D&D 2E Looking back at the Monstrous Compendia: the MC appendices, Monstrous Manual, and more!

JEB

Legend
I find no evidence to suggest that the Dark Powers have done an in-character restructuring of the Demiplane
It's implied by a few Easter eggs that previous incarnations of Ravenloft and its domains could have existed in the current canon (most notably the domain of Klorr), and at least one author (the one who updated Valachan) outright said she wrote hers as an update to the old version rather than a reboot. But correct, there's no direct evidence that the 5E creators intended 5E Ravenloft to also be rebooted in-universe, just a fresh creative start from scratch.
 

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It's implied by a few Easter eggs that previous incarnations of Ravenloft and its domains could have existed in the current canon (most notably the domain of Klorr), and at least one author (the one who updated Valachan) outright said she wrote hers as an update to the old version rather than a reboot. But correct, there's no direct evidence that the 5E creators intended 5E Ravenloft to also be rebooted in-universe, just a fresh creative start from scratch.
I don't understand how Valachan can be an update to the old one, how does Helbelnik go from a mountainous town to a wrecked ship? It's all moot because CoS explicitly uses a Ravenloft date that sets everything around the time of the Red Box.

I suspect what actually happened is that Chris Perkins rushed an adventure together on his holiday (yes, CoS was written on his off time) by smashing together bits of I6, Red Hand of Doom (look at the Coffin Maker's Shop) and elements of his old Dungeon Adventures (like Ricatvio), with ignorance of anything done in the setting since the end of TSR (bar Claudio Pozas's excellent "Fair Barovia" - which heavily drew on the work of the Kargatane). It ended up very successful (which for me is more a statement on how uniformly poor the 5e adventures are in general) and so the mandate from design managers was that the setting would build off that. But it was never intended to be a proper Ravenloft setting, and it shows. Thus the mess we get now, with Crawford's infamous "canon doesn't matter...there is no canon...canon is only 5e...etc", which seems to be thrown out again based on the tortuous way Bigby's guide explained why he was a gnome (now pre 5e canon matters?), when in reality, most gamers wouldn't have any knowledge of Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure and have no idea Bigby was ever anything but.
 
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I'd always thought one of the big reasons that horror doesn't do so well in D&D is that a big part of horror is the idea 'this character could die a horrible death.' D&D players back in those days were pretty blase about that....
Yes, 5E seems to have decided D&D is not allowed to make things difficult for players hence why it doesn't really capture Ravenloft as a setting. (Which is a shame, because 5E's de-emphasis on alignment actually should've made it a better fit).
 

JEB

Legend
I don't understand how Valachan can be an update to the old one, how does Helbelnik go from a mountainous town to a wrecked ship?
Presumably the changes to the landscape were the result of the new darklord (Chakuna) taking over from the old (Urik von Kharkov). A way they could have explained pretty much all the changes to the domains and setting, if they'd wanted to...
 


Presumably the changes to the landscape were the result of the new darklord (Chakuna) taking over from the old (Urik von Kharkov). A way they could have explained pretty much all the changes to the domains and setting, if they'd wanted to...
Problem I have with that is that it is completely different to what happened to every other domain that passed hands. When Invidia went from Bakholis to Gabrielle Aderre, Castle Loupet didn't disappear or turn into a spaceship, it remained pretty much the same. As did Castle Hunadora when Gundarak was absorbed by Invidia. Nor did Nedragaard Keep become an air balloon when Soth was replaced by Inza. There's no domain that changed darklord yet completely morphed into something unrecognizable but kept its name. They tended to just disappear rather than do that. It's just another example of failure to come to terms with the existing material which I think points to the true reason... they just didn't care. Even 3E to 4E Realms was a more faithful "update".
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
If you're looking for a topic for your next thread, I think we might have a winner. :)
I came close to doing a Ravenloft 2E thread instead, but decided not to because of how many products the line had. So instead, I decided to do a monster book (and NPC books) thread, because somehow that seemed like a more manageable amount of content to go back over. o_O
 

AuldDragon

Explorer
I was never particularly interested in Ravenloft as a setting, mostly because I'm not big on the type of horror it engenders and I am pretty sure I'd be awful at trying to run it. But, the first and third Monstrous Compendiums for the setting were so full of great monsters of all kinds that other than ones that are really specifically Ravenloft in nature like Mist Horrors, I pretty much use them freely in other settings. In my current Spelljammer campaign I have used both the dwarven vampire and kizoku (from the third MC) to good success. The kizoku ended up being a really fun villain for one adventure in the campaign. :D

Jeff
 

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