The name “Strahd” is seared into the minds of any Dungeons & Dragons player. It means vampires, it means gothic horror, and it means the iconic Castle Ravenloft. Today, Wizards of the Coast has revealed a return to the classic setting, and io9 has an exclusive look at one of the modules new storytelling mechanics.
Curse of Strahd will find adventurers drawn into the magical mists that transport people to the nightmarish land of Borovia, the domain of the Vampire Lord Strahd von Zarovich, for the first time in the current 5th edition of D&D. Not only is it a return to one of the most beloved settings of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, it’s also a return to the original creative team that introduced players to the setting—Tracy and Laura Hickman, who wrote the original Ravenloft adventure in 1983, are working with Chris Perkins, principal story designer at Wizards of the Coast, on the new module.
Although adventurers will find themselves on familiar ground with a return to Ravenloft as they go toe-to-toe with Strahd himself, one of the new mechanics Curse of Strahd will offer to Dungeon Masters will keep the module fresh through multiple playthroughs. In Curse of Strahd, players will encounter a fortune teller named Madam Eva, who uses a deck of Tarokka cards to guide them on their quest to explore Barovia—and to coincide with the launch of the module, Gale Force 9 will be producing a physical version of the deck for Dungeon Masters to use. Here’s a look at some of the art for one of the cards, by Chuck Lukacs, making its debut here on io9:
Those who keep the dark at bay are a lighthouse to the wounded and weary. They are the ones who protect the light that no curse can corrupt.
Dungeon Masters will be able to randomize the locations adventurers visit, altering the characters and artifacts they seek and the threats they face, by drawing blind cards from the Tarokka deck, offering the ability to customize the adventure for their parties time and time again, ensuring it’s always a little different—after all, what more could you want while exploring the horrifying lands around Castle Ravenloft than a few surprises?
Both Curse of Strahd and the Tarokka card deck will be available to purchase from March 15th.