Ravenloft: Curse of Strahd
Alterations to Magic
No spell (not even Wish) allows one to escape from Ravenloft. Astral projection, teleport, plane shift, and similar spells cast for the purpose of leaving the demiplane simply fail, as do effects that banish a creature to another plane of existence. These restrictions apply to magic items and artifacts that have properties that transport or banish creatures to other planes.
Magic that allows transit to the Border Ethereal, such as the etherealness spell and the etherealness feature of incorporeal undead, are the exceptions to this rule. Any creature that enters the Border Ethereal is pulled back into Ravenloft upon leaving.
Magic that summons creatures or objects from other planes functions normally (summoned beings/items become trapped within the demiplane, and are unable to return home), as does magic that involves an extradimensional space.
While in Ravenloft, characters who receive spells from deities or otherworldly patrons continue to do so. In addition, spells that allow contact with beings from other planes function normally- with one proviso: Dreadlords can sense when someone in their domain is casting such a spell and can choose to make themselves the one who is contacted.
In Ravenloft, the souls of the dead are as trapped as the souls of the living. They become caught in the mists and can't travel to the afterlife. When a humanoid who has been dead for at least 24
hours returns to life, either by way of a spell or some supernatural means, it gains a random form of indefinite madness brought on by the realization that its spirit is trapped in Ravenloft, likely forever.
Souls and Shells
The people of Ravenloft are made of flesh and blood. They are born, they live, they age, and they die. But not all of them have souls. When a being with a soul dies, that soul remains trapped until it is reincarnated in a newborn. It can take decades for a bodiless soul to find a host, and individuals who share the same soul over generations tend to look alike. All of the Vistani have souls of their own.
Vampires, and similar "life-essence" feeding creatures, can only feed on those who have souls, they can't draw any nourishment from the soulless. These types of creatures can tell at a glance whether an individual has a soul or is merely a shell.
Although the soulless are physically indistinguishable from those with souls, they tend to be bereft of charm and imagination, and to be more compliant and depressed than the others. They are maudlin folk who experience fear but neither laugh nor cry.
The soulless have a limited understanding of the world they live in. The Mists have the ability to manipulate their minds, and implant false memories. When a domain is first created, the Mists create a "false history" that is believed by all who were created along with the domain. As such, they simply will not understand the concepts of "domains", "Darklords" or the demiplane itself.
Common knowledge varies from domain to domain; certain peoples have more experience with phenomena such as magic and divine clerics, while others do not. In general, the following are examples of what a common person would know:
- The name of their "realm" and neighboring realms, and the important figures of those lands.
- Magic is an unfamiliar, dangerous thing that is best avoided.
- Many dangerous creatures lurk outside the villages; townsfolk will know some of the details of the most common animals nearby, and some details about a species of monster if it commonly preys upon humans.
- The land has always been the way it is now. Any talk about demiplanes is just a lot of nonsense. No one knows what's beyond the Mists, and no one wants to know.
- From time to time, strange people might appear with strange clothes and languages, who claim to be from some far away land. Its best to keep your distance from these people.
- The Vistani are nomads who wander all over the land.