My party of 6 lvl 6 just finished the wizard of wine encounter, I know in the book brings her in at the castle but I was wondering if there were other popular points to bring her in.
By - PARTYW4GON
She shows up at Van Richten’s Tower after being chased out of Ravenloft. “Ezmerelda’s Retreat” is a Special Event at the end of that chapter.
She might be encountered in the Abbey as a guest of the Abbot. S19 “Barracks”
Finally (I think this is the last one), she can be encountered at Argynvostholt. Special Events: “Arrigal’s Hunt”
I totally forgot about her retreat at the tower! Thank you for this
If you want to introduce Ezmerelda at the tower with a bang rather than fleeing Strahd, I plan to have her riding there (on the stolen horse), leading the werewolf pack there so that she can fight them on her battlefield. I have details if you're interested.
Yes, that would be a great idea for my campaign too. I really appreciate sharing the details.
I'd be very interested in the details!
I think there's also an encounter with her in Castle Ravenloft but I could be misremembering.
There definitely is. It is one of the two most unlikely random encounters (the other being Strahd). OP says they know the book brings her in at the castle, but really, the PCs should encounter her in one of the other locations before they ever go to the castle, and as written, they are extremely unlikely to meet her in Ravenloft.
My Esmeralda first appeared as an encounter on the road. The party saw her on horseback at a distance being accosted by two bandits. As they got closer and drew their weapons they watched as she easily dispatched them with her rapier and magic. She turned and asked if the party were friends with the deceased assailants. They said no and she rode off after collecting a few herbs for a potion.
Later at Van Richten’s tower, he mentions that his apprentice should be arriving shortly after fetching some wolfsbane for him. Esmeralda arrives moments later, still splattered in blood, for a formal introduction.
They found her camped while searching for Barovia. She was how we started the game! She gave them stew, some good info, and warned them off of Barovia. They forgot to get her name and when everyone woke up she was gone, but left a note signed E, map, and the “Diviner” tarroka card (which they later learn belonged to Madam Eva) pinned by a silvered dagger to a log.
The trees were different, misty, yaddayadda boom in Barovia.
She’s their fated ally. I’ll probably reintroduce her at the wizard tower in possession of the ToS.
Tomorrow, actually. :)
My Esmerelda is going to be the 'real deal' in contrast to the delusional van Richten. My Van Richten is just a guy who became obsessed with the character in a pulp book called "Van Richten, Tales of a Vampire-Hunter" and now thinks of himself as that character, and believes Strahd out to get him. He's invited the party to his tower as a matter of life or death, but it's just going to be silly nonsense - monkeys, heads in bags, dancing door codes & tigers??? How is this guy not a joke in RAW?
Esmerelda will show up, having followed the party from Ravenloft (they just had the dinner) to check them out. They have good words from the Vistani, whom they've helped, so she needs to see herself. She'll expose van Richten as a fraud and invite the party to go with her to Krezk where she's heard they have werewolf problems...
A man can have hobbies, I played him as this charming silver fox ending his courier on one last adventurers. Either he dies in barovia or he's kills a millennium old monster and shatters the vistani stronghold.
The party managed to get into the wizard's tower without destroying Esmeralda's wagon (which came as a surprise), and they met her there during the "Esmeralda's retreat" event.
The following session, the rogue, who had been absent, caught up with the party, annihilated themselves and the wagon while Esmeralda, the rest of the party, and Van Richten watched in horror from the upper floor. Werewolves were attracted by the sound, tried to get inside the tower, and in the process trapped the whole party on the *inside* of the door trap.
Good times. Esmeralda did them a Tarokka reading with the one charred Tarokka card that remained of her possessions.
Session one, technically lol. One of my players (dollar store Trevor Belmont who is actually a semi-delusional con artist) left some of the details of his background up to me. His parents (supposedly monster hunters) had left him with his grandpa and never come back. I decided it would be fun if his dad was Van Richten, which he doesn't know causes he's always gone by his maternal grandpa's last name.
I gave all my players private dreams/weird experiences in the liminal space of the mist around barovia as they were being sucked in, and for his, I had him see Ez as she was also crossing through the mist into Barovia. He tried to go after her (she ignored him but dropped her scarf which he still has on him and has been using to ask around about her)...cause I wanted to breadcrumb the drama of him getting to know his (dickish, emotionally distant) father that abandoned him and the girl Van Richten kinda sorta raised instead, both of whom are miles more competent than my player is.
My Ezmeralda first met the group at Krezk. She was sent by Von Richten to stop Ireena and Ismark from meeting the Abbot. Pretending to be thier escort she told the two the truth after they began to ask and when the party arrived to Krezk she protected Ireena while the others went to see the Abbot.
I've had her turn up at Van Richten's tower. I have van Richten inside, beat up from the castle. My party blew up Ezmerelda's caravan and it turns out she was nearby. The blast drew the werewolves to the tower and she was spotted outside.
I usually introduce her at Yester Hill, engaged with the druids in some capacity. Alternatively, I can introduce her at the Dinner, the Abbey, the Werewolf Den, Argynvostholdt, or Berez. Basically, after Vallaki, there's nowhere that it doesn't make sense for her to be - drop her in the thickest of the action and tailor the method of introduction to what you want.
Waiting for my party to hit the pool for a story arc prelude and cameo by E. My rogue elf will probably spot her on his watch. They won’t actually meet this time. That will happen en route to Krezk.
Haven't introduced her yet but was either thinking at the tower or the Abby doing research
One player met her alone at the Abbey when being revived due to a prior deal made with Strahd.
Another met her in the (homebrewed) underground tunnels beneath Lake Zarovich.
The third player has yet to encounter her.
I was going to introduce her after the party got their ass kicked by the abbot, they did not get their ass kicked...rethinking things.
One of my players got Werewolfed and the 2nd time he transformed he ran off, and was found by Ezmerelda who captured him.
I wanted to insert a hook to Argynvostholt and have the party meet her, so I had them run into her on the road fighting a couple revenents. Her wagon was also at Argynvostholt as well instead of VR's tower.
Ez was briefly mentioned by Erasmus (who lingered around with Rictavio after he summoned his spirit guardians during a quick spat with Vasili von Holtz in the woods outside of Vallaki). In my homebrew lore, Erasmus is a poet who has a crush on Ez ("she could track a werewolf on a new moon!").
Ezmeralda then appeared while the players were exploring Argynvostholt. I ran the encounter more or less RAW (at the end of the Argynvostholt chapter there is an option for her to show up, looking for RVR and being chased by some Vistani). She accompanied the players back to Van Richten's tower, where RVR had retreated to after the Vasili incident to lick his wounds and pour over his notes (who IS that Vasili guy, anyway??).