Curse of Strahd

curse200We’re now counting down the hours until the official announcement on Monday, but it’s now almost certain that Curse of Strahd will be the next adventure from Wizards of the Coast for the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons. The date we’re looking at March 15th, 2016.

Under raging storm clouds, the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich stands silhouetted against the ancient walls of Castle Ravenloft. Rumbling thunder pounds the castle spires. The wind’s howling increases as he turns his gaze down toward the village of Barovia. Far below, yet not beyond his keen eyesight, a party of adventurers has just entered his domain. Strahd’s face forms the barest hint of a smile as his dark plan unfolds. He knew they were coming, and he knows why they came — all according to his plan. A lightning flash rips through the darkness, but Strahd is gone. Only the howling of the wind fills the midnight air. The master of Castle Ravenloft is having guests for dinner. And you are invited.

Amazon has the adventure up for preorder at $49.95, describing it as a 224-page adventure designed and developed by Chris Perkins and Jeremy Crawford.

The D&D Adventurers League will be supporting it with a storyline of 14 short (one-session) adventures, which are intended to be played in order from level 1. These adventures will be available on the DM’s Guild website shortly after their release – I’m not entirely certain, but they are likely to start being released to the public in April, 2016. A launch package available exclusively (for free) to stores will contain a portion of the adventure.

Artwork from the adventure has been previewed at The Escapist and Geek and Sundry.

So, will it be set in the Ravenloft setting? What will happen to the ongoing Forgotten Realms storyline in the DDAL products? We’ll discover that shortly!

I expect that, yes, it will be set in Ravenloft. However, it will follow the path of many previous Ravenloft adventures and begin with the party in their regular campaign world. They will then be sent through the mists into Ravenloft itself (it seems that the gypsies, in particular, Madame Eva, is responsible for this), and they will then be trapped there until the adventure’s conclusion.

The hints I’ve heard of the D&D Adventurers League adventures indicate the same thing: your character is taken from the Forgotten Realms and sent to Ravenloft, where he or she stays until the quest is complete. I could be wrong – I don’t have the full details. I do know that the DDAL adventures are designed to be played in order, tell an ongoing story (although they can work as stand-alones), and you should really start a new character to play them.

Incidentally, the name of the storyline season and the adventure are the same: Curse of Strahd. (No getting confused between “Rage of Demons” and “Out of the Abyss”!)

Interesting times ahead! It’s Monday here in Australia… when’s the announcement again?

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