Ravenloft: The Shadow Fallen
Strahd von Zarovich
The noble ruler of Barovia, thirteenth to bear his name
Count Strahd von Zarovich is a pale man apparently in his late twenties or early thirties. His jet-black hair is kept swept back from his face, resulting in a prominent brown and widow’s peak, and his dark, liquid eyes have an intensity that can make even the strongest man nervous. He tends to dress in exquisite finery, albeit in a somewhat outdated style, though his only adornments are a tasteful ruby-and-gold necklace and a gold signet ring. His physique is lean but muscular, and he has been noted for his height—an inch or two more than six feet.
Strahd (technically Strahd XIII) is the ruler of the County of Barovia, a moderately-sized nation in the Balinok Mountains. Strahd was raised in a series of foreign boarding schools before returning home twenty years ago to take the reins from his father, who passed away soon after. Where the previous count was something of a recluse, the younger Strahd has shown more of a willingness to make public appearances and proclamations, primarily having to do with strengthening the nation’s borders against Gundarakite refugees.
Despite his more open nature, Strahd maintains the family tradition of keeping only a minimal staff for his ancestral home, Castle Ravenloft, and hosting few audiences within the crumbling edifice. The people of the nation do not love their ruler, since he comes from a long line of tyrants, but they have a deep respect for him personally, as well as a healthy fear of his lineage. Old rumors still paint the von Zarovich name with stories of evil magic and madness, and not a small number of Barovians suspect their count of dabbling with dark forces.
Those who have met Strahd in person describe him as a man of great intensity but little passion. His words are cultured and measured, backed by a confidence so supreme as to almost be arrogance. He perceives much and offers little in return, and he expects to receive the respect and deference his rank demands. He tolerates neither disrespect nor foolishness. For all of that, he seems to genuinely cherish his homeland.