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Village of Barovia 
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Agent of the Fraternity
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Post Village of Barovia
Hi,

In all four 'I6' adventures (I6, HoS, EtCR and CoS) the village of Barovia is a more or less deserted place. Yes, there is a tavern, a shopkeeper, Mad Mary, Ireena and the priest of course. But the space seems deserted none the less, in EtCR even under attack. Well, after four centuries that's to be expected of course, though somehow out of this desolation and depression some villagers found the courage to climb all the way up to the castle..
When I read Vampire of the Mist (which, granted, is set a few hundred years earlier), the village is also oppressed, but much more alive. Even with Strahd visiting the place.

Personally I like the latter much more. I think a village where people still try to live a life is better than the half deserted place of the 8th century, that still has a tavern (how do they make a living? Only from the Vistani?). We've got plenty of deserted places in Ravenloft, I don't think the village of Barovia needs to be that. Much more roleplaying potential with a village that actually lives (albeit oppressed).

Any ideas? Are there more people that use the earlier Barovia? Or is Vallaki more suited for that role?

Thoughts?

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Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:51 pm
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Evil Genius
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
I think Strahd would ensure that Barovia village stays alive; after all, it's his larder when his dungeons run out.
Also, it's where he does most of his shopping, gathering craftsmen and artisans in the village and keeping them hemmed in with his ring of toxic fog.
Letting Barovia Village run down into a ruin would run counter to the devil Strahd's best interests, and he knows it.

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Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:26 pm
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
Rock wrote:
Also, it's where he does most of his shopping, gathering craftsmen and artisans in the village and keeping them hemmed in with his ring of toxic fog.


Though why would any merchant or artisan worth their salt bother going to Barovia village?

A backwater village would produce very little in the way of its own craftsmen (and they would be vastly inferior to those form more populated areas), and Merchants wouldn't bother going unless they had to - a high toll for the antidote potion, not many buyers who don't have much money anyway, and little to trade but turnips and trees.

The only reason I can see they would pass by is if they were trying to get to/from Nova Vaasa from the Western Core.

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Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:35 pm
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
DustBunny wrote:
Rock wrote:
Also, it's where he does most of his shopping, gathering craftsmen and artisans in the village and keeping them hemmed in with his ring of toxic fog.


Though why would any merchant or artisan worth their salt bother going to Barovia village?

A backwater village would produce very little in the way of its own craftsmen (and they would be vastly inferior to those form more populated areas), and Merchants wouldn't bother going unless they had to - a high toll for the antidote potion, not many buyers who don't have much money anyway, and little to trade but turnips and trees.

The only reason I can see they would pass by is if they were trying to get to/from Nova Vaasa from the Western Core.


The craftsmen of Barovia, at least according to Gaz. I, produce various items worth buying. The domain still has some mining and the village of Barovia is the natural location for traders to strike deals with mine foremen given that it's the largest village in the entire domain. The village is where Strahd's government is held and thus is where traders have to go to pay tariffs and taxes--that includes traders simply passing through the domain. Or if all that isn't reason enough, Strahd does order people to visit or else be visited by members of the Order of the Ebon Gargoyle or even a Strahd undead.

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Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:50 pm
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
The novel Knight of the Black Rose shows a bit of a relatively recent Barovia and the villagers still go to the tavern for drinks, the tax collector is about, etc. So not entirely dead.


Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:32 pm
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
My Barovia is actually a thriving town and the offícíaĺ capital city of the Kingdom.


Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:26 am
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
I chalk it up to the difference in requirements between a "weekend in hell" adventure location and a longterm campaign setting location. Being a Ravenloft-Campaign centered DM, I would use the more bustling and alive version. It does kind of irk me when I read the bleak and decimated version yet again, but I can see why that worked well for the original I6. And since all the various updates thereof (with the possible exception of House of Strahd) have had the same goals, it makes sense that they would keep it that way.

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Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:55 pm
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Agent of the Fraternity
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
Gonzoron of the FoS wrote:
I chalk it up to the difference in requirements between a "weekend in hell" adventure location and a longterm campaign setting location. Being a Ravenloft-Campaign centered DM, I would use the more bustling and alive version. It does kind of irk me when I read the bleak and decimated version yet again, but I can see why that worked well for the original I6. And since all the various updates thereof (with the possible exception of House of Strahd) have had the same goals, it makes sense that they would keep it that way.

I think you are completely right here. Have the same feeling. Usually I think of the mood in those old vampire movies with a nearby village living under terror, but still living. A deserted place with a shop & tavern is just a bit silly and not really horror inspiring.

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Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:30 pm
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
Depends. The whole town could be an adventurer trap, staffed by a skeleton crew of Lebendtod.

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Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:18 am
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
Rock wrote:
Depends. The whole town could be an adventurer trap, staffed by a skeleton crew of Lebendtod.

I'd personally use other villages for that. Barovia is just to pivotal for that, IMHO.

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Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:01 am
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
My personal headcanon is that the Village of Barovia vacillates between a small, but populous town and a veritable ghost town. If Strahd is focused on that generation's Tatyana, I usually have the town become run-down as he pays less and less attention to it. During the times he returns to governance, the town picks up again and begins to flourish. I6 and the WiH versions are the ghost town Barovia because the central focus of the modules is on Tatyana, while the campaign setting version is during the "other" times. I actually like using the nigh-abandoned Barovia village, but only in stark contrast to other areas of Barovia. I never start my players in the village, but usually on the outskirts of the domain, working their way inward, such that they can watch the domain wither the closer you get to Castle Ravenloft. The abrupt desolation of the village is a good culmination of that. But such a use is best reserved for a Strahd-centric story, I think. I wouldn't use it if running a long-term campaign where Strahd is only a backdrop.


Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:37 am
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
I imagine it in a state of arrested decline.The village of Barovia is not exactly the nicest place to live, so near Castle Ravenloft, so I would not expect many people to wish to live in it.

Strahd needs that choking ring of toxic fog to pen in his herd. He must feed, at least occasionally.
The village's continued existence may be useful to his plots and experiments.

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Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:25 am
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
Castle Ravenloft is the seat of power of Barovia; Barovia Town (or Village) is, by default, it's capital city; the ring of fog is, in my hopinion, a simple defense line, like a wall; it's up when it's needed; People live there because it's on a strategic trading hightway (It sits on the Svalich Road). In my headcanon, Boyars keep estates there, for when they whish to go and petition the Count-King for an audience. The valley where it is situasted do not allow more expansion, this explains it's reduced dimensions.


Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:50 am
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
Barovia is the mercurial resonance of Strahd's subconscious. Visitors not "native" to it perceive a reality that is but a snapshot of that turbulence upon them entering it. Thus, it is all it was ever written to be, and more that is yet to be witnessed.

Strahd is the land and all that is within it: people, animals, places; all are Strahd.

Welcome to his nightmare. The question is: can you survive it?

Yeah, sometimes I like trying to validate all sides (as I see them anyway) in an effort to keep ideas free-floating and open to the DM to Frankenstein in their labs...

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Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:54 am
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Post Re: Village of Barovia
I noticed that. It was a complaint of Curse of Strahd that they didn't bother to expand the village.
(I think I pushed for doing more with the village of Barovia that year in QtR but was voted down.)

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Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:55 am
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