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D&D 5E Barovia and Borca: What is the world they originated from like? And what could it be like now?

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Instead, the copy was made and the real Barovian people went about their lives 'til someone got curious enough to go to the Castle and found it abandoned... I wonder if it was immediately renovated for a new Baron or if it was left to molder and rot upon the mountainside...
Well, in the adventure, the Prime Material Castle Ravenloft is where King Barov von Zarovich VI (LG hm F15) and his wife Kristiana (LG hf C15) rule from - with Strahd planning on killing and replacing the king (since he's a dead ringer for the vampire, and his wife is the reincarnation of Tatyanna) - so it probably wasn't left to rot.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
1) There's nothing that ever tried to present a common timeline across the multiverse.
2) Van Richten doesn't automatically know the truth across all planes, and the guide is written from his perspective.

So combine "We don't know the truth" with "Potentially unreliable narrator" and you've got a massive "Shrug of Uncertainty". Personally I like the idea that Strahd is the first vampire. Gives him even more gravitas as a character and it's not like it honestly matters in any way shape or form.
Yep, exactly. There is no "canon" in the D&D Multiverse. Because there is no In-Multiverse person who sits above the Multiverse and is able to see everything in the exact order all of it happens to write it down. The only people who sit above the D&D Multiverse to make comments about it are the designers of the game and the rest of us players. But that is meaningless, because at any point someone can come along and change "canon" by saying that some other vampire was the first vampire and not Strahd.

So worrying about it is pointless. If "canon" can be changed at any point by any of us... then "canon" doesn't exist and we shouldn't waste our time trying to adapt it or work with it.
 



Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
@Alzrius and @Parmandur Kinda Sorta, Maybeish?

Brian R. James is the guy who created the "Grand History of the Realms" online over the course of the 90s. He collected timelines and information from 35 different books and got the attention of WotC who eventually hired him to compile his work into a book they then sold.


In 2003, Brian R. James tried to create a full Temporal Chronology for all the D&D Campaign settings at the time.

He -had- been hired by WotC, but they didn't use his full Temporal Chronology, only the Faerunian one, which was published in 2007.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
@Alzrius and @Parmandur Kinda Sorta, Maybeish?

Brian R. James is the guy who created the "Grand History of the Realms" online over the course of the 90s. He collected timelines and information from 35 different books and got the attention of WotC who eventually hired him to compile his work into a book they then sold.


In 2003, Brian R. James tried to create a full Temporal Chronology for all the D&D Campaign settings at the time.

He -had- been hired by WotC, but they didn't use his full Temporal Chronology, only the Faerunian one, which was published in 2007.
Right, that's what I said, nothing official.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
It was always true that Strahd became a vampire through a pact with the Dark Powers rather than being infected, so to speak. Strahd being the first vampire wouldn't have fit however, since Duke Gundar (the darklord of Gundarak) was explicitly stated to be an older vampire. (Of course, Gundar has now dissipated into the black hole of retcons).

So strangely enough... Duke Gundar is mentioned in the Van Richten's Guide.

A megalith erected by Barovia's original inhabitants topples near Vallaki. Beneath lies the tomb of an ancient nosferatu who calls himself Duke Gundar; he immediately takes a disliking to Count Strahd von Zarovich.

Definitely a big inconsistency there, but I suppose one could say nosferatu are a more ancient form of vampire that predates the standard version.
 


Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
But, if there's no multiuniversal timeline then "The multiverse's first vampire" is a meaningless statement because there is no first, last, before or after. So that can't be it. :unsure:
Ostensibly? But it assumes that WotC has no canonical idea of a timeline. Which they might.

And if they do, and have decided he's the first vampire, then he is that thing, even if we don't have the timeline to look at and go "Nuh huh!"

But, again, it's Van Richten's Guide, so unreliable narrator is also possible.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
But, if there's no multiuniversal timeline then "The multiverse's first vampire" is a meaningless statement because there is no first, last, before or after. So that can't be it. :unsure:
Mythical causality doesn't necessarily follow logical, Newtonian chronology. Look at all the spells available the Forgotten Realms that have the names of Wizards from Greyhawk...who are still active...
 

Faolyn

Hero
It was always true that Strahd became a vampire through a pact with the Dark Powers rather than being infected, so to speak. Strahd being the first vampire wouldn't have fit however, since Duke Gundar (the darklord of Gundarak) was explicitly stated to be an older vampire. (Of course, Gundar has now dissipated into the black hole of retcons).
Time is wonky in Ravenloft.
 

So strangely enough... Duke Gundar is mentioned in the Van Richten's Guide.

A megalith erected by Barovia's original inhabitants topples near Vallaki. Beneath lies the tomb of an ancient nosferatu who calls himself Duke Gundar; he immediately takes a disliking to Count Strahd von Zarovich.

Definitely a big inconsistency there, but I suppose one could say nosferatu are a more ancient form of vampire that predates the standard version.
Oh wow, dude is still around without his domain.
 






One thing that can be inferred from Strahd's origins is that the world Barovia came from has much more open conflict between kingdoms than you see with other settings in their current day. Strahd is described as worn down and aged by fighting in many wars prior to becoming a vampire.
 

TwiceBorn2

Explorer
One thing that can be inferred from Strahd's origins is that the world Barovia came from has much more open conflict between kingdoms than you see with other settings in their current day. Strahd is described as worn down and aged by fighting in many wars prior to becoming a vampire.

Sort of true, sort of not?

Greyhawk and Birthright are both settings with pretty much ongoing conflict between states/regions/peoples throughout the history of those lands (e.g., in Greyhawk, the March of Bissel - which is the gateway between east and west - has long been contested ground between Ket to the west, Gran March/Keoland to the south, and Veluna/Furyondy to the east; likewise, the lands of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy have a long and tumultuous history).

That said, while I probably wouldn't make either of those settings the origin world for Barovia, a continent other than Cerilia in the Birthright setting arguably could fit the bill.
 

True, Greyhawk and Birthright contained their fair share of warfare, as did Dragonlance (depending on the era). I was only thinking of the 5e settings currently supported when I made that comment, to be honest. Barovia being in Cerelia would be very interesting, though I agree, it's not likely. Considering when I6 was released, Greyhawk would be more logical, though likewise not likely.

All this theorizing does have me wondering - what happens to the former areas of places plucked into Ravenloft?

Sort of true, sort of not?

Greyhawk and Birthright are both settings with pretty much ongoing conflict between states/regions/peoples throughout the history of those lands (e.g., in Greyhawk, the March of Bissel - which is the gateway between east and west - has long been contested ground between Ket to the west, Gran March/Keoland to the south, and Veluna/Furyondy to the east; likewise, the lands of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy have a long and tumultuous history).

That said, while I probably wouldn't make either of those settings the origin world for Barovia, a continent other than Cerilia in the Birthright setting arguably could fit the bill.
 

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