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I have been running a Curse of Strahd game for a few months now. In the Curse of Strahd, there is a character in the Town of Vallaki.

His name is Izek, and he has a monstrously deformed arm. His bio only mentions that he woke up with it one day.

I am certain that I read the more detailed origin of this deformity in the book at some point. I have re-read the relevant sections of the book (his character bio in the appendix and the sections regarding this character, chapter on the Town of Vallaki) multiple times trying to find this information without much luck. Short of reading the entire book again from front to back, I'm not sure where to find this information. I can't for the life of me remember where in the book I read this (if anywhere).

Can anyone help me find where this information is in the book, or otherwise confirm that this information isn't in the book, so I can stop going crazy trying to find it?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But you know how he lost his arm in the first place, right ? Do I understand you correctly ? \$\endgroup\$ – Yotus Nov 9 '16 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Yotus Yes, and I know where that is in the book (in his bio). If the answer to my question is that the origin is on the next page, that's fine. The next page says it mysteriously appeared; I'll take that to mean there isn't a more defined origin in the book somewhere. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Nov 9 '16 at 13:24
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I'm going to attempt putting together some RAW information that I am able to find.

After reading through the relevant sections (Town of Vallaki) there is no mention of the reason for the characters appearance. Only his duties around the town (such as bullying people, and being a henchman). There is also some mention of his creepy doll collection in a few spots.

As far as the origin of his deformity - here is some information on how it started.

"One morning their father and their uncle took them fishing on Lake Zarovich. On the way back to town, a dire wolf attacked Izek and bit off his right arm." - Page 231.

It continues to mention as well that...

"Unlike his sister, Izek was born without a soul." - Page 231.

Lastly, here is how his arm was returned to him (in regards to what is written).

Fiendish Gift. After years of doing Baron Vallakovich's dirty work, Izek awakened from a drunken stupor one morning to find that he had grown a new arm to replace the one he had lost. The new appendage has barbed spines, elongated fingers, and long nails. He can create fire with the snap of his fiendish fingers and has used the flames to put the fear of the devil in every Vallakian. - Page 232

There is no actual mention as to how this happened. However, the name of the attribute leads me to believe that...

It is likely a gift from Strahd/evil beings who support Strahd.

However this is only a guess currently. It has been pointed out in the comments that additional fluff information exists in AD&D2E regarding evil acts committed changing your character in fiendish ways. This looks to be what is happening, and almost certainly is a gift from the Dark Power.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is NOT in the book, it's fluff from AD&D 2E, but potentially applicable. In the Ravenloft Campaign setting, if you performed an act of deliberate evil, you ran the risk of attracting the attention of the Dark Powers. If that happened, they gave you a gift and a curse that was in-line with the sort of evil you were doing. If you kept being evil and kept drawing their attention, they gradually changed you into a monster of some sort. If you look at Izek's stat block and described appearance, his arm is a dead-wringer for the arm of a Barbed Devil. Even the 'Hurl Flame' action is the same. \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Apr 4 '18 at 14:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thus, it could be explained that Izek's life of cruelty and evil drew the attention of the Dark Powers, and they are gradually turning him into a creature like a Barbed Devil. Thus him having the arm of a Barbed Devil. \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Apr 4 '18 at 14:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed... Far more likely to be a gift from the Dark Powers than anything else. Strahd pretends to be the power in Barovia, but he really isn't... the Dark Powers rule even him. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Apr 4 '18 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @guildsbounty Great point. I'll add some of this to the answer because it would certainly enhance it. \$\endgroup\$ – Sh4d0wsPlyr Apr 4 '18 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sh4d0wsPlyr If you want a source on it: "Ravenloft Campaign Setting, p42-53" \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Apr 4 '18 at 15:09

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