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

I'm not trying to say you can't like Ravenloft for whatever reason you want. I don't care why you like it.

What I am trying to say is that if you want to sell someone on the setting of Ravenloft, saying, "Playing 2e in Ravenloft with the Van Richten Guides so you can customize the monsters" isn't selling Ravenloft. It is selling a very particular set of books and options.



I understand that geography matters. I understand that international politics involving islands in a sea are different than those involving land and different than those involving mountain ranges. That is blatantly obvious.

But, when I've asked "What about the previous geography was usefuly? What are you losing?" your answers have been:

1) The Freedom to Travel (not lost by making them islands, just a different form of travel. Unless you make them specifically like the old Islands of Terror and make the area impossible to navigate which I am not assuming)

2) Falkovia going to war (they redid that domain it seems, so in terms of the geography that is a non-issue)

3) You lose international politics (You don't)

So... really I think what it comes down to for you is the bolded section. It is different. And it is completely fair that you as a fan of the old 2e version love the version you have used for decades and you don't want to change it. I hope you continue to use what has worked for your for decades. But, as a new player getting introduced to this setting? "It is different than it used to be" isn't a convincing argument for me to want to go back to the old version. I have no connections to either version, so I am seeing them as baseline equal to begin with.




That does sound interesting, and exactly like the type of thing I would want to include in this style of game. I'll have to think about how I want to include it.



Okay, I can see that angle of sympathy, and that does work to an extent. Though I find it to be a thin thread combined with every other aspect of him.

I also think that reading those really does highlight the Vlad Tepes comparison, in a lot of ways that I'm not sure I like. So there is a lot of give and take there. I think, all in all, it is a well-written character from an older time. I can see how he is compelling, but I can also see where I would never use him as written.







You know what? I was not sold on this concept until you made the comparison to an evil terrarium. THAT makes sense and I think makes a great concept for this setting, for me.
As an aside, I'd argue that the "international politics" angle actively detracted from the horror of the setting, and again, pushed it towards "Forgotten Realms on Night Mode" rather than the more intense setting originally conceived. So if this makes them a bit less of a focus, that's probably a good thing as a horror setting in my book. They got kind of excessive at times, to the point where the histories of some realms were dominated by this invasion and that invasion, none of which in any way increased the horror, and just made everyone feel a bit more like normal squabbling D&D villains.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

A Domain, in most cases, an entire country, with lots of other people living there. As an aside, there was at least some debate as to whether or not those people were real people, or just copies of people (and thus, whether it was OK, alignment-wise, to then kill them). 5e didn't help much by saying that only 10% of Barovians have souls (which keep getting reincarnated), and those people who don't have souls have really flat affects. Personally, I'm not fond this particular idea, but I can also see it as a reason why the Dark Powers steal people away from the real worlds. Mars wants women, the Dark Powers want fresh souls.

Anyway.

Most of the people in a Domain are just regular joes who are just trying to live their lives in a place that often is rather awful. A lot of them become rather awful themselves, but in a boring way, so the Dark Powers ignore them. A person who steals from their customers or beats their spouse is banal. But sometimes, they become interestingly evil. Dominic's highly condensed backstory is, even at a very young age, he was a quintessential Whispers Bard with maxed-out Charisma who manipulated everyone for the heck of it, and people felt sorry for him because he was a cute wittle kid who's mom died in childbirth. So even if they realized how manipulative he was, they allowed it. One day, his actions ended up drawing too much attention and so to avoid it he convinced his family to move away. And thus, the Dark Powers created Dementlieu.

Another weird trick of the Dark Powers that they can create false histories and false memories, so even if Dementlieu never existed before that point, everyone now believed it always had.

So at this point, the Dark Powers started grooming Dominic for evil by rewarding him until his manipulative powers became fully supernatural in nature. As an adult, he became one of the advisors to the Governor of Dementlieu and the country's Darklord. Maybe he was the Darklord the second he entered Dementlieu that but didn't realize it until he reached adulthood. I dunno; there aren't any canonical child Darklords that I can think of.

So that's how a person from one domain can become a Darklord of another.

I guess it was the memory detail that tripped me up. Creating an entirely new section of landmass is such a huge thing, it alters everything, but I guess if you can literally rewrite the memories of every person in every domain, then it is less of a thing.

In rereading what (very little) has been written about Jack Karn, the jackelwere you mentioned, I see another misunderstanding. His domain, Farelle, doesn't reset. Jack does. He simply doesn't die if slain. If you kill Jack--he's not particularly tough--he's reborn in the body of a jackal that happens to be near his tinker's cart. Several DLs are like that. They are reborn, or magically reappear, or simply regenerate even if burned to ash and scattered to the winds. It's part of the curse.

I guess I'm a little more confused now about how his punishment works, because I thought the idea was he was being punished with the destruction of his home. You can cut down and despoil a forest forever, eventually you run out of forest.

And still other Darklords are simply fired. Nathan Timothy had been bound to a riverboat but ended liking the beer-and-fishing life over the rampaging werewolf life, and so is no longer the Darklord (he's still bound to his boat). Same with Lord Soth, who spent all his time in his holodeck with his magic mirrors and got boring.

In these cases, the country is either absorbed by neighboring Domains or a new Darklord is appointed based on whoever nearby deserves it the most. For instance, Dominic has a main rival in the mind-control business. Should Dominic die, then his rival, The Brain (not a mouse) might very well take over--but as it stands, there's very little chance that The Brain will actually get his own Domain. He's evil, but he's not filled with the same kind of hubris that Dominic has.

This I think adds to that "evil Terrarium" idea that Bedrock gave me, and a lot of things click together for me from that perspective. The prison isn't the important part, the show is.

This also makes sense in terms of the creation of new darklords, just like people might breed fish to make a more interesting variety to have on display.


How so?

Each Darklord is different. Strahd doesn't care about most things. He basically has three rules: don't enter his castle, don't steal from the state, and don't hurt the Vistani. If you don't violate those rules, he doesn't care.

OK, take a typical D&D adventure. There's a monster that's eating the villagers; can the PCs stop it? In, say, the Realms, it might just a monster that's eating people. Or it might have been hired or let loose by the real villains. Or maybe it was the magical byproduct of an experimenting wizard.

In Ravenloft, the monster might have been created by a villager. Maybe Bob the villager killed his gluttonous neighbor in a rage, and now his neighbor has risen from the grave and is eating everyone, leaving Bob for last. Maybe Bob was kind to the new woman in town, not realizing she's a monster of some sort, and she repays his kindness by killing everyone who was mean to Bob. Maybe Bob was such an abusive husband and father that the Dark Powers turned him into a werebeast, and he's only just starting to realize that he's eating the other villagers. Maybe Bob's cows were killed by a pack of vicious wolves and, in a desperate, insane attempt to save his farm and livelihood, he took the least mutilated cows, sewed on new limbs to replace the ones that had been torn off, and now he has some confused and hungry golem-cows wandering around.

That's what I mean by personal. In Ravenloft, the plot is there specifically because of people's actions, and are designed to reward or punish those people. No matter what, Bob the villager is going to get what's due to him, but it's just as likely to be by his own creation as it is by the point of an adventurer's sword.

Okay... I'm getting the picture.

It was the power check that was missing from the equation in my head I guess, but seeing it put like this I'm starting to piece together this setting and why it worked for people.

It is also making me start to think that the way it has been presented to the community at large is just... I don't know. Maybe the way it was presented was the point, but then you guys find a different interpretation, but this concept works far better than every single version I have ever been told about before.
 

So... really I think what it comes down to for you is the bolded section. It is different. And it is completely fair that you as a fan of the old 2e version love the version you have used for decades and you don't want to change it. I hope you continue to use what has worked for your for decades. But, as a new player getting introduced to this setting? "It is different than it used to be" isn't a convincing argument for me to want to go back to the old version. I have no connections to either version, so I am seeing them as baseline equal to begin with.

I have given plenty of reasons: it is super artificial feeling to have ravenloft be all a bunch of islands for gaming purposes. Gameability matters. But you don't want the setting to feel gamey. To me, making it all islands feels extremely gamey. it is also very inconvenient because it creates a nuisance anytime I want the players to travel and anytime I want to explore things like diplomacy (because every place is suddenly England for some reason). I think the onus is on the people who want them to be islands to explain why that is better. So far I haven't seen a good reason for that provided. In terms of the actual geography. It shifted over time. The specific layout of the core can vary. I prefer the layout in black box, but I think most people would say it started to feel more cohesive by the red box (because they removed domains that seemed more out of place (personally I like the out of place ones, but I get why people didn't). But the particular arrangement created nice connected areas for adventure. For example, I like the domains of Forlorn, Sithicus, Valachan and Kartakass, and it was easy to have players adventuring in those areas, often having adventures that spanned their borders because those were close to one another. So for example, you could have an adventure that started in Valachan where some resident had a family member who ventured into Forlorn to explore the mysterious castle there. And that allowed for an adventure that wasn't just an explorations of Castles Forlorn, but also about the road from Valachan to Forlorn. That is a useful skeleton to hang other adventure opportunities on and encounters. It also provides a nice sense of place for the players as they become familiar with these connected places. YMMV
 

Okay, I can see that angle of sympathy, and that does work to an extent. Though I find it to be a thin thread combined with every other aspect of him.

I also think that reading those really does highlight the Vlad Tepes comparison, in a lot of ways that I'm not sure I like. So there is a lot of give and take there. I think, all in all, it is a well-written character from an older time. I can see how he is compelling, but I can also see where I would never use him as written.

He is still meant to be a villain, and as sympathetic villains go, he is the least sympathetic for a reason I think: he is the closest to a real world monster that you have in the book (at least in terms of recent political memory for people). Some of the other lords lean much more heavily into the tragedy and sympathy. One danger of going too far there though is it can overwhelm the horror so it is a balance. Like I said, they should be compelling, but they should be repugnant too.

Look in terms of drawing on real world history, that is up to you how you feel about that. I can't tell you that you should or should not feel a particular way about using Vlad Tepes. For me I think it works. I prefer that we exist in a creative environment where people can draw more freely off real world things and without fretting over it. I just find that produces more interesting material to me in the end. But if you feel different, you feel different.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Personally, I can't wait to get more information before proclaiming that either the sky is falling or that it's the best thing since sliced bread.

I'm currently playing in a Ravenloft campaign (technically, I will be playing in a Ravenloft campaign once it resumes in a few weeks after I finish up a FR campaign that I'm running), so I really wish that this would get here sooner (for my DM's sake). As for the lore that gets added or changed, it really won't matter much—my DM is likely to continue his course as it stands, ignoring some post- Forbidden Lore aspects and incorporating others. The mechanical stuff (like the lineages, monsters, dark gifts, etc.) are probably going to be the biggest draw to him since he has all the prior-edition lore to work with.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I have given plenty of reasons: it is super artificial feeling to have ravenloft be all a bunch of islands for gaming purposes. Gameability matters. But you don't want the setting to feel gamey. To me, making it all islands feels extremely gamey.
As someone who has been mostly following this conversation, I don't think that you have substantiated this opinion much, as you mostly repeat talking points as being self-explanatory or self-evident. I think it's far more likely your own deep sense of nostalgia talking and shaping what you consider normal or "gamey." It's fine that you have those preferences, but I don't think that you have really reflected how much your own preferences are likely shaped by those initial experiences rather than the by the actual merits of the setting's construction.

I don't see how, for what little it's worth, having the domains as "islands" is any "gamier" than having them connected via the Core. Having the Domains of Dread as islands seems more suitable to them being part of the Shadowfell or prison/torture cells for the respective Darklords and gives greater importance to the Vistani for being able to navigate between them. It seems fairly easy IMHO to argue that having a central core for the purpose of PCs to venture through the various Theme Park domains is more of an artificial gamist construction than having them as islands.
 

ou know what? I was not sold on this concept until you made the comparison to an evil terrarium. THAT makes sense and I think makes a great concept for this setting, for me.

One of the things you will notice if you read the black boxed set and other books in the Ravenloft line is they leave a lot up to your imagination. When it comes to the dark powers, this is especially the case. So it gives you the power to say "you know what this isn't a prison, and it is not a terrarium, I think it is Y". To me that is part fo the fun. The books may offer up theories, but they often won't give conclusions. This is also why I prefer the bare bones approach of the black boxed set. In many instances, the places where I think the line was weakest is when they go beyond the idea, and get too deep into details. Not always. The expansion of the domain of Forlorn from a vague entry to what we got in the Castles Forlorn boxed set was amazing (I was honestly stunned because Forlorn was one of those domains that I just never imagined being that full and vibrant). Same with Kartakass: Feast of Goblyns opened up Kartakass and made me feel like I was looking into a breathing world that still fit the Ravenloft concept. But if I recall, and I may be being unfair here because it has been ages since i read it, there was an interesting domain called the Nightmare Lands. It started in the core and got removed. As presented it was kind of vague and surreal, but they didn't go into detail. And I was always captivated by that because it allowed me to elaborate on so much. Then the nightmare lands boxed set came out and....it got too specific in my opinion. Some people like it, so I don't want to say it is terrible. I just found it took away the mystery and magic for me.
 

As someone who has been mostly following this conversation, I don't think that you have substantiated this opinion much, as you mostly repeat talking points as being self-explanatory or self-evident. I think it's far more likely your own deep sense of nostalgia talking and shaping what you consider normal or "gamey." It's fine that you have those preferences, but I don't think that you have really reflected how much your own preferences are likely shaped by those initial experiences rather than the by the actual merits of the setting's construction.

I don't think it is nostalgia. I really just don't understand why you would want to limit the setting to all islands. Like I said, Islands were a thing in the black boxed and the line during the 90s. I ran plenty of adventures using islands. And I always found that more tricky to pull off long term than campaigns that were based on the core. Maybe I am not doing a good job of analyzing my preference here or a good job of conveying my meaning. But I can tell you from play at the table the two things are very different (and I certainly played around with different approaches to navigation and communication between islands). Don't get me wrong, I think the islands are important too: they add another layer to the setting: you have the more navigable and familiar core, but you also have this really off the map scary place players can adventure to----the mists and the misty islands they contain. I liked having that. I didn't want the whole campaign to be that. I needed to have a place where places were more like realms in a real world so I could build up a campaign if that makes sense. I don't know how else I can explain it than that. But I really don't understand why people would want to reduce ravenloft to just one option rather than having both. To me that would make it more of a one trick pony setting, and it would be focusing on one aspect of the setting that worked, the sense of entrapment, to the exclusion of other things.

And to be clear here: I've made a horror game that used concepts like this all island approach. It worked for mini-campaign that were largely monster of the week one shots (I used them when I wanted to take a break from running sandboxes). I am not totally opposed to the idea. I just think it has big weakness: it will fall apart for long term campaigns (or at least make them substantially harder to pull off).
 

I have given plenty of reasons: it is super artificial feeling to have ravenloft be all a bunch of islands for gaming purposes. Gameability matters. But you don't want the setting to feel gamey. To me, making it all islands feels extremely gamey. it is also very inconvenient because it creates a nuisance anytime I want the players to travel and anytime I want to explore things like diplomacy (because every place is suddenly England for some reason). I think the onus is on the people who want them to be islands to explain why that is better. So far I haven't seen a good reason for that provided. In terms of the actual geography. It shifted over time. The specific layout of the core can vary. I prefer the layout in black box, but I think most people would say it started to feel more cohesive by the red box (because they removed domains that seemed more out of place (personally I like the out of place ones, but I get why people didn't). But the particular arrangement created nice connected areas for adventure. For example, I like the domains of Forlorn, Sithicus, Valachan and Kartakass, and it was easy to have players adventuring in those areas, often having adventures that spanned their borders because those were close to one another. So for example, you could have an adventure that started in Valachan where some resident had a family member who ventured into Forlorn to explore the mysterious castle there. And that allowed for an adventure that wasn't just an explorations of Castles Forlorn, but also about the road from Valachan to Forlorn. That is a useful skeleton to hang other adventure opportunities on and encounters. It also provides a nice sense of place for the players as they become familiar with these connected places. YMMV
We don't know how movement between realms will be handled. It may be difficult, it may be easy, it may be at Dark Lord (i.e. DM) fiat, or it might be able to be chosen between alternatives.
 

We don't know how movement between realms will be handled. It may be difficult, it may be easy, it may be at Dark Lord (i.e. DM) fiat, or it might be able to be chosen between alternatives.

sure but they are still islands right? That is going to impact movement and communication (and if it doesn’t, if it isn’t any different than having them connected: I really don’t understand the argument for making them individual islands)
 

Aldarc

Legend
sure but they are still islands right? That is going to impact movement and communication (and if it doesn’t, if it isn’t any different than having them connected: I really don’t understand the argument for making them individual islands)
Good. That's important for making Ravenloft a horror setting rather than an Halloween-themed amusement park.
 

Chaosmancer, we've gone back and forth over this point over and over. If you aren't convinced you aren't but I find your argument really strange. If I am telling someone that I think a line was good, of course I am going to include support for that line as reason for why it is worth exploring. And I have already given you reasons on why. But here is at least one more in terms of mechanics: all the mechanics in the van richten books are for 2E, so good luck using them in d20 or 5E, and some of the mechanics even fit to mechanics specific to ravenloft. At this point though, I am not trying to sell you on anything. If you don't think the van richten books are an attentive reason to go to 2E Ravenloft, then don't. It isn't my responsibility to give you a thorough sales pitch and secure the sale. I am telling you what I like about 2E Ravenloft and I feel like you are responding with incredibly pedantic quibbles to the things I say about. I will not respond to this point any further because this is not feeling like a conversation to me

It could also be because you keep referring to "the line" while I am trying to talk about "the setting" and I think those are two different things.

From the perspective of "the line" then you are talking about every single thing ever released that tied into Ravenloft, but from the perspective of "the setting" I am just trying to talk about the place and the story of that place.

It is like, to use a car analogy, I'm trying to talk about the new Ford Mach-E, and you are talking about every vehicle ever sold by Ford. Truck, Car, Van, ect. Yes, those are all sold by Ford, but since I'm talking about something much more specific than you, it gets frustrating for you to keep talking about the hauling power of a Ford Truck.

I have given plenty of reasons: it is super artificial feeling to have ravenloft be all a bunch of islands for gaming purposes. Gameability matters. But you don't want the setting to feel gamey. To me, making it all islands feels extremely gamey. it is also very inconvenient because it creates a nuisance anytime I want the players to travel and anytime I want to explore things like diplomacy (because every place is suddenly England for some reason). I think the onus is on the people who want them to be islands to explain why that is better. So far I haven't seen a good reason for that provided. In terms of the actual geography. It shifted over time. The specific layout of the core can vary. I prefer the layout in black box, but I think most people would say it started to feel more cohesive by the red box (because they removed domains that seemed more out of place (personally I like the out of place ones, but I get why people didn't). But the particular arrangement created nice connected areas for adventure. For example, I like the domains of Forlorn, Sithicus, Valachan and Kartakass, and it was easy to have players adventuring in those areas, often having adventures that spanned their borders because those were close to one another. So for example, you could have an adventure that started in Valachan where some resident had a family member who ventured into Forlorn to explore the mysterious castle there. And that allowed for an adventure that wasn't just an explorations of Castles Forlorn, but also about the road from Valachan to Forlorn. That is a useful skeleton to hang other adventure opportunities on and encounters. It also provides a nice sense of place for the players as they become familiar with these connected places. YMMV

It doesn't feel gamey at all to me. And yeah, it does feel a bit artificial, but it is a world created with a specific purpose, so it feeling artificial is a bonus to me. It shouldn't feel completely realistic.

I also don't see the nuisance in travel or diplomacy. Those will take different forms, but they aren't any more of a nuisance than any other way of dealing with travel and diplomacy.

And, I guess since I lack the details, I don't understand why the road from Valachan to Forlorn is different than say, the road from the Village of X to Forlorn. But, I think one thing I do like is tying all these realms together with a single interconnected piece. That works for me. Maybe it doesn't for you, but the islands being physically separated, visually separated and connected by a Dark Sea with its own mysterious properties just works as a whole for me.

He is still meant to be a villain, and as sympathetic villains go, he is the least sympathetic for a reason I think: he is the closest to a real world monster that you have in the book (at least in terms of recent political memory for people). Some of the other lords lean much more heavily into the tragedy and sympathy. One danger of going too far there though is it can overwhelm the horror so it is a balance. Like I said, they should be compelling, but they should be repugnant too.

I agree

Look in terms of drawing on real world history, that is up to you how you feel about that. I can't tell you that you should or should not feel a particular way about using Vlad Tepes. For me I think it works. I prefer that we exist in a creative environment where people can draw more freely off real world things and without fretting over it. I just find that produces more interesting material to me in the end. But if you feel different, you feel different.

I think the issue is that there is an obvious reference, and then they take one of the things that Tepes was most famously heroic for, and turn it into the villainous drive of this Falkovian version.

Vlad Tepes was a military man, he fought wars constantly. Mostly (if I am remembering my history) defensive wars. The reason behind the staking of individuals was in part as a deterrent. He wanted to horrify his neighbors so they would stop attacking him and his people. And that tactic was necessary because he was smaller and weaker than his neighbors.

And so, seeing a version of him that is blatantly taking his inspiration (dining while surrounded by staked individuals was a tactic Vlad used to horrify diplomats) but then turning his desire to be powerful and respected by his neighbors into some twisted evil motivation, making it about personal glory when it was in part a desire to stop being bullied by neighbors far more powerful than him... it kind of grates. It takes the thing I can respect about the man and makes it something to be reviled.

It could entirely be a personal issue, but seeing it laid out like that really struck me with what was being said earlier, when you take a historical figure and make them a villain, you have to be careful. Some are easy to villify. No one is going to step up to defend Jim Jones after all, but sometimes you can accidentally take what makes them respected and turn that into a negative, which will rub people who respect them the wrong way.
 

I don't see how, for what little it's worth, having the domains as "islands" is any "gamier" than having them connected via the Core. Having the Domains of Dread as islands seems more suitable to them being part of the Shadowfell or prison/torture cells for the respective Darklords and gives greater importance to the Vistani for being able to navigate between them. It seems fairly easy IMHO to argue that having a central core for the purpose of PCs to venture through the various Theme Park domains is more of an artificial gamist construction than having them as islands.
I don’t think of them as theme parks, and the fact that they have neighbors, are part of a setting that exists beyond the core premise of the domain makes them much more life like. It provides greater contrast. Also the full purpose of Ravenloft is not fully known. It is likely a prison but it could be something else. The intentions of the dark powers were deliberately left mysterious.

I am not familiar enough with the shadow fell concept to comment on that. In the old version it is more connected to the ethereal plane
 

I don't think it is nostalgia. I really just don't understand why you would want to limit the setting to all islands. Like I said, Islands were a thing in the black boxed and the line during the 90s. I ran plenty of adventures using islands. And I always found that more tricky to pull off long term than campaigns that were based on the core. Maybe I am not doing a good job of analyzing my preference here or a good job of conveying my meaning. But I can tell you from play at the table the two things are very different (and I certainly played around with different approaches to navigation and communication between islands). Don't get me wrong, I think the islands are important too: they add another layer to the setting: you have the more navigable and familiar core, but you also have this really off the map scary place players can adventure to----the mists and the misty islands they contain. I liked having that. I didn't want the whole campaign to be that. I needed to have a place where places were more like realms in a real world so I could build up a campaign if that makes sense. I don't know how else I can explain it than that. But I really don't understand why people would want to reduce ravenloft to just one option rather than having both. To me that would make it more of a one trick pony setting, and it would be focusing on one aspect of the setting that worked, the sense of entrapment, to the exclusion of other things.

And to be clear here: I've made a horror game that used concepts like this all island approach. It worked for mini-campaign that were largely monster of the week one shots (I used them when I wanted to take a break from running sandboxes). I am not totally opposed to the idea. I just think it has big weakness: it will fall apart for long term campaigns (or at least make them substantially harder to pull off).

Maybe part of this is the idea of size.

I think your comparison to England is apt. You could easily have a lot of islands the size of England. Which is fairly large in terms of the amount of space to work with. Instead of a bunch of islands more the size of say, the Canary islands, which are quite small.

Australia and Japan are technically islands too. Greenland is an island. Sure, if you are picturing tons of places that are tiny, that is one thing, but that isn't exactly what I'm picturing.
 

Good. That's important for making Ravenloft a horror setting rather than an Halloween-themed amusement park.
Again we just disagree here. It seems a lot of posters pushing this idea didn’t like Ravenloft in the first place though. I think it would make more sense to create the new material with people who liked it rather than those who didn’t like it in mind (maybe you liked it and this is just one aspect that annoyed you but getting the sense that is one of the dividing lines here)
 

Just to clarify the reason I say the line, is that is how I am referring to the Ravenloft setting as it was from black box to domains of dread. The setting spans multiple publishers and versions of D&D. To me ‘the line’ just equals “90s TSR Ravenloft” when I use it here. And it also matters because the setting evolved and changed a lot during that time (domains of dread and black box are quite different)
 

sure but they are still islands right? That is going to impact movement and communication (and if it doesn’t, if it isn’t any different than having them connected: I really don’t understand the argument for making them individual islands)
It depends. Are they totally isolated islands, or islands with a single difficult to find and use Channel Tunnel to the next, or islands with multiple, easy-to-use bridges to other islands, or islands surrounded by shallow straits that you can, at your own risk, wade across to the others? Or some combination of the above? Or completely up to the DM or players?
 

It could entirely be a personal issue, but seeing it laid out like that really struck me with what was being said earlier, when you take a historical figure and make them a villain, you have to be careful. Some are easy to villify. No one is going to step up to defend Jim Jones after all, but sometimes you can accidentally take what makes them respected and turn that into a negative, which will rub people who respect them the wrong way.

We have to be very careful not to get into real world issues. In tepes as I said before, even though I am a history person, and I like Dracula, I know not all that much about Tepes or the history of that region, so I prefer to keep my mouth shut on that particular example in terms of how it should be framed. But you bring up Jonestown. And I think something that actually happened as real world history like that should be fair game for horror because it resonates. But if you are going to allow real world concerns to make real world history an issue there: Jonestown is even worse because it’s recent. There are still people alive who survived Jonestown. So using it has just as much likelihood as emotionally affecting real people. And I think this is the problem with that idea for me personally: most real world examples as sources of inspiration are going to be a problem for someone somewhere: but using real world inspiration is very important for communicating concepts and having an emotional impact
 

It depends. Are they totally isolated islands, or islands with a single difficult to find and use Channel Tunnel to the next, or islands with multiple, easy-to-use bridges to other islands, or islands surrounded by shallow straits that you can, at your own risk, wade across to the others? Or some combination of the above? Or completely up to the DM or players?
I don’t know: I am not the one proposing all islands but the concept seems to shift in response each time I make a point about it :)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
That's the 4E approach, I dunno if Charlaquin just came up with something similar or is quoting the 4E one. It's one of the 4E-era Dragon mags (which you can find in the Dragon archive), though I forget which.

Basically in 4E, Vistani is this dimension-travelling culture, which theoretically anyone can join, because it's a culture, rather than race. There's a ritual and everything to join it. Otherwise they're somewhat similar to typical Vistani. But as you say, it sounds like it started out as a culture as well, which would make complete sense in a D&D setting - more sense than the bizarre racial take they later went with.
Yeah, the Dragon Magazine in question is where I got it from - Dragon 380. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking to give your Vistani a touch-up.
 

Visit Our Sponsor

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top