Revisit Ravenloft Virtually in ‘Curse of Strahd’ on Roll20

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Curse of Strahd on Roll20With the introduction of D&D’s Curse of Strahd on Roll20, they continue their trend of bringing high-quality content to the virtual tabletop. Curse of Strahd is a D&D campaign produced by Wizards of the Coast that will take you on a new but nostalgic journey back into the ever popular Castle Ravenloft. While available in book form, Roll20 brings this campaign into the 21st century providing all the materials in virtual tabletop form.

The virtual tabletop format allows you to play with a geographically disperse group of players through the use of a shared online tabletop, allowing the dungeon master to display to each player what she wants them to see, and allows players to manipulate their tokens and roll dice virtually. The entire contents of Curse of Strahd are available in the Roll20 release, including a virtual tarokka deck, rollable tables of all shapeshifters, a live gothic trinkets table, deck of illusions, and more!

Screen shot of Tarokka deck for Curse of Strahd on Roll20
Here the DM has dealt three tarokka cards and we are viewing one of them. Screen shot from ‘Curse of Strahd’ on Roll20.

The Curse of Strahd on Roll20 conversion even includes maps not in the original. Curse of Strahd is full of beautiful isometric maps of Castle Revenloft, and while Roll20 included all of these, they also generated Roll20 exclusive top-down maps of the castle!

Exclusive Top down map of Ravenloft Curse of Strahd on Roll20
These top-down maps of Ravenloft were created exclusively for this ‘Curse of Strahd’ on Roll20 release. Sample Image from Roll20.
Isometric view Curse of Strahd on Roll20
Here is the corresponding original isometric map that is in the ‘Curse of Strahd’ book. The popup window contains the book text where this map is located. You can see the entire contents of ‘Curse of Strahd’ available in the table of contents to the right. Image from Roll20.

Still, my favorite aspect of Roll20 is the dynamic lighting capability. Dynamic lighting allows you to set light sources, so the map shows just what the characters would see based off of their position and lighting in use. The map naturally shows shadows for all your stealthing needs, and I love how, unlike drawn maps, you can easily leave an area and come back to it without having to show everything the characters had seen before. Unless they’re mapping what they see, it’s easy to get lost.

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While Roll20 is a boon for a group of people playing from various places geographically, I use it primarily for face-to-face gaming. It allows me to project the professionally drawn maps on my gaming table where I then use regular miniatures instead of virtual tokens. I can still use the dynamic lighting by having a torch token. It works great! It’s a much better experience for the players to be looking at the provided maps, rather than my dry-erase sketch of them. Check out my setup in this review of the TouchJet Pond projector. Scroll to the bottom for a video of the dynamic lighting in use with miniatures.

Roll20 map displayed.
Roll20 being used to display a map for face-to-face gaming. Image by Ryan Hiller.

GeekDad’s Simon Yule has been playing through Curse of Strahd and has been detailing the adventures in his ongoing player’s reports. Be sure to check it out!

Curse of Strahd on Roll20 is available for $49.95 in the Roll20 Marketplace. Everything from the Curse of Strahd book and more is included in the Roll20 version, so you don’t need to purchase that as well. But even if you already own the book, if you have any intention of using a virtual table top, $50 is trivial in comparison to the time it takes to prepare all of the maps and graphics on your own.

Disclosure: Roll20 provided access to ‘Curse of Strahd’ on Roll20.

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