3 thoughts on “The Psychological Abuse of Curse of Strahd”

  1. An outstanding article!

    I never ran or played through Ravenloft in any incarnation (sacrilege, I know), but I know it. Having run several Horror-themed campaigns of Earthdawn gives me adequate cred, though. Those games got dark, and abusive. Players wept at the table.

    I have been advocating for the exceptional power of tabletop RPGs to reach inside the psyche of players and GMs for some years now, ever since those Earthdawn games, in fact, and I am excited to see an academic put forth their intellect and erudition to the subject.

    I will say that going to these dark places and exploring abusive villainous foes, encountering their victims, and even experiencing such abuse and trauma themselves makes the final defeat of said villains so cathartic and emotionally rewarding that participants feel as though they have been an ordeal as real as any in their memories. Inded, over time, I have observed that the memory of those games is as real and tangible in the minds of all participants as any memory of actual experiences.

    Thank you for the article!

  2. Thank you so much for this article! It’s very helpful in understanding what I’m dealing with as the DM for this campaign (which will start in a couple of weeks). We’re going to be using a “safe” card during play in case things get too dark and emotions too strong. A player can reach out and touch the safe card and we’ll know we need to take a break. Also, I’ve been fascinated with the Bluebeard legend since I first heard Bartok’s opera, “Bluebeard’s Castle,” on the radio late one night. But I hadn’t made that particular connection with Strahd – and it’s absolutely there. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *