Card: Ghost (King of Hearts)
Sir Godfrey Gwilym is one of the revenants at Argynvostholt, sworn to the unfulfillable quest of ending Strahd. His love for Vladimir is all that keeps his mind and soul—and those of other revenants—safe from oblivion. Let’s take a look at his motivation, how characters can earn his trust, and the pros and cons of having him around. We’ll also take a look at how you can roleplay him to the best of your abilities!
Before Strahd darkened the horizon of Barovia, Sir Godfrey Gwilym served as a knight of the silver order. He pledged his life and sword to the silver dragon, Argynvost, and protected the land from all manner of evil. He did this side-by-side with his partner, Vladimir Horngaard.
When Strahd’s forces swept the land and destroyed Argynvost and the rest of the silver order, Vladimir’s hatred of the vampire brought Godfrey and other knights back to life as revenants. But unlike the other revenants, Godfrey maintains some semblance of his humanity. We talk about why that is in our guide to Argynvostholt.
Sir Godfrey’s Motivation
Sir Godfrey is sworn—and cursed—to oppose Strahd. With the exception of his love for Vladimir, this is the only motivation in his revenant mind. Nothing else in the world matters anymore.
Earning Godfrey’s Trust
Sir Godfrey immediately feels the inevitable pull of fate when he lays eyes on the party. He recognizes that they are his best chance of finally ending Strahd, and lifting the curse on him and his fellow knights. However, he is not ready to leave Argynvostholt to accompany them on his final mission before putting Vladimir Horngaard, the love of his life (and unlife), to rest.
The characters must help Sir Godfrey, and the other four revenants who have not yet succumbed to Vladimir, with their unfinished business in order to break the seal to the mausoleum of Argynvostholt (see the Argynvostholt chapter of this guide). Argynvost’s skull (which, if you’re following this guide, can be found in Berez instead of Castle Ravenloft), can then be returned to light the beacon and put Vladimir and the other revenants to rest. In that case, only Sir Godfrey remains, and will stay with the party until Strahd is dealt with.
If the characters fail to help the revenants and Vladimir asserts full control over them, Sir Godfrey still leaves with the party, as there is no more hope left in him to oppose Vladimir’s hate. In this case, however, he retains his brooding personality for the rest of his un-life (see below).
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Weals and Woes
There are several possible advantages to having Sir Godfrey in the party:
- So long as Strahd is not destroyed, Sir Godfrey is, as a revenant, invincible. Even if he is “killed”, his spirit just possesses another body somewhere in Barovia (see chapter 7, Revenants of Barovia). It might take him a day or two to locate the party after that, but he’ll always be back. Sir Godfrey is very matter of fact about this, as he has experienced it many times before. This perfectly qualifies him for particularly suicidal missions.
- In addition to dishing out respectable blows (don’t forget, he is no standard revenant who uses his bare fists but wields a greatsword that deals 2d10 + 4 damage on a hit!), Sir Godfrey is a strong paladin spellcaster with access to multiple smite spells to further bolster his damage output. He even has a few utility and control spells at his disposal, notably dispel magic and command.
- Sir Godfrey has sworn vengeance on Strahd, which means he knows exactly where he is, at all times, via his Vengeful Tracker feature! This also means that his bonus damage of 14 (4d6) per hit triggers against Strahd.
Just as Sir Godfrey’s presence can aid the party, he might be trouble in some situations:
- If the characters don’t light the beacon at Argynvostholt, Sir Godfrey remains so locked into his need for vengeance that his alignment remains evil. This rage blinds him when the group faces Strahd, and he is bound to rush in blindly. The worst that can happen to him is that he comes back by possessing another corpse—and he just cannot give up even an outside chance of ending his centuries long torment by striking against Strahd whenever and wherever possible. His recklessness may put other party members in undue danger, however.
- Sir Godfrey is not going to be accepted in any polite company, due to his clearly undead visage. Not even him turning back to good, if the beacon at Argynvostholt is lit, can change this.
Roleplaying Sir Godfrey Gwilym
When the characters first meet Sir Godfrey, he comes across as irritable and irascible. His reaction to even slight discourtesies or inattentiveness is baleful, at best. This comes from his centuries old frustration of first having failed his duty to Argynvost, then pointlessly fighting against Strahd without any hope of victory, and finally seeing his great love Vladimir slip away from him and their order’s ideals. Nonetheless, Sir Godfrey treats the characters as friendly as he can muster—although he might keep them on edge with the ceaseless grinding of his teeth, bone on bone. Sir Godfrey is seething at all times, barely holding onto his own sanity by the anchor of his love for Vladimir, but eternally frustrated that it can be returned no longer.
Once Vladimir is put to rest, by lighting the beacon at Argynvostholt, a great weight is lifted from Sir Godfrey. He suddenly becomes much more amiable, and is very apologetic about his earlier behavior. He will never be a cheerful traveling companion, but is now happy to share stories of his order’s exploits. He even talks about Vladimir and takes a keen interest in the love lives of the characters (if any), believing that love is the strongest thing in the multiverse and delighting in seeing it on display.
“I know the others have forgotten, but I can still remember our honor, from the days when Argynvost walked among us. I keep this memory alive only because my love for Vladimir is still alive.”
Ideal. We have fallen far from the code of conduct the Order of the Silver Dragon demands of us—I hope I can return to our lost ideals.
Bond. I still love Vladimir, and would do everything to set his soul free.
Flaw. I cannot control my hatred whenever the devil Strahd is before me—HE. MUST. END. NOW!