Cover of Curse of Strahd

Curse of Strahd

Under raging storm clouds, the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich stands silhouetted against the ancient walls of Castle Ravenloft. Rumbling thunder pounds the castle spires. The wind’s howling increases as he turns his gaze down toward the village of Barovia. A lightning flash rips through the darkness, but Strahd is gone. Only the howling of the wind fills the midnight air. The master of Castle Ravenloft is having guests for dinner—and you are invited.

Spans levels 1-10.

Battle Mats?
Includes Characters?
Levels 1–10
Boss Monsters and Villains
Common Monsters
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DGoldDragon28 has played this adventure and would not recommend it.

Firstly, if you are running this, skip the Death House and start your players at 3rd. It's almost entirely unconnected to everything else and it feels too much like filler. I have a feeling the designers knew this, and that this is why they put it in an appendix rather than in the Barovia chapter or a chapter of its own.

Bluntly, I think the adventure is too easy, with isolated exceptions. In particular, our 9th-level party (the recommended level for Castle Ravenloft) had no problem whatsoever dealing with Strahd, making it feel less like a struggle for life and freedom and more like a simple execution. We had left behind our prophesied ally, and the three items influenced things very little (the sunlight aura being the only bit even used during the fight), so it felt like the only pertinent thing we'd done in the earlier quests was gain experience.

The only adventure locations outside the Castle that I found compelling or interesting were Argynvostholt and the Amber Temple. And as far as the latter goes, I thought the Dark Gifts could have been done better. Roughly speaking, each had a side effect which was either a physical deformity or a personality flaw. The latter are quite interesting (assuming you actually roleplay them), but the former don't really do much, apart from possibly making NPCs react poorly (but by the time they have visited the Temple, they don't really need any NPCs to give a toss about them). I would amend most of the side effects to make them more subtle-yet-potent.

As a final note, the revivify spell is anathema to any sense of dread. Don't give them access to diamonds, or say the spell doesn't work at all within Barovia, or at the very least give revived characters madness, rather than just those resurrected after >24 hours. (I personally think that the creation of that spell was an exceptionally poor decision in the design of 5e, but that's beside the point here).

grayseeroly has played this adventure and would recommend it.

The is a powerful and challenging adventure, for players and DMs. Not for the faint of heart but greatly rewarding if you are prepared to take on the the extra work. Like many adventures, it requires polish (some area a LOT of polish) but it is and amazing and evocative starting point.

Et in Barovia Ego!

AucaCoyan has played this adventure and would recommend it.

Love it!