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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

JEB

Adventurer
The 3E setting didn't exist as far as WotC is concerned, because it was a licensed work.
Previously, that wasn't clear, since Wizards includes the 3E material on DM Guild and had never explicitly contradicted it. But it's certainly starting to look that way now. (Again, I feel bad for the Kargatane, all that work down the drain.)

(This also has interesting implications for Dragonlance 3E, if that setting ever returns, since it's in the exact same situation.)

Just because we didn't get a mediocre series of novels out it doesn't mean there wasn't a Realms Shaking Event for Ravenloft.
3E Ravenloft multiple times hinted at the "Time of Unparalleled Darkness", which certainly sounds like it would fit the bill.

Even if 3E Ravenloft is now non-canon, there's still this bit from 2E's The Evil Eye (which looks to have inspired the ToUD):
Further, future TSR RAVENLOFT releases will continue to develop some of the seeds sewn in "The Evil Eye." The Dukkar and the mysterious Gentleman Caller are but the heralds of a time of terror that will make the Grand Conjunction look like a summer rainstorm.
 

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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I never really got into the distinctions between werewolves, wolfweres, and loup-garou in the D&D game. They are all just flavors of werewolf that can be summarized by one MM entry and perhaps a couple of statblocks.

Indeed.

When playing in French, Loup-Garou and Werewolves (literally Loup-Garou) are the same word!

Fun fact, in French, the ''were'' of all the werebeast is changed to Garou, so we have Rat-Garou, Tigre-Garou, Carpe-Garou :p etc
 

We assume it's being erased. All we have right now are theories about what happened to the older dark lords and why Azalin is wandering around. It's entirely possible that this book does follow 2E chronology for many or even all the domains, and stuff has happened in the ensuing decades. For one thing, the demiplane is inside the Plane of Shadows and has been broken into pieces, so something heavy duty happened, which could have all sorts of other consequences.

Just because we didn't get a mediocre series of novels out it doesn't mean there wasn't a Realms Shaking Event for Ravenloft.
From the previews and podcasts it sounds like they're completely reworking several domains and dark lords. And the main continent is no more
For better or worse it's a new setting inspired by the old

It's like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if they also stopped making comics
 

I never really got into the distinctions between werewolves, wolfweres, and loup-garou in the D&D game. They are all just flavors of werewolf that can be summarized by one MM entry and perhaps a couple of statblocks.

Werewolves are born as humans, wolfweres are born as wolves, and when they die, that is the form they revert to. That is the main difference I know.
 

They're interesting if you consider them to be more like trickster spirits than just another type of werewolf. Wolfweres are never mindless, slavering beasts, aren't bound by the moon, don't spread lycanthropy, and can appear, AFAICT, in any number of human(oid) forms of any gender or appearance--Harkon canonically has a female form as well as his male form, although he seems to prefer the male form. The fact that they used to be vulnerable to iron instead of silver gives them a very fey heritage.
You have now put 200% more effort into them than TSR ever did. ;)

I do agree that, with a name change, they would be welcome like that in a book of fey monsters.
 

Previously, that wasn't clear, since Wizards includes the 3E material on DM Guild and had never explicitly contradicted it. But it's certainly starting to look that way now. (Again, I feel bad for the Kargatane, all that work down the drain.)
This is rehashing old conversations, but it's best not get too emotionally attached to work for hire works (as a creator) or licensed works (as anyone).

That said, WotC is certainly aware of all the good work done with Ravenloft in the intervening years, and I think if there's anything they loved, they'll incorporate it in some fashion as, in the end, Ravenloft is theirs, including licensed and subsidiary works. (Look at how Marvel is now publishing even the Star Wars comics Dark Horse previously did, for instance.)
(This also has interesting implications for Dragonlance 3E, if that setting ever returns, since it's in the exact same situation.)
Given that some of the latter-day Dragonlance stuff was less enthusiastically embraced, a soft reset would probably be welcomed by many fans.
3E Ravenloft multiple times hinted at the "Time of Unparalleled Darkness", which certainly sounds like it would fit the bill.

Even if 3E Ravenloft is now non-canon, there's still this bit from 2E's The Evil Eye (which looks to have inspired the ToUD):
I shudder at the sewing-related horror we missed.
 

From the previews and podcasts it sounds like they're completely reworking several domains and dark lords. And the main continent is no more
For better or worse it's a new setting inspired by the old

It's like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if they also stopped making comics
I appreciate you really leaning into your posting handle, but if there's a canonical explanation for the sweeping changes, it's no different than how the Forgotten Realms has changed over the years. And given that Ravenloft is meant to be malleable by definition, it feels a little illogical to want everything to stay the same.
 





Parmandur

Legend
It strikes me, people are bemoaning the lack of a Lycanthrope race, but...one of the Dark Gifts could easily be Lycanthropy, based on the example of Mythic Odysseys of Theros, where you had Supernatural Gifts such as being the Oracle of the Gods or an artificial construct.

Theros had 9 Supernatural Gifts in five pages, and the Dark Gifts section is 6-7 pages long. I could see possibly more than 9 here, given the lack of a Piety system equivalent which elongated a couple of the Supernatural Gifts.
 

It strikes me, people are bemoaning the lack of a Lycanthrope race, but...one of the Dark Gifts could easily be Lycanthropy, based on the example of Mythic Odysseys of Theros, where you had Supernatural Gifts such as being the Oracle of the Gods or an artificial construct.

Theros had 9 Supernatural Gifts in five pages, and the Dark Gifts section is 6-7 pages long. I could see possibly more than 9 here, given the lack of a Piety system equivalent which elongated a couple of the Supernatural Gifts.
Isn't that just a shifter?
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
It strikes me, people are bemoaning the lack of a Lycanthrope race, but...one of the Dark Gifts could easily be Lycanthropy, based on the example of Mythic Odysseys of Theros, where you had Supernatural Gifts such as being the Oracle of the Gods or an artificial construct.

Theros had 9 Supernatural Gifts in five pages, and the Dark Gifts section is 6-7 pages long. I could see possibly more than 9 here, given the lack of a Piety system equivalent which elongated a couple of the Supernatural Gifts.

Honestly, Shifters are a great stand-in if anyone needs a Lycanthrope race, so I don't see why people need a separate thing.
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Unfortunately true (that nobody uses them as anything but werewolves). I honestly wouldn't mind Harkon being a jackalwere--they're not including Farelle so they wouldn't be stepping on that domain's toes--but the climate and terrain isn't quite right.
could just use the same stats and call it a Reynard Based on the European Fox trickster
 
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Parmandur

Legend
Isn't that just a shifter?
I mean, there were already Warforged, published within a year earlier, and Theros still has the Anvil-Forged Supernatural Gift, which plays in the same conceptual space.

Also worth noting, the Supernatural Gifts are called out in the rules as being the exact equivalent of Feats ("Just take a Feat from the PHB instead"). Which means that one of the Supernatural Gifts could serve as the basis for a Race via the Custom Lineage option in Tasha's. So I wouldn't be surprised if that was also the case here.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Yeah, I was going to say, Shifters were designed as player-friendly lycanthropes from day 1, so I can't see them adding anything beyond that and not just going 'use shifter stats'

Its possible, sure, but I can't really see it happening,e specially given Ravenloft has never been the 'Play as a werewolf' setting
If a player wants all the lycanthrope action there is to have, they're a dhampir shifter path of the beast barbarian. Just reflavor the dhampir to werewolf and done.
 

Pauper

That guy, who does that thing.
Curious that most of the 'big' domains get six pages of description, including Barovia. A couple come in at just four pages (Bluetspur and the Carnival), while a couple get eight pages (Borca, probably due to the presence of both Ivana Boritsi and Ivan Dilisniya as characters worthy of multi-page write-ups, and Kalakeri, the new hotness).

A couple of surprising inclusions:
  • Staunton Bluffs always seemed to me to be superfluous with Mordent around; they even duplicate the 'angry ghost darklord' trope. Curious to see what might exist to distinguish SB from Mordent.
  • Valachan was never one of my favorite domains, but its darklord had a suitably tragic backstory and was distinguishable enough from other major setting vampires that he didn't seem superfluous. No idea who Chakuna is or how the new character changes the 'role' of the domain.

A few other things I found curious:
  • Lots of collapsing of old 'clusters of terror' into single domain 'islands of terror'. The Amber Wastes (Har'Akir, Sebua, and Pharazia) is now just Har'Akir. The full Shadowlands cluster has been reduced to a less-than-one-page 'Shadowlands' domain; not clear how the domain changes in the new setting, though if Tergeron Manor and Shadowborn Manor become single-building domains (a la Scaena, see below), that might make sense. The old Zherisia cluster (Paridon, Timor) is now the domain of Zherisia.
  • Digging up obscurities like Risibilos and Tovag are interesting, but apparently at the expense of the Frozen Reaches (Sanguinia and Vorostokov); maybe Rime of the Frostmaiden was considered too recent a treatment of 'eternal winter as horror domain' to justify the Frozen Wastes?
  • The Nightmare Lands go from having an entire boxed set in 2E to being a less-than-one-page writeup in 5E.
  • A bunch of missing lesser domains, including the island domains of the Nocturnal Sea (Liffe, Todstein, Vechor, et al), and Rokushima Taiyoo. Vechor in particular is a curious cut, given the choice to include a different old Greyhawk-related domain in Tovag.

I can't say any of the major absences really surprise me, though:
  • Sithicus had developed beyond 'Dragonlance's Ravenloft domain', but given that Weis and Hickman were never fond of the domain (and particularly their pet villain Lord Soth's placement there originally), it doesn't surprise me that it's been basically swept under the rug.
  • For the same reason that you don't need six different vampire domains, you don't need multiple werewolf/shapechanger domains. If Kartakass is going to fill that function in 5E Ravenloft, then Verbrek is superfluous and can be cut.

Probably my favorite inclusion is Scaena, though -- the idea of a mobile domain whose darklord isn't actually confined to the domain itself (but still always returns, for curse-specific reasons) makes for a great mind-trippy domain to use on your PCs. Hopefully the writeup in the book will inspire me to dust off my notes and include an expanded Scaena in the DMs Guild; if used correctly, Scaena and its darklord can have your players wondering if they've ever actually left Ravenloft, or indeed ever can.

--
Pauper
 


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