• NOW LIVE! -- The Awfully Cheerful Engine on Kickstarter! An action comedy RPG inspired by cheerful tabletop games of the 80s! With a foreword by Sandy 'Ghostbusters' Petersen, and VTT support!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

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.




 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Remathilis

Legend
I had a chance to re-read the sections in question, and I can say (without spoiling) it can be seen as one groups interpretation of what happened. Its written all in one monster write-up and could easily be treated as that group's personal beliefs, not absolute truth. If the group is tied to the Cult in Death house, then certainly Strahd doesn't share their beliefs.

I think it can be safely put forward as AN option, even if the wording is a little more Word-of-God than I'd like. Then again, I wasn't a fan of the Amber Temple either...
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Remathilis

Legend
I haven't looked at the link yet. Do they really define them? You never define the dark powers. Ever. Their mystery is part of what makes them work. Defining the dark powers takes you down a 'it was just midichlorians the whole time' road
It's an extension of the Amber Temple in Curse of Strahd, if you're familar with that.
 


Faolyn

Hero
I think it can be safely put forward as AN option, even if the wording is a little more Word-of-God than I'd like. Then again, I wasn't a fan of the Amber Temple either...
My group hasn't gotten there yet, and I'm really trying to figure out what I need to do to successfully replace the arcanoloth with Inajira and make the whole place more interesting than just a murder-dungeon.
 

Remathilis

Legend
My group hasn't gotten there yet, and I'm really trying to figure out what I need to do to successfully replace the arcanoloth with Inajira and make the whole place more interesting than just a murder-dungeon.
Read Van Richten's Guide. That will give you some inspiration.
 

Speaking personally, I have to admit I find the Dark Powers pretty much the least interesting, and damn near the least game-relevant aspect of the Ravenloft setting as a whole. I can understand why someone like Azalin would disagree, but seriously, how often does the metaphysics of Ravenloft actually matter in a game?

It matters constantly. Powers checks hinge on the dark powers. The dark powers carrying characters into Ravenloft, using the mists to move people, responding to curses, etc. The dark powers, at least in my view, are central.
 


Sure, and honestly, a lot of what's in the new Ravenloft looks great. (Dementlieu 2.0 sounds cool, for example - but again, why is it called "Dementlieu"?) However, they could have had all this great new stuff without erasing what came before.
In what way are the old domains erased? All of the previous versions of Ravenloft are available on DMs Guild and most, if not all, are available via POD.

If you had asked me a year ago if Ravenloft was a continuity-heavy setting, I would have said no. I think a lot of the insistence that the domains can't change -- even though, from the beginning, they were supposed to be mutable, often without the residents realizing it had happened -- is pretty odd, honestly.

If you don't like the new versions of the domains, don't use them. The rest of the book has plenty of other stuff.

I suspect someone told WotC that some of these prominent domains needed to have their names in print, just to keep them as part of their protectable product identity. I'm not sure I would have gone to the mat for some of the lesser ones they're keeping in the mix, but for all we know, that was part of a mandate on high.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I had a chance to re-read the sections in question, and I can say (without spoiling) it can be seen as one groups interpretation of what happened. Its written all in one monster write-up and could easily be treated as that group's personal beliefs, not absolute truth. If the group is tied to the Cult in Death house, then certainly Strahd doesn't share their beliefs.

I think it can be safely put forward as AN option, even if the wording is a little more Word-of-God than I'd like. Then again, I wasn't a fan of the Amber Temple either...
If you don't like the one in VGR, you can always use the more traditional one from exploring eberron's mabar section in page178 of that
1620946338889.png

It talks about a few specific ones in the rest of the mabar section, some of them using the term dark powers, but they tend to read more like Dark Lords of their domains than Dark Powers :D. This one works well to show players since it says a lot without even hinting at form or motivation, gives no upper limit or scope of power, and manages to do it while leaving a player with absolutely no idea what to expect.
 

As has been thoroughly gone-over, though, there was a lot of problematic stuff in Ravenloft. Stuff that could be used just fine in unofficial fan content, but not so much for official work.
What was problematic about Vlad Drakov?
About the three hags of Tepest?
How bout Dominic D'honair?
Hazlik and his original curse?
How was the Dark Powers being a mystery a problem?

Changing the Vistani sounds fine and the added diversity is all cool, but it's bullshit to claim all the changers were done because the original was "problematic"
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
What was problematic about Vlad Drakov?
About the three hags of Tepest?
How bout Dominic D'honair?
Hazlik and his original curse?
How was the Dark Powers being a mystery a problem?

Changing the Vistani sounds fine and the added diversity is all cool, but it's bullshit to claim all the changers were done because the original was "problematic"
he is well regarded in whatever part of the world he was in power due to successfully standing up for the region. Imagine a dark lord transparently mixing George Washington & some horror monster
 

Remathilis

Legend
What was problematic about Vlad Drakov?
About the three hags of Tepest?
How bout Dominic D'honair?
Hazlik and his original curse?
How was the Dark Powers being a mystery a problem?

Changing the Vistani sounds fine and the added diversity is all cool, but it's bullshit to claim all the changers were done because the original was "problematic"

sigh

Here, read this. We've been over it already.

 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
This livestream is starting soon. The folks playing the WotC Ravenloft live stream. Go ask questions and come back with answers, please? Cause I cannot.

It's neat where you can clearly tell where a few of those characters draw their roots from to really lean into the ravenloft's mists can pull anyone from from anywhere aspect.

  • The front left... endogenous looking elf is some kind of ravenloftized modern style so probably one of the more advanced domains
  • The guy on the right rear has an outfit that fits solidly into eberron's late 1800s early 1900s modernstyle that started with rising.
  • The guy on the front right looks like pretty classic ravenloft style outfit
  • The other three look to be wearing a fairly standard d&d mix of equipment I'm not confident enough it looks like it hails from one setting or another
 

Remathilis

Legend
It's neat where you can clearly tell where a few of those characters draw their roots from to really lean into the ravenloft's mists can pull anyone from from anywhere aspect.

  • The front left... endogenous looking elf is some kind of ravenloftized modern style so probably one of the more advanced domains
  • The guy on the right rear has an outfit that fits solidly into eberron's late 1800s early 1900s modernstyle that started with rising.
  • The guy on the front right looks like pretty classic ravenloft style outfit
  • The other three look to be wearing a fairly standard d&d mix of equipment I'm not confident enough it looks like it hails from one setting or another
They are all from the Black Dice Society Podcast

 

Faolyn

Hero
What was problematic about Vlad Drakov?
By law, all nonhumans--and as of 3e, all humans who weren't Aryan enough--are to be captured and enslaved as soon as they enter the domain. That's going to suck hugely for nearly every single party of adventurers. And it's an just a depressing domain; I remember a line from the Gazetteer about "S" seeing a giant pile of dead babies just stacked up and rotting, because nobody cared enough or had enough energy to actually bury them.

Plus, y'know. Nazi domain.

Personally, I would have had Drakov get killed in an ironic manner (maybe one of his hawks attacked him) and had the Darklord-ship pass to the heads of his various ministries, who then effectively cause the domain to implode due to infighting between departments, at which point other domains would swoop in with their own armies... but that's a lot more political than they probably wanted to go.

About the three hags of Tepest?
From what I read, one of the hags turned on the others, which seems more like this is an evolution of the domain than revamping due to problems. No different than there being an uprising against Duke Gundar which "killed" him and caused his domain to be absorbed by the surrounding ones. After all, the hags didn't like each other; it was only a matter of time before their relationship broke down.

How bout Dominic D'honair?
Dominic's main shtick is mass mind control and being absolutely desperate for women. If you're the type of DM who wants the Darklords to play an important part in any particular adventure, then that means that any female PC is at risk of becoming his victim. It doesn't matter that he's not depicted as a rapist per se; they likely thought it was better to not take the risk.

There's also only so long you can continue the stalemate between Dominic and The Brain without one of them getting the axe.

Personally, I have a feeling I'm going to pull a Borca and split the domain between him and the new DL, or perhaps just rename the new Dementlieu and keep them both (my choice of names is Asile, meaning asylum).

Hazlik and his original curse?
He was tattooed with symbols of femininity to mock him. No matter what you want to make his sexuality or gender identity, that's not cool.

How was the Dark Powers being a mystery a problem?
It looks like they might not have been defined after all. And I plan on ignoring that section completely.

Changing the Vistani sounds fine and the added diversity is all cool, but it's bullshit to claim all the changers were done because the original was "problematic"
And yet, that was likely the case. I think
 

Changing the Vistani sounds fine and the added diversity is all cool, but it's bullshit to claim all the changers were done because the original was "problematic"
Not all of the changes were done because of diversity, some were done because the originals were just, boring and they probably wanted to put some more life into things.

The three hag sisters barely had enough content between the three of them from the start so its no surprise they were just put down as one, and "Let's just name a guy blatently after Vlad Dracula" has always had that perception of laziness to it
 


JEB

Hero
What does Old Dementieu have going for it besides tradition that makes it worth keeping?

Answer me that, and maybe I'll buy that they miscalculated in changing it to the faux Cinderella ball by way of Masque of the Red Death. But right now, between the two versions, I'm far more inspired by the new version then I ever was by the old.
1) Folks already indicated upthread why they did in fact find value in the old Dementlieu, even if you didn't.

2) Once again, it didn't have to be a choice between the two. They could have had this domain as something 100% new, without it taking the place of the old Dementlieu, and I don't doubt it would have had the same appeal to you and everyone else. With the added bonus that fans who liked the old Dementlieu, and prefer to adventure in the "official" canon, aren't being asked to choose between editions, and would have no motive to dislike Saidra's dark-fairy-tale domain on sight.

Mind, I was personally OK with the new Dementlieu as an evolution of the old Dementlieu, especially with that Dominic Easter egg that invited questions about how he was deposed by Saidra. (My head-canon would be that she's Dominic's daughter, but turned out to be better at mind-control than he was...) But just because I'm not alienated by that change doesn't mean I won't question the decision. It has more downsides than the alternatives.

Even Strahd's "unique" stat block in CoS was the MM vampire with the spellcaster variant option, a slightly higher Int score and a few swapped spells.
Which was one of the big disappointments for me in Curse of Strahd, honestly. (That and the Amber Temple.) The darklords deserve stat blocks with unique legendary actions and other abilities reflecting their nature. So them doing even less in this new book is a bummer.
 

JEB

Hero
It's the standard for major NPCs in the Adventure books as a whole, really.
Minor NPCs in 5E, yes. Major NPCs, no - most major NPC writeups in books through 2020 got full, unique stat blocks. I can attest to this because I went through all of the adventure books when assembling the 5E monster list on the D&D Lore Wiki.

However, it's possible this may have changed in Candlekeep Mysteries, which I haven't fully paged through.
 

JEB

Hero
I suspect someone told WotC that some of these prominent domains needed to have their names in print, just to keep them as part of their protectable product identity. I'm not sure I would have gone to the mat for some of the lesser ones they're keeping in the mix, but for all we know, that was part of a mandate on high.
That's an interesting theory, actually. If they were required to use the classic domains, and found they didn't work, and were forbidden from adding in new domain concepts they liked better... they might have got their new domains in anyway by replacing the old domains. Meanwhile, upper management wouldn't care, as long as they had the trademarked names.

However, wouldn't the old Ravenloft books being in digital "print" on the DM Guild have been enough to maintain trademark protection? (Though I don't know enough about trademark law vs. digital publication to be sure.)
 

Awfully Cheerful Engine!

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Awfully Cheerful Engine!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top