Curse of Strahd: Revamped is the updated special edition of one of the most memorable Dungeons & Dragons adventures of all time.
The original Module 16: Ravenloft was penned by sisters Tracy and Laura Hickman and published over 35 years ago. Since then, Castle Ravenloft, the cursed land of Barovia, and the dreaded and tragic villain Strahd Von Zarovich have gone through many iterations.
Curse of Strahd: Revamped is a glorious return to this adventure. Whether you’ve played through the story before or not, this boxed set has plenty of reasons to once again dive into the haunted Slavich woods, head on up to Old Bonegrinder, and join the Vistani travellers outside the village of Krezk.
The black, coffin-shaped box invites you to bury yourself in Gothic Horror (don’t mind if I do!) Within, you’ll be greeted by a full-colour image of a the eponymous Strahd asleep within his coffin, and on the reverse, his monstrous stat block!
The boxed set includes a bespoke Dungeon Master’s Screen specifically for use with the adventure, a booklet featuring the new Creatures of Horror you won’t find in the Monster Manual, a double-sided map of Barovia and Castle Ravenloft, a set of postcards to give to your players, high-quality player handouts, and a set of the deliciously evocative Tarroka cards used to divine the future.
Of course, it also includes a soft-cover updated edition of the adventure itself.
Curse of Strahd stands apart as a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. It had a focus on atmosphere and roleplaying, and highly encourages the use of milestone leveling as opposed to leveling based on experience points.
Combat in this adventure is less frequent than most Dungeons & Dragons adventures. Curse of Strahd is sombre. It’s evocative. It builds a sense of place as the adventurers find themselves trapped by the mists of Barovia, with no way of getting back home.
The adventure is a sandbox. Locations can be visited in any order the players choose, and within each are several stories and questlines that will lead them across the cursed lands and eventually to Castle Ravenloft to face of the with dreaded vampire Strahd himself.
There is no reason why the players cannot go immediately to the Castle if they so wish, but they will quickly learn they are outmatched. One of the best things about this adventure is how much agency the players have.
This does mean that a Dungeon Master will have to be fully prepped on each location prior to play in order to give the players the breadth and freedom that the adventure provides.
Curse of Strahd is one of the most rewarding Dungeons & Dragons adventures you can experience. It evokes an Eastern European horror, populated with morbid characters each with their own tragedies and foibles for the players to discover and (hopefully) help.
The adventure itself feels a bit like Bloodborne meets Baldur’s Gate. There is so much room for discovery and roleplay in this adventure that it will almost surely lead to some of the most memorable moments and characters you’ve had at your gaming table.
The pace of the campaign completely matches how you’d like to play. There is so little railroading that you’ll never be in the position to feel like you’re stuck. Players will be free to turn back if they’re outmatched, confused, or simply not interested in the plotline of their current location. There are so many threads across Barovia that trying to engage with (and indeed, solve) each of them is a major gaming time commitment.
The sandbox nature of the campaign (as well as how the Tarokka deck interacts with the story) make it different every time it is run. So if you’re a Dungeon Master looking to return to Curse of Strahd, or a player who is looking to try out this adventure from the other side of the screen, then this product is for you,
Released just in time for Halloween, we’re still unsure if Curse of Strahd: Revamped is setting a precedent for Dungeons & Dragons adventures going forward. Will we see similar deluxe editions of adventures such as Princes of the Apocalypse or Storm King’s Thunder? Time will tell.
Meanwhile, I’ll be spending the next many, many sessions at my gaming table, diving deep into the tragic land of Barovia, in the hope of, perhaps, freeing its people from the curse of their vampire lord.
Curse of Strahd: Revamped is available right now at your local Good Games store and online with free shipping Australia-wide!