Ravenloft inspiration imagery (Google Image Search)
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  1. #1
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    Ravenloft inspiration imagery (Google Image Search)

    I'm prepping to run Curse of Strahd for my group (which is for 5E but my post isn't edition-specific). I really want to immerse my players right out of the gate by capturing the feel and mood of Barovia: the forests, rivers, mountains, and villages. One way I want to do that is showing them lots of images, especially of the real world.

    What are some real places or keywords that would be good to search for in Google Image Search? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Bran Castle in Transylvania.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlassJaw View Post
    I'm prepping to run Curse of Strahd for my group (which is for 5E but my post isn't edition-specific). I really want to immerse my players right out of the gate by capturing the feel and mood of Barovia: the forests, rivers, mountains, and villages. One way I want to do that is showing them lots of images, especially of the real world.

    What are some real places or keywords that would be good to search for in Google Image Search? Thanks!
    Barovia and Ravenloft were presented in the style of classic horror movies. I would probably start there with things like Black and White Universal film stills and Hammer Studios. Also the old Fabian art, if you can get your hands on it, is a great way to help establish the mood of the setting.

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    yes the Dracula movie, also ancient Romania, Gypsies, there is a ton of stuff out there.

  5. #5
    If you are at all interested in a bit of tech. I found the Syrinscape app amazing at setting the mood right from the off. Their are a couple of sound sets - wychwood, lycanthrope battle and sirens lair that I used over and over again for creepy moments and tense battles. I believe there is a free trial you can do. Worth a look.
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  6. #6
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    Not all of it is super-spooky, but the Flolkien FB page has some great imagery.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSword View Post
    If you are at all interested in a bit of tech. I found the Syrinscape app amazing at setting the mood right from the off. Their are a couple of sound sets - wychwood, lycanthrope battle and sirens lair that I used over and over again for creepy moments and tense battles. I believe there is a free trial you can do. Worth a look.
    Wow, this looks really cool. I would definitely use this a lot but seems a bit pricey. What sets have you purchased? What is your opinion of the value?

  8. #8
    @GlassJaw

    I use the adventure path subscription which works out at $6.50 a month. That gives you access to everything and you almost certainly will never use a lot of the sound sets. However you only own sets that come out while your subscription is live. If you cancel you lose all the older sets.

    You can download the app that plays the sound sets for free. It comes with the Witchwood free which is by far the most useful on I used - generally spooky music. My favourites are...

    Witchwood - spooky music and rain
    Brindol Town - generic settlement music
    Friendly Tavern - generic tavern
    Lycanthrope battle - for most battles
    Mountain pass - as it has great wind sounds, and a rushing waterfall.

    Youre therefore looking at about $16 for a good core. Most of the sound sets have YouTube previews which is worth looking at. If you had some time, I would suggest taking out the subscription, check out all the sound sets in detail and have a play with them, then cancel the subscription and just buy the ones you want.

    I use it quite lot. Feel free to ask if you have any questions or want some help making it work.
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    I second TheSword's recommendation. The 6.50/month subscription gives you access to everything.

    I also have an Apple Music subscription. I'm finding that I use it more than Syrinscape as thematic background music is mostly what I want and it is less fiddly to select a song or playlist. Generally, I play from Apple music and use Syrinscape for specific encounters or areas.

    For Syrinscape I used a playlist someone already made for Curse of Strahd and shared. In addition to the items that TheSword mentions, there are also some witch battle soundscapes and a variety of other horror and suspense themed pieces. These include:

    Seedy Tavern
    Witchwood
    kc Ravounel Forest
    Storm
    Mountain Pass
    Dungeon Depths
    Icy Wasteland
    Disjunction Chamber
    Spooky
    Undead Battle
    Zombie Battle
    Yeth Hound Battle
    isos Prison of the Mind
    isos East Ward
    isos Dead Don't Dream
    isos Refuge of Dreamers

    I have two playlists I use in Apple Music: a "Vistani" playlist and a general "Curse of Strahd" play list.

    For my "Vistani" playlist (e.g. to play in background when the party visits a Vistani camp):

    Gypsy Caravan: Russian and Tzygame Folk Guitar Music, Andrei Krylov
    Music from Romania, Various Artists

    For my general "Curse of Strahd" playlist (for general background music), I selected from the following albums:

    Halloween Black Moon: Dark Ambient Music, by Halloween Music Specialists
    Ambient Music for The Twilight Zone, Soundtrack 2011
    Cold Hands, by Horror Music Orchestra
    Light Piano Horror Ambiance, by Bobby Cole

    I selected 74 songs from these albums, which make up just over 5 hours of background music.
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  10. #10
    ****Spoilers****

    Also a brilliant section I remember using was in Barovia where one of the witches is selling pies for children. I had a music box on her cart (like the cart in Pirates of Carribean Worlds End)

    I looked on YouTube for creepy music box and got lots of cool hits. Playing that as the old hag shuffled down the street with her cart made the encounter very memorable. Its a perfect shadowing of the Old Bonegrinder and gives the heroes to save a kiddie and see just how downtrodden and despondent the folk of Barovia are.

    Another thing to consider is that Mike Schely sells map packs at very high resolution (battlemaps quality) with and without DM numbers for all locations. I actually scaled these onto A3 and printed them out in colour which made the locations very vivid. Battlemaps arent for everyone but I find not having to describe the floor plan lets me spend more time on the atmosphere and details.

    One more tip before you run is to watch or listen to the first episodes of Dice Camera Action on YouTube. Chris Perkins the writer, is DMing and I found it amazing to be able to watch a writer DM his own campaign. He is very good at evoking the mystery and the campaign goes off in some really weird directions. I found it very useful to see examples of how it could play out even though my PCs too totally different paths.

    Adding the music, pictures and the maps to the campaign make a massive difference. It was probably the immersive campaign I ever ran, the players loved it and we got right to the end. I hope whatever you do, you enjoy it.
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