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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

Rabulias

Adventurer
It's being produced by Frog God Games/Necromancer Games (who did the 3.0 version), with new updated maps. Should be coming to KS pretty soon.
Thanks! I will have to keep an eye out for that. Some of the 3.0 version was a mess, but there were a lot of ideas and monsters in it that I found useful.
 

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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!"
The Lore You Should Know on Dementiliu kind of gives it a social media hellscape vibe in that every denizen is just faking until the make it, even going so far as to invent other cities in the Domain that do not exist and never have.
 

Retreater

Legend
Thanks! I will have to keep an eye out for that. Some of the 3.0 version was a mess, but there were a lot of ideas and monsters in it that I found useful.
It was definitely inspirational to me. My first published adventure was originally intended to be a prelude to Necropolis. Maybe one day it will be converted to 5e. But if you would like to see it, it's on Drivethru in its 3.5 version. The Coils of Set - Necromancer | Necromancer | DriveThruRPG.com

And if you're curious about following the progress on Necropolis' update, Alyssa Faden has a whole series of cartography streams on YouTube.
 

Reynard

Legend
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.
My guess is that very few groups of modern D&D players care or even know how it was depicted over 20 years ago.
 


Hussar

Legend
My guess is that very few groups of modern D&D players care or even know how it was depicted over 20 years ago.
And, when you think about it, for a lot of people, Boris Karloff isn't exactly a known thing. Even the Brendan Frasier Mummy movies are what, twenty years old now? More? I think for a lot of people, their only connection to The Mummy would be that rather bad Tom Cruise movie and even that was five years ago and pretty quickly forgotten.

Sure, I get that some people might have these things in mind with the setting, but, really, a new take on the setting, one that isn't "Great White Savior comes and Saves the World from the Nasty Foreigner" is probably a better way to go.
 

And, when you think about it, for a lot of people, Boris Karloff isn't exactly a known thing. Even the Brendan Frasier Mummy movies are what, twenty years old now? More? I think for a lot of people, their only connection to The Mummy would be that rather bad Tom Cruise movie and even that was five years ago and pretty quickly forgotten.

Sure, I get that some people might have these things in mind with the setting, but, really, a new take on the setting, one that isn't "Great White Savior comes and Saves the World from the Nasty Foreigner" is probably a better way to go.

In my personal mental image, the 'great white savior' PCs etc who come along to delve in Har'Akir's tombs are actually a manifestation of Ankhtepot's curse.

He wanted to be immortal and rule an everlasting empire as eternal god-king. The Dark Powers cursed him to everlasting undeath, everything he touches dying, doomed to watch as his nation is buried by the sand and forgotten, and greedy foreigners raid its glories for drawing room curiosities.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
It's being produced by Frog God Games/Necromancer Games (who did the 3.0 version), with new updated maps. Should be coming to KS pretty soon.
Nice.
I ran my a group through the original, in Mythus/Dangerous Journeys a long time ago. Maybe I'll take a look at the 5E version.
 

Remathilis

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's basically D&D's only real shot at long term survival. Many of D&D's tropes have been borrowed for decades by other RPGs, both TT and video game. Further, Pathfinder shows how easy it is (thanks to the SRD) to replicate D&D without using "D&D". At this point, D&D has two things going for it; whatever unique elements (IP) that they can leverage, and their name. It makes sense to make uniquely D&D spin on things that they can leverage as IP whenever possible. Anyone can make a vaguely Dracula-inspired vampire (or heck, use Dracula, he's no longer under copyright) but there is only one Strahd Von Zarovich and nobody-but-WotC can use him.
 

Retreater

Legend
Do you have a link to this announcement? I'd love to read more about it.
Unfortunately I can't find anything at the moment I can easily link. Mostly it's been dropped in live streams. But there's official talk about it if you follow Frog God's Discord. But I can say if they're paying a talented cartographer to map it, I think they're definitely intending to put it out.
 

Retreater

Legend
My guess is that very few groups of modern D&D players care or even know how it was depicted over 20 years ago.
So you're telling me that the 1932 movie with Boris Karloff isn't in recent memory for modern audiences? ;)
It wasn't exactly a new release at the moving pictures when I played the Ravenloft module "Touch of Death" in the early 1990s.
Iconic characters like Dracula might be problematic, but let's not pretend they're not timeless.
 


The mummy looks cool, but speaks more to me about Numenera than D&D. Not a dealbreaker for me ,though.
Yeah, to me the look isn't quite what I am after. Numenera or Eberon vibes. A lot of the art looks like gamers as the heroes too (lots of modern hair cuts for example, and people who look more like folks I'd expect around a gaming table than fighting zombies-----lots of game art does this, but it has always been a bit of a turn off for me).
 

Anyone can make a vaguely Dracula-inspired vampire (or heck, use Dracula, he's no longer under copyright) but there is only one Strahd Von Zarovich and nobody-but-WotC can use him.

But that is what Strahd is: he is the 'not dracula' guy. The whole reason he resonated was people instantly recognized the dracula look was being invoked (even though it was nearly 60 years or so after the look had been established in movies)
 

And, when you think about it, for a lot of people, Boris Karloff isn't exactly a known thing. Even the Brendan Frasier Mummy movies are what, twenty years old now? More? I think for a lot of people, their only connection to The Mummy would be that rather bad Tom Cruise movie and even that was five years ago and pretty quickly forgotten.

When Ravenloft came out the Mummy was nearly 60 years old, but most of us recognized the imagery because it was part of pop culture. I'd be surprised if it still isn't. But lots of genre settings don't bend the material because the audience lacks knowledge, they instead focus on introducing and acquainting the audience with the genre.
 

Retreater

Legend
When Ravenloft came out the Mummy was nearly 60 years old, but most of us recognized the imagery because it was part of pop culture. I'd be surprised if it still isn't. But lots of genre settings don't bend the material because the audience lacks knowledge, they instead focus on introducing and acquainting the audience with the genre.
My wife and her friends (all of them millennials brought in to 5e via Critical Role) all fondly remember the Brendan Fraser Mummy films. It's like a cultural touchstone, guilty pleasure.
Moreover, they recognize the classic 1930s Hollywood depiction too.
Anyone saying modern D&D audiences don't recognize those tropes is wrong.
I'm not saying Wizards shouldn't try to do something different, put their own spin on it, or try to be more culturally sensitive. But the trope is still there, recognized, and familiar to their target audience.
 


dave2008

Legend
Settings have never been my thing in general, so I hope their target audience loves it. I'll stick with what I'm doing.
I always run games in my own setting(s), but I have found the 5e setting books to be some of favorite purchases with lots of stuff I can use in my games. I really don't care for horror D&D much, but these previews are start to make we want purchase to mine the gold and platinum within its pages.
 



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