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Strahd Von Zarovich, Darklord of BaroviaThe oldest established of Ravenloft's Darklords, Strahd fought a lifelong battle to reclaim his ancestral lands from the Tergs. After they were pacified, his younger brother, a cleric named Sergei, came to live with him. When Sergei fell in love with a village maiden named Tatyana, Strahd coveted her and tried to woo her away, failing due to his greater age and her love for Sergei. Finally, he transformed himself into a vampire, slaughtered his brother and his brother's wedding reception, then tried to Mind Rape Tatyana into becoming his wife with the use of his innate Charm Person ability, only for her to resist and leap to her death over the castle wall. His curse is that, every generation, Tatyana is reincarnated and he tries to woo her again, but she invariably dies, usually after or while spurning his advances in horror.
- Affably Evil: He is very civil, and even nice when he wants or needs to be, and holds himself to the high standards of aristocratic behavior. Of course, he's still a murderous vampire.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain to his brother Sergei's Abel.
- Classical Movie Vampire: Most of his art depicts him as resembling a certain other famous vampire.
- Deal with the Devil: He makes a deal with an entitynote called Death to become a Vampire.
- Dogged Nice Guy: How he acts towards Tatyana, his brother's fiancee. At first.
- Expy: Pretty much the D&D version of Count Dracula.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Invariably reverts to this when Tatyana's latest reincarnation stays out of his reach.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Love Makes You Evil: He murders Sergei just so he can have Tatyana, not that it works out.
- Necromancer: A very, very good one.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: He is quite good at playing one, as shown when he has his duet with Jander Sunstar in Vampire of the Mists.
- Our Vampires Are Different: He became a vampire by making a Deal with the Devil instead of being infected like a lot of other vampires.
- Protectorate: Rare villainous example; while Strahd himself preys on Barovia, no other Ravenloft villain had better even think about messing with his property or people.
- Reincarnation Romance: What Strahd tries to engineer with Tatyana about once a generation. It'll NEVER work.
- Sibling Triangle: His downfall; he and his brother fell in love with the same woman, who only loved his brother.
Azalin Rex, Darklord of DarkonA powerful and tyrannical wizard-lord originally from Oerth, who executed his own rebellious son and then turned himself into a lich to try and ensure his legacy would live on despite that. Was initially brought into Ravenloft as an "ordinary" lich and spent time as an unwilling servant to Strahd before he escaped into the Misty Border, which opened up to reveal Darkon. His curse is that his magical abilities are locked where they were when he entered the Mists; he cannot increase his magical power, nor can he learn any new spells, even though he can still design new magic. Also has something of a secondary curse in the form of his son's ghost, who constantly tells Azalin that he forgives his father for killing him, and should just let go so his soul can finally rest in peace. Azalin, of course, is utterly incapable of this.
- The Archmage: The most powerful Wizard in the Core, magically and politically, and perhaps even in the whole Demiplane. This is in spite of his inability to learn any new spells. Meredoth and Vecna are (or were) actually higher-level than Azalin, but the former's a recluse, the latter lacks power outside his domain, and both live in Islands of Terror or Clusters beyond the single "continent" in which the most important Domains of Dread are found.
- The Chessmaster / Magnificent Bastard: Has blown up the world TWICE in his endless quest for freedom, and is all set up for another go.
- Creepy Ravens: His elite spies are a breed of sentient ravens (King's Ravens, or Corvus Regi).
- Cursed with Awesome: One of the more blatant examples in Ravenloft. With his curse came vast magical powers, absolute control over all undead in Darkon, and the ability to read and rewrite the memories of any of his subjects. He easily rivals Strahd for being the most powerful Darklord, both in and out of game.
- The Punishment: Of course, between the death of his kind-hearted son and heir and the loss of his ability to learn new spells, the only two things in life he truly loved, all of Azalin's power and influence have not really made him happy.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Azalin's name is his Knurl title, Azal'Lan, as misspelt by Barovians. Azal'Lan means "Wizard-King". Yes, Azalin Rex translates to "King Wizard-King"
- The Determinator: No matter how many times he fails to escape, no matter how much damage it does to him, He. Will. Not. Give. Up.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He cannot even fathom how one can rule without being at best the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove, which is what alienated him from his more altruistic son. Made painfully obvious in a short first-person recount of his situation, where he does a bit of good old-fashioned projection by claiming his son had no comprehension of the strength required to bear the burden of rulership (i.e. crush any dissenters as fast and as hard as you can so they can be examples, even if it's your own flesh and blood).
- Evil Sorcerer: An iconic example of this in the setting.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Castle Avernus is a jumble of towers stocked with undead, fell magic and such. Oh, and it kills any bird whose shadow falls upon its walls (except scavengers).
- I Have No Son: Subverted. He executed his own son in a heartbeat when he found him hiding rebels, but has secretly regretted it ever since.
- I Just Want To Be Free: Escaping from Ravenloft is something of an obsession for him.
- It Amused Me: When Rudolph Van Richten runs off into the night in pursuit of the Vistani who kidnapped his son, Azalin encounters him and decides it sounds like a fun idea to not only give him protection from the undead roaming Darkon, but to let van Richten have temporary control over an army of zombies. Which, to Azalin's amusement, van Richten then sics on the Vistani when he catches them.
- Knight Templar: He considers his harsh, tyrannical methods to be the only way for his kingdom (any kingdom, really) to prosper. His son disagreed, leading to tragedy for both.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Necromancer: His control over the dead of his Domain cannot be overstated.
- Offing the Offspring: Bitterly regrets doing it. In fact, one of his stated reasons for being so dead-set on escaping Ravenloft is to go back to a world where reliable resurrections can be made so as to bring his son back to life to make a second go at molding him into a worthy heir.
- Our Liches Are Different
- The Plan: Specifically stated again and again to be his modus operandi.
- Secret Police / State Sec: The not-so-secret organisation the Kargat serves him in this capacity, as well as being his agents abroad.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: In his own twisted way of course; see Offing the Offspring above.
- Sorcerous Overlord
- Training from Hell: When Azalin occasionally takes on an apprentice, this is his method. He also raised his own son this way to make him a fitting heir for the kingdom. It didn't work out well.
- Transplant: From Greyhawk.
Death, Darklord of NecropolisA necromantic experiment of Azalin's that went way out of hand, a human turned into a unique form of elemental. Its transformation sent it insane, convincing it that it really was Death incarnate. When an attempt to escape Ravenloft left Azalin discorporated, Death was outraged, convinced Azalin had escaped it, and sought to send him to true oblivion, killing hundreds of people in the process. When Azalin returned, Death's mass murder earned it its own domain. Its curse is that it cannot escape the truth of what it originally was, no matter how deluded it becomes.
- A God Am I / The Grim Reaper: While Death believes itself to be the real thing, it's not.
- Cast from Hit Points: By imbuing undead with portions of its own life force (or animating force, or whatever), Death can create very powerful and fanatically loyal servants, like the Four Horsemen. However, this really came around to bite Death in the ass when Azalin unexpectedly destroyed the Horsemen and contained their energies, robbing Death of a major chunk of its power.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Not only was his creation an unintended result of Azalin's experiments, but he murdered the entire city of Il Aluk soon after. It later became his Domain.
- The Necrocracy: Necropolis is a Type I.
- Necromancer: Can create and command undead.
- One Steve Limit: Averted (we think). The darklord Death isn't the same creature Strahd bargained with.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Death has an aversion to objects associated with birth, and will recoil from objects such as an infant's blanket. It will also lose some special abilities it has if it hears the crying of a newborn creature.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Though, at least according to S, he was already unhinged - the transformation just undid the final screw.
Tristen ApBlanc, Darklord of ForlornConceived when his newly-turned vampire father bewitched his mother, Tristen's mother was murdered by a lynch mob shortly after his birth, but Tristen himself was saved by druids. When his vampyre nature emerged at age 15, he was seen running down and drinking the blood of a doe by his adopted mother, Rual. Knowing she had seen him, and later seeing her talking to some of the other druids, Tristen was convinced she had betrayed him and attacked her while she was meditating. She impaled him upon the point of a blessed deer antler when he leaped at her, and so he went into a frenzy and drunk her blood - as she had just drunk holy water before, though, this caused him intense pain. Believing she had poisoned him, he beat her to death, unaware that he was actually being cured of his vampyre nature. With her dying breath, she berated him for his fatal distrust of her and cursed him, causing him to be trapped in the small grove in which they had fought, as well as condemning him to walk as a vampyre by day, then painfully die and become a ghost each night, only to be resurrected equally painfully every morning. Tristen did not become Darklord of Forlorn until over three centuries later, after engineering a bloody civil war to become the ruler of the land that became Forlorn after the Mists took it.
- The Beastmaster: Wolves and worgs (giant evil wolves), with the added twist that he can raise dead ones as zombies.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Tristen's good at pretending to be nice, but that's all it is - a pretense.
- Haunted Castle: Castle Tristenoira is home to the ghosts of Tristen's family.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting / Painful Transformation: Every sunset, Tristen dies and becomes a ghost; every sunrise, he rises once more as a vampyre. The process is agonising.
- Offing the Offspring: Tristen's first son died at the jaws of wolves his angry father set on his dog (Tristen didn't intend to kill him, and in fact attacked the wolves trying to save his son, but failed), and murdered his second son while intending to kill his son's priestly mentor. He merely locked his daughter up in the dungeon, but she was spirited away by unknown powers (revealed in the official adventure to be time-travelling adventurers).
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Our Vampires Are Different: Tristen is a vampyre, a living species similar to vampires that also drinks blood.
- Pater Familicide: Falls short only because his daughter's fate is undetermined (see above).
- Tailor-Made Prison: Of particular note in Tristen's case; he can't go more than 300 feet beyond a specific tree in the courtyard of Castle Tristenoira. The domain itself is somewhat larger.
- Telepathy: With every goblyn in Forlorn.
- Unstuck in Time: Castle Tristenoira.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: As a vampyre, Tristen can transform into a worg.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Tristen can't approach people or places with deer antlers, a consequence of his original death.
- Wicked Cultured: He was once, long ago. In Forlorn's current state, there's usually no-one for him to bother with.
Hazlik, Darklord of HazlanA Red Wizard of Thay who had a bitter rivalry with a Red Wizardess named Thantosya, not helped by the fact Hazlik desired her lover, a man named Ordiab. Hazlik's downfall came when Thantosya and Ordiab engineered a plan to end the rivalry with Hazlik at last; during a night of courtly intrigue, Ordiab approached Hazlik, suggesting a tryst, but when Hazlik succumbed to passion, Thantosya stepped out with several of their superiors and accused Hazlik of assaulting Ordiab. The higher ranked Red Wizards tattooed arcane symbols of femininity over Hazlik's head and chest, burned his estate and cast him out of their ranks. Hazlik retreated to a bolthole, plotting revenge, and managed to chance upon his two enemies while out gathering reagents. He immediately attacked them, cutting out Ordiab's heart and forcing Thantosya to drink Ordiab's blood before he slashed her throat with a silver knife, for which the Mists claimed him.
- Bad Dreams / Recurring Dreams: His curse. In Hazlik's dreams, he's powerless before the enemies who humiliated him. As a consequence, he tries to stay awake as long as possible. It never lasts long.
- Bald of Evil
- Ban on Magic: Prior to the Grand Conjunction, Hazlik outlawed arcane magic in Hazlan. After the Conjunction temporarily returned him back home, and he saw how his enemies had advanced, he revoked the ban in the hopes of gaining revenge.
- Beard of Evil: Mustacheless goatee variant.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Depraved Homosexual: Averted. He is a highly depraved individual, and he is homosexual, but the two factors have almost nothing in common. His Act of Ultimate Darkness was related to the man he had lusted after, but he was banished to Ravenloft for cutting out the man's heart and forcing his girlfriend to eat it, not for lusting after another man.
- Embarrassing Tattoo: Played for Drama. Hazlik's tattoos, inflicted on him by his enemies, mark him as effeminate. Literally; the tattoos he has all over him basically proclaim "I am a woman".
- Evil Sorcerer: He's a member of the Red Wizards of Thay; it comes with the territory.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Red Tower in Venificus, Hazlik's personal estate.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Is planning a genocidal ritual that will kill every Mulan (Hazlik's ethnic group) in existence — not just in the Demiplane, in existence. Hazlik wants revenge that badly. (He himself has a way out, though.)
- Revenge: Seeks revenge on his enemies back in his homeland.
- Straight Gay: It's subtle, but someone who reads his backstory will realise he is actually a homosexual.
- Retcon: In the first version of the Ravenloft setting (Realm of Terror) he was simply tattooed as humiliation by his enemies. In the second version of the setting (Ravenloft Campaign Setting aka the Red Box) the love-triangle element was added, but he murdered his female lover and fed her heart to her boyfriend (TSR at the time did not want homosexuality brought up in game settings). The lover was gender-flipped when White Wolf acquired the setting (at the very least, it gives a better reason why his punitive tattoos stigmatize him as a woman!).
Adam, Darklord of LamordiaA highly intelligent Flesh Golem created by Dr. Victor Mordenheim. He earned his domain after one particular night, which saw his creator's adopted daughter disappear, and Mordenheim's wife beaten almost to death at Adam's hands — the precise details are ambiguous, neither Adam or Mordenheim being the most reliable of narrators on this subject. Mordenheim placed his wife in a complicated apparatus that keeps her trapped in perpetual agony, suspended on the verge of death while he tries — and fails — to devise a method to restore her to life.
- Affably Evil: He can be very civil if care is taken not to offend or upset him. It is just that he gets upset very easily and so it is hard to have a long conversation with him.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Interestingly, many people think this is why he should not be a Darklord, but Mordenheim's Darklord curse-most of his actions are things flesh golems do, unlike his vain, selfish creator.
- Captain Ersatz: Of Frankenstein's Monster; even his name comes from what Shelley called the monster outside the book.
- Chaotic Evil
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Like his inspiration, he is easily provoked into furious outbursts, which trigger violence from him.
- Mix-and-Match Man
- Mordenheim's Monster
- Odd Friendship: With Merilee Markuza, a child-like vampire from supplement Darklords. It's noted they found comfort in each other, since both are outcasts who despise their physical forms.
- Pinocchio Syndrome: Wants to be accepted as a man, not a monster. His curse is that he'll never achieve this.
- Synchronization: While Adam is the true Darklord of Lamordia, Dr. Mordenheim is cursed to share the Ironic Hell with his creation, and cannot die unless Adam dies. So long as Adam lives, Mordenheim is immortal and will regenerate From a Single Cell. Even if his body is somehow completely obliterated, his soul will inhabit a freshly-dead corpse, which will be restored to life and assume the appearance of his old body.
Ivana Boritsi, Darklord of BorcaA beautiful woman who looks 18 despite being in her 60s. Inherited Borca from her mother, Camille, whom she poisoned in revenge for sleeping with her lover (also poisoned). Her curse is to never know love, as anyone towards whom she'd feel romantic affection towards would die from her poisonous touch.
- Affably Evil: Adept at keeping this facade.
- Aristocrats Are Evil
- Black Widow: Her curse is to kill everyone she kisses.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in her profile writeups.
- Expy: Of the title character of Rappaccini's Daughter.
- I Just Want To Be Loved
- Older Than They Look: She hasn't aged a day since becoming a Darklord.
- Poisonous Person: Quite literally; her body is saturated with a potent venom.
- You Kill It, You Bought It
Ivan Dilisnya, Darklord of BorcaDarklord of Dorvinia, which was absorbed by Borca. Now shares Borca with Ivana Boritsi. The Dilisnya family was in Barovia when it became Ravenloft.
- Aristocrats Are Evil
- Bad Boss: See Perfect Poison below. Yes, that one comes with the payroll.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Immortality Seeker: Desperately wants to learn the secret to his cousin Ivana's agelessness, and refuses to believe that she has no idea why it happened (even though this is the truth).
- Large Ham: A rare in-universe example.
- Perfect Poison: "Borrowed Time", which stays in your bloodstream for life and causes lethal convulsions every sunset unless you ingest the antidote, "Mercy", every day. Of course, Ivan is the only one who can create both.
- Poisonous Person: Similar to his cousin, Ivana Boritsi, he has the ability to create and control poisons and drugs.
- Spoiled Brat: Ivan is basically what happens when you take one of these, make them capable of murder to get what they want or if they are denied, and then let them grow to adulthood without ever learning better or being punished.
Lord Wilfred Godefroy, Darklord of MordentAn ancient looking aristocratic ghost. He murdered his 50+ years younger bride Estelle Weathermay after years of disappointment of having only one child, their daughter Lilia, then murdered Lilia after she tried to stop him. Their ghosts then haunted him until he committed suicide. It wasn't until Azalin & Strahd opened a portal to Mordentshire that the Dark Powers chose the ghost of Godefroy as the Darklord of Mordent. The ghosts of his wife and daughter followed soon after.
- Achilles' Heel: For all his power, Wilfred can do nothing to prevent the ghosts of his family from tearing him apart each night.
- Aristocrats Are Evil
- Bad Boss: Relentlessly beats up his ghostly servants for the slightest mistakes, imagined or not.
- Cane Fu: He wields a cane that literally beats its victims into submission (manifesting as Charisma drain in-game).
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- The Dog Bites Back: His punishment: every evening the spirits of his wife and daughter rise up and tear his incorporeal form to bits, cursing him for his murderous inhumanity. Rather than learning the potential inherent lesson here, Godefroy prefers to vent his rage on his servants instead.
- Faux Affably Evil: Very rarely and usually for very short periods of time, but he can be charming if he wants to.
- Ghostly Goals: A strange aversion. He simply became a ghost because members of his bloodline always do.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: A conceited snob who cannot bear to even think someone might have insulted him without "getting even."
- Haunted House: Gryphon Manor is packed by lesser spirits, all of them serving and cowering before Lord Godefroy.
- Heir Club for Men: Killed his wife in a rage when she failed to give him a son.
- I Have Your Wife: Daniel Foxgrove's wife, anyway (she's a ghost tied to Gryphon Manor, and will be horribly beaten if he doesn't do as Godefroy says).
- Offing the Offspring: Killed his daughter in the same fury that drove him to kill his wife.
- Our Ghosts Are Different
Tristessa, Darklord of KeeningA ghost who constantly writhes in agony from the pain of her death. Formerly one of the shadow fey who dwelled below Arak, who was converted to the worship of the Spider Queen (Lolth) by visiting drow, and went on to lead a cult to the Spider Queen. Became a Darklord after Loht of the Unseelie Court staked her (and her child) to Mount Lament and she was exposed to the sun, causing a sandstorm that wiped out all life in Arak.
- Ax-Crazy: If you're alive, it doesn't matter what you do; sooner or later, she'll attack.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in her profile writeups.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In life, she and the cult she led were depraved even by the standards of the Unseelie Court of the Shadow Rift - which is a pretty high bar to clear.
- Freak Out: Tristessa's death sent her insane. She believes her child is still alive, but has been taken from her. A surrogate can satisfy her... but only temporarily.
- Non-Human Undead: Undead shadow fey.
- Our Banshees Are Louder: She can kill up to ten people with a single scream. Fortunately, she can only do it once a day.
- Retcon: In the earliest editions she was a Drow (as were the other inhabitants of Arak), but she was changed to a Fae when Ravenloft was sold to White Wolf and it stuck.
Kas the Bloody-Handed, Darklord of Tovag
- Insane Admiral: Kas turned his entire domain into a militaristic nightmare. Every available resource is utilized for his endless war against Vecna. Everyone is expendable, and he would sacrifice them all if he didn't need some people alive to raise crops and build things for his troops.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Like Strahd, he became a vampire through magic, not from another vampire.
- The Starscream: To Vecna.
Anton Misroi, Darklord of Souragne
- Faux Affably Evil: Much like Strahd, he can be very civil and nice.
- Our Zombies Are Different: He is a Zombie Lord, and he has control of and can see through the eyes of all of the zombies in Souragne.
- Tailor-Made Prison: Slightly more restricted than other Darklords - he can never leave Souragne's swamps.
Sodo, Darklord of Paridon
- Blessed with Suck: Who wouldn't kill for a touch that can heal all wounds and even raise the dead? A sadist addicted to pain, that's who.
- Blood Magic: Sodo keeps himself immortal by killing six people once every 13 years with a magical dagger, and using their blood in a dark ritual.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Rose to power by engineering the death of his superiors, like so many other Darklords.
- Even more so, he's treacherous even by dread doppleganger standards-betrayal of one's brethren is about the only crime they find truly abhorrent.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Loves it, but can't enjoy it anymore. Torture devices? He transforms too fast to use them effectively. His bare hands? That's where the "healing touch" part comes in.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: Subverted. He can take any form he likes, but is unable to hold them for more than a minute, less when agitated (read: All the time).
Gwydion, Darklord of the Shadow Rift
- Dream Weaver / Fake Memories: But only in regards to the shadow fey.
- Eldritch Abomination
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Notably, he dropped everything to punish the shadow fey for escaping from him - and got trapped as a Darklord.
- Necromancer: Not one of his better-known powers, but he can control any undead in the Rift.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: He's trapped in the Obsidian Gate, unable to directly affect the Demiplane, but he can mentally influence the shadow fey and throw out the occasional magical effect.
- Viral Transformation: Can transform 'normal' fey into shadow fey at will, but can't compel their obedience.
Dominic d'Honaire, Darklord of DementlieuLooks to be mid-50s and somewhat overweight. At age 7 led his nanny to suicide, then manipulated his father to move to Dementlieu (avoiding the Mordentshire police). By adulthood, he had most of Dementlieu under his control.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Though d'Honaire is usually seen as a Silver Fox, his punishment is that women he feels attracted to find him disgusting. In fact, the more attracted to them he is, the more hideous they find him. This curse is why he murdered his first love.
- The Chessmaster: He doesn't directly rule Dementlieu, but everyone knows he's the real power behind the throne.
- Mind Manipulation: His gaze grants him Dominate as a Supernatural Ability.
- More Than Mind Control: Can also make suggestions with his voice as well, and can adjust his charisma score between seven and fourteen.
Vlad Drakov, Darklord of FalkovniaBig, tall, muscled, covered in scars, and looks to be in his 50s. Led his mercenary band to conquer Darkon, but fled when the helpless villagers they killed rose as zombies. Settled for the nearby realm of Falkovnia, but doesn't like it. Attempts to conquer other domains have all failed.
- Badass Normal: Unlike most Darklords, he is fully human, having nearly no supernatural abilities at all, not even the ability to seal the borders of his domain like almost every other Darklord does. (His only power granted by the Dark Powers appears to be greatly slowed aging, to prolong his torment. They gave him a land to rule, but despite it, he's still inferior to his peers. That's his curse.)
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: His sole motivation before his damnation, and the key factor in making Falkovnia an Ironic Hell. See General Failure.
- Complete Monster: He has no redeeming qualities at all, it seems. And is so vile, even the Darklords whose lands border Falkovnia are disgusted by him. Ironically, despite the fact that he has no supernatural abilities whatsoever, he's crueler than most of the ones who do.
- Expy: Of Vlad III Dracula, with a bit of Adolf Hitler (and possibly Ivan the Terrible) for spice.
- Fantastic Racism: Vlad is a blatant human supremacist, and Falkovnia enslaves or executes any non-humans that enter its borders at his direction.
- General Failure: In his own world, he was nothing less than a military genius. However, Vlad is fixated on the "old ways" of doing war — masses of infantry and cavalry slugging it out until somebody falls — and will have nothing to do with combat spellcasters or gunpowder weaponry. As the nations he most frequently goes to war against are all Renaissance-level, culturally (so their soldiers are all outfitted with pistols and rifles), or have powerful spellcasters/magical monsters in the ranks, his armies are universally slaughtered, further and further cementing his reputation as a laughable upstart.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: His curse means that no matter how hard he tries, he'll always fail in his conquests. His prejudices against gunpowder, battlefield magic, and female soldiers don't help either.
- Hired Guns: Ex-soldier of fortune.
- Humans Are Bastards/Humans Are the Real Monsters
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Like Vlad the Impaler (who he seems to be at least partially based on) this is his preferred method of execution, and he uses it very often, demanding at least one a night, often dozens at once, using it as a macabre form of entertainment. (One rulebook actually editorialized when mentioning the fact, something it didn't otherwise do when profiling the darklords, saying, "If Ravenloft is a prison for the damned, few deserve it more than Drakov".)
- Murder, Inc.: Has a large, well trained military force under his command.
- Older Than They Look: Is actually in his nineties, his aging slowed by his curse.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Vlad is of the official stance that women cannot be of any use besides breeding more men to work and fight for Falkovnia. He also forcibly claims the right to have sex with any Falkovnian woman on her wedding night instead of her husband, something he has no qualms about taking advantage of and which means there are dozens of bastard Drakovs floating around.
- Transplant: Originally from Krynn.
Gabrielle Aderre, Darklord of InvidiaAppears to be a 20-something attractive woman. Her mother prophesised that for her to have children would bring only tragedy. Abandoned her mother to a werewolf's claws, then murdered the werewolf lord of Invidia, becoming its new darklord. Her son, one of the feared Dukkar, broke her and almost drove her mad. Her daughter has two possible fathers, one of whom is a wolfwere, and is coming up on the age where she'd be expected to change. On the one hand, she doesn't want her daughter to be a wolfwere; on the other, if she's not, then her wolfwere lover will find out she's been cheating. Neither is a good option.
- Does Not Like Shoes: She's been described as usually walking barefoot, in keeping with her dressing as a 'typical Vistana.'(Gypsies.)
- Fortune Teller: Can read the future as well as a full Vistani using her personal deck, passed down through her family.
- Half-Human Hybrid: half-Vistana
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Her daughter Lucita.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: She's actually in her mid-fifties, and she (but not others) sees her true age in reflections. Despite still being very attractive, she considers her true appearance hideous.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: How she became a darklord.
- Your Cheating Heart: She's sleeping with two men — one human, one a wolfwere — for pleasure and to support her power, with neither being aware of the other man. As mentioned above, this is dragging her towards trouble.
Harkon Lukas, Darklord of KartakassA wolfwere, a wolf who can take human form; his favorite form is that of a tall human man. Was unusual for his kind in preferring to socialise, and found other wolfweres shunned him for it. Humans were much more amenable, but he still felt a measure of dissatisfaction, dreaming of conquest and power. Went mad after being taken by the Mists and started killing wolves in the Barovian forests. After nearly getting killed by Strahd (who was probably wondering what all the noise was), he escaped into the Mists to find his own domain.
- Affably Evil: He enjoys indulging his human side and acting courteous and polite, but he is still a murderous bastard who kills without thought to the consequence when he doesn't get his way.
- The Dandy: Part of his obsession with human culture involves always dressing very fashionably, though with loose-fitting garb just in case he needs to wolf-out and eat someone.
- I Am A Humanitarian: His personal Act of Ultimate Darkness, but subverted in multiple ways. First, as a wolfwere, he was feeding on fellow wolfweres rather than humans. Second, cannibalism isn't normally such a big deal in wolfwere culture. What made it the source of his damnation was abusing his position as "grandfather wolf" to bring civilization to his ancestral lands and driving his own people away, betraying their trust for his own petty and selfish pleasures, before pushing the colonists to use them as a food source.
- Neutral Evil: In-Universe, and part of his estrangement from normal wolfweres, who are so chaotic that his enjoyment of human culture and plan-making is anathema to them.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: A wolfwere is essentially a reversed werewolf; a sapient wolf with the ability to assume a humanoid form. Lukas is unusual for preferring his human shape and human culture to his "natural" wolf form.
- Spoony Bard: Played with. While he has bardic training and is a fine fencer with his rapier, Lukas often prefers to wolf-out and kill people with his wolfwere powers rather than his bard abilities. Also, his position as head of Kartakass is based on his lovely singing voice.
- Transplant: From the Forgotten Realms.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Dark Powers have enhanced his natural lycanthropy, so that he can look like any race or gender of human or wolf, including a dire wolf.
Meredoth, Darklord of the Nocturnal SeaThe platonic form of an Evil Sorcerer in appearance, Meredoth is a necromancer native to Mystara. A loner taken Up to Eleven, Meredoth killed all of his subjects because of his disdain for the living, reanimating them as a vital experiment that would lead to his creation of the first lebendtod. The Dark Powers gave him his own private island on the newly formed Nocturnal Sea, but also removed his ability to have ideas of his own — he literally has to interact with other people to craft magic items, or at the very least steal ideas from others, which is sheer agony to his artistic impulses.
- Abusive Parents: What caused his initial misanthropy. His father, an obsessive and introverted creator of golems and other constructs, wanted nothing to do with him and instead left him solely to the care of construct caretakers, only interacting with Meredoth to chastise him for trying to get his attention by subverting the control of his constructs. His mother was a vapid and frivolous enchantress who only cared about her own pleasures and had no qualms about using Mind Control spells to punish or discipline her son.
- The Aloner: He would desperately like to be this, and he's willing to enforce it.
- The Chessmaster: How he works around his curse while dealing as little with others as possible.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: Meredoth resides on the island of Todstein, which is in a permanent arctic winter; ice, snow and freezing winds all year around.
- In the fanmade Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer, Meredoth has the "Cold One" feat, which makes him so cool and clammy that not only does he feel like a dead body to the touch, non-sentient undead are likely to believe he's also dead.
- Evil Old Folks / Grumpy Old Man: You really should listen when he tells you to get off his lawn/island...
- Evil Sorcerer: The only one stronger than Azalin, in fact! Not that he uses it...
- Fantastic Racism: Meredoth hates life in general, but he is especially demeaning towards people who don't know anything about magic, due to having come from an empire where social status was determined exclusively by magical proficiency.
- In the Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer, this is part of the reason why Meredoth and Azalin will never be able to form an alliance with each other (which, given their curses are practically mirror-images of each other, would make for a serious Game Breaker): Meredoth is/would be revolted at the fact that Azalin allows "drudges" to hold not only token positions of authority (Darkon's barons) but to actually be of vital importance to him (the Kargat), and similarly would jeer in disdain at Azalin's emotional conflict over his "failures" with his son Irik; by Meredoth's eyes, Irik's total lack of spellcasting ability would have disqualified him from ever being heir to the throne in the first place!
- Meredoth also looks down on Azalin for being a lich, because arcanists in the Alphatian Empire have other, "more efficient" ways to preserve their lives and so undeath is looked upon as something only an inept bungler would choose.
- Meanwhile, Azalin disdains Meredoth for his lack of interest in escaping Ravenloft, his ineptitude at political gamesmanship, and the similarity between Meredoth's wilful neglect of his domain prior to and after becoming a Darklord and that of Azalin's brother Ranald.
- Fisher King: The Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer version has an ability called "What's Mine Is Mine", which lets him immediately sense any sentient creature that sets foot on Todstein. He can also create and control storms around Todstein.
- Freudian Excuse: A combination of Abusive Parents, being raised solely by mindlessly obedient golems, and one of his first "friends" stealing Meredoth's ideas for a new form of bone golem, all led to a man who believes that living beings are inherently unreliable and untrustworthy, and only artificially created lifeforms and the undead are worthy company.
- The Hermit
- Irony: As is common with Darklord curses; Meredoth currently can only create magic items or spells that others have invented, but before being swept up by the Mists he would regularly steal ideas that other wizards had invented (before arranging for them to die or become mindless drug addicts so they couldn't reveal he had stolen them) as well as fight lethal wizard duels for the purpose of stealing his victim's spellbooks as his prize.
- Loners Are Freaks: Particularly when they're homicidally insistent about being alone.
- Magitek: Being from a mystically-inclined region of Mystara, Meredoth has a lot more equipped than other inhabitants of the Land of Mists. Subtle things, mind you, but it's pretty convenient compared to normal living accommodations in Ravenloft.
- The Magocracy: Meredoth is originally from the Alphatian Empire in Mystara, which is one of these.
- Misanthrope Supreme: Meredoth hates living creatures; he craves to only have to deal with reliable, dependable, obedient undead and construct slaves.
- Necromancer: Whether Meredoth or Strahd is the most triumphant example of this to be seen in the Demiplane of Dread is a matter of debate; Meredoth has higher level and invented the lebendtod, which can perfectly imitate a living human and has full sentience whilst being totally obedient to the creator, while Strahd invented the more combat-lethal Strahd Zombie/ Skeleton/Skeletal Steed and lacks Meredoth's curse to prevent him from inventing new undead.
- Pet the Dog: In the Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer, Meredoth has shown honest kindness towards a single living creature; his huptzeen, Hoarfrost. He actually made a fumbling effort to soothe her fear and discomfort whilst transforming her from a white-fang (a form of giant, fur-covered, cold-immune snake) into a sentient magic item.
- Also, not only does she sleep against him every night, on rare occasions, maybe once or twice a year, he will sense her doing so and gently pet her in his sleep. It says a lot about Meredoth that this, combined with his willingness to forgive her for making mistakes, is the most sign of caring any creature has ever received from him.
- Put Them All Out of My Misery: His general attitude towards sapient life.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Todstein, his home island.
- Unequal Rites: In the Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer, part of Meredoth's "curse" is that he has gained the ability to cast all of his spells spontaneously, like a sorcerer. Meredoth hates this ability, because it reminds him of both the envious resentment he held for sorcerers as a youth and because he despises sorcerers as lacking in diligence.
Frantisek Markov, Darklord of MarkoviaA large and fat septegenarian. Grew bored of butchering pigs and started experimenting on them, killed his wife when she found out, and was exiled to the end of the world when the village found her corpse. For whatever reasonnote , the Mists expanded to gave him his own domain.
- Good Is Boring: Experimenting on pigs was boring.
- Expy: He's based on Dr. Moreau, albeit with metamorphic powers.
- Mad Scientist: Creates "Broken Ones".
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Unfortunately for him, while he is a master, his curse is to never have a fully human form — and to have his own head in any form he takes (so he's always identifiable). He tends to prefer a gorilla body as closest to human.
Malus Sceleris, Darklord of NososThe one-time son of an emotionally-distant druid, whom he murdered with poisoned blankets just as the old man was trying to rebuild bridges with him. Swallowed by the mists and cursed with a druid's ability to always hear the voices of plants, Malus became a ruthless robber baron and turned Nosos into an industrialized hellhole to desperately try to snuff out nature's calls forever. He now keeps an iron-hard control over the land with vast wealth and cunning.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Publically styles himself as a modest "man of the people" with a social conscience that sets him apart from the many Corrupt Corporate Executives that comprise the upper classes of Nosos, but is secretly even worse than they are.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Nosos runs every sort of industry imaginable, from manufacturing to mining, and Malus has his fingers in all of them.
- The Gilded Age: A clear inspiration for Nosos, where the rich live a luxurious lifestyle of parties and Conspicuous Consumption, while the downtrodden poor toil away in dangerous mines and pollution-spewing factories.
- Hookers and Blow: One of his unique diseases, "Dum Dum Fever," causes intelligence drain, and Malus has used his information network to spread the idea that it comes from prostitutes. Thus, using it on his rivals damages their wits and their reputations.
- Hope Sprouts Eternal: No matter what, Malus can feel new life sleeping beneath Nosos, and he is driven to continue striving to pollute his domain further in a useless quest to stamp it out forever.
- Last-Second Chance: The night before he murdered his father, the old druid embraced him as a son, admitted his failings as a father, and pledged to do better. Interestingly, this was a Last-Second Chance for both of them; Malus almost decided not to go through with using the infected blankets to kill him, but ultimately did it anyway.
- Lured Into a Trap: Malus has repeatedly pretended to arrange for labor meetings among the lower classes of Nosos, only to capture and arrest or murder all those involved, to crush dissent to his rule.
- Neutral Evil: His In-Universe alignment, reflecting his ruthless self-interest and lack of attachment to any ethical ethos.
- Nightmarish Factory: He runs lots of 'em, pretending to regret their poor conditions, but privately not caring so long as they despoil the land and fill his hands with gold.
- Poisonous Person: A callback to how he murdered his father. Malus's body cannot be infected with disease or poisoned, but he sometimes infects others by deliberately contaminating himself.
- Polluted Wasteland: His unending quest to destroy every trace of nature in Nosos that he can has ensured that the only parts of his domain that aren't empty deserts strewn with industrial refuse are urban nightmares full of trash, smoke, and soot.
- Talking to Plants: The reason for his frenzied hatred of all nature. He is effectively using a druid's speak with plants ability all the time, and bigger plants like trees whisper about his crimes. Smaller plants, like grasses, don't communicate as well, but they still form a kind of buzzing, which is why those who want to have lawns (mostly upperclass citizens showing off) must pay heavy taxes by the square yard.
- Terrified of Germs: Nosos's upper classes all fall into this trope thanks to his influence and willingness to use disease as a weapon of terror to keep them in line.
- Typhoid Mary: He is completely immune to all forms of disease and poison, but can still act as a carrier to infect others. He usually wears gloves to avoid doing this, but if he decides to remove them to, say, shake hands with a fine young gentleman...
Sir Tristen Hiregaard / Malken, Darklord of Nova VaasaLooks to be in his late 60s. Inherited his father's curse to "kill any woman he loved and any man who crossed him". Found out the hard way during a tryst with a peasant girl. Killed nine more women before attempting suicide, but the Mists gave him a new realm instead.
- Arranged Marriage: Part of Tristen's curse is that Malken will always murder any woman he loves. His extended family of beloved children were born from a loveless arranged marriage.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Malken. Indeed, Tristen's life is based around fouling up Malken's network to blunt the impact he makes when active.
- Heroic Willpower: Heroic might be a bit of a stretch (Tristen is listed as Lawful Neutral on his character sheet, and whether he's a benign ruler or not really depends on who you ask), but the reason Malken isn't as powerful as most Darklords is that Tristen constantly struggles against him.
- Jekyll & Hyde: The Ravenloft version. More-noticeable in the early versions, when Malken was much less intelligent and much more bestial.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Malken uses animal masks when dealing with underlings.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Malken is more curse than man. Trying to stab Tristen's transformed body will only kill him, and Malken will go on to possess Tristen's eldest son, whose first act will be to murder his beloved wife. Killing him will only pass the curse on to the next son, and it goes all the way down to an eight year old. And if he's killed, the curse will befall the son of Tristen's eldest son. The only way to finish off Malken for good is for a woman who loves his host to be the one who does him in.
- Reality Warper: Malken has a Blessed with Suck version — he's a Control Freak, so his powers constantly edit the world around him as his curse.
- Silver Fox: Tristen is getting on in years, and the books go out of their way to note that he's still pretty good-looking. Of course, given the reputation his situation has caused, there are very few women in Nova Vassa who are terribly interested.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Malken, not Tristen, is the actual darklord of Nova Vassa, and has the vast majority of the powers. On the flip side, it is very difficult for Malken to actually use most of them, even when he is in control. (For example, he has no power to seal the borders of his domain, unlike most darklords.)
- White Hair, Black Heart: Tristen's hair turns white when Malken's in control. This extends to anyone else Malken "passes on" to.
Pharaoh Anhktepot, Darklord of Har'AkirSometime ruler of a mighty empire, now a greater mummy after his desire to escape death led to the ruin of his kingdom and his person being mummified alive. His curse is the desire to live again as a great ruler and king, but to never be able to truly achieve it.
- Entitled Bastard: The game notes that Ankhtepot, if he could become mortal again, would never be satisfied with "merely" being a commoner or tiny village headman. In his mind, he deserves the power and prestige of being again the mighty king of a mighty empire.
- Human Sacrifice: He can kill a sentient creature on one of the altars in his temple to drain their vitality and become human again for a day. However, while he is human, he loses all his powers and defenses, and if killed in this state he will only rise again as a mummy if he is mummified again. Furthermore, Har'Akir is tiny, and there is only a single mud-hut village nearby. If he kills too many, the village will die out and Anhktepot may never be able to become alive again at all.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe, as an ex-tyrannical god-king.
- Mummy: A mixture of the Hollywood and Dungeons and Dragons versions.
- Necromancer: Ankhtepot controls many other mummies, some of whom are actually stronger than him, and he can make more by bringing back victims dying of his Touch of Death to be mummified alive.
- Plague Master: Like all Ravenloft Greater Mummies, his touch causes the terrible disease mummy rot.
- Power Of The Sun: He is still technically the priest of Ra, and, though Ra has abandoned him, the Dark Powers are the ones supplying clerics in the Demiplane of Dread.
- Rage Against the Heavens: When he was still pharaoh, he killed priests who could not make him immortal until he walked into the temple of Ra and raged that the gods had failed him. Ra, whose high priest he was, told him that he would live forever, but probably regret it, and gave him the Touch of Death that led to his ruin.
- Riches to Rags: From the ruler of a vast empire to occupying a mostly-empty tomb on the edge of a tiny patch of desert and mud with a single small village nearby that he doesn't so much rule as occasionally wander out to terrify.
- Shout-Out: Anhktepot is obviously meant to mimic the main character of The Mummy (1932).
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Anhktepot's damnation came from his desire for immortal life. Now, as a mummy, he believes that he would be satisfied with mortality, if he could only have a few more years of life. (Reigning as a mighty god-king, of course, and not as a lowly peasant.)
Jacqueline Renier, Darklord of RichemulotA beautiful female... wererat. Murdered the previous lord, her grandfather, for Richemulot.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: alternate forms include normal-sized rat, giant rat, rat-woman, and gas cloud.
- Skunk Stripe: black with streaks of grey at the temples
- Tragic Monster: All she wants is somebody who can love her, but her curse is that she invariably shapeshifts into her animal form whenever she's alone in a room with somebody she really loves — and she falls in genuine love quite easily. Almost invariably, she then kills him because she's convinced he would never love her back after seeing her true nature as a wererat. (Knowing this full well, when it came to the man she loved above all others, she tried to infect him with lycanthropy before being alone with him - but the attempt botched and he disappeared, leaving her heartbroken.)
- Also, she suffers a crippling phobia of being alone, but all her family despise her, meaning she can either be alone and terrified or force herself to tolerate the company of monsters who she hates and who she hates right back.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Inherited the title of darklord by murdering her grandfather, the former darklord.
Inza Magdova Kulchevich, Darklord of SithicusAppears to be a young Vistana woman in her late teens. Betrayed her mother and her caravan for power and safety, only to have the surviving members of the caravan hunt her down for vengeance. In seeking to escape, found herself cursed with the mantle of darklord.
- Good Hurts Evil: The presence of a true innocent causes her pain.
- Living Shadow: What she is now. Indeed, an amorphous blot of living shadow is what her true form has become, and she struggles to hold a human form.
Laveeda, Leticia and Lorinda, the Three Hags, Darklords of TepestAll three were found on a doorstep. Had a penchant for murdering travelers for their valuables and... disposing of the bodies via cooking. Tried to seduce a gigolo to escape their farmstead, but he played them against each other and they killed him. The Mists then led them to their current domain in Ravenloft.
Barok Urik von Kharkov, Darklord of ValachanTall and broad-shouldered. After escaping his vampire master, was rewarded by the mists with his own domain.
- A Wizard Did It: His very existence; a panther turned into a human who eventually became a vampire.
- The Bluebeard: Marries frequently, but ends up killing his brides out of paranoia that they know his true nature.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Panther turned human turned vampire.
- Our Vampires Are Different: He's a unique form of nosferatu strain, and used to be a panther. As a result, he has clawed, furry, paw-like hands.
- Token Minority: One of the few black Darklords to receive any focus in the gameline.
Esan the Mad, Darklord of VechorA wood elf unwillingly possesed by a fiend, which later merged with him. He secluded himself in an island mansion and studied souls for a means to free himself, but instead went on to perform experiments on other creatures. The mists drew him and his island, Vechor, into Ravenloft.
- Mad Scientist
- Our Elves Are Different
- Reality Warper: Esan is a master of Wild Magic, and can also change the landscape of his domain to whatever his mad whim dictates, including walls of flesh and green skies.
- Transplant: Originally from Greyhawk.
Alfred Timothy, Darklord of VerbrekA werewolf with a slender, pale human form. Tortured many clerics in an attempt to become one to a "Wolf God" but ultimately failed. He was eventually caught after a rampage and freed by some Vistani, whom he betrayed, and was shortly after swallowed by the Mists. Strong passion forces him into human form, which he despises.
The title of Darklord may change hands through many means, such as inheritance or conquest, so many former Darklords remain unknown.
Vecna, Lesser Deity (former Darklord of Cavitus)Defied the Dark Powers and escaped back to Oerth.
- The Archmage: Far more powerful than even Azalin.
- Our Liches Are Different
- Physical God
- The Plan: A pretty good one in Die, Vecna, Die!.
- Transplant: From Greyhawk, to which he eventually returned.
Lord Soth, Krynnish Death Knight (former Darklord of Sithicus)Snatched by the Mists whilst angrily tormenting the ghost of his seneschal, Caradoc, who he had sent to steal away Kitiara's soul from the Abyss and who had demanded Soth's promised payment of being restored to life first. Eventually found himself entrapped in the center of an Elf-populated land that was a distorted echo of Daargard Keep back on Krynn. His disillusionment with his new domain meant he was eventually returned to Krynn for being too dull for the Dark Powers' liking.
- The Atoner: Sort of. Eventually, he came to realize that what he had done was wrong, that he deserved what he got, and stopped fighting it. Paradoxically, the Dark Powers then set him free, since his despair made him not worth torturing any longer.
- Black Knight: As befits a Death Knight.
- Classic Villain: In the final issue of Dragon (the official D & D magazine), he was named as one of the greatest villains of all time, and he is widely considered by fans to be the archetypal Death Knight.
- Continuity Snarl: Over whether or not he actually was trapped in Ravenloft, due to the authors of Dragonlance hating his having been taken and trigging an Armed with Canon war between Dragonlance and Ravenloft authors.
- Enemy to All Living Things: Via his powers as a Death Knight.
- Fallen Hero: Big time.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe, and an important part of his characterization. If he weren't accustomed to rigid military order and precision, having everything being just a little bit off wouldn't bug him as much.
- The Punishment: Even before being turned into a Darklord, Soth's undead state was this. Afterwards, he is condemned to suffer the imperfect reflection of his state; Nedragaard Keep is always "off" in some way and his banshees can never perfectly tell his story of damnation. Doesn't sound like much, but it drove Soth completely bonkers.
- Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: Inverted; Soth's falling into sullen stoicism (and increasingly immersing himself in a dream-world of his own invention via magic mirrors) meant he was content to just sit there and do nothing. He was so boring that the Dark Powers sent him back to Krynn rather than keep him in Ravenloft, especially after the more-promising Inza showed up as a new candidate for Darklordship.
- The Undead
- Was Once a Man
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.
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.
- 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 Demiplane's 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.
- 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.
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 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.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Raja Sing, since he's usually a violent monster.
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.
- 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.
- 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 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."
- I Was Quite a Looker: Before the Twisting took hold, she was quite beautiful. Fortunately, 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: Easily pushed around by her abusive brother, so much so that the Twisting is literally causing him to absorb her flesh.
Raja Sing, 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.
- My Instincts Are Showing: Even in human form, he can't shake his fear of lightning.
- Was Once a Man: Like many lycanthropes. However, in recent times, he has begun to worry that the opposite is true: that he's a dangerous beast that turns into a man rather than the opposite.
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.
- 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 batwings.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
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.
- Kill It with Fire: Due to the fact they are saturated in alcoholic preservatives, pickled punks can be easily killed with fire attacks.
- 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.
- Mr. Seahorse: He "births" a new pickled punk every 1 to 6 months, due to his unwillingness to temper his resentful nature.
- 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.
- 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.
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 page 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.
- 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.
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 blackhearted 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 Richemutot, 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 Point-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, but is too pathologically shy to admit it to her. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: His Twisting has colored his entire body — skin, hair and eyes — a shadowy gray color.
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.
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 A 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.
Dr. Rudolph Van RichtenOne 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, mecurial 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
- Literary Agent Hypothesis
- 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.
- 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