Dungeons & Dragons’ new book reboots the realms of Ravenloft

The subsequent marketing campaign book for fifth version Dungeons & Dragons is titled Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and it’s due out on May 18. The 256-page quantity particulars 30 new and reimagined realms from the Ravenloft multiverse, packaged as micro-settings in your subsequent marketing campaign. Each realm comes full with its personal distinctive villain for gamers to battle in opposition to, plus heroes new and previous to battle alongside.

Fans of the fashionable Curse of Strahd marketing campaign will know Ravenloft as the lair of the vampire Strahd von Zharovich, nevertheless it’s additionally the identify of an expansive marketing campaign setting revealed all through the 1990s. Van Richten’s Guide will element the many realms scattered via the mists outdoors of Strahd’s valley of Barovia, and even embrace steering for creating your personal realm of terror. There are a lot of further choices for creating characters tied to these realms, plus an all new 20-page journey known as The House of Lament.

“I’m a huge fan of all things horror,” stated Wes Schneider, senior sport designer at Wizards of the Coast and lead designer of Van Richten’s Guide, “so it was an absolute thrill to frame this book around bringing frightening elements like mummy lords, cosmic terrors, and urban legends to more D&D tables.”

Much like the upcoming Candlekeep Mysteries, the book may have a number of authors. Among them is Wizards’ new senior designer Amanda Hamon (previously of Kobold Press), Cassandra Khaw (Nothing But Blackened Teeth), Molly Ostertag (The Witch Boy), and Okay. Tempest Bradford (The Copper Scarab).

During a press preview occasion, Wizards’ Schneider and Hamon have been each available to tease just a few of the 30 realms on supply. They embrace Barovia, of course, the place the unique Curse of Strahd marketing campaign takes place, but in addition many extra.

Dementlieu, dominated by the merciless Saidra díHonaire, is a twisted tackle the fairy story style. Lamordia is house to Dr. Viktra Mordenheim, who chases her escaped flesh golem, Elise, throughout the land. Falkovnia has a new ruler named Vladeska Drakov and has been reimagined as a realm on the brink of a zombie apocalypse. There’s Kalakeri, which attracts its inspiration from Indian folklore and mythology, the place darklords Ramya, Arijani, and Reeva every vie for management. The final realm teased known as Valachan, the place the darklord Chakuna relentlessly hunts down participant characters for sport.

Players may have extra than simply magical objects and highly effective spells at their disposal. Scattered all through the mists can be different highly effective non-player characters to assist them of their journeys. They embrace Curse of Strahd’s Esmerelda d’Avenir, the highly effective Weathermay-Foxgrove twins, and touring detective Alanik Ray.

A player character stands in a room filled with magical curious, a spirit haunting them in the mirror.

Image: Paul Scott Canavan/Wizards of the Coast

The book can even embrace a prolonged part on setting secure boundaries to maintain everybody snug at the desk.

“A horror role-playing game is much more personal and is much longer [than a film or a television show]. It also doesn’t have an off switch,” Schneider stated throughout the preview occasion. “So if somebody does get uncomfortable at the table, if it turns out that the whole story is about secretly the worst thing that ever happened in your life, what do you do with that? How do you avoid getting into that situation, how do you get out of it, and how do you make sure that your entire game group is being supportive of those things?”

Van Richten’s Guide can even embrace new choices for gamers known as Dark Gifts, that are traits that may assist join participant characters with the setting and its themes. There’s two new subclasses to experiment with. They embrace the College of Spirits, which permits gamers construct a Bard that may alter actuality by telling scary tales. Meanwhile, Warlocks can select to derive their powers from a robust Undead Patron — maybe complicating the story by selecting the villain in management of the realm the place their explicit marketing campaign is about.

The book can even embrace three new potential character lineages: Dhampir, Hexblood, and Reborn. All three have been the topic of a current Unearthed Arcana playtest packet. Schneider stated that whereas they operate mechanically as races, they can be one thing {that a} character transitions into over the course of an journey.

“If […] you run into experiences with vampires or with hags,” Schneider stated, “and it makes sense to take the story in a direction that fundamentally changes the foundation of your character, these lineages give you the opportunity to explore that.”

Cultural sensitivities loom massive over tabletop gaming at the second, and role-playing video games particularly. Last yr, writer Wizards of the Coast apologized for racist stereotypes in its trendy supplies, vowing to do higher in the future. Content warnings now seem on its again catalog, a lot of which is accessible digitally. That contains 1997’s Domains of Dread, revealed by TSR, which Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft most carefully resembles.

“Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time,” notes the Domains of Dread content material warning on DriveThruRPG.com. “These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.”

Esmerlda d’Avenir stands ready to fight Strahd, whose love Tatyana is reflected in his blade.

Alternate cowl at will embrace a metallic end, proven right here as empty areas bordered in crimson.
Image: Scott M. Fischer/Wizards of the Coast

To keep away from repeating previous errors, Wizards stated it labored carefully with cultural consultants on Van Richten’s Guide. Most importantly, Wizards pressured that this marketing campaign book was created with all ages in thoughts.

“We understand that many folks these days play with their kids, play with younger players,” Schneider stated. “Horror doesn’t need to mean an R-rated movie. It doesn’t mean for adults only. You don’t need to bring your parents with you to see this D&D experience. Horror can be cartoons like Scooby Doo or like the old Ghostbusters cartoon. Those sort of things have horror elements to them while also being action stories, adventure stories, mystery stories, suspenseful stories. It doesn’t need to be all gory and visceral.”

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is now up for pre-order on Amazon, through D&D Beyond, and on Roll20. An alternate cowl, that includes Esmerlda d’Avenir and a particular metallic end, can be out there from native sport shops.

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