The Curse of Frogs
The Monster Hunter's Guide
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Dr. Rudolph van Richten, and long ago I lost a child to a monster. Since that time, I have battled such monsters, and others of all kinds. Barovia is home to countless dark things: vampires, ghouls, revenants, the walking dead, and lycanthropes. Folk tales cannot be trusted: the distinctions between vampirism and lycanthropy are often hopelessly muddled in Barovian story; in everyday life, few are lucky enough to know or care the difference between the creatures that walk the night.
However, there are those who walk Barovia and know more. What you see hear is a collection of notes and papers, materials shuffled randomly and stuffed into a leather pouch that I bought from a known thief. He said it contained magical formulae; it did not, but the bloodstained pages contained a small but exquisitely-cut jewel of information. The party who kept these journals must have spent many hours in camp detailing the beasts against which they fought.
For history’s sake, I have translated, rearranged, and recopied the material as it was salvageable. I have filled in a missing word or diagram where my knowledge of the subject was sufficient, and annotated there in my own hand. The cluebook here does not exhaustively cover all the terrors this land has to offer, but it covers an excellent survey of how to travel in this tortured land.
We believe these are no more than puppets sent to carry out the will of their creator. They wait like guardians within interior places: old churches and ruins. Though relentless, they should be feared only when in great numbers.
Found only in Castle Ravenloft, these guards are not men but arcane enchantments of suits of armor. Do not mistake them for mere decorations: they are fearsome foes.
Another deadly decoration. Found in Castle Ravenloft and other ruins of the country; these decorative and grotesque statues may not attack for long hours. Their hide is tough.
Ghouls and Ghasts
Found everywhere in cemeteries — no surprise there — but also mounting random assaults upon the villages and towns. Ghouls were once human, and now feed on the flesh of corpses, attacking with claws and bites. Ghasts were not once human, but are basically indistinguishable: no idea where they come from. Don’t stick around and ask.
Some goblyns inhabit the Svalich Woods, but unlike in more common countries they don’t seem to raid cities or even attack highwaymen. They’re not much to worry about: no match for trained men-at-arms.
We have only met one once: in the burial vault of an ancient elven warrior. Not sure if this luminous phantasm was singular, or if this is something that happens to all elves that die in Barovia. Silence its wails immediately.
Dogs these are not, and yet not wolves. This place is wild for wolves, but these dogs are fat and cute and breathe fire. What in the Nine hells is that.
These strange cursed fellows conduct themselves as a race of wise and good shape-changers. Useful if you need information, as long as you can convince them to cough it up. We convinced them we had freed a captured wretch from the Castle Ravenloft; then they talked to us. They love shiny things, including silver: odd.
Roving the wilderness everywhere, living in large caves and burrows. We spotted a rare albino werewolf in the wooded west areas of Barovia, but could not chase it down. It is possible to cure victims of the bite: travel to the Abbey and ask the healers for help.
Thankfully rare, but the supply is inexhaustible—kill one and it will rise again from the grave to seek you out. There’s a fair share in the Catacombs.
Beware of poorly-lit places: a.k.a., all of Barovia. Shadows are hard to spot without a bright light, and though they’re just wisps of things they drain your strength with cold touch. We found them in roaming packs in graveyards, dungeons, and ruins.
These things are nasty and their exact nature: unclear. They’re definitely undead though, because the cleric’s raise dead spell destroyed the heck out of it. Before that we threw EVERYTHING at it: hold, cold, poison, paralysis — and every silvered weapon in the pack. Began to think we were gonna die without touching it. Luckily some magic worked at last.
Back home treants are peaceful creatures. It must be something in the water here. The Undead Forest is full of normal-looking trees that’ll slam you in the back of the head as soon as you walk by. Bark turns out to be great armor, too, but the good thing is they can’t chase you.
Everyone in Barovia has a vampire story. All we’ll say is: stay out of range for the love of Light. They’re brutal in close combat and though you think they’d be loners they tend to swarm.
Another of these undead buggers. Hard to hit without magic, unaffected by hold. Not sure what works: we ran away.
This was the first beast we found in Barovia, and the largest. Some kind of crossbred wolf, with fierce instincts and impossible to tame. One can be handled easily; a pack of them will take you down. Be careful on the roads.
Another Gods-forsaken undead with its Gods-forsaken—does cold damage do nothing? Well fuck me for learning Ray of Frost from my Gran.