Author Topic: Strahd - fact or fable  (Read 10056 times)

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20606
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Strahd - fact or fable
« on: December 02, 2009, 06:14:54 PM »
Over the years, I've seen lots of OOC comments by people who think they know how Strahd should or shouldn't act, based on...well I don't know what they base some of these comments on. I spent a long time researching the character to make sure he was presented accurately. I've decided that it's best to define some of these things so these erroneous complaints stop cropping up.  :P

#1 "Strahd kills all high-level characters"

Fable.

Levels in D&D are an OOC mechanism. There is no spell or magic item that reveals a character's level to another character. If Strahd deals with a character, it is because of what your character has done, not their level. A 20th level fighter who minds his own business will go unnoticed, while a level 1 paladin preaching the toppling of Strahd's tyranny will be hounded.

#2 "Strahd hunts down mages"

Fable.

Generally speaking, Strahd has no interests in a wizard or sorceror unless that character is somehow directly a threat to him or offended him somehow--and just being a mage in and of itself isn't enough to do either. Canon sources also have Strahd approaching mages with new magic, but since the creation of new spells is out of bounds with the NWN engine, this isn't going to happen in PotM. Strahd doesn't care if your wizard can cast Power Word: Kill; he already knows it and it wouldn't work on him anyway. But if your wizard decides to off the burgomaster of Vallaki with the spell and set himself up as the new ruler, then there'll be hell to pay.

Of all the D&D classes, though, it is the paladin that is most likely to draw Strahd's (or any other darklord's) ire.

#3 "Strahd kills anyone more powerful than him"

Fable, for the most part.

Strahd is not so insecure or paranoid to kill off anyone more powerful than he is. In fact, he's so arrogant he's likely to underestimate most PCs and assume he's more powerful than they are. As he is a genius, he is capable of recognizing beings of equal or greater power on occasion. In these cases he usually will form an alliance (or uneasy truce), though he is likely to betray them later if doing so will benefit him (and even then, only if it's a loophole in the agreement he can exploit). Even those with greater physical power than Strahd are seen as dim-witted tools that he can manipulate. If Strahd is forced to admit a foe is greater than he is, he's willing to simply outlast his enemy.

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20606
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2010, 01:13:01 PM »
Another misconception I've noticed:

Vallaki's Guards are not Strahd's personal guards. The Vallaki guard and militia are under the direct authority of the Burgomaster of Vallaki, Nicolai Ionelus. Strahd appoints burgomasters and boyars to rule as they see fit, so long as they have every gold piece of their required taxes when Strahd asks for it and they enforce the few edicts Strahd issues (such as not harming the Vistani, etc.).

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

ThAnswr

  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 3045
  • We all end up the same: Level 20 or dead.
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 10:29:34 AM »
Quote
Strahd - fact or fable

I've got my money on fable.   ;)

Sig by Garison



When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
Hunter Thompson

"Rock is overpowered, paper is just about right" - Scissors
Thanks Aahz

herkles

  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 5338
    • Herkles's Portfolio
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2011, 08:04:51 PM »
Quote from: domains of dread
He has lived much longer than any man should, and it is wldely recognized outside of barovia that Strahd is a vampire.

question: by that quote, is it fare to say that any educated PC in the core from a place with education and a belief in vampires, such as say Borca or hazlan, would know that Strahd is a vampire?

Norture

  • Still noobin' it up.
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 3327
  • ???
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2011, 09:27:14 PM »
I've wondered about that actually. Zach has been told IC by a few people that Strahd is a vampire, and I don't know if it's actually public knowledge at all or if RPing knowing that is carrying on metagamed info or what.

puckwolf

  • is still rockin' the
  • Community Council
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 3590
  • Zephyr goat
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2011, 09:49:23 PM »
There are characters who legitimately know Strahd is a vampire, however it's certainly not something anyone should recite publicly in Barovia.

Valerio Umberto

  • Guest
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2011, 02:53:59 AM »
I know that in Borca for example they are ware of the rumor but dismiss it by & large as backwater stupidity.

Keep in mind, Strahd seems to take some effort to conceal what he is. This is why I imagine there have been 11? 'Strahds", he impersonates his descendants. Since it's an era without camera or television I would imagine to the general person it's an easily believed deception. Few if any people (even player side) have sceen Strahd for extended periods of time if it at all. It's also entirely reasonable and easily believed that his descendants would bear a striking resemblance.

Exordium

  • Developers
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 1551
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2011, 03:06:37 AM »
Quote from: domains of dread
He has lived much longer than any man should, and it is wldely recognized outside of barovia that Strahd is a vampire.

question: by that quote, is it fare to say that any educated PC in the core from a place with education and a belief in vampires, such as say Borca or hazlan, would know that Strahd is a vampire?

Most likely, yes.

Whilst it's true that some in Dementlieu, Borca and such regions would dismiss rumors of Strahd's vampiric nature as mere fable, there are also large amounts of those who recognize it as truth. Strahd is not a liked person in Barovia and equally so outside of Barovia. He's much more feared, hated or rumored about than someone who would just be "another ruler of far away land"... Particularly when Barovia happens to be in central position what goes to trade routes. ;)
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 03:11:52 AM by DM Exordium »

Winter83

  • Dark Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 996
  • 100% Ranger
    • The hunter's query
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2011, 03:11:46 AM »
If I hear a PC saying that Strahd is a vampire I'll simply ignore it. Very few people know it ICly, and most rumors are just metagamed assumptions brought into the IC rumor network...

you know how it is:

--- A player know something but forgets that his character does not (clear meta) --> he tells is to person 1 --> person 1 tells it to person 2 (IC knowledge based on meta). Same happens on many issues.


The Perfect Circle: The Hollow : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avgiqNapUx0

Exordium

  • Developers
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 1551
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2011, 03:13:59 AM »
If I hear a PC saying that Strahd is a vampire I'll simply ignore it. Very few people know it ICly, and most rumors are just metagamed assumptions brought into the IC rumor network...

you know how it is:

--- A player know something but forgets that his character does not (clear meta) --> he tells is to person 1 --> person 1 tells it to person 2 (IC knowledge based on meta). Same happens on many issues.

That's very poor form, it's not true that Strahd remained unknown as a vampire. Multiple organizations inside Barovia know his true nature, including (but not limited to) Dawnslayers, Ba'al Verzi, Keepers of the Black Feather..

On top of that, many works of literature tell of Strahd's vampireness. There are also clues spread all over and rumors to be heard that hint to this direction. Due to these factors, two of my PCs were well aware of this fact for over a year before I became a DM. I don't consider it very fair to be assumed that I metagamed the information when there has been long-spanning IC reasons to these conclusions. ;)

EDIT: By rumors I refer specifically to NPC-to-PC rumors.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 03:25:03 AM by DM Exordium »

Valerio Umberto

  • Guest
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2011, 03:16:45 AM »
That's true, Van Richten's Guide to Vampires has a pretty detailed story of Strahd's vampirism as told by a bard I believe near the beginning. I suppose it boils down to what your character is personally exposed to, and what your character would personally believe given the rumours and evidence available.

Winter83

  • Dark Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 996
  • 100% Ranger
    • The hunter's query
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2011, 03:19:46 AM »
And I don't wanna know about it!!! [screams]


Leave my toon the illusions that Barovia has a fair and honorable 'living' ruler.  :lol:


The Perfect Circle: The Hollow : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avgiqNapUx0

Norture

  • Still noobin' it up.
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 3327
  • ???
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2011, 03:33:18 AM »
And I don't wanna know about it!!! [screams]


Leave my toon the illusions that Barovia has a fair and honorable 'living' ruler.  :lol:

Then choose to not believe it, and tell the person spreading such untruths as being slanderous!

Ternce

  • Undead Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
  • Ye be naught but a worm.
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2011, 03:57:06 AM »
When our dwarf crew stumbled on all that stuff that told everything there was to tell on Strahd, it simply gave us more incentive to mind our own business.

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20606
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2011, 04:14:52 PM »
And I don't wanna know about it!!! [screams]


Leave my toon the illusions that Barovia has a fair and honorable 'living' ruler.  :lol:
Barovians hate him even if they believe he's human, and virtually none of them believe he's either honorable or fair.. They know he's been alive for far longer than a normal human lifespan, and that the last few "Strahds" have just been him pretending to be his descendents. They also know he dabbles in magic and attribute this to his unnaturally long lifespan. The fact that he also has a cadre of magic-using enforcers in his family known as the Tyrant Mages also doesn't improve his appeal amongst Barovia's populace (ever wonder why magic's not illegal in Barovia? This is why). Then there's the incredibly high and unfair taxation rate, his brutal methods of dealing with insurrection....really, finding out he's a vampire wouldn't faze Barovians much if they found out the truth, but they'd refuse to believe that the current Strahd, vampire or not, is the same as their beloved Strahd I.

And outside Barovia? Yes, it's well-known he's a vampire. Van Richten's Guide to Vampires does indeed detail exactly how Strahd became a vampire and the book is widely published throughout the Core. For this reason Strahd has outlawed the books in Barovia, most likely to keep his subjects from learning things that might be effectively used against him.

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Badelaire

  • Guest
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2011, 08:00:28 PM »
When defeated in singular combat he's also compelled to say "BEHOLD MY TRUE FORM AND DESPAAAAIIIIR!" then turns into some demonic creature before being beaten again and again by the same bloodline of vampire hunting, whip-wielding dominatrix's. Fact.

aprogressivist

  • The Wayfarer Kinship
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 3815
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2011, 09:35:44 PM »
When defeated in singular combat he's also compelled to say "BEHOLD MY TRUE FORM AND DESPAAAAIIIIR!" then turns into some demonic creature before being beaten again and again by the same bloodline of vampire hunting, whip-wielding dominatrix's. Fact.

Pics or it isn't true.

The Prophet of Lies

  • Messianic Jackass / Ego Overmind / Clubber of Seals / Jumpropes with the intestines of forsaken orphans
  • Developers
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 1527
  • The Forever #Trigger
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2011, 01:36:39 PM »
When defeated in singular combat he's also compelled to say "BEHOLD MY TRUE FORM AND DESPAAAAIIIIR!" then turns into some demonic creature before being beaten again and again by the same bloodline of vampire hunting, whip-wielding dominatrix's. Fact.

HUUUUMAAAAANNNSSSS.

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMTizJemHO8[/youtube]
« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 01:41:51 PM by The Prophet »
"The brave man inattentive to his duty, is worth little more to his country than the coward who deserts in the hour of danger."
~Andrew Jackson


BalorVale

  • Undead Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 354
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2012, 03:19:09 PM »
So Does Strahd openly know about the Keepers or thier Leader TwohundredSummers? Or is this a mystery to even him?

Exordium

  • Developers
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 1551
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2012, 03:29:12 PM »
So Does Strahd openly know about the Keepers or thier Leader TwohundredSummers? Or is this a mystery to even him?

Blue certainly has more lore on this, but Domains of Dread mentions that only 5 people know who the leader of the Keepers is and all of the 5 are members themselves.

It also hints that Strahd doesn't know of their activities or memberhood and that Keepers never face Strahd's minions with their actual members, rather employing mercenaries and such.

But I'm sure there's more to this found in the canon novels and other supplements. :)

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20606
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2012, 03:32:59 PM »
If Strahd had the slightest inkling that the Keepers existed he'd annihilate them in an instant. That he doesn't know about them despite his numerous Vistani spies is a testament to their extreme caution.

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Exordium

  • Developers
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 1551
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2012, 03:35:15 PM »
If Strahd had the slightest inkling that the Keepers existed he'd annihilate them in an instant. That he doesn't know about them despite his numerous Vistani spies is a testament to their extreme caution.

Is this same true for Dawnslayers, that Strahd doesn't have slightest inclination to their existence?
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 03:41:20 PM by DM Exordium »

EberronBruce

  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 1104
  • Legos
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2012, 03:44:02 PM »
I think if it was true for Dawnslayers, then he would just wipe out the Moringlord Cult all together and rid of his problem. And then make it a law that anyone caught worshiping any sun deity will be executed. No questions asked. It is in the dogma of the Moringlord to destroy undead.

Norture

  • Still noobin' it up.
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 3327
  • ???
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2012, 08:09:48 PM »
There's a book in game about a Morninglordian addressing a Lawgiver. The Morninglordian says their goal is to provide hope, and that the Lawgivers just do not understand the situation in Barovia where so many people are being oppressed by a tyrant, and therefore it's important for them to keep the message of hope alive. If they're aware he's a vampire, it's still perfectly reasonable for them to not raid the castle. What would that do to the message of hope? It'd breed resentment to the church, unrest, anarchy, all sorts of terrible things. Barovia also has a huge amount of lesser undead that harm everyday people, it's not like there's a shortage of work.

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20606
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Strahd - fact or fable
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2012, 08:57:31 PM »
There is a difference between the Dawnslayers and the Keepers--the first is devoted to destroying vampires in general, the second is devoted to destroying Strahd specifically.

The books don't say one way or the other whether Strahd is aware of the Dawnslayers or not, but it's possible his arrogance allows them to survive--Strahd is arrogant to the point of underestimating his opponents, so he might just assume that the Dawnslayers are no real threat. Then again, Gazetteer I describes the Dawnslayers' Midnight Clarion as a "jealously guarded secret" so it may be that they, too, are underneath Strahd's radar.

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002