- Nik Vinter
The Wizard Of Wines is a winery that stopped producing wine and it's up to the players to figure out why. The winery originally had three gems that helped the grapes grow.
The first one was stolen by an unknown party, the second one has been stolen by Baba Lysaga (from Berez) and the last one has been stolen by the druids from Yester Hill. Now the building is occupied by blights and druids.
The winery is led by the Martikov family, a group of wereravens. It's not clear where they live now, but I told the players that they're now "in a secret place they don't want to divulge with others for their own safety"
The characters can go into the vinery and get rid of all the blights, only then Davian Martikov trust them enough to tell them about the stones and ask the players to retrieve them. Without the gems, the wine production will eventually stop.
Most of this location will be combat, so be ready for a fight that is a couple hours long.
Approaching the Winery and Davian
Once the players approach they will se a cloaked figure near the edge of the trees that flank the road. If they approach the figure they will learn that the man is actually Davian Martikov, the elder of the Martikov family. He will tell them about the fate of the winery, but being highly suspicious he won't divulge anything about the gems. Davian will tell the party that there are still a couple of barrels left in the building if they want to try and reclaim them.
If the players ignore the man and go straight for the winery they're in for a big surprise. Once they're halfway trough a group of thirty needle blights will emerge from behind them, preventing a retreat.
This is going to be a long fight. The characters can stay outside and fight, but they will probably run inside the house trying to barricade themselves in. The characters are 1 round away from the winery, the blights are 2 rounds away from the players. Remember that if the players stay outside and fight additional reinforcements will come from the house at turns 3,4 and 5.
If the players go inside they will be greeted with more druids and blights, but at least they will be a bit more manageable, with choke points etc.
Remember to use the two floors for a more dynamic combat. The druids will know the layout of the house so they will cast spells from the second floor and use the ramps to get behind the players' backs.
Also one of the druids has a Ghultias Staff. If it's destroyed all the Blights in a 300ft radius will die. You should allow one player to make a check to understand the connection between the staff and the blights (without telling him explicitly the effects)
Areas of the Winery
I'll go over only the important ones.
Remember that the blights are hidden in the cask if ran as written. It really doesn't make sense to me since it's not guaranteed that the druids know of the character's arrival (they don't if they move fast and silently). So make the blights be hidden only if the players made a lot of noise.
The druid is in the process of poisoning the vats. If the players approach silently let them see the scene. If the players haven't seen this scene, and after the combat is over they decide to taste the wine then let the CON check be hidden.
This location holds a secret door, but it's purely a RP one. There's no reason to draw particular attention to it, unless the players want to somehow use the brown mold in combat against the druid and the blights.
Also before entering the combat let the players see all the bottles and make the druid say something among the lines of "Witness my thunder power. I will shatter you all like I'd do with these glass bottles!" so they can react and save some more bottles to bring back.
I think it makes for a fun moment.
Some generic treasure is present in the room but I think this room as well makes for some good RP. The players will eventually find the shipping records and they will try to figure out what the acronyms are (maybe learning about a place they don't know yet, like Krezk)
Once the winery is clear of druids Davian will be much more friendly to the characters. He will tell them about the magical stones and urge to recover them. He knows that one is at Yester Hill and the second one is in Berez. He knows nothing about the third one.
Once this question is settled he will be more than happy to help the players arrange the shipment of some vine for the group. They can decide where to bring the cart:
- To the Vistani, in exchange for a treasure from the treasure cart
- To the Blue Water Inn in exchange for more gold and gratitude from the wereravens
- To Krezk to gain safe access to the city
You also might decide that there's enough wine to do multiple of those things.
According to the book if the players return to the winery after clearing it but before going to Yester Hill then they'll find themselves dealing with Wintersplinter, an enormous tree blight controlled by the druids.
I'm not sure about that, especially since they party might recover the gem from Baba Lysaga first and then decide to bring it to the Martikov family. This would trigger the event, even if the characters are doing their best.
I would change the attack to happen only if a lot of time passes between the two visits, like a week or so. You could also urge the players to visit Yester Hill first since it's the closest location to the winery and the druids might strike back as an act of vengeance.
The Third Gem
One unresolved question in the book is the location of the third gem. It's not clear who stole it, nor I think it should be. Not all the questions need an answer and the fact there's no third gem makes the world feel more real.
The players are used to quests, they're used to go into the dungeon to find stuff, and they're used to finding it there. The lack of a third gem makes it for a good change of pace.
If you want to place the gem somewhere anyways though you can place it in the Abbey of Saint Markovia. Since the Abbot had trouble creating a soul he could've used the gem for some aid in the process (maybe he used it to give life to Vasilka?)