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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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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Aren't those just a modernization of the ones that existed in 3E...?
yeah The Undead Illithid featured in the Bluetspur adventure as a unique creation designed to overthrow the Elder Brain, except that they were feral, mindless and uncontrollable AND had to be puit down.
I still dont think it needed to have an entry in the Monster list though
 


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.
I don't know if the changes are good or bad. Haven't read the book yet. And not attached enough to Ravenloft to really have strong feelings
But suggesting these changes are just the result of the world being malleable is rather an insulting justification akin to "a wizard did it"

With the number of"sweeping changes" it's very likely there won't be a canonical explanation. Every single previewed domain has reportedly been heavily changed. Doubt the book won't even try and explain what happened to Viktor Mordenheim or Dominic d'Honair or Von Kharkov or Drakov. Or why Dementlieu is now only a single city and the other cities are lies. Or why the Core doesn't exist. Or why the Red Wizard has a different curse. Or even why the Foxglove Twins are now women of color

For better or worse this is a very different campaign that is just inspired by the 2nd Ed version
There won't be a canonical explanation for the changes because they're not even the same continuity. This is the reboot
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I don't know if the changes are good or bad. Haven't read the book yet. And not attached enough to Ravenloft to really have strong feelings
But suggesting these changes are just the result of the world being malleable is rather an insulting justification akin to "a wizard did it"

to be fair a Wizard (or rather Dark Powers) did it, really is the original conception of the Mists responding to the actions of the Darklords AND the PCs. Ravenloft is mutable. So the Mist shifting reality, causing entire cities to disappear and switching Darkloads without rhyme or reason is canon.
It was the idea of fixed Core domains with shared histories that was the original retcon.
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
The thing that gets me about Ravenloft is if the Dark Powers are really keeping the Dark Lords prisoner in their domains, why do the domains also perfectly reflect the Dark Lord’s personality? If the Dark Powers really wanted to torture the Dark Lords, they’d put them all in some version of Candy Land or Sugar Rush from Wreck-It Ralph. All these hyper-goth edgelords forced to sing and dance and cavort in candy land. That would be torture.
 

Yagno Petrovna and the cult of Zakhata is possibly the most hateful one from the demiplane of the dread. If this returns, it needs a total reboot. I can accept the idea of a religion promoting fast as a way to learn self-control, but based in the intentional starving is ridiculous. How could they replace the previous religion with other so "unconfortable"?

When I read the description of G'Henna, my first thought was the religion aspect was something of a veil over Yagno Petrovna and Zakhatra being allegories for Joseph Stalin and Soviet Communism.
 

The thing that gets me about Ravenloft is if the Dark Powers are really keeping the Dark Lords prisoner in their domains, why do the domains also perfectly reflect the Dark Lord’s personality?
Because we know from ol' Soth that, by realising its ultimately pointless and accepting the punishment, you'll stop doing what the Powers dragged you over there to actually do. Then, you're out of Ravenloft

The Powers gotta handle that little fragment of reasonability to keep people in their self-destructive 'keep doing this bad stuff' paths to keep their entertainment around.

Being put in Candyland might make the Dark Lords a little bit suspicious they're no longer in their previous regions and no longer endlessly repeating the same self-destructive tasks for the entertainment uncaring Powers. Good for a laugh, maybe, not good for your several season long show
 

Because we know from ol' Soth that, by realising its ultimately pointless and accepting the punishment, you'll stop doing what the Powers dragged you over there to actually do. Then, you're out of Ravenloft

Looking for any sort of consistency or system behind what the dark powers do is a fool's errand imho. There's been so many variations and interpretations from various sources that there's no consistency whatsoever, and both TSR and WW deliberately avoided codifying the Dark Powers' motivations.

Aside from Soth, remember Nathan Timothy? Evil mass-murdering werewolf darklord of Arkendale? Well, one fine sunny day his domain just ceased to exist, and now he wanders happily around the core on a riverboat, mass-murdering as he goes. No accepting punishment or anything there

The dark powers do what is necessary for plot and melodrama. Nothing else.
 

I also thought about G'Henna as an allegory about the Ucranian Holodomor and the hunger for Mao's great forward step, but I am afraid in this case they were too subtiled. I notice I can't "cancel" the trope of "evil preacher", like the character Harry Power from "the Night of the Hunter", the reverend from "Brimstone"(2016), Leland Drury from Disney's "White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf", Caleb (Buffy the vampire slayer) or the ghost reverend Henry Kane from Postergeist (2 and 3)...but I can warn we should avoid the possible abuse of certain tropes.

* We have to remember the metagame reasons because lord Sorth escaped Sithicus. I imagine two Sithicus, one of them is in the shadowfell of the Krynnsphere, and the second is the dread domain in the demiplane of horror. There are some portals between both, but the travel doesn't worth it. The "Krynnverse" Sithicus is "ruled" by four dark lords, Raitslin (punished before he was about to become a god), Ishtar kingh-priest, lord Sorth and Kitiara, whose soul within a magic gem.

* The dark powers' goal is not the punishment or torture, but there is other reason, like a test, for example. They dark lords could have been killed, destroyed, and their souls sent to the infernal planes, but they still have got some opportunity to the redemption and the end of the curse. Maybe a theory is the dark powers are psychologically torturing the dark lords to force these to do something, maybe the escape of the dark powers in the material plane.
 

yeah The Undead Illithid featured in the Bluetspur adventure as a unique creation designed to overthrow the Elder Brain, except that they were feral, mindless and uncontrollable AND had to be puit down.
I still dont think it needed to have an entry in the Monster list though
As someone who had to create stats for a 5e vampire illithid a couple of months ago, I think it is definitely needed.
 

to be fair a Wizard (or rather Dark Powers) did it, really is the original conception of the Mists responding to the actions of the Darklords AND the PCs. Ravenloft is mutable. So the Mist shifting reality, causing entire cities to disappear and switching Darkloads without rime or reason is canon.
It was the idea of fixed Core domains with shared histories that was the original retcon.
This. The idea of having fixed worlds following real world rules like economies, trade, etc undermined the initial concept.
 

When I read the description of G'Henna, my first thought was the religion aspect was something of a veil over Yagno Petrovna and Zakhatra being allegories for Joseph Stalin and Soviet Communism.
I think this is there, although it's not apparent unless you are well up on your history. It's kind of like punishing atheist communists by making them religious.
 



Stormonu

Legend
Notably, "Cyre got taken to Ravenloft" is a pretty common fan theory on what happened to Cyre because not only does a nation being enveloped by mists that stop at the exact border of where that nation is just reak of 'Dark Powers up to their mischief', but the noted remains of Cyre match up semi-well to the one other place we know of that got swiped by the Dark Powers, Kalidnay from Dark Sun

A cheeky little nod to the theory though, very nice
Everyone seems to be misreading this. It’s not the country of Cyre that got transported, it’s one train (lightning rail - train #1313), ala “Murder on the Orient Express”, “Snowpiercer” or “Train to Busan”.
 


Everyone seems to be misreading this. It’s not the country of Cyre that got transported, it’s one train (lightning rail - train #1313), ala “Murder on the Orient Express”, “Snowpiercer” or “Train to Busan”.
A Train to Busan scenario would be very, very intense and genuinely hard in D&D, since getting any rests would be difficult.
 


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