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D&D: An Adventurer’s Guide To Strahd

3 Minute Read
Jan 23
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Strahd von Zarovich is the brooding Darklord of Barovia. But who is he, really? And why does this well-dressed dracula feel so cursed? Let’s find out.

“I am ancient, I am the Land. My beginnings are lost in the darkness of the past. I am not dead. Nor am I alive. I am undead, forever.”

So it reads in the Tome of Strahd, a book that details the life of the dark prince of Barovia. Adventurers who have crossed through the mists of Ravenloft and found themselves in the shadowed lands of Barovia will doubtless be familiar with the brooding figure that rules the land.

But who was Strahd? And why is he so tormented? Let’s find out.

In his life, Strahd was a prince and conquerer, a regal figure who settled the valley of Barovia. There, he would be cursed forever, transformed into a twisted creature who can only survive by feeding off of the blood of the living. Depending on whom you speak to, Strahd is the first Vampire, transformed by the Dark Powers of Ravenloft.

As the story goes, Strahd slew his brother, Sergei von Zarovich, in order to take his wife, Tatyana, with whom he had fallen madly in love. Some say that this jealous act was enough to damn him, others say that the elder von Zarovich had made a pact with Dark Powers for immortality. Either way, after the murder of Sergei von Zarovich, his wife Tatyana took her own life, and Strahd was turned into a vampire.

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This dark act was enough to sweep the entire valley of Barovia into the Mists of Ravenloft where it now resides, with Strahd its ruler and its prisoner. Now his existence is torment as he spends his life looking for the soul of Tatyana, whom he believes will one day be reincarnated in Barovia, so that they may once again be reunited.

Strahd is a powerful vampire, more capable than most. Like all vampires, Strahd can change his shape, using an action to polymorph into a bat, a wolf, or a cloud of mist (which is immune to all nonmagical damage). He uses this ability to stalk the lands of Barovia.

His vampiric regeneration protects him from most harm, but where Strahd differs from most vampires is the magic he’s learned over his many years as a creature of the night. Strahd, in addition to being a vampire, is a 9th-level wizard and can cast spells that allow him to render his enemies unconscious, turn himself invisible, and if need be fireball anyone and anything that gets in his way.

The Darklord of Barovia is a shadow on the land, but he longs to be reunited with his lost love. Wary adventurers may be able to exploit his most burning desire, but be warned–he was willing to murder before, now that he is an immortal monster, there’s no telling to what lengths Strahd might go to once again be with the love of his life.

Or what he might do if he finds out what Tatyana truly thinks of him…

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