UPDATE: Decided to verify Steam files even though I just downloaded it. 3 files were off, they got redownloaded and the issue has disappeared.
PC: Latest version. Have played multiple times well into the game throughout the past year and have never experienced any crash/freeze issues before. Took a break in January and deleted game through steam.
Redownloaded and restarted March 5, 2020. Can progress through all of starting town without issue until Vanyek. Game freezes within 5-10 seconds of approaching him. Can sometimes talk to him but it still freezes at some point shortly thereafter.
I have tried: Starting a new game, difficulty changes, new save slot, mods/no mods with no change in this behavior. There have been no hardware or relevant software changes to my computer in the one month between playthroughs.