Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Condensing Ravenloft Part 1: Barovia

I really like a lot of the old D&D settings and books, but my main issue is that they're written like novels, too long and full of unneeded details that make for interesting reading, but bad for actual play. So, I decided to do a quick read/skim through of my Ravenloft setting guide I got in pdf for 2e, and to summarize and condense the setting into something I could use. Note that the end result of this condensing may not be exactly the same as the published version of Ravenloft, as I 1) Don't know too much of the lore, and 2) don't own any Ravenloft products except for the setting guide, so I cannot reference other books mentioned and must instead extrapolate.

Ravenloft Overall Setting Summary

  • Demiplane, created by unknown forces to contain and punish the darklords, individuals of great evil.
  • Takes the form of a continent shrouded in mist, mist is magical and does not allow escape.
  • Mist can transport folk from the material plane to Ravenloft.

  • Ruled by Count Strahd von Zarovich, a man known for his cruelty.
  • Zarovich is a vampire, though the peasants do not know it.
  • Lesser nobility governs mostly, and the count makes few decrees.
  • Anyone who enters Strahd’s castle uninvited is put to death.
  • Old Svalich road leads to two major settlements; the fishing village of Vallaki, on the shores of Lake Zarovich, and the village of Barovia, where Strahd’s castle is.
  • Fog surrounds village of Barovia, anyone who enters is safe, but as soon as they leave the fog causes them to die of poison until they return.
  • Barovians speak the language Balok.
  • Few churches in Barovia, Barovians believe the gods have abandoned them.
  • The Vistani people are discriminated against, but given protection by Strahd due to an old pact between him and one of the Vistani.

NPCS of Barovia

Count Strahd von Zarovich
  • Vampire, possibly the first one in existence.
  • Killed his own brother to be with the woman he loves, Tatyana.
  • Tatyana rejected him, and in his rage he killed the entire staff of his castle, causing him to be damned forever and trapped in the demiplane of Ravenloft.
  • Every few decades, Tatyana is reincarnated, but is always doomed to die again.

Jacqueline Montarri
  • Wronged a Vistani magician and is now cursed.
  • Has 3 dozen heads in jars which she can swap out for her own, but inevitably rot away.
  • Constantly seeking new heads to survive.

Jezra Wagner
  • Mysterious frost witch
  • Referred to as the Ice Queen, both for her cold disposition and powers.

Monsters of Barovia
  • All kinds of undead except liches, which Strahd hates.
  • Lycanthropes, predominantly werewolves.
  • Hellhounds.
  • Dire wolves.

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