• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D General Reading Ravenloft the setting

You can't just dismiss all the other canonical information because you want to stick to one boxed set.

Yes I can, because the line got worse as time went on, and I have been defending the content of the black boxed set, the early models and feast of goblyn. The black box was a masterpiece. I think other entries in the Ravenloft live fell short of that (for example I think the whole thing with the Shadowrift and grandconjuction wasn't a good development). I mean do I have to include all the stuff from when white wolf published ravenloft? That stuff was terrible IMO. To me the black box is interesting because two people basically wrote it, so we are getting something that feels very much crafted and singular in its vision (I think the DoD book is similar and respected for similar reasons, but it just isn't my cup of tea when it comes to Ravenloft). Also one of the two writers on the black box was a woman and I think that is relevant and important here.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Show me how she manipulates and dominates the aristocracy and peasantry. The closest I can find is she kills off any relative (save her sister) who threatens her position.

And guess what? Even if there's some trove of canonical backstory about Jacqueline that I don't know about it that shows her as a three-dimensional woman, there's still all the other female Darklords who are desperate for a man, or who hate all men, or who love hurting women who are prettier than they are.
Ever hear cuban expats eastern european expats or expats from some parts of asia talk about how back home there were certain things you just did not talk about or show interest in supporting because bad things happen to those people & nobody wants one of their coworkers/employees to be one of those people without showing proactive efforts to distance the company at the expense of that guy either.
 

And guess what? Even if there's some trove of canonical backstory about Jacqueline that I don't know about it that shows her as a three-dimensional woman, there's still all the other female Darklords who are desperate for a man, or who hate all men, or who love hurting women who are prettier than they are.

We are arguing in circles here. But like I said, i think this isn't exactly true, I think you are being reductive in your assessment of the female dark lords. But even if it were true, that doesn't make the entries bad. These tropes can still be well written, still have meaning to someone who wrote them (for good reasons, not bad ones) for the reasons I stated earlier. I think again, quality is being conflated with content seeming to match one's beliefs about the world. I don't think that is a good metric for measuring the value of art, music, literature or games. And it is doubly true when we are talking about something written in a different period of time, emulating literature from an even earlier period of time. My argument is the content fo the black box, including the female dark lords, worked. I see people dismissing them as dull. That is fair if you didn't like them. I am a little baffled that people have that reaction to characters like Jacqueline Renier, and Gabrielle Adere, but to each their own. I personally found these to be stark, compelling, interesting, and repugnant characters, which is all I want from a good villain. Plus they were really great to use in a game. They worked better than many other dark lords. Gabriele Adere was especially effective in that respect.
 

Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
Yes I can, because the line got worse as time went on, and I have been defending the content of the black boxed set, the early models and feast of goblyn. The black box was a masterpiece. I think other entries in the Ravenloft live fell short of that (for example I think the whole thing with the Shadowrift and grandconjuction wasn't a good development). I mean do I have to include all the stuff from when white wolf published ravenloft? That stuff was terrible IMO. To me the black box is interesting because two people basically wrote it, so we are getting something that feels very much crafted and singular in its vision (I think the DoD book is similar and respected for similar reasons, but it just isn't my cup of tea when it comes to Ravenloft). Also one of the two writers on the black box was a woman and I think that is relevant and important here.
I don't know man. Having a woman writer does really amount to much. She has bosses, and the editor has bosses, and those bosses have bosses, and could easily influence what ends up in the product. That and being the squeaky wheel when you are one of the only women among an industry of men has to be intimidating. So I don't think just the fact that she is a she means there MUST not be any sexism in there.

Plus just repeating it is starts to sound like a my friend is ________ so it's cool. Not saying you intend it, but that is something that could be read from it.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I don't think that is why it is there though. I really don't. The type of character who leaps to mind when you read about someone who is in love but rejected because they are too monstrous, especially at that time, would be male. Not to sound like a broken record, but phantom of the opera or beauty and the beast.
With very few exceptions, the type of character that leaps to my mind is almost invariably female.

(Take a look at fairy tales. Snow white is good and beautiful. The stepmother is not as beautiful, so out of jealousy, she becomes evil, murderous, and ugly when she disguises herself. Cinderella is good and beautiful. The stepmother and stepsisters start out as evil bullies.)

If "at the time" they would be male, that was because of the prevailing sexism of the times where men were usually the main characters in the story and the woman was there to be the love interest.

There are plenty of examples of male characters who suffer that kind of affliction. As another poster pointed out, her curse mirrors the curse of Dominic D'Honaire, who is cursed to become ugly and unappealing to any woman who becomes attracted to.
But he's got a lot more going for him. It is repeatedly shown how he manipulates others, and his political machinations have been written about in far greater detail than Jacqueline's. Hell, he even has his Obedient, while she doesn't have full control over all the wererats.

And, in the Gazetteers, he has found a woman who is willing to pretend to like him. That didn't stop him from being awful to people in general, unlike Gabrielle, who is written as being much less evil now that she has Matton.

It is also worth noting both had paternal figures named Claude. Both have vaguely French domains. The mirroring is probably intentional.
More likely they were written either by people who liked the name Claude because it's very French (and they either didn't notice or decided it was OK for them to have two dead NPCs with the same name) without sounding sexy or pretentious, or they wanted to have a nod to actor Claude Rains but already had two werewolf domains (Verbrek and Arkandale) and couldn't think of a good Invisible Man domain. After all, they only had a tiny handful of non-Darklord NPCs in the original box.
 

I don't know man. Having a woman writer does really amount to much. She has bosses, and the editor has bosses, and those bosses have bosses, and could easily influence what ends up in the product. That and being the squeaky wheel when you are one of the only women among an industry of men has to be intimidating. So I don't think just the fact that she is a she means there MUST not be any sexism in there.

Plus just repeating it is starts to sound like a my friend is ________ so it's cool. Not saying you intend it, but that is something that could be read from it.

My concern is a lot of people gloss over and forget how many women were involved in this line. Obviously there are always bosses. I don't think you can totally dismiss that a woman was the co-writer of the boxed set when reading the female entries. It is an important detail to factor in.
 

More likely they were written either by people who liked the name Claude because it's very French (and they either didn't notice or decided it was OK for them to have two dead NPCs with the same name) without sounding sexy or pretentious, or they wanted to have a nod to actor Claude Rains but already had two werewolf domains (Verbrek and Arkandale) and couldn't think of a good Invisible Man domain. After all, they only had a tiny handful of non-Darklord NPCs in the original box.

This seems a very uncharitable conclusion to reach based on a name being shared in two entries. I think it probably is a Claude Rains reference (he did also play the phantom of the opera after all) AND it was a sign these characters were mirrored. There is a lot there that suggests they are complimentary entries (right down to the curse).
 

And, in the Gazetteers, he has found a woman who is willing to pretend to like him. That didn't stop him from being awful to people in general, unlike Gabrielle, who is written as being much less evil now that she has Matton.

If I haven't been clear enough on this, I think the Gazetteers and pretty much everything from White Wolf era Ravenloft is terrible. It definitely felt very disconnected from the atmospheric promise of the black box to me. I am not defending the Gazetteer entries at all
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
My concern is a lot of people gloss over and forget how many women were involved in this line. Obviously there are always bosses. I don't think you can totally dismiss that a woman was the co-writer of the boxed set when reading the female entries. It is an important detail to factor in.
So "a woman was involved, so it can't be sexist"? Seriously?
 

If "at the time" they would be male, that was because of the prevailing sexism of the times where men were usually the main characters in the story and the woman was there to be the love interest.

This was also a time when were seeing lots of stories, especially in horror, featuring female protagonists. I am not saying it was perfect, I would have assess my bookshelf with books and movies from that era to say, but these things don't always move in a straight line (out of genre for example, a lot of classic wuxia movies prior to the kung fu craze feature female protagonists----there are a lot of reasons for this----but then starting in the early 80s, the genre become more and more male dominated. I feel like something the 90s were a little better than the 00s in gaming in that respect (going by memory of course so I could be wrong: but I do think sometimes we simplify time periods to fit a narrative)
 

Remove ads

Top