D&D 5E Ravenloft Previews of Dementlieu, Lamordia, and Har'Akir

WotC has been sprinkling previews of individual Ravenloft domains to various websites -- including Dementlieu, Lamordia, and Har'Akir. Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft is only a couple of weeks away, coming out on May 18th!

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Dementlieu
  • Forbes takes a look Dementlieu, which has inspirations like Cinderella, The Masque of the Red Death, and Dark City. "Dementlieu is one of over 30 domains of dread detailed in the book. It’s a sharp contrast to Barovia’s dark forest and looming Gothic castle on a hill. Instead it’s covered in a glamorous sheen of fine clothes and fancy parties. Everyone is dying to be invited to the Grand Masquerade held by Duchess Saidra d’Honaire every week on her private island. And, in many cases, killed if they are discovered at the ball if they’re not supposed to be there."
  • Syfy Wire looks at Lamordia, inspired by Frankenstein. "Many of the Domains of Dread are inspired by some horror tale or piece of creepy folklore, and Lamordia definitely has its roots in Frankenstein. But while the Domain is inspired by that classic horror story, its elements are then shot through the lens of D&D adventures and explored to dozens of horrific extremes. Mordenheim's land isn't just about resurrection gone awry, it's also the Domain for all different types of science gone wrong, bizarre experiments, body horror weirdness, and grim tales of society versus a frigid land. Just as there's more to Frankenstein than a scientist who abandoned his child, there's more to Lamordia than stitches and semi-dead flesh."
  • Polygon has Har'Akir, an Egyptian-themed domain. "Why is there a Domain that is a desert that is riddled with these ancient, inexplicable haunted monuments and ruined pyramids? How does a Domain like that exist? How does it make sense? To an extent it doesn’t, and it’s going to be the players that come and explore that, who are some of the only people that realize that the entirety of the domain is, to an extent, gaslighting them."
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Ankhetop, darklord of Har'Akir

 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Faolyn

(she/her)
As much as I enjoy Groundhog Day loops, I'm not sure I like it as the basis of a domain. I've seen that done in one or two fan domains, and it always left me very ambivalent.

That said, I do like how, as Remathalis put it, it captures the hopelessness of war. But I have to wonder if it's a proper time loop or if it's just an undefeatable army of zombies that rises every month.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I just don't have the rose-tinted nostalgia glasses for Ravenloft the way some people do. I was a teenager when Ravenloft (the setting) first came out. Some of my friends were all in on the setting, but my thoughts on it at the time were that it was hokey and quaint. It was very Bela Lugosi and, well, to quote Bauhaus, "Bela Lugosi's Dead".
And also, “Undead, undead, undead,” Which is not a terrible thing for a vampire to be 😉
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Sort of off topic, but has anyone played A Plague Tale? I was running through it when the Ravenloft book got announced and thought it would make a perfect domain. Having deadly swarms dominate any area of darkness also helps make darkness scary, even for characters with darkvision.
How to mess with the obnoxious Darkness + Devil's sight warlock? Make the zombies obsessively disengage and try to gather in the small bloat of darkness created by the spell!

Very much like the Netflix show Kingdom where the infected zombies fear the heat and must hide in the shade when the sun is high, making walking in a tight space under a house or between two mountains a terrible experience indeed!
 


Umm... Pretty sure he’s named after the biblical Adam, just like the creature in every other adaptation of Frankenstein. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where the Adams Family got it’s name from.
Pretty sure it is a reference to the "I ought to be thy Adam" line that they quoted in the Realm of Terror set (which is definitely a reference to biblical Adam and to Paradise Lost---the latter which the monster had read)
 

As much as I enjoy Groundhog Day loops, I'm not sure I like it as the basis of a domain. I've seen that done in one or two fan domains, and it always left me very ambivalent.

The one domain/adventure where I enjoyed this sort of set up (not sure how Groundhog day it is as people aren't actually repeating days, it is more like a night that never seems to end) was the Dark Minstrel. I ran that adventure more than any other I think and it was quite fun
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Pretty sure it is a reference to the "I ought to be thy Adam" line that they quoted in the Realm of Terror set (which is definitely a reference to biblical Adam and to Paradise Lost---the latter which the monster had read)
"I ought to be thy Adam" is what the Monster says to Dr Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's book, using the name in Lamordia is a direct Frankenstein reference. The namelessness of Mary Shelley's Monster is part of the tragedy of the story and is what leads it to crying out to its creator drawing parallel to the Biblical creation,
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
In a vain, final attempt to drag this thread kicking and screaming back on topic:

IGN has a preview of Falkovnia, which "has been reimagined as a nightmarish Groundhog's Day-style loop, where a struggling nation—which happens to be ruled by a brutal warlord—is endlessly besieged by massive hordes of the walking dead, who just so happen to look like everyone this warlord has ever killed."

Discuss.
As much as I dont like Zombie apocalypse stories this approach actually doesnt sound at all bad and kind of reminds me of the Halloween adventure that featured Scarecrows attacking a town (anyone remember that?). It also fits with Falkovnia’s existing lore and makes a suitable curse for the Darklord. Indeed as much as I may not like some of the changes nor the style of play, it is sounding like the designers have gone to lengths to make the Domains actually playable adventure sites with more than one cliche hook -thats a good thing (oh and the Zombie clot is cool).
I also like the notion that the book also gives ideas for other forms of ‘Disaster Horror scenario’, I can already envisage using insect swarms (including formians) in a similar non-Ravenloft manner, I wonder if Kaiju could work too.
 
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Remathilis

Legend
"I ought to be thy Adam" is what the Monster says to Dr Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's book, using the name in Lamordia is a direct Frankenstein reference. The namelessness of Mary Shelley's Monster is part of the tragedy of the story and is what leads it to crying out to its creator drawing parallel to the Biblical creation,
Yup, one of Ravenloft many "on the nose" moments in naming.
 


Kaijus, do you mean anything like the men-eater giants from the manganime "Attacks on the Titans"? Yes, and I suggest a name from the classic mythologic: laestrygonians.


Dusk Giant from "Heroes of Horror".

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Falkovnia hasno't to be only a pre-apocalypse zombi but also a dystopian tyranny. The things are worse when the own tyrants create new troubles to sell their fake solutions. If you give too much power to somebody to solve a problem, then this will not want to do it definitively to not reject this power. Game of Thrones as a good example of how kings and noble houses are too busy with their inner conflicts when a zombie apocalypse, the white walkers, are comingsoon.

* In the movie "the bride" (with Sting as the doctor) the creature was named "Viktor", and in another source the Frankestein's creature was suggested to be named Deukalion, as Prometheus' son.
 




Remathilis

Legend
keening
[ˈkiːnɪŋ]

NOUN
  1. the action of wailing in grief for a dead person.
I was willing to give that one a pass because it's an abandoned land and people nearby shun it because they hear the sobs echoing off the mountains. The real name of the land is lost, so when others refer to it, they call it by the most obvious phenomenon to let you know you've strayed too far...


But yeah, still a little on the nose.
 

Reynard

Legend
I mean, no system is perfect, but Ravenloft had a few very obvious "Alucard is not Dracula" names when hiding their inspiration. I mean, they named the Vlad Dracul rip-off Vlad Drakov, for Pete's sake!
Wait, are we pretending that pastiche isn't the WHOLE POINT of Ravenloft (and, really, most of D&D in general)?
 

Remathilis

Legend
Wait, are we pretending that pastiche isn't the WHOLE POINT of Ravenloft (and, really, most of D&D in general)?
I mean, there is "the only domain lord with a good side and is a champion of the people is named 'High Regard'" and there is "we named our Frankenstein monster after the allusion name the actual monster in the book used"

Then again, considering who is buried in Castle Ravenloft's crypts, it makes some sense.
 

I mean, no system is perfect, but Ravenloft had a few very obvious "Alucard is not Dracula" names when hiding their inspiration. I mean, they named the Vlad Dracul rip-off Vlad Drakov, for Pete's sake!

Again, it is taste, but I liked the on-the-nose stuff. One, there was no confusion about who was who (though I will say I think a lot of people didn't pick up on Adam until the internet. Two, dark puns are fun. It adds something to the flavor for me.
 

"I ought to be thy Adam" is what the Monster says to Dr Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's book, using the name in Lamordia is a direct Frankenstein reference. The namelessness of Mary Shelley's Monster is part of the tragedy of the story and is what leads it to crying out to its creator drawing parallel to the Biblical creation,

Yes. But and it also draws a parallel to being outcast by his creator. For me that quote, which I wasn't familiar with until I read the black box, intrigued me a lot because my image of the monster was more around Lee and Karloff (and the derivatives in pop culture at the time). So I think putting that quote in the set was a great idea (both because it helps make clear what Adam's name refers to in the who's doomed section but also because it gave a lot of people who might not have bothered to read Frankenstein motivation to read it (I knew at least two people in my group who read the book because of Ravenloft).
 

Which would you prefer, that, or a random set of consonants with a few Ys in between, Forgotten Realms style?

I think sometimes we get really hung up on fantasy names. In Ravenloft, I quite like the overall sound and the heavy use of terms like Keening, Mordent, and Invidia (as well as the "not-insert European language" names). It gives you a good indication of the tone of the domain. Also it actually was helpful in building vocabulary. Keening wasn't a term I knew about until Ravenloft and words like that were words I wouldn't ever forget the meaning of because Ravenloft baked them into my head. When I make my own settings I like to use a variety of methods. Often I get too deep into language and building a naming system that feels historically grounded to me (my background is in history so I tend to approach world creation from that perspective). Sometimes though the simplest approaches are the best. It can be very difficult for players and GMs to retain names of places with diacritic marks and uses of consonants like Q that don't match how they are used in standard English (though I find those kinds of naming conventions fun); whereas it is pretty easy to remember familiar sounding names or names that have literal meaning in English (i.e. Blue River Village).
 

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