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The valley of Barovia was the oldest and best known of the Domains of Dread. Originally a location in a forgotten world of the Prime Material plane, the entire valley was transported to the Shadowfell by mists controlled by evil entities known as the Dark Powers. The realm was a prison for its darklord, the vampire Strahd von Zarovich, as well as the entire population of the valley.[3][2][4]

GeographyEdit

Almost the entire valley consisted of densely forested rough terrain, with sheer cliffs and outcroppings. Few areas were easily traversable, and it was always dangerous to stay off the road. Winters were usually long and bitter.[5]

The sky of Barovia was permanently overcast with storm clouds. Even during the brightest hours of the day, light was unnaturally muted and dimmed, and did not affect normally sensitive creatures such as vampires. In many locations, the mists partially or completely obscured vision.[6]

Flora & FaunaEdit

Much of the lower hilled forests throughout Barovia were made up of hardwood trees, such as beech, cherry, hazelnut, and oak. At higher elevations the predominant trees were evergreens, such as fir, pine, and spruce.[7]

The forests of Barovia teemed with wildlife. Land animals such as deer, rabbits, rats, wolves, and black bears were common in the woods. The sky was populated with ravens, hawks and songbirds, as well as nocturnal bats and owls.[5]

Geographical FeaturesEdit

The valley was located between Mount Baratok to the north and Mount Ghakis to the south. Both mountains were part of a larger mountain range known as the Balinok Mountains. The evergreen forest of the Svalich Woods covered the entire valley, which was trespassed by the Old Svalich Road that ran from East to West. At the center of the valley, south of the slopes of Mount Baratok, stood a large lake known as Lake Zarovich, which was fed by melting snow from the mountain.[1]

It was bordered to the south by the domain of Hazlan.[8]

GovernmentEdit

Barovia was ruled by Strahd, who was known by the population as "the devil Strahd". Most inhabitants were not aware that Strahd was a vampire. His ruling style was mostly through proxy, as he made few public appearances and all the duties of tax collection were carried out by the villages' burgomasters. However, Strahd was a feared tyrant who took whatever he wanted and whom no one dared disobey.[5]

DefensesEdit

The valley was completely surrounded by deadly mists that sapped the life force and could rapidly kill anyone who ventured inside. The mists were controlled by Strahd, who could choose to open or close the boundaries of his domain at will.[6][5]

HistoryEdit

Originally part of a world in the Material Plane, sometime before the 11th century DR, Barovia was conquered by then-human general Strahd and his army. It was later transported to the Shadowfell by the Dark Powers, as a consequence of a pact struck with Strahd to grant him eternal life. The pact involved the murder of his brother Sergei von Zarovich so that Strahd could take Sergei's wife Tatyana, with whom he had fallen madly in love. The pact inadvertently caused the death of Tatyana and ended up turning Strahd into a vampire and imprisoning him within the realm.[3][9] It remained the only Domain of Dread for nearly two centuries, until other realms started joining it.[4]

In the Year of the Wandering Elfmaid, 1072 DR, the sun elf vampire Jander Sunstar encountered Anna, a fragment of Tatyana's soul who had been trapped in an asylum in Waterdeep for almost a century. After years looking after her and failing to turn her into a vampire to prevent her death, in the Year of the Rose, 1098 DR, Jander was transported to Barovia by the Dark Powers, vowing to take revenge upon whoever had been responsible for her fate. There, he befriended Strahd, then still an inexperienced vampire, and, over more than 25 years, taught him much of his vampiric skills, including the ability to communicate with and control animals. After discovering the true nature of Strahd, Jander attempted to destroy him, but ended up only severely injuring him. He threw himself into the sun to end his misery afterwards, but, instead of dying, was transported to the adjacent domain of Forlorn.[10][11]

In the late 15th century DR, werewolf servants of Strahd traveled from Barovia to the Misty Forest near Daggerford. The creatures, always surrounded by the ever-present mists, killed villagers and kidnapped their children during nights of full moon.[12] Moreover, a group of vistani travelers from Barovia camped near Daggerford and started harassing the villagers, to the dismay of Duchess Morwen Daggerford. The purpose of the vistani, also servants of Strahd, was to lure adventurers into the realm.[13]

Around the same time, the Svalich Woods briefly merged with the Quivering Forest and Twilight Marsh near Phlan.[14]

Another group of werewolves led by Sangin traveled to Baldur's Gate in search of a locket that possessed the power to free certain individuals from the Domain of Dread. After stealing the locket from the Temple of Kelemvor in the Lower City, they were intercepted by the Heroes of Baldur's Gate. In the struggle, they were all transported by the mists into Barovia.[15]

During their stay in the valley, the heroes met Madame Eva, who foretold that Minsc would fail to rid that realm of its evil.[16] Later, the group met Davian Martikov, a wereraven member of the Keepers of the Feather, at the Wizard of Wines Winery, who allowed them to stay for the night. The next day, having received a bottle of the locally-produced Red Dragon Crush, the group left for the fishing village of Vallaki.[17][18]

In Vallaki, the group was confronted with Strahd, who demanded that hey returned the locket. After being nearly defeated by Strahd's overwhelming magical and physical power, the group ws transported to the Spine of the World by the power of the locket, which contained a fragment of the soul of Strahd's brother, Sergei.[19][20][21]

Castle Ravenloft-5e

Volo's view of Castle Ravenloft.

The writer Volothamp Geddarm visited Barovia with the objective of mapping it, after being offered a commission of 99 gp by his rival Randilus Qelver, who suggested that Volo enter Barovia through a path in the Wood of Sharp Teeth. However, Volo, after conferring with Elminster Aumar, was equipped with a charm designed to ensure his safe return and was magically transported straight to the realm. During his visit, Volo met the vampire hunter Ezmerelda d'Avenir, who helped him slay a vampire spawn called Andramar. He also visited the Blood of the Vine tavern in the village of Barovia and the Blue Water Inn in Vallaki, where he met another vampire hunter, Rudolph van Richten, who revealed that Qelver was, in fact, a servant of Strahd. The next day, when intercepted by Strahd himself, Volo used the charm to return to Faerûn.[22][23]

Rumors & LegendsEdit

One of the deities that looked over Barovia before it became part of the Demiplane of Dread was known as the Morninglord, who shared many characteristics with the Faerûnian deity Lathander, such as an association with dawn and renewal. The Morninglord's influence was felt during daytime, but prayers to him went unanswered since Barovia was cursed to the Shadowfell. Another Barovian deity was known simply as Mother Night, believed to preside over the nighttime.[24]

Notable LocationsEdit

Gates of barovia

The gates of Barovia on the Old Svalich Road.

  • The Amber Temple, an ancient temple built by an order of wizards that were later corrupted by the Dark Powers. The temple housed vestiges of entities from across the multiverse and was the place from which Strahd forged his original pact with the Dark Powers.[25]
  • Barovia, Vallaki, and Krezk, the three villages located along the Old Svalich Road.[26]
  • Castle Ravenloft, Strahd's seat of power.[27]
  • Oraşnou, a small village located at the foot of the mountains in Barovia. The mists led there from the Quivering Forest.[28]

InhabitantsEdit

Sometime in the late 15th century DR, the archmage Mordenkainen became trapped in Barovia. After an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Strahd and escape the realm, Mordenkainen went insane and lost his spellbook and staff. He roamed the base of Mount Baratok for over a year in search for a solution to his predicament before escaping to Waterdeep, where by the Year of the Scarlet Witch, 1491 DR he was nursed back to sanity by Elminster and Storm Silverhand.[26][29]

AppendixEdit

AppearancesEdit

Adventures
Curse of Strahd
Novels
Vampire of the Mists
Comics
Shadows of the VampireFrost Giant's Fury (mentioned only)
Adventurers League
Suits of the MistsThe Beast

External LinksEdit

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the following links do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of this wiki, nor does any lore presented necessarily adhere to established canon.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 23. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 51–52. ISBN 978-0786965622.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 5, 9–10. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). “Realm of Terror”. Ravenloft Campaign Setting (TSR, Inc.), pp. 12–15. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). “Domains and Denizens”. Ravenloft Campaign Setting (TSR, Inc.), pp. 7–10. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  7. Andrew Cermak, John W. Mangrum, Ryan Naylor, Chris Nichols, Andrew Wyatt (September 16, 2002). Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume I. (White Wolf Publishing), pp. 14–15. ISBN 1-58846-080-0.
  8. Andrew Cermak, John W. Mangrum, Ryan Naylor, Chris Nichols, Andrew Wyatt (September 16, 2002). Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume I. (White Wolf Publishing), p. 42. ISBN 1-58846-080-0.
  9. Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 66. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  10. Christie Golden (September 1991). Vampire of the Mists. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-56076-155-5.
  11. Dale Donovan (July 1998). Villains' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-1236-7.
  12. Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  13. Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 19–21. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  14. Claire Hoffman, Travis Woodall (2016-03-15). Suits of the Mists (DDEX04-01) (PDF). D&D Adventurers League: Curse of Strahd (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 1–44.
  15. Jim Zub (May 2016). “Shadows of the Vampire 1”. Shadows of the Vampire #1 (IDW Publishing). ISBN 9781684060856.
  16. Jim Zub (June 2016). “Shadows of the Vampire 2”. Shadows of the Vampire #2 (IDW Publishing).
  17. Jim Zub (July 2016). “Shadows of the Vampire 3”. Shadows of the Vampire #3 (IDW Publishing).
  18. Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 173–174. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  19. Jim Zub (August 2016). “Shadows of the Vampire 4”. Shadows of the Vampire #4 (IDW Publishing).
  20. Jim Zub (October 2016). “Shadows of the Vampire 5”. Shadows of the Vampire #5 (IDW Publishing).
  21. Jim Zub (January 2017). “Frost Giant's Fury 1”. In David Hedgecock and Chase Marotz ed. Frost Giant's Fury #1 (IDW Publishing).
  22. Ed Greenwood (Feb 2016). Travel Talk: Volo's Visit to Barovia. In Matt Chapman ed. Dragon+ #6. Wizards of the Coast. p. 7. Retrieved on 2017-11-15.
  23. Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 238. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  24. Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 26, 128. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  25. Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 181. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 33–40. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  27. Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 49. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  28. Alan Patrick (2016). The Beast (DDAL4-02) (PDF). Edited by Claire Hoffman, Travis Woodall. D&D Adventurers League: Curse of Strahd (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 7–8.
  29. Ed Greenwood (2016-06-07). Death Masks. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-6593-2.

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