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  1. #11
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    One idea I saw elsewhere (probably on these forums somewhere) is to change the adventure so that righting the wrongs of Barovia (finding the stolen gems, lighting the beacon, etc.) causes the sun to begin shining more often. That would create a more "hopeful" tone to the adventure, but that seems fitting for a heroic-fantasy approach to horror.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 77IM View Post
    One idea I saw elsewhere (probably on these forums somewhere) is to change the adventure so that righting the wrongs of Barovia (finding the stolen gems, lighting the beacon, etc.) causes the sun to begin shining more often. That would create a more "hopeful" tone to the adventure, but that seems fitting for a heroic-fantasy approach to horror.
    Yeah, this was something that was brought up as a potential idea / plotline in the Enhancing Curse of Strahd thread (however many pages back that thread now be.) I myself have been using it to very strong effect in my two CoS games, as it has really pushed the players to do stuff while wandering the Baratok Valley.

    In my personal games, there are seven important areas of the valley-- 3 magical fanes that Strahd has aligned himself to that make him even stronger than normal (and I use the CR 17 Strahd statblock that someone made here a while ago) and 4 holy sites that have been corrupted that are what cause the valley to remain perpetually cloudy and overcast. If the PCs break Strahd's connection to the three fanes (the Megaliths at Old Bonegrinder, the Menhirs at the Ruins of Berez, and the Obelisk at Lysaga Hill [which I brought over from Expedition to Castle Ravenloft] then Strahd's statblock drops from the special CR 17 one back to the CR 15 one in the CoS book. And if they clean out and then consecrate the 4 holy sites dedicated to the Morninglord (the church in the Village of Barovia, the chapel within Castle Ravenloft, the Church of St. Andral, and the Abbey of St. Markovia) then the Morninglord regains his strength in the valley and is able to clear the clouds away so that genuine sunlight shines upon them now during the daytime. These have worked exceedingly well and have really pushed everyone to wander the entirety of the valley engaging with people/places.
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  3. #13
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    Personally, I think that this detail is important less for accuracy to modern tropes, and more to inspire fear into players who know those tropes. That moment when players point out that he's standing there in the "sunlight", in the middle of the day, gives way to one of those nefarious DM smiles, and the classic, "Oh, I know! Isn't it great?".

    The other reason that I feel this is important, is because Strahd should be ever-present in the players' minds, and that he should show up from time to time to taunt the players as necessary. He's supposed to pop up when he's least expected, right when it most terrifies or otherwise impacts the players. A patron in the toymaker's shop, a coy finger-wave from outside the inn, a sudden appearance and compliment on the spell cast by a player in combat, a comment to the players after they meet a madman that his man is his (Strahd's) finest work, or a sit-down dinner with the abbot, followed by an early-evening stroll around the grounds - any of these kinds of moments can help to establish Strahd as an ever-present force, reminding the players why they're there. Restricting these to only night-time Strahdian escapades can limit his presence, since most players are smart enough not to venture out at night.
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouseferatu View Post
    This. "Sunlight kills vampires" is actually a relatively modern trope. (I mean, it may have existed in some older legends, but in terms of it being considered a popular/"default" vampire fact.) In most older myths and stories, sunlight either weakened and/or made vampires uncomfortable, if it had any real effect on them at all.

    It's important to remember that, really, there is no single "vampire myth." Everything we consider "standard" about them is a hodgepodge of multiple different branches of folklore and cultural mythology, and there's far more than didn't make it into the modern stories than did. (When was the last time you saw a modern vampire stopped in her tracks because she was forced to count the number of seeds or grains of rice thrown in her path?)
    Take a look at the first bit about Kobolds on wikipedia:

    "Although usually invisible, a kobold can materialize in the form of an animal, fire, a human being, and a candle. The most common depictions of kobolds show them as humanlike figures the size of small children. Kobolds who live in human homes wear the clothing of peasants; those who live in mines are hunched and ugly; and kobolds who live on ships smoke pipes and wear sailor clothing.

    Legends tell of three major types of kobolds. Most commonly, the creatures are house spirits of ambivalent nature; while they sometimes perform domestic chores, they play malicious tricks if insulted or neglected."

    If I told a bunch of veteran D&D players that there were kobold in a village, I would be using a shared, common understanding about the creatures in the D&D universe* as a shorthand, not referring to the house spirits who could look like a candle.

    So, let's keep on topic discussing just D&D Vampires.

    I put a * next to "D&D universe" because yes, you can call out something different specifically and it makes a strong statement about the setting, such as Darksun dwarves vs. the standard D&D dwarves. And that's what's happening here. (Though not the creature - they are still vulnerable to other sunlight, but the setting.)

    The OP is asking if that change makes it better, or does it introduce logical inconsistencies (undead staying inside during the day when there is no need) as well as weaken the expected horror tropes (oh, it can't be that real of a vampire if sunlight doesn't hurt it, it's just another monster) instead of strengthening the horror.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by psiconauta_retro View Post
    Just started reading Curse of Stradh.

    Pg. 24: Sunlight in Barovia: The sunlight of Barovia´s sun isn’t considered as sunlight for purpose of vulnerabilities.

    I feel I missed something, the main villain is a vampire, the foreword even says that they hoped to bring the vampire folktale to its original cautionary roots. One of the best well known ways to kill a vampire is to expose it to sunlight. Why would they put a “fake sun”?

    I don’t remember that Ravenloft´s boxed sets mentioned this issue, back in the day we did use the Barovian sun to burn a few vampires…

    This makes CoS´s Stradh and his minions to be day-walkers (like Blade…) yet according to the text “Stradh and his vampire spawn tend to stay indoors most of the day and venture out at night”… because… why?? Commonly the sunlight is what keeps the “horrors of the night” at bay during the day-time, allowing safety and time to plan, regroup, rest, recover, etc. If in this land the sun doesn’t damage the undead why do they stay indoors during the day?

    To me this doesn’t make sense at all. I feel it takes away an important element for telling a classic gothic horror story. Which has been your experience with this issue? How did you handle it?

    Thanks in advance for your comments.
    This was a quick and dirty way to make the CREATURES OF THE NIGHT (shut up!) at little bit more nasty and throw the gamers off their troupes. Now I would like to know how much research the authors did on vamp myths. Oh Ravenloft was out in 1983. Blade film 1998.
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  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ruy343 View Post
    Personally, I think that this detail is important less for accuracy to modern tropes, and more to inspire fear into players who know those tropes. That moment when players point out that he's standing there in the "sunlight", in the middle of the day, gives way to one of those nefarious DM smiles, and the classic, "Oh, I know! Isn't it great?".

    The other reason that I feel this is important, is because Strahd should be ever-present in the players' minds, and that he should show up from time to time to taunt the players as necessary. He's supposed to pop up when he's least expected, right when it most terrifies or otherwise impacts the players. A patron in the toymaker's shop, a coy finger-wave from outside the inn, a sudden appearance and compliment on the spell cast by a player in combat, a comment to the players after they meet a madman that his man is his (Strahd's) finest work, or a sit-down dinner with the abbot, followed by an early-evening stroll around the grounds - any of these kinds of moments can help to establish Strahd as an ever-present force, reminding the players why they're there. Restricting these to only night-time Strahdian escapades can limit his presence, since most players are smart enough not to venture out at night.
    This. Players who comfort themselves on knowing "The Rules" are in for a shock.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 77IM View Post
    One idea I saw elsewhere (probably on these forums somewhere) is to change the adventure so that righting the wrongs of Barovia (finding the stolen gems, lighting the beacon, etc.) causes the sun to begin shining more often. That would create a more "hopeful" tone to the adventure, but that seems fitting for a heroic-fantasy approach to horror.
    This is exactly what I did. I had decided that a number of places of mystical power (I called them "Fanes") had been desecrated and Hallowed to Mother Night, and controlling these resources is what allowed Strahd to do things no ordinary vampire can do (like hijack Scrying spells within his domain, project Misty Visions wherever, and control the weather to maintain the constant fogs). As the PCs slowly cleansed these areas and dispelled the magic that dedicated them to Mother Night, Strahd lost both his followers (like the Vallaki Vistani and the druids of Yester Hill) and his special powers, until they'd cut him down from demi-god to "just" a CR 17 fighter-mage-vampire.

    My list of Fanes were:
    Yester Hill
    Standing Stones by Old Bonegrinder
    Mt Baratok's Peak (location I created; a Greek temple defended by medusa and gorgons)
    Sunken Keep (location I created; bottom of Lake Zarovich; defended by Rusalka and a Marid)
    Amber Temple

    Other good locations you could use:
    Faerie Circle outside Berez
    Heart of Sorrow
    Argynvostholt

    One of the things this allowed was that Strahd could be made a lot more powerful in the beginning. Like the Heart of Sorrow wasn't a 50 HP buffer, but gave him 50 HP/turn regeneration. So without sunlight they just piled on the damage and Strahd literally laughed at them because he'd turn to mist for a few turns and be back to full. He didn't kill the PCs out of sheer hubris and he enjoyed killing the NPCs they befriended and leaving their corpses where the PCs could find them.

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