Hey guys, I am currently running CoS for a group of six. It's been great so far. While the group isn't done with the game, I envision them to be done around May or June. I was looking into our next game. FWIW, Strahd is by no means my first time DMing but it is my first published adventure I have DM'd, although I ran some of Salt marsh and some shit from Yawning Portal in homebrew games. Slight CoS spoilers.
Some things I like about DMing Strahd:
-Atmosphere. My group as a whole prefers a more serious tone and I absolutely prefer to DM this way.
-Good NPCs. As written in the book many NPCs are missed opportunities, but allowed some adaptability. The NPCs the book nails are amazing. Players will never forget Madame Eva or Doru or Izek or Rictavio. There's also not a whole shitload of them compared to my homebrew games, and the NPCs that stick around are quite memorable.
-The length. We are not done. But Strahd, compared to my homebrew games, is quite short. This seems like it'll wrap up in 6 months with weekly sessions, maybe slightly longer.
-Strahd. Strahd is an amazing villain. Just… The amount of psychological profiles and whatnot people have posted about Strahd is just absurd. But it's for good reason. Strahd is truly an amazing character. My party simultaneously hates him, pities him, respects him, and somewhat admires him.
My dislikes include:
-Ireena. To be fair, it's not that I dislike her per se, it's more that starting the module on Barovia, (as opposed to Krezk which I've seen suggested) sucked mechanically. I did a lot of research on running Ireena, she's great and all, but I dislike the idea of the gang carting around an NPC for too long. Ireena worked mostly as a healer and someone who explained Barovia a bit. To be clear i do not mind running NPCs with the gang, it's just that I'd rather not if I can. This is mostly due to our party size, in all honesty.
-The atmosphere of Strahd is also it's worse part; hear me out, the atmosphere is great but it is extremely oppressive and at times (to be fair we are playing this throughout the winter) is just a barrage of demoralizing and creepy shit. I do like this, but it really feels dark at times. When I told the group a saber-tooth tiger was loose in Vallaki, I think they thought I was fucking drunk.
-The size of Barovia. Barovia is small. I actually made the region slightly larger. It shouldn't be huge but I do wish there was a bit more to chew on throughout it. I have supplemented my game with Strahd Reloaded and other great guides. It's not that it needs to be physically big. But I feel like the campaign is severely dominated by Castle Ravenloft in a way. As small as Barovia is, there's a large swathe of the map that is mostly heinous things for the players to uncover.
The two modules I really want to run someday are Dragonheist and Rime of the Frost Maiden. I have heard excellent things about DH.
A bit on our play style — as a DM I dislike running dungeon crawls. I will use them for sure, but I prefer shorter dungeons.
My group loves roleplay both with itself and with NPCs.
As a DM, I do like survival-type rules so to speak. I like the PCs being able to get lost, having to worry about food on long voyages, that kind of shit.
When I run combat I prefer there to be a purpose or a "gimmick" to combat. I will never roll random combat encounters just to give the group something to do. I like combat with stakes, or combat that centers around interesting terrain.
Do you guys have any advice for Frost Maiden vs Dragon Heist? My LGS does not have Dragon Heist. I have flipped through Frost Maiden. I will admit — the intro did not engross me the way Strand's did. But it seems serviceable, and other parts of the book seem excellent.
Are there guides similar to Strahd Reloaded or Fleshing out Strahd for DH of Frost Maiden?
- Ever wondered what a gothic horror Curse of Strahd looks like when played by five CoS DMs? Watch Twice Bitten today at 1pm EST/10am PST
- How Much can you Change within a Module while still playing the Module?
- A PC got planeshifted to Mechanus or Barovia (minor Curse of Strahd spoilers)
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "Dragonheist of Frost Maiden for seven players? Lengthy post" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
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