D&D General The thread where I review a ton of Ravenloft modules

This is an example of trope conflict. In standard D&D, the trope is it takes place in a lawless Wild West. If you see something you want, you can take it, without consequences; if someone gets in your way you can kill them, without consequences.

In a gothic story there is civilisation. If you take something that doesn’t belong to you, it is stealing, and there are consequences; if you kill someone, it is murder, and there consequences.

Note that in a gothic story, justice is often poetic, or divine, rather than civil.

But this is going to be a problem if players coming from regular D&D have learned to be murder hobos, and can’t unlearn it.

When they codified the powers check system, I think it clearly leaned more in the gothic direction here. However it did allow theft and grave theft against evil beings. But if you just throw in a 1% chance of failure on those two instances, that changes things. Also notably murdering, betraying, assaulting or torturing evil beings, even monsters, also warrants a powers check (these very much push against the PCs as murderhobo). It does define each of these crimes so the specific definitions can matter:

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TiQuinn

Registered User
This is an example of trope conflict. In standard D&D, the trope is it takes place in a lawless Wild West. If you see something you want, you can take it, without consequences; if someone gets in your way you can kill them, without consequences.

In a gothic story there is civilisation. If you take something that doesn’t belong to you, it is stealing, and there are consequences; if you kill someone, it is murder, and there consequences.

Note that in a gothic story, justice is often poetic, or divine, rather than civil.

But this is going to be a problem if players coming from regular D&D have learned to be murder hobos, and can’t unlearn it.
I think this would be easier now in later editions where experience is less tied to killing monsters and getting treasure, which was still the mindset during 2e.
 

When they codified the powers check system, I think it clearly leaned more in the gothic direction here. However it did allow theft and grave theft against evil beings. But if you just throw in a 1% chance of failure on those two instances, that changes things. Also notably murdering, betraying, assaulting or torturing evil beings, even monsters, also warrants a powers check (these very much push against the PCs as murderhobo). It does define each of these crimes so the specific definitions can matter:

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Thanks, I had completely forgotten there was actually rules for it! I was talking more generally about gothic fiction, which doesn't always have a 100% overlap with Ravenloft.
 
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Remathilis

Legend
I'm curious to know how folks have dealt with pantheons in Ravenloft? I'm thinking of going back to my 2nd edition roots, and laying into the Legends of Lore. Celtic deities, in particular, feel like they would be quite at home here. I normally use an FR pantheon, but it seems a little too heavy here. I might even go so far as to have each domain have kind of a different set of deities. Though, my vision of domains is probably a bit more nebulous than what the canon visions of them might be.
Ravenloft has had a few takes on religion and surprisingly, they are all contradictory! Here's some of them.

1. In most domains, religion is not mentioned. Unless it's important to the dark lord itself (cf Yago Pentanov). Individuals may have had faith, but organized religion is not common, despite being a through line in many different forms of horror.

2. Some domains got faiths added through novels (Vampires of the Mists adding the Morninglord,) modules (adding the Hindu and Egyptian deities) or later revisions (Tepest getting an inquisition led by the church of Benelus).

3. Demihumans in DoD and later worshipped (and have cultural elements of) D&DG pantheons: (elf - Celtic, dwarf -Norse, gnome - Roman, halfling - English protestantism). How the elves worshipping the Benelus and the inquisition of Tepest against the fey works is a good reason why inter-domain communication is disjointed in practice.

4. There are some Ravenloft-only faiths: the Church of Ezra (my personal favorite as it fills the void in many horror stories monotheistic faith tends to fill) Hala (a neo-Pagan Wicca-like faith) and Mother Night (only mentioned in Curse of Strahd as an Old God that others avoid).

5. Of course, other types of faith exist. The Divinity of Man in Lamordia, druidism in Forlorn, animism in Valachan, etc. My personal favorite is Roman Catholicism in Odiare. (Look it up).

In theory, Ravenloft has a myriad of faiths. In practice, I tend to find it better to stick with a few major faiths and make adaptations to fit the narrative. In my game, Ezra is every present in the domains, but she is a malleable faith and every domain attaches their own interpretation of her. Domains where she isn't well known are the ones where a local faith (such as the Morninglord) holds tighter sway. I have left the real world faiths out for the most part, replacing them as needed. Despite the fact my DoD lacks the core, Ezra's faith being able to traverse the Mists and offering a salvation message has won them a lot of converts. I also use Hala as an alternative faith for those who prefer a more new age type of faith to counterpoint Ezra's more traditional Christian design. They end up filling the role both of religion in horror stories and traditional D&D support for clerics and religious PCs.
 


What never made sense to me was that Odiare was pulled into Ravenloft from Gothic Earth - which is itself a Ravenloft setting.

Gothic Earth is our world so Catholicism exists there. I am a little fuzzy on the details of the Created where Odiare first appears, and I don't have a copy on hand anymore, but I believe they introduced the Gothic Earth connection later (in Domains of Dread or something).
 

TiQuinn

Registered User
Gothic Earth is our world so Catholicism exists there. I am a little fuzzy on the details of the Created where Odiare first appears, and I don't have a copy on hand anymore, but I believe they introduced the Gothic Earth connection later (in Domains of Dread or something).
Yeah that was after The Created. It totally makes sense that’s it’s ripped from 1890’s Italy but it was just weird case of RPG cannibalizing one of its own settings. (For the record, Masque > Ravenloft, IMO.)
 

Yeah that was after The Created. It totally makes sense that’s it’s ripped from 1890’s Italy but it was just weird case of RPG cannibalizing one of its own settings.

I think they wanted to encourage people to buy it. DoD did one thing I consider very crappy, which is it intentionally left out information on things like the Vistani and other setting elements, and simply referenced books like the Van Richter's Guide to the Vistani in their entry (compare the entries for the Vistani in the black box and DoD and you see will see how they seem to intentionally leave out crucial info so you have to buy the book on top of DoD if you want to have functional vistani in your game. I think having Odiare be drawn from gothic earth was a similar move. The Vistani get three pages of info in the black box but barely half a page in the DoD book
 

Remathilis

Legend
Gothic Earth is our world so Catholicism exists there. I am a little fuzzy on the details of the Created where Odiare first appears, and I don't have a copy on hand anymore, but I believe they introduced the Gothic Earth connection later (in Domains of Dread or something).
I know it's in DoD, don't know if it was introduced earlier but it was certainly retconned. DoD did that to a bunch of Domain, like making Meredoth from Mystara or the Vorostokov part of Birthright. I THINK every TSR setting in print at that time got a bespoke domain at that time. Speaks to the influence of Sithicus I guess.
 

I know it's in DoD, don't know if it was introduced earlier but it was certainly retconned. DoD did that to a bunch of Domain, like making Meredoth from Mystara or the Vorostokov part of Birthright. I THINK every TSR setting in print at that time got a bespoke domain at that time. Speaks to the influence of Sithicus I guess.

I agree it was likely retconned (I just don't have my copy of the Created to confirm----DoD came out 1 year after the Created so I wanted to be cautious making the claim).

And yes, that is one of the reasons I don't like DoD. They brought in too many things from other campaign settings. I didn't particularly care for the changes (but then I am not even a fan of the red box changes so my opinion may be fringe).

I was fine with Sithicus, if only because Knight of the Black Rose was such a good entry in their novel line, and Soth a great villain. but i didn't need Vecna
 

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