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D&D 5E Everything We Know About The Ravenloft Book

Here is a list of everything we know so far about the upcoming Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft.

rav_art.jpg

Art by Paul Scott Canavan​
  • May 18th, 256 pages
  • 30 domains (with 30 villainous darklords)
  • Barovia (Strahd), Dementlieu (twisted fairly tales), Lamordia (flesh golem), Falkovnia (zombies), Kalakeri (Indian folklore, dark rainforests), Valachan (hunting PCs for sport), Lamordia (mad science)
  • NPCs include Esmerelda de’Avenir, Weathermay-Foxgrove twins, traveling detective Alanik Ray.
  • Large section on setting safe boundaries.
  • Dark Gifts are character traits with a cost.
  • College of Spirits (bard storytellers who manipulate spirits of folklore) and Undead Patron (warlock) subclasses.
  • Dhampir, Reborn, and Hexblood lineages.
  • Cultural consultants used.
  • Fresh take on Vistani.
  • 40 pages of monsters. Also nautical monsters in Sea of Sorrows.
  • 20 page adventure called The House of Lament - haunted house, spirits, seances.




 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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overgeeked

B/X Known World
I like the Fear mechanic. Not sure about Stress. I'm mildly tempted to use the Fear and Horror from the DMG in the places where appropriate, along with the Madness rules.
I kinda agree with the guy in the video. A flat DC for fear seems wrong, it should change based on the situation. And I’m iffy on Stress. It seems like it’s too little and too infrequently applied. If it were more frequent, sure. If it were disadvantage, sure. Both more frequent and disadvantage might be too much, but it would depend on the circumstances. I keep defaulting back to Call of Cthulhu and the Sanity mechanic. Maybe flip it to a stress mechanic and see how it works.
 



The older version sounds awesome.

The domain was hampered by being a tribute to a movie that most of the audience had never heard of (and stripped of its two main protagonists, since they're, y'know, the PCs). But the movie (original title translates to THE ETHEREAL SPIRIT OF A BEAUTY, I think) is great, if you're into its mix of ingredients. (The entire trilogy is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime, BTW.)
 

The domain was hampered by being a tribute to a movie that most of the audience had never heard of (and stripped of its two main protagonists, since they're, y'know, the PCs). But the movie (original title translates to THE ETHEREAL SPIRIT OF A BEAUTY, I think) is great, if you're into its mix of ingredients. (The entire trilogy is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime, BTW.)

It is a great series of films, The Pu Songling story it is based on is really good too
 

I really wish WotC wouldn't have installed the new feature that causes all of your old books to spontaneously combust when the new version hits D&D Beyond. My Eberron shelf almost killed me!
But if updating a campaign setting and doing it in a way that upsets most of the fans of that setting, why update at all?
If the audience for VAN RICHTEN'S GUIDE TO RAVENLOFT is a bunch of gamers who never heard of Ravenloft and don't have all the old books, why not do something new? They'd be just as happy with a book of new domains and new characters

Just... why??

Is it cause WizCo is expecting all the Ravenloft fanboys to be so desperate for new content that they'll buy anything, even if they hate it
Or maybe cause WizCo only cares about their army of new fans and not the fans who supported them for the previous ten or twenty years (which means it's only a matter of time before every other grognard here gets burned)
 

I kinda agree with the guy in the video. A flat DC for fear seems wrong, it should change based on the situation. And I’m iffy on Stress. It seems like it’s too little and too infrequently applied. If it were more frequent, sure. If it were disadvantage, sure. Both more frequent and disadvantage might be too much, but it would depend on the circumstances. I keep defaulting back to Call of Cthulhu and the Sanity mechanic. Maybe flip it to a stress mechanic and see how it works.
One thing he got wrong in the video. The text says that stress goes after a day of calm or rest, not a long rest. You don't get better in the morning, you get better if you can take a day off in Ravenloft. While not impossible, it is far less likely to happen. Since Stress seems to stack, it is the slow build kind of thing you often get in horror stories. In the right situation the Stress just keeps building, say if you're being hunted across a domain, slowly wearing you down, as your friends are picked off one by one by a seemingly unkillable monster.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
One thing he got wrong in the video. The text says that stress goes after a day of calm or rest, not a long rest. You don't get better in the morning, you get better if you can take a day off in Ravenloft. While not impossible, it is far less likely to happen. Since Stress seems to stack, it is the slow build kind of thing you often get in horror stories. In the right situation the Stress just keeps building, say if you're being hunted across a domain, slowly wearing you down, as your friends are picked off one by one by a seemingly unkillable monster.
Sort of. You’re right it slowly goes away. That’s good. But look at the listed triggers. They’re not things that happen frequently. Even in horror stories. Watching a loved one die. Most PCs in Ravenloft are going to be from somewhere else. So no loved ones handy, unless you form those kinds of attachments during play or set the game after the PCs have been in country awhile. An object shattering your concept of reality. Sure. Once a story, maybe. For stress to be meaningful the triggers need to be way, way more frequent than what’s presented.
 
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Reynard

Legend
But if updating a campaign setting and doing it in a way that upsets most of the fans of that setting, why update at all?
If the audience for VAN RICHTEN'S GUIDE TO RAVENLOFT is a bunch of gamers who never heard of Ravenloft and don't have all the old books, why not do something new? They'd be just as happy with a book of new domains and new characters

Just... why??

Is it cause WizCo is expecting all the Ravenloft fanboys to be so desperate for new content that they'll buy anything, even if they hate it
Or maybe cause WizCo only cares about their army of new fans and not the fans who supported them for the previous ten or twenty years (which means it's only a matter of time before every other grognard here gets burned)
Do you really not see the value WotC gains from using an established IP connected to an extremely successful current module, or are you arguing in bad faith?
 

JEB

Hero
So does no White Fever mean no Nosferatu?
Nosferatu actually do appear to be in the book, according to the table of contents. (What form they will take, we don't yet know; but I assume something different from 2E, where they were blood-drinking vampires to contrast with AD&D's energy-draining vampires, a distinction that no longer exists.)

But I expect they'll be gone from Valachan, yes, since the domain has been completely rethemed and replaced with this new incarnation.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Sort of. You’re right it slowly goes away. That’s good. But look at the listed triggers. They’re not things that happen frequently. Even in horror stories. Watching a loved one die. Most PCs in Ravenloft are going to be from somewhere else. So no loved ones handy, unless you form those kinds of attachments during play or set the game after the PCs have been in country awhile. An object shattering you concept of reality. Sure. Once a story, maybe. For stress to be meaningful the triggers need to be way, way more frequent than what’s presented.
Since I haven't watched the video... did they list all the potential triggers? Did they say it was an example of triggers, and the DM can easily make up more?
 

Sort of. You’re right it slowly goes away. That’s good. But look at the listed triggers. They’re not things that happen frequently. Even in horror stories. Watching a loved one die. Most PCs in Ravenloft are going to be from somewhere else. So no loved ones handy, unless you form those kinds of attachments during play or set the game after the PCs have been in country awhile. An object shattering you concept of reality. Sure. Once a story, maybe. For stress to be meaningful the triggers need to be way, way more frequent than what’s presented.
I agree the triggers are a bit sparse. I started a campaign this week and the group are facing a zombie horde, one of the players is already panicking since they seem to be heading further into the horde. Since the player is seeing this as a stressful situation, I think suggesting that his character suffers from Stress is fine. Since as the DM, I know that the group is definitely mot getting a chance to rest for more than a night, if I give the character Stress it isn't going away. Indeed they are going to face worse zombies than the run of the mill ones they have see so far, including one that probably isn't going to be able to be turned. If they player is getting stressed by run of the mill zombies, how stressed are they going to be by really tough ones?
 

Faolyn

Hero
Nosferatu actually do appear to be in the book, according to the table of contents. (What form they will take, we don't yet know; but I assume something different from 2E, where they were blood-drinking vampires to contrast with AD&D's energy-draining vampires, a distinction that no longer exists.)
My guess, based on absolutely no evidence at all, is that they'll combine them with the vrykolaka--those disease-bearing vampires.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
But if updating a campaign setting and doing it in a way that upsets most of the fans of that setting, why update at all?

A little presumptive to assume that your reaction speaks for "most of the fans", isn't it? Because that's not what I see. Most of the reactions I see are positive and excited. The voices against any updating are loud but few. If you look at the number of posters instead of the number of posts then the picture shifts a great deal.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Just... why??

Is it cause WizCo is expecting all the Ravenloft fanboys to be so desperate for new content that they'll buy anything, even if they hate it
Or maybe cause WizCo only cares about their army of new fans and not the fans who supported them for the previous ten or twenty years (which means it's only a matter of time before every other grognard here gets burned)
It's probably a bit of both.

Us older ones are looking for rules, archetypes, and monsters. If we like the new domains, we'll use them. If not, we have two other edition's worth of books.

The newer guys--who have heard of Ravenloft and other old settings from people (like me) who talk about it on reddit--will pick up the new book and either not care that it's not like what the old folks said or be annoyed it's not Innestrad or however it's spelled.
 

Yeah, I'll be picking the eyes out of this book and ignoring the bits I don't like, just like I have for every other edition. The 'all domains are islands in the mist' thing is going to go, but to be honest I'm progressively getting less and less canonical with my taste in Ravenloft and am moving away from domains with hard borders at all (a bit inspired by the Castle Island domain from 3e, where crossing closed domain border imposed a penalty or curse rather than just being flat-out impossible or lethal). I'm really looking forward to seeing the brand new domains like the Sri Raji successor and Klorr, and a decent-sized writeup of Har-Akir for the first time in many, many years. The subclasses etc I'm mostly familiar with from UA already but new PC options are always welcome, as are new monsters.

Have to admit I've been avoiding any of the big youtube readthroughs etc. When the book gets here I want to sit down with it for an evening and form my own impressions. Dunno how all these people manage to get copies weeks before release anyway... :mad:
 

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