Chapter 5 – The Town of Vallaki

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! This is pivotal point in the Curse of Strahd Module. After the Village of Barovia, this will be the first settlement the party will visit. They might have heard that the town is secured and walled. That people can prosper there and that the Burgomaster is in a constant fight against Strahd’s evil. However nothing is farthest from the truth. In reality, Vallaki is a bomb about to explode, and the adventurers cannot stop it. How and when it blows are the only factors that could be managed to work differently, but the conflict will burn down the city to its core. This is real because of the current political situation in Vallaki, and the different powers at play. No DM should feel constrained to blow the fuse, this settlement was written in this…

Chapter 4 – Castle Ravenloft

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! Castle Ravenloft is the biggest chapter in the book. With over 40 pages describing the different 88 areas inside, it is a daunting task to get ready for it. It’s important to have in mind that it is unlikely that the castle will be explored completely. A party might have some exploration in mind or a feeling of curiosity, but in reality, Castle Ravenloft is a place where the party will run out of resources sooner or later, and they most probably won’t long rest inside the castle. Additionally, Castle Ravenloft is not a dungeon crawl to visit all in one go. The party will have to come and go several times during the course of the module. The better approach to Castle Ravenloft comes from the player’s intentions for visiting it. It is…

Strahd’s Invitation

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! Strahd’s Invitation There is very interesting moment in the Curse of Strahd module that is not given enough attention in the module, and this is the invitation to Ravenloft. A fine dinner with the lord of the land. Strahd writes the letter himself and has one of his minions deliver it to the adventurers, expecting them to come. This is one of the module’s peaks. Depending on the case this could be the first time the adventurers encounter Strahd, or it could come after a few encounters with him also. It is a great opportunity to build upon this villain’s charisma and personality. The moment to start building a pact of enmity between the PCs and your BBEG. Let’s discuss some particularities about this part of the adventure.   What’s a good timing? Curse…

Roleplaying Strahd Von zarovich – Curse of Strahd Guide

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! Introduction to Strahd Von Zarovich The module Curse of Strahd naturally revolves around Count Strahd von Zarovich. The spot light is on him during the entire time, everything in the Valley of Barovia is as it is due to him. There are many ways to roleplay Strahd. Much has been said about his motivations and personality. This long chapter of the guide will deal with how to approach everything that has to the with the Lord of Barovia. The chapter includes different alternatives for most stuff and general advice on how to run the game and Strahd himself (Some of this advice disregards the guidelines for running Strahd in page 10, there he is portrayed as more of a senseless monster and not so “alive”). The aim of this guide is to make Strahd…

Chapter 3 – Village of Barovia

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! Chapter 3 – Village of Barovia The Village of Barovia is easily the grimmest place in Barovia. Castle Ravenloft is ever looking down upon them. The mists are thicker here. The village is isolated from the other places in the valley by either forest or mountains. And just recently, Count Strahd has been paying visits to the town; trying to seduce Ireena Kolyana and eventually take her away to the castle. Other than his personal visits, wolves, bats and other creatures of the night have come to attack the village more often than usual. There is no wall or protection for the townsfolk here. The last weeks these creatures of the night have assaulted the Burgomaster’s Mansion (page 44) at night. Kolyan Indirovich’s heart couldn’t stand the constant pressure, meeting his demise three days…

Curse of Strahd intro – Running the Death House

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! Running the Death House The main Curse of Strahd module encompasses levels 3-10. If you already have level 3 players you can jump right into the action of Barovia’s NPC encounters. However if you wish to start from level 1, the attached dungeon crawl Death House is a great tool to level the party up, set the tone of the campaign and introduce a few clues and facts found in the house. After using one of the adventure hooks (page 18), you have successfully steered the party to Barovia. The mists will dictate the places the party can visit. They will close up on them leading them to the Village of Barovia. When they enter the village, the adventurers find out that they can’t find anyone or access any location because of the mists,…

The Lands of Barovia – General Info

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! There were two important things in the original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons modules back in the day that are missing in the 5e book. The Dark Powers Checks Barovia responds to evil acts, it encourages it, nurtures it. When a PC committed an evil act willingly, on the DMs judgment, this could cause a dark powers check. It was an opportunity for Barovia’s malignant energies to suffuse their power into the PC. The PC had a chance to resist this influence. If he failed he could be granted an evil feature or punishment. Overtime, as PCs continued committing evil acts, they would slowly turn into dark beings. Which is in a way what happened to Strahd Von Zarovich. I have no opinion really about this option, I believe there are supplements out there to…

Curse of Strahd – Guide – Introduction

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! Foreword Ravenloft was originally published by TSR in 1983. It was released as a stand alone booklet for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Written by Tracy and Laura Hickman, it was released as a stand alone booklet for Advanced Dungeons and DragonsIt and a success back then. The result was that it got remade and readapted to different forms. There’s a campaign setting of the same name, lots of small adventure modules. In 2006 WotC released Expedition to Castle Ravenloft which is a small campaign with the castle and some added material from the setting for 3.5th edition. There is also the board game released in 2010, Castle Ravenloft. And the reason I’m writing this and you’re reading this is 2016 Curse of Strahd, an adaptation to the original module released by WotC for 5th…

Strahd’s determination

Following my Strahd encounter ideas series. I now present an idea that is easily usable after the PC’s have been having a conversation with Strahd, or even if they are fighting him and insulting him during the fight (I always encourage RPing during fights). Better yet if one of the characters has insulted or disrespected Strahd. Strahd is short tempered and not at all used to being insulted, but he will react calmly and respond with witty questions. When the PC’s attack him openly or Strahd decides it is the moment to act. He will move around the battlefield in a way that isolates the character who insulted him the most. He just needs to isolate him 10 feet to cast wall of force in the form of a hemispherical dome, trapping himself and the character inside it. Isolated from the rest of his enemies, Strahd is now free to…

The cruelty of Strahd

I will start writing things about The curse of Strahd soon. I’m currently running the campaign. Maybe I will write a guide, just like I’m doing with Out of the Abyss. One of the most important facts about this adventure is to understand that this is Strahd’s land and curse, everything orbits around him, the PC’s are but pawns in the adventure. And Strahd is a character both simple and profound  at the same time. A misunderstood soul who is ultimately perceived as just cruel and malignant. So here is a suggestion/tip of an encounter with Strahd. Whenever the PC’s are walking the streets of Vallaki, it doesn’t matter if this is before or after the sun festival, they will hear the approaching sound of hooves, horses galloping fast. They turn around to see the main street full of people running to get out of the way of Count Strahd’s…