5E Enhancing "Curse of Strahd" (and DDAL adventures)

jayoungr

Adventurer
Now that Curse of Strahd is out, I figure this is a good time to hear about how people are planning to run it! My own table is going to start CoS as soon as we finish Tyranny of Dragons (we were going to do Princes of the Apocalypse, but my players are major Ravenloft fans, so as soon as this was announced, it went to the front of the line).

So, let us know what changes you make and how they work out at the table!

How are you starting the adventure, if your campaign doesn't take place in the Forgotten Realms? Is anyone moving Barovia wholesale to a different world/plane?

I'm also particularly interested in hearing about how the DDAL adventures can be worked into a Curse of Strahd campaign, or vice-versa.

NOTE: This is now a wiki thread. Please post favorite ideas below (or summaries, with links to the posts that explain them in detail). Thanks!

The following is a quick index into the posts of this thread broken down by book chapter:

Introduction

Ch. 1: Into the Mists

  • Traveling to Barovia: #2, #22
  • Knowledge of Ravenloft: #20

Ch. 2: The Lands of Barovia


Ch. 3: The Village of Barovia

  • March of the dead: #21
  • Morgantha: #77

Ch. 4: Castle Ravenloft


Ch. 5: The Town of Vallaki


Ch. 6: Old Bonegrinder


Ch. 7: Argynvostholt


Ch. 8: The Village of Krezk


Ch. 9: Tsolenka Pass


Ch. 10: The Ruins of Berez


Ch. 11: Van Richten's Tower


Ch. 12: The Wizard of Wines

  • Letter from Strahd: #138

Ch. 13: The Amber Temple


Ch. 14: Yester Hill

Ch. 15: Werewolf Den

Epilogue

App. A: Character Options

  • Trinkets: #33
  • Backgrounds: #33
  • Creation guide: #140

App. B: Death House


App. C: Treasures

App. D: Monsters and NPCs


App. E: The Tarokka Deck



App. F: Handouts
Maps
#28
Further Reading

Indexed up to: #149
 
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Barovia is not part of the Forgotten Realms. There are entrances into Barovia from all the D&D worlds, or rather, people stumble into Barovia from all the other worlds. So you do not need to move it or modify it unless there is something you really want to change or adapt.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
I'm posting session reports and DM notes on my blog. :)

My version of Barovia *might* be in the Forgotten Realms... I've made that quite unclear to the players. No mists greeted their entrance...

Cheers!
 
I'm also particularly interested in hearing about how the DDAL adventures can be worked into a Curse of Strahd campaign, or vice-versa.
The DDAL4-X adventures are designed to be run consecutively and separate from CoS. Unlike previous seasons, these were written as two contiguous storylines, DDAL4-1 to DDAL4-6 and DDAL4-7 to DDAL4-14. I wouldn't bother trying to mix them with CoS, as they have modified xp progression when compared to previous season DDAL adventures.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
Barovia is not part of the Forgotten Realms. There are entrances into Barovia from all the D&D worlds, or rather, people stumble into Barovia from all the other worlds. So you do not need to move it or modify it unless there is something you really want to change or adapt.
Yes, I phrased the question badly. I'll be running this for a group of experienced players who have already run through the previous Castle Ravenloft adventures, but they placed Ravenloft in their own homebrew world. It's been located there since 1E. I was wondering if anyone else was moving Curse of Strahd to a different setting, and if so, what problems it might pose.

The DDAL4-X adventures are designed to be run consecutively and separate from CoS. Unlike previous seasons, these were written as two contiguous storylines, DDAL4-1 to DDAL4-6 and DDAL4-7 to DDAL4-14. I wouldn't bother trying to mix them with CoS, as they have modified xp progression when compared to previous season DDAL adventures.
Is that the only reason? I'm not worried about XP, as I'll be using milestone progression. Obviously we haven't seen all the DDAL adventures yet--unless they're up somewhere I don't know about--but I had the impression the storyline(s) would dovetail with Curse of Strahd at least to some degree.

I'm posting session reports and DM notes on my blog. :)
Great! I'll just put a direct link to the CoS category here for anyone who might want it: http://merricb.com/category/curse-of-strahd/

My version of Barovia *might* be in the Forgotten Realms... I've made that quite unclear to the players. No mists greeted their entrance...
What things do you need to modify in the adventure to make this work?
 

MrHotter

Villager
I've not gotten my CoS book yet, but I'm thinking I'm going to be using miniatures and a battle mat for parts of it.

Now I need to figure out how many miniatures I'll need to find. I figure I'm going to need more than the two wolves that I have and I don't have any bat swarms.
 
I've not gotten my CoS book yet, but I'm thinking I'm going to be using miniatures and a battle mat for parts of it.

Now I need to figure out how many miniatures I'll need to find. I figure I'm going to need more than the two wolves that I have and I don't have any bat swarms.
Honestly, I wouldn't stress too much over making sure you have the exact miniatures. I have a Bag O' Zombies that I use for grunts, plus a set of generic fantasy minis, colloquially known as the Blue Man Group and the Red Man, that are used for middle management and bosses.

The key to successful miniature using is making sure that you have enough pieces of appropriate size, rather than of appropriate types.

BTW, a soda can fits a 3x3 space, making it useful for Huge creatures in a pinch. :p
 
The DDAL4-X adventures are designed to be run consecutively and separate from CoS. Unlike previous seasons, these were written as two contiguous storylines, DDAL4-1 to DDAL4-6 and DDAL4-7 to DDAL4-14. I wouldn't bother trying to mix them with CoS, as they have modified xp progression when compared to previous season DDAL adventures.
Is it possible to run the DDAL4* adventures without buying Curse of Strahd?
 

pukunui

Adventurer
... and I don't have any bat swarms.
It just so happens that there will be a bat swarm mini in the upcoming 'Monster Menagerie' set from WizKids. It also includes a number of other minis for use with CoS. For instance, Esmerelda d'Avenir gets her own mini.
 
Are the DDAL Adventures (or some of them, at least) coming out on March 15th along with the book?
Yes. DDAL4-1 will be released on 3/15. It was originally supposed to come out on 3/1, but was delayed to keep the focus on the Death House Launch Event.

The rest of the the DDAL adventures will be released on the 1st of the month after their debuts at conventions.
 
How often do you reckon Borovia receives outside visitors? Are Borovians aware of a world beyond the mists? Should PCs know about the existence of Borovia, or Strahd at the start of the adventure?
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
How often do you reckon Borovia receives outside visitors? Are Borovians aware of a world beyond the mists? Should PCs know about the existence of Borovia, or Strahd at the start of the adventure?
It depends on where they're coming from, I guess. But it's worth noting that the famous traveler Volo didn't know what he was getting into, in that story in Dragon+. That suggests that PCs from the Forgotten Realms would be unlikely to have heard of it casually. Unless maybe one of them has met someone else who's been there--or read Volo's account, I guess!
 

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