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Author Topic: Ravenloft 5E  (Read 2246 times)

Thornhammer

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Ravenloft 5E
« on: February 22, 2021, 10:03:18 PM »
So we're either getting Ravenloft 5E or The Innistrad Show With Special Guest Cameo By Ravenloft, And By The Way Ravenloft Couldn't Make It Tonight So Here's More Innistrad.

DISCUSS!

I absolutely adore Ravenloft, so I'm down.

No, I will not tone down my Vistani in the slightest.
 

Slambo

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2021, 11:06:40 PM »
Didnt they alrewdy do ravenloft for 5e?

Mistwell

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2021, 11:27:42 PM »
Didnt they alrewdy do ravenloft for 5e?

They did Strahd and the lands surrounding his castle, but there is still a lot more to the setting than that.

jhkim

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2021, 12:07:10 AM »
I ran the original Ravenloft module for 5E and had a lot of fun with it.

I don't really like the Ravenloft demi-plane setting, though. I feel like it actually reduces the horror for it to be an isolated demi-plane as described, as compared to just having horror adventures in a fantasy setting.

BronzeDragon

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2021, 01:44:47 AM »
I ran the original Ravenloft module for 5E and had a lot of fun with it.

I don't really like the Ravenloft demi-plane setting, though. I feel like it actually reduces the horror for it to be an isolated demi-plane as described, as compared to just having horror adventures in a fantasy setting.

I've always seen Ravenloft horror as more tied to the nature of a horror prison than traditional horror.

Not being able to escape the demiplane, and therefore having to be subjected to it without a glimmer of hope is pretty horrific. The corruption of the demiplane also tends to exacerbate the hopelessness that pervades the adventures. You can't escape and the longer you stay, the more likely it is you'll become corrupted.
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spon

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2021, 04:31:18 AM »
I ran the original Ravenloft module for 5E and had a lot of fun with it.

I don't really like the Ravenloft demi-plane setting, though. I feel like it actually reduces the horror for it to be an isolated demi-plane as described, as compared to just having horror adventures in a fantasy setting.

But then you run into the problem that the demi-plane was set up to solve - how do you have horror when the PCs (and NPCs) can just leave? That's one of the tropes of horror, you can't escape. PCs have many ways to escape, so the (rather ham-fisted) approach of the demi-plane is there to prevent that. At least that's my take on it. 

Armchair Gamer

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2021, 07:57:07 AM »
I started with Ravenloft in 1991, have been a fan for years, and even wrote a couple of Dragon articles and had shadowy influence on bits of the 3rd Edition.

I have no interest in this. WotC doesn't want me as a fan, and I just don't trust them to get it right. Not the Vistani--I'd be perfectly fine with losing them--but D&D and Ravenloft have always been uneasy bedfellows at best, and with D&D becoming so self-absorbed, I don't know that the setting will retain its unique feel. More importantly, the moral dimensions of Gothic horror don't seem likely to survive WotC's devotion to the Death Cult.

Eirikrautha

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2021, 11:25:15 AM »
Sorry, but Ravenloft has got to be the most over-hyped setting in D&D.  I mean, I understand its appeal (somewhat), as it does present a different thematic feel.  But seriously, the mechanics of D&D have never really fit the thematic elements of Gothic horror, and Ravenloft really doesn't fix that (as far as I've seen).  I'm glad folks enjoy it, but I always feel a little... juvenile... whenever we attempt a campaign.  Like we should be teenage girls getting all hot and bothered over the menacing (yet somehow suave and romantic) Strahd.  I guess the whole WoD stuff has permanently warped my view of vampires in RPGs, and not for the positive.  At least Ravenloft doesn't seem to be designed to use to hit on tween girls (like Vampire: the Masquerade)...

Snark Knight

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2021, 12:06:38 PM »
Sorry, but Ravenloft has got to be the most over-hyped setting in D&D.  I mean, I understand its appeal (somewhat), as it does present a different thematic feel.  But seriously, the mechanics of D&D have never really fit the thematic elements of Gothic horror, and Ravenloft really doesn't fix that (as far as I've seen).  I'm glad folks enjoy it, but I always feel a little... juvenile... whenever we attempt a campaign.  Like we should be teenage girls getting all hot and bothered over the menacing (yet somehow suave and romantic) Strahd.  I guess the whole WoD stuff has permanently warped my view of vampires in RPGs, and not for the positive.  At least Ravenloft doesn't seem to be designed to use to hit on tween girls (like Vampire: the Masquerade)...

Considering the Square Peg, Round Hole approach that so many people take to settings and trying to force them into vanilla D&D, it's no wonder Ravenloft is so popular when it only reinforces that.

No, I will not tone down my Vistani in the slightest.

Yikes! Read the heckin' room sweetie before you do a racism that is literally killing Romani folx.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 12:08:32 PM by Snark Knight »

Lynn

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2021, 12:13:52 PM »
I ran the original Ravenloft module for 5E and had a lot of fun with it.

I don't really like the Ravenloft demi-plane setting, though. I feel like it actually reduces the horror for it to be an isolated demi-plane as described, as compared to just having horror adventures in a fantasy setting.

I've always seen Ravenloft horror as more tied to the nature of a horror prison than traditional horror.

Not being able to escape the demiplane, and therefore having to be subjected to it without a glimmer of hope is pretty horrific. The corruption of the demiplane also tends to exacerbate the hopelessness that pervades the adventures. You can't escape and the longer you stay, the more likely it is you'll become corrupted.

I think that's something that got lost over the various iterations of Ravenloft. I seem to recall descriptions of some domains as beautiful wilderness. A few have such subtle lords that its hard to really tell it is a kind of prison. I ran a game in which characters had established a home base in Nova Vaasa, so they had a fairly large 'base' that wasn't overloaded with undead or monsters.
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Armchair Gamer

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2021, 12:24:54 PM »
I think that's something that got lost over the various iterations of Ravenloft. I seem to recall descriptions of some domains as beautiful wilderness. A few have such subtle lords that its hard to really tell it is a kind of prison. I ran a game in which characters had established a home base in Nova Vaasa, so they had a fairly large 'base' that wasn't overloaded with undead or monsters.

   The official setting books tried to highlight the duality, but the fan impression of the setting was 'a hopeless, relentlessly horrid place where PCs go to die.' WotC could go either way.

   One thing that's different--back in Ravenloft's heyday, there wasn't much for Gothic horror in any form. The closest you'd get would be some old Chill books, Cthulhu by Gaslight, or the radically different World of Darkness. Nowadays, we've got Leagues of Gothic Horror from Triple Ace (which has now covered almost all of the Van Richten's Guides topics), Rippers and Accursed for Savage Worlds, and plenty of others. The setting may find itself pushed closer to the "D&D with bats and doom" motif than the "Gothic horror with some D&D touches" pole at the other end; it typically wavered between these two in its previous lives.

   And that's not counting the 'play the monsters' motif that a lot of people want and that the blurbs highlight as being catered to with the new lineages.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 12:26:34 PM by Armchair Gamer »

BronzeDragon

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2021, 12:35:08 PM »
The official setting books tried to highlight the duality, but the fan impression of the setting was 'a hopeless, relentlessly horrid place where PCs go to die.' WotC could go either way.

I think that is very much a result of the way most Ravenloft campaigns started, namely in a different world altogether, with the PCs being sucked into the Demiplane by some vortex portal while chasing a random baddie.

Players tended to see it as bleak because they saw it, rightfully, as a "the PCs go to jail....with Vampires!" sort of thing.

I don't think I've ever seen a Ravenloft campaign being run with adventurers native to the Demiplane.

P.S.: Also, Masque of the Red Death was a variation of Ravenloft much more akin to traditional Gothic Horror, and very well done IIRC. I've only run one Ravenloft campaign ever, so never had a chance to try Masque in my groups.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 12:37:22 PM by BronzeDragon »
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Samsquantch

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2021, 12:37:11 PM »
I have never played in Ravenloft as a setting beyond the original AD&D module I6 Ravenloft. It didn't really go over well with my group at the time and we preferred the more traditional medieval setting with a few Barrier Peaks type adventures thrown in from time to time.

I was not surprised to see the cult of PC come for Ravenloft though.

BedrockBrendan

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2021, 12:44:20 PM »
I adored Ravenloft. I ran it all through the 90s and early 2000s (and ran it again using 2E in 2009-10). I was never able to really get as excited by the d20 Ravenloft material (ran it, and it just didn't have the same feel in play). The WOTC 3rd edition Expedition to Castle Ravenloft really didn't work for me (not did the S&S stuff).  I bought the Curse of Strahd, and found that was just not for me. I know people who played it and love it. It just didn't feel like classic Ravenloft to me (to me classic Ravenloft is anything from the original module to the Domains of Dread). For me, the best core Ravenloft Material will always be Black Box, Van Richten Books and supplements like Feast of Goblyns and Castles Forlorn.

I have to say if they are going to do the Van Richten thing again, it is going to be really hard in my opinion for them to outdo the original van richten books. Those really enhanced play at the table for me in a way no other product ever has. I also think there were a lot of bad books done in that vein after the line left TSR (the books are sort of in first person, but the TSR books dealt with them in a more hammy, humorous, hammer horror type of way, that was a little over the top----and the later lines, IMO, got lost in the first person thing, took themselves too seriously and were little too goth). One feature of the Van Richten character they are probably going to have to jettison is his prejudice against the Vistani. This was a recurring trait, that was used as an ironic source of humor (it was meant as a flaw, and not a view the readers were meant to share). There is one line in one of the books where he talks about  a Vistani who helped him on investigations and how he 'won't blame an individual for the failings of an entire race'. Van Richten was the butt of the joke (and it is clearly spinning off the common wisdom of not blaming a whole race of people for the failings of individuals). Those kinds of touches were important to the character and tone of the books. I don't think they will be able to do that in the current version (though I could be wrong).

BedrockBrendan

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Re: Ravenloft 5E
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2021, 12:47:41 PM »
I ran the original Ravenloft module for 5E and had a lot of fun with it.

I don't really like the Ravenloft demi-plane setting, though. I feel like it actually reduces the horror for it to be an isolated demi-plane as described, as compared to just having horror adventures in a fantasy setting.

I think something that gets lost is Ravenloft was a little on the campy side. It wasn't super serious horror all the time. It was more like a setting stitched together from universal, hammer and other classic sources of horror. If you grew up on that stuff, having a whole world that felt essentially like it was cobbled together from Hammer Film sets, was a wonderful foundation for adventures. But I think it did require a sense of that landscape to click.