I’ve spent some time researching the game Ravenloft, however, I must say it goes a bit over my head. I’m not a Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fan, in fact, (even though I fear the responses this statement may generate) I actually didn’t even know what D&D was until I began research for this article. To be fair, I had heard that it was some sort of role playing game (RPG), but I was so busy burying my head in books and watching vampire films and TV shows, that I never even noticed the gaming world growing leaps and bounds around me.
All things considered, it is my responsibility to present decent reading material for you vampire fans. So as we advance, what my knowledge and experience lack, my researching abilities (hopefully) make up for. And who knows? Perhaps my novice view will shed light on some facts that might have passed you D&D fanatics by.
Since its original publication in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons has become and remained the best-known and best-selling RPG, with over $1 billion dollars in sales. The way it works is you’ve got a board to move around on, cards to draw that influence moves made, successes, and failures, and several unique die (including a 20-sided die) to throw around. There are also books that go along with game-play to guide the players through adventures. Each player is a unique character that they can invent or build on, and as far as I understand, the game settings, scenarios, and characters are limited only by your imagination.
Ravenloft is a module, or an extension, so to speak, of the original Dungeons & Dragons board game, except instead of the typical ‘dungeon’ setting, the goal is to defeat the evil vampire villain Strahd von Zarovich in the kingdom of Borovia. It was created by Tracy and Laura Hickman, who actually tested the game for five years (once every Halloween) before it was published in 1983. Built around an elaborate storyline, the Hickman’s goal was to create a frightening version of D&D with an emphasis on gothic horror. Although some feel the D&D aspects of the game diminish the horror aspect of the game, Ravenloft is still considered to be the second best module of D&D of all time.
As far as the villain of the game, the evil vampire Strahd von Zarovich has been deemed “one of the most infamous and well-known villains in the Dungeons & Dragons game” (Wizards of the Coast, March 9, 2007). The tyrannical vampire was also named one of the greatest D&D villains of all time by Dragon Magazine. In fact, Strahd’s character was so liked during the test runs of the game, that players often refused to kill him once brought face to face with him.
Truthfully speaking, to try and capture the essence of Strahd’s character or even the entirety of Ravenloft in this short of an article would really take away from the justice they deserve, especially because I’m not a player. I have done my research, however, and I can honestly say, D&D, Ravenloft, and Strahd von Zarovich seem pretty amazing; Definitely worthwhile if you’re ever in the need of some new games, but beware, I’ve been told they can take over your life. Just saying.