dnd 5e – Curse of Strahd for 2 Players, How to work with ressurection from a Story perspective

I plan rn with 2 of my best friends to play Curse of Strahd, 2 of them as players and me obviously as the DM.

I know that the Game is intendet to have 4-6 Players and not 2. I let them start at lvl 3 and max level will me 12 to 14.

But they will die probably since i don’t want to make it a cakewalk obviously, and i want to use a “either you let your character die and must make a new one, or you ressurect yourself and have to roll to recieve either a random dark gift or a madness you roll.” every time they die.

But i am not sure yet how to make in RP, my first idea is that i let them wake up as Ghosts on a misty field where Strahd shows up and gives them a deal to ressurect them so they could die in the future for his amusement, but i also don’t want to reveal Strahd to fast, so i thought that maybe like a ghostly figur or some type of demon makes these ressurection deals, or this could be Strahd but in disguise to fool them, or not to reveal his intendity to fast. But i am not sure if that would be in character for Strahd because i want this “Ressurection dealer” be really cocky to the Characters.

Can someone give me some advice?

dnd 5e – Why would this NPC in Curse of Strahd ever attack Strahd?

In Curse of Strahd, there is an NPC the PC’s may encounter whose weapon explicitly does more damage when he uses it to attack Strahd.

Vladamir Horngaard: +2 Greatsword. Damage: 4d6+4 slashing; Against Strahd, Vladimir deals an extra 14 (4d6) slashing damage with this weapon.

However, said NPC states explicitly that he will not attack Strahd (emphasis mine):

“If you have come to free this land from the creature that feasts on the blood of the innocent, know this: There is no monster I hate more than Strahd von Zarovich. He slew Argynvost, broke the life of the knight I loved, and destroyed the valiant order to which I devoted my life, but Strahd has already died once. He can’t be allowed to die again. Instead, he must suffer eternally in a hell of his own creation, from which he can never escape. Whatever can be done to bring him misery and unrest, I will do, but I will destroy anyone who tries to end his torment.”

The module says that the players may want to take his weapon; but its description explicitly states that the damage bonus applies when he is wielding it.

The players might try to persuade him to ally against Strahd, but he will refuse.

Vladimir fights in self-defense. He also rises from his throne and attacks if the characters fail to heed his warning and press him for help destroying Strahd.

They might try magical compulsion, but

As an “undead”, Vladimir is not affected by spells that target “humanoids”. He also has Condition Immunity: Charm.

None of Strahd’s three goals give him a reason to go to the NPC’s location. Unless the players visit the NPC’s location, he will not leave. I suppose players could get him to venture to Strahd’s castle…

If the players destroy Vladamir’s current body, his spirit will find another body to inhabit. A normal revenant would then seek out its killers, but the module states that the revenants in Barovia are kept trapped there regardless, so it is not clear whether Vladimir’s newest incarnation would seek the PC’s out or would return to his original location to brood on his hatred for them and Strahd. If a DM ruled that Vladimir’s new incarnation seeks out the PC’s, clever players might slay him and then enter Castle Ravenloft to force him to enter as well and confront Strahd…

but even if the two are brought together, neither has a reason to attack the other.

The only event that will remove the thing preventing him from attacking Strahd,

lighting the beacon to end the hate that keeps him bound to Barovia,

will also end his life.

Any way I look at it, I can’t see a way that this NPC would ever attack Strahd, so what is the relevance of his weapon doing extra damage to Strahd when he wields it?

dnd 5e – Do Strahd Von Zarovich legendary actions movement trigger sunlight damage?

Rules as Written, Strahd won’t take any damage from moving through sunlight as a legendary action. He also won’t take damage from moving through an area of sunlight during his turn. He (and other vampires) only take damage if they start their turn in sunlight

Sunlight Hypersensitivity. While in sunlight, Strahd takes 20 radiant damage at the start of his turn

  • Curse of Strahd, emphasis mine

In the context of a round in D&D 5th edition (which is 6 seconds long), this makes sense – if he starts his turn in sunlight, he’s spent at least a couple of seconds exposed to the sun. If he’s just running through, then it’s not long enough to cause damage.

Note that he will still suffer disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks during this brief exposure.

dnd 5e – A PC in Curse of Strahd is cursed by Mother Night and eats a dream pastry. What happens?

A PC in Curse of Strahd has the opportunity to be cursed by Mother Night, at which point they are

haunted by horrible dreams every night lasting from dusk until dawn…A creature cursed in this way gains no benefit from finishing a short or long rest at night (resting during the day works normally, since the curse is dormant from dawn to dusk).

On the other hand, a PC who eats a dream pastry

must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or fall into a trance that lasts for 1d4 + 4 hours, during which time the creature is incapacitated and has a speed of 0 feet. The trance ends if the affected creature takes any damage or if someone else uses an action to shake the creature out of its stupor.
While in the trance, the creature dreams of being in some joyous place, far removed from the evils of the world.

As luck would have it, one of the PCs in my current CoS campaign has been cursed, although he has not yet slept. He is also the only PC to have previously eaten a dream pastry. If he realizes the effects of the curse and decides to counteract it with a dream pastry, what would happen?

RAW are ideal, perhaps drawing on precedent for the power of curses vs. magic items, or divine magic vs. fiends. If no RAW answer is forthcoming, an answer can separate itself from mere opinion by relating experience (what happened in your campaign and how it was received), lore relationship between hags and Mother Night, or lore from the Ravenloft setting in any edition.

dnd 5e – What is the spell save DC for the spells gains via the dark gifts in Curse of Strahd?

In Curse of Strahd, in Amber Temple,

the player characters can interact with amber sarcophagi and make deals with the vestiges trapped within them to gain dark gifts. Some of these dark gifts allow you to cast spells (only those in the X33 areas, found on pp. 191-193; the dark gifts gained from area X42 are different in nature and are not relevant to this question).

The descriptions of these dark gifts do not make any mention of a spell save DC, should the dark gift allow the casting of a spell. For a player who has a spellcasting class, I guess you can just use their class’s spell save DC (that’s what I ruled when this came up the other day, although if they had different spell save DCs if they were multiclassed, which one?), but for non-spellcasting classes, clearly they have no spell save DC from their class.

For some of these spells, clearly a spell save DC isn’t relevant, such as:

mind blank (X33b; North Sarcophagus) or raise dead (X33a; East Sarcophagus)

but for others, it is, such as:

lightning bolt (X33a; South Sarcophagus) or suggestion (X33b; South Sarcophagus)

but it doesn’t seem to mention anything about a spell save DC for these spells anywhere, either in each specific dark gift’s description nor in the general information about dark gifts in the sidebar on p. 191.

Am I missing something, or is there another way to determine what these spell save DCs should be?

dnd 5e – Dismissal, Banishment, and Curse of Strahd

Background

In Curse of Strahd, the NPC

Rictavio

has the spell Dispel Evil and Good. It has the following feature, similar to the spell Banishment:

Dismissal. As your action, make a melee spell attack against…an undead you can reach. On a hit, you attempt to drive the creature back to its home plane. The creature must succeed on a Charisma saving throw or be sent back to its home plane (if it isn’t there already). If they aren’t on their home plane, undead are sent to the Shadowfell…

Note that as written, this implies that there exist undead that aren’t native to the Shadowfell, but that they go there (rather than their home plane) if they are not on their home plane when they are Dismissed. (Otherwise it would say, “If they aren’t already there, undead are sent to the Shadowfell”)

However, note also that Barovia is part of the Domains of Dread, which are a demiplane within the Shadowfell.

As the NPC’s most powerful spell, it seems like this ought to be of some use to them (and other aspects of the spell do indeed make it useful). But the presence of Barovia within the Shadowfell may limit its effectiveness.

Questions

It is clear that for an undead native to Barovia, nothing would happen; the Dismissal would fail.

  1. For an undead not native to Barovia, would ‘sending it to the Shadowfell’ also result in failure, or could it be forced from the demiplane of Dread and deposited in the greater Shadowfell?

  2. What undead are not native to Barovia?

Zombies created by Strahd from Barovians seem likely to be natives of the demiplane itself.

Strahd himself was born on the Prime – but I would argue that his pact with the Dark Powers has made him a native of the Barovia. He is the Ancient, he is the Land.

There is a group of vampire spawn who are explicitly said to be former adventures Strahd lured to his realm and then made undead once they arrived. In this case, would Dismissal treat them as neither native to Barovia nor the Shadowfell? Is the home plane where the creature / soul is from, or where it became undead?

Related

What is the connection between the Shadowfell and Strahd/the plane of Barovia?

What does the Banishment spell do inside a Demiplane?

What determines a creature’s native plane for the Banishment spell?

If I cast the Banishment spell on myself while in a demiplane, where exactly do I exit?

Can you cast banishment on yourself?

Can I permanently banish a devil from one layer of the Hells to another using the Banishment spell?

dnd 5e – lycanthropes vs vampire spawn in Curse of Strahd – review of tactics

Note: This entry is vague on plot points to avoid spoilers. Those who have read the module should know the situation I am referring to.

I am running CoS for the first time. In our last session, the PCs obtained the Chapter 5 McGuffin, but awoke all the vampire spawn. Our next session will start with a chase – some of the PCs with the MacGuffin will be running back to where it needs to be returned. Others will be running back to the base of operation of the lycanthropes. The vampire spawn will pursue both groups, and thus some of them will likely arrive at the lycanthrope base of operations and be confronted by them.

I am a new-to-5E DM. I am trying to predict what the confrontation will play out like and to consider the best strategies for both parties. I would appreciate comments on whether my rules understanding and reasoning are sound.

The attacks of vampire spawn are claws (slashing or grapple, 1 or 2 attacks per turn) and bite (piercing plus necrotic; on an unwilling victim, the target must first be grappled to make an attack, 1 attack at most per turn). Of these, only the necrotic bite damage can harm the lycanthrope, since it has immunity to non-magical, non-silvered slashing and piercing. Thus the optimal strategy of the vampire spawn is to make claw attacks until one hits, choose to grapple rather than damage, and then attack with bite to cause necrotic damage. Once a spawn has established a grapple, it should cease making claw attacks and just make one bite per round (unless both hands may be used to establish separate grapples, see “here”).

If the spawn starts its turn with no grapple in place, it will do an average of 2.52 points of necrotic damage. If it misses with the first claw, it can try with its second claw, but then cannot bite that turn, and the lycanthrope then has a chance of being able to break the grapple if it has a turn before the spawn’s next turn.

If the spawn starts its turn with a grapple in place, it will do an average of 4.2 points of necrotic damage. Regardless of whether this bite attack hits or misses, there can be only one bite attack per turn.

Thus, one on one, a vampire spawn is likely to take out a single lycanthrope in around ten rounds or so.

The lycanthrope has many options for forms and attacks, and most of them are capable of damaging the spawn. Its optimal damage strategy is to use hybrid form for the increased movement and attack either with one sword and one missile, or with two swords. However, the average damage will be 5.5 per round, and the vampire spawn will be regenerating at least ten points per round and more if it hits with a bite. Furthermore, any time the lycanthrope starts its turn grappled it should spend its entire attack action to break the grapple, which will further reduce its damage output. Given this, in a one-on-one fight a lycanthrope is very unlikely to be able to take down a spawn, and even two or more lycanthropes on one spawn would be unlikely to win.

It seems like the lycanthrope’s best option is to assist the PC’s and encourage them to take out the spawn one at a time by concentrating attacks. If the lycanthropes cannot do this, they really should flee as they are clearly outmatched. If they can do this, possibly keeping themselves at a distance and attacking with missile fire might be appropriate, although it limits them to one attack per round. Alternatively, they could remain in melee and use the Help action to give PC’s advantage on attacks against the spawn.

Unbeknownst to the lycanthropes, they might receive assistance from a nearby NPC as well, although in the case of my party it is rather early for this reveal.

Finally, the lycanthropes have on hand several allied swarms, which is where I am most unsure of optimal action choices.

If the swarms start their turn with a lycanthrope grappled by a spawn but the lycanthrope going before the spawn, one swarm should ready an action to Help the lycanthrope on its turn, giving it advantage on escaping the grapple. Only one should do this since the lycanthrope cannot do better with having more Help on the same action.

If the swarms start their turn with a lycanthrope grappled but the the grappling spawn going before the lycanthrope (or the possibility that the spawn will go before the lycanthrope in the next round, if the swarm is the last of the three to go in the current round), at least one swarm should use its action to also attempt a grapple on the lycanthrope. The lycanthrope should choose to defend against the new grapple with Athletics rather than Acrobatics to give the swarm the best chance to succeed in the grapple (d20-2 > d20). If the grapple succeeds, the swarm should then move the lycanthrope out of reach of the spawn and thus end its grapple. If there are two or more swarms available per grappled lycanthrope, it is not clear to me whether one should Help the other to give it advantage on the attempt, or rather each one should try independently but successively.

If the swarms start their turn with no lycanthropes grappled, they should prepare readied actions to shove any lycanthropes who are grappled by a spawn out of the spawn’s reach as a reaction on the spawn’s turn, thus ending the spawn’s grapple before they have a chance to bite. Again, it is not clear to me whether multiple swarms should be attempting this independently or helping others that are. It would be less effective to shove the spawn (who have a better chance to resist) and it would be impossible to both grapple AND move the lycanthrope or the spawn as a readied reaction.

I would appreciate any comments on whether I have misunderstood the mechanics of this fight or that the overwhelming tactical goal of the spawn is to bite and that of the lycanthropes is to break spawn grapples before they can bite.

dnd 5e – Could this magic item help Ezmerelda in Curse of Strahd?

In the Curse of Strand adventure, the following information is provided about the NPC Ezmerelda in Appendix D (p. 231):

Ezmerelda’s Secret … On one of her less successful adventures, a werewolf bit off her right leg below the knee, and although she avoided being afflicted with lycanthropy, Ezmerelda was sidelined for months. She commissioned a master artisan to craft a prosthetic lower leg and foot. After several tries, he delivered a prosthesis that restored her mobility. She has since adapted well to the false appendage and takes care to hide it from view.

There’s also this magic item that can be found in the village of Krezk (p. 148):

Sun’s Grave
The gravestone marked X is carved with roses and bears a 3-inch-diameter sun-shaped indentation on its east side. Engraved beneath the indentation is the name PETROVNA. If Tasha Petrovna’s holy symbol (see chapter 4, area K84, crypt 11) is placed in the indentation, both the holy symbol and the indentation vanish. Then read:

A ray of golden sunlight breaks through the clouds to the west and shines upon the grave. The fog and the gloom shrink from its brilliance as the sunlight causes the gravestone to crack and crumble, revealing a ring within.

The sunray lasts for 1 minute. If the characters smash the gravestone without placing Tasha Petrovna’s holy symbol in it first, they find nothing within its remains. The ring is a ring of regeneration.

The description of this magic item in the DMG says (p. 191):

While wearing this ring, you regain 1d6 hit points every 10 minutes, provided that you have at least 1 hit point. If you lose a body part, the ring causes the missing part to regrow and return to full functionality after 1d6 + 1 days if you have at least 1 hit point the whole time.

So the question is:

If the party found this ring of regeneration and gave it to Ezmerelda (either by coincidence or because they learned of her “secret” and wanted to help), would her missing leg grow back? Is there any reason this wouldn’t work (such as due to the length of time her leg has been missing, or the fact that her leg has now been replaced by a fully functioning prosthetic)?

dnd 5e – Will my necrotic-damage-heavy PC be too weak in Curse of Strahd?

I’m preparing a character for Curse of Strahd, which I have never played before. This character uses a lot of necrotic damage. I don’t mind if this character is not the absolute best choice for this campaign, but on the other hand I don’t want to be too underpowered.

Keeping spoilers to a minimum, is relying on necrotic damage a poor choice for this campaign, or is it just a minor issue?

Specifically, I’m looking to play a Hexblade Warlock with Hex and Arms of Hadar – both necrotic.

dnd 5e – When does Casimir want to do this thing during the events of the Curse of Strahd conspiracy?

in the Curse of StrahdDuring my current playthrough (with me as DM), the NPC Kasimir is the ally of the party ("Strahd & # 39; s Enemy"). Throughout the adventure (whenever Kasimir is mentioned at all) it is said that he:

would like to travel to the Amber Temple when the PCs are ready to help him find the dark gift he can use to resuscitate his dead sister Patrina. In my playthrough, the PCs agreed to help him and they are currently in the Amber Temple to help him find this dark gift.

On page 90, in the description for crypt 21, it says:

Development. When her brother brings her back to life (see "Kasimir's Dark Gift" in the "Special Events" section in Chapter 13), Patrina (NE Dusk) returns as an Archmage without spells being prepared. When the characters have their spell book, she asks them to give it back to her so that she can prepare her long forgotten spells and help destroy Strahd (a lie). When the characters commit, they pay back their kindness by learning as much about them as possible before pursuing their own goals.

This implies that Kasimir would do this before we face Strahd.

On P. 196 it describes a special event related to Casimir:

Kasimir's dark gift

If Kasimir Velikov (…) finds his way to area X42 and accepts the dark gift from Zhudun, he then asks the characters to accompany him to the catacombs of Ravenloft Castle so that he can restore the life of his centuries-old sister Patrina Velikovna (…)

development

If Kasimir successfully completes his search, the newly resurrected Patrina (NE Archmage of the Dawn Elf) will pretend that she will regain her strength and magic. She then travels to Castle Ravenloft and tries to return to Strahdand finally tried to become his vampire bride.

The first part implies can I want to do this before we face Strahd, but since both are related to Castle Ravenloft, it's not clear, so this part of the quote may not be so helpful. However, the second part implies again that Kasimir would do this before we face Strahd, otherwise this part makes no sense.

However, his entry in Appendix D states that under Dreams of the Damned, pp. 232-233, the following matters:

Patrina now talks dreamily to her brother and tells him how years of guilt and regret have pushed all bad thoughts out of her head and cleaned her tormented soul. But Kasimir remains unconvinced of her claims because he knows that Strahd corrupted Patrina and led her on a path of evil and deception. Therefore, Kasimir wants the vampire destroyed so that his sister can be saved from her eternal damnation.

This implies that Kasimir would do this after facing Strahd.

So my question is:

Does Casimir plan to revive Patrina? before or after we kill strahd?

The first two quotes speak of the newly risen Patrina, who is lying about offering her help against Strahd and later wanting to return to Strahd. Both only make sense if she has risen before we fight Strahd. However, the last quote from Appendix D implies that Kasimir wants to kill Strahd before reviving his sister. In this case, their lie makes no sense.

Note that none of this takes into account that Strahd should "reform" after the end of the adventure; I don't think this is relevant to my question. So let's assume that one of the PCs will replace him as ruler of Barovia just to rule out this possibility.