Dr. Rudolph van Richten (NPC)

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Dr. Rudolph van Richten
Dr. Rudolph van Richten by Talon Dunning, used with permission
Dr. Rudolph van Richten
Dr. Rudolph van Richten and Strahd by Talon Dunning, used with permission

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.

Authored:

Credited for marketing purposes with:

Associate of Dr. Rudolph van Richten

Chronology

671 BC - Rudolph Van Richten born[1], son of Otto and Mrs. Van Richten
Speculation.png 678 BC - Rudolph’s sister Maria Van Richten born.[2]

679 BC - Rudolph Van Richten sent to boarding school in Nartok. A childhood friend is Eldrenn Van Dorn.[3]

680 BC - Casimir (not to be confused with Harkon Lukas’ son) starts working at Richten Haus as the gate keeper.[4]


Speculation.png 683 BC - The servants of Richten Haus are all killed while the family is away one day. (summer)[5]

685 BC - Rudolph Van Richten meets Robert Tatenna, a fellow student at boarding school. (fall)[6]

688 BC - The Crimson Death spreads across Darkon (winter); it claims Van Richten’s great aunt Helga, despite his efforts; Rudolph is even more driven into his medical studies.[1]


Speculation.png 689 BC - Rudolph Van Richten attends the University of Il Aluk. While there, he meets a fellow student, Dr. Harmon Ruscheider. (fall)[7]
Speculation.png 691 BC - Rudolph Van Richten marries his childhood sweetheart, Ingrid.[8]

692 BC - Rudolph and Ingrid Van Richten's son Erasmus is born.[9]
Speculation.png 693 BC - Dr. Rudolph Van Richten finishes his studies; opens his practice back home in Rivalis.,[10]

Speculation.png 693 BC - Dr. Van Richten travels to Lamordia, hears of the Loud Man of Lamordia.[11]

696 BC - Dr. Van Richten meets Antonin Madren and becomes his mentor.[12]

706 BC - Dr. Van Richten suffers the wrath of the Radanavich clan; the Vistani steal his son Erasmus; they sell Erasmus to Baron Metus[1], a vampire from Richemulot; with the help of an amused Azalin, Van Richten wipes out all but one member of the Radanavich caravan[13]; Madame Radanavich curses Van Richten[1], although he doesn’t realize it until the end of his career.[14]

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.[15]

707 BC - Dr. Van Richten researches vampires, and meets Aimon Davidovitch, a fellow scholar of the arcane.[16]


710 BC - Dr. Van Richten encounters his first werebeast near Varithne, a small village in northern Darkon. Dr. Van Richten starts hunting werebeasts as well[17]

711 BC - Dr. Van Richten meets Gedlan Ironheart, a fearless dwarven innkeeper in Corvia. Gedlan becomes a frequent hunting companion.[18]

712 BC - Dr. Van Richten meets the mage Shauten; they bond when they are attacked by one of Azalin's patrols. Shauten opens Van Richten's eyes to the existence of the Lich.[19]

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.[20]
Speculation.png 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.[21]
Speculation.png 714 BC - Dr. Van Richten moves to Mordentshire, sensing it is politically unsafe for him to remain in Darkon.[22]
Questionably-captioned.png716 BC - The evil spirit of Madame Radanavich and her undead retinue discover Richten Haus and claim it for their own.[23]
Speculation.png 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.[24]
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.[25]
Questionably-captioned.png726 BC - The evil spirit of Madame Radanavich and her undead retinue discover Richten Haus and claim it for their own.[26]
Speculation.png 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.[27]

727 BC - Merilee Markuza, the Child Vampire, kills Claudia. Van Richten pursues the creature relentlessly, but loses her in Lamordia.[28]

727 BC - While hunting the Child Vampire, Van Richten witnesses the Thundering Carriage; Van Richten decides he must put an end to these ghostly horrors, too.[29]

728 BC - Dr. Van Richten defeats the Phantom Army.[30]

729 BC - The fiend Elsepeth enters Ravenloft via transposition in a small village outside Stangengrad, near the Grashen Falls (sept)[31]

730 BC - Gedlan Ironheart killed while battling evil spirits.[32]

732 BC - Elsepeth leaves Borca, having lurked there for years.[33]

732 BC - Antonin Madren writes to Van Richten about the death of Madren’s sister.[34]
Speculation.png 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.[35]

[[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[19][14].Speculation.png This "near-miss" may have inspired Van Richten to start recording his collected knowledge for heroes to come.[36]

735 BC - Dr. Van Richten publishes the Van Richten's Guide to Vampires.[37][38]

736 BC - Dr. Van Richten publishes the Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts.

737 BC - The Vistana Cyrilla's niece Vassa is kidnapped near Corvia.[39]

737 BC - Vassa returns as a clay golem; Cyrilla writes to Dr. Van Richten.[40]

737 BC - Dr. Van Richten publishes the Van Richten's Guide to the Lich.

738 BC - Dr. Van Richten publishes the Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts.

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.[41]

739 BC - Elsepeth goes to Nartok.[42]

739 BC - Dr. Van Richten publishes the Van Richten's Guide to the Created.

740 BC - Dr. Van Richten publishes the Van Richten's Guide to the Ancient Dead (early spring).

740 BC - Dr. Van Richten inherits the library (Aimon Davidovitch) of Aimon Davidovitch. Dr. Van Richten starts studying tomes. (Sept)[43]

741 BC - Dr. Rudolph van Richten, Davvyd, Samuel and Dr. Ottelie Farringer battle the fiend Drigor. Only Dr. van Richten survives. (Feb.)[44]

741 BC - Dr. Van Richten publishes the Van Richten's Guide to Fiends.[45]

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.[46][47]

741 BC[14] - 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.[48]

742 BC - Dr. Van Richten writes his Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani and retires.[14] (Oct.)

750 BC - Dr. Rudolph Van Richten dies in Bleak House in the fight against Madame Radanavich[49] Meanwhile, all that is known to most, including the Weathermay-Foxgrove Twins is that he disappeared.[14]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Van Richten's Arsenal, p. 4
  2. JWM Timeline p. 18 "Speculation based on BH. We only know that she is younger than Rudolph."
  3. Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium II p. 25-26
  4. Bleak House: Homecoming p. 6
  5. 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"
  6. Chilling Tales p.14
  7. JWM Timeline p. 20 "speculation based on Van Richten's Guide to the Lich pg. 15"
  8. JWM Timeline p. 20 "Realm of Terror; VRGtV: Give VR a good respectable year between their marriage and birth of Erasmus in 692"
  9. Van Richten's Guide to Vampires p. 4; Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium I p. 8, "fourteen summers" before 706 BC
  10. 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"
  11. JWM Timeline p. 20 "Speculation based on VRGtG pg. 9: “When I was young.”
  12. 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)."
  13. Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Van Richten's Arsenal, p. 6
  15. Van Richten's Arsenal, p. 5
  16. from JWM Timeline p.22: "VRGtF pg. 4: VR knew him for “some 30-odd years”]
  17. Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium I p. 109-110
  18. Bleak House: Homecoming p.11
  19. 19.0 19.1 Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium II p. 102
  20. Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium II p.111-112
  21. JWM Timeline: Speculation based on VRGtG pg. 22, VRMHCII pg. 24
  22. JWM Timeline: Speculation based on VRGttL pg. 22
  23. Bleak House: Homecoming p. 3 says one decade after her death, but Bleak House: Heroes, Monsters, and Settings p.16 says two decades
  24. 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"
  25. Van Richten's Arsenal p.153
  26. Bleak House: Heroes, Monsters, and Settings p.16 says two decades after her death butBleak House: Homecoming p. 3 says one decade
  27. 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.]"
  28. Darklords p. 63
  29. Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts p. 6
  30. Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts p. 91
  31. JWM Timeline p.28: "[Van Richten's Guide to Fiends]] pg. 14: the diary is dated “twelve years ago.”
  32. 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."
  33. Van Richten's Guide to Fiends p. 66
  34. Van Richten's Guide to the Created p. 6
  35. JWM Timeline p. 30: "VRGttC pg. 6: Estimate. “Years” after Madren wrote about his sister’s death"
  36. JWM Timeline: "Speculation based on Van Richten's Guide to the Created p. 6"
  37. Ravenloft Third Edition p.18
  38. Ravenloft Player's Handbook p.20
  39. 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."
  40. JWM Timeline points to Van Richten's Guide to the Created p. 19 "just last year"
  41. 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.
  42. Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium III p.67-68
  43. JWM Timeline p. 35 "Extrapolated from VRGtF pg. 4"
  44. Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium III p. 79-85
  45. Van Richten's Guide to Demons (Book) p.4
  46. 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.
  47. Gazetteer III p.30-31, "just over 15 years ago"
  48. Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani p.5-7; 87-89
  49. Domains of Dread p. 17, as told in Bleak House, particularly Bleak House: Homecoming p. 58-63


Data from the Ravenloft Catalogue

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Realm of Terror
Bleak House

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Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium I - p4
Bleak House:Heroes, Monsters, and Settings - cover, p4
Bleak House:Homecoming - p4,p16
Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts - p7,8
Ravenloft Campaign Setting:Domains and Denizens - p92
Realm of Terror - p114
Chilling Tales - p 5,11
The Created - p13
Van Richten's Arsenal - p5

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Bleak House:Heroes, Monsters, and Settings - pp4-5
Ravenloft Campaign Setting:Domains and Denizens - p91
Dungeon #55: The Seawolf
Realm of Terror - pp114-115
Chilling Tales - p 3

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Ravenloft Third Edition - pp14,17-18,27,176
Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium I - throughout
Bleak House - throughout
Van Richten's Guide to The Created - throughout
Dungeon #55: The Seawolf
Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts - throughout
Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts - throughout
Van Richten's Guide to Vampires - throughout
Ravenloft Campaign Setting:Domains and Denizens - pp91-93
Tales of Ravenloft: The Crucible of Dr. Rudolph van Richten - pp1-17
Realm of Terror - pp114-115
Chilling Tales - pp 2-3
Heroes of Light - p64
I, Strahd, The War Against Azalin - pp1-4, pp9-13, pp304-310