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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

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.
I think they definitely are relying on that back catalog of material for people who want different or alternate versions of the domains. You still get the 5E rules and new takes on everything. If you don't like it, though, you can always use the fluff and maps from, say, Castle Forlorn instead.
 

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Remathilis

Legend
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.
It's more sampler platter than full on setting; enough to spark imagination without spelling it all out for you. Eberron took a similar approach by giving us 1/10th of what was in the 3e ECS (plus a good amount of Sharn) with more guidelines than places and things. I find the two MTG settings have similar amounts of world building, as does SCAG. The only exception I feel in Wildemont, but that being Mercer's child gives it a more 4e/Pathfinder 1e feel to it's world building.
 

Parmandur

Legend
It's more sampler platter than full on setting; enough to spark imagination without spelling it all out for you. Eberron took a similar approach by giving us 1/10th of what was in the 3e ECS (plus a good amount of Sharn) with more guidelines than places and things. I find the two MTG settings have similar amounts of world building, as does SCAG. The only exception I feel in Wildemont, but that being Mercer's child gives it a more 4e/Pathfinder 1e feel to it's world building.
They are books of ingredients more than a sampler platter, even.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
It's more sampler platter than full on setting; enough to spark imagination without spelling it all out for you. Eberron took a similar approach by giving us 1/10th of what was in the 3e ECS (plus a good amount of Sharn) with more guidelines than places and things. I find the two MTG settings have similar amounts of world building, as does SCAG. The only exception I feel in Wildemont, but that being Mercer's child gives it a more 4e/Pathfinder 1e feel to it's world building.
I'm going to agree with this. Rising was a great book for the setting, but too many parts of 5e are tuned in opposition to the setting itself so you still wind up playing in a way that winds up being jarring with the setting whenever those areas come up. Ravenloft suffers similarly with vrgtr walking around any significant mechanics changes that would shift the gameplay to really fit how the setting presents itself.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I'm going to agree with this. Rising was a great book for the setting, but too many parts of 5e are tuned in opposition to the setting itself so you still wind up playing in a way that winds up being jarring with the setting whenever those areas come up. Ravenloft suffers similarly with vrgtr walking around any significant mechanics changes that would shift the gameplay to really fit how the setting presents itself.
I'm looking more from a lore perspective than a mechanics one. D&D isn't a generic RPG like GURPS and I'm fine with the normal PHB rules being overlayed with a pulp or horror or sword and sandals theme. I don't need D&D twisting and removing rules and options to make it fit a genre (or the first printing of the setting from a decade or more ago).

What I am talking about is there is only a whiff of actual people, places and such to interact with. It takes the mile-wide, inch deep approach and misses a lot of interesting things to do with each setting. Eberron is a great example by boiling down Khorvaire's Five nations into sketches that barely give enough useful info for running an adventure in them. It's almost required you find a wiki or older book to know more. I guess it's to "make Eberron your own" but it makes running anything not in Sharn a diy project.

And Xen'drik? The jewel of 3e Eberron and setting for the MMO? Barely anything on it.

I mean I'm thankful I have a Eberron and Ravenloft book at all, but I guess I miss the more through takes of the ECS or DoD...
 

Parmandur

Legend
I'm looking more from a lore perspective than a mechanics one. D&D isn't a generic RPG like GURPS and I'm fine with the normal PHB rules being overlayed with a pulp or horror or sword and sandals theme. I don't need D&D twisting and removing rules and options to make it fit a genre (or the first printing of the setting from a decade or more ago).

What I am talking about is there is only a whiff of actual people, places and such to interact with. It takes the mile-wide, inch deep approach and misses a lot of interesting things to do with each setting. Eberron is a great example by boiling down Khorvaire's Five nations into sketches that barely give enough useful info for running an adventure in them. It's almost required you find a wiki or older book to know more. I guess it's to "make Eberron your own" but it makes running anything not in Sharn a diy project.

And Xen'drik? The jewel of 3e Eberron and setting for the MMO? Barely anything on it.

I mean I'm thankful I have a Eberron and Ravenloft book at all, but I guess I miss the more through takes of the ECS or DoD...
The 3E books are readily available for Lore dumps: this design is more useful for people who are homebrewing and want more tools (i.e., tha main audience of the game).
 


Parmandur

Legend
The 3.5 Eberron books are readily available as PDFs and are a great resource of lore.

The 3e and 3.5 Ravenloft core books and monster books are available in PDF, the detailed out domain lore of the 3.5 Gazetteers though are unfortunately not currently available as PDFs.
Well, maybe someday, unless there are rights issues.

For many people this new format is more practically useful, and with the existence of fan Wikis, old fashioned lore dumps honestly cannot compete. I enjoy that sort of thing, but it makes sense that they had to innovate a new format.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I'm looking more from a lore perspective than a mechanics one. D&D isn't a generic RPG like GURPS and I'm fine with the normal PHB rules being overlayed with a pulp or horror or sword and sandals theme. I don't need D&D twisting and removing rules and options to make it fit a genre (or the first printing of the setting from a decade or more ago).

What I am talking about is there is only a whiff of actual people, places and such to interact with. It takes the mile-wide, inch deep approach and misses a lot of interesting things to do with each setting. Eberron is a great example by boiling down Khorvaire's Five nations into sketches that barely give enough useful info for running an adventure in them. It's almost required you find a wiki or older book to know more. I guess it's to "make Eberron your own" but it makes running anything not in Sharn a diy project.

And Xen'drik? The jewel of 3e Eberron and setting for the MMO? Barely anything on it.

I mean I'm thankful I have a Eberron and Ravenloft book at all, but I guess I miss the more through takes of the ECS or DoD...

Xendrik was chosen for ddo explicitly because it was pretty blank slate where the mmo could do whatever rather than something well defined. Calling it the "jewel of 3e eberron" is a bit of a stretch: ;D

While yes d&d is not gurps or something, it is d&d which is the problem. 5e's designers took a game swimming in an ocean of magic items where players could die if careless & decided to try their hand at making it a desert of magic items with little if anything to limit them while making players have durability on par with deadpool/wolverine.

Those design choices clash with certain settings on various ways & despite claiming thst 5e's simplicity would enable easier rules tweaks/modular components wotc themselves aren't willing to actually make any effort at supporting it in that way
 

Those design choices clash with certain settings on various ways & despite claiming thst 5e's simplicity would enable easier rules tweaks/modular components wotc themselves aren't willing to actually make any effort at supporting it in that way
The DMG specifically has rules for how to make 5E deadlier, which is definitely support, even if you think it's insufficient.

But the fact that you used the phrase "swimming with magic items" suggests you know why the designers changed that element of the game. Getting regular magic items was built into the math of 4E -- if you didn't give your player characters magic items regularly, they couldn't keep up. I find that more restrictive, as a DM, than saying "give them if you want, don't give them if you don't want."
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
The DMG specifically has rules for how to make 5E deadlier, which is definitely support, even if you think it's insufficient.

But the fact that you used the phrase "swimming with magic items" suggests you know why the designers changed that element of the game. Getting regular magic items was built into the math of 4E -- if you didn't give your player characters magic items regularly, they couldn't keep up. I find that more restrictive, as a DM, than saying "give them if you want, don't give them if you don't want."
Your post displays the sort of letter of the problem while deliberately avoiding actually admitting that the problem is one that should be an issue for any form of acceptable gameplay that wotc displays time & again in the 5e era right down to some of the dmg rules you reference.

It really does not have rules that target the changes they made to crank the mutant healing factor on PCs let alone any of the secondary systems that were designed to exploit that Wade Wilson like healing. It has some rules mostly centered around making a hash of other things by adjusting rests.

It's good of you to admit that trying to remove magic items from the math of d&d and not bothering to do much in the pursuit of limiting stacking changed things, but the change goes against quite a bit more than just 4e. That change also impacts the ton & feel of settings that differ from FR to any significant degree.
 

Your post displays the sort of letter of the problem while deliberately avoiding actually admitting that the problem is one that should be an issue for any form of acceptable gameplay that wotc displays time & again in the 5e era right down to some of the dmg rules you reference.

It really does not have rules that target the changes they made to crank the mutant healing factor on PCs let alone any of the secondary systems that were designed to exploit that Wade Wilson like healing. It has some rules mostly centered around making a hash of other things by adjusting rests.

It's good of you to admit that trying to remove magic items from the math of d&d and not bothering to do much in the pursuit of limiting stacking changed things, but the change goes against quite a bit more than just 4e. That change also impacts the ton & feel of settings that differ from FR to any significant degree.
This is a super-aggressive response (I'm deliberately avoiding something? News to me. It's "good of me to admit" something? Are we opposing sides in a court case or something?) that's pretty hard to parse.

What I'm reading is that you think that, yes, the DMG optional rules are insufficient, and you think the overall 5E math and systems would need dramatically more work to match your preferred playstyle. Is that correct?
 

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