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D_Lord
2009-09-19, 03:59 PM
I heard of it a few times around. I know it is some type of evil setting but I don't really know what it is? Could the wonder of the Playground help me out there? If it is really good I might even go and try and get a copy of it.

Thrice Dead Cat
2009-09-19, 04:06 PM
I believe the setting came about in 2E, with a few products for 3E. It's a gothic, horror themed setting. Bad things happen there with occasional eldritch abominations or creepy undead, depending on the DM's play-style.

Alignment detection magic for Good/Evil doesn't work and bad things happen to Good people. Of course, theories abound that the plane of Ravenloft was originally designed as the can for Sealed Evil in a Can, but no one is sure.

When in doubt, TV Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Ravenloft) or Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravenloft)

FoE
2009-09-19, 04:44 PM
The setting Ravenloft is a gothic-themed prison plane where only the most vile of individuals are sent; the place encourages evil, but it also punishes it. All those who live (or reside, as the case may be) in Ravenloft are playthings of the creatures who created it. Life expectancy is not high.

Gorgondantess
2009-09-19, 04:46 PM
The setting Ravenloft is a gothic-themed prison plane where only the most vile of individuals are sent; the place encourages evil, but it also punishes it. All those who live (or reside, as the case may be) in Ravenloft are playthings of the creatures who created it. Life expectancy is not high.

Unlife expectancy, however, is into the stratosphere.:smallamused:

Cedrass
2009-09-19, 04:50 PM
I might add that the world is surrounded by Mists that prevents people from getting out of it, but will allow people to Plane Shift into it. There are also patches of Mist traveling the world, and people who get traped inside are pretty much dead.

Playing in Ravenloft is awesome!

Yora
2009-09-19, 05:34 PM
Well, Ravenloft is a prision for the most evil dictators. But unfortunately it does not only snatch away these evildoers, but also a great deal of their countries, taking the mostly innocent population with it. Who then have to struggle in a nightmare-world.
The evil overlords have almost absolute power in their realms, but the one thing they really desire the most, they can never archieve. As a result, they are usually pissed all day and let their anger out on the population. It's a world in dire need of heroes, but even people who would be seen as heroes in other worlds, can mostly only hope to make it through a couple more days until they meet their usually sorrowful fates. :smallbiggrin:

chiasaur11
2009-09-19, 05:46 PM
Well, Ravenloft is a prision for the most evil dictators. But unfortunately it does not only snatch away these evildoers, but also a great deal of their countries, taking the mostly innocent population with it. Who then have to struggle in a nightmare-world.
The evil overlords have almost absolute power in their realms, but the one thing they really desire the most, they can never archieve. As a result, they are usually pissed all day and let their anger out on the population. It's a world in dire need of heroes, but even people who would be seen as heroes in other worlds, can mostly only hope to make it through a couple more days until they meet their usually sorrowful fates. :smallbiggrin:

And now, having been archive binging Girl Genius at a rate of better than one year a day recently, I am strongly considering the effects of dropping an old school Heterodyne in Ravenloft.

Gorgondantess
2009-09-19, 05:48 PM
And now, having been archive binging Girl Genius at a rate of better than one year a day recently, I am strongly considering the effects of dropping an old school Heterodyne in Ravenloft.

Christ, man, that's just... wow.

herrhauptmann
2009-09-19, 05:50 PM
Well, Ravenloft is a prision for the most evil dictators. But unfortunately it does not only snatch away these evildoers, but also a great deal of their countries, taking the mostly innocent population with it. Who then have to struggle in a nightmare-world.
The evil overlords have almost absolute power in their realms, but the one thing they really desire the most, they can never archieve. As a result, they are usually pissed all day and let their anger out on the population. It's a world in dire need of heroes, but even people who would be seen as heroes in other worlds, can mostly only hope to make it through a couple more days until they meet their usually sorrowful fates. :smallbiggrin:

Pretty much this, except one nitpick. When a dark lord is trapped, a new land is created around him, it might have one or two people from his history before being trapped, but not many. The rest of his land will be very similar to his original home, but the differences will be painfully obvious to the prisoner. A good example is Lord Soth from Dragonlance Setting. He was a deathknight, got trapped in Ravenloft, and during that time, his keep in Dragonlance sat empty.
There are certain effects if someone actually manages to kill a dark lord, but that's pretty much not gonna happen unless you're in Ravenloft because you ocnvinced the DM to run a zombie smashing game. (Which is not the intent of the system)

The heroes might survive, but rarely do they survive unscathed

Lapak
2009-09-19, 07:08 PM
Two major themes that I haven't seen mentioned thus far: the Dark Powers that imprison the darklords have a flair for the ironic. The man who became a vampire out of obsession with a girl only to cause her death rules a realm in which she is reincarnated every generation, only to meet an untimely end. The wizard who became a lich to live long enough to master all magic is granted eternal life but cursed with an inability to learn anything new. The mortal general who wishes to conquer is given land in a realm where invasion is impossible because each realm responds to its darklord in a way that makes attack futile. (Also, all his neighbors are powerful supernatural beings.) The werewolf who wished to conquer a nation is given an entire realm to rule, but there is nothing in it of note: no cities, no great centers of learning or commerce, just a bunch of back-of-beyond villages that never grow.

The other thing is that the PCs are expected to succeed in being heroes - they should shine all the brighter against the darkness. But their victories are usually small, and always limited, and it is impossible to change the nature of the plain. Ultimately, they can only hope to save those immediately around them, and if they reach too far to attempt more they run a very real risk of being corrupted by the Dark Powers and turned into everything they hate.

BenTheJester
2009-09-19, 07:16 PM
I heard Vecna escaped from Ravenloft, how did he succeed?

ZeroNumerous
2009-09-19, 07:48 PM
I heard Vecna escaped from Ravenloft, how did he succeed?

I don't know, but I know Lord Seth escaped by ignoring Ravenloft. Which is stupid to an epic degree.

PairO'Dice Lost
2009-09-19, 08:58 PM
I heard Vecna escaped from Ravenloft, how did he succeed?

Essentially, because he had the Hand of Vecna and Eye of Vecna and other Xs of Vecna outside Ravenloft, he had enough of a connection to the outside to work up some plot-device magic to do it. I can get out my old copy of Die Vecna Die for more particulars, if you wish.

Johanas
2009-09-19, 09:00 PM
I heard Vecna escaped from Ravenloft, how did he succeed?

According to Dragon Magazine 341: "Eventually, through patient plotting, near-immortal genius, and primordial magic, Vecna Shattered his prison and escaped, ascending to godhood and leaving his rival lost in the ether." They made reference to them fighting in "some misty realm" too.

Also...+1 to the Heterodyne. That's phenomenal.

P.S. Yes, the book references his hand and eye having a cult worship of some kind.

Doc Roc
2009-09-19, 09:31 PM
Ravenloft is more hellish than Hell, in practice in D&D. I've used it a couple of times in games, but I normally refrain because its an environment that lends itself painfully well to TPKs.

Overlord Nicy
2009-09-19, 09:32 PM
What is Ravenloft?

Just a miserable little pile of secrets.

Raltar
2009-09-19, 09:39 PM
Just a miserable little piles of secrets.

Was so sad when they changed that line in the Dracula X Chronicles version. *Sigh*

Tiktakkat
2009-09-19, 10:19 PM
I heard Vecna escaped from Ravenloft, how did he succeed?

He cheated.
He suckered Iuz into being absorbed into Vecna while in Ravenloft. At that point, Vecna was too powerful to be restrained by the demiplane, and he escaped to Sigil, using another loophole to be not-quite-a-deity as his power level was still in flux after absorbing Iuz.
After he was defeated in Sigiil, Iuz's essence was expelled, but Vecna was free to roam.

As for Ravenloft the Setting, it suffered from not really "getting it".
While it tried to be Gothic horror, it too often was nothing but splatter or body horror, compounded by the deus ex machina nature of the setting itself (you are imprisoned and get out when the DM feels like it), leaving its attempts at moral situations consistently falling well short of anything relevant.
It also suffered from the rules actually favoring being "somewhat" evil. You got power from the first one or two dark gifts with no significant penalty. That opened the door to gratuitous power mongering at a direct cost to the theme.

The New Bruceski
2009-09-19, 11:22 PM
I heard Vecna escaped from Ravenloft, how did he succeed?

Vecna was mentioned. The only other escapee (though there's an adventure line about Azalin the Lich coming close) is Lord Soth. Ravenloft was being handed to... I think it was White Wolf, and since Soth was from Dragonlance WotC wanted to keep rights to him, so he escaped the mists via a legal loophole.

Jarawara
2009-09-19, 11:48 PM
He suckered Iuz into being absorbed into Vecna while in Ravenloft. At that point, Vecna was too powerful to be restrained by the demiplane, and he escaped to Sigil, using another loophole to be not-quite-a-deity as his power level was still in flux after absorbing Iuz.
After he was defeated in Sigiil, Iuz's essence was expelled, but Vecna was free to roam.

Where do you get your info? Can you tell me where I can look to find all the details? I'd love to read up more about all that (I'm a fan of Greyhawk), but I don't know where to find a simple summary of events.

Inhuman Bot
2009-09-19, 11:56 PM
What's ravenloft? Awesome.

Yes, the other folk have summed it up fairly well I'd say.

Tiktakkat
2009-09-20, 12:37 AM
Where do you get your info? Can you tell me where I can look to find all the details? I'd love to read up more about all that (I'm a fan of Greyhawk), but I don't know where to find a simple summary of events.

That is an EXTREMELY condensed summary of the event of the module Die Vecna Die.

As for reading more, you would have to go throught the three Vecna modules: Vecna Lives, Vecna Reborn, and Die Vecna Die; plus the Core Beliefs article on Vecna in Dragon Magazine.

bosssmiley
2009-09-20, 09:41 AM
As for Ravenloft the Setting, it suffered from not really "getting it".
While it tried to be Gothic horror, it too often was nothing but splatter or body horror, compounded by the deus ex machina nature of the setting itself (you are imprisoned and get out when the DM feels like it), leaving its attempts at moral situations consistently falling well short of anything relevant.
It also suffered from the rules actually favoring being "somewhat" evil. You got power from the first one or two dark gifts with no significant penalty. That opened the door to gratuitous power mongering at a direct cost to the theme.

You need to read the Van Richten's Guide series. They were a masterclass in presenting Ravenloft as something more than a munchkin power fantasy. The Guide to Demons (by which Van Richten meant every Evil Outsider) was especially well done. Minor devil serial killers, a Cornugon warlord, and Demodands that actually make sense!

Lysander
2009-09-20, 10:09 AM
Technically Ravenloft is just one castle inside the "Land of Mists", which is the dimension of punishment as a whole. But it's such an iconic location that it's name became synonymous with the entire dimension.

Mark Hall
2009-09-20, 10:19 AM
You need to read the Van Richten's Guide series. They were a masterclass in presenting Ravenloft as something more than a munchkin power fantasy. The Guide to Demons (by which Van Richten meant every Evil Outsider) was especially well done. Minor devil serial killers, a Cornugon warlord, and Demodands that actually make sense!

Really, they work fabulously for bringing out options for any monster they cover. Nothing scares players more like hearing about how long a vampire has been around, or a tomb has been sealed, while you sit there with a Van Richten's Guide on whatever you've been talking about.

Tiktakkat
2009-09-20, 01:59 PM
You need to read the Van Richten's Guide series. They were a masterclass in presenting Ravenloft as something more than a munchkin power fantasy. The Guide to Demons (by which Van Richten meant every Evil Outsider) was especially well done. Minor devil serial killers, a Cornugon warlord, and Demodands that actually make sense!

Which edition? I read most of the early ones in 2nd ed.
While they certainly provided significant options they provided very little in the way of Gothic horror. Variable combat abilities and some ways to use existing monsters might make for good Slasher or Body horror, but it does not automatically translate to Gothic horror. Which, as I said, was the persistent problem with the Ravenloft setting.

Pyron
2009-09-20, 02:09 PM
Ravenloft is Blackwing's Crib. :smalltongue:

Samb
2009-09-20, 02:26 PM
Actually, I sometimes get the feeling that the only real people in the Mists are the darklord, "outsiders", and the Vistani. Think about it, the citizens of the land just appear out of nowhere. Who's to say the citizens really are the darklords' playthings?

Asheram
2009-09-20, 04:20 PM
I do love you people in here. You give the best inspiration.
I'm just in the middle of working up a Ravenloft campaign due to this thread.

herrhauptmann
2009-09-20, 09:18 PM
I do love you people in here. You give the best inspiration.
I'm just in the middle of working up a Ravenloft campaign due to this thread.

I beg you, please use the AD&D ravenloft and not the 3.0/3.5 ravenloft. The AD&D one was terrifying, depressing, desperate, everything a good ravenloft campaign should be.
Then we did one under 3.0 rules, using the SAME DM, and it just wasn't the same. More combat focused, more random encounters. And the story encounters were also less story, and more combat.
Ravenloft =/= Vampire Slaying game.
(Oh, and if you use 3.5 rules, use Rule 0 to get rid of certain items and PrC's. An undead campaign in ravenloft just doesn't work when you've got a Radiant Servant of Pelor in the party)

Debihuman
2009-09-20, 10:13 PM
Ravenloft is a gothic horror campaign set in the Demiplane of Dread. Think vampires, werewolves and ghosts. The rules are slightly tweaked for Ravenloft to give it a spookier atmosphere, but nothing you can't figure out in a couple of minutes. Each domain in Ravenloft featured an NPC villain. Lord Soth from Dragonlance even made an appearance in Ravenloft, but the Dragonlance setting reverted back to Weis and Hickman, and so Soth returned there--setting off a chain reaction and major setting revision.

WotC abandoned their less lucrative campaigns in the move to 3rd Edition, however, they licensed some of those campaigns out to other companies. Ravenloft was licensed by Arthaus Games and published by White Wolf Game Studio under their Sword and Sorcery Imprint. I thought Ravenloft 3.5 was well done.

The 2e Ravenloft modules were well written and could be converted to 3e with a bit of work. Unfortunately, no 2e modules were officially updated to 3rd edition.

There were also a line of novels based on this setting published by Wizards of the Coast. The first in the series was Vampire of the Mists by Christie Golden. She also wrote the 3rd book in the series, Dance of the Dead.

In 2006, the license reverted back to WotC and Ravenloft now appears in the Shadowfell and is part of the 4e cosmology.

Debby

herrhauptmann
2009-09-20, 10:58 PM
In 2006, the license reverted back to WotC and Ravenloft now appears in the Shadowfell and is part of the 4e cosmology.
Debby

Really? I did not know that. Have they done, or started planning to publish 4E ravenloft rules?

PairO'Dice Lost
2009-09-20, 11:21 PM
Really? I did not know that. Have they done, or started planning to publish 4E ravenloft rules?

Dear gods in Celestia, I hope not. They're already doing Dark Sun, and given the tone of 4e plus the...wonderful re-envisioning of FR compared to its 2e incarnation, I doubt 4e Ravenloft would turn out well.

I believe someone mentioned that there are Domains of Dread in the Shadowfell and that a few have been detailed in Dragon; I'd assume that they're pretty much basic sketches of the old Ravenloft domains.

holywhippet
2009-09-20, 11:30 PM
I don't know, but I know Lord Seth escaped by ignoring Ravenloft. Which is stupid to an epic degree.

I don't think it was that simple. My impression from the novel was that he was under the effect of two competing curses. The curse from Ravenloft was the standard "stuck in a bad place" one leaving him as lord of his own domain. Then there was the curse from back on Krynn - the one that made him a death knight to start with which bound him (sort of) to his old keep. The original curse won out in the end and he was returned to Krynn.

herrhauptmann
2009-09-21, 09:38 AM
I don't think it was that simple. My impression from the novel was that he was under the effect of two competing curses. The curse from Ravenloft was the standard "stuck in a bad place" one leaving him as lord of his own domain. Then there was the curse from back on Krynn - the one that made him a death knight to start with which bound him (sort of) to his old keep. The original curse won out in the end and he was returned to Krynn.

I sort of had the idea it was Authors Plot Device. He was created by Weis and Hickman, then someone else wrote a book taking their creation to a new world, using a few pages of text of one of their own books. Later, when they returned to writing Krynn novels, they decided they wanted to have him back in Krynn, and so some other author did just that for them.

Samb
2009-09-21, 09:58 AM
The ravenloft guys like taking trademarked characters and then losing them latter. That death knight from dragonlance, Kas and Venca from greyhawk are the only ones I caN think of at the moment but i think a sorccor king from dark sun is in there too.

I didn't know there was a reprint either. I figured heroes of horror was WotC's ravenloft wanna be.