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D&D 5E [Updated with cover!] The D&D Book Is.... Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft!

Yesterday's hints that a new D&D book would be announced today have born fruit -- we now have a product description and a title! It's a Ravenloft setting book, with tools and new rules for horror-themed games, and new horror-themed character options. I'll update this post with a product image as soon as one is revealed -- the official announcement allegedly comes today!

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Here’s some info on Dr. Rudolph Van Richten! He's a vampire hunter (he appeared in Curse of Strahd, and he's been around in the Ravenloft setting for decades) and is basically Van Helsing to Strahd's Dracula. His name appears on a whole pile of 2nd Edition D&D sourcebooks, all titled "Van Richten's Guide to.... Vampires/Ghosts/Werebeasts, etc."

The Ravenloft setting, of course, features a bunch of 'domains' other than Barovia itself, each ruled by its own Dark Lord. Strahd rules Barovia, but even other signature D&D villains like Lord Soth and Vecna have been placed in Ravenloft ruling dread domains of their own, along with an assortment of other domain rulers.

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The Mist Beckons


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The image below is not of the upcoming book, but of one of the many D&D 2nd Edition Van Richten's Guides.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I am happy with the return of the setting, but I wonder when the metaplot is going to continue. Is canon the one published for 3.5. by White Wolf?
I'd be surprised if it continued the 3.5 metaplot (which, insofar as I know, was canon to the setting) surrounding the Doomsday Gazetteers, though I'd be pleased if they did. For what it's worth, after the 3.5 line ended, the designers gave us the full story about what the rest of the metaplot would have entailed.
 

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NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
I'll have to wait until they release a table of contents with page numbers, so I can see how much of each subject is in the book, but I am surprisingly interested in this. I was gifted the PHB and DMG about 5 years ago, and have only bought some digital content from WOTC since then - mostly player options from various releases. But if this has a decent amount of new character options and a lot of "how to do different kinds of horror in 5E", I might have to buy the whole thing!
I've rarely played optimistic characters, so this is right up my street. Jolly Hexblood Druid here I come! I want to see my party flip out when the sweet twin of the Aasimar calls Lightning from the sky
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
I'll have to wait until they release a table of contents with page numbers, so I can see how much of each subject is in the book, but I am surprisingly interested in this. I was gifted the PHB and DMG about 5 years ago, and have only bought some digital content from WOTC since then - mostly player options from various releases. But if this has a decent amount of new character options and a lot of "how to do different kinds of horror in 5E", I might have to buy the whole thing!
I'd also wait to find out what the Amazon price is. Because Amazon isn't going to be selling it for $50. Probably $35.
 




ART!

Adventurer
I'd also wait to find out what the Amazon price is. Because Amazon isn't going to be selling it for $50. Probably $35.
I totally get that, and have gone that route many a time. After months of ordering everything through Amazon last eyar, I did a lot of my Christmas shopping locally - especially for books. So, if I do get the hard copy, I will probably order it from my FLGS and pay full price. I figure I spend so little on game books, I can afford to buy the rare item from my local shop. They're good people. Amazon gets plenty of my family's money as is.
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
For me, they picked the most boring of classic settings. I'm glad for the horror fans, but I suppose I'm more excited about the Candlekeep book now.
Really? Despite Van Richten travelling only to Barovia, and a guide to Ravenloft shouldn't really include other demiplanes, you could feasibly make you own demiplane of dread. And have a really cool horror campaign. Also, a common misconception I've found is that Shadowfell inhabitants directly confront people. Strahd's best weapon is fear after all, and there's nothing like inspiring fear in seasoned heroes
 

FickleKnight

The Torn
Really? Despite Van Richten travelling only to Barovia, and a guide to Ravenloft shouldn't really include other demiplanes, you could feasibly make you own demiplane of dread. And have a really cool horror campaign. Also, a common misconception I've found is that Shadowfell inhabitants directly confront people. Strahd's best weapon is fear after all, and there's nothing like inspiring fear in seasoned heroes
Yeah, that stuff just never really inspired me. I'm not saying it's bad, and I'll probably still buy it, but it will probably be a purchase for completionism's sake rather than because I honestly feel I'll use much of it.
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
Yeah, that stuff just never really inspired me. I'm not saying it's bad, and I'll probably still buy it, but it will probably be a purchase for completionism's sake rather than because I honestly feel I'll use much of it.
Fair enough. It's a fairly weird thing to add to most campaigns anyway
 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
"Horror-themed subclasses" is an interesting note. Do we have any UA subclasses that were horror-themed and not released? Because I don't see how they can get any out and UA tested otherwise on that short of a timescale.
 


wicked cool

Explorer
im confused on what this book does

Is this book a campaign setting with a mini adventure (like wildemount) or a book guide for the strahd aventure or both. If you were running Strahd how much help would this really offer
 

What's interesting is that the presumption we have, rightly, is that this is a setting book. However, the naming convention is one of the toolbox books we have been getting for 5th.
I think based on this text from the product description, that’s we’re in at least “educated guess” territory:

“Travel (perhaps even by choice) to Ravenloft's expanded Domains of Dread—each domain with its own unique flavor of horror, thrilling story hooks, and grisly cast of characters.”

I doubt the info will be a “TSR Box Set” level of information, but maybe something along the lines of regional descriptions from the Sword Coast’s Adventurers’ Guide, maybe?
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
im confused on what this book does

Is this book a campaign setting with a mini adventure (like wildemount) or a book guide for the strahd aventure or both. If you were running Strahd how much help would this really offer
I believe it's like Wildemount or Theros. It will have a quest or two, some subclasses, some lineages(races) and some details on running the demiplanes of dread
 



NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
Yea, that's probably it, most setting books are pretty light on new subclasses.
Undead Warlock was insanely strong anyway when I tried it, and Wizards really hates the Undying Warlock for some(okay it's terrible)reason. The newer subclasses tend to be stronger anyway, so they should be good
 

What's interesting is that the presumption we have, rightly, is that this is a setting book. However, the naming convention is one of the toolbox books we have been getting for 5th.
From the description, where it specifically mentions how create homebrew horror campaigns as well as an "expanded bestiary" makes me think it's going to fall somewhere between the standard 5e monster guide and the standard 5e setting guide in its format. Depending on your point of view, it will be "Volo's with setting material" or "Ravnica with homebrew and more monsters".
 

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