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D&D 5E Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft Table of Contents

As shared by DMs Guild brand manager Lysa Penrose.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Faolyn

Hero
Also wait: if there is no Alignment in the book, then what about the Dark Lords? Do they at least get one? Since a number of them aren't quite saints.
They should hopefully have enough information about them to let the DM how to play them without having to rely on an alignement tag.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
They should hopefully have enough information about them to let the DM how to play them without having to rely on an alignement tag.
Something like a list of common goals would be nice. That would certainly make some fights more interesting. Instead of it being just swing until your enemies are all dead, having actual goals for the enemies to focus on would be a huge step up. A lot of DMs already do that, of course, but making that explicit in the books would be nice. A return of a proper morale system would be good. Something front and center on the monster stat block instead of an optional rule buried at the ass end of the DMG.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Something like a list of common goals would be nice. That would certainly make some fights more interesting. Instead of it being just swing until your enemies are all dead, having actual goals for the enemies to focus on would be a huge step up. A lot of DMs already do that, of course, but making that explicit in the books would be nice. A return of a proper morale system would be good. Something front and center on the monster stat block instead of an optional rule buried at the ass end of the DMG.
Agreed. If it's an individual, like the Darklords, then their background should be enough. At least in CoS, they included the personality traits/ideals/flaws/bonds things for them, which helped enormously. For other monsters, yes, having more goals would be useful. I very much miss the Habitat and Ecology sections from the old 2e monsters. I wish they'd include something like that in 5e, or even just a line for Motive, like they do in the Cypher System books (although for a system that's supposed to be mostly about exploration and discovery, a whole lotta creatures have "hungers for flesh" as their Motive...). I quite like what they're going to be doing in the Level Up monster book, since it seems that each monster is going to have a Behavior section.

I agree about morale. I typically have creatures make Wisdom saves and try to escape if they succeed.
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I agree about morale. I typically have creatures make Wisdom saves and try to escape if they succeed.
I’ve tended to do morale checks in the opposite manner. The natural reaction to being frightened is to try to Run away - a Wisdom check is required to force oneself to Stay.

overall though I’d prefer something like Cthulhu sanity check
 


JEB

Hero
None of the Dread Lord's seem to have specific stat block, though.
I've heard that mentioned elsewhere online as well. Kind of an odd choice if applied universally - older versions of Ravenloft never shied away from unique Darklord statblocks (to include Curse of Strahd), and they'd be missing the opportunity to include customizations like legendary actions. I suppose it would save them some space, though?
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I’ve tended to do morale checks in the opposite manner. The natural reaction to being frightened is to try to Run away - a Wisdom check is required to force oneself to Stay.

overall though I’d prefer something like Cthulhu sanity check
Agreed. Though I think I'd switch it from losing Sanity to gaining Stress. But otherwise function basically the same way.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I've heard that mentioned elsewhere online as well. Kind of an odd choice if applied universally - older versions of Ravenloft never shied away from unique Darklord statblocks (to include Curse of Strahd), and they'd be missing the opportunity to include customizations like legendary actions. I suppose it would save them some space, though?
In the Adventure books, it has been standard to list major NPCs as having a specific stat block from the MM, with changes X, Y, and Z. Bet that's the case here, suggested modifications as needed.
 

JEB

Hero
In the Adventure books, it has been standard to list major NPCs as having a specific stat block from the MM, with changes X, Y, and Z. Bet that's the case here, suggested modifications as needed.
Major NPCs (again, to include Strahd in Curse of Strahd) have usually received full stat blocks in the 5E adventure books, as I can attest from building the monster list on the D&D Lore Wiki. (Unless that changed with Candlekeep Mysteries.) But that was certainly standard for minor NPCs, yes. And again, it would be a space-saver.
 

Ash Mantle

Adventurer
Something like a list of common goals would be nice. That would certainly make some fights more interesting. Instead of it being just swing until your enemies are all dead, having actual goals for the enemies to focus on would be a huge step up. A lot of DMs already do that, of course, but making that explicit in the books would be nice. A return of a proper morale system would be good. Something front and center on the monster stat block instead of an optional rule buried at the ass end of the DMG.

Agreed. If it's an individual, like the Darklords, then their background should be enough. At least in CoS, they included the personality traits/ideals/flaws/bonds things for them, which helped enormously. For other monsters, yes, having more goals would be useful. I very much miss the Habitat and Ecology sections from the old 2e monsters. I wish they'd include something like that in 5e, or even just a line for Motive, like they do in the Cypher System books (although for a system that's supposed to be mostly about exploration and discovery, a whole lotta creatures have "hungers for flesh" as their Motive...). I quite like what they're going to be doing in the Level Up monster book, since it seems that each monster is going to have a Behavior section.

I agree about morale. I typically have creatures make Wisdom saves and try to escape if they succeed.
Also agreed. I'm an advocate of Wizards releasing supplements of at least 320 pages in length, we need more Eberron: Rising from the Last Wars, with that amount of page length all of the salient information that falls onto the DMs to evoke could be included in the actual setting book.

The Dark Lords, although having stats in that they are actually utilising MM stats, should really have been statted as unique entities with unique Dark Lord powers, and have their own lore entry. Likewise with the named NPCs mentioned in the book. Though they're all given personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws which'll serve as good inspiration for roleplaying personality.
The monster entries in the bestiary seem to be moving away from lore snippets, instead going for a more evocative, cohesive entry.

Hopefully we'll see a Volo's style supplement for specific groupings of monsters, a supplement dedicated to horror monsters would be awesome.
 

Also agreed. I'm an advocate of Wizards releasing supplements of at least 320 pages in length, we need more Eberron: Rising from the Last Wars, with that amount of page length all of the salient information that falls onto the DMs to evoke could be included in the actual setting book.

The Dark Lords, although having stats in that they are actually utilising MM stats, should really have been statted as unique entities with unique Dark Lord powers, and have their own lore entry. Likewise with the named NPCs mentioned in the book. Though they're all given personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws which'll serve as good inspiration for roleplaying personality.
The monster entries in the bestiary seem to be moving away from lore snippets, instead going for a more evocative, cohesive entry.

Hopefully we'll see a Volo's style supplement for specific groupings of monsters, a supplement dedicated to horror monsters would be awesome.
can we get bigger books?
 

Ash Mantle

Adventurer
can we get bigger books?
We should get bigger books, especially for the price point, and Wizards can and should put out higher page count supplements, especially going forward as their team is now larger.

We have precedent in Eberron: Rising from the Last War, and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, both of which are 320 pages, though possibly their page counts are a lot higher because Keith Baker is a prolific writer and there's already a lot of material covering Undermountain. Wizards should ideally get into the mindset of planning out 320 page supplements.
 

Remathilis

Legend
We should get bigger books, especially for the price point, and Wizards can and should put out higher page count supplements, especially going forward as their team is now larger.

We have precedent in Eberron: Rising from the Last War, and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, both of which are 320 pages, though possibly their page counts are a lot higher because Keith Baker is a prolific writer and there's already a lot of material covering Undermountain. Wizards should ideally get into the mindset of planning out 320 page supplements.
I think the reason those two got bigger pagecount is that Eberron had to intro a new base class with three subclasses and customizable infusions, which ate up the PC chapter alone and didn't get to dragonmark houses or new races. Due to pagecount going by bundles of 32, it got some breathing room elsewhere as well as a benefit. Sharn was the big recipient of that extra love, because most of Khorvaire is as barebones as the Ravenloft domains.

Mad Mage on the other hand was trying to fit 15 or so high level dungeons to fit Undermountain's level band. It needed more room on those 15-20 level dungeon levels.

Basically, both with exceptions rather than the rule due to unique elements that couldn't work under a normal page count.
 

Ash Mantle

Adventurer
I think the reason those two got bigger pagecount is that Eberron had to intro a new base class with three subclasses and customizable infusions, which ate up the PC chapter alone and didn't get to dragonmark houses or new races. Due to pagecount going by bundles of 32, it got some breathing room elsewhere as well as a benefit. Sharn was the big recipient of that extra love, because most of Khorvaire is as barebones as the Ravenloft domains.

Mad Mage on the other hand was trying to fit 15 or so high level dungeons to fit Undermountain's level band. It needed more room on those 15-20 level dungeon levels.

Basically, both with exceptions rather than the rule due to unique elements that couldn't work under a normal page count.
Which is where planning in advance with the mindset of the book being a 320 page supplement is key. In some books, there's a feeling that the book is missing lore or missing statblocks or missing other setting information, which ideally pushing what defines a normal page count to a higher page count will address.
 

Cpg327

Villager
The descriptions of the Domains are so brief it feels like the book is meant to be supplemented with 2e sourcebook knowledge. Personally I feel like using 2e Carnival in place of this version. Anyone else agree? The more videos I review the more it seems the 2e Carnival sourcebook for Ravenloft is considered one of their best.
 

The descriptions of the Domains are so brief it feels like the book is meant to be supplemented with 2e sourcebook knowledge. Personally I feel like using 2e Carnival in place of this version. Anyone else agree? The more videos I review the more it seems the 2e Carnival sourcebook for Ravenloft is considered one of their best.
Quite, if the stuff already exists they aren't going to plagiarise it. VGR is a "how to do horror" book (with some exemplar material). It's not a gazetteer.
 

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