Ravenloft: Prisoners of the Mist

Public (OOC) => Roleplay and Gameplay Resources => Ravenloft Setting => Topic started by: Bluebomber4evr on December 02, 2009, 06:14:54 PM

Title: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Bluebomber4evr 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Bluebomber4evr 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.).
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: ThAnswr on February 04, 2010, 10:29:34 AM
Quote
Strahd - fact or fable

I've got my money on fable.   ;)

Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: herkles 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?
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Norture 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: puckwolf 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Valerio Umberto 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Exordium 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. ;)
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Winter83 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Exordium 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Valerio Umberto 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Winter83 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:
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Norture 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!
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Ternce 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Bluebomber4evr 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Badelaire 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: aprogressivist 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: The Prophet of Lies 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]
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: BalorVale 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?
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Exordium 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. :)
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Bluebomber4evr 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Exordium 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?
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: EberronBruce 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Norture 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Bluebomber4evr 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.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: kanedellesk on February 27, 2012, 09:17:54 PM
I prefer to think, and this is not canon or established anywhere, that Strahd is aware of the Dawnslayers. And that he is able to manipulate them to take out any vampire/undead/whatever that he views a threat to him. Were they ever to target Strahd specifically, he'd destroy them utterly.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Nox on February 27, 2012, 11:18:08 PM
Quote
When Sasha Petrovich took the words of Martyn Pelkar into his heart, he brought more than his youthful fire into the fledgling faith. Strahd von Zarovich had slaughtered the young clerics family when he was buy a boy, and Sasha swore to hunt the Count's undead spawn and extinguish their evil. Sasha's personal quest for vengeance evolved into a secret doctrin for the cult, a charge for the pure of heart to hunt down and slay Barovia's blackest, the vampire. This mandate, known as the Midnight Clarion, is one of the cults most jealously gaurded secrets. Curiously, the Clarion also demands mercy for afflicted lycanthropes, though the roots of this tradition are lost.

It's my understanding that the Dawnslayers endgoal is the destruction of Strahd, not just random vampires, and they work toward this goal albeit slowly and quietly to maintain their distance from the church.  I'm pretty sure that Strahd wouldn't be too keen on letting them go about their business if he knew they existed.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Budly on February 28, 2012, 04:49:07 AM
Do Strahd drink blood?

Why do the Vistani work for him? Or do he work for the Vistani? Who is the one controlling the other?
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: aprogressivist on February 28, 2012, 05:29:30 AM
Do Strahd drink blood?

Well, he doesn't drink... vine.

Quote
Why do the Vistani work for him? Or do he work for the Vistani? Who is the one controlling the other?

It always struck me as a kind of alliance of convenience.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: dutchy on February 28, 2012, 09:52:40 AM
budly..honestly what vampire can retain its powers without blood?   i'l slap you if you say blade he was a halfer.

but potm/ravenloft vamps   they all need blood so the count is no difrant.


this topic is really intresting so many things nobody gets to know ic  its a shame.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Bluebomber4evr on February 28, 2012, 11:46:53 AM
Not all vampires drink blood, but Strahd does.

The Vistani have an alliance with Strahd. He gives them safe harbor in his lands (thus why shedding Vistani blood is an executable offense), and they tell him about everything that they see.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Budly on February 28, 2012, 12:14:40 PM
Thank you for those answers.

I find it funny how people laugh at me for asking that when the guy takes the freaking sun rays with pride upon his face.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Dread on February 28, 2012, 01:46:40 PM

Quote
Why do the Vistani work for him? Or do he work for the Vistani? Who is the one controlling the other?

It always struck me as a kind of alliance of convenience.

Basically, the Vistani, particularly the Zarovan tribe, is given a safe place to live and the personal protection of the Count (in other domains, the Vistani receive a much more, uh, frosty welcome - look at Invidia for an example) in exchange for serving as his eyes and ears.

E: Just realized Richter up there beat me to it  :soth:
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: BalorVale on February 28, 2012, 02:42:45 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]
So the only way to beat Strahd..... is to become the ultimate non-powerbuild whip Weaponmaster!
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Rave on February 28, 2012, 03:02:12 PM
Vampires can drink other things besides blood. Dr. Daclaud Heinfroth drinks cerebral fluids from its victims.

As for the vistanis, what I find ironic about about Invidia and their strict anti-vistani policy, is that its mostly been dictated by their Vistani born rulers. In one way or another, the Vistani are connected to a lot of stories and domains.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Rave on February 28, 2012, 03:09:39 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]
So the only way to beat Strahd..... is to become the ultimate non-powerbuild whip Weaponmaster!

Actually, I think the only person in existence that can stand a chance against Strahd, would have been Meredoth Darklord of the Noctural Sea. His special defences is
Quote
Special Defences       Immune to attacks from undead

But then again, Strahd is a master strategist and a genius, so he would most likely find a plan around Meredoth's defenses, too. 
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Bluebomber4evr on February 28, 2012, 03:11:59 PM
As for the vistanis, what I find ironic about about Invidia and their strict anti-vistani policy, is that its mostly been dictated by their Vistani born rulers. In one way or another, the Vistani are connected to a lot of stories and domains.
There's a reason for that. Malocchio is trapped within Invidia's borders by a Vistani curse. He believes that if he kills all the Vistani in the demiplane they'll no longer be powering the curse...and if that doesn't work he'll at least have his revenge against them for trapping him.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Talek on February 28, 2012, 04:03:18 PM
this is why I/we all <3 blue, not only for his knowledge on Strahd but for everything else ravenloft related.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: kanedellesk on February 28, 2012, 04:25:18 PM
I like to think of Strahd as wearing a tuxedo t-shirt. Cause I like to party so I want my Strahd to like to party.

I like to think of Strahd as a ninja, fighting off evil samurai!

I like to picture Strahd singing lead vocals for Lynrd Skynrd. With like a big angel back up band. And I'm in the front row just hammered.

Well, I'm the one saying this grace and I like the Baroviamas version so I'll say grace to Baby Strahd.
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Blackhound on February 28, 2012, 05:07:57 PM
I like to think of strahd like a muscular trapeze artist.
I like to think of strahd like a dirty old bum. He's comin' up to me, and I'm 'bout to sock him one, cause, you know, he's a dirty old bum, but then I say, "Wait a minute, there's something... I don't know, special about this guy."
I like to think of strahd like a shapeshifter, or a changeling, like that guy--You ever hear of that TV show Manimal?

Dear Lord Baby Strahd, lying there in your...your little ghost manger, lookin' at your Baby Einstein developmental...videos, learnin' 'bout shapes and colors...
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Metal_ash on February 28, 2012, 05:10:48 PM
There was a time when you could learn a bit about Strahd and that he is a Vampire and also some of his background down at the Alhoon Kir'thalax if you had good enough lore.
At least if you are to trust in the words of an Alhoon

Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Bluebomber4evr on February 28, 2012, 05:13:09 PM
Let's keep the jokes to the tavern, guys
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: kanedellesk on March 01, 2012, 10:12:47 AM
Sorry, Blue. I thought that since the Castlevania jokes were ok, mine would be too. But you're right, and I'm . . . less right. Jokes in the tavern for me.

But I do have a serious question for Blue, the DM team, and even the Devs. A new line of novels set in the Demiplane of Dread are supposed to be coming out at some point called Ravenloft: Dominion.. I have the first one, but haven't got around to reading it yet. From what I've heard, and this is just from the internet so who knows how true it is, the novels are going to change quite a bit about the lands and darklords. Strahd is supposed to be changed somehow or another, some darklords get killed, domains merge, new domains form, cats and dogs live together, etc.

So my question is, if the Dominion novels change things like that, will POTM consider them canon, especially the "new" Strahd? Will there be player-involved plots to help explain the changes? Or will they be listed as non-canon "imaginary stories"?
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: ThAnswr on March 01, 2012, 10:19:07 AM
There was a time when you could learn a bit about Strahd and that he is a Vampire and also some of his background down at the Alhoon Kir'thalax if you had good enough lore.
At least if you are to trust in the words of an Alhoon



You could also  have learned the truth about Strahd from the woman in the mage's tower.  For an escalating price starting with 10 vampire hearts, the price got steeper, but the information got more detailed. 

I thought it was a terrific quest and was sorry to see it go in that form. 
Title: Re: Strahd - fact or fable
Post by: Bluebomber4evr on March 01, 2012, 12:04:27 PM
Sorry, Blue. I thought that since the Castlevania jokes were ok, mine would be too. But you're right, and I'm . . . less right. Jokes in the tavern for me.

But I do have a serious question for Blue, the DM team, and even the Devs. A new line of novels set in the Demiplane of Dread are supposed to be coming out at some point called Ravenloft: Dominion.. I have the first one, but haven't got around to reading it yet. From what I've heard, and this is just from the internet so who knows how true it is, the novels are going to change quite a bit about the lands and darklords. Strahd is supposed to be changed somehow or another, some darklords get killed, domains merge, new domains form, cats and dogs live together, etc.

So my question is, if the Dominion novels change things like that, will POTM consider them canon, especially the "new" Strahd? Will there be player-involved plots to help explain the changes? Or will they be listed as non-canon "imaginary stories"?
That line of novels was discontinued in 2009. The few that did get published didn't change anything other than add a few new "Island of Terror" domains.

There was a time when you could learn a bit about Strahd and that he is a Vampire and also some of his background down at the Alhoon Kir'thalax if you had good enough lore.
At least if you are to trust in the words of an Alhoon



You could also  have learned the truth about Strahd from the woman in the mage's tower.  For an escalating price starting with 10 vampire hearts, the price got steeper, but the information got more detailed. 

I thought it was a terrific quest and was sorry to see it go in that form. 
It ended up being FAR too easy for people to get that information and it spread way too fast. It would have painted a big fat target on Athina's back, and she's way too cautious/paranoid to give the information that freely. You can still get the information from her if you have a copy of the Tome of Strahd.