Guns of Ravenloft

A quick note on AGE of Omens. Development on the project has ceased since the announcement of ‘Cthulhu Awakens.’ I have mixed feelings about it; I had already invested money in art and graphics for the AoO, but am happy to see that the Kickstarter is doing well and wish the Green Ronin team the best of luck. I have not completely abandoned the concept behind AoO, but it will definitely need to take a different form and require some re-working.

I received the Curse of Strahd box set as a holiday gift and am preparing my first in-person campaign since the pandemic this summer. Barovia is so evocative and different from Forgotten Realms, where I normally run games, that I want to further differentiate it from traditional high fantasy. Too often I feel that DMs feel compelled to run a campaign “as written” when really you should not be afraid to make it your own, especially if the changes keep you inspired and motivated. That said, there is also something about guns and vampires that just makes sense me. I am also going to be changing the importance of silver in the setting, because silver bullets vs vamps is just a given.

NEW FEAT: Firearms Expert

Prerequisites: Character must be at least 4th level.
You can effectively use of firearms, both as a primary weapon and sidearm. You gain the following benefits:

  • You gain proficiency with firearms.
  • When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use your bonus action to attack with a musket you are holding.
  • Before you make a ranged attack with a firearm that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack’s damage.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SILVER

Although their weakness to silver did not carry over to 5E, I am going to bring it back in a very small way with the following changes:

  • Silvered weapons count as magical for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction
  • When a creature with damage resistance to physical attacks that is negated by silver is hit by a silvered bullet, that creature must spend an Action to remove the bullet or it is unable to use any regenerative abilities or otherwise regain hit points. Silvered arrows and crossbow bolts can be removed by the creature as a reaction or a bonus action on the creature’s turn.

SILVER CURRENCY

Given its affect on Strahd and his minions, silver coinage is going to be rare in my Barovia. Most silver is going to be used in jewelry, relics, or weapons. I love the idea of something ominous happening and people feel the need to touch silver in order to gain or little bit of good luck or protection. The exchange rate is going to be roughly as follows:

  • 20 copper pieces (ban/bani plural meaning “coins”) = 1 gold piece (leu/lei plural for “lion”)
  • 30 gold pieces = 1 silver piece (“count” as in “for Count Strahd”)
  • 1 silver coin = 4 silvered bullets

LANGUAGE

Lastly, it makes sense to me that native Barovians do not speak Common as a rule. Barovia is a place out of time and locked in its own world, so it would make sense to me that they have their own distinct language. However, the Vistani are allowed to come and go, and they speak Common. Since they are so widespread in Barovia, many important NPCs will know “common” (the language they know as Vistanish) but random townsperson A and B probably do not. I think it will add a bit of tension and mystery that the people around the adventurers have a language that they can communicate with that the players will have to guess at what they’re meaning.

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