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Characters / Ravenloft: The Carnival

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An enchanted traveling circus and freakshow, introduced to the setting in the second edition in the Carnival sourcebook. It began life as a twisted prison called the Carnival l'Morai, part of a now-gone Domain of Dread detailed in the novel Carnival of Fear and the 2e splatbooks Domains of Dread and Champions of the Mists. So popular with the fans that it received extra fan-support; the fan-splat The Book of Secrets contains several new Carnival members, whilst the third volume of the fan-ezine Quoth the Raven was entirely dedicated to the Carnival, and the fifteenth issue featured both new Carnival members and some updates to old ones.

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    Tropes common throughout the Carnival 
  • Body Horror: The mysterious phenomenon that the Carnival calls the Twisting usually makes its mark physically and blatantly. Also, the Abominations, who have been twisted into almost Chaos Spawn-like atrocities.
  • Curse: The Twisting actually has this feel to it. It can be shaken off, but it's extremely hard to do so; even the carnies themselves don't know how to do it. Removing the Twisting requires either one leave the Carnival — one has to spend a month outside of the Carnival for each day they spent within it before the Twisting leaves — or one Remove Curse spell per week they lived in the Carnival.
    • Cursed with Awesome: Due to the fact Isolde is a celestial and a pretty angelic one at that, the mutations invariably give the Carnies unique skills and abilities. Most are thus pretty okay with this.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: This is the punishment they give to anyone who kills or grievously harms a member; should the victim actually survive, he's free to go. (If he can.)
  • Enemy Mime: They're not hostile, but the black-and-white Skurra-vera facepaint of the Skurra (Vistani who are part of the Carnival), combined with their perpetual silence, certainly gives them this feel.
  • Freaky Is Cool: Rather, the Carnival is so used to the strange and abnormal that they do not judge others by looks alone, making them immune to the Fantastic Racism endemic throughout the Realm of Mists. Also inverted; because Fantastic Racism is so common in the Domains of Dread, the Troupers themselves are prone to discrimination against non-freaks and outsiders.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Twisting plays off of a person's personality and heart, usually emphasizing their flaws or punishing them for their sins. Also, Isolde can forcibly invoke the Twisting in order to punish those who wrong the carnival, thus creating the Abominations.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: If someone truly kills a member of the Carnival, or a carnival visitor, the carnies hunt them down like a dog and mutilate them to death in a brutal act of mob justice called the Death of a Thousand Knives. And it's still not as terrible as the fate Isolde has in store...


    Albert Hemler, The Human Morningstar 
A Falkovnian rebel and former gangleader whose friends were slaughtered. His Twisting, feeding upon his festering anger and despair, has resulted in spikes of bone thrusting themselves out through his flesh. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
  • Bad with the Bone: He can use the spikes of bone all over his body for defense in melee, or rip them out and wield them as daggers, even throwing them at foes. He can also launch every spike from his flesh in a flurry of bone flechettes, or leap forward in a curled position that lets him smash into a foe like a giant spiky weight, from which he takes his stagename.

    Armitage Avalon, aka Mr. Frost 
Once the scion of a fairly important family in Port-a-Lucine, Armitage's comfortable life was shattered forever when he drove away a mortally wounded servant of the Living Brain that appeared on his doorstep. Offended, the Living Brain destroyed his family, forcing him to flee from Dementlieu. Taking refuge in the Carnival, his Twisting brought his former icy disdain to the fore in his appearance, though he since redeemed himself and became a cleric of Hala. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.

    Amelia, The Vampiress 
Another survivor of the original Carnival l'Morai, Amelia's once-useless and disfiguring bat-like wings grew into fully functional appendages under the Twisting. Hers is a horror act, scaring people by pretending to be a vampire.
  • Cute Monster Girl: While she's good at playing up her creepy, bat-winged appearance, Amelia is also one of the few carnies who doesn't have a modified charisma score for "outsiders," meaning that even people who don't know what she is find her attractive.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Zigzagged; she has demonic bat-like wings, but she's actually a good person.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Amelia's act involves scaring customers with her demonic appearance, but she's really quite a nice lady off the clock.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: In this case, they aren't vampires at all, just a regular person with bat wings and skillfully-applied makeup.
  • Self-Restraint: She wears shackles and manacles during shows for dramatic effect. (The key is in her pocket.)
  • Winged Humanoid: She loves flying too.
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    The Blade Brothers 
Identical twin Vistani men who were born into the Kamii tribe of the Kaldresh tasque, only to be driven away due to having been "born under a bad star". They serve the Carnival as knife-throwers, jugglers and sword-swallowers.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: If offended, the Blade Brothers like to trap an insulting person between them and start juggling their razor-edged, hand-forged knives around the offender, slicing their clothes off without so much as scratching the skin.
  • Knife Nut: Experts at forging and wielding daggers, something they use for defense and entertainment.

    Charlotte, The Fire Eater 
Another survivor of the original Carnival l'Morai, Charlotte's Twisting has given her fiery red-and-orange eyes and hair, to match her incendiary breath and blood. She has no qualms with her mutation, but she helps the other Freaks in their plans all the same, as she believes they have a right to have their normal bodies back.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Fire-colored hair and eyes to match her fire powers.
  • Bloody Murder: Her blood bursts into flames when it touches the air, so fighting her is very dangerous. She can also set her weapons on fire by smearing them with her blood.
  • Fiery Redhead: An Incredibly Lame Pun, but also fitting; she's described as passionate and mercurial.
  • Mundane Utility: Uses her burning blood to set her knives aflame before juggling them for her act.
  • Playing with Fire: She can create gouts of flame by breathing over lit flames.
  • Token Good Teammate: The only one of Pacali's conspirators who is not of Evil alignment (Chaotic Neutral, incidentally), and the only one with genuinely altruistic motives (laboring under the mistaken logic that if Isolde can cause the Twisting at will, she can reverse it whenever she likes, letting her friends stop being "freaks").
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She has no grudge or hate for Isolde, she just wants to give her friends the opportunity to live normal lives.

    Claude and Importun, The Imp 
A man born with a vestigial twin, in the form of a distorted face and a spindly arm growing out of his cheek and neck. Abandoned by his parents at the Carnival, Claude joined them because he had nowhere else to go. The Twisting allows Claude to see through his mindless twin's eyes, and he uses this in his act. A kindly and compassionate soul, he takes it upon himself to guide newly Twisted recruits through their first adjustments to their freakish new bodies. Secretly, Importun has always been aware, just with no influence on the body. The Twisting allowed the kinder, gentler Imp to steal control of Claude's body and take control before Claude's descent into mindless rage could get them killed. Their nature makes them immune to Charm Person spells unless the dominant personality is specifically targeted.
  • And I Must Scream: Whichever personality is dominant does everything while the other is trapped, helpless to do anything but watch and listen to their twin as they live out their life.
  • The Berserker: The real Claude is a frothing mad maniac, totally twisted up in hate and spite, who would run amuck and kill people if he were given control back.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Claude never drinks and admits it's because of this. If Importun allows himself to get drunk or slipped a sedative, which he's very susceptible to, then Claude can steal control of their body back.
  • The Resenter: Claude has managed to avert this, being very compassionate about the growth on his neck, something that is also responsible for his general compassion towards others, especially the newly Twisted. The Imp, rather, is compassionate to the brother trapped inside it. The real Claude has spent his whole life blaming his problems on Importun, and his resentment, combined with his imprisonment, has driven him to violent insanity.

    Claudette duMartin, La Petite en Pointe 
Born to a rich family in Richemulot, Claudette horrified her parents by being born as a pinhead — a birth defect that left her with a bald, pointy skull. They hid her away in their house, glumly having her tutored in secret, but it was dancing that she truly took to. When her family threw a grand ball, she disguised herself with a wig and snuck out against their orders, dancing with many men and charming them with her beauty — until her wig was accidentally pulled off and her deformity revealed, the very thing her parents had feared. Livid at her disgracing them, they sent her to Dr. J. Everett Mingus, a doctor in the Darkonian Boglands who specialised in abnormal physiologies and who had some success in surgically correcting deformities. Claudette will never speak of what happened; she ran away from the doctor's lab and was rescued by the Carnival. Her Twisting has given her literally bewitching dancing, but she can never attempt to disguise her deformity again; attempting to cover her pointed head inflicts unbearable itching. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
  • Charm Person: She can cast the Enthrall spell by spending at least a round dancing.

    Corgar and Verai, The Half-and-Half 
Once a wedded pair of fighters from the cursed kingdom of Tovag, the two fought as a deadly pair until one day when "The Whispered One", Vecna himself, bestrode the incessant battlefield between Tovag and Cavitus. On a cruel whim, he physically blended the two spouses together, leaving Verai prone to blackouts and suffering the guilt of believing her beloved husband was dead, unaware that she was physically and mentally transforming into Corgar and back. Saved from madness by Isolde, the Twisting has given them control over their conjoined body, allowing them to shapeshift at will and even assume an intermediate form, the Half-and-Half. Introduced in the fan-splat The Book of Secrets.
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    The Crimson Rose 
A beautiful Vistani woman distinguished by the crimson rose flower she sports on her cheek. A former Niait tribeswoman, she came to the Carnival heavily pregnant with her half-breed son, the Familiar. The conception of her son was clearly involuntary, as her occasional outbursts of rage against those who bluntly flirt with her make terribly clear. It's implied she has murdered unwise leches before, but the Carnival has taken pity on her and keeps her in, rather than turning her out or killing her as a danger to the Carnival.
  • Berserk Button: A forceful sexual advance or other indecent proposal from any non-Vistani man can potentially drive her into a murderous fury, where she will try and lure them to a secluded spot before violently attacking them and trying to murder them. She can rein this in (requires a Wisdom check not to get berserk), but it's still a bad idea to get too crude when flirting with her.
  • Charm Person: She has the magical ability to enchant any man who watches her dance for a minute as per this spell.
  • Does Not Like Men: As noted under Berserk Button. It's implied quite strongly that she was cruelly raped.
  • Irony: Of a cruel sort, almost suggesting a curse of some kind. She can magically enthrall men to desire her, but if they respond to those desires, she may lose control and seek to murder them.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Although a fantasy version of Romani at any rate, she is considered one of the most beautiful members of the Carnival alongside Silessa, however the Crimson Rose has many deadly thorns.
  • Unstoppable Rage: If she goes into a "murder frenzy", she gains increased strength and a temporary Healing Factor.

    Elthryn Winter, The Wraith 
A caustic and highly secretive wizard from Kartakass, who was forced to flee when he inadvertently attracted the attention of Harkon Lukas. Has a huge crush on Amelia the Living Vampire, but is too pathologically shy to admit it to her. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3. Updated in Quoth the Raven #15.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: His Twisting has colored his entire body — skin, hair and eyes — a shadowy gray color.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: In his QtR #15 update, it's stated that he eventually succeeded in sharing his feelings for, and ultimately marrying, Amelia.
  • Love Redeems: Becomes a much nicer, friendly guy after marrying Amelia.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In-Universe, his QtR #15 update says he started learning how to fight, first to spice his act up, then to seriously protect the Carnival against possible attackers.

    The Familiar 
A giogoto (half-Vistani) born to the Crimson Rose some time after she first came to the Carnival, he has worn the Skurra-vera since birth and never spoken a word in all his nine years.
  • Child by Rape: Heavily implied by his mother's backstory.
  • Creepy Child: He's perhaps the eeriest of the Skurra simply because of his age.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Wizards of the Coast writers had planned to reveal him as the son of the demonic Gentleman Caller.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Even Madame Fortuna isn't sure if he has a magical ability to blink back and forth from place to place, or if his uncanny disappearing act is just the natural skill of a small child brought up as an entertainer (and thief).
  • Power Tattoos: A variant, his Skurra-vera suppresses the demonic taint of his lineage.

    The Fates Three 
Three Vistani women who work as a team of mummers and mimics, the closest of the Skurra to fulfilling the archetypical "clown" role. When together, they have eerie, mystical powers that enable them to read people's minds, something that is likely to grow in time. They particularly enjoy taunting and harrassing people by putting on mummer-acts that play out hidden shames and dark secrets of people. They are individually known as Leer, Pry and Scream. One wears a harlequin's mask with her eyes further circled in red, another wears red flame-designs on her ears and forehead and cheeks, and the last wears a hideous grin with two black teardrops upon her cheek.

    Grigori, The Nameless 
Once a Vistani man in life, Grigori is now a malevolent ghost who haunts the Carnival. He fled from his former tribe to avoid the shalach-ti, the arcane ritual of punishment that transforms Vistani into twisted evil beings called Darklings as punishment, and unaware of his past, he was accepted as a Skurra. Several months after doing so, however, he murdered a visiting child and hid her corpse in one of the vardos, almost bringing the wrath of the law upon the Carnival. Once exposed, the Skurra were intending to perform the shalach-ti upon him, but the outraged Troupers grabbed the ritual obsidian knife and executed him with it by way of the Death of a Thousand Knives ritual. Since thin, his ghost has returned one night each year, on the anniversary of his death, trying to earn redemption by saving or otherwise helping various travelers. When Madame Fortuna refuses to accept his redemption, he flies into an outrage and attacks those he saved, blaming them for his failure. Unbeknownst to anyone, the Nameless can be destroyed in only one way: casting a Remove Curse and a Dispel Magic upon him within one round of each other will strip him of his Skurra-vera (pure bone white face paint, with lines of black daggers making faux-tears flowing from his eyes) and allow a Grim Reaper to appear and drag him to his final fate. Introduced in the fan-splat The Book of Secrets.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: He suffered the Death of a Thousand Knives. That's partly why he's become a ghost.
  • Never My Fault: The Nameless is condemned to his undeath because he refuses to accept that he did something irredeemable, and he reacts to his failures by trying to murder those he just helped.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The crime that resulted in his death.

    Hermos 
One of the survivors of the Carnvial's original incarnation, a ten-foot-tall man with gangly, awkward-looking limbs.

    The Illuminated Man 
An Abber Shaman from the Nightmare Lands who discovered a unique method of capturing nightmare spirits and binding them as protective totems by forcibly imprisoning them inside of tattoos placed on human beings. His own body is covered in such bound "night terrors", and his Twisting makes them unnaturally animate and alive.
  • Animated Tattoo: Formed from terrible nightmare spirits, trapped in physical form on his flesh. The similar tattoos he gives others aren't quite as lively as his own, because of his Twisting.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Binding a night-terror to a person's flesh requires the sacrifice of a single hitpoint. His gaunt appearance is the result of paying this price many times over.
  • Creepy Good: A standout, since while his methods are essentially benign, he's managed to creep out two other groups of Creepy Good people; his native Abber tribe and the other carnies.
  • The Quiet One: Doesn't like to talk, which has been the cause of many of his problems finding acceptance.
  • Your Worst Nightmare: The night-terrors he binds become protective totems, providing bonuses on saves against the fears they represent. However, if the person is killed while it's attached, it slips off and starts trying to find someone else to terrify until it is destroyed.

    Isolde 
The mistress of the Carnival, who rescued the surviving escapees from the Puppet Show (the Carnival's name for its cursed former existence as the Carnival l'Morai) after they found themselves in Falkovnia after the Great Upheaval. Quiet, firm but fair, she protects the Carnival against all who would harm it or its residents, but she has her own secret mission. Though dungeonmasters are free to reinvent her, Isolde's canonical background from the 2nd edition is that she is a Ghaele type Eladrin, who defied the orders of her superiors to chase the incubus now known as the Gentleman Caller into the Realm of Mists. Though she sincerely cares for the Carnival, she is determined to stop her arch enemy.
  • Arch-Enemy: Has come to the Land of Mists to hunt hers: the incubus known only as "the Gentleman Caller."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: If you seriously affront her, she'll transform you into a nightmarish mewling monstrosity of warped flesh and distorted bone, one of the rightfully named Abominations.
  • Big Good: She's an angel who chose to forsake the Upper Planes for Ravenloft.
  • Chaotic Good: In-Universe - her racial alignment, as it is for all Eladrin.
  • Cool Sword: Wields one that contains many of her sealed powers.
  • Curse: Though not a Darklord herself, her 2e writeup explicitly states she has received a curse from the Dark Powers. This curse is responsible for causing the mysterious "phantom flyers" that presage the Carnival's arrival, ensuring her enemy is always forewarned and able to escape, whilst her compassion prevents her abandoning the Carnival to try and circumvent her curse.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Isolde's own 2e profile describes her as stern, and unwilling to let her kindness sway her from her ultimate mission. She's also quite willing to transform victims into the Abominations if she deems them true enemies of her mission. But, that said, she is still ultimately the matriarch of the surrogate "family" of the Carnival for a reason.
  • The Paladin: Part of her blessing/curse for being in Ravenloft; she's lost the shapechanging abilities, but in 2e she functions as if she were a level 10 Paladin, for both good and bad.
  • Power Incontinence: The Twisting is her fault, but not her doing. As a Good Outsider in Ravenloft, her presence distorts the world around her, manifesting as a mutative effect that brings people's inner selves to the front.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: That was the condition of her being allowed to enter Ravenloft to hunt the Gentleman Caller; she cannot return to Elysium, ever.

    Jacobi Firebeard, aka Black Jake 
Born Jacobi Firebeard to the wealthy and respected Firebeard clan, the dwarf who would become the Trouper called Black Jake was ostracized from birth. Whether it was the fumes from the family's mines in Dunkelheit or a curse laid upon the oft-vain dwarves, Jake was born completely bald. Eventually, at the age of 35, he left the clan and settled in Il Aluk, hoping to find a life for himself where he would no longer be a shunned freak for his baldness. He tried to live a quiet life as a tanner and leatherworker, but his floundering business forced him to repeatedly take up shady contracts as a sellsword. His path changed when he encountered the Carnival, before their fateful trip to Falkovnia, and he joined them. To his amazement, after he took up his weapons to protect the Troupers against Falkovnian thugs and Isolde swept in to rescue them, he eventually grew a long mane of jet-black hair and a thick, bushy beard of the same hue. This hair was strong as steel wire and mildly prehensile. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Invoked. Jake himself believes his hair and beard are black to remind him of the black-hearted deeds he did before joining the Carnival.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Zigzagged. Black Jake was born completely bald, and eventually got the typical dwarven mane and beard back from the Twisting - as well as the ability to grab things with his beard.
  • Prehensile Hair: His beard can't be used for fine manipulation, but it is prehensile, such that he uses it to lift weights - or grab the hands of would-be thieves.

    Jacques "Red Jack" Chevalier 
A former scion of an aristocratic Port-a-Lucine family, Jacques was the family's shame for his constant wooing of "lower class" women. When he announced his intention to take a commoner he had fallen for to wife, his father was outraged; he sent a thug to rape Jacques' fiancee, in hopes of turning his son away from her. The outraged Jacques wed her anyway, denouncing his father; when his father tried to stop them from leaving, a fight erupted. The house burned down, killing Jacques' wife and father and leaving him hideously burned. His brother locked Jacques up in the basement for a while, taking his place as heir, until Jacques managed to escape and convince their mother to denounce his brother. He then left Port-a-Lucine, and was swept into the carnival. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #15.
  • Ambiguous Gender: In-Universe, the other Troupers aren't sure if "Red Jack" is a man or a woman. This began because of his constant wearing of a porcelain mask and full-body costume, but has been exacerbated by the Twisting.
  • Bi the Way: He has feelings for both Silessa and Claude. It's implied that this may be partially due to the androgyny forced upon him by the Twisting.
  • Body Horror: He's covered in severe burn scars, which forces him to use a costume to hide them from sight. The Twisting has also made his sexual characteristics increasingly neutralized, shaping him into a more physically, verbally and mentally androgynous individual.
  • Love Hurts: He wants Silessa, but she's already smitten with Raja Sing. He wants Claude, but he's too afraid that even with the Imp on his neck, Claude will find Jacques' burns to be too ugly to return the feeling.
  • Love Triangle: He's infatuated with both Silessa and Claude, and Silessa herself is already in a relationship with Raja Sing.
  • Playing with Fire: Another effect of his Twisting; he's mentally fascinated by fire, finding himself compelled to touch it. Thus far, he's resisted, which has kept him from realising that he's both immune to fire and capable of mentally shaping, controlling and extinguishing existing fire.

    Lucian 
A Sithican elf and former adventurer who temporarily traveled with the Carnival. When the Gentleman Caller attacked the Carnival, he was one of those who rose in its defense; afterwards, he chose to stay and lead those members of the Carnival specifically dedicated to protecting it from hostile forces. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #15.
  • Interspecies Romance: He initially had a crush on another Trouper, Blasse, but she spurned him in the wake of the Incubus attack on the Carnival. Shortly afterwards, Mola began making a move for him, having developed a crush on him, and they have since gotten together; this has helped Mola break her ties with her brother.
  • Magic Knight: Literally. He has levels in the Knight of the Shadows Prestige Class, which gives him access to a variety of divine spells. He also has some inherent magical powers thanks to the Twisting.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: The physical manifestation of his Twisting is eerie glowing eyes, which are colored completely in an unearthly hue of blue.
  • Scars Are Forever: He has a scar across his temple from a blow that severed the tip of his ear.
  • Seers: His twisting has given him several arcane divination powers; perpetual Arcane Sight, at-will Clairaudience/Clairvoyance and Comprehend Languages, and True Sight once per day.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: His divination powers can be blocked by anything that would normally interfere with his ability to hear or see. So he can see and hear anything that happens anywhere in the Carnival if he wants, but he can't see anything that happens inside a closed vardo, or hear anything that is said in a place where it's noisy.

    Madame Fortuna 
The Vistani raunie who is responsible for speaking for the Skurra, and who creates the magical Skurra-vera facepaint and patterns that allows new Vistani to be made part of their unique little tribe. She acts the role of the Carnival's fortune teller as well, just as the Skurra themselves serve the Carnival as caravan drivers and entertainers. Having sacrificed herself to the Twisting, she has lost her physical eyes, but gained enhanced oracular vision. She was originally a Corvara tribe member before she became mortu (outcast), which means she originally belonged to the Boem tasque.
  • Blind Seer: She physically doesn't have any eyes, but she has gained a "sight beyond sight" that lets her see auras. This enables her to perceive living beings even in total darkness, and sense the law/chaos side of their Character Alignment, as well as rumored/implied abilities to see magic, lies and emotions. However, she can't see anything that is an unliving thing or an object, including the undead and constructs.
  • Eye Scream: Her eyes are gone, leaving open sockets with inky black holes behind the eyelids.

    Miranda 
A highly curious and sweet-natured orphan from Souragne, Miranda stowed away in one of the Carnival's vardos to escape a pack of cannibal zombies, and wasn't found until the Carnival fled to Darkon. She has been with them ever since. Her Twisting has given her solid silver eyes that are faintly luminiscent, with which she can see in the dark. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.

    Mister ? 
An intelligent wax golem with the ability to mimic any person's appearance and, by absorbing parts of their memories, their whole character.
  • Become a Real Boy: Mister ?'s deepest longing is to have a character and personality of his own, but he cannot have them without stealing them from others. He does not do so maliciously, but he also cannot avoid the compulsion to try to become more real.
  • The Blank: His natural form is faceless.
  • Doppelgänger: While his antics usually do no lasting harm, he still fits the archetype.
  • Empty Shell: His normal personality is quite bland and flat. He feels an instinctive yearning to fill this void via his unique mental drain.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: The probable reason for a creature with no gender identifying as male.
  • Kryptonite Factor: As a wax golem, Mister ? is highly weak to magical fire.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: As Mister ? drains away levels and memories from the target, he comes to resemble them, physically and mentally, a perfect double. Fortunately, the effect eventually reverses itself and does not cause lasting harm, though it is quite distressing for both parties.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Despite being made of wax, Mister ? is still a golem, and he still has Super Strength and immunity to many types of damage. While he usually has the ability scores of his model, if attacked he will subconsciously fight back with his full strength.
  • Lost in Character: After draining enough levels and memories, Mister ? becomes convinced that he is the original, until the effect reverses itself. As the effect is reversing itself, both he and the other party can be quite terrified of what is happening to them.
  • No Biological Sex: While Mister ? has no physical gender for obvious reasons, and while he can become either gender through his doppelganger powers, he prefers to use male pronouns.

    Mola Kravvan, The Living Skeleton 
Sister to the abusive, domineering Rasulid Kravvan, Mola was her brother's veritable slave. They were originally travelling con-artists and grifters who drifted with the Carnival for a time, when the Twisting took hold. Mola, eaten away by her brother's control, began losing weight at a drastic pace, leaving her little more than thin, almost translucent skin wrapped over bone, despite her eating copiously. The other Troupers fear she may be the first case of a Twisted dying from their transformation.
  • Big Eater: Gorges herself at every meal, but it doesn't make her any fatter. This is because her abusive relationship with her brother means she is literally feeding him her weight.
  • Body Horror: Horrifyingly thin, so much that her heart can be seen beating in her chest, and just keeps getting thinner, though it has explicitly not affected her vitality.
  • Genki Girl: Despite her... "condition," she remains very energetic and peppy.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Before the Twisting took hold, she was quite beautiful. On the upside, losing her looks has meant that her brother forces her to be a pawn in his schemes less often.
  • Nothing but Skin and Bones: She can be mistaken for an actual skeleton at first, that's how thin she is.
  • Squick: In-Universe, Mola tends to be the most likely Trouper outside of the Hall of Horrors to scare off Carnival-goers, aside from Wood'n-head.
  • Weak-Willed/Extreme Doormat: Easily pushed around by her abusive brother, so much so that the Twisting is literally causing him to absorb her flesh.

    The Organ Grinder 
A Vistani of the Equaar tribe of the Kaldresh tasque, this music-playing Skurra prefers the company of animals to people, and so spends most of his time tending to the Carnival's many animals. In addition to applying the Skurra-verra variant used to protect the animals from mutation, he also tends to the small feral mutant animals — creeplings and fidgets — that swarm the Carnival.
  • Charm Person: A peculiar variant that only affects animals. Specifically, no animal or animal-like creature, not even Raja Sing or Silessa, will ever harm the Organ Grinder.

    Philip and Alan, aka The Half-Boy and The Human Torso, aka The Two-is-One 
Survivors from the original Carnival l'Morai, each had their bodies warped to remove a set of limbs; Philip's feet jut directly from his hips without any legs, whilst Alan's hands wriggle uselessly at his armless shoulders. With some subtle help from the Twisting, they have perfected the art of acting in synchronicity; Philip riding upon Alan's shoulders allows them to serve as each other's respective limbs. Introduced in the fan-splat The Book of Secrets.

    Professor Pacali and his Pickled Punks 
The curator/barker for the Hall of Horrors, a former scholar who studied and lectured upon abnormal phsyiology in Darkon's Brautslava Institute. He took a sabbatical to the Carnival to study the Troupers, only to be "trapped" when he experienced the Twisting. For this, he hates Isolde — something not helped by the fact he has devised a false notion about her true identity. He leads the other "true freaks" in plots and schemes to try and capture or destroy Isolde and "free" the Carnival from her Twisting. His Twisting is the truest source of his hatred for Isolde; all of his repressed bitterness, his twisted plans and petty schemes find a physical expression through his flesh, growing into a monstrous mutant fetus that eventually dislodges from him. He displays these horrific abominations as his "Pickled Punks". He is also secretly aware of the fact that time away from the Carnival will undo the Twisting, but has deduced he has spent too long to ever throw his Twisting off in that fashion, which only fuels his jealousy. Still, he hides this from his allies.
  • Enemy Within: Pickled punks have the ability to bring out a person's hidden desires and compel them to act upon those desires.
  • Enemy Without: Pacali's pickled punks are outside of even their "father's" control. They are also embodiments of his inner evil.
  • Jerkass: Don't pity him for his Lovecraftian Superpower: Like the other "true freaks", it's due to his actually dark and generally unfriendly personality. Pacali is especially self-centered, even compared to his contemporaries.
  • Kill It with Fire: Due to the fact they are saturated in alcoholic preservatives, pickled punks can be easily killed with fire attacks.
  • Mister Seahorse: He "births" a new pickled punk every 1 to 6 months, due to his unwillingness to temper his resentful nature.
  • Pet the Dog: In Quoth the Raven #3, it's explained that Pacali is a stern but surprisingly decent master to the midget Skurra known as the Runt, offering him a comfortable place to sleep, giveing him praise and small treats for doing well, and never, ever beating him.
  • Seemingly Profound Fool: He thinks that Isolde is actually Elspeth, the Succubus, due to studying Van Richten's Guide to Fiends, arguing that Isolde's unique abilities and the Twisting are due to her performing Power Rituals in unfamiliar domains.

    Raja Singh, The Hideous Man-Beast 
A cursed wereleopard who becomes a human on the nights of the full moon, but is a ravening, bloodthirsty cat-man at all other times.
  • Birds of a Feather: His relationship with Silessa is rooted in his angst about his true identity. It's something they can both relate to.
  • Identity Amnesia: Raja Singh remembered nothing upon joining the Carnival, and has regained only bits and pieces in the years since. Something he keeps very secret from everyone but Silessa is that what he does remember suggests that he is from the Wildlands, a place inhabited almost entirely by animals. He's also learned from studying lore on the subject that were-creatures take on the shape of an animal the natives fear above all else. And what beast could other beasts fear more than man?
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Even in human form, he can't shake his wereleopard fear of lightning and electricity.
  • Neutral Good: In-universe, his alignment in his human shape. Otherwise, he's Lawful Evil, like all wereleopards.
  • Was Once a Man: Like many lycanthropes. However, in recent times, he has begun to believe that the opposite is true: that he's a dangerous beast that turns into a man rather than the opposite. Knowing this fills him with no small amount of existential dread.

    Rasulid Kravvan, The Gargantuan 
The lazy, greedy brother of Mola Kravvan, the Living Skeleton, above. Transformed by the Twisting into a grotesque mountain of ever-increasing fat, he uses his powers to help Pacali to try and return himself to normal.
  • Blessed with Suck: It's even easier for him to control and manipulate others... but he's become repulsively obese, to the point it's likely he may have to be left behind to smother under his own weight in the near future, and he just keeps getting fatter the more he uses his abilities.
  • Charm Person: The "upside" to his Twisting is that his already-silver-tongue can now cast a command spell at-will.
  • Curse: The Gargantuan's Twisting is unique in how it functions; whenever he convinces somebody to do something for him, that person loses a pound of weight and he gains five. Also, all the food his sister eats actually nourishes him, instead. If he were to become generous, he would be able to reverse this, losing five pounds (and giving one) each time he performs a generous deed for a person. If Mola would stand up for herself, it would also break the link between them.
  • Fat Bastard: Over a thousand pounds at this point. Of course, he was a lazy bastard even before he got so fat.

    Renchi Futo, aka Ronin Thunder 
A samurai warrior from beyond the Realm of Mists, he came to Ravenloft when an eerie fog rolled over a battlefield he was partaking in. A mysterious enemy struck his master down from behind, and he immediately pursued him, ending up in the Japanese-themed cluster of Rokushima Taiyoo. There, the now-ronin fell for the blandishments of Shujin Yugami, one of the four evil brothers who tear that land apart in their incessant quest for dominance. He swore loyalty to Yugami, believing him an honorable man, only to learn his master's true colors when, in response to the assassination of one of his sons, he commanded Renchi Futo to go and murder one of each of his brothers' own. When the honorable samurai refused, Yugami commanded he commit seppuki. This the ronin did, now twice-over an outcast and a failure, but as he focused his soul to make the deathblow, he was struck by lightning. Miraculously, he survived long enough for the Carnival to find him and nurse him back to health, but by the time they had, the Twisting took hold, trapping a spark of lightning within his soul forever more. Introduced in the fan-splat The Book of Secrets.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Even with the Twisting, nobody knows how Renchi acquired his electrical powers from being struck by lightning.
  • Samurai: Of the Ronin variety now.
  • Shock and Awe: He involuntarily absorbs all electrical attacks and natural lightning bolts around him, though he is fortunately impervious to electrical damage. He can discharge electricity through his strike, or when struck, or even project bolts of lightning.
  • The Stoic: This is natural of a samurai, but Renchi is particularly stoic for one reason: unbeknownst to the other carnies, he believes he is dead and that the Carnival is some sort of purgatory.

    Roman Olzanik, The Geek 
A Borcan baron's son who was cursed when he abandoned a starving peasant girl to die of hunger and cold one winter's night. His curse made him unable to eat anything but the vilest of food, and he was eventually driven from home. His Twisting building upon this curse to give him the features of a living ghoul, he slavishly follows Pacali's plans to defeat Isolde because he hopes that doing so will persuade the powers of the night to remove his original curse. As his stage-name implies, he acts by performing feats of vile ingestion on a stage — biting the heads off of chickens, eating rotten meat, etc.
  • Blessed with Suck: He's immune to poison, but normal food makes him sick. As a result, the Carnival tests out food received from new locations on him first, to prevent some malevolent soul slipping them poisoned or tainted food.
  • Curse: He can only eat food that is poisoned, tainted, decayed or otherwise foul, and eating wholesome food makes him violently ill. And such foul food tastes no better to him than it does to anyone else.
  • Man Bites Man: The Twisting has enhanced the power of his jaws, allowing him to deliver deadly bites in combat. Especially since his noxious diet allows him to spread vile diseases by doing so.
  • Mundane Utility: The carnies use him as a makeshift poison-detector, reasoning that if he vomits it up, the rest is probably safe to eat.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Roman is still the same old jerk he always was. The only reason he does good deeds now is to try to avoid further punishment, and his fondest desire is to go back to his old life of careless debauchery.

    The Runt 
A midget giogoto born to a Darkling mother and a nameless father, abandoned to serve as a minion for the madman Doctor Emil Bollenbach. When his master was defeated by an adventuring party, the Runt fled into the Kartakass woods, only to be saved from wolves by the Blade Brothers. Now serves Professor Pacali as an assistant. His Skurra-vera gives him a perpetual expression of exaggerated surprise or horror. Introduced in Quoth the Raven #3.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: He's slavishly loyal to Professor Pacali because, for all his faults, the professor treats him quite decently. He never starves or beats the Runt, and he even praises and rewards him for jobs well done, all of which are things the Runt has never experienced before.

    Silessa, The Snake Queen 
A beautiful elf-maid exotic dancer who is actually an evil elven wizard's asp familiar polymorphed into a humanoid form, magically given independence and a will of her own by the Carnival. Her master wants her back, but the Carnival can't kill him, as his death would spell hers.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Inverted, since she used to be a snake that was turned into an elf.
  • The Beastmaster: She uses a variety of snakes in her act, draped over her body, which recognize her as one of them, refuse to harm her, and attack people attacking her. Most of them are harmless, but any one of them could have deadly venomous fangs.
  • The Corrupter: Although the Twisting has changed her in many ways, including her alignment to Chaotic Goodinvoked, Silessa was actually originally a pseudo-familiar, a rare creature that tempts its apparent master to evil. She cannot resist that part of her nature, and continues to egg him on to commit evil acts, even as it tortures her conscience.
  • Diamonds in the Buff: She basically prances around in strategically placed snake-themed jewelry and golden chains.
  • Distressed Damsel: Rescuing her from her master Sarlandril is a scenario faced by the Carnies and adventurers.
  • Dramatic Irony: Tindal doesn't know why, exactly, she avoids him. It's because she met his old mirror-self, the evil wizard Tindalfus, and knows that something very strange is going on that has her quite suspicious.
  • Dude Magnet: Rajah, Tindal and Jacques are all in love with her, though she only returns the former's feelings.
  • Healing Factor: According to her rulebook that is.
  • Hellish Pupils: Whenever she is angered her pupils become slits like those of snake.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Certifiably by her position as a exotic dancer and the number of guys pining up for her, she is one of the better-looking members of the Carnival.
  • Male Gaze: Her character description in the Carnival rulebook open this way no less. Justified, since its narrated by one of her admirers Tindal.
    Oho! I can see she already captured your attention. Lose yourself in that sinuous dance, wrap yourself in those curves - but don't get too close, George, for those serpents draped over her tempting figure have a deadly poison in their bites.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Silessa is an busty and blonde elven bombshell that wears nothing but snake-themed golden jewelry. Given her job as an exotic dancer and her many admirers, she also qualifies for this trope In-Universe.
  • Poisonous Person: She still has a poisonous bite, and can spit venom as an attack.
  • Snakes Are Sexy: She used to be one, after all, and still has many snake traits.
  • Synchronization: The reason the Carnival won't kill her old master, no matter how many times he attacks to get her back. She is still technically his familiar, and their vital forces are bound together. Killing him would kill her. In fact, the only reason she doesn't lose a hit point a day just from being separated from him is Isolde's power replacing the link. As a result, she also can't stay separated from the Carnaval too long or she gets sick.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With Raja Singh, since he's usually a violent monster. She stays near his cage whenever he is trapped in his wereleopard form.
  • Words Do Not Make The Magic: Being a familiar has its perks: Silessa has an excellent grasp of magical theory and would make an excellent assistant to any wizard. Being a familiar has its drawbacks: she has no formal magical training of any kind and is effectively a first-level wizard that can't cast a single spell.

    Tenira Courant, The Squid Woman 
A female lesser seawolf sent by Azalin's Secret Police, the Kargat, to spy upon the Carnival. Her Twisting has transformed each forearm into a mass of tentacles.
  • Combat Tentacles: Averted. Her tentacles are too weak to be used for that purpose, though they do make her more adept at picking pockets.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: She's a sea-wolf, an amphibious variety that can shapeshift into a waterbreathing humanoid wolf or a large wolf-headed seal. And then there's the whole tentacles for arms thing.

    Tindal, The Amazing Soulless Man 
The Carnival's primary Barker, a mage who has cast neither reflection nor shadow since an experiment gone wrong and the Twisting subsequently took hold of him. Unbeknownst to almost all, including himself, Tindal is a Fetch, a mirror-world copy of someone; he is a good-natured and cheerful individual because his original was a ruthless and wickedly evil soul.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Somewhat... He has fun in describing Silessa's beauty in her character sheet in the Carnival rulebook
  • Dogged Nice Guy: He loves Silessa, but Silessa only has eyes for Raja Sing. She also knows, even more than he himself does, that something's not quite right about him...
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Heavily implied to be jealous towards Raja Sing because Silessa loves him, and laments that if only she sat by Tindal's side on the other side of his cage and told him tales at night like she does with Raja.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: He can't quite remember what, exactly, the experiment was that destroyed his shadow and reflection. This is because, as a Fetch, he doesn't have a history before the accident.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Played with. Tindal simply lacks a reflection altogether. This is because the original Tindalfus only exists in one mirror at a time, watching and hating his mirror self, and constantly plotting to take his life back.
  • Stage Magician: While he no longer uses arcane magic, he does know quite a few parlor tricks and sleight-of-hand.
  • True Neutral: In-Universe. Tindal is a friendly and good-natured guy, even if he's not quite ready to stick his neck out for a stranger. His original self, on the other hand...

    Tindafulus 
Professor Pacali's most secret ally and weapon in his private war against Isolde. The evil wizard who accidentally created Tindal, trapping himself in the mirror-world even as he set Tindal free.
  • Enemy Without: Functions as one to Tindal, though see Tindal's entry for details. He can also use a powerful and unique spell (sunder reflection) to inflict this trope on others.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: He's effectively immune to damage while in the mirror world: attacks directed at him will just hit the mirror he's looking out of.
  • Walking Spoiler: Pretty much nothing can be written about him without giving away the secrets of Tindal as well.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: He cannot be harmed while in the mirror. That said, he can be easily stopped by throwing a cloth over the mirror he's looking out of, or turning it away so that he doesn't have line of sight to any enemies.

    Tosk, The Brute 
An outlander orc from the Kingdom of Thar, whose Twisting has granted him great strength but exaggerated the inhumanness of his features, something which hurts his pride, especially since the inhabitants of the Mists don't even notice. He serves as the Carnival's strongman.
  • Break the Haughty: He came to the carnival as a typical orc, a bully and a He-Man Woman Hater. After Isolde managed to impress him with her power, he has become more peaceful out of obedience to her.
  • Lawful Neutral: In-universe. He's still the same domineering orc at heart, but he is absolutely obedient to Isolde, and Isolde has ordered him to behave himself.
  • Mission from God: He reveres Isolde as a goddess, and fighting on her behalf and in her presence grants him powerful morale bonuses.
  • Pig Man: Implied; he's from 2nd edition, which was when D&D orcs were portrayed with rather porcine raits, and his inhuman features have been exaggerated by the Twisting, so it's logical to presume he truly looks more like a pig walking around than a bestial humanoid.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: So proud that he doesn't like to open up to others without some orcish blood of their own.

    Wood'n-head 
Apprentice to an alchemist who tested an experimental regeneration potion on him, causing him to be virtually impossible to cut or pierce. The same potion has never worked since — his master died a gruesome death trying a second dose — but Wood'n-head makes a comfortable living as the Carnival's sadomasochistic ascetic attraction.
  • All Trolls Are Different: One of the potion's failures turned its victim into what sounds like a D&D troll before he died. This being is virtually unknown in Ravenloft and as such no one really understood what happened.
  • Feel No Pain: Using his powers doesn't hurt him at all, and he's actually a very cheerful and optimistic font of carnival spirit even when he's being locked in a torture implement.
  • Healing Factor: Wood'n-head's body instantly seals bloodlessly around any impaling or slicing object, than instantly knits together when it is removed from his flesh. No matter how he is stabbed, slashed, cut, pierced, clawed or impaled, it never leaves a lasting mark. In game terms, he is immune to damage from slashing and piercing weapons, though he is unwilling to experiment with removing an arm altogether.
  • Inept Mage: He is an eremite, a kind of wizard who brews potions instead of preparing spells. However, he's also not too good at his job, and his potions almost always have some kind of minor but irritating side effects.
  • It Only Works Once: The invulnerability potion that gave him his powers hasn't worked since. That is to say, it hasn't worked as intended.
  • No Name Given: Whatever name he had before his accident is not used by him now.
  • Squick: In-Universe, his act tends to freak out and frighten visitors, and even his fellow Troupers find him a little discomforting, despite his gregarious personality. Also, gruesome fates await anyone else who tries the potion that made him blade-proof.


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