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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.




 
Last edited:

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I’d love that. Merrix D’Cannith I made darklord of Cyre after instructing followers to built a weapon to destroy a continent and then murdering its creator. The creator lives on as a machine spirit. A domain with technological overdevelopment used for purposes of war and power, with sentient machines wrestling for control... plus the ever present fear of the superweapon that will destroy all. Duck and cover folks.

Terminator/Matrix meets When The Wind Blows.
2589B75E-7C50-4220-B862-6A822E1F12A7.jpeg


Just saying...

Not the whole kingdom. Just a snippet! Love that.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I'd argue that horror is horror. Doesn't matter which medium we're talking about. A horror comic book is still horror, just as a horror movie is still horror, just as a horror game is still horror. I think your previous statement is most apt. Ravenloft is "D&D with a Halloween costume on".

Let's go with your previous statement. Ravenloft is "D&D with a Halloween costume on". I think that works. Walk with me. It's Halloween and you have a kid at your door wearing an ill-fitting Michael Meyers costume complete with William Shatner mask and one of those plastic knives that has blood dripping down the blade if you hold it just so. Now, if you point to that kid and think there's a real supernatural serial killer at your door, you'd be mistaken. It's a kid in a mask, fishing for candy. Likewise with Ravenloft. It's not horror, it's "D&D with a Halloween costume on". Pointing to Ravenloft and saying horror is akin to pointing to the kid in the mask and saying serial killer. They're both trying to evoke the thing, but they're not the thing itself.

I'm not saying Ravenloft is less than or bad or anything. Ravenloft is one of my favorite D&D settings. It's fantastic. But it's not horror. Call of Cthulhu is horror. Ravenloft is "D&D with a Halloween costume on". I sincerely hope the new Ravenloft book pushing the setting more towards horror. I honestly do. But I'm not getting that vibe from what we've seen so far.

By the way, the Bagman is fantastic. I absolutely love the concept. I cannot wait to terrorize my players with that. If you're a Ravenloft DM and you want more new nasties to throw at your players, check out Call of Cthulhu. There's a lot of amazing monsters to throw at your party. Using spells and magic items from CoC also works wonders in throwing D&D players for a loop. Even the most jaded D&D player will be completely surprised by them.
You are getting far too hung up trying to classify things and put them into specific pigeon holes. Just chill. Stop trying to convince people that what they think is horror isn’t horror and spend more time enjoying stuff.

It’s the same as the pointless arguments about whether D&D is a superhero game. As if horror and superhero has these hard and fast rules and boundaries that anyone is entitled to speak authoritatively about. It’s just splitting hairs.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
View attachment 136442

Just saying...

Not the whole kingdom. Just a snippet! Love that.
Interesting, where did the image come from? That "Cyre 1313" raises questions. 13 is a number that comes up often with eberron, at the sme time the day of mourning happened in 994yk so a chunk of cyre advanced 319 years to 1313 would probably fit nicely with some tools & stuff drawn from the original much more advanced plans for eberron when Keith originally pitched it. Of course it could just be the rail line.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Interesting, where did the image come from? That "Cyre 1313" raises questions. 13 is a number that comes up often with eberron, at the sme time the day of mourning happened in 994yk so a chunk of cyre advanced 319 years to 1313 would probably fit nicely with some tools & stuff drawn from the original much more advanced plans for eberron when Keith originally pitched it. Of course it could just be the rail line.
It’s the contents of the new book.

I suspect the whole kingdom isn’t in Ravenloft... officially... but a lightning rail on that day was spirited into the mists, taking everyone on board with it. I love that idea!
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
It’s the contents of the new book.

I suspect the whole kingdom isn’t in Ravenloft... officially... but a lightning rail on that day was spirited into the mists, taking everyone on board with it. I love that idea!
Yea I figured but where did the image first find it's way to the internet since the book doesn't come out till the 18th?
 

Faolyn

Hero
Interesting, where did the image come from? That "Cyre 1313" raises questions. 13 is a number that comes up often with eberron, at the sme time the day of mourning happened in 994yk so a chunk of cyre advanced 319 years to 1313 would probably fit nicely with some tools & stuff drawn from the original much more advanced plans for eberron when Keith originally pitched it. Of course it could just be the rail line.
Keith Baker likes including "Baker's Dozens" in his books. He must've been thrilled that Ebberon's Artificer class was the 13th class.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Hmm. Nova Vaasa has been "demoted" to Other Domains of Dread. Souragne's there--let's hope they've at least renamed Chicken Bone, if not ditched him altogether--but no Nidala, sadly. I would have preferred that domain to Scaena, myself. And Tepest seems to have lost two of its DLs. I wonder if Lorinda ate them.

The "Horror Monsters" section is pretty long. I wonder how much is on how to modify monsters, VR Guide-style.
 

darjr

I crit!
Yea I figured but where did the image first find it's way to the internet since the book doesn't come out till the 18th?
WotC will seed books to select folks

see

and

 


A bit surprised to see Tovag made it to the new edition. I assume it'll have a new darklord, there doesn't seem much point to having Kas without Vecna.

The various age categories of vampires, differing magnitude of ghosts etc didn't make it to the monster list. I'm a bit sad about that, but i guess it does fit with the 5e philosophy of handcrafting powerful unique monsters rather than constructing them via templates etc. And i guess you can use Strahd, Godefroy etc as examples for up-powered gothic enemies anyway, and there may be guidelines in the 'Building your own Darklord' bit.

I have no idea who Osybus is, or what an Ulmist Inquisitor is. Anyone know?

I can't see anything at all about deities in the contents. Presumably that two pages about 'Life in the Domains of Dread' is going to be doing a lot of work.

Hah, I totally called the Eberron train domain!

I was very much hoping for some rules support for a more gunpowder-era setting with greater emphasis on firearms and less on heavy armour, which has a long history in Ravenloft, especially given the artwork seems to be trending in that direction too. Doesn't look like we're going to get it.

They've gone seriously deep in some obscure 2e lore to pull out Klorr and Risibilos. I think Niranjan is new though? Vhage Agency certainly is.

(Rant warning) I dunno whether it's just me, but i really really hate it when campaign setting books devote a huge chunk of their pagecount to an adventure. It has no re-usability value, no value at all (or even negative value) if you're a player, and especially when this is the only Ravenloft 5e book we're likely to get, it just seem like a waste. Nearly 10% of the book is devoted to the adventure. You can only squeeze a tiny module into that space, which will be played through in a trice, but it manages to eat vast amounts of space in a book that's meant to be the much-used primary reference for all Ravenloft games. All the 'additional domains' get half a page each in the book as it stands, which is hardly enough to give the darklord two sentences. Cut out the adventure, and you can double the size of those writeups, maybe include some more art etc. I know what I'd prefer.

Have wolfweres been given a writeup in 5e? There doesn't seem to be one in the monster section of this book (we do get the loup garou however), yet we've got coverage of Kartakass and Harkon Lukas is still the darklord, and there doesn't seem to be another major lycanthrope-focused domain other than Richemulot which is all about rats. I wonder if they've retconned Lukas to be a werewolf? Verbrek isn't here, and it'd be weird to see a setting based around gothic horror tropes without werewolves.
 


Faolyn

Hero
Have wolfweres been given a writeup in 5e? There doesn't seem to be one in the monster section of this book (we do get the loup garou however), yet we've got coverage of Kartakass and Harkon Lukas is still the darklord, and there doesn't seem to be another major lycanthrope-focused domain other than Richemulot which is all about rats. I wonder if they've retconned Lukas to be a werewolf? Verbrek isn't here, and it'd be weird to see a setting based around gothic horror tropes without werewolves.
I wouldn't be surprised if they just said "use the stats for werewolves, but they don't transmit lycanthropy and can cast slow X times per day."
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I think part of the issue is terminology. Ravenloft is horror for D&D , but not necessarily horror as other media defines it. It's not wrong to call Ravenloft "D&D's horror setting" with the caveat it's going to lean heavy on the "D&D" part of that description, but it's not exactly the same kind of horror you'll see in a Stephen King book or a Fulci movie.
As I said before, I think it’s appropriate to call Ravenloft a horror setting for D&D, which I don’t think it’s appropriate to call a horror game.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I wonder if they've retconned Lukas to be a werewolf? Verbrek isn't here, and it'd be weird to see a setting based around gothic horror tropes without werewolves.
That's my guess. I STILL can't tell you the functional difference between the two.

A bit surprised to see Tovag made it to the new edition. I assume it'll have a new darklord, there doesn't seem much point to having Kas without Vecna.
Well, Vecna escaped but did Kas? (I don't remember Die Vecna Die) It could be Kas is stewing that his old boss got a big promotion (to god) and he's stuck still in his prison plane, haunted by Vecna's cult taunting him. I could see it...
 

Remathilis

Legend
I'd argue that horror is horror. Doesn't matter which medium we're talking about. A horror comic book is still horror, just as a horror movie is still horror, just as a horror game is still horror. I think your previous statement is most apt. Ravenloft is "D&D with a Halloween costume on".

Let's go with your previous statement. Ravenloft is "D&D with a Halloween costume on". I think that works. Walk with me. It's Halloween and you have a kid at your door wearing an ill-fitting Michael Meyers costume complete with William Shatner mask and one of those plastic knives that has blood dripping down the blade if you hold it just so. Now, if you point to that kid and think there's a real supernatural serial killer at your door, you'd be mistaken. It's a kid in a mask, fishing for candy. Likewise with Ravenloft. It's not horror, it's "D&D with a Halloween costume on". Pointing to Ravenloft and saying horror is akin to pointing to the kid in the mask and saying serial killer. They're both trying to evoke the thing, but they're not the thing itself.

I'm not saying Ravenloft is less than or bad or anything. Ravenloft is one of my favorite D&D settings. It's fantastic. But it's not horror. Call of Cthulhu is horror. Ravenloft is "D&D with a Halloween costume on". I sincerely hope the new Ravenloft book pushing the setting more towards horror. I honestly do. But I'm not getting that vibe from what we've seen so far.

There are degrees of horror. Dracula (1931) is a different level of horror compared than Hammer's Dracula or Lost Boys or From Dusk til Dawn or 30 Days of Night. Which is why context is key: D&D's type of horror isn't going to be as scary as Call of Cthulu, but it's going to scariER than your average D&D game. It's still a Halloween costume, but you can still spook someone with it if you play cards right.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
There are degrees of horror. Dracula (1931) is a different level of horror compared than Hammer's Dracula or Lost Boys or From Dusk til Dawn or 30 Days of Night.
Right. In 1931 Dracula was a horror movie. Now it’s camp. Hammer’s Dracula movies were horror when they came out. Now they’re camp. So too with Lost Boys and the rest. The genre moves. It’s not static. It’s not about “levels” of horror. What we’re afraid of changes. We become used to and blasé about old horrors.
Which is why context is key: D&D's type of horror isn't going to be as scary as Call of Cthulu, but it's going to scariER than your average D&D game. It's still a Halloween costume, but you can still spook someone with it if you play cards right.
Of course it’s not the same as Call of Cthulhu. Never said it was. I also never said Ravenloft is bad.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
It’s the contents of the new book.

I suspect the whole kingdom isn’t in Ravenloft... officially... but a lightning rail on that day was spirited into the mists, taking everyone on board with it. I love that idea!
Apparently, they read my campaign notes. I was planning a haunted lightning rail from the Mourning in my next Eberron campaign. Jerks. ;)
 


Parmandur

Legend
Right. In 1931 Dracula was a horror movie. Now it’s camp. Hammer’s Dracula movies were horror when they came out. Now they’re camp. So too with Lost Boys and the rest. The genre moves. It’s not static. It’s not about “levels” of horror. What we’re afraid of changes. We become used to and blasé about old horrors.

Of course it’s not the same as Call of Cthulhu. Never said it was. I also never said Ravenloft is bad.
That's...not how genres work.
 

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