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Count Strahd Von Zarovich

Count Strahd von Zarovich

"I am the Ancient, I am the Land. My beginnings are lost in the darkness of the past. I am not dead. Nor am I alive. I am undead, forever." - Tome of Strahd   History
Strahd was born sometime in the year 750 as the middle child to King Barov and Queen Ravenovia. As the second born, he was to specialize and serve as a military commander to his kingdom. He was a successful conqueror and would serve his kingdom dutifully, defeating every enemy he choose to fight. When he was 45 Strahd choose to annex the Delmor Valley, south of his father's kingdom. For the next 3 years, the indigenous berserkers and druids put up what fight they could but they were simply to split from one another to prove a significant challenge to an organized army like Strahd's. The Valley and it's surrounding regions were renamed Barovia by Strahd to honor his father and he himself was declared Count as he choose to remain in the region and rule over it.   Strahd began construction of a mighty castle in which to rule in and once construction was finished, invited his family to visit and be witness to his accomplishments. His parents had passed to an illness they struck their kingdom shortly before Strahd conquered Barovia and his elder brother Sturm declined as he had the kingdom to rule. The only one of his family to arrive would be his younger brother Sergei. As the youngest, Sergei did not have any responsibilities beholden to him like Sturm or Strahd and spent much of his youth traveling and exploring the lands around him. In these travels he met a young woman who he was stricken with named Tatyana who he eventually proposed to. Sergei brought his fiancée to Barovia in order to introduce her to his brother, Strahd. Strahd had never seen a woman so beautiful in his life and in his heart knew that he must have Tatyana for himself. Strahd was nearly 50 and knew that even if Tatyana was not to be wed to his brother that she would not feel the same way as he did towards her. This caused Strahd to fixate ever more on his age and how much of his life he felt he had wasted on military life. He decided that he would research how to regain his youth and hopefully find a way to woo Tatyana to him and away from his brother. This culminated in the discovery of The Amber Temple in the Balinok Mountains. Here brought his closed companions Exanther and Khazan to aid him in uncovering secrets long sealed away by powerful wizards long dead. In the furthest depths of the catacombs were amber sarcophagi sealing ancient evils. Unbeknownst to the three warriors, once Strahd touched the largest of the sarcophagi, the ancient evil known as Vampyr latched itself to Strahd and transformed him irreversibly into the first vampire. With newfound energy, strength, and bloodlust he never felt before, Strahd killed Khazan immediately and mortally wounded Exanther. He departed the temple and made his way to Castle Ravenloft where Sergei and Tatyana were soon to be wed.   The night of Sergei and Tatyana's wedding to be one of tragedy once Strahd arrived at Castle Ravenloft. With strength that no person in the Castle could compete with, Strahd made quick work of every guest and guard in the chapel. Even Sergei was killed as soon as he tried to reach for his sword blessed with radiant power. With his brother dead his his arms, Strahd saw Tatyana for the first time since he departed for the Amber Temple. Her eyes were filled with pure terror as she fled to the uppermost tower of the castle. With a combination of fear and defiance towards Strahd she flung herself from the tower a thousand feet into the mists below. No trace of her was ever found. Strahd had failed in his one goal of obtaining the love of his life for himself, with intense anguish and pain Vampyr was able to use Strahd's emotions to it's advantage as it dragged Barovia out of the Material Plane and transformed it into a Domain of Dread. The mists ensured that Strahd and the denizens of Barovia would never escape, even their souls could not escape to whatever afterlife may have taken them and not even the gods could make contact with this land permanently obscured from the sun.   With nothing left to him except time, Strahd went to work at establishing his power and eliminating any rivals that still existed in the valley. The first of these was the former commander of his army Leo Dilisnya who, after barely surviving the events of Sergei's wedding, formed a small guerilla force to attempt to kill Strahd. It did not take long for Leo to fall into one of Strahd's own traps. Arrows decorated the vampire's body though he did not die. Strahd made quick work of the opposing force and Leo himself was to suffer a much worse fate. He was taken into the catacombs of Castle Ravenloft, turned into a vampire by Strahd, and entombed in a grave that was never to be opened.   Nearly twenty years after his transformation, Strahd roamed his land to view his subjects and locate potential threats to his rule. It was in the village of Berez, the land of the dusk elves, where he saw her. One of the elves had the exact features of Tatyana except the obvious elven ears. He took the opportunity to converse with her and when discussing Tatyana, this woman, Patrina Velikovna was able to remember certain moments as if she was there. With further research Strahd discovered that Patrina was somehow the reincarnation of Tatyana. He took his time molding the elven woman into his ideal Tatyana but before he could finish the job and transform her into a vampire like himself, the other dusk elves discovered his plan. Before the ceremony could take place Patrina was captured and stoned to death in the village of Berez by her fellow dusk elves. With the help of another dusk elf, Rahadin, Strahd hunted every other one of the elves to the man. Their leadership was broken and their forces routed. At one point he was ambushed by The Order of the Silver Dragon and was almost killed. He would be saved however by the Vistani people who kept him safe and allowed him to heal. The Vistani would become trusted allies from this point onward and would be the only ones allowed to travel beyond the mist that imprisoned everyone else in Barovia. Once Strahd finally gathered the dusk elves in one place he killed every female dusk elf in order to ensure that their species would never be able to recover. Rahadin would remain as Strahd's most loyal servant while Strahd himself waited to see if Tatyana's soul would reincarnate once again.   After amassing a network of trustworthy associates, Strahd laid waste on one of the most powerful forces in the region. The Order of the Silver Dragon had been arming and sheltering the foes of Strahd and so needed to be wiped out if he hoped to enjoy permanent dominance over his land. What he did not expect however, was for this order of knights to be lead by a silver dragon by the name of Argynvost. It took all of his assembled undead forces to storm the fort and defeat these champions of good. Strahd himself slew the dragon and the Order was slew to the man. Even as some rose from the dead as revenants, they no longer proved a threat to the Lord of Barovia.   The death of Argynvost was the final straw for one of Strahd's oldest companions. The last of his mortal army was the cleric named Andral who was once Strahd's trusted confidant and advisor. With the clear evil that Strahd has become Andral and a protégé named Markovia led what Strahd described as a cowardly ambush that pushed Strahd into his catacombs. Andral's holy symbol of the Morninglord was able to hold Strahd in place as Markokvia led a militia that destroyed much of the vampire's undead army. Andral, however, could not deal a finishing blow on his old friend which allowed Strahd to escape deal a fatal blow to Andral instead. Meanwhile, Markovia continued to lead the charge and was able to push Strahd all the way to his catacombs where an epic battle took place. Had the battle taken place anywhere but Strahd's own lair, Markovia may have been victorious. Unfortunately for Barovia, Markovia never exited the catacombs as Strahd granted her a hero's death and interred her in the catacombs. Strahd, on the other hand emerged with a limp that he would never heal and he would forever have to try and hide. With the last of his major enemies defeated, all that was needed from him was to wait for Tatyana to emerge once more.   The dark powers that tormented this land would not let Strahd keep his prize however. Every time that Tatyana's soul emerged in a new body circumstances would occur that would lead to the woman's death shortly after Strahd found her. This cycle of life and death for Tatyana caused Strahd to suffer more than he ever believed possible. He attempted to take brides in an attempt to ease his pain but none could ease his corrupted soul like he believed Tatyana could. He returned to the Amber Temple to research the reason for his torture. Here he discovered his old companion, Exanther, had not truly died and instead he had used one of the sarcophagi and had been transformed into a lich. Age had affected him however and memory loss had afflicted the old and decaying lich. Strahd used this to his advantage in order to freely travel the temple, store items he did not want loose upon Barovia, and research what these dark powers sealed away were.   Nearly seven hundred and fifty years after that fateful wedding night, another incarnation of Tatyana had appeared. This one was named Ireena and she had been adopted by the current burgomaster of the village of Barovia, Kolyan Indirovich. He preformed his usual habit with these incarnations of providing Ireena with nightly visits. During these visits he would slowly begin to preform a ritual he discovered that may destroy the curse placed upon him by Vampyr. Before Ireena's brother Ismark discovered Strahd's deeds Ireena had already been bitten twice but not transformed as had been done to so many others. He had also secretly poisoned Ireena's father so that she would be more vulnerable and willing to leave the village for his castle. Before they were to going to give the burgomaster a funeral, a new group of adventurers arrived to disrupt his plans.   After these adventurers left the village with Ireena, Strahd followed them and confronted them outside of a windmill occupied by hags. He was challenged by a member of the group named Arkelo. The barbarian was quickly killed after attempting to push Strahd into the river nearby. With his strength established, Strahd departed for the nearby village of Vallaki. Here he disguised himself as a man named Vasili von Holtz and reintroduced himself to the adventurers as such. He gained their trust only to betray them once they investigated the coffin shop in town. He unleashed vampire spawns unto the town in hopes of eliminating the group. This failed and Strahd put much more effort into his next gamble. He invited the group to his own castle for dinner in order to get to know them and also tempt them. One member of the group accepted the offer to leave these lands while the others chose to stay and fight against him. Strahd promised that they would all die and that Ireena would be his but still allowed them to leave.   While the adventurers had split up to pursue separate goals Strahd choose his time to strike. Only one adventurer was left with Ireena and they, along with a dusk elf named Kasimir Velikov pursued a lead and traveled to the Amber Temple. With Ireena the most vulnerable and unprotected that she had been since she left her village, Strahd abducted her and took her away to Castle Ravenloft. With Ireena in his grasp, Strahd made quick work of implanting the memories of Tatyana he wanted her to have into Ireena's mind. He also informed the last of his allies to prepare and defeat the adventurers that remained so that the ritual to make Ireena his would finish without interruptions. The planetar known as the Abbot, the druids of Yester Hill, and the hag Baba Lysaga all fell to the adventurers hands but not without losses of their own. Only Brooke Seawall remained but with the assistance of Ezmerelda D'Avenir, and Rudolph van Richten they assembled a force of every major player that would still fight against Strahd in an offensive on Castle Ravenloft itself. With the help of a resurrected Argynvost and the sunsword that once belonged to Sergei von Zarovich himself, the adventurers pushed into the castle and succeeded in slaying Strahd. His death however, was not the end of their fight. Vampyr erupted from his corpse and attempted to free itself but was able to be sealed back into amber with ritual the adventurers learned from the lich Exanther. With his final death, Strahd's curse had finally been broken and the land of Barovia had been freed and returned to the material plane.
Alternate Barovia
The dark powers are not forgiving to those that have taken from them and once a Domain of Dread has been made it cannot be unmade. A copy of Barovia was created when the original was returned to the material and with it was a near exact copy of everyone who was there previously, with some distinct changes. Strahd was left nearly identical from his previous self and when a group of adventurers tried to take Ireena from him he made similar moves to his previous incarnations. He successfully killed one of the adventurers named Dalian in Vallaki during the Festival of the Blazing Sun through his spawn in the coffin shop. When he invited the adventurers to his castle for dinner he chose to take Ireena from them there and killed the adventurer named Arlo who attempted to stake him in retaliation. Once again the adventurers gathered the sunsword, killed his allies, and resurrected the dragon Argynvost in order to storm his castle. With an even more organized force assisted by the mage Mordenkainen they succeeded in once again killing Strahd and sealing the copy of Vampyr. Unlike the previous incarnation however, one of the adventurers, Aramil, had a dark power of his own. With Great Taar Haak taking control of Barovia, Aramil became the new Dread Lord. This fully prevented Barovia from returning to it's previous state and Strahd was killed permanently.

Count Strahd von Zarovich

Alignment
Lawful Evil
Current Status
Dead
Species
Date of Death
Marpenoth 30
Life
750 AN 1499 AN 749 years old
Circumstances of Death
Staked in the heart
Birthplace
Somewhere North of Barovia
Place of Death
Castle Ravenloft, Barovia
Children
Current Residence
Castle Ravenloft, Barovia
Presented Sex
Male
Eyes
Brown
Hair
Black
Height
1.9m / 6'3"
Belief/Deity
Vampyr
Known Languages
Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Elvish, Giant, Infernal

Family

Parent(s): Barov von Zarovich (Father), Ravenovia von Zarovich (Mother)   Sibling(s): Sergei von Zarovich (Younger Brother), Sturm von Zarovich (Older Brother), Madam Eva (Younger Half Sister)

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