• COMING SOON! -- Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition! Level up your 5E game! The standalone advanced 5E tabletop RPG adds depth and diversity to the game you love!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft Review Round-Up – What the Critics Say

Now that you've had time to read my review of Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, and the book officially arrived in game stores on May 18, it's time to take a look at what other RPG reviewers thought of this guide to horror.


VRG9.jpg

Terrifyingly Awesome...​

Games Radar not only ranked VRGtR one of the best D&D books ever, they also praise it for taking a fresh approach to the decades-old RPG. GR notes that the chapter on domains could have become repetitive quickly, but instead it's packed with creativity.

VRGtR transformed the reviewer at The Gamer from someone uninterested in horror into someone planning a horror masquerade adventure. While they praise VRGtR for its player options, they like the information for DMs even more. That ranges from the new mechanics that replace the old madness rules to advice for DMs on how to create compelling villains.

Bell of Lost Souls praises VRGtR for how it makes players think about their character's stories, not just in terms of backgrounds but also through the Gothic lineages, how they came about, and impacted the character. They also like all the tools DMs get plus an abundance of inspiration for games. They actually like the fact that Darklords don't have stats because if they do, players will always find a way to kill them. Overall, they deem VRGtR “indispensable” for DMs and as having great information for everyone, which makes it “a hearty recommendation.”

Polygon was more effusive calling it “the biggest, best D&D book of this generation” and that “it has the potential to supercharge the role-playing hobby like never before.” As you can tell from those two phrases, Polygon gushes over VRGtR praising everything from the new character options to safety tools to its overflowing creativity, and more. They compliment the book for being packed with useful information for players and DMs.

VRG10.jpg

...And Scary Good​

Tribality broke down VRGtR chapter by chapter listing the content, and then summed up the book as being both an outstanding setting book and horror toolkit. They especially like that the various player options, such as Dark Gifts and lineages mean that death isn't necessarily the end of a character, but rather the start of a new plot.

Gaming Trend also praised VRGtR, especially the parts that discourage stigmatizing marginalized groups to create horror. They also considered the information on how to create your own Domain of Dream and Darklord inspiring. For example, it got them thinking about the role of space in creating horror, and how the mists allow a DM to drop players into a Domain for a one-shot if they don't want to run a full campaign. GT deemed VRGtR “excellent” and then pondered what other genres D&D could tackle next, like comedy adventures.

Strange Assembly loves the fact that VRGtR revives a classic D&D setting, and especially focuses on the Domains of Dread. They like the flavor of the Gothic lineages but not that some abilities are only once a day, preferring always-on abilities. Still, that's a small complaint when SA praises everything else, especially the short adventure, The House of Lament. VRGtR is considered an excellent value and worth checking out if you like scary D&D.

Geeks of Doom doesn't buck the trend of round-up. They really enjoyed the adventure inspiration and DM advice but especially appreciate the player options. agrees They really like the flexibility that's encouraged – and the new version of the loup-garou.

VRG11.jpg

The Final Grade​

While none of these publications give out a letter grade, the superlatives VRGtR has earned makes it pretty easy to associate ratings to each review. Games Radar, The Gamer, Polygon, and Bell of Lost Souls are so effusive in their praise that they would obviously be A+. Gaming Trend, Tribality, Strange Assembly, and Geeks of Doom also praise VRGtR, though their language isn't quite as strong or they have a very minor critique. That would make their reviews at least an A. Adding in the A+ from my own review, and Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft grades this product by which all others will likely be judged in the future:

A+

 
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad

Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels

imagineGod

Legend
You started off combative, have escalated with every response and then use everyone else's corresponding escalations as reason to escalate further.

Grognard literally means you're a veteran player. Saying people are using "slurs" is a great example of the extreme escalation happening here.

Also, spoiler alert: You guys aren't going to come to any agreement on alignment on this thread.
"Angry grognard" is not a term of endearment in any community, especially when used without knowledge of the other person's games history.

1622241430826.png
 

log in or register to remove this ad



Faolyn

Hero
I want alignment to be restricted to an optional Planescape setting book for 5e and future editions, just like I wanted the Customize your Origin mechanic to be restricted to Tasha's Cauldron of Everything for 5e. Alignment was being forced onto me, though, with its inclusion in every D&D book up until Candlekeep Mysteries. Stop trying to play the victim, and stop trying to paint me as the villain. I'm not. It's jerkish behavior and it's not true. Kindly, knock it off, please.
Now that I think about it, alignment might not even really be necessary for Planescape. (No, hear me out!)

You can step away from the way the Great Wheel centers on alignment and go to planar themes. Plane of Universal Harmony, Plane of Pastoral Kindness, Plane of Ceaseless War, Plane of Self-Centeredness, etc. You can still have layers get sucked from one plane to the other if the theme changes too much. That layer of Arcadia still got sucked into another plane because it was no longer a Peaceable Kingdom but more of a Military Camp--it might have ended up somewhere other than Mechanus in this version.

Likewise, the factions are, of course, philosophical in nature and generally don't map to any one alignment, even if their headquarters are on a plane on the Wheel.

And numerous NPCs were built to deliberately flout their race's norms. A'kin the Friendly Fiend (is he really Neutral Evil, or is he more complex than that). That one babau and osyluth who became BFFs. Ylem the rogue modron. Good tieflings and evil aasimar. Etc.

So considering how little alignment has impact on the rules so far in 5e, it might be very possible to have a Planescape with no alignment.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Now that I think about it, alignment might not even really be necessary for Planescape. (No, hear me out!)

You can step away from the way the Great Wheel centers on alignment and go to planar themes. Plane of Universal Harmony, Plane of Pastoral Kindness, Plane of Ceaseless War, Plane of Self-Centeredness, etc. You can still have layers get sucked from one plane to the other if the theme changes too much. That layer of Arcadia still got sucked into another plane because it was no longer a Peaceable Kingdom but more of a Military Camp--it might have ended up somewhere other than Mechanus in this version.

Likewise, the factions are, of course, philosophical in nature and generally don't map to any one alignment, even if their headquarters are on a plane on the Wheel.

And numerous NPCs were built to deliberately flout their race's norms. A'kin the Friendly Fiend (is he really Neutral Evil, or is he more complex than that). That one babau and osyluth who became BFFs. Ylem the rogue modron. Good tieflings and evil aasimar. Etc.

So considering how little alignment has impact on the rules so far in 5e, it might be very possible to have a Planescape with no alignment.
I agree it's possible, but I would prefer to have an optional book contain alignment (mostly) to be fair to the players that like/use it.
 

Now that I think about it, alignment might not even really be necessary for Planescape. (No, hear me out!)

You can step away from the way the Great Wheel centers on alignment and go to planar themes. Plane of Universal Harmony, Plane of Pastoral Kindness, Plane of Ceaseless War, Plane of Self-Centeredness, etc. You can still have layers get sucked from one plane to the other if the theme changes too much. That layer of Arcadia still got sucked into another plane because it was no longer a Peaceable Kingdom but more of a Military Camp--it might have ended up somewhere other than Mechanus in this version.

Likewise, the factions are, of course, philosophical in nature and generally don't map to any one alignment, even if their headquarters are on a plane on the Wheel.

And numerous NPCs were built to deliberately flout their race's norms. A'kin the Friendly Fiend (is he really Neutral Evil, or is he more complex than that). That one babau and osyluth who became BFFs. Ylem the rogue modron. Good tieflings and evil aasimar. Etc.

So considering how little alignment has impact on the rules so far in 5e, it might be very possible to have a Planescape with no alignment.
You can absolutely have a multi-planar setting without alignment, but you will never convince me that it is Planescape, no matter what the trade dress says.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
What if the PCs do seek out a Darklord? What if the story involves a confrontation with one?
Then the DM uses either the suggested statblock from the MM or from Van Richten's, or chooses or creates one that is appropriate to the level of the party. Strahd can be a level 20 campaign capstone fight, or the terrifying recurring villain of the early days of the campaign that is finally beaten, or at least escaped from, at level 6, or can be played straight out of CoS and be taken on around level 15.

The goal is literally the opposite of what you seem to think it is.
 



Azzy

KMF DM
Because Alignment with its single (E = Evil) or two letter (LG = Lawful Good) shorthand is much easier to peruse quikcly in a stat block and still offer the DM ideas into how to play a monster.
Monster statblocks don't use single or two-letter shorthands, though. The alignment entry is spelled in full.
 


Pauper

That guy, who does that thing.
A number of the old published adventures would not be consistent with the current campaign setting either, like the Cat of Falkovnic from Dungeon involving the former Baron darklord of Verbrek or the Darkon adventures involving Azalin's then active schemes for the Grand Conjunction and pre-Necropolis shenanigans.
Absolutely agree with you there -- if you were hoping to convert your old TSR adventures and use them with the new campaign book, you're probably pretty disappointed.

Though I have read some older fans who have basically decided to take the approach that they'll adopt the stuff they like about the new book into new domains and keep the old lore as it is. Given that a large portion of the old Ravenloft material is available on the DM's Guild, folks who are interested in the old lore can still get ahold of it.

--
Pauper
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)




imagineGod

Legend
Humans are truly strange.

Some who do not like eating avocados do not just skip ordering them from the menu, but instead demand all avocados get removed from every restaurant menu.


So some such people say: why should they be subjected to reading an entry for avocados when they personally dislike avocados, not caring that other patrons enjoy eating avocados regularly.
Because to them, how dare a restaurant take up space on a menu listing avocados when not everyone eats them.
 
Last edited:



Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top