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Characters in the Ravenloft setting of Dungeons & Dragons.

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Unique Races of the Demiplane of Dread

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The most mysterious and enigmatic of all the peoples of the Demiplane of Dread, the Vistani are a race of humans who travel the demiplane in brightly colored caravans, called vardos. They possess unusually advanced knowledge of the true nature of the world around them, but keep this knowledge secret to themselves, for unknown reasons. Regarded with equal parts fear, distrust, curiosity and loathing by the settled peoples of the Demiplane, the Vistani are eternal outsiders, condemned to wander without rest.

As a people, the Vistani are divided into three Tasques, which might be thought of as nations; the Kaldresh, the Boem and the Manusa. Each Tasque has a broad specialty they offer to the Vistani as a whole and the people they trade with — the Kaldresh are purveyors of arts and crafts, the Boem are entertainers, and the Manusa are the mystics. Each Tasque also has an unknown number of tribes, though currently seven are confirmed to exist; the Kamii (metalworkers), Equaar (animal breeders) and Vatraska (healers and herbalists) of the Kaldresh, the Naiat (performing beasts) and Corvara (rogues and illicit pleasure providers) of the Boem, and the Canjar and Zarovan of the Manusa.

4th and 5th edition presents an alternative interpretation of the Vistani, where they are not a singular race but rather a culture of planes traveling nomads comprised of many races.

  • Brought Down to Normal: A Vistana who undergoes the phenomena known as "static burn" loses their magical powers, overt and subtle, permanently.
  • Characterization Marches On: The Vistani have actually undergone quite an evolution in lore.
    • The concept of the Vistani first appears in the original AD&D 1e module I6: Ravenloft. Here, they're not even called "Vistani", instead simply being called "gypsies", and are clearly an homage to the Romani servants of Dracula in Bram Stoker's novel. Very little is directly said about the Vistani in this adventure; they serve Strahd, to the point the players may fight them in some rooms or random encounters, but they clearly don't serve him willingly and would happily be free of him — but they won't risk their own lives to fight him, and certainly not if they can't be certain of victory. Which is only reasonable; Strahd is an ancient vampire with double-digits in the wizard class; calling him "The Devil Strahd" is doing him a disservice in that most devils and demons wish they were as threatening as he is. These proto-Vistani lack the magical traits that would become iconic to them, as this predates the concept of the Demiplane of Dread — the tribe's seer, Madame Eva, is "just" a powerful Diviner with a "old roma mystic" aesthetic, and whilst they know the antidote to the poisonous mists that entrap the village of Barovia, Strahd clearly has some other way to keep them at his side.
    • AD&D 2nd edition sees the Vistani name first appear in the original setting boxed set; Ravenloft: Realms of Terror. Here is where they become magical beings, possessing an "Evil Eye" that can manifest paralysis, fear or mind-control effects, being able to ignore the normal restrictions on Divination magic, and able to freely travel through and out of the Demiplane of Dread. This lore builds up in the final iteration of the setting, Ravenloft: Domains of Dread and reaches its climactic state in Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani, which fully explores their status as a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Romani. These magical abilities also make them too powerful to be playable; players must instead settle for the far-weaker Half-Vistani and Mortu Vistani instead.
    • 3rd edition goes in two directions. The 3e update of the Ravenloft setting published by White Wolf continues with the lore established in 2e. Wizards of the Coast largely ignores this lore; in the new adventure module Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, they use a slightly modified version of the original I6 lore, presenting the Vistani as a newly formed nomadic bandit clan made up of humans and halflings under the leadership of the cursed seer Madame Eva, whom Strahd has forced into service.
    • 4th edition drastically reinvents the Vistani, toning down both their magical nature and their Fantasy Counterpart Culture elements and instead portraying them as a planes-traveling nomadic culture made up as much of adopted children and allies, rather than a strict ethnic group in their own right. Vistani are playable in this edition due to this altered lore, and players can be either born Vistani or earn adoption into a Vistani tribe in game-play.
    • 5th edition features two different versions of the Vistani. Curse of Strahd presents them largely identical to their original I6 lore, save for possessing the Vistani name and their signature Evil Eye power. Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft presents them largely in the same manner as 4th edition did.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Perhaps the most impressive power of the Vistani is that they have the ability to not only freely travel between the various realms of the Demiplane of Dread with perfect accuracy and ignoring all attempts to blockade their travel, but also to move between the Demiplane of Dread and the rest of The Multiverse as they see fit. Whilst they're usually happy to offer the former service at a stiff price, they are very reluctant to extend the second service. The only drawback to their travel is that they do risk being attacked by wandering monsters as they head through the myth.
    • The 4th edition version of the Vistani is basically a group of planar nomads, whose enchanted caravans freely wander between dimensions as well as kingdoms.
  • The Dreaded: The Vistani are feared and shunned throughout the Demiplane of Dread, at least prior to 5th edition, and many Vistani actively play up to this to keep themselves safe. Ironically, the Zarovan tribe of Vistani are The Dreaded to other Vistani for their alien mentalities and fearsome magical abilities.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of the Romani, obviously, being rooted in the use of "Roma seers" in old Gothic Horror movies and the Romani servitors of Dracula. 2nd and 3rd edition sourcebooks even openly refer to the Vistani as "gypsies".
  • Flying Dutchman: In 2nd and 3rd edition, the Vistani are mystically compelled to roam; if a Vistani remains within one mile of a given point for a week or more, they fall victim to a magical curse called the "static burn", which permanently erases all of their mystic abilities.
  • Gypsy Curse: The curses of the Vistani are justly feared in the Demiplane of Dread; one of their mystic abilities is that the Dark Powers are more likely to heed their curses and bring them to life. They also have the ability to invoke certain unique curses, the most terrible of which is the mishamel, which makes the victim dissolve like a melting candle.
  • Human Subspecies: Vistani appear human, but are separated by their magical abilities, which only pass down truly amongst pureblooded Vistani. The child of a Vistani and a human (or, more rarely, an elf) is considered only slightly less of an outsider than a being with no Vistani blood.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Experiencing static burn and losing their magical powers is considered a Fate Worse than Death to the Vistani; their name for those unfortunates who suffer static burn is mortu, which translates from the Vistani's language as "living dead". Mortu are also characterized as being "despondent and restless at best, mentally unbalanced at worst".
  • Mage Species: Zigzagged. Not all Vistani have levels in magic-using classes. But they do have several subtle magical abilities, and some of those break the normal rules of magic in the Demiplane of Dread. The most overtly magical aspect of the Vistani is that all of them can invoke the Evil Eye, but their subtle magical abilities include their propensity to be seers who are immune to the normal obfuscation of Divination magic, the increased potency of their curses, and their ability to freely travel the Demiplane of Dread and beyond.
    • Played straight with Vistani of the Manusa tasque; the Canjars are all possessed of innate levels in wizard (or sorcerer, in 3rd edition), whilst the Zarovans are so magical that they can freely travel through time as well as space.
  • Magical Eye: The most overtly magical trait of the Vistani is their "Evil Eye", which allows them to invoke assorted baleful effects on others by simply looking into their eyes. The Evil Eye of female Vistani is stronger in 2nd and 3rd editions. All Vistani can choose to either induce paralysis (which can potentially cause heart attacks), cause unnatural terror, or inflict one of two Charm Person effects — a Suggestion or a Domination.
  • Magical Romani: The Vistani are deeply rooted in the archetype of the Romani as traveling mystics possessing strange magical powers, predominantly the ability to use an Evil Eye and their tendency to be Seers.
  • Matriarchy: Whilst each Vistani community has a patriarchal authority figure, everybody knows it's the Raunie — the elderly female seers — who are truly in command.
  • Moral Myopia: The Vistani are quick to hold crimes against them as an excuse to hate and look down upon the "giorgio", but rarely if ever acknowledge their own wrongdoing.
  • Never My Fault: Despite the fact that Vistani can be just as malicious, spiteful, cruel, and stupid as the outsiders they so despise, don't expect them to ever admit they might have made a mistake or earned the negative receptions they so frequently receive.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When the Vistani meddle in things, especially to avenge perceived insults to their race, it often breeds more suffering. One of the most iconic examples is Jacqueline Montarri; an overly bold thief who attempted to murder Madame Eva and failed, the Vistani manipulated her into going to Count Strahd von Zarovich's, where she was caught and executed. Then they revived her as an immortal headless woman with the ability to steal other women's heads, and let her go on her merry way. She promptly turned into a Serial Killer and founded her own "Totally Not a Criminal Front" to achieve her twin goals of becoming obscenely wealthy and securing an endless supply of fresh heads. Nice work, Vistani.
  • Non-Linear Character: The Zarovan Vistani tribe exist outside of time, and can casually interact with people whenever they choose. Whilst it makes them master seers even amongst the Vistani, it also means that even other Vistani are frightened of them. This trait is so integral to them that even Mortu Zarovans, Vistani who have had most of their magical traits burned out of them by a triggered curse, are still partially unstuck from time, causing them to switch from eerie prescience to slow, spacey behavior, depending on whether they're perceiving the past or future. In combat, they even need to test each round to see how well their personal time-zone is synched up with reality's, which can result in potentially strong bonuses — or equally strong penalties. Notably, this allows Madame Eva to continue interacting with players despite the fact she was technically killed by Jacqueline Montarri. She even used this ability to taunt Jacqueline Montarri after she was transformed into her cursed form.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Invoked in-universe. The Vistani like to claim to be "beyond good and evil" or to be "the agents of fate", but their claims can ring quite hollow.
  • Planet of Hats: Each Vistani tasque represents a broad "social archetype" that the Vistani tend to fall into, with their tribe offering a more narrow specialization of that archetype. This even extends so far as to grant them distinct mechanical abilities based on their tribe, such as Kamii Vistani having a unique ability to sense if metal items are cursed or Vatraska having a natural affinity for herbal healing and poisons.
  • Roguish Romani: Zigzagged.
    • This trope is believed of the Vistani in-universe by most non-Vistani, but whether or not a Vistani actually fits the trope depends on the individual.
    • This is the "hat" of the Corvara, who seem to be almost cursed to be Always Second Best at anything legitimate. So, instead, they make their living as purveyors of vice and debauchery, offering gambling, strong liquor, drugs and blood sports to lure giorgio into their camps, before using con artistry and outright pickpocketing to fleece as much money as they can. Essentially, they live down to every negative stereotype of the Vistani as a bunch of lying, cheating, swindling con-artists. The most notorious example are the Radanavich clan, who kidnapped Dr. Rudolph van Richten's son Erasmus to become a vampire's "bride".
    • The original iteration of the 5th edition adventure module "Curse of Strahd", a reinvention of the classic I6: Castle Ravenloft adventure module from which Ravenloft sprang, leaned heavily into this trope, as the Vistani were reinvisioned in that module to be closer to their distant literary inspiration of Dracula's "loyal Roma servants". After prominent complaints, the module was re-released with this trope turned down, and it was likewise removed from the subsequent 5th edition setting sourcebook "Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft".
  • Seers: The most famous magical ability of the Vistani is their ability to see the future and to track others over vast distances, despite the fact that Divination magic is strongly impeded in the Demiplane of Dread. This ability is only found amongst female Vistani... at least, so most believe. In truth, there are males born with this ability, but because the Vistani have a prophecy of doom saying the race will be destroyed by a male seer, or "Dukkar", they kill male children discovered to have "The Sight" as soon as the ability is discovered.
  • Wandering Culture: The Vistani like to downplay that static burn forces them to stay on the move and instead insist that it is entirely their choice. 2nd and 3rd edition sourcebooks imply a certain level of denial and sour grapes mentality stems from the Vistani's unacknowledged envy of the stability of a non-nomadic life.

Origin: Ravenloft

The original flagship race of Ravenloft, having debuted with the original setting boxed set, half-Vistani (Giomorgo in the Patterna, the Vistani language) are the product of relations between the mystical nomads of the Demiplane of Dread and non-Vistani humans. Possessing some of their Vistani relations' magical abilities, but lacking their curse, the half-Vistani are the outsiders of the Realms of Mist.

  • Child of Two Worlds: The Gothic curse of the Giomorgo is to be torn between the magical, mysterious world of the Vistani and the comparatively banal world of humans.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Obscure lore establishes the existence of the Giamarga, which is half elf and half-Vistani. The mechanics for this race are extremely obscure, being hidden in the Dungeon Master's section of the sourcebook "Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani", and represent a complicated blending of the standard half-elf race with the "Mortu Vistani racial kit".
  • Human Subspecies: Half-Vistani are technically full-blooded humans, but the Vistani are just magical enough that Half-Vistani use separate mechanics to regular human characters.
  • Lunacy: Like pureblooded Vistani, Giomorgo find themselves overwhelmed by erratic, intense surges of emotion during the nights of the full moon.
  • Magical Romani: To a lesser degree than pureblood Vistani, but Giomorgo do have an affinity for magic and retain some of the more subtle mystical abilities of their kin, if in a watered down form, such as an increased ability to successfully invoke curses upon others.
  • Necromancy: In 2nd edition, half-Vistani have an affinity for necromancy that allows half-Vistani and Giamarga wizards to take the "Arcanist" specialization, which is forbidden to Mortu Vistani. For half-Vistani, it's the only specialist wizard class they can take, whilst Giamarga are also capable of becoming Conjurers, Enchanters, Illusionists and, if female, Diviners.
  • Planet of Hats: As with the pure-blooded Vistani, half-Vistani gain distinct racial abilities based on their tribe of origin.
  • Put on a Bus: The half-Vistani race was removed from 4th edition, which made the Vistani a culture rather than a distinct race, and also playable by taking feats, and completely left out of all mention of 5th edition materials.

Origin: Ravenloft

Invented in the third edition remake of Ravenloft as a thematic reskin for the half-orc, calibans are a race of deformed humans corrupted in the womb by the dark energies of the Demiplane of Dread, resulting in them being born with hideous appearances and freakish strength. Because of their horrible appearances, their power, and their tendency to be born as a result of exposure to corruption or immoral acts, they are treated with fear and suspicion by the normal humans of the Demiplane, and rejected from society. Fans expanded the rather bland initial treatment in issue #8 of the "Quoth the Raven" netbook series, presenting alternative rules for calibans to mechanically represent their mutations and creating five distinct caliban strains; the Banshee, the Bestial, the Brute, the Cannibal and the Witchspawn.

  • Beast Man: This is the archetype of the "Bestial" strain, whose mutations make them look like anything from a "generically" bestial human to a borderline humanoid animal.
  • Body Horror: Regardless of which iteration of caliban you prefer, they are always described as mutated and warped. The netbook version has an uncanny array of mutations, from relatively mundane deformities like hunched backs, extra fingers and third nipples to more supernatural ones like hooved feet, horns, vomiting acid, prehensile frog's tongues, multiple eyes and extra arms.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite their oft-hideous appearance and tendency to be born to families as a result of curses or evil acts, calibans are not actually inherently evil. Most are just regular people who want to be loved, but find that love and acceptance is forever barred to them because of their looks.
  • Dumb Muscle: The generic caliban is immensely strong, but also immensely stupid, fitting its basis as literally new racial lore to apply to the half-orc mechanics. In the netbook version, this is the archetype of the "Brute" strain, who are big, strong and tough, but lacking in smarts.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: A typical appearance for "Banshee" type calibans.
  • Human Subspecies: Whilst calibans can breed true, in that their progeny are also calibans (just not necessarily of the same appearance), they originally arise from human parents whose children are magically malformed in the womb. They could, in essence, be considered the Planetouched of the Demiplane of Dread.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: A common negative stereotype of calibans in general is that they are willing to eat human flesh, hence their name. The "Cannibal" strain is noted to have a particular proclivity for unnatural compulsions to eat human flesh (also other things, like carrion or blood, but human flesh is particularly notorious).
  • Madwoman in the Attic: A common backstory for calibans is that their parents, unable to bring themselves to kill their warped child but too ashamed of them to show them to the public, instead lock them away out of sight in the attic, the basement, or somewhere else unreachable.
  • Mage Species: "Banshee" calibans are noted to have an affinity for Magic Music and necromancy, whilst "Witchspawn" are natural-born sorcerers, warlocks and wizards, to the point their trademark mutations are those traits associated with witches and fiends — hooves for feet, tails, horns, third nipples, sixth fingers, etc.
  • One-Gender Race: The "Banshee" strain are known for always being female.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Whilst calibans can be born as a result of Black Magic, whether from deliberate curses to simply being exposed in-utero (or at conception) to the aura of a powerful undead, fiend or hag, an unholy site, a cursed magical item, etc, they are also known to be born to individuals who have committed (or suffered) great spiritual crimes, such as rape, incest, cannibalism or necrophilia. And some are simply born as calibans either because their mother experienced strong negative emotions during their pregnancy, or else for no discernable reason.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: The "Banshee" strain of calibans are always mutated, but never in ways that technically detract from their mutation; a female Brute might have a hunched back and be covered in warts, a female Cannibal might have a maw full of fangs and a slimy black tongue that dangles down to her bellybutton, but a Banshee is more likely to have things like marble-white skin, black eyes, or an unnaturally cold body temperature. Despite this, they are just as hated as their more visually deformed cousins, since either their otherwise beautiful appearance accentuates their mutations, or else they are so unnaturally beautiful they hit the in-universe Uncanny Valley.

Ravenkin are a race of large, sapient ravens who inhabited the realm which eventually became Barovia long before Count Strahd von Zarovich damned his soul. Dragged into the Demiplane of Dread with Barovia, the ravenkin have sworn to destroy the vampire and his unholy progeny in hopes of one day restoring Barovia to its original place of residence.
  • The Beastmaster: Ravenkin train regular ravens and crows to guard their nests and help them in hunting prey.
  • Clever Crows: Ravenkin are characterized as highly intelligent, and with an innate affinity for magic.
  • Creepy Crows: As large crows with a tendency to sit around watching ominously, ravenkin certainly seem to be pretty creepy to anyone unfamiliar with their true nature.
  • Creepy Good: Though ravenkin can certainly play up the Creepy Crows trope for all its worth, they are fundamentally a heroic race devoted to fighting evil, and in particular to slaying vampires — especially Strahd. They're even the last remaining worshippers of Andral, the long-forgotten Barovian sun god.
  • Dying Race: Their lore consistently states that they are a dwindling race, with only two out of every ten ravenkin eggs hatching since they were placed in the Demiplane of Dread. Combined with their distinct physical disadvantage when it comes to physical combat, this is why they prefer to operate subtly and through proxies in their war on darkness.
  • The Leader: Ravenkin are the founders of a benevolent secret society called the Keepers of the Black Feather; an alliance of ravenkin, wereravens and humans that works to subtly battle the evils of Barovia, with an ultimate goal of slaying Strahd.
  • Promoted to Playable: Ravenkin debuted in 2nd edition as monsters, but received a writeup as a playable race for 2nd edition in the article "Half-Pint Heroes" in Dragon #262.
  • Put on a Bus: 5th edition completely removed all mention of the ravenkin, even renaming the Keepers of the Black Feather to just "the Keepers of the Feather" and making them an all-wereraven organization.
  • Seers: Vistani legend holds that ravenkin can see through the eyes of any raven in the Demiplane. 3rd edition states that a ravenkin with at least 13 hit dice can instinctively scry on any raven they've ever touched.
  • Squishy Wizard: Ravenkin are innately talented at magic, but they have the body structures of regular crows, making them poor melee fighters — they can peck out an eye, rake with their talons, or even wield daggers or wands in their feet, but melee combat is still a bad idea.

A Dhampir battles her progenitor
Origin: Ravenloft

People who have somehow been afflicted with a weaker strain of vampirism without turning undead.

  • Dhampyr: Obviously, they are the result of vampirism afflicting living beings, typically when an unborn child is infected with vampirism.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Mostly averted. Being the child of a vampire is a possible way a dhampir may have come about, but not the only one.
  • Horror Hunger: Much like their fully undead cousins, a dhampire requires sustenance only attainable from the fully living. Whether that be the more classic cravings like blood or flesh, or more exotic fuels like dreams or psychic energy
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: The sample dhampire, Savra Sunstar, really hates her dad, the vampire Jander Sunstar.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: The dhampir has technically never been a "traditional" D&D race, from a mechanical perspective.
    • In third edition, it exists as a monster template, being a set of racial abilities and modifiers that are applied to a base creature.
    • In 4th edition, it is a "Bloodline", a sub-race that is applied to a base race by purchasing a chain of feats and optionally taking a racial paragon path.
    • 5th edition has the least unusual interpretation, presenting dhampirs as a "lineage". This largely works identically to a standard race, but there are mechanical supports to let the dhampir possess some minor traits from a different race, representing their hybrid ancestry or their having originally been a non-dhampir that was then turned into a dhampir. So a dhampir can be any playable species and maintain traits and gameplay quirks, but still be a dhampir, such as being a gnome dhampir.
  • The Needless: Thanks to their Deathless Nature, dhampires don't need to breathe.
  • Promoted to Playable: The original Dungeons & Dragons dhampyr debuted as a monster in the Masque of the Red Death setting. It became a racial monster template in Ravenloft in 3rd edition, but level adjustment made it quite hard to play — Dragon #313 offered a slightly more playable-friendly version called the Khatane. 4th edition featured dhampyrs as a "bloodline" accessible through feats in an issue of Dragon, and eventually offered an equivalent but separate Technically-Living Vampire race called the Vryloka. Finaly, 5th edition saw them become an official playable race and tied them to Ravenloft once more.
  • Uneven Hybrid: A core part of a dhampir is that they have enough of their original identity, but through magic, birth, or other factors have become part vampire. Design wise, they look mostly like their original species, but have elements like paler skin. The uneven nature is more pronounced if not made one through birth, since the dhampir is instead a failed attempt at making a vampire.
  • Wall Crawl: In 5th edition, at third level dhampires are able to move up, down, and across vertical surfaces and upside down without using their hands.

From the Apparatus of Mordent, a reborn stumbles forth
Origin: Ravenloft

Among the domains of dread, death is rarely the end. Be it through vile magic, cruel curses or strange experiments, the Reborn are living beings made from the nonliving.

  • Cyborg: A potential origin suggested for the Reborn is as a corpse reanimated by mechanical components.
  • Damaged Soul: A more serious version of the resurrection sickness. Reborn may occasionally find that they despise things that they remember loving in their previous lives, and similar changes.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: Dhampires, Reborn and Hexblood are not actually races, but lineages, which are applied instead of a usual race. While they mostly work the same, players who take a lineage may have their character be from any base stock, and they gain a trait that lets them have some of the traits from their base race.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Reborn may be baseline zombies, only sapient and technically living.
  • Resurrection Sickness: At best, all Reborn suffer this. They're back from the dead in some way, but have only a loose grasp on who they were before, rarely remembering exact details.
  • Taken for Granite: A Reborn may have come to be as a result of being petrified for centuries before being freed, with a rather tenuous grasp on their old life.
  • The Undead: Averted. Reborn do not have the Undead type. This is solely for mechanics reasons, however (most healing spells don't work on undead, so an undead player race would almost certainly be the greatest handicap in the game), and they can still be flavored as undead if your table allows it.

Hexblood of night hag stock
Origin: Ravenloft

Hags delight in meddling in the affairs of mortals, and from time to time this meddling results in the creation of Hexblood, either from a child affected by fae meddling, or from mortals who made ill-adviced bargains. Hexblood resemble humans, but have skin colors appropriate to their feyish progenitors, and a strange crown growing from their temples.

  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Hexblood's skincolor tend to be influenced by their fae progenitors, but the most common are green, grey, blue, and purple.
  • Changeling Tale: Hexblood are frequently created by hags at the request of hopeful parents that can't have their own children. Or created to replace children taken by the fae.
  • Deal with the Devil: A possible origin for Hexblood is that they made a deal with a hag, and this is the consequence.
  • Friendship Trinket: Hexblood has a mechanic that can be used like this. They can remove a small trinket from their body, such as a teeth, some hair or a nail, and use it to telepathically communicate with whoever they gave it to.
  • Mage Species: Being part fae, hexblood get some spells innately, and make excellent spellcasters.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: Dhampires, Reborn and Hexblood are not actually races, but lineages, which are applied instead of a usual race. While they mostly work the same, players who take a lineage may have their character be from any base stock, and they gain a trait that lets them have some of the traits from their base race. Hexblood in particular have the Fey creature type.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Some hexblood are created by hag covens who have lost a member to serve as a replacement.

Other Characters

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    Dr. Rudolph Van Richten
Vampire hunter extraordinaire

Once a humble doctor in Darkon, who lived happily with his wife and son. That all came to a crashing the night that a Vistani tribe, the Radanavichs, burst into his home and demanded he treat a badly wounded member of theirs. Van Richten worked on him with all his skills, but it wasn't enough and the boy died on the operating table. Terrified of the (justifiably) infamous temper, mercurial nature and dark magic of the Vistani, he begged them to take whatever they wanted from his home but leave him unharmed. To his horror, they did so by kidnapping his son. Desperately he raced out into the night, where he encountered Azalin; for his own amusement, the Lich not only shielded him from the monsters, but allowed him to command an army of zombies. With their help, he caught the Vistani and demanded his son back... only to find he had been sold to Baron Metis, a vampire nobleman. Commanding the zombies to feast upon the Vistani, he went to the vampire and tried to get his son back, but was rebuked. His son escaped before morning, but it was too late; he had already become a "bride", a vampire created by another of its kind as a lover and soulmate. He staked his son, after spending the last hours of his human self together, and then returned home — only to find that the vengeful Metis had slain his wife in kind. This set him upon the road to become the greatest monster hunter, and authority on slaying monsters, in the Demiplane of Dread.

  • Badass Normal: He never wanted to be a monster hunter, but he adapted quite well.
  • Barrier Warrior: In the 5e remake of Ravenloft, Van Richten can cast spells as a cleric, and he seems to prefer magic which wards off the undead as opposed to direct damage.
  • Direct Line to the Author: The Van Richten Guide sourcebooks are framed as being the exact same texts that he wrote In-Universe as guides to other aspiring monster hunters.
  • Doomed by Canon: Van Richten's demise is the centerpiece of the adventure module "Bleak House", in which there are three endings where he dies and one ending where he is de-aged to childhood and forced to stay in Richten Haus, where the house's incarnate spirit promises to raise him to become a great hero once again.
  • Doom Magnet: Van Richten lost many of his adventuring friends throughout his career. In his Guide to the Vistani, he recounts learning that he had been cursed by the Raunie he had slain to always bring doom, death, and suffering to those who dared to aid him in his adventures.
  • Dramatic Irony: As of 5th edition, Erasmus van Richten is still 'alive', but in spirit form, hanging around and helping his father out. Unfortunately, Van Richten cannot perceive him.
  • Expy: Of Abraham Van Helsing. His art emphasizes a resemblance to Peter Cushing, who famously played Van Helsing in the Hammer Horror films opposite Christopher Lee's Dracula.
  • Family of Choice: Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft opens with a series of letters from his students; Ez d'Avenir, the Weathermay-Foxgrove twins, Alanik Ray and Arthur Sedgwick asking for his assistance and expressing the utmost admiration for him. In his response, he tells them how proud he is of them, that he truly considers them his family, and they are free to call themselves van Richtens if it would please them.
  • Fantastic Racism: In the early days of his career, he held a deep hatred of Vistani. He eventually came to realize that judging the entire race for the actions of just a few was unfair.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Averted. He always took great pains to avoid becoming as bad as the creatures he fought against, wrote often in his guidebooks of the dangers of relying on just blindly attacking the most likely subject, and is known to have a great deal of contempt for Wyan of Viktal, whose own attempt to publish a Fey Hunting Guide resulted in a work that is more likely to result in the users killing innocent people than dark fae.
  • Hunter of Monsters: The most famous In-Universe example of this, having literally written the book on hunting monsters. Several books, in fact; the Ravenloft monster sourcebooks, The Van Richten's Guides, are based off of (and written as, in the player's sections) In-Universe texts that Van Richten wrote to help others take up hunting creatures. Vampires, werebeasts, liches, ancient dead, ghosts, hags and Vistani are all covered by Van Richten himself. His successors, the Weathermay-Foxgrove Twins, would later add to the library with texts on the walking dead, fae and the general spawn of the Mists.
  • Lawful Good: Official alignment.invoked
  • Master of Disguise: In Curse of Strahd, Van Richten has a hat that lets him cast Disguise Self at will. It is possible to go throughout the campaign without ever realizing he's in it.
  • Mentor Archetype: While he already mentored his honorary nieses, 5th edition expanded this trait to the point where he has canonically mentored five monster hunters across the demiplane; the Weathermay-Foxgrove twins, Ez d'Avenir and the detectives Alanik Ray and Arthur Sedgwick, all of whom he considers his Family of Choice. The book even suggests that he may have mentored player characters too, making this number even higher.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Averted when it comes to his murdering an entire tribe of Vistani; he doesn't shed a tear (and few readers would) over killing them in the first place, and even when he does learn that all Vistani are not evil, he doesn't regret killing them all so much as he admits that it was an immoral act.
  • Overrated And Under Leveled: In spite of having hunted numerous vampires and other evil monsters, he's somehow no higher than third level.
    • Dr. Van Richten has been given stats across several game editions. His original stats in 2nd edition had to bend the rules because the character generation system at the time could not account for an elderly scholar with some interesting skills and he was a mid-level thief with an emphasis on reading language skills. His stats fluctuated from sourcebook to sourcebook, often with the explanation that his constant fights with undead had exposed him to permanent level drain (a very real danger fighting vampires under the rules at the time). In 3rd edition, with the advent of NPC non-combat classes that could account for much of his adult life as a doctor and not an adventurer, he was rewritten with a much more believable stat block for his status.
    • Thankfully Averted in the Curse of Strahd module. He isn't strong enough to fight Strahd head on, but he's a powerful ally with a good arsenal of tools and spells at his disposal. As an ally, he practically is required to defeat Strahd due to his usefulness.
  • 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 vampire's undead child paramour, 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.
  • Sword Cane: In Curse of Strahd, he has one. The sword is silvered.
  • Vampire Hunter: Though he also hunts ghosts, werebeasts and anything else that goes bump in the night, vampires are his specialty.

    The Weathermay-Foxgrove Twins
The hunter's students (Left to right: Laurie and Gennifer)
Click here to see their original design 
Nieces of George Weathermay of Mordent through his sister, the twins Laurie and Gennifer were enamored of their monster-hunting uncle and his dear friend Van Richten from a young age. Even when they were caught up in the machinations of one of Van Richten's old enemies, a female werewolf named Natalie who seduced their uncle and took Gennifer hostage, it failed to dampen their enthusiasm. Ultimately, after Van Richten disappeared, they took up his legacy and appointed themselves his heirs.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In Van Richten's Guide to the Mists, it's noted that Gennifer firmly disbelieves the idea that Outlanders could be Dimensional Travelers, in contrast to her sister Laurie, despite being well aware she lives in a world full of magic and monsters and where it is a known fact of life that certain countries have physically moved in relation to each other, or literally sprung up from nowhere.
  • Ascended Extra: The twins originally extremely minor roles; they weren't introduced until the Domains of Dread setting boxed set, which stated that they had taken over their Honorary Uncle Van Richten's shopnote , and then made them the authors of the Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium sourcebooks, a trilogy containing reprints of the original five "Van Richten's Guide to (insert monster here)" sourcebooks, plus the new "Van Richten's Guide to Witches". Then the sourcebook Champions of the Mists fleshed out their lore and gave them full stats as non-player characters. In 3rd edition, they became more prominent, becoming the brains behind three new monster-hunting Guidebooksnote , writing a non-VRG book full of generic monster-hunter's advicenote  and making appearances in other sourcebooks, even receiving official writeups for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition''.
  • Brains and Brawn: Both girls are smart, but Laurie's a warrior specialized in the rapier, whilst Gennifer is a budding wizardnote .
  • Dual Wielding: One of the twins uses two axes as her weapons of choice in the 5e retcon.
  • Hunter of Monsters: They don't just study monsters and keep Van Richten's Guides in print, they actively go out and slay monsters as well.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Downplayed. In 3rd edition's artwork, they are depicted wearing practical, but still very upperclass clothing, with Gennifer wearing a dress and Laurie wearing a tailored suit and pants. In 5th edition's artwork, they wear much simpler, plainer-looking clothing.
  • Primal Fear: In Van Richten's Guide to the Mists, it's noted that Gennifer's deepest personal fear is of losing her mind and going mad, a very real threat in her line of work.
  • Race Lift: In classic lore, they are of pureblooded Mordentish stock, an ethnicity based on Gothic British/Scottish Highlander stock with pale skin, blue eyes, and dark hair. In 5th edition, their artwork depicts them as an African ethnicity instead.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: In the original lore, their creamy white skin, blue eyes and deep, black hair are part of what makes them regarded as so beautiful by their admirers.
  • Sword and Gun: In their 3rd edition statblock, Gennifer is said to wield a silvered dagger and pistol, whilst Laurie alternates between a rapier and a musket.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Some of their immediate family believe their monster-hunting to be a passing fancy, and that they will eventually settle down and take their roles as heirs to Mordentshire seriously. Similarly, several young Mordentish noblemen seek to be the first to "tame" one of the twins and secure rulership of Mordent by marriage. The twins themselves are having none of this nonsense.
  • Zombie Infectee: In-Universe, George Weathermay believes that Gennifer is an afflicted werewolf, as a result of a bite she took from Natalie during that childhood attack. Where she is or isn't is left to the choice of the individual Dungeon Master.

    Arturi Radanavich 
The last member of the Radanavich, a tribe of Corvara Vistani who damned themselves to destruction when they stole Erasmus van Richten to become the plaything of the vampire Baron Metus, and thus brought the wrath of his father Rudolph on their heads. Miraculously surviving the slaughter, Arturi spent decades running from Van Richten's curse before finally desperation persuaded him to seek out Rudolph van Richten and beg for an end to his curse, offering to end his own family's retaliatory curse on Van Richten in exchange. This led to Van Richten writing his Guide to the Vistani, an experience that ended with the two men coming to understand and forgive each other, breaking their mutual curses.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: To end his and Rudolph van Richten's curses, the two fought together back to back against a sizable horde of undead humans and animals over the course of a night whilst burning the remains of the Radanavich vardos to ashes.
  • Flying Dutchman: All Vistani are cursed to wander, but Arturi was doubly cursed in that he was constantly pursued by murderous undead creatures until he broke the curse by getting Van Richten to forgive the Vistani and lift it.
  • Retcon: Removed from canon in 5th edition, which replaced him with Ez d'Avenir.
  • Sole Survivor: He was the only member of the Radanavich clan to survive Van Richten's wrath.

    Ez d'Avenir
The vistana hunter

A vistana (by adoption, if not birth) monster hunter who studied under Rudolph van Richten. Ezmerelda Radanavich was with her mother the night she kidnapped van Richten's son while disguised as a vistana, but over the short time they were together grew to know the boy and realize her mother's evil. Ez was unable to save Erasmus, but when Richten came to kill her mother, she stood silently by and let it happen without objection. Richten spared her, and she went on to join a Vistani caravan, changing her surname to d'Avenir to distance herself from her mother. Eventually, she sought out van Richten to learn from him the trade of monster hunting, and was surprised to find that the old man was unknowingly followed by the spirit of his son.

  • Antagonistic Offspring: She doesn't directly fight her mother, but there is no love between them. Ez even stood by while her family was devoured by a zombie horde.
  • Family of Choice: Ez' backstory is all about this trope. The Radanavichs were evil manipulators, which Ez came to realize while befriending Erasmus. The vistani became her family for a while, but she didn't quite find the belonging she wanted, so she went to study with van Richten. She's currently out in the world to make her own family.
  • Good Prosthetic, Evil Prosthetic: Ez lost her right leg in a werewolf attack, but replaced it with a prosthetic.
  • Prosthetic Limb Reveal: In her first appearance in Curse of Strahd, Ez hid her prosthetic. This was changed in later prints, where she displays her prosthetic proudly.
  • Retcon:
    • Firstly, she exists to retcon Arturi Radanavich, the original Sole Survivor of the Radanavich Vistani who kidnapped Rudolph van Richten's sun.
    • Secondly, after being a Vistani when introduced in Curse of Strahd, Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft instead retconned her and the rest of the Radanaviches as non-Vistani criminals, who merely pretended to be Vistani to exploit the fearsome reputation of the Vistani.

    Jander Sunstar
The unlucky Vampire

An 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.

  • The Cameo: He made an appearance in Descent Into Avernus... Crucified in hell, though a later Retcon made that version of him into a clone.
  • Composite Character: 5e gives him elements of the Alchemist Strahd, from House on Gryphon Hill. Like the Alchemist Strahd, Jander tried to use the apparatus to free himself of his darker impulses (namely his vampirism), and like the Alchemist, parts of him were thrown across time and space (though Jander failed to cure his vampirism). One part of him ended up back on Toril, where he contributed to Zariel's damnation.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Or his case "Crystal Vampire Elf Jesus", since he became the indirect inspiration for the Church of the Morninglord though his true nature as a vampire is a closely guarded secret.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Prior to 5th edition, Jander actually was infected with the "Nosferatu" strain of vampirism, which is largely identical to a standard vampire, but is unharmed by sunlight.
  • Determinator: His characterization in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft focuses more on his increasing efforts to cure (his) vampirism.
  • Dirty Coward: If Descent Into Avernus is to be believed, he followed Zariel on her crusade into hell, but he and a few others panicked and fled, sealing the portal behind them and condemning their fellows. This was later retconned as a clone created by the Apparatus, and the real Jander remains noble.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Alongside his companions, the cleric Sasha and the thief Leisl. Jander is the fighter, due to his superhuman strength and abnormal powers as a vampire.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: He is perhaps the only nice vampire in the entire setting. In his home of the Forgotten Realms, he took great pains to only feed when he had to and to only take what he absolutely needed, shunning killing for his food and making his visitations as painless as possible. Although the fundamental nature of the Demiplane of Dread made him inherently less capable of minimizing his harm, he still tried to treat mortals with as much kindness and respect as possible, and to do as little harm when feeding as possible.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: After his survival, he has vowed to wipe out vampirism in whatever form it may come.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: At one point he fathered the Dhampyr Savra Sunstar, who really doesn't like him.
  • 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the original 2nd edition lore, Jander actually taught Strahd many of the powers his vampire state gave him, as Strahd initially didn't fully understand what he'd become. In fairness, Strahd was a Deceptive Disciple during this time period, and Jander turned on Strahd once he realized Strahd's true evil.
  • Non-Human Undead: A vampire elf.
  • Our Elves Are Different: He is a sun/gold elf to be exact.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Jander was classified as an "elf nosferatu" in 2nd edition, instead of being an "elf vampire". This meant that, outside of being a Daywalking Vampire, he had the standard suite of vampiric abilities and weaknesses, instead of the usual traits of most elven vampires. He did acquire the elfin vampire weakness of killing any plant he touched with his bare skin after some time in the Demiplane of Dread.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: When he realized that he was a tool of the Dark Powers against Strahd, he tried to commit Suicide by Sunlight as an act of defiance, but they put a stop to this. After his survival, he swore to fight against evil in this plane and view this as a crusade against the the Dark Powers themselves.
  • Religious Vampire: He was a priest of Lathander in life and retained some of his faith after becoming a vampire, even taking refuge in a sacred grove.
  • The Scourge of God: His entire purpose to be in Ravenloft is to constantly torment Strahd for the Dark Powers.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: His last canon appearance has him crucified in Hell for his treachery of Zariel.
  • Suicide by Sunlight: Attempted to kill himself this manner, but the Mist aborted it.note  Descent into Avernus implies that he might have succeeded in the end, but was condemned to Hell for his efforts. Van Richten's Guide retconned this version of him to be a clone.

    Firan Zal'honan
Wayward Wizard

A powerful and brilliant wizard traveling the domains, Finan is ruthlessly determined to escape the mists of Ravenloft entirely. Not much is known as to how he came to believe that there are realities beyond the domains, but he has peerless knowledge about the nature of Ravenloft. He investigates ruins, ancient prophecies, temporal anomalies and hints of a certain entity he calls "the escapee." It is all but spelled out that he is Azalin Rex, the elusive Darklord of Darkon, having regained his human form and being set free from his domain, but not Ravenloft itself, after completing the hour of ascension.

  • All Just a Dream: How he's come to view the domains.
    Firan: None of this is real.
  • The Archmage: His suggested statblock. This makes him an 18th-level wizard and thus one of the most powerful non-player characters outlined in Van Richten's Guide.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Apart from the specifics of how he escaped his domain, the book leaves it unclear whether or not, or to which extent he is aware that he himself is Azalin Rex. His profile has him call his genius "immortal", he alludes to his nobility, hates Darkon (which would have been his own Ironic Hell), has a personal animosity towards Strahd (not that that's anything special...) and he has taken up what is presumably his old surname. However, he claims that he could have been a king and obsesses over an "escapee", which would be himself. Although this escapee could also be another Darklord who has managed to flee Ravenloft altogether, possibly Vecna. This is probably left intentionally vage for a Dungeon Master to decide on.
  • Back from the Dead: Back from the Undead, to be precise. The hour of ascension seems to have reversed his lichdom.
  • Blue Blood: He is quick to bring up his noble ancestry, and claims he could have ruled as a wizard-king, "in another life." Which he did do. Although not very good, by most measures...
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He has his eccentricities, such as absolutely loathing Darkon and Strahd, or being actually scared of the mists, but he is the foremost expert on Ravenloft itself and a powerful Spellcaster in his own right.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Downplayed. He is described as "amoral", although his goal is not a malevolent one and he is intended to be used as an allied non-player-character, handing out quests and the like. Once you consider who he really is, and what is happening to his domain due to his absence, the tope is Played Straight.
  • Familiar: An imp named Skeever. Who happens to share his name and species with Azalin Rex's familiar...
  • I Just Want to Be Free: Tries his best to escape Ravenloft. He already managed to escape Darkon, for a start.
  • Insufferable Genius: His main flaw is his own arrogance.
    Firan: My genius is immortal and has been tested like no other.
  • Irony: A major reason his original self was obsessed with leaving the Mists was to resurrect his dead son somewhere it's reliable, and so make a second go at properly molding him into a sufficient heir by Azalin's standards. Taking the steps he's taken to leave the Land of Mists seems to have stripped him of the memory of why.
  • The Unfettered: His sole goal is to escape the mists.
    Firan: I will endure this test. I will reap my reward. I will have my revenge.
  • Walking Spoiler: It is very difficult to write about him without alluding to the fact that he is Azalin Rex, the elusive Darklord.
  • Vain Sorceress: A gender-flipped example.

    Rastinon (The Alchemist Strahd) 
An alchemist from Mordent who forged a mystical apparatus with mysterious powers over souls and spirits. He originally appeared in the poorly-received Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill, where he was a sort of Dr. Jekyll to Strahd's Mr. Hyde, but was largely forgotten about after that. For 5th edition, The Bus Came Back, but any relation between him and Strahd was Adapted Out, and he was renamed Rastinon.
  • Retcon: A whole load of them for 5th edition, both bringing back the character in Broad Strokes, while making it fit better with the timeline.
    • Rastinon is no longer an alternate version of Strahd, and the two characters are entirely unrelated.
    • Rather than creating the apparatus to purge himself of his darker impulses (aka the Creature Strahd), Rastinon created the apparatus at the behest of Wilfred Godefroy, in an attempt to escape his curse.
    • While the story of the alchemist creating an evil clone of someone who's shunted to another plane remains, the character in question is now Jander Sunstar, not Rastinon himself.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The Apparatus is mentioned multiple times in the 5e Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, usually as plothooks and a possible backstory for players of the Reborn lineage, but Rastinon himself is only mentioned in the fluff for Mordent.
  • Uncertain Doom: The first activation of the apparatus killed everyone in Mordent, leading to Godefroy's damnation, but it's unclear if Rastinon is included in that.

    The Gentleman Caller 
An incubus, and the mortal nemesis of Isolde. Tricked her into following him into the forbidden Demiplane of Dread in an effort to destroy her, only to find that he too was trapped within. Now, he moves through the mists, always just ahead of Isolde, siring fiend-blooded children for his own evil purposes.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Isolde. In a twist, he is no longer a match for her in a fight, but her own curse and his constant efforts ensure nothing of the kind ever happens.
  • Chaotic Evil: In-Universe. He is a demon, and demons are literally Made of Chaotic Evil.
  • Charm Person: His incubus powers manifest this way. The Gentleman Caller is surrounded by a palpable aura of romantic allure, and he's managed to seduce both the experienced temptress Gabrielle Aderre and the iron-willed agent "S" simply by gazing at them. He also has access to an array of mind-affecting magic and may even be able to tap into the Demiplane itself to cast suggestion.
  • The Chessmaster: He's a skilled plotter. While his attempt to destroy Isolde backfired, and left him weakened and trapped on the Demiplane with an implacable enemy who can easily destroy him if she ever catches him, the original Carnival supplement features a clever plan to destroy her by infiltrating her troupe with his agents, and he may be playing the long game in his attempt to escape the place.
  • The Corrupter: He sows misery, evil, and corruption everywhere he travels in the Lands of Mists, which honestly don't need much help in that department.
  • Gender Flip: Downplayed. In 5th edition, Succubi and Incubi are the same creature, only presenting different genders. As such, the Caller's gender goes unmentioned (assuming they aren't outright agender), and they are referred to by gender-neutral pronouns, but they could still present as male depending on the DM's wishes.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: He sired Gabrielle Aderre's Dukkar son, turned the wicked nun Marla into a hideous penanggalan, and taught Madame Irena Radanavich many of the evil powers she used to torture van Richten.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Not all of his children are evil, but they are all affected by his demonic taint. Many are physically monstrous or have obvious physical deformities and strange powers, and those tend to be the kinder ones.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: Subverted. His potential long-term goal is to escape the Demiplane of Dread, but he also enjoys the pain and sorrow he causes for their own sakes.
  • No Name Given: We never did learn what he's called beyond the name he gave.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Deconstructed. His abuse of his Mind Control to seduce women has left a mile-wide trail of destruction and pain.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: One of the most vile characters in the setting, and it doesn't shy away from the horror women go through when he forces himself on them, even when he bothers using his powers first.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Based on the official sources, anyway. The writers have shared many of the plans they had for him after the fact.
  • Succubi and Incubi: One of the confirmed facts we have about him is that he is indeed an incubus.
  • Super Breeding Program: Has been engaging in one with Vistani and part-Vistani women, siring children with strange powers and appearances in an effort to escape the Demiplane and leave his nemesis there forever.

    Stelios, Glyptar of Demise 
An NPC introduced to the canon in the netbook Quoth the Raven 21, a preview of material for the fan-netbook on the Sea of Sorrows. Althea's husband in life, his treatment of her led to his death and her damnation to the Demiplane of Dread. He escaped death by binding his soul to an amethyst and becoming a glyptar, using his powers over Demise's rock and soil to torment his former wife and protect his heir, Leftheris.
  • Asshole Victim: His existence sucks almost as much as his widow's, and he deserves every bit of it.
  • Death by Woman Scorned: Murdered by Althea for the emotional abuse he put her through. Overlaps with Karmic Death.
  • Death of Personality: As the caldera cools, Stelios's sapience and powers are cooling with it. Soon, there'll be nothing left of him but the mindless desire to torture his widow and protect his son.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: As a glyptar, he has the ability to manipulate earth and stone. His powers have been enhanced by the fact Demise is still an active volcano, and possibly some subtle boosts from the Dark Powers, but his enhanced powers are slowly dwindling as the volcano cools, and eventually he will be reduced to the level of an ordinary glyptar.
  • Domestic Abuse: As mentioned above, he was a cruel and callous spouse to Althea. In undeath, he dedicates himself to tormenting his wife, and has tried his hardest to terrorize his son Leftheris into hating his mother so much that he will continue doing so once Stelios' powers are nullified.
  • Entitled to Have You: He took Althea to wife simply because she was a rebellious soul and he was convinced that he could "tame" her and make her a "proper" wife.
  • Fantastic Racism: He sneers at the idea of breeding with "cattle," a category into which he places all other sapients besides medusae and maedar.
  • Golem: Interacts with the world around him by using an animated stone statue, functioning as this. His body is becoming increasingly unreliable as his powers wane, however.
  • Master of Illusion: In life he was a master illusionist, but his magical skills are fading in his undead state.
  • Medusa: In life, he was a male variant called a maedar, which appears as a bald human who is immune to medusa venom and petrification and which can undo the Taken for Granite effect of a medusa's gaze attack. In undeath, he has become a glyptar, an undead maedar whose existence is bound into a gemstone, giving him powers of nearby rock and metal.
  • Never My Fault: Refuses to accept any responsibility in his fate; as far as he's concerned, his wife was a blasphemous heretic and a madwoman who deserves his constant tormenting of her for her "profane" attitude.
  • Offing the Offspring: Not directly, but, he refused to use his powers to transform any of his petrified human children back to flesh and blood, even as his wife was devastated by this. It's also implied that part of Althea's misfortune in having new children by her human "paramours" is that Stelios frequently intervenes to kill his wife's captive lover, her latest egg, or both.
  • Papa Wolf: Only when it comes to Leftheris, but he's truly dedicated to it, to the point he clings to undeath out of two goals; to gaslight his former wife, and to keep his son alive.
  • Power Incontinence: A symptom of his approaching Death of Personality. Sometimes, his illusions short out and go on the fritz.
  • Rule-Abiding Rebel: He was something of an iconoclast in life for choosing to study illusion rather than the traditional warrior path. But he was still faithful to the general rules and beliefs of his culture, which was why he refused to ever change any of his human children back even as it drove his wife mad.

Althea and Stelios's maedar son, born into one of the most dysfunctional families ever. Raised by his undead earth-elemental father after his mother tried to murder him, he has long since come to the eminently reasonable conclusion that both his parents are jerks who deserved what they got and presently just want to leave Demise for good.
  • Abusive Parents: He hasn't had a good upbringing from either of them. Althea hates maedar too much to ever not try to kill him, and his dad mostly keeps him alive to protect his "legacy" and to spite her rather than out of any real affection.
  • Directionless Driver: When he runs into visitors, he offers his services as a guide, only to lead them aimlessly through the island, feeding his starved need for conversation, before attempting to kill and eat them.
  • Fantastic Racism: His father's teachings include the belief that all other sapients are little better than livestock for their superior kind.
  • Friendless Background: Raised in almost total isolation, with only his Dysfunctional Family for company. He's not crazy, but he is absolutely desperate for someone to talk to.
  • Lawful Evil: In-Universe, as his official write-up reveals. He is after all, a maedar.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Doesn't know much about his father's condition, including his fading mind.
  • Master of Illusion: Years of training under his father have made him similarly talented. It's noted that he's both smarter and less physical than most maedar as a result.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Averted. He's a rational being that can be reasoned with and willingly lets people go who offer things he wants.
  • White Sheep: Downplayed. Leftheris is a racist who sees most sapients as nothing but cattle to use and feed upon... but it's entirely a product of his upbringing. The netbook notes he would happily let any human go who offers something besides a meal... such as a way off the island.

    Jacqueline Montarri 
Once a beautiful thief, when the signs of aging began to show up on her face, she became desperate for some way to stay young forever. One dead Vistani matriarch and failed attempt on Castle Ravenloft later, she's not doing too badly for herself in this regard, though having to change out her head every so often is a bit inconvenient.
  • Cool Sword: Ironfang, her +2 vorpal sword. She prefers to use this to sever heads because of its clean cut, but it's by no means necessary. Even when she's wearing the head of a class that can't use swords, she's capable of using this one.
  • Cranium Chase: Her original head has apparently been all over The Land of Mists, even passing into the hands of at least two darklords (who apparently had no idea what it was) on occasion, with her in hot pursuit.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Her ageless body slowly regenerates even from death, and actually being headless imposes no penalty upon her vision or hearing, nor her abilities as a thief. She also gets all powers, skills, feats, save throws, and class abilities of any head she dons, is highly resistant to magic thanks to the powerful magic that created her, has no need to eat or sleep, and cannot be poisoned, paralyzed, induced to sleep, or infected with illness. The downside? The heads age quickly while she wears them, she gets migraines if she wears a particular head more than three days in a row, and in 3rd edition she accrues negative levels for every day without a head (which immediately vanish when she puts a new one on). Did we mention that she has anywhere from dozens to hundreds of heads on hand at any point, as of 3rd edition runs a large trading/criminal organization that can get her heads anytime she needs them, and has no issues going and getting one herself if she has to?
  • Evil Is Petty: Had no reason to kill Madame Eva.
  • Expy: Of Princess Langwidere.
  • The Fashionista: Dresses to perfectly accentuate whichever head she's wearing.
  • The Fog of Ages: It's been so long since she's seen her old head, she can't even remember what she used to look like.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: According to her backstory, she's an expert thief, but in her first writeup she didn't have a single thief skill. 3rd edition fixed that.
  • Gypsy Curse: Her nature is the result of a Vistani curse.
  • Have We Met Yet?: Madame Eva likes to pop up and mock her once in a while, thanks to being a Non-Linear Character and thus treating her death at Jacqueline's hands as strictly optional reality.
  • Immortality Seeker: What started her on her dark path to begin with. If she can find and put on her original head, she'll have the eternal youth she's always wanted.
  • LEGO Body Parts: She can wear any female human's head, as long as she attaches it with her red ribbon.
  • Losing Your Head: The heads she wears remain alive, fully aware of their former existence, and unable to age or die naturally once she takes them off. This means that she has a basement with hundreds of screaming, sobbing, babbling heads that are slowly succumbing to insanity in the darkness. Pleasant dreams!
  • Made of Indestructium: The crimson velvet ribbon she uses to attach heads to her body cannot be destroyed by any means.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: She can only wear female human heads. No demihuman race, even if it has partially human heritage, will do.
  • Narcissist: Absolutely refuses to wear anything but the most beautiful of heads, no matter what useful talents they may have. Fortunately, thanks to the sheer number of heads she keeps, this doesn't really hamper her, as she's sure to find something of use in her massive collection.
  • Neutral Evil: In-universe.
  • Off with Her Head!: Suffered from this, and now inflicts it on others.
  • Omniglot: Can speak the languages of any head she's wearing.
  • Phantom Thief: Once one of the best thieves in Barovia.
  • Power Copying: Jacqueline uses the abilities of the former owner of whichever head she puts on.
  • Properly Paranoid: Her profile notes that if someone should turn up in possession of her original head, she'll immediately regard them as a dangerous enemy — after all, they're literally holding her life in their hands.
  • Rapid Aging: Her stolen heads age a year for every day she wears them.
  • Really 700 Years Old: She's been seeking her old head for centuries now.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Incinerating her original head is the only thing that will kill her off for good.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Slashed Madame Eva's throat after the elderly Vistani told her to search Castle Ravenloft for the secret to eternal youth.
  • Shout-Out: Her name is so similar to Joaquin Murrieta's that it's unlikely to be a coincidence.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Oh, she was a pretty darned good thief. That's why she decided she could take on Castle freaking Ravenloft.
  • Stealth Pun: She lost her head and can't find it? I guess she's...stumped!
  • Swiss-Army Appendage: Her collection of heads grants her a vast array of potential abilities.
  • Unishment: Yes, the best way to punish an immortality-seeking murderer is to give them immortality and an incredibly versatile superpower based entirely around murder. For a race known for their skill in casting curses, the Vistani seem to have seriously dropped the ball here.
  • Who Needs Their Whole Body?: Even without a head on, Jacqueline can still see, hear, and get around perfectly well. Heck, in Third Edition, she has to be headless in order to use her own 8th level thief skills.

    Desmond LaRouche  
Once a handsome, kindly young assistant to Sir Edmond Hiregaard, his decision to investigate a Serial Killer of prostitutes changed his life irrevocably.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Thanks to his hideous appearance.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: His mind has two wildly different thought patterns, torn between life and death, and inflicts madness checks upon those who try to read it.
  • Blessed with Suck: Desmond only needs to eat once a day, sleep for an hour each night, is unaffected by the temperature, regenerates rapidly, can't be paralyzed, charmed or induced to sleep magically, and his left side has all the benefits of a flesh golem. On the other hand, his face induces horror in all who look upon him, and he's prone to berserk rages.
  • Brown Note: His appearance is such that even looking at him can cause terror. (As in, a Fear Check.) Even if his appearance is described to someone, that person may still be frightened. However, in this case, succeeding a Fear Check gives one a bonus for next time. (Not as scary when seen twice.)
  • Chaotic Evil: In-universe, although it probably just refers to his golem half. At least one source lists him as True Neutral.
  • Continuity Snarl: His entire backstory hinges upon Sir Hiregaard's original Jekyll/Hyde/Jack The Ripper characterization.
  • Cool Sword: Phantom, a +1 silver rapier.
  • Cruel Mercy: Once in a while, Desmond thinks about going back to Kantora and finishing off Hiregaard. However, he recognizes that the good he does as a doctor balances out the evil he does as Malken—and it's much more painful for him to live with his curse.
  • Emergency Transformation: When Desmond was hurled into a rack of chemicals and beakers by Malken, Hiregaard was at a loss to save him until he realized that he could raid cadavers in order to restore the damaged parts. Unfortunately this inspiration came from Malken...
  • Expy: Of Two-Face. Word of God has stated The Mudman of Bergovitsa (mentioned in Gazetteer V) was intended to be his 3rd edition incarnation, in which case he'd be a loose Expy of Clayface.
  • The Hermit: The revulsion he inspires in others has led to this, though he occasionally helps out those in need.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: He's a Half-Golem, the D&D "fantasy" equivalent, where a human has various body parts replaced with magically animated construct parts. Specifically, he's a Half-Flesh Golem, due to having his damaged flesh replaced with magically animated corpse flesh.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Exposing his left side to electricity heals him, even after death.
  • Mood-Swinger: Depending on which half of him is ascendant.
  • Nightmare Face: So horrible it induces a horror check even in people who have been warned about it.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: All he wanted to do was stop a murderer—now his life has been destroyed, and he's a monster.
  • Split Personality: One side is the decent young man he used to be (although now rather embittered), the other half is a violent berserker.
  • Super-Strength: His left arm has this.
  • Two-Faced: His human and golem halves are split down the middle.
  • Vigilante Man: After the local authorities showed no interest in finding out who was killing fallen women in Kantora, Desmond decided to hit the streets and track down the madman himself.

    The Midnight Slasher 
A serial killer who stalks the streets of the city of Karina, in Invidia.
  • Batman Parody: Her stealth techniques, backstory, and mission to destroy evil bring to mind a villainous version of Batman, as well.
  • Calling Card: Writes short poems in her victims' blood.
  • Chaotic Evil: In-universe.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Wears a magical cloak and boots that make her invisible in shadows and inaudible.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Her entire technique is based around surprising a lone person and killing them quickly. If this fails, she usually has to leg it.
  • Dirty Coward: Won't attack anyone who looks like they can put up a fight or who is part of a group, and usually won't attack if she can't get the element of surprise.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Operates as this in The Evil Eye, occasionally helping the heroes out so she can stop the Dog Fights and get close to Gabrielle Aderre.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: A subplot in The Evil Eye involves her efforts to break up the Dog Fights, a sadistic event in which vicious attack dogs are set upon defenseless humans. She even helps the prisoners escape.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Against Gabrielle Aderreja.
  • Jack the Ripoff: She's clearly based off of Jack the Ripper.
  • Knight Templar: Ostensibly, she limits her killings to those who she perceives as harming children or disrupting families. Being insane, however...
  • The Navigator: Her knowledge of the city's darkest corners is unmatched, making her an excellent stalker and hit-and-run killer.
  • Retcon: The Monstrous Compendium implies that she only kills once a month, but according to The Evil Eye she's much more active. Her actions also seem a lot bolder and broader in scope in The Evil Eye, having killed a number of soldiers in the Falkovnian quarter of Karina and gone after their leader in the past as well as having a subplot involving stopping the Dog Fights.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Her wide-brimmed hat and cloak hide this well.
  • Serial Killer: Unlike her inspiration, she doesn't restrict herself to prostitutes, and seems willing to kill anyone foolish enough to walk the streets at midnight.
  • Shrinking Violet: When not in Midnight Slasher mode, she's a very retiring sneak thief.
  • Stalker without a Crush: Chooses her victims very carefully, waiting until they're vulnerable to strike. She's also been stalking Gabrielle Aderre.
  • Start of Darkness: When she was five, Gabrielle Aderre seduced her father and turned her parents against each other For the Evulz, until they brutally killed each other in front of her. Gabrielle then gave the near-catatonic child a kiss on the forehead, utterly destroying her sanity.
  • Street Urchin: Her life when she's not killing.
  • You Killed My Father: Cries out "For Mother and Father!" when she attacks Gabrielle Aderre in The Evil Eye.

    Jugo Hesketh 
Yagno Petrovna's first friend in G'Henna, he helped to establish the cult of Zhakata, and then seemingly met his end at the hands of the mongrelmen he'd spent his life abusing. To Yagno's horror, however, he turned up as a ghast, leading a group of ghouls in a series of attacks and grave robberies. Yagno drove him away from G'Henna, but he and his pack of ghouls now roam Tepest.
  • Ascended Extra: His connection to Yagno was enough to warrant his own writeup, but apart from that he's a bog-standard ghast in every way. Whee.
  • Came Back Wrong: Whether due to his own cannibalistic tendencies or a curse from his victims, he rose as a ghast, an advanced form of ghoul, upon his death.
  • Chaotic Evil: In-universe. He would ritually torture and make Human Sacrifices in the name of his Scam Religion, then ate the corpses of his victims not out of hunger — Zhaktata's priesthood are given unrestricted access to the food collected in holy tithe — but out of sheer twisted pleasure.
  • Cold Iron: Does double damage to him, and protection from evil spells need to include cold iron in order to repel him.
  • Elite Mook: Ghasts are more powerful variants of ghouls, with more health, a more potent paralyzing touch, and an unholy stench that debilitates his victims and foes.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: In life he secretly cannibalized the corpses of those he tortured and sacrificed in the name of Zhakata, killing and devouring untold numbers of G'Henna's mongrelmen and unbelievers. Now, he's not human any more, so it doesn't count.
  • Mook Maker: Any human or demihuman killed by him will raise as a ghoul, if the body isn't blessed or destroyed.
  • The Paralyzer: Like all ghouls, he has a paralyzing touch.
  • Stink Bomb: As a ghast he gives off a stench of rotting flesh that can make people violently ill.
  • Villainous Friendship: He was best friends with G'Henna's mad darklord Yagno Petrovna, in life.
  • Wolf Pack Boss: Runs with a pack of ghouls he has created from "spare" victims of his post-undeath rampages.

    Nostalia Romaine 
Ivana Boritsi's dearest friend and advisor, and the first of her ermordenung. Ivana set her to kill Camille Dilisnya, her mother, so that she could ascend to rulership of Borca.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: The only toxin that can affect her is the touch of an ermordenung.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The ermordenung are part of the aristocracy of Borca, and she's the head of them all.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Will kill any partner she touches, and ermordenung are vulnerable to each other's poisons.
  • Charm Person: Her deep, husky voice acts like a charm spell.
  • The Dragon: She's this to Ivana, pretty much.
  • Female Misogynist: She cannot abide the touch of other women, and shuns them, other than Ivana. Mostly this is due to nightmares she has had her whole life where she is tormented by Camille Dilisnya - the woman she betrayed. Thus, while she'll gladly use her Kiss of Death to slay men, she always uses her dagger on female targets and foes.
  • Honey Trap: All ermordenung are beautiful assassins who excel at using their beauty to lure victims into range of their poisonous touch or kiss, but Nostalia in particular is a master at it.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: The intimacy denied her as an ermordenung gnaws at her soul.
  • Kiss of Death: Like all ermordenung, her whole body is poisonous, but her lips secrete a particularly concentrated version of the toxin, so a kiss from her is almost certain to be fatal. In particular, she murdered Ivana's mother, Camile Dilisnya, by luring her into a kiss, thus exposing her to Nostalia's fatal poison.
  • Lawful Evil: In-universe.
  • Monster Progenitor: Although as an ermordenung, she cannot breed, she is the first of Ivana Boritsi's ermordenung and their leader. She has a power other ermordenung lack (her charming voice), which may be the result of her experimental nature.
  • Older Than They Look: Each new moon, she uses an elixir of her own devising (which is said to require the harvest of at least three young men), to stay young. Otherwise, she'll age at an accelerated rate.
  • Painful Transformation: The transformation process is so agonizing that only the most robust individuals survive becoming an ermordenung.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Her dagger is filled with a solution made from her own blood.
  • Poisonous Person: As an ermordenung, her slightest touch is a deadly poison.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Like all ermordenung.
  • Retcon: The assassination of Camille and Nostalia's role in it weren't detailed upon until the Monstrous Compendium.
  • Start of Darkness: Was a perfectly ordinary young lady until Ivana asked her to kill her mother and infused her body with poison. These days she feels no remorse for killing and has come to enjoy the misery she sows.
  • Super-Soldier: Particularly in 3rd edition, where the ermordenung transformation process acts as an overall enhancement, increasing all the subject's stats, with an emphasis on strength.
  • Super-Strength: As a female ermordenung, in 2nd edition she has 18/50 strength—that is, borderline superhuman, especially for a woman.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Had no particular dislike of Camille, but her devotion to Ivana overwhelmed any qualms she may have had about killing her.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Ivana Boritsi.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Is still haunted by the feeling of Camille Dilisnya's lips upon hers as she died, and is horrified and disgusted by the thought of touching a woman. That's what the dagger's for.

Mordenheim's Monster
A graverobber who was foolish enough to develop a relationship with Viktra Mordenheim, a brilliant scientist who used corpseparts for her experiments. Elise and Viktra carried on a whirlwind romance until Elise fell sick. Unable to heal her using conventional means, Viktra committed many abominable deeds to construct the Unbreakable Heart, a mechanical marvel that would resurrect Elise. The experiment succeeded, but the two were claimed by the mists before Viktra could celebrate. Now, Elise flees her former lover, terrified of the scientist's obsession with the unbreakable heart.
  • Composite Character: Elise is a Captain Ersatz of Frankenstein's Monster, like Adam, but has the same narrative role as Mordenheim's diseased lover.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In Orphan of Agony Isle, she saves Miranda's life only to be threatened into letting her go by Viktra. Elise snarks in response that it's real big of Viktra to threaten the person who just saved her daughter's life.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Inspired by the concept, a body sewn together and reanimated using science.
  • Gender Flip: Is 5e's version of Adam, but has a different gender.
  • The Lost Lenore: She is Viktra's Lenore, although it's unclear if Viktra actually loves her or if she's just pursuing her for the Unbreakable Heart.
  • Reincarnation Romance: 5e lists her as a potential reincarnation of Tatyana. Meaning that poor Elise would have to compete with not one, but two former lovers pursuing her.

Mordenheim's daughter

A young girl who's life was saved by the famed Lamordian genius Viktra Mordenheim. She remembers nothing from before awakening on the good doctor's operating table, not even her name, but Mordenheim lets her stay at her estate until she is healed and has regained her memories. However, over the course of her stay, she begins having strange dreams of people dying.

Miranda is the star of the 2023 comic Dungeons & Dragons: Ravenloft - Orphan of Agony Isle, detailing her stay at Schloss Mordenheim and the strange dreams she suffers.

  • Amnesiacs are Innocent: Discussed. While Miranda is eager to regain her memory of her old life, Viktra tells her to cherish her innocense while she still has it, since there are no kind people in Lamordia.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Not that Ravenloft has ever been big on realistic science, but several of Miranda's bodyparts are taken from people much older than her (in particular her heart is from an adult woman with child) and thus should not fit her relatively childlike body.
  • Bandage Mummy: She is covered in bandages from head to toe, with only half her face clearly visible. She wears clothes over the bandagers, though. They hide the stiches that reveal her construct nature.
  • Broken Pedestal: Initially, she's very trusting and admiring of Viktra, thinking that "There are no kind people in Lamordia" can't be true because Viktra has been very kind to her. Over time, as Viktra's controlling, neglectful, and abusive nature becomes apparent, Miranda grows more doubtful of her caretaker, and eventually leaves the castle after giving Viktra a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Cute Monster Girl: She is a Flesh Golem made from corpses, but is otherwise a perfectly normal young girl.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Her relationship with dr. Mordenheim is evocative of a child with a neglectful and abusive parent. Miranda shows genuine curiosity about the doctor's work, disobeys her caretaker's orders out of curiosity, gets shouted at for being a disturbance or disobedient, and Viktra at one point even gives her The Talk. As a sapient flesh golem, Miranda really is the closest Viktra has to a daughter.
  • Emergent Human: As a result of having no memory from before dr. Mordenheim saved her, Miranda is boundlessly curious about the world around her, and annoys the doctor to no end with her ceaseless questions.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: She is a lot more like the creature Adam than even Elise, being a boundlessly curious Flesh Golem with a brand new identity instead of a scientifically resurrected woman who still retains her old memories and personality.
  • Like Mother, Unlike Daughter: Miranda shares her caretaker's curiosity about the world around them, but little else, and certainly none of what makes her a Darklord.
  • Meaningful Rename: Since she can't remember her old name, Viktra calls her Miranda, feeling that it suits her innocense.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: Not in terms of personality, but Miranda and Viktra both have a very keen intellect and curiosity about the world.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Despite being a little girl, Miranda is strong enough to Neck Lift a grown woman.
  • Past-Life Memories: Her nightmares, which all end with a person dying, are actually the recollections of her constituent bodyparts.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Defied. Miranda has a grip around her mother's throat and Viktra thinks she's going to kill her, but she decides not to because she doesn't want to be a monster like her.

    Ahmi Vanjuko 
A ranger from Oerth; he ran afoul of Easan the Mad and wound up trapped in the body of a mechanical golem.
  • Blessed with Suck: Has all the benefits (minus the immunity to mind spells) of a mechanical golem and is virtually immortal — at the expense of everything he held dear.
  • Chaotic Neutral: In-universe. His unwanted body-swap has left him mentally unhinged, making him prone to dangerously erratic and unpredictable behavior.
  • Friend to All Living Things: As a ranger. These days, though, Animals Hate Him, fleeing when he comes within fifty feet of them.
  • Golem: He's specifically classified as a mechanical golem, a variant of the iron golem that consists of metal plating "skin" over an articulated endoskeleton and mechanical components. This makes them less tough than regular iron golems, but faster and more manueverable.
  • The Hermit: Has isolated himself in a cave in the forest.
  • Mercy Kill: Has devoted himself to wandering the forests of Vechor, ending the suffering of Easan's other experimental subjects.
  • Nature Hero: As a ranger. Although he's lost most of his powers, he still has a few nature-based spells left.
  • Nature Lover: One of the most tragic aspects of his new life is that he's lost his connection to the wildlife and beauty of the wilderness.
  • The Needless: Doesn't need to eat, drink or sleep.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: A magical mechanical golem ranger.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: No longer able to smell, taste, or touch, and so can no longer enjoy nature as he used to.
  • Shock and Awe: Can shock people he hits with his claws or who hit him with metal melee weapons, and can generate a powerful electrical aura that will hit any living thing within twenty feet.
  • The Speechless: Utterly unable to talk.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Fell in love with a Vistani woman, and tried to follow her group into the Mists, but wound up alone in Vechor.
  • Super-Strength: As a golem.
  • Transplant: From Oerth.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Via Brain Uploading.
  • Wolverine Claws: On his fingers.

    Andres Duvall 
Ravenloft's first, last, and only Bardic Lich, Andres was an ordinary bard until his curiosity got the better of him and he ended up on Azalin's doorstep.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: He thought he'd gotten out of Castle Avernus alive and intact... right up until he realized his heart wasn't beating anymore. Within a week, his skin was dried and stretched upon his bones, and people were running away from him.
  • Arch-Enemy: Azalin is his, though the power disparity between them means that so far Andres's actions against him are limited to wandering around Ravenloft gathering allies and weapons.
  • Blessed with Suck: Has all the physical benefits of a lich, but is forever a horrific monster.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Discovered a fragmentary account of Azalin's rise and became so fascinated by the story that he had to visit Castle Avernus in person. As Azalin's guest, he was convinced that he wasn't getting the whole truth, so he investigated Azalin's inner sanctum, raising his captor's ire.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Azalin treated him as a guest as well as a prisoner, regaling him with his life story and demanding nothing save that Andres sing songs and tell tales for him.
  • Emotion Bomb: Generates an an aura of fear.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Half-elf, but such a charming person that he was spared the usual Fantastic Racism. It's rather academic now, of course.
  • He Knows Too Much: His knowledge of Azalin's secrets has made him one of the darklord's most hated enemies.
  • Improvised Armor: When Azalin shot a lightning bolt at him, he grabbed one of the lich's most potent spellbooks to shield himself and escaped unscathed. Or not.
  • Magic Eater: His only form of sustenance. He can absorb spells cast upon him, touch a magic user and grab a spell from their mind, or absorb a charge from a magical object.
  • The Needless: He no longer has any need to eat, sleep, or breathe, although he does have to absorb magic once a day.
  • Neutral Good: In-universe.
  • Nightmare Face: As a lich, his face is so terrifying that people flee from him.
  • No-Sell: Any magic cast upon him is absorbed, restoring his health and providing sustenance.
  • Odd Friendship: With Azalin, who seemed almost grateful for his company.
  • Our Liches Are Different: The text repeatedly notes that he's not a "true" lich (for one thing, he doesn't have a phylactery), but that he's close enough to count.
  • The Paralyzer: Has a chilling, paralyzing touch, like other liches, although his is less powerful.
  • Single Specimen Species: Due to the fluke which created him.
  • Spoony Bard: Although he's lost most of his abilities in that regard, he retains his ability to cast arcane spells, and to use thief skills and bardic lore.
  • Technically-Living Zombie: Transformed into a lich without actually dying first.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He's sided with enemies of Darkon several times in his efforts to bring Azalin down, and might even be able to stomach working with a rival darklord like Strahd if he has to.

    Toben the Many 
If Toben ever had a past as a human, he doesn't care about it. What he is now is far grander than any single life; as his title implies, Toben is not a single creature, but a single mind that inhabits the bodies of all those killed by his Grinning Sickness or anyone killed by one of his bodies. Either way, the corpse develops a rictus grin and a fiendish intelligence, capable of coordinating its actions with all of Toben's other bodies to a degree most necromancers would commit genocide for. Beyond that, though, he's not really a macro-scale threat like a darklord; he's far too self-centered and lazy for that. He is, however, a sadist; seeing as how he has nothing to do with his immortality, he enjoys making a game of it. A very cruel game of it.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Toben is terrified of Azalin, fearing that the lich-king's superior skills as a necromancer would allow him to subjugate Toben's will completely, perhaps even destroy it if he can take control over all of Toben's bodies. He does his best to stay away from Darkon, and lives in fear of being spontaneously transported there by the Mists.
    • Toben's also terrified of the Vistani and avoids picking fights with them. Whether this is because he fears they could cause the Mists to send him to Darkon or because there's truth to the story of him being created by the Vistani, or both, is anyone's guess.
    • In recent years, he's decided to pursue a rivalry with Alanik Ray, though from Toben's end this is almost a friendly rivalry, as he enjoys matching wits against Mordent's elfin detective.
  • Ax-Crazy: Of a more subdued manner, but he's exactly as insane and sadistic as his symptoms suggest.
  • Break Them by Talking: He loves tormenting people psychologically.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The dominant theory as to his origins state he was a thief who used a disguise to provoke a massacre of a Vistani caravan, and is now a Hive Mind due to a Vistani's Dying Curse that was probably intended as an Ironic Hell of Loss of Identity. The curse horribly backfired in that regard, as Toben thinks his new condition is awesome; he's effectively immortal, since he combines being The Needless as a zombie with the fact his consciousness exists spread across multiple bodies.
  • For the Evulz: A bored Toben is a terrifying thing, as he regards inflicting pain, suffering and madness as an artform and himself as a master artiste. His crimes include transforming a children's orphanage into an undead madhouse and infecting the seven brides of seven Lamordian brothers before killing them on their collective wedding night.
  • A God Am I: Perhaps not a god, but he does think of himself as superior to everyone with only a single body.
  • Hero Killer: Toben enjoys
  • Hive Mind: Toben is a singular consciousness that exists simultaneously within the corpses of everyone killed by the Grinning Sickness.
  • It Can Think: Toben is what happens when you give a Zombie Apocalypse a Hive Mind with the personality of a high-functioning and very clever Serial Killer.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: Technically. Toben's bodies aren't especially tough or dangerous, but killing Toben is extremely difficult due to his Hive Mind nature. So long as a single Toben zombie can survive, Toben survives. Only the utter eradication of every infected Toben zombie in the Land of Mists would destroy Toben.
  • Plague Zombie: Toben carries a disease unique to him called the Grinning Sickness, which kills a victim and leaves their face contorted into a permanent rictus grin. Anyone killed by the Grinning Sickness becomes a host to the Toben consciousness, and rises as part of the Many.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of Toben's crimes involves murdering the seven brides of seven brothers, clearly a macabre homage to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
    • Toben's "friendly rivalry" with Alanik Ray is clearly meant to be evocative of that between Moriaty and Sherlock Holmes.
    • Perhaps a stretch, but Toben's iconic look, with perpetual rictus grin and bulging eyes, could be an homage to Batman's iconic Arch-Enemy, the Joker.
  • Slasher Smile: All of his bodies' lips shrink and their eyes bulge, leading to this as a permanent expression.
  • Unishment: If, as popularly theorized, Toben was created as a curse, then it completely failed to punish him.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: He's not planning on taking over any time soon (it'd get lonely), but anyone facing Toben quickly faces this in short order, as Toben will animate veritable armies of corpses and direct them at his latest victim.

    Professor Arcanus 
Born Randal duPree to a modestly wealthy family in Port-a-Lucine, his fate changed forever when his family went to see a Vistani travelling show. Randal was instantly smitten with the granduer of the entertainer's lifestyle... and, more fatefully, with Nadja the seer. Drunk on too much wine, he couldn't resist speaking to her after the show and confessing his love to her; when she mockingly refused him, he tried to force himself upon her. The rest of the band promptly captured him, and cursed him for his deeds. Soon afterwards, Randal learned that rage or pain caused him to risk turning into a hulking beast, and so he reluctantly left his home to protect the people he cared for. A naturally extroverted person, he began travelling the world, searching for a cure and taking up the identity of Professor Arcanus, using the various artifacts he gathered — real and fake — to run a travelling curio show. He entered the Ravenloft canon in Children of the Night: Werebeasts, and also starred in the fan netbook Quoth the Raven #3.
  • And I Must Scream: Not the Professor himself, but anyone whom he bites; those who succumb to his therianthropic curse are transformed into Carnivorous Apes permanently.
  • Big Fun: Professor Arcanus is a very round-looking individual, but also a highly personable and extroverted man who loves showmanship.
  • Chaotic Good: His canonical in-universe alignment. He's a showman and a rogue, not averse to lying if it makes a story more interesting, but he's also a good man who just wants to entertain and amuse.
  • Charm Person: In 2nd edition, he can mimic the effects of a Mesmerism spell at-will if he has a focus. The large gem on his cane serves just fine.
  • Killer Gorilla: He turns into one when he transforms.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: His attempted assault on Nadja was completely out of character for him, and he deeply regrets it. His appearance in Quoth the Raven has him admit that he still blames himself for assaulting her and believes he deserves his punishment.
  • Our Were Beasts Are Different: Not only is he a maledictive werebeast, meaning he was created by magic, but he also breaks what Van Richten thought were the rules of therianthropy (only carnivores or scavengers) by turning into a Killer Gorilla. He only has human or beast forms, and completely loses control of himself when he transforms.
  • Stout Strength: Most people take a look at the short, heavily-built man and his round face and assume he's overweight. In fact he's simply stocky and barrel-chested; all of that bulk is pure muscle.
  • Super-Strength: Some of his gorilla-like strength leaks through even in his human form, making his strikes more dangerous.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Because some of the items in his collection are more dangerous than he realizes, he can serve as this. His tie-in adventure, Missing Bones, is based on the fact that he learns his skeleton of Duke Gundar is real only after someone pulls out the stake and revives the dread vampire. In his named items, he also has a crawling claw (which would start attacking any living thing around it if released) that he presents as "the hand of Vecna", and his "soul blade" is actually the cursed weapon/pocket domain of Aggarath from The Forgotten Terror.
  • The Virus: Like many lycanthropes, he's contagious. Unlike many lycanthropes, his infection turns people into a peaceable Carnivorous Ape, which is simply a very big, very smart omnivorous gorilla which is not contagious.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: All werebeasts have some material that can harm them, even when mundane damage fails. Professor Arcanus' is wood. That's right, you can theoretically beat him to death with a tree branch.

    Larissa Snowmane
Dancer on the river
The captain of the riverboat River Dancer, Larissa Snowmane traverses the rivers of the demiplane, giving aid to the helpless and passage to those who need it. As a child, her father was killed by the Dancer's previous captain, who took her in as his own child. When she eventually learned of this, Larissa fled into the swamps of Soraigne, where her druidic magic was awakened and she learend the mystical Dance of the Dead from the domain's darklord, which wards of undead but kills and reanimates any who witness it. Using the dance, Larissa killed her surrogate father, unintentionally slaying her lover in the process, and took the River Dancer. Known by her icy white hair, beautiful singing voice, and breathtaking (literally) dancing, captain Snowmane has become a legend in her decades of travel. She fears not the undead that infest the rivers, warding them of using the Dance of the Dead. Larissa only avoids her rival captain Nathan Timothy and the domain of Soraigne, where she is still beholden to unpaid debts.

Larissa appears in the novel Dance of the Dead and then received stats in the 2e sourcebook "Champions of the Mist". She was subsequently ignored until she made a surprise appearance later in 5th edition as an NPC, though her past there is kept mysterious.

  • Brown Note: Any living being who witnesses the Dance of the Dead are instantly slain and reanimated as a zombie.
  • Deal with the Devil: Larissa learned her powers from nefarious beings in Soraigne, namely the Lady of the Swamp and the darklord Anton Misroi, who consider her debts unpaid.
  • The Ferryman: Larissa is a riverboat captain who's associated with death and who ferries people across countless rivers. She doesn't quite fit the traditional aesthetics, but nevertheless fulfills the trope.
  • Good Samaritan: Larissa has no reason to help people, she simply does so because it's the right thing to do.
    "Everyone needs help from time to time. I'll help those who have no one else."
  • Mysterious Past: In 5e, nothing is told of Larissa's past before becoming who she is today, only that she at one point learned her powers from nefarious beings in Soraigne. She views her past as the only evil she cannot overcome.
  • Older Than They Look: To the point where you'd think the artist had some miscommunication with the writer. In 5e, Larissa is explicitly in her late 60s, but looks the same as she did in her initial appearance, a woman half her age.
  • Snake Whip: Pre-5e, Larissa wields a whip gifted to her by Anton Misroi that turns into a snake when used, but requires a bit of her blood to activate.

Centuries ago, before Pharaoh Anhktepot was drawn into Ravenloft, his high priest Senmet was mummified and entombed alive after his treasonous plans were uncovered. But Senmet would not rest forever...
  • Ambition is Evil: The reason he planned to engineer Anhktepot's downfall in the first place was because he wanted absolute power, and he hasn't changed in the interim, as anyone naive enough to seek his help in taking down the Darklord will find out.
  • Archenemy: Anhktepot.
  • Brown Note: Like all greater mummies, Senmet has a terrifying aura of fear—in his case, however, it has twice the effect if it lands.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Senmet's body just happened to come to Ravenloft with Anhktepot, and centuries later a priestess named Isu Rehkotep just happened to come across a scroll that detailed how Anhktepot created greater mummies and the body she eventually decided to try it out on just happened to be Senmet. And then you remember the Dark Powers exist, and well...
  • Deal with the Devil: It's implied that the reason he can make and control desert zombies is because he either somehow made a deal with Set, or because of Isu Rekhotep being a worshipper of the dark god.
  • Discard and Draw: Unlike other greater mummies, Senmet lacks the ability to cast clerical spells in favor of making and controlling desert zombies. In Touch of Death this was because he'd swapped those powers out for the ability to both make and control and assume partial control of Har'akir from Anhktepot. In Domains of Dread, his control over the domain isn't mentioned and his zombie powers are implied to be due to some sort of deal he or Isu Rehkotep worked out with Set. These aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, however.
  • Due to the Dead: Although he was a traitor, Anhktepot had him buried with full honors and claimed he was a martyr for his Pharaoh in order to create the illusion of an unchallenged reign.
  • A God Am I: Part of Senmet's plan to usurp Anhktepot in Touch of Death was to use Isu Rehkotep's position in the Cult of Osiris to subtly shift the worship of Mudar's people to Set instead. With them worshipping a god aligned to him and an army of desert zombies, he was certain he could ascend to the position of Pharaoh (thus godhood).
  • Holy Burns Evil: Contact with non-evil religious symbols inflicts damage on him. Conversely, evil ones heal him.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Lightning does half again its damage to him.
  • Lawful Evil: In-universe.
  • Make Them Rot: As a mummy, he has a powerful rotting touch. As a greater mummy, his is even more powerful.
  • Mind Control:
    • The scroll Isu Rehkotep used to awaken him was incomplete, but she can still control him for a few minutes a day.
    • Senmet himself can control his desert zombies and lesser mummies.
  • Maker of Monsters: Senmet can choose to transform those infected by his rotting disease into either desert zombies or ordinary mummies (by mummifying the latter alive), both of whom he can control.
  • No-Sell: Not having been created by Anhktepot, he cannot be controlled by the Darklord. In addition, cold, ice, and nonmagical fire have no effect on him, and he shares the undead immunity to sleep, charm and hold spells. Holy water also doesn't affect him.
  • Super-Strength: Does a large amount of barehanded damage.


In the forest of Tepest, on the border between G'Henna and Markovia, there is a eighteen-foot tall monster with spies everywhere, who can send the beasts of the forest to terrorize his foes, or animate the very trees themselves to strike them down. An evil treant is a formidable foe, but Blackroot puts others of his kind to shame.

  • Chaotic Evil: In-universe.
  • The Corrupter: He's so evil the animals in his part of the forest have gone from True Neutral to Neutral Evil.
  • Druid: Though he's not a real druid, he has a large array of druid spells at his command, and casts as though he were 12th level.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Like other treants. Since his animal friends are evil now, this means he has hundreds of innocuous-looking spies.
  • Super-Strength: He can crush plate armor like cardboard.
  • Super-Toughness: He has a huge amount of hit dice and his (2nd edition) AC is 0.
  • The Beastmaster: His druid spells let him control animals, and he'll usually do this instead of directly confronting his foes. This is, remarkably, a good thing for the foes as Blackroot in person is way stronger than his animal thralls.
  • Treants: Yup. Though he started out as a normal (if beautiful and stately) tree before the hags of Tepest spent a month pouring what amounts to liquified evil on his roots.
  • Walking Wasteland: His very presence ruins the ground and the water and makes fruit trees give bitter issue.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: He's not too keen on fire, and he'll send every animal in the forest after anyone who brings it into his realm.
  • When Trees Attack: He can walk, he can control trees and make them walk. Oh, yes, and he's a ravenous carnivore.

    Reeva and Arijani Vasavadan
Betrayer and Usurper

The sister and brother of Ramya Vasavadan, the darklord of Kalakeri. On the day of Ramya's coronation, Arijani tried to usurp her, leading to a civil war. Ramya won, but, at the urging of Reeva, spared her treasonous brother. Unbeknownst to her, however, her sister was just as treasonous, and secretly worked with nobles to build a rebel army loyal to Arijani. The rebels freed Arijani and defeated Ramya's armies after a long war, but as her corpse sunk to the bottom of the sea, she rose again as a death knight, bringing with her an army of the dead. Arijani and Reeva soon fell, but as the mists claimed Kalakeri, they rose again as demons, forever to carry on the civil war.

  • Adaptation Species Change: Arijani is an In Name Only version of an earlier edition darklord, but unlike that version, he was born a human, and only turned into a rakshasa after his death.
  • Ambition is Evil: Arijani's Fatal Flaw. His ambition made him attempt to usurp Ramya's throne, which directly led to their damnation.
  • Animal Motifs: A bit. Arcanaloths are designed after the deceitful jackal, which fits Reeva rather well, while Rakshasa resemble noble but savage tigers, fitting the usurper Arijani.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Reeva played the role of a friendly and loyal sister, but secretly schemed against Ramya. By now, her outwards appearance fits her inwards.
  • Demoted to Extra: Downplayed. Arijani used to be an outright darklord in earlier editions. Here, he's reduced to a character in another darklord's story - but he and Reeva are still so influential in Kalakeri it's impossible to avoid his influence, and he's still subjected to an Ironic Hell.
  • Funny Animal: Except that they're not funny at all. Both are fiends that resemble humanoid animals. Reeva is an Arcanaloth, resembling the jackal, and Arijani is a Rakshasa, resembling a tiger.
  • Ironic Hell: Despite not being darklords, they still suffer this of a kind. For attempting to usurp their sister's rightful inheritance, they have been forced into an unending civil war, where any victory is temporary. For added irony, they don't even get to be darklords, because Ramya has and always will be the rightful heir.
  • Karmic Transformation: The Dark Powers turned them into fiends. As monstrous on the outside as they are on the inside.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Reeva embodies the "playing both sides" archetype, working to play her sister and brother against each other while earning more power for herself.
  • Mythology Gag: Reeva is sometimes nicknamed "Inajira" in-universe, a play on how she is a "backwards Arijani". It also homages a powerful Arcanaloth who was present in the Demiplane of Dread in older editions of the setting.