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

Remathilis

Legend
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 knew about Adam since Junior year when we read Frankenstein in school. Once I got to that, I realized where Adam came from and kinda rolled my eyes.

And my point is that for a mystery setting, some of those names reek of "Sir Fangsalot? Get the garlic and holy water" issues. You need a group who can lean into "Alucard is not Dracula" style play to make it work.
 

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I knew about Adam since Junior year when we read Frankenstein in school. Once I got to that, I realized where Adam came from and kinda rolled my eyes.

And my point is that for a mystery setting, some of those names reek of "Sir Fangsalot? Get the garlic and holy water" issues. You need a group who can lean into "Alucard is not Dracula" style play to make it work.

I got into Ravenloft my freshman year of Highschool. But I never took a class where they had us read Frankenstein. That said, the quote is right in the black box, so I made the connection. But it was easy enough to miss (and most of the people I knew at the time hadn't yet read Frankenstein even if they had seen the movies).

For me it didn't prompt an eye roll. I kind of liked it and probably chuckled a bit.

The whole Alucard thing though isn't something that most people figured out (I am sure many say they did now, but I remember the first time I encountered Alucard and had no idea what the name referred to). Sir Fangsalot is obviously much more easy to figure out. But with Adam, encountering him, you don't immediately know its Frankenstein's monster because he is named Adam (there are plenty of other reasons to name a character Adam), you know because he is a stitched together monstrosity who was made by a mad scientist. Also these are just some of the major characters, not all characters have those kinds of names. You won't know Harkon Lukas is a wolf-were because of his name for example.

I will say, perhaps in the internet age, names like that may need to be a step ahead and bit more clever. But a lot of people now, and not saying you did this, act like they have things figured out, act like they pieced these things together or knew about them ages ago, when really they just found out about them on the internet because someone else did all the heavy lifting.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I got into Ravenloft my freshman year of Highschool. But I never took a class where they had us read Frankenstein. That said, the quote is right in the black box, so I made the connection. But it was easy enough to miss (and most of the people I knew at the time hadn't yet read Frankenstein even if they had seen the movies).

For me it didn't prompt an eye roll. I kind of liked it and probably chuckled a bit.

The whole Alucard thing though isn't something that most people figured out (I am sure many say they did now, but I remember the first time I encountered Alucard and had no idea what the name referred to). Sir Fangsalot is obviously much more easy to figure out. But with Adam, encountering him, you don't immediately know its Frankenstein's monster because he is named Adam (there are plenty of other reasons to name a character Adam), you know because he is a stitched together monstrosity who was made by a mad scientist. Also these are just some of the major characters, not all characters have those kinds of names. You won't know Harkon Lukas is a wolf-were because of his name for example.

I will say, perhaps in the internet age, names like that may need to be a step ahead and bit more clever. But a lot of people now, and not saying you did this, act like they have things figured out, act like they pieced these things together or knew about them ages ago, when really they just found out about them on the internet because someone else did all the heavy lifting.
You really do enjoy trying to prove people's opinions are objectively wrong, don't you?

Name's stupid. End of conversation.
 


Stormonu

Legend
Out of curiousity, what are the names in Ravenloft that telegraph their origins?

”Count” Strahd - Dracula
Adam - Frankenstein’s Monster
Vlad Drakov - Vlad the Impaler
Anketepot - Imhotep “the mummy”
Midnight Slasher - Jack the Ripper
Rudolph Van Richten - Van Helsing
Tristen Hireguard - “High Regard” / Jeckyl & Hyde?

Others?

Isn’t there a Bluebeard lifted directly from the old folk story?
 

Remathilis

Legend
Out of curiousity, what are the names in Ravenloft that telegraph their origins?

”Count” Strahd - Dracula
Adam - Frankenstein’s Monster
Vlad Drakov - Vlad the Impaler
Anketepot - Imhotep “the mummy”
Midnight Slasher - Jack the Ripper
Rudolph Van Richten - Van Helsing
Tristen Hireguard - “High Regard” / Jeckyl & Hyde?

Others?

Isn’t there a Bluebeard lifted directly from the old folk story?
Yup.
 





Coroc

Hero
The -ovich suffix denotes a patronymic though, not a family name. And if it was a patronymic, it would suggest that his father’s name was Zar, not that his father was a tsar. At any rate, it certainly wouldn’t be preceded by Von, which is Germanic, not Slavic, and also means “son of/daughter of”. And Strahd sounds like a slavicization of Stroud, which is English.
Well since his father was King he was kind of a Zar, compare 2e roots of evil; if someones last name is Anderson that does not imply that his fathers fistname is ,Anders, but it makes it highly likely one of his ancestors had that first name.

No native english speaker and haven't found a translation of Stroud (looked it up on Leo and Google translate), is it an uncommon english name? Does it have a meaning?
 

Coroc

Hero
Out of curiousity, what are the names in Ravenloft that telegraph their origins?

”Count” Strahd - Dracula
Adam - Frankenstein’s Monster
Vlad Drakov - Vlad the Impaler
Anketepot - Imhotep “the mummy”
Midnight Slasher - Jack the Ripper
Rudolph Van Richten - Van Helsing
Tristen Hireguard - “High Regard” / Jeckyl & Hyde?

Others?

Isn’t there a Bluebeard lifted directly from the old folk story?
Well we got a kind of Poison Ivy and i think a hommage to the hounds of baskerville, we got chickenbone and terror in the 1890s got a great Poe adaption in it (Red death is nearly a 1:1 on Poes story partially).
Castles Forlorn box, which i own is a superb idea but nearly impossible to run, because

Spoiler: (it contains multiple timetraveling with all consequences and has the same location in different time periods, its ultra hard to track that room for room)
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Well since his father was King he was kind of a Zar, compare 2e roots of evil; if someones last name is Anderson that does not imply that his fathers fistname is ,Anders, but it makes it highly likely one of his ancestors had that first name.

No native english speaker and haven't found a translation of Stroud (looked it up on Leo and Google translate), is it an uncommon english name? Does it have a meaning?
Strahd is a made-up nonsense name, to my knowledge.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
The -ovich suffix denotes a patronymic though, not a family name. And if it was a patronymic, it would suggest that his father’s name was Zar, not that his father was a tsar. At any rate, it certainly wouldn’t be preceded by Von, which is Germanic, not Slavic, and also means “son of/daughter of”. And Strahd sounds like a slavicization of Stroud, which is English.
It's actually worse than that: "von" isn't a patronym at all, it's a toponym, denoting noble title to a specific location. The von Hapsburgs, for instance, were named after the barony of Habsburg in Swabia that their ancestors ruled. So Strahd von Zarovich is Strahd [noble of the location] the son of Zar...which is gibbering nonsense.

Strahd Zarovich would work for a sort of Slavic name, and Strahd von Barovia or Strahd von Rabenloft would work for a Germanic sounding name...but the mishmash is ludicrous.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
No native english speaker and haven't found a translation of Stroud (looked it up on Leo and Google translate), is it an uncommon english name? Does it have a meaning?
Stroud is a town in Gloucestershire. Apparently the name comes from Strode (a past tense of Stride) and the marshy ground in the valley was referred to as Stroudwater.

There is a La Strode family in Dorset who descend from one of William the Conquerors Knights.

Whether Stradh and Stroud or Strode have any connection I have no idea, Stradh is probably just made up
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Well since his father was King he was kind of a Zar, compare 2e roots of evil; if someones last name is Anderson that does not imply that his fathers fistname is ,Anders, but it makes it highly likely one of his ancestors had that first name.
Right, but Slavic patronymics don’t work that way. They conventionally go after the given name and before the family name, and they do indicate the father’s name. There are some Slavic family names that indicate ancestry, but they generally end with “-ov” rather than “-ovich” or “-ovna.” So, if it was Strahd Barovovich Tzarov, that would make sense. But Strahd Von Zarovich doesn’t.
No native english speaker and haven't found a translation of Stroud (looked it up on Leo and Google translate), is it an uncommon english name? Does it have a meaning?
It’s usually a surname, and comes from the old English word, “strod,” which means marshland. So, broadly it means something like “from the marsh.”

So, yeah, Stahd Von Zarovich seems to have an English surname for his given name, with a Slavic patronymic indicating his father’s name is Zar, preceded by a Germanic surname prefix indicating nobility, and no proper surname.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Stroud is a town in Gloucestershire. Apparently the name comes from Strode (a past tense of Stride) and the marshy ground in the valley was referred to as Stroudwater.

There is a La Strode family in Dorset who descend from one of William the Conquerors Knights.

Whether Stradh and Stroud or Strode have any connection I have no idea, Stradh is probably just made up
I always assumed it was from Lestrade, the policeman in Sherlock Holmes.

 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
It's actually worse than that: "von" isn't a patronym at all, it's a toponym, denoting noble title to a specific location. The von Hapsburgs, for instance, were named after the barony of Habsburg in Swabia that their ancestors ruled. So Strahd von Zarovich is Strahd [noble of the location] the son of Zar...which is gibbering nonsense.

Strahd Zarovich would work for a sort of Slavic name, and Strahd von Barovia or Strahd von Rabenloft would work for a Germanic sounding name...but the mishmash is ludicrous.
Strahd Zarovich wouldn’t really work either because -ovich is, again, generally used in patronymics rather than surnames. Strahd Barovovich Zarov (abbreviated Strahd B. Zarov) would work though.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Whether Stradh and Stroud or Strode have any connection I have no idea, Stradh is probably just made up
Strahd isn’t really a name as far as I know. Or, rather, it has no significant historical use. It’s just a cool-sounding fantasy name. I just thought it sounded like a slavicization of Stroud.
 


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