[D&D5] Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft

Fenris-77

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It seems to have the right moving parts from the description.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I saw a description last night that sounded like another rehashed adventures anthology.

This sounds promising, though.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I read an article on...Polygon(?) I think that was pretty lulz. Citing Scooby Doo as an example of how to do horror is the most laughable part without getting into stuff that might be edge political cases. Certainly dampened my enthusiasm a bit.
 

BedrockBrendan

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I read an article on...Polygon(?) I think that was pretty lulz. Citing Scooby Doo as an example of how to do horror is the most laughable part without getting into stuff that might be edge political cases. Certainly dampened my enthusiasm a bit.
I had a similar reaction. I don't think WOTC has ever done Ravenloft well, or at least to my taste. Curse of Strahd was definitely better than Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, but even that just wasn't my style when I read through it. The article on the new Ravenloft setting doesn't really grab my interest. Might just be an old man now, but the flavor doesn't quite do it for me. I find the 2E stuff is still good, and works well with the old system though, so for me, this isn't really an issue. I can run Ravenloft anytime I like if I want to.

I may just be very picky and very specific about my tastes here. Ravenloft wasn't just a setting to me, it was the setting that got me into the GM seat, and the novels were really what got me to become a reader. So it just resonated with me, and I like the old the flavor. This newer stuff, it just isn't for me.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I had a similar reaction. I don't think WOTC has ever done Ravenloft well, or at least to my taste. Curse of Strahd was definitely better than Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, but even that just wasn't my style when I read through it. The article on the new Ravenloft setting doesn't really grab my interest. Might just be an old man now, but the flavor doesn't quite do it for me. I find the 2E stuff is still good, and works well with the old system though, so for me, this isn't really an issue. I can run Ravenloft anytime I like if I want to.

I may just be very picky and very specific about my tastes here. Ravenloft wasn't just a setting to me, it was the setting that got me into the GM seat, and the novels were really what got me to become a reader. So it just resonated with me, and I like the old the flavor. This newer stuff, it just isn't for me.
I can say from experience that everything aside from 4e can be used in 5e with a little effort, and if it looks like the book has enough mechanical grease to smooth those edges out, it might be worth it for that, while using the older setting material (if, like me, you prefer 5e to other versions of D&D).
 

BedrockBrendan

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I can say from experience that everything aside from 4e can be used in 5e with a little effort, and if it looks like the book has enough mechanical grease to smooth those edges out, it might be worth it for that, while using the older setting material (if, like me, you prefer 5e to other versions of D&D).
I fell off after 4E. I did try 5E a few times, and there wasn't anything wrong with it, but I think I had been falling out of love with WOTC approach to adventures/settings since the early 2000s. Actually 4th edition was one of the things that prompted me to return to 2E and try running Ravenloft again with it. I actually found I preferred it to 3rd edition in terms of tone for the setting. So for me, I'm pretty content with the 2E system and the 2E material.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I fell off after 4E. I did try 5E a few times, and there wasn't anything wrong with it, but I think I had been falling out of love with WOTC approach to adventures/settings since the early 2000s. Actually 4th edition was one of the things that prompted me to return to 2E and try running Ravenloft again with it. I actually found I preferred it to 3rd edition in terms of tone for the setting. So for me, I'm pretty content with the 2E system and the 2E material.
Fair enough, whatever works. :smile:

As noted, I prefer 5e as a system and a mishmash of 2e and 3e for setting.

Though I'm tempted to say "fuck it" and just run Savage Ravenloft.

And that's if I get around to running Ravenloft again anytime soon.
 
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Stevethulhu

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I read an article on...Polygon(?) I think that was pretty lulz. Citing Scooby Doo as an example of how to do horror is the most laughable part without getting into stuff that might be edge political cases. Certainly dampened my enthusiasm a bit.
Scooby Doo played straight would work fine as a template.for horror scenarios. The basic elements are all there. Just toned down significantly.
 

TJS

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"And Strahd is really... Old Man Mordenkainen??"
"And I would've gotten AWAY with it, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"
And Ravenloft is really just the paddocks out the back of Waterdeep with an amnian fog machine and a dog touched up with a bit of phosphorus.
 

Silverlion

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Do you know what's funny? I limited my PCs to a set of specific races: Warforged (Clockwork people), Dhampir, Humans, and Shifters. It let me make the game feel like what I wanted. They were all modified to fit Ravenloft, and it felt more right than Ravenloft did after the original module. The game didn't last long, because the first adventure (which I figured I'd use) was such a railroad I disliked it. Next time, I'll just use my own horror adventure. Probably using something I've done before but not with this group.

Notably a string of murders after a plague, the players will need to figure out what is doing it and stop it--a "ragman" golem-like thing is sneaking into homes and strangling people, the creator, a rag-picker, whose child died of the plague, and his hate for the people for not helping, and stopping giving him the rags to reuse created the monster. Killing the monster should be hard, it's resistant or immune to several damage types. It can squeeze into the tightest places, and in general, is a good threat, that takes planning to deal with, plus no "must do this to proceed."

Mind you these days I may just skip D&D and use my own dark setting, and High Valor (called Mourngyre)
 

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Ha, it'll come out just as my current Ravenloft campaign is wrapping up. :hmmm:

Doesn't matter anyway, looks like they are radically revamping the setting, so I wouldn't have gotten much use out of it.

That is, if these reports are accurate. There is a particular pattern in the changes described that looks like a parody of current design trends. Surely they wouldn't go that laughably far?
 

Tommy Brownell

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Ha, it'll come out just as my current Ravenloft campaign is wrapping up. :hmmm:

Doesn't matter anyway, looks like they are radically revamping the setting, so I wouldn't have gotten much use out of it.

That is, if these reports are accurate. There is a particular pattern in the changes described that looks like a parody of current design trends. Surely they wouldn't go that laughably far?
What's the saying? Hold their beer?
 

BedrockBrendan

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Fair enough, whatever works. :smile:

As noted, I prefer 5e as a system and a mishmash of 2e and 3e for setting.

Though I'm tempted to say "fuck it" and just run Savage Ravenloft.

And that's if I get around to running Ravenloft again anytime soon.
I was always curious about a Savage Ravenloft
 

Shipyard Locked

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I'm guessing they are accurate. I read three articles about it yesterday, and they were all near-identical in the manner of journalists copy-pasting a WotC press release and replacing the occasional word with a synonym.
Too funny. The world really does feel like a series of Onion articles strung together these days.

Well whatever, it happens to Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance fans all the time, why should we be spared?

Plus, if I'm being honest I'm probably moving on from Ravenloft for good after this campaign anyway. I run it well, but it has been upsetting me emotionally lately. Such a dreadful headspace to occupy for a whole campaign. I'll let others have their fun in this Brave New World.
 

Necrozius

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Without getting into politics, could someone share links (perhaps a PM) to these articles? I'm genuinely curious.

As for this release... I have mixed feelings. I already have old Ravenloft books with all of the beloved artwork by Stephen Fabian. Other than pure mechanics (ie, new classes, races, feats etc...) I don't know if I want this book...
 

BedrockBrendan

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That is, if these reports are accurate. There is a particular pattern in the changes described that looks like a parody of current design trends. Surely they wouldn't go that laughably far?
The changes definitely don't really land with me. But I can also accept that I am old and my tastes are not going to be the same as what WOTC caters to these days (and WOTC was never my favorite company when it came to flavor and adventure anyways). But it is a little frustrating seeing a narrative emerge around old ravenloft that doesn't match what I remember from the time
 

BedrockBrendan

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As for this release... I have mixed feelings. I already have old Ravenloft books with all of the beloved artwork by Stephen Fabian. Other than pure mechanics (ie, new classes, races, feats etc...) I don't know if I want this book...
My feeling is you don't have Ravenloft without that art. The early books in the line benefited hugely from Fabian's unique style. I still continued to buy the books after he stopped illustrating them, but the mood really dropped once they shifted to other artists IMO. I think you definitely want more stylized art, rather than photorealistic art, on the interior of a ravenloft book for 5E, because it is all about creating an atmosphere. I don't know who would be the best choice. But it was definitely a non-realistic approach to interior art. Also the interiors were all black and white, and that really was an important part of the classic horror theme in my opinion
 

Necrozius

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I can appreciate dials to make Ravenloft adventures more "compatible" with younger audiences, as long as that G-rating full of whimsy and "Scooby-Doo" qualities aren't the baseline. Although based on what I saw in Rime of Frostmaiden, I'm not that hopeful.

I mean, if you are running a game for your kids, you should know, as a parent, what their limits are. I don't like the idea that D&D books need to include parenting tips. On the other hand, I can see setting boundaries okay when playing with strangers. Like, warning that "this adventure will feature zombie children and claustrophobic moments", so that players who are not comfortable with that can back away.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I was always curious about a Savage Ravenloft
Some well made fan stuff over at Fraternity of Shadows under Ravenloft Reincarnated. It's all for Deluxe, not the newest version of Savage Worlds, if that's what you would be likely to use, but Savage Worlds stuff converts easier between editions than D&D does.
 

Baulderstone

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Plus, if I'm being honest I'm probably moving on from Ravenloft for good after this campaign anyway. I run it well, but it has been upsetting me emotionally lately. Such a dreadful headspace to occupy for a whole campaign. I'll let others have their fun in this Brave New World.
I can understand that. I used to run some really dark games in my late teens and 20s, but I began to feel like Will Graham carrying that stuff around in my head for months at a time.
 

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But it is a little frustrating seeing a narrative emerge around old ravenloft that doesn't match what I remember from the time
Yes, that does gall me too, but sadly I'm getting used to it now. Similar things keep happening in many of my other hobbies and venues.

Nod politely, withdraw gracefully, preserve assiduously, do your own thing quietly.

My feeling is you don't have Ravenloft without that art. The early books in the line benefited hugely from Fabian's unique style. I still continued to buy the books after he stopped illustrating them, but the mood really dropped once they shifted to other artists IMO. I think you definitely want more stylized art, rather than photorealistic art, on the interior of a ravenloft book for 5E, because it is all about creating an atmosphere. I don't know who would be the best choice. But it was definitely a non-realistic approach to interior art. Also the interiors were all black and white, and that really was an important part of the classic horror theme in my opinion
WotC doesn't roll this way anymore, not since Magic: The Gathering codified its house style for better and worse.
 

Necrozius

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So without getting into forbidden topics, I’ve decided that I won’t be getting this unless it gets real high praise by independent reviewers (ie, not from big media sites or game designers who can work for WotC).

There are one or two writers involved whom I won’t support. They are truly toxic people who wage wars on Twitter and I don’t want to have anything to do with them.

I will just stick to my old books. They’re easy enough to convert to 5e anyway.
 

Stan

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I read an article on...Polygon(?) I think that was pretty lulz. Citing Scooby Doo as an example of how to do horror is the most laughable part without getting into stuff that might be edge political cases. Certainly dampened my enthusiasm a bit.
:irritated:

I haven't read the article and was never really into Ravenloft but don't go dissing the Doo.

Actually, if you add in the movies from the 90s to more recent, the monsters are often real, though not always what it seems. This allows plausible deniability - is it monsters or a clever wizard? Having the monsters be fake or at least different than expected on occasion adds a layer of mystery.

The gang is staying on an island with a hot pepper plantation. It turns out the zombies are real. But they're not they real danger. The plantation owners are immortal werecats who must occasionally sacrifice people to their god to stay alive. The zombies are former sacrifices trying to save the gang from the same fate.
 

Fenris-77

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I don't have an issue with using Scooby Doo as an example of the horror genre that's 'safe' for younger players. It pretty much does what it says on the tin.
 

Tommy Brownell

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:irritated:

I haven't read the article and was never really into Ravenloft but don't go dissing the Doo.

Actually, if you add in the movies from the 90s to more recent, the monsters are often real, though not always what it seems. This allows plausible deniability - is it monsters or a clever wizard? Having the monsters be fake or at least different than expected on occasion adds a layer of mystery.

The gang is staying on an island with a hot pepper plantation. It turns out the zombies are real. But they're not they real danger. The plantation owners are immortal werecats who must occasionally sacrifice people to their god to stay alive. The zombies are former sacrifices trying to save the gang from the same fate.
I run a horror game right now, East Texas University.

The Scooby Doo tropes work great there.

As someone who is a huge fan of Ravenloft and has also watched Scooby Doo extensively, it’s a terrible mix.

In my opinion, anyway.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I don't have an issue with using Scooby Doo as an example of the horror genre that's 'safe' for younger players. It pretty much does what it says on the tin.
As I said above, that’s fine. But for a setting that, IMO, had the most flavor out of any official D&D setting, it’s watering it down completely.

But I’m the terrible dad whose sons have both fought Strahd, not Old Man Jenkins in a vampire costume.
 

Baulderstone

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I run a horror game right now, East Texas University.

The Scooby Doo tropes work great there.

As someone who is a huge fan of Ravenloft and has also watched Scooby Doo extensively, it’s a terrible mix.

In my opinion, anyway.
Exactly. In a modern day setting, Scooby Doo tropes work. If you have travelled to a magical realm of horror, finding out the monster is a guy in a mask makes no sense at all. It's like playing The One Ring, travelling to Rivendell, and discovering that the elves are all really cosplaying fantasy fans wearing Spock ears.
 

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So I just found out they are breaking up the core continent in this edition. All remaining doubt it gone, I'm definitely not picking this up.

It really is Ravenloft's version of the 4th edition Forgotten Realms book.

Damn, it stings to realize you really are part of such an apparently worthless cohort of older fans that such radical overhauls make sense to the company.
 

Stan

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Based on descriptions, I think they should have called it domains of dread, which has been around since 2e but is a different beast.
 

The Butcher

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So I just found out they are breaking up the core continent in this edition. All remaining doubt it gone, I'm definitely not picking this up.

It really is Ravenloft's version of the 4th edition Forgotten Realms book.

Damn, it stings to realize you really are part of such an apparently worthless cohort of older fans that such radical overhauls make sense to the company.
Just you wait for the “what’s the matter, don’t your old books work anymore?” crowd to show up.

Based on descriptions, I think they should have called it domains of dread, which has been around since 2e but is a different beast.
How so?
 

Stan

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At least in 2e, each domain was designed to have its own lord that drove the feel of the land. Instead of a vampire, it might have a Dr. Frankenstein, or werewolves with fashion sense, or a kraken priest, or whatever. So it's ok for domain #23 to violate the feel of Ravenloft because it's 2 different places in the plane. But if someone is expecting all Ravenloft all the time, they might be disappointed.
 

Tommy Brownell

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At least in 2e, each domain was designed to have its own lord that drove the feel of the land. Instead of a vampire, it might have a Dr. Frankenstein, or werewolves with fashion sense, or a kraken priest, or whatever. So it's ok for domain #23 to violate the feel of Ravenloft because it's 2 different places in the plane. But if someone is expecting all Ravenloft all the time, they might be disappointed.
That was consistent in 3e as well. And they had “islands” which stood alone in the Mists and “clusters” which were two or more linked domains in the Mists.
 
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