Dr. Rudolph van Richten (NPC)
|This section contains canon info from officially published sources|
Dr. Rudolph van Richten is one of the greatest and most well-known heroes of the Lands of the Mists.
He was born in Rivalis in Darkon in 671 BC. He took medicine at the University of Il Aluk, completing his four or five year program of study in 693 BC. This humble man was spurred into a life of monster hunting when his son Erasmus van Richten was kidnapped by the Radanavich clan and sold to Baron Metus. Metus turned Erasmus into a vampire groom and Van Richten was forced to slay his son. In revenge, Metus killed Rudolph's wife, Ingrid van Richten. Van Richten eventually slew Metus, and then, with the help of Azalin, the entire Radanavich tribe.
Until his disappearance in 750 BC, he resided in Mordentshire, where he ran an herbalist shop, as well as wrote several of his famous Van Richten's Guides, and mentored The Weathermay-Foxgrove Twins, who regarded him as an uncle and took up his work.
Dr. van Richten makes a notable appearance in the 5th Edition module, Curse of Strahd, though not in his famous persona as the monster hunter and writer of the Van Richten's Guides he is notable for in previous Ravenloft products. Instead, he adopts the guise of Rictavio, a traveling half-elf bard, storyteller, and ringmaster gathering stories and watching out for talent. In reality he is gathering formation and waiting for an optimal time to strike at Strahd, preferably when the vampire lord is in hibernation. Unlike other versions of van Richten, the Curse of Strahd van Richten is a loner because he knows the full extent of his curse. For more details, see Dr. Rudolph van Richten (Curse of Strahd)
- Van Richten's Arsenal
- Van Richten's Guide to Demons
- Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts
- Van Richten's Guide to Vampires
- Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts
- Van Richten's Guide to Witches
- Van Richten's Guide to the Ancient Dead
- Van Richten's Guide to the Created
- Van Richten's Guide to the Lich
- Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani
Credited for marketing purposes with:
- Van Richten's Guide to the Mists
- Van Richten's Guide to the Shadow Fey
- Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium I
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium II
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium III
689 BC - Rudolph Van Richten attends the University of Il Aluk. While there, he meets a fellow student, Dr. Harmon Ruscheider. (fall)
691 BC - Rudolph Van Richten marries his childhood sweetheart, Ingrid.
692 BC - Rudolph and Ingrid Van Richten's son Erasmus is born.
693 BC - Dr. Rudolph Van Richten finishes his studies; opens his practice back home in Rivalis.,
693 BC - Dr. Van Richten travels to Lamordia, hears of the Loud Man of Lamordia.
706 BC - Dr. Van Richten suffers the wrath of the Radanavich clan; the Vistani steal his son Erasmus; they sell Erasmus to Baron Metus, a vampire from Richemulot; with the help of an amused Azalin, Van Richten wipes out all but one member of the Radanavich caravan; Madame Radanavich curses Van Richten, although he doesn’t realize it until the end of his career.
706 BC Van Richten puts his Erasmus, now a vampire, out of his misery, but in spite Baron Metus tears Ingrid van Richten to pieces; Dr. Van Richten destroys Baron Metus, starting his career of hunting evil. Unable to live with the memories in Richten Haus, Van Richten moves to Corvia.
713 BC - Dr. Van Richten is visited by the dying Dr. Ruscheider, who tells Rudolph all he can about several months spent as a lich's captive; Dr. Van Richten starts hunting liches.
714 BC - Dr. Van Richten receives a visit from his childhood friend, Eldrenn Van Dorn, who is now a ghostly slave to Azalin; Dr. Van Richten learns the terrible truth about Azalin Rex.
714 BC - Dr. Van Richten moves to Mordentshire, sensing it is politically unsafe for him to remain in Darkon.
716 BC - The evil spirit of Madame Radanavich and her undead retinue discover Richten Haus and claim it for their own.
718 BC - Dr. Van Richten and Shauten battle a creature they believe to be a priestly lich; it is actually Van Richten's first ancient dead.
724 BC - Dr. Van Richten battles the Bog Monster of Hroth, and meets Jameld. This is also Van Richten's first visit to both Kartakass and Sithicus.
726 BC - The evil spirit of Madame Radanavich and her undead retinue discover Richten Haus and claim it for their own.
726 BC - Dr. Van Richten visits Sanguinia with George Weathermay and Arametrius; they meet Claudia DeShanes; Claudia becomes Rudolph’s assistant, and it seems he had certain unspoken feelings for her.
732 BC - Antonin Madren writes to Van Richten about the death of Madren’s sister.
734 BC - Antonin Madren shows up on Van Richten's doorstep, and gives the good doctor his notes; Dr. Van Richten starts hunting the Created.
[[735 BC] - Dr. Van Richten is forced to kill his old friend Shauten in self-defense, when Shauten tries to sacrifice Rudolph in a bid for lichdom. This "near-miss" may have inspired Van Richten to start recording his collected knowledge for heroes to come.
737 BC - Dr. Van Richten publishes the Van Richten's Guide to the Lich.
738 BC Emil Bollenbach engineers the kidnapping of Dr. Rudolph van Richten to the end of seizing his brain for transplantation into a super-golem. fortunately, several of Van Richten's friends intercede to thwart Dr. Bollenbach.
739 BC - Dr. Rudolph van Richten publishes Van Richten's Guide to the Created. This act earns him considerable ire from Agatha Clairmont, whom sees it as an instruction manual to building dread golems just much as it is hunting them.
741 BC - Van Richten stumbles into the clutches of the nameless Amnizu and the nameless Barbazu infesting Chateaufaux. He is captured. However, he manages to join with some adventurers to route the devils from the town.
741 BC - Dr. Van Richten is depressed; he consults with the diviner, Inarin Alster; Rudolph realizes he had been laboring under a curse all these years; Dr. Van Richten spends a year with Arturi Radanavich studying the Vistani.
750 BC - Dr. Rudolph Van Richten dies in Bleak House in the fight against Madame Radanavich Meanwhile, all that is known to most, including the Weathermay-Foxgrove Twins is that he disappeared.
- Curse of Strahd p. 238
- Van Richten's Arsenal, p. 4
- JWM Timeline p. 18 "Speculation based on BH. We only know that she is younger than Rudolph."
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium II p. 25-26
- Bleak House: Homecoming p. 6
- JWM Timeline p.18: "Speculation based on Bleak House: Homecoming pg. 15, 24: I’m going on the hunch that VR grows younger until he reaches the age he was at when this event occurred"
- Chilling Tales p.14
- JWM Timeline p. 20 "speculation based on Van Richten's Guide to the Lich pg. 15"
- JWM Timeline p. 20 "Realm of Terror; VRGtV: Give VR a good respectable year between their marriage and birth of Erasmus in 692"
- Van Richten's Guide to Vampires p. 4; Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium I p. 8, "fourteen summers" before 706 BC
- JWM Timeline p. 20 "Speculation based on VR’s age, RoT; VRGtV; and ToDm pg. 86, which indicates it takes 4-5 years to get a medical education at the University of Il Aluk"
- JWM Timeline p. 20 "Speculation based on VRGtG pg. 9: “When I was young.”
- JWM Timeline p. 21: "VRGttC pg. 6: Van Richten takes Madren on as a medical student, which implies Van Richten has time to offer such an education (which lasts up to 8 years), i.e., while he was still a simple doctor (693-706)."
- Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani
- Van Richten's Arsenal, p. 6
- Van Richten's Arsenal, p. 5
- from JWM Timeline p.22: "VRGtF pg. 4: VR knew him for “some 30-odd years”]
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium I p. 109-110
- Bleak House: Homecoming p.11
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium II p. 102
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium II p.111-112
- JWM Timeline: Speculation based on VRGtG pg. 22, VRMHCII pg. 24
- JWM Timeline: Speculation based on VRGttL pg. 22
- Bleak House: Homecoming p. 3 says one decade after her death, but Bleak House: Heroes, Monsters, and Settings p.16 says two decades
- JWM Timeline "Speculation based on VRGAD pg. 5: “Some years ago,” and other markers. It happened after VR started hunting liches, but before he started hunting ghosts. (The latter conclusion taken from numerous references to Claudia in this Guide"
- Van Richten's Arsenal p.153
- Bleak House: Heroes, Monsters, and Settings p.16 says two decades after her death butBleak House: Homecoming p. 3 says one decade
- Speculation from JWM Timeline p.28: "Since Arametrius is probably Athasian, Van Richten may have recently visited Kalidnay and encountered Ahmose Tanit. [VRGtG pg. 73. This is the earliest possible date for this event (due to George’s inclusion, and we know from this source and BH that VR starts hunting ghosts one year after this event. That leaves only 9 years between VR starting to hunt and writing his Guide on the subject. I chose to go with this date to keep as wide a margin of opportunity as possible.]"
- Darklords p. 63
- Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts p. 6
- Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts p. 91
- JWM Timeline p.28: "[Van Richten's Guide to Fiends]] pg. 14: the diary is dated “twelve years ago.”
- JWM Timeline: "VRGtG pg. 23: Gedlan is referred to as “Geddar” in this book. The date is an estimate based on the 727-736 available time span."
- Van Richten's Guide to Fiends p. 66
- Van Richten's Guide to the Created p. 6
- JWM Timeline p. 30: "VRGttC pg. 6: Estimate. “Years” after Madren wrote about his sister’s death"
- JWM Timeline: "Speculation based on Van Richten's Guide to the Created p. 6"
- Ravenloft Third Edition p.18
- Ravenloft Player's Handbook p.20
- JWM Timeline points to Van Richten's Guide to the Created p. 20: The golem appeared “the following year” after Vaasa’s soul is taken."
- JWM Timeline points to Van Richten's Guide to the Created p. 19 "just last year"
- JWM Timeline p. 33: "Children of the Night: The Created pg. 50; CT pg. 32 places this adventure 8 years after Emil’s disappearance (i.e., 746), but the dating used in CotN:C fits VR’s chronology better.
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium III p.67-68
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium III p.265-276
- Van Richten's Arsenal p. 149
- JWM Timeline p. 35 "Extrapolated from VRGtF pg. 4"
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium III p. 79-85
- Van Richten's Guide to Demons (Book) p.4
- Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium III p.72-73; Note that the encounter with these fiends doesn't appear in the original uncompiled Van Richten's Guide to Fiends. Therefore, the encounter with the Fiends of Chateaufaux took place after took place after the first VRGtF was published.
- Gazetteer III p.30-31, "just over 15 years ago"
- Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani p.5-7; 87-89
- Domains of Dread p. 17, as told in Bleak House, particularly Bleak House: Homecoming p. 58-63
Data from the Ravenloft Catalogue
Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium I - p4
Ravenloft Third Edition - pp14,17-18,27,176