Curse of Strahd

CHAPTER 2: THE LANDS OF BAROVIA HE IDYLLIC VALLEY NESTLED IN THE Balinok Mountains was a slice of heaven to those wh

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Balinok Mountains was a slice of heaven to those who knew of its existence before Strahd's arrival. The serenity of the place was forever shattered when Strahd led a bloody crusade against the enemies of bis family that ended here with the slaughter of hundreds. Struck by the scenic beauty of his most recent conquest and eager to escape the shadow of his father's legacy, Strahd made the valley his home and named it Barovia after the late King Barov, his father. The land now called Barovia is no longer part of the world that Strahd once tried to conquer. It now exists within a demiplane formed by Strahd's consciousness and surrounded by a deadly fog. No creature can leave without Strahd's permission, and those that try become lost in the mist. Strahd allows the Vistani to come and go as they please because he admires their lust for life and their willingness to serve him when he needs them. He also owes an ancient debt to the Vistani people. As a soldier centuries ago, he suffered a grievous injury in battle, and the Vistani tended his wounds and returned him safely to his family without making any demand for pay­ ment. The Vistani claim to possess potions that allow them to leave Strahd's domain, but the potions are false concoctions with no magical power. Nevertheless, the Vistani are willing to sell them for a hefty price. Native Barovians have been terrorized for centuries by the one they call "the devil Strahd." Only a handful of them have the will to oppose him. Barovians congre­ gate in the valley's three main settlements-the villages of Barovia and Krezk and the town of Vallaki-for fear of falling prey to wolves and other beasts that prowl the woods. Among these people are the Keepers of the Feather, a secret society of wereravens. Not powerful enough to defeat Strahd on their own, the Keepers read­ ily assist adventurers who find themselves drawn into Strahd's domain.

LAY OF THE LAND Rolling thunderclouds cast a gray pall over the land of Barovia. A deathly stillness hangs over the dark woods, which are patrolled constantly by Strahd's wolves and other servitors. The evergreen trees of the Svalich Woods climb the sides of the mountains that enclose the valley. The larg­ est of these peaks is Mount Baratok, with its snow-cov­ ered cap and rugged slopes. Baratok's slightly smaller twin, Mount Ghakis, is mostly bald with tufts of trees here and there. Between these two mountains stands Lake Zarovich, which is fed by streams of ice-cold water pouring down the face of Mount Baratok. On the south side of the lake rests the town of Vallaki, enclosed by a palisade. West of the two mountains, atop a hill, stands the Abbey of Saint Markovia, around which the Barovi­ ans built a walled village named Krezk. Between Vallaki and Krezk lie the ruins of Argynvostholt, the fallen bastion of a knightly order called the Order of the Silver Dragon, wiped out by Strahd and his army. East of the mountains lies the village of Barovia, shrouded in mist and bereft of walls and defenses. The dark silhouette of Castle Ravenloft looks down on this village from its perch atop a 1,000-foot-high column of rock known as the Pillarstone of Ravenloft.

MISTS OF RAVENLOFT A deadly fog surrounds the land of Barovia and engulfs any creature that tries to leave. Even flying creatures are subject to the fog's effects, which are as follows: A creature that starts its turn in the fog must succeed on a DC 20 Constitution saving throw or gain one level of exhaustion (see appendix A in the Player's Handbook). This exhaustion can't be removed while the creature is in the fog.

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of Barovia and took power over the people in the name of a just god, but with none of a god's grace or justice. -Tome of Strahd