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She is the Ancient: A Genderbent Curse of Strahd
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She is the Ancient: A Genderbent Curse of Strahd

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$19.99

WE HIT PLATINUM ON 5/16/22! I am working on 2nd Edition updates as well as getting the book ready to print in hardcover. Anyone that previously purchased the PDF will automatically get an updated digital copy of the 2nd Edition as well as a discount code towards a printed copy. Thanks for making this possible. You're all amazing!

She is the Ancient: A Genderbent Curse of Strahd

Re-imagined NPCs, backstories, and concepts for your Curse of Strahd campaign!

When I first picked up Curse of Strahd, I wondered how exciting it might be if this Count were instead a Countess. Here is the visual culmination of what's been swirling around in my mind and at my tables. 

This guide is a reference to the NPCs of Curse of Strahd. You'll find that each character has helpful descriptions, connections, and suggestions for roleplay. I've included story changes and alternate encounters as well. Not every NPC has been gender-bent, but many have. Some characters simply swapped backstories or societal roles. While I market this as "A Genderbent Curse of Strahd," it's a bit more than that. There are changes to how horror gets depicted, and there are alternatives to the characters centered around racial slurs and ableist language. 

Maybe you'd like to see more women represented as more than just desired objects or hags? Perhaps you'd like to play a classic Dracula story with less targeted sexual violence? We can have TTRPG horror without the repeated use of prominent real-life horror. After all, as my good friend Casual Campbell states, "Vampires should understand consent better than any monster. They literally have to ask for permission to enter a home."


What you’ll find in this 157-page, full color guide: 

  • My playtested changes to Strahd’s backstory
  • New story concepts
  • Over 85 NPC descriptions
  • Digital NPC portrait tokens
  • And more!

This guide includes web-page access to plain text for e-reader purposes.

Page previews for She is the Ancient including faction information, NPC map, NPC description pages, handouts, encounter changes, and location changes.

Page previews for She is the Ancient including faction information, NPC map, NPC description pages, handouts, encounter changes, and location changes.

Digital tokens

Want to see some of this content in action?

You can watch Beth the Bard DM for Casual Campbell, Fenway Jones, Jesse Jay, and Ty Stone! Where? On Satine Phoenix's Gilding Light TV, each Tuesday evening from 5-7pm Pacific @ twitch.tv/GildingLight. More information on SheIsTheAncient.com.

Ginny Di Video Transcript:

“Imagine Strahd von Zarovich as a woman — a powerful, female vampire holding Barovia in her grip.

“There’s been plenty of talk of genderbending Strahd online, but in Beth the Bard’s new book, She is the Ancient, you’ll find a lot more than swapped-out pronouns. Beth has completely rethought Curse of Strahd, one of the most popular D&D adventures of all time, to come at its themes of abuse and control from a totally different angle.

“Countess Strahd has her own version of the original backstory, and her own relationships with other characters, different but parallel to the narrative laid out in the original. NPCs have had their genders and stories rethought as well. She is the Ancient gives you everything you need to run this module with a flipped script that puts women of all kinds into the driver’s seat while also cutting out sexist tropes, targeted violence against women and children, racism, and ableism.”


 
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Reviews (14)
Discussions (26)
Customer avatar
Stephen N May 14, 2022 10:57 am UTC
My only question is why do we need this? As dms we can make whatever npc or strahd whatever gender we want? Or why change strahds gender as an established character. Why not run a cool female vampire of your own creation with their own back story motivations and such. If your looking for inspiration there is Elizabeth Bathery (also referred to as lady dracula) from the 1500s who would make an excellent villain in a ravenloft game. Or you could go the Carmila from castlevania route
Customer avatar
Allen C May 14, 2022 11:05 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Why would you need any published setting adventure ?
I think for folks who enjoy published setting adventures but would like to give their players something unique that not every campaign is doing then this adventure facilitates that really well.
Customer avatar
Matthew O March 23, 2022 3:16 pm UTC
My brother/business partner sugested we use this variation, the next time 1 of our House GMs runs a CoS campaign, at our gaming center ( rpgdungeons.com ). We provide custom tables, 2D and 3D terrain, and hand painted mini's for our games, as well as a bunch of other gaming equipment. So my question is, are there any physical mini's, or downloadable STL print files, for the new gender bent characters?
Customer avatar
Sara W December 26, 2021 4:14 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Will there be a printer-friendly version of this?
Customer avatar
Imaan M November 24, 2021 6:15 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Is there any way to get my hands on the cover portrait art without the words and such? I have the token, but it would be really cool to have that beautiful art as a handout for my players.
Customer avatar
Beth (the Bard) S November 26, 2021 5:14 am UTC
CREATOR
Send me an email! ItsBethTheBard (at) gmail (dot) com
:)
Customer avatar
Cam T November 23, 2021 3:32 am UTC
Um, just wanting to know, will i need to purchase anything else with this? like the tarokka cards, or even the curse of strahd itself, or will this be an all inclusive mod?
Customer avatar
Beth (the Bard) S November 26, 2021 5:13 am UTC
CREATOR
You will need Curse of Strahd and Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft! It's an add-on to those supplements! Thanks for asking. :)
Customer avatar
Andrew R October 28, 2021 1:31 pm UTC
Im willing to bet they didnt flip the gender of Ireena, cant have even lady Strahd loving a dude
Customer avatar
Tom R October 28, 2021 2:15 pm UTC
Is your masculinity that fragile?
Customer avatar
Mark N October 23, 2021 6:00 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I really wish I had bought this sooner. Because members of my group have played or know CoS, I've been running "pre-Strahd" game where the party can make changes to Barovia that will impact the later campaign. I've been trying to correct some of the things in Strahd that I don't love already, and this supplement does a great job with that. I'm going to work in the changes I can, because I do like this a lot.
Customer avatar
Mark N October 25, 2021 10:20 pm UTC
PURCHASER
If anyone is interested in trying to incorporate this into an ongoing game, I managed to retcon things to work. I picked Caithlenn of the Crooked Teeth, the arch fey that the hags worship, as the cause of the changes. I had an artifact of hers that allowed someone who possessed it to alter details of the story, but not powerful enough to break the power of the Curse (in my case, the CoS as written was the changed edition, and this is now the "original" world). I left a proper review, but my team really appreciated the changes and the new approach to Strahd.
Customer avatar
Jason P October 20, 2021 2:43 am UTC
Definitely would buy a FG conversion of this! After my DiA compaign, I'll be doing a CoS campaign and this would be ideal! *crosses fingers*
Customer avatar
Alex D October 19, 2021 8:28 pm UTC
I previously mentioned this on Twitter, but I can't help but see Laura Bailey in your Lady Strahd.
Customer avatar
Beth (the Bard) S November 26, 2021 5:13 am UTC
CREATOR
Haha, same!!!
Customer avatar
Stuart K October 13, 2021 1:09 pm UTC
I'm curious - was the art for most of the NPCs made on Artbreeder.com?
Customer avatar
Beth (the Bard) S October 14, 2021 6:04 pm UTC
CREATOR
Yes! For each NPC, I created multiple portraits to get each feature I wanted and then combined and edited everything in Adobe Photoshop. :)
Customer avatar
Stuart K October 14, 2021 7:20 pm UTC
Neat, ArtBreeder is a great site. Might be worth giving them a shout-out in the credits if you ever revise the document?

By sheer coincidence I'm working on something Ravenlofty and DM-Guildy that involves swapping genders around and I've found Artbreeder to be amazing. I even uploaded a sketch and got a complete piece of art back.
Customer avatar
Pete W October 21, 2021 11:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I was really curious about the character art because I was completely blown away at the quality. It really is great!
Customer avatar
Michael O October 12, 2021 4:03 pm UTC
Amazing art and interesting idea. I like that the changes made to the story in order to accommodate the gender changes are thought out and details are provided in how to run the adapted campaign. I did find that it didn't truly seem genderbent from a 1:1 perspective as some important figures just have their roles reversed, some just partially reversed, and some genders have changed. It's not a straight male to female, female to male thing change. It did also seem like there are more male to female/nonbinary conversions than female to male conversions. Additionally, the changes made can make it feel weird for people since there is a noticeable inclusivity bent to the changes that can feel a little forced. This would make it less immersive for me.

In summary, this is something that I'd read out of curiosity and to enjoy the art and layout. I would not fully use it in its entirety in actual play. However, if I wanted to play a genderbent Strahd campaign, there is some good stuff in here and I would...See more
Customer avatar
goose S October 10, 2021 9:33 am UTC
PURCHASER
Only the gender of the characters and some background stories have been changed.
The whole book is quite unimaginative and extremely boring.
After changing the gender, the whole story is exactly the same as the old version,What is the significance of this book? Just to hear a few meaningless background descriptions?
Customer avatar
Robert L September 26, 2021 8:28 pm UTC
At this stage of my gaming life I've been trying to check off multiple boxes in my gaming bucket list if I try to fire up something long term. For Curse of Strahd I got the idea to run it in Innistrad because of the Plane Shift, which would check off the "run game in a MtG setting" as well. Also I've run the Dracula Dossier, so I've kinda been there and done that with the antagonist being a suave scary Vampire Lord. Since I'd have to change a ton of stuff around anyway by moving the setting, I'm curious if this would product would make my job easier. Thoughts from people who have purchased it?
Customer avatar
Elliott B September 26, 2021 9:18 am UTC
PURCHASER
Really liking this so far! Would it be possible to upload a new version with bookmarks for each chapter? Being such an expansive document it would help a lot if I could locate and get to what I need easier. Love the content.
Customer avatar
Dave M September 20, 2021 1:07 am UTC
PURCHASER
Re: The Lady of Trollskull Priory (https://www.dmsguild.com/product/252105/The-Lady-of-Trollskull-Priory) (LoTP)

LoTP is intended as a teaser from Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (W:DH) to Curse of Strahd (CoS) -- either to hint at where the campaign will go next, or just as a CoS Easter Egg inside W:DH. As such, it has Mongrelfolk, which She is the Ancient (SitA) changes. In SitA, they're referred to as "Patients" or "Experiments," but without any link to Mordenheim those don't make a whole lot of sense.

My suggestion would be, instead of linking to Mordenheim and Lamordia and Mordenheim's Flesh Golems, link to Dr. Markov (of Markovia) and his Broken Ones, which are a gross merging of humanoids and animals. As it's the Abbey of St. Markovia, it's already in the name, and "Broken One" is a bit more generic than "Patients" or "Experiments." (Bluetspur also has psychic versions of the Broken Ones which they call Shattered Brethren)
...See more
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File Last Updated:
August 30, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on August 29, 2021.