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D&D General Reading Ravenloft the setting

Almost certainly, if they use it at all. I feel it's a domain that could have been quite interesting if they ever bothered to really expand upon it. And maybe if they toned down slightly on the enforced starvation, which doesn't make sense. Eventually, you'd have a populace that couldn't actually do anything at all, including growing the crops that Zhakata demands. There are plenty of other things that can be sacrificed instead of just food.

There was a module that expanded on it (circle of darkness), but honestly I found the stuff I came up with on my own fit my campaigns better than the module material. I quite like G'henna though as it appeared in the core book. I always read the starvation thing as it was extremely common, and most people were hungry, but actual death was rarer. Humans can definitely live on the edge of starvation. There are places all over the world where food scarcity is a real thing. This is a food scarce location the only difference is, instead of being a pure product of environment it is a product of the twisted religious delusions of Yagno. I always found that a pretty cool concept. I think even more though, i really felt the core started to just look like Europe after they took domains like G'henna away and made them islands. G'henna was at least something a bit different from the surrounding domains. Broke up the flavor nicely I thought
 

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Faolyn

Hero
Honestly, I think the most interesting part of G'Henna is that Yagno can turn people into... well, let's not call them mongrelmen anymore, but inhuman, bestial, vaguely man-shaped things. The false religion thing is OK, but almost every single other faith in Ravenloft could count as false as well, with only the Morninglord and Bane/Lawgiver as being based on "real" gods.

I do like the idea of the "supernatural thinness" rather than forcing everyone to starve, but that could also be due to just poor soil that don't support crops or grazing animals. And perhaps it's combined somehow with Yagno's ability. The unnatural aura of the monsters he creates chases normal animals away, so hunting is also hard. Or he does a Dark Sunian type of thing and he draws power from the earth to create a monster, and each time he does, he depletes the soil a little bit more.

Or maybe there's some sort of fat-sucking vampire unique to the domain.
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
That has a lot of promise as a premise. Some rich noble who grew fat off the underclass cursed to literally subsist on them.
Do an adaption of Matron Corfelia, an alien midwife from Dr Who (10) who came to earth to suck adipose tissue from Human victims in order to breed more of the Adipose species
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Honestly, I think the most interesting part of G'Henna is that Yagno can turn people into... well, let's not call them mongrelmen anymore, but inhuman, bestial, vaguely man-shaped things. The false religion thing is OK, but almost every single other faith in Ravenloft could count as false as well, with only the Morninglord and Bane/Lawgiver as being based on "real" gods.

I do think that is an interesting part (do they have an equivalent monster to that in 5E?). However I also really did like his particular delusion where he effectively created the god. And I like how the power he has to turn people into mongrelmen is connected to his this. In the black box I don't recall it really getting into stuff with deities that much. It does say that the connections to priest and their gods are weaker, but a lot of domains just had vague references to churches and temples without even saying who the gods of them were. A little fuzzy though on this point from the black box (been meaning to re-read it this week, so will keep an eye out for religious entries). The line definitely got a bit odd around religion in my view as it evolved. It moved from Gothic to Gothy a little too much IMO.
 

Faolyn

Hero
I do think that is an interesting part (do they have an equivalent monster to that in 5E?).
They included the mongrelfolk in Curse of Strahd. They're fairly low-key (4 HD, exceedingly average stats except high Con and low Cha, two attacks, all of which do d4 damage) but each one has a special feature, like Spider Climb or Keen Senses or Two-Headed.

However I also really did like his particular delusion where he effectively created the god. And I like how the power he has to turn people into mongrelmen is connected to his this. In the black box I don't recall it really getting into stuff with deities that much.
All the religions came in later products. Ezra "came" to someone who had a seizure and the Morninglord was created by somewhat delusional kid (from the Realms) who mistook Jander Sunstar for Lathander. Bane, Belenus, the Har Akir gods, and the various gods of the Eternal Order all come from other settings (or the real world), but I can't recall if religions centered on Hala, Yutow, Ancestral Choir, or others have actual origins or if they were just invented along with the rest of the false history.

It does say that the connections to priest and their gods are weaker, but a lot of domains just had vague references to churches and temples without even saying who the gods of them were.
Very vague. Remember that Van Richten's Guide to Vampires specifically said that holy symbols didn't need to be "traditional" crosses or stars to work.
 

Voadam

Legend
Realms of Terror has the Wolf God in addition to Zhakata.

Strahd also mentions he conquered Barovia in the name of a just god.

Barovians in general believe the gods abandoned them.

Souraignians believe in a pantheon of nature gods including the Lord of the Dead who watches over the swamp.

Sri Rajians are devout believers in their gods including Kali.

Victor's story involves unnamed gods.

Markov is called The God who Walks Among Us by the beast men he created.
 

Very vague. Remember that Van Richten's Guide to Vampires specifically said that holy symbols didn't need to be "traditional" crosses or stars to work.
I think the religious lore behind monsters is often so strong, it sometimes might not be such a bad idea for a place like Ravenloft to use real world religions (you can have religions from other worlds too, but crosses and vampires are such an iconic thing). I am thinking of doing this myself if I run another 2E Ravenloft campaign this year. Findley was one of the line's best writers IMO, but that first Van Richten book certainly had quirks (The guide to werebeasts is really stellar and the guide to vampires was wonderful despite its flaws: most of which were just due to it being the first Van Richten book). I distinctly remember there not being a good deal of consistency in keeping Van Richten's voice and perspective straight (for example pretty sure there were moments Van Richten started talking about game mechanics....later books made this distinction a much clearer wall).

I actually like the lack of a consistent and rigid canon early in the line (one of the reasons I stopped playing forgotten realms was the canon got too extensive and canon lawyers became a big thing: much more a fan of GMs putting their own elaboration on a setting or the details being more pick and choose). The Book of Crypts has a character announce "Welcome to Ravenloft" even though it became canon that the world wasn't actually called Ravenloft. It seemed like writers were either given a great deal of liberty on that front or there just wasn't much oversight (I suspect part of it was just finding their footing).
 


Voadam

Legend
I never really saw this as a proper god, more just like how Doctor Moreau became a godlike figure to his creations in the story the domain was based on.
Right, and the Lord of the Dead who watches over the swamp sounds like a particular Zombie Lord and not an actual deity either.
 

Right, and the Lord of the Dead who watches over the swamp sounds like a particular Zombie Lord and not an actual deity either.

Lol. Yes true. I always really liked that domain (even the novel set in it was pretty fun). I quite liked Night of the Walking Dead (one of my favorite modules to run)
 

I think the religious lore behind monsters is often so strong, it sometimes might not be such a bad idea for a place like Ravenloft to use real world religions (you can have religions from other worlds too, but crosses and vampires are such an iconic thing). I am thinking of doing this myself if I run another 2E Ravenloft campaign this year. Findley was one of the line's best writers IMO, but that first Van Richten book certainly had quirks (The guide to werebeasts is really stellar and the guide to vampires was wonderful despite its flaws: most of which were just due to it being the first Van Richten book). I distinctly remember there not being a good deal of consistency in keeping Van Richten's voice and perspective straight (for example pretty sure there were moments Van Richten started talking about game mechanics....later books made this distinction a much clearer wall).

I actually like the lack of a consistent and rigid canon early in the line (one of the reasons I stopped playing forgotten realms was the canon got too extensive and canon lawyers became a big thing: much more a fan of GMs putting their own elaboration on a setting or the details being more pick and choose). The Book of Crypts has a character announce "Welcome to Ravenloft" even though it became canon that the world wasn't actually called Ravenloft. It seemed like writers were either given a great deal of liberty on that front or there just wasn't much oversight (I suspect part of it was just finding their footing).
I think that really only happens when you collide with FR style hands on barbrawl in the street type gods & associated religions. In Eberron certainty of the gods existing is deliberately a mystery & the caster's faith is spelled out as the critical component. In darksun I'm not even sure if it has specific gods, but they aren't really believed in & the closest thing to a cleric is people like the elemental "priests" that form a bond with an elemental being from the elemental chaos but there's not really anything akin to organized religions there. I know at least one ravenloft book gives broad strokes on ravenloft religions & there is the unspoken pact to give justification for troubling each of those religious forms in various ways
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FR may not try to play with making vampires something other than dracula & strahd himself might not go too far from the mold, but other settings do :D
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Faolyn

Hero
I think the religious lore behind monsters is often so strong, it sometimes might not be such a bad idea for a place like Ravenloft to use real world religions (you can have religions from other worlds too, but crosses and vampires are such an iconic thing).
I prefer to stay away from real-world religions, personally. More out of my lack of religiousness than anything else, personally.

(for example pretty sure there were moments Van Richten started talking about game mechanics....later books made this distinction a much clearer wall).
Yeah, it was weird to see him talking about levels and Hit Dice and the like.

Werebeasts was definitely good, although my favorite is actually Created, followed by Ghosts and Fiends.
 


Yeah, Vampires was a little bit weak, but they were still finding their way in the first book. Created was really good, i would have liked a little more on non-flesh golems though. The bit of Ghosts that was actually about ghosts was great, but there was a lot of page count taken up with stuff about mediums. Ancient Dead was a bit in the middle. The whole 2e thing about mummies and the positive energy plane took up a bit much space, and I think they could have probably talked about death knights too - that was a bit of an odd omission.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Right, and the Lord of the Dead who watches over the swamp sounds like a particular Zombie Lord and not an actual deity either.
I wonder has anything been done to look at Darklords as Warlock Patrons? and then just how a Warlock Patron differs fundamentally from a Diety?
Within Sourange is the Zombie Lord a god? (little g)
 

I wonder has anything been done to look at Darklords as Warlock Patrons? and then just how a Warlock Patron differs fundamentally from a Diety?

It'd depend from darklord to darklord I guess. There will be the new undead warlock patron which'd work for Azalin and the like, and some existing patrons could be appropriate to some Darklords (perhaps the archfey patron to the new fey-centric Dementlieu lord, and Ebonbane is basically the perfect Hexblade patron). But some Darklords just wouldn't be appropriate as warlock patrons, it's not in their personality or power set. Gregor Zolnik for instance, or Gabrielle Aderre. If it was a universal thing you'd run the risk of duplicating some of the boneheadedly worst stuff from books like Champions of Darkness, where the writers seemed to think that every darklord was some ironfisted tyrant who had a small army of platemailed agents stomping around being evilly evil for the sake of evilness.
 

Yeah, Vampires was a little bit weak, but they were still finding their way in the first book. Created was really good, i would have liked a little more on non-flesh golems though. The bit of Ghosts that was actually about ghosts was great, but there was a lot of page count taken up with stuff about mediums. Ancient Dead was a bit in the middle. The whole 2e thing about mummies and the positive energy plane took up a bit much space, and I think they could have probably talked about death knights too - that was a bit of an odd omission.

I have to say I really liked the ancient dead. It took mummies from being stereotypical things like you saw in old movies, to a much more varied array, while providing a pretty good foundational explanation to tie them all together. Another one I quite liked was the guide to the lich. That was great in terms of endless adventure ideas. I just found myself constantly inspired by it.
 

But Hinduism I allow politeist religions from the real life. In D&D my "monotheism" religion is something like Eru Illuvatar, or a heresy created by false prophets, like Tash from Narnia. Other idea is the cult for the arch-fey as a neo-pagan who want a rebellion against the pantheon, but really they are minions of the titans who lost the wars against the gods in the ancient times. And if there is some divine spellcaster as antagonist this wouldn't be an ersatz of Richeliu or others like him but allegories of historical characters as Robespierre or Jean-Baptiste Carrier (responsible of the horrible drowning at Nantes).
 

Remathilis

Legend
I honestly found Ezra (from DoD) one of the best additions to Ravenloft as a expy Christian church that is very needed in gothic storytelling. The old cathedrals, exorcists, inquisitions, etc. When domains were flyover country that your primary goal was to not outstay your welcome, it didn't matter what god the local church was, but once you get local PCs, it mattered.

On a side note: I like Hala as well (coming from the 3e era) as a kinda expy Wicca/pagan goddess worship option. Those two fill 90% of the "good" religion needs of the setting and still keep enough mystery to not be completely wholesome. For me, it was nice to have a faith or two you could get holy water from.
 

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