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An enchanted traveling circus and freakshow, introduced to the setting in the second edition in the Carnival sourcebook. It began life as a twisted prison called the Carnival l'Morai, part of a now-gone Domain of Dread detailed in the novel Carnival of Fear and the 2e splatbooks Domains of Dread and Champions of the Mists. So popular with the fans that it received extra fan-support; the fan-splat The Book of Secrets contains several new Carnival members, whilst the third volume of the fan-ezine Quoth the Raven was entirely dedicated to the Carnival, and the fifteenth issue featured both new Carnival members and some updates to old ones.
Tropes common throughout the Carnival:
- Body Horror: The mysterious phenomenon that the Carnival calls the Twisting usually makes its mark physically and blatantly. Also, the Abominations, who have been twisted into almost Chaos Spawn-like atrocities.
- Curse: The Twisting actually has this feel to it. It can be shaken off, but it's extremely hard to do so; even the carnies themselves don't know how to do it. Removing the Twisting requires either one leave the Carnival — one has to spend a month outside of the Carnival for each day they spent within it before the Twisting leaves — or one Remove Curse spell per week they lived in the Carnival.
- Enemy Mime: They're not hostile, but the black-and-white Skurra-vera facepaint of the Skurra (Vistani who are part of the Carnival), combined with their perpetual silence, certainly gives them this feel.
- Freaky Is Cool: Rather, the Carnival is so used to the strange and abnormal that they do not judge others by looks alone, making them immune to the Fantastic Racism endemic throughout the Realm of Mists. Also inverted; because Fantastic Racism is so common in the Domains of Dread, the Troupers themselves are prone to discrimination against non-freaks and outsiders.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The Twisting plays off of a person's personality and heart, usually emphasizing their flaws or punishing them for their sins. Also, Isolde can forcibly invoke the Twisting in order to punish those who wrong the carnival, thus creating the Abominations.
- Powder Keg Crowd: If someone truly kills a member of the Carnival, or a carnival visitor, the carnies hunt them down like a dog and mutilate them to death in a brutal act of mob justice called the Death of a Thousand Knives. And it's still not as terrible as the fate Isolde has in store...
IsoldeThe mistress of the Carnival, who rescued the surviving escapees from the Puppet Show (the Carnival's name for its cursed former existence as the Carnival l'Morai) after they found themselves in Falkovnia after the Great Upheaval. Quiet, firm but fair, she protects the Carnival against all who would harm it or its residents, but she has her own secret mission. Though dungeonmasters are free to reinvent her, Isolde's canonical background from the 2nd edition is that she is a Ghaele type Eladrin, who defied the orders of her superiors to chase the incubus now known as the Gentleman Caller into the Realm of Mists. Though she sincerely cares for the Carnival, she is determined to stop her arch enemy.
- Arch-Enemy: Has come to the Land of Mists to hunt hers: the incubus known only as "the Gentleman Caller."
- Beware the Nice Ones: If you seriously affront her, she'll transform you into a nightmarish mewling monstrosity of warped flesh and distorted bone, one of the rightfully named Abominations.
- Big Good: She's an angel who chose to forsake the Upper Planes for Ravenloft.
- Chaotic Good: In-Universe - her racial alignment, as it is for all Eladrin.
- Cool Sword: Wields one that contains many of her sealed powers.
- Curse: Though not a Darklord herself, her 2e writeup explicitly states she has received a curse from the Dark Powers. This curse is responsible for causing the mysterious "phantom flyers" that presage the Carnival's arrival, ensuring her enemy is always forewarned and able to escape, whilst her compassion prevents her abandoning the Carnival to try and circumvent her curse.
- Good Is Not Nice: Isolde's own 2e profile describes her as stern, and unwilling to let her kindness sway her from her ultimate mission. She's also quite willing to transform victims into the Abominations if she deems them true enemies of her mission. But, that said, she is still ultimately the matriarch of the surrogate "family" of the Carnival for a reason.
- The Paladin: Part of her blessing/curse for being in Ravenloft; she's lost the shapechanging abilities, but in 2e she functions as if she were a level 10 Paladin, for both good and bad.
- Power Incontinence: The Twisting is her fault, but not her doing. As a Good Outsider in Ravenloft, her presence distorts the world around her, manifesting as a mutative effect that brings people's inner selves to the front.
HermosOne of the survivors of the Carnvial's original incarnation, a ten-foot-tall man with gangly, awkward-looking limbs.
- Gentle Giant: A towering, imposing figure, but also loyal, dependable, gentle and kindly. This gives him a canonical In-Universe Character Alignment of Neutral Good.
Claude and Importun, aka The ImpA man born with a vestigial twin, in the form of a distorted face and a spindly arm growing out of his cheek and neck. Abandoned by his parents at the Carnival, Claude joined them because he had nowhere else to go. The Twisting allows Claude to see through his mindless twin's eyes, and he uses this in his act. A kindly and compassionate soul, he takes it upon himself to guide newly Twisted recruits through their first adjustments to their freakish new bodies. Secretly, Importun has always been aware, just with no influence on the body. The Twisting allowed the kinder, gentler Imp to steal control of Claude's body and take control before Claude's descent into mindless rage could get them killed. Their nature makes them immune to Charm Person spells unless the dominant personality is specifically targeted.
- And I Must Scream: Whichever personality is dominant does everything while the other is trapped, helpless to do anything but watch and listen to their twin as they live out their life.
- The Berserker: The real Claude is a frothing mad maniac, totally twisted up in hate and spite, who would run amuck and kill people if he were given control back.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Claude never drinks and admits it's because of this. If Importun allows himself to get drunk or slipped a sedative, which he's very susceptible to, then Claude can steal control of their body back.
- The Resenter: Claude has managed to avert this, being very compassionate about the growth on his neck, something that is also responsible for his general compassion towards others, especially the newly Twisted. The Imp, rather, is compassionate to the brother trapped inside it. The real Claude has spent his whole life blaming his problems on Importun, and his resentment, combined with his imprisonment, has driven him to violent insanity.
Tosk, the BruteAn outlander orc from the Kingdom of Thar, whose Twisting has granted him great strength but exaggerated the inhumanness of his features, something which hurts his pride, especially since the inhabitants of the Mists don't even notice. He serves as the Carnival's strongman.
- Break the Haughty: He came to the carnival as a typical orc, a bully and a He-Man Woman Hater. After Isolde managed to impress him with her power, he has become more peaceful out of obedience to her.
- Lawful Neutral: In-universe. He's still the same domineering orc at heart, but he is absolutely obedient to Isolde, and Isolde has ordered him to behave himself.
- Mission from God: He reveres Isolde as a goddess, and fighting on her behalf and in her presence grants him powerful morale bonuses.
- Pig Man: Implied; he's from 2nd edition, which was when D&D orcs were portrayed with rather porcine raits, and his inhuman features have been exaggerated by the Twisting, so it's logical to presume he truly looks more like a pig walking around than a bestial humanoid.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: So proud that he doesn't like to open up to others without some orcish blood of their own.
The Illuminated ManAn Abber Shaman from the Nightmare Lands who discovered a unique method of capturing nightmare spirits and binding them as protective totems by forcibly imprisoning them inside of tattoos placed on human beings. His own body is covered in such bound "night terrors", and his Twisting makes them unnaturally animate and alive.
- Animated Tattoo: Formed from terrible nightmare spirits, trapped in physical form on his flesh. The similar tattoos he gives others aren't quite as lively as his own, because of his Twisting.
- Cast from Hit Points: Binding a night-terror to a person's flesh requires the sacrifice of a single hitpoint. His gaunt appearance is the result of paying this price many times over.
- Creepy Good: A standout, since while his methods are essentially benign, he's managed to creep out two other groups of Creepy Good people; his native Abber tribe and the other carnies.
- The Quiet One: Doesn't like to talk, which has been the cause of many of his problems finding acceptance.
- Your Worst Nightmare: The night-terrors he binds become protective totems, providing bonuses on saves against the fears they represent. However, if the person is killed while it's attached, it slips off and starts trying to find someone else to terrify until it is destroyed.
Silessa, The Snake QueenA beautiful elf-maid exotic dancer who is actually an evil elven wizard's asp familiar polymorphed into a humanoid form, magically given independence and a will of her own by the Carnival. Her master wants her back, but the Carnival can't kill him, as his death would spell hers.
- The Beastmaster: She uses a variety of snakes in her act, draped over her body, which recognize her as one of them, refuse to harm her, and attack people attacking her. Most of them are harmless, but any one of them could have deadly venomous fangs.
- The Corrupter: Although the Twisting has changed her in many ways, including her alignment to Chaotic Good, Silessa was actually originally a pseudo-familiar, a rare creature that tempts its apparent master to evil. She cannot resist that part of her nature, and continues to egg him on to commit evil acts, even as it tortures her conscience.
- Dramatic Irony: Tindal doesn't know why, exactly, she avoids him. It's because she met his old mirror-self, the evil wizard Tindalfus, and knows that something very strange is going on that has her quite suspicious.
- Poisonous Person: She still has a poisonous bite, and can spit venom as an attack.
- Snakes Are Sexy: She used to be one, after all, and still has many snake traits.
- Synchronization: The reason the Carnival won't kill her old master, no matter how many times he attacks to get her back. She is still technically his familiar, and their vital forces are bound together. Killing him would kill her. In fact, the only reason she doesn't lose a hit point a day just from being separated from him is Isolde's power replacing the link.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Raja Singh, since he's usually a violent monster.
- Words Do Not Make The Magic: Being a familiar has its perks: Silessa has an excellent grasp of magical theory and would make an excellent assistant to any wizard. Being a familiar has its drawbacks: she has no formal magical training of any kind and is effectively a first-level wizard that can't cast a single spell.
Wood'n-headApprentice to an alchemist who tested an experimental regeneration potion on him, causing him to be virtually impossible to cut or pierce. The same potion has never worked since — his master died a gruesome death trying a second dose — but Wood'n-head makes a comfortable living as the Carnival's sadomasochistic ascetic attraction.
- All Trolls Are Different: One of the potion's failures turned its victim into what sounds like a D&D troll before he died. These being virtually unknown in Ravenloft, no one really understood what happened.
- Feel No Pain: Using his powers doesn't hurt him at all, and he's actually a very cheerful and optimistic font of carnival spirit even when he's being locked in a torture implement.
- Healing Factor: Wood'n-head's body instantly seals bloodlessly around any impaling or slicing object, than instantly knits together when it is removed from his flesh. No matter how he is stabbed, slashed, cut, pierced, clawed or impaled, it never leaves a lasting mark. In game terms, he is immune to damage from slashing and piercing weapons, though he is unwilling to experiment with removing an arm altogether.
- Inept Mage: He is an eremite, a kind of wizard who brews potions instead of preparing spells. However, he's also not too good at his job, and his potions almost always have some kind of minor but irritating side effects.
- It Only Works Once: The invulnerability potion that gave him his powers hasn't worked since. That is to say, it hasn't worked as intended.
- Squick: In-Universe, his act tends to freak out and frighten visitors, and even his fellow Troupers find him a little discomforting, despite his gregarious personality. Also, gruesome fates await anyone else who tries the potion that made him blade-proof.
Mola Kravvan, the Living SkeletonSister to the abusive, domineering Rasulid Kravvan, Mola was her brother's veritable slave. They were originally travelling con-artists and grifters who drifted with the Carnival for a time, when the Twisting took hold. Mola, eaten away by her brother's control, began losing weight at a drastic pace, leaving her little more than thin, almost translucent skin wrapped over bone, despite her eating copiously. The other Troupers fear she may be the first case of a Twisted dying from their transformation.
- Big Eater: Gorges herself at every meal, but it doesn't make her any fatter. This is because her abusive relationship with her brother means she is literally feeding him her weight.
- Body Horror: Horrifyingly thin, so much that her heart can be seen beating in her chest, and just keeps getting thinner, though it has explicitly not affected her vitality.
- Dem Bones: She can be mistaken for an actual skeleton at first, that's how thin she is.
- Genki Girl: Despite her... "condition," she remains very energetic and peppy.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Before the Twisting took hold, she was quite beautiful. On the upside, losing her looks has meant that her brother forces her to be a pawn in his schemes less often.
- Squick: In-Universe, Mola tends to be the most likely Trouper outside of the Hall of Horrors to scare off Carnival-goers, aside from Wood'n-head.
- Weak-Willed/Extreme Doormat: Easily pushed around by her abusive brother, so much so that the Twisting is literally causing him to absorb her flesh.
Raja Singh, The Hideous Man-BeastA cursed wereleopard who becomes a human on the nights of the full moon, but is a ravening, bloodthirsty cat-man at all other times.
- Birds of a Feather: His relationship with Silessa is rooted in his angst about his true identity. It's something they can both relate to.
- Identity Amnesia: Raja Singh remembered nothing upon joining the Carnival, and has regained only bits and pieces in the years since. Something he keeps very secret from everyone but Silessa is that what he does remember suggests that he is from the Wildlands, a place inhabited almost entirely by animals. He's also learned from studying lore on the subject that were-creatures take on the shape of an animal the natives fear above all else. And what beast could other beasts fear more than man?
- My Instincts Are Showing: Even in human form, he can't shake his wereleopard fear of lightning and electricity.
- Neutral Good: In-universe, his alignment in his human shape. Otherwise, he's Lawful Evil, like all wereleopards.
- Was Once a Man: Like many lycanthropes. However, in recent times, he has begun to believe that the opposite is true: that he's a dangerous beast that turns into a man rather than the opposite. Knowing this fills him with no small amount of existential dread.
Amelia, The VampiressAnother survivor of the original Carnival l'Morai, Amelia's once-useless and disfiguring bat-like wings grew into fully functional appendages under the Twisting. Hers is a horror act, scaring people by pretending to be a vampire.
- Cute Monster Girl: While she's good at playing up her creepy, bat-winged appearance, Amelia is also one of the few carnies who doesn't have a modified charisma score for "outsiders," meaning that even people who don't know what she is find her attractive.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: Zigzagged; she has demonic bat-like wings, but she's actually a good person.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Amelia's act involves scaring customers with her demonic appearance, but she's really quite a nice lady off the clock.
- Our Vampires Are Different: In this case, they aren't vampires at all, just a regular person with sharp teeth and bat wings.
- Winged Humanoid: She loves flying too.
Mister ?An intelligent wax golem with the ability to mimic any person's appearance and, by absorbing parts of their memories, their whole character.
- Become a Real Boy: Mister ?'s deepest longing is to have a character and personality of his own, but he cannot have them without stealing them from others. He does not do so maliciously, but he also cannot avoid the compulsion to try to become more real.
- The Blank: His natural form is faceless.
- Doppelgänger: While his antics usually do no lasting harm, he still fits the archetype.
- Empty Shell: His normal personality is quite bland and flat. He feels an instinctive yearning to fill this void via his unique mental drain.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: The probable reason for a creature with no gender identifying as male.
- Kryptonite Factor: As a wax golem, Mister ? is highly weak to magical fire.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: As Mister ? drains away levels and memories from the target, he comes to resemble them, physically and mentally, a perfect double. Fortunately, the effect eventually reverses itself and does not cause lasting harm, though it is quite distressing for both parties.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Despite being made of wax, Mister ? is still a golem, and he still has Super Strength and immunity to many types of damage. While he usually has the ability scores of his model, if attacked he will subconsciously fight back with his full strength.
- Lost in Character: After draining enough levels and memories, Mister ? becomes convinced that he is the original, until the effect reverses itself. As the effect is reversing itself, both he and the other party can be quite terrified of what is happening to them.
- No Biological Sex: While Mister ? has no physical gender for obvious reasons, and while he can become either gender through his doppelganger powers, he prefers to use male pronouns.
Tindal, The Amazing Soulless ManThe Carnival's primary Barker, a mage who has cast neither reflection nor shadow since an experiment gone wrong and the Twisting subsequently took hold of him. Unbeknownst to almost all, including himself, Tindal is a Fetch, a mirror-world copy of someone; he is a good-natured and cheerful individual because his original was a ruthless and wickedly evil soul.
- Dogged Nice Guy: He loves Silessa, but Silessa only has eyes for Raja Sing. She also knows, even more than he himself does, that something's not quite right about him...
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: He can't quite remember what, exactly, the experiment was that destroyed his shadow and reflection. This is because, as a Fetch, he doesn't have a history before the accident.
- The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Played with. Tindal simply lacks a reflection altogether. This is because the original Tindalfus only exists in one mirror at a time, watching and hating his mirror self, and constantly plotting to take his life back.
- Stage Magician: While he no longer uses arcane magic, he does know quite a few parlor tricks and sleight-of-hand.
- True Neutral: In-Universe. Tindal is a friendly and good-natured guy, even if he's not quite ready to stick his neck out for a stranger. His original self, on the other hand...
Madame FortunaThe Vistani raunie who is responsible for speaking for the Skurra, and who creates the magical Skurra-vera facepaint and patterns that allows new Vistani to be made part of their unique little tribe. She acts the role of the Carnival's fortune teller as well, just as the Skurra themselves serve the Carnival as caravan drivers and entertainers. Having sacrificed herself to the Twisting, she has lost her physical eyes, but gained enhanced oracular vision. She was originally a Corvara tribe member before she became mortu (outcast), which means she originally belonged to the Boem tasque.
- Blind Seer: She physically doesn't have any eyes, but she has gained a "sight beyond sight" that lets her see auras. This enables her to perceive living beings even in total darkness, and sense the law/chaos side of their Character Alignment, as well as rumored/implied abilities to see magic, lies and emotions. However, she can't see anything that is an unliving thing or an object, including the undead and constructs.
- Eye Scream: Her eyes are gone, leaving open sockets with inky black holes behind the eyelids.
The Blade BrothersIdentical twin Vistani men who were born into the Kamii tribe of the Kaldresh tasque, only to be driven away due to having been "born under a bad star". They serve the Carnival as knife-throwers, jugglers and sword-swallowers.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: If offended, the Blade Brothers like to trap an insulting person between them and start juggling their razor-edged, hand-forged knives around the offender, slicing their clothes off without so much as scratching the skin.
- Knife Nut: Experts at forging and wielding daggers, something they use for defense and entertainment.
The Crimson RoseA beautiful Vistani woman distinguished by the crimson rose flower she sports on her cheek. A former Niait tribeswoman, she came to the Carnival heavily pregnant with her half-breed son, the Familiar. The conception of her son was clearly involuntary, as her occasional outbursts of rage against those who bluntly flirt with her make terribly clear. It's implied she has murdered unwise leches before, but the Carnival has taken pity on her and keeps her in, rather than turning her out or killing her as a danger to the Carnival.
- Berserk Button: A forceful sexual advance or other indecent proposal from any non-Vistani man can potentially drive her into a murderous fury, where she will try and lure them to a secluded spot before violently attacking them and trying to murder them. She can rein this in (requires a Wisdom check not to get berserk), but it's still a bad idea to get too crude when flirting with her.
- Charm Person: She has the magical ability to enchant any man who watches her dance for a minute as per this spell.
- Does Not Like Men: As noted under Berserk Button. It's implied quite strongly that she was cruelly raped.
- Irony: Of a cruel sort, almost suggesting a curse of some kind. She can magically enthrall men to desire her, but if they respond to those desires, she may lose control and seek to murder them.
- Unstoppable Rage: If she goes into a "murder frenzy", she gains increased strength and a temporary Healing Factor.
The FamiliarA giogoto (half-Vistani) born to the Crimson Rose some time after she first came to the Carnival, he has worn the Skurra-vera since birth and never spoken a word in all his nine years.
- Child by Rape: Heavily implied by his mother's backstory.
- Creepy Child: He's perhaps the eeriest of the Skurra simply because of his age.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The Wizards of the Coast writers had planned to reveal him as the son of the demonic Gentleman Caller.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Even Madame Fortuna isn't sure if he has a magical ability to blink back and forth from place to place, or if his uncanny disappearing act is just the natural skill of a small child brought up as an entertainer (and thief).
- Power Tattoos: A variant, his Skurra-vera suppresses the demonic taint of his lineage.
The Organ GrinderA Vistani of the Equaar tribe of the Kaldresh tasque, this music-playing Skurra prefers the company of animals to people, and so spends most of his time tending to the Carnival's many animals. In addition to applying the Skurra-verra variant used to protect the animals from mutation, he also tends to the small feral mutant animals — creeplings and fidgets — that swarm the Carnival.
- Charm Person: A peculiar variant that only affects animals. Specifically, no animal or animal-like creature, not even Raja Sing or Silessa, will ever harm the Organ Grinder.
The Fates ThreeThree Vistani women who work as a team of mummers and mimics, the closest of the Skurra to fulfilling the archetypical "clown" role. When together, they have eerie, mystical powers that enable them to read people's minds, something that is likely to grow in time. They particularly enjoy taunting and harrassing people by putting on mummer-acts that play out hidden shames and dark secrets of people. They are individually known as Leer, Pry and Scream. One wears a harlequin's mask with her eyes further circled in red, another wears red flame-designs on her ears and forehead and cheeks, and the last wears a hideous grin with two black teardrops upon her cheek.
Professor Pacali and his Pickled PunksThe curator/barker for the Hall of Horrors, a former scholar who studied and lectured upon abnormal phsyiology in Darkon's Brautslava Institute. He took a sabbatical to the Carnival to study the Troupers, only to be "trapped" when he experienced the Twisting. For this, he hates Isolde — something not helped by the fact he has devised a false notion about her true identity. He leads the other "true freaks" in plots and schemes to try and capture or destroy Isolde and "free" the Carnival from her Twisting. His Twisting is the truest source of his hatred for Isolde; all of his repressed bitterness, his twisted plans and petty schemes find a physical expression through his flesh, growing into a monstrous mutant fetus that eventually dislodges from him. He displays these horrific abominations as his "Pickled Punks". He is also secretly aware of the fact that time away from the Carnival will undo the Twisting, but has deduced he has spent too long to ever throw his Twisting off in that fashion, which only fuels his jealousy. Still, he hides this from his allies.
- Enemy Within: Pickled punks have the ability to bring out a person's hidden desires and compel them to act upon those desires.
- Enemy Without: Pacali's pickled punks are outside of even their "father's" control. They are also embodiments of his inner evil.
- Jerk Ass: Don't pity him for his Lovecraftian Superpower: Like the other "true freaks", it's due to his actually dark and generally unfriendly personality. Pacali is especially self-centered, even compared to his contemporaries.
- Kill It with Fire: Due to the fact they are saturated in alcoholic preservatives, pickled punks can be easily killed with fire attacks.
- Mr. Seahorse: He "births" a new pickled punk every 1 to 6 months, due to his unwillingness to temper his resentful nature.
- Pet the Dog: In Quoth the Raven #3, it's explained that Pacali is a stern but surprisingly decent master to the midget Skurra known as the Runt, offering him a comfortable place to sleep, giveing him praise and small treats for doing well, and never, ever beating him.
- Seemingly Profound Fool: He thinks that Isolde is actually Elspeth, the Succubus, due to studying Van Richten's Guide to Fiends, arguing that Isolde's unique abilities and the Twisting are due to her performing Power Rituals in unfamiliar domains.
Rasulid Kravvan, the GargantuanThe lazy, greedy brother of Mola Kravvan, the Living Skeleton, above. Transformed by the Twisting into a grotesque mountain of ever-increasing fat, he uses his powers to help Pacali to try and return himself to normal.
- Blessed with Suck: It's even easier for him to control and manipulate others... but he's become repulsively obese, to the point it's likely he may have to be left behind to smother under his own weight in the near future, and he just keeps getting fatter the more he uses his abilities.
- Charm Person: The "upside" to his Twisting is that his already-silver-tongue can now cast a command spell at-will.
- Curse: The Gargantuan's Twisting is unique in how it functions; whenever he convinces somebody to do something for him, that person loses a pound of weight and he gains five. Also, all the food his sister eats actually nourishes him, instead. If he were to become generous, he would be able to reverse this, losing five pounds (and giving one) each time he performs a generous deed for a person. If Mola would stand up for herself, it would also break the link between them.
- Fat Bastard: Over a thousand pounds at this point. Of course, he was a lazy bastard even before he got so fat.
Tenira Courant, the Squid WomanA female lesser seawolf sent by Azalin's Secret Police, the Kargat, to spy upon the Carnival. Her Twisting has transformed each forearm into a mass of tentacles.
- Combat Tentacles: Averted. Her tentacles are too weak to be used for that purpose, though they do make her more adept at picking pockets.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: She's a sea-wolf, an amphibious variety that can shapeshift into a waterbreathing humanoid wolf or a large wolf-headed seal. And then there's the whole tentacles for arms thing.
Roman Olzanik, the GeekA Borcan baron's son who was cursed when he abandoned a starving peasant girl to die of hunger and cold one winter's night. His curse made him unable to eat anything but the vilest of food, and he was eventually driven from home. His Twisting building upon this curse to give him the features of a living ghoul, he slavishly follows Pacali's plans to defeat Isolde because he hopes that doing so will persuade the powers of the night to remove his original curse. As his stage-name implies, he acts by performing feats of vile ingestion on a stage — biting the heads off of chickens, eating rotten meat, etc.
- Blessed with Suck: He's immune to poison, but normal food makes him sick. As a result, the Carnival tests out food received from new locations on him first, to prevent some malevolent soul slipping them poisoned or tainted food.
- Curse: He can only eat food that is poisoned, tainted, decayed or otherwise foul, and eating wholesome food makes him violently ill. And such foul food tastes no better to him than it does to anyone else.
- Man Bites Man: The Twisting has enhanced the power of his jaws, allowing him to deliver deadly bites in combat. Especially since his noxious diet allows him to spread vile diseases by doing so.
- Mundane Utility: The carnies use him as a makeshift poison-detector, reasoning that if he vomits it up, the rest is probably safe to eat.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Roman is still the same old jerk he always was. The only reason he does good deeds now is to try to avoid further punishment, and his fondest desire is to go back to his old life of careless debauchery.
Charlotte, The Fire EaterAnother survivor of the original Carnival l'Morai, Charlotte's Twisting has given her fiery red-and-orange eyes and hair, to match her incendiary breath and blood. She has no qualms with her mutation, but she helps the other Freaks in their plans all the same, as she believes they have a right to have their normal bodies back.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Fire-colored hair and eyes to match her fire powers.
- Bloody Murder: Her blood bursts into flames when it touches the air, so fighting her is very dangerous. She can also set her weapons on fire by smearing them with her blood.
- Fiery Redhead: An Incredibly Lame Pun, but also fitting; she's described as passionate and mercurial.
- Mundane Utility: Uses her burning blood to set her knives aflame before juggling them for her act.
- Playing with Fire: She can create gouts of flame by breathing over lit flames.
- Token Good Teammate: The only one of Pacali's conspirators who is not of Evil alignment (Chaotic Neutral, incidentally), and the only one with genuinely altruistic motives (laboring under the mistaken logic that if Isolde can cause the Twisting at will, she can reverse it whenever she likes, letting her friends stop being "freaks").
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: She has no grudge or hate for Isolde, she just wants to give her friends the opportunity to live normal lives.
TindafulusProfessor Pacali's most secret ally and weapon in his private war against Isolde. The evil wizard who accidentally created Tindal, trapping himself in the mirror-world even as he set Tindal free.
- Enemy Without: Functions as one to Tindal, though see Tindal's entry for details. He can also use a powerful and unique spell (sunder reflection) to inflict this trope on others.
- Rage Against the Reflection: He's effectively immune to damage while in the mirror world: attacks directed at him will just hit the mirror he's looking out of.
- Walking Spoiler: Pretty much nothing can be written about him without giving away the secrets of Tindal as well.
- Weaksauce Weakness: He cannot be harmed while in the mirror. That said, he can be easily stopped by throwing a cloth over the mirror he's looking out of, or turning it away so that he doesn't have line of sight to any enemies.
Philip and Alan, aka the Half-Boy and the Human Torso, aka The Two-is-OneSurvivors from the original Carnival l'Morai, each had their bodies warped to remove a set of limbs; Philip's feet jut directly from his hips without any legs, whilst Alan's hands wriggle uselessly at his armless shoulders. With some subtle help from the Twisting, they have perfected the art of acting in synchronicity; Philip riding upon Alan's shoulders allows them to serve as each other's respective limbs. Introduced in the fan-splat The Book of Secrets.
Corgar and Verai, the Half-and-HalfOnce a wedded pair of fighters from the cursed kingdom of Tovag, the two fought as a deadly pair until one day when "The Whispered One", Vecna himself, bestrode the incessant battlefield between Tovag and Cavitus. On a cruel whim, he physically blended the two spouses together, leaving Verai prone to blackouts and suffering the guilt of believing her beloved husband was dead, unaware that she was physically and mentally transforming into Corgar and back. Saved from madness by Isolde, the Twisting has given them control over their conjoined body, allowing them to shapeshift at will and even assume an intermediate form, the Half-and-Half. Introduced in the fan-splat The Book of Secrets.
- Gender Bender: From male Corgar to female Verai, or to the Hermaphrodite Half-and-Half.
- Hermaphrodite: The Half-and-Half incarnation, who physically blends bits and pieces of both spouses together like some freakish Mix-and-Match Creatures.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Due to the Twisting, it was Involuntary Shapeshifting before that.
Renchi Futo, Ronin ThunderA samurai warrior from beyond the Realm of Mists, he came to Ravenloft when an eerie fog rolled over a battlefield he was partaking in. A mysterious enemy struck his master down from behind, and he immediately pursued him, ending up in the Japanese-themed cluster of Rokushima Taiyoo. There, the now-ronin fell for the blandishments of Shujin Yugami, one of the four evil brothers who tear that land apart in their incessant quest for dominance. He swore loyalty to Yugami, believing him an honorable man, only to learn his master's true colors when, in response to the assassination of one of his sons, he commanded Renchi Futo to go and murder one of each of his brothers' own. When the honorable samurai refused, Yugami commanded he commit seppuki. This the ronin did, now twice-over an outcast and a failure, but as he focused his soul to make the deathblow, he was struck by lightning. Miraculously, he survived long enough for the Carnival to find him and nurse him back to health, but by the time they had, the Twisting took hold, trapping a spark of lightning within his soul forever more. Introduced in the fan-splat The Book of Secrets.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: Even with the Twisting, nobody knows how Renchi acquired his electrical powers from being struck by lightning.
- Samurai: Of the Ronin variety now.
- Shock and Awe: He involuntarily absorbs all electrical attacks and natural lightning bolts around him, though he is fortunately impervious to electrical damage. He can discharge electricity through his strike, or when struck, or even project bolts of lightning.
- The Stoic: This is natural of a samurai, but Renchi is particularly stoic for one reason: unbeknownst to the other carnies, he believes he is dead and that the Carnival is some sort of purgatory.
Grigori, The NamelessOnce a Vistani man in life, Grigori is now a malevolent ghost who haunts the Carnival. He fled from his former tribe to avoid the shalach-ti, the arcane ritual of punishment that transforms Vistani into twisted evil beings called Darklings as punishment, and unaware of his past, he was accepted as a Skurra. Several months after doing so, however, he murdered a visiting child and hid her corpse in one of the vardos, almost bringing the wrath of the law upon the Carnival. Once exposed, the Skurra were intending to perform the shalach-ti upon him, but the outraged Troupers grabbed the ritual obsidian knife and executed him with it by way of the Death of a Thousand Knives ritual. Since thin, his ghost has returned one night each year, on the anniversary of his death, trying to earn redemption by saving or otherwise helping various travelers. When Madame Fortuna refuses to accept his redemption, he flies into an outrage and attacks those he saved, blaming them for his failure. Unbeknownst to anyone, the Nameless can be destroyed in only one way: casting a Remove Curse and a Dispel Magic upon him within one round of each other will strip him of his Skurra-vera (pure bone white face paint, with lines of black daggers making faux-tears flowing from his eyes) and allow a Grim Reaper to appear and drag him to his final fate. Introduced in the fan-splat The Book of Secrets.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: He suffered the Death of a Thousand Knives. That's partly why he's become a ghost.
- Never My Fault: The Nameless is condemned to his undeath because he refuses to accept that he did something irredeemable, and he reacts to his failures by trying to murder those he just helped.
- Would Hurt a Child: The crime that resulted in his death.
Jacobi Firebeard, aka Black JakeBorn Jacobi Firebeard to the wealthy and respected Firebeard clan, the dwarf who would become the Trouper called Black Jake was ostracized from birth. Whether it was the fumes from the family's mines in Dunkelheit or a curse laid upon the oft-vain dwarves, Jake was born completely bald. Eventually, at the age of 35, he left the clan and settled in Il Aluk, hoping to find a life for himself where he would no longer be a shunned freak for his baldness. He tried to live a quiet life as a tanner and leatherworker, but his floundering business forced him to repeatedly take up shady contracts as a sellsword. His path changed when he encountered the Carnival, before their fateful trip to Falkovnia, and he joined them. To his amazement, after he took up his weapons to protect the Troupers against Falkovnian thugs and Isolde swept in to rescue them, he eventually grew a long mane of jet-black hair and a thick, bushy beard of the same hue. This hair was strong as steel wire and mildly prehensile. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Invoked. Jake himself believes his hair and beard are black to remind him of the black-hearted deeds he did before joining the Carnival.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Zigzagged. Black Jake was born completely bald, and eventually got the typical dwarven mane and beard back from the Twisting - as well as the ability to grab things with his beard.
- Prehensile Hair: His beard can't be used for fine manipulation, but it is prehensile, such that he uses it to lift weights - or grab the hands of would-be thieves.
Claudette duMartin, La Petite en PointeBorn to a rich family in Richemulot, Claudette horrified her parents by being born as a pinhead — a birth defect that left her with a bald, pointy skull. They hid her away in their house, glumly having her tutored in secret, but it was dancing that she truly took to. When her family threw a grand ball, she disguised herself with a wig and snuck out against their orders, dancing with many men and charming them with her beauty — until her wig was accidentally pulled off and her deformity revealed, the very thing her parents had feared. Livid at her disgracing them, they sent her to Dr. J. Everett Mingus, a doctor in the Darkonian Boglands who specialised in abnormal physiologies and who had some success in surgically correcting deformities. Claudette will never speak of what happened; she ran away from the doctor's lab and was rescued by the Carnival. Her Twisting has given her literally bewitching dancing, but she can never attempt to disguise her deformity again; attempting to cover her pointed head inflicts unbearable itching. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
- Charm Person: She can cast the Enthrall spell by spending at least a round dancing.
The RuntA midget giogoto born to a Darkling mother and a nameless father, abandoned to serve as a minion for the madman Doctor Emil Bollenbach. When his master was defeated by an adventuring party, the Runt fled into the Kartakass woods, only to be saved from wolves by the Blade Brothers. Now serves Professor Pacali as an assistant. His Skurra-vera gives him a perpetual expression of exaggerated surprise or horror. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: He's slavishly loyal to Professor Pacali because, for all his faults, the professor treats him quite decently. He never starves or beats the Runt, and he even praises and rewards him for jobs well done, all of which are things the Runt has never experienced before.
Armitage Avalon, Mr. FrostOnce the scion of a fairly important family in Port-a-Lucine, Armitage's comfortable life was shattered forever when he drove away a mortally wounded servant of the Living Brain that appeared on his doorstep. Offended, the Living Brain destroyed his family, forcing him to flee from Dementlieu. Taking refuge in the Carnival, his Twisting brought his former icy disdain to the fore in his appearance, though he since redeemed himself and became a cleric of Hala. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
- An Ice Person: A subtle version; he's immune to cold damage, and unintelligent undead simply ignore him, whereas fire damage is doubly effective against him.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: He has unnaturally pale skin, white hair, and ice-blue eyes. He's also perpetually covered in hoarfrost.
Elthryn Winter, The WraithA caustic and highly secretive wizard from Kartakass, who was forced to flee when he inadvertently attracted the attention of Harkon Lukas. Has a huge crush on Amelia the Living Vampire, but is too pathologically shy to admit it to her. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3. Updated in Quoth the Raven #15.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: His Twisting has colored his entire body — skin, hair and eyes — a shadowy gray color.
- Dogged Nice Guy: In his QtR #15 update, it's stated that he eventually succeeded in sharing his feelings for, and ultimately marrying, Amelia.
- Love Redeems: Becomes a much nicer, friendly guy after marrying Amelia.
- Took a Level in Badass: In-Universe, his QtR #15 update says he started learning how to fight, first to spice his act up, then to seriously protect the Carnival against possible attackers.
MirandaA highly curious and sweet-natured orphan from Souragne, Miranda stowed away in one of the Carnival's vardos to escape a pack of cannibal zombies, and wasn't found until the Carnival fled to Darkon. She has been with them ever since. Her Twisting has given her solid silver eyes that are faintly luminiscent, with which she can see in the dark. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
- The Pollyanna: She manages to be cheerful, happy and sweet natured despite the fact that her family were Eaten Alive by cannibal zombies.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Spiritually used with her solid silver eyes.
Albert Hemler, The Human MorningstarA Falkovnian rebel and former gangleader whose friends were slaughtered. His Twisting, feeding upon his festering anger and despair, has resulted in spikes of bone thrusting themselves out through his flesh. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
- Bad with the Bone: He can use the spikes of bone all over his body for defense in melee, or rip them out and wield them as daggers, even throwing them at foes. He can also launch every spike from his flesh in a flurry of bone flechettes, or leap forward in a curled position that lets him smash into a foe like a giant spiky weight, from which he takes his stagename.
LucianA Sithican elf and former adventurer who temporarily traveled with the Carnival. When the Gentleman Caller attacked the Carnival, he was one of those who rose in its defense; afterwards, he chose to stay and lead those members of the Carnival specifically dedicated to protecting it from hostile forces. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #15.
- Interspecies Romance: He initially had a crush on another Trouper, Blasse, but she spurned him in the wake of the Incubus attack on the Carnival. Shortly afterwards, Mola began making a move for him, having developed a crush on him, and they have since gotten together; this has helped Mola break her ties with her brother.
- Magic Knight: Literally. He has levels in the Knight of the Shadows Prestige Class, which gives him access to a variety of divine spells. He also has some inherent magical powers thanks to the Twisting.
- Occult Blue Eyes: The physical manifestation of his Twisting is eerie glowing eyes, which are colored completely in an unearthly hue of blue.
- Scars Are Forever: He has a scar across his temple from a blow that severed the tip of his ear.
- Seers: His twisting has given him several arcane divination powers; perpetual Arcane Sight, at-will Clairaudience/Clairvoyance and Comprehend Languages, and True Sight once per day.
- Weaksauce Weakness: His divination powers can be blocked by anything that would normally interfere with his ability to hear or see. So he can see and hear anything that happens anywhere in the Carnival if he wants, but he can't see anything that happens inside a closed vardo, or hear anything that is said in a place where it's noisy.
Jacques "Red Jack" ChevalierA former scion of an aristocratic Port-a-Lucine family, Jacques was the family's shame for his constant wooing of "lower class" women. When he announced his intention to take a commoner he had fallen for to wife, his father was outraged; he sent a thug to rape Jacques' fiancee, in hopes of turning his son away from her. The outraged Jacques wed her anyway, denouncing his father; when his father tried to stop them from leaving, a fight erupted. The house burned down, killing Jacques' wife and father and leaving him hideously burned. His brother locked Jacques up in the basement for a while, taking his place as heir, until Jacques managed to escape and convince their mother to denounce his brother. He then left Port-a-Lucine, and was swept into the carnival. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #15.
- Ambiguous Gender: In-Universe, the other Troupers aren't sure if "Red Jack" is a man or a woman. This began because of his constant wearing of a porcelain mask and full-body costume, but has been exacerbated by the Twisting.
- Bi the Way: He has feelings for both Silessa and Claude. It's implied that this may be partially due to the androgyny forced upon him by the Twisting.
- Body Horror: He's covered in severe burn scars, which forces him to use a costume to hide them from sight. The Twisting has also made his sexual characteristics increasingly neutralized, shaping him into a more physically, verbally and mentally androgynous individual.
- Love Hurts: He wants Silessa, but she's already smitten with Raja Sing. He wants Claude, but he's too afraid that even with the Imp on his neck, Claude will find Jacques' burns to be too ugly to return the feeling.
- Love Triangle: He's infatuated with both Silessa and Claude, and Silessa herself is already in a relationship with Raja Sing.
- Playing with Fire: Another effect of his Twisting; he's mentally fascinated by fire, finding himself compelled to touch it. Thus far, he's resisted, which has kept him from realising that he's both immune to fire and capable of mentally shaping, controlling and extinguishing existing fire.
The Kargatane of VallakiA secret cell of Azalin's secret police, the Kargatane, boldly operating out of the Barovian village of Vallaki and secretly gathering forbidden lore right under the nose of Azalin's enemy, Strahd. Or so they think. In reality, these Kargats have all proven utterly worthless or simply too annoying to be around, so their superiors banished them to Barovia in the hopes that, even if Strahd didn't kill them, they'd at least be out of harm's way. Oblivious to their superiors' contempt, the Vallaki cell busied themselves with gathering as much information about the Demiplane as possible, eventually deciding that they had been compromised and burning down their bookstore in order to flee. Their locations are now unknown. The core members were detailed in the Forgotten Children fan-splat by the Secrets of the Kargatane, with extra members being detailed in several of the Books of S_ series of fan-splats.
Tropes shared by all:
- Author Avatar: The Vallaki Kargatane were created as tongue-in-cheek Self Inserts of the founders/admins of the Shadows of the Kargatane, the first official Ravenloft fan-site and the original publishers of Ravenloft fan-created material. The "Burning of Vallaki", in which their bookshop burned down and they fled into the darkness, is an in-universe explanation for their meta disbanding.
- The Devil Is a Loser: Invoked; they're all evil and willingly sworn to an evil organization, but this is presented in ways to highlight just what absolute losers they are.
- Evil Is Petty: Calling them "small minded jerks" would not be unwarranted.
- The Gadfly: All of them are in some way highly obnoxious and irritating. Lady Kazandra's spymaster, the half-ghoul Sir Bartholemew Nylreave, hates them so much that his efforts to try and torment them are starting to affect his work.
- Mary Sue: Averted. Their depictions in-universe are very clear about the points that A: they're not that powerful, and B: they're all total losers.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: With how laughably pathetic they are, it's easy to forget that they're vicious, ruthless, depraved killers who will murder and torture without a second's hesitation if they think it necessary.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: The basic idea behind them all; whether they were incompetent or just plain annoying, they were all sent to Vallaki to get them out of the Kargatane's hair.
- Small Name, Big Ego: They all think that they're actually highly respected and admired by their peers, and that what they're doing is vital, respectable work. Even if they think other members of their cell are idiots, they're convinced that they are the exceptionally talented Only Sane Man in comparison.
Ernst TurgadonBorn the scion of an Il Alukian noble family, Ernst Turgadon might have grown to a quiet, respectable normality had he not been born with psionic power. Growing up, he was an eerie child, always asking questions that seemed tailor-made to unnerve and unsettle the person he questioned. He was quickly accepted into the Kargatane and made an interrogator when he pointedly asked Lady Kazandra why she worked for Lord Azalin when she seemed to be only loyal to herself. Eventually, she sent him to lead the Vallaki cell, giving him a strange box and telling him to open it in private. When he did so, he found himself knocked unconscious by an unearthly screaming wind that continued to echo in his head afterwards, coloring his voice.
- Dissonant Serenity: Ernst never seems to get angry, always seeming calm or even mildly amused, even when he’s being verbally abused or physically attacked. People find this almost as creepy as his voice.
- Neat Freak: A downplayed example. He’s much more concerned with keeping his space neat and tidy than his room-mates are, and has something of a nervous tic of making tiny adjustments to the positions of paintings, books and other objects around the store.
- Noodle Incident: Just what it is that he did to get banished to Vallaki. The other Kargats have very clear reasons why their presence would be considered embarrassing or futile, but Ernst seems quite professional.
- Not So Above It All: Despite his apparent competence in comparison to his cell, he does get involved with a lot of the crazy things they do. Like insisting that Ryven is alive and well, in complete contrast to the actual reality.
- Psychic Powers: Focused on Telepathy and Clairsentience powers.
- The Quiet One: He doesn’t speak much, both because his haunted voice attracts attention and because he finds it creepy too.
- Uncanny Valley: In-Universe. Ernst’s voice and emotionally reserved demeanor unsettle people, to the point his questions literally weakened a listener’s willpower in AD&D.
- Voice of the Legion: A variant; Ernst’s voice is constantly underlaid by the faintest unsettling echo of tormented, insane screaming.
William GruhmanOnce, William was the kind of man who would have opposed the evils of the Kargatane. Now, he isn’t that man. Indeed, he’s not any sort of man at all. He’s a podling – a vegetative clone of the original William Gruhman created by a doppelganger plant. The original’s adventuring buddies tried to save their friend’s soul by capturing the podling and forcing a Ring of Mind Shielding onto him before using various protective spells and rights. They severed the bond between the podling and its mother-plant alright, but had failed to account for the podling’s true nature; all that was left behind was an empty shell with the memories of William. The podling killed the adventurers, and then wandered off into the world. Adrift amongst humanity, it found its way into the Kargatane by sheer chance, and then sought to work its way up the ranks; when Lady Kazandra realized that this highly aggressive and ambitious Kargat was immune to her vampiric charms, she quickly sent the potential liability off to Vallaki, telling him that he was to serve as her secret agent amongst their ranks.
- Death Seeker: Averted. He despises what he is now, but he fears the Nothing After Death even more, which is why he stays loyal to the Kargatane; he desperately wants the promised immortality of undeath. Of course, it’s unclear if a podling like him could even become undead…
- Disproportionate Retribution: When angry, William goes utterly berserk, determined on inflicting as much pain and suffering on whoever has angered him as possible.
- Forgets to Eat: Partially because he doesn’t eat, instead using a magical ring to leech life energy from kills to sustain himself, but because of his nature as a soulless podling, he generally does absolutely nothing unless someone or something else is occupying his attention. If left to his own devices, he tends to sit in a chair and just gather dust.
- Also, truer to the spirit of the trope, he sometimes forgets to use his vampiric regenerative ring, resulting in him starving close to death before he remembers to restore himself.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: His wrath is easily aroused and legendary amongst his fellows for its savagery.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: He doesn’t understand humanity at all, partly due to being a podling and partly due to being soulless. This makes him prone to asking all kinds of inappropriate questions – the fact he’s obsessed with understanding everything to figure out “the Great Joke” that he believes Fate is playing doesn’t help, of course.
- Planimal: As a podling, he’s closer to a plant than to a humanoid.
- Shout-Out: As a podling, he’s basically based on the alien clones from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
- Soulless Shell: This is true for all podlings, really, but William’s severed connection to the overmind of his mother Doppelganger Plant means he can actually understand what he’s missing, which drives him mad.
- Straw Nihilist: He sees all of existence as “the sick joke of an insane higher power”, and has dedicated his unnatural existence to figuring out what this “Great Joke” is.
- Trap Master: Tends to occupy himself by setting up lethal booby-traps around the bookshop, apparently just for the hell of it.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: He’s freakishly good at predicting people’s behavior, except when they are being motivated by love. He simply cannot understand the emotion at all, and so his predictions always fail if he tries to use them on someone being driven by love. This drives him into a frenzy of hate.
Holder CrosspenA Darkonian mage whose fascination with the powers of the occult attracted the attention of the Kargatane; however, Lady Kazandra soon came to regret her decision when she realized just what a grating, abrasive asshole he was. Compounding this with a total inability to respect the chain of command, she quickly sent him packing off to Vallaki. Not that he cares overmuch, given it gives him a perfect opportunity to indulge in his passion for obscene occultic lore and dark magical secrets. The other Kargat find him equally obnoxious, but his ability to perfectly find anything they need in the immense clutter of their bookstore makes him too useful to get rid of.
- Animate Dead: He’s gained the ability to do this once per week as the result of a dark magical pledge he made, involving making the only woman who he cared for and who cared for him into a Human Sacrifice.
- Black Magic: He’s fascinated with the study of it, and it’s the main reason he works with the Kargatane.
- Evil Sorcerer: A pretty standard depiction of one.
- Jerk Ass: He’s one of the biggest assholes in the cell.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: He doesn’t really give a damn about the Kargatane’s goals or even his cover job; he just wants to acquire as much secret knowledge as he can, the darker and more obscure, the better. Fortunately, his current role in the cell provides him with vast opportunities to expand his library of secrets, so he’s quite happy to stay with them.
- Red Right Hand: He’s picked up two deformities as a result of his evil deeds; his eyes have white irises and grey-red sclera, and his chest is covered in fine gray scales.
Jaerdaph BaelossAn albino drow originally from Menzoberranzan, of the Underdark of Faerûn, Jaerdaph grew up in a life of misery and torment even greater than usual for a male drow, due to having been born an albino. Eventually, the cruel treatment of his mother and elder sisters drove him to act out, and he became a rebel against Lolth’s theocracy, progressing from defacing the drow god-queen’s shrines to murdering her priestesses. Eventually, his mother caught him just after he had murdered one of his elder sisters, and only the Mists saved him from her wrath. He wound up in Il Aluk, where he first disrupted Lady Kazandra’s mission to slay a rogue werewolf member of the Kargatane by mistaking her for a whore and accosting her, and then saved her by slaying the forewarned werewolf with his magic. She took him in as a Kargat, and cast him out almost as quickly when she found out what kind of an asshole he was.
- Cain and Abel: In spirit, anyway, since both he and his victim were evil.
- Evil Albino: Thoroughly evil (Chaotic Evil, in fact), and also an albino due to a birth defect.
- Evil vs. Evil: He’s a thoroughly wicked Evil Sorcerer himself, but he dedicated himself to brutally fighting his people’s native Religion of Evil before he was cast into Ravenloft.
- Fat Bastard: He’s quite portly, and also a real piece of work.
- Gonk: Ordinary drow are noted for their eerie, unearthly beauty even despite their cruel hearts. Jaerdaph has the typical drow evil, but is, frankly, repulsive. His albinism makes his skin disgustingly pale, an almost scaly-looking pink-tinged white, and gives him brittle, sickly yellow hair in lieu of the typical drow’s lustrous whiteness. Not that he has much hair, being mostly bald, and he’s also quite fat, in contrast to the usual supple slenderness of his people.
- The Heretic: He hates Lolth and enjoys killing her priestesses.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Let’s face it, nobody really cares about his spree of serial killing in his homeworld, since he was targeting Lolth priestesses.
- Neat Freak: A variant; because of his arachnophobia, he’s constantly trying to dust and fumigate the bookshop in order to keep spiders from settling there. He’s been known to offer prisoners a chance to escape if they’ll eliminate all of the shop’s cobwebs and spiders – even the slightest failure, however, elicits vindictive torture.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Privately, he feels like the Kargatane have absolutely nothing to offer him; even the promise of immortality through undeath is meaningless to him, since as a drow he’ll “live forever” anyway, undeath forfeits earthly pleasures, and even the undead can be destroyed, making it an ultimately meaningless goal to him. The only reason he remains part of the Vallaki cell is because he’s secretly appropriating all the spells and magical items he can from their acquisitions.
- The Starscream: His ultimate goal? Nothing less than overthrowing Azalin and conquering Darkon for himself.
- Verbal Tic: Damage to his lips and tongue gives him a peculiar buzzing sort of lisp, causing him to make elongated Z sounds whenever he tries to use words with an S sound.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He absolutely hates spiders, being intensely arachnophobic, as a result of his family torturing him with such when he was a child. In fact, it’s so intense that A: he can’t use any spells that make use of spiders in any fashion as part of their material components, and B: he can actually be paralyzed on the battlefield by showing him a spider, after which he’ll instinctively try and flee.
Drawden SelrachA knowledge-seeking, constantly-questioning riddle-peddler, Drawden was lured into the Kargatane by virtue of a dark aspect of his personality, only to be sent on to Vallaki when his weak will and other questionable personality traits proved he was less than capable as a member.
- Commander Contrarian: A variant. Courtesy of a streak of madness planted in him by a wild magic surge, if ever he falls victim to a Mind Control type effect, he has a chance to act in the exact opposite fashion to what he was initially influenced to do.
- Flat Character: We know… almost nothing about him. Seriously, his entry in The Forgotten Children contains barely as much personal information as Ryven’s. Yeah, he’s almost as much of a blank slate as the corpse.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: He can sure sound convincing, and is very quick to offer information to anyone who he thinks needs it, but he really knows a lot less than he has convinced himself. Those who listen to his apparently “expert” advice may occasionally receive some astute information, but will more likely receive absolute drivel that will probably put a person in mortal danger if they take it seriously.
Ryven TrylbareThe most enigmatic of the Kargat cell, for a simple reason: he fell off of his horse shortly after arriving in Vallaki and smashed his head in, dying almost instantly. Dumbstruck by this, the rest of the Kargat refused to accept his death. They pickled him with quicklime and left him to mummify in a distant corner of the shop, occasionally interacting with him and utterly convincing themselves that he’s still alive.
- The Ace: The Vallaki cell thought he was everything an aspiring Kargat should be, which is why his fatal accident disturbed them so.
- Insane Troll Logic: The reason why the other Kargat refuse to accept his death – the Kargatane promises immortality to those who are worthy, and Ryven was an excellent servant of the Kargatane. Ergo, it’s not possible for a Kargat to die, and so by that logic, Ryven can’t be dead.
- Mummies at the Dinner Table: As mentioned, despite the fact that Ryven is well and truly dead, the rest of the Kargat talk to him and interact with him all the time, treating him as if he were just The Quiet One.
Mynilar SannomAdded to the Vallaki cell in The Book of Sorrows, the second of the Books of S_. The son of a wealthy family from a small town along Darkon’s Vuchar River, Mynilar’s parents never realized how little their wealth actually meant to the local farmers, and so he grew up being tormented and abused as the “snotty local rich kid” by his fellows. He only won acceptance when he wound up loving an obscene tattoo that they forcibly gave him, impressing them, though that acceptance was lost again when he learned about his allergy to liquor, preventing him from getting involved in their friendly drinking. He eventually moved to Martira Bay, where his realization that he was still an outsider led him to indulging in more tattoos, body piercing, and a growing obsession with writing depressing poetry. Eventually, he learned he could influence people to do what he wanted, and he began honing his talents in this direction. When he tried to make one of Lady Kazandra’s pupils into one of his conquests, he was quickly inducted into the Kargatane, and equally quickly dispatched to the Vallaki cell. The Midway Haven Observatory fan-splat The Book of Storms, Spiritual Successor to the Kargatane’s Books of S_, reveals Mynilar’s fate after the burning of Vallaki: he was actually murdered by his companions and became some kind of undead, trapped in the ruins of their former shop. One member of the Observatory’s in-game characters, Craydon, found the bound undead and received the In-Universe Book of Storms from him, and then another, Druinor, unceremoniously shot him truly dead when he attacked Craydon.
- Boom, Headshot: How he is ultimately slain.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Literally. A single mouthful is enough to make him violently throw up.
- Charm Person: His favorite spells are this and others along its line, like Suggestion and Friends and Forget.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: His former partners chained him up in a room in their bookstore and then left him to die when they detonated the firebomb they set off in the shop, either from being burned alive, from being crushed in the collapse of the building, or from either smoke inhalation or asphyxiation. Ultimately, he suffered the relatively quick and painless death from smoke inhalation.
- Felony Misdemeanor: He was shipped off to the Vallaki cell because… he insists on going around shirtless to show off his body modifications and he refuses to stop reading people his poems.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: The rest of the Vallaki cell can hardly be said to get on well, but they’re united in their disdain for Mynilar, whom they consider a lazy, arrogant, pretentious, obnoxious prat with an unseemly love of flaunting his body modifications and with an irritating habit of reading them his poetry all the time. Eventually, this makes them leave him to die in their shop before they flee Vallaki.
- Goth: His love of depressing poetry, tattoos, body piercing and laziness all invoke a pretentious goth-punk poseur sort of motif.
- Karmic Death: Of a particularly cruel irony flavor. He is abandoned and left to die by the same “dimwitted louts” he scorned, becoming undead. Then, the aspiring fame seeker has his brains unceremoniously blown out of his skull by a random hero, with neither his killer nor the last person he ever spoke to knowing his name or his history, condemning him to oblivion and obscurity. Nobody will ever remember him in the slightest.
- Mundane Utility: He’s very fond of using his Charm Person abilities to woo attractive women to his bed and to make other people do things for him.
- Only Sane Man: His attitude pushes him closer to Jerkass Has a Point territory, but he is in many ways the sanest and most stable of the Vallaki cell. For starters, he’s the only Kargat besides Wyan who realizes that Ryven is dead and tries to convince the others of this.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Even by the Vallaki cell’s standards, Mynilar is full of himself, considering himself “above” the mundane drudgeries of their work and refusing to do anything but write poems, read and spy on his fellows.
- The Teetotaler: Enforced by his allergy to alcohol.
Wyan TwichellAdded to the Vallaki cell in The Book of Shadows, the fourth of the Books of S_. Born to wealthy parents in Nartok, Wyan shunned traditional learning in favor of self-teaching himself about the occult, fascinatedly devouring lore on creatures of the shadows such as vampires and werebeasts. Teaching himself the basics of the conjurer’s art, he became convinced of two things. The first was that vampiredom was a darkly blissful form of immortality, and that to become a vampire was to gain all eternity in which to enjoy depraved hedonism. The second was that the Kargatane’s upper echelons were filled with vampires. He set off to Martira Bay, clumsily ingratiating himself with the Kargatane along the way, and ultimately found his way into their ranks. Inevitably, his blatant commentary about his suspicions saw him packed off to Vallaki within days of joining.
- The Cloud Cuckoolander Was Right: The Kargatane really does include a lot of vampires. And other monsters besides. Doesn’t make Wyan any less of an idiot.
- Dirty Coward: As ferocious as his temper is, he’s also a total coward and instantly wilts in the face of anyone standing up to his tirades.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Amongst the Vallaki cell’s personal hierarchy, it’s all agreed that as bad as Mynilar is, Wyan is worse, and they’re united in their contempt for him. They all think of him as talkative, immature, self-important and generally abrasive. Meanwhile, Wyan hates the rest of the cell right back, having little respect and less patience for them, as well as openly considering them to all be dangerously insane.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: His temper is legendary amongst the Kargat he works alongside, and even minor irritations result in him screaming profanities, smashing whatever is to hand and threatening violence to anyone who catches his eye.
- Only Sane Man: Aside from Mynilar, he’s the only Kargat in Vallaki who realizes and accepts that Ryven is dead, and the rest of the cell’s refusal to do so causes him to disdain them.
- Pet the Dog: The only exception to Wyan’s general lack of compassion is his familiar, Sweetums, an obscenely fat orange tabby cat whom he dotes on shamelessly to a sickening degree.
- Too Dumb to Live: He openly voiced suspicions about the secrets of the Kargatane’s upper echelons. That the basic fact – that they were vampires – was true doesn’t change the fact his comments were shocking in both audacity and sheer stupidity. It’s sheer good luck that he wasn’t just killed out of hand.
- Also, he researches the habits and nature of outsiders mostly by summoning and then trying to survive their rampages when the spells wear off. He’s succeeded so far, but as a summoned creature in Ravenloft is trapped there, it’s inevitable that one of his former “test subjects” will eventually come after him.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: As stated above, he believes becoming a vampire is a dark sort of paradise, granting you all eternity in which to explore and sate your darkest desires and passions. This is not the case in Ravenloft, no matter how vampires may try and delude themselves otherwise.
Marcel VendarkAdded to the Vallaki cell in The Book of Shadows, the fourth of the Books of S_. The son of a Tepestani wise woman formerly of Kelee and an unknown father, he was tormented and shunned through his life by the superstitious villagers. When he was nine, one of the villagers died despite his mother’s efforts at treating him, forcing the woman to flee with her son lest they be burned at the stake as witches. They settled in Darkon, where Marcel’s growing resentment against his mother led him to steal their money and run away. Found by Vistani, he offered them his mother’s money if they would take him to the nearest town. The Vistani did as asked…by selling him to a Kargatane agent as a slave. However, the Kargat, a skilled wizard, recognized potential in his new serf and took him in as an apprentice. Marcel learned quickly, and eventually killed his teacher and took his place. Unlike the others in Vallaki, he wasn’t assigned to them; rather, he chooses to spend time with them as part of his various plots.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The scary iron helmet he wears makes him look a lot more intimidating, but impedes his ability to see and hear, and muffles his voice to the extent his risks failing spells.
- Control Freak: He’s obsessed with trying to have control over everything around him. Of course, that’s doomed to failure in a land like Ravenloft, but he’s too demented to care.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: The slightest hint that things aren’t going smoothly, and he goes absolutely mental, swearing profusely and lashing out at his surroundings – and with his combination of powerful spells and physical strength, he’s truly scary to be around when that happens.
- Klingon Promotion: He killed the Kargatane wizard who taught him and then usurped his holdings and, eventually, his rank in the Kargatane.
- Nerd in Evil's Helmet: He wears his trademark scary helmet because, underneath, he’s a rather unimposing baby-faced sort of character. He’s still dangerous, he just doesn’t look intimidating at all.
- Never My Fault: His sheer arrogance means that he refuses to accept his role in the many, many failed schemes he has suffered.
- Unequal Rites: Has a self-loathing fueled resentment of sorcerers, due to the fact that his own failure to inherit sorcerous talents from his Halan witch mother lead to her indifference to him and to him suffering burning feelings of inadequacy.
Jorhlan RaynorAdded to the Vallaki cell in The Book of Sacrifices, the fifth and final of the Books of S_. It was quite plain to anyone that the sweet-natured, gentle, child-like, naive, optimistic and good-hearted Jorhlan was not suited to join the Kargatane. His father, an inner circle member named Magnus, refused to accept this, and pulled in every string and favor he could to get his son into the Kargatane. Jorhlan promptly got himself killed on his first mission. But his guilt and determination to please his father allowed his spirit to linger, transforming him into a body-snatching incorporeal undead called an odem… unfortunately, this didn’t change his fundamental nature, and now he was a bungling idiot who was to all intents and purposes immortal. Finally, in frustration, Lady Kazandra sent him to the Vallaki cell, where he would be out of the Kargatane’s way.
- Forgets to Eat: One of the reason his living hosts often die is because, being both undead and kind of stupid, Johrlan has a bad tendency to forget about attending to his host’s vital needs, like food and drink, until it kills them.
- The Gadfly: Taken Up to Eleven in comparison to the “asshole” Kargat members. To put this in perspective, he has a special quality to represent how annoying he is. Anyone who spends more than 24 hours in his presence has to make a difficult Willpower save or be unable to resist trying to kill him. He is that annoying.
- Good Is Impotent: As his profile puts it, being attacked by Jorhlan is about as likely as being attacked by a damp tissue and only marginally more dangerous. He absolutely hates violence, and is convinced everyone could work their differences out if they’d just try. Unfortunately, he’s no more a diplomat than a fighter, and so inevitably any conflict leads to him fleeing, sobbing over the brutality and ignorance of humanity. He always bounces back eventually.
- Grand Theft Me: What makes him dangerous to others around him; as an odem, he possesses bodies and uses them for himself. Unfortunately, he tends to end up killing his hosts by accident.
- Lethal Klutz/Lethally Stupid: The combination of his bungling stupidity, a propensity towards clumsiness, and his nature as an incorporeal undead makes him an unusual example of this trope; he tends to get his hosts killed with alarming frequency, to the point he was going through an average of seven bodies a day. This means he’s a rare case of someone being so dangerously clumsy/stupid that they kill themselves, whether by irritating someone until they kill him, walking into danger, or just neglecting his host’s needs to a fatal extent. As an odem, he just left the mutilated corpse behind and went in search of another one. After switching to zombie bodies, he still gets into accidents, but he tends to just shrug off things that would have originally stopped him, like walking into William’s traps, getting stabbed by one of his cellmates, or eating poison.
- Man Child: Johrlan has a fundamentally child-like view on the world around him, an innocence that manages to go past “endearing” and right into “obnoxiously annoying”.
- Master of Disguise: Subverted. His attempt to disguise himself to infiltrate a group of smugglers was so damn awful – involving stereotypical pirate costume, complete with stuffed parrot – that the smugglers instantly realized who he was and beat him to death for it.
- Nepotism: A deconstruction of just how bad this can actually be. It was plain to anybody with eyes that he wasn’t suited for the Kargatane. His father pulled all the strings and played all the favors he could to get Johrlan into the society anyway. Johrlan promptly got himself killed on his first mission.
- The Pollyanna: Jorhlan’s brain is a world of butterflies and rainbows, of teddy bears and ice cream. He’s almost always cheerful, upbeat and optimistic, seeing only the good in life and quickly bouncing back unscathed from any exposure to reality’s cruelty.
- Token Good Teammate: He’s the only Vallaki member who has a good alignment (Chaotic Good, specifically). Of course, there are two types of good people in the world: those who inspire people to greatness through their selflessness and benevolence, and those who make the people around them want to kick them. And Johrlan, sadly for everyone around him, falls squarely into category #2.
- Too Dumb to Live: Literally! His stupidity got him killed. Afterwards, his possessions tended to end up fatal for his hosts due to his clumsiness, ineptitude and general stupidity. It got to the point that the Kargat started creating zombies for him to occupy because it was generally less dangerous to preserving their cover than letting him continually ensnare living humans for his ultimately short-lived hosts.
- Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: Johrlan’s Pollyanna status is so potent that not only is he immune to mind-affecting magic, but anyone stupid enough to try and mentally contact him risks being driven insane by the sheer vapidity of his personality.
The Fraternity of Shadows
The FraternityA secret society of illusionists that originated out of the University of Il Aluk in Darkon, the Fraternity may be the most educated group in all the realms about the true nature of the world they live in; only Strahd and Azalin could hope to have greater individual knowledge of the demiplane's secrets. Having noticed the broad similarities between how the world is shaped and their own illusion magics, they have become convinced that they can eventually learn how to usurp the Dark Powers and take control over the fabric of the demiplane's reality for themselves.
Tropes shared by all
- Author Avatar: Like the Vallaki Kargatane above, the group was developed by fans, and the characters were author avatars for the group who eventually took over as the chief producer of Ravenloft netbooks after the Kargatane dissolved. The eventual shifts in membership are reflected in the ongoing metaplot of the netbooks.
- Fantastic Racism: Made horrifically clear in their introductory article in the 2002 issue of the Undead Sea Scrolls; the Fraternity's beliefs essentially paint everyone who isn't a member of their society as semi-intelligent animals that they can manipulate, alter or dispose of as they see fit.
- Also, the Fraternity is strongly human-dominated and there is a significant prejudice against admitting demihuman members.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: Their disdain for necromantic magic is actually a reflection of the fact that, traditionally, Illusion and Necromancy were held as anathema schools to each other; in 2nd and 3rd edition, a wizard who specialised in one couldn't make use of spells from the other, though this trait was lost in 3.5.
- Master of Illusion: Skill with using illusion magic is absolutely essential to even be considered for membership in the Fraternity, and most of their members are full-fledged illusionists.
- Neutral Evil: Most members of the Fraternity will be this, and this is justified because their In-Universe philosophical and moral outlooks most strongly appeal to, and encourage them to recruit, individuals of this alignment.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Touched upon; the Fraternity has a very strong "old boy's club" inclination, which means they are nearly as prejudiced against female members as they are against demihuman ones. This is purely due to tradition rather than active enmity towards women.
- Small Name, Big Ego: As Meredoth points out as part of his spectacular trash-talk during his write-up, they're a bunch of piranhas chittering to themselves about how they could totally take on a Great White Shark if they wanted to. When faced with real big fish, like himself, they scamper away to lick their wounds, and their dreams of taking on the Dark Powers that have even thwarted beings more powerful than Meredoth are ludicrous. However, at the end of the day, this does not mean they aren't monstrously capable of ruining lives and hurting people in the pursuit of their overblown ambitions.
- Unequal Rites: The Fraternity abhors the use of necromancy, and renouncing its study is one of the few laws that members are expected to uphold. The reasoning is surprisingly reasonable, on practical and philosophical grounds. On the practical grounds, they have realised that necromancers seem to more readily gain the attention of "The Watchers in the Dark", making them a danger to be around, especially given the Fraternity's goals. note On a philosophical grounds, the necromancy school's perceived focus on the body is seen as running counter to the Fraternity's emphasis on the importance of the mind, which illusion and enchantment magics support.
- Likewise, the Fraternity's membership tends to look down on transmuters and, to a lesser extent, conjurers and evokers on philosophical grounds; these mages are seen as being too focused on gross matter rather than the subtle complexities of the mind.
Dr. Dhurban AnandaA Sri Rajian Professor of Ancient Languages at the Great University of Tvashtri in Sri Raja, "Dhurban" was originally born to humble origins as a farmer's son named Jamal. Orphaned at a young age, he impressed a Sri Rajian professor, Shakhan Ananda, with his intelligence and skill by breaking into the man's house. Shakhan forged a birth certificate and adopted Jamal as his own, naming him Dhurban. Shakhan trained Dhurban, eventually introducing him to both illusion magic and ultimately the Fraternity of Shadows. He eventually attempted to steal the legendary Ravana's Bane, but his evil heart made him easy prey to the cursed crossbow bolt's influence; he has become increasingly less human and more rakshasa, something cemented by his murdering his stepfather and his brothers to secure the bolt for himself. Ironically, he then lost it to the monks who guard the weapon, and now he has become obsessed with retrieving it.
- Body Horror: His true form is a horrifically awkward looking amalgamation of human and feline traits.
- Demonic Possession: Transposition, actually; having been exposed to the rakshasa spirit haunting Ravana's Bane, Dhurban's acts of evil are causing him to slowly transform into a rakshasa himself. He has currently reached the 4th stage, meaning he's more fiend than human now.
- Freudian Excuse: Invoked; the fact that two of his sisters were sacrificed to Kali when he was young has been deliberately brought up by Ravana's Bane in order to "explain" his growing compulsion to use it to kill Arijani.
- I'm a Humanitarian: After his transposition began, he developed an increasingly strong appetite for human flesh.
- Mismatched Eyes: In his true form, his left eye is a sickly yellow cat's eye, whilst his right eye remains a brilliant emerald green human's eye.
- Recruited From The Gutter: He was an eight year old street beggar and petty thief when Shakhan adopted him.
- Self-Made Orphan: Murdered his adoptive step-father and his biological brothers, eating them both, in order to have Ravana's Bane all to himself.
Professor Victor HazanProfessor of Philosophy and Numbers at the University of Richemulot. Beloved by his students because of his caustic sense of humor, willingness to poke fun at himself and his superiors, ability to keep up with youthful slang, and tendency to take the entire class with him to spend an afternoon lazily fishing and talking about philosophy about once or twice or year. These same traits infuriate his superiors at the university, of course.
- Affably Evil: He can seem like a really fun guy to hang around with, and his students consider him one of the coolest professors. He's no less malicious and wicked than the rest of the Fraternity at heart, though.
- Serious Business: Fishing. He's devoted to it.
Gabrek KrakulA Voros exile who seeks to gain power as a wizard so he can destroy the Boyar of Vorostokov, who murdered his father.
Kristoff LutemmiA descendant of a cursed clan from northern Darkon who are only able to assume human form during winter, spending the rest of the year as lifeless statues. Freed from his curse by the Fraternity, he now eagerly serves their cause, even as his relative, likewise freed from the curse by ownership of the magical blade Winterdamsel, has joined the Midway Haven and seeks to oppose Kristoff's evil.
Professor Erik van RijnA transmuter born in the Amsterdam of the Gothic Earth and accidentally drawn into Ravenloft. He seeks immortality, and this combined with his mutual prejudice with the Fraternity's membership eventually lead him to betray them.
Ambrose SkullyA former barrister turned vice-driven fiend and a successful author of macabre tales and dark poetry, Ambrose is a vicious, profane, vulgar, misogynistic and racist little creep. A malevolent gnome, he is one of the few demihumans to have clawed their way into the Fraternity.
Doctor Anthony ReulandA tiefling wizard of distant Tepestani lineage, Reuland's main interet in the Fraternity is expanding his understanding of arcane secrets and lore. Fearful his infernal progenitor may be coming to "harvest" him soon, he has become all the more driven to amass as much power as he possibly can.
DrusillaA female vampire originally hailing from the Dublin of Gothic Earth, Drusilla was transformed by her sire because he hoped to exploit her talent for the Second Sight. Instead, her oracular magic and her vampiric curse mixed together in unexpected ways, leaving her dangerously insane. After centuries of depredations, she found herself swallowed by the mists after eviscerating a band of would-be vampire killers.
- Expy: She's pretty much a shameless rip-off of the crazy female vampire of the same name from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
SockoIn the dark depths below the surface of the Core, a lonely caliban sought an end to its misery by inventing a companion for itself with the only medium it had; a discarded sock that it made into a sock puppet named "Socko". Brought to life as a unique form of Doll Golem by some twisted whim of the Dark Powers, Socko eventually proved so verbally abusive and cruel that its creator abandoned it, preferring endless solitude to another moment in its presence. Socko might have ended its existence there, had it not been salvaged by a beggar, which eventually led to it being retrieved by Ambrose Skully.
Dr. Rudolph Van RichtenOnce a humble doctor in Darkon, who lived happily with his wife and son. That all came to a crashing the night that a Vistani caravan burst into his home and demanded he treat a badly wounded member of theirs. Van Richten worked on him with all his skills, but it wasn't enough and the boy died on the operating table. Terrified of the (justifiably) infamous temper, mercurial nature and dark magic of the Vistani, he begged them to take whatever they wanted from his home but leave him unharmed. To his horror, they did so by kidnapping his son. Desperately he raced out into the night, where he encountered Azalin; for his own amusement, the Lich not only shielded him from the monsters, but allowed him to command an army of zombies. With their help, he caught the Vistani and demanded his son back... only to find he had been sold to Baron Metis, a vampire nobleman. Commanding the zombies to feast upon the Vistani, he went to the vampire and tried to get his son back, but was rebuked. His son escaped before morning, but it was too late; he had already become a "bride", a vampire created by another of its kind as a lover and soulmate. He staked his son, after spending the last hours of his human self together, and then returned home — only to find that the vengeful Metis had slain his wife in kind. This set him upon the road to become the greatest monster hunter, and authority on slaying monsters, in the Demiplane of Dread.
- Badass Normal: He never wanted to be a monster hunter, but he adapted quite well.
- Doom Magnet
- Expy: Of Abraham Van Helsing.
- Fantastic Racism: Held a rather justified abhorrence of the Vistani for years as a monster-hunter. He eventually got over this.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Inverted.
- The Hunter: The most famous In-Universe example of this, having literally written the book on hunting monsters. Several books, in fact; the Ravenloft monster sourcebooks, The Van Richten's Guides, are based off of (and written as, in the player's sections) In-Universe texts that Van Richten wrote to help others take up hunting creatures. Vampires, werebeasts, liches, ancient dead, ghosts, hags and Vistani are all covered by Van Richten himself. His successors, the Weathermay Twins, would later add to the library with texts on the walking dead, fae and the general spawn of the Mists.
- Lawful Good: Official alignment.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: The Van Richten Guide sourcebooks are framed as being the exact same texts that he wrote In-Universe as guides to other aspiring monster hunters.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Averted when it comes to his murdering an entire tribe of Vistani; he doesn't shed a tear (and few readers would) over killing them in the first place, and even when he does learn that all Vistani are not evil, he doesn't regret killing them all so much as he admits that it was an immoral act.
- Overrated And Under Leveled: In spite of having hunted numerous vampires and other evil monsters, he's somehow no higher than third level.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: When he caught the Vistani who had kidnapped his son and sold him to the vampire Metis, he set a horde of zombies on them, killing every last one of them. Considering they took van Richten's son and sold him to be a gay vampire's undead sex slave, and the fact they only took van Richten's son because their first target was defended well enough to repulse them with violence, it is very hard to see them as not getting what was coming to them.
- Staking the Loved One: He had to kill his own son who had been turned into a vampire. This is, along with the murder of his wife by the same vampire that turned his son, what set off his monster hunting career.
- Vampire Hunter: Though he also hunts ghosts, werebeasts and anything else that goes bump in the night, vampires are his speciality.
Jander SunstarAn elven vampire who originally lived in the Forgotten Realms, he fell in love with a woman in an insane asylum who was actually a plane-lost reincarnation of Tatyana. When the Mists stole her back to Ravenloft, he followed her, and found himself in the role of teaching Strahd what it meant to be a vampire before turning on him for his evil ways. He tried to commit suicide under the sun after failing to kill Strahd, but the Mists stole him away, so he failed.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: He is perhaps the only nice vampire in the entire setting.
- Mistaken For Gods: He is mistaken for the Sun god Lathander in Vampire of the Mists. This even influences the artwork produced by the Church of the Morninglord in Ravenloft, as the Morninglord is depicted as looking like him.
- Non-Human Undead: A vampire elf.
The Gentleman CallerAn incubus, and the mortal nemesis of Isolde. Tricked her into following him into the forbidden Demiplane of Dread in an effort to destroy her, only to find that he too was trapped within. Now, he moves through the mists, always just ahead of Isolde, siring fiend-blooded children for his own evil purposes.
- Arch-Enemy: To Isolde. In a twist, he is no longer a match for her in a fight, but her own curse and his constant efforts ensure nothing of the kind ever happens.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe. He is a demon, and demons are literally Made of Chaotic Evil.
- Charm Person: His incubus powers manifest this way. The Gentleman Caller is surrounded by a palpable aura of romantic allure, and he's managed to seduce both the experienced temptress Gabrielle Aderre and the iron-willed agent "S" simply by gazing at them. He also has access to an array of mind-affecting magic and may even be able to tap into the Demiplane itself to cast suggestion.
- The Chessmaster: He's a skilled plotter. While his attempt to destroy Isolde backfired, and left him weakened and trapped on the Demiplane with an implacable enemy who can easily destroy him if she ever catches him, the original Carnival supplement features a clever plan to destroy her by infiltrating her troupe with his agents, and he may be playing the long game in his attempt to escape the place.
- The Corrupter: He sows misery, evil, and corruption everywhere he travels in the Lands of Mists, which honestly don't need much help in that department.
- Greater Scope Villain: He sired Gabrielle Aderre's Dukkar son, turned the wicked nun Marla into a hideous penanggalan, and taught Madame Irena Radanavich many of the evil powers she used to torture van Richten.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Not all of his children are evil, but they are all affected by his demonic taint. Many are physically monstrous or have obvious physical deformities and strange powers, and those tend to be the kinder ones.
- Horny Devils: One of the confirmed facts we have about him is that he is indeed an incubus.
- I Just Want to Be Free: Subverted. His potential long-term goal is to escape the Demiplane of Dread, but he also enjoys the pain and sorrow he causes for their own sakes.
- No Name Given: We never did learn what he's called beyond the name he gave.
- Power Perversion Potential: Deconstructed. His abuse of his Mind Control to seduce women has left a mile-wide trail of destruction and pain.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: One of the most vile characters in the setting, and it doesn't shy away from the horror women go through when he forces himself on them, even when he bothers using his powers first.
- Shrouded in Myth: Based on the official sources, anyway. The writers have shared many of the plans they had for him after the fact.
- Super Breeding Program: Has been engaging in one with Vistani and part-Vistani women, siring children with strange powers and appearances in an effort to escape the Demiplane and leave his nemesis there forever.
Victor MordenheimA Mad Scientist, and Adam's "father." Damned with his creation, he toils constantly to try to "fix" his wife, but has thus far only succeeded in prolonging her agony.
- Affably Evil: Mordenheim is not a cruel man. He despises death, and would save everyone's lives if he could. But he is also largely unbound by the strictures of morality, and when he can't get enough dead bodies to keep his wife's going, he arranges painless deaths with anesthetic chemicals.
- The Ageless: It's been centuries. Mordenheim doesn't age beyond his mid-thirties, and no one finds this strange.
- And I Must Scream: His wife's current condition is one of constant misery and suffering, such that she is ready to die... but Victor's pride and hatred of death will prevent him from ever shutting down the torturous machines keeping her alive.
- Curse: Even before the mists swallowed Lamordia, the gods had cursed Mordenheim for his arrogance by allowing him to re-animate Adam in the first place. Many fans feel he, not his creation, is better understood as the true Darklord of Lamordia.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all his many flaws, Victor did love his wife and daughter, two of the only real emotional connections he ever formed. To the extent to which his vanity allows him to do so, he regrets ignoring their pleas for him to rein in Adam before it was too late, and he works constantly to keep one of them alive. However, because of his vain, selfish nature, he refuses to accept that he is only prolonging her suffering, meaning that his love for her is still abusive and twisted by it.
- Expy: A transparent Frankenstein pastiche, though much darker and less-sympathetic than the original.
- Flat Earth Atheist: Downplayed, but Mordenheim is a Mad Scientist who "neither worship[s] nor believe[s] in any power higher than man," and disdains arcane magic as a "diversion" from "real science." Despite coming from a world where, at the least, arcane magic is very real and its power is very demonstrable.
- Foregone Conclusion: Without the intervention of the gods that have spurned him, his quest to save his wife is hopeless. On some level, he is aware of this... but he keeps doing what he's doing anyway, because to do otherwise would be to admit to himself that he is as much at fault as Adam.
- Frame-Up: Mordenheim, for all his faults, is usually rather harmless. But the superstitious people of Lamordia are afraid of him, crediting him with powers he does not possess, and they blame him not merely for the grave-robbing he actually engages in but with his creation's murders.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a big one right over his left eye.
- Healing Factor: An extremely powerful one. He will regenerate From a Single Cell if necessary. Even the complete physical destruction or disintegration of his being will only ensure that his undying soul possesses a fresh male corpse, which, over the course of a week, comes to resemble him and takes up his work.
- Lawful Evil: His In-Universe alignment, representing his detached, pragmatic mindset and his selfish, proud nature.
- Mad Scientist: Obviously, but a strangely-calm one, who does not suffer from Science-Related Memetic Disorder.
- Non-Action Guy: He can't fight at all, but there are certain catches embedded in there...
- Pride: His tremendous, overbearing arrogance has damned him just as surely as if he had actually been a Darklord.
- Stone Wall: Can't fight, but he has the hit points of a flesh golem, can regenerate from just about anything short of disintegration, and there's even a timer involved, in that hurting him will quickly see Adam intervening to spare himself the pain.
- Synchronization: He's technically more a feature of Adam's curse than a Darklord in his own right, and neither can die while the other survives. Trying to kill Mordenheim will get Adam involved in short order, since they feel one another's physical injuries.
Stelios, Glyptar of DemiseAn NPC introduced to the canon in the netbook Quoth the Raven 21, a preview of material for the fan-netbook on the Sea of Sorrows. Althea's husband in life, his treatment of her led to his death and her damnation to the Demiplane of Dread. He escaped death by binding his soul to an amethyst and becoming a glyptar, using his powers over Demise's rock and soil to torment his former wife and protect his heir, Leftheris.
- Asshole Victim: His existence sucks almost as much as his widow's, and he deserves every bit of it.
- Death by Woman Scorned: Murdered by Althea for the emotional abuse he put her through. Overlaps with Karmic Death.
- Death of Personality: As the caldera cools, Stelios's sapience and powers are cooling with it. Soon, there'll be nothing left of him but the mindless desire to torture his widow and protect his son.
- Dishing Out Dirt: As a glyptar, he has the ability to manipulate earth and stone. His powers have been enhanced by the fact Demise is still an active volcano, and possibly some subtle boosts from the Dark Powers, but his enhanced powers are slowly dwindling as the volcano cools, and eventually he will be reduced to the level of an ordinary glyptar.
- Domestic Abuse: As mentioned above, he was a cruel and callous spouse to Althea. In undeath, he dedicates himself to tormenting his wife, and has tried his hardest to terrorize his son Leftheris into hating his mother so much that he will continue doing so once Stelios' powers are nullified.
- Entitled to Have You: He took Althea to wife simply because she was a rebellious soul and he was convinced that he could "tame" her and make her a "proper" wife.
- Fantastic Racism: He sneers at the idea of breeding with "cattle," a category into which he places all other sapients besides medusae and maedar.
- Golem: Interacts with the world around him by using an animated stone statue, functioning as this. His body is becoming increasingly unreliable as his powers wane, however.
- Master of Illusion: In life he was a master illusionist, but his magical skills are fading in his undead state.
- Medusa: In life, he was a male variant called a maedar, which appears as a bald human who is immune to medusa venom and petrification and which can undo the Taken for Granite effect of a medusa's gaze attack. In undeath, he has become a glyptar, an undead maedar whose existence is bound into a gemstone, giving him powers of nearby rock and metal.
- Never My Fault: Refuses to accept any responsibility in his fate; as far as he's concerned, his wife was a blasphemous heretic and a madwoman who deserves his constant tormenting of her for her "profane" attitude.
- Offing the Offspring: Not directly, but, he refused to use his powers to transform any of his petrified human children back to flesh and blood, even as his wife was devastated by this. It's also implied that part of Althea's misfortune in having new children by her human "paramours" is that Stelios frequently intervenes to kill his wife's captive lover, her latest egg, or both.
- Papa Wolf: Only when it comes to Leftheris, but he's truly dedicated to it, to the point he clings to undeath out of two goals; to gaslight his former wife, and to keep his son alive.
- Power Incontinence: A symptom of his approaching Death of Personality. Sometimes, his illusions short out and go on the fritz.
- Rule-Abiding Rebel: He was something of an iconoclast in life for choosing to study illusion rather than the traditional warrior path. But he was still faithful to the general rules and beliefs of his culture, which was why he refused to ever change any of his human children back even as it drove his wife mad.
LeftherisAlthea and Stelios's maedar son, born into one of the most dysfunctional families ever. Raised by his undead earth-elemental father after his mother tried to murder him, he has long since come to the eminently reasonable conclusion that both his parents are jerks who deserved what they got and presently just want to leave Demise for good.
- Abusive Parents: He hasn't had a good upbringing from either of them. Althea hates maedar too much to ever not try to kill him, and his dad mostly keeps him alive to protect his "legacy" and to spite her rather than out of any real affection.
- Directionless Driver: When he runs into visitors, he offers his services as a guide, only to lead them aimlessly through the island, feeding his starved need for conversation, before attempting to kill and eat them.
- Fantastic Racism: His father's teachings include the belief that all other sapients are little better than livestock for their superior kind.
- Friendless Background: Raised in almost total isolation, with only his Dysfunctional Family for company. He's not crazy, but he is absolutely desperate for someone to talk to.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe, as his official write-up reveals. He is after all, a maedar.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Doesn't know much about his father's condition, including his fading mind.
- Master of Illusion: Years of training under his father have made him similarly talented. It's noted that he's both smarter and less physical than most maedar as a result.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Averted. He's a rational being that can be reasoned with and willingly lets people go who offer things he wants.
- White Sheep: Downplayed. Leftheris is a racist who sees most sapients as nothing but cattle to use and feed upon... but it's entirely a product of his upbringing. The netbook notes he would happily let any human go who offers something besides a meal... such as a way off the island.
Jacqueline MontarriOnce a beautiful thief, when the signs of aging began to show up on her face, she became desperate for some way to stay young forever. One dead Vistani matriarch and failed attempt on Castle Ravenloft later, she's not doing too badly for herself in this regard, though having to change out her head every so often is a bit inconvenient.
- Cool Sword: Ironfang, her +2 vorpal sword. She prefers to use this to sever heads because of its clean cut, but it's by no means necessary. Even when she's wearing the head of a class that can't use swords, she's capable of using this one.
- Cranium Chase: Her original head has apparently been all over The Land of Mists, even passing into the hands of at least two darklords (who apparently had no idea what it was) on occasion, with her in hot pursuit.
- Cursed with Awesome: Her ageless body slowly regenerates even from death, and actually being headless imposes no penalty upon her vision or hearing, nor her abilities as a thief. She also gets all powers, skills, feats, save throws, and class abilities of any head she dons, is highly resistant to magic thanks to the powerful magic that created her, has no need to eat or sleep, and cannot be poisoned, paralyzed, induced to sleep, or infected with illness. The downside? The heads age quickly while she wears them, she gets migraines if she wears a particular head more than three days in a row, and in 3rd edition she accrues negative levels for every day without a head (which immediately vanish when she puts a new one on). Did we mention that she has anywhere from dozens to hundreds of heads on hand at any point, as of 3rd edition runs a large trading/criminal organization that can get her heads anytime she needs them, and has no issues going and getting one herself if she has to?
- Evil Is Petty: Had no reason to kill Madame Eva.
- Expy: Of Princess Langwidere.
- The Fashionista: Dresses to perfectly accentuate whichever head she's wearing.
- The Fog of Ages: It's been so long since she's seen her old head, she can't even remember what she used to look like.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: According to her backstory, she's an expert thief, but in her first writeup she didn't have a single thief skill. 3rd edition fixed that.
- Gypsy Curse: Her nature is the result of a Vistani curse.
- Have We Met Yet?: Madame Eva likes to pop up and mock her once in a while, thanks to being sort of Unstuck in Time and precognitively aware of her death.
- Immortality Seeker: What started her on her dark path to begin with. If she can find and put on her original head, she'll have the eternal youth she's always wanted.
- Lego Body Parts: She can wear any female human's head, as long as she attaches it with her red ribbon.
- Losing Your Head: The heads she wears remain alive, fully aware of their former existence, and unable to age or die naturally once she takes them off. This means that she has a basement with hundreds of screaming, sobbing, babbling heads that are slowly succumbing to insanity in the darkness. Pleasant dreams!
- Made of Indestructium: The crimson velvet ribbon she uses to attach heads to her body cannot be destroyed by any means.
- Magic A Is Magic A: She can only wear female human heads. No demihuman race, even if it has partially human heritage, will do.
- Narcissist: Absolutely refuses to wear anything but the most beautiful of heads, no matter what useful talents they may have. Fortunately, thanks to the sheer number of heads she keeps, this doesn't really hamper her.
- Neutral Evil: In-universe.
- Off with Her Head!: Suffered from this, and now inflicts it on others.
- Omniglot: Can speak the languages of any head she's wearing.
- Phantom Thief: Once one of the best thieves in Barovia.
- Properly Paranoid: Her profile notes that if someone should turn up in possession of her original head, she'll immediately regard them as a dangerous enemy—after all, they're literally holding her life in their hands.
- Rapid Aging: Her stolen heads age a year for every day she wears them.
- Really 700 Years Old: She's been seeking her old head for centuries now.
- Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Incinerating her original head is the only thing that will kill her off for good.
- Shoot the Messenger: Slashed Madame Eva's throat after the elderly Vistani told her to search Castle Ravenloft for the secret to eternal youth.
- Shout-Out: Her name is so similar to Joaquin Murrieta's that it's unlikely to be a coincidence.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Oh, she was a pretty darned good thief. That's why she decided she could take on Castle freaking Ravenloft.
- Swiss Army Appendage: Her collection of heads grants her a vast array of potential abilities.
- Unishment: Yes, the best way to punish an immortality-seeking murderer is to give them immortality and an incredibly versatile superpower based entirely around murder. For a race known for their skill in casting curses, the Vistani seem to have seriously dropped the ball here.
- Who Needs Their Whole Body?: Even without a head on, Jacqueline can still see, hear, and get around perfectly well. Heck, in Third Edition, she has to be headless in order to use her own 8th level thief skills.
Desmond LaRoucheOnce a handsome, kindly young assistant to Sir Edmond Hiregaard, his decision to investigate a Serial Killer of prostitutes changed his life irrevocably.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Thanks to his hideous appearance.
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: His mind has two wildly different thought patterns, torn between life and death, and inflicts madness checks upon those who try to read it.
- Blessed with Suck: Desmond only needs to eat once a day, sleep for an hour each night, is unaffected by the temperature, regenerates rapidly, can't be paralyzed, charmed or induced to sleep magically, and his left side has all the benefits of a flesh golem. On the other hand, his face induces horror in all who look upon him, and he's prone to berserk rages.
- Chaotic Evil: In-universe, although it probably just refers to his golem half. At least one source lists him as True Neutral.
- Continuity Snarl: His entire backstory hinges upon Sir Hiregaard's original Jekyll/Hyde/Jack The Ripper characterization.
- Cool Sword: Phantom, a +1 silver rapier.
- Emergency Transformation: When Desmond was hurled into a rack of chemicals and beakers by Malken, Hiregaard was at a loss to save him until he realized that he could raid cadavers in order to restore the damaged parts. Unfortunately this inspiration came from Malken...
- Expy: Of Two-Face. Word Of God has stated The Mudman of Bergovitsa (mentioned in Gazetteer V) was intended to be his 3rd edition incarnation, in which case he'd be a loose Expy of Clayface.
- The Hermit: The revulsion he inspires in others has led to this.
- Hollywood Cyborg: He's a Half-Golem, the D&D "fantasy" equivalent, where a human has various body parts replaced with magically animated construct parts. Specifically, he's a Half-Flesh Golem, due to having his damaged flesh replaced with magically animated corpse flesh.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: Exposing his left side to electricity heals him, even after death.
- Nightmare Face: So horrible it induces a horror check even in people who have been warned about it.
- Split Personality: One side is the decent young man he used to be (although now rather embittered), the other half is a violent berserker.
- Super Strength: His left arm has this.
- Two-Faced: His human and golem halves are split down the middle.
The Midnight SlasherA serial killer who stalks the streets of the city of Karina, in Invidia.
- Calling Card: Writes short poems in her victims' blood.
- Chaotic Evil: In-universe.
- Clothes Make the Superman: Wears a magical cloak and boots that make her invisible in shadows and inaudible.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Her entire technique is based around surprising a lone person and killing them quickly. If this fails, she usually has to leg it.
- Dirty Coward: Won't attack anyone who looks like they can put up a fight or who is part of a group, and usually won't attack if she can't get the element of surprise.
- Enigmatic Minion: Operates as this in The Evil Eye, occasionally helping the heroes out so she can stop the Dog Fights and get close to Gabrielle Aderre.
- Even Evil Has Standards: A subplot in The Evil Eye involves her efforts to break up the Dog Fights, a sadistic event in which vicious attack dogs are set upon defenseless humans. She even helps the prisoners escape.
- Evil Versus Evil: Against Gabrielle Aderre.
- Expy: Of Jack the Ripper.
- Knife Nut: Comes with the territory.
- Knight Templar: Ostensibly, she limits her killings to those who she perceives as harming children or disrupting families. Being insane, however...
- The Navigator: Her knowledge of the city's darkest corners is unmatched, making her an excellent stalker and hit-and-run killer.
- Retcon: The Monstrous Compendium implies that she only kills once a month, but according to The Evil Eye she's much more active. Her actions also seem a lot bolder and broader in scope in The Evil Eye, having killed a number of soldiers in the Falkovnian quarter of Karina and gone after their leader in the past as well as having a subplot involving stopping the Dog Fights.
- Samus Is a Girl: Her wide-brimmed hat and cloak hide this well.
- Serial Killer: Unlike her inspiration, she doesn't restrict herself to prostitutes, and seems willing to kill anyone foolish enough to walk the streets at midnight.
- Stalker Without A Crush: Chooses her victims very carefully, waiting until they're vulnerable to strike. She's also been stalking Gabrielle Aderre.
- Start of Darkness: When she was five, Gabrielle Aderre seduced her father and turned her parents against each other For the Evulz, until they brutally killed each other in front of her. Gabrielle then gave the near-catatonic child a kiss on the forehead, utterly destroying her sanity.
- Street Urchin: Her life when she's not killing.
- You Killed My Father: Cries out "For Mother and Father!" when she attacks Gabrielle Aderre in The Evil Eye.
Jugo HeskethYagno Petrovna's first friend in G'Henna, he helped to establish the cult of Zhakata, and then seemingly met his end at the hands of the mongrelmen he'd spent his life abusing. To Yagno's horror, however, he turned up as a ghast, leading a group of ghouls in a series of attacks and grave robberies. Yagno drove him away from G'Henna, but he and his pack of ghouls now roam Tepest.
- Ascended Extra: His connection to Yagno was enough to warrant his own writeup, but apart from that he's a bog-standard ghast in every way. Whee.
- Came Back Wrong: Whether due to his own cannibalistic tendencies or a curse from his victims, he rose as a ghast, an advanced form of ghoul.
- Chaotic Evil: In-universe.
- Cold Iron: Does double damage to him, and protection from evil spells need to include cold iron in order to repel him.
- Elite Mook: As a ghast, compared to ghouls.
- I'm a Humanitarian: In life he secretly cannibalized the corpses of those he tortured and sacrificed in the name of Zhakata, killing and devouring untold numbers of G'Henna's mongrelmen and unbelievers. Now, he's not human any more, so it doesn't count.
- Mook Maker: Any human or demihuman killed by him will raise as a ghoul, if the body isn't blessed or destroyed.
- The Paralyzer: Like all ghouls, he has a paralyzing touch.
- Stink Bomb: As a ghast he gives off a stench of rotting flesh that can make people violently ill.
- Villainous Friendship: With Yagno Petrovna, in life.
- Wolf Pack Boss: Runs with a pack of ghouls which he made himself.
Nostalia RomaineIvana Boritsi's dearest friend and advisor, and the first of her ermordenung. Ivana set her to kill Camille Dilisnya, her mother, so that she could ascend to rulership of Borca.
- Acquired Poison Immunity: The only toxin that can affect her is the touch of an ermordenung.
- Bad Dreams: Frequently has nightmares wherein Camille Dilisnya rises up as a ghost to destroy her.
- The Beautiful Elite: The ermordenung are part of the aristocracy of Borca, and she's the head of them all.
- Can't Have Sex, Ever: Will kill any partner she touches, and ermordenung are vulnerable to each other's poisons.
- Charm Person: Her deep, husky voice acts like a charm spell.
- Honey Trap: All ermordenung are beautiful assassins.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: The intimacy denied her as an ermordenung gnaws at her soul.
- Kiss of Death: How she killed Camille Dilisnya.
- Lawful Evil: In-universe.
- Monster Progenitor: Although as an ermordenung, she cannot breed, she is the first of Ivana Boritsi's ermordenung and their leader. She has a power other ermordenung lack (her charming voice), which may be the result of her experimental nature.
- Older Than They Look: Each new moon, she uses an elixir of her own devising (which is said to require the harvest of at least three young men), to stay young. Otherwise, she'll age at an accelerated rate.
- Painful Transformation: The transformation process is so agonizing that only the most robust individuals survive becoming an ermordenung.
- Poisoned Weapons: Her dagger is filled with a solution made from her own blood.
- Poisonous Person: As an ermordenung, her slightest touch is a deadly poison.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Like all ermordenung.
- Retcon: The assassination of Camille and Nostalia's role in it weren't detailed upon until the Monstrous Compendium.
- Start of Darkness: Was a perfectly ordinary young lady until Ivana asked her to kill her mother and infused her body with poison. These days she feels no remorse for killing and has come to enjoy the misery she sows.
- Super Soldier: Particularly in 3rd edition, where the ermordenung transformation process acts as an overall enhancement, increasing all the subject's stats, with an emphasis on strength.
- Super Strength: As a female ermordenung, in 2nd edition she has 18/50 strength—that is, borderline superhuman, especially for a woman.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Had no particular dislike of Camille, but her devotion to Ivana overwhelmed any qualms she may have had about killing her.
- Villainous Friendship: With Ivana Boritsi.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Is still haunted by the feeling of Camille Dilisnya's lips upon hers as she died, and is horrified and disgusted by the thought of touching a woman. That's what the dagger's for.
Ahmi VanjukoA ranger from Oerth; he ran afoul of Easan the Mad and wound up trapped in the body of a mechanical golem.
- Blessed with Suck: Has all the benefits (minus the immunity to mind spells) of a mechanical golem and is virtually immortal—at the expense of everything he held dear.
- Chaotic Neutral: In-universe.
- Friend to All Living Things: As a ranger. These days, though, Animals Hate Him, fleeing when he comes within fifty feet of them.
- The Hermit: Has isolated himself in a cave in the forest.
- Magitek: Is an example of this.
- Mercy Kill: Has devoted himself to wandering the forests of Vechor, ending the suffering of Easan's other experimental subjects.
- Nature Hero: As a ranger. Although he's lost most of his powers, he still has a few nature-based spells left.
- Nature Lover: One of the most tragic aspects of his new life is that he's lost his connection to the wildlife and beauty of the wilderness.
- The Needless: Doesn't need to eat, drink or sleep.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: A magical mechanical golem ranger.
- Sense Loss Sadness: No longer able to smell, taste, or touch, and so can no longer enjoy nature as he used to.
- Shock and Awe: Can shock people he hits with his claws or who hit him with metal melee weapons, and can generate a powerful electrical aura that will hit any living thing within twenty feet.
- The Speechless: Utterly unable to talk.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Fell in love with a Vistani woman, and tried to follow her group into the Mists, but wound up alone in Vechor.
- Super Strength: As a golem.
- Transplant: From Oerth.
- Unwilling Roboticisation: Via Brain Uploading.
- Wolverine Claws: On his fingers.
Andres DuvallRavenloft's first, last, and only Bardic Lich, Andres was an ordinary bard until his curiosity got the better of him and he ended up on Azalin's doorstep.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: He thought he'd gotten out of Castle Avernus alive and intact...right up until he realized his heart wasn't beating anymore. Within a week, his skin was dried and stretched upon his bones, and people were running away from him.
- Arch-Enemy: Azalin is his, though the power disparity between them means that so far Andres's actions against him are limited to wandering around Ravenloft gathering allies and weapons.
- Blessed with Suck: Has all the physical benefits of a lich, but is forever a horrific monster.
- Curiosity Killed the Cast: Discovered a fragmentary account of Azalin's rise and became so fascinated by the story that he had to visit Castle Avernus in person. As Azalin's guest, he was convinced that he wasn't getting the whole truth, so he investigated Azalin's inner sanctum, raising his captor's ire.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Azalin treated him as a guest as well as a prisoner, regaling him with his life story and demanding nothing save that Andres sing songs and tell tales for him.
- Emotion Bomb: Generates an an aura of fear.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Half-elf, but such a charming person that he was spared the usual Fantastic Racism. It's rather academic now, of course.
- He Knows Too Much: His knowledge of Azalin's secrets has made him one of the darklord's most hated enemies.
- Improvised Armor: When Azalin shot a lightning bolt at him, he grabbed one of the lich's most potent spellbooks to shield himself and escaped unscathed. ...Or not.
- Magic Eater: His only form of sustenance. He can absorb spells cast upon him, or touch a magic user and grab a spell from their minds.
- The Needless: He no longer has any need to eat, sleep, or breathe, although he does have to absorb magic once a day.
- Neutral Good: In-universe.
- Nightmare Face: As a lich, his face is so terrifying that people flee from him.
- No Sell: Any magic cast upon him is absorbed, restoring his health and providing sustenance.
- Odd Friendship: With Azalin, who seemed almost grateful for his company.
- Our Liches Are Different: The text repeatedly notes that he's not a "true" lich (for one thing, he doesn't have a phylactery), but that he's close enough to count.
- The Paralyzer: Has a chilling, paralyzing touch, like other liches, although his is less powerful.
- Single Specimen Species: Due to the fluke which created him.
- Spoony Bard: Although he's lost most of his abilities in that regard, he retains his ability to cast arcane spells, and to use thief skills and bardic lore.
- Technically Living Zombie: Transformed into a lich without actually dying first.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He's sided with enemies of Darkon several times in his efforts to bring Azalin down, and might even be able to stomach working with a rival darklord like Strahd if he has to.
Toben the ManyIf Toben ever had a past as a human, he doesn't care about it. What he is now is far grander than any single life; as his title implies, Toben is not a single creature, but a single mind that inhabits the bodies of all those killed by his Grinning Sickness or anyone killed by one of his bodies. Either way, the corpse develops a rictus grin and a fiendish intelligence, capable of coordinating its actions with all of Toben's other bodies to a degree most necromancers would commit genocide for. Beyond that, though, he's not really a macro-scale threat like a darklord; he's far too self-centered and lazy for that. He is, however, a sadist; seeing as how he has nothing to do with his immortality, he enjoys making a game of it. A very cruel game of it.
- A God Am I: Perhaps not a god, but he does think of himself as superior to everyone with only a single body.
- Ax-Crazy: Of a more subdued manner, but he's exactly as insane and sadistic as his symptoms suggest.
- Break Them by Talking: He loves tormenting people psychologically.
- Cursed with Awesome: The dominant theory as to his origins state he was a soldier who used a disguise to provoke a massacre of a Vistani caravan, and is now a Hive Mind due to what was probably intended as an Ironic Hell of Loss of Identity. He really doesn't mind.
- For the Evulz: A bored Toben is a terrifying thing.
- It Can Think: Toben is what happens when you give a Zombie Apocalypse the mind of a high-functioning and very clever Serial Killer.
- Slasher Smile: All of his bodies' lips shrink and their eyes bulge, leading to this as a permanent expression.
- Zombie Apocalypse: He's not planning on taking over any time soon (it'd get lonely), but anyone facing Toben quickly faces this in short order.
Professor ArcanusBorn Randal duPree to a modestly wealthy family in Port-a-Lucine, his fate changed forever when his family went to see a Vistani travelling show. Randal was instantly smitten with the granduer of the entertainer's lifestyle... and, more fatefully, with Nadja the seer. Drunk on too much wine, he couldn't resist speaking to her after the show and confessing his love to her; when she mockingly refused him, he tried to force himself upon her. The rest of the band promptly captured him, and cursed him for his deeds. Soon afterwards, Randal learned that rage or pain caused him to risk turning into a hulking beast, and so he reluctantly left his home to protect the people he cared for. A naturally extroverted person, he began travelling the world, searching for a cure and taking up the identity of Professor Arcanus, using the various artifacts he gathered — real and fake — to run a travelling curio show. He entered the Ravenloft canon in Children of the Night: Werebeasts, and also starred in the fan-splat Quoth the Raven #3.
- And I Must Scream: Not the Professor himself, but anyone whom he bites; those who succumb to his therianthropic curse are transformed into Carnivorous Apes permanently.
- Big Fun: Professor Arcanus is very round-looking individual, but also a highly personable and extroverted man who loves showmanship.
- Chaotic Good: His canonical in-universe alignment. He's a showman and a rogue, not averse to lying if it makes a story more interesting, but he's also a good man who just wants to entertain and amuse.
- Charm Person: In 2nd edition, he can mimic the effects of a Mesmerism spell at-will if he has a focus. The large gem on his cane serves just fine.
- Killer Gorilla: He turns into one when he transforms.
- My God, What Have I Done?: His attempted assault on Nadja was completely out of character for him, and he deeply regrets it. His appearance in Quoth the Raven has him admit that he still blames himself for assaulting her and believes he deserves his punishment.
- Our Were Beasts Are Different: Not only is he a maledictive werebeast, meaning he was created by magic, but he also breaks what Van Richten thought were the rules of therianthropy (only carnivores or scavengers) by turning into a Killer Gorilla. He only has human or beast forms, and completely loses control of himself when he transforms.
- Stout Strength: Most people take a look at the short, heavily-built man and his round face and assume he's overweight. In fact he's simply stocky and barrel-chested; all of that bulk is pure muscle.
- Super Strength: Some of his gorilla-like strength leaks through even in his human form, making his strikes more dangerous.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Because some of the items in his collection are more dangerous than he realizes, he can serve as this. His tie-in adventure, Missing Bones, is based on the fact that he learns his skeleton of Duke Gundar is real only after someone pulls out the stake and revives the dread vampire.
- In his named items, he also has a crawling claw (which would start attacking any living thing around it if released) that he presents as "the hand of Vecna", and his "soul blade" is actually the cursed weapon/pocket domain of Aggarath from The Forgotten Terror.
- Weaksauce Weakness: All werebeasts have some material that can harm them, even when mundane damage fails. Professor Arcanus' is wood. That's right, you can theoretically beat him to death with a tree branch.