Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – Gundarak

“Ah, there you are” chimes a snide and sneering scribe, “I was hoping you weren’t too distraught from your assignments.  As it turns out, something of a thorn in the side of His Highest’s rival has resurfaced.  You know of whom I speak, the Devil Strahd of the County Barovia.  Tales tell of an enemy, Duke Gundar, that he has returned in revenge.”  The scribe lays out an assortment of maps, parchments and sealed documents.  “Be a good adventurer, by the master’s decree and look into it.  I suspect someone is imitating that bumbling lord who gave The Devil Strahd a hard time.”  The mysterious scribe rubs his hands, giggling madly as you are supernaturally compelled to gather the supplies and head out.  For some reason, you can’t remember what lead to your arrival at that building, save for that you were returning to Darkon.  You were always returning to Darkon.  But, what matters now is another land.  What matters is Gundarak.

Author’s Note:  Behold, more details to the underdeveloped Gundarakites, Gundarak and Duke Gundar.   My plan was to have plenty of things involving other domains, as well as a Planescape-inspired Cluster to build off of Reality’s End.  Anyway, that will be another post.  My stuff on Gundarak took over.  Also, once again a huge shout out to the Prisoners of the Mist community!  A minor character in this whole mess has its roots from there.  But, hopefully this will be my last post on that domain, so I can focus on other things?   Also, why was Jacques Renier never really brought up in canon after the Realm of Terror boxed set?


The Continued Gundarakite Revolt

MTGNexus - Trokin High Guard Art by Ron Spencer

“I live a simple life on a farm, I tend to my rows of herbs and vegetables.  Why do my people deserve such torture and hatred from the likes of you?” – The last words of Abigail Melgadrov, Barovian Peasant

After much activity in Tuefeldorf, more movements have been brewing in Zeidenburg.  One crafter of Gundarakite ethnicity proclaims to have made a breakthrough in his blacksmithing.  To the Barovians, this is mad desperation of a babbling loon from an enemy land.  In truth, he received a “boon” from an entity he defines as “Erlin” in 755 BC.  This divine vision has given him the means and enchantments of creating a new kind of Bane Weapon, or weapons that hit harder against certain targets.  Worse, these weapons can be made to target bloodlines and ethnicities over races of creatures.  From this the Barovian Bane was forged.  In secret, the anonymous smithy has been doling these out to anyone aligned with the Revolts.  More recent attacks have begun to see the use of these dangerous weapons.  Among the favored targets are Barovian maidens, especially younger ones.  This falls in line with the hateful viewpoints of the Duke  himself.  Those who aren’t Barovian have received instruction to apply their own blood upon their doors, making the Sign of Erlin.  Those who have done so were spared escalating onslaughts.  And thanks to piracy campaigns, goods have been smuggled from more culturally advanced domains, such as firearms.  Thus, the Revolts have gained an edge against Barovian defensive forces.    And doubly so, many of these advanced weapons seem compatible with the means of creating bane weapons.

Beyond the actions of man, warriors and clergy alike, the supernatural has played its role in the recent uprisings.  Through the inner circle formed around Gundar, a new undead monstrosity has been brought into the mists.  The Bloodletting Wraith is a ghostly tragedy created by a mixture of death by blood loss and exposure to fell magic.  Several of Gundar’s personal henchmen are magic-using vampires under his thumb.  Their attacks and spells combined resulted in a spectral monstrosity whose evil focus on a victim causes blood to flow out of nearly every orifice and into the wraith.  The creatures, similar to Crimson Mist, often resemble roaming fonts and clouds of blood with mildly humanoid structure.  It’s not uncommon for the ghastly forms to materialize faces and outstretching arms, in preparation for its next victim.  Despite these vampiric acts, these ghosts are not vampires themselves, but more so the product of necromancy wielded by vampries.  Likewise, outcasted nosferatu vampires have found the disgraced Duke as a vengeful hero to fall back on.  While a facade of an uncaring madman, he has kept up the theatrics to ensure absolute loyalty from disenfranchised undead.  Although crude in nature, his appeals to recruit Azalin’s help have resulted in other undead forces on loan to help his grim crusades.  The Lich of Darkon cares little for Gundarak politics, but sees the potential in spreading Entropy throughout the Core… especially against Barovia.  But, this hatred of Barovia goes far deeper than just the Grand Conjunction.  Much of this hatred is lost to time and The Mists in fact.

 

The Life and Undeath of Duke Nharov Gundar

the art of m:tg — Duskmantle Seer || Kev Walker

Much lies in speculation when it comes to the somewhat obscure vampiric duke.  However, scholars have attempted to gather whatever they can to help prepare them for the returned vampire’s onslaught.  Thus, the following is subject to change at the first sign of correction.  In the meantime, the following is a treatise on the corrupt undead duke.  While he is not only known as an undead menace older than count Strahd, he has had a history of horrid misogyny and cruel taxation within his domain.  Let us journey to a land from the same world as Barovia, but still a long journey away.

Nharov Gundar was born to the Gundar family in the year 233 of the Barovian Calendar in Castle Hunadora.  The clan itself was founded in 183 BC, 50 years before Duke Gundar’s birth.  His family has roots with the Neureni Horde that invaded Barovia some years before Gundar’s birth.  However, Castle Hunadora was far detached from Barovia and had long since mixed blood with the Neureni long beforehand.  In fact, Castle Hunadora was originally occupied by clans who defected in favor of lording over the land that would be Gundar’s home.  This mix of blood also brought a mix of cultures.  The dour and downtrodden people of Hunadora, from where the castle got its name, had little in religion.  The barbarian clans worshiped a number of gods, among them was the demonic Irlek-Khan.  Upon integrating with Hunadora, there was a movement away from the evil deity while integrating folklore of the land.  In time, Irlek-Khan’s worship was openly banned.  However, a younger Nharov found himself enthralled with the foul god.  Teachings of male dominance, brutal sacrifice and conquest enveloped his mind, quickly turning him into a mad bully. As an adult, the iconic visage of Nharov Gundar had formed; a portly man of frantic disposition.  His hair and beard was wild and pitch black.

As revolts claim the lives of the Gundar family, he sneakily rose up the ladders until reaching the status of Duke of Hunadora in the year 261 BC.  Tired of the weakness shown by his clan, he enacted far stricter policies, while requiring all serving under his name accept more brutal methods of security.  Guards became little more than mean spirited thugs, as knights were just violence-loving enforcers.  Taxes became absurd, revolving around petty matters.  This lead to state-appointed debt collectors enacting equally heinous consequences for failure.  Women were especially targeted for crimes, especially if they bore no sons.  This got worse within the castle as Gundar attempted to marry in hopes of progeny to take his place one day.  At the same time, he was given status within the still underground Cult of Irlek-Khan or “Erlin” as it was rebranded.  The Wives of Nharov quickly became a source of eerie gossip, as many of them vanished not long after marriage.  Behind the scenes, any wife that failed to give a son was sent to secret cult quarters and sacrificed to Erlin as tribute.  Even daughters were brought before the altar.  Those who openly spoke about these rumors were treated as criminals.  His 5th wife, an outsider noblewoman by the name of Ariella, provided a son by the name of Morulgan, 6 years after these acts of brutality in 267 BC.  Duke Nharov Gundar watched over and taught his son obsessively, but he did not share the same (lack of) heart or harshness of his father. 

Over the years, Morulgan was instead a patron of Hunadora’s arts.  Gundar blamed Ariella for his son’s softness, but this changed after bringing another man in the castle.  Eltak the Master Woodsman was a carver of great renown, one who also had fallen in love with Morulgan by 286 BC.  Shockingly, Morulgan’s father was okay with this, as long as he could try to corrupt Eltak to his side.  Neither of the men seemed particularly interested in Nharov’s agenda, his own son even less so.  None the less, the paranoid duke maintained extreme vigilance.  2 years later, in 288 BC, he began to question his longevity.  A famine caused by a plague lead to mass death through his land, nearly claiming him.  Both Gundar’s son and Eltak were spared, but Ariella grew weak and was largely bed ridden, as if Nharov had planned for that.  Using his connection to his cult, he sought any means of prolonging his life.  An Avatar of Erlin showed him the way forward, through the death of a family member and the consumption of their blood.  Nharov rushed to “calm” his ailing wife, using his physicians to ease her of “bad humors” in her blood.  The sample was taken back to the cult, where the ritual was performed.  However, it wasn’t enough.  He felt the same, except a deep thirst for blood.  He rushed back to her, with a ceremonial dagger of Irlek-Khan and plunged it into his wife’s heart before he began to lap it like some sick animal.  The court physicians scrambled to the chamber in panic, only to see a changed Gundar covered in blood next to the bloodied corpse of Ariella.

Guards and knights rushed in soon after Duke Gundar fled the scene through a window.  To create a scapegoat, symbols of the Erlin/Irlek-Khan cult alongside the ceremonial dagger were left on the bodies of the physicians and Ariella.  He stowed away in his group’s hideaway, hording resources and whatever else possible for a wicked plan.  He returned, through a magical disguise where he proclaimed that the Cult of Irlek-Khan staged an attack in revenge for their removal, with him recovering proof.  Ratting out his associates, mobs were formed to slay the cultists quickly.  As attention left the castle, both his son and son’s lover remained in fear.  Nharov escorted his son to show the scene of the murder, before revealing the truth to Morulgan.  As the young man tried to escape, his father grabbed him by the arm and proceeded to drain him.  As Morulgan fell to the ground, near death, Gundar demanded that he too accept vampirism.  As attendants and guards began to return, Gundar returned to his prior act, now carrying his son in his arms.  Over the next few days, he demanded to be left alone to embalm and prepare his son, or really ready him for reawakening.  Meanwhile, Eltak began to be concerned.  No one let him leave far from his guest quarters for days, now alone after the disappearance of Morulgan.  He gathered broken pieces of wood as makeshift weapons and used his tools to break free.  Searching down chambers and corridors for what seemed like hours until he uncovered the secret of his love, converted into the undead.  Morulgan was driven mad by both abuse at the hands of his father and his current monstrous state.  Conflicted over his love and his newfound thirst, he begged for help before leaping onto Eltak in attack.  The young vampire was not experienced, causing a fatal gash in his lover’s neck.  As Eltak began to bleed to death, he took a broken chunk of wood from one of his projects.  Thrusting the wooden pseudo-stake into Morulgan’s heart, the creature recoiled.  Eltak had heard stories of similar wicked dead and heard the power of the wooden stake.  With his last bit of strength, he pushed the chunk into his boyfriend’s body.  Both collapsed as Gundar was the first to find the mess.  In rage, he went on a rampage murdering everyone he could find in the castle before retreating into a nearby cave.

 

The Return of Gundar and Fall of Hunadora

For over a century, he lived in isolation, save for undead slaves of his creation.  Rumors of the Hunadora Caves flooded villagers with terror.  To them, Irlek-Khan or “Erlin” lived there, draining the life of those who dared to displease him, following the deaths of his worshipers.  Gundar never blamed himself for what happened to others around them.  He found them contemptible and weak.  The Cult of Erlin flourished in this dark cabal under the thumb of the former Duke.  But after nearly 300 years, the Old vampire had risen towards rank of Ancient.  He also regained the desire to reclaim his land.  For years, he snuck into Hundora to see what had become of his lands and people.  To his surprise, much had changed in his absence.  Nearly a century after he fled, Barovian colonists had settled a land that was devoured in anarchy and paranoia.  The ruined lands flourished once more as an annexed Barovian state.  Castle Hunadora was renamed Castle Strahd Von Zarovich, in tribute to the tragic war hero allegedly slain during his beloved brother’s wedding at the hands of assassins.  The town itself was now Sergeisburg, in tribute to the cherished icon of Barovia.  The Church of Andral was built on top of former grounds of the Erlin Cult, consecrated for proper holy use.  This appalled the Duke, who began to plot his retaliation against the occupiers.

Even with his army of the dead, Gundar was too powerless to fend them off currently.  Thus, he made a persona, Ragash Gundar.  This persona was played as a descendant of the Duke who wanted to return to his ancestral home on the 200th anniversary of the Royal House’s slaughter in memorium.  He also heard that the native Hunadorans were mistreated by the Barovian colonists and general Balok ethnicity, petitioning for fairer treatment.  Under the name of Ragash, he portrayed himself as a skittish and shy noble, something he deeply hated.  His brash personality and hunger for the living put this struggle to the test.  For nearly a year, this strain worked for him.  Better yet, this kept attention off of him while he imported undead monsters to help him murder Barovians in the night.  He did so sparingly, as to not drag superstition and blame towards him.  Inevitably, people did begin to blame Ragash for the strange occurrences, with no proof on the matter.  This was mostly do to his outspoken defense of the Hunadoran people.  One Hunadoran, the descendant of a lost noble house that won Gundar’s favor, was Maria Andikov, now reduced to ownership of an inn by the castle.  She grew attached to this strong character of Ragash.  For the first time in ages, Gundar felt something close to love.  Still, he maintained his principles from a distance, while he reluctantly let Maria be the public face of his reborn noble house.  Wed by false priests in a small keep granted to him by the Barovians, the two had children in 593 BC, thanks to twisted boons of Erlin.  This keep was next to the Twisted Tower, a place of arcane magic used even in Nharov’s time.  Medraut and Malguna each display an unnatural vitality due to their vampiric heritage. 

However, his frayed sanity could not be pleased through his gradually increasing night attacks and the fearful people continued to point fingers.  Despite Maria’s attempts at ridding blame from Ragash, Barovians were still eager to take their wrath on the native Duke.  Gundar caught wind of plans for a colonist backed mob against the keep.  Gundar swayed several mages to his side in the Twisting Tower in preparation.  Beyond that, he recruited spies to assemble all native Hunadorans to his aid.  The end result was a civil war as native of the land clashed with oppressive colonist.  This culminated in the climax of his schemes, using the mages to open up portals to his other lairs.  By his dominating commands, legions of undead flooded the land.  While some attacked the Hunadoran natives, majority focused all violence against the Barovians.  The leader of this Barovian army, a descendant of Sturm von Zarovich, fell to Gundar’s hands as the vampire duke made a bold proclamation.  He shouted from the balcony of the conquered castle that He was Duke Nharov Gundar and this was his land, this was Gundarak!  The slaying continued until all people of Barovian blood were exterminated the following dawn.  Only those who fled survived what was to come.  Amidst the confusion, vampires took Maria.  She plead for help, as Gundar revealed himself to be one of them.  He looked at his wife in the face and announced that her role was done before he drained her and later burned her corpse on a massive pyre along the many nameless dead. 

 

The Curse of Gundar

Strange Mists rolled in, as he declared final victory.  He reverted his castle back to Castle Hunadora, as he feasted upon the countless Barovian dead not yet burned.  The next night, he awakened to a horrific realization at the hands of one of his mortal warriors, Barovia now bordered his lands.  And worse, this Count Strahd Von Zarovich ruled over it.  This has fueled countless propaganda campaigns against Barovia, proclaiming that they invaded the Domain in the past, only for mighty Gundarakites to liberate the masses through their just forces and righteous values.  This propaganda in turn helped built a nationalistic resentment into outright hatred of all things Barovian, to the point of violence against any visitors or traders who announced themselves as much.  Worse is Gundar’s own onset paranoia of Barovia returning to influence his lands.  His deep seeded racism has lead him to turn on anyone he fears is aligned with Strahd, with women suffering more due to his sexist tendencies.  He enforces his doctrine through the Church of Erlin, even though The Mists have seemingly cut off all priestly ability and power from the Darklord.  This dark cult of death and horror keeps the public in line and suppresses all desires against the land.  Curiously, one exception came in the way of Outlanders from the world of Oerth who came to the domain.  The similarities to Cults of Nerull drew them to the land.  Their attempts to convert the populace were quickly noticed, as the angered Duke acted swiftly to snuff out the “mad heretics.”

This isn’t the only aspect of his curse that afflicts him.  Soon after he was cut from final victory against Barovia, as all the women he wronged began to haunt his mind in the day hours of his rest.  Over the years, he found that he enjoyed mocking and belittling them, but his anger over Barovia remained ever true.  But, this was a sign of shift in his personality.  And just as he gave into his savage side before, he’ll never be seen as this rakish and cunning individual.  At first chance, he’ll give into bestial impulses and his desires to shred apart those who displease him.  He fancies himself as a charismatic and attractive leader, when the opposite is quite true.  All of his attempts to pull off elaborate plans, like the one that doomed him to his darklord state, fail.  He is too disorganized, belligerent and mentally muddled to carry out such feats anymore.  When he tries, he’ll either give in to vampiric impulses, become too brazen in his approach or give into emotional offense at something.  Thus, he loses commitment to a plan one way or another.  This frustrates him to no end, often causing him to destroy his own plans halfway through creation.  His hatred of Barovia has only gotten worse after overhearing of Count Strahd having nothing but contempt and mockery of the Duke. 

Medraut would go on to find himself cursed after the murder of his sister in a ritual several years after emerging in the Mists.  Said ritual lead to the portal below Castle Hunadora.  After closing in 608 BC, it is opened once again after Lord Soth’s accomplice, Azrael Dak, killed Medraut in the false hope of the Death Knight returning to Krynn in the year 720 BC.  Curiously, he could procreate without the need of Erlin’s boons, resulting in several captured brides and more illegitimate children.  These offspring had been both a thing of pride and internal terror, fearing that he would one day be replaced.  It is not known who or where these dhampir children reside, especially following the annexation of the land by Invidia and Barovia, following Duke Gundar’s assassination by Dr. Heinfroth and the Grand Conjunction.  However, much manifesto and revolution has been planned by a Haraszti Orsolya, to help reclaim Gundarak under fairer principles independent of Barovia or Invidia.  Little does she know that Lord Gundar stirs in the years following the Grand Conjunction.  And worse, she is one of the few surviving children, making her a Dhampir.  Her calls for revolution will be put to the test amidst the Time of Unparalleled Darkness.

Lack of trust, bigoted perspectives, a nearly bestial hunger and inability to concentrate long term almost through the land into chaos several times.  Due to these problems, the Duke let others carry out other duties… but only those he could survey and maintain at a close distance.  Dr. Daclaud Heinfroth, alias Dr. Dominiani, was Gundar’s most loyal servant.  Upon discovering that Heinfroth experimented on a vampiric bride to cure his familial madness, Gundar didn’t order his execution.  This was because the cerebral fluids Heinfroth used accidentally turned him into a unique vampiric, which Gundar tried to control.  For countless years, this was a success.  But ultimately, Heinfroth broke free and plotted revenge alongside Akriel Lukas through “The Gundarakite Conspiracy”.  While Harkon Lukas wasn’t slain in this endeavor, Duke Nharov Gundar was, as the mantle of Darklord briefly passed to Heinfroth in 736 of the Barovian Calendar or nearly 4 years before The Grand Conjunction.

All in all, the False Histories and Lost Histories of Gundarak tell different tales, while prophecies still others.  Fake pasts say that the Gundar bloodline was always in control of Gundarak, putting down various uprisings and noble squabbles, even resulting in the elimination of various houses not directly tied to the Gundar bloodline.  To go along with the stories, the Gundar Bloodline caused a revolution against the decadent empire.  To them, this was the start of a New Hunadora, one guided by proper principles and a reaction against the degenerate.  This not only erased the heroic crusade Gundar attempted against the Barovians, but further painted him as a power crazed, abusive and corrupt monster in the eyes of his people.  But, what of the world beyond the Mists?  It is likely that the Material Plane Hunadora or “Gundarak” was destroyed by undead monstrosities and likely purged by the holy forces of vengeful Barovians.  The Duke’s rivals, the Barovians, have likely long since given up on the land.  As it is, a new dynasty has arisen from the old and continues to rule within the Material Plane version of Barovia.  Hunadora is likely nothing more than a memory to them.

 

Gundarak into the Future

Sengir Autocrat - Magic: the Gathering MTG
“Why have I not achieved final victory? Why can’t I follow through on my plans? Why can’t I withhold my darkest instincts? I cannot be bested by imbeciles and pretenders, I must win!” – Lamentations of Nharov Gundar

As we ready to conclude the tale of Duke Gundar, I give you a horrowing vision into the year ahead.  759 of the Barovian Calendar brought many challenges and pains upon the land.  However, the Time of Unparalleled Darkness is upon us.  The Priests of the Church of Ezra have begun to go mad in revelation.  Among the dark chants, there is a tale…  It is one that the Vistani also speak of.  It is one where Gundar succeeds, but at what cost?

The Future, as told by prophecies for the Time of Unparalleled Darkness, does not look easier for Gundar.  His vision and fables of a New Hunadora have backfired.  His ambitions are seen as a self-serving and aggrandizing look at the past, all as an excuse to reign over an authoritarian nightmare.  His only boon would come from a former enemy, Malocchio Aderre.  The warning granted by Gabrielle Aderre, as well as the warning of other Vistani, made him paranoid.  This only egged him towards Malocchio’s genocidal agenda against all Vistani.  Even Tribe Kamii, the most well adjusted, has found itself in trouble within Gundarak lands.  Even beyond Vistani and Barovian, other targets have come under Gundar’s ire, often motivated by pettiness and narcissistic spite.  Even the mysterious organization known as The Crows have found themselves moving in secret within Gundarak borders.  Operatives have been sought after with large bounties for anyone who can prove faction membership on a target.  Those within their ranks that prove too oblivious are quickly killed by either bounty hunter or guardsman.

 

New Gundarak, 760 BC

File:Голубачка тврђава са Дунава.jpg

The Lord and The Law:  While strong and ancient, Gundar is weaker of spirit.  His own mental state has begun to erode under fear and anxiety.  He’s also quick to make up stories, in hopes of improving his ego or filling gaps between mysterious inconsistencies.  Some scholars assumed that he found himself into the domain by accident, due to a temporary gate.  This is probably another wild story meant to chase others from the truth.  As for his enforcers, they have been bolstered in strength, raw power and numbers.  Platoons have been given armor even greater than splint now, with some earning heavier plate.  Not even bastard swords and maces cut it anymore, with some gaining great swords and even firearms to aid in their combat.

The Land: Thanks to the rearranging of the Grand Conjunction, the general layout of Gundarak reflects the post-invasion map of the core.  Much of the domain borders between Gundarak still exist in some capacity, with shapes and layouts changed from the great cataclysm.  What land was once rugged and richly forested has slowly been cut back, to reflect a more organizing and advancing domain.  The Balinoks still greet the duchy from the east, as an ever present reminder that Strahd lingers close by.  The populations of Teufeldorf and Zeidenburg are comparable to as they were before the assassination.  In the time since Gundar’s disappearance, the populations increased through natural means for the Gundarakites and also through takeover by the Balok people of Barovia.  However, upheaval and genocide sparked by Gundar’s return has seen these numbers drop down.  None the less, nearly 4,200 for the former and 3,300 for the latter implies some manner of growth.

Closing the Borders: Escape from Gundarak is challenging, for those who try witness the burning lands of Hunadora itself, with legions of undead materializing to attack.  Duke Gundar hates doing this, as he is reminded of the original home he cannot go back to.  None the less, those who flee back to Gundarak will find themselves spared of the minions.  It’s unlikely that the Duke himself will prove too kind.

The Folk: The common people are just as oppressed, but in new ways.  Those not of the Gundarakite ethnicity face worse toils, even the risks of “cleansing”.  The so-called “Maidens of Erlin” has become a way to ease the anti-women mentality of the domain a bit.  However, it mostly amounts to making women of Gundarak obedient wives to birth more men to serve the duke, changing little to nothing in the domain.  Likewise, the “Sons of the Duke” is a state-funded program to propagate a new generation of armies ready to serve.  Education relates to tactics, dedication to a national cause, reverence to Erlin and absolute hatred to any enemy of the state.  The Sons are often taken to a Monastery of Erlin built some time before the domain’s reforming.  It can be found west of Teufeldorf and a short distance from the Nharov River.  Said monastery was built near the orchard where peasants were hung for a great rebellion.  And since the time of Grand Conjunction, the Gundarakites are more familiar with vampires.  While none the wiser of the darklord, Barovia taught them much.  While ill-trained to fend off the Spawn that meander without goal in Gundarak, they are still prepared.  One oddity that has befallen Gundarak is an influx of rats.  This came after a panicked Jacques Renier of Clan Renier fled Richemulot following outbreaks of disease and the disappearance of his mother.  He has pledged allegiance to Gundar in exchange for assistance.  The mad Duke soon discovered the gentleman’s true nature and exploited it, adding wererats to his army soon after.  However, he stayed true to his word.  The Gundarakites have found little evidence of Jacqueline herself, after gaining access to Richemulot.

Encounters:  Similar to the encounters in the Realm of Terror Boxed Set.  However, these encounters have been reshaped, just as the domain has.  While much is like before, the shaping of lands has changed both wilderness and monstrous demographics.  As such, deer have begun to take hold of the wide fields that were once lush forests.  Likewise, other animals have found themselves home.  In the realm of the supernatural, Gundar’s ravenous appetite has unleashed near mindless vampires running amok.  Subordinates have tried to wrangle most of them into subservience, while the rest are slaughtered.
Common: Rats, Bats, Wolves, Spiders, Deer and elk, Lesser vampires, Gundarakite soldiers
Rare: Other Undead, Lycanthropes, Bears, Boars

 

And thus, the grim saga of Gundarak and Duke Nharov Gundar.  The Mad Duke now lives in fear, knowing what horrid future awaits him.  He is forever doomed, much like he was before.  In the end, should the realms of The Mists be brought into question, his major role has already concluded in it.  Even in his success, he is ultimately nothing, a pretender to something far greater.  Existential Torment is his new curse, one that he must contend with until his inevitable fall again.  The irony that one day a woman shall strike him down is lost on him, as he is too wrapped up in solving a puzzle he’s too ignorant and conceited to ever understand.  May his wrath and reckoning spare us all.

 

IMAGE CREDITS:  R. de Morraine – Le Vampire; Ron Spencer – Trokin High Guard; Kev Walker – Duskmantle Seer; Aeflus – Burning Castle 2; F.W. Murnau – Nosferatu; David A Cherry – Sengir Autocrat; DjordjeMarkovic – Golubac Fortress

 

Author: Doctor Necrotic

Hobbyist, amateur writer/screenwriter, wannabe-philosopher, music fan, history lover, cinemaphile, gamer, reviewer, and more. I'm a 30 year old hodgepodge of jobs and interests. My current projects on WordPress creating a wide variety of content for various tabletop roleplaying games, even showcasing published content here as well. When I have the time, I also create editorials and reviews spanning various bits of popular culture. I hope you take a moment to check my content out and maybe tell me what you think.

2 thoughts on “Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – Gundarak”

  1. So Gundar wishes the genocide of all Barovians and wants to stick Strahd’s head on a spike…because they camped on his lawn and renamed his (abandoned) castle without permission. While Strahd was one a different plane of existence at the time.
    Who would have thought a psychopathic, warmongering, vampiric rapist could be so darn petty?

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    1. Gundar is the Beast side of the vampire, where Strahd is the Rake. Everything about Gundar is warped into emotional extremes. Being away from proper civilization for centuries might help that unraveling. He’s also too self-absorbed, ignorant and repugnant to be anything less than a petty and awful monster. He has no true company, respect and other things he pictures his “rival” with. And in fairness, the push for extermination came after the Grand Conjunction. In his mind, his “enemies” went too far… Even though all of this is self invented and his growing paranoia. But hey, that’s what dooms him in the end (AGAIN!)

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