D&D General Ravenloft: Monsters vs Darklords


A suffusion of yellow
Sounds like "Felkovic's Cat" from Dungeon #50. It was originally an RPGA adventure, and was basically a mini-gazetteer of the domain, and had full maps of the Castle Pantara (i.e. the darklord's lair). It was one of the best Ravenloft adventures in Dungeon, to my mind.
There was the vampire doctor adventure set in Valachan too, the towun got snowed in so noone could leave

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Your opinion of the fidelity. You should only speak about the setting through your own personal experience, to keep consistency with your requests. So even if it breaks fidelity for your view of Ravenloft, it doesn't for mine!
Its a pretty big move that had no precedent in the setting prior to CoS. How does that not break fidelity.

But fair enough. It is my opinion that the soulless angle breaks fidelity with the setting. It is also my opinion that it is wrong and off-putting, and contributes to my strong negative feelings about 5e's interpretation of Ravenloft.

Spirits of no-sentient creatures are possible, for example ghost hounds
Indeed. If you look at real world legends and folk tales, there are plenty of stories about ghostly dogs and horses, at least in Britain. And these are originating from the same period that the Christian church was teaching that animals don't have souls.

So maybe you don't need a soul to become a ghost?

D&D has its own soul lore, no need to play with real world stuff.

Resurrection spell results also mandate the consent of the soul.

Night Hags trap souls. Barghests consume souls. Devourers ...devour souls.
But D&D does not have rules anywhere to determine who does and does not have a soul (apart from in a box in CoS).

A lot of people though feel that a fantasy Invasion of the Body Snatchers does not quite fit the traditional gothic horror Ravenloft vibe and I never saw one in a Ravenloft product outside of the monster compendiums.
VGR has the bodytaker plant and podlings, which is basically the same idea. I'm actually using it at the moment (with a tweak, I added Spellcasting (psionic) to it's stat block so the players can't so easily kill it from long range).

Whether or not it's Gothic horror or political allegory depends on how the DM uses it. The party are searching a swamp for an archaeological expedition that went missing several years ago. Eventually they find them, apparently safe and well and still working on a dig site....
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But you don’t need to be versed in the catechism of attended Sunday school through childhood to grasp that Strahd’s soul is corrupted.
If you learned about souls from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer you would "know" that vampires do not have souls, and therefore he could not have a corrupted one.
I don’t personal care what he understands it to mean.
Your Deathing the Author here. You might not like or care for what an author wrote, but to understand why they wrote it and what they meant by it you need to understand their world view.
I am not wedded to a particular notion of what the soul is personally.
But maybe the author is?


Why? What's the value in anyone in the world not having a soul? What benefit, either in setting or play, is gained?
They don't question their lot in life. They aren't curious enough to investigate the nightmare logic Ravenloft adheres to, or take arms against the creatures of the night. A sufficiently motivated person (ie with a soul) might whip them up into a mob, but they aren't going to do it themselves.

Now all that being said, I don't necessarily subscribe to the 90% number in CoS. VRGR gives a fuzzy "most" without specific numbers. That said, if you opt for everyone has a soul, Ravenloft is the worst hell in the multiverse.
  • The mists take people, sometimes whole countries worth of people into domains.
  • Scant few ever leave again.
  • New souls would be made every time someone is born in Ravenloft, and
  • Souls cannot leave upon death.

With a rate of creation/capture that exceeds release, Ravenloft is like a black hole for souls, and its Mists would eventually be filled with them. A wound in reality that would eventually hoover up a large portion of the multiverses souls with little the gods could do about it.

THAT is existential dread!

Makes "most people don't have souls, and the ones who do tend to reincarnate eventually" take almost seem benevolent.

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