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I'm running Curse of Strahd, but using Savage Worlds, and am a somewhat inexperienced GM. When I got to Vallaki, they

fought the vampires in the coffin maker's shop and dropped off Ireena at the church, but then couldn't get out of town fast enough once they figured out what the reading meant.

For my part, I'm involved in small-town politics in real life, and was happy to skip the small-town politics of a fictional town. Their ally is

Sir Godwin, so I had no need for Rictavio, Lady Wachter or even the Vistani.

One of the characters is a werewolf, so they had to get past the guards and the

two wolf hunters to get out of town,

so it wasn't easy to just leave and skip the festival.

What is the downside with skipping most of the events of Vallaki?

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Vallaki is pretty self-contained aside from being the start of the Wizard of Wines story arc. It's a really interesting political stalemate that can spiral out of control very quickly if the PCs get involved and disrupt the status quo, which makes for some major opportunities to improvise how the situation develops, especially given that the central location of the town means players will revisit it several times and see how it's changed, but you could skip that element if you wanted to.

It's certainly a challenging town to run, but I think it has a lot of potential to be a memorable part of the campaign rather than being Just Another Quest Hub. Scaling it down to that won't break the overall structure of the campaign, but it's a major part of CoS's identity and personality, and I think it would suffer overall from having that removed.

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