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D&D 5E Sanitizing Curse of Strahd (+)

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Well, if you start off on the assumption that everyone in Ravenloft is a villain, you’ll only be disappointed a couple of times.

Surely though what makes a villain, a villain is what they do, not the label the DM puts on them in advance. If the dusk elves behave villainously then surely they become villains. There are plenty in the book for them to join.
As I said, nothing about the setting or any of the adventures set there has ever appealed to me, and I know basically nothing more about the 5E adventure than I've picked up here and there online.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Other than Patrina, a Dusk Elf who has been dead for nearly four centuries, none of the Dusk Elves behave like villains and offer no opposition to the PCs. They're victims of Strahd's wrath and just one of the many examples of people who have been suffering under him for centuries.
I don’t think I’d go that far. Rahadin is out and out evil, Kassimir arranged for his sister to be stoned by the whole community and then he lies to the party to get them to go to the amber temple.
 

MGibster

Legend
I don’t think I’d go that far. Rahadin is out and out evil, Kassimir arranged for his sister to be stoned by the whole community and he lies to the party to get them to go to the amber temple.
I forgot about Rahadin and while he's a Dusk Elf he's not really part of the larger community the PCs run into. And while Kassimir did arrange for his sister to be stoned to death it's not like she didn't have it coming. You know, with her being in league with the Devil Strahd and all.
 

TheSword

Legend
I forgot about Rahadin and while he's a Dusk Elf he's not really part of the larger community the PCs run into. And while Kassimir did arrange for his sister to be stoned to death it's not like she didn't have it coming. You know, with her being in league with the Devil Strahd and all.
Lol. I don’t disagree. I’m just saying that there are shades of grey and it’s funny where people draw lines... yep they’re all sods.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
I’m saying it’s impossible to fully sanitize an adventure that revolves around a serial rapist and murderer. At that point you’re just choosing to ignore some horrendous things and not others.
I think you'll find, if you actually read what I've posted, that I have no intention of dialing back that aspect at all. There are specific subjects that I know will upset my friends (or upset me) that I'm trying to figure out solutions for. It is okay if you do not agree that these things should be changed, or if you don't understand why anyone would or should change them. But, I'll again point to (+) in the thread title- I want to keep to keep this thread on track. Arguing over whether the thread should exist or not is not welcome discussion here. If you do not have any further helpful advice (and I do appreciate your suggestions up-thread!) I'd kindly ask you to move along.
 

MGibster

Legend
I think you'll find, if you actually read what I've posted, that I have no intention of dialing back that aspect at all. There are specific subjects that I know will upset my friends (or upset me) that I'm trying to figure out solutions for.
I for one think it's totally cool that you're modifying the campaign to suit you and your players. If I knew something from CoS would bother my players I'd follow in your footsteps and change it.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
It's illuminating that this thread started off as a one person asking for ideas to modify the adventure for private use at their own table...it's not a general call for the adventure to be rewritten...and even that is too much for some people.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
I mean, I'm willing to entertain curiosity as to why I would like to change certain things but not others (though sometimes those answers are very personal and wont be shared); but I didn't want this thread to be the kind of endless back-and-forth that, say, the initial announcement that WotC that they were "updating" the adventure.
 

TheSword

Legend
I mean, I'm willing to entertain curiosity as to why I would like to change certain things but not others (though sometimes those answers are very personal and wont be shared); but I didn't want this thread to be the kind of endless back-and-forth that, say, the initial announcement that WotC that they were "updating" the adventure.
You don’t have to justify your changes. Please take my discussion as a cautionary note in addition to the several genuine suggestions I offered regarding things that might need changing based on the parameters you set.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
You don’t have to justify your changes. Please take my discussion as a cautionary note in addition to the several genuine suggestions I offered regarding things that might need changing based on the parameters you set.
I mean, you brought up some stuff that I hadn't considered yet, which is super helpful!
 

TheSword

Legend
In all seriousness, with a party of teachers there is a line around treatment of children which I don’t cross.

I wouldn’t have an evil child protagonist, create a situation where PCs were encouraged to attack a child or any encounter that sexualised a child.

It just isn’t a problem baking them in pies.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
I don’t think there’s any indication that Kasimir’s reason for wanting to bring his sister back is for breeding purposes. He rather explicitly wants to bring her back out of love and guilt. But regardless of his intent, the implication of her being the only living dusk elf capable of bearing children is that either the other dusk elves use her for that purpose, or they continue going slowly extinct (ignoring that half-elves are a thing, as the book seems to forget that’s an option). That’s going to be over the line for some players, and I think it’s worthwhile to consider alternative possibilities.
I think the end "good" goal of destroying Strahd and freeing Barovia doesn't mean there aren't still going to be tragedies left undone. Perhaps there is no solution for the Barovian dusk elves. I would, at the least, play them as a people unwilling to use the last surviving female of their culture as breeding stock (assuming she is rescued).

If Barovia is freed and returned to the material world, perhaps there are more dusk elves that the Barovian elves could rejoin. Or, it could be a follow-up quest, leading the Barovian dusk elves to an Evermeet style homeland/sanctuary for elves. Would the Barovian elves be willing to join other elven communities?
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
I actually really liked the idea of finding a way to reach more Dusk Elves through the Amber Temple. I will probably be adapting that in that form. So thanks for that, @Talltomwright!

@TheSword also brought up several NPCs I hadn't thought about before either (I'm still working through my most recent cover-to-cover read), including Ezmerelda's prosthetic (which WotC's errata actually addresses pretty well) and the Mad Mage. I have plans for good old Mordy though. If they manage to cure him he'll be a very fun antagonist. It also reminded me that the abbey folks' surname is Bellview, which is way too on the nose for CoS (and that's really saying something!) and I'll want to change as well.

Thanks to everyone for your advice! I've gotten a lot of great ideas; I'm glad that I did this!
 



prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
If the Abbey is a place laden with "crazy people," that's awfully close to Bellevue, which IIRC is/was a notorious insane asylum. I might be wrong, or @Gradine may be thinking of something else.
Per WIkipedia, Bellevue Hospital (in NYC) was one of the first (if not the first) hospitals to have specific facilities for "the insane," which became so well-known that "Bellevue" became all-but a generic term for such a place.

Sorry. I have a brain that makes me chase down things like this. It's not always a good thing.

Edit:
What Wikipedia has to say.
 

Vaalingrade

Adventurer
Something I've noticed:

I've listened to at least three actual play games for CoS. All of them have dealt with the hag. None of the DMs ultimately alluded to or revealed that children were being baked into the dreamcakes. Two of the three groups made jokes about it though. Of those two, one of the DMs lapsed into a long silence before carrying on.

I think not using the cannibalism is pretty widespread.

Which gives me hope for humanity.

Anyone else remember the turn of the century where cannibalism was the thing in comics?
 

Hags: Kids these days don't appreciate a good child plum pie. sips tea
Random NPC Serial Killer Cannibal: wants to compare recipes, but at the same time feels like she should be offended.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
Per WIkipedia, Bellevue Hospital (in NYC) was one of the first (if not the first) hospitals to have specific facilities for "the insane," which became so well-known that "Bellevue" became all-but a generic term for such a place.

Sorry. I have a brain that makes me chase down things like this. It's not always a good thing.

Edit:
What Wikipedia has to say.
Mental Health is one of my major areas of study, which explains if maybe the reference was more obvious to me than usual.
 

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