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Author Topic: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result  (Read 6112 times)

Toran Ironfinder

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #270 on: June 10, 2021, 12:57:37 PM »
My main question is, how different is what I'd do without alignment as someone who plays Ravenloft with alignment? I've always generally ignored alignment in my D&D games, so I expect I'd do the same with Ravenloft.

Other than the trivial "well, then you don't fill in the alignment box on the character sheet", how is actual play different? If someone were playing in a canonical Ravenloft game and came over to my game, what would they notice?

One way it would be changed specific to Ravenloft is, at least I believe by the Red Boxed Set, the way powers checks work, the probability of attracting the dark powers attention factors in the alignment of victims (so there is a difference between torturing a good NPC and an evil character, or breaking a vow to a good god versus an evil one). This wasn't the case in the black boxed set. But it became the standard. Most other differences would be similar to those you would have in a normal D&D game: magic items keyed to alignment, spells that detect alignment (but again in Ravenloft only law and chaos can be detected), etc. I don't think Ravenloft is uniquely dependent on alignment compared to other settings. But it would still be a change. And I think if you took it a step further and didn't try to have a sense of what constitutes good and evil in the game, managing something like powers could be hard, and the classic horror tone could be hard to hit (that doesn't require alignment but you do need a sense that good and evil exists for something like powers checks to work)

The key part is the bolded section, which I think is a fundamental category error. As a parallel, many RPGs have specific personality mechanics where each PC has mechanically-assigned traits like "Greedy". Sometimes, proponents of these mechanics will say things like "Well, if you play in a game without these mechanics, then all characters are lifeless and have no personality." I find that in practice, this is simply not the case. Characters having personality is not the same thing as personality mechanics.

The same thing is true with alignment. Not having alignment mechanics has nothing to do with whether there is good and evil in a game. And that's explicitly not the case in 5E Ravenloft. For example, did you read the 5E section on Darklord corruption that I posted? Here it is again:

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Corrupt Beyond Redemption

Darklords aren't misunderstood souls condemned through no fault of their own. If a person's potential for evil is particularly great, the Dark Powers might indirectly nurture further transgression, but they don't force individuals to undertake actions against their will. When an evildoer's wickedness ripens, the Dark Powers engulf them forever.

When creating your Darklord, consider the depth of their greatest evil and what made it more significant, abominable, or poetic than more common forms of villainy. The following elements all might be aspects of this corruption:

Evil Acts. The Dark Powers consider an act to be evil if it is intentional, unnecessary, and successful, and most importantly, if it causes significant harm. Accidents, self-defense, deeds necessary for survival, and forced or coerced actions do not qualify. Early in the character's creation, consider what evils your Darklord performed, and revisit these crimes as you develop the villain's other details.

Those Harmed. The people the Darklord harmed need to feel real. Give them names. Imbue them with agency, and don't define them as victims or props. The people who survived the Darklord's evil might be part of a Darklord's history or allies who join the players' characters, or might hold the key to righting the Darklord's wrongs. For each character, consider whether they were important to the Darklord and how that relationship changed.

Irredeemable. Once the Dark Powers take an evil person, that individual's fate is sealed. Before the final corruption, a person can atone--but only if they take genuine responsibility, heal the harm caused, and reform to prevent future harm. Once an evildoer becomes a Darklord, it is far too late. Consider whether your Darklord had a chance to redeem themself and the decision that led to their current fate.

In practice, I've played plenty of fantasy games and horror games that don't use alignment. Also, when I wasn't DM, I've played in some D&D games where alignment was technically in use. I found that the mechanics rarely came up. The few cases I recall were:

1) In theory, Know Alignment could be used to short-circuit mysteries by just casting on all the suspects to see who was evil - but DMs would find ways around this or simply not run mysteries.

2) In earlier editions, there was possibility that the DM could impose XP penalties if someone didn't play their alignment, but that never came up in my games and has been dropped as part of alignment being descriptive rather than a straightjacket.

3) Magic items keyed to alignment were rare in my experience, and it just meant a slight reshuffling of loot. I found this sort of item was more of a big deal in a game without alignment. For example, if the characters got a holy relic that could only be used by someone pure of heart, it was much more interesting.

I haven't played with Dark Powers checks, but I'm also not sure how much it would be affected. For example, you cited "there is a difference between torturing a good NPC and an evil character".

In practice, if the PCs tortured an NPC, would you really look on the character sheet to see what that NPCs designated alignment is to determine whether the PCs were doing wrong? This seems like the sort of thing that I would generally judge without mechanics.

If I understand the original post in this thread, it seems to me using 5e is the wrong benchmark, the RPG Pundit appears to be suggesting that 5e Ravenloft itself does a poor job of maintaining the fictional world's metaphysical assumptions.

HappyDaze

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #271 on: June 10, 2021, 01:09:45 PM »
I've seen the FFG Star Warsesque product, it really isn't star wars anymore, and I won't be playing it as a result. But, Disney's custodianshjp of the force is dishonest in much the same way, though this had been a problem since the prequels, people seem to think the darkside and the "lightside" are balanced, actually Lucas viewed the darkside as an infection in the force, and it's existence was the imbalance and never used the phrase lightside. I would expect this was explained when Disney took over the property, but it could be simply poor interpretationsal skills.


This particular problem has been true of discussions I've heard about recent editions, there were similar complaints.
There are a lot of people that bought & played FFG's Star Wars that would disagree with you. It may not be your Star Wars as you choose to remember it, but it's still Star Wars to many.
Actually the post seems to be the integrity of the custodianship of intellectual properties. The phrase you use represents subjectivist pseudointellectual nonsense in the academy I was thinking about looking for a PBP game to get away from, disheartening to see it here, and I may need to rethink things. It is not "Star Wars as I choose to remember it," the metaphysics of things like the force are defined by a creator or author (in this case Lucas), deviations or changes from that vision are simply bad interpretation. Of course, moderns tend to be horrible interpreters of literature and prose, our English departments have been infected by Continental philosophy since the 70s, and I guess it is filtering down further and further. The Pundit seems to be implying that these same problems have impacted gaming.
Lucas himself changed his material and then went on to approve of others doing the same. That's something those controlling a property (film, RPG, whatever) have. It is not bad interpretation. Your views of what they have done is a better example of bad interpretation. As you assumed all of the answers were in the original materials and dismissed everything that came later. You don't have to like it (I don't like most of post 2015 Star Wars), but you can't be taken seriously if you dismiss it as not being Star Wars. In the same way,  the current Ravenloft book is most certainly Ravenloft even if you don't like it.

Toran Ironfinder

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #272 on: June 10, 2021, 01:31:14 PM »
Robert's made a good point here. In fact, the word 'faith' in a religious context probably is not the same as what we would consider it, since it is a fact in these settings (except for maybe Eberron) that the god is out there. And if there is a doctrinal dispute, there are spells that can be used to resolve it.

This is an interesting conundrum; I may need to contemplate it for a while myself.
In Classic Play: The Book of the Planes by Mongoose, they mention something about maybe the GM could have gods be flawed and not know the answer to doctrinal disputes. (emphasis mine):

Quote
Part of the charm of a plane-hopping game is encountering truly bizarre phenomena, philosophies and entities, and being able to deal with cosmological questions like the meaning of life and death directly, on a practical level. The downside of this is that there is always one player who nitpicks or finds fault with explanations. Be prepared for questions like ‘why is there farming (or mining, or whatever) when there’s an infinite plane of food (or minerals, or whatever)?’, ‘how can there be different versions of the same religion when a cleric can just pop into the god’s home plane and ask for clarification?’, or ‘why do people live here when there is that portal to a much nicer plane that we just came through?’ Even the best Games Master can get tripped up sometimes, especially in strange environments where a lot of assumptions no longer apply.
Quote
Stealing the player’s ideas: Whenever any objection is raised, people will try to rationalise it – ‘people don’t mine the plane of Earth because it is too dangerous’, ‘the god allows different versions of the same faith because he’s undecided himself’ and so on. Listen to your players and do not be afraid to borrow their solutions

I don't like the typical D&D approach to religion precisely because of its ahistoricity (and because different writers write different things and can't agree on theology). I prefer to write religion that is based on actual religious psychology. The Eberron approach where divine magic comes from belief is extremely useful to me. By positing that spells are colored by the belief of the caster then you can set up religious schisms where both sides believe they are right because their "god" told them and can even summon "angels" to fight for them. Naturally, both sides will assume that the other side is consorting with demons.

Technically D&D already operates on "belief makes reality" according to Planescape, but Eberron is the first setting to actually put that into practice.

However, as Terry Pratchet points out, this logic leads to the bizarre disturbing situation where good but guilt-ridden people go to hell, jerks who picket funerals go to heaven, and therefore it's vitally important to shoot missionaries on sight. I'm still trying to figure out that problem because that just doesn't sit well with me ethically.

Modern Relativism is an outgrowth of problems for ethics growing out of materialism, which is not an assumption of DnD fictional worlds. Materialism cannot coexist with universal ethical prescriptions, said prescriptions cannot be true within a materialist system, because material/energy/reactions/whatever cannot bring them into existence. Existentialism, non-reductive materialism, etc., are attempted solutions, though I tend to consider them either arbitrary in terms of systems such as existentialism, or incoherent in the cases such of non-reductive materialism.

Secondarily, moderns in the west are heirs to perfect being theology, which is incompatible by definition with polytheism, the conception of a god in such systems is very different from Christian, Jewish or Islamic worldviews. If using real world religions, at a minimum, monotheistic beliefs would need to be excluded, though you could read up on Roman, Greek, etc., which will be distinct from their mythologies in many respects.
I’m reading theoi.com right now. There’s a personification of vice and immorality.  https://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Kakia.html

I know the ancient pagans actively debated philosophy and ethics and stuff. What does that mean for their deities and any setting where their deities are demonstrably real entities? The Euthyphro dilemma still applies.

Actually the Euphyro dilemma applies to polytheistic religions, but not really to any monotheistic religion that adheres to Perfect Being Theology. The modern application of that principle to monotheism is due to a failure to grasp the implications of said Perfect Being Theology and Divine Necessity, but that is a point only grasped by thought and meditation, and not germane for a gaming board, but I think it demonstrates the type of thing to which I am referring: Monotheism and polytheism differ far more essentially from one another than merely a discussion of the number of deities, (with the exception of something like Aristotle's unnamed Deity which is the final cause), the comparison between the two can lead to subtle misinterpretations. What is germane would be a basic point, for example, you cannot have two maximally great beings, to use one phrase for discussing that point, so all the various deities cannot be perfect beings.

Also, I would never get information involving philosophy of religion from a website, really I wouldn't use websites for anything in philosophy. Start with something generic (A Companion to Philosophy  of Religion edited by Taliaferro, Draper and Quinn), or a basic handbook on distinctions of worldview (The Universe Next Door or God is not One). Philosophy starts with the Greeks, but the discussions they had are fairly different than what you would read today, for example, Greeks had some ethical debates, but they tended to focus on the nature of the virtues, but they never questioned the truth value of the virtues, and they took for granted the identification of most of the virtues. Similarly, most of the philosophers debated the metaphysics of their deities, but many key points in debate today were taken for granted by the Greeks. The Romans in contrast tended to exegete and apply Stoic philosophy rather than a homegrown set of ideals I would suggest reading works on Greek and Roman culture and history as a starting point here (and Greco-Roman because we are their heirs, and therefore we will tend to understand their world a bit better than other polytheistic societies).
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 02:16:33 PM by Toran Ironfinder »

Toran Ironfinder

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #273 on: June 10, 2021, 01:33:21 PM »
I've seen the FFG Star Warsesque product, it really isn't star wars anymore, and I won't be playing it as a result. But, Disney's custodianshjp of the force is dishonest in much the same way, though this had been a problem since the prequels, people seem to think the darkside and the "lightside" are balanced, actually Lucas viewed the darkside as an infection in the force, and it's existence was the imbalance and never used the phrase lightside. I would expect this was explained when Disney took over the property, but it could be simply poor interpretationsal skills.


This particular problem has been true of discussions I've heard about recent editions, there were similar complaints.
There are a lot of people that bought & played FFG's Star Wars that would disagree with you. It may not be your Star Wars as you choose to remember it, but it's still Star Wars to many.
Actually the post seems to be the integrity of the custodianship of intellectual properties. The phrase you use represents subjectivist pseudointellectual nonsense in the academy I was thinking about looking for a PBP game to get away from, disheartening to see it here, and I may need to rethink things. It is not "Star Wars as I choose to remember it," the metaphysics of things like the force are defined by a creator or author (in this case Lucas), deviations or changes from that vision are simply bad interpretation. Of course, moderns tend to be horrible interpreters of literature and prose, our English departments have been infected by Continental philosophy since the 70s, and I guess it is filtering down further and further. The Pundit seems to be implying that these same problems have impacted gaming.
Lucas himself changed his material and then went on to approve of others doing the same. That's something those controlling a property (film, RPG, whatever) have. It is not bad interpretation. Your views of what they have done is a better example of bad interpretation. As you assumed all of the answers were in the original materials and dismissed everything that came later. You don't have to like it (I don't like most of post 2015 Star Wars), but you can't be taken seriously if you dismiss it as not being Star Wars. In the same way,  the current Ravenloft book is most certainly Ravenloft even if you don't like it.

Lucas did approve some work others did, yes, and there are some issues of convolution in the EU (though even back then, G level Canon trumped everything else automatically), but that is not what I am discussing, I'm discussing core metaphysical concepts within the setting. Another way of phrasing it would be, Disney and FFG's Star Wars is incoherent (which is always bad); some exegesis and application are possible, but you can't change the core metaphysical paradigms and remain with a coherent unified product. When you change those paradigms, what you get is something different from what you had before, and I'm trying to explain that without getting too technical. Lucas has his faults (I would never suggest Joseph Campbell as a guide to understanding myth, for example), but he does seem to be coherent within his own assumptions (outside of the problem of making an absolute statement denying the existence of absolutes, that is).

 As to interpretation, I use the phrase because I assume in Disney's case, at least, it is due to a lack of skill in understanding the source material, because it fits similar errors in interpretation I found on WOTC D20 board back in the day, and a few other locations; a lot of people genuinely thought any discussion of balance in the force implied some equal measure of Dark and Light, as I put it, they interpreted Star Wars through the lenses of Dragonlance, when Lucas in various other media explicitly gave a distinctively different vision, rooted in gnostic rather than Chinese dualism. The thing is, they thought that was Lucas's intention in the setting (hence a discussion of interpretational skill); they eisegeted a Chinese dualism into the setting, but did not realize it was Eisegesis. This is a common modern problem and would appear to be the best explanation for Disney's custodianship.  That is, changes in Star Wars, IMO, are related to a lack of skill, rather than some intentional incoherency, though admittedly that doesn't explain changes in things like lightspeed.

Ravenloft is a bit different, I'm going on second hand writers here, aI thumped through through a campaign setting to understand some things going on during the end stages of the Satanic Panic, I own a disc with basic handbooks I bought on sale in the early 90s, but my only DnD experience is limited to playing with cousins who within 10 minutes wanted to roleplay raping slave women in a temple, I quit immediately at the time and didn't look back until some conversations in college; I've played a few video games and read a few novels (sometimes without even realizing at first they were DnD). No expert here, my point is, it seems to me the discussions of older players are referring to the same kind of incoherence noted above, which is an issue of product quality, whoever owns the name in legal terms. If the world loses coherency due to changes, it means the company is doing poor quality work, which is my point beyond anything to do with rights to material in a legal sense. I'm using terminology that tries to explain the changes in feel they are expressing, but my point isn't primarily about labeling something, its to try to dumb things down and avoid a discussion that is too deep. Changes to a setting, again, using the example of retconning out Kender, create problems for suspension of disbelief, its an issue in evaluating a products quality, and I think the RPG pundits claims here can be understood as saying these changes mean 5E Ravenloft is a low quality product, due to the creation of an internally incoherent world.

I hope that explains the point better.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 02:58:53 PM by Toran Ironfinder »

Bedrockbrendan

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #274 on: June 10, 2021, 02:40:42 PM »
I've seen the FFG Star Warsesque product, it really isn't star wars anymore, and I won't be playing it as a result. But, Disney's custodianshjp of the force is dishonest in much the same way, though this had been a problem since the prequels, people seem to think the darkside and the "lightside" are balanced, actually Lucas viewed the darkside as an infection in the force, and it's existence was the imbalance and never used the phrase lightside. I would expect this was explained when Disney took over the property, but it could be simply poor interpretationsal skills.


This particular problem has been true of discussions I've heard about recent editions, there were similar complaints.
There are a lot of people that bought & played FFG's Star Wars that would disagree with you. It may not be your Star Wars as you choose to remember it, but it's still Star Wars to many.
Actually the post seems to be the integrity of the custodianship of intellectual properties. The phrase you use represents subjectivist pseudointellectual nonsense in the academy I was thinking about looking for a PBP game to get away from, disheartening to see it here, and I may need to rethink things. It is not "Star Wars as I choose to remember it," the metaphysics of things like the force are defined by a creator or author (in this case Lucas), deviations or changes from that vision are simply bad interpretation. Of course, moderns tend to be horrible interpreters of literature and prose, our English departments have been infected by Continental philosophy since the 70s, and I guess it is filtering down further and further. The Pundit seems to be implying that these same problems have impacted gaming.
Lucas himself changed his material and then went on to approve of others doing the same. That's something those controlling a property (film, RPG, whatever) have. It is not bad interpretation. Your views of what they have done is a better example of bad interpretation. As you assumed all of the answers were in the original materials and dismissed everything that came later. You don't have to like it (I don't like most of post 2015 Star Wars), but you can't be taken seriously if you dismiss it as not being Star Wars. In the same way,  the current Ravenloft book is most certainly Ravenloft even if you don't like it.

Not sure we can every really say "this is or is not Ravenloft": it is something people will have different opinions on. I mean this isn't WOTC's first crack at Ravenloft. They failed in their 3E adventure really badly (to the point that I think few Ravenloft fans at the time who I knew considered it canon---perhaps that has changed). I would say this is a little more like Nu-Who. Some old school fans are just not going to see it as being part of the show they watched for decades because there are significant differences. I don' think this is an either or thing. But a good number of older fans regarded it as continuous. Still I think there is clearly a difference between the original version of a thing and later re-boots. And whether a later re-boot is considered a proper continuation is really only something time will tell. The original Munsters is for many, the only Munsters. The Munsters Today is largely forgotten by most people. A new company owning the IP to something, doesn't automatically confer legitimacy to it in the eyes of people who are fans. I think the healthiest approach to this isn't to say it is all automatically still legitimate, nor is it to dismiss anything new out of hand because it wasn't part of the original; it is to realize there are going to be different points of view, different camps, over time it will be clearer and clearer how large those camps are; and that is perfectly fine. Star Trek was perfectly fine, despite some people only seeing original series and original cast as proper star trek, and others seeing Next Generation and other spin offs as legitimate star trek. There is also a key detail here with Ravenloft that is important where neither the writers of the original module, the writers of the original setting boxed set, people on the original design team, control the creative direction of the new version. That is also going to matter when shaping a fan's opinions.

Shasarak

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #275 on: June 10, 2021, 05:56:56 PM »
Also, you are aware that D&D has long been used to roleplay in various historical settings, yes? During the TSR-era how to use the system for various historical periods and places were the subject of multiple Dragon Magazine articles. The idea that D&D exclusively means LotR knockoffs is something you’ll only find coming from WotC’s mouthpieces.

The fact is, jhkim brought up a perfectly valid campaign type that D&D has long been used for where the D&D alignment system would decidedly not be a good addition and even counterproductive. You’re just shift goalposts now because he knocked that one cleanly between the posts.

There is no evidence to suggest that a worshiper of Pelor Alpha would have to be any different alignment to a worshiper of Pelor Beta.

Infact if historical religions prove anything it is that religions can be split along completely secular lines.  What would Pelors answer be to the question of clergy wearing blue hats compared to yellow hats?  Would a yellow hatted Pelorite be a different alignment to a blue hatted Pelorite?

Interesting to see the anti alignment crowd avoiding explaining why Pelor Alpha must be a different alignment to Pelor Beta.

Understandable of course.
There will be poor always,
pathetically struggling,
look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus

Omega

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #276 on: June 11, 2021, 10:54:19 AM »
Not sure we can every really say "this is or is not Ravenloft": it is something people will have different opinions on. I mean this isn't WOTC's first crack at Ravenloft. They failed in their 3E adventure really badly (to the point that I think few Ravenloft fans at the time who I knew considered it canon---perhaps that has changed).

This and TSR changed Ravenloft massively with the boxed set. And in all honesty Ravenloft boxed set, and especially the expansions, is only superficially Ravenloft and is more its own beast. They could have named it Domains of Dread or Dimension of Horror and same end result.

And of course Masque of the Red Death deviates even more to the point there is practically nothing "Ravenloft" in it.

Bedrockbrendan

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #277 on: June 11, 2021, 01:12:56 PM »
Not sure we can every really say "this is or is not Ravenloft": it is something people will have different opinions on. I mean this isn't WOTC's first crack at Ravenloft. They failed in their 3E adventure really badly (to the point that I think few Ravenloft fans at the time who I knew considered it canon---perhaps that has changed).

This and TSR changed Ravenloft massively with the boxed set. And in all honesty Ravenloft boxed set, and especially the expansions, is only superficially Ravenloft and is more its own beast. They could have named it Domains of Dread or Dimension of Horror and same end result.

And of course Masque of the Red Death deviates even more to the point there is practically nothing "Ravenloft" in it.

I think this gets at what I was saying. For me Ravenloft will always be the 90s Ravenloft line, and the black box will always be definitive Ravenloft. But I came into the hobby in 86, never really encountered the Ravenloft module until after I found the setting (at which point I got it because it was still available at my local hobby shop). I still remember the module fans sort of scratching their heads at my interest in the setting. And my reaction was to try to at least understand where they were coming from. The same thing happened to me, when the setting was revised for 3E by Sword and Sorcery. For me, was something totally different from the black box, red box and domains of dread book. Now the new Ravenloft is even further removed for me.

Still my personal view is the original module was an adventure. It wasn't really intended as a setting. And the black box basically took the core location of that adventure, the core idea of how to handle an NPC like Strahd, and some of the concepts, and built it into a setting of its own. Barovia is at the heart of that setting, but it is a different vision from Hickman (though I do think there were a number of through lines and I think they were doing it out of love for the module). For me, it was that setting that landed. And it landed well because I was able to run ongoing campaigns for years and years in it, which only got better as they released Van Richten books and modules.

Bedrockbrendan

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #278 on: June 11, 2021, 01:17:50 PM »
Not sure we can every really say "this is or is not Ravenloft": it is something people will have different opinions on. I mean this isn't WOTC's first crack at Ravenloft. They failed in their 3E adventure really badly (to the point that I think few Ravenloft fans at the time who I knew considered it canon---perhaps that has changed).



And of course Masque of the Red Death deviates even more to the point there is practically nothing "Ravenloft" in it.

I will defend Masque of the Red Death. Definitely not for everyone. Definitely a tough sell for sure. And one that seems to get a lot more love now than when I first got the boxed set (I don't remember that many people in my area being into it at all). It was taking the idea of the dark powers and porting them into our world (that is at least how I read it). It has been a while since I read the boxed set and I no longer have mine, so I am going by memory. But it was a really interesting setting. I think the first boxed set they put out worked well (as did the adventures in it). I do feel that stuff like the guide to Transylvania was way way too dry (plenty of people liked it, but I remember struggling to get excited about running a session in Transylvania when I read that: it was informative but I remember thinking I might as well just get a history book on the region). I had some fun though with Masque of the Red Death. I wasn't able to run it all the time like I did with Ravenloft (Masque was too niche for most players, and it tended to be used at our table more like Call of Cthulhu: something you took out  for a series of adventures or for one shots). I also had a lot of fun running Masque as a comedy a number of times (just for on the fly sessions when a normal game fell through, I would apply sit com logic to scenarios and just have fun).

Pat

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #279 on: June 11, 2021, 01:23:56 PM »
Not sure we can every really say "this is or is not Ravenloft": it is something people will have different opinions on. I mean this isn't WOTC's first crack at Ravenloft. They failed in their 3E adventure really badly (to the point that I think few Ravenloft fans at the time who I knew considered it canon---perhaps that has changed).

This and TSR changed Ravenloft massively with the boxed set. And in all honesty Ravenloft boxed set, and especially the expansions, is only superficially Ravenloft and is more its own beast. They could have named it Domains of Dread or Dimension of Horror and same end result.

And of course Masque of the Red Death deviates even more to the point there is practically nothing "Ravenloft" in it.

I think this gets at what I was saying. For me Ravenloft will always be the 90s Ravenloft line, and the black box will always be definitive Ravenloft. But I came into the hobby in 86, never really encountered the Ravenloft module until after I found the setting (at which point I got it because it was still available at my local hobby shop). I still remember the module fans sort of scratching their heads at my interest in the setting. And my reaction was to try to at least understand where they were coming from. The same thing happened to me, when the setting was revised for 3E by Sword and Sorcery. For me, was something totally different from the black box, red box and domains of dread book. Now the new Ravenloft is even further removed for me.

Still my personal view is the original module was an adventure. It wasn't really intended as a setting. And the black box basically took the core location of that adventure, the core idea of how to handle an NPC like Strahd, and some of the concepts, and built it into a setting of its own. Barovia is at the heart of that setting, but it is a different vision from Hickman (though I do think there were a number of through lines and I think they were doing it out of love for the module). For me, it was that setting that landed. And it landed well because I was able to run ongoing campaigns for years and years in it, which only got better as they released Van Richten books and modules.
I can see both your points of view. The module was decent, but it was basically Castle Dracula, the module. No wider world beyond a loose connection to something like a faux-Transylvania was implied. And despite the gothic trappings and the dynamic aspects, it was also very D&D. In fact, it was a very deadly dungeon crawl.

The Domains of Dread were very much something new, and Castle Ravenloft and Strahd were a relatively minor corner. Naming the entire setting after the single castle was more a marketing move than anything that made sense within the context of the setting. So yes, there are two different Ravenlofts.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 01:25:41 PM by Pat »

HappyDaze

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #280 on: June 11, 2021, 01:25:54 PM »
So yes, there are two different Ravenlofts.
Why only two?

Pat

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #281 on: June 11, 2021, 01:27:24 PM »
So yes, there are two different Ravenlofts.
Why only two?
Not sure what point you're trying to make.

HappyDaze

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #282 on: June 11, 2021, 02:15:50 PM »
So yes, there are two different Ravenlofts.
Why only two?
Not sure what point you're trying to make.
Which Ravenloft is the 3e version a part of? What about the 5e version? Are there three or four or more Ravenlofts, or is there only One True Ravenloft (with the rest being Soulless Worlds according to the OP)?

Pat

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #283 on: June 11, 2021, 02:29:35 PM »
So yes, there are two different Ravenlofts.
Why only two?
Not sure what point you're trying to make.
Which Ravenloft is the 3e version a part of? What about the 5e version? Are there three or four or more Ravenlofts, or is there only One True Ravenloft (with the rest being Soulless Worlds according to the OP)?
That doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything I said. (I was talking about the difference between the module, and the box set.) If you have an issue with what the OP said, you should probably talk to the OP.

HappyDaze

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Re: Ravenloft Bans Alignment, Drow Now Good, Soulless Worlds Result
« Reply #284 on: June 11, 2021, 03:22:13 PM »
So yes, there are two different Ravenlofts.
Why only two?
Not sure what point you're trying to make.
Which Ravenloft is the 3e version a part of? What about the 5e version? Are there three or four or more Ravenlofts, or is there only One True Ravenloft (with the rest being Soulless Worlds according to the OP)?
That doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything I said. (I was talking about the difference between the module, and the box set.) If you have an issue with what the OP said, you should probably talk to the OP.
You said there were two products that presented two Ravenlofts. I was asking if you felt the four (or more) products presented four (or more) Ravenlofts or if you felt that some of the newer ones presented something that was not Ravenloft. If you felt the latter, I'd go on to ask you where you see the difference between the first two products you mentioned and those you did not.