Monday, June 13, 2011

Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game (second try)

CASTLE RAVENLOFT  by Wizards of the Coast
Published in 2010

Now it's time for another voyage down to the dungeons of Castle Ravenloft!

Last time I sent a rogue and a wizard to slay an evil dracolich, but that didn't end well.

Now I have a whole different kind of adventure, and two new brave heroes to try it!

Castle Ravenloft is a D&D boardgame with simple, yet well-working mechanics and a surprisingly short game time.
The game is set up according to the rules of the given adventure and the Villain, as well as other special rules are chosen as per to the adventure.
The dungeon, monsters, items and events are drawn randomly while the heroes explore further.

This adventure is called "Horror of the Howling Hag".

The following text it straight from the Adventure Book of the game:
"The Howling Hag, an ally of Strahd, has used her magic to trap you in different parts of the dungeon crypt. "This will keep you busy while I complete the ritual as Strahd commanded," she muttered as she teleported you away. Now you have to navigate the maze of corridors to find each other. Moreover, you need to find the Howling Hag and stop her from completing her ritual."

The Villain for this adventure is the Howling Hag, a banshee-like woman corrupted by count Strahd's evil powers. The Hag's main power is the ability to teleport herself, and others, around the dungeon. She also has the howl, which will damage every hero near her.

On of the difficulties in this adventure is, that the heroes won't begin the adventure from the same room, and so they are not able to support each other.

As for heroes, I have:

Allisa, a Human ranger.

This fighter has some very powerful attacks, both melee and ranged.
On the downside, Allisa only has 4 different abilities to start with, while all the other heroes have 5.

Thorgrim, a Dwarf cleric.

Thorgrim can heal himself, and others, but he also has some nice attacks and spells to combat monsters.


Allisa begins moving towards Thorgrim, and finds a Chapel. A Wraith is waiting at the Chapel, and attacks the Ranger with its life-draining claw... Allisa evades the attack, but still feels the Wraith's deathly energy weakening her.

Thorgrim advances down the corridor, and meets two monsters blocking his way; a Kobold and another Wraith. Both of the creatures attack, but Thorgrim dodges the attacks... though Wraith's claw still damages him, just like it did with Allisa.

Allisa cuts the Wraith down, destroying it and carefully evading its soul-rending Death Shriek.

Unfortunately, the way between the two heroes is blocked by a wall. Allisa discovers a laboratory, and meets the Howling Hag! The Hag starts approaching Allisa.

Thorgrim also destroys his Wraith with a successful Lance of Faith -spell. This brilliant, golden ray is exceptionally strong against undead creatures.

Looking for a new way to join forces with the Ranger, Thorgrim finds a crypt with a dangerous Spear Gauntlet trap. He decides to use his experience to quickly disarm the trap, before it could do any harm.

The Howling Hag cathces Allisa, and casts a curse on her. The curse injures Allisa, and teleports her far away, to the opposite corner of the dungeon.

Thorgrim gets hit by a spear, thrown by the Kobold.

A swarm of bats suddenly fills the dungeon, making it much more difficult for the heroes to use ranged attacks!

Thorgrim casts another Lance of Faith, and drops the Kobold. Eventhough this monster wasn't undead, it was weak enough to be killed with a single lance. He also finds a Ring of Accuracy - a magical item that will aid him with his ranged combat.

The Hag teleports around, looking for the intruding heroes...

Allisa tries to find a way to finally rejoin with Thorgrim, but again a wall blocks her path. She also comes across with a powerful Gargoyle and a nasty swarm of rats.

The Hag suddenly teleports right behind Thorgrim!

The Gargoyle attacks Allisa furiously, injuring her badly and stunning her...

Also the rats bite her.

Thorgrim smites the Howling Hag with a healing strike, which damages the monster and heals himself. After this attack, he quickly moves away from the fey, hoping to evade her curse.

Thorgrim also utters a prayer known as "healing word". This spell restores Allisa's health almost back to original.

Finally a route between the two heroes is found! But undead monsters stand in between them in form of a Skeleton and a Ghoul.

On background, Allisa can be seen fighting with the Gargoyle and the rats.

The bat swarm disappears, but a crippling miasma takes its place - a horrible stench which slows the heroes down.

Skeleton and Ghoul charges at Thorgrim: Skeleton misses, but the Ghoul rends Thorgrim, paralyzing him with its poisonous claws.

Allisa, still stunned from Gargoyle's attack, cannot use her full speed in her advantage. Instead, she uses her special archery skills: The arrows drive the rats away, but only slightly damages the Gargoyle.

Gargoyle relentlessy pursues Allisa, attacking and rending her again with its claws. The Hag also reaches Thorgrim again... The heroes now see each other, but there is a lot of commotion going on!

Thorgrim cannot move because of the Ghoul's poison in his veins, but he is able to cast one of his most effective attack spells; the Flame Strike. This spell easily scorches both of the undead creatures from pestering him...
but while doing this, the Howling Hag curses Thorgrim, who suddenly finds himself at the other side of the dungeon, once again shattering the hopes of joining the heroes' forces.

Allisa finishes the Gargoyle off, and finds Boots of Striding. These boots will make the Ranger even faster than before.

Then she explores further, finding a corridor with nothing special in it. But before she has a chance to think, the Howling Hag teleports herself right in front of Allisa! This fey is a real nuisance...

And the next thing Allisa knows, the Hag decides to teleport at Thorgrim. However, this teleporting is better than suffering the curses and howls that the fey might use...

And for the third time, the Hag teleports away, back to Allisa. Allisa, however, finds a route to the Arcane Circle, where the ritual is taking place. The final fight awaits!

Thorgrim explores, and finds a treasure chest with a Magic Sword inside! The cleric takes this treasure into use. Further ahead, a giant spider gets ready to attack him.

Thorgrim's magical items.

The Hag curses Allisa, moving her back to one of the corners.

The spider casts an acidic web at Thorgrim, but the Cleric uses his Shield of Faith -spell to render the web useless. Thorgrim's special abilities are now all used up...

Allisa shoots her bow at the Howling Hag. The shot misses, but the fast Ranger uses the distraction to outmaneuver the fey, running right past it and finally revealing the Arcane Circle.

Some severed hands appear from the crevices of the dungeon, and attack Allisa! Allisa takes some damage.

Thorgrim shoots a Lance of Faith at the spider. The spell almost misses, but Thorgrim's Ring of Accuracy saves the situation - the spell hits, killing the spider.

Thorgrim finds an Amulet of Protection, which he throws to Allisa, while sprinting towards the Arcane circle.

Allisa finally joins Thorgrim at the Arcane Circle.

The Howling Hag tries to follow them, but Allisa uses her Wand of Teleportation to send the fey away. This causes Allisa to take some damage, as there was a "Spirit of Doom" present at the dungeon.

Allisa suddenly collapses down to the ground. Thorgrim also feels it; the very air inside the crypt is unholy and dangerous.

Thorgrim concentrates on disrupting the ritual. A mystical reddish fog fills the corridors... this fog makes every hero and monster more violent.

Allisa recovers just in time, as the Hag arrives again. Allisa furiously attacks the fey, but misses her.

The Hag uses her horrifying howl. Allissa is devastated by the sound of it, and is forced to flee away from the Circle. Thorgrim survives the howl without any negative effects.

Thorgrim continues to ruin the Hag's ritual. He also manages to smite the fey with his healing strike. Allissa gains the healing this time.

A hideous blob of green slime falls from the ceiling and hits Thorgrim. Thorgrim falls down, and the slime slithers away with Thorgrim's Ring of Accuracy.

The Howling Hag casts a curse on Allisa, but this time the Ranger shrugs it off. Allisa counters by slicing the Hag with her swords, causing significant damage to it. Allisa then moves back to the Arcane Circle, hoping to stop the ritual soon.

Allisa stumbles upon the "King Tomescu's Portal". The ranger disappears from the scene...

The dungeon looks empty now... Thorgrim is down and Allisa vanished.

The Howling Hag teleports away from the Circle...

Shortly after this, Thorgrim recovers and gets back up. As the Hag is not around to bother him, he almost manages to stop the ritual.

Thorgrim suddenly sees something moving in the darkness. Reluctantly, he moves away from the circle, and finds a skeleton! The skeleton - frenzied by the red Blood Fog - uses its scimitar to slice a horrible wound at Thorgrim!

Allisa suddenly appears back to the Arcane Circle! She has received some minor wounds during her mysterious disappearance, but is still very much alive. She quickly observes the situation, draws her bow and shoots the skeleton down.

She also stops the ritual! That part of the mission is now complete - now there is the part of destroying the Howling Hag...

The Arcane Circle still seems to have some power in it... When Allisa steps on it, it damages her.

Thorgrim heals some of Allisa's wounds, but the Cleric is in a very bad shape as well. The Howling Hag is slowly advancing towards the heroes...

Allisa sees the Hag closing in on the Circle, and shoots her bow at it. The arrow damages the Hag. While shooting, a Kobold surprises Allisa from behind, but the ever-vigilant Ranger dodges the attack.

Thorgrim moves to kills the Kobold. He uses his healing strike again, and saps some life force from the Kobold.

Thorgrim finds some more treasures: Thieves' Tools and a Potion of Rejuvenation.

The Hag reaches the heroes again. Allisa tries to attack it, but misses. The Ranger then decides to run away to evaluate the situation.

Thorgrim drinks the Potion of Rejuvenation, allowing him to cast the Healing Word again. The prayer restores most of his lost health, and the Cleric is now ready to fight again! A successful healing strike also reaves the Howling Hag.

Allisa moves back to Thorgrim's side, and rends the Hag with some impressive sword action. The Blood Fog changes to Haunted Mists. Haunted Mists make undead monsters more powerful, but luckily the Hag is not an undead.

The Hag howls, damaging Thorgrim and forcing him to flee. Thorgrim bounces back and damages the Hag with another healing strike.

A dangerous Blazing Skeleton walks in from behind of the heroes.

Hag's howl affects both of the heroes, and they have to flee a little bit. This flee saves them from the Blazing Skeleton's fireball.

Allisa tries to finish the Hag off with her bow, but misses. On top of that, she springs a Crossbow Turret. This trap shoots Allisa and almost kills her! Hag howls, but neither of the heroes is affected.

Thorgrim bashes the Howling Hag once more with a healing strike. This last strike is too much for the beaten Hag... She is finally defeated! The heroes are victorious, even if the situation remains dire with the dangerous trap, and the evil skeleton nearby...


As a pretty long adventure, this run had a lot of events in it. I won, which means that I was very lucky in several cases, as a game this long usually ends up in a defeat...
But this time everything went fine... the game was a very interesting one, and definitely not too easy! The Howling Hag is very much fun to fight against, as it is very different from the other villains.

Also, please check out my earlier review of Castle Ravenloft :>


  1. Great writeup! Even though I sold off my copy, it's great to read a session report. Happy to see the adventurers won!

  2. Nice session report. Never thought of playing solo myself, except for trying out the initial solo adventure in the booklet. I usually play with my girlfriend, and we really get drawn into the game. Losing and getting killed is very upsetting, but then we just get fired up about going back in and beating the game.