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D&D 5E How does Van Richten's change your Ravenloft?

jgsugden

Legend
I'm curious about how DMs are adapting any pre-existing version of Ravenloft they have established in their campaign world now that they have the new book?

For example, I have a homebrew world that has existed since the 1980s. It is my primary setting. When Ravenloft was was released in the Black Box, I decided to incorporate it into my game world. Although I "placed" many of the Domains listed in the boxed set in my setting, I altered many of them by changing the identity of certain Darklords (no Lord Soth in Sithicus) - and most of the Domains of Dread in my setting were created as reflections of events in my Homebrew setting. The Ravenloft Domains existed in a nebulous "other" plane. When 4E came out, I decided these demiplanes existed in the Shadowfell (something that WotC has officially done as well). In my lore, as of 4E, the Ravenloft Domains are created via the reflective nature of the Shadowfell. The Shadowfell reflects the real world and changes to reflect significant changes in the Prime. When a truly dreadful event takes place on the Prime, the Shadowfell reflects it in an even more sinister way, and when that reflection is dreadful enough, that dark reflection manifests in a shadowy twin of something in the 'real world'. The Strahd that existed in the Prime Material Plane was eliminated long ago - but his dark reflection lingers in the Shadowfell millenia later. Now, I am making changes to my lore after reading the new book.

I'm adding mobile Dark Domains to my Shadowfell. Inspired by the Carnival and the Train, I immediately thought of a few events in the history of my setting that could have manifested as mobile domains... A fleet of ships that were wiped out during a great betrayal, for example.

I'm adding duplicate realms. I had not really considered making two versions of the same realm in the past, with differences in the realms, but it absolutely makes sense in my lore for there to have been several Dark Domains created in the same location as there are places in my world that have been the location of many insanely evil events. It makes sense they might have spawned multiple realms, and I'm trying to figure out what happens when two, three, four, or more Dark Domains for in the same place in the Shadowfell? Are the others forced to be mobile? Do they get shunted nearby and warp th terrain? Are they just in the same place and when you enter the Mosts you're not sure which one will claim you? TBD.

I am stealing a few new domains to add to my world, but right now that will just be footnotes in case they become relevant.

There is a tie between the Raven Queen and the Shadowfell in my world, but it is quite different. However, the Keepers of the Feather are officially entering my setting - but I like the idea that they existed a long time ago and have nearly died off, impacting my world more for their lore than directly through agents.
 

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Retreater

Legend
Not planning on using any of it whole cloth. I might drop in some of the new domains or take the revised ones and use them as new domains. But as of now, I'm deep into Rime of the Frostmaiden and the Barrowmaze as my 5e games, so I'm not planning on any Ravenloft. (We just finished Curse of Strahd so it needs a break.)
 

Stormonu

Legend
Going with the male version of Mordheim, as well, for legacy campaign reasons. Likewise, keeping the old Baron Kharkov, as he’d been an old campaign foe. I’m curious to find out if there’s any mention of Shadowborn manor, as that family and the associated “holy” avenger has been involved with various Ravenloft-related adventures I’ve used in the past.

I have a country in my campaign world loosely based on gothic tales (Vactorstein), and I might steal some ideas for the realm.

Though I haven’t gotten the book yet (looks like it’ll be my birthday gift come Friday), I whole-heartily going to use the ”tenuously connected realms” instead of the hard core map. Exiting the border of one domain isn’t a hard transition to another realm - it’s mist travel and you arrive where the DM puts you/has determined where the road goes. Allows me to rearrange the map as it suits me, and finally get rid of the annoying Shadow Rift that’s always bugged the hell out of me.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I’m curious to find out if there’s any mention of Shadowborn manor, as that family and the associated “holy” avenger has been involved with various Ravenloft-related adventures I’ve used in the past.

Shadownborn is mentioned in the Other Domains section, envisioned as a doomed knightly area. Light on details, but a few classic Darklords are mentioned, including the aforementioned sword.
 

delericho

Legend
I'm expecting to receive the book today, so all of this is provisional, but...

It won't.

Or, rather, it won't immediately. My currently campaign is set in Lamordia, so there are obviously some big changes in the new book. But these won't appear for the remainder of the ongoing campaign, which is expected to conclude some time this year.

However if I run another Ravenloft campaign some time in the future (which, honestly, is doubtful), then I'd expect to base it on the most recent iteration of the setting.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
I've been building a setting where Barovia is just another country (no magic mists, no extraplanar prison, no soulless population -- just one mean vampire). The implied setting of Barovia is not quite baseline D&D in order to be more gothicy. So now I'm curious how the other domains could fit into that setting.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Well, since I’ve never run Ravenloft outside Curse of Strahd, quite a bit, since it will expand the setting into a whole demiplane instead of just one domain. The mists will be created and controlled by the Dark Powers rather than by Strahd. And I’ll need a new reason the Vistani can travel through the mists, other than just having Strahd’s permission, since he’ll no longer be in control of them. The Amber Temple vestiges will definitely not be the Dark Powers, rather than it being vaguely hinted that they might be but ultimately left ambiguous. Van Richten’s role in the wider setting will probably change quite a bit, though I haven’t yet settled on how. I know I want him to travel the domains looking for ways to defeat the dark lords and ultimately the dark powers themselves, rather than just being a vampire hunter who wants to kill Strahd, but I’m not yet sure how or why. Probably likewise for Ez, who’s name I probably won’t change (Ezmerelda was already a fake name in my take on the adventure, so I don’t feel a strong need to shorten it.)
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
The new version actually fits with how I was using Ravenloft better than the core did.

I used the ideas of Mordent as rocky windswept coast and bleak moors haunted by ghosts and dropped in into my main world, still accessed via Bleak misty paths while places like Forlorn and Keening or the Carnival are dropped in where needed and then fade into the Trackless moors and slough

Having now seen Wes Schneiders discussion of how they wanted to create the Domains as thematic adventure settings centered on being a prison for the Dark Lord I must say I think they took a good approach. The description of Lamordia in particular sparked a lot of excitement.
Lamordia designer Amanda Hamon also has an interview with Todd Kenrick really enlivens Lamordia and its potentials.
 
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Kodiak3D

Explorer
I'll probably use most of the realms as they are now presented, but I'm not sure about the maps yet. While I find the idea of each domain being isolated interesting, I'm not sure I like it better than having the domains connected.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I'll probably use most of the realms as they are now presented, but I'm not sure about the maps yet. While I find the idea of each domain being isolated interesting, I'm not sure I like it better than having the domains connected.
Out of curiosity - why? I'm asking because I'm curious about how other DMs are running (or plan to run) this setting.

Do you want the party going from realm to realm during their adventures? How long would they spend in each realm? Why not have them travel to the other realms through the Shadowfell (or via other means)? And if you really don't want that travel - why can't the mists carry them to another realm without traveling the spaces between in the Shadowfell?
 

Faolyn

Hero
I'll probably use most of the realms as they are now presented, but I'm not sure about the maps yet. While I find the idea of each domain being isolated interesting, I'm not sure I like it better than having the domains connected.
I haven't read the entire book yet, so I don't know if they brought back Mistways, but even if they didn't, I'm using them. If I want two domains to be connected, there'll always be a road, waterway, or tunnel connecting them, and you can (almost) always get from one to the other... as long as you stay on the path.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Do you want the party going from realm to realm during their adventures? How long would they spend in each realm? Why not have them travel to the other realms through the Shadowfell (or via other means)? And if you really don't want that travel - why can't the mists carry them to another realm without traveling the spaces between in the Shadowfell?
Once you're in Ravenloft, you can't leave it--even to go to the Shadowfell. And sure, you can have the Mists sweep people around, but to me, and probably to others as well, that always feels very railroady: "Nope, you guys can't stay in Kartakass anymore; you guys are in G'Henna now!" With actual roads, it's up to the players to go where they want to go and when.
 

Kodiak3D

Explorer
Out of curiosity - why? I'm asking because I'm curious about how other DMs are running (or plan to run) this setting.
First, I'm not even sure that I'm going with the old map just yet. There are things I like about both. As far as why I would use the old map is just because it's what I'm used to. I like the idea of there being a unified core and the relationships some of the realms had (like Drakov's never-ending yet hopeless war against his neighbors).
 

iltharanos

Explorer
I'm DMing a Ravenloft campaign with my group and we're currently 11 sessions into it. Started out in Lamordia and the past seven sessions the party has been in a homebrew domain where the Headless Horseman runs rampant.

Our campaign is definitely sticking to the Core geography and ignoring the soulless shells bit. We still have to talk over what we as a group want to incorporate mechanically into our campaign, but it's a safe bet that Dark Gifts, Mist Talismans, and the new take on Vistani will be included. The domains chapter is a real gem, as it's given me lots of new ideas to incorporate into our game!
 

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