Author Topic: Outlanders versus Natives Clarification  (Read 3003 times)


  • Assistant Head DM/Developer
  • Head DMs
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 19939
  • The one and only, the one everyone wants to be!
Outlanders versus Natives Clarification
« on: January 03, 2007, 06:56:08 PM »
Since there have been a lot of discussions concerning Outlanders and Natives and the difference, here's a quick summary.

There are four ethnic groups in Barovia, the Barovians, the Gundarakites, the Forfarians and the Thaani. They are what one would call natives, anyone else is an outlander to them. However, even amongs each other, they treat each other with contempt and isolation. They never intermarry and hold prejudices against each other. Thaani and Forfarians are a tiny minority, only living in some settlements.

Setting-wise, most Barovians wouldn't give a shit if you are from Darkon, Dementlieu or from Thay or Waterdeep, you are an outlander. You are a foreigner, they might have more well-defined ideas and prejudices against Dementlieu flops or Darkonese people, but they would treat them like they would any other outlanders.

I've seen quite a few natives lately who make a distinction between Ravenloft-natives and Outworlders, but that distionction likely wouldn't exist for a Barovian, because of their xenophobic and backwards nature.

From the Gazetteer:

Despite the sometimes fractious ethnic divisions in Barovia, the folk here share a common unifying element: a thoroughly frosty demeanor. Life under the stern gaze of Count Strahd has forged them into a harsh people who mind their own business (and who lack even an ounce of hospitality, I might add). Strangers are not welcomed, and questions are rebuffed with disregard and glares. Travelers will find their appearance, dress, accent, manner, and possessions scrutinized with suspicion by all.


                Barovia's relations with other lands are hampered by the realm's backward nature and the unremitting tyranny of the von Zaroviches. Though the Old Svalich Pass serves as a strategic trade route, merchants are often guilty of viewing Barovia as a place one passes through on the way to more prosperous and vibrant realms. Strahd, for his part, seems to have little interest in forging alliances with his peers in neighboring lands, though whether this is due to arrogance, caution, or apathy remains a mystery.

                Borca: Barovia's relationship with Borca is cool, but astonishingly peaceful given that the von Zaroviches' ancient rivals the Dilisnyas and their cousins, the Boritsis, now dwell there. Most Barovians surmise that the von Zaroviches long ago took their revenge for the assassination of Strahd von Zarovich I; little else could explain why Strahd XI suffers the Dilisnyas' continued existence in light of such a heinous crime. Modern dealings are limited primarily to trade along the Old Svalich Road and perennial religious expansionism by the Church of Ezra.

                Forlorn: Forlorn is a forsaken land. Barovians avoid it at all costs. The many rumors of goblyns, ghosts, and weirder things haunting Forlom's highland wilds assuage the most curious Barovian travelers and merchants.

                Hazlan: Hazlan seems a frightening realm to many Barovians. There, arcane magic is practiced openly, a tiny ethnic minority mercilessly dominates the masses, and the oppressive Church of the Lawgiver rules. Most of Barovia wants nothing to with Hazlan or its diabolical, arrogant ways. In southeastern Barovia, however, the village of Immol has prospered mightily from trade across the border with Hazlan, and even the unholy practices of that realm's wizards cannot persuade Immol to give up this boon.

                Invidia: Invidia has long been one of Barovia's reliable trading partners via the Gundar River, though the rise of Malocchio Aderre has complicated matters considerably. Malocchio has a standing bounty on all Vistani, and his mercenaries are not above pursuing the gypsies into neighboring realms. On more than one occasion, this has proven a fatal mistake for mercenaries who slew Vistani on Barovian soil, as word of the crime always reaches the ear of Count von Zarovich. For now, Malocchio's forces seem to have learned to be mindful of Barovia's borders when engaging in Vistani manhunts.

                Kartakass: Like Invidia, Kartakass is a dependable source of commerce for Barovia. Kartakan merchants are expansionist and aggressive, and can be sighted traveling the Crimson Road through western Barovia throughout the year. This mercantile alliance is the extent of the relationship between Barovia and Kartakass, however. Barovians see the decentralized system that governs Kartakan villages as strange. Without a strong, hereditary ruler, Kartakass has no one who might approach Count Strahd on equal footing to establish a stronger relationship.

                Nova Vaasa: Despite the long border they share, Barovia holds Nova Vaasa at arm's length. Vaasi culture is peculiar to the Barovians, and they are distrustful of Prince Othmar, regarded as the worst sort of greedy, exploitive dilettante noble. Though moderate trade exists along the Old Svalich Road, most of Nova Vaasa's merchants are preoccupied with the Mordentish-speaking realms beyond Barovia to the west.

                The Shadow Rift: Like most lands that border the enigmatic Shadow Rift, Barovians fear that unnatural chasm. Most Barovians regard the Rift as an unholy gash in the face of their world; no sane person wants anything to do with such a place.

                Sithicus: Sithicus has always been a mysterious realm to the Barovians, an unhallowed land of haunted forests that make the Tepurich Forest seem tame by comparison. The frightening rumors that Kartakan merchants have brought out of the realm in recent years have done little to quell such fears. Despite the region's recent political upheavals, it is still regarded as an unnatural land populated by evil fey, best avoided by right-thinking folk.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2007, 07:13:46 PM by EO »


  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 6520
Re: Outlanders versus Natives Clarification
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2007, 07:56:34 PM »
Excellent post.

It should also be noted, that if a native Barovian is percieved to be behaving like an outlander, dressing outside of local custom, taking to the "heroic" life of an adventurer, that some natives may even come to label them as "lost to the outlanders." 

Some of the native pcs scoff at Cezar even, gossiping that he's become more and more like a foolish outlander after all his time spent out at the western outskirts in their midsts.