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D&D General Reading Ravenloft the setting

That's already what Ravenloft does. Barovia and Verbrek are the horror of being hunted and turned into something other. Tepest is the horror of being tempted by the other. Lamordia is the horror of being reduced to nothing more than a lab rat. Kartakass, Darkon, and Dementlieu are the horror of paranoia. Sithicus is the horror of decay and loss. Richmulot is the horror of contamination. Hazlan and Falkovnia are the horror of human cruelty and unfairness.

The fact that TSR decided to put this into a gothic-fantasy setting is irrelevant to the type of horror each domain embodies.

Lamordia is Frankenstein. Barovia is Dracula. Tepest is the hags from Shakespeare mixed with some brothers Grimm. Sithicus is about as gothic romance as you can get (an undead knight pining and tormented by the woman he loves). Richemulot is all about desolate ruins, and its filled with were rats (not were wolves, but very much in line with classic monster stuff). You obviously have other themes going on in these settings that make them work. Anything like that is going to have other themes. These are not discrete types of horror. These are discrete classic horror domains. If Lamordia was the toxic avenger domain, Sithicus the Saw Domain, Barovia the Dracula Domain, Tepest the slasher domain, Dementlieu the body horror domain, Kartakass the dark fantasy domain, then you'd have a patchwork of horror subgenres. But most of the domains you mention, if not all, are based on classic horror tropes and sources (not on new subgenres of horror)
 

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Just to show I am not projecting here:

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That is from the black box.

This is where you start to see a shift towards Fantasy Horror in the DoD book (but even here they adhere to the gothic roots of the setting). Still it is a distinctly different feel from the Black boxed set and the line up to that point (and to be fair lots of people were happy with this change, DoD is popular for a reason: I just always preferred the distinct style of the black box):



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Stormonu

Legend
There were several reasons the original Ravenloft used Gothic, and I think one of the biggest reasons was the TSR Code of Conduct, which would have outright rejected a lot of the slasher & hammer films of the time. Now, without that burden, as well as other changes and development in people's attitude towards horror and suspense, they have a broader palette to work from, and more stories to tell.

I do like the tales of Poe, Stoker, Shelley, Pierce and the others and have no desire to lose many of the iconic existing darklords, but I think some of the pillars they have clung too tightly to for Ravenloft have hobbled the setting. Most especially the humanocentricism of the campaign world - the idea put forth that a darklord can only exist if it has rejected or lost its humanity and therefore "inhuman" races and creatures (that could not disguise themselves as human) could not feature prominently - as is apparent by the 90%+ human populations of all the realms with perhaps the exclusion of Sithicus (and to a lesser extent, Forlorn - but it's not like you could ever play a goblyn). As far as I am concerned, the humanocentricism can be shifted away to Masque and left there, and Ravenloft can better incorporate the demihumans and whatnot of typical D&D.
 

There were several reasons the original Ravenloft used Gothic, and I think one of the biggest reasons was the TSR Code of Conduct, which would have outright rejected a lot of the slasher & hammer films of the time. Now, without that burden, as well as other changes and development in people's attitude towards horror and suspense, they have a broader palette to work from, and more stories to tell.

I do like the tales of Poe, Stoker, Shelley, Pierce and the others and have no desire to lose many of the iconic existing darklords, but I think some of the pillars they have clung too tightly to for Ravenloft have hobbled the setting. Most especially the humanocentricism of the campaign world - the idea put forth that a darklord can only exist if it has rejected or lost its humanity and therefore "inhuman" races and creatures (that could not disguise themselves as human) could not feature prominently - as is apparent by the 90%+ human populations of all the realms with perhaps the exclusion of Sithicus (and to a lesser extent, Forlorn - but it's not like you could ever play a goblyn). As far as I am concerned, the humanocentricism can be shifted away to Masque and left there, and Ravenloft can better incorporate the demihumans and whatnot of typical D&D.
I actually asked Steve Miller about this (because I thought the code had something to do with it) but he said flat out it had nothing to do with it. According to him Nesmith and Heyday were all in on the gothic thing. According to him it was a creative choice. They freely drew on hammer through the line. Also if you take a close look at Ravenloft you see it kind of skated by the code (the black box talks about sensuality, has an adventure seed where a character gets pregnant alien style and has sone suggestive imagery).

I realize lots of folks want semi humans in Ravenloft. I maintain that the humancentric approach, the gothic and classic horror approaches are not weaknesses or holding it back, but strengths. Again it worked because it wasn’t typical D&D
 

Shadowedeyes

Explorer
My problem with the humancentric thing is that first, it's weird from a cosmology standpoint. I'm supposed to believe that the dark powers overwhelmingly only choose human evildoers and adventurers in a multiverse filled with other beings? The second is that it definitely feels like it is that way specifically because the source material didn't have non-humans, except for the monsters themselves. Even if you want to keep it more to a gothic/classic horror style, it might be novel to put a D&D spin on it rather than just trying to repackage the exact story of Dr. Frankenstein's monster into tabletop.
 

Sure but that is more Jack the Ripper
Because a real life serial killer who brutally eviscerated at least five young women and was never caught is so much less disturbing than a fictional one...
and Sherlock Holmes stuff than Jason
Have you actually read A Study in Scarlet? You do know it's polemic attack on Mormonism? And that's before you get to the character of Tonga in The Sign of the Four!
 



not an atomic bug or the Thing setting
A curious choice for your gatekeepering (movies, novels and TV under 50 years old will not be admitted into this setting), given that most people would consider The Thing (1982) a prime example of a classic horror movie, and was based on The Thing from Another World (1951) and the novel Who Goes There? (1938).
 
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On Hammer films

Hammer never set out to make "Gothic Horror" or "Classic Horror", they set out to make "popular horror", and to do it as cheaply as possible. They adapted novels that where more than 60 years old because the copywrite had expired and they didn't have to pay the authors anything. They used darkness and fog because it disguised cheep costumes and sets, they used London locations because they where local. They kept the violence and sex to what the censors of the time would let them get away with - most obvious towards the end of the cycle when the censors loosened up on sex.

Nevertheless, the films still stood up quite well in the 1980s. Something they don't do in the hi res post computer graphics movie world of the 2020s. Chances are, the target audience of the new Ravenloft book have never seen one.

Some notable Hammer films:

  • The Quatermass Xperiment (1955). Science fiction body horror.
  • The Gorgon (1955). Classic D&D monster, not so much a classic gothic monster....
  • The Plague of the Zombies (1966). Invented the zombie movie.
  • One Million Years BC (1966). Dinosaurs and fur bikinis. Horrific for anyone who cares about historical authenticity! Where is Ravenloft's dinosaur domain?
  • The Devil Rides Out (1968). From the Dennis Weatley novel, dealing with Satanism. A forerunner of The Exorcist.
  • Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (1974). Pretty much the archetypical Ravenloft adventure...
 
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A curious choice for your gatekeepering (movies, novels and TV under 50 years old will not be admitted into this setting), given that most people would consider The Thing (1982) a prime example of a classic horror movie, and was based on The Thing from Another World (1951) and the novel Who Goes There? (1938).

I am not gatekeeping paul. I am giving an opinion and I am describing what the RoT boxed set lays out in its description of what the premise of Ravenloft is. It is described as classic horror and gothic horror: it definitely seems to be sidestepping genres like atomic bug (which is important because like you I would agree those are classic horror). So I think what they are generally saying is they are drawing on classic horror that connects to the gothic in some way (and to be fair there are times when the setting doesn't do that: like with the Wildlands)
 

Because a real life serial killer who brutally eviscerated at least five young women and was never caught is so much less disturbing than a fictional one...
Because its more in line with Gothic horror than Freddy or Jason (and the way the Midnight Slasher is handled doesn't feel like Friday the 13th)
 

Have you actually read A Study in Scarlet? You do know it's polemic attack on Mormonism? And that's before you get to the character of Tonga in The Sign of the Four!
I have read it. I don't see what this has to do with my point about the Midnight Slasher being more rooted in that kind of literature than in Friday the 13th. My point was Midnight Slasher was meant more for detective style adventures, not slasher style adventures. You can have murderers in gothic horror and in classic horror and not have it be a slasher
 

On Hammer films

Hammer never set out to make "Gothic Horror" or "Classic Horror", they set out to make "popular horror", and to do it as cheaply as possible. They adapted novels that where more than 60 years old because the copywrite had expired and they didn't have to pay the authors anything. They used darkness and fog because it disguised cheep costumes and sets, they used London locations because they where local. They kept the violence and sex to what the censors of the time would let them get away with - most obvious towards the end of the cycle when the censors loosened up on sex.

Nevertheless, the films still stood up quite well in the 1980s. Something they don't do in the hi res post computer graphics movie world of the 2020s. Chances are, the target audience of the new Ravenloft book have never seen one.

Some notable Hammer films:

  • The Quatermass Xperiment (1955). Science fiction body horror.
  • The Gorgon (1955). Classic D&D monster, not so much a classic gothic monster....
  • The Plague of the Zombies (1966). Invented the zombie movie.
  • One Million Years BC (1966). Dinosaurs and fur bikinis. Horrific for anyone who cares about historical authenticity! Where is Ravenloft's dinosaur domain?
  • The Devil Rides Out (1968). From the Dennis Weatley novel, dealing with Satanism. A forerunner of The Exorcist.
  • Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (1974). Pretty much the archetypical Ravenloft adventure...

I was a big hammer fan (mentioned Plague of the Zombies earlier in this thread). I am aware they weren't just gothic horror (and I am aware the movies became much more gory and exploitative as they were competing with more edgy films: and I particularly like a lot of their more bizarre movies). But regardless of their reasons for drawing on gothic horror and regardless of why they used fog, they made those movies and those films had in influence on stuff like Ravenloft. My point was, at least initially, Ravenloft was drawing on stuff like Hammer's Dracula and Frankenstein (it is obvious even in the art: even though he played the monster, Christopher Lee is clearly the facial model for Mordenheim, and Peter Cushing is clearly the model for Van Richten). Later they even drew on the Lost Continent (which arguably is a big step away from the more classic horror stylings)

Certainly possible audiences haven't seen a hammer movie. But then many people in 1990 hadn't seen the silent phantom of the opera, or the universal horror movies from the 30s (that stuff was 60 years old when the Ravenloft boxed set came out). Again the Ravenloft black box was kind of a challenge, to try older horror sensibilities and go to the root. A lot of people discovered those things by way of Ravenloft. I think young people today are just as capable as we were then of developing an interest in older movies and older stories. Granted I was already pretty familiar with many of the black and white horror films (particularly the universal movies). But lots of people playing Ravenloft at the time I am sure were not. I think one of the great values Raveneloft gave to me was it helped propel an interest in romantic horror literature, and in classic Horror stories. I hadn't read Dracula or Frankenstein before playing Ravenloft (it was actually the quote in the black box from Frankenstein that made me instantly want to go read it).

I just re-watched a bunch of hammer a few months ago. I think it still holds up quite well.
 

I've met humans. It's impossible to underestimate their intelligence.

People span the spectrum. I think most people are more than capable of handling older media just fine. Not interested in getting snooty towards people for how intelligent or unintelligent you think they are. My point was they can manage this stuff.

I think the two biggest hurdles for modern audiences are the sound stages and the pacing.
 

My problem with the humancentric thing is that first, it's weird from a cosmology standpoint. I'm supposed to believe that the dark powers overwhelmingly only choose human evildoers and adventurers in a multiverse filled with other beings? The second is that it definitely feels like it is that way specifically because the source material didn't have non-humans, except for the monsters themselves. Even if you want to keep it more to a gothic/classic horror style, it might be novel to put a D&D spin on it rather than just trying to repackage the exact story of Dr. Frankenstein's monster into tabletop.

Why in a multiverse made up of endless worlds, some probably all human, all elf, does it defy the cosmology? Especially when Ravenloft had demihumans, they were just rare and generally mistrusted. They definitely did it to reflect the source material, because the setting wasn't drawing off Tolkien and Moorcock. It was drawing off stories with human protagonists. You can throw elves in there, and there are elves in there, but I think the focus on humanity, especially when a big theme is the potential loss of humanity, makes much more sense.
 

The Thing (1982) a prime example of a classic horror movie, and was based on The Thing from Another World (1951) and the novel Who Goes There? (1938).

The Thing is one of my favorite movies. I haven't read the 1938 book, but am aware of it being a remake of the 1951 movie (like I said I like old horror films). The thing is classic. There might even be a way to do the thing in Ravenloft (just like how they used Alien as an adventure seed). But I don't think it was the kind of movie they had in mind when they laid out the gothic and classic horror foundation fo the setting. I tend to agree with their more narrow framing of classic horror for the purposes of what Ravenloft ought to be. That doesn't mean I would exclude the Thing from a list of classic horror movies. I would just be sure, if I did it in Ravenloft, to fit it to the Gothic feel at least.

And again there are outliers in Ravenloft. The Book of Crypts has a living wall for example, which to me always felt more modern ( a bit clive barker). But it worked. I think here or there its going to be fine if you aren't watering down the premise of the setting. It is the carving up of the setting specifically into subgenres of horror, that I think deviates radically from the concept (I would call this the TORG-ifying of Ravenloft, where the conceit of the domains---which is used to create a patchwork of different sources of inspiration---is now being used to create a patchwork of subgenres). Again, that might be a great setting. Maybe D&D players really want a setting where you are in Dracula one minute, the Thing the next, and then slide into a Cronenberg setting. I am not saying that concept isn't cool (it is cool: like I said, I liked TORG). But it isn't Ravenloft. Ravenloft was specifically gothic horror and classic horror, and this didn't change until after it left TSR's hands (even DoD still cleaved tot he gothic roots even if it allowed for more dark fantasy). To me this is like taking the IP for Dracula to make a movie based on Interview with the Vampire. It just doesn't connect to what the setting was all about at all (in many ways it is the opposite of what the setting was all about because it is embracing more modern subgenres of horror)
 

Tepest, or 'how many different ways can I spell "Inquisition" wrong?'.

This is our Salem domain. It's a decentralised largely rural sort of place living in fear of fey and witches and (to some degree) each other. This is the last domain in the Gaz range with a meaningful population, so I'll whine about the numbers one more time for tradition's sake. We have a population of 15 000 here, which is perfectly reasonable - except that it gives this rural backwater a population larger than the bustling metropolis of Dementlieu. Also, give the prominence of goblins in the description, having them comprise 1% of the population is just silly. That's 150 goblins for the entire domain, but we hear about goblin bandits and tribes and grave-robbers all the time. Bleh. Learn to count, dammit...

Geographically, we've very isolated here, which fits the insularity of the domain well. Tucked up in the forested mountains to the far north-west of Nova Vaasa, where the rivers start. Some of the less-trafficked bits of Darkon to the north, and only the dead land of Keening and the Shadow Rift as other neighbours. We have a couple of towns, Kellee near the border is a bit more cosmopolitan (only by comparison) due to being run by an Nova Vaasan expatriate, but it works as a less-forgiving introduction to the domain for PCs who need to learn the rules without ending up tied to a stake. Sharp ridges, steep ravines, and dense forests make travel slow and everywhere isolated here, which also fits well with the theme of the place. Isolated homesteads, perhaps each with a pasture or two, an orchard, or a fishing boat and some frontage on the lake, house most of the population. But it's not the worst place in the Core to live to be honest, there are certainly dangers out there but if I had to live in a rural farm cottage in Ravenloft, better it be in Tepest than somewhere like Kartakass, or heaven forbid, Verbrek. The main road here (and leading to Tepest from Nova Vaasa) is called the Timori Road annoyingly enough, despite having nothing to do with Timor whatsoever as far as I can tell.

History is in three main parts. First we have myth-cycle history, which explains how the various Celtic gods (working in shifts) created all creatures of the world in their different seasons (fey in spring, mortals in summer, undead etc in winter, miscellaneous monsters in autumn) and explains how the populace divides their own pantheon sharply into two rough categories, the gods who created humanity (Belenus mostly) who are revered, and the gods who through malice or mistake created everything else, who are distinctly second-class (which'll be a sharp shock to a follower or, say, Lugh or Daghda from Forlorn...). It's a nice division actually, and I think it works well. It'd work better if we had any actual centre of regular worship of this pantheon literally anywhere else to contrast it with, of course. Second bit of history is speculating vaguely on where the ancient ruins come from, nobody really knows and it's basically irrelevant to the modern domain. This is just word count wasted, to be honest, though there is some attempt to tie the fall of this old civilisation with witches, to help explain the modern animus against them. Then we have modern history, which is a bit more interesting. Tepest popped into existence in the Core, and as this emergence was due to the acts of the three hags being taken by the Mists, nobody human knew why. They started up trade with their neighbours in Nova Vaasa and G'Henna and became something of a trade route before G'Henna disappeared overnight and was replaced with the Shadow Rift. This caused not-insignificant economic hardship, and combined with the fey critters now filtering from the Rift (or in service to the Hags) led to the rise of the Inquisition, which is now probably the defining social feature of the domain (the secular government is fairly decentralised and seems to be some sort of nebulous mayoral system from town to town, it's the church of Belenus and the Inquisition we're supposed to be interested in here). The inquisition was started by a priest named Wyan, and drawing from the myth cycles mentioned above it blames a lot of Tepest's troubles on fey plotting (notably the rise of a brand new creepy fey domain right next door and the disappearance of a major trading party). Wyan and his folowers have had lots of success, and probably a fair few false convictions, but they make an attempt to at least follow an investigative process, and people are found not guilty and are not executed from time to time. Recently, however, one such person was Wyan's daughter who was charmed/tempted/whatever by a fey creature, an event which shook him to the core and he's stepping back to re-evaluate things. However, there's rumblings among some of the more stereotypically-Inquistorial members of the Inquisition that Wyan is going soft or getting old and it's time for new leadership and more vigorous efforts towards the goal of lots of people being set on fire.

Your party will have trouble travelling here. Clerics of mainstream gods are mostly ok if not always actually liked (except those of Hala, who is deemed to be a bit too witchy despite her clergy's hatred of hags), and bards are have a social role as long as they're well-known to be local, respected, obedient, and stay in their lane, but any sorcerers or non-human characters are considered fey, which is punishable by execution. Wizards aren't considered actual fey, just powerhungry irresponsible madmen dabbling with unholy powers that humanity was not meant to know, so ... yay? I assume warlocks would be treated the same as wizards, because 'powerhungry irresponsible madmen dabbling with unholy powers that humanity was not meant to know' is basically the dictionary definition of warlock.

Our darklords are a bit weird in that they're basically not involved in any of the main presented human conflicts in the domain at all. The three hags were attractive but evil triplet sisters who lured travellers and then murdered them for their belongings, who were then all courted and set against each other by the same callous travelling rake, killed him and ate him when they found out, and were cursed to become hags as a result. They're joint darklords of the place, and a lot of the goblins and some of the lesser fey here serve them, and the hags send their minions out to rob graces and collect macabre spell components from the executed victims of the Inquisition ... but they just don't seem to have much of a goal. They collect spell components but we're not told what those components are for, or what spells they're being used to cast, or what plans the hags have that requires those spells. There's just a lack of motivation - hags should plot, shouldn't they? Not just lurk in the woods and cackle? Their writeup says they 'hate youth and beauty' yaaaawwn, and are only otherwise motivated by a desire to eat people. Which really seems lacking ambition, for hags.

Our unreliable narrator S does not actually know how the darklord is. She can't decide between the hags, Wyan, or a possible third party (this bit is rather confusing, I get the impression she's talking about someone specific but the maps are so bad it's hard to tell the location of the forest where she believes they dwell, so I'm not sure if it's just meant to be the hags and the editing is confusing). The writeup is a bit like the Sithicus one in some ways, it's suffering a bit from post-canon syndrome. Significant chunks of text are put towards describing the aftermath of the old 2e Ravenloft modules, Servants of Darkness and The Shadow Rift, with the result that it's a bit unclear what the 'modern' PC party is meant to do here. And again, the ruthless excision of sidebars and plothooks from this last Gazetteer really don't help the situation. Wyan is actually a reasonably nuanced and well-drawn character here, chastened post his trauma in Servants of Darkness, actually considerably sympathetic and dedicated to doing his best, even though he's woefully ill-informed (he'll still resolutely kill you to death if you're an elf or a sorcerer though). I think there was a conscious effort not to go too deep into the Inqusition cliches here after the excesses of Invidia and Falkovnia. The Inquisition here actually has a point - this place IS lousy with hostile fey creatures. So the place has a tragedy-waiting-to-happen vibe, the inquisition is meant to be symbolic of good causes going bad. Like Nidalia - Wyan might not actually be an Elena Faith-Hold in waiting, but his offsider Finn certainly has the potential.

As for use in a game - there's a few ways to go here. For a one-off, the classic Tepest story would actually be the story of the Inquisition, of witch-hunts and trials and mobs and questioned innocence and fey temptation and beguilement, leading to the tension between Finn and Wyan's factions of the Inquisition coming to the fore (and maybe Wyan himself on trial as the Inquisition starts to eat its own tail). You'd probably do better running this as an all- or predominately-Tepestani PC party to be honest. The place is suspicious of strangers, and the impact of running this plot would be greater if the PCs have friends and allies on both sides (and if your foreign PC party consisting of an elf fey-pact warlock, a dwarf spellblade, and a dhampir priest of the Eternal Order shows up in such a situation, you'll succeed in uniting the warring factions of the inquisition in their eagerness to kill you). It IS weird that what seems to me as the classic Tepest story doesn't actually touch on the Darklords at all, I have to admit. The three sisters desperately need something to do here, something to plan, something to WANT (or ideally, something that they each want to keep for themselves but that can only attain when working together...). Their curse is to be ugly hags, but they seem relatively accustomed to that state, they're not seeking a way to regain their human forms (they're hags, they can magically choose to appear human if they want) and generally they don't seem overly bothered, much less tortured, by their imprisonment by the mists.

For a longer-running campaign, the intolerance of the inquisition (and of the wider community - this ain't a hostile occupying power, the inquisition consists of locals, for locals, and has wide support) really limits your options if you're not running a native party. Most parties will have to go to extraordinary lengths to avoid getting targeted, and that will likely make any visits here brief and furtive followed by fleeing before you get caught. However, it definitely has potential as a campaign starting point. It's all very cosy and local (a lot of the Mordents about it there), and most critters here are fairly low-CR. Locals can also get away with being bards etc which outsiders probably cannot, although arcane casters etc are otherwise out of luck. The bad guys will be a bit one-dimensionally limited to fey with a smattering of the increasingly ubiquitous predatory Ravenloft plant life, though goblins and the clever 'goblin creature' template can add variety. This'd naturally segue into the inquisition plot mentioned above (or possibly fleeing for one's life into Nova Vaasa and points beyond once one's fey-pact or spellcasting habit comes to light?), though the ultimate domain plot of confronting the Three Sisters is a very serious challenge. They're mid-teen CR each, can bring each other back from the dead, and all together would crush anything else in the domain beneath their warty toes with precious little effort whatsoever. In summary, Tepest is a bit of a straightjacket, but it certainly could be a fun one for a while.

Random PC generator finally gave us cleric, which i've been waiting ages for, though i was hoping it'd be in an Ezra-worshipping domain. One thing that I'm not sure about with 5e ravenloft is what they're doing with Ezra. She really is the iconic deity of the setting, but it's hard to see what existing domains suit her, and there's no new cleric subclasses included in the book. I suspect there'll be a dozen 'Mist Domain' cleric subclasses up on DMGuild approximately twelve seconds after it is legally allowed. In the meantime, maybe Peace, or even Twilight (if your DM hasn't banned it) could work for Ezra? Belenus from the celtic pantheon is an easier one, Light and Order probably (I wonder if the Celtic pantheon will make it to the 5e book or will they try to move away from real-world religion and maybe merge Belenus into the Morninglord? And what about religion in places like Har-Akir and the new Indian-inspired domain?). Anyway, today's PC is a Belenus light cleric. The intent was to make her look like someone who has regular work from day to day, but who puts on her inquisition hat, armour and clerical adornments over the top of her regular clothing when she has to. Tepest isn't rich - ornate robes for the clergy are probably not a common thing here.

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Next up, a mini write up for the mini-domain of Castle Island.
 

We are talking about that is the "orthodoxy" of Ravenloft canon and if we should allow other sources of inspiration from closer years. I say we do. The mummy is a classic monster, but it doesn't appear in the standar gothic literature. Why not to addd new elements? For example the kytons or chain devils as ersatz/rip off of the cenobites from Hellraiser. We are going to erasure all we loved in Ravenloft but add more options. The original recipes are still being served, but some little ingredients has been changed, and this hasn't to be bad.

Ravenloft is mainly but not only gothic horror. There are space for different types of stories, even an innocent monster-hunt as Scooby-doo cartoon or R.L.Stine's Goosebumps.

* Dreadful and powerful aren't the same. A monster or enemy can be very dangerous or powerful, but to cause fear you need some different. A slasher is fearful but a horde of gnolls can cause more victims in the same time.

* D20 Menace had got its own "thing", the star doppleganger, and also a template for slashers.

* I miss supernatural conspirancies. I mean the demiplane is a too small sandbox for fantasy spy stories. No secret group can be more powerful than the regional criminal guild lord.


* Tepest should be the "Jurasic Park" for the evil faes, for example the redcaps.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Why in a multiverse made up of endless worlds, some probably all human, all elf, does it defy the cosmology? Especially when Ravenloft had demihumans, they were just rare and generally mistrusted. They definitely did it to reflect the source material, because the setting wasn't drawing off Tolkien and Moorcock. It was drawing off stories with human protagonists. You can throw elves in there, and there are elves in there, but I think the focus on humanity, especially when a big theme is the potential loss of humanity, makes much more sense.
I don't imagine Ravenloft's xenophobia would be considered a feature today. It cuts a little too close to real world racial discrimination and violence, something WotC isn't going to want in their game. In Curse of Strahd, the Barovian natives were mostly human, but other races didn't draw mobs when in town. I suspect VRGtR is going to continue that trend at the very least.
 

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