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D&D 5E New D&D Hardcover To Be Announced On The 23rd (Tomorrow)?

According to this page on Amazon.com, a new Dungeon & Dragons hardcover title for May will be announced tomorrow. Users in the US see the product below (those in the UK are seeing a Wizkids miniatures set instead).

So far signs look like Ravenloft, but we’ll know for sure tomorrow.

[Update -- also mentioned by Todd Kendrick, recently of D&D Beyond].

WotC has posted the below animation, which says “The Mist Beckons”.

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I’d say classic World of Darkness was gothic punk (not sure what the modern revival is, I stopped following it after several snaffus with nuWhiteWolf), whereas the IP-formerly-known-as-“new”-World-of-Darkness was more gothic horror, with heavy American Gothic influence.
Yeah I'd generally agree, but I'm not sure there's a meaningful difference unless you're going in very close. Maybe to the degree of blood spatter!

Um, no, it isn't. Translating it as "poisoner" is tendentious at best.

It is true that the Koine Greek word pharmakeia used in the Septuagint translation of Exodus could potentially support a translation of "poisoner" into English, and Reginald Scott favored that translation in his 1584 polemic The Discoverie of Witchcraft. But it could also be translated as magician, herbalist, or even doctor. The Koine Greek word was really, really broad, reflecting that there was no clear conceptual distinction by the speakers of that language between magic and medicine, nor between making someone sick by a curse or by giving them something bad to consume.

Going back to the original Hebrew mekhashepha, the consensus opinion, both long before and long after the European Witch Craze, was a meaning roughly of "mutterer", implying the muttering of curses or the invocation of demons. And the context for the same word over in Duteronomy 18:10-11 is a list with various forms of magical practices.
Witch was certainly not a reasonable translation at the time.

Haaretz says that you're severely overclaiming re: mekhashepha here:

It's actually a very interesting article.

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To be fair, the fact that The Mists can grab anyone or anything from anywhere including entire towns is pretty central to the core of ravenloft. Of course they would logically result in sometimes pulling in identifyayble bits of other settings .

That's entirely true, but I'd certainly argue that other that Lord Soth, pretty much none of these setting-hijacks added anything to Ravenloft other than another usually-ignored Island of Terror. They were just artifacts of TSR's 'everything must cross over with everything else' phase, which showed up in Planescape and Spelljammer from time to time as well.

Azalin was nominally from Greyhawk i believe, but there's basically nothing identifiably or thematically Greyhawky left of him by the time we meet him in Darkon. He's much more Ravenloft than Greyhawk. Hazlik is from Thay in the FR, thematically he became a confused muddle of commentary on ethnic and anti-homosexual prejudices - his FRness didn't add anything meaningful to Ravenloft other than in a nod-wink kinda way towards readers. Hey, he's a WIZARD who wears RED, did ya get that. reader, didja? Did anyone even USE Kalidnay in Ravenloft? There really wasn't any reason to go to Thakok-An's domain, and her curse and damnation weren't even that interesting. And it certainly annoyed Dark Sun fans because Kalid-Ma's disappearance just presented an arbitrarily unsolvable mystery in their setting. If there were identifiably Spelljammer or Planescape-based domains I must have missed them, Council of Wyrms certainly (and thankfully!) didn't cross over at all, and I'm not familiar enough with Mystara to have noticed one way or the other.

The most strongly 'Ravenlofty' of the domains tend to be the ones that were created especially for the setting. Barovia of course, but generally they trend higher-tech and more 1600-1800s in feel rather than the quasi-medieval default D&D setting assumptions - as one would expect given the heavy inspiration the setting draws from the Gothic horror tradition that wasn't really born until the Regency or Victorian eras. Richulemont, Mordent, Paridon, Invidia, Lamordia, Dementlieu are in my opinion the heart of Ravenloft as a living setting - they've always been portrayed as places where people LIVE, while more medieval places like Barovia, Sithicus, Darkon, Har'Akir, Kartakass are places that are generally places where adventurers from these places VISIT (I don't think it's coincidence that the iconic 'ally' character of Ravenloft, Van Richten comes from techologically-advanced and urbanised Mordent, rather than from more medieval Barovia, which is clearly the iconic domain of Ravenloft). This is of course entirely in keeping with the Gothic horror tradition as old as the Dracula novel, in which the 'civilised' Englishman visits 'wild primitive' Transylvania and finds a monster there, which then propagates horrifyingly back in London.

But a lot of what we see this time round depends on what WotC uses as their primary inspiration, and what they see as the primary purpose of the book. The two big dilemma of Ravenloft design has always been whether the setting is merely a venue for regular D&D PCs to get trapped in briefly for a one-off (which is basically how CoS sees it), or whether it's a living breathing setting of its own, with its own inhabitants who are assumed to be natives of the place (the approach the 3rd ed books took). Personally I much prefer the latter (and i heartily recommend the first 4 Arthaus Ravenloft Gazetteers as some of the best D&D setting material ever, and i consider it a tragedy the series was never completed), but reading between the lines, and judging on the precedent CoS set, I suspect WotC will prefer the first option. To be honest, I don't even know to what degree WotC are even allowed to use the Arthaus material, from a rights point of view...

Well subverting tropes is always fun. However sometimes classic tropes done well work.

I remember my characters in CoS crossing a bridge when they are met with farmers coming the other way. The farmers greeted the party warily, warning them that the roads were dangerous and there were wolves who walked as men abroad. They asked the party if they had any silver weapons
Yeah, that would immediately tell my players "they are werewolves". And they would fireball them. D&D has plenty of ways to deal with werewolves without resorting to silver.
(the players recognized this as advice on how to kill werewolves, and were put at ease, but the characters didn’t) when the party said no, the farmers said “good”, changed into werewolves and attacked.

The scene worked because while the players were expecting werewolves, the wary advice lulled them into a false sense of security.
Players are paranoid. Offer them a cup of tea and they assume the saucer is a mimic. Anything that looks harmless just makes them more paranoid.

If you actually are a harmless peasant the most dangerous things in the woods are the PCs.
The players knowledge of vampires works against them, because when Strahd appears when they’re level 4 they realize what deep doo-doo they’re in. The fact that you know Strahd can’t enter the building you’re in makes you feel safe until the zombies start attacking and pulling the house down around you.
The players know that they aren't going to be expected to fight a CR 14 enemy when they are level 4, so they never see the vampire as a threat. They have killed enough zombies that they could fight them in their sleep.
Anyway, it’s not for me to persuade you to like Horror. Just that it works well for other people and is the most popular published 5e campaign to date.
I like horror, I just think it is funny rather than scary.
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It's not quite the same as previous setting books, as those didn't have an equivalent section comparable to this one's "run your own gothic horror games" section.
Ravnica gave advice on urban adventures, Theros on using Gods as antagonists, and Eberron on Pulp and Noir. Plus there is always a new mechanic (guilds and renown, faith and piety, patrons) that get into the mix.

I am probably in minority, but I think Arthaus approach to the setting was dead wrong. Arthaus supplements were meant to be interesting to read, but missed the point of being really useful for running the game. In general, at some point Ravenloft devolved into one overarching story after another, sprinkled between books. In my humble opinion, CoS did great job, and if new book builds on it and on the old Black Box heritage, it will be welcome addition to my collection. Also, the key approach should be "let's make D&D in gothic costume" and definitely not "lets try if we can bend D&D enough to be kinda like realistic horror game".


Yeah, that would immediately tell my players "they are werewolves". And they would fireball them. D&D has plenty of ways to deal with werewolves without resorting to silver.

Players are paranoid. Offer them a cup of tea and they assume the saucer is a mimic. Anything that looks harmless just makes them more paranoid.

If you actually are a harmless peasant the most dangerous things in the woods are the PCs.

The players know that they aren't going to be expected to fight a CR 14 enemy when they are level 4, so they never see the vampire as a threat. They have killed enough zombies that they could fight them in their sleep.

I like horror, I just think it is funny rather than scary.
Okay. I suspect you and your players don’t play in a way that’s conducive to Ravenloft.

My players wouldn’t fireball a group of farmers on a hunch. They just don’t play that way. Therefore that very cynical outcome wouldn’t work. The fear that any group could be bestial murderers wouldn’t cause them to fireball everyone - though it might cause them to suspect everyone. The scene also followed on from a relatively secure scene in the Blue Water inn with Van Richten, which may have contributed to them taking the scene at face value.

If your only fear of Strahd is that he might kill you, then you need to work harder. My female bard player was mainly concerned that she would be dominated and bitten.

Zombies are fine. Ravenloft zombies that don’t stop moving even after you’ve chopped them up are a different matter. When the zombie’s arm you just chopped off crawls along the floor and starts inching up the door towards the latch to let the others in then it may be different.

Ravenloft is NOT for everyone. Then again neither is Darksun or Planescape. It’s just one the campaigns that resonates with a lot of people.

The problem is, if everyone complains that it’s not their favourite setting that gets published then it just generates a lot of negativity... and guess what, campaign settings become less likely to happen.

Everyone will get their flavor eventually. I just understand why they chose Ravenloft first.
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Solo Role Playing
Once during 2e I showed the players the top of the cover they were going to play that day. When one player saw "Ravenloft" he said: "We are all going to die. Marc wants to kill the campaign!" all the others were horrified. I had to spend 10 minutes calming everyone.

We proceeded and the adventure was The Created, in which PCs become 6" tall wood puppets and must find their stolen bodies. They were really upset but they played the module nonetheless. They recovered their bodies after 7 hours of stressful play. ( I seem to remember the module has a time limit after which the PCs become wood puppets permanently. Could be wrong.)

After, I was told never to do something like that again or bring a Ravenloft module to the table. Note that this group also refused to play CoC or Vampire the Masquerade. You need prior consent to play these types of adventurers.


I'm not a fan of Ravenloft.
The closest I ever got to running Curse of Strahd would have revealed the PCs were deliberately teleported to arrive at a broken teleportation circle and ended up inbetween life and death dealing with the realm of Barovia seeking a way back.
By defeating Strahd they'd just find themselves at their location in time for Storm King's Thunder to start with only their starting gear as everything gained in Barovia stayed there.
I pictured it as terrifying maybe enough to pick up the original.
This if its just their version of a Monster book then its of no interest to me, I liked that release a edition or two ago where they dealt with the same subject of horror in various settings and that would be of interest.
I won't pre-order this as I want to be sure before I go any further.


Could always have them wake up following a bitter one sided fight against either lycanthropes or a single vampire finding their wounds being tended by a travelling herbalist who doesn't explain why they're still alive.
Eventually able to move on they reach the next town and upon talking to them they learn about the mysterious Blue Lady an otherwise indescript travelling herbalist whose very presence scares the hell out of the monsters dwelling out beyond the settlement walls.
Eventually run into their former enemy who stops after recognises them then before they can initiate combat they start looking around literally scared as they start running away yelling, "Look we're sorry okay please tell that witch to leave us alone!"
As they go up in level let them run across more stories about the traveller who rescued them until they find themselves able to return the favor how would your players like the setting then?

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