Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Strahd

As a follow-up to yesterday's post on Ravenloft, I think I want to share some different takes on Ravenloft's most famous vampire, Count Strahd von Zarovich. Master of Baroivia.

Strahd is an interesting character for D&D, or at least D&D back in those days.  This is pre-Drizzt, pre-Lestat (well, Pre-Lestat popularity) and pre-Vampire the Masquerade.  Strahd was one of the first fully realized monsters as a character.  We were given his stats, his backgrounds, his motivations.  We knew more about him that the characters going through the adventure!

Strahd has been considered one of the greatest D&D villains by more than one source (Topless Robot, Dragon mag in it's final print edition).  I think it is because his story, forbidden love turned to dark obsession, is one that resonates with people.  People always want something they can't or shouldn't have.  Most never go to great lengths to get it, and hopefully none go to the lengths that Strahd did, but you can pick up the paper any day and read about someone that came close.

Motives aside, in D&D before you can kill the monster you need to stat him up.  Thankfully you don't have to be a complete obsessive compulsive type to collect everything ever made for Ravenloft (but it helps) to use Strahd in your games, you can go to Wizard's site where they keep Strahd hidden away for just such occasions.

You can see his original 1st Ed stats here,
His 3.5 stats are here,
and in 4e he is found in Open Grave and is a Level 20 solo skirmisher.

Even looking at these you can see some power creep.  Each edition of the rules he had to be more powerful.  He wasn't just a powerful vampire, he had to be the most powerful vampire in the game.  I think that is a disservice to the character really.  Strahd was about power, but that was not everything he was.

I also stated him up for Ghosts of Albion, where I pictured him being played by Timothy Dalton.

Strahd von Zarovich

Motivation: To escape Ravenloft; to be reunited with his love, Tatyana.
Creature Type: Vampire
Quote: "I am The Ancient. I am The Land"

Attributes: Strength 9, Dexterity 6, Constitution 7, Intelligence 7, Perception 6, Willpower 6
Life Points: 98
Drama Points: 10

Acute Senses
Age 5
Attractiveness +3
Hard to Kill 8
Hypnosis 3
Nerves of Steel 2
Magic 7
Magical Philosophy: Necromancy
Protector of Barovia
Scale Walls
Soldier, Officer (Retired)
Supernatural Form (Bat, Wolf, Mist)

Adversary (all other Darklords, monster hunters, rival vampires, some gypsies) 8
Cruel 3
Home Soil
Honorable 3
Love, Tragic
Natural Barrier (Cant leave Barovia)
Obsession (Tatyana) 6
Obsession (leaving Ravenloft) 6
Secret 2 (many, including a tome of his history; locals think he is human)

Acrobatics 7
Art 2
Computer NA
Crime 7
Doctor 2
Driving 2 (Coaches)
Getting Medieval 7 (Bastard Sword 9)
Gun Fu NA
Influence 6
Knowledge 9 (he has done nothing for the last few centuries but read)
Kung Fu 6
Languages 6, though all are "Ravenloft" languages.
Mr. Fix-It 2, limited to dark ages technology.
Notice 10
Occultism 9
Science 4
Sports 5

Combat Maneuvers

Name Score Damage Notes
Punch 12 18 Bash
Break neck 16 36 Special
Sword 13 36 Slash/stab
Sword, bastard 15 40 Slash/stab
Bite (vampire) 14 22 Must Grapple first; no defense action

Bat 20 -- +8 to Crime when hiding
Bite (bat) 14 8 Slash/stab

Wolf 20 -- Double movement; +3 to Crime at night
Bite (wolf) 14 15 Slash/stab
Claws (wolf) 14 15 Slash/stab

Dodge 13 -- Defense action
Grapple 15 -- Resisted by Dodge

Magic 22/24 Varies By spell

Using the Ghosts of Albion rules, Strahd becomes a Protector of Barovia, with the Drawbcak that he can never leave his lands. I upped his occultism and knowledge, but he is not really an occult scholar, just a very well practiced amateur.

1 comment:

Woodclaw said...

Strahd is easily one of my favourite antagonists (call him a villain is... reductive), I think that he works so well because he's very complex. When a casual reader tink about fantasy villains - especially D&D villain - the marks are very clean and well defined, Strahd blurs the line and looks great in doing so.