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Curse of Strahd: Post-mortem

Thank you again for following our play-through of "Curse of Strahd"!

Craig, Hjalmar and Mattiaz sat down right after the end of the campaign to look back on their memories from the journey. The total conversation clocked in at 2.5 hours and we hope that you will enjoy reminiscing about the twisted places we visited and the many wonderfully dark characters we met.

We have a few more things to prepare over the coming week but will be announcing our next campaign as soon as we can. Stay tuned!

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Curse of Strahd 41: Quietus

THIS IS THE FINAL EPISODE OF CURSE OF STRAHD

In November of 1462 the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus had finally heard the requests of Vlad III Dracula to join him in his war against the Ottomans. He arrived in Transylvania to negotiate with Vlad, who had now lost his throne to his brother Radu, whom the Ottomans favored.

After long negotiations Corvinus decided that Vlad was a liability he could not afford and had Vlad imprisoned in his palace in Visegrád. Fourteen years passed until he was mentioned in writing again.

In 1476 Radu’s successor as prince of Wallachia, Basarab, was seen by the Hungarians as too friendly to the Ottomans. Corvinus decided to recognize Vlad as the lawful prince of Wallachia and together with Moldavian support Vlad’s Hungarian army invaded his homeland. In the end of 1476 Vlad was again crowned Prince of Wallachia.

However, his reign would be short as Basarab returned with a large Ottoman army supporting him in early 1477. Vlad III Dracula met his end when his small army was vanquished by Basarab’s forces. Vlad’s corpse was supposedly cut in to pieces and his head was sent to Sultan Mehmed II.

According to the stories Vlad III Dracula was buried in the monastery in Snagov. But when his supposed tomb was excavated in 1933, only horse bones were found within.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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The curse ends?

The curse ends?

Curse of Strahd 40: The Impaler

In 1462 the prince of Wallachia, Vlad III Dracula, led an army against his Ottoman overlords. He declared that he was fighting for Christianity, the crown of Hungary and its wearer king Matthias Corvinus, and had “killed 23,884 Turks and Bulgarians” during his campaign. He asked the king for his support in defeating the Ottomans.

Corvinus did not come to his aid however and an Ottoman army, 150,000 strong, the largest since the conquest of Constantinople according to the historian Chalkokondyles, crossed the Danube on June 4th 1462.

Vlad attempted to assassinate the Sultan in his camp but failed to reach the Sultan's tent, instead attacking the Vizier Mahmut Pasha. Retreating from the massive army Vlad employed scorched earth tactics. When the Ottomans entered the city of Târgoviște they were horrified to discover a "forest of the impaled".

Chalkokondyles writes thus: 
"The sultan was seized with amazement and said that it was not possible to deprive of his country a man who had done such great deeds, who had such a diabolical understanding of how to govern his realm and its people. And he said that a man who had done such things was worth much. The rest of the Turks were dumbfounded when they saw the multitude of men on the stakes. There were infants too affixed to their mothers on the stakes, and birds had made their nests in their entrails."

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Dracula.

Dracula.

Curse of Strahd 39: Dien Bien Phu

In March of 1954 France was at war with the Viet Minh independence movement in French Indochina. The first Indochina war had been going since 1946 and the French were planning to cut off Viet Minh supply lines going into Laos and tactically draw the Viet Minh in to a major confrontation to end the conflict once and for all.

France opted to fight at a fortress they built at Dien Bien Phu, deep in the hills of northwestern Vietnam. The fortress would be resupplied by air as the French were convinced the Viet Minh possessed no anti-air capabilities. The Viet Minh swiftly moved to surround the French and positioned heavy artillery and anti-aircraft guns all around the fortress, having pushed these up the slopes of the mountains overlooking the French positions and dug tunnels through the mountain.

On March 13th the Viet Minh opened fire upon the French positions and with the artillery spread out around the mountains the French could not mount any counter-battery fire. The French artillery commander committed suicide in desperation and while the French troops repulsed wave after wave of attacks by the Viet Minh they eventually ran out of supplies, the air drops being fewer and fewer as the Viet Minh anti-aircraft guns took out supply planes during every run.

After a two month siege the French forces surrendered, the government resigned and France withdrew from Indochina, separating the country in two at the 17th parallel. One war ends... another one begins.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Forcing a final confrontation.

Forcing a final confrontation.

Curse of Strahd 38: Filicide

Filicide is the act of killing your own son or daughter. Five major reasons for the act have been identified and categorized by psychiatrists.

One is ”altruistic”, believing that it would be in the child’s best interest, for example if the child is terminally ill or the parent intends to kill themselves and don’t want the children left alone in what they consider a cruel world. Another reason is “acute psychosis”, for example believing that your child is possessed by an evil spirit and a danger. Then there are “unwanted children”, regarded as a hindrance by the parent. There are also "accidental killings", usually a result of physical abuse without the intent of murder. Finally there is "spousal revenge", such as in the Greek story of Medea who exacted revenge on her husband Jason by killing their children.

In the US alone about 500 children are killed each year by their parents with the mother being close to as likely to commit the horrendous act as the father.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Revenge.

Revenge.

Curse of Strahd 37: Snap! Crackle! Pop!

On January 3, 1943 the 360th Bomb Squadron of the US Air Force was conducting a daylight bombing raid over St. Nazaire in France, attempting to take out German submarine yards. Alan Magee was a ball turret gunner in one the B-17 bombers joining the dangerous raid.

The bomber took fire from German fighters which shot off parts of the right wing, sending the plane in to a deadly spin. Magee had no choice but to jump out of the plane… without a parachute. Convinced this was the end he welcomed the loss of consciousness that the rapid descent gave him.

He could not believe his eyes when he later woke up being patched up by German doctors. He had smashed through the glass ceiling of the St. Nazaire train station which had ended up breaking his fall. He had broken his right leg, almost severed his right arm and had 28 shrapnel wounds from shards of glass – but he was alive... having survived a fall of more than 6000 meters.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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The crew of “Snap! Crackle! Pop!”

The crew of “Snap! Crackle! Pop!”

Curse of Strahd 36: Li's Field

The island of Hong Kong is in the middle of an area with very heavy cyclone activity and many of the neighboring countries are ravaged by frequent storms. This was the case in 2010 for example when the Severe Tropical Storm Lionrock impacted Taiwan and Fujian in China.

When looking at the path of the cyclone however, something looks strange, it’s as if the storm is repelled and unable to approach Hong Kong but able to move north right after passing it. Similar movements happened to typhoon Cimaron in 2006.

This has created a conspiracy theory that says that Hong Kong is protected by a force field created by the tycoon and billionaire Li Ka-Shing, specifically designed to repel severe weather like this.

At a survey conducted at a student forum in 2014, about 20% of respondents believed that “Li’s Field”, as it is known, did indeed exist.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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iTunes: http://apple.co/2wTNqHx 
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Li’s field.

Li’s field.

Curse of Strahd 35: R.U.R

In Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti, a play from 1920 by Karel Capek, we are introduced to the idea of artificial people called roboti that are used as workers. The R.U.R factory makes these roboti from synthetic flesh and blood, even enabling them to think for themselves and be mistaken for human. The word "robot", especially its use in sci-fi, come from these roboti.

As has become the pattern for most western stories involving robots these creatures end up rebelling against their human masters and end up wiping out the human race.

Robots as a form of hubris by humans playing god, and being used as a warning against that, is in stark contrast to for example Japanese stories about robots where they are frequently seen as heroes or saviors rather than threats.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Curse of Strahd 34: Earl of Cornwall

Piers Gaveston was a nobleman, earl of Cornwall and favorite of King Edward II of England. The two were like brothers, inseparable and the king relied upon Gaveston as a sort of deputy, although he had no such official title.

The two were even so close that rumors began to fly about them being lovers, something that later chroniclers have reinforced. This, and more importantly Gaveston’s exclusive access to the king’s patronage, led the king to be pressured by the nobility in to sending Gaveston away in exile a total of three times. The final time Gaveston was told that he would be branded an outlaw if he returned, and when he still did he was hunted down and murdered by a group of nobles.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Curse of Strahd 33: The Hussite Wars

In 1402 the Bohemian priest and scholar Jan Hus denounced the Catholic Church as corrupt and began preaching about reformation of the church in the land. The people listened as the church was indeed corrupt and so many, especially Czech’s, supported this cause that the pope ultimately had to declare a crusade against these “Hussites” who had even had the gall to occupy the castles of Prague.

Using modern weaponry like hand cannons and well thought out battle tactics the Hussites defeated five consecutive crusades sent against them and became a sort of spontaneous military power in the region.

The Hussite movement would ultimately fall from within when a moderate and radical faction, the Utraquists and Taborites, ended up fighting a war that weakened both sides, ultimately allowing Polish troops under Wladyslaw III to defeat the Hussites at the Battle of Grotniki in 1439.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

Web: https://www.redmoonroleplaying.com 
iTunes: http://apple.co/2wTNqHx 
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The Hussite Wars.

The Hussite Wars.

Curse of Strahd 32: Blazer's Mill

The Lincoln County Regulators was a deputized posse that included the famous outlaws Billy the Kid and Charlie Bowdre. They had been sent to New Mexico to hunt down anyone involved in the murder of merchant and rancher John Tunstall.

A buffalo hunter called Buckshot Roberts had been implicated and caught the interest of the Regulators and on April 4th 1878 he ended up in a standoff with the Regulators, having barricaded himself in a building owned by the dentist Joseph H. Blazer.

Impatient, the leader of the Regulators, Dick Brewer, decided to attack. A violent gunfight ensued with Buckshot Roberts managing to wound three of the Regulators, including shooting off George Coe’s trigger finger and knocking Billy the Kid senseless with the butt of his rifle. He was also shot in the gut himself though and seriously wounded.

Dick Brewer tried to attack from the back of the house only to be hit in the eye. The Regulators were stunned by this turn of events and decided to retreat.

Roberts died the next day and he and Brewer were buried side by side near the house that the “Gunfight at Blazer’s Mill” had centered around.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Blazer’s home.

Blazer’s home.

Curse of Strahd 31: Claíomh Solais

The Sword of Light is an object that appears in many Scottish and Irish folktales. In the tales the hero is usually set upon a quest to perform three tasks to win his bride and is aided by animal companions, supernatural beings and also very often the woman he wishes to marry.

The blade is said to burn like a candle with a fiery blaze and is very often kept by a giant. This giant is usually invulnerable to conventional weapons and must be defeated through trickery or by attacking its Achilles heel. Oftentimes the secret of where to attack is given to the hero by his lady.

The radiant sword has also been connected with Excalibur from Arthurian legend, a sword that was said to have blinded its enemies when it was first drawn.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Curse of Strahd 30: Skull-face

Skull-face is a novella written by Robert E. Howard in 1929 and was published in the ”Weird Tales” magazine. The main villain of the story, the eponymous Skull-face, is a resurrected necromancer from Atlantis determined to awaken all of the remaining Atlanteans, sleeping in their submerged sarcophagi, and creating a new world order with them as the ruling elite. The hero of the story is Steve Costigan, a dope-fiend who has nightmares of Skull-face and is unwittingly pulled into his web of intrigue.

Skull-face is an early example in fiction of wizards and sorcerers returning from the dead more powerful than they were before. The term that has come to be used for this kind of being is “Lich”.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Lich.

Lich.

Curse of Strahd 29: Garuda

The Garuda is a massive eagle-like creature, described as the king of the birds, that appears in Hinduism and Buddhism. Portrayed as the god Vishnu’s mount or as a dharma protector in Buddhism it seems as though the myth about this powerful bird predates both religions.

Garuda can swiftly fly anywhere, appearing where it’s services as a protector are required. It is a sworn enemy of the serpent and is in various forms used in the state insignias of both India, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia.

The legend of Garuda has travelled west, morphing in to the middle eastern legend of the Roc; a similar eagle like creature that appears in “One Thousand and One Nights”.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Protector.

Protector.

Curse of Strahd 28: Terra Nova

In 1911 Captain Robert Scott led an expedition of adventurers that were dead set on being the first to reach the South Pole on Antarctica. They had received funding for the expedition from the public with the support of a government grant. The admiralty provided transportation and experienced seamen for the journey. It was supposed to be a heroic success proving to the world yet again the superiority of the British Empire. Hubris and arrogance was brought in great supply.

The preparations for the expedition were a complete disaster with Scott opting against using dogs to pull the sleighs, which was a proven method, instead opting for horses. Horses were a much more romantic way to travel after all, more fitting for a gentleman. He also brought a specially built motorized sleigh. The man who had built the sleigh was supposed to join the journey but was told to stay behind last minute, meaning nobody could fix it when it eventually broke down. He also brought five men instead of the four he had planned for, and messed up his calculation of the rations on top of that meaning they brought way too little food.

He also didn’t properly seal his fuel containers, in spite of having experienced that in a previous journey, making them leak and robbing the crew of the ability to cook and keep themselves warm. On top of all of this he only brought one navigator who wasn’t trained in reading latitudes. The expedition reached the South Pole, second after Amundsen’s expedition, missing them by 34 days. On the return journey they were unable to find their supply drops, due to their navigator having messed up the coordinates. All of the five men perished from the cold and starvation.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Doomed.

Doomed.

Curse of Strahd 27: Einstein-Rosen Bridge

A wormhole is a speculative structure that connects two points in space-time, either separated by vast distances or by time. Their existence is hypothesized based on a solution of Einstein’s field equations and a number of possible types of wormholes have been proposed to exist by different scientists.

If we imagine space-time as a sheet of paper, and draw two separate dots on one side of the paper, far from each other, we can fold the paper; folding space-time, to connect the two and thus create a direct route.

Schwarschild theorized that such wormholes would only allow for one-way travel, but Thorne proposed that using exotic matter one might be able to hold the “throat” of a wormhole open and allow for travel back and forth.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

Web: https://www.redmoonroleplaying.com 
iTunes: http://apple.co/2wTNqHx 
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Cross the bridge.

Cross the bridge.

Curse of Strahd 26: Death Spiral

A shortcut in accounting is to book overhead costs based on sales volume of products rather than by activity the cost was related to. Through this, when analyzing profitability, high volume, successful products end up looking less profitable than they actually are, and low volume sellers inversely look significantly better for the profit & loss than they actually are.

This then tends to cause the management of the company in question to discontinue the successful product, try to outsource the product in order to reduce overhead or increase the price in order to increase profit margin. All of these actions have the potential to kill the popularity of the product, thus forcing the accountant to again move overhead costs to the remaining top sellers, with exactly the same results for them.

This is known as the “Death Spiral”.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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Heading down.

Heading down.

Curse of Strahd 25: Tudós kocsis

The word “coach”, describing a covered horse-drawn carriage for passengers or mail, is derived from the name of the Hungarian town “Kocs” where the coach is believed to have been invented. Hungarian villages still today hold competitions for “Coachman of the Year” and the coachmen have even found their way in to Hungarian Folklore.

In the stories the “Clever Coachman” appears out of the blue during the hero’s journey, inviting him to enter the coach. The coachman will then end up not taking the hero where he wants to go, rather taking him where he needs to be; thus making fortunate turns in the plot more plausible and making unexpected twists possible.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

Web: https://www.redmoonroleplaying.com 
iTunes: http://apple.co/2wTNqHx 
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The Clever Coachman.

The Clever Coachman.

Curse of Strahd 24: Caroline Test

Striking at an enemy before they can strike against you is known as ”pre-emptive self-defense” and traditionally two conditions, known as the “Caroline test” need to be fulfilled to justify such an action.

The "Caroline" was an American steamboat used to supply settlers rebelling against the British Colonial government in Canada in 1837. American sympathizers provided weapons and food to the rebels, effectively keeping them in a fight they would otherwise lose.

The British decided that enough was enough and a force entered the United States during the night, set the boat ablaze and spectacularly sent it over the Niagara Falls. One American was killed in the operaton.

The British argued that this was simply self-defense because A) The threat was imminent. B) No peaceful alternatives existed. C) The action was proportional with a clear goal that it achieved.

It has since become accepted as part of customary international law and was for example cited at the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons 
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

Web: https://www.redmoonroleplaying.com 
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The Caroline Affair.

The Caroline Affair.

Curse of Strahd 23: Capacocha

The ”solemn sacrifice” was a sacrificial rite conducted by the Incas on the order of the Incan emperor to celebrate important events in the emperor's life or to prevent natural disasters. It was a human sacrifice done with the intention of sending humanity’s best to join their deities. To ensure that the souls given were pure, children were typically used for this purpose. Until the sacrifice would take place the chosen children were fed well to ensure they would be happy when the time came. 

During the sacrifice they were dressed in royal clothes and paraded around the four statues depicting the Creator, the Sun God, the Moon God and the Thunder God. The murder was done by a blow to the skull, strangulation or by making them intoxicated and then leaving them to lose consciousness on a mountaintop where the cold and low oxygen conditions would lead to death by hypothermia.

Campaign: “Curse of Strahd”, Dungeons & Dragons
Music by: Metatron Omega, Flowers for Bodysnatchers & Wordclock

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A royal obligation.

A royal obligation.