Curse Of Strahd Letters
Curse Of Strahd Letters – Curse of Strahd Revamped (CoSR) follows in the footsteps of the last revised re-release, when Wizard of the Coast released Tyranny of Dragons, the combined version of the first two 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons hardcover adventures, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat. However, CoSR doesn’t just change the text of the gothic horror adventure. This is a deluxe edition with several extras.
Welcome to Ravenloft Originally introduced in the 1983 module Ravenloft, the vampire Strahd von Zarovich is the villain and ruler of Barovia. He was created by Tracy Hickman (also known for co-creating Dragonlance with Margaret Weis) and Laura Hickman. Ravenloft is also known as the Demiplane of Dread and is a pocket dimension that contains Strahd as punishment for his evil deeds and despair. That begs the question of why his innocent subjects were imprisoned with him, but that is another question. The setting was so popular that it spawned several novels and video games.
Curse Of Strahd Letters
Ravenloft was the first of D&D’s classic settings to be revived for 5th edition, and it was a good choice. Distinct, evocative, and self-contained, Curse of Strahd had a flavor and mood unlike any of the 5. While Chris Perkins is the lead designer on CoS, it was created in consultation with the Hickmans, incorporating material that they have refined their own games in the decades since its commercial launch.
Castle Ravenloft Battle Maps
What’s Inside Every part of the CoSR has been carefully considered, starting with the oversized, coffin-shaped box. The press photos made it look like the box was just a variant of the original Curse of Strahd cover. It turns out, that’s just a wraparound. When peeled off, it reveals an attractive mood design of gray ink and matte black with raised glossy black ink. The top of the box features Strahd’s coat of arms and a smoky candle design on the sides along with the D&D logo ampersand.
Inside are two, heavy cardboard inserts to prevent the contents from bouncing around. The production design team, led by Senior Art Director Kate Irwin, put care and thought into the contents and packaging of the CoSR, such as including strap lifters so the tight-fitting contents could be easily removed.
This deluxe set includes a tarot-like tarroka deck, which was originally sold separately. The silver-tinted deck isn’t just for mood or taste. To create variables for the adventure, key aspects of the plot depend on the cards drawn to determine the location of three treasures needed to defeat Strahd, a powerful ally who can help, and where the Strahd to find the final confrontation. These locations could also be determined with a normal deck of playing cards replacing the Tarroka deck or a DM could just pick an option from the list, but since this set comes with the Tarroka deck, why not use it?
I was a D&D Adventurers League shop organizer and lead DM when Flight of Strahd originally came out and learned a few tricks in running this adventure. When drawing cards to customize your version of the adventure, take some time to make sure they work together for your game and match if necessary. This may seem obvious, but I had DMs wing it and then feel that the adventure flow was a little disjointed.
The Curse Of Strahd Series: Letters From Barovia
CoSR contains 12 postcards of Barovia (three each of four designs) that can be used to invite people to the game. They are cute, clever, and a nice touch. That said, I wish they used the same space for cards with the NPCs’ pictures. They included such a thing with the D&DAL adventure, Scourge of the Sword Coast when 5.
Player handouts from the adventure are included so the DM doesn’t have to make copies. They are beautifully done on heavy paper. The set also includes an adventure-specific DM screen with the player side of the panels featuring images of Barovia. The DM page contains the usual information, such as conditions, as well as setting-specific information such as day and night random encounter tables and lists of Barovian names.
The Tarroka deck is accompanied by an 8-page supplement for ease of use, especially if the DM reads like Madame Eva. A full-color map with Barovia on one side and Castle Ravenloft on the other is included, as is an oversized single sheet with Strahd’s stats on the back and artwork of the vampire on the other. The new creatures in the adventure get a separate 20-page supplement called Creatures of Horror.
About The Hardcover That last item is very helpful but highlights the one thing that annoyed me about the set – the included version of the Curse of Strahd adventure is a square-bound softcover, not a hardcover like the original. The Creatures of Horror supplement then helps save the book from wear and tear.
My Version Of The Strahd/burgomaster Letters
From a business point of view, it makes sense to exchange the hardcover for a softcover. It makes the already heavy package lighter, which reduces shipping costs and overhead. Including a hardcover version would also tip the price tag over its $99 MSRP.
Still, as a DM, I prefer hardcovers for an adventure this size because it’s more durable. DMing at home, the square-bound softcover could last if careful, but if I was still going back and forth to a store to run the game, the wear and tear would be hard to avoid.
Changes to the original Curse of Strahd Revamped were announced around the time Jeremy Crawford, Senior Game Designer for D&D, shared changes WotC planned to make in regards to the representation and handling of orcs, drow, etc. to intelligent species that are labeled as “evil” as a group and skill minuses or debuffs. Curse of Strahd and his depiction of Vistani were mentioned as part of these versions.
The Vistani were singled out because they are an obvious riff on the stereotypical depiction of the Romani used in Gothic horror and the like. The original version of CoS even included the g-word, which is a slur for those of Romani heritage.
Day 2: Strahd’s Invitation
The textual changes in the CoSR turned out to be limited. The Vistani are still there, but references to them being evil or lazy have been removed, as well as the specific Romani word used for a type of chariot. So “evil Vistani” become “Vistani Servants of Strahd”, which actually makes more sense since even in the original CoS not all Vistani did.
Another change to eliminate bias involves Ezmerelda d’Avenir. Previously, she was depicted as taking great care to hide the fact that she has a prosthetic leg and also the paragraph in which it was mentioned was labeled “Ezmerelda’s Secret.” Now it’s just presented factually – Ezmerelda lost a leg to werewolves, but wasn’t infected herself. She trained herself to continue her monster hunting activities after getting used to her prosthetics. All told, only seven items were changed.
Some other changes were made to correct bugs or improve game logic. For example, Strahd’s unarmed combat description was updated to quote “Vampire or Wolf Form Only” instead of only in vampire form or details in the Haunted One background changed to reflect the dual influence. Some magic quotes were also adjusted.
So really, extremely little changed in the actual adventure and none of the changes change the plot, making CoSR a deluxe package rather than a revision. When you add up the cost of buying the hardcover book, the Tarroka deck, and the adventure-specific DM screen (Gale Force 9 also produced one when CoS was originally released) the $99 MSRP for CoSR isn’t bad.
Miscellaneous Letter Pack Curse Of Strahd
The Adventure As for the adventure itself, it is my second favorite of the plots released so far (Storm King’s Thunder is my favorite). It sets the gothic horror mood well, and offers tips for DMs to do so. The card deck to determine specific plot details adds some variance so that one group of players doesn’t spoil it for the others.
Curse of Strahd, original or revamped, does one thing well that Tomb of Annihilation botched – players explore new environments. While they have incentives in CoS to achieve their goals so they can be freed from Barovia and return home, the story also allows enough time and space for players to get the full Barovian/Ravenloft experience. A big mistake that ToA made, in my opinion, was to present this huge area to explore the story and tie it to a death clock, which took away the incentive to wander and explore the land. At the time I reviewed ToA, I thought a balance could be struck. Actually DMing ToA proved how difficult that could be.
At its core, CoS is a simple adventure – players are whisked away to Barovia for mysterious reasons. The only way to get home is to defeat Strahd. When they wander his kingdom prison, he plays with them like a cat plays with mice. Barovia contains all the elements you’d expect from a gothic horror adventure – ghosts, werewolves, hags, creepy toys, and of course the titular vampire. it’s me