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Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game» Forums » General

Subject: Why does Strahd not have a sword attack? rss

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Rodney Rigoli
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Both the box and his mini depict him with this big impressive looking sword, and yet his villain card has no sword attack. I know it's a minor thing, but this has bugged me since I got the game. He regains HP with the bite attack. This is basically him feeding, so he wouldn't need to do it when at full HP. The bite attack is +8 to hit and causes 2 damage. Instead of doing this when he's at full HP, I suggest he should do a sword attack comparable to the Skeleton's charging slice, which is +9 to hit and also causes 2 damage. Maybe even give him +10 to hit.
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Stephen G Roy
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As a Strahd fan, the novel had him as a soldier before turning to necromancy. Recall also that the game is designed with slimmed-down combat
 
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Rodney Rigoli
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Mister_Barista wrote:
As a Strahd fan, the novel had him as a soldier before turning to necromancy. Recall also that the game is designed with slimmed-down combat


I know, I wasn't familiar with Strahd before the game, but I read up on him online. That's what I mean, though, just because he became a vampire doesn't mean he would stop fighting the way he always did. I mean, I presume he still had a sword in the D&D module and so forth that the DM could have him attack with. Why depict him with a sword if you weren't going to have him use it? Even with slimmed down combat, it would have been fairly simple. Some monsters and villains do have three attack options. He's the big bad of the game, he could have one more attack.
 
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Kristopher
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I jotted it down in my Risk campaign book. I always used to do that so I could replay my moments of glory over a glass of brandy in the sleeping quarters. --Arnold J. Rimmer--
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Well, in the original Ravenloft adventure module, Strahd actually doesn't HAVE a sword attack. He's listed as a Vampire with an Energy Drain attack, and a 10th level Magic User with spells.

Count Strahd Von Zarovich (The First Vampyr)
FREQUENCY: Unique
NUMBER APPEARING: 1
ARMOR CLASS:-1
MOVE: 12"/18"
HIT DICE: 10 (55 hit points)
% IN LAIR: 90%
TREASURE TYPE: F
NUMBER OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 5-10 (ld6+4)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Energy Drain
SPECIAL DEFENSES: +1 or better weapon to hit
MAGIC RESISTANCE: See below
INTELLIGENCE: Genius
ALIGNMENT: CE
SIZE: M
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

Although Strahd can be encountered in many places, he is always
encountered in the place indicated by your Fortunes of Ravenloft
results (see p. 4), unless he has been forced to his tomb.
Strahd is a slightly above-average vampire. He has the normal
18/76 strength and his blows drain 2 life levels from his oppo-
nents. Strahd has the usual vampire abilities. He can only be hit by
magical weapons and can regenerate 3 hit points per round. He
can assume gaseous form at will or shape change into a large bat.
He can charm person at will by gazing into a character's eyes,
causing that character to make a saving throw vs. spells with a
penalty of -2.

Strahd is also a 10th level magic user. He learned his magic
from studies during his life and from subsequent studies over the
centuries. His available spells are:
First level:
comprehend languages, hold portal, protection from good, sleep.
Second level:
invisibility, locate objects, mirror image, ESP.
Third level:
fireball, gust of wind, suggestion.
Fourth level:
polymorph other, polymorph self.
Fifth level:
animate dead, distance distortion

Strahd has a variety of spies and servants. They report to him four
times each day (at dawn, noon, dusk, and midnight). There is a
60% chance that Strahd knows the PCs' location at these times. If
Strahd knows their location, he attacks the PCs—wherever they
are—within two hours. Strahd chooses the time and method of his
attacks carefully.
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Rodney Rigoli
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Okay, then why does his picture on the box and mini have a sword? It just doesn't make sense.
 
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Joke Meister
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I guess the answer is simply that the mechanics and art of the game are done by different people and for different purposes and possibly even at different times. The producer probably (possibly?) never thought about making sure that both worked together or maybe it did cross their mind but by the time they realized it was an issue, maybe it was too late to change (eg the art and mini had already been completed and they didn't want the additional cost of commissioning new art or sculpting a new mini).

From an art point of view, the art would have been commissioned from an artist. It's entirely possible that the artist doesn't play D&D or have any familiarity with the Ravenloft universe or simply relied on a brief from WotC for the art. That brief would possibly have included the character backstory and a brief around the "feel" that WotC wanted to capture in the art (ie they may not have known that Strahd was mechanically a magic user and mechanically unable to wield swords). Put all that together and you come up with character art showing Strahd wielding a sword.

Similar story with the actual miniature. The original sculptor was likely basing the sculpt on art that he received. If that art had the sword, then the sculpt also had the sword. In terms of the boardgame, I believe the minis were all based on old sculpts (rather than new sculpts specifically for the board game) although I could be wrong. Either way, you can see how the sword crept into the art and miniature sculpt from the background of the character itself.

However, in terms of in-game mechanics, D&D traditionally has very strict rules around what magic-users can wield. When Castle Ravenloft first came out, magic users weren't allowed to wear armour or use swords so the in-game mechanics for Strahd - being a magic user - wouldn't have any kind of sword attack.
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Rodney Rigoli
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Strahd wasn't just a magic user in life, though. I've read this, he was a soldier, not a wizard. He conquered Barovia as a human warlord, and only turned to sorcery later in life. There's no reason he can't continue wielding a sword. D&D is pretty malleable in general, there's plenty of ways to mix and match classes, races, and powers. I don't think there's any hard and fast rules that say magic users can't use swords. I'm playing an Eldritch Elf Knight in a campaign right now who is an excellent fighter who is also capable of using magic, and it's a pregenerated character.

Just because he is not listed with a sword in the basic description of him, a DM could have just decided that he carries a sword. You're probably right about the disconnect between the artists and the game developers, which is even more reason to implement a sword attack for him.
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Joke Meister
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Strahd comes from the original Ravenloft module which was released in 1983 - during the era of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. In those days, Eldritch Elf was not a playable race and Knight was not a playable class. More importantly, regardless of your character background, if you were a magic user, you weren't wearing armour and you weren't wielding a sword.

While you are correct in saying that D&D now is much more malleable, the designers of the boardgame drew from the original module for inspiration. For example, many of the events specifically reference things from the original module. The abilities of Strahd in the boardgame would all have been based on the abilities of Strahd in the original module - hence the lack of a sword strike ability.

Lastly, none of what I've been saying is an argument for why Strahd shouldn't be allowed to use swords. It's merely one possible explanation for why Strahd doesn't use swords in the boardgame.
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Rodney Rigoli
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I thought the boardgame was based on 4e?
 
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Joke Meister
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The boardgame is, as you say, based on 4e.

However, I think you're missing my point.

In determining what Strahd could do in the boardgame, the developers likely looked at what Strahd could do in the original Ravenloft module and replicated that for the boardgame. The original module never gave him a sword attack so as such, the boardgame Strahd doesn't have a sword attack either. The fact that he could wield a sword under 4e rules isn't really relevant as that wasn't how they went about the design of the characters abilities.

This is why I said that my comments are not an argument for Strahd not to have a sword attack but rather just a possible explanation for why he doesn't have a sword attack.
 
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Kristopher
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I jotted it down in my Risk campaign book. I always used to do that so I could replay my moments of glory over a glass of brandy in the sleeping quarters. --Arnold J. Rimmer--
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Rodney1120 wrote:
Okay, then why does his picture on the box and mini have a sword? It just doesn't make sense.


I was going to say: You know, I even HAVE that game and never noticed Strahd wielding a sword on the box.... until I realized I don't HAVE that box. (I bought a combined set that only came with the WoA and LoD boxes.)

 
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Alan Stewart
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http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/ddadventuresystem/images...

Yup, there's a sword there.
 
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Karl Schreiber
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Imagine if Strahd had a battle axe attack in the game. Now that would be confusing!
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Steve Shockley
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I think it would be cooler if Strahd's attack was just to insult your mom and put gum in your hair.
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Jakub W
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Just use your imagination. Strahd could use his sword to deflect his victim's weapon and then he could quickly close his distance between him and his victim. Finally he could attack with his teeth. Because he is a vampire lord he is very fast that's why those three actions are called bite devil
 
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