Curse of Strahd has become one of the most popular campaign books of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. The love of the spooky realms within the mists is still very strong as evidenced by the recent deluxe versions and add-ons recently released by Wizards of the Coast and other companies. Whether travelling to the domain of Strahd for the first time or returning to Barovia to visit old friends and enemies, these products can enhance the experience into something a little more than just a standard D&D campaign.
D&D Icons of the RealmsWizkids released two sets of pre-painted miniatures of famous Ravenloft personalities. Legends of Barovia features miniatures of characters central to the original story, such as Strahd, Madam Ava, Rudolph Van Richten and more. Covens and Covenants offers miniatures introduced in Curse of Strahd such as Rose, Thorne and The Abbot. It’s nice to have miniatures of the big players in the story without having to buy packs and packs of boosters to get them. I tend to run D&D campaign books using grid and map combat, so being able to drop Strahd on the board when the players enter Castle Ravenloft is a very exciting prospect. It’s also a signal to the players that they’re approaching an important story moment since my ability to paint is terrible.
Curse of Strahd RevampedIt’s been almost five years since Curse of Strahd came out and officially opened Fifth Edition beyond the Forgotten Realms and the homebrew worlds of Dungeon Masters around the world. To celebrate the anniversary, Wizards of the Coasts released a deluxe version of the book in a giant coffin shaped box cheekily called Curse of Strahd Revamped. While Tyranny of Dragons got an anniversary release that added a hydro74 cover and combined both of the original books, Curse of Strand is a little more dramatic in a way only Strahd could pull off.
The box opens with a cover sheet featuring Strahd in his ceremonial armor on one side and his 5e stat block on the other. It features the new adventure along with a few small tweaks based on feedback from players involving the Vistani. The map that was stitched into the back of the retail release is here and on a slightly better glossy paper format. There are postcards from Barovia, a DM screen with important info on the campaign as well as moodier art.
The biggest addition to the experience is the larger Tarokka deck included in the box. They are the size of jumbo playing cards and are a larger version of the deck released as an add-on through Gale Force Nine in 2016. I wish they would have been tarot sized and shaped, but I also understand resizing the art would have been a serious pain for the graphics department.
Curse of Strahd Revamped is aimed at two chunks of the D&D audience. It’s great for folks who want to play Curse of Strahd multiple times as well as folks who want a heightened experience with cool props but aren’t willing or able to take a $400 plunge into Ravenloft.
But if you are…
Curse of Strahd: Legendary EditionIf Curse of Strahd Revamped is the 2-disc Blu Ray release with deleted scenes and a clever box, Beadle & Grimm’s Curse of Strahd: Legendary Edition is renting a theatre, redecorating it like a spooky old castle and hiring actors to wander the audience playing different characters of the story. The craftsmanship on display in this box is remarkable, with paper props of different textures, metal coins of the realm and everything from an actual medallion that can be given to players upon discovery to creepy finger puppets that cleverly walk the line between creepy and cute.
In addition to all that, the stuffed box comes with a companion tube full of maps. A new Barovia map, all of Mike Schley’s original maps and then grid maps for the entirety of Castle Ravenloft. I’m very excited to be able to use all this stuff but the grid maps add such a weight to the package. Rather than killing my printer or tracing out rooms on dry erase boards as players wander the castle, they’ll have iconic encounters in gorgeous pre-drawn maps.
I’ve been impressed with the products Beadle and Grimm have sent me to review, but Curse of Strahd: Legendary Edition goes above and beyond the others that I’ve seen (and loved). It’s all the prep and theatrics I love to do for my campaigns already lovingly put together and I understand why the folks who can afford their products are willing to buy new ones sight unseen. It’s also an argument for players to split the cost of a box like this as a gift to their Dungeon Master, who often is expected to buy all their own materials when they run a game. It’s a great pick for fans of Ravenloft and, if you can figure out a way to afford it, must be seen to be believed.
Thanks to the review copies I’ve been sent here, I’m hoping to run an epic Curse of Strahd game once I feel safe enough to run games in person again. It’s my favorite Fifth Edition campaign book and thanks to the materials discussed here, will be a great way to celebrate seeing my friends in person once again...in the mists...