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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!

dementlieu.jpg

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

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.

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.

I really doubt when the module was made the Hickmans had working knowledge of slavic names. Possible I am wrong, but I think it is just fantasy Romanian. Most likely they just took the sounds and tried to make something that sounded vaguely eastern European. Most of the names throughout Ravenloft felt like this to me.

Also, the bloodlines section in the black box may have some answers on this stuff
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I really doubt when the module was made the Hickmans had working knowledge of slavic names. Possible I am wrong, but I think it is just fantasy Romanian. Most likely they just took the sounds and tried to make something that sounded vaguely eastern European. Most of the names throughout Ravenloft felt like this to me.
Oh, I’m sure they didn’t, and that’s fine. Like I said, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with names in a fantasy setting not following real-world naming conventions. This whole tangent started when I expressed pleasant surprise at Ankhetpot’s name apparently being based on actual hieroglyphics, when I would have assumed, based on the way a lot of the characters in Barovia are named, it would have likewise been vaguely-ancint-Egyptian sounding nonsense. Then @Coroc tried to “um, actually” me about Strahd’s name being vaguely-Eastern-European sounding nonsense, so I demonstrated why it is.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Oh, I’m sure they didn’t, and that’s fine. Like I said, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with names in a fantasy setting not following real-world naming conventions. This whole tangent started when I expressed pleasant surprise at Ankhetpot’s name apparently being based on actual hieroglyphics, when I would have assumed, based on the way a lot of the characters in Barovia are named, it would have likewise been vaguely-ancint-Egyptian sounding nonsense. Then @Coroc tried to “um, actually” me about Strahd’s name being vaguely-Eastern-European sounding nonsense, so I demonstrated why it is.
To be fair, everything in Bari is proper was written by the Hickman's fresh out of college in the early 80's, whereas to he rest of the Setting is from a more mature TSR in the 90's. It evolved somewhat...
 

Reynard

Legend
I'm not saying this to mock anyone. We all have the things we nerd out about. But it always amazes me when people get really worked up about linguistic stuff re fantasy and D&D in particular.

Tolkien was an outlier. He was an actual linguist. Everyone else, before and after, just made crap up. That's the standard.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'm not saying this to mock anyone. We all have the things we nerd out about. But it always amazes me when people get really worked up about linguistic stuff re fantasy and D&D in particular.

Tolkien was an outlier. He was an actual linguist. Everyone else, before and after, just made crap up. That's the standard.
Sure, and I'm not overly sensitive, but "von Zarovich" really is too much.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I'm not saying this to mock anyone. We all have the things we nerd out about. But it always amazes me when people get really worked up about linguistic stuff re fantasy and D&D in particular.

Tolkien was an outlier. He was an actual linguist. Everyone else, before and after, just made crap up. That's the standard.
I don’t think anyone is getting worked up about it. Literally, I don’t think it’s a problem at all that lots of Barovian names don’t make real-world linguistic sense. I just thought it was nice that Ankhetpot (apparently) does make linguistic sense, and then @Coroc challenged my assertion that Strahd Von Zarovich doesn’t make sense.

I’m not bothered by it not making sense. But if someone tries to correct me incorrectly, I’m going to respond.
 

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?
While they're not quite direct photocopies of mythological or historical figures, there are other names that do their best to telegraph what's happening. Tristessa, the banshee darklord of Keening, has a name that translates roughly to 'woman of tears'. 'Malocchio' is kinda-Italian for 'evil eye'. And according to Google Translate, Malus Sceleris is Latin for 'bad crime' which is ... not exactly specific, but maybe something is lost in the robot translation.

It's not quite as blatant as Games Workshop's enthusiastic use of unsubtle quasi-Latin as character names (the founder of the Iron Hands space marine legion being called 'Ferrus Manus' is a personal fave), but it's close...
 

TheSword

Legend
While they're not quite direct photocopies of mythological or historical figures, there are other names that do their best to telegraph what's happening. Tristessa, the banshee darklord of Keening, has a name that translates roughly to 'woman of tears'. 'Malocchio' is kinda-Italian for 'evil eye'. And according to Google Translate, Malus Sceleris is Latin for 'bad crime' which is ... not exactly specific, but maybe something is lost in the robot translation.

It's not quite as blatant as Games Workshop's enthusiastic use of unsubtle quasi-Latin as character names (the founder of the Iron Hands space marine legion being called 'Ferrus Manus' is a personal fave), but it's close...
The Poisonous Borca brother and sister are clearly based on the children of Pope Alexander - Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia... famous for their use of Cantarella...

...which always makes me laugh because it reminds me of Canderel. Why someone would make a sweetener brand that sounds like a deadly poison is beyond me!
 

The Poisonous Borca brother and sister are clearly based on the children of Pope Alexander - Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia... famous for their use of Cantarella...

...which always makes me laugh because it reminds me of Canderel. Why someone would make a sweetener brand that sounds like a deadly poison is beyond me!
I think Ivan was also modeled after John Hurt's Caligula from I, Claudius (he physically resembles him and a lot of his personality seems similar: that is how I always kind of ran him).
 


Coroc

Hero
I don’t think anyone is getting worked up about it. Literally, I don’t think it’s a problem at all that lots of Barovian names don’t make real-world linguistic sense. I just thought it was nice that Ankhetpot (apparently) does make linguistic sense, and then @Coroc challenged my assertion that Strahd Von Zarovich doesn’t make sense.

I’m not bothered by it not making sense. But if someone tries to correct me incorrectly, I’m going to respond.
it is ok, you clarified it quite good in your last reply, my assumption was partially incorrect. I thought that Slavic names follow the same pattern like Nordic ones, but obviously they don't. My guess is that someone thought it sounds eastern Europe like, and it does sound like it. In the end it is easy to remember for PCs, which is a rare thing in some published adventures.
 

Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
Tolkien was an outlier. He was an actual linguist. Everyone else, before and after, just made crap up. That's the standard.
Hilariously, one of the other pioneers of gaming, M.A.R. Barker, was a professor of the Urdu language and South Asian Studies.

Also, all language is "made up." That's where it came from! :)

None of this stuff holds a candle to the hilarious nonsense they invented for the Warhammer Fantasy universe. One of the characters you meet early on in a WFRP adventure is Gustav Fondelburger. A potent necromancer from Araby is named Salladh-bar. A prominent lizardman is named Tiktaq'to.
 




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