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Totems of the Svalich Woods


A one-on-one Curse of Strahd adventure!

For DMs and players of Curse of Strahd, Totems of the Svalich Woods is a one-shot side quest for one player and one DM or an additional Barovian adventure for duet CoS campaigns!  

Several forms of darkness permeate this adventure. The twisted, primal evil of the Svalich Woods and the Dark Powers represents one manifestation, but the town of Barovia and its traditions encompass another.

Adventurers must resist both of these expressions of darkness to help a distressed young man. The village sent his sister into the forest as a sacrifice to the dark being that dwells within. Ultimately, this rescue quest leads to a confrontation with the leshen, an undead hunter who serves as the forest’s spirit guardian and enforces the Dark Powers’ whims.

This adventure takes place outside the village of Barovia and functions as a side quest or one-on-one session in a Curse of Strahd campaign. It could also be placed in the Forgotten Realms, at the edge of the Cold Wood, for instance, or any homebrew location that has dark forests.

This adventure assumes that you have access to the Players Handbook, the Monster Manual, Curse of Strahd, Volo’s Guide to Monsters, and the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Items or creatures not referenced in these texts will be referenced in the appendices.

If you’re looking for an intense and atmospheric adventure deep in the Svalich Woods, you’ve found it.

This Adventure Includes:

  • Full one-shot adventure for levels 7 or 8
  • One sidekick character (or DMPC)
  • Beautiful art
  • Well-rounded NPCs
  • Three new creatures and
  • Two custom magical items

Connecting to Other One-on-One Adventures

If you’re looking for similar one-on-one adventures, In the Heart of the Forest is an immersive one-shot adventure that also takes place in a dark forest and would fit in well alongside Totems of the Svalich Woods.

If you’re new to one-on-one play, we’d love for you to check out the Crystalline Curse Trilogy, our three introductory duet adventures, and we have additional advice and resources at

A previous version of this adventure, scaled for groups, was published as part of The Bloodties Anthology, Volume I: Bloodstained as “Roots of the Elkmire.” If you’re on the hunt for a variety of blood-themed adventures for tiers 1 and 2, please check out the anthology!

Thank you!

I'd love for you to follow me on Twitter @GroveGuardian

or on Instagram @dndduet

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Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
David L September 15, 2022 12:43 am UTC
I have access to all the books the description says I should have access to except for Curse of Strahd. Would I still be able to run this?
Customer avatar
Beth B October 01, 2022 1:31 pm UTC
Hi David,
Yes, you should be fine! You may need to sub in a creature stat block in place of one of the ones from Strahd, but it would be for a minor encounter. The main creature and other stat blocks are original to the adventure and available in the PDF.
- Beth
Customer avatar
Joel H November 23, 2021 5:37 pm UTC
Help me understand what makes this uniquely a '2 person' adventure? I am considering buying it and using it for a full sized party and would like to understand what changes would be needed.

Thanks very much!
Customer avatar
Beth B December 02, 2021 10:21 am UTC
Hi Joel,
Such a great question! I think the biggest change would be the party not needing to travel with the NPC and the character serving as more of a quest-giver than sidekick. And the leshen's mechanics would be so cool with a party! I originally wrote this adventure for groups as part of the Bloodties anthology, so story-wise, I think it can go either way. It's possible that you might want to scale up some of the combats or perhaps add a few other environmental traps or dangers as they're tracking down the totems.
I hope that helps!
- Beth
Customer avatar
Joel H December 16, 2021 6:35 pm UTC
Thanks. That helps a lot :)
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File Last Updated:
March 22, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on March 22, 2020.