Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft
Whispers about your family’s lineage haunted your childhood. Claims of being cursed, doomed, or otherwise touched by evil made your early years difficult.
Possible Minor Quests: You might seek to clear your family’s name, uncover the truth about your family’s past, or follow in the steps of your dark ancestor.
Associated Skills: History, Intimidate
Background Benefit: You gain a +3 power bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks when interacting with undead creatures.
Whether you pilfered corpses or assisted in kidnappings to fulfill the needs of a doctor or necromancer, one too many close calls with the undead and you lost the taste for such gristly work. However in the process you’ve managed to learn a thing or two about the living dead.
Possible Minor Quests: You might have born witness to appalling acts of wickedness, and if so, you might seek redemption, fighting the darkness to atone for your past. You might also seek out the necromancer or undead master you served to prevent his works from plunging the world into death.
Associated Skills: Athletics, Stealth
Background Benefit: You gain a +3 power bonus to Monster Knowledge checks involving undead.
Corrupted by Shadow
You might have served a necromancer in your youth, perhaps as an apprentice or possibly as guard or servant. Proximity to your master’s corruption left a mark on you. Did your experience alter how you see undead? Is necromancy a path you might seek or is it an abomination to be fought and destroyed? How does the mark manifest on you? Are you pale? Do
you suffer from a disfiguring condition, or are you unhinged?
Possible Minor Quests: You might have escaped, but your former master are not likely to let you stay free. You might have to avoid its attempts to reclaim you, so you are always moving and staying one step ahead of it. You might also seek to free yourself from the curse that weighs upon your soul.
Associated Skills: Arcana, Intimidation
Background Benefit: You gain resist 5 necrotic and +2 power bonus to saves against ongoing necrotic damage.
When you were young, a beloved relative—a parent, sibling, or another family member—left with an adventuring company in search of glory, treasure, and adventure. From time to time, you received letters recounting their successes and near-failures, but eventually the letters stopped coming. The last letter was brief, saying only they were headed for Castle Ravenloft in the Barovia. After years of no communication, your family believed the relative met an end somewhere in that sinister place, but no one knows and the question of what really happened haunts you still.
Possible Minor Quests: Although searching for your lost kin might be the forefront of your concerns, you should be careful of what you seek. In all likelihood, your lost kin might be searching for you, but this person might not be the person you remember.
You relative might have been driven mad, might seek to give you a cursed relic pulled from the dungeons she explored, or might even return as an undead monster. In any event, putting the memory of your relative to rest, and perhaps the relative herself, might serve as a suitable minor quest.
Associated Skills: Endurance, Perception
Background Benefit: +3 power bonus to Streetwise checks in small towns and villages.
Undead horrors stalk the countryside in your homeland, preying on the living and staining the land with their evil presence. You grew up fighting these monsters, watching as your friends and kin fell at your side only to rise as zombies or worse. You escaped the nightmare of youth, but the experiences fill your nights with nightmares. Have you sworn to fight undead no matter the cost? Or are they so terrible that you cannot bear to face them?
Possible Minor Quests: Finding and destroying the origin of the undead creatures menacing your community might drive you to undertake a life of adventure. You might scour the countryside to find and destroy powerful agents until you find the true source of the burgeoning evil.
Associated Skills: Insight, Religion
Background Benefit: You gain a +2 power bonus to damage rolls against the undead during the first round of combat and any time you spend an action point to make an attack.