He is the Ancient, he is the Land... And he's not the only one.
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- Asshole Victim: Each suffers a Fate Worse than Death, and they deserve every minute of it.
- Being Evil Sucks: How far this trope is played out varies from Darklord to Darklord, but simply being a Darklord has the general gist of it: you are granted amazing powers and a large area of land to rule over... however, despite all the power you now have, you're still stuck in a monstrous existence, and the one thing you desire above all else is always just out of your reach.
- Evil Overlord: Each Darklord rules over their corner of the Land of Mists with an iron fist, and every last one of them has passed the Moral Event Horizon at least once.
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Some Darklords have tragic, or at least sympathetic, backstories leading up to their trip over the Moral Event Horizon. The Dark Powers very, very clearly don't care.
- Informed Ability: Especially notable with Darklords whose superpowers are social influence or cerebral. E.g. Azalin is hailed as a genius-level spellcaster able to use spells creatively in combat. Yet in the two official adventures where he features prominently as a combat Big Bad, he does not demonstrate this. Granted, in the one plotline where he wants you to kill him, that's because he's running an Evil Plan where your destroying his current body is part of how he will escape Ravenloft. And if Strahd van Zarovich hadn't interfered, Azalin would have made it too. No, his genius was entirely functional during that one. However, in the other adventure they simply ignore it and write ultra-generic description text of a battle raging in the background.
- Informed Flaw: Each Darklord has a curse of sorts, but some of the curses are abstract or far-reaching to the point where they have little practical effect in the scope of a typical adventure. Of course, many of them are not intended as a flaw to exploit, just to make the darklord's life suck.
- Ironic Hell: Each is both the ruler and prisoner of his/her realm, continually tortured by a curse that reflects the horrid crime done to earn it.
- Moral Event Horizon: Every one of the darklords has committed at least one act so utterly evil that it all but guaranteed the attention of the Dark Powers. In-Universe, the term for this in Ravenloft is an "Act of Ultimate Darkness," and it's a requirement for becoming a Darklord; a near-perfect blend of hypocrisy, depravity, cruelty, and selfishness. The clincher, though, is absolute refusal to acknowledge that what they did was wrong. Indeed, that's part of The Punishment for darklords — that if they worked up the moral strength to admit that what they have done is inexcusable and that they reaped what they sowed, their curse would be moot (as eventually occurred with Lord Soth). Then again, the books pretty much say that if they were the sorts of people who'd be able to do that, they would never have become darklords in the first place.
- Powerful and Helpless: Most Darklords are undisputed masters of their domains and have incredible power... but they can't leave and the Dark Powers are actively preventing them from getting any happiness from their situation.
- The Punishment: The Darklords are given great power for their crimes but are denied the ability to enjoy it, and the innocent suffer at their hands. No one is left happy or satisfied about the situation, least of all the Darklords themselves, except the Dark Powers that rule the place.
- Super Weight: Even a minor darklord of a small domain is going to be at least a 3. Major ones are the high end of 4, and would be 5 except the Powers regularly remind them exactly who's in charge here. As for the PCs, they'll be whichever tier the Powers decide for that adventure and like it.
- Tragic Dream: This underpins every darklord's curse: whether it be love, land, or more power, the Dark Powers make sure that despite their best efforts, they will never get what they truly want.
- Weaksauce Weakness: All of them have one, and the only true way to stand up to a darklord and hope to survive is via exploiting it.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: The Dark Powers derive pleasure from repeatedly dangling the Darklords' greatest desires in front of them and, after they've gone through great lengths attempting to obtain what they want, snatch it away from them at the last minute. To ensure that they never lose hope and give up, the Powers make the Darklords' repeated failures appear due to mistakes on their part rather than by their design, meaning that they continue trying under the false belief they have a chance to succeed.
Darklords of the Southern Core
Strahd Von Zarovich, Darklord of Barovia
- Affably Evil: He is very civil, and even nice when he wants or needs to be, and holds himself to the high standards of aristocratic behavior. When travelers arrive in Barovia, he usually treats them as guests provided they aren't hostile at first, and will even offer them a chance to talk peacefully. Of course, he's still a murderous vampire and a monster.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain to his brother Sergei's Abel.
- Classical Movie Vampire: Most of his art depicts him as resembling a certain other famous vampire. He's generally seen as the most iconic vampire in the franchise, and was called the greatest D&D villain of all time by Dragon Magazine in its final issue.
- Crazy-Prepared: He always keeps a Contingency spell cast upon himself which casts a Teleport Without Error if he's exposed to sunlight, teleporting him to a hidden lair in the mountains of Barovia where he can heal and rest.
- Deal with the Devil:
- He makes a deal with an entitynote called Death to become a Vampire. In Curse of Strahd this pact was with a Vestige called Vamphyr.
- He also made a deal while still mortal with the arcanaloth Inajira, bargaining for military success in return for eternal servitude, and receiving a valuable artifact from Inajira as collateral — only for Strahd and the artifact to be snatched up by the mists a few years later, frustrating Inajira. During the Grand Conjunction, Inajira finally managed to confront Strahd, only to have the artifact destroyed and end up trapped in Ravenloft too.
- Depraved Bisexual: In Curse of Strahd, it's made clear that Strahd isn't opposed to seducing attractive PCs regardless of gender, and he has a male consort as well. Of course, his true affections are for Tatyana.
- Dogged Nice Guy: How he acted towards Tatyana, his brother's fiancée, at first. Later horrifically deconstructed as his attempts to woo Tatyana lead him to believe that he could never win her through kindess, leading him to trying to forcibly make her fall for him instead.
- Enemy Without: The third of the Ravenloft Gazetteers, sourcebooks on the various domains of the Core released for 3rd edition, has a sidebar in the chapter on Mordent presenting this as a possible way to reconcile Strahd's backstory from the original Castle Ravenloft adventure, his reappearance in The House on Gryphon Hill, and Strahd's backstory after the Demiplane of Dread became its own setting. In short, the original Count Strahd von Zarovich was a decent man with a knack for alchemy who lived in the region that would become the Domain of Mordent. Harrowed by his darker impulses, he used an experimental magical-alchemic device known as the Apparatus to separate his evil side from himself and cast it away. Unbeknownst to the Alchemist, this dark side was reincarnated elsewhere in the multiverse, and became the Strahd von Zarovich who conquered/reclaimed Barovia and ultimately damned himself to vampiredom. During that nebulous period in which Barovia was alone in the Mists, with the aid of then-newcomer Azalin, the vampire was able to peer through the planes and see his "light side" as he went about his life. Bitter and resentful, Strahd was able to use the then-looser nature of his prison to try and project himself into the Alchemist's homeworld, seeking to take control of the Apparatus and use it to switch bodies with his human counterpart. Things went disastrously wrong, and thus was Mordent drawn into the Demiplane of Dread itself.
- Evil Niece: His grandniece, Lyssa von Zarovich, a vampire with power beyond her years, who plots to take over Barovia.
- Evil vs. Evil: In the past, he's counted both Azalin and Soth among his enemies
- Expy: Pretty much the D&D version of Count Dracula.
- Fallen Hero:
- Originally renowned as a heroic general on his homeworld with ideals similar to a paladin's, he bravely defended Barovia from savage barbarians, becoming ruler of his people as a result. His Start of Darkness came much later.
- Subverted with his Curse of Strahd depiction. While he was a fearless leader and did have some amount of heroic traits, its implied that even from a young age Strahd wasn't a good person, his mother was noted to be wary of him, and some of his more infamous acts were committed before he was a vampire.
- Genius Bruiser: With his vampire powers and a lifetime of combat experience, Strahd is a dangerous physical opponent and yet it is his brilliant mind that makes him a true terror. Notably, his highest score is Intelligence, at 20, and all of his other mental scores are very high as well.
- Green-Eyed Monster: The cause of his damnation, when he returned from a lifetime of war after the raw strength of youth was spent to find his younger brother, still strong and vital, preparing to marry a woman they both loved. Invariably reverts to this when Tatyana's latest reincarnation stays out of his reach.
- Identical Grandson: Invoked. Strahd publicly pretends to be merely a long line of suspiciously identical monarchs all named Strahd. In the Curse of Strahd module, this was removed and instead he's been a Shadow Dictator from the start.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: All of his stats are at or above 16, except his Constitution, which he lacks thanks to being undead. He's well versed in both magic and sword fighting, and with his intelligence, he's good at adapting to the situation.
- The Jail Bait Wait: He is always doing this in some form or other, what with Tatyana constantly reincarnating; if he happens to find her at a point in the cycle where she's still a child, as happens with Ireena, he'll keep an eye on her but will do nothing until she's grown up.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups. He is an evil parasite on the Barovian people, but he holds himself to high standards and runs a tight ship, keeping them safe from other dangers both because he still feels a twinge of aristocratic duty to ensure their protection and for the very pragmatic reason that they're essentially his larder. He also does his best to stay polite and proper, and is willing to let people go alive rather than killed if need be.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Well, for a given value of "dumb". When pursuing one of Tatyana's reincarnations, Strahd will take risks he wouldn't normally take and is subject to oversights and miscalculations in his lust to possess her that would otherwise be at odds with his brilliant mind and detached, pragmatic nature.
- Love Makes You Evil: He made his covenant with death and murdered Sergei just so he could have Tatyana. It didn't really work out.
- Magic Knight: A powerful necromantic wizard and a skilled swordfighter, both traits augmented by his vampiric nature.
- Monster Progenitor: As of Fifth Edition, it is rumored that he is the very first vampire ever to exist.
- Necromancer: A very, very good one. He's invented unique variants on classic undead types, such as zombies, skeletons, and skeleton horses, that are much more powerful than standard variations. Strahd zombies, for instance, are highly resistant to turning and continue to fight with severed pieces even when they're cut apart, while Strahd skeletons make tons of attacks per round, see through invisibility, and have magic resistance.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: He is quite good at playing one, as shown when he has his duet with Jander Sunstar in Vampire of the Mists.
- Our Vampires Are Different: He became a vampire by making a Deal with the Devil instead of being infected like a lot of other vampires. Fifth edition offers the legend that he might actually be the first vampire in the broader D&D meta-continuity.
- Protectorate: Rare villainous example; while Strahd himself preys on Barovia, no other Ravenloft villain had better even think about messing with his property or people.
- Reincarnation Romance: What Strahd tries to engineer with Tatyana about once a generation. It'll NEVER work.
- Retcon: Not to the extent of some other Darklords on this list, but he was hit with some minor ones throughout his existence. Curse of Strahd had to do some reworking to make Barovia work as a setting independent of the other Domains of Dread:
- Any reference to Strahd's family outside of Barov, Ravenovia and Sergei were removed.
- Strahd being a Shadow Dictator through My Grandson Myself was dropped. He now openly (if absently) rules Barovia, and his people is very aware of his nature.
- His powers now came from a Vestige trapped in the Amber Temple, and not "Death". It's left ambiguous if these vestiges are the Dark Powers, or if they are separate entities but the book does treat them as different entities.
- Sibling Triangle: His downfall; he and his brother fell in love with the same woman, who only loved his brother.
- Shadow Dictator: While he's the political ruler of Barovia, few of his subjects have ever seen him, as he rarely appears in public. Few know that he's anything other than human, although they do know he is a wizard who has lived longer than any man has a right to. (Some call him "the Devil Strahd", but do not mean it literally.)
- Stronger with Age: His advanced age as a vampire has made him tougher than most. Garlic, mirrors, and holy symbols don't bother himnote , and he can survive sunlight for a full turn (about ten minutes) safely. Thanks to the nature of Barovia as well, he isn't affected by sunlight either, which means the only weakness he can't escape from is running water.
Ivana Boritsi, Darklord of BorcaA beautiful woman who looks 18 despite being in her 60s. She inherited Borca from her mother, Camille, whom she poisoned in revenge for sleeping with her lover (whom she also poisoned). Her curse is to never know love, as anyone towards whom she'd feel romantic affection towards would die from her poisonous touch.
- Acquired Poison Immunity: Immune to poison, like her cousin, making their constant attempts to poison each other a wasted effort.
- Affably Evil: Adept at keeping this facade.
- Black Widow: Her curse is to kill everyone she kisses.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in her profile writeups.
- The Dragon: Hers would be Nostalia Romaine, her best friend since childhood and the first of her subjects to become one of the dreaded ermordenung. Still undyingly loyal to Ivana, she has a great deal of influence on who else receives this "gift".
- Expy: Of the title character of Rappaccini's Daughter.
- Kissing Cousins: During the chaos of the Grand Conjunction, she and Ivan sought comfort in each other's arms. Since they were in close proximity when it settled, and Ivana had the stronger personality, their domains merged under the name of Borca. These days, this is very much inverted, as they despise each other.
- Non-Action Big Bad: She has no Levels in any class (though in 3e she was given levels in the NPC class Aristocrat) and no combat skills, meaning she could be killed quickly if an enemy got close to her. Seeing as she can turn any substance a would-be assailant has eaten while in Borca to lethal poison, that isn't likely.
- Older Than They Look: She hasn't aged a day since becoming a Darklord.
- Poisonous Person: Quite literally; her body is saturated with a potent venom.
- Villainous Friendship: With Nostalia Romaine, the first of her ermordenung and her advisor.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: After she had Nostalia Romaine kill her mother, she assumed her rulership of Borca, and rose as a replacement Darklord.
Ivan Dilisnya, Darklord of Borca (former Darklord of Dorvinia)Darklord of Dorvinia, which was absorbed by Borca. Now shares Borca with Ivana Boritsi. The Dilisnya family was in Barovia when it became Ravenloft.
- Acquired Poison Immunity: Like his cousin, he's immune to poison. In fact he's addicted to a certain deadly poison and puts it in all his food, making breaking bread with him a dicey proposition.
- Bad Boss: See Perfect Poison below. Yes, that one comes with the payroll.
- Bad Dreams: Keeps waking up screaming his sister's name.
- BrotherSister Incest: Was obsessed with his sister, Kristina, to the point of being deeply envious of her husband, and poisoned them both, shortly after she gave birth. (Fortunately, the midwife sneaked the baby away.)
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Immortality Seeker: Desperately wants to learn the secret to his cousin Ivana's agelessness, and refuses to believe that she has no idea why it happened (even though this is the truth).
- Kissing Cousins: During the chaos of the Grand Conjunction, he and Ivana sought comfort in each other's arms. Since they were in close proximity when it settled, and Ivana had the stronger personality, their domains merged under the name of Borca. These days, this is very much inverted, as they despise each other.
- Large Ham: A rare in-universe example.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Same deal as his cousin.
- Older Than They Look: In his sixties, but looks a good deal younger, and has the vitality of a man half his age. That's not good enough for him, though.
- Perfect Poison: "Borrowed Time", which stays in your bloodstream for life and causes lethal convulsions every sunset unless you ingest the antidote, "Mercy", every day. Of course, Ivan is the only one who can create both.
- Poison-and-Cure Gambit: How Ivan typically uses "Borrowed Time" and "Mercy" - once successfully affecting someone with the former, he holds out on the latter unless the afflicted work for him. Not surprisingly, he sets this up in basically all who take his coin, and he's not above using this as a recruitment tool.
- Poisonous Person: Similar to his cousin, Ivana Boritsi, he has the ability to create and control poisons and drugs.
- Sense Loss Sadness: His curse. When he was younger, fine food and drink were his greatest pleasure alongside killing people. When he became a darklord, he lost his sense of taste, leaving him empty and unsatisfied, unable to truly enjoy the luxury that surrounds him.
- Spoiled Brat: Ivan is basically what happens when you take one of these, make them capable of murder to get what they want or if they are denied, and then let them grow to adulthood without ever learning better or being punished.
Tristen ApBlanc, Darklord of ForlornConceived when his newly-turned vampire father bewitched his mother, Tristen's mother was murdered by a lynch mob shortly after his birth, but Tristen himself was saved by druids. When his vampyre nature emerged at age 15, he was seen running down and drinking the blood of a doe by his adopted mother, Rual. Knowing she had seen him, and later seeing her talking to some of the other druids, Tristen was convinced she had betrayed him and attacked her while she was meditating. She impaled him upon the point of a blessed deer antler when he leaped at her, and so he went into a frenzy and drunk her blood — as she had just drunk holy water before, though, this caused him intense pain. Believing she had poisoned him, he beat her to death, unaware that he was actually being cured of his vampyre nature. With her dying breath, she berated him for his fatal distrust of her and cursed him, causing him to be trapped in the small grove in which they had fought, as well as condemning him to walk as a vampyre by day, then painfully die and become a ghost each night, only to be resurrected equally painfully every morning. Tristen did not become Darklord of Forlorn until over three centuries later, after engineering a bloody civil war to become the ruler of the land that became Forlorn after the Mists took it.
- The Beastmaster: Wolves and worgs (giant evil wolves), with the added twist that he can raise dead ones as zombies.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Tristen's good at pretending to be nice, but that's all it is — a pretense.
- Haunted Castle: Castle Tristenoira is home to the ghosts of Tristen's family.
- Neutral Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Offing the Offspring: Tristen's first son died at the jaws of wolves his angry father set on his dog (Tristen didn't intend to kill him, and in fact attacked the wolves trying to save his son, but failed), and murdered his second son while intending to kill his son's priestly mentor. He merely locked his daughter up in the dungeon, but she was spirited away by unknown powers (revealed in the official adventure to be time-travelling adventurers).
- Our Vampires Are Different: Tristen is a vampyre, a living species similar to vampires that also drinks blood.
- Painful Transformation: Every sunset, Tristen dies and becomes a ghost; every sunrise, he rises once more as a vampyre. The process is agonizing.
- Pater Familicide: Falls short only because his daughter's fate is undetermined (see above).
- Tailor-Made Prison: Of particular note in Tristen's case; he can't go more than 300 feet beyond a specific tree in the courtyard of Castle Tristenoira. The domain itself is somewhat larger.
- Telepathy: With every goblyn in Forlorn.
- Unstuck in Time: Castle Tristenoira.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: As a vampyre, Tristen can transform into a worg.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Tristen can't approach people or places with deer antlers, a consequence of his original death.
- Wicked Cultured: He was once, long ago. In Forlorn's current state, there's usually no-one for him to bother with.
Hazlik, Darklord of HazlanA Red Wizard of Thay who had a bitter rivalry with a Red Wizardess named Thantosya, not helped by the fact Hazlik desired her lover, a man named Ordiab. Hazlik's downfall came when Thantosya and Ordiab engineered a plan to end the rivalry with Hazlik at last; during a night of courtly intrigue, Ordiab approached Hazlik, suggesting a tryst, but when Hazlik succumbed to passion, Thantosya stepped out with several of their superiors and accused Hazlik of assaulting Ordiab. The higher ranked Red Wizards tattooed arcane symbols of femininity over Hazlik's head and chest, burned his estate and cast him out of their ranks. Hazlik retreated to a bolthole, plotting revenge, and managed to chance upon his two enemies while out gathering reagents. He immediately attacked them, cutting out Ordiab's heart and forcing Thantosya to drink Ordiab's blood before he slashed her throat with a silver knife, for which the Mists claimed him.
- Bad Dreams: His curse. In Hazlik's dreams, he's powerless before the enemies who humiliated him. As a consequence, he tries to stay awake as long as possible. It never lasts long.
- Bald of Evil: With tattoos all over his head; baldness is actually common for the Red Wizards, but the tattoos are the type only women have.
- Ban on Magic: Prior to the Grand Conjunction, Hazlik outlawed arcane magic in Hazlan. After the Conjunction temporarily returned him back home, and he saw how his enemies had advanced, he revoked the ban in the hopes of gaining revenge.
- Beard of Evil: Mustacheless goatee variant.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Depraved Homosexual: Averted. He is a highly depraved individual, and he is homosexual, but the two factors have almost nothing in common. His Act of Ultimate Darkness was related to the man he had lusted after, but he was banished to Ravenloft for cutting out the man's heart and forcing his girlfriend to eat it, not for lusting after another man.
- Embarrassing Tattoo: Played for Drama. Hazlik's tattoos, inflicted on him by his enemies, mark him as effeminate. Literally; the tattoos he has all over him basically proclaim "I am a woman".
- Evil Sorcerer: He's a member of the Red Wizards of Thay; it comes with the territory.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Red Tower in Venificus, Hazlik's personal estate.
- Mismatched Eyes: His left is brown and his right is blue.
- Mistaken for Gay: Inverted, actually. Jealous gossips in Hazlan spread unsavory rumors concerning the nature of his relationship with his star pupil, a young woman named Elena, but it's quite impossible for them to be true given his homosexuality.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Is planning a genocidal ritual that will kill every Mulan (Hazlik's ethnic group) in existence — not just in the Demiplane, in existence. To put it in context: in the Forgotten Realms, the Mulan aren't just Thayans, they're also the main ethnic group of Mulhorand, the local Egyptian equivalent, and hinted to have actually been displaced ancient Egyptians.
- Revenge: Seeks revenge on his enemies back in his homeland.
- Straight Gay: It's subtle, but someone who reads his backstory will realise he is actually a homosexual.
- Retcon: In the first version of the Ravenloft setting (Realm of Terror) he was simply tattooed as humiliation by his enemies. In the second version of the setting (Ravenloft Campaign Setting aka the Red Box) the love-triangle element was added, but he murdered his female lover and fed her heart to her boyfriend (TSR at the time did not want homosexuality brought up in game settings). The lover was gender-flipped when White Wolf acquired the setting (at the very least, it gives a better reason why his punitive tattoos stigmatize him as a woman!).
Gabrielle Aderre, Darklord of InvidiaAppears to be a 20-something attractive woman. Her mother prophesised that for her to have children would bring only tragedy. Abandoned her mother to a werewolf's claws, then murdered the werewolf lord of Invidia, becoming its new darklord. Her son Malocchio, one of the feared Dukkar, broke her and almost drove her mad. Her daughter Lucita has two possible fathers, one of whom is a wolfwere, and is coming up on the age where she'd be expected to change. On the one hand, she doesn't want her daughter to be a wolfwere; on the other, if she's not, then her wolfwere lover will find out she's been cheating. Neither is a good option.
- Antagonistic Offspring: Malocchio's manipulations drove her insane, and only the love and care of Matton Blanchard helped her recover herself.
- Awful Truth: As a youth she'd spent years dreaming about who her father might be—only to be told that he was a sadistic rapist.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Legitimately has no idea about her connection to the Midnight Slasher.
- But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Became pregnant twice, in spite of her magical and herbal precautions.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Malocchio's goals have shifted from killing her to capturing her and keeping her alive (and tortured, natch), as her death would likely force him to inherit her position as Darklord.
- Child by Rape: Herself, and her son Malocchio. (Her night with the Gentleman Caller was not only hypnotically-induced, but also, er, unpleasant—to the extent that she went over the edge when her memories of it were restored.)
- Cool Sword: Wolfkiller, a +1 (+3 against lycanthropes) dagger, which can also activate a protection from evil spell vs. lycanthropes. It's also cursed to make lycanthropes fall hopelessly in love with the wielder, to a Yandere and If I Can't Have You... extent. Malocchio threw it out when he took Castle Loupet.
- Disappeared Dad: Due to her mother escaping from him. 3rd edition implies that she's one of Vlad Drakov's bastard children.
- Does Not Like Shoes: She's been described as usually walking barefoot, in keeping with her dressing as a typical Vistana.
- Emotion Bomb: She seals her borders by creating a wall of terror around Invidia, which even affects those immune to fear or mind-altering spells.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Loves Lucita and never lets her out of her sight.
- Evil vs. Evil: She and Malocchio, with Gabrielle being A Lighter Shade of Black.
- Famous Ancestor: Her bloodlines link her to Madame Eva, the first Vistana in Ravenloft.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Toward Vistani, to the extent that when she divined that her son was a Dukkar, one of the beings destined to destroy them, she was thrilled. That changed fast.
- She used to have this toward shapeshifters, as well, but after genuinely falling in love with Matton Blanchard, a wolfwere, she's mostly over it (she still has a few issues, as seen with her fears for Lucita).
- For the Evulz: In her youth, her jealousy led her to use her seductive wiles and mind-controlling abilities to destroy relationships and ruin people's lives for giggles. Following her ordeal at her son's hands and finding real happiness with Matton, she's much less inclined to toy with people.
- Fortune Teller: Can read the future as well as a full Vistani using her personal deck, passed down through her family, although using it causes her great pain.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Well, what did you expect from the ruler of a land called "Invidia?" As a youth, she was jealous of the happiness of others and sought to ruin it. Things are better for her now... at the moment.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Half-Vistana. (Retconned to only one-quarter in 3rd edition.)
- Hypnotic Gaze: As a part-Vistani, she has access to the "evil eye", which allows her to cast any enchantment/charm spells she's memorized without forgetting them.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Her daughter Lucita.
- Manipulative Bitch: A master manipulator, though now her efforts are dedicated to chipping away at Malocchio's power and keeping her rebellion together.
- Matricide: After learning the truth of her parentage, she decided that her mother was lying and left her to werewolves.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: She's actually in her mid-fifties, and she (but not others) sees her true age in reflections. Despite still being very attractive, she considers her true appearance hideous.
- Missing Time: The Gentleman Caller, who sired Malocchio, blocked her memories of their night together.
- Neutral Evil: Her official In-Universe alignment.
- No-Sell: Full-blooded Vistani are immune to any of her powers or spells, part-Vistani less so.
- The Remnant: Presently leading one against Malocchio. She's gaining ground, but as her army consists mostly of wolfweres led by her lover Matton Blanchard and Gundarakite rebels led by her other lover Ardonk Szerieza, the day may well come when she loses at least half of her forces.
- Restraining Bolt: She despises the Vistani, and would love to destroy them, but part of her curse is that she can't directly harm them. Even part-Vistani like her son are somewhat protected, though she can at least act to foil his plans.
- Shoot the Builder: Had the Vistana who made Wolfkiller murdered. He cursed the blade as a result, but Gabrielle wasn't particularly impressed. After all, she'd been cursed already.
- Skunk Stripe: Has been illustrated with one.
- Unknown Rival: The Midnight Slasher wants to kill her for manipulating her parents into killing each other, but Gabrielle has no idea.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Spent most of her life terrified of shapeshifters. Now she shares a bed with one.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: She became both temporal leader and Darklord of Invidia by slitting Bakholis's throat with a silver dagger.
- Your Cheating Heart: She's sleeping with two men — one human, one a wolfwere — for pleasure and to support her power, with neither being aware of the other man. As mentioned above, this is dragging her towards trouble.
Harkon Lukas, Darklord of KartakassA wolfwere, a wolf who can take human form; his favorite form is that of a tall human man. Was unusual for his kind in preferring to socialise, and found other wolfweres shunned him for it. Humans were much more amenable, but he still felt a measure of dissatisfaction, dreaming of conquest and power. Went mad after being taken by the Mists and started killing wolves in the Barovian forests. After nearly getting killed by Strahd (who was probably wondering what all the noise was), he escaped into the Mists to find his own domain... only to find it was a rustic place with only a few villages to control, thwarting his dreams of power and influence.
- Affably Evil: He enjoys indulging his human side and acting courteous and polite, but he is still a murderous bastard who kills without thought to the consequence when he doesn't get his way.
- The Dandy: Part of his obsession with human culture involves always dressing very fashionably, though with loose-fitting garb just in case he needs to wolf-out and eat someone.
- Neutral Evil: In-Universe, and part of his estrangement from normal wolfweres, who are so chaotic that his enjoyment of human culture and plan-making is anathema to them.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: A wolfwere is essentially a reversed werewolf; a sapient wolf with the ability to assume a humanoid form. Lukas is unusual for preferring his human shape and human culture to his "natural" wolf form.
- Shadow Dictator: To the layman, Kartakass has no sovereign ruler, governed by meritocratic lords of individual city states. Lukas appears to be one of many. Few know his influence, as many of the other lords are werewolves that he infected.
- Spoony Bard: Played with. While he has bardic training and is a fine fencer with his rapier, Lukas often prefers to wolf-out and kill people with his wolfwere powers rather than his bard abilities. Also, his position as head of Kartakass is based on his lovely singing voice.
- Transplant: From the Forgotten Realms.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Dark Powers have enhanced his natural lycanthropy, so that he can look like any race or gender of human or wolf, including a dire wolf. However, his human forms always have to resemble his baseline.
Lord Wilfred Godefroy, Darklord of MordentAn ancient looking aristocratic ghost. He murdered his 50+ years younger bride Estelle Weathermay after years of disappointment of having only one child, their daughter Lilia, then murdered Lilia after she tried to stop him. Their ghosts then haunted him until he committed suicide. It wasn't until Azalin and Strahd opened a portal to Mordentshire that the Dark Powers chose the ghost of Godefroy as the Darklord of Mordent. The ghosts of his wife and daughter followed soon after.
- Achilles' Heel: For all his power, Wilfred can do nothing to prevent the ghosts of his family from tearing him apart each night.
- Bad Boss: Relentlessly beats up his ghostly servants for the slightest mistakes, imagined or not.
- Cane Fu: He wields a cane that literally beats its victims into submission (manifesting as Charisma drain in-game).
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- The Dog Bites Back: His punishment: every evening the spirits of his wife and daughter rise up and tear his incorporeal form to bits, cursing him for his murderous inhumanity. Rather than learning the potential inherent lesson here, Godefroy prefers to vent his rage on his servants instead.
- Faux Affably Evil: Very rarely and usually for very short periods of time, but he can be charming if he wants to.
- Ghostly Goals: A strange aversion. He simply became a ghost because members of his bloodline always do.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: A conceited snob who cannot bear to even think someone might have insulted him without "getting even."
- Haunted House: Gryphon Manor is packed by lesser spirits, all of them serving and cowering before Lord Godefroy.
- Heir Club for Men: Killed his wife in a rage when she failed to give him a son.
- I Have Your Wife: Daniel Foxgrove's wife, anyway (she's a ghost tied to Gryphon Manor, and will be horribly beaten if he doesn't do as Godefroy says).
- Offing the Offspring: Killed his daughter in the same fury that drove him to kill his wife.
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Pater Familicide: Killed his wife and daughter.
Sir Tristen Hiregaard / Malken, Darklord of Nova VaasaLooks to be in his late 60s. Inherited his father's curse to "kill any woman he loved and any man who crossed him". Found out the hard way during a tryst with a peasant girl. Killed nine more women before attempting suicide, but the Mists gave him a new realm instead.
- Arranged Marriage: Part of Tristen's curse is that Malken will always murder any woman he loves. His extended family of beloved children were born from a loveless arranged marriage.
- Chaotic Evil: Malken's official In-Universe alignment.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Malken. Indeed, Tristen's life is based around fouling up Malken's network to blunt the impact he makes when active.
- Dirty Coward: Most of Malken's victims are much weaker than he is, and he tends to flee if confronted with someone who can fight back.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In earlier editions, he was more clearly a Dr. Jekyll Expy, being a scientist and doctor who brought his transformation upon himself with his experiments.
- Heroic Willpower: Heroic might be a bit of a stretch (Tristen is Lawful Neutral in his official writeups, and whether he's a benign ruler or not really depends on who you ask), but the reason Malken isn't as powerful as most Darklords is that Tristen constantly struggles against him.
- Jekyll & Hyde: The Ravenloft version. More-noticeable in the early versions, when Malken was much less intelligent and much more bestial.
- Lawful Neutral: Tristen's official In-Universe alignment.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Malken uses animal masks when dealing with underlings.
- Monster Misogyny: Most of Malken's victims are much weaker than he is, and almost all are female. He tends to flee if confronted by someone who can fight back.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Malken is more curse than man. Trying to stab Tristen's transformed body will only kill him, and Malken will go on to possess Tristen's eldest son, whose first act will be to murder his beloved wife. Killing him will only pass the curse on to the next son, and it goes all the way down to an eight year old. And if he's killed, the curse will befall the son of Tristen's eldest son. The only way to finish off Malken for good is for a woman who loves his host to be the one who does him in.
- Reality Warper: Malken has a Blessed with Suck version — he's a Control Freak, so his powers constantly edit the world around him as his curse.
- Shadow Dictator: Not even Tristan himself knew that Malken was the Darklord for a long time, and certainly nobody else does.
- Silver Fox: Tristen is getting on in years, and the books go out of their way to note that he's still pretty good-looking. Of course, given the reputation his situation has caused, there are very few women in Nova Vassa who are terribly interested.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Malken, not Tristen, is the actual darklord of Nova Vassa, and has the vast majority of the powers. On the flip side, it is very difficult for Malken to actually use most of them, even when he is in control. (For example, he has no power to seal the borders of his domain, unlike most darklords.)
- White Hair, Black Heart: Tristen's hair turns white when Malken's in control. This extends to anyone else Malken "passes on" to.
Jacqueline Renier, Darklord of RichemulotA beautiful female... wererat. Murdered the previous lord, her grandfather, for Richemulot.
- Chaotic Evil: Her official In-Universe alignment.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: Can be distinguished from her twin sister Louise by Louise's torn right ear.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: alternate forms include normal-sized rat, giant rat, rat-woman, and gas cloud.
- Skunk Stripe: Black with streaks of grey at the temples.
- Tragic Monster:
- All she wants is somebody who can love her, but her curse is that she invariably shapeshifts into her animal form whenever she's alone in a room with somebody she really loves — and she falls in genuine love quite easily. Almost invariably, she then kills him because she's convinced he would never love her back after seeing her true nature as a wererat. (Knowing this full well, when it came to the man she loved above all others, she tried to infect him with lycanthropy before being alone with him — but the attempt botched and he disappeared, leaving her heartbroken.)
- Also, she suffers a crippling phobia of being alone, but all her family despise her, meaning she can either be alone and terrified or force herself to tolerate the company of monsters who hate her and whom she hates right back.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Dove feathers, something she's unaware of.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Inherited the title of darklord by murdering her grandfather, the former darklord.
Inza Magdova Kulchevich, Darklord of SithicusAppears to be a young Vistana woman in her late teens. Betrayed her mother and her caravan for power and safety, only to have the surviving members of the caravan hunt her down for vengeance. In seeking to escape, found herself cursed with the mantle of dark lord.
- The Chessmaster: How she prefers to operate after becoming darklord, using minions and unwitting pawns to do her will.
- The Corrupter: Fond of this, corrupting the weak and those who proclaim themselves noble.
- Disappeared Dad: Killed by Duke Gundar's men.
- Famous Ancestor: Traces her bloodline back to Kulchek the Wanderer, one of the Vistani's most storied heroes.
- Good Hurts Evil: The presence of a true innocent causes her pain.
- Living Shadow: What she is now. Indeed, an amorphous blot of living shadow is what her true form has become, and she struggles to hold a human form.
- Matricide: Sabotaged her mother's weapon so that it would fail her, then arranged to have the caravan attacked by monsters, resulting in her mother's death.
- Neutral Evil: Her official In-Universe alignment.
- Wandering Jew: As a full-blooded Vistani — and the descendant of one of their greatest heroes — she must sleep in a different place every night, and never in the same place twice, or face dire consequences.
Baron Urik von Kharkov, Darklord of Valachan
A panther who was transformed into a human by the Red Wizard Morphayus, to be used as a sleeper agent against Morphayus's rival Selena. Once Selena had fallen for Urik, Morphayus removed the enchantment and Urik tore her to shreds. Once he was turned back into a human, he was horrified by what he'd done. Fleeing into the Mists to escape Morphayus's power, he wound up in Darkon and joined the Kargat in order to be transformed into a vampire, only to be enslaved once more.
Trapped in the Nosferatu's thrall for two decades, he was released upon the vampire's death. His sanity severely frayed as a result of his experiences, Kharkov wandered the Mists, killing anyone he came across, and may have successfully killed Morphayus, or an illusion thereof. After this action, he was rewarded with his own domain.
His curse plays into his insecurity over not being truly human; he marries frequently, hoping that this time it will work out, but descends quickly into paranoia that his bride knows his true bestial nature, and eventually kills her.
- Abduction Is Love: Averted. Once a year he has a bride kidnapped for him. It never works out.
- A Wizard Did It: His very existence; a panther turned into a human who eventually became a vampire.
- Baleful Polymorph: Being returned to a panther and tearing up his lover after fully believing himself to be a normal human was quite traumatizing.
- The Bluebeard: Marries frequently, but ends up killing his brides out of paranoia that they know his true nature.
- Cool Sword: Created the Fang of the Nosferatu, a +3 dagger that heals the wielder, allows shapeshifting into a bat or wolf, and can grant immortality via a certain ritual.
- The Dragon: His is the brutal and sadistic Elven Vampire named Lady Adeline.
- Faking the Dead: Used Felkovic's attack upon him to publicly "die" and succeed himself.
- Kryptonite Factor: Fears the Cat of Felkovic, a figurine of wondrous power, which was specifically designed to destroy him and nearly did so once. It's one of the few things that can kill him outright.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: After being transformed into a human, he was made to forget that he'd been a panther in order to be more useful as a sleeper agent.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Panther turned human turned vampire. Plus, despite being a vampire, he has a lycanthropic infection he can spread with his panther form's bite attack, causing people who escape with their lives to turn into werepanthers loyal to him.
- Number Two: Lady Adeline, as he prefers to be a more distant ruler. The two of the have a very strong working relationship.
- Our Vampires Are Different: He's a unique form of nosferatu strain, and used to be a panther. As a result, he has clawed, furry, paw-like hands and can shapeshift into panther form rather than the traditional bat, wolf or rat. He also has traits of Our Werebeasts Are Different: he has a Healing Factor that activates in moonlight, and he can infect people with the werepanther strain of lycanthropy.
- Resist the Beast: He's got three Beasts to resist, his natural patherine instincts, his vampiric urges, and his all-too-human desires.
- Secret Police: A member of Darkon's for a bit, and has one made up of werepanthers in Valachan called the Black Leopards.
- Tall Darkand Handsome: Mentioned as tall, broad-shouldered and dark-skinned.
- Token Minority: One of the few black Darklords to receive any focus in the gameline.
Alfred Timothy, Darklord of VerbrekA werewolf with a slender, pale human form. Tortured many clerics in an attempt to become one to a "Wolf God" but ultimately failed. He was eventually caught after a rampage and freed by some Vistani, whom he betrayed, and was shortly after swallowed by the Mists. Strong passion forces him into human form, which he despises.
- You Are What You Hate: Invoked; Alfred despises all humans, but his curse makes him forcibly assume human form whenever he acts like a beast.
Darklords of the Northern Core
Azalin Rex, Darklord of DarkonA powerful and tyrannical wizard-lord originally from Oerth, who executed his own rebellious son and then turned himself into a lich to try and ensure his legacy would live on despite that. Was initially brought into Ravenloft as an "ordinary" lich and spent time as an unwilling servant to Strahd before he escaped into the Misty Border, which opened up to reveal Darkon. His curse is that his magical abilities are locked where they were when he entered the Mists; he cannot increase his magical power, nor can he learn any new spells, even though he can still design new magic. Also has something of a secondary curse in the form of his son's ghost, who constantly tells Azalin that he forgives his father for killing him, and should just let go so his soul can finally rest in peace. Azalin, of course, is utterly incapable of this.
- The Archmage: The most powerful Wizard in the Core, magically and politically, and perhaps even in the whole Demiplane. This is in spite of his inability to learn any new spells. Meredoth and Vecna are (or were) actually higher-level than Azalin, but the former's a recluse, the latter lacks power outside his domain, and both live in Islands of Terror or Clusters beyond the single "continent" in which the most important Domains of Dread are found.
- Creepy Ravens: His elite spies are a breed of sentient ravens (King's Ravens, or Corvus Regi).
- Cursed with Awesome: One of the more blatant examples in Ravenloft. With his curse came vast magical powers, absolute control over all undead in Darkon, and the ability to read and rewrite the memories of any of his subjects. He easily rivals Strahd for being the most powerful Darklord, both in and out of game.
- Azalin knows everyone in his realm, down to their deepest secrets, and can disguise himself as any of them. He also generates supernatural cold wherever he goes, sharply limiting how well he can manipulate his subjects with these abilities.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Azalin's name is his Knurl title, Azal'Lan, as misspelt by Barovians. Azal'Lan means "Wizard-King". Yes, Azalin Rex translates to "King Wizard-King"
- The Determinator: No matter how many times he fails to escape, no matter how much damage it does to him, He. Will. Not. Give. Up.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He cannot even fathom how one can rule without being at best the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove, which is what alienated him from his more altruistic son. Made painfully obvious in a short first-person recount of his situation, where he does a bit of good old-fashioned projection by claiming his son had no comprehension of the strength required to bear the burden of rulership (i.e. crush any dissenters as fast and as hard as you can so they can be examples, even if it's your own flesh and blood).
- Evil Sorcerer: An iconic example of this in the setting.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Castle Avernus is a jumble of towers stocked with undead, fell magic and such. Oh, and it kills any bird whose shadow falls upon its walls (except scavengers).
- Greater-Scope Villain: Despite Strahd being the most famous of Ravenloft's Dark Lords, Azalin is easily a greater threat, not only to the inhabitants of the Mists but also posing an interplanar threat should he escape. Multiple adventure campaigns are dedicated to preventing this.
- I Have No Son!: Subverted. He executed his own son in a heartbeat when he found him hiding rebels, but has secretly regretted it ever since.
- I Just Want to Be Free: Escaping from Ravenloft is something of an obsession for him.
- It Amused Me: When Rudolph Van Richten runs off into the night in pursuit of the Vistani who kidnapped his son, Azalin encounters him and decides it sounds like a fun idea to not only give him protection from the undead roaming Darkon, but to let van Richten have temporary control over an army of zombies. Which, to Azalin's amusement, van Richten then sics on the Vistani when he catches them.
- Knight Templar: He considers his harsh, tyrannical methods to be the only way for his kingdom (any kingdom, really) to prosper. His son disagreed, leading to tragedy for both.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups. Notably, Azalin is just as committed to the Lawful part as to the Evil. In one instance he, somewhat irritably, broke up an attempted gang rape of a servant girl, informing her that she could return to her family and tell them that her attackers had been punished. It is less benevolence and more that he feels that his job as a noble is to impose law and order.
- Necromancer: His control over the dead of his Domain cannot be overstated.
- Offing the Offspring: Bitterly regrets doing it. In fact, one of his stated reasons for being so dead-set on escaping Ravenloft is to go back to a world where reliable resurrections can be made so as to bring his son back to life to make a second go at molding him into a worthy heir.
- The Plan: Specifically stated again and again to be his modus operandi.
- The Punishment: Of course, between the death of his kind-hearted son and heir and the loss of his ability to learn new spells, the only two things in life he truly loved, all of Azalin's power and influence have not really made him happy.
- Secret Police: The not-so-secret organisation the Kargat serves him in this capacity, as well as being his agents abroad.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: In his own twisted way of course; see Offing the Offspring above.
- Sorcerous Overlord: Pound for pound, probably the most powerful in the Land of Mists. Meredoth has more raw magical punch, but Azalin has political clout and genuine leadership skills.
- Training from Hell: When Azalin occasionally takes on an apprentice, this is his method. He also raised his own son this way to make him a fitting heir for the kingdom. It didn't work out well.
- Transplant: From Greyhawk.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Meets a random man on a vengeful tear one night, and on a whim grants him the power to fulfill his vendetta. Thus, Azalin helps create Van Richten. Subverted in that Van Richten, at his best, is still woefully out of his depth with Azalin.
Death, Darklord of NecropolisA necromantic experiment of Azalin's that went way out of hand, a human turned into a unique form of elemental. Its transformation sent it insane, convincing it that it really was Death incarnate. When an attempt to escape Ravenloft left Azalin discorporated, Death was outraged, convinced Azalin had escaped it, and sought to send him to true oblivion, killing hundreds of people in the process. When Azalin returned, Death's mass murder earned it its own domain. Its curse is that it cannot escape the truth of what it originally was, no matter how deluded it becomes.
- Cast from Hit Points: By imbuing undead with portions of its own life force (or animating force, or whatever), Death can create very powerful and fanatically loyal servants, like the Four Horsemen. However, this really came around to bite Death in the ass when Azalin unexpectedly destroyed the Horsemen and contained their energies, robbing Death of a major chunk of its power.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Not only was its creation an unintended result of Azalin's experiments, but it murdered the entire city of Il Aluk soon after. It later became its Domain.
- The Grim Reaper: It's a powerful, skeletal undead being and fully believes itself to be the read deal in this regard. It's not, however — it's actually a rogue experiment of the lich Azalin's, which went rogue, went insane and became severely deluded.
- The Necrocracy: Necropolis is a Type I, where everyone — rulers and ruled — is undead.
- Necromancer: It can create and command undead.
- Neutral Evil: Its official In-Universe alignment.
- One Steve Limit: Averted (we think). The darklord Death isn't the same creature Strahd bargained with.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Death has an aversion to objects associated with birth, and will recoil from objects such as an infant's blanket. It will also lose some special abilities it has if it hears the crying of a newborn creature.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Though, at least according to S, he was already unhinged — the transformation just undid the final screw.
Dominic d'Honaire, Darklord of DementlieuLooks to be mid-50s and somewhat overweight. At age 7 led his nanny to suicide, then manipulated his father to move to Dementlieu (avoiding the Mordentshire police). By adulthood, he had most of Dementlieu under his control.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Though d'Honaire is usually seen as a Silver Fox, his punishment is that women he feels attracted to find him disgusting. In fact, the more attracted to them he is, the more hideous they find him. This curse is why he murdered his first love.
- The Chessmaster: He doesn't directly rule Dementlieu, but everyone knows he's the real power behind the throne.
- Enfant Terrible: The only canon darklord to have gained the position as a child.
- Manchurian Agent: Dementlieu is seeded with Obedients, ordinary citizens who are completely unaware that they've been brainwashed into serving D'Honaire until he or something else triggers them. Should one of them be freed from his control, D'Honaire is immediately aware of it.
- Mind Manipulation: His gaze grants him Dominate as a Supernatural Ability.
- More Than Mind Control: Can also make suggestions with his voice as well, and can adjust his charisma score between seven and fourteen.
- Neutral Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Shadow Dictator: Dementlieu is ruled by lord-governor Marcel Guignol, who unbeknownst to everyone, is d'Honaire's mind controlled puppet. d'Honaire himself poses as an advisor.
- Unknown Rival: He knows he's fighting someone with Mind Control abilities equal to his own. What he doesn't know is that "The Brain" really is one.
Vlad Drakov, Darklord of FalkovniaBig, tall, muscled, covered in scars, and looks to be in his 50s. Led his mercenary band to conquer Darkon, but fled when the helpless villagers they killed rose as zombies. Settled for the nearby realm of Falkovnia, but doesn't like it. Attempts to conquer other domains have all failed.
- Badass Normal: Unlike most Darklords, he is fully human, having nearly no supernatural abilities at all, not even the ability to seal the borders of his domain like almost every other Darklord does. His aging is slowed, but that's it. Despite this, he is a very dangerous man... theoretically.
- Droit du Seigneur: Further emphasizing that he is complete scum, he has this right by Falkovnia law.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: His sole motivation before his damnation, and the key factor in making Falkovnia an Ironic Hell. See General Failure.
- Expy: His favorite method of execution is straight from Vlad III Dracula, but he's pretty much a fantasy version of Adolf Hitler, with possibly some Josef Stalin and Ivan the Terrible thrown in as well.
- Fantastic Racism: Vlad is a blatant human supremacist, and Falkovnia enslaves or executes any non-humans that enter its borders at his direction.
- General Failure: In his own world, he was nothing less than a military genius. However, Vlad is fixated on the "old ways" of doing war — masses of infantry and cavalry slugging it out until somebody falls — and will have nothing to do with combat spellcasters or gunpowder weaponry. As the nations he most frequently goes to war against are all Renaissance-level, culturally (so their soldiers are all outfitted with pistols and rifles), or have powerful spellcasters/magical monsters in the ranks, his armies are universally slaughtered, further and further cementing his reputation as a laughable upstart.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: His curse means that no matter how hard he tries, he'll always fail in his conquests. His prejudices against gunpowder, battlefield magic, and female soldiers don't help either.
- Hired Guns: Ex-soldier of fortune.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Easily one of the least supernaturally-endowed of all Darklords... and one of the most transparently monstrous.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Like Vlad the Impaler (who he seems to be at least partially based on) this is his preferred method of execution, and he uses it very often, demanding at least one a night, often dozens at once, using it as a macabre form of entertainment. (One rulebook actually editorialized when mentioning the fact, something it didn't otherwise do when profiling the darklords, saying, "If Ravenloft is a prison for the damned, few deserve it more than Drakov".)
- Murder, Inc.: Has a large, well trained military force under his command.
- Neutral Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Older Than They Look: Is actually in his nineties, his aging slowed by his curse.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Vlad is of the official stance that women cannot be of any use besides breeding more men to work and fight for Falkovnia. He also forcibly claims the right to have sex with any Falkovnian woman on her wedding night instead of her husband, something he has no qualms about taking advantage of and which means there are dozens of bastard Drakovs floating around.
- Transplant: Originally from Krynn.
Tristessa, Darklord of KeeningA ghost who constantly writhes in agony from the pain of her death. Formerly one of the shadow fey who dwelled below Arak, who was converted to the worship of the Spider Queen (Lolth) by visiting drow, and went on to lead a cult to the Spider Queen. Became a Darklord after Loht of the Unseelie Court staked her (and her child) to Mount Lament and she was exposed to the sun, causing a sandstorm that wiped out all life in Arak.
- Ax-Crazy: If you're alive, it doesn't matter what you do; sooner or later, she'll attack.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in her profile writeups.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In life, she and the cult she led were depraved even by the standards of the Unseelie Court of the Shadow Rift — which is a pretty high bar to clear.
- Freak Out: Tristessa's death sent her insane. She believes her child is still alive, but has been taken from her. A surrogate can satisfy her... but only temporarily.
- Monster Progenitor: The first widderribhinn (undead fey) in the demiplane. All subsequent widderribhinn feel a compulsion to visit Mount Lament, where they fall permanently under Tristessa's sway. However, she's typically barely aware of them; when she does register them, she commands them to find her child and destroy her foes (the shadow fey).
- Non-Human Undead: Undead shadow fey.
- Our Banshees Are Louder: She can kill up to ten people with a single scream. Fortunately, she can only do it once a day.
- Retcon: In the earliest editions she was a Drow (as were the other inhabitants of Arak), but she was changed to a Fae when Ravenloft was licensed out to White Wolf and it stuck.
Adam, Darklord of LamordiaA highly intelligent Flesh Golem created by Dr. Victor Mordenheim. He earned his domain after one particular night, which saw his creator's adopted daughter disappear, and Mordenheim's wife beaten almost to death at Adam's hands — the precise details are ambiguous, neither Adam or Mordenheim being the most reliable of narrators on this subject. Mordenheim placed his wife in a complicated apparatus that keeps her trapped in perpetual agony, suspended on the verge of death while he tries — and fails — to devise a method to restore her to life.
- Affably Evil: He can be very civil if care is taken not to offend or upset him. It is just that he gets upset very easily and so it is hard to have a long conversation with him.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Interestingly, many people think this is why he should not be a Darklord, but Mordenheim's Darklord curse — most of his actions are things flesh golems do, unlike his vain, selfish creator.
- Captain Ersatz: Of Frankenstein's Monster; even his name comes from what Shelley called the monster outside the book.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe. It's the Character Alignment on his write-ups.
- Frankenstein's Monster: Even moreso than most flesh golems, which are usually mindless.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Like his inspiration, he is easily provoked into furious outbursts, which trigger violence from him.
- Odd Friendship: With Merilee Markuza, a child-like vampire from the supplement Darklords. It's noted they found comfort in each other, since both are outcasts who despise their physical forms.
- Pinocchio Syndrome: Wants to be accepted as a man, not a monster. His curse is that he'll never achieve this.
- Shadow Dictator: The nominal ruler of Lamordia is Baron von Aubrecker, a nobleman perceived as a light ruler. Few citizens even know Adam exists, let alone the control he has over the place.
- Shaped Like Itself: A meta example. Flesh golems are based on Frankenstein's Monster, of whom Adam is a Captain Ersatz. He's also an in-universe flesh golem himself, and while Frankenstein's Monster crosses a Moral Event Horizon, for flesh golems, it's par for the course to behave in such a manner. This has led fans to feel like Adam's not done anything nasty enough to earn Darklord status over Mordenheim; had flesh golems not long predated Adam in the setting, this might have been less an issue.
- Synchronization: While Adam is the true Darklord of Lamordia, Dr. Mordenheim is cursed to share the Ironic Hell with his creation, and cannot die unless Adam dies. So long as Adam lives, Mordenheim is immortal and will regenerate From a Single Cell. Even if his body is somehow completely obliterated, his soul will inhabit a freshly-dead corpse, which will be restored to life and assume the appearance of his old body.
Laveeda, Leticia and Lorinda, the Three Hags, Darklords of TepestAll three were found on a doorstep. Had a penchant for murdering travelers for their valuables and... disposing of the bodies via cooking. Tried to seduce a gigolo to escape their farmstead, but he played them against each other and they killed him. The Mists then led them to their current domain in Ravenloft as hags. Having once been beautiful, their current state torments them, made worse by the fact they always see themselves and each other as they really are, no matter what shape they take.
- Beauty to Beast: Their curse, to forever be aware of what they have become.
- Changeling Tale: Their pre-darklord backstory. Their mother asked the fairies for daughters, and found three infants on her doorstep. They were sickly babies, so she cared for them, their health improving as hers waned, until she died two years after finding them. Their father had never wanted daughters, and did his best to get rid of them, but they always came back until he gave up and let them stay... all of which might make someone suspicious as to just how human they originally were.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in Laveeda and Leticia's profile writeups.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Though they'll settle for goblins in a pinch.
- Neutral Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in Lorinda's profile writeups.
- Same-Sex Triplets: Though they're each a different kind of hag; one annis, one green, and one sea.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: An inherent power of hags.
- Witch Species: They're hags, the Dungeons & Dragons take on this trope, which are an Always Female One-Gender Race of magically powerful beings who physically resemble the traditional hideously deformed elderly-looking Evil Witch.
Darklords of the Western Sea
Althea, Darklord of DemiseDemise, a small island dominated by a massive caldera, is home to perhaps the only medusa in Ravenloft, a desperate madwoman trapped in a strange labyrinth. Received a drastic revamp in the 21st Quoth the Raven netbook, which makes her more deserving of her nature as a darklord.
- Butterface: Her body is perfect, her voice is beautiful, but, well...
- Collector of the Strange: The netbook version at least treats the myriad petrified victims on her island as a personal collection of artworks, and is very angry at people "messing" with it.
- Death by Woman Scorned: In her netbook revamp, the first part of her Act of Ultimate Darkness was murdering her Maedar husband for the years of emotional abuse he'd given her. This drew the mountain they lived on into the Mists, where Stelios used his powers as a glyptar to reshape it into its present form, but it wasn't until the second act that she truly become a cursed Darklord.
- Domestic Abuse: The netbook version of her suffered from the emotional abuse variant; her husband Stelios refused to use his powers to undo her petrifying gaze on their many, many human children, even though Althea was heartbroken by each death. Eventually, the strain of this broke her down to the point she murdered him, incapable of standing by as he used her as a broodmare to produce a maedar son whilst letting their other children die at the sight of her.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The whole story of her damnation in the netbook version; she wanted a child to love and to love her back, to the extent that she didn't care whether they were a medusa, a maedar or even a human. She just wanted one child to call her own. Naturally, her curse is to subvert this; childless she is, and childless she will remain. Something always happens to prevent her from having a baby. A bird snatches away her mate's blindfold at the worst possible time. She finds a blind man who seems acceptable, but he's a eunuch. On one tragic occurrence, she got pregnant, but the egg was cracked open (possibly by Stelios) before it was ready to hatch and the father tried to escape, only to break his neck in a pit.
- Fantastic Racism: Netbook version only. She hates maedars, regarding them as nothing more than parasites that medusas would be better off without. This began as just a skepticism about the exulted role and reverence that maedars were held in by medusa society, but was nurtured to its final form by her maedar spouse's emotional abuse of her. It eventually reached the point where she was willing to murder her own son, the child she'd been trying to have for years, maybe decades, because her hatred of maedars had been stoked to the point it outweighed her desperate longing for a child.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Trapped in a labyrinth she can't escape, in a caldera with fifty-foot walls, on a tiny island. She doesn't get a lot of visitors.
- Gorgeous Gorgon: Her portrait is considerably more attractive than her description.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: Desperately seeking a mate, and will pick one member of any group who enters her labyrinth to spare toward that end. Elaborated upon to tragic extents in her netbook version.
- Irony: The netbook version has a very cruel variant. She finally has enough of losing her children to her husband's callousness and murders him... only to find he's left her Someone to Remember Him By. And it's a maedar son, so she finally has a child. But by this point she's so traumatised by Stelios and post-partum depression that she hates having another maedar in her life... and so she tries to kill him.
- Magic Music: In her netbook version, she has a magically empowered song that lets her act as an Enthralling Siren. She doesn't consciously know that she has this power, though, as it's a gift from the Dark Powers.
- The Maze: Her labyrinth has white walls, some of which are illusory, with strange writing on them.
- Medusa: A Dungeons & Dragons one.
- Offing the Offspring: The culmination of her Act of Ultimate Darkness in the netbook version; eventually realizing that her hatred of maedars outweighed her desire for a child, she tried to murder her final son, Leftheris. Although her undead husband saved his life, it was enough for the Dark Powers to draw her into Demise.
- Outside-Genre Foe: Not just the only known medusa in Ravenloft, but her prison is implied to be of extraterrestrial origin. (It's got strange marks on the walls that even magic can't interpret and seems to be in the center of an impact strike.)
- Retcon: Prior to Domains of Dread, she was just a unique NPC, not a Darklord. Quoth the Raven #21 retconned a lot of information about her, in order to make her more deserving of a darklord position.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She is constantly trying to seduce male visitors in hopes of getting the child she so yearns for.
- Someone to Remember Him By: Much as the netbook version wishes he hadn't, Stelios did father a maedar son on her in their final tryst before she murdered him. Also, in all versions, any children she tries to have likely lost their biological father after the conception, thanks to her petrifying gaze and curse.
- Taken for Granite: Well, she is a medusa.
- Tragic Keepsake: The Netbook version only. The centerpiece of her Creepy Souvenir collection? A lovingly displayed altar covered in rows of tiny, perfectly formed statues of human infants... the petrified forms of all her babies. She knows they're dead, but constantly comes back to them, singing to them, playing with them, even giving them little presents she's scavenged from the island; an attempt to comfort their souls and convince them that she does still remember and love them.
- Tragic Villain: The netbook version is one. If her husband had been willing to let her keep and raise just one of their human children, instead of forcing her to watch them be petrified at the sight of her eyes before he tried to make her have the next one, she would never have done the things she did.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: In her netbook version's backstory, after her attempt to try veiling herself to spare her baby failed note , she restored to a scheme to blind her babies so they'd never be able to see her deadly eyes. Unfortunately, the first son she tried to do this to was "rescued" by human adventurers.
- Your Cheating Heart: Netbook version. Eventually, she got so sick of having to bear human children who died at the sight of her that she tried to cheat on Stelios with a human, so she'd have a medusa daughter who'd live. Stelios used his illusionist magic to disguise himself as a human, and she wound up sleeping with him instead.
Captain Pieter van Riese, Darklord of the Sea of SorrowsA sailor obsessed with finding a Northern Passage from his home to the rich lands of the East, he drove his men mercilessly, even as the sea itself seemed to rise against him. With his ship sinking, he promised the lives of himself and his crew to someone, anyone who could help him find the Passage, and something listened. Now his ghost and the ghosts of his crew roam the Sea of Sorrows, seeking a crew that will aid their escape. According to issue #22 of the Quoth the Raven netbook, he comes from Gothic Earth's Netherlands.
- Deal with the Devil: He made one with whatever power may or may not have been listening at the time, swearing the lives of himself and his crew in exchange for aid in finding the passage he sought.
- Expy: Of the Flying Dutchman.
- Ghost Ship: The Relentless.
- Greed: The reason he was damned. His goal to become rich by finding a Northern Passage drove him to obsession and then to madness, until he got his wish in the worst way possible.
- Hypnotic Eyes: Able to dominate any living person who looks into them.
- Ironic Hell: In his Quoth the Raven writeup, his ship can go anywhere or anywhen, he can run his ship alone, he can call both ghosts and living men to crew if he gets lonely, and when he arrives somewhere he can actually disembark and get some shore leave, unlike seemingly every other darklord... except he can't choose what his destination is — either he must be chartered to go somewhere or the Dark Powers select for him. This is, to a would-be explorer, utter hell.
- Neutral Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Soul Jar: Destroy his ship, and you destroy him. Good luck destroying a ghost ship, though.
- Summon Magic: He can summon up to eight bowlyns (sea ghosts) to fight by his side.
- Time Travel: According to Quoth the Raven, his ship can sail through time just as easily as through the sea, if the Dark Powers permit.
- Transplant: In his Quoth the Raven writeup, he comes from Gothic Earth.
- Wandering Jew: Of the Flying Dutchman variant, cursed to sail the seas for eternity. (Bonus points for actually being Dutch — and for being Gothic Earth's Flying Dutchman — in the netbook version.)
Bluebeard, Darklord of BlausteinThis is the story of Bluebeard: he gives his new wife a golden key, and tells her never to enter the room it unlocks. Out of curiosity, she does, only to discover the bodies of his previous wives. She locks the door, only to find the key now has a bloodstain on it, which she cannot get rid of, try as she might. Bluebeard then asks for the key, sees the bloodstain, and consigns his wife to the secret room as punishment for disobedience.
In the end, the Mists of Ravenloft took Bluebeard, giving him the domain of Blaustein. His curse is two-fold. First, his dead wives are now perfectly loyal spectres, and whenever he sleeps in his castle, he wakes up in the secret room, with his wives surrounding him, demonstrating their honest affection. Second, despite the people of Blaustein being utterly loyal to him, he cannot take a bride from them, for when he does desire one of the women of Blaustein he sees in her place the image of one of his dead wives as a grinning corpse.
For all that, though, he hasn't stopped seeking a perfectly loyal wife, marrying women from other domains or other worlds — indeed, it's said he's one of the darklords who can draw people to him through the Mists. Of course, they always fail him... and another spectre soon joins the others.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: He wanted his wives to be perfectly loyal, and they are. No-one said they had to be alive, though. Worse, having perfectly loyal wives is useless to a man so utterly incapable of faith or trust.
- Beard of Evil: Yup, and it really is blue, though it's turning into more of a navy lately.
- The Bluebeard: The original from the fairytale, his serial murder of his wives being what got him imprisoned in the Demiplane of Dread.
- Haunted Castle: Bluebeard's Castle, which he tries to avoid as much as he can, only returning to sleep there every three days.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: He can make the people of Blaustein remember only what he wants them to.
- Lawful Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Living Lie Detector: He can use detect lies on anyone he meets, as part of his paranoia shtick.
- The Makeover: His looks have been slowly improving over his time in Ravenloft, going from ugly to not-too-bad in about a century.
- Public Domain Character: Unusually for the main Ravenloft setting, which typically uses expies.
- Undying Loyalty: How he's treated by his people... and by his dead wives. Indeed, his situation would be quite comfortable and happy, if only Bluebeard could become the sort of person who was capable of trust.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: His beard, of course.
Doctor Daclaud Heinfroth, Darklord of DominiaHeinfroth's fear of falling prey to the madness that ran in his family led him to perform monstrous experiments on his helpless mental patients in the hope of finding a cure. They didn't have quite the results he wanted, resulting in him becoming the first cerebral vampire, then in his becoming darklord of Dominia, condemning him never to escape his fear.
- Bedlam House: His domain.
- Chaotic Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Driven to Madness: The fate of his patients, as Heinfroth seeks to deepen his understanding of insanity.
- In the Blood: The fear that drives him to commit his monstrous deeds.
- Monster Progenitor: The first cerebral vampire, and the only person who knows how to create more.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Firmly on the evil side.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Cerebral vampires feed on the cerebral fluid in the brain. If they kill their feeding victims, these will rise as ghouls.
- Professor Guinea Pig: He experimented on himself when he was satisfied by the results of his experiments on the insane. What he didn't know was that his "donor" had been chosen to be a vampire bride, resulting in him becoming the first cerebral vampire.
- Totally Not a Werewolf: He's often suspected of being a werewolf due to his lupine features. On top of that, he doesn't have the standard vampiric weaknesses to garlic and sunlight.
- Villain with Good Publicity: According to Domains of Dread, he's renowned as the demiplane's leading expert on mental disorders.
Marquis Stezan d'Polarno, Darklord of GhastriaGhastria, a small island domain near Sithicus, is ruled by Stezan d'Polarno. Don't be fooled by his perennially depressed exterior, though: he's a real party animal. If you're ever invited to his manor, bring a friend. In fact, bring every friend you've got. Pretty please?
- A Fête Worse Than Death: Once a season, he invites every stranger in Ghastria to a party, where he exposes them to his painting and steals their souls. He does spare a few guests to debauch himself with/upon afterward (particularly pretty ladies), but the text notably doesn't mention if anyone actually makes it out of these bashes alive.
- The Ageless: Has not aged one bit since entering Ravenloft.
- Badass Normal: In his rejuvenated state all of his powers are stripped away, but he remains a skilled fighter.
- Beige Prose: After being cursed, his speech lost every ounce of tact and charm that it once had.
- The Bore: In his normal state.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Has learned by now not to expose too many peasants to his painting, as he needs people to till the fields and produce goods. Not too many.
- The Charmer: Prior to being cursed.
- Chaotic Evil: In-universe. While rejuvenated.
- Cool Sword: A rapier of quickness.
- The Coup: Attempted one of these, secretly manipulating the people into a rebellion against the king. It failed, and he was punished appropriately.
- Don't Create a Martyr: Why the king couldn't just kill him.
- Empty Shell: The king's curse trapped every ounce of d'Polarno's vibrance and love of life into his painting, leaving him listless, miserable and blunt.
- Expy: A very loose one of Dorian Gray in that he's a hedonist whose life is tied to a painting.
- Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: East Riding, the main village of Ghastria, once had a church that brought its citizens happiness. D'Polarno found this unsettling, so he burned it down and hanged the clerics.
- Fisher King: For most of the year food in Ghastria looks good, but tastes utterly bland. Crops harvested during the brief time in which he's rejuvenated, however, are delicious.
- The Hedonist: At most he has fifty hours to enjoy having his soul back, and can only be rejuvenated once per season, so he'll cram in every possible thrill he can, from eating and drinking to sex to murder.
- Made of Indestructium: D'Polarno's painting cannot be damaged or destroyed until he is dead.
- Make an Example of Them: Occasionally leaves the remains of his parties lying out in public to remind people not to cross him.
- Manipulative Bastard: To the point where he managed to arrange over one hundred political assassinations without losing one shred of his positive image. After he was cursed, however, he lost the ingenuity and charisma he needed to pull this off. He still tried, though, and ended up utterly destroying his power base.
- Mood-Swinger: In his normal state, he's drab and lifeless. After his painting has absorbed souls, however, he's a volatile and unpredictable hedonist.
- Neutral Evil: In-universe. His normal state.
- Nigh Invulnerable: In his normal state he heals rapidly, reforming even if his body is destroyed. This does not apply during his rejuvenated state, however, when he can be killed like anyone else.
- Portal Picture: Inverted. When he seals his domain, the borders of Ghastria are replaced by gigantic paintings that look like normal landscapes but prove their real nature when someone walks into them.
- Really 700 Years Old: Has ruled Ghastria for centuries.
- Revenge: Managed to muster enough spirit to poison the entire royal household.
- Sense Freak: While rejuvenated, since that's the only time he can appreciate sensations.
- Soul Jar: His painting has the chunk of his soul that contains his joi de vivre.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Back in his home kingdom, he pretended to be a philanthropic nobleman who fought for the people. In truth, however, this was just a front he used to cover his ambitions. Averted after his curse left him unable to maintain the mask.
- Your Soul Is Mine: Once per season, he may command his painting to drain the souls of those in its presence, gaining the entirety of his own soul back for a number of hours equal to the number of souls absorbed, up to fifty.
- 0% Approval Rating: Not only does he oppress and tax his people unmercifully, but he'll take peasants and expose them to his painting if he has no other choice.
Frantisek Markov, Darklord of MarkoviaA large, stout, intimidating-looking man who used to be a hog farmer and butcher in Barovia. He grew bored of butchering pigs and started experimenting on them, killed his wife when she found out, and was exiled to the end of the world when the village found her corpse. For whatever reasonnote , the Mists expanded to gave him his own domain.
- Cruella to Animals: He brutally mutilates animals with his twisted surgeries to create near-human monsters known as Broken Ones.
- Expy: He's based on Dr. Moreau, albeit with metamorphic powers.
- For Science!: He started experimenting on the hogs he was farming for the sheer thrill of it; surgical amputations, grafts, and glandular injections were fascinating to try, and even if it killed all the animals he worked with, so what? He could still sell the meat afterwards.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In the ending for his only official adventure, the party is able to escape when the Broken Ones capture him, strap him down and start vivisecting him, similar to how Dr. Moreau is brutally killed by his own creations in some depictions of the story.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Mad Scientist: His curiosity about surgery and physical alteration surpasses all concerns about ethics; he casually torments and mutilates animals and humans alike, creating horrific mutant monsters to further his understanding of anatomy and flesh-crafting.
- Magic Powered Pseudo Science: Though he thinks of himself as a brilliant scientist, the truth is he's really about as skilled as you'd expect a self-taught sadistic amateur surgeon to be; he can do the impossible things he does because of the covert blessings of the Dark Powers.
- Slasher Smile: His broad, toothy grin is officially described as being unnerving rather than comforting, as it always appears "threatening" or "predatory".
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Unfortunately for him, while he is a master, his curse is to never have a fully human form — and to have his own head in any form he takes (so he's always identifiable). He tends to prefer a gorilla body as closest to human.
Darklords of the Eastern Sea
Meredoth, Darklord of the Nocturnal SeaThe platonic form of an Evil Sorcerer in appearance, Meredoth is a necromancer native to Mystara's Alphatian Empire. A loner taken Up to Eleven, Meredoth responded to being given dominion over a small colony by killing all of his subjects due to his disdain for the living, reanimating them as a vital experiment that would lead to his creation of the first lebendtod. The Dark Powers gave him his own private island on the newly formed Nocturnal Sea, but also removed his ability to have ideas of his own — he literally has to interact with other people to craft magic items, or at the very least steal ideas from others, which is sheer agony to his artistic impulses.
- Abusive Parents: What caused his initial misanthropy, at least in the netbook version. His father, an obsessive and introverted creator of golems and other constructs, wanted nothing to do with him and instead left him solely to the care of construct caretakers, only interacting with Meredoth to chastise him for trying to get his attention by subverting the control of his constructs. His mother was a vapid and frivolous enchantress who only cared about her own pleasures and had no qualms about using Mind Control spells to punish or discipline her son.
- The Aloner: He would desperately like to be this, and he's willing to enforce it.
- Always a Bigger Fish: In the fiction for the Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer fan-splat, he serves as this to the Fraternity of Shadowsnote . In the Todstein section's ending, he effortlessly dispatches the agent investigating his island by deflecting the agent's spell back at him. By the time the agent has managed to escape back to his ship by the skin of his teeth, he discovers that Meredoth has ransacked his spellbook, stealing every spell bar the illusion spells, and left behind a note. A spell impregnated into the note promptly Mind Rapes the agent when he reads it, nearly shattering his sanity with visions of the magical power of Meredoth's homeland as the old Jackdaw himself lambastes the Fraternity as pathetic dabblers who fail to even begin to grasp magic's true potential, culminating in a warning to leave him and his island alone. Terrified, the agent can only sail away from Todstein, giving his superiors his utmost exhortation to leave Meredoth in peace.
- Badass Boast: Gives a truly epic one in the Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer:A real wizard doesn't let reality frighten him away from true power, he frightens REALITY into heeding his bidding! The power to bend worlds, to own them, to destroy them, is his to TAKE, not covet in impotent envy.
- Chaotic Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- The Chessmaster: How he works around his curse while dealing as little with others as possible.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold:
- Meredoth resides on the island of Todstein, which is in a permanent arctic winter; ice, snow and freezing winds all year around.
- In the fanmade Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer, Meredoth has the "Cold One" feat, which makes him so cool and clammy that not only does he feel like a dead body to the touch, non-sentient undead are likely to believe he's also dead.
- Evil Old Folks: You really should listen when he tells you to get off his lawn/island...
- Evil Sorcerer: The only one stronger than Azalin, in fact! Not that he uses it...
- Fantastic Racism:
- Meredoth hates life in general, but he is especially demeaning towards people who don't know anything about magic, due to having come from an empire where social status was determined exclusively by magical proficiency.
- In the Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer, this is part of the reason why Meredoth and Azalin will never be able to form an alliance with each other (which, given their curses are practically mirror-images of each other, would make for a serious Game-Breaker):
- Meredoth is/would be revolted at the fact that Azalin allows "drudges" to hold not only token positions of authority (Darkon's barons) but to actually be of vital importance to him (the Kargat), and similarly would jeer in disdain at Azalin's emotional conflict over his "failures" with his son Irik; in Meredoth's eyes, Irik's total lack of spellcasting ability would have disqualified him from ever being heir to the throne in the first place! Meredoth also looks down on Azalin for being a lich, because arcanists in the Alphatian Empire have other, "more efficient" ways to preserve their lives and so undeath is looked upon as something only an inept bungler would choose.
- Meanwhile, Azalin disdains Meredoth for his lack of interest in escaping Ravenloft, his ineptitude at political gamesmanship, and the similarity between Meredoth's wilful neglect of his domain prior to and after becoming a Darklord and that of Azalin's brother Ranald.
- Fisher King: The Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer version has an ability called "What's Mine Is Mine", which lets him immediately sense any sentient creature that sets foot on Todstein. He can also create and control storms around Todstein.
- Freudian Excuse: A combination of Abusive Parents, being raised solely by mindlessly obedient golems, and one of his first "friends" stealing Meredoth's ideas for a new form of bone golem, all led to a man who believes that living beings are inherently unreliable and untrustworthy, and only artificially created lifeforms and the undead are worthy company.
- Irony: As is common with Darklord curses; Meredoth currently can only create magic items or spells that others have invented, but before being swept up by the Mists he would regularly steal ideas that other wizards had invented (before arranging for them to die or become mindless drug addicts so they couldn't reveal he had stolen them) as well as fight lethal wizard duels for the purpose of stealing his victim's spellbooks as his prize.
- Loners Are Freaks: Particularly when they're homicidally insistent about being alone.
- Magitek: Being from a mystically-inclined region of Mystara, Meredoth has a lot more equipped than other inhabitants of the Land of Mists. Subtle things, mind you, but it's pretty convenient compared to normal living accommodations in Ravenloft.
- The Magocracy: Meredoth is originally from the Alphatian Empire in Mystara, which is one of these.
- Misanthrope Supreme: Meredoth hates living creatures; he craves to only have to deal with reliable, dependable, obedient undead and construct slaves.
- Necromancer: Whether Meredoth or Strahd is the most triumphant example of this to be seen in the Demiplane of Dread is a matter of debate; Meredoth has higher level and invented the lebendtod, which can perfectly imitate a living human and has full sentience whilst being totally obedient to the creator, while Strahd invented the more combat-lethal Strahd Zombie/Skeleton/Skeletal Steed and lacks Meredoth's curse to prevent him from inventing new undead.
- Pet the Dog: In the Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer, Meredoth has shown honest kindness towards a single living creature; his huptzeen, Hoarfrost. He actually made a fumbling effort to soothe her fear and discomfort whilst transforming her from a white-fang (a form of giant, fur-covered, cold-immune snake) into a sentient magic item.
- Also, not only does she sleep against him every night, on rare occasions, maybe once or twice a year, he will sense her doing so and gently pet her in his sleep. It says a lot about Meredoth that this, combined with his willingness to forgive her for making mistakes, is the most sign of caring any creature has ever received from him.
- Put Them All Out of My Misery: His general attitude towards sapient life.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Towards the Fraternity of Shadows in the Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer.Call yourselves "wizards", do you? 'Esteemed Brother', yet? HAH! Cringing cowards, the lot of you, hiding your power from ignorant drudges who rightly should BEG to lick your boots! Aping science in your practices, of all fool things: are you ASHAMED of your magic?
Look upon MY world, dabbler, and behold how arcane might TRULY rules! Not craven conspiracies lurking in shadow, but POWER! Not wheedling schemers' paltry dreams of usurpation, but CONQUEST! A real wizard doesn't let reality frighten him away from true power, he frightens REALITY into heeding his bidding! The power to bend worlds, to own them, to destroy them, is his to TAKE, not covet in impotent envy.
So timid a will does not deserve magic's full bounty. I have relieved you of what you never earned, pretender; flimsy spells of falsehood are all you deserve to keep.
Tell your spineless masters your turncoat "friend" is not here. If he were, rest assured that I would have leashed him by now: he, at least, had the courage to seek power worthy of a mage's effort, and might have made a useful tool.
The dead of Nebligtode do as they're told. The living emulate or join them.
Learn from their wisdom, mageling and LEAVE. ME. ALONE!!!
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Todstein, his home island.
- Unequal Rites: In the Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer, part of Meredoth's "curse" is that he has gained the ability to cast all of his spells spontaneously, like a sorcerer. Meredoth hates this ability, because it reminds him of both the envious resentment he held for sorcerers as a youth and because he despises sorcerers as lacking in diligence.
Captain Alain Monette, Darklord of L'île de la TempêteA violent and cruel privateer, he was nearly killed by his mutinous crew, but washed up in the shores of his island domain.
- Autocannibalism: The reason he became a werebat was because he fed upon bats that had drunk his blood.
- Ax-Crazy: Makes sure to never leave a victim alive.
- Bad Boss: As a pirate captain, even the slightest question or delay in following his orders meant a brutal beating before the crew. He paid for it in spades.
- Bat Out of Hell: The last thing any survivors from the shipwrecks he causes see is his werebat form.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Unable to leave his island and forever denied the freedom of the seas, Monette has devoted himself to causing countless shipwrecks.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: A long scar that snakes diagonally across his face.
- Hazardous Water: Even without his interference, the area around his island is covered in reefs and other hazards.
- Lawful Evil: In-universe.
- Made of Iron: Keelhauled thrice by his mutinous crew, who then proceeded to flog him for a straight hour before he finally lost consciousness. He was still alive when they tossed him into the sea and he drifted into the Mists.
- Making a Splash: Has absolute control of the ocean around his island.
- Morphic Resonance: Keeps his scar even as a werebat.
- The Musketeer: An expert with cutlass and arquebus.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: An infected werebat who changes uncontrollably with every high tide.
- Summon Magic: The beacon from his light can even reach worlds outside Ravenloft. The second someone decides to investigate, they are drawn into range of his island.
The Lady of Ravens, Darklord of the Isle of the RavensThe vain and selfish scion to a degenerate family of nobles, she was born with sorcerous powers and used them to enforce her will, becoming a petty tyrant who was convinced that all others existed only to serve her. Indifferent to all people, she spent all her time in the Tower of Flints with her beloved ravens... until the day she realised one of the children she had once ignored had grown into a handsome young man, and she instantly fell head over heels in love with him. In her solipsism, she believed he loved her back, until the day he returned from war and she saw him run into the arms of his real sweetheart. Enraged and heartbroken, she used her ravens to murder them both, for which she was damned to the Demiplane of Dread.
- Baleful Polymorph: She has the ability to polymorph people into ravens, either changing a whole group with her gaze (once per day) or by individually touching them (at will). It's common for her to use this to "punish" intruders, often sparing a single soul to spread her tale beyond the sea, or to force people to do her bidding by transforming their friends.
- Enfante Terrible: Her self-centeredness developed into sociopathy — and was bolstered by budding sorcerer powers — at an early age, which further shaped her into the monster who eventually damned herself to the Mists.
- Freudian Excuse: Not invoked by her, she's too self-absorbed to bother, but in her netbook backstory; her family were insane, the servants mindlessly obedient to her due to social protocol, her sorcerer powers allowed her to conjure fae and elemental servitors who were magically compelled to obey her every thought, and the ravens loved her and believed everything she said absolutely. It's only natural that she become sociopathically self-centered.
- It's All About Me: The ultimate root of her damnation; her complete inability to understand that she isn't the center of the universe.
- Name Amnesia: Worked into her backstory in the netbooks, which says that she forgot her name as part of her curse. Consequently, she endlessly seeks to find her name, believing that this will allow her to speak to ravens once more.
- Neutral Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in her profile writeups, fitting her utter self-centeredness, sociopathic nature and disregard of the value and worth of anyone save herself.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Described as such in Domains of Dread. Given that she's a Darklord, she probably also qualifies as an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette.
- Shout-Out: Her backstory in the netbooks is very reminiscent of Gormenghast.
- Shrouded in Myth: Never given a canon writeup, though the netbooks have supplied one.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Originally, she could communicate with ravens as if they were people. Her curse is that she can no longer speak to them, even though they obey her every whim.
Baron Lyron Evensong, Darklord of LiffeCome to the wonderful village of Claveria on the pastoral island of Liffe and spend an enchanting evening of food and music with the skilled minstrel Lyron Evensong. Stay a while. Stay forever.
- All Crimes Are Equal: Philanderer? Kill 'em. Greedy ruler? Kill 'em. Baby crying too much? Guess what?
- Constantly Curious: He wants to know everything about his guests.
- Cursed with Awesome: The incident with the harpsichord proved to be this, since being an Intangible Man meant he could kill with impunity.
- Emotion Bomb: Once he's summoned some interesting people into Claveria, the Baron sends them an invitation which curses the first person who touches it with an array of phobias until they come to visit. Actually declining his invitation in person causes these phobias to intensify drastically.
- Eureka Moment: In Book of Crypts, his study seems designed to provoke a constant stream of these. Every single portrait and sculpture has the Baron with his harpsichord or a reference to it, there's a statue of a destroyed harpsichord and a melting Baron, and to cap it all off, there's a poem the Baron wrote himself about how destroying the harpsichord would kill him. Gosh, this is going to be a tough one...
- Faux Affably Evil: He's planning to be spending a long, long, long time with you, so he'll turn on the charm...but he hasn't really changed a bit, as he'll show when people start disobeying him or if he thinks they know about his connection to the harpsichord.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: A hundred years is a long time to spend trapped in a single room, and no one's been able to stick out the whole time with him. It's also happened at least thirteen times by his own reckoning, according to Book of Crypts, though he's lost count. (In canon, Liffe is around at least from Domains of Dread to the 3.5 Player's Handbook, a good few years... or millennia for the Baron.)
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Hired a mage to enchant his harpsichord to allow him to force people to obey him. Unfortunately, the mage botched it, and the Baron's life-force was drawn into it, instead.
- Holier Than Thou: Murderously so.
- Implausible Deniability: "What did you say happened to your friend when he touched my invitation? How strange. Well, they do say adventuring is an awfully stressful occupation. Why not come in and relax?"
- Intangible Man: The Baron spends most of the time like this, though he can fully materialize within a few seconds.
- Knight Templar: On Krynn, he believed that his self-righteous disdain for humanity's foibles made him Lawful Good, and sought to impose his beliefs upon others, by song if possible — and by dagger and club if necessary. He'd be doing the same in the Land of Mists, if his curse would let him.
- The Needless: Once you're trapped in the Baron's study, you no longer need to eat or drink for the rest of your natural life—provided you ate enough at the feast. The Baron himself is sustained for the next hundred years.
- Neutral Evil: In-universe, but he believes himself Lawful Good.
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Sets out a sumptuous feast for his guests. No Schmuck Banquet here; the food's perfectly fine, and even heals you. You'd better get your fill, too.
- Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: The Baron's study becomes this at the end of every day it spends in Claveria, and stays so for a hundred years (from its occupants' perspective). It's also literally nowhere, as there's nothing but an airy void outside the windows.
- Soul Jar: His harpsichord.
- Summon Magic: The Baron can summon interesting people to spend time with (i.e. adventurers) to Claveria—even those from outside the Mists.
- Transplant: From Krynn.
- Villain Song: "Ode to Lyron Evensong", a peasant jig about poor, poor misunderstood Baron Evensong, and how people were just too stupid to understand him, leading to his perfectly reasonable and justified murders.
- Wandering Minstrel: Used to be one.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: One night in the outside world equals a hundred years in the study.
- 0% Approval Rating: The people of Claveria hate and fear him.
Easan the Mad, Darklord of VechorA wood elf unwillingly possesed by a fiend, which later merged with him. He secluded himself in an island mansion and studied souls for a means to free himself, but instead went on to perform experiments on other creatures. The mists drew him and his island, Vechor, into Ravenloft.
- Ban on Magic: Refuses to allow any wizard magic but wild magic in his domain. Mostly because it gives him an excuse to confiscate it and bully said wizards into working for him if he finds them.
- Chaotic Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Demonic Possession: He was possessed by a fiend that eventually fused with his soul. However, one netbook has raised the idea that he was never actually possessed at all, only tricked into thinking so.
- Evil Laugh: Not only does Easan do this, but when someone tries to leave Vechor when the borders are sealed, that person hears horrid, maddening laughter in his head. The victim is quickly driven insane unless he halts trying to leave.
- Facial Markings: All Vechorite infants are branded with the Mark of Easan (their equivalent of "E").
- Mad God: Effectively. Vechorians know he's a madman, but see no problem with worshipping an insane god.
- Mad Scientist: Originally, in his more lucid moments, he turned to arcane magic and science to try and expel the fiend from his mind. Decades of horrific mad science later, he's all but forgotten why he even started.
- Magitek: He built the first known mechanical golems. One text claims he was inspired by a falling star, but most see this as proof of his madness.
- Our Elves Are Different: When they're possessed by demons, they are.
- Reality Warper: Easan is a master of Wild Magic, and can also change the landscape of his domain to whatever his mad whim dictates, including walls of flesh and green skies.
- Telepathy: He can read the minds of every sentient being in his domain.
- Transplant: Originally from Greyhawk.
- Unfazed Everyman: The people of Vechor have learned to accept the weirdness around them, to the extent that it's easier for them to be taken in by illusions — no matter how bizarre, it would be par for the course in Vechor.
- World of Chaos: Vechor. Easan is able to use his Wild Magic to control every aspect of its nature and landscape, which since he's utterly insane means that Vechor is an ever-changing surrealist nightmare, with bizarre apparitions and surrealistic landscapes constantly forcing themselves upon reality, replacing and alternating with each other seemingly at random.
Darklords of the Amber Wastes
Pharaoh Anhktepot, Darklord of Har'AkirSometime ruler of a mighty empire, now a greater mummy after his desire to escape death led to the ruin of his kingdom and his person being mummified alive. His curse is the desire to live again as a great ruler and king, but to never be able to truly achieve it.
- Big Bad: Of the videogame Ravenloft: the Stone Prophet.
- Entitled Bastard: The game notes that Ankhtepot, if he could become mortal again, would never be satisfied with "merely" being a commoner or tiny village headman. In his mind, he deserves the power and prestige of being again the mighty king of a mighty empire.
- Human Sacrifice: He can kill a sentient creature on one of the altars in his temple to drain their vitality and become human again for a day. However, while he is human, he loses all his powers and defenses, and if killed in this state he will only rise again as a mummy if he is mummified again. Furthermore, Har'Akir is tiny, and there is only a single mud-hut village nearby. If he kills too many, the village will die out and Anhktepot may never be able to become alive again at all.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe, as an ex-tyrannical god-king.
- Mummy: A mixture of the Hollywood and Dungeons and Dragons versions.
- Necromancer: Ankhtepot controls many other mummies, some of whom are actually stronger than him, and he can make more by bringing back victims dying of his Touch of Death to be mummified alive.
- Plague Master: Like all Ravenloft Greater Mummies, his touch causes the terrible disease mummy rot.
- Power of the Sun: He is still technically the priest of Ra, and, though Ra has abandoned him, the Dark Powers are the ones supplying clerics in the Demiplane of Dread.
- Rage Against the Heavens: When he was still pharaoh, he killed priests who could not make him immortal until he walked into the temple of Ra and raged that the gods had failed him. Ra, whose high priest he was, told him that he would live forever, but probably regret it, and gave him the Touch of Death that led to his ruin.
- Riches to Rags: From the ruler of a vast empire to occupying a mostly-empty tomb on the edge of a tiny patch of desert and mud with a single small village nearby that he doesn't so much rule as occasionally wander out to terrify.
- Shout-Out: Anhktepot is obviously meant to mimic the main character of The Mummy (1932).
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Anhktepot's damnation came from his desire for immortal life. Now, as a mummy, he believes that he would be satisfied with mortality, if he could only have a few more years of life. (Reigning as a mighty god-king, of course, and not as a lowly peasant.)
Diamabel, Darklord of PharaziaFormerly a nomadic desert raider and religious fanatic, he was killed and seemingly rose up as an angel, and now rules the city of Phiraz. However, he found his transformation came with a cost; every night, he transforms into a horrifying skeletal angel of death.
- Blessed with Suck: Both forms are incredibly powerful, but the transformation between them is agonizing, and a constant reminder of his distance from his god. Indeed, his deity seems even more distant than before.
- Chaotic Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Cool Sword: Spiritburner, his +3 flame tongue sword.
- The Fundamentalist: Feels that the world is filthy and that his calling is to cleanse it, so that he may join his god in heaven.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: By day he possesses an angelic appearance, by night he appears to be a horrific zombie.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Regenerates two hit points a round, requires a +2 weapon to hit him, returns from the dead in a month if killed.
- Retcon: In the Quoth the Raven #21 netbook, which made Pharazia an Arabian Nights-themed domain, and Diamabel himself a more ambiguous figure. His dual forms are known to Pharazians, but his origin and nature are left open, turned into a Riddle for the Ages — even whether or not he's Pharazia's darklord — in an effort to move away from the unfortunate implications around his canon write-up as the sole Islamic-themed darklord.
- Villain with Good Publicity: The people of Pharazia love their divine protector, and fear the angel of death that stalks the night, never suspecting that they are one and the same.
Tiyet, Darklord of SebuaRuler of the wasteland realm of Sebua, Tiyet is a unique mummy with a sordid past, involving framing the wife of a pharoah's son so she could have him for herself, only to cheat on her husband with a priest of Set. With a prophetic vision, she had him make her into a unique mummy, allowing her to escape the execution she was supposed to receive when her adultery was discovered.
- Beat Still, My Heart: How she feeds. Once she's paralyzed a victim, she sinks her hand into their chest and draws out their beating heart, then eats it.
- Death Glare: In a literal sense. Her glare can paralyze people and kill them via cardiac arrest—though since she can't eat stopped hearts, she's loath to do so.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Haunted by a dream she had of her punishment in the afterlife, she pressured her lover to use the ritual that made her what she is today in order to avert it. So far.
- Driven to Suicide: After her adultery was discovered she begged for her lover to perform the immortality ritual upon her, but it could only be used on the recently deceased. When he refused to kill her, she grabbed a dagger and forced the matter.
- Evil Is Sexy: Her official illustrations have her looking quite attractive.
- From a Single Cell: If reduced to zero hp, she turns to dust, and is defeated, but not destroyed. Her body reforms in a few days. The only way she can be slain permanently is by tricking her into eating her own heart, which is still in the temple where the mummification ritual was done. If it were ever offered to her, it would start to beat, and she would be unable to resist it, even though it would mean her doom.
- Hoist by Her Own Petard: The only way to kill her for good is to make her eat her own heart (taken out as part of the above-mentioned ritual).
- Horror Hunger: Uncontrollably driven to devour human hearts.
- Karmic Death: She was sentenced to death for adultery, the same crime she framed her husband's first wife for in order to marry him.
- Mortality Phobia: After suffering from recurring nightmares of a horrific punishment in the Hall of Judgment (her society's version of Hell) the idea of dying terrified her, and she sought immortality, gaining it in the worst way.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Tiyet framed a woman for adultery (which got her thrown to jackals) in order to marry her husband, the pharaoh's son.
- Mummy: Although you wouldn't know it from looking at her.
- Necromancer: Controls undead within her domain, though she has to make mummies the slow way.
- Neutral Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in her profile writeups.
- Picky People Eater: Hearts.
- Seductive Mummy: A mummy who has the appearance of an attractive woman.
- Summon Magic: Can summon a swarm of beetles.
- Terrible Ticking: The beating of human hearts is incredibly magnified for her, growing ever-louder depending on her hunger.
- Time Travel: She wasn't just sent far away from her home, she was also sent forward over a thousand years.
- Touch of Death: Her touch can inflict wounds, and her kiss can drain strength.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting:
- Can turn into a monkey in order to blend in with Sebua's other monkeys.
- Her introductory supplement mentions that she can turn into an owl.
- Weather Manipulation: Can create sandstorms.
- Your Cheating Heart: Hooked up with a man who'd blackmailed her for the above framing, eventually falling in love with him. Obviously, it didn't end well.
Darklords of the Frozen Reaches
Prince Ladislav Mircea, Darklord of SanguiniaOriginally a handsome, vain, and selfish prince, who abandoned his subjects when a plague hit his lands, retreating to his castle with his friends. When the plague hit his castle, he had his infected friends thrown over the walls. When the plague got to him, he turned to alchemy in a desperate attempt to cure it, but eventually succumbed, rising as a vrykolaka. He now desperately seeks to cure his undeath through alchemy.
- Beauty to Beast: Went from handsome prince to walking-corpse vampire.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Vrykolaka are plague-carrier vampires with shattered minds which look like walking corpses (being based on early Eastern European versions of vampires, where they were closer to zombies). Mircea is exceptional among his kind, in that he still retains his mind (and thus is aware of what he's become), and according to his 3e statblock, feeds on the bodily humors of others, each humor affecting him in a different way.
- Pinocchio Syndrome: Trying desperately to become human again.
- Poisonous Person: His body carries three diseases, which he spreads through his attacks.
Gregor Zolnik, Darklord of VorostokovA mighty werewolf and hunter, and de facto ruler of the domain of Vorostokov.
- Archnemesis Dad: Has become this to his youngest (and good-aligned) son Mikhail, who opposes his power.
- Blood Knight: Addicted to the thrill of hunting in his wolf form.
- Cain and Abel: His sisters, powerful witches who hate him for killing their mother, are plotting against him.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Cool Sword: Ilyana, a +3 bastard sword that can heal its wielder once a day.
- Divine Parentage: Descended from Azrai, a deceased god of evil and shadow, which gives him high Charisma (15), and allows him to commune with snakes (and later, wolves).
- Endless Winter: Vorostokov has been stuck in one of these since it was taken into the mists, making prey extremely sparse. Recently there are vague signs that it might be lifting a bit, though knowing Ravenloft, that probably means something worse is about to happen.
- Fallen Hero: Years ago, before Vorostokov was taken into Ravenloft, his hunting prowess saved the village from starvation and he became a beloved hero. Now he'd give anything to have those days back, to the point of killing anyone else (outside his boyarsky) who tries to hunt or who attempts to escape.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Whatever pangs of conscience and self-justificatory lies he tells himself, this is the real reason for his killing his fellow humans.
- Ignored Epiphany: Struggled briefly with the realization that he was a murderer and that he was condemning his people to a life of unwitting cannibalism, but he got over it fairly quickly.
- Curious Qualms of Conscience: Now that winter is finally lifting and prey is slowly returning, though, he's starting to feel guilty again. So he's bullying local villages to stave it off.
- In the Blood: Both his sons were born nascent Loup du Noir. The elder, Alexei, has already been "brought into the boyarsky", and Gregor plans to bring Mikhail in as well, whether he wants it or not.
- Matricide: Killed his mother after she encouraged his second wife to spy on him (indirectly leading to her death).
- Mook Maker: His bite can infect people with lycanthropy.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: As a Loup du Noir, he requires his wolf pelt to shapeshift. He can also force werewolves he's infected to change forms, and control them when they're in wolf form.
- Resurrective Immortality: If killed in either form, his body will disappear and reappear in his secret cave with his sword and wolf skin intact. The only way to kill him off for good is to sprinkle his pelt with wolfsbane and salt, which will strip him of all his protections and leave him as vulnerable as any human.
- Retcon: His descent from Azrai is unmentioned until Domains of Dread.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: His heritage allows him to talk to snakes (if he can find one in a domain where the temperature rarely rises above -20 degrees Fahrenheit). After becoming a werewolf, this extended to wolves.
- Supernatural Elite: Has formed a boyarsky of loyal warriors and hunters who rule the village alongside him. All of them are werewolves that he's infected.
- To Serve Man: After Vorostokov was taken into Ravenloft, he was forced to hunt humans to feed his people, though he never told them the truth.
- Transplant: From Cerilia, the Birthright setting. (This, however, is a retcon introduced in the writeup of the domain in Domains of Dread; it is not mentioned in his first appearance, the book Darklords.)
- Your Cheating Heart: His first wife thought he was cheating when he went out hunting every night, so she took a lover. His somewhat excessive reaction (namely, brutally murdering his wife, her lover, and every single soul in the castle) ended up sending him and Vorostokov to Ravenloft.
- 0% Approval Rating: The people of Vorostokov have come to resent their dependence upon him (and are all but certain of the true nature of the meat he gives them), but fear him too much to rebel.
Darklords of the Shadowlands
Morgoroth, Darklord of Avonleigh
Morgoroth the Black was a plane-traveling wizard of great power, who came to the Great Kingdom of Avonleigh - the namesake for his domain, and the world from which all of the Shadowlands domains were drawn - seeking redemption for the sins he had committed on his own world. Lord Ferran Shadowborn, leader of a paladin order known as The Circle, offered Morgoroth the chance to atone through servitude. Morgoroth agreed, and was granted an isolated forest region to claim as his own; he used his magic to build his home of Tergeron Manor in a single night, and the literal ghosts of his past soon settled in to haunt the forest, causing it to be renamed the Phantasmal Forest. Still, Morgoroth served the Circle loyally for many years, and earned their trust - he also nursed a secret love for Aurora Shadowborn, Lord Ferran's sister, but never dared to act on it. Then, one day, a paladin named Lambert pursued Morgoroth from his former world, demanding he be given the wizard's head. When the Circle hesitated, Lambert went after Morgoroth himself; attacked on sight, Morgoroth slew his assailant and raised him as an undead slave. When Lord Shadowborn arrived soon afterwards, he was forced to destroy the undead paladin, and went on to confront Morgoroth, who impulsively slew his friend of many years. Overwrought with despair, Morgoroth snapped; he teleported to Aurora's temple, charmed her into a slumber, and then teleported away, placing her within a crystal sarcophagus so that she would never wake again. When the Circle came to save her, he destroyed them almost to the last, which caused him to be swallowed by the mists. In the Demiplane of Dread, he attempted to create a magic mirror that would enable him to escape — instead, it exploded, destroying his body and binding his spirit into Tergeron Manor, leaving him quite mad.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Morgoroth will usually attempt to kill anyone who enters Tergeron Manor, because he's terrified of the notion that they may take Lady Aurora Shadowborn from him, although this is exacerbated by the mental damage done to him in his geist state. He also keeps her trapped in her glass coffin, incapable of ever waking, because he knows that she will reject him forever should she wake and learn that he slew her brother, accidentally or not... plus, he believes she never loved him back and would never return his feelings anyway.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Morgoroth may demonstrate it in an insane way, but he does genuinely love Aurora.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: Morgoroth's presence makes Tergeron Manor unnaturally cold, and the closer one gets to the belfry, the sharper the temperature drops.
- Genius Loci: Morgoroth is one with Tergeron Manor, allowing him to control everything within its walls.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Morgoroth spent years fighting for good alongside the Circle, genuinely repenting his former wickedness, and making great strides to redeem himself. Then along came Lambert, and everything went to hell as Morgoroth decided to go back to evil.
- Poor Communication Kills: Morgoroth was in love with Aurora, but never dared to tell her because he knew she would be expected to become High Priestess, a position requiring celibacy. She was also in love with him, but never told him because she didn't know how to reconcile her feelings with her faith. When Morgoroth finally broke down and told her that he had always loved her, years after she had taken her vows, she ran away because she was overcome with regret that she hadn't told him about feeling the same way before — but he mistook this as rejection from her, and was heartbroken, which may have set up his ultimate downfall.
- Puzzle Boss: In Morgoroth's sole appearance, the adventure "A Light in the Belfry", the party first has to give him a body back by finding the 13 shards of his magic mirror. But, if they fight him normally, either he magically feigns death to escape when they aren't looking or, if they forcibly "make sure" he's dead, he's just re-merged with the manor again, forcing the party to find the shards all over again... and, when he returns, he has all of his health and spells back. To defeat him, the party has to restore his body, and then smash the mirror, which truly kills him — at least in the sense of leaving him a powerless geist.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Morgoroth and Lady Aurora Shadowborn both loved each other from afar, but were held apart by politics. Then things took a turn for the gothic when Morgoroth accidentally murdered Aurora's brother, kidnapped her, and placed her in an eternal slumber so he could at least take solace in her presence.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Believing that the Circle had let his old enemy Lambert try to take his head, Morgoroth slew his former friend, Lord Shadowborn, when the latter came after him. When he realized that Lord Shadowborn had originally tried to defend him from Lambert, Morgoroth snapped and decided to return to the powers of Black Magic..
Elena Faith-hold, Darklord of NidalaA one-time paladin and crusader of the Celtic god Belenus, Elena Faith-hold fell from grace when she tried to turn her crusade on innocent people who worshipped other gods in the pantheon. Consumed by her own self-righteousness, the mists swallowed her. The Dark Powers have made her the ruler of Nidala and seemingly restored her paladin powers, but in twisted forms that she is in denial about. Now, she runs her land as a joyless police state, finding "evils" to purge everywhere she goes.
- Affably Evil: In her own mind, Elena is still a good and heroic person, and, with her high Charisma score, she is easily able to put a shiny gloss on what she does... for a while. Sooner or later, visitors will see what she's done to her land as the horror it is.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: Rather, Belief Makes You Evil; Elena's fanatical reverence for the sun god Belenus caused her to become convinced that he was the only true god, and drove her to unleash a bloody campaign of conversion upon her former people to convince them of this.
- Charm Person: In addition to her paladin powers, Elena can attempt to "convert" enemies to her side, securing their fanatical devotion... for a while.
- Christmas Cake: Elena, while still very good-looking, is in her forties and thinking about marriage. Unfortunately, as the text notes, thanks to her twisted version of the Detect Evil power, she would only ever be able to marry a suitor who feels nothing for her and is only using her for his own ends. If they loved her back, she'd ping them as evil and murder them.
- Church Militant: Before she ruled Nidala, she was a benevolent version. Now she represents many of the worst aspects of such perversions of religious faith as the Inquisition or the Puritan witch hunts.
- Detect Evil: While Elena believes that she, alone among all spellcasters in Ravenloft, where the spell doesn't usually work, has regained the use of this power as a sign of her great piety, she actually senses strong emotions of any kind directed at her. Thus, her subjects have learned to feel as indifferent in her presence as possible.
- Fallen Hero: There was a time in Elena's life when she was a genuine hero. Inside her own head, she still is.
- The Fundamentalist: Elena's problems and sorrows are almost all the direct result of her utter refusal to admit that she might possibly ever be wrong or capable of making mistakes. And that refusal has led to her damnation. Even her patron deity's outrage resulting in him stripping her of her divine powers for this offence failed to make her realize the wrongness of her beliefs.
- The Heretic: Ironically, whilst Elena is dedicated to hunting down and executing or converting heathens and heretics, she herself is a heretic in the eyes of her own deity. Belenus is a goodly deity who calmly accepts that he is just one of the gods in his pantheon and is content with his place as god of the sun; Elena's belief that Belenus is the one true god is technically heretical in its own right... but it's her willingness to torture and murder people to force others to believe the same things that makes her a true heretic in Belenus' eyes.
- I Reject Your Reality: If there is one great theme to Elena, besides the tragedy of her self-righteousness leading her down into damnation, it is denial. Elena simply refuses to notice or admit the warped and changed nature of her paladin gifts, the gloomy police-state Nidala has become under her stewardship, or that she might ever have made some mistakes she could learn from and become a better person.
- Knight Templar: Obsessed with stamping out evil in her land... no matter the cost.
- Lawful Evil: Her official In-Universe alignment.
- Moral Guardians: The subtler side of her policing involves outlawing "sinful" practices like jewelry, theaters, and excess drink.
- The Paladin: She firmly believes she is a straight example. In practice, all of her powers have more in common with anti-paladin or blackguard powers than the genuine article. Her 3rd Edition write-up even gives her straight-up blackguard levels.
- The Purge: Elena regularly sifts the populace for individuals in need of "rehabilitation," and when a town has gotten too "corrupt" for her liking, it gets "fed to the dragon."
- "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Played for Drama. Elena keeps up the legend of a dragon on an impassable local mountain that occasionally flies out and burns down villages... to hide that she and her followers are secretly responsible, purging places that they believe are too corrupt to be allowed to live.
- Torture Technician: Her "rehabilitation" programs involve the vast network of torture engines in the dungeons beneath Faith-hold. In fact, those attempting to flee while she's sealed the borders will find themselves drawn inside of them.
- Unicorns Are Sacred: Elena used to have a unicorn mount as a gift from her god, lost when she fell from grace. When she became a Darklord, one of the Dark Powers' gifts was an evil version.
Ebonbane, Darklord of Shadowborn Manor
A sword forged from metal from an alternate dimension and imbued with an evil presence specifically to slay the paladin Keteri Shadowborn. It succeeded, only to find it trapped in the late Paladin's family manor in Ravenloft. Now Keteri's spirit lives on as a geist, seeking to draw in adventurers to help her destroy the evil blade.
Darklords of the Verduous Lands
Draga Salt-Biter, Darklord of SaragossSaragoss, a swampy five-mile wide mass of seaweed, shipwrecks, and assorted flotsam, is a realm of constant conflict above and below the sea, ruled by the wereshark Draga Salt-Biter.
- Abusive Parents: Born to two abusive sailors, he escaped to the sea to get away from them. And then he was captured and raised by evil pirates.
- The Aloner: The nature of his realm and his hatred for sharks mean that he's denied any form of companionship.
- Artificial Gill: Inverted. He uses a ring of air-breathing which allows him to stay above water for a couple of hours at a time. Without it he would have gone completely insane by now.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Although he cannot stop them from squabbling, the sheer number of sharks and undead he can bring to bear force the beings of his domain to obey his edicts.
- Awesome McCoolname: Back in Faerûn his ship was called Vengeance.
- Badass Cape: The attire of a priest of Umberlee consists of a blue or green body stocking and one of these, trimmed with white fur and with a white collar to represent breaking waves. Draga seems to have lost his, however.
- Badass Preacher: Quite apart from the "wereshark pirate" thing, he's a devoted worshipper of Umberlee, the Sailor's Bane, goddess of the sea's savagery.
- The Beastmaster: Can summon and control all sharks within his domain. As this requires him to come into mental contact with them, he hates doing it.
- Blessed with Suck: He'd very much enjoy the power of his other forms... if it didn't mean becoming a shark. He'd enjoy having a powerful army at his command... if they weren't sharks. He'd enjoy being able to breathe underwater if it didn't mean not being able to breathe on land... thus having to be in the sea with sharks all the time.
- Death World: Saragoss is chock full of dangerous creatures, desperate raiders, and weather that ranges from "searing heat that makes you waste your fresh water" to "bitterly cold fogs that hide monsters and raiders and make your ship rot faster" to "ungodly ship-destroying tempests". Even the ground beneath your feet cannot be trusted, as it's packed seaweed, which could let you through at any time.
- Derelict Graveyard: Saragoss.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He was a harsh captain, but he still cared about his crew enough to be upset when he killed them and destroyed the Vengeance in a frenzied rage.
- Fake Weakness: During a fight he'll pretend that any non-silver and non-magical weapons he's hit with are hurting him, just to lure attackers into a sense of false security.
- The Farmer and the Viper: During his Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal, he even killed crewmembers who had treated him kindly, though at least he made it quick.
- Forever War: Because Draga made his career off contention and strife, the Dark Powers have made Saragoss this:
- Above the water, crews of wrecked ships constantly wage vicious battles for the meager resources of the realm, particularly wood, which can be used for warmth or to rebuild their ships and escape. New visitors are either recruited, Press-Ganged, or raided (successfully or not). Any alliances between different crews are born of desperation, temporary, and likely fake.
- Below the water, all manner of sea creatures, intelligent beings (Reavers, Sahuagins, etc), and underwater undead fight endlessly for dominance and survival.
- Genre Savvy: He's been an adventuring cleric for most of his life, and so is extremely familiar with which spells to use in which situation. He'll also quickly re-memorize any spells he uses.
- Hope Spot: Very fond of these back in Faerûn. He'd board a ship, demand sacrifice to Umberlee, and then leave once he got it...for a few hours. Also see Fake Weakness.
- Jerkass: A moody and melancholy individual, who (unlike many darklords) won't even pretend to be nice. Intruders to his realm are usually either ignored or killed outright.
- Loss of Identity: He's becoming more and more shark-like as time passes, and fears that one day he'll lose his human identity entirely.
- Megalodon: There's a chance that any shark he summons will be one of these, for added fun.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Once Draga had the trust of the pirates who'd raised him, he killed them all, leaving the most torturous deaths for the ones who'd had a direct hand in the Shark Pool incident.
- Necromancer: Can animate all the corpses in Saragoss, and control undead who have originated within. Without any specific purpose, they'll set to fighting amongst themselves just like everyone else.
- Neutral Evil: In-universe.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Ex-pirate wereshark priest darklord.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: An infected wereshark who got control over his transformations. Yes, he is fully aware of the irony of hating sharks while in some sense being one: he got his selachanthropy and his galeophobia in the same incident.
- Pirate: Back in Faerûn.
- Resurrective Immortality: If he should be killed with sharks in his domain, his spirit will divide itself among the sharks, who will fight to the death with each winner gaining a piece of his soul until the whole thing is united and he is reborn. If there aren't any sharks in his domain, he's kaput. So he has to keep sharks near him at all times.
- Shark Man: Being a wereshark, he can assume this as a form.
- Shark Pool: Shortly after being captured, the pirates stuck a hook through one of his calves, and dangled him on a rope over a group of sharks, dunking him in and pulling him out when things got too rough. It gave him three things: a selachanthropy infection, a lifelong fear of sharks, and a fondness for doing the same to others. Which the pirates found out firsthand.
- Summon Magic: Draga has dictated that when someone escapes Saragoss, someone else must enter. So when someone manages to escape, a ghost ship appears to lure someone else into Saragoss, even from outside the Mists.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: Can breathe underwater in human form, but can no longer breathe on land.
- Threatening Shark: Can call them up, and happens to be one himself.
- Transplant: From Faerûn.
- Weather Manipulation: Can summon and manipulate storms.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: After being exposed to the above-mentioned Shark Pool, he had a deep-seated fear and hatred of sharks. Now that he's been forced to live with them all the time and losing himself, it's gotten even worse.
- You Are What You Hate: Abhors sharks, and will only assume his wereshark form if his life is in mortal danger.
- 0% Approval Rating: No one likes Draga (no one likes anyone in Saragoss), but they know better than to oppose him.
Arijani, Darklord of Sri RajiThe rakshasa son of Ravana, the rakshasa god, and Mahiji, human high priestess of Kali. Despised by the rakshasa of his home city for his lowly mortal blood, Arijani came to despise them in turn. Secretly, he arranged for the rakshasa to be hunted down by humans, which drove the rakshasa to retaliate by massacring the humans, many of their own number being slain in the process. Ravana, naturally enough, couldn't stand for this, and sent an avatar to kill Arijani, only for his son to trick him into a vulnerable position. Ravana's avatar bargained for his life — in return for freeing him and abandoning his crusade against rakshasa, he would make Arijani invulnerable to attacks from rakshasa, including Ravana himself, for all time. Arijani accepted, and then promptly broke his oath by killing Ravana's avatar. For his many betrayals, he was claimed by the Mists of Ravenloft.
- Beast Man: Like all AD&D rakshasa, he looks like a towering tiger-man in his default form.
- Chaotic Evil: His official in-universe alignment.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: As his backstory shows, he'll betray anybody if it suits his purposes.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Needs to eat one human a day.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Whatever form Arijani takes, he always wears the finest clothes and appears as a member of the highest caste; he never sees any reason to appear as someone of a lower social class.
- Master of Illusion: On top of his innate illusion abilities as a rakshasa, he's also a 13th level illusionist.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: He cannot be hurt by a native of his domain or another rakshasa. Immune to many spells thanks to his high Wisdom, and to all illusions of 1st-3rd level. Can be harmed only by +3 or better magical weapons, with +3 and +4 weapons only doing half-damage.
- The Oath-Breaker: Which he swore to his father, a god.
- Super Intelligence: He has an Intelligence score of 21 and a Wisdom of 20.
- Uncanny Valley: In-universe. One of his innate illusionary powers allows him to appear in any human form he wishes, but no matter how attractive it looks, those around will react with distrust and hate — part of his curse from the Dark Powers, which restricts him to only taking forms that will be hated and feared by those around him.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Crossbows, especially if blessed, a common weakness of all rakshasa.
King Crocodile, Darklord of the WildlandsOnce, there was a crocodile so large, so wicked, so evil, that all the other animals in the jungle decided to ask the hairless apes to come and kill him. They came, alright, but devastated the jungle instead, killing the animals and felling the trees. So the animals turned to the wicked crocodile to drive them away. He agreed, but only if the animals would give him their powers. Of all the creatures of the jungle, only the python refused to give the crocodile his powers, and only the fly was refused when he offered, for the crocodile saw the fly as beneath him. The crocodile then killed all the hairless apes, as he had promised, but when the other animals asked him to return their powers, he turned on them. Then the python came to the crocodile, giving him a gift of prophecy, that he would be killed either by a hairless ape or something he had thought beneath him, and then the python and his kin left the jungle, to see it swallowed by the mists.
King Crocodile has ruled the Wildlands for a long time now, but he has a secret he keeps from the other animals: he is dying of the sleeping sickness the flies spread. Slowly, to be sure, for the sickness will take centuries to kill him, but still, he is dying, and would promise anything, do anything, to prevent it... not that he wouldn't try and devour his would-be saviors afterwards.
- Absurdly Sharp Claws: His teeth are effectively tiny magical swords of sharpness, with an excellent chance of severing limbs on contact.
- Area of Effect: He can literally manifest an "aura of evil" a few times a day, sucking the life-force out of anything in a huge radius around himself.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Subverted. He does have the traditional reptilian "soft underbelly"... but he fights cleverly enough that the only realistic way of hitting it is to get in the water with him. You do not want to get in the water with him.
- Chaotic Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Eternal Recurrence: If an adventuring party somehow beats the huge heavily-armored crocodile, the jungle creatures will turn on them, refusing to honor any bargain made with Man. And all the young crocodiles will fight to the death for his throne, for "it is part of the curse of the land that there will always be a King Crocodile."
- Evil Is Burning Hot: The Wildlands are a swamp of steamy jungle heat and buzzing flies.
- Expy: Of Gustave, a legendary crocodile of similar size and temperament, which inspired the film Primeval. Also, of Shere Khan, given that the domain is an homage to The Jungle Book: like Khan, he despises humans, manipulates others, and doesn't get along with the prophetic python.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: If the insatiably hungry forty-foot-long crocodile somehow seems safe to you, his eyes helpfully glow bright red.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: King Crocodile is, after all, an ambush predator. He can easily slip away into the waters of his lair, only to suddenly lash out at the party at any moment. Victims actually take penalties to their reaction time when he does so.
- Horror Hunger: It motivates everything he does. He demands huge tributes of food, and even of other animals' young, and even then it's not always enough to keep him from devouring them.
- Lightning Bruiser: Not just superhumanly strong with lots of hitpoints and natural armor, but has a very high dexterity score too, and uses ambush tactics and misdirection to great effect if directly confronted.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: The Wildlands recall the universe of The Jungle Book or the Just So Stories, and King Crocodile represents the dangerous, hungry croc.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Played with. King Crocodile is an abomination, bloated with evil, but the mammals of the Wildlands aren't all that great either, even before being twisted by the evil of the Demiplane of Dread. Plus, the python was, in the past, the wisest of all the jungle creatures, and his snake brethren left with him before their country could be pulled into the mists.
- Secretly Dying: Bitten by a fly, he has contracted a deadly sleeping-sickness that is wasting him away. This is not something he wants known.
- Talking Animal: Able to speak any human language, like most of the animals in the Wildlands, aside from the flies. He actually prefers it in some ways, to feed his ego and fancies about being "above" them, and is apparently quite eloquent.
- Too Dumb to Live: The beasts, giving the evil crocodile their powers without suspecting he wouldn't give them back.
- Ungrateful Bastard: The reason he cannot rule the Wildlands as effectively as he would like is that he cannot resist devouring anyone who tries to bargain with him, with the end result that no one does. This includes any adventurers who might heal his sickness. The animals of the Wildlands will also reveal this if an adventuring party actually manages to kill the King Crocodile, driving them away and refusing to honor any bargains they might've struck. "Gratitude is not a quality well-known in the jungle."
- Wraparound Background: When he seals the borders, any attempt to escape the Wildlands will only draw victims into the heart of his lair.
Darklords of Zherisia
Sodo, Darklord of ParidonA formerly low-ranked dread doppelganger who resented that his clan's status meant he would always be sentenced to low-level and labor-intensive positions, instead of being allowed to ascend on his own merits. Acquiring a magical hat of disguise, he was able to impersonate the elders who ruled the doppelganger clans, starting a clan war that ended with the old order dead and him as the new Grandmaster.
- Blessed with Suck: Who wouldn't kill for a touch that can heal all wounds and even raise the dead? A sadist addicted to pain, that's who.
- Blood Magic: Sodo keeps himself immortal by killing six people once every 13 years with a magical dagger, and using their blood in a dark ritual.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Rose to power by engineering the death of his superiors, like so many other Darklords.
- Even more so, he's treacherous even by dread doppleganger standards — betrayal of one's brethren is about the only crime they find truly abhorrent.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Loves it, but can't enjoy it anymore. Torture devices? He transforms too fast to use them effectively. His bare hands? That's where the "healing touch" part comes in.
- Curse: He's picked up no fewer than three curses. His original curse as darklord makes it impossible for him to control his shapeshifting. Overuse of the Fang of Nosferatu for its Blood Magic fuelled immortality ritual has made him a sadist who heals anyone he harms or personally kills. And in the Zherisia Survey splatbook, he is explained as suffering from a curse of heightened paranoia, which only exacerbates his initial curse.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: Inverted. He can take any form he likes, but is unable to hold them for more than a minute, less when agitated (read: All the time, as the Dark Powers have given him a curse of paranoia).
The Hive Queen, Darklord of TimorThe ruler of the sewer domain beneath Paridon, she was once a spoiled princess who decided to scare her mother to death with the illusion of transforming into a half-human/half-marikith monster. Things didn't go as she expected.
- Baleful Polymorph: The wizard she seduced into creating the above-mentioned illusion decided to take things a bit further when he saw her with her real lover; rather than use illusion to disguise her as a marikith, he turned her into a real one. Her sting can also turn people into marikiths.
- Beware My Stinger Tail: And it gets more toxic with every egg she lays.
- Chaotic Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in her profile writeups.
- Expy: Of the Alien Queen. Marikiths are effectively Xenomorphs with a dash of Predator.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Her mother had been blowing all of Timor's money in order to make it a permanent testimony to her greatness.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Human/Marikith. By transformation and not breeding.
- Matricide: Her new form scared her mother to death, as planned.
- Mook Maker: Regularly lays marikith eggs.
- Offing the Offspring: Fears that a queen marikith might kill her as she killed her mother, so she kills them as soon as they hatch.
- Spider People: Her half-marikith body looks something vaguely like a gargantuan hybrid of ant queen and drider; a beautiful woman's upper torso giving way to a monstrous invertebrate body dominated by an immensely swollen egg-laden abdomen.
Gwydion the Sorcerer-Fiend, Darklord of the Shadow RiftFormer ruler of a vast domain on the Plane of Shadow, Gwydion sought to create an army of servants by drawing the ellefolk into the Plane of Shadow and transforming them into the shadow fey. That done, he ordered them to create a planar gateway through which he would escape the Plane of Shadow and conquer the lands beyond, which they did over the course of centuries. Once the Obsidian Gate was complete, Gwydion ordered his armies forth, but as he watched, he slowly realized he'd been tricked, seeing through the illusions the shadow fey had woven around the Gate, disguising their mass exodus as his departing armies. In a fit of rage, he rushed into the Gate, where he was confronted by the shadow fey's ruler, Arak the Erlking, who managed to hold him off long enough that all of the shadow fey could escape. Ultimately, Gwydion paralyzed Arak and advanced on the Gate, only to have the shadow fey seal it on him, trapping both him and Arak.
As it turned out, the Obsidian Gate led into Ravenloft, where the Dark Powers created the domain of Arak to hold Gwydion. When he attempted to escape during the Grand Conjunction, he tore Ravenloft's planar fabric, pulling the shadow fey's realm from under Arak into a new position as the Shadow Rift. Arak's surface was absorbed by Darkon.
- Chaotic Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Dream Weaver: But only in regards to the shadow fey.
- Eldritch Abomination: In one published adventure, bits and pieces of him start coming through a portal. Even the ones that recognizably correspond to earthly anatomy are... wrong.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Notably, he dropped everything to punish the shadow fey for escaping from him — and got trapped as a Darklord.
- Necromancer: Not one of his better-known powers, but he can control any undead in the Rift.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: He's trapped in the Obsidian Gate, unable to directly affect the Demiplane, but he can mentally influence the shadow fey and throw out the occasional magical effect.
- Viral Transformation: Can transform "normal" fey into shadow fey at will, but can't compel their obedience.
Lady of the Lake, Darklord of Castle IslandLake Kronov, in Tepest, holds a tiny island that also happens to be a pocket domain, wherein the tragic sirine known as the Lady of the Lake is imprisoned.
- A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: The Lady's Start of Darkness was kicked off when the paladin Ione Demarch slew the Avanc, who was unable to convey his humanity.
- Axe-Crazy: Her life consists of calling people to her island so she can torture and starve them to death.
- Baleful Polymorph: Happened to her lover, the Avanc, transforming him into a hideous reptilian monster. She vowed to restore him, but she didn't get the chance.
- Blatant Lies: After Ione's wife caught him with Katherine, the Lady offered the despairing woman solace in a fairy kingdom beneath the waves. It turned out to be a one-way trip.
- Charm Person: With her songs.
- Cool Sword: A magical speed-enhancing sword she swiped from Ione Demarch.
- Deal with the Devil: Made a deal with a covey of hags, who mutated her unborn daughter into an instrument of vengeance.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Killing Ione to avenge the Avanc would have been proportionate. Sacrificing her innocent child to destroy Ione's friends and family first and then condemning him to an eternity of physical and mental agony might be considered a stitch too far.
- Enfant Terrible: Her daughter Katherine was born a rapidly-aging sorceress, who seduced Ione and gave birth to Madchen, a monster who killed everyone in Ione's castle and ultimately died in combat with his father.
- Evil Knockoff: The Dark Powers have placed a new Avanc in the lake to torment the Lady with its presence. This one is a beast in mind and body, however, and shall be replaced infinitely, so long as the Lady lives.
- Fate Worse than Death: Her revenge culminated in tricking the mortally-wounded Ione into drinking a potion that would deny him death without actually healing him or easing his pain. When the Dark Powers drew Ione's castle into Ravenloft, he was left little more than a pile of bones... hopefully not a sentient one.
- Filler Villain: In Servants of Darkness she's just a bump in the road on the way to resolving the plot. Netbooks and 3rd edition expanded her background considerably.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: She's been stuck on Castle Island for fourteen years. It hasn't done wonders for her temper.
- The Hermit: In better times, she and the Avanc were quite content in their solitude. Nowadays, she doesn't have a choice.
- Interspecies Romance: With the Avanc.
- Invisibility: Her preferred method of dealing with guests is to turn invisible and touch them until they're helpless simpletons.
- Lawful Evil: In-universe.
- Rapid Aging: Her daughter and grandson, as a result of the hags' spells.
- Revenge Before Reason: Her thirst for revenge kept her from seeing her offspring as anything but weapons to destroy Ione Demarch...and now she has nothing left of the Avanc.
- Rip Van Winkle: Ione's Castle was shifted forward in time until it became a ruin when it became Castle Island. The Lady, however, was unaffected.
- Stupidity-Inducing Attack: As a sirine, her touch can cause this.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: As a sirine.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: As a fey, she may change her appearance at will. At present her anguish makes her default form a beautiful drowned corpse with kelp-like hair.
The God-Brain, Darklord of BluetspurA most ungentlemanlike gigantic brain that rules over the illithids of Bluetspur. Given a backstory in the Book of Sacrifices netbook, in which its core personality was a human psion known as Seldrid, whose people were at war with the illithids. During the war, Seldrid came to admire the discipline and power of the illithids and sought to find a way to merge humanity with them. When the illithid ceased attacking due to their own Elder Brain beginning to die, Seldrid willingly sold out his own people to continue the war, merging his own consciousness into the dying Elder Brain and becoming its dominant personality. However, as the illithids sacked his city and brought its people as prisoners into their midst, their country was drawn into the mist. And Seldrid found his curse was to be unable to incorporate new consciousnesses into himself. Denied any new human experiences, with his dreams of a merged human-illithid race in shambles, and unable to successfully transfer his consciousness into a more mobile form, Seldrid has spent that last several centuries going quite mad.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The illithids of Bluetspur seek to create a better slave race through experimentation, and/or to merge aspects of humanity and themselves together, depending on write-up.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in its profile writeups.
- My Brain Is Big: That or it's a bunch of normal brains stuck together. No one knows for sure.
- Psychological Torment Zone: Those few who've escaped Bluetspur describe the God-Brain as constantly digging the darkest thoughts and fears from their minds.
- Shrouded in Myth: Most sources are uncertain of anything regarding the God-Brain, though some netbooks have elaborated upon it a bit.
- Worthy Opponent: A very dark version: Seldrid came to respect his alien opponents so much that he willingly sold out his own people to them rather than win the war and destroy them.
- You Will Be Spared: Knows that the High Master Illithid is plotting against it, but seems to find its efforts entertaining enough to spare it.
Jack Karn, Darklord of FarelleMentioned in canon in the Black Box, he received an expansion in the Kargatane's Book of Sacrifices.Originally hailing from the Wildlands, he despised that his people were forced into the role of cowards and scavengers, arguing that they should be respected killers. He tried to prove his point by tricking the other animals into warring, then leading a growing band of young jackals to attack and eat the children of the animal bands who were off fighting. Eventually, they realized what was going on and chased the jackals into the swamp; there, the survivors violently drove him away, before being eaten by King Crocodile.
The jackal who would not be a coward wandered off into the Mists and was caught in a trap, only to be rescued by a kindly tinker, who tried to befriend him, hoping that together they could stop the destruction of the wilderness. Instead, the jackal drove off the tinker's customers until, driven by desperation, the tinker decided the only course was to offer him to a Vistani troupe, who he hoped would give him a comfortable life. Pleasantly surprised by the tinker's great heart, the Vistani invited him to spend the night amongst them. During that time, the jackal used his powers to control the Vistani dogs to set him free, after which he started killing the Vistani's children and ultimately murdered the tinker himself. The tinker cursed the jackal to become "the thing you and I most despise" with his dying breath, and so the jackal became the darklord of Farelle.
Trapped in human form and unable to indulge his bloodlust, he can only watch as humans multiply and thrive in his domain, slowly destroying its ecology; only when nature has been destroyed will his cursed existence finally end.
- Animal Stereotypes: He comes from the Wildlands, where these are all true, and he revolted against this fact.
- The Beastmaster: Commands dogs and jackals, which he uses to close his domain's borders.
- Fantastic Racism: He believes that jackals are great killers and mighty hunters, the "pinnacle of creation", and he yearns to prove this. His curse, of course, is that he never can.
- The Farmer and the Viper: He repaid the tinker's kindness with murderous treachery.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: He cannot stay in jackal form for more than a few minutes before he is compelled to return to human form. Likewise, although he can remain in his hybrid form longer, he is still compelled to return to human form as well, though this may be less because of his curse and more because of his arrogance-fueled disgust for the form.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: A jackalwere, a sapient jackal that can transform into a man or a half-man half-jackal, created from a talking jackal by a dying curse.
- Restraining Bolt: His curse makes him overwhelmed with crippling nausea if he tries to initiate an attack against a humanoid, even covering humanoid shapeshifters like werebeasts and red widows. Only if such a creature attacks him first can he fight back to defend himself.
- Shrouded in Myth: Effectively dropped after the Black Box, though the netbooks gave Jack and his domain expanded coverage, and plans were for the Gazetteer series to cover Farelle had they got to the final volume.
- Ungrateful Bastard: The eventual root of his damnation; he continually betrayed the tinker who tried to help him, and ultimately murdered him. The Vistani were so appalled by his actions that they lent their own powers to the tinker's dying curse, causing him to receive his damnation.
- Also, part of his curse is that the humans of his domain love and adore him, treating him with endless kindness. Only his curse keeps him from brutally killing them all, and his constant illness is in fact the manifestation of that curse stopping him acting on his violent urges.
Yagno Petrovna, Darklord of G'HennaScion of an isolated and severely inbred family, Yagno was messed-up even by their standards, and began sacrificing animals (and implicitly people) to Zhakata, a false god. Fled into the mists when his family caught him trying to do the same to his sister's baby, and found himself in G'Henna (Not to be confused with Gehenna, Outer Plane of Lawful Evil-Evil), where he started a cult to Zhakata.
- Badass Preacher: Since the adventurers were retconned out of Circle of Darkness, this means that Yagno managed to beat a demon by himself.
- Baleful Polymorph: Can turn any humanoid who believes in Zhakata into a mongrelman.
- Cain and Abel: May have sacrificed his brother.
- The Chessmaster: Fosters in-fighting among his underlings, to keep them in check.
- Compelling Voice: Particularly when in range of his Altar.
- Corrupt Church: Most of the food "sacrificed" to Zhakata goes to his priests and their soldiers, while the people of G'Henna starve. Yagno actively encourages corruption among his ranks and oppression of the people, so that he can play the part of a kindly priest, helpless to stop it.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Was unable to bring himself to destroy the ghast of Jugo Hesketh, driving him into Tepest instead.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: Inverted, amusingly enough. He worships a god, however, his god is one of the few that so far explicitly does not exist (In a world where the existence of most gods can be proven beyond doubt).
- From Bad to Worse: The cult of Zhakata wasn't exactly a bed of roses before Yagno's crisis of faith, but at least the people had hope that if they sacrificed enough Zhakata would return to earth, change from his Devourer aspect to his benevolent Provider aspect and reward their labors. Since his failed attempt to summon Zhakata, though, Yagno has declared Zhakata's only aspect is that of The Devourer, and declared belief in both to be heresy, punishable by death.
- The Fundamentalist: Even more so because he's starting to doubt his faith.
- Gender-Blender Name: Petrovna is the female form of a Slavic patronimic.
- Gradual Regeneration: When in range of his Altar.
- Have You Seen My God?: Knows that priests are supposed to commune with their gods, but Zhakata has never spoken to him (his powers come from the Mists), and following his failed attempt to summon Zhakata, he's having a severe Crisis of Faith—and everyone around him is suffering for it.
- Human Sacrifice: An awful lot of people near Yagno started disappearing when he discovered Zhakata, and in modern times, cult members are encouraged to starve themselves for their faith.
- Knife Nut: Described as a master of the dagger.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in his profile writeups.
- My God, What Have I Done?: A couple of the outcomes of his module end this way.
- Retcon: The Circle of Darkness module describes an adventure wherein the PCs confront Yagno and potentially end his reign. Domains of Dread treats the events of the module as having happened, but without the interference of adventurers.
- Summoning Ritual: Paid a wizard to summon Zhakata. Instead the wizard summoned a demon who told him Zhakata wasn't real. Yagno reacted badly.
- Villainous Friendship: With Jugo Hesketh, who helped him establish the Cult of Zhakata. They drifted apart after Jugo was tortured to death by mongrelmen and rose as a ghast, though.
Tsien Chiang, Darklord of I'CathA wicked necromancer who was sent to Ravenloft for trying to kill her daughter and killing her emperor, she and her children are the only residents of I'Cath.
- 0% Approval Rating: She was the most hated person in the East before the Mists took her.
- Arc Number: She is utterly obsessed with the number four.
- Black Widow: She bore one daugher with each of her four husbands, and then killed them.
- Does Not Like Men: She can only tolerate men if they bring gifts and swear subservience. Then her three evil daughters try and seduce and destroy them in her name. All sorts of artifacts around I'Cath are made to illustrate the failings of men.
- Engagement Challenge: Had her daughters' suitors fight to the death, then personally killed any survivors.
- Four Is Death: The main motif of the domain and Chiang's curse.
- Human Resources: She killed her daughters' suitors and made carpets from their hair and clothing from their skins, and painted the walls with their blood. Her Palace of Bones is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and features a huge backgammon court with dice made from fingernails and skulls for markers.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Hot enough to get four men to marry her, one after the other, even with her Black Widow tendencies. Her features got sharper and more dour as she aged, with her hatred of men waxing as her appeal to them waned.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Her evil daughters Scream, Hate, and Spite.
- Nay-Theist: The gods loved the songs of her good daughter Nightingale, and began sending ominous storms whenever Tsien beat her. As she tried to beat Nightingale to death, Tsien, certain the gods were withholding the secret of the number four, mocked them even as the Mists claimed her.
- Neutral Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in her profile writeups.
- The Oath-Breaker: She despised her emperor, but her oath of service was so strong even she feared breaking it...until he tried to strike her down for her blasphemy.
- Soul Jar: The Bells of Evil and Lament, for each of her daughters, and partially for herself.
- Transflormation: Can turn herself into a treant.
- Transplant: From Kara-Tur in the Forgotten Realms.
- Would Harm A Child: Tried to beat her only good-hearted daughter to death, and trapped her in a tower.
- Wutai: One of the very few Asian-themed Darklords.
Thakok-An, Darklord of KalidnayTemplar of Kalid-Ma, Sorcerer-King of Kalidnay on Athas, she serves her eternally sleeping lord and tries to keep the city from falling apart.
- Does Not Like Magic: Because of the way magic works in Kalidnay, fuelled by draining the life-force in the surrounding environment, wizards (particularly defilers) could screw up Kalidnay's delicate ecosystem beyond repair.
- Fantastic Racism: Versus wizards. It may be justified, since magic on Athas has horrible effects on the environment. However, we don't know if it works the same way in the mists. Seems very much like the Dark Powers to have her racism be based on rules that no longer apply.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Half-elf.
- Irony: The act of sacrificing her family to help the Sorcerer-King brought Kalidnay into Ravenloft, ruining his ascension ritual and putting him into a coma.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe — it's the official Character Alignment given in her profile writeups.
- Psychic Powers: Like everyone in Kalidnay.
- Self-Made Orphan: Murdered everyone in her family in order to try and help her lord ascend to dragonhood.
- Transplant: From Athas.
- Yandere: For the Sorcerer-King. He's all hers, now. Too bad he's comatose.
Malus Sceleris, Darklord of NososThe one-time son of an emotionally-distant druid, whom he murdered with poisoned blankets just as the old man was trying to rebuild bridges with him. Swallowed by the mists and cursed with a druid's ability to always hear the voices of plants, Malus became a ruthless robber baron and turned Nosos into an industrialized hellhole to desperately try to snuff out nature's calls forever. He now keeps an iron-hard control over the land with vast wealth and cunning.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He publically styles himself as a modest "man of the people" with a social conscience that sets him apart from the many Corrupt Corporate Executives that comprise the upper classes of Nosos, but is secretly even worse than they are.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Nosos runs every sort of industry imaginable, from manufacturing to mining, and Malus has his fingers in all of them.
- The Gilded Age: A clear inspiration for Nosos, where the rich live a luxurious lifestyle of parties and Conspicuous Consumption, while the downtrodden poor toil away in dangerous mines and pollution-spewing factories.
- Hookers and Blow: One of his unique diseases, "Dum Dum Fever," causes intelligence drain, and Malus has used his information network to spread the idea that it comes from prostitutes. Thus, using it on his rivals damages their wits and their reputations.
- Hope Sprouts Eternal: No matter what, Malus can feel new life sleeping beneath Nosos, and he is driven to continue striving to pollute his domain further in a useless quest to stamp it out forever.
- Last-Second Chance: The night before he murdered his father, the old druid embraced him as a son, admitted his failings as a father, and pledged to do better. Interestingly, this was a Last-Second Chance for both of them; Malus almost decided not to go through with using the infected blankets to kill him, but ultimately did it anyway.
- Lured into a Trap: Malus has repeatedly pretended to arrange for labor meetings among the lower classes of Nosos, only to capture and arrest or murder all those involved, to crush dissent to his rule.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Malus is a Latin word that can mean "evil" or "apple tree", and sceleris is the genitive case of scelus,"crooked" or "villainous". His name could be translated as something like "Apple Tree of Villainy", which would manage to be simultaneously ironic (given his hatred of plants) and apropos (the fruits of his labor are all quite vile).
- Neutral Evil: His In-Universe alignment, reflecting his ruthless self-interest and lack of attachment to any ethical ethos.
- Nightmarish Factory: He runs lots of 'em, pretending to regret their poor conditions, but privately not caring so long as they despoil the land and fill his hands with gold.
- Poisonous Person: A callback to how he murdered his father. Malus's body cannot be infected with disease or poisoned, but he sometimes infects others by deliberately contaminating himself.
- Polluted Wasteland: His unending quest to destroy every trace of nature in Nosos that he can has ensured that the only parts of his domain that aren't empty deserts strewn with industrial refuse are urban nightmares full of trash, smoke, and soot.
- Talking to Plants: The reason for his frenzied hatred of all nature. He is effectively using a druid's speak with plants ability all the time, and bigger plants like trees whisper about his crimes. Smaller plants, like grasses, don't communicate as well, but they still form a kind of buzzing, which is why those who want to have lawns (mostly upperclass citizens showing off) must pay heavy taxes by the square yard.
- Terrified of Germs: Nosos's upper classes all fall into this trope thanks to his influence and willingness to use disease as a weapon of terror to keep them in line.
- Typhoid Mary: He is completely immune to all forms of disease and poison, but can still act as a carrier to infect others. He usually wears gloves to avoid doing this, but if he decides to remove them to, say, shake hands with a fine young gentleman...
Maligno, Darklord of OdiareA Carrionette (evil sentient puppet) created by the toymaker Guiseppe, who desperately wanted a son. Maligno was hated and mistreated by the adults of Odiare but liked by the children, and because of this he manipulated Guiseppe into creating an army of carrionettes, then ordered the killing of all the adults of Odiare. This act caused the Dark Powers to bring Odiare into the Demiplane of Dread and choose Maligno as the darklord of the domain.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Has the ability to animate toys.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason why he spared the children of Odiare. Not that his way of ruling is nice to them though.
- Chaotic Evil: His official alignment.
- Complete Immortality: No matter how much damage he takes, he can still talk and use his magical abilities, and even if reduced to zero hp, he can be repaired unless burned to ashes. (But only by Giuseppe.) Even then, he can survive if Giuseppe builds another body for him. Unless Giuseppe is killed, it may not be possible to get rid of him.
- Expy: Of Pinocchio with some traits of Chucky.
- Meaningful Rename: Originally, Giuseppe called him Figlio (Italian for Son), but when he ordered the massacre of Odiare's adults, he renamed himself Maligno (Italian for Evil).
- No-Sell: The only spells that work on him are those that affect areas, cause burning damage, or affect wood.
- Perverse Puppet: A puppet Darklord.
- Pinocchio Syndrome: While most carrionettes are able to switch bodies with humans, Maligno's curse from the Dark Powers means that, despite desperately wanting to take a human body, he's stuck as a puppet.
- Shadow Dictator: The nominal rulers of Odiare are the two oldest surviving children, who are now young adults. Maligno is rarely seen, those who were infants when he became a Darklord being skeptical he exists. He does exist, of course, lurking in the cellars of the town but rarely showing himself, usually only doing so to make sure that Guiseppe is still being fed and cared for.
- Synchronization: One-way: anything that harms Giuseppe harms Maligno, much to his chagrin.
- Transplant: From Gothic Earth.
- You're Not My Father: He despises Giuseppe, but must protect him to survive.
Haki Shinpi, Darklord of Rokushima TáiyooIn life, Shinpi was a daimyo who twisted the tenets of bushido to destroy his enemies, using treachery and murder to eventually claim an empire, all the while secure in the knowledge of his own clan's solidarity. Shortly before he died, he divided his lands between his six sons, only for them to start arguing about it before his body was cold.
That was when the mists came.
Two of Shinpi's sons were killed within weeks after Rokushima entered the demiplane, the islands they ruled sinking into the ocean. The others now live on their own islands, paranoid and suspicious of their brothers.
Shinpi may well be the weakest darklord on record. He's a geist, the weakest form of undead spirit; while he can't be hurt, can become invisible, and the sight of him causes panic, he can't touch the world. His sole gift from the Dark Powers is the ability to close his domain's borders. His curse, meanwhile, is never to achieve peace between his sons, forced to watch as they tear his empire apart.
The Fraternity of Shadows fan resources change him significantly though, making him much more of a Non-Action Big Bad. In their version of Rokushima, he is largely responsible for his sons' feud, having beaten them into the same paranoid, Machiavellian style of governance he practiced as shogun. In death, the failures of his sons spurred him into believing he was the only competent ruler from his line and is actually the primary reason why his sons can't get along, as he torments them in their dreams. When one of his sons is killed by another's soldiers, his respective island is drawn into their father's pocket of the Ethereal Plane, where his new samurai subdue its still-living populace. His new curse is an extension of his life-he trained his sons too well. The Dark Powers have confirmed their suspicions that murdering the other brothers will sink all of Rokushima, and Shinpi is now fighting a losing battle to turn the Enemy Civil War hot again before they die of old age, freeing Rokushima from his grasp forever.
- Adaptational Badass: His canon self is a powerless wimp completely upstaged by his own offspring. The Fraternity made him a cunning Manipulative Bastard with a real shot at taking back his domain and a demonic army to subtly force the issue.
- Expy: The Fraternity version is a dead ringer for supernatural versions of Oda Nobunaga.
- Genius Bruiser: Fanbook version. He was this in life, unlike many of his contemporary military darklords, and an excellent statesman. It's why he's still a problem despite being bodiless.
- Lawful Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Not that he's in any position to appreciate it. The fan version gives him a decent shot at turning it into an Unishment, though (since he has full control of the monstrous army in his netherworld, and is still quite intangible).
- Our Ghosts Are Different: He's seen and heard in people's minds, rather than with their physical senses. Magic can reveal his presence.
- Fanbook version makes him more similar to the villains of kaidan ghost stories; he's largely intangible in the living world, but his rage and focus on regaining his political power have twisted a bit of the afterlife into his personal world, with a legion of Yokai who were drawn to his negative emotions and now serve as his minions.
- Wutai: Rokushima goes a bit further than most examples in that it actually is in a Jidaigeki-type period.
Anton Misroi, Darklord of SouragneMisroi was a powerful and ruthless plantation owner who would have those who crossed him taken into the swamps and drowned. When he found his wife in the arms of a neighboring plantation owner, he assumed they were lovers and ordered them to be drowned in quicksand. His wife cursed him as she sank, and the Dark Powers took heed. Misroi's victims pulled him in to share their fate, and he pleaded with someone, anyone, that he didn't want to die. The Dark Powers answered by turning him into a zombie lord and giving him the domain of Souragne.
Seeking to regain his lost humanity, Misroi learned many secrets from the spirits of the swamp, secrets of life, death, and the nature of the Demiplane of Dread, which he used to become one with Souragne, transforming him from one of the weakest darklords to one of the most powerful, and even granting him a semblance of humanity — at the price of restricting him to Souragne's swamps.
Now, Misroi is Souragne's undisputed master, known to its people as the Lord of the Dead, chief among the loa.
- Ban on Magic: Bans all forms of magic in Souragne aside from divine and necromantic.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: He begged not to die... and was answered by being turned into a zombie lord.
- Domain Holder: Has sufficient power over Souragne that he can prevent it joining with other domains, not being fond of the idea.
- Faux Affably Evil: Much like Strahd, he can be very civil and nice.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: He sought desperately to become human again, and managed to regain a human semblance — at the cost of restricting him to Souragne's swamps, restricting his opportunity for human contact.
- Lawful Evil: His official alignment In-Universe.
- Mistaken for Cheating: His wife wasn't cheating, but unburdening herself about her unhappy marriage, with the other plantation owner providing a sympathetic ear.
- Necromancer: Can cast any necromantic spell via the dance of the dead.
- Our Zombies Are Different: He is a Zombie Lord, and he has control of and can see through the eyes of all of the zombies in Souragne.
- Tailor-Made Prison: As noted, restricted to Souragne's swamps.
Sir Torrence Bleysmith, Darklord of Staunton BluffsThe Bleysmiths were once a minor noble family who ruled the county of Staunton. Torrence competed with his brother August for the attention of their father the count, a rivalry which eventually grew so intense that Torrence eventually arranged to have August killed by enemy soldiers from the rival duchy of Avergne — only to find that the Avergnites weren't content to stop with his brother, but thanks to the information he had provided, rampaged into Staunton and killed many of its inhabitants, including the rest of his family. Torrence tried using black magic to compel the survivors of the attack to become a makeshift army to drive the invaders out, but it only resulted in their slaughter. The vengeful, guilt-ridden Torrence hanged himself — only to find that the Mists had claimed his family's lands as the domain of Staunton Bluffs, with himself as its ghostly darklord.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Those Torrence kills — even indirectly — return as corporeal undead.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Convinces people to help him out — whether or not that help is actually needed — then betrays them.
- Haunted Castle: Castle Stonecrest, his family's castle.
- Lawful Evil: His official in-universe alignment.
- The Mole: In the name of getting August killed.
- Never My Fault: His current situation isn't his fault, no. Fate has it in for him.
- No-Sell: Can't be turned. Vice versa, he and his undead servants can't harm the Avergnite residents of his domain.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: During the day, he can't harm anyone, only being able to move around and get the castle to produce spooky effects. At night, however, he comes into his full powers.
- Sibling Rivalry: With his oldest brother August, motivated by the desire to get their father's attention.
- Super Intelligence: Intelligence score of 19, just above the human maximum.
- Synchronization: Downplayed. Damaging his skeleton causes him pain, but it doesn't actually damage him.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Don't bother trying to help him, because he'll betray you no matter what you do.
Kas the Bloody-Handed, Darklord of TovagKas was once the chief lieutenant of the notorious lich Vecna (he of the Hand and the Eye), effectively ruling Vecna's empire in his name. In time, however, he turned on his master, and they clashed in a mighty battle that resulted in Kas being imprisoned in Vecna's planar citadel for centuries, where the negative energies slowly transformed him into a vampire. When Vecna was claimed by the Mists as he sought to conquer Oerth, Kas was brought along as well, given a domain of his own and the chance to seek revenge on Vecna, but denied his mightiest artifact, the Sword of Kas, which remained on Oerth. His fate in Ravenloft canon after Vecna's escape is unknown.
- Chaotic Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Cool Sword: Although he lost his original sword, the replica he uses still has a +3 enchantment.
- Insane Admiral: Kas turned his entire domain into a militaristic nightmare. Every available resource is utilized for his endless war against Vecna. Everyone is expendable, and he would sacrifice them all if he didn't need some people alive to raise crops and build things for his troops.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Like Strahd, he became a vampire through magic, not from another vampire.
- The Starscream: To Vecna.
- Super Smoke: Can assume a gaseous form at will.
Davion the Mad, Darklord of DavionRuler of the pocket realm of Davion; a foolish wish led to this wizard sharing his body with three of his adventurer hirelings.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Whatever ails Boromar (who talks to himself, hears voices, acts reclusive and paranoid, and whips around constantly to make sure no one's following him) is never spelled out directly, but seems to be schizophrenia. Given that this was 2e D&D, though, it might just be called "being Chaotic Neutral".
- Bag of Spilling: Anything you purchase in one of the villages (even services like healing, horse stables, or blacksmithing) immediately vanishes when the village shifts, never to return. Your money (and horse, if you stabled it) stays gone.
- Butterface: As long as she's a part of Davion, Narana apparently strongly resembles him, although the rest of her body is decidedly female. This isn't mentioned for the others, which makes one wonder if it wasn't added in her case to keep the players from getting certain ideas...
- Chainmail Bikini: Narana wears one of these. Justified in that she basically serves the Goddess of S&M.
- Chaotic Evil: Davion and Narana, in-universe.
- Chaotic Neutral: Boromar, in-universe.
- Cool Sword: Boromar has a +4 longsword (defender).
- Cursed with Awesome: Outwardly, Davion thinks so, given that all he wanted was power and knowledge. Indeed, he's even looking to merge more souls within himself.
- Fisher King: The domain of Davion is a small village of about five square miles. Its nature changes randomly depending upon which personality is presently controlling the body.
- When Davion is in control, the village is Thornewood, which looks like it was recently hit by an earthquake, with pleasant (if brusque) survivors rebuilding and picking through the ruins.
- When Augustus rules, it's Arcanon, a clean and quiet town where wizards can find any spell component, magical artifact, or piece of research they need, the people are well-mannered and polite, and the weather is always overcast and pleasantly cool.
- Boromar forges it into Boromar's Knoll, a freezing-cold frontier village with log cabins and dirt roads, populated by hardy settlers.
- Narana's dominance turns it into Pallatia, a village of sadomasochistic hedonists where it always seems to be late spring.
- Fusion Dance: Power Booster variant. Davion has access to the spells and skills of the others.
- Good Shepherd: As a priestess of Loviatar, Narana is always ready to help those in suffering and pain... to suffer even worse.
- Implausible Deniability: If confronted, Davion denies everything about the personality merge and claims not to know the others. Given that the people confronting him have probably been through several village changes and even talked to the other personalities at this point, it doesn't really work.
- Insufferable Genius: Augustus.
- The Lad-ette: Narana.
- Lawful Neutral: Augustus, in-universe.
- Literal Genie: Davion, startled while using a ring of wishes, impulsively demanded that his hirelings give him everything they had.
- The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: With every random personality change, a new set of shops selling different things for incredibly cheap prices pops up. They're not to be trusted.
- My Skull Runneth Over: The sudden influx of power and knowledge drove Davion insane.
- Only Sane Man: He may be nuttier than an outhouse rat, but Davion is the only personality that realizes exactly what happened to the four of them, or indeed that anything happened at all. (Although Augustus has his suspicions.)
- Augustus was this for the hirelings, pre-merge, and is the most reasonable and rational of the personalities. Still a kind of Jerkass, though.
- Orcus on His Throne: Pre-merge Davion sent adventurers out to get power and knowledge and bring it back to him while he stayed at home and worked on his own studies.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The hirelings pre-merge consisted of a mentally-unstable fighter, a stand-offish mage, and a brutal priestess of pain.
- Retcon: The Book of Crypts module where Davion can be encountered provides a means of separating everyone. Domains of Dread mentions a group of adventurers that tried to help, who were all killed by Davion in order to keep his power.
- Sadist: Narana.
- Sharing a Body: The four personalities share a single body, which changes to match each one.
- Skewed Priorities: One outcome of the Book of Crypts module has Narana separating herself from Davion. She immediately begins whipping and scourging the PCs, rather than fight Davion or run away. It gets her killed.
- Split Personality: The four constantly-changing personalities controlling the domain consist of:
- Davion, a power-mad lunatic of a mage.
- Augustus, a blunt and impatient mage.
- Boromar, a reclusive and paranoid fighter who hears voices.
- Narana, a bawdy, selfish, priestess of Loviatar (Goddess of Pain)
- Squishy Wizard: Averted. Davion and Augustus have a Strength of 14 and a Constitution of 15, which is actually quite robust.
- Token Evil Teammate: Pre-merge Narana was this, being Chaotic Evil with the other two being Neutral. (Post-merge, Davion is also Chaotic Evil, so this doesn't quite apply.)
- Torches and Pitchforks: The people of Boromar's Knoll believe all visitors to be possessed by fiends, and will capture and burn them at the stake come sunset.
The House of Lament, Darklord and domainThe House of Lament is the only known darklord which is its domain (though Domains of Dread reports it's not alone in that). It came into being after an aging lord offered his daughter Mara in marriage to a bandit leader as a peace offering, who agreed, then attacked the caravan, kidnapping Mara, and claiming she had never arrived.
The bandit lord then proceeded to inter Mara alive in one of his keep's towers as an offering to the gods... only to find that she kept on screaming days after she should have died, and reopening her tomb revealed no body within.
Then he and his men started hearing a woman's voice calling to them... and days later, they were all dead. The same fate has befallen anyone else who moves in.
While not identified as a darklord or domain in 3e, it does appear on maps of Borca.
- Death Is the Only Option: Mara is an eternally lonely spirit who seals the house anytime a group enters, making escape impossible (windows cannot break and doors cannot be knocked down, even with magic) and trying her best to kill them, forbidding anyone in the group from leaving until she succeeds in killing at least one. (The guidebook where the House is detailed recommends to the Dungeon Master that the actual victim should be an NPC, unless...)
- Expy: Of Hill House.
- Genius Loci: Mara's ghost has merged with the spirit of the house.
- Heroic Sacrifice: It is rumored that Mara will be laid to rest forever if a selfless hero volunteers to be her victim, but as yet, no-one (at least canonically) has offered...
- Human Sacrifice: Mara's fate.
The Nightmare Court, Darklords(?) of the Nightmare LandsThe enigmatic masters of the Nightmare Lands, of whom little is known.
The Nightmare Lands provides writeups for six members of the Court: the Nightmare Man, the Ghost Dancer, Hypnos, Morpheus, Mullonga, and the Rainbow Serpent. A seventh, the Redheaded Child, appears in A Guide to Transylvania for Masque of the Red Death.
- Big Bad: The Nightmare Man is the leader of all of them, and regularly invades the others' dreams if they become bad enough to interest him.
- Chaotic Evil: Morpheus' official In-Universe alignment.
- Charm Person: Hypnos can plant a command in the minds of dreamers who visit the Nightmare Lands, which they are compelled to fulfil when they wake. Physical travellers to the Nightmare Lands, however, are brought under his powerful charm effect.
- Creative Sterility: The Nightmare Man's curse— he has no imagination or dreams of his own, and so must borrow others'. Whenever he tries to paint, the paint turns to blood, sending him into a rage.
- Dream Walker: All of them, though they can't escape Ravenloft.
- Dream Weaver: All of them. The Nightmare Man alone, however, can make nightmares real, bringing them into the waking world as an Anthropomorphic Personification.
- Driven to Madness: All of them have the power to try and drive people to madness (represented as a madness check), which each of them can use on one particular person a day.
- The End... Or Is It?: A nasty subversion is a favorite trick of the Rainbow Serpent— he feeds on feelings of vengeance and resentment, the more unjustified the better, so a favorite trick of his is to induce a dream of something horrible a friend of his current victim did... then change the dream to a vivid one of waking up to find evidence that really happened. It's not true, of course, but the Serpent thinks it's hilarious.
- In the Hood: The Nightmare Man.
- Lawful Evil: The official In-Universe alignment for the Ghost Dancer, Hypnos, Mullonga, the Nightmare Man, and the Rainbow Serpent.
- Regeneration: All of them regenerate damage automatically so long as their connection to the Web of Dreams is intact.
- Shrouded in Myth: No one knows much of anything about the Nightmare Court, such as where they came from, how they came to rule the Nightmare Lands, or even how many of them there actually are (The Nightmare Lands suggests there may be more beyond those it covers, supported by the Redheaded Child in A Guide to Transylvania). The Nightmare Man is apparently a darklord, but the status of the rest of the Court is unclear— are they partners in crime, fellow darklords, or even perhaps manifestations of aspects of the Nightmare Man's mind?
- The Speechless: The Ghost Dancer, who uses her dances to communicate instead.
- Teleportation: In their areas of influence, the Court's members can teleport at will, but in other parts of the Nightmare Lands they can only do so three times a day.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Morpheus can transform into any creature of 12 HD or less, gaining its powers, abilities and weaknesses.
- World of Chaos: The Nightmare Lands, due to it being partly composed of the substance of dreams.
Lemot Sediam Juste, Darklord of ScaenaA mad playwright and director who rules Scaena, a unique traveling domain and theater house, which can pop up anywhere in the Land of Mists. Cursed never to be able to believe in what's happening on his stage, always seeing the actors and props for what they are.
- Comedy Ghetto: In-Universe, he is obsessed with achieving the artistic cachet of tragedy, despite his success in comedies and regular dramas.
- Compelling Voice: All the better to force his actors into the roles he wants them to play.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Killed his recalcitrant actors for sabotaging his plays, and burned down a theater with an audience that booed him inside.
- Driven to Madness: By his failure as a writer and director of tragedies. These days, he prefers to inflict this on his unfortunate performers.
- Ignored Epiphany: Almost canceled his deadly play...but then he remembered how they'd all laughed at him.
- Irony: The "tragedy" he'd just dashed off as an excuse to kill his actors was apparently a very good play after all. Ironic in that 1) he hadn't been trying, 2) the audience hated it anyway—they'd been expecting better from him, and 3) if he'd only realized that the actors were on board (for once) and that he had a good start, he could have abandoned the "kill everyone" part, put some actual work into the play and gotten the tragedy he'd always wanted.
- The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Scaena is a traveling domain and theater house that can pop up anywhere in the Land of Mists.
- Mad Artist: Actor/Playwright/Director variant. He is so obsessed with achieving feats of great "art" that he is perfectly willing to torture, maim and kill people in the pursuit of either realism or as punishment for not enjoying his efforts.
- Master of Illusion: Juste can make whatever he wishes appear on his stage.
- Meaningful Name: "Le mot juste". And his middle name is "Medias" reversed.
- Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: Out of spite, he designed a play that would murder his actors.
- Press-Ganged: If you touch the stage in Scaena while Juste is still writing, you'll be sucked into the play as a performer. If he's not writing, you'll be an audience member — unless he decides you aren't enjoying his play enough and tricks you onto the stage.
- Renaissance Man: Wanted to be this for theater. Unfortunately, while he was extremely adept at writing and acting in comedies and regular dramas, his attempts at tragedy invariably came out as Narm. Even when he directed, his actors insisted on playing up the comedic aspects of each piece, since they could tell that his work just plain sucked and it was the most positive spin they could put on it. Clearly, there was only one thing to do.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: If a play proves unsuccessful by his standards (and most plays do), he'll mentally lock Scaena up and burn it down with everyone inside, himself included. For him and Scaena, it's only temporary, but still hurts.
- Teleportation: Juste may move through the very fabric of the theater itself to appear anywhere he wishes.
- Time Master: Juste can control the way people on stage experience time—a person who thinks he slept for eight hours from his perspective might only have been asleep for five minutes to the audience.
- Tom Hanks Syndrome: His intense desire to invoke this trope and escape the Comedy Ghetto, coupled with his complete failure to do so, is his motivation for his awful deeds.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: When Juste deigns to appear onstage, he can take any human form he pleases.
The Headless Horseman, Darklord of The Winding RoadThe Winding Road is a pocket domain which can supersede any road, whose only permanent residents are a mysterious rider and his grotesque army.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: The First to Follow savagely attack until they're destroyed or until up to six rounds pass, whichever comes first.
- Cool Horse: He rides a frightening phantom steed.
- Flunky Boss: He commands an army of living severed heads to fight for him, and he doesn't join battle alongside his heads.
- Flying Dutchman: The Winding Road can appear in any domain, and the Headless Horseman is cursed to ride it forever, as it never reaches its end.
- Flying Face: The First and Last to Follow, respectively an army of severed heads and a quintet of medusa heads specifically, which he took from his victims and animated into his service.
- From Bad to Worse: Think your problems are over when the Horseman passes? Think again.
- The First to Follow, an army of jeering severed heads, follows in his wake. These remnants of his former victims gnash and tear at hapless travelers for several minutes before making way for...
- The Last to Follow, a group of four medusa heads and one maedar (male medusa). Although the heads have lost their petrification abilities, they can still paralyze and poison travelers, and the maedar can use any spell used against the Horseman or the First to Follow.
- During the Grand Conjunction (in the From the Darkness module), the Last to Follow was replaced by a group of beholders.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: One of the reasons he's so disliked by fans is that he has absolutely no backstory to justify his Darklord status. In-Universe, the three major theories as to his origins are that he was a man executed wrongfully by Vlad Drakov, that he was a traveler who cut his own head off rather than be taken by minions of Strahd, or that he was a bard who was forced to entertain Ivana Boritsi as she bathed, who found his efforts so boring that she promptly chopped off his head and ordered his body dumped in the river whilst she continued her bath in his blood.
- Headless Horseman: Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but he also comes with an army of his own.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: In From the Shadows, the DM is encouraged to cheat on dice rolls to make this happen, if they have to. The entire point of the encounter is to die and be brought to Azalin.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Although they're much more powerful than the First to Follow, if the Last to Follow are met with sufficient resistance, they'll flee.
- The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: The Winding Road can superimpose itself on any road within the Core Domains...and outside the Mists, as well.
- Losing Your Head: The First and Last to Follow.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Picked up medusa heads apparently from somewhere outside the Mists. In From the Darkness, he had a bunch of beholders following him.
- Mook Maker: His human victims join The First to Follow. (Presumably other medusa victims would join the Last)
- Nightmare Face: Or lack thereof. His appearance induces a horror check.
- Non-Indicative Name: Strictly speaking, he is in possession of several heads, he just happens to not have one on his neck.
- Off with His Head!: The one thing certain about his past is that this happened at some point, and he tries to inflict this on others with his sickle.
- Out-of-Character Moment: From the Darkness has him working for another darklord, namely Azalin.
- Retcon: The Winding Road was reinvented as The Endless Road for the 4th edition, with Eli van Hassen as the darklord and the Horseman as his curse. Many fans approved of this, as none of the Horseman's origin stories really gave him a reason to claim the "Darklord" position.
- Shout-Out: Flying medusa heads, you say?
- Shrouded in Myth: Nearly every domain has a story about his origins, although Borca's is most complete (involving a brief affair with Ivana Boritsi).
- Stay on the Path: Inverted, The Winding Road stays on you. Try to run off it, and it'll appear under your feet. Try to fly off it, and it'll drag you down.
- Super Strength: The Horseman has 18/00 strength, which (in D&D terms) is as strong as you can get without being considered superhuman.
- Walking the Earth: The Winding Road is endless, and the Horseman's ride eternal.
The Phantom Lover, Darklord of Leederik's TowerWhen a woman has lost someone close to her, a man she loved deeply, the Phantom Lover may come in answer to her grief, extending his domain into her bedchamber and taking the form of the one she loved — even should she be outside Ravenloft. Over the course of several nights, he will visit her again and again, slowly draining her life, until finally he asks her to come with him to his domain through a portal in a nearby graveyard. She does not survive for long.
The Phantom Lover's domain isn't canonically named, so the fandom calls it Leederik's Tower.
- Charm Person: On his victim. The Phantom Lover's charm effect can't be magically detected or dispelled.
- Lawful Evil: His official In-Universe alignment.
- Red Right Hand: Well, black left foot.
- Resurrective Immortality: As long as there is great sorrow and grief, the Phantom Lover will return, even if slain.
- Shrouded in Myth: All that's known of the Phantom Lover are his modus operandi and powers. Who he is, what he is, how he earned his domain, and his curse are all left open (It's noted he's known as Leederik in Ravenloft, though whether this is a name, a pseudonym, or a title is unknown). Darklords says that some have classed him as a vampire, while Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts identifies him as a ghost. Some fans have noted similarities to the demonic Gentleman Caller, and wondered about a connection.
- Vampiric Draining: Drains the Strength of his victim, although whether he's sustained by it is unknown.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Able to take the form of a lost loved one, a deceased husband, fiance, or boyfriend, save for his left foot, which always looks like that of a small black-scaled dragon. He can also turn into mist, a black snake, or a gargoyle in the form of a small black dragon.
Addar, Darklord of the Phantasmal ForestMentioned in the writeups for the Shadow Unicorns, Addar was promoted to Darklord status in the Kargatane's Book of Sacrifices netbook. Hailing from a sylvan forest on an unknown Prime world, Addar chafed against the traditions of unicorns submitting to elven maidens as bonded steeds, seeing such an act not as a bond of partnership and purity, but a symbol of humiliation and servitude. Though the other benevolent fey spirits of his forest recoiled from such bitter, poisonous prejudice, darker spirits rejoiced in it. Most prominently, a female nightmare, who began to contact Addar in his dreams, seducing him with stories of a new forest, far away, where he would become a great champion and worshiped like a god, much like the guardians of his own forest. Even as Addar's ego grew on this noxious fuel, the elder fey strove to break him of his arrogance; they arranged for an elven princess of unparalleled purity and grace, a mighty paladin-in-training, to be given his name and told she was to invoke the pact with him. When she came to summon him, however, Addar fought with all his might, recoiling against what he still saw as an attempt to enslave him and reduce him to a mere beast of burden. His defiance allowed the nightmare to slip between the worlds and attack the elf-maid, setting the forest alight with her burning mane and hooves. Free of the spell, Addar began to flee, only to realize the elf-maid was caught by the flames; choked by the smoke, she couldn't hope to escape on her own... but Addar's pride would not allow him to let her ride to safety on his back. Instead, he turned and abandoned the screaming princess to her death, following the nightmare into the mists. Upon her, he fathered the first Shadow Unicorns, and became ruler of the Phantasmal Forest; a foul and dismal place of dead, dying trees whose black, noxious soul nourished only weeds and evil plants, inhabited only by dark fey and predatory beasts.
- A God Am I: He wants to be worshiped and revered, but his blind fury and madness prevents him from attaining such respect and so he tends to simply kill any mortals he encounters.
- Fatal Flaw: Pride, all the way. Addar's arrogance alone can be blamed for his damnation.
- Hellish Horse: A corrupted and defiled form of unicorn, with appropriately twisted magical powers; he can ignite his horn and use it as a flaming weapon, injure or poison others with a touch, he can induce unnatural terror with the sounds of his hoofsteps or a terrible scream, and craft areas of baleful supernatural gloom at the expense of healthy trees.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Addar wants the respect and adulation due to a mighty forest guardian, but instead inhabits only a small, twisted, near-lifeless woodland.
- Unicorn: A tainted and corrupted one, but he can still pass for one at first sight, unless you see the blood stain-like red markings on his coat and the madness in his eyes.
- Unicorns Are Sacred: Thoroughly averted, and played for horror; he was a force of good, once, but now he's a self-damned spawn of evil and corruption.
- Curse: She cannot use her precognitive powers to tell her own fortune any more.
- Eaten Alive: She was devoured by a swarm of cannibal zombies.
- Evil Gloating: She has a tendency to gloat and posture, which was even what got her killed in the end.
- Madame Fortune: She's a fortune-telling old gypsy woman; of course she's called "Madame".
- Moral Myopia: She put a dying curse on Van Richten that would see all his friends die horribly, and came back from the grave out of sheer hatred for his having killer her. She never acknowledges that her family wouldn't have died if she hadn't destroyed Van Richten's family first.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In the "Doll" ending of Bleak House, she is bound within Richten Haus forever, held prisoner by the house's spirit and the ghost of Van Richten. In the other endings, she is rendered Deader Than Dead.
- Too Dumb to Live: Taunted Van Richten about having sold his only son to become a vampire's Sex Slave to his face... whilst he had an army of cannibal zombies obeying his every word. Needless to say, she didn't live to regret her foolishness.
- Green-Eyed Monster: He killed the Horseman simply because he was jealous of how much the denizens of Tranquility admired him.
- The Jinx: He can cause misfortune to befall anyone he doesn't like, so long as they remain in his estate.
- Retcon: Of the original Winding Road domain and its Headless Horseman Domain; Eli replaces him as Darklord, due to actually having a reason to be punished by the Dark Powers, whilst the Headless Horseman is downgraded to his nemesis.
Former DarklordsThe title of Darklord may change hands through many means, such as inheritance or conquest, so many former Darklords remain unknown.
Nathan Timothy (former Darklord of Arkandale)Soth (below) was not the first darklord to escape their domain. Before him, there was Nathan Timothy, werewolf darklord of Arkandale. Possessed of a deep-seated wanderlust, Nathan's curse was that he could not leave the Musarde River, otherwise he would suffer agonizing pain that would render him immobile. When the Grand Conjunction hit, Nathan escaped his domain — but unlike other darklords who did so, he remained free even when the Conjunction had ended, having apparently slipped the Dark Powers' notice. Verbrek, ruled by Nathan's son Alfred, absorbed Arkandale.
Camille Boritsi (née Dilisnya) (former Darklord of Borca)Borca's first darklord, who gained the domain after poisoning her first husband and his lover. She was able to create any poison she could imagine, even those with supernatural effects. However, she was cursed to always be betrayed by any man she trusted (ironically, because she was always suspicious of her brother Yakov, he was always loyal to her). Eventually killed by the machinations of her daughter Ivana, who inherited the domain.
- Acquired Poison Immunity: Averted. Camille didn't gain any immunity to poison.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: First ruler of Borca.
- Black Widow: Killed three of her four husbands (the third made a break for it as soon as he could).
- Does Not Like Men: With her curse playing a not-inconsiderable part in this. Indeed, she was so suspicious of the men in her life, she never suspected her daughter might try anything...
- Posthumous Character: Ivana is darklord of Borca from the Black Box on.
Vecna, Lesser Deity (former Darklord of Cavitus)Defied the Dark Powers and escaped back to Oerth.
- The Archmage: Far more powerful than even Azalin.
- Our Liches Are Different: Justified in how experienced and powerful he is; Vecna may be partially crippled, thanks to his missing hand and eye, but he's also achieved a grasp on divinity, making him even more uniquely deadly.
- Physical God: A demigod at the time the Mists got him, becoming a lesser god after his escape.
- The Plan: A pretty good one in Die, Vecna, Die!.
- Transplant: From Greyhawk, to which he eventually returned.
Duke Nharov Gundar (former Darklord of Gundarak)Vampiric lord of Gundarak, who was betrayed and usurped by Daclaud Heinfroth. His domain was swallowed up by Invidia and Barovia during the Grand Conjunction, with Heinfroth getting his own domain, but his ultimate fate would prove much stranger.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: Word of God says that after so long as a skeleton, when his stake was pulled out, he was reduced to a near-bestial state, with hazy memories of the past and the knowledge that someone named "Dominiani"note had betrayed him.
- Dead Guy on Display:
- Evil Debt Collector: Taxed everything he possibly could, levying a particularly heavy tax on the birth of girls.
- Handicapped Badass: More mentally challenged than physically though: He may not be thinking straight anymore, but he's still a powerful vampire.
- Intimidating Revenue Service: His came with bastard swords and maces.
- Neutral Evil: In-universe, according to Word of God.
- Our Vampires Are Different
- Revenge Before Reason: Right now it's revenge instead of reason.
Bakholis (former Darklord of Invidia)A tyrant king whose latest victim cursed him to become the beast he was inside and never be free of the blood of his loved ones on his jaws. The Mists rose to claim Invidia, with Bakholis as its darklord, but he didn't pay any attention until the next full moon, when he transformed into a werewolf and killed everyone in his castle. Unlike most darklords, Bakholis apparently came to embrace his curse, descending to ever-greater depths of savagery until he was killed by Gabrielle Aderre, who inherited the domain.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Transformed by a curse, and able to infect others with lycanthropy.
- Pater Familicide: Killed his wife, son, and daughter — along with the rest of the castle — when he first transformed into a werewolf.
- Posthumous Character: Serving as backstory for how Gabrielle got Invidia.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Regularly kidnapped women for his amusement, and when he became infatuated with a lady by the name of Marta, only to be spurned, he had her lover maimed and eaten before her eyes while his soldiers violated her. Marta's Dying Curse is what turned him into a werewolf.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Oh, he was already damn evil, but once he got over the horror of killing his own family, he somehow became even worse.
Claude Renier (former Darklord of Richemulot)First darklord of Richemulot, a wererat from an outlander world who led his family through a misty portal to escape hunters, and came out in Falkovnia. Eventually gained his own domain after his family escaped another hunt by fleeing into the Mists. Noted for being a hateful and sadistic monster, he was eventually killed by his granddaughter Jacqueline, who'd had enough of the psychological games he played with his family, gaining Richemulot in the process.
Lord Soth, Krynnish Death Knight (former Darklord of Sithicus)Snatched by the Mists whilst angrily tormenting the ghost of his seneschal, Caradoc, who he had sent to steal away Kitiara's soul from the Abyss and who had demanded Soth's promised payment of being restored to life first. Eventually found himself entrapped in the center of an Elf-populated land that was a distorted echo of Daargard Keep back on Krynn. His disillusionment with his new domain meant he was eventually returned to Krynn for being too dull for the Dark Powers' liking.
- The Atoner: Sort of. Eventually, he came to realize that what he had done was wrong, that he deserved what he got, and stopped fighting it. Paradoxically, the Dark Powers then set him free, since his despair made him not worth torturing any longer.
- Black Knight: As befits a Death Knight.
- Classic Villain: In the final issue of Dragon (the official D & D magazine), he was named as one of the greatest villains of all time (sixth greatest, in fact), and he is widely considered by fans to be the archetypal Death Knight.
- Continuity Snarl: Over whether or not he actually was trapped in Ravenloft, due to the authors of Dragonlance hating his having been taken and trigging an Armed with Canon war between Dragonlance and Ravenloft authors. It should be noted that the game itself tends to side with "he was, and Timey-Wimey Ball explains how he returned to Krynn so soon".
- Enemy to All Living Things: Via his powers as a Death Knight.
- Fallen Hero: Big time. He could have stopped the Cataclysm that ultimately devastated Krynn, killing millions, if he hadn't decided that abandoning his quest to accuse his wife of cheating on him was more important.
- Godzilla Threshold: Was this for Strahd and Duke Gundar when he first appeared, almost effortlessly crushing whatever forces they could muster against him and making them fear for their unlives, to such a degree that both, who otherwise disliked the other intensely, had an Enemy Mine to try and just get rid of him.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Was given the chance to avoid becoming the Darklord of Sithicus, but refused to take it.
- Ignored Epiphany: Like most other Darklords; unlike them, however, centuries of brooding and failures (both his own and those engineered by the Dark Powers to needle him on), he eventually subverted this and came to accept that yes, he was the main architect of his own downfall and he deserved his punishment, ironically eventually freeing him from the Demiplane.
- Lawful Evil: In-Universe, and an important part of his characterization. If he weren't accustomed to rigid military order and precision, having everything being just a little bit off wouldn't bug him as much.
- Our Liches Are Different: He's a Death Knight, which is essentially a Magic Knight version of a lich.
- The Punishment: Even before being turned into a Darklord, Soth's undead state was this. Afterwards, he is condemned to suffer the imperfect reflection of his state; Nedragaard Keep is always "off" in some way and his banshees can never perfectly tell his story of damnation. Doesn't sound like much, but it drove Soth completely bonkers.
- Speak of the Devil: Has become this in Sithicus after his release, being referred to by his former subjects only as "the dark knight" or "the blackguard" for fear of summoning him back. Of course the Doylist explanation is that they can't really call him by name anymore unless they want to antagonize his creators again.
- That Man Is Dead: Was presented with the chance to escape becoming the darklord of Sithicus before the domain fully formed, shown a world in which he was human again, but he refused to take it, as he was no longer that man.
- Too Dumb to Live: Almost literally; he turned from his quest because he believed the slander of three elven priestesses — the same ones who revealed his infidelity and murder in the first place. There was literally no reason he should have trusted them.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Inverted; Soth's falling into sullen stoicism (and increasingly immersing himself in a dream-world of his own invention via magic mirrors) meant he was content to just sit there and do nothing. He was so boring that the Dark Powers sent him back to Krynn rather than keep him in Ravenloft, especially after the more-promising Inza showed up as a new candidate for Darklordship.
- Transplant: From Krynn, as mentioned, and a rather controversial one at that (for his creators, anyway).
- The Undead: As a Death Knight.
- Was Once a Man: Like all Death Knights, he was once an honest and noble mortal, in his case a Solamnic Knight of the Rose who earned his damnation through arrogance and shortsightedness.
Virindus, Darklord of the Drowning DeepIntroduced in the fan-created Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer. Virindus is the god-king of the mysterious undersea city of Xalot (SHAY-lot), condemned to sink for his megalomania and repeated Human Sacrifice in order to become the Top God of his world's pantheon. Just before his old patron Oceanus managed to sink Xalot, however, he was able to complete most of the ascension rituals, so becoming a god...of a sort. Now, he and his many aquatic servants scheme at the bottom of the Nocturnal Sea to conquer the surface, and fulfill the dark destiny he believes is his birthright.
- And I Must Scream: His curse. He's a kind of god, but a horrifying one nobody feels any love for, and more importantly he's sealed within his own high temple, unable to truly exercise his power except through soft influence.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: He's a warped merman-shoggoth-thing whose tentacles are the size of men.
- Evil Is Hammy: He actually wrote the Gazetteer entry on the Drowning Deep, and yep, he's quite melodramatic.
- Expy: Of Cthulhu, if Cthulhu was not actually a godlike alien native to an uncaring cosmos but a deluded megalomaniac not half as important as he would like to believe he is. Similarly, Xalot is a combination of R'lyeh and the classical idea of Atlantis (its culture even uses Greek words).
- Lovecraft Lite: Xalot and anything to do with it. He has the thematic, being a giant aquatic pseudo-god who corrupts all he touches in his ruined home...but he's just another darklord when it comes down to it, albeit a powerful one.
- Narcissist: He even capitalizes first person pronouns, so self-important is he.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Most people spell Xalot as "Shay-Lot", like how it's pronounced.
- The Virus: Three times a day, he can fashion anything he gets his tentacles on into a perfectly loyal Sea-Tainted minion, including unwilling captives. Given what we see of an "unwilling captive", it's probable the unwilling ones probably would find death a mercy.