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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


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Kurotowa

Legend
That’s too bad. That was one of the main draws.

Let's be real. Those classic horror tropes from the 19th and 20th Century, a lot of them were racist as hell. Tradition is nice and all but it's not a blanket excuse for never changing. It looks like WotC is trying to walk a fine line of providing tools for telling various horror stories while not wallowing in outdated stereotypes, and good on them.
 

Faolyn

Hero
A lot of the current stuff just seems too bizarre for my tastes, or referring to a fantasy that has no relevance to my groups (MtG, anime, or contemporary SF novels requiring you to be well read beyond the standards - aka clockwork Egyptian steampunk.)
He's not really clockwork, though--assuming you're talking about Ankhtepot here. He just has on weird funereal garb. And it's mostly just weird because it's not "proper" Egyptian.
 


Retreater

Legend
He's not really clockwork, though--assuming you're talking about Ankhtepot here. He just has on weird funereal garb. And it's mostly just weird because it's not "proper" Egyptian.
I was referencing the line from Polygon's article "Part of that creative process required bringing in an outside writer named K. Tempest Bradford, whose work in Clockwork Cairo: Steampunk Tales of Egypt served as inspiration for Wizards of the Coast."
To me, that's definitely a shift in tone from the way it has been depicted in D&D (and pop culture as a whole). And I think that will be a challenge for many groups.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Let's be real. Those classic horror tropes from the 19th and 20th Century, a lot of them were racist as hell. Tradition is nice and all but it's not a blanket excuse for never changing. It looks like WotC is trying to walk a fine line of providing tools for telling various horror stories while not wallowing in outdated stereotypes, and good on them.
Ignoring any problematic elements for a moment, some of it was just too derivative. Strahd was Dracula in look and tone. Mordenheim was Frankenstein in all but name. Anhktepot was The Mummy. Drakov was Vlad the Impaler. It was a limiting factor; rather than exploring what those themes looked like in a D&D context, they tried to stamp out the D&Disms like wizards or nonhumans because they weren't in "the source material".

To be honest, I'm liking the idea of taking the themes of the classic monster movies and books and interpreting them in D&D lore rather than using D&D rules to play though the plots of classic penny dreadfuls. It's the most exciting thing about this project to me. I just wish we have full write-ups in even more domains.
 

Stormonu

Legend
He's not really clockwork, though--assuming you're talking about Ankhtepot here. He just has on weird funereal garb. And it's mostly just weird because it's not "proper" Egyptian.
It's "over-the-top-dialed-up-to-11" in a bad way. And of any of the dark lords, he seems like one who would be the "most grounded" and denied flight (or hovering) as part of his curse.

<Edit> Found this picture that is also in the book, so any argument they are trying to get away from egyptian-style attire doesn't make any sense, and really makes the Anktepot picture look worse in my eyes.

1620162115095.png
 
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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
It definitely feels like this book is pushing more positive buttons on the forums than pretty much any other book they have released in a while. That’s got to be a good thing. Hopefully it sells well and WOC is incentivized to release more settings.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
It was a limiting factor; rather than exploring what those themes looked like in a D&D context, they tried to stamp out the D&Disms like wizards or nonhumans because they weren't in "the source material".

Indeed, that too. Look at the earlier preview of the Bagman for a good example. "Slenderman with D&D stats" is boring and the sort of idea anyone can run. "Slenderman who lives in your Bag of Holding and sneaks out at night to commit murders" is unique to D&D and the sort of professional level design I'm happy to pay money for.
 

M.L. Martin

Adventurer
To be honest, I'm liking the idea of taking the themes of the classic monster movies and books and interpreting them in D&D lore rather than using D&D rules to play though the plots of classic penny dreadfuls. It's the most exciting thing about this project to me. I just wish we have full write-ups in even more domains.

This arguably reflects the broader change in D&D's philosophy from TSR--"D&D as a way to do all sorts of fantasy adventure stories"--to WotC--"D&D as its own unique genre and multiverse."
 

jgsugden

Legend
This arguably reflects the broader change in D&D's philosophy from TSR--"D&D as a way to do all sorts of fantasy adventure stories"--to WotC--"D&D as its own unique genre and multiverse."
Stress on the Multi in your multiverse. You have a wide range of worlds available in which to role play these days, from Eberron, to the Forgotten Realms, to Ravenloft(s), to homebrew... They give you a wide selection, and spend most of their support on the FR, but there is stll a huge amount of room to adventure in different settings.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
It's "over-the-top-dialed-up-to-11" in a bad way. And of any of the dark lords, he seems like one who would be the "most grounded" and denied flight (or hovering) as part of his curse.

<Edit> Found this picture that is also in the book, so any argument they are trying to get away from egyptian-style attire doesn't make any sense, and really makes the Anktepot picture look worse in my eyes.

View attachment 136502

I don't think they are really saying the domain isn't Egypt inspired (it definitely is), but they have said they wanted to make it more than just a rehash of the Mummy films, where you play outsiders who show up and raid the tomb, fight the mummy, and leave.

One explanation for how they changed it is by giving more depth so you can play a character who is actually from Har'Akir (much like this human in the pic appears to be). Another was by moving beyond the Mummy films tropes, which looks like their redesign of Ankhetop.
 

Retreater

Legend
This arguably reflects the broader change in D&D's philosophy from TSR--"D&D as a way to do all sorts of fantasy adventure stories"--to WotC--"D&D as its own unique genre and multiverse."
It definitely feels like the direction Games Workshop took when they killed the line of Warhammer Fantasy Battles (based on more traditional fantasy) to make the more gonzo, trademarkable Age of Sigmar: getting rid of wood elves to make dead sea elf zombies riding on the back of war turtles, abandoning the militia with realistic weapons of the Empire to make angels encased in battle armor, etc.
Honestly, I didn't like it when GW did it, and I still don't with this. I want a toolset to run my own fantasy adventures in a world of my own making, not the corporate fantasy of the world's largest RPG by committee.
Settings have never been my thing in general, so I hope their target audience loves it. I'll stick with what I'm doing.
 

Rabulias

Adventurer
Found this picture that is also in the book, so any argument they are trying to get away from egyptian-style attire doesn't make any sense, and really makes the Anktepot picture look worse in my eyes.
Note that the article indicates that the Har'Akir Domain is "to an extent, gaslighting them" (them being the players). Perhaps it appears to be a stereotypical Egyptian horror setting (as in the picture you found), but underneath it is really a steampunk Egypt, masked with illusions, or mind control, or hypnosis, or holograms - it's almost like a Westworld type setting (Pharoahworld?). The domain with the most primitive "tech level" is actually fairly advanced "under the hood."
 

Stormonu

Legend
Note that the article indicates that the Har'Akir Domain is "to an extent, gaslighting them" (them being the players). Perhaps it appears to be a stereotypical Egyptian horror setting (as in the picture you found), but underneath it is really a steampunk Egypt, masked with illusions, or mind control, or hypnosis, or holograms - it's almost like a Westworld type setting (Pharoahworld?). The domain with the most primitive "tech level" is actually fairly advanced "under the hood."
I don't have problem with Ha-Akir. My problem is with the picture. I don't like it; it's a subjective opinion and I simply don't like the looks. It would fit more with something pulled from MTG Amonket, and unlike the Strahd reinvisioning, isn't something that appeals to me.

(If it turns out that what one sees in Har'Akir is a fever-dream/nightmare of Anketetop, and underneath the false mirage most everything is dead & buried, I'd be all for that. I'd still hate the look they're putting forward for Anketetop, about as much as hate the visual depiction of 5E's PHB halflings.)
 

Faolyn

Hero
It's "over-the-top-dialed-up-to-11" in a bad way. And of any of the dark lords, he seems like one who would be the "most grounded" and denied flight (or hovering) as part of his curse.

<Edit> Found this picture that is also in the book, so any argument they are trying to get away from egyptian-style attire doesn't make any sense, and really makes the Anktepot picture look worse in my eyes.
I didn't say Har Akir was getting away from Egyptian attire; I just said his attire wasn't very Egyptian.

Anyway, Ankhtepot was a decently high-leveled priest. He could just be casting a spell that lets him fly, or using a magic item.
 

Stormonu

Legend
It definitely feels like this book is pushing more positive buttons on the forums than pretty much any other book they have released in a while. That’s got to be a good thing. Hopefully it sells well and WOC is incentivized to release more settings.
Well, I've definately gone from "eh, I have all the 2E & 3E stuff, this would just be more sitting on my shelf" to "I want to run an adventure in Dementiliu!"
 

Rabulias

Adventurer
I don't have problem with Ha-Akir. My problem is with the picture. I don't like it; it's a subjective opinion and I simply don't like the looks. It would fit more with something pulled from MTG Amonket, and unlike the Strahd reinvisioning, isn't something that appeals to me.
Can't argue with that. :)
(If it turns out that what one sees in Har'Akir is a fever-dream/nightmare of Anketetop, and underneath the false mirage most everything is dead & buried, I'd be all for that. I'd still hate the look they're putting forward for Anketetop, about as much as hate the visual depiction of 5E's PHB halflings.)
The mirage idea is very apt!
 



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