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Lore:Ravenloft

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Ancient Treasures: Sunsword[edit | edit source]

The gleaming metal hilt was clearly once part of a beautifully made weapon. Though the blade is no longer attached, the item still seems to hum with magical energy, and handling it imbues you with a sense of immense power.

The weapon speaks to you, telling you that it is the Sunsword, a weapon that once belonged to Sergei, the brother of Strahd himself. When the time comes, it whispers in your mind, it will lend you its power to defeat the evil that slew its master.

Castle Ravenloft[edit | edit source]

Castle Ravenloft was built atop the ruin of an older fortress by artisans, wizards, and workers loyal to Strahd's Family. It looms menacingly over the nearby village of Barovia, a constant reminder of Strahd's threatening presence.

You have acquired the Holy Symbol of Ravenking, the Tome of Strahd, and the Sunsword and are ready to confront Strahd.

Cursed Meadows[edit | edit source]

The small terraced fields near the old windmill, northeast of village have a dark history.

Long, long ago, the millers of Barovia brought in grains from farms in surrounding townships to grind wheat, barley, and corn into meal and flour. The people of the village had fresh bread to eat without their own fields and farms. Since routes to those big farms have been cut off, portions of the forest around the windmill were cleared to create fields for their own crops.

Unfortunately, the yields from these new crops were low and demand for warm delicious breads and cakes fell along with the morale of the villagers. The mill and fields were abandoned to fall into ruin.

After a few years, the windmill started turning again as coven of witches took up residence beneath the aging structure. The crops started to thrive as well, with the soil being naturally poor, there came rumors of the crops being fertilized with the foulest and most forbidden of substances.

Guarded by hordes of animated scarecrows, the meadows have been cursed and filled with the specter of unnatural life.

Dream Pastry Recipe[edit | edit source]

Among the items found in the Barovian witches' mill, a heavily worn cookbook stand out. Its cover and bindings is supple, but curiously familiar hide with a broken strap. Carefully handwritten long ago, this book includes recipes for various, unsavory concoctions.

A crease worn in the spine causes the book to fall open page in particular. The paper is word and stained with crossed out ingredients and annotations. Though not entirely legible, you can see that this is the recipe for witches' dream pastries.

There are typical mixing steps and instructions, but the list of ingredients draw your eye: wheat flour, eggs, salt, oil, mushrooms (annotated heavily), garlic (crossed out), onions, various spices, beef (crossed out and replaced with something illegible) and …

THE FINELY GROUND BONES OF THE YOUNG AND INNOCENT!

====Ezmerelda d'Avenir--- Ezmerelda was born Vistani. When she was a little girl, her family kidnapped a young man by the name of Erasmus van Richten. He was delivered into hands of a vampire, all the while screaming for mercy.

The boy's father, Rudolph, tracked down Ezmerelda's family soon after the kidnaping. They feared he would do them harm, but once he interrogated them on the whereabouts of his son, the father spared their lives. Ezmerelda was moved by his mercy.

She was also troubled about what her family had done. Years later, she ran away from home in search of the elder van Richten. Rudolph thought she was a Vistani assassin, but the convinced him she wanted to help him find his son. Alas, Erasmums was already turned into a vampire spawn, and Rudolph was forced to end his son's horrid existence.

Ezmerelda convinced Rudolph to let her train with him, and together they slew many monsters. Bu the had their differences and eventually parted ways.

Fell Bridge[edit | edit source]

High above the Ivlis River, a single fallen tree trunk provides narrow passage between vertical stone cliffs. This is the quickest way between the Whispering Woods and the Howling Hills, and a harrowing cross for most. Without it, the only way across is a journey through dangerous forests to the river's ford some distance downstream. How this convenient bridge found itself in place is a subject of discussion.

The store in the local tavern is that a group of adventurers found themselves at the cliff's edge of the Whispering Woods with little resources and fewer hours to live. In the woods around them, witches, blights and worse had been gathering to mount a strike against them. The good heroes were cornered.

Summoning the last of their magic, the adventurers were able to fell the single largest three in Barovia to create a bridge and scramble to the other side. Before they reached safety however, a vicious thief who had been watching from a nearby hiding place saw the opportunity. He caught the weakened badn off-guard. Teetering and with nowhere left to go, they fell to their death on the storming rocks below.

Since then, the bridge has settled into place and become a valuable route for those brave enough to cross it.

Gates of Ravenloft[edit | edit source]

The mysterious Castle Ravenloft is a powerful draw for newcomers to Barovia. Those who look upon the magnificent spires atop the cliffs soaring impossibly above the valley have a hard time averting their gaze. Paired with the tragic story of Strahd's overwhelming passion and lust for power, the temptation to enter the master's dwelling is overpowering for most.

The start of the steep winding road to the castle is marked by a great stone archway and ceremoniously locked gates. It swings itself open and closed to let members of Strahd's retinue in and out.

Those determined to pass through find it is not possible to approach the castle, but gathering the courage to approach Ravenloft stalls many expeditions at this imposing threshold.

Graveyard of Barovia[edit | edit source]

Just outside of the village to the north, nestled into the frosted hillside, sulks a dreary cemetery. Among the rows of headstones and tombs, a small chapel rests in its center. Though long since deserted, the area around the darkened building has seen a plague of undead creatures amassing amongst the greaves.

The walls of the cemetery have started to crumble in some places, pushed up and aside by roots of huge sentinel trees and, if bedtime stories a true, by the build pressure of the masses of bodies buried here one on top of the other for hundreds of years.

Since no one can effectively leave Barovia, and the story of Strahd draws brave heroes and treasure hunter alike, there is a never-ending source of bodies. The spirits of these countless victims have become restless, packed together tin the shadow of the devil Strahd's castle. Some say in the dead of night, souls rise and gather to march upon the Gates of Ravenloft.

Ireena Kolyana[edit | edit source]

Ireena Kolyana is the daughter of the burgomaster of the village of Barovia. Recently, she attracted the attention of Strahd von Zarovich. Her father tried to keep her safe, but her house came under nightly assault by wolves and other terrible creatures for weeks on end.

The stress of the constant attacks caused her father's heart to give out, leaving her alone. Although the nightly attacks stopped after this happened, the other villagers are deathly afraid of Strahd and refuse to help her. Still, she is resolute in keeping Strahd at bay, arming herself against future incursions.

March of the Dead[edit | edit source]

Over countless years of ruling Barovia, Strahd has lured adventurers from far and distant lands to challenge him. The adventurers ultimately fail to defeat Strahd but find no peace in death, their souls bound to the cursed land of Barovia.

The dead can be spotted rising from the graveyard and marching up the road to Ravenloft. Every night, the ghostly adventures attempt to complete their quest, and each night they fail.

Mists of Ravenloft[edit | edit source]

The ancient realm of Barovia, the ancestral home of Baron Strahd von Zarovich, remains perpetually shrouded in clinging mists. The unnatural fog marks the magical border of Strahd's realm, and the only way to enter Barovia is to pass through this magical barrier.

Once inside, none may leave Barovia again, save for the Vistani and the werewolves Strahd sends through the mists to find worthy opponents. Everyone else is doomed to roam Barovia for eternity. Attempting to leave plunges the hapless traveler into the disorienting fog, and those who do not perish are disoriented and confused.

Monster Hunt: Direfang[edit | edit source]

Direfang is a dangerous undead dire wolf. First hunter down and killed by a farmer for attacking his family, its body was discarded in the Ivlis RIver. Downstream, a young necromancer, shunned for his abilities, found the dire wolf corpse and reanimated it. He gleefully set it loose upon the village. After the evening's slaughter, the dire wolf returned to the necromancer, who smiled and opened his arms in welcome to his new friend. The creature, soaked with viscera and in a murderous frenzy leapt into the young man's embrace and much to his surprise, devoured him whole.

A terrifying sight to see, it is said that Direfang appears to those about to die.

Monster Hunt: Gnarly Jak[edit | edit source]

Once there was a curious child named Susanna, who wanted something new and interesting to grow in her garden. She found a strange seed pod while walking near Whispering Woods and planted it in her planter box. Susanna watered and watcher it sprout and grow. She sang to it every day and in only a few months it had grown almost as tall as her. It wasn't like anything she'd even seen before, it grew into a twister knot of roots and branches in a shape of man, but before long it had grown much taller than one. She called him Gnarly Jak.

Soon after, thieves came rob Susanna's home and the little girl fled into the night. Hearing Susanna's screams, Gnarly Jak pulled himself from the planter box and stormed into the men, crushing them into the ground. He ran off looking for Susanna and killed anyone that crossed his path. They say he's still looking for Susanna to this day.

Monster Hunt: Lycosa[edit | edit source]

Some say that Lycosa is simple a freakishly large spider while other claim the beast was magically transformed from a house spider. The story at the local tavern is that Lycosa is a sorceress trapped in spider form. She demonstrates fore than normal intelligence for a spider and is rumored to have constructed hidden passages around Barovia. This would explain how she remained untraceable and how she attacks from almost anywhere at any time, disappearing again just as easily. These tales make for entertaining campfire talk and stories to keep children in their beds at night, but no one knows the truth.

Ruins of Berez[edit | edit source]

Berez was once a village like any other in Barovia. There lived a lovely young woman named Marina who caught the attention of Strahd von Zarovich. Night after night, Strahd visited her, charming her with his vampiric powers.

Marina's mother approached the village priest, Brother Grigor. Fearing for Marina's immortal soul, he convinced the village burgomaster Lazlo Ulrich to take actions. Thinking they had no other option, Grigor and Lazlo brought Marina to the church and murdered her.

When Strahd learned of the act, his fury was boundless. He killed those responsible and used his power over the land to bring destruction to the village. Now, Berez is a cursed place, haunted by the undead.

Standing Stones[edit | edit source]

At the west end of Barovia, near the Ivlis River, a cluster of huge standing stones sits in the center of clearing. Several pairs of the stones are topped by enormous heavy cross member that seem impossibly set.

There is little mystery to how these great stones were positioned and stacked. Some must have used powerful magic to lift and secure stones this massive into place. The unanswered quests are who and why.

Long before the first tavern of the village was built, before the first stone of Ravenloft was set, before any written history of these forested mountains, an unknown group painstakingly raised these stoned for a purpose yet unknown.

The power of this location can still be felt to this day. For hundreds of years, various peoples have congregated here. Dark druids now use this place and the nearby stone circle of Yester Hill to perform rituals of power. Their chants echo through the forest and nearby canyon, and one would be wise to stay clear when the heard the haunting tones.

Strahd Von Zarovich[edit | edit source]

The enigmatic Count Strahd von Zarovich exudes menace and mystery. The rules the realm of Ravenlof with an iron grip and toys with whom he pleases for enjoyment. His charm and polite manner are superficial, a veneer of refinement over his malevolent true self, for Strahd is rotten to the core.

While he considers himself a tragic hero, cursed to pursue his lost love through the ages, the truth is very different. Strahd is a creature driven by malice; a self-centered predator who delights in spreading misery for his own sake throughout his mist-shrouded realm.

The Burgomaster's Letter[edit | edit source]

Hail to thee of might a valor, I, a lowly servant of Barovia, send honor to thee. We plead for thy so desperately needed assistance.

The love of my life, Ireena Kolyana, has been afflicted by an evil so deadly that even the good people of our village cannot protect her. She languishes from the wound, and I would have her saved from this menace.

There is much wealth in this community. I offer all that might be had to thee and thy fellow if thou shalt but answer my desperate plea.

Come quickly, for her time is at hand! All that I have shall be thine.

Kolyan Indirovich Burgomaster

The Ghost Tree[edit | edit source]

The villagers of Berez discovered that a young woman in the Village, Marian, had caught the attention of Strahd. To save her soul, some of the villagers murdered Marina. Strahd retaliated by destroying Berez, where he then buried the body.

From her grave, the Ghost Tree grew. The Ghost Tree's incorporeal leaves never stop falling. As the leaves hit the ground, they turn to mist and new leaves grow, trapped in a continuous cycle.

The Howling Hills[edit | edit source]

The Howling Hills are a wild and craggy region, home to packs of wolves and stalked by savage Barovian werewolves. These fearsome lycanthropes are cursed to transform under the light of the Barovian full moon, but some can transform at will into their bestial shape.

The werewolf packs of Barovia are in constant turmoil, as brutal power struggles play out for leadership of the pack. From his lofty castle, Strahd watches these petty squabbles with amusement, content to let the werewolves tear each other to shreds and reveling in the fear they cause.

The werewolves are the only creatures other than the Vistani that Strahd allows to pass through the mists of Barovia to the world beyond, but only when he dispatches them to bring back hapless travelers.

The Old Bonegrinder[edit | edit source]

The Old Bonegrinder Mill looms over the farmland outside Barovia. Now crumbling and falling into disrepair, it has attracted a coven of witches who use it as the base for their unwholesome activities.

Barovian witches are powerful creatures wielding powerful magic. The Keepers of the Feather have determined they are responsible for the manufacture of the bizarre dream pastries, of which some Barovians have become all-too-fond.

In transpire that the witches combined a concoction of magical materials with a horrific secret ingredient: the ground bones of innocent villagers!

Valley of Barovia[edit | edit source]

In life, Strahd von Zarovich was a count, a prince, a soldier, and a conqueror. After the death of his father, King Barov, Strahd waged long, bloody wars against his family's enemies. He and his army cornered the last of these enemies in a remote mountain valley before slaying them all. Strahd named the valley Barovia, after his deceased father, and was so struck by its scenic beauty that he decided to settle there.

Strahd repopulated the area with human subjects drawn from his other conquered lands. As a result, Barovians have a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds.

By the will of the Dark Powers, the sun never fully shines in the lands of Barovia. Even during the day, the sky is dimmed by fog or storm clouds, or the light is strangely muted.

Village of Barovia[edit | edit source]

The village of Barovia is the saddest place in the land, its residents so terrified of Strahd that they rarely venture from their homes. The village lies in the shadow of Castle Ravenloft, buried under fog but still unable to hide from the vampire's sight

Wine in Barovia[edit | edit source]

Wine is the lifeblood of Barovian people. It is one of the only indulgences left to them. Without it, many Barovins would lose their last shred of hope and succumb to utter despair.

Although the Vistani often bring wine from distant lands, they share it infrequently. Thus, most of Barovia's whine comes from one source: the Wizard of Wines winery and vineyard. The vineyard producing their best vintage, Champgne du le Stomp, was destroyed and all the wine was stolen. This makes the infamous Champgne de le Stomp most sought after wine in all Barovia.