The Dark Gifts – Dialogue Compendium

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! This is a special article which serves as an expansion for Chapter 13 – The Amber Temple. As described in page 191, each of the amber vaults contains 1 or more amber sarcophagi. Inside each sarcophagus is trapped a sliver of pure evil. This is the vestige of a dead god; what remains of an entity of pure evil. They are still somewhat sentient and will interact with PCs telepathically if they touch the sarcophagi. The intention of this part of the module is to seduce players with promises of power that can come with a high cost. Worst case scenario, the player might lose control of his PC or set him in a way to death while roleplaying any acquired personality traits. The book specifies the name of the entity and gift it…

Chapter 13 – The Amber Temple

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! The Amber Temple, better known as the TPK (Total Party Kill) temple. This place is as mysterious and dangerous as it gets. The real danger here is that nothing stops a party of level 5 PCs from coming here in search of Strahd’s information or one of the magic relics needed to fight him. The adventure suggests this place is an appropriate challenge for a level 9 party. Even that can prove dangerous depending on how things unwind inside the temple. The place was built by good wizard to guard evil entities’ remains. Over time they were corrupted by the darkness inside and killed each other (as if these things never ended up like that). Exethanter is an evil Archmage that arrived soon after and took on the task of guarding the temple. He…

Chapter 12 – The Wizard of Wines

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! This is a very interesting chapter. For starters it’s optional, but this one has strong hooks that connect it to other areas in Barovia and other quests. Due to these interconnections it is probable that the party will wind up in the winery and try to help the Martikovs. This winery is the best in the multiverse because it is the only one that supplies it’s products free of cost to all towns in the Valley of Barovia and Castle Ravenloft. That’s right ! Free alcoholic drinks for all Barovians. And it is also implied that they ship it for free too. Even Strahd Von Zarovich has profited from this since his wine cellar features the Wizard of Wines products, plus wines imported by the Vistani. If your party has been following the clues…

Chapter 11 – Van Richten’s Tower

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! After the Valley of Barovia was conquered by Strahd’s armies and the construction of Castle Ravenloft began, an archwizard named Khazan was hired to aid on the project. After the castle was complete he retired to the Barovian countryside. He built a tower in an island in Lake Baratok and a bridge to get to it. It is also explained in the chapter’s intro (page 167), that Khazan eventually visited the Amber Temple and acquired lichdom. He later became an advisor for Strahd. Long after that, Khazan tried to achieve demilichdom in a way to project his life-force outside of Barovia. He was trying to escape and failed. His body was destroyed and Khazan was no more. Khazan’s bodily remains are buried in crypt number 15 (page 88), his staff of power can be…

Chapter 10 – The Ruins of Berez

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! It is not specified in a timeline, but some time ago, probably a century or more, there was a fourth settlement in the Valley of Barovia. This was the town of Berez. The Burgomaster’s name was Lazlo Ulrich (weird uh? I was expecting Berezovich, following the name conventions of Barovia). Not much is said about the town and its people. Berez is located right on the Luna River shore, in a place that became a swamp due to Strahd’s anger, around 4.5 miles south of lake Zarovich. Berez became a place of importance for Strahd Von Zarovich when he became aware that an incarnation of Tatyana Federovna lived there. The peasant girl was named Marina; her countenance and personality reminded Strahd of Tatyana. He lured her and feasted on her blood one night. His…

Chapter 9 – Tsolenka Pass

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! Waiting in the southernmost part of the Valley of Barovia is a mountain range. There is a serpentine dangerous path that meanders through the mountains, this is the Tsolenka Pass. The place is dangerous in and by itself because of the crude weather, it is so cold that exploration without proper clothes will be impossible. The adventurers will not come this far south without a clear reason to do so. There are only two reasons why the PCs would go down this way: They know or suspect the location of the Amber Temple and are looking for it. They come in search of a magic relic and suspect that it is located in the Tsolenka guard tower. This place is highly dangerous for low-ish level parties. If the PCs are looking for the Amber…

Traveling in Barovia – Extra Encounters

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! The Valley of Barovia is a secluded place. A part of the world that was torn apart and set inside small demiplane when Strahd Von Zarovich killed his brother Sergei, thus sealing the blood pact with the Dark Powers. With Strahd’s permission a person can enter or exit Barovia. As you know, the borders of the valley are marked by a thick mist that no one can cross to exit, unless Strahd wills it. He cannot leave either, that’s his curse. The only ones who can travel in or out of Barovia are the Vistani, since Strahd owes them that liberty due to a centuries old pact. Though Strahd is evil and apparently has no care for his subjects. He is still the lord of the land. If he was an evil psycho everyone…

Chapter 8 – Village of Krezk

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! The Village of Krezk is the third settlement in the Valley of Barovia. It is located in the westernmost part of the valley, really close to the mist wall. Krezk is a secluded place, the people that live here seldom go beyond the walls. It’s the only settlement in the valley with a stone wall and a proper gatehouse. The place is defensible, except that they do not have enough men to guard the place effectively. It is still better than having no protection (Village of Barovia) or a palisade (Town of Vallaki). Krezk has most of what it needs inside the walls. There are trees, a water source, they raise chickens, hares and pigs, and there are also small crop gardens for beets and turnips. Krezk is self-sufficient except for wine. Which is…

Chapter 7 – Argynvostholt

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! I consider this chapter a gem in the Curse of Strahd module. It is well presented, with some interesting characters, and if the adventurers wish to complete this chapter, they will have to infiltrate Castle Ravenloft to steal from under Strahd’s nose and escape to tell the tale.   A little background info Argynvost was a silver dragon who moved into the Valley of Barovia disguised as a wealthy man. He was incredible wealthy, had his mansion built and used his resources to attract valorous champions of good to start an knight’s order. It’s explained (page 129) that Argynvost was aware of the Amber Temple, a place of great evil. He made one of his order’s quests, to make sure whatever was in that temple would never be allowed to escape. Years later Strahd’s…

Chapter 6 – Old Bonegrinder

The GUIDE index for Curse of Strahd and other related articles can be found here ! This old mill is located near the main road that leads to the Town of Vallaki. Adventurers will see the mill from the road and might wish to explore it, especially since they might have found the deed to the mill in the Death House a while back. The deed leaves the mill in possession of Thornboldt and Rosavalda Durst. Who are dead and probably resting in peace. The players might infer that, since they hold the deed to the mill, they are the owners now. Regardless of their interpretation of this fact, the mill is now home to three witches, Morgantha, Bella and Offalia. Morgantha is the mother of the other two. Together they form a Coven, which gives the three of them more magical power. These witches are in the business of…