Ravenloft was originally an adventure in 1983, and later became an entire campaign setting set in a pocket dimension called the Demiplane of Dread. The original adventure, for AD&D 1st Edition, has Strahd von Zarovich, master vampire, as its main villain. The land of Barovia is surrounded by a magical fog, and Strahd rules the domain. The adventure featured an interesting card-based random generation process which determined the locations of items, NPCs, and Strahd's motivation, making the adventure replayable. Strahd was an intelligent villain who loomed over the entire adventure, taunting the PCs throughout. Strahd is probably one of the most well-known D&D characters, after Drizzt and Elminster, and possible some Dragonlance characters.
I don't know how much of that old adventure matches the new storyline. I hear that Strahd's love story is at least cited, if not part of the adventure, and that it is shorter in scope than the previous adventure paths. WotC has sent some preview images to various outlets, as I reported yesterday, and the announcement is coming on Monday.
Personally? I am really excited about this. I can't wait to run it! Out of the storylines so far (and I really liked the Underdark whimsy), this one probably hits me right in the sweet spot. I was hoping for this.
The book is on Amazon already, albeit with no cover image, and is available for pre-order. 224 pages, $49.95, March 15th , 2016. With these 'placeholder' Amazon pages details sometimes change; but here's the product description:
Unravel the mysteries of Ravenloft® in this dread adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game
Under raging storm clouds, the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich stands silhouetted against the ancient walls of Castle Ravenloft. Rumbling thunder pounds the castle spires. The wind’s howling increases as he turns his gaze down toward the village of Barovia. Far below, yet not beyond his keen eyesight, a party of adventurers has just entered his domain. Strahd’s face forms the barest hint of a smile as his dark plan unfolds. He knew they were coming, and he knows why they came — all according to his plan. A lightning flash rips through the darkness, but Strahd is gone. Only the howling of the wind fills the midnight air. The master of Castle Ravenloft is having guests for dinner. And you are invited.
Some more snippets of info:
- There's going to be a twitter campaign hashtag thing called #DNDFortune during the lead up to the adventure. You can get a 'reading' each day from Madam Eva using her tarokka deck.
- The tarokka deck will be produced by Gale Force 9 and should be available when the adventure releases. It can be used to randomise locations in the adventure.
- The adventurers are trapped (I assume in Barovia by the mists, but maybe in the castle itself; not sure).
- Mike Schley has strongly hinted that he worked on maps for the adventure, as he did for the previous 5E adventures.