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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

Voadam

Legend
Drakov's Falkovnia is an interesting update since he kept raising armies to send into Darkon that kept getting attrition turned into zombies and inevitably failing.
 

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Stormonu

Legend
I don't recall what was objectionable about their ancient Egyptian domain. What would need to be updated? As long as it's an island, rather than part of the core, the wildly different culture and technology there shouldn't be an issue. And if they wanted to attach it to the core, it wouldn't be hard to just move it forward a few thousand years of subjective time (or perceived time, with everyone waking up in a new core version of the domain, and everything in ruins around them, assuming they're thousands of years old).
The “Egypt is desert, slave labor making pyramids and walking mummies who want our women” trope.
 


See, I always saw that as being a good thing. Travel in Ravenloft shouldn't be lightly undertaken, since it's potentially asking for trouble to find you while on the road. Having to go very far out of your way to avoid the gaping wound in the world makes that travel longer, and so discourages it, thereby reinforcing a sense of isolation.
I no longer own my old Ravenloft boxed set, but didn't it effectively turn the Core into a donut, with only one real route around the Core in either direction? My feeling was that it made it sort of boring. If you were going from Domain A to Domain D, you were going to have to go through Domains B and C, rather than coming up with some alternate route.

I think Ravenloft has more than enough ways to make travel difficult and dangerous and didn't need a Grand Canyon full of heebie-jeebies dropped into the middle of everything. Replacing it with, for instance, a dark and mysterious forest would be more thematically appropriate for pretty much every adjacent domain, but it'd also give players an interesting choice: Stay on the road where the Darklord has spies and agents waiting, or risk cutting through the forest that no one you know has ever gone into and come back out alive or unchanged?
 

Faolyn

Hero
  • Barovia (Strahd), Dementlieu (twisted fairly tales), Lamordia (flesh golem), Falkovnia (zombies), Kalakeri (Indian folklore, dark rainforests), Valachan (hunting PCs for sport), Lamordia (mad science)
That seems to be a lot of new takes on old domains. The old Sri Raji never got much attention, and what there was of it was "Kali's priests are evil! Also, there are weretigers!", so it'll be interesting to see how different Kalakeri is.

Please tell me that whoever wrote the blurb has mixed up Valachan and Verbrek.
Could be they're combining the two. Maybe there's a rivalry between werepanthers and the werewolves, and the only thing they agree on is that humanoids are tasty.

[TD]Lamordia[/TD]
[TD]Dr. Victor Mordenheim[/TD]
[TD]Dr. Viktra Mordenheim[/TD]
Wait a minute--Adam was the DL, not Mordenheim.

Most of the new ones appear to be women that are relatives of the old Darklord.
Basically all the old female darklords were evil in large part because they either wanted to seduce men or they wanted to kill men. The only exception I can think of was Elana Faithhold. I really hope that these new women break the mold.

So long as there is no Shadow Rift down the middle of the map, I’ll be happy.
Seconded. Gwydion, or however its name was spelled, was an interesting concept but the whole place was weirdly done. I would have made it into a deep, dark forest instead.
 

The “Egypt is desert, slave labor making pyramids and walking mummies who want our women” trope.
Huh. For some reason, I thought the dark lord was a woman.

I actually like the idea of just moving it forward to the modern day, resembling an Ottomon-era Cairo, with ruins all around, where a Darklord pharaoh secretly rules. Given how many pharaohs were assisted along their way to the afterlife, it wouldn't be hard to justify a new Darklord or even competing Darklords slumbering in tombs around the domain.
 


Stormonu

Legend
Huh. For some reason, I thought the dark lord was a woman.

I actually like the idea of just moving it forward to the modern day, resembling an Ottomon-era Cairo, with ruins all around, where a Darklord pharaoh secretly rules. Given how many pharaohs were assisted along their way to the afterlife, it wouldn't be hard to justify a new Darklord or even competing Darklords slumbering in tombs around the domain.
There was Tetyet (sp) who Ate the hearts of men to keep her youth, but originally (as I recall) Anktepot was actually the ruler of that realm and she feared him. I could be misremembering, but Anktepot was definately drawn from the old 30’s mummy movie.
 

Voadam

Legend
Huh. For some reason, I thought the dark lord was a woman.
Har Akir was ruled by Ankhtepot, the first Great Mummy (male).

Sebua was a different Egypt themed domain and was ruled by Tiyet, a woman who I think was a mummy type too though a unique one.

Originally they were islands, then formed together with an Arabian desert one to form a cluster.
 

By the way, if you're scrounging Twitter for as much info as possible, Ajit George gives links to many of the folks who wrote the book!


And a tease!

Interesting. I wonder if that's hinting at some more South Asian themed stuff coming soon. That would be nice as it's definitely not as commonly seen as many other regions'.

(Durpar and neighboring nations are the closest to being South Asian in the Realms, so if it is FR material, that's the most likely setting).
 


So the bigger question is: Are we getting a Tarroka deck or no? (If not, well, we better start showcasing the Tarokka rules to as many newbies as possible to build demand)

I feel like it's not Ravenloft without at least a scene or two where you pull out that deck to use for the game. Definitely sets the mood.

And, quite interesting how it can help a DM wing something interesting by "interpreting" those cards. I've made quite and adventure using it once on some PCs, the cards wrote the adventure for me.
 


I hope we get a table of contents soon. I'm not really in the market for another setting, but one of my PCs is changing her witchy character to retroactically be a Hexborn and Ravenloft monsters have historically been some of my favorites (the racial vampires, ghoul lord and zombie lord especially).

Depending on what's in the rest of the book, I'll either buy selected sections on D&D Beyond or spring for the whole book.
 

I'm a bit on the fence when it comes to the new/reinvented Darklords. It's either going to be a complete retcon in which the old Darklord never existed (Dominic d'Honaire? Vlad Drakov? Never heard of 'em...) or else there's been a mass transition of Darklordship (seemingly along genetic lines, which flies a bit in the face of the idea that one's own individual sins damn oneself in a unique way and create one's own domain), which is going to be hard to pull off convincingly in a way that's true to the old lore. When this sort of transition has been done in the past the results have rarely resonated (Azazel the werebadger and profoundly inadequate successor to Soth, I'm looking at you...)

(I certainly understand why they wanted to get rid of Dominic though - there was more than a bit of the Unpleasant Sexual Implications about the guy)

Not 100% sure why Dementlieu is suddenly a 'twisted fairy tale' domain - we already had a couple of others which would have filled that role nicely. But on the other hand, Dementlieu is geographically situated in the more gaslamp-y, technologically-advanced bloc of domains along the coast, which I've always seen as the heart of the setting as a standalone setting, rather than as a weekend-in-Barovia oneshot, so I'm happy there's still a focus on the region. And i really, really hope they do a bit with higher-tech PCs coming from a gaslamp setting. Firearms etc. It doesn't sound like they're focusing on that side of things very much, but full plate in somewhere like Richulemont or Paridon or Mordent is just anachronistic, and the rules should reflect that.

Glad to see they're doing something with old Sri Raji - that had been neglected for far, far too long. Not sure why one domain with three darklords though. Why not have a couple of different Indian inspired domains? There's certainly scope for it.
 



Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I'm a bit on the fence when it comes to the new/reinvented Darklords. It's either going to be a complete retcon in which the old Darklord never existed (Dominic d'Honaire? Vlad Drakov? Never heard of 'em...) or else there's been a mass transition of Darklordship (seemingly along genetic lines, which flies a bit in the face of the idea that one's own individual sins damn oneself in a unique way and create one's own domain)
Well, there were a few instances of domains changing hands, and some of those were among family members; I think that Jacqueline Renier inherited Richemulot when she murdered her grandfather Claude, for instance. Malken, of Nova Vaasa, was (in some later products) hinted at being a generational affliction among the Hiregaard family line as well.

The idea, as I read it, was that those darklords who weren't immune to aging inadvertently recreated their circumstances among at least one of their children. Like a parent setting a bad example, they created the opportunity for their progeny to imitate and usurp them, taking over their domain in the process (though they'd typically gain a curse tailored specifically for them as well). That was a theme explored in Legacy of the Blood: Great Families of the Core, from the 3.X Ravenloft line.

Speaking of which, WotC seems to have the rights to republish those books as PDFs now, but hasn't put many up. A search through DriveThruRPG only turns up five of (if I counted correctly) twenty products, counting the PDF-only release of Van Richten's Guide to the Mists as the twentieth:
Hopefully they'll release the other books in the series soon. The Gazetteers were truly great!

Please note my use of affiliate links in this post.
 

Faolyn

Hero
When this sort of transition has been done in the past the results have rarely resonated (Azazel the werebadger and profoundly inadequate successor to Soth, I'm looking at you...)
You're forgetting about--or deliberately repressing memories of--Inza the Dark 'n' Edgy Anime Whip Girl. Either of those is completely understandable.

(I certainly understand why they wanted to get rid of Dominic though - there was more than a bit of the Unpleasant Sexual Implications about the guy)

Not 100% sure why Dementlieu is suddenly a 'twisted fairy tale' domain -
Maybe they're keeping the mind control, but everyone is getting mind-controlled into fairy tale-ness? It would fit with the Happiness Is Mandatory, Citizen thing they did with Vallaki in CoS.
 


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