It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like RAVENLOFT

On the Down With D&D podcast, writer Shawn Merwin (who is writing at least one adventure for the next D&D Adventurers Guild season) responded to a query about whether the next season was "gothic" in nature -- "I can neither confirm nor deny that, although I've heard that much was talked about at Gamehole Con in Chris Perkins' seminar ... I think people who have heard that seminar know what's going on, but I still cannot say anything." That seminar, which I largely transcribed here, hinted really strongly at Ravenloft. (thanks to darjr for the scoop)


In response to comments about Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman, Merwin said "You like that kind of stuff? I get misty-eyed about it myself."

Of course, none of this is conclusive. But it's hard not to think that - if not Ravenloft itself - something Ravenloft-inspired is coming with the next D&D storyline.

They went on to discuss Baldman Games' (hosts of Winter Fantasy) announcements about D&D events at the convention in February. Regarding the Epic adventure being used to launch the upcoming season, which will debut at that convention, they have the following exchange:

Shawn Merwin: ...if you're into D&D at all, or if you're into Adventurer's League specifically, you will not want to miss.

Christopher Sniezak: I hear there may be blood and stakes involved?

Shawn Merwin: It's definitely possible.

It sounds a little to me like they have discussed this subject in more detail off-air. Whatever the case, these are not the first "gothic" hints we've gotten - it's certainly Beginning To Look A Lot Like Ravenloft, as Bing Crosby once famously sang.

If you want to listen to the full podcast, click here or on Strahd up above.

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I'm A Banana

WoTC, please take me to Ravenloft on board a Hammership.

Here is an image of a shiver of them, in case you forgot:

View attachment 72296

Man, that picture.

It's an elf on on a pirate ship in outer space with some sort of mullet/ponytail/glam-hair gazing out at space ships that look like hammerhead sharks.

Dang it, Spelljammer, I know you have some potential awesome inside of you, but so much of you could have been painted on the side of a van of a stoner in the '70's.

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If they do, do Ravenloft please give us more insight into one of the other lesser known Realms. I dont think we need more Azalin or Drakov or Strahd.

Im still not entirely convinced Ravenloft IS the next announcement.. a lot of people are putting way too much credence into very small pieces of info. Its like trying to write a report on the Horoscopes in the paper.

It's worth noting that the original Ravenloft adventure was on the Prime Material Plane. It wasn't its own setting. It was just a place.

However, I doubt this is going to be "horror-themed Sword Coast adventure". More likely, the characters begin on the Sword Coast (or wherever you like), are surrounded by mists, transported to Ravenloft, play the AP, then are transported back to the Sword Coast (or wherever) at its conclusion, just like the classic Ravenloft setting adventures. The Ravenloft setting was built around that concept: characters would be dragged there for a time before returning.

Chris Perkins also noted that this will be a shorter AP (the one after will be even shorter). It's unlikely to be a level 1-15 adventure. Just because the first three adventures follow a certain format doesn't mean the next one will!


The original Castle Ravenloft and Expedition were both generic and able to be placed on any world. But I'd really like some acknowledgement that there is a demiplane, even if Barovia is moved back to the Prime. Something addative rather than just a retelling. Strahd doing something new.

Also it would be great to get a Bela Lugosi Strahd again rather than 3e's Dread Pirate Strahd.


Eternal Optimist
One thing about Ravenloft is you don't leave.

You might want to do a bit of research, especially on some of the early adventures (such as Feast of Goblyns).

The tragedy of Ravenloft applies to the Lords of Ravenloft. They're the ones who can never escape. They're given their heart's desire, only to see it all twisted and horrible, and they're trapped for eternity in that state.

In the classic Ravenloft adventures, the PCs are drawn within the Mists of Ravenloft and typically find they can't escape for the duration of the adventure; however, at the end of the adventure they are returned to their own realms (assuming they haven't become corrupted by the land and gained their own Realm). The 3E (White Wolf) version emphasized campaigns entirely within Ravenloft a lot more, but that isn't the classic setting, which allows long-form campaigns but the individual adventures tend to be of the "weekend in hell" type.



Eternal Optimist
Something additive rather than just a retelling. Strahd doing something new.

Given the previous three APs, I'm pretty sure this will be something new. There are likely to be nods to the past, but it won't be a straight retelling of the original Ravenloft.

The closest of any of the previous three APs has gotten to just retelling an adventure is Princes of the Apocalypse, and even that did a whole heap of new stuff, which you wouldn't find in the original Temple of Elemental Evil adventure. (Given how horribly flawed the original ToEE adventure was, this is a good thing.) I still don't rate PotA that highly, as it has some major structural flaws as an adventure, but there are a lot of things in it I think are excellent.


Personally, I've found Ravenloft tends to be a much better setting, and makes for more fun campaigns, when you play natives rather than planar visitors captured by the mists. Takes "escape" out of the equation entirely. This is just the world; you learn to survive it, or you don't.


Just a friendly reminder to everyone who believes WotC will just slap Barovia in some corner of the Sword Coast map....

Dungeon Master's Guide 5e said:
In remote corners of the Shadowfell, it is easy to reach horrific demiplanes ruled over by accursed beings of terrible evil. The best known of these is the valley of Barovia, overlooked by the towering spires of Castle Ravenloft and ruled by Count Strahd von Zarovich, the first vampire. Beings of the Shadowfell called the Dark Powers created these domains as prisons for these "darklords," and through cruelty or carelessness trapped innocent mortals in these domains as well.

Dungeon Master's Guide 5e said:
A demiplane can be as small as a single chamber or large enough to contain an entire realm. For example, a Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion spell creates a demiplane consisting of a foyer with multiple adjoining rooms, while the land of Barovia (in the Ravenloft setting) exists entirely within a demiplane under the sway of its vampire lord, Strahd von Zarovich. When a demiplane is connected to the Material Plane or some other plane, entering it can be as simple as stepping through a portal or passing through a wall of mist.

So canonically in 5e, Barovia is a Demiplane somewhere in the Plane of Shadow.


Eternal Optimist
Personally, I've found Ravenloft tends to be a much better setting, and makes for more fun campaigns, when you play natives rather than planar visitors captured by the mists. Takes "escape" out of the equation entirely. This is just the world; you learn to survive it, or you don't.

I'm the opposite: I don't actually like using it as a separate setting at all. I set "Feast of Goblyns" in part of the Great Kingdom in Greyhawk. Which means that when the players failed, part of the Great Kingdom was lost to the Necromancer Radaga. (It's still lost; at some point, we'll return to that part of Greyhawk to find out what happened. :))



First Post
So canonically in 5e, Barovia is a Demiplane somewhere in the Plane of Shadow.

You mean the Shadowfell - a poor imitation of the plane of Shadow.

I wish the Shadowfell and the Feywild would just collapse into each other in a blaze of mutual annihilation.

Bring back the real (pre-3rd edition) plane of Shadow and the real demi-plane of Ravenloft. :)

Incidentally, any word on how in 5th edition the Negative Energy plane became a full plane again after Realms lore would have us believe it collapsed into the Shadowfell? Oh yeah and the elemental planes apparently showed up again. Realms lore is soooo screwed up.


As someone who was big into the 3.x White Wolf Ravenloft books I am looking forward to the 5e Ravenloft treatment. If it happens next, that is great. I am not even worried about the quality, if it sucks that will be too bad but it won't ruin what I already have.

The 3.5 WotC Expedition to Castle Ravenloft adventure was bad but I still found use out of it by cutting it up.

It might also be that I am optimistic because I find the 5e style to fit right into Ravenloft. Everything from the 3 pillars of play to removing the Paladin's detect evil ability for mundane folk.

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