A Blizzard in Ravenloft
South of Northrend, Barovia is a dark, creepy and suspicious land. No traveller through Barovia is welcomed. Even if they spread around a lot of gold, only lip service is paid. Many a traveller wandering through this land has been murdered for that very same gold, however, so it isn’t always wise reveal how much you are carrying.
Superstition runs rampant, and the only real magic that seems marginally accepted is that of the Vistani tribes that often camp near the villages. But even they cause the hackles on the village folk to be raised. Many a tale is spun of dark consequences of dealing with “those strange Vistani folk.”
The lord of Barovia is often whispered about by the villagers and the common folk, but few have seen his face. There are particular rumours about his ancestor’s dalliances with the village folk. Oddly enough, while they know that the current lord succeeded his father, no one recalls seeing a mother, or the current lord as a child. But why would they? The family seems to keep to itself in Ravenloft castle all the time.
On the northern edge of Barovia lies the Monastery of the Sightless Eye, which apparently has been having some trouble of late.
Just by the border between Barovia and Mordentshire is the village of Hommlet, which has been plagued by monster attacks, and as a result, decreased trade with the Monastery to the north. The Church of St. Cuthbert, the main military power in the region, has not been able to commit the man power to solving either the Monestary’s issues or the monster attacks. They have commissioned a party of adventurers to investigate both, freeing the Church to prepare to re-enforce the northern Barovia border.
Barovian regular troops are being stripped from the border, and sent into neighbouring domains as a precautionary measure. Everyone in Barovia that is in the know is nervous about the Northern War between Darkon, Nordell and Northrend. It is said that fears about the war spilling into the south is why the Lord of Barovia is sending expeditionary forces into his neighbour’s lands.
Some scholars who delve into the more eccentric areas of study have determined that Barovia seems to attract a lot of “travelers” i.e. people who dress funny, talk funny, and soon start raving about “other worlds.” Some scholars, who believe in the so-called “other worlds theory,” believe that the region Barovia is some sort of lynchpin around which the spiritual forces of the Core lands rotate. One or two wizards that study ley-lines have commented they all seem to meet in Ravenloft Castle, in the political center of the nation. All these fringe scholars have been dismissed by the more learned sages, who reply the “other worlds theory” is merely an explanation for a rather common psychosis that travelers with culture shock seem to develop. There are no other worlds – just that people from lands not in the Core realms are not as mentally balanced as those who live within the Core. This is why strangers whould be avoided, lest their simple-mindedness is catching.
One scholar, located in the Barovian village of Hommlet, claims to have gotten some of his information about the “other world theory” from a fellow sage, who claimed to be from another world. This sage has been tentatively identified as Deckard Cain, a resident of Sanctuary (if you believe in other worlds, that is)
Status: Being Explored