Expedition to Castle Ravenloft w/ Dungeon World

Last year I ran a complete Dungeon World campaign using 3rd Edition's Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (which also raised some money for Extra Life). At the time I'd intended to make a complete conversion pdf, but numerous other projects took precedence, so it was essentially backburnered indefinitely.

Since then, people have continued to ask about it, so I figured I'd post most of what I did manage to complete (some sections were too sparse to bother posting). It's not nearly as pretty as the pdf, but maybe someone else will use and/or build upon it.

NOTE: This conversion assumes that you either own Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, or at least have access to the maps (specifically the ones for Castle Ravenloft). If you don’t own it, you can get the pdf here.

Section 1: Getting Started

First Session

  • Which of you used to live in Barovia? Why did you leave? Why did you return?
  • What have you heard of Madame Eva?
  • Which of you survived a werewolf’s attack? What scars—physical or otherwise—do you bear? 
  • Which one of you seeks to slay Strahd?
  • Which one of you desires Strahd’s tome, a book of ancient, potent necromancy?
  • What other treasures are said to rest in the bowels of Castle Ravenloft?

  • Can the zombies be stopped before they overrun the village?
  • Will the village ever recover?
  • Will Ireena be saved, or will she be damned to an eternity of undeath and slavery?
  • Can her soul be saved if Strahd is successful?
  • Will Strahd be stopped, or will the characters just become more pawns in his machinations?

Ireena Kolyana is the daughter of Barovia’s recently deceased burgomaster. Strahd believes her to be a reincarnation of his brother’s wife, and is trying to claim her for himself by transforming her into a vampiric consort.
Strahd von Zarovich is both a powerful vampire and lord of Barovia. He dwells within Castle Ravenloft, which oversees his domain.

Section 2: Strahd's Machinations
The fronts and dangers.

A Plague of Zombies
This horde of zombies was created by Strahd as a kind of trial run, to determine how much havoc they can wreak on civilization.

Plague-Ridden Zombies

Impending Doom
Pestilence: The zombies are already too numerous when the attack starts, but as they continue to march through the village people are gruesomely killed and eventually rise, adding to their numbers. Eventually the streets are filled with them, and stragglers either die from starvation or get picked off while trying to flee or scavenge for supplies.

Grim Portents
  • The zombies attack Barovia.
  • The zombies gradually overcome the villagers,
  • The village is completely overrun. The only survivors are the handful that managed to escape. 

Custom Moves
When you are bitten by a plague zombie, gain 1 plague. Reduce your maximum hit points by the amount of plague you hold. When you make camp and have plague, roll+CON. ✴On a 10+, reduce your plague by 1d4. ✴On a 7-9, reduce your plague by 1. ✴On a miss, increase your plague by 1d4.

When you die while holding plague, you rise later as a plague zombie.

Strahd von Zarovich
Think of this as just a kind of “default” front. As in Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, Strahd can have up to five different goals besides capturing Ireena: create a dynasty of day-walking vampires or an army of the undead, kill the three hags living in Barovia, turning werewolves into vampire werewolf servants, and just being crazy and doing crazy things. Pick one (or more), write up 1-3 grim portents that best convey the visible actions being taken, and list them underneath an impending doom.

Arcane Enemy
Vampire Lord of Barovia

Impending Doom
Tyranny: Strahd captures Ireena and transforms her into a vampire spawn, forcing her to serve and love him for all eternity.

Grim Portents
  • Strahd abducts Ireena from the village.
  • Over the course of three nights, Strahd bites her and drains some of her blood.
  • Strahd drinks Ireena dry, then buries her in Ravenloft’s crypt until she arises as a vampire spawn under his control.

Section 3: Welcome to Barovia
The entirely of the first part of the adventure, where the characters discover the zombies, and either deal with them or get the fuck out.

Village of Barovia
The village is currently being overrun by a horde of plague-ridden zombies. The few villagers that managed to survive have barricaded the streets near the center of town, and are holed up in the village’s only tavern. They are hoping to survive until the sun rises, after which they intend to try and escape.

  • Prosperity: Moderate
  • Population: Shrinking
  • Defenses: None
  • Personage: Ismark, Ireena
  • Resource: Food, Wood, Need (Ore)
  • Other: Blight (zombies, werewolves, Strahd), Religion (sun god)

  • The streets are choked with a thick mist.
  • The village is deathly quiet.
  • None of the windows are lit.
  • Something moans in the distance.
  • Did something move on the rooftops?

  • Ashlyn is one of the last surviving Lightbringers, a holy order that has come to Barovia hoping to put an end to Strahd and his machinations.
  • Ismark is the son of Kolyan, the former burgomaster.

  • Most of the surviving villagers are holed up in the Blood of the Vine tavern.
  • The village’s church is dedicated to a god of the sun, but it is believed to be the source of the undead horde.

Location Moves
  • You hear zombies approach
  • Your wound begins to burn 
  • Someone calls for help
  • A weapon becomes lodged inside a zombie 
  • Zombies are attracted by a loud noise 
  • You stumble across the sparse remains of a dead body. 
  • You can hear something. 
  • Plague zombies emerge from the fog. 
  • You find a survivor. 
  • Zombies tear something off of you. 
  • Zombies smash through a door or barricade.
  • A wounded survivor becomes a zombie. 

When you try to discern realities in the fog, take -1.

When you surround and gang up on a zombie, you destroy it.

When you try to barricade an entrance to keep the zombies at bay, roll+INT. ✴On a 10+, the barricade holds fast. ✴On a 7-9, the barricade will only hold them back for a few minutes at most.

When you call upon the gods to help push back the undead, take -1 and the undead will never flee: you can only hope to keep them at bay.


Plague Zombie (Horde, Plagued)
Diseased bite (d6); Hand, Close
7 HP; 0 Armor
Special Qualities: No need for internal organs
Zombies are normally bad enough, but at least they cannot create more. Not so with these: their bites transmit a necrotic disease that gradually kills those bitten, only to have them rise up later and continue trying to spread.
Instinct: To spread the plague
  • Corner potential victims
  • Be where you least expect them

Ghoul (Group, Devious, Intelligent, Stealthy)
Rending teeth (d8 + 2 damage, 1 piercing); Hand, Messy 
10 HP; 0 Armor
Special Qualities: Change shape, steal the face of a corpse
Instinct: To consume the flesh of the living and dead
  • Appear to be human
  • Transform into a vulture or hyena

  • An unfortunate victim’s pocket change—1d6 coins
  • Someone’s savings—4d6 coins
  • Materials, tools, or supplies—1d4 uses of adventuring gear
  • A family heirloom worth 2d4 x 10 coins
  • A simple, possibly makeshift weapon

The Church
Danovich, the village’s priest, is at least partially responsible for the zombie plague. After his son Doru was killed by Strahd, he discovered fragments of the Liber Blaspheme, which detailed a method by which he could bring his son back to life. His son did return, but as an undead creature that now lives in the church’s basement. The reanimation of his son caused undead from the graveyard to arise, and they now shamble through the streets looking for victims. The destruction of Doru will cause all of the zombies in the village to immediately collapse.

  • Guttering candlelight.
  • Deep, long shadows.
  • Voices constantly muttering prayers.
  • Stench of decay.
  • Dead bodies resting on the pews, as if in prayer.

Location Moves
When you take your last breath in the church, take -1.
When you regain hit points within the church, reduce the amount by 1d6 (to a minimum of 0).


Danovich (Solitary, Magical, Intelligent)
Life-draining touch (d10 damage, ignores armor); Close 
12 HP; 0 Armor
Special Qualities: Dabbler of Dark Arts .
Instinct: To feed his son
  • Command the dead
  • Drain a living creature’s life force
  • Release a spell of death and decay 

Doru (Solitary, Large, Intelligent, Terrifying)
Lots of limbs (b[2d10]+2 damage); Reach, Forceful 
20 HP; 1 Armor
Special Qualities: Made of lots of corpses
Instinct: To protect his father
  • Attack multiple opponents at once
  • Add a corpse to its mass
  • Gnaw off a limb

  • Some of the dead bodies carry coins—all told about 4d10 worth 
  • Danovich’s stash of 1d4 x 100 coins 
  • Bandages, herbs and poultices, maybe even a healing potion 
  • Various relics to Barovia’s patron god of life and protection, like a silver chalice or mace—each is worth 2d10 x 10 coins 

Liber Blaspheme (unholy, 1 weight)
The pages of this book are made from flesh and penned in blood, and the covers are made from stitched flesh wrapped around a frame of bone. When you study the pages of this fell tome, you learn to animate zombies, as well as the methods or rituals necessary to transform yourself into a ghoul, mummy, lich, and other forms of intelligent undead.

Section 4: Lands of Barovia
This is where everyone else, except Castle Ravenloft would have gone.

Vistani Camp
The vistani camp is located near the Tser Pool. It is a circle of colorful wagons and tents arranged around a huge bonfire.

  • Prosperity: Moderate
  • Population: Steady
  • Defenses: Militia
  • Personage: Madam Eva (fortune-telling hag in disguise)
  • Resource: Food, Wood

  • The inhabitants are all dressed in colorful garb.
  • A group of Vistani dance and sing around a fire.
  • Vistani eye you suspiciously.

Madam Eva is a fortune-teller that lives with the Vistani in a camp by Lake. She is secretly a disguised hag, one of three sisters living in Barovia.

  • What is Madam Eva’s true role in all this?

Location Moves
When you ask Madam Eva to divine your fortune, roll:
  • +CHA
  • +1 if you compliment her looks or abilities
  • +1 if you insult one of the other hags
  • +1 if you make it clear your intentions to destroy Strahd
  • -1 if you compliment one of the other hags
  • -1 if you insult Strahd

✴On a 7+, you can ask her about 3 of the following subjects, and she provides a cryptic response. ✴On a 10+, she provides more information (the original adventure has both her detailed and cryptic responses).
  • Strahd
  • The Sunsword
  • The Raven sign
  • Strahd’s book of spells
  • Plague zombies

✴On a miss, she only divulges the location of Strahd.

If you own the original adventure, you can use a deck of cards to randomly determine the location of Strahd, the Sunsword, the Raven sign, and Strahd's book of spells. If you don’t (or don't want to use cards), then you can randomly determine the location of Strahd and the items using the following tables (all use a d10).

Strahd is always located somewhere in Castle Ravenloft. You can roll on the table below, or just choose a location.
  • 1 Tomb of Sergei Zarovich
  • 2 Tomb of Strahd
  • 3 Chapel of Ravenloft
  • 4 Dayheart Landing
  • 5 Warlock Academy
  • 6 Treasury
  • 7 Study 
  • 8 Audience Hall 
  • 9 Office of Vengeance 
  • 10 Tomb of Barov and Ravenovia 

Roll on the following table to determine where the Sunsword and Raven sign can be found. They shouldn’t be found in the same place:
  • 1 Tser Pool 
  • 2 Cemetery 
  • 3 Church 
  • 4 Varikov’s Cave 
  • 5 Lysaga Hill 
  • 6 Bildrath’s Mercantile 
  • 7 Nymph Hideaway 
  • 8 The Crossroads 
  • 9 Ivlis Marsh 
  • 10 Cemetery 

Roll or choose to determine where you must bring each item to fully awaken them. As before, the locations shouldn’t be the same.
  • 1 Tomb of Sergei Zarovich 
  • 2 Tomb of Strahd 
  • 3 Chapel of Ravenloft 
  • 4 Dayheart Landing 
  • 5 Warlock Academy 
  • 6 Treasury 
  • 7 Study 
  • 8 Audience Hall 
  • 9 Office of Vengeance 
  • 10 Tomb of Barov and Ravenovia 

Strahd’s tome can be found in the same place as the Sunsword and Raven sign, except that a result of 4 means that it’s located in Varikov’s Cave instead of the Dayheart Landing.

If the zombies are still alive and the players ask about them, Eva tries to direct them to the chapel in Barovia.

Ivlis Marsh
When you claim the power of the Swamp Fane, as long as you remain in Barovia you are immune to the effects of fire and disease.

I changed this part of the adventure quite a bit, adding a sunken ziggurat with zombie alligators and the like. I also changed the bloody relic to be a statue of a humanoid with an alligator head, that devoured sacrifices. The play report featuring this part can be read here.

Bloody Relic (Solitary, Huge, Construct, Terrifying)
Slam (d10+5 damage); Reach, Forceful
24 HP; 3 Armor
Special Qualities: Body of stone
Instinct: To protect the swamp fane
  • Devour an enemy
  • Vomit forth the animated remains of previous sacrifices

Fane Guardian (Group)
Alligator club (d8+2 damage, 1 piercing); Close, Forceful, Messy
10 HP; 3 Armor
These alligator-headed mummies are fortunately usually found within the Drowned Lady’s ziggurat. Instinct: To protect the Drowned Lady and bloody relic

The Drowned Lady (Solitary, Intelligent, Magical, Terrifying)
Stone teeth (d10+4 damage, 1 piercing); Hand, Forceful, Messy
20 HP; 3 Armor
Special Qualities: Stone bones
(I didn't finish her stat block, so no instinct or moves.)

Shambling Mound (Solitary, Large, Stealthy)
Vines (d10+2 damage); Reach, Forceful
16 HP; 1 Armor
Special Qualities: A mass of plants
Instinct: To drain vital fluids
  • Appear as part of the vegetation
  • Pull entangled prey into it’s body

Zombie Alligator (Group, Stealthy)
Crushing jaws (d8+2 damage, 1 piercing); Hand, Messy
10 HP; 1 Armor
Instinct: To rend and tear
  • Suddenly lunge out of the water
  • Drag a victim beneath the water

The characters never went into Lysaga Hill, so the only thing I'd written at the time was the Mountain Fane's power:
When you acquire the power of the Mountain Fane, as long as you remain in Barovia you gain +1 armor.

Magic Items
The only magic item I fully statted out was the Drowned Lady's teeth, which Melissa's character (The Witch) ended up using for the rest of the campaign.

Hag’s Teeth (hand, precise, 2 piercing, implanted, 0 weight)
A pair of stone teeth engraved with whorls and knots. To use them, you must remove your canines and insert them: when you do they instantly graft to your jaw and can only be removed through painful means. When you look into a rippling pool of water and grin, roll+WIS. ✴On a 10+, you see a flash of insight. ✴On a 7-9, you see something, but can’t tell whether it’s good or bad. ✴On a miss, you forsee something bad.

We're currently holding the third Trick-or-Treat sale: until the 23rd you can pick up The Witch at 31% off!

The Monk is now available. It's a very flexible class, crammed with nearly thirty advanced moves (plus all the other extra content that we're known for), so we made another tweak to our character sheet layout in order to make it easier to remember what stance is active, and what it does.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.