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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Dungeons & Dragons - Curse of Strahd

Now that I've gone over the book in agonizing detail, I am ready to write a review of Curse of Strahd, a Dungeons & Dragons adventure meant for characters levels 1-10. I'll try and make this short and sweet (hours later: I failed).

You can buy this adventure and the tarokka deck on amazon here:

Curse of Strahd: A Dungeons & Dragons Sourcebook (D&D Supplement)
D&D: Curse of Strahd Tarokka Deck

We'll go over the good stuff, the bad stuff, and then I'll give my overall thoughts.

The Good

This adventure is something of a "re-imagining" of the original Ravenloft adventure, with a bunch of extra stuff added in. They did this in 3rd edition with Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, and I think Curse of Strahd pulls it off far better.

The entire concept of needing to go track down the different items to defeat Strahd gives the heroes a reason to go to these side places, so they don't feel like filler.

You can really tell that a wizards staffer wrote this adventure, as opposed to the outside studios that made Princes of the Apocalypse, Out of the Abyss and etc. This adventure is much tighter and cohesive. Everything has a certain rhyme or reason, and the different locales are linked to each other in natural ways.

Often in the other 5e adventures, you could sense that different people worked on different chapters. This led to an uneven feel and a lack of cohesiveness that meant you had to sit down and put in a lot of work to make the adventure feel like a continuous story rather than a collection of isolated locales.

Lots of Material to Raid

My favorite NPC
Many of the locations in Curse of Strahd are a lot of fun and are worthy of being pulled out and used in your own campaign even if you never use this adventure.

Vallaki: This area is overloaded with great stuff. It's a little crowded and confusing, but I love the Wachters and I think Izek Strazni is a top notch bad guy.

Ruins of Berez: Baba Lysaga is a fantastic villain. I think every DM should try and put this chapter into their campaign in some way. I am fascinated to see if there is any link to Baba Yaga. There's so many possibilities.

The Amber Temple: I'm a bit torn on this place. It feels sort of like it doesn't belong in this book. It's a great locale and maybe I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure it actually defines just who the Dark Powers of Ravenloft are! I love it. If you are running a campaign that involves Vecna, I think you should definitely use this place. It honestly feels like this temple can be the centerpiece of a Vecna-based adventure or campaign.

Van Richten's Tower: I love this area so much. It's simple and very D&D. You can use the traps here in any campaign.

Billions of Good Ideas
 

The most important thing to me in any product is new, fun ideas. Stuff that inspires me and the players. This book is full of them.

The Dream Pastries are fantastic. Stella, the girl who acts like a cat is in my opinion a really fun NPC. The Revenants in Argynvostholt are very cool and I think Sir Godfrey looks awesome. The flesh golem bride is a hilariously creepy idea that can lead to all sorts of great things. As soon as I read the name Seriach the Hell Hound Whisperer, I knew I had to use this NPC in my own campaign in some fashion. Even though she's just one of the NPCs in the crypts, Sasha Ivliskova the old vampire wife of Strahd's who has been locked away and forgotten immediately gave me a lot of cool ideas.

There's even good little ideas in a throwaway item like Rictavio's journal. There's a mention of an orc who can bite through chains and there is a description of conjoined goblin twins. You just read those entries and an NPC pops into your head, fully formed.

Links to Many Different Settings

Tenebrous aka Undead Orcus
One of the most enjoyable things about this book is that there are quiet little links to many other D&D products. From what I understand, the Wizard of Wines is from Rahasia (which was written by the Hickmans, who also wrote the original Ravenloft adventure). There's a prominent NPC linked to Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure. There's vestiges linked to Dead Gods and Savage Tide. I bet there's a ton more that I didn't even pick up on.

I really appreciate the time and effort put in to give us those sorts of details. This book was not slapped together. It feels like they went over it time and again, adding layers of tweaks and details. It really shines through.

The Art

One of my favorite pieces of art in Curse of Strahd
I am really pleased that they put some full-page images in this book. I love D&D art. It really helps me visualize things. I would say that most of the art in this book is above average, but there has been no art in 5e that has really blown me away. Are we simply past the era of superstar artists?

I still maintain that if there is a great 5e artist, it is Mike Schley. His maps are fantastic and fun to look at.

Steady Improvement

Each time wizards of the coast puts out a new D&D adventure, they fix some mistakes from the last one. Previously, there was a problem in that the adventures were simply too long. Going from level 1 to 16 or whatever takes a lot longer than 6 months for most groups.

In this adventure, you go from levels 1-10. There is still a ton of material and you will definitely get your money's worth, but you won't necessarily need to invest a year of your life of weekly play to get through it.

The Bad

Let me say that I think this is the best adventure so far, and I think it wins by a wide margin. Tyranny of Dragons was uneven and underdeveloped in many places. Princes of the Apocalypse just felt flat to me and I hated the haunted keeps. Out of the Abyss was cool but read like it was a slog and I get the sense a lot of people bailed out on the adventure once they got to the surface at level 8.

So I definitely would say that Curse of Strahd is worth buying. Even if you don't run it, there is a metric ton of material in the book that you can use for your campaign. That said...

Does Anyone Really Want a Remake?

Judging from the popularity of this adventure, I'd say that the answer to this is "yes." But for me, I'd much prefer a sequel that builds on past events rather than a "re-telling." This adventure is handled in a way where you could say it is a sequel, but if you ran the original Ravenloft adventure then you're putting your players through a deluxe version of the same thing.

I want new ideas. I want underdeveloped concepts from previous editions to get a chance to shine. I want new classics. Re-creating old material is, to me, a way of saying: "The old stuff was better and we can't top it." That's not true. There's a lot of people out there with awesome ideas. Just give them an outlet and let's move things forward.

Filler

While they put in a herculean effort to make all of the locations worthwhile, some of them come off as filler. Tsolenka Pass seems very insignificant. Yester's Hill is basically an elaborate encounter with druids. The Werewolf Clan feels extremely optional and the werewolves feel like one horror element too many. Argynvostholt comes off to me as overblown and almost completely extraneous.

The weirdest one is the hags in Old Bonegrinder. There is a good chance that the group will be 4th level when they go here, and they will be walking into a TPK against three night hags. What's weirder is that when the author ran this on Dice, Camera, Action, he changed them to weaker green hags. Why were they night hags in the first place?

New DMs Don't Know What to Do with This

I have read similar comments from numerous new DMs on Reddit. They are saying that they bought this book and they have no idea how to run it.

That is because wizards is still organizing these books in that weird way where each location gets a chapter and you have to dig through them to find out how the plot gets you from one place to another.

The whole book starts off with miscellaneous jumbled chapters loaded with all sorts of disparate concepts like how the mists work and where things are on the overland map, often then referring us to another chapter for the bulk of the material.

The entire Tser Pool Encampment is actually lodged into one of these chapters rather than being given its own section. It's a tiny location, but it contains such a major part of the plot (the tarokka reading) that you expect it to have its own chapter rather than being buried in that miscellaneous Barovia description section. I think that if they had put Tser Pool, the gypsy description and the tarokka rules all in one singular gypsy-centric chapter, it would have made things easier for me.

In the case of Curse of Strahd, the organization makes a bit more sense because the entire idea of this adventure is that you do the tarokka reading and are basically randomly assigned areas to visit. But it's up to the DM to figure out how to get the group to these places, and new DMs are going to have a hard time with that. The hooks that take you from one area to another are buried deep in each chapter. You have to read the entire book to understand how to link things together, and you better take notes because few people will be able to remember all of that material.

This is a big book and it requires a lot of reading. I can see how many newcomers might feel overwhelmed. We really needed a page with a synopsis/sample plot, detailing how the campaign progresses from one location to the next.

I still think they should be organizing these adventures like Pathfinder Adventure Paths - linear. If you want a sandbox, It's not hard at all to make a sandbox out of a railroad. But it is very time-consuming to turn this sandbox into a path. And I still really wish they'd put page number references rather than "see chapter 5 of the DMG."

Continuous Organizational Issues
I found this hazard to be annoyingly difficult to look up.
What's funny about these organizational choices is that I personally benefit from them. My "guides" to these adventures where I try to help DMs prepare are by far the most popular articles on my site. To me, that says that DMs need help with these books. That should not be the case! The point of a published adventure is to make it so that the DM does not have to do a lot of work!

Even the best adventures require a certain amount of prep and research. When I ran White Plume Mountain for 5e a year or two ago, it took just a few hours to prep. I got four full sessions out of it. I cannot tell you the hours upon hours I have spent looking up stuff and connecting dots with Curse of Strahd. It felt like a chore. It felt like work. It took me weeks and sometimes I dreaded going back to it. And I love D&D! I am a big Chris Perkins fan!

Having to sit there and look up every god damn magic item, monster and especially the traps and environmental hazards (which are really annoying to find) was the worst! Here's an example...

The Charm of Heroism: On page 39 of Curse of Strahd, the heroes might be given a charm of heroism. We are told to "see "Supernatural Gifts" in chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master's Guide."

Now let's go find it. We don't have a page number so we have to flip through the book. What a pain. We find it. It says "This charm allows you to give yourself the benefit of a potion of heroism as an action."

So guess what?! Now we have to find the potion of heroism. No page number, no nothing. Let's go find it.

It's on page 188 of the DMG. Guess what it says? "...For the same duration, you are under the effect of the bless spell (no concentration required)."

NOW WE HAVE TO LOOK UP BLESS.

It's on PH page 219. +d4 to attack rolls or saves for one minute.

I really, really wish that they would just write what some of this stuff does right in the adventure text. So many games are going to come to a screeching halt because of this charm of heroism. DMs who don't prepare this kind of thing in advance are suddenly flipping through multiple books while their players sit there and time ticks away. It's an easy thing to overlook, as you'll assume you can just flip to a page and boom there's the info.

The Art

I mentioned the good stuff about the art, now here's the bad. I personally don't like the way Strahd looks. To me, Strahd will always look like the guy in the AD&D 1st edition Clyde Caldwell painting. In this book, Strahd is.. purple? Sort of? And the details on his face in almost every piece are a bit mushy. 

Seriously though, look at the above comparison. Am I just an old fogey? The 5e cover certainly isn't bad at all. I like the surreal quality of it, which is something I really enjoyed on Jeff Easley covers. It really isn't fair to ask anyone to follow up an iconic piece of D&D art. But to me, that is not Strahd.

Couldn't they have just hired Clyde Caldwell to do the 5e cover and update his look? I understand that the Bela Lugosi-style vampire is extremely dated, but this new dude does absolutely nothing for me.

The interior art is also hampered by the 5e "page rips," something I've groaned about before. This design choice actually obscures parts of the art and in some cases makes them look significantly worse.

Check out this example. This is art of the gates of Barovia:

Do you see how the white paper obscures the top of the art? It's so close to one of the statues that it lessens the effect - it becomes difficult to see that both heads are lopped off.

There also seems to be an issue with how the art turns out when printed. While I like that full page art is used, a lot of the full page pieces are muddy or vague. Take a look at this image from page 83. I have the digital version and how it looks in the book side by side.

And keep in mind that the above book version is actually a bit brighter than what I am looking at in my book! I understand that some of this must just be the mechanics of how things are printed. But between the darkening and the page rips, I think the artists are being done a disservice. When I saw this art of the ghoul in the book, I thought it was horrible. Most of the page was black. It felt like a missed opportunity. But then I found the original art online.. and it's good!

The Poster Map

I think I am in the minority on this, but I feel strongly about it. The poster map feels wasted. On one side, there's a map of Barovia and the towns. This is useful to a degree, as you and your players can look at it on the table and track where the group is, particularly when they are on the road.

The other side has the Castle Ravenloft map. Even at poster map size, the castle sections are small. They're isometric, which is a bit confusing. Worst of all, this poster map has the secret doors and the traps on it.

So if you plop this thing down on the table, your players are going to know a lot more about the castle than they should and an entire element is taken out of the game. That's not the end of the world. But even when this thing is on the table, you need to squint and turn this gigantic map around to kind of, sort of, point out where the heroes are.

Even if the DM just wants to use the map to personally refer to in play, how the heck are you going to do that? It's gigantic! Are you going to fold up your map in ways it wasn't meant to be bent? Are you going to unfurl this massive thing and hold it up in front of your face and speak to the players?

To me, this thing is completely impractical. I would have preferred a separate booklet with the castle sections on individual pages with DM notes.

I have always liked battle maps. This poster could have had one side with some generic, reusable areas at five feet per square. Divide one side up into quarters for four maps: The road, a village street, an inn and a church, cave or dungeon interior. The other side can have some specific but reusable locales. Mostly Castle Ravenloft areas - especially the crypts! In fact, an entire side might be devoted to the crypts, as that is a massive area that the adventurers will probably spend a lot of time in.

I know 5e is miniatures-optional, but there are some locations in every adventure where you just need minis or some kind of visual representation of where the characters are and what the room is like.

Death House

This mini-adventure is designed to get the heroes from level 1 to level 3. Honestly, I think it doesn't belong in this book. It's not a bad adventure. I love the idea. It would be a great Expeditions scenario.

I think there's too many rooms in Death House and it feels like if you don't run the adventure carefully, your group will get bored. I also don't like the choice of final monster at all. This location has no real connection to anything in Curse of Strahd, which is a bummer because there is so much material out there to play with.

Instead of going through Death House, the group could have interacted with Strahd or one of his underlings like Rahadin. They could have encountered Beucephalus the nightmare in the woods. They could have found Ezmerelda's trail, or a villager comatose from a dream pastry. A vestige could have reached out to tempt them. Sergei's spirit might have lead them into Barovia. They could have had some kind of chase or interaction with the gypsies. There's so many possibilities.

I think Curse of Strahd would have been much better served with an introductory mini-adventure that brings the group into Barovia and lets them have a few easy fights and roleplaying encounters, so that new players have the opportunity to learn the basics of the game. In fact, they probably should have just done the Madam Eva tarokka reading right off the bat rather than hoping the group makes their way to Tser Pool.

Tarokka Woes

It's not the end of the world or anything, but I pre-ordered the tarokka deck well before the Curse of Strahd book even came out. The deck did not actually come out and arrive at my house until at least a month after the book did.

I had originally planned on starting Curse of Strahd right when the book came out. I would have been really annoyed to find that I wouldn't even have the deck when my group got to the tarokka reading. I actually looked into buying an older version of the deck online when I heard that the official deck wouldn't be out on time.

It doesn't seem like rocket science to know that the tarokka deck should be out by the time the book is, if not before. All of those Adventurer's League groups are starting Curse of Strahd right when the book is out. These potential customers are right there in stores where the decks can be sold. The tarokka reading is essential to the adventure and is meant to be done in one of the first sessions. If the group goes through the reading and the deck isn't even out yet, then that DM isn't going to buy the deck when it does come out because it is no longer needed! It's too late!

Overall

Most of my gripes really have nothing to do with the actual content of the adventure, but rather how it is presented. Every single 5e adventure requires a ridiculous amount of "homework" and I think that is a shame.

But the fact remains that if you can get past all of that, this is the best 5e adventure yet. It is full of great ideas. Many of the locations are fantastic. Tons of thought and care went into this and it really shows.

I think a lot of people might regard Curse of Strahd as a modern classic, perhaps even moreso than The Red Hand of Doom. Time will tell on that one. But there is no question that this is a great adventure that is well worth your money.

11 comments:

TeamRocket Grunt said...

Hello! I am a huge fan and this blog does such a huge service for the community, it really does. I wanted to ask...could you make a article about your note taking style? You seem to condensed entire campaigns into perfect notes and while I'll write out pages of info, you do the same in a short paragraph while containing the same information.

TeamRocket Grunt said...

Hello! I am a huge fan and this blog does such a huge service for the community, it really does. I wanted to ask...could you make a article about your note taking style? You seem to condensed entire campaigns into perfect notes and while I'll write out pages of info, you do the same in a short paragraph while containing the same information.

Sean said...

TeamRocket Grunt: I have thought about writing an article like that before, I guess it is time to do it. Thanks for the idea! Writing notes can be a real pain but for me it's essential, as I retain the information really well that way.

jerry247 said...

Haha, charm of heroism is how I feel every time I use a 5e index; see blah takes up more space than the page number!

I've unfolded the map twice now, once to look at it about a week after I finished reading it and once to count hexes along all the roads!

My big complaint comes from running it in AL. The lack of specified XP and magic weapons are hard things to deal with. Since AL is now able to be played at home, I see no reason to not play it that way when running mods so it seems strange to make most of the XP milestone as opposed to writing a number at the end of a section.

I also found it weird the location order and levels. If the players escort ireena to vallaki why would they stop along the way? It's a 4 hour trip and is ismark hates the vistani.

Other than those logistical issues I really am enjoying it! Thanks for all your insight into this mod.

Sean said...

jerry247: That's a great point about Ireena and Vallaki. I was piecing together how a campaign would go and a number of those issues came up. I also agree about the order of chapters, it's kind of bizarre that they're not in order of character level. Castle Ravenloft is in chapter 4. I don't get that. It's not a big thing but coupled with the other organizational hiccups it adds up to a sort of disorienting experience. Hope you game is going well. Thanks!

Coffeemate said...

I know this is months later since you posted your review, but I just wanted to add how I think your criticisms are spot-on. One of the things we’ve all noticed is that these campaign books have been getting progressively better during the life of 5e, especially when they are handled by D&D’s in-house design team. However, there are still many ways in which these mega-adventures trip up. To be sure, the authors — and especially Chris Perkins — knows how to write an adventure, but when it comes to creating the *product* itself, the design team has a ways to go.

Like yourself, I cannot tell you how many times I have complained to my play group about how the referencing is organized in the Players Handbook and DM’s Guide. The indices are an abomination. Instead of providing a page number for the thing you’re looking for, instead, you are directed to have to look up something else. While this isn’t an exact example of the referencing problems in CoS, it does show a lack of attention to how a book works in practice. A DM should always reach the answer he’s looking for on the first attempt to find it. If there is a cross-reference, it is better to simply write the mechanics into the adventure. To your argument: who cares if the Charm of Heroism behaves exactly like the potion? If a DM doesn’t find out what it is after he’s had to stop and look it up, then what harm is there in writing the mechanics into the original text? The authors aren’t saving any text space.

Additionally, there have been organizational problems with how the chapters are ordered. Why bury the intro adventure, Death House, toward the back? Why is Castle Ravenloft so much farther toward the front of the book, when it is logical that players will not be of sufficient level (or have the collected magic resources that serves as the backbone of the campaign) until the end? The previous two adventure books also fell down in this way, and it only creates more of a barrier for DMs to familiarize themselves with the content before they can begin running it.

Sandbox adventures are tough to write, and even tougher to explain to readers on how they should be properly run. Sandbox campaigns are even more difficult to write properly, and need to be carefully constructed when they make it into book form. A two-page “How to Run This Campaign” section in the beginning would have been extremely helpful.

My last gripe — and I swear, I love this product as much as the next person, it’s a huge leap forward in my opinion — has to do with the map. The isometric castle side is utterly useless. There was NO lightbulb that lit up when planning that out. What in the world is a DM going to do with a map where everything is revealed to the players? It should have been an unkeyed map for the players to see so that they can follow their progress into the castle. These maps should be for in-game use, not for the private eyes of the DM. When running each portion, a piece of the map can be printed inside the book that is properly keyed so that the DM knows where things are. We’ve seen this lack of understanding what purpose the map serves before. In Halls of Undermountain (4e), one side of the pull-out was a map of the tavern that leads to the dungeon itself. Why do players or DMs need that? Nothing happens there! It seems like the basic question isn’t being asked, “How is this visual going to be used by players and DMs? What purpose does it serve?”

With as few products being released for D&D, I would expect these types of issues to be addressed. I am sure that the D&D team is impossibly small at this point. And I’m sure there is an editing phase that happens somewhere along the line… but if they put as much attention into crafting the product as they did the story, we’d be singing nothing but praises.

Sean said...

Coffeemate: I agree that they should just put what the charm does right in the text. They ask you to flip pages so much, and then they don't give you page numbers. It can really hurt a session! They really need a "how to run this" page in these! I think they are getting better, but I get the feeling they aren't going to shift away from the way they organize these adventure books. If I remember right, one of their surveys said that most DMs like sandboxes, so I think they're trying to accommodate those people. Thanks!

jerry247 said...

You post on enworld don't you? I like to see the same people around. There is an improved index Iprinted oout andkeep in the back of my phb/dmg. At least the mmonster manual index is good!

also, neuronphaser did a good screen for CoS, he put an NPC index in there i Iove.

Joshua Imboden said...

There's a whole flawed design philosophy in this book, where it seems the authors *hate* to repeat anything, and you'd best reread multiple times, writes notes, and/or scramble around trying to find the one place where you saw something important. For example, some of the most important information about the Abbey in Krezk is found in the appendices under the description of the Deva, like what he is, why he's doing what he's doing, and why the mongrel-folk exist. So much cross-referencing!

I think there are multiple, multiple ways to run this adventure, and it would have been helpful had the authors made a few suggestions. For one, I think the huge abundance of areas is to provides options and choices to the DM/PCs, NOT to use every single one of them, as I think the game would quickly lose momentum, as it would take a year to even START Castle Ravenloft.

So, the adventure could ask some questions of the DM like:
1. Are you interested in having the players entering and leaving Castle Ravenloft multiple times? If not, skip something like Argenvystholt (sp?). If yes, be careful about how you present Strahd "inviting" them as he comes off as weak if the PCs simply come and go from his home at whim. (side note, having a minor NPC (Mad Mary's daughter) in Castle Ravenloft resolve a plotline set from the beginning of the game seems really odd and anti-climactic).
2. Are your players/characters bent more towards RP or Action? If the former, plan more around Vallakia, if the latter, focus more on hooks in Vallakia to the various areas outside of it.
3. About how long do you want to run this game? That will determine which areas to focus on or where to "trim".

Yada, yada, yada. It's like the designers were so afraid to come off as railroading that they gave minimal advice or structure.

Joshua Imboden said...

My particular structure is like this:
Prologue: Entering the lands of Barovia and going through Death House.

Act I: Encountering Ismark and Ireena, escaping from Barovia, stumbling into the Tser Pool encampment and having their fortunes read. This sets the stage for what they're going to do.

Act II: They try to take Ireena to Vallakia, but realize it's not a safe place. (my players wandered into the Toy Store early on, and realized Izek was looking for her). They want to go to Krezk now, which had also been suggested by Father Donovan in Barovia, but Krezk is barred unless they have wine. After some trevails with the Winery and Druids of Yester Hill, the group is allowed into Krezk, Ireena is called to the pool, and she is freed from her captivity*. Strahd swears revenge, and now the pressure is on to defeat him. He was content to toy with them before, but now he really wants to hurt them.

Act III: All the various side-quests to gather the three items and the ally.

Act IV: Now, finally having some kind of hope of a slim chance of beating him **, the party ventures into Castle Ravenloft for the final showdown. (And spends half a dozen game sessions exploring that dungeon). They defeat him.....or do they?

This is just the particular angle that I ended up taking with this game, but the book refuses to give you even this much suggestion as an option. That's why so many DMs are confused about what to do.

My analogy is that this is like trying to be an editor taking over a movie project when the director went out and filmed over 6 hours of footage. You'll have to trim, but what do you keep? Do you make this a taut 90 minute thriller, a 2-hour standard film, or a Peter Jackson style 3-hour epic? (I advise not making a 6-hour movie). In addition, a lot of the footage isn't that well linked together, so you'll have to come up with even more on your own to make this into a cohesive story.

*The way that "Something Blue" is set up is actually kind of crappy. The authors set up a nice climactic way to resolve the Ireena story-line, but do it in such a way that the PCs will likely try to interfere thinking that it's a trick. This is also the only way the book really resolves Ireena's storyline, so the DM may be confused about what to do if the PCs stop her from going to Sergei. I suspected that something like this would happen, so set her going to the pool when there were only 2 of the PCs there, and they still interfered thinking it was a trap. I ended up setting up additional plotline to get back there.

** Actually, Strahd is pretty easy for a level 10 party from a pure stat-perspective. Can't imagine if PCs did everything and got to level 15 or something.

Anonymous said...

Got a question to you Folks:

My Group now met Ezmeralda shortly after finishing the old wizards Tower where they found van Richtens Journal pages in Ezmeraldas wagon. They have already met Rictavio and now concluded that the half-elf and van Richten are one Person. Leveraging the material from van Richtens Journal they believe that Ezmeralda might not be Good with him due to their common history. And here is the Dilemma:

- Ezmeralda „was deeply moved“ by van Richtens act of mercy to spare her tribe (p. 230) – so she became his apprentice
- However, van Richten, as he wrote in his Journal, was everything else than merciful with the Vistani tribe: he unleashed a Horde of Zombies on them ans sees everybody killed (see his journal)
- In Addition he also has the strange behaviour to Keep severed Vistani heads for his Collection – a fact that Ezmeralda must be Aware of as she has searched the Tower room

So how can Ezmeralda be Good with van Richten knowing that he was responsible for so many deaths of her relatives (even if she does not treasure deep Feelings for her familiy) – she is chaotic-good, the Zombie Story must be not compatible with her world view?

For now, I think, that once whe will learn van Richtens identy (the Players have not uncovered this fact to her as suspicious as they are) she will eventually try to kill him…

Would be great to read your thoughts on this.