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D&D 4E Ravenloft is alive in 4e

huank

First Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that the Shadowfell, with its Domains of Dread and the Despair Deck is too much alike what Ravenloft was. Even vistani and Strahd von Zarovich have appeared already as part of the 4e mythology. So, I don't think we'll ever see a 4e version of our favorite horror DnD campign setting.

What do you think?
 

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Matt James

Game Developer
Well, Ravenloft wasn't a settling at first. It was a location. You might have notice many of these completely separate settings have been condensed into the core multiverse. The same can be said for portions of Planscape, Spelljammer, and others.
 

MrMyth

First Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that the Shadowfell, with its Domains of Dread and the Despair Deck is too much alike what Ravenloft was. Even vistani and Strahd von Zarovich have appeared already as part of the 4e mythology. So, I don't think we'll ever see a 4e version of our favorite horror DnD campign setting.

What do you think?

I wouldn't say never - WotC at least had started plans for such a thing, though it was cancelled. But it is true that the core setting features many of the familiar aspects of Ravenloft, removing some of the need to expand on it.

For myself, I'm running a Ravenloft 4E campaign, and found it pretty easy to use the classic setting while importing 4E mechanics, new Domains, etc.
 




Yeah, Ravenloft seems far from dead in 4e to me. The Shadowfell is a perfect place for it, 4e canon unequivocally locates domains of dread in the Shadowfell, and really that's about all there is to say about it. They haven't released specific info for the location, but we do have stat blocks for Strahd and some other domains have been done up. Most of the material in Gloomwrought and HoS is certainly highly useful, we have a despair mechanism, a lot of info on conditions in the Shadowfell, etc.

I'd also note that WotC never said they were giving up on doing Ravenloft. They just said they had removed it from the schedule because they felt the design didn't meet their expectations and they weren't going to release it in the state it was in. They did say it could well be back on the schedule at a later date. Now that a LOT more Shadowfell stuff HAS been released it may be a more interesting project too, since it can piggyback off existing material and will need less new stuff of its own.
 

SpydersWebbing

First Post
Yeah, it sounds like you could run a Ravenloft in everything but name in a 4e game at this point, particularly with the Despair deck and the creative use of healing surge loss.
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
Probably more accurate to say that a few small bits of it were cut out from their 2e demiplane of dread framework and inserted into the 4e PoL cosmology. I wouldn't call it the same thing, just as how I wouldn't call the PoL use of Sigil to be 4e Planescape (the 4e version being radically different in so many flavor assumptions and tropes), but others might feel differently.

That said, given how it was inserted piecemeal into core 4e, and other bits of its history excised in the process, I really doubt that we'll see a 4e Ravenloft as its own campaign setting.
 

SpydersWebbing

First Post
Probably more accurate to say that a few small bits of it were cut out from their 2e demiplane of dread framework and inserted into the 4e PoL cosmology. I wouldn't call it the same thing, just as how I wouldn't call the PoL use of Sigil to be 4e Planescape (the 4e version being radically different in so many flavor assumptions and tropes), but others might feel differently.

That said, given how it was inserted piecemeal into core 4e, and other bits of its history excised in the process, I really doubt that we'll see a 4e Ravenloft as its own campaign setting.

But given how you can play Ravenloft in spirit without the name, is that even a bad thing?
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
But given how you can play Ravenloft in spirit without the name, is that even a bad thing?

Thing is though, from my perspective if I wanted to play Ravenloft, I'd play Ravenloft (in whatever ruleset I liked best) rather than playing PoL Shadowfell with sprinkled bits of Ravenloft. But that's just me.
 


malraux

First Post
The weekend in hell version of ravenloft is arguably pretty strong in 4e. The full campaign setting isn't as well supported though.
 


I really think you could easily do a homebrew campaign set in Ravenloft, using the old campaign setting materials for inspiration. The description of the Shadowfell and the shadowborn (natives of the plane) already remind me of Ravenloft. You could use the despair deck from the Shadowfell set if you wanted, to take the place of fear and horror checks (which I always felt were awkward mechanics anyway).

The Shadowfell references in 4e make explicit if general references to "domains of dread" and the Vistani. You don't even have to refer to it as the Shadowfell if you have all your PCs be natives of a domain of dread. There's no reason they would even have to know that concept. Just play it as a self-contained realm.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
I think you can do horror-themed adventures in 4E rather well.

I didn't enjoy the Ravenloft *setting*, but I enjoyed some of the adventures once you put them in the 'real' world.

The recent Encounters series - Dark Legacy of Evard - was very true to the spirit of the Ravenloft horror: a town slips into the Shadowfell every night, and is attacked by dark denizens. A ghost possesses a wizard and must be hunted down and returned to its resting place. All this without actually needing "Ravenloft the Domains" to exist.

(Dark Legacy of Evard would have been far more effective if played over three nights rather than 1 encounter/week, I believe, but the concept was good).

Cheers!
 

Caerin

First Post
In addition to Heroes of Shadow, you've now got some options in the Neverwinter Campaign Setting you can tweak... werewolf and wererat themes. I think you can do some interesting, Ravenloft-like things if you combine all of the stuff that's come out.
 

Yeah, I'm not really seeing where old style RL is really appreciably different from putting it in the Shadowfell now. If there's some sort of canon item somewhere that doesn't fit with what you want, well change it. Not a big deal. As it is it logically hangs together. Some areas in the Shadowfell are domains. They have dark lords. It is a land of twilight, that kind of thing fits in fine. It isn't as if the whole domains thing was all that well explained in the 2e stuff either. Plenty of aspects of domains were just sort of mystery you never really know unless the DM comes up with something to explain it.
 

MrMyth

First Post
Thing is though, from my perspective if I wanted to play Ravenloft, I'd play Ravenloft (in whatever ruleset I liked best) rather than playing PoL Shadowfell with sprinkled bits of Ravenloft. But that's just me.

And, honestly, there's no reason one can't do both. In my Epic game, the party got dumped in a Domain of Dread, and the feeling of helplessness for Epic level PCs who couldn't just walk up and blast the evil boss into oblivion (their usual approach), was excellent.

Switching over to a full-fledged Ravenloft campaign involved a bit more home-brewing, but nothing that was too difficult or unsupported by the system. A low-magic campaign (making use of the Inherent bonuses system). Curses required some development, but the Despair deck helps with that, and we've got cursed items showing up soon. And variations on the disease track are useful as well.

So much of the rest is just flavor that it is almost trivial to just port in the classic domains and background for the setting and just go ahead and run it all with 4E rules.
 

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