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Strahd’s Stat Block: What The Numbers Mean

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Strahd’s Stat Block: What The Numbers Mean

A guide to give your rendition of Strahd some real bite.

Since the dawn of Dungeons and Dragons, dungeon masters have been searching for the answer to a simple question. How do I make a super cool final boss for my players? Well, I cant answer that question, but I can give you some tips on how to run my favorite villain of all time. Follow along as I look into Strahd’s Stat Block and what the numbers mean and how to make this villain play as terrifyingly as he’s written.

Please note, this article will contain Curse of Strahd spoilers!

Who Is Strahd von Zarovich?

Strahd is probably one of the most iconic villains in the Dungeons and Dragons universe. Since his original showing in 1983 in the original Ravenloft, Strahd has instilled joy and fear in many dungeon masters and players alike.

In 2016, Wizards of the Coast decided to update and modernize Ravenloft, releasing Curse of Strahd. Since then this module has been a fan favorite for new and experienced players alike, and of course the main focus is our big bad evil guy Strahd von Zarovich himself.

Strahd shows himself multiple times throughout the campaign, standing ominiously and even interacting with the party directly several times. Either to taunt them or try to win them over and have them join his side, and with the excellent writing present in this module some of the more morally ambiguous PCs may find themselves tempted to even join him.

How to Use Strahd’s Stats to Your Advantage as a DM

Strahd based purely on his stat block is problematic to say the least. He doesn’t really have much going on if you run him exactly as you would any other monster based off of his stats alone. Sporting 16 AC and 144hp, standard vampire resistances, vampire immunities, and his highest saves are +9. While he is intimidating, any good sun-sword wielding angry level 15 paladin of Bahamut is going to absolutely eviscerate him. However, Strahd does have some redeeming beefy base stats with an 18 in STR, CHA, DEX, and CON a 15 in WIS and a big-brained 20 INT.

This means your big bad villain across a year long campaign is only CR15. Yep, that’s pretty underwhelming at first glance, but Strahd’s strength doesn’t lie in the numbers and dice rolls, it lies in his tactics.

Strahd didn’t make it this far because he has great spells or a really cool big sword, he made it here because he understood how to turn every fight in his favor (although fireball probably did help). When running Strahd, I always recommend making the fight cover the entirety of the castle if possible.

Strahd has a special lair action that allows him to pass through walls and floors in Ravenloft as though they aren’t even there. Abuse this and bait foolhardy adventurers into traps and other horrors that could reside in the castle. He also has the Regeneration ability which lets him turn fights into stalemates.

The key is to remember that Strahd isn’t a brawler, he’s a leader and his stat block reflects that. The more resources the party spends chasing him and blowing up his minions the less they have to throw at him when he decides to sink his teeth in.

Keep in mind Strahd is also a 9th-level caster and won’t hesitate to befuddle and confuse players with a well-placed fireball through a fog cloud or even magically control them with his charm action. This could, and probably will, turn party members against each other or could potentially make them think one of them is a plant for the big man himself.

At the end of the day Strahd is a fan of theatrics and as a DM you should be too. If the fight plays out in a satisfactory and fun ending then your job is done (even if it happens to be a whimper instead of a bang). That’s all I have for you and please if you enjoyed this check out more of our content. Heres one of my favorites, and check the links below as well.

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