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Count Strahd von Zarovich was a vampire and the dark lord of the valley of Barovia, one of the Domains of Dread located in a remote corner of the Shadowfell.[1]

I am the Ancient, I am the Land. My beginnings are lost in the darkness of the past. I am not dead. Nor am I alive. I am undead, forever.
— Tome of Strahd[12]

History[]

In his youth, Strahd was a prince and a conqueror. After settling down in the recently conquered valley of Barovia, beginning to feel the weight of middle age, sometime before the 11th century DR Strahd forged a pact with the Dark Powers of the Shadowfell in order to achieve immortality. 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 sealed, Strahd chased Tatyana through his gardens in an effort to force her to love him, eventually driving her to fling herself off a cliff to avoid him and causing her death. Strahd tried to end it all but remained alive, undead and a vampire. The entire valley was swept into the Shadowfell and turned into a prison from which he could never escape.[12][13]

In the Year of the Wandering Elfmaid, 1072 DR, Jander 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.[14][15]

In the late 15th century DR, Strahd confronted Minsc, Boo, Delina, Krydle, Shandie, and Nerys in an attempt to recover a locket that once belonged to Tatyana, the love of Strahd's life. The locket had the power to free the companions from Barovia, narrowly escaping the vampire's wrath.[16][17]

Also around that time, Strahd encountered Volothamp Geddarm within his domain at the gates of Vallaki, appearing before the traveler in his mist form. He invited Volothamp for dinner at Castle Ravenloft later that evening, wishing to discuss where he came from and the strange magic he could sense on him. Strahd then flew away back to the castle in his bat form, before the panicked Volothamp called on Elminster to return him back to Toril.[18]

Possessions[]

Strahd's known possessions included a +4 bastard sword, a +2 mighty composite bow, an amulet of proof against detection and location, bracers of armor +6, a cloak of resistance +3, a crystal ball, gloves of dexterity +2, a ring of minor elemental resistance (fire), a ring of protection +4, and a rod of absorption.[19]

Relationships[]

During his many centuries of imprisonment in Barovia, Strahd became acquainted with several visitors from Toril, including the sun elf vampire Jander Sunstar, with whom Strahd formed a long-lasting relationship,[14] and Volothamp Geddarm, who briefly visited Barovia at the behest of Elminster Aumar.[20]

Appendix[]

Background[]

Strahd is considered the signature villain of the Ravenloft setting and in Dragon #360 he was named one of the greatest villains in the history of D&D.[2]

Gallery[]

Appearances[]

External Links[]

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.

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 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.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Bruce R. Cordell, Eytan Bernstein, Brian R. James (January 2009). Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 210. ISBN 0786950692.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ron Lundeen (April 2016). The Seer (DDAL04-05) (PDF). D&D Adventurers League: Curse of Strahd (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7.
  4. Bruce R. Cordell, James Wyatt (2006). Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 6. ISBN 978-0-7869-3946-6.
  5. David Noonan (January 2004). “Ravenloft: The Return of Strahd”. In Chris Thomasson ed. Dragon #315 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 15.
  6. Jean Blashfield (January 1986). Master of Ravenloft. (TSR, Inc.), p. 40. ISBN 0-88038-261-9.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 239–240. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  8. P. N. Elrod (1993). I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0786941235.
  9. Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (1983). Ravenloft. (TSR, Inc.), p. 3. ISBN 0-88038-042-X.
  10. Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). “Domains and Denizens”. Ravenloft Campaign Setting (TSR, Inc.), pp. 97–101. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.
  11. Bruce R. Cordell, James Wyatt (2006). Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 6–9. ISBN 978-0-7869-3946-6.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 9–10. 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), p. 66. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Christie Golden (September 1991). Vampire of the Mists. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-56076-155-5.
  15. Dale Donovan (July 1998). Villains' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-1236-7.
  16. Jim Zub (August 2016). “Shadows of the Vampire 4”. Shadows of the Vampire #4 (IDW Publishing) (4)..
  17. Jim Zub (October 2016). “Shadows of the Vampire 5”. Shadows of the Vampire #5 (IDW Publishing) (5)..
  18. 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.
  19. Andrew Cermak, John W. Mangrum, Ryan Naylor, Chris Nichols, Andrew Wyatt (September 16, 2002). Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume I. (White Wolf Publishing), p. 150. ISBN 1-58846-080-0.
  20. 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.
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