D&D Reveals New Ravenloft Sourcebook

The Dungeons & Dragons workforce has introduced a brand new horror-themed sourcebook, Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft (see it at Amazon).

Featuring work from authors like Cassandra Khaw, Molly Ostertag, and Okay. Tempest Bradford, Van Richten’s Guide is about for a May 2021 launch. It focuses on the assorted Domains of Dread – maybe higher recognized to some D&D veterans because the Demiplane of Dread – featured in previous editions of the sport, from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Realm of Terror to the vastly in style 2016 Fifth Edition journey Curse of Strahd.

Cover artwork for Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, by Anna Podedworna (L) and Scott M. Fischer (R).

The information received’t merely be Curse of Strahd 1.5, nevertheless – you possibly can take a look at last year’s ReVamped edition for that – VRGtR will present choices for a wide range of horrific adventures and settings. “We understand that Curse of Strahd came out many years ago,” says Wes Schneider, senior D&D designer and lead on Van Richten’s Guide. “It’s been very popular, a lot of folks have played it already. So we wanted to make sure that if you played Curse of Strahd or other adventures in Ravenloft, that Van Richten’s Guide isn’t just like, ‘Oh, well, I did that.’”

From traditional monsters like werewolves and mummies to diversifications of japanese folks tales or fantastical takes on extra fashionable horror themes, Van Richten’s Guide will cowl all kinds of terror tropes to throw at your adventurers. The “Demiplane of Dread”, because it was recognized, accommodates a wide range of remoted realms – or “domains” – every one dominated over by a Darklord, a form of “lead” monster or character based mostly on the actual horror theme that kinds the idea of every area. Consider it like a extra terrifying model of the assorted sections of Disney World – however as an alternative of Tomorrowland or Galaxy’s Edge, you’re trapped in Frankenstein World or on Werewolf Island.

“Just like how the original Ravenloft adventure then spread out into an entire campaign setting back in the ’90s, we’re doing very much the same thing,” Schneider stated. “We’re starting with the core of Curse of Strahd and then expanding out from there into other Domains of Dread and beyond just Gothic horror. We’ll also be seeing cosmic horror, ghost stories, dark fantasies, psychological horror – all of these different things, depending on what your favorite flavor of nightmare might be.”Full alternate cover art by Scott M. Fischer.

Full alternate cowl artwork by Scott M. Fischer.

These aren’t simply reprintings of AD&D worlds with 5e mechanics, after all. While many domains have been refreshed, some have been solely reimagined to stretch the Ravenloft domains exterior the realm of “classical Gothic horror”. The area of Falkovnia, for instance, was one other area that includes a vampire Darklord – a necessity already fulfilled by Barovia’s Strahd Von Zarovich – so Scheinder and the workforce pivoted the realm to deal with a extra fashionable horror theme: the zombie apocalypse.

“Ravenloft had never had that before, just because that’s not really a Gothic horror trope,” Schneider says. “Now, we have now this whole area that’s continuously crumbling below the burden of those infinite zombie invasions. And the brand new Darklord, Vladeska Drakov, is that this horrible character however is additionally the area’s final hope to outlive in opposition to this much more overwhelming supernatural catastrophe.”

He says discovering the best intersection between each new and outdated horror themes and the D&D expertise has been an enormous a part of the e book’s design course of. “If you look at the Zombie in the Monster Manual, even a first-level party is gonna be like, ‘Oh, zombie… huh,’” he says with an air of pretend boredom. “But what happens when there are more zombies than there are fireballs? And how does that affect an entire society, and then how does that affect the characters?”

“The book deals a lot with the idea that any horror story across any piece of media is – whether it’s a movie, or it’s a book, or it’s a tabletop RPG – in general, at its core, a story about a haunting,” says Amanda Hamon, one other Senior Designer at D&D and one of many authors of Van Richten’s Guide. “What scares the character? What has happened to the character? What are the characters’ hangups, and the bad things that have happened to them? And [how] to bring them forward into the narrative?”Concept art of a 'Dark Gift,' by Paul Scott Canavan.

Concept artwork of a ‘Dark Gift,’ by Paul Scott Canavan.

To assist gamers lean into the horror environment, the Guide may even introduce new character choices, together with a set of recent lineages – constructing off the choices launched in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything – in addition to two new subclasses. The lineages, which gamers could acknowledge from the recently published Unearthed Arcana, embody the Dhampir, Hexblood, and Reborn, which characteristic traits born of vampires, hags, or undead creatures, respectively.

The subclasses included in VRGtR are the College of Spirits Bard, who can contact otherworldly spirits by way of gaming units and trinkets like a medium, and the Undead Patron Warlock, granting characters energy from past the grave. Also included are a group of recent Dark Gifts, much like these present in Curse of Strahd, which might present horror-themed bonuses and/or roleplay choices to gamers and their characters.

“One of the things that differentiate a horror game from just a normal tabletop RPG high-fantasy game,” Hamon says, “is the really intense role-playing in the atmospheric environment that you’re playing in. And I’m just really excited that [the Dark Gifts are] able to build in some of these mechanical ways of supporting that so that it’s not just describing a thing or kind of being superficial. It really feels baked into the game, and I feel like that’s an important piece of this book as well.”

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is about to launch on May 18, 2021. It will characteristic cowl artwork by Anna Podedworna, with an alternate cowl by Scott M. Fischer obtainable at local game stores. For extra D&D on Gamingskillz, take a look at our guide to playing Dungeons & Dragons online or take a look at our unboxing of the latest Beadle & Grimm platinum edition with Mattew Lillard himself!

JR is a Senior Editor at Gamingskillz and really a lot wanting ahead to taking his gamers to Frankenstein World. Give him imply puzzle concepts on Twitter.

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