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Fleshing Out Curse of Strahd: Castle Ravenloft II - NPCs

Ok guys, I'm here for part 2! This time I'll go over the NPCs in Castle Ravenloft.
**** Master Table of Contents **** - Click here for links to every post in the series
Prepping the Adventure
Death House
The Village of Barovia
Tser Pool, Vistani, and Tarroka
Old Bonegrinder
Vallaki
The Fanes of Barovia
The Winery
Yester Hill
Van Richten's Tower (and Ezmerelda)
Kresk
The Abbey of St. Markovia
Argynvostholt
Berez
Running Werewolves and Lycanthropes
The Amber Temple
Castle Ravenloft I
- Castle Ravenloft II - NPCs
- Castle Ravenloft III - Fighting Strahd

The Vampire Brides

For this section, I'm not talking about the three pictured brides in the book. I'm talking about all of Strahd's brides/consorts in general. And there have been many.
  • Strahd and his Spawn
    • As a quick recap from one of my opening posts on Strahd, the lord of Barovia has a penchant for collecting consorts. He finds individuals that he thinks are interesting and beautiful. He then woos them, using the person as a blood supply.
    • After a time, he marries them and turns them into a spawn. The new bride/groom lives on in Castle Ravenloft to serve Strahd's whims (sometimes physically). But eventually, Strahd grows tired of his bride and finds them boring. He then seals them away in the underground crypt, never to be set free again. They are then nothing more than part of his collection at that point (though he himself doesn't see it that way).
    • Is this incredibly morbid? Yes. But again, reference my previous write-up for a deep-dive into Strahd's mindset and how he justifies his behavior to himself. His actions are deplorable, but he is far from a, "bwa-ha-ha," mustache-twirling villain.
  • People, Not Monsters
    • I feel like it's important to note that vampire spawn are not intrinsically monsters, even though the stat blocks are there. They're technically people; humanoids who just so happen to have a rather horrible condition.
    • To that extent, I don't like playing spawn as personality-less killing machines. Sure, if a scene calls for a horde of spawn to run around causing havoc, then fine. But if the players ever meet one or two spawn at a time, I feel like they should have personalities and backgrounds. These backgrounds may never come to light and that's perfectly okay. But they should still exist. If a player attempts dialogue to avoid a fight, having that personality ready is a godsend.
      • That being said, remember that vampire spawn in this specific campaign should have a few things in common.
      • For one, they have all been wooed by Strahd to some extent. That's how they ended up as spawn in the first place. Whether or not they were completely complacent in that wooing or not is up to you. Strahd may have used his charming abilities to brainwash them, for instance. And maybe they're quite mad about that. Others might be genuinely in love with Strahd and seek to make him happy.
      • For better or for worse, all the spawn in this campaign are very much trapped in their monster-hood. They quite literally have to obey Strahd, whether they want to or not.
      • All vampire spawn also have that insatiable need for blood. Even if they find it horrible to drink from a human being, the longer they avoid doing so, the less in control they are. Spawn who have gone too long without drinking will most certainly be more out of their minds. The coffin shop spawn would be pretty far gone, for instance.
    • Here are some quick vampire spawn personalities to use in a pinch if you ever find yourself in need. These actually come from my post on the Feast of St. Andral, but I think they're worth reposting here.
      • Eren - Was once a young farm girl. The sight of blood used to sicken her before she was turned, so she actively avoids drinking. However, her constant hunger has slowly whittled away at her sanity, making her unstable.
      • Vadu - Was once a an uneducated peasant with abusive parents. After being turned, he viciously tortured and mudered his family. He now revels in his vampiric power and will happily do anything Strahd says. Strahd is his liberator and his king and he is loyal to a fault.
      • Tereska - An honestly cruel individual who lives for the kill. Being a spawn in the best thing that has ever happened to her and she will never submit. If and when Strahd puts her in the catacombs, she'll be pissed beyond reason, yet unable to disobey her creator.
      • Ulrich - Was a middle class young man who happened to catch Strahd's eye several decades ago. He entertained Strahd's affections for fear that his family would be hurt if he didn't. Since being turned, he has come to hate himself and wishes to die, but Strahd has commanded him away from the suicide he so desperately craves.
      • Nimira - Was once a middle child in a very competitive family. She grew up feeling as though she was never good enough. Strahd was the first to tell her that she was special and worthy, and she desperately seeks Strahd's approval in all things as a result. She follows Strahd's orders religiously and will do anything to make him happy.
      • Rivia - Insane. She has no mind of her own and follows her most beastial instincts. She's a true agent of chaos and barely speaks beyond muttering to herself in cyclical madness. Strahd found her madness fascinating and her chaotic nature fun to watch, so he turned her.
      • Liliana - Delusional and vain. Like the Evil Queen in Snow White, she revels in her everlasting youth and beauty. She tries to murder any girl she thinks is prettier than she and seduce/bite any man she finds exceptionally handsome. Ugly people are below her regard.
  • Even though the vampire spawn are people with history, remember that they should still be evil for the most part. Though there are sympathetic spawn and those who never asked for their vampirism, the majority should be evil. They're Strahd's brides, after all. Even if they have tragic backgrounds, their time as monsters should have warped their personalities for the worse.

The 3 Named Vampire Brides

Ludmilla, Anastrasya, and Volenta are the pictured brides that appear in Strahd's Tomb as written. However, I would highly recommend using them elsewhere in the campaign as agents of Strahd. They're sort of like his extremely loyal, fanatical counsel members. I fully stole the backgrounds for these three ladies from this post by u/JonathanWriting. However, I'll do a very basic summary here for you guys.
  • Ludmilla Villisevic
    • Ludmilla was born in Faerun just over 200 years ago. She sneaked into a Vistani caravan when she was a child and accidentally ended up in Barovia. She then took to the streets of Vallaki thereafter and learned to survive using her quick wits and inherent magical talents.
    • Rahadin discovered her as a young woman and presented her to Strahd as a potential bride. Under Strahd's attentions, Ludmilla was able to develop her magic even further and she came to admire her new husband. However, she learned that Strahd would eventually tire of her and seal her away in the catacombs. In an effort to avoid this fate, Ludmilla has dedicated herself to being as useful to Strahd as possible. She's been quite successful in this endeavor.
    • It's recommended that you adapt Ludmilla's stat block to include stronger magic, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma so that she stands out from other spawn.
  • Anastrasya Karelova
    • Anastrasya was a former Vallakian noble of exceptional beauty. Vain and arrogant, she delighted in her elevated status. Ludmilla, having head of Anastrasya's beauty, recruited the woman to Strahd's court in an effort to keep Strahd entertained. Strahd was quite taken by Anastrasya for her looks and her elitism and turned her.
    • Anastrasya has taken to the vampiric arts stronger than any other bride. It's recommended that she be given abilities similar to Strahd's vampiric charm as well as an ability to summon swarms of bats.
  • Volenta Popofsky
    • Volenta was a prostitute in the Village of Barovia that would murder and dismember her customers. When the authorities found out, she fled to Castle Ravenloft. Impressed by the sheer depths of her sadism, Strahd turned her.
    • Volenta is an actual psychopath with extremely manic behaviors. She's convinced of Strahd's love for her and that it will never end. Because of her wild ferocity, it's recommended that you buff her stat block with extra physical attacks, dex, strength, and HP.

Escher

Escher, for some reason, has quite the following on the sever discord. I'll admit, I never really understood that. He's an alright NPC, but why all the fanfare? Well.... I've since had the chance to play him with my party. And, it was super fun. XD
  • Role-Playing Escher
    • The Posh Socialite
      • I made Escher one of the few sympathetic spawn in the castle. He drinks blood willingly, so he's maintained his mind, but he takes no joy in battle. He's a lover, not a fighter.
      • Escher is extremely well dressed, if a bit overly so. He loves fine clothes.
      • Escher is a very social individual. He loves talking to people and is very open and confident. He's actually been quite downtrodden over recent years, since Castle Ravenloft has few people worth talking to.
    • Escher's Insecurities
      • In an initial meeting, Escher should come across as overly confident. He speaks his mind, is open about his sexuality, and overall knows he's a hot dish. However, longer conversations and/or additional encounters should reveal his inner workings.
      • Escher is, first and foremost, lonely. He doesn't get along with any of the castle's current residents and Strahd has most certainly grown tired of him, which Escher suspects but doesn't know for certain. He knows what Strahd will do to him in the end (seal him away in the crypts) and it absolutely terrifies him. An eternity without human interaction or everyday comforts would be hell to Escher.
  • In-Game Interactions
    • Escher's deepest fears are being unwanted and unloved, both of which are coming true. And that terrifies him. This motivation can go one of two ways with your party. Either the players become a source of friendship to Escher, offering him better connections than his vampiric ones and Escher therefore switches sides. Or, Escher's desperation to remain unforgotten by Strahd will turn him into an enemy. Whichever happens will depend on your players' interactions with him.
      • Should Escher switch sides, remember that he's still a spawn and must obey Strahd's orders. He's clever enough to work around the wording of different commands, but he'll make it clear to the party that his actions cannot always be his own, and he's very sorry about that.
      • Should Escher switch sides, Strahd just might put up with it for a little bit. It's probably the most interesting thing Escher's done in a while in Strahd's opinion. However, the end result will absolutely be Strahd crushing Escher. Such a blatant traitor will have to pay in the end. Unless, of course, the players deal will Strahd fast enough to save him.
    • In-Game Flirting
      • In general, always be careful when you put romance in a dnd game. And that's romance of any sort, not just here with Escher. Make sure you know your players and what they are and are not comfortable with so that you don't cross any lines. Romance can be a real picky subject in dnd, so just tread lightly.
      • However, if you do have a party that's comfortable with flirting and whatnot, Escher interactions are the absolute best. If there's a particularly attractive male in your group of PCs, Escher will totally flirt with them. Remember, Escher is lonely and seeking companionship, even if it's meaningless sex. Heaven knows Strahd's not much fun right now.
      • Having Escher come on to a guy in your group can be something right out of a sitcom, and it was hella fun for my players and I. Just remember that if the players continue to converse with Escher, his true personality should come through. Escher is far more than "the gay, horny guy" and players should be able to see that.
  • Other Things About Escher
    • If Ireena or the Ireena PC is around, Escher hates her. As far as Escher is concerned, Ireena is his replacement and the reason Strahd has almost forgotten him. He doesn't want her around, but can't outright hurt her or send her away without angering Strahd. Escher would most willingly work with the party to protect Ireena from Strahd as a result.
      • The same can be said of other competition, like Gertruda. Though Escher would be far less worried about that particular bride.
    • I made Escher's rooms areas K49 and K50, where he's introduced in the book. Though this is technically his suite, it can also serve as a guest room. If Ireena is captured, she'll be placed here, much to Escher's chagrin.
    • I changed the contents of the bookshelves in K49, filling them with cheap romance novels of the Barovian variety. I thought this would be a fun little detail for my players to discover. There would be a whole series written by a Fiona Whicker (an alias of course ;)) as inspired by this post listing out some titles.
  • Escher's Optional Background
    • Wereraven NPC
      • I totally stole background for Escher from "Dice, Camera, Action!" on Youtube. I've mentioned the show in my series before, but in case you're unfamiliar, DCA is a dnd game similar to Critical Role, but run by Chris Perkins, the primary writer and creator of CoS. The first season takes them through CoS and I learned so much from watching the series when I first started running this campaign.
      • Anyway, DCA added a reoccurring wereraven NPC to the game named Falcon. In my own game, I named him Hawke. (Irony is fun ;P). This NPC didn't do anything too crazy. He was the raven outside Old Bonegrinder who tried to warn away the PCs. Later, he might show up in Vallaki as a liason of the Inn. And later still, he might have been recently captured by Baba Lysaga in Berez and shoved into one of those cages.
      • The point is, wereraven NPC is a character that pops in and out of the campaign, helping players and being an overall good guy.
    • Escher's Boyfriend and True Love
      • But the truth is, Hawke and Escher were lovers in their youth. As a member of the Keepers of the Feathers, Hawke always had to hide his lycanthropy, which caused a lot of discontent on Escher's part. The two ended up fighting and breaking up over the secrets.
      • Escher, heartbroken, ended up with Strahd and was turned into a spawn about 10 years ago. But Escher and Hawke still care for each other deeply, though they haven't seen each other in many years. Escher would give up Strahd in a heartbeat to be with his lost love again, especially if the lycanthropy is revealed.
    • This backstory goes hand in hand with Escher's personality. All Escher wants is to love and be loved in return. Though he knows the world isn't perfect, all his cynicism hides a hopeless optimist who dreams of happily ever after.

Gertruda

  • Remember dear old Mad Mary from the Village of Barovia? Do your players? In all likelihood, your players will have written off Gertruda as a dead girl. She's just a name in their notes they haven't looked at in quite literally months. So, if a player does remember poor Mary's request and makes the connection that this is her missing daughter, give that player inspiration! Cause gosh dang!
  • Finding Gertruda will complete a giant circle for one of the campaign's first side quests. So let's talk about her. :)
  • Personality and RP
    • Gertruda is both very fun and very sad to role-play. I didn't just make her sheltered. I made her borderline delusional because she was so sheltered. Her ignorance and vapid personality can come off quite funny to players at first. But the more they talk to her, the more they should realize just how much her view of the world endangers her.
    • Naive to a Fault
      • Gertruda is very black and white. To her, all people are either good or evil. But no person is automatically evil when she sees them. When she first meets the PCs, she'll automatically assume they're guests of Strahd and future friends.
      • Conversely, Gertruda will make snap judgments based on appearance. A mongrelfolk, for instance, would likely cause her to scream in terror. No matter how kind or civilized the creature, orcs, goblins, and the like are automatically monsters and should be kept away.
      • If Gertruda had a PC character sheet, she would just cross off the Insight skill all together. She will take every single person at their word and contradicting information causes her to borderline break down.
    • Stupidly Loyal
      • Gertruda trusts Strahd. Like a lot. To her, he is a prince and princes are never evil. Also, Strahd is her fiancee, and that elevates him terribly in her eyes. Gertruda is basically a child who believes all her dreams are coming true. She lives in a castle with a handsome prince who will soon be her husband and they will live happily ever after.
      • The PCs can convince her, through a lot of confusion of course, that Strahd is actually evil. But remember, if Strahd finds her again, that she is ridiculously easy to brainwash. "Oh my dear, you mustn't listen to their lies. You are my beloved bride and I swore I would keep you safe and happy. Have I broken a promise to you yet?" And then Gertruda swoons and falls into Strahd's arms. XP
    • Sheltered World View
      • Gertruda has spent her entire life sheltered by Mad Mary. Now, you could play that as a Mother Gothel/Rapunzel relationship, where Mary convinced Gertruda that all the world was evil, instilling her daughter with fear. But that almost seemed too obvious to me.
      • Instead, I made Mary a hopelessly indulgent mother who discouraged curiosity to protect Gertruda from herself. For instance, Gertruda doesn't believe in vampires. Even if they did exist, there's no way her beloved, handsome, brave prince could ever be such a creature. There are no monsters that live under beds and the monsters that do exist in the world will always be vanquished by brave do-gooders. Evil never wins in Gertruda's mind. She just doesn't know what evil is.
      • If Gertruda sees her beloved Strahd act monstrously, baring his fangs or otherwise looking evil, her sheltered understanding of the world will shatter. It's up the PCs to protect her at that point, but to be honest, her chances of survival are quite low.

Lief Lipseige

Lief Lipseige is the old accountant found in K30. While he plays a small part in the overall plot and chapter, he can be a fun little mini encounter for the PCs. Per usual, I expanded and changed a few things having to do with Lief and his background.
  • Background
    • Mr. Tax-Man
      • Lief is a prodigy when it comes to math and numbers. He's one of those people that can immediately multiply large numbers in their heads without a modicum of effort. Because of this inherent talent, Strahd employed him when Lief was very young to help keep the monetary ledgers for Barovia.
      • Lief also has a rather impeccable memory for names. He's able to recall the names, lands, and titles of the various homesteads of Barovia and their owners, down the smallest house in Vallaki. In fact, the numerous ledgers in his office are all the records of Barovia and its residents, the vast majority of which Lief wrote himself.
    • A Little Stockholm
      • When Lief was first brought to Castle Ravenloft, he was quite adverse to giving up his life down in the Village. I like to imagine that he was a young man, perhaps an early teenager, when he was first "employed."
      • However, after numerous failed escape attempts, Lief lost hope of life outside of Strahd's service. And however terrible it was to be forced into servitude, Strahd was always a gracious host to Lief, making sure he was well fed and comfortable.
      • As the years turned into decades, Lief became dependent on Strahd with a medium case of Stockholm Syndrome. While he's never been in love with Strahd, he respects the Lord of Ravenloft and will defend his honor and name against the party.
  • Strahd, The Ever Gracious Host
    • Strahd's Justifications
      • I've mentioned in previous posts about Strahd's tendency to justify his own actions so that he never sees himself as the bad guy. I imagine he did the same when it came to Lief. Yes, Strahd may have had to force Lief to take the position initially, but surely Lief is leading a better life now. And isn't that the responsibility of Strahd, as Lord of Barovia? To make sure that talented individuals of his realm live up to their great potential? Lief's eventual acquiescence to his role as bookkeeper only reinforced this idea to Strahd.
    • A Vampire Spawn
      • Because Strahd respected Lief as an employee and wanted to make sure he was comfortable, I imagine there were times when Strahd offered Lief the immortality of a vampire spawn. But Lief, each and every time, adamantly refused. Even though he had come to depend on his servitude as a cornerstone of his identity, deep down Lief understood that death was his one and only true release. And growing old in the service of his master was surely the best thing for his life at that point.
      • However, as Lief grew older and older, Strahd was faced with the idea of loosing the best accountant he had ever seen. The coffers were always full and the documents accurate and well kept. And so Strahd had a dilemma: lose Lief and his prosperous keeping, or make sure his kingdom was always financially secure. And Strahd chose his kingdom.
      • Strahd turned Lief into a vampire spawn (and you can give him the accompanying stat block), and then modified the old man's memory so he wouldn't see the injustice. Strahd makes sure that Lief is delivered blood each day to sustain him, but uses prestidigitation and other magics to change it to the flavor of wine. Otherwise, Lief's great work ethic makes him not really realize that he no longer needs to eat, sleep, or use the restroom. After all, his office has no windows to show the time of day. And if Lief ever does start to realize something is off about his life, a little Suggestion or Modify Memory can easily fix that.
  • Summary of Personality
    • Overall, I played Lief as a normal, if overly formal and technical, banker character. However, certain triggers bring out his nervous psychosis. Offering to remove his chains, for instance, turns him into a stammering puddle of objections. Remember that he's become mentally dependent on his job and his servitude and a detachment from either may bring the man to a panic attack.
    • He may have other lapses in social decorum that you can reflect in his speech patterns. After all, enough mind magic can cause mental lapses. Maybe he starts saying a sentence, stops half way with a very awkward pause and then suddenly switches subjects, for instance. Or maybe he repeats information he's already said. Just remember that while his social decorum is a bit broken, his mathematics and record keeping is wholly intact.
  • Lief's Interactions with the Party
    • The Perceived Prisoner
      • When players first encounter Lief, they'll undoubtedly first see him as some curious bookkeeper or librarian. Make sure that Lief is overall formal, but nice enough to not immediately suspect of evil. As far as Lief's concerned, the players are there for some sort of unscheduled business meeting. While it's unorthodox for individuals besides "the Master" to arrive unannounced, he still welcomes the party.
      • During this welcoming, make sure you have Lief stand up from his desk and shake the players' hands. This little bit of movement gives you the opportunity to describe a metal tinkling sound and direct their attention to the chain around Lief's ankle, attaching him to the desk. This small bit of description will immediately change the flow of the players' interactions with Lief. He's no longer some random NPC, but a victim in need of rescuing. And who better to do the rescuing than them, the great heroes? ;)
      • What the players don't know is that Lief is now perfectly happy being a slave. In fact, the chain around his ankle isn't even very strong or magically enforced. But if/when the players try to convince Lief of liberation, Lief frantically objects. If pressured, he may break entirely and pull that handy rope.
      • While yes, Lief's predicament is inherently unjust and the PCs will feel the need to save him, he's meant to represent a character that is beyond saving. No matter what they do, Lief is a tragic NPC they can't truly help.
    • Owing Taxes
      • This is where interactions with Lief can be pretty funny. So welcome to the bright side. XD
      • There are a few names that Lief will recognize instantly (not faces, names). For instance, if you went with the whole "Izek is a PC's brother" thing, Lief will know the Strazni name and comment on it. "Ah, Strazni, you say? The Vallaki Straznis? Always timely taxes, I must say."
      • Or, to the PC holding the deed to Old Bonegrinder: "Ah yes, [PC name]! I've heard you recently came into possession of a new property? A, ah, windmill I believe? If you please, I'd like to see the deed and have you sign a form recognizing your claim on the land? Remember that taxes are due in four months!"
      • How does Lief know the players have a new deed or a long lost family member? Who cares. Maybe Strahd's many spies and magical abilities distribute information to Lief's office. The point is, this is usually a funny interaction with the party.
  • A Fight
    • As a quick reference to my Ravenloft Chapter I, I changed the fight that happens if the rope is pulled to that with an invisible stalker. The fight is quite fun and I would highly recommend it.
  • Treasure
    • Instead of the lost key, I had Lief have a separate key for each chest on a ring in his desk drawer. These chests are sorted by currency for tax purposes. So while it might be easier for us to say a gp amount instead the mound of cp, in makes perfect sense from a story standpoint.
    • I didn't have Lief know the location of any of Strahd's treasures. However, he does have detailed records of the existence and worth of those treasures. It probably won't come up in game, but you can bet your butt that there's a ledger there with a list of all the great jewels in Ravenloft and their exact appraisals.

Cyrus Belview

I actually didn't change much with Cyrus' personality. He's an insane mongrelfolk that laughs at inopportune times, tells inappropriate jokes, and otherwise makes the PCs feel uncomfortable. He's sort of like that creepy guy at a bar that just makes you feel icky for being around him.
  • Encountering Cyrus
    • Cyrus generally patrols the underground levels of Ravenloft. If your party is wandering around and you're itching for an encounter, feel free to make Cyrus walk around the corner and find them.
    • If Cyrus finds the PCs wandering around unsanctioned, he'll offer to take them to an alternate location. First he'll ask if they're guests of the master. If they say yes, he'll offer to escort the party to Escher's tower. If they say no, he'll tell them they shouldn't be in the underground and will offer to escort them to the front door.
    • However, Cyrus has no intention of helping the party. He's insanely paranoid and knows the best place for strange guests is in the dungeon, for someone else to deal with. He has no intention of incurring the master's wrath by believing strangers.
  • It's a Trap!
    • Cyrus will attempt to trap the party in the water-logged dungeon using the various traps.
      • He might lead the players to K81, the long hallway with the trap that slides the players down to that one cell. If he goes this route, he'll try to send the strongest PCs out front, so that they step on the trap first and fall. If they activate the trap, Cyrus will attempt to shove the weaker back line PCs onto the trap after. He might do this by saying that, "Nononono, the webs here are itchy and I don't like, do not LiKE them, nonono. You! You are big. You go first! Beat them back so itty bitty Cyrus doesn't itchhhhh."
      • Cyrus might otherwise lead the party to K73, with the water portal traps. He'll try to maneuver the party using the same crazy talk.
    • If the entire party isn't dumped into a cell, the remaining PCs might get angry and try to attack Cyrus. If you have to roll initiative, fine. But tactically, Cyrus does not fight. He runs. He does everything he can to get the players to chase him to the other trapped location. So if he starts in the hallway, he'll try to run around to K73 and get his pursuers to fall into the traps, and vice versa. You might want to modify his stats to have 35ft of movement or something to keep him ahead of the party.
    • Also, it's possible the party refuses to follow Cyrus in the first place. If that's the case, he'll try to goad the party into chasing him anyway, so that he can hopefully trap them. "Intruders! Wake the house! Wake upupupup! Gotta get the big boom! Gonna make you all go splaatttt!" These are idle threats, but if the party goes, "Oh no, we have to stop him!" then you're doing something right. ;)
  • The Hag's Eye
    • On a final note, I wouldn't include the hag's eye. Ideally, the coven was dealt with ages ago and are no longer a story point. The eye pendant seemed redundant to me.

Rahadin

Rahadin is one of the few characters I didn't alter very much in my campaign, but not because I found him perfect as written, but because I simply didn't find him very interesting.
  • Mr. Evil Pants
    • There's no question that Rahadin is evil. He didn't like his own race, so he aided King Barov in a war against them that nearly made them extinct. He then served as a powerful General in King Barov's armies, slaying countless people in battle with enjoyment. And then he killed all the women of the remaining dusk elves to ensure their extinction.
    • But why? The only reason we're given for Rahadin's terrible deeds is pure sadism and a strange, one-sided loyalty to the Zarovich line. And maybe that works with more minor characters, like Volenta Popofsky, but Rahadin is clearly supposed to be a more prominent character in the game. But as an archetype, he just seems like a more shallow version of Strahd. He doesn't have any reasons for his behavior or a goal that he's aiming for. He simply exists to be a murder machine and twirl his mustache behind Strahd.
    • So Rahadin is evil. The PCs get to kill him . Yay. I find this incredibly boring.
  • A Personality Overhaul
    • In my own run of CoS, I barely used Rahadin. He showed up a couple times to be evil and monotone and then the PCs finally killed him and things moved on. He was one of my least favorite villains in the campaign and it showed.
    • But of course that's not okay. If we can make characters like Fiona Wachter more interesting, surely we can do something for Strahd's bad wannabe. What I've done is try to give some motivation to his actions.
  • Altered Backstory
    • Paved With Good Intentions
      • The first of Rahadin's crimes is his betrayal of the Dusk Elves. According the book, he aided King Barov in obliterating his own race during the King's conquest wars.
      • Instead, let's say that the wars had already been going on for a while and that the Dusk Elves were clearly losing. Rahadin was part of their High Court and a general for the elvish armies. He knew that their defeat was imminent and pleaded with the Dusk Elf royalty to surrender. But the current Dusk Elf ruler refused to listen, preferring that the war go on to the bitter end.
      • Rahadin was a pretty good general and he knew the high casualty cost that would incur if the war continued. So he went to King Barov and negotiated a truce with the human ruler. Rahadin lead Barov's armies into Dusk Elf territory and the elvish royalty was executed. The Dusk Elves hated Rahadin for his betrayal, but as far as Rahadin was concerned, at least they were alive to hate him.
      • With nowhere else to go, Rahadin joined King Barov's court as a military advisor and did his best to steer the human armies away from anymore bloodshed to his people.
    • Patrina Velikovna's Influence
      • Eventually, King Barov died and Strahd took over. Rahadin continued to serve him.
      • When the Dusk Elf enchantress, Patrina Velikovna, came to court, she intended to seduce Strahd into an alliance. She hoped to marry and then outlive Strahd (either by murder or simple old age) so that she could use Strahd's entitlements to see the Dusk Elves restored to their former glory.
      • As Chamberlain, Rahadin was able to uncover Patrina's plan and did his best to advance her efforts in service of their people. The two became secret confidants. But instead of Strahd being charmed by the lovely Patrina, he saw right through her seduction. Luckily, he knew nothing of Rahadin's own betrayal and told his Chamberlain of his rather horrible plans for Patrina.
      • Rahadin panicked. He quickly recruited Tatyana to court in an effort to distract his master from Patrina. And fortunately, it worked. Strahd's failed pursuit of Tatyana gave Rahadin enough time to sneak Patrina out of the castle and arrange the exodus of of their people out of Barovia, using the Vistani as transport. But before they could escape, Strahd became a vampire and the mists descended on Barovia.
    • The Annihilation of the Dusk Elves
      • Strahd, a newly made vampire who just saw his beloved torn from his grasp, was mad with fury and eager for vengeance. He intended to punish Patrina for her attempted manipulation, but found her gone. What was left was Rahadin's betrayal.
      • Through a bit of interrogation, Strahd finally understood the depths of Rahadin's loyalty to his people. So Strahd offered Rahadin a choice: Either all the Dusk Elves would be executed for their treason, or Rahadin could execute half of them (the women, in honor of Patrina's own betrayal) himself. It was a horrible, impossible choice, but in the end Rahadin did what he could to give his people a chance.
      • Rahadin went to the Dusk Elf encampment and executed the female populace. The Dusk Elves already considered him an evil traitor, so he could play the role again, he figured. He could endure their resentment. But worst of all was Patrina. Right before her death, Patrina cursed Rahadin for his supposed deception, breaking their friendship. She used a surge of powerful sorcery to ensure that the angry voices of the dead would follow him ever more.
  • Rahadin Now
    • Rahadin is an older elf that loves his people, but has spent the majority of his lifetime with their disdain on his shoulders. He's made decisions and done terrible things because he consistently chose the greater good over individuals.
    • Though this revision makes Rahadin much more sympathetic, it's important to note that he is still definitely not a pure good guy.
      • Yes, he betrayed the Dusk Elves during the war to save lives. But he still betrayed them. He swore fealty to to the elvish rulers and then broke his word. An honorable PC might object to this. Is it worth dying for honor? Just because Rahadin decided it wasn't does not mean it was unambiguously the right thing to do.
      • Yes, Rahadin killed all the Dusk Elf females so that Strahd wouldn't kill the whole race. But he still walked into their camp, and executed them. He wasn't under an enchantment and he wasn't crazy. He made a choice and murdered dozens of women and young girls in cold blood. You could just as easily say that standing by their side and dying with them would have been the right, loyal thing to do.
    • Rahadin bares a great weight on his shoulders. But while he feels terribly about the things he's done, he does not regret his actions. He cannot afford to regret them, for risk of a complete mental break. And the constant screaming of the dead does not let him trance well.
    • For the duration of the campaign, Rahadin obeys Strahd. He's been mentally beaten into submission and fears reprisal. However, it is possible to convince him to help the party if they offer to help the Dusk Elves in some way, in particular with the ability to resurrect Patrina. On the other hand, if the players make no overt comments about the Dusk Elves, Rahadin will defend and fight for Strahd as he has done for centuries.
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That's a wrap for the main NPCs of Castle Ravenloft! I hope you guys find this useful and otherwise have a great time in your campaigns! Until next time!
- Mandy
submitted by MandyMod to CurseofStrahd

Worshiping Jesus as God Pt. 1 Another Governing Body assertion & objection Refuted

In this post we are going to take another objection and assertion to which the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses commonly raise to undermine the clear, explicit witness to the fact of the Lord Jesus Christ being God Incarnate.
One text which cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses cite to prove that Jesus isn’t God in the flesh is the following, where the Lord told his adversary that a person is to worship and serve God alone:
“Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their grandeur, and said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get away from here, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.” Matthew 4:8-10
Jehovah's Witnesses and other anti-Trinitarians assume, that by deferring worship to God, Jesus was essentially denying his Deity.
In light of such assertions, we are now going to show how this very objection backfires against Jehovah's Witnesses and it's Governing Body, these heretics and Christ deniers. The passage actually proves that Jesus Christ is God Almighty in the flesh.
A. God alone is to be worshiped.
The inspired scriptures being the Holy Bible, speaks of kneeling and falling down on one’s face before God, specifically the Father of our risen and glorious Lord Jesus Christ, in order to worship him, the Apostle Paul recorded such events;
“Thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. And so falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.” 1 Corinthians 14:25
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” Ephesians 3:14-15
This emphasizes the fact that it is God alone whom believers are to worship and serve:
“The devil, taking Him up onto a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this power and their glory, for it has been delivered to me. And I give it to whomever I will. If You, then, will worship me, all will be Yours.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him ONLY shall you serve.”’” Luke 4:5-8
This explains why God’s righteous angels and the blessed Apostles of the risen Christ refused to be worshiped, even going as far as to censure and/or rebuke anyone that tried to do so:
“As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up. I myself am a man.’” Acts 10:25-26
“In Lystra there sat a man, crippled in his feet, who had never walked and was lame from birth. He heard Paul speaking, who looked intently at him and perceived that he had faith to be healed and said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he jumped up and walked. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!’ Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the main speaker. The priest of Zeus, who was in front of the city, brought bulls and garlands to the gates to offer sacrifices with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, ‘Men, why are you doing this? We also are men, of like nature with you, preaching to you to turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything that is in them,’” Acts 14:8-15
“I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you not do that. I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’” Revelation 19:10
“ I, John, am he who saw and heard these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, ‘See that you not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’” Revelation 22:8-9
In fact, note what God did to one particular ruler who permitted others to worship him as a god, as opposed to deferring such praise to the one true God:
“Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. But they came to him in unity, and having made Blastus, the king’s personal servant, their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was fed by the king’s country. On an appointed day, Herod, dressed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave a public speech to them. The mob shouted, ‘It is the voice of a god, and not of a man!’ Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give God the glory. And he was eaten by worms and died.” Acts 12:20-23
This event clearly illustrates God’s attitude towards giving his worship to anyone besides him.
The foregoing implication leaves the reader noting perhaps, that if Jesus isn’t God in the flesh then we would expect him to do what God’s righteous angels and emissaries would do whenever someone tried to worship Jesus, namely, harshly rebuke such individuals for blasphemy. If, on the other hand, Jesus were indeed the Incarnate Son of God who is co-equal with the Father though distinct in person, then we would expect him to accept and bless such homage as being the appropriate response to his glorious and majestic person hood.
With this clarified we now turn to part two of this discussion where we shall discuss the inspired new testament scriptures, to indeed see if Jesus accepted the worship due to God, or whether he outright rejected such praise.
submitted by dazzachat01 to exjw

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