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D&D 5E Return To Ravenloft In Style

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Curse of Strahd has become one of the most popular campaign books of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. The love of the spooky realms within the mists is still very strong as evidenced by the recent deluxe versions and add-ons recently released by Wizards of the Coast and other companies. Whether travelling to the domain of Strahd for the first time or returning to Barovia to visit old friends and enemies, these products can enhance the experience into something a little more than just a standard D&D campaign.

D&D Icons of the Realms​

Wizkids released two sets of pre-painted miniatures of famous Ravenloft personalities. Legends of Barovia features miniatures of characters central to the original story, such as Strahd, Madam Ava, Rudolph Van Richten and more. Covens and Covenants offers miniatures introduced in Curse of Strahd such as Rose, Thorne and The Abbot. It’s nice to have miniatures of the big players in the story without having to buy packs and packs of boosters to get them. I tend to run D&D campaign books using grid and map combat, so being able to drop Strahd on the board when the players enter Castle Ravenloft is a very exciting prospect. It’s also a signal to the players that they’re approaching an important story moment since my ability to paint is terrible.

Curse of Strahd Revamped​

It’s been almost five years since Curse of Strahd came out and officially opened Fifth Edition beyond the Forgotten Realms and the homebrew worlds of Dungeon Masters around the world. To celebrate the anniversary, Wizards of the Coasts released a deluxe version of the book in a giant coffin shaped box cheekily called Curse of Strahd Revamped. While Tyranny of Dragons got an anniversary release that added a hydro74 cover and combined both of the original books, Curse of Strand is a little more dramatic in a way only Strahd could pull off.

The box opens with a cover sheet featuring Strahd in his ceremonial armor on one side and his 5e stat block on the other. It features the new adventure along with a few small tweaks based on feedback from players involving the Vistani. The map that was stitched into the back of the retail release is here and on a slightly better glossy paper format. There are postcards from Barovia, a DM screen with important info on the campaign as well as moodier art.

The biggest addition to the experience is the larger Tarokka deck included in the box. They are the size of jumbo playing cards and are a larger version of the deck released as an add-on through Gale Force Nine in 2016. I wish they would have been tarot sized and shaped, but I also understand resizing the art would have been a serious pain for the graphics department.

Curse of Strahd Revamped is aimed at two chunks of the D&D audience. It’s great for folks who want to play Curse of Strahd multiple times as well as folks who want a heightened experience with cool props but aren’t willing or able to take a $400 plunge into Ravenloft.

But if you are…

Curse of Strahd: Legendary Edition​

If Curse of Strahd Revamped is the 2-disc Blu Ray release with deleted scenes and a clever box, Beadle & Grimm’s Curse of Strahd: Legendary Edition is renting a theatre, redecorating it like a spooky old castle and hiring actors to wander the audience playing different characters of the story. The craftsmanship on display in this box is remarkable, with paper props of different textures, metal coins of the realm and everything from an actual medallion that can be given to players upon discovery to creepy finger puppets that cleverly walk the line between creepy and cute.

In addition to all that, the stuffed box comes with a companion tube full of maps. A new Barovia map, all of Mike Schley’s original maps and then grid maps for the entirety of Castle Ravenloft. I’m very excited to be able to use all this stuff but the grid maps add such a weight to the package. Rather than killing my printer or tracing out rooms on dry erase boards as players wander the castle, they’ll have iconic encounters in gorgeous pre-drawn maps.

I’ve been impressed with the products Beadle and Grimm have sent me to review, but Curse of Strahd: Legendary Edition goes above and beyond the others that I’ve seen (and loved). It’s all the prep and theatrics I love to do for my campaigns already lovingly put together and I understand why the folks who can afford their products are willing to buy new ones sight unseen. It’s also an argument for players to split the cost of a box like this as a gift to their Dungeon Master, who often is expected to buy all their own materials when they run a game. It’s a great pick for fans of Ravenloft and, if you can figure out a way to afford it, must be seen to be believed.

Thanks to the review copies I’ve been sent here, I’m hoping to run an epic Curse of Strahd game once I feel safe enough to run games in person again. It’s my favorite Fifth Edition campaign book and thanks to the materials discussed here, will be a great way to celebrate seeing my friends in person once again...in the mists...
 

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Rob Wieland

Rob Wieland

I guess Ravenloft is the right setting for the section of young adults. Not childisch neither too mature.

My theory is Hasbro will want an action-live teleserie based in Ravenloft, something like "American Horror Story", produced by Entertaiment-One, and this could alter radically the lore. The producers could ask stories set in XX century technology, and the modern firearms, as the machine guns, could alter the power balance in the metagame.

Other matter I would like to mention about the setting is this is an "ecosystem with too many predators and not enough preys to be eaten".

Would you bet about a possible crossover Ravenloft-Innistrad?

Is the subgenre of sobrenatural romance old fashioned now?
 

I purchased this Curse of Strahd Revamped immediately, but then opened it to find out the core book was a softcover, so not durable like hard covers. Also, and the Hydro art was just the box unlike others like Volo's Guide to Monsters. Returned it immediately to Amazon, but did not review negatively, since it was a decent attempt at a collector's edition.
 

FickleKnight

The Torn
I purchased this Curse of Strahd Revamped immediately, but then opened it to find out the core book was a softcover, so not durable like hard covers. Also, and the Hydro art was just the box unlike others like Volo's Guide to Monsters. Returned it immediately to Amazon, but did not review negatively, since it was a decent attempt at a collector's edition.
Oh, thanks for the heads up, I've been thinking about getting it, but I'll pass if it is softcover.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I guess Ravenloft is the right setting for the section of young adults. Not childisch neither too mature.

My theory is Hasbro will want an action-live teleserie based in Ravenloft, something like "American Horror Story", produced by Entertaiment-One, and this could alter radically the lore. The producers could ask stories set in XX century technology, and the modern firearms, as the machine guns, could alter the power balance in the metagame.

Other matter I would like to mention about the setting is this is an "ecosystem with too many predators and not enough preys to be eaten".

Would you bet about a possible crossover Ravenloft-Innistrad?

Is the subgenre of sobrenatural romance old fashioned now?
I hope none of the above speculation is occurring. I have no desire for a Ravenloft-Innstrad crossover (but would not be opposed to separate releases).

There would be no sense in a live-action teleseries; Universal's monsters covers anything we might see on screen and would be more likely than licensing rights to stories that are in the public domain as it is.

As far as gamers go, the sobrenatural romance was never a thing. Even White Wolf rejected it with their game series.
 

My theory is Hasbro will want an action-live teleserie based in Ravenloft, something like "American Horror Story", produced by Entertaiment-One, and this could alter radically the lore. The producers could ask stories set in XX century technology, and the modern firearms, as the machine guns, could alter the power balance in the metagame.
OMG....a Netflix or Amazon series based on Ravenloft.

Take my money!!!!!
 

The metaplot of Ravenloft is totally frozen, and more when a future reboot is possible, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see "guest artists" from one to the other. My idea of "crossover" would be something like "M from Greyhawk or V from Faerun have been in the demiplane of the dread for the last weekend".

Romance stories with no-human couples are possible in D&D, only they aren't the main plot, something like in Dragonlance novels. Vryloka and revenants were PC races in 4th Ed (Heroes of Shadow). These in Ravenloft or Innistrad shouldn't be a great surprise.

We can't now Hasbro plan's about cinema productions. It has got deals with Paramount, Netflix and Disney, but this 2021 the entertaiment industry could change radically by fault of things not-linked with the world of the culture.

Most of ghotic monsters are public domain, and today the gothic horror is a forgotten genre, but Ravenloft is special, with its own style. If the work by the scriptwritters is right, it may become a smash-hit as Stranger Things. Do you remember Castlevania Netflix anime? Or Blade the vampire-hunter movies, or Buffy, the vampire-slayer. Ravenloft is also gothic action-horror, with space for characters like Halliwel sisters from Charmed. The dark powers can cause serious troubles out of the demiplane, allowing strange stories like ones from "the Twighlight Zone".

Hasbro could dare to publish a videogame set in a pulp age version of "the Mask of the Red Death", an action RPG using an alternate version of d20, and testing power balance of hand-to-hand enemies against (modern) firearms.

* In the past I suggest to add two new abilitie scores for games with more investigation and horror, like a cousin of "the Call of Culhthu": Acuity (astuteness + perception/naturalist inteliggence) and Spirit (Fate/Luck/Karma/divine grace + courage).
 

Sunsword

Adventurer
Going with a softcover for the Revamped edition, especially at $100, just seemed like a terrible decision. That box is cool, but its not $100 cool with a softcover.
 

I hope none of the above speculation is occurring. I have no desire for a Ravenloft-Innstrad crossover (but would not be opposed to separate releases).

There would be no sense in a live-action teleseries; Universal's monsters covers anything we might see on screen and would be more likely than licensing rights to stories that are in the public domain as it is.

As far as gamers go, the sobrenatural romance was never a thing. Even White Wolf rejected it with their game series.

Don't worry. The poster you are responding to loves to speculate on crazy and wild multimedia schemes that will never eventuate.
 


I'm guessing they went softcover because 1.) its three books (module, supplemental, monsters) and 2.) its all supposed to be a big protective coffin box. Most box sets don't put hardcovers in them.
True, in the 1980s. Yet Boxsets today like the Kickstarters from Pinnacle's Savage Worlds offer hardcovers on boxes too.

Plus, one of the two extra booklets in that box include monsters previously part of the Curse of Strahd hardcover.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
I don't think that the adventure in softcover (in the Revamped set) is a flaw . . . but the boxed set would have been improved with a nice hardcover of the full adventure with a brand new Hydro74 cover!!! Still, if you don't have the original adventure and/or tarokka cards, this can be a good deal. Especially with the maps, postcards, and other extras. And I love the box! Not something that fits easily on a shelf to be sure, but I LOVE IT!

Ravenloft is definitely the adventure that makes it easy to bling out with all the accessories released for it, both recently and even going back to earlier editions. Is there any other adventure that comes close?

I wish I could justify the expense of the B&G legendary edition. Lots of neat stuff in that giant box!
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Seeing this was a wake up call. COVID has made special edition sets like this and the Beadle and Grimm sets utterly useless to me, whereas a year ago I would have chewed my own hand off for those battlemaps, minis, and tokens.

Now if it can’t be saved as a 70 pixels per square inch JPEG I’m not interested 😂

It is an awesome campaign though, one of my favourites as a DM across 30 years of gaming.
 

Aaron L

Hero
Yeah, I ordered this from Amazon on Friday after reading this review and it arrived yesterday... and wow. Damn, this thing is huge. The coffin box is bigger than my 17 inch laptop. You open up the coffin and the first thing you see is Strahd lying in the coffin, printed on a big sheet of thin posterboard, and on the flipside are printed his full D&D stats.

Underneath that is a plastic housing with one slot for the Tarokka deck and postcards and one slot for the rulebook and DM's screen (with attached ribbons in each of the slots allowing you to lift everything out of its slot without having to pry it out with your fingers, which I like a lot.) The screen is great-looking, being a landscape painting of (I assume) the village of Barovia. And yes, the book is softback, but it is full-size and looks great, and since the books in all the classic old boxed sets were all softback as well I don't have any problems with that.

The Tarokka deck is very big, looking like it's about double the size of a standard playing card deck, and looks great as well.

Overall I am very happy with this and think it was totally worth the cost (70 bucks on Amazon) noting that am not usually one to buy premium edition sets like this since I live on a fixed disability income and usually don't have the money to splurge on things like this, but I had saved up some to get this and am very happy that I did so. This coffin boxed set will look wonderful sitting on a shelf.
 
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Curse of Strahd Revamped is big and heavy, definitely! I still haven't figured out where to store it (currently it's tucked away in the corner by my one bookshelf, which it doesn't even fit on).

Yeah, I ordered this from Amazon on Friday after reading this review and it arrived yesterday... and wow. Damn, this thing is huge.
 

Aaron L

Hero
Curse of Strahd Revamped is big and heavy, definitely! I still haven't figured out where to store it (currently it's tucked away in the corner by my one bookshelf, which it doesn't even fit on).
When the package arrived from Amazon yesterday I thought "why did they pack it in such a big box?!" because I was expecting something maybe half the size of what it ended up being. When I opened up the Amazon box and saw the actual size of the coffin inside I was duly impressed.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Oddly, the large size of the coffin box actually turned me off from buying it as I have problems fitting all of my books onto my crowded shelves as is. I literally have nowhere to fit this otherwise impressive set. If it had been the size of the 90's box sets, I'd have made room (by replacing my Domains of Dread boxed set).
 

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