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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Froogleyboy's Avatar

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    Default Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    I just got the Ravenloft book and I'm confused. Is it a giant city or a plane of existence ?

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Um. Which book did you get..?
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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    The 3.0 campaign setting (thats why I said THE book,not A book)

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    As far as I understand from my experience with Ravenloft (as portrayed in the 2/3.0 module "Die, Vecna, Die!"), it's a demiplane of existence with different regions, ruled by different rulers from different cities. We, for example, got taken up by the Mists and landed in Citadel Corvalis, capital of Vecna's nation-state.

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Ravenloft is a plane of existance.

    Specifically, it's a cursed plane that gobbles up small areas from other places and adds them to Ravenloft. Each of these areas is divided by thin walls of mist, and the entire plane is surrounded by a wall of mist. Actually walking into the surrounding wall transports you to another location in Ravenloft - you can't get out that way.

    Each area has a "Lord" attached to it, who is bound to the area and basically indestructable. Divination doesn't work into or out of Ravenloft, although some divination spells may work in Ravenloft for location other stuff in Ravenloft. All deities are cut off in Ravenloft, so divine spells either don't work, don't work right, or work in some twisted function.

    Healing rarely has the desired effect, even if it works at all. Being anything holy is basically a giant "EAT ME" sign to the entire plane.

    Have fun.

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Quote Originally Posted by Froogleyboy View Post
    I just got the Ravenloft book and I'm confused. Is it a giant city or a plane of existence ?
    In the original 1st Ed. module I6, it's just the castle. Later they spinned off an expanded backstory and campaign setting around it with a bunch of other domains, so "Ravenloft" can also refer to the "Demiplane of Dread", like "Greyhawk" can refer to the entire Oerth campaign setting instead of just the city of Greyhawk.

    "Expedition to Castle Ravenloft" is a remake of the standalone I6 for 3.5, whereas the D20 S&S books are for the campaign setting.
    Last edited by jamroar; 2009-05-31 at 09:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    The plane of Ravenloft is named after the castle (Castle Ravenloft) of Strahd Von Zarovich, in the domain of Barovia. It is a twisted plane of dark and gothic horror, with malleable boundaries. You can attempt to cross from one realm to another in Ravenloft, but the dark powers can instead use the mists to shift you as they will, though their reasons and motivations are utterly inscrutable to mortals. They give dominion of land to beings of great evil, granting them great power over all within that domain, but it is not necessarily a reward. They seem to enjoy tormenting the lord of the domain. Trapping them in the situation that led to their evil acts. Strahd for example is unable to die. Trapped in unlife his beloved, for whom he sacrificed his mortality, is periodically reincarnated, but all his efforts to reach her, and obtain that for which he longs are doomed to failure. Should he be defeated, he will still rise again, eventually, trapped within a prison of existence designed for him, which outsiders get the "priviledge" of visiting.

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Ravenloft is generally considered its own plane in general D&D cosmology. Being the demiplane of dread, it is a place of loss and suffering. Ultimately, you always fail in Ravenloft, eventually. The powers-that-be ruling over the realm let you get far enough along, if they think it's amusing, to watch you fall all the harder. No one can actually escape Ravenloft (aside from epic spells and artifacts), not even the Dread Lords. The point of the place is that the only way out is death. This is why any player with any sense runs as fast as they can from any forming bank of fog.
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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Quote Originally Posted by graymachine View Post
    This is why any player with any sense runs as fast as they can from any forming bank of fog.
    Yeah...
    N00b Wizard: A fog bank...I Detect Magic, I guess...
    6 Int, 6 Wis Orc: I grapple the Wizard and throw him in the fog, hoping it will be appeased. Then I RUN THE BOOP AWAY!!!

    We do not go to Ravenloft.
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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Quote Originally Posted by graymachine View Post
    Ravenloft is generally considered its own plane in general D&D cosmology. Being the demiplane of dread, it is a place of loss and suffering. Ultimately, you always fail in Ravenloft, eventually. The powers-that-be ruling over the realm let you get far enough along, if they think it's amusing, to watch you fall all the harder. No one can actually escape Ravenloft (aside from epic spells and artifacts), not even the Dread Lords. The point of the place is that the only way out is death. This is why any player with any sense runs as fast as they can from any forming bank of fog.
    It's also why the fog stays away from smart alec kobolds.

    It's better for both parties that way.
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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Quote Originally Posted by graymachine View Post
    The point of the place is that the only way out is death.
    That doesn't always work out either.
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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Quote Originally Posted by graymachine View Post
    Ravenloft is generally considered its own plane in general D&D cosmology. Being the demiplane of dread, it is a place of loss and suffering. Ultimately, you always fail in Ravenloft, eventually. The powers-that-be ruling over the realm let you get far enough along, if they think it's amusing, to watch you fall all the harder. No one can actually escape Ravenloft (aside from epic spells and artifacts), not even the Dread Lords. The point of the place is that the only way out is death. This is why any player with any sense runs as fast as they can from any forming bank of fog.

    See, this sort of thing just makes me think "What's the booping point?" I mean, dark fanstasy/gothic horror is one thing, but who wants to play a game where you're mandatorily doomed to failure? Long odds, sure; no odds, why bother?

    And you know, if you actually look at the source material that's the basis of Ravenloft - Dracula and all the other gothic horror tales - the good guys usually do win eventually.

    It's like the game designers got their wires crossed somewhere along the way and mixed up Bram Stoker with H.P Lovecraft.

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    The players are not necessarily doomed to failure, really. The dark powers might even let them leave. They might be able to just freely pass through, or they may become enbroiled in the dark goings-on of the local Domain Lord.

    The Dark Powers do not immediately quash anything good (though the local domain lord can generally sense strong beacons of good, like paladins, and may take their own efforts). They do not themselves support the domain lord, other than via the powers granted (including the ability to seal off the domain exit boundaries, if the lord wishes). Hence my use of the word "inscrutable" I don't mean "let me explain to you their overly complex plan", I mean "nobody who has direct contact with anything sentient has any freaking clue who these guys are, what they are, or why they set up this demiplane in the first place." It is rumored that some of the gypsies of the Vistani might know, but it is such a tightly held secret that we will never find out. All that is known is what can, and cannot be done, what effects there are on certain magics, etc.

    The heroes can succeed. Why do the dark powers allow it? Who knows? Why do the mists take certain people certain places? Who knows? The party is perfectly capable of walking along in Greyhawk as the fog rolls in, finding themselves in an unknown land, where their magic does not work properly, questing to find out what's going on, encountering the locals, fighting some undead/werewolves/constructs/what have you, getting the macguffin (or saving the town, or just escaping the castle) and travelling through the mists to find themselves back on their home plane. What purpose did this serve for the dark powers? Nobody knows.

    The thing about ravenloft is that, if the goal is to free the domain or something, in the long run, you will not succeed, or if you do, it will involve artifact-level magic. The domain was created for the purpose of the domain lord. If the goal is to survive? You can succeed. Adventuring in Ravenloft is more about survival, existence, maybe foiling a machination or 2, rather than outright eliminating the evil in control of the land.
    Last edited by huttj509; 2009-06-01 at 03:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Well, that's certainly more reasonable - graymachine seemed to be much moe extreme with the whole "No hope, no escape but death (and don't count on that" thing.

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    In one of the older issues of Dungeon magazine (Nov/Dec 1994; issue #50), there was an adventure that took place in one of the domains of Ravenloft (Valachan). The name of the adventure was 'Felkovic's Cat.' The objectives of the adventure were to defeat the dark lord and lay to rest a ghost that sought revenge on the dark lord. If the characters were successful they would be transported by the mists back to their home plane, along with the entire realm ruled by the (now destroyed) dark lord.
    Last edited by ghost_warlock; 2009-06-01 at 07:22 AM.

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Yeah the point of Ravenloft isn't that you are necessarily doomed to failure, though it's usually really rough and twisty on you and does its best to doom you, either with nasty critters or sucking you into ethical quandaries that get you stuck in the land due to your soul being tarnished....

    But heroes can triumph. Darklords, on the other hand? They are doomed. That's what being a Darklord in Ravenloft means -- you rule over a domain, sure, but that entire domain's purpose is the deny you the one thing you want most, and in that, a darklord *is* doomed. These guys are the poster children for "don't mess with the Dark Powers, seriously, don't do evil twisted things even for a 'greater good' and especially not for power, seriously, don't, we warned you, oh boy you're in for it now."

    It's just rough being a hero in Ravenloft because the land itself is generally hostile, full of horrible and hidden evil things, and moral quandaries, plus no one trusts outsiders or is especially grateful to a bunch of wandering troublemakers stirring up the local menace to eat or worse a lot of the defenseless population.

    A heroic victory in Ravenloft is generally as much a feeling of *relief* at escape as it is of genuine triumph.

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Quote Originally Posted by Froogleyboy View Post
    The 3.0 campaign setting (thats why I said THE book,not A book)
    THE book doesn't indicate the 3.0 campaign setting to me; my only experience with it is earlier material.
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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    In the 3.0 and 3.5 versions of the setting healing does generally have the desired effect, Erikun. It is raising people from the dead that is dangerous among magic that is generally considered to be positive. Lots of other magic is problematic, however, most notably divination and any kind of summoning, as well as things that is typically portrayed as evil, such as messing with undead.

    As for whether you can succeed it depends on a few things. Which version of the setting is probably most notable, late 2e and 3.0 and 3.5 focuses on native heroes from Ravenloft and as such they needed to focus more on it being an actual place that people live, rather than a big hole of misery. So while it is still a world that pretty much sucks, people who live long, happy lives without ever encountering the occult exists and many more people who live less happy lives, oppressed and mistreated by their lords, still live without being preyed on by monsters. However, the easy measure of success for someone trapped there, that being escaping, is no longer valid when Ravenloft is your home.

    Also succeeding depends on what your goal is. If it is to end the darkness and save the world completely, then you are doomed to fail. If it is to slay one of the darklords then you probably won't succeed either. If it is to stop the brutal overlord squeezing every last drop out of the villagers who work his land, then you might well succeed, unless you fall to the temptation to do evil, of course.

    Exactly that temptation is important. Rather than heroes being doomed, they are held to very high standards by the very fabric of reality in Ravenloft and saying that you did something for the greater good doesn't fly. That together with the amount of monsters and villainous people who don't like heroes messing in their affairs mean that things are stacked against the heroes, they have powerful enemies and need to keep their path clean. It doesn't mean that the world exists to laugh at their sorry carcasses once they die a pointless death, in a way it almost seems like the world is so hard on them to test them and see if they truly are heroes, but then again i am a hopeless idealist and romantic, rather than a fan of grimdark.

    One thing to note though, is that everything i said refers to the 3.0 and 3.5 versions, i hardly know anything about earlier versions of the setting, other than that they were supposedly much more brutal.

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Yeah, there's been enough Ravenloft books over the years for different editions that "the book" doesn't really narrow it down.
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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    The more I read about it, the more I believe that the makers of Silent Hill made their games out of Ravenloft. Most specifically, the fact that the very plane itself is fickle, and it allows people to escape or not depending on their actions (and even then). Do a bad thing, and you pretty much screw it and become a prisoner forever. Do it well, and you might just escape with your sanity intact.

    Or be an Alienist and summon the horrors of the Far Realm. And notice how the horrors of the Far Realm turn into nice and nifty things here.

    Alright, aside from the slight joke...really, you could make a stand and make a decent d20 flavored Silent Hill game, perhaps using the d20 Modern rules for that purpose. After all, if you use the 3.5 adventure module (Expedition to Castle Ravenloft), it even suggests you to use the module on a d20 campaign. Of course, the nurses could be replaced with acolytes of gods slain in the demiplane, and you can simply replace Strahd with a SH-fitting Darklord.

    In either case, to a certain point this setting seems to favor the undead-hunters, a very small number of the adventurers around. While Clerics do have a tough day, Archivists probably won't have the same problem, Paladins are actually rewarded in here (for the Sun Sword is pretty much built for them) There are other prestige classes that seem to work here nicely. While I can't speak of the difficulty of earlier versions' interpretations of Ravenloft, it is surely fit for those who hunt the undead. It's a module where you should pretty much either start as a campaign(with the DM fully telling you it's loaded with undead), or drop it for a party built to kill undead.

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    Default Re: Ok I'm confused about Ravenloft

    Some fun Ravenloft trivia: two darklords have excaped. Vecna did so by being Just That Awesome (cast a spell that would have destroyed the demiplane had the forced behind it not spit him out), and Lord Soth escaped through a legal loophole (Ravenloft was joining the SRD, so they moved him back to Dragonlance to keep copyright).
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