

toucanbuzz

Adventurer
From my notes, which were heavily influenced by Sean McGovern's Guide to running COS:

KREZK

En Route: Muriel the wereraven flies over party carrying a small sack in her beak. She drops it and flies off. Inside is a loaf of dark nut bread (from Blue Water Inn). She’s offering minor assistance, nothing more, and illustrates she’s not just a plot device.

Entering Town:
  • If Ezmeralda here, she warns they may have to jump through hoops to get in. She was caught sneaking around and it got ugly (a minor mishap and shows place under lockdown).
  • Gate guards have dark circles under eyes, faded armor. They are pointedly rude and insulting. Burgomeister Krezkov shows up to calm them down, wearing a big shiny ring with family crest, buttoned up jacket with city symbol in gold on front (p145). He talks over the wall and is worried they are allies of the “drac” (devil Strahd). They can show good will by getting an overdue wagonload of wine from the Wizard of Wines winery.
Burgomeister Dimitri Krezkov. Had 4 kids, most recent one to die is Ilya at age 14, he died a week ago of consumption (tuberculosis). Others were Adal, Oliver, and Hulda. He’s a good guy.

Pool & Shrine. Read developments! Final box of grey text and lightning hit pool regardless if Ireena takes hand or not. Those in 15’ of pool Dex check or prone, in pool Con or take damage. Suggest sound effect for thunder. Whatever player keeps her from pool, Strahd sends a Dream thanking PC for helping save his bride. If not, he aims to destroy them.

Event: near commoner cottage, screeching noise. A villager is about to cut head off a chicken. A young kid watches his mother in silence, dark circles under his eyes (drab clothing). She cuts off the head and blood spatters on the kid. He doesn’t react or wipe away the blood and follows his mother inside.

Something New. Must run event. Have Anna Krezkov be the midwife, burgomeister can ask one of PCs to perform a blessing for newborn.

Something Borrowed. Important. Abbey interest from (1) Krezk lore from p146, (2) dinner bell ring while PCs there with screams and laughter from Abbey, (3) several graves in town robbed and corpses stolen. You want burgomeister to know Vallakovichs have a wedding dress.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
So, I decided to borrow something from the Reddit side quest I linked above. I made Ilya, the burgomaster's son, a bit older (18-19 instead of 14), and instead of having him die of illness, I said that he had been killed when he was allowed to venture out of town to go to the winery and see why the shipment was late. He was attacked on the road by someone or something--some said wolves, and others suggested that "the Patchwork Girl"* had gotten him. She was said to be an evil entity who stalked the woods; some thought she was just a tale to frighten children, but after Ilya was resurrected, he said that the last thing he remembered was a woman whose parts seemed to be stitched together attacking him.

Then the PCs visited the abbey and were introduced to Vesilka. They quickly (and correctly) decided the abbot was insane and walked out. Now they have decided to track down and eliminate the Patchwork Girl, and they also want to find out more about the abbot before they decide what to do about him. The problem is that I'm not sure how they would learn anything about the abbot. I've stressed that he's a very mysterious figure to the townsfolk, who only see him a handful of times per year. They might question the Patchwork Girl, but she would have been created after the abbot had already snapped. Any suggestions on how to handle this?

I mentioned the detail about the graves having metal cages over them, but the players haven't made the connection with grave robbing yet. They think the cages are to prevent the dead from getting out. It's not a major story point, but I'd kind of like them to figure out what's going on there. Does anyone have any suggestions about that?

*Yeah, I know, I was an Oz fan as a child too! But I couldn't think of another name that described her so perfectly.
 

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