Help me make Strahd von Zarovich for ICRPG


#1

So I finished running a two year long 5th edition Curse of Strahd game for my group this past October. It was hella fun, and we had a great time especially with Castle Ravenloft. I switched out DM duties for a much needed break; my friend is running Delta Green and now I am running an Altered State sandbox between his adventurers.

A little while back, I was playing Darkest Dungeon, thinking about Star Trek TNG and the Moriarty holodeck episodes, and I had a thought; wouldn’t it be a cool halloween one shot to have my Altered State runners be invited to try out the newest virtual video game and enter Castle Ravenloft? I was thinking it could be the standard trope of rumors saying people die in the game and die in real life. Someone invites the players to the game (they have no idea it will be Castle Ravenloft). Upon entering I hand the table a bunch of pre-gens all based on characters from the 5e module who they met when we played our game (Ireena, Ismark, Victor Valkovich, Van Richten, Esmerelda, etc.). Each runner picks one but keeps their own personality, like they are playing a video game character. Their goal; explore the castle, kill Strahd, and escape before the night is over. If they die, they choose a new character from the roster. If all characters are exhausted, the runners start dying.

Anyway, excuse my rambling but I am really excited about this idea and think my group would really love it (Plus I could invite some more friends who never got to play Curse of Strahd with us for a fun one shot). I figure the first thing I should do is convert Strahd over to ICRPG. How can I make him challenging in this type of scenario? How would you stat him out?

tl;dr: I want to run Castle Ravenloft as a “holodeck video game” in my Altered State sandbox. How would you stat Strahd von Zarovich?

Help me shieldwall, you’re my only hope.


#2

Howdy,

What a great idea!

I apologize if this is not particularly polished, but I can put some thoughts below here. For anyone reading this, please feel free to offer criticisms if you think it would be helpful to the OP.

So my general strategy would NOT be to make a faithful recreation of Strahd. Instead, make a big boss ICRPG monster with Strahd’s skin, using your own experiences with the group and the game. In the end the group will never know the whole stat block, so as long as this thing looks and feels like Strahd, it IS Strahd.

For me, a big boss monster in ICRPG has a series of larger than life actions which interact with the party and the environment in interesting ways, preferably in some pattern that the group can learn throughout the combat. What does Strahd have that could do this? Shapeshifting, charm, spells, supernatural strength, and summoning children of the night as well as other minions come to mind for me, but maybe other things come to mind for you.

Start by searching your notes or your memory for the Strahd your players know by going back to the mental highlight reel of your previous adventure, and then recreating the aspects of him that created the most shock and awe. What powers did he use that really kicked the table back on its heels? You want those to show up for sure.

Using this philosophy (I’m not making Strahd, I’m making an ICRPG boss monster and then laying a skin over it based on my players’ interactions with Strahd in the past), I might do something like this:

Hearts: 5 or 6 Hearts. They’ll be focusing fire and I don’t want him dropping that quick when he toys with them.

Rolls: About +5 or 6 to all stats and rolls, depending on the pregens. Though I might do something where he has like +5 when he’s “just messing around” and around +7 or 8 when he is fighting for his life and is no longer toying with them.

Actions: Because he’s Strahd, I’d probably give him 1 action per player. If you don’t like this kind of play you could scale it back to 1-3 actions a round, or even all the way down to 1 action per round (just remember if you do this you’ll want to surround him with minions and threats and terrain to keep the party from just burning him down to a little fanged nubbin).

Actions that were popular at my table which I’ve already mentioned were his charm, his shapeshifting, his raw strength, and his ability to summon children of the night. Plus spells are cool. The next step would be to decide where the group is going to meet Strahd, and create ICRPG actions for these specific environments.

I’m a little tight on time so I’ll pause here. Let me know if you’d like to bounce ideas back and forth, I’m happy to respond later.

Regeneration: How strong you want his regen to be really depends on the strength of the pregens, and the way they are fighting him. If he is all alone in the middle of an empty room just getting burned down, lots of regen. If you’re going to make them fight for every shot they take at him, less regen. I’d probably give him an action that regens health instead of making it an every action kinda deal.

You can also thumb through the core monsters for some ideas on how you’d like to handle Strahd’s customary resistances. Given that its a one-shot and you have the luxury of making pre-generated characters, you can tailor these to what the group has access to really easily.

Hope some of this helped,

Dice Goblin


#3

I 100% agree with that, and was going to start at that point as well. I think a lot of his 5e stat block can easily translate over to ICRPG anyway.

One thought I had is that he could use a bite attack to initiate a healing timer. So if he bites a player, he heals automatically each turn for 1d4 turns. But the players would have a way to cancel this out/lower the timer (Holy water, silver, etc).

Anyway, excellent advice here! I have nearly a year to plan this, so I will start writing some notes and re-watching some of Hank’s monster design videos.

After that, the next thing to tackle is the castle itself, which I think will be pretty easy and will be based on Professor Dungeon Masters recent video.