Today we’re deep diving into the NPC companions: The Mad Mage, Ismark Kolyanovich, Clovin Belview and Arabelle!
In the video below, I discuss the motivations behind each of these characters deciding to accompany your party, how to gain their trust, as well as the pros and cons of having them around. Not all allies are created equal, as you’ll see!
If you want all five of these allies’ information in written format, check out the full color PDF over on our Patreon. I’ve included a sample ally down below as a preview for you!
Get the full color PDF of all five allies on our Patreon!
Marionette (Jack of Hearts)
Clovin Belview is the personal attendant of the Abbot at the Abbey of Saint Markovia in Krezk. He is a mongrelfolk, a strain of humanoids with strange mutations and animal body parts. The Abbot tasked him with keeping the other mongrelfolk in line, who are more animalistic and crude even than him—a job which he despises.
Clovin wants to leave the service of the Abbot, and is keen to grasp at any chance that would allow him to leave the Abbey. At the same time, he would never strike out alone—he needs company, and he wishes to continue to have a patron. He does not care much about Strahd one way or another, but he will go with anyone who gets him out of the Abbey.
Earning Clovin’s Trust
Clovin will not leave without the approval of his master, the Abbot. He is too afraid of the Abbot to even ask, however, so the characters have to petition for him. The Abbot is unlikely to approve the request, unless they can provide something of significant value in return, but Clovin has no problem accompanying the party if the Abbot should meet an untimely end.
Get The Essential Guide To
Curse of Strahd Companions
Get extended information on all twenty possible allies in Curse of Strahd for Dungeons & Dragons. This supplement outlines their motivations, how to gain their trust, personality information, and more! It’s the perfect companion to our Raising the Stakes guide for Curse of Strahd.
Weals and Woes
There are several possible advantages to having Clovin in the party:
- Clovin is a jovial and good-natured travel companion. His loyalties don’t run deep, but while they aren’t challenged by circumstances, he’s good fun to have around. He has a keen sense of his inferiority and wishes to please, if only to make his life easier.
- As a mongrelfolk with the two-headed variant, Clovin has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks, which can prove very useful in keeping the party out of danger.
- When Clovin throws his lot in with someone, he sticks with them—for better or worse. He may be of evil alignment, but it’s part of his strange and tortured personality to not abandon anyone once he has attached himself to them. Just as he didn’t act against the Abbot, even while despising him, he will never act against the characters and will always follow their commands. Clovin might even take initiative and try to anticipate the party’s wishes if they treat him even a sliver more kindly than the Abbot.
- Clovin is good with his viol. He might be able to ingratiate the party with anyone who has any appreciation for music and is willing to tolerate his deformities—the Vistani might show great appreciation for his talents.
Just as Clovin’s presence can aid the party, he might be trouble in some situations:
- Clovin is a poor fighter, as a mongrelfolk. He neither deals much damage nor can he take much. Moreover, he is easy to hit at an AC of 11, and even his speed is much lower than that of most other humanoid creatures at a mere 20 feet. He is going to be more of a liability than an asset in most combat situations—and gods forbid the party has to run from something while he is with them!
- Most Barovians will react with disgust towards the mongrelfolk and won’t even let them into their cities or homes without significant convincing. Clovin resents this, and might do something spiteful whenever he gets the chance.
- Clovin is a functional drunk, meaning he needs a regular sip of wine or something comparable to remain sane and effective. He is not picky, and the cheapest stuff will do, but he needs a regular supply of one bottle per day. If that supply runs out, he’ll show withdrawal symptoms and become irritable. He even loses his ability to play the viol and, with that, his ability to support the party with the usual ally trait Inspire. This means he can turn from marginally supportive to near-useless quickly.