The story of Strahd von Zarovich

Strahd von Zarovich was born by an elven maiden who died giving birth to him. She had been impregnated by the great Blood Dragon Zarovich, or as the elves called him – Boseircydi (Night, the end of all hope). He grew from an infant to a grown man in just a year and was told that he had 10 more years to live before his life would burn out. Zarovich himself trained him and turned him into a Dragon Rider, allowing him to ride Zarovich’s right hand – Isolde.

Isolde was an ancient red dragon who was the former leader of the dragon campaign against the humanoid races, but had transferred her leadership to Zarovich as soon as he entered the fray. Zarovich also had 5 brothers and 6 sisters, all of whom were going to be dragon riders. And together they roamed the skies during the Dragon Wars and defeated many foes.

But Zarovich was troubled by having to die so soon, and a fear rose within him. And the day he was going to lead the dragon army against the humanoids into the final battle, he bacame paralyzed with fear as he watched the druids kill off the dragons and his siblings. He ordered Isolde to flee the battle together with him, and they flew for their lives.

Isolde never forgave him his cowardice, but she was bound to him. so she stayed. Another reason she stayed was also the Palantir he had been given by Zarovich. Inside it was the contained essence of another ancient red dragon, Isolde’s mate. A male red dragon who had forfeited his life in order to make Strahd stronger. A great sacrifice, which accomplished nothing.

Knowing that he would soon die from burning up his life force in no time, Strahd desperately seeked a way out, a way to continue living, a way to live and live and live…and never die. He did everything. He used magic, he mixed potions, he did it all. But to no avail. Not until killing a virgin humanoid soul and bathing in it’s blood, did anything work. But that did. He could feel his life force growing a bit. So he killed another virgin, and another, and another. He bathed in blood, he drank blood, he feasted upon flesh and blood and slowly he transformed into something that never ages, something that is cursed to never wither, something that needs blood to feed, something that needs to take regular baths in gallons of blood of the innocent. Something that resembles an undead vampire with all its powers, but which is in fact NOT undead. And which is not affected by time.

It didn’t take long until Strahd realized what that meant. Wherever he went, time slowed down. People stopped aging properly, days and nights lasted forever, and people bcame out of sync with time itself around him. So eventually, he settled down near a town called Barovia and vowed never to leave his castle there, so that his ever growing aura of timelessness would not alter and even ruin the whole world.

And here he has been for hundreds of thousands of years. Isolde finally left him, but she had been tainted by his curse, so she never really managed to escape. She is now a traveling portal into his domain, but her aura of timelessness is smaller than his, confining itself to inside the fence of the Carnival circus. Whenever she travels the road, the portal is closed (and she and her troupe are dislocated from the world). And every time the Carnival opens, the portal opens up to. For 8 short hours real time, but 2 months of Barovian time.

After Isolde left, Strahd tossed away the Palantir, as the angry spirit of her mate inside it would haunt him constantly. Strahd still has his dragon rider armor and weapons. Out of the 50 names on the sword, only 3 remain:

Pharadil, King Crow (lich riding a dracolich) and what’shisname – HCs kriger fra dragon wars, alv.

Strahd feels like a coward, and wants to repent somehow. If Balthazar is willing to try to kill the last 3 dragon riders, he will be given the armor and weapon to aid him.

+5 Blood Dragon Armor made from scales of Raugh himself.
grants immunity vs fire & acid
AC +24 (if your natural AC is 10, you now have 34 AC)
Commanding armor of dragon fury: (the info below only works for dragon riders)
The wearer and all friendly dragons can enter a rage once pr. encounter (and max once a day pr. odd numbered lvls)
Rage: +2 hit, +2 dmg, -2 AC, +1 saves, +20 hp. Rage lasts 1 round pr. lvl of the wearer of the armor or until no enemies are left…whichever comes first.
While raging, the armor perspires blood, increasing spell resistance by 1 pr. dragon rider class lvl and increases dmg reduction by 5. wearer and dragons are fatigued after rage for 1 turns (-2 on all d20 and not able to run)

+5 Blood Dragon Shield, made from one scale of Raugh’s hide.
AC +6
Reflective shield of magic warding:
Can reflect one spell every day back at caster (100% reflected, must be single target and aimed at shield wearer, reflecting a spell must be chosen before checking magic resistance and/or saving throws, the spell reflection works just like a regular ready action, with the exception that this is a free ready action which does not need to be announced in advance, and you can still act when your turn comes)
Grants +25% magic resistance

Boseircydi’s killing tooth, made from a tooth from Raugh.
+3 long sword, 1d8 vs medium, 1d12 vs large
Elfbanesword: 3d8 vs elves
Special purpose weapon: Destroy King yu’s Dragon riders
The names of all 50 riders were engraved into the blade by Zarovich. When they die, their names fade. When all have died, the sword will lose all its powers and magical bonuses/effects.
Grants dmg reduction 10/all vs King Yu’s riders
+2 on all saves vs King Yu’s riders

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