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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


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Parmandur

Legend
Very interesting.

We can expect this will follow the same six chapter outline that Ravnica, Eberron, and Theros do:

  • Chapter One: Character creation. (Ravnica had a 18 page Chapter 1, Eberron's was 85, while Theros was 21: I would expect about 20 pages for Ravenloft)
  • Chapter Two: The Dread Lord's, maybe?
  • Chapter Three: the Domains of Dread Gazetteer
  • Chapter Four: Adventure creation material, and the 20 page adventure (Ravnica had a 50 page Chapter Four including a 12 page intro Adventure, Eberron's was ~120 pages with a 14 page intro Adventure, and Theros had a 84 page Chapter with a 10 page intro Adventure)
  • Chapter Five: Magical treasure
  • Chapter Six: Beastiary (40 pages here, as opposed to ~60 for Ravnica, ~40 for Eberron, and ~50 for Theros)
 

Parmandur

Legend
As someone stated elsewhere, say 2 pgs a domain should be healthy. What people should not expect are unique stats for all the darklords.

Based on looking at the other three WotC in-house campaign settings and what we know about the size of the bestiary and character content in this book, I'd say about 3 pages per Domain/Dread Lord seems probable.
 



Parmandur

Legend
I really like how this is looking like a Gothic Horror potpourri, makes for easy cafeteria shopping as a DM in need of piece's parts.

Also appreciate that they are rebooting the problematic elements of the Setting, with cultural consultants taken into account.
 




Parmandur

Legend
What interest me is that it seems to be trying to tackle more types of horror than just "Gothic Horror."

Well, that's sort of the nature of the genre, to a degree, and I expect they are being loosey-goosey with genre terms, like when they talk about Eberron as "Pulp" (as opposed to D&D standard rooting in...checks notes...pulp fiction).
 



Marandahir

Crown-Forester
I KNEW it would be "Van Richten's Guide to XXX."

I'm just surprised it's formatted like a Campaign Setting (Setting details, Monsters, Class Options & Ancestry Options) rather than Monsters + Ancestry Options. I wonder if we're still in for another Monsters+Ancestries sometime soon?
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Do we know for sure Innistrad won’t be one of the domains of dread?
I don’t, so perhaps it is. Just surprised that it’s still playing second fiddle given the investment they‘ve made (and the ongoing duplication of effort...)
 

I don’t, so perhaps it is. Just surprised that it’s still playing second fiddle given the investment they‘ve made (and the ongoing duplication of effort...)

The business calculus (which is different from the artistic calculus) to using a pre-existing IP is how much recognition and attachment that audience has for it. And yes, I understand Innistrad is one of the more popular MtG settings. But the interviews released today have repeatedly dropped that Curse of Strahd is one of the most popular 5e books they've done. So even for newer or younger D&D players without the attachments to 2e or 3e, Ravenloft is a name with weight. And if they can put out a book that appeals to both groups at once, all the better for them.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I KNEW it would be "Van Richten's Guide to XXX."

I'm just surprised it's formatted like a Campaign Setting (Setting details, Monsters, Class Options & Ancestry Options) rather than Monsters + Ancestry Options. I wonder if we're still in for another Monsters+Ancestries sometime soon?

Setting books may have replaced Monster books at this point in the Edition, frankly.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I don’t, so perhaps it is. Just surprised that it’s still playing second fiddle given the investment they‘ve made (and the ongoing duplication of effort...)

Anything in Innistrad ruleswise is likely to be in this book: a sidebar referring people to the free Innistrad 5E resource and the Art book should suffice.
 


Setting books may have replaced Monster books at this point in the Edition, frankly.
The third party market is also very robust. Other than stuff that's Wizards IP -- like the Ravenloft monsters -- I don't know that I'd want a big book of WotC monsters, when I could get them from Cawood Publishing, or one of the Tome of Horrors, or the Kobold Press monster books, etc.

I prefer something specific when I pick up a monster book now -- Monsters of the City works for me, because I run Ptolus, and I am open to books of aquatic monsters for the piratical campaign I'm running my dad and son through -- and that's not an approach WotC seems likely to go for, unless we suddenly start getting region sourcebooks like Frostburn again, which I would be stunned to see.
 


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