Review: Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft

In the fall of 2020, Ray Winninger—the new Executive Producer of D&D—teased that three classic campaign settings were being updated to 5th Edition. The first of these is Ravenloft with the newly released van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft

Image Copyright Wizards of the Coast

Named after Castle Ravenloft, the centerpiece dungeon of Curse of Strahd, the world of Ravenloft is a land of horror. Formerly gothic horror but now all flavours of fright. Ravenloft is the setting where the monsters of choice are typically pulled from Universal Horror movies or classical European literature of the 18th and 19th centuries rather than millennia-old folklore. (And now also the horror movies of the 1970s and ’80s.) It’s primary inspirations are Dracula and Lovecraft rather than Greek mythology mashed with King Arthur.

Unlike traditional campaign settings, Ravenloft isn’t a planet or literal world, but a demiplane. It’s a pocket dimension tucked away in the Shadowfell (formerly the Deep Ethereal in 2nd and 3rd Edition). It’s accessible from multiple other worlds, with characters either born in Ravenloft or pulled into that world from any campaign setting. And each region could be pulled into the Shadowfell from other worlds creating a patchwork quilt of lands.

What It Is

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is a 265-page hardcover book. It’s features full colour art and regional maps with black-and-white maps of the House of Lament for the included adventure of the same name. Like all new D&D releases, it’s available with two covers: the regular cover and the limited edition that is only available in game stores. 

(I’m hoping this book features the improved binding of Candlekeep Mysteries i.e. case bound rather than perfect bound. But my LGS had their shipment delayed, so I don’t have a physical copy and am reviewing the content as read on DnDBeyond.)  

(Edit: Yup. Both versions seem case bound and should be a little more durable.)

Image Copyright Wizards of the Coast

The book contains three new lineages, which are rebranded races that you can ostensibly gain during play. These are the dhampir (half-vampires), hexblood (half-hags), and reborn—which can be either diet flesh golems or zombies/ revenants. There are two new subclasses as well: the bardic college of spirits and the warlock pact of undeath. Rounding out the new character options are the Dark Gifts, which are the 5e update of Dark Powers checks. Sorta. (They’re really closer to the 2nd Edition kits from Champions of the Mists.) There’s eight different Dark Gifts in total.

The book spends 20 pages with advice on creating your own domain and detailing the different types of horror tales. It features full write-ups for 17 domains and brief descriptions for 21 smaller domains, which receive a quarter-page summary. Pretty much a single paragraph. There’s 15 pages on running horror campaigns, including holding a session zero, setting the mood, making use of a Tarokka Deck and spirit board, curses, fear & horror, traps, and more. There’s the aforementioned 20-page adventure, the House of Lament. Then the book ends with 23 new types of monster with 30-odd new stat blocks.  

There’s also a super deluxe fancy Silver Edition by Beadle & Grimm that contains… stuff. They haven’t specified. But it had better include a spirit board or I’m sending them a flaming bad of cat poo…

The Good

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft tries to retain the tone of gothic horror that defined the setting while also leaving behind many of the problematic aspects that come with literature from the 1890s and films from the 1930s. And, to an extent, RPG game books from the 1990s. It keeps the positive tropes and drops the negative tropes. Wizards of the Coast has really focused the publicity campaign of this book on its increased diversity and removed stereotypes. Seven darklords have their gender flipped and at least four characters are now black. 

The book also uses the term “lineages” rather than “races.” It’s unclear if this will be the standard going forward or just for these three variant types of origin, which can gained after birth/ character creation. Each of the lineages allow you to keep some past traits, such as skills or movement speed. It’s unclear if weapon and armour proficiencies are included: does a mountain dwarf dhampir still get heavy armour? It’d be odd to forget how to swing a sword because your were altered by a hag.

Image Copyright Wizards of the Coast

The lineages have been slightly tweaked. They no longer have two creature types (which makes the paragraph on types and list a little odd) and it’s clearer that the bonuses from the dhampir’s bite can’t be boosted by other sources (like sneak attack or divine smite).

Dark Gifts are an amalgam of older editions’ failed Dark Power checks and story focused feats/kits. They’re very similar to the Dark Shadows mechanic I introduced in Heroes of the Mists, but with heavier mechanical effect and the bonuses balanced against a negative. I’m really uncertain how I feel about these: balancing a mechanical buff with a negative is tricky in play as it really rewards min-maxers who can pick a Dark Gift that makes them better at something they’re good at while penalizing something they don’t care about. However, the nature of Dark Gifts means they’re something the DM assigns rather than the player picks, making it harder to game the system. And the implementation works here, as the penalty often comes as a result of choosing to gain the bonus. There’s a nice feedback loop.

The book features a decent amount of content on creating darklords and their domains. This is easily the most comprehensive section on this topic in any Ravenloft book. Even fans of the older versions of Ravenloft (Grognardloft?) will find this advice invaluable when creating personal domains. This chapter is also useful for knowing what to focus on when presenting an existing darklord and exploring an established domain. There’s also a fair number of atmospheric tips here, which can be incorporated into any game. 

The tone of horror is expanded. Previous versions of Ravenloft tried unsuccessfully to cram the entire setting into one subgenre of horror. Gothic Horror in the first two versions of the setting and Fantasy Horror for Domains of Dread Far too many domains were square pegs that refused to work with that tone’s round hole. Predominantly Bluetspur, which was desperately trying to be Lovecraftian Horror. This book doesn’t try for a one-size-fits-all categorization, and domains are assigned 1-3 subgenres that fit that domain. Each of the six key types of horror receives a couple paragraphs and some bullet points of key details along with small tables with possible monsters and villains, adventure sites, and plots. There’s also brief discussion of four other types of horror. Sub-subgenres.

The seventeen primary domains each have a relatively comprehensive write-up. There’s roughly a page that describes the land, one on the darklord, and another on various adventure hooks. The focus here is really on adventure locations and the land as the PCs might encounter it; very little attention is paid to the populace, trade, and landscape. It doesn’t focus on elements like the natural inhabitants when it can give a description of the monsters the PCs might encounter. There’s often a small sidebar on native PCs that asks some questions players should answer if they want to be from that domain. Each darklord has a lengthy description of their backstory along with a list of their personality traits. This is always appreciated. Their curse and how they seal their domain is also called out. 

There’s a mixture of old and new characters that can aid adventurers, as well as a few organizations. The Keepers of the (Black) Feather return, and the book brings back the Order of the Guardians. I’m overjoyed the Weathermay-Foxgrove Twins returned, as they were an essential part of the setting in 3rd Edition. Fan favourite character Ezmerelda d’Avenir reappears, now calling herself Ez d’Avenir. For reasons. Also returning is Jander Sunstar. It’s nice they brought him back to the setting he originated in (he was first seen in the Ravenloft novel Vampire of the Mists), and somewhat attempted to reconcile his appearance in Hell during Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus. The how is a little funky and handwavey. (And, really, given how much this book rewrites the past I’m surprised they bothered to do that.)

An included NPC that is particularly a deep cut is Larissa Snowmane. She was featured in the novel Dance of the Dead as well as the supplement Champions of the Mists She was never a particularly well known character but as one of the more likable protagonists in one of the less bad novels she has a lot of fans. 

The list of additional domains is fine. These are barebones, but they provide a framework to expand upon using the earlier advice for creating domains. Cyre 1313 is a particularly great idea. It’s the perfect way of incorporating the classical ghost train into Ravenloft. Who doesn’t like a classic tale of a spectral locomotive? 

The Bad

With Dark Gifts being strictly PC boons untied to morality and actions, this version of Ravenloft lacks Dark Power checks and any corruption mechanic. The Dark Powers no longer offer a temptation with power and there’s no increasing corruption and descent into evil, which was a central theme of the setting. 

And the Horror Adventure section really advises against altering a player’s character without their consent. Which I’m on the fence about. Gaining a player’s consent to do things to their character during a session zero is a good idea, and checking in after bad things happen is also strongly advised. But you shouldn’t have to stop and ask “is it okay if I curse your PC?” That’s being a tad over cautious. 

The advice for creating domains tells you not to “get bogged down with the particulars of a working society. It doesn’t matter how a village in a domain of endless night grows crops,” which makes the worldbuilder in me break out in a rash. This advice is fine for a short one-shot but is terrible for any game that lasts more than a session. It’s death to the logic of any attempt at a long term campaign in Ravenloft. Because any player that spends more than three sessions in Dementliue is going to ask “Hey… there’s practically no farmland around Port-a-Lucine. Where is the food coming from for these weekly balls? ” (Especially as the text literally says “no goods arrive from beyond the city.”) When a player asks where their steak came from the DM should NOT have to shrug and say “I dunno” or “a wizard did it.”

Image Copyright Wizards of the Coast

The maps are filled with undetailed places. Several are crowded with place names. Meanwhile the actual descriptions might only describe two or three key locales. This is a feature/bug. You’re given names to inspire you, or encouragement to have the party explore that locale. But you’re also required to do the work, defeating the purpose of buying a prepublished setting. The coolest part of a domain shouldn’t be a map tag.

I’m entirely uncertain how I feel about the NPCentry on Firan Zal’honan. It’s a fun Easter egg for fans in the know, but doesn’t really definitely tie into the lore of the appropriate domain. And without the secret, it’s harder for DMs who don’t know to properly use the character. It’s all set-up and no follow through. And it seems a little pointless for the book to keep it a secret when it’s spoiled by 5-seconds on Google. 

Ezmerelda d’Avenir now goes by the preferred name of “Ez.” I’m uncertain why. It’s such a random change. Ez has undergone a heavy retcon across her entire backstory. Her story is now uncharacteristically happy, featuring her found family as she joins the extended van Richten clan. It’s oddly un-tragic for Ravenloft. Almost off-putting really. Being genre savvy, I kept expecting the book to end with her brutal death: characters don’t get to be that happy in horror fiction except right before they die.

Speaking of Ez, while I didn’t personally have a problem with her hiding her artificial leg—it felt like a character choice more than a deliberate editorial from the authors—I respected the decision to remove that line from the reprint of Curse of Strahd. It upset people, so editing it out was the right move. Unequivocally. But this book goes a step farther referring to Ez “replacing her leg with a splendid prosthetic after a werewolf attack.” Emphasis added. Wizards of the Coast really, really want readers to know they’re sorry for even accidentally implying people should be ashamed for having an artificial limb. You can almost picture the author proudly gesturing to the page like a child eager for praise and a pat on the head.

I’m sorry WotC. The people attacking you on Twitter for ableism aren’t going to stop. They’ll just find some other reason to be mad at you. Online critics who have found an audience from being anti-D&D aren’t going to change their position.

Additionally, Ez was born “Ezmerelda Radanavich”, a criminal family who pretended to be Vistani when they kidnapped van Richten’s son. Which is a very odd retcon. Obviously it’s problematic and undesirable to have all Vistani (who were inspired by fictional portrayals of the Romani people) be villains and thieves. But having all Vistani being good and noble is overcompensating. They should be as much a mix of sinners and saints as any group of humans.  

In a related weird plot point, the book restores Madame Radanavich’s curse on Rudolph van Richten. That he must “live among monsters.” Except in this instance, van Richten doesn’t kill the Radanavich clan with Azalin’s borrowed undead but “delivered them to justice.” It seem like Irena Radanavich was a “wronged party” and thus able to impart a curse (as per the advice in this book). And the idea of van Richten “shattering [a] criminal operation” is super weird. He’s a scholar that dabbles in monster hunting, not Batman. 

Alanik Ray and Arthur Sedgewick—the analogues for Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson—are a married couple and Ray is in a wheelchair. I dislike this… but not for the reason you might think. 

First, there’s a lot of ‘shipping of Holmes and Watson. This is not a bad thing per se (who hasn’t engaged in a good ‘ship?) but I dislike taking two close male friends and assuming they must be in romantic love to have strong feelings for each other. It feeds into the stereotype of toxic masculinity that men cannot have close, emotive bond that aren’t based on physical attraction or physical urges. Furthermore, Holmes is often presented as asexual, and ace characters are highly underrepresented in Western media. As Watson is often portrayed as being married and having a life outside of his partnership, having Sedgewick married to a man would have been preferable.

Second, given Watson is often portrayed as having a war injury, it feels much more appropriate to have Sedgewick in the wheelchair, being the marksman and bodyguard while Ray is fully mobile yet less adept in a fight. 

But this is a very, very personal quibble.

Last is Seeds of Fear and Stress. Which are really additional flaws, that your character can have and gain inspiration for roleplaying. These are fine. Unremarkable. But the chart of suggested fears is comically small. A mere dozen examples. Many other roleplaying games (like Dread or The Alien RPG) have found ways of making the players afraid at the same time as their characters. Adding real emotion to the table (in a safe way of course). Just tacking on a small penalty due to Stress is terribly unimaginative. 

The Ugly

The biggest complaint with the book is that there are no stat blocks for the darklords or NPCs. Instead, there are suggestions from the Monster Manual. Darklords feel like they should be these unique, special beings with personalized powers, Lair and Legendary actions, or even Mythical traits like in Mythic Odysseys of Theros. If we can have statistics for gods, demon lords, archanomentals, and more then darklords should be possible.

It’s less problematic for the NPCs who are less, well, unique. Some work while others are a bit odd. Like Gennifer Weathermay-Foxgrove who suddenly becomes a druid when she was an arcane spellcaster. Others are downright weird, like the fey/eladrin Isolde using a cambion’s statistics.

Image Copyright Wizards of the Coast

Larissa Snowmane “avoids rival riverboat captain Nathan Timothy and his ship, Virago.” Which is a genius connection; I love giving those two characters a rivalry. But anyone who isn’t a Ravenloft scholar, the book doesn’t say who Nathan Timothy is! His former domain (and that of his son) aren’t in the book. It’s a nod to a canon that has been erased.

As mentioned earlier, this book drastically alters the campaign setting. If you’re a big fan of the original, this makes some serious alterations to the world in general as well as individual domains. Pretty much every domain. It’d probably be easier to list the elements of each domain that weren’t revised than all the changes made.

Now, changes are sometimes necessary. Several lands feature stereotypes that are no longer acceptable including examples of colonialism, cultural appropriation, misogyny, racism, and other problematic elements. And the setting could use more interesting characters who are non-white as well as more strong female characters (especially female darklords whose curse & crime were not related to their femininity). The Vistani are also noteworthy as an element that needed to be changed. 

None of this is bad in and of itself.

However, not all the changes were made for reasons of social progress. Many were altered largely because the designers personally didn’t like them. Pet peeves revised because the authors could, regardless if fans liked them. Change for change’s sake.

The big change is that there’s no longer the central continent—the Core—which was a collection of over twenty-five domains. This removes trade, politics, and the shared history of the lands and makes Raveloft feel less like a single, cohesive world and more like a collection of adventure sites. Especially as most domains have been focused on their central story. It just diminishes the idea of the native hero born into the land and fighting for their home. 

Even the tone of the setting feels drastically different. It’s bleaker. More nihilistic. Previously, many lands had a semblance of normalcy: horrors were present, but they were lurking behind the surface. To the common people, things weren’t always that bad. Life in Ravenloft wasn’t that much more terrible than the Forgotten Realms, where dragons and giants stomped across the countryside. In this book, life in most lands is terrible. Things are not good and society is often at the verge of collapse. There is no “normal.” Which just makes the horror the PCs need to confront less of a contrast. It’s harder to make the scary stand out when everything is awful and the entire populace is on the verge of one apocalypse or another. Ravenloft in 3rd Edition was native heroes fighting for their land because it was worth saving and the people worth protecting. Ravenloft in 5th Edition is about heroes just trying to get the eff out of the demiplane because everyone is screwed. Because it doesn’t matter if the PCs save the day and kill the darklord, they will just return from the dead and everything will start over. There’s no winning only surviving another day. Just… bleak…

Image Copyright Wizards of the Coast

The well-publicized domain of Falkovnia is the best example. It’s leader was a very obvious pastiche of Vlad “the Impaler” Tepes. The designers felt another “Dracula homage” was boring, so the land is no longer an example of human evil amid the supernatural, but now a domain besieged by the walking dead. And the new darklord is… a slightly less obvious pastiche of Vlad “the Impaler” Tepes but female. Meanwhile, the land is overrun with the undead and only a single city remains that is besieged each night by the undead and is on the verge of succumbing.

If the Core remained then revising this domain could somewhat be justified: Falkovnia clearly marked on the map. But there is no Core. They didn’t need to update Falkovnia at all. If the designers didn’t like Falkovnia or felt its lord was redundant… they could have just skipped it! And if they wanted a land themed around a zombie apocalypse, they could have just invented a new domain (the zombie infested Ainvoklaf) and left Falkovnia alone for fans on the DMsGuild to update and expand. 

But there’s so many other examples of huge changes. Dementlieu isn’t a land of mesmerism and illusion starkly divided by the nobility poor, but a twisted take on Cinderella and a focus on grand masquerade balls. Isolde, the leader of the Carnival, is now a fey eladrin rather than the ghaele eladrin she was originally, not only losing her tragic “angel trapped in the Mists” story but now also becoming a victim of the Carnival’s true darklord. Darkon is no longer ruled by a resurrected Azalin (or his magical creation Death) but is a dying land collapsing into the Mists. Tepest is now ruled by a single hag and the Salem-style inquisition against dark fey has been replaced by creepy celebrations akin to the Wicker Man. Richemulot is now a land depopulated by a plague spread by rats. Kartakass is three times the size but is full of werewolves rather than wolfweres and its darklord, rather than being a beast pretending to be a man and desiring greatness just wants to be a celebrity. And so on…

This isn’t to say these altered domains are bad or poorly written, just that if you were a fan of the old—such as the oppression and human “evil” of Falkovnia—then tough luck.

Even if you accept the need to completely revise and overhaul the world of Ravenloft, it’s not particularly well done. Instead of making Falkovnia “Zombie Apocalypse Land”, the walking dead could have been added to the domain of Nidala, as Elena Faith-hold bears more than a passing resemblance to Vladeska Drakov and her shtick was already keeping the populace in line out of fear. (Plus, the dead rising out of the Phantasmal Forest surrounding Nidala was already a part of the lore.) Kartakass and Verbrek could have been combined to make a richer domain, with Alfred Timothy contrasting with Harkon Lukas and different packs of werewolves being at odds. As Richemulot has become a land gripped by plagues, it could also incorporate elements of Nosos and Sanguinia. 

Oh, and Harkon Lukas is missing his monocle. Unacceptable.

The Awesome

Several of the domains that were less completely overhauled include Bluetspur, Borca, and even Har’Akir. While not completely free of retcons and changes to lore, these were only lightly altered and really show how lands can be tightened and improved without being completely rewritten. For the most part, these feature additive changes rather than revisionary ones, that could be included into existing Ravenloft campaigns with little impact. I much prefer iterative change and the setting evolving and growing rather than resetting and starting anew.

Equating Bluetspur with alien abduction style stories is great, and the God Brain’s motivation works. It always needed something more. I really enjoy that the Borcan chapter actually lists the other noble families rather than presenting them as present but unmentioned. While Pharaoh Ankhtepot looks like a Power Rangers villain, Har’Akir also mostly features several great new additions, like a city of the dead and a vast labyrinthine underworld beneath the sands.

Another example is Chakuna, the new darklord of Valachan who brings her own flavour to the domain. As she killed the previous darklord, this revision is much easier to incorporate into previous canon (if you ignore the map, the locations, and much of the chapter). Baron Urik von Kharkov was never very popular and a replacement that can be “dropped in” is useful. Chakuna and the idea of hunting the “dangerous game” makes for a cool adventure.

Image Copyright Wizards of the Coast

I’m so happy to see the bard College of Spirits return. I assumed it hadn’t made the cut for Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and was disappointed. A bardic subclass focused on fortune telling and the stories of the dead is so very evocative. And I adore the art where the sample bard is holding up an official Tarokka card.

The Mist Walker Dark Gift is useful and a nice way to explain how some people can travel between domains. Having it be the method some Vistani have of travelling between lands is a nice nod to the past while also removing the inherent magic from the Vistani if undesired. 

The section on backgrounds has variant personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws. This is such a small addition that can really make characters feel like the fit in a horror campaign rather than a heroic fantasy story. Similarly, there’s a chart of a 100 horror trinkets you can roll on instead of the chart in the Player’s Handbook

The concept of Mist Tokens is inspired. For those unaware, if you hold an item that symbolizes the domain you wish to reach and enter the Mists, the token will allow you to reach that realm more reliably. This allows for travel and trade and solves the deus ex machina of the Mists depositing the players in just the right domain. It’s another neat and simple addition for any Ravenloft campaign.

I love the art of Jaqueline Reinier with a formal shawl of rats. That’s inspired. 

There are several Mike Schley maps, which are fantastic as always. (And I am now bereft that we won’t get to see him do an entire map of the Core, which would have been glorious—Ravenloft has a long history of unappealing world maps.)

The Survivors subsection in the Horror Adventurers chapter is just brilliant. These are basically 0-level characters partway between a PC and a commoner (and they’d arguably work well with the sidekick rules). These allow for a fun mini-campaign of 1 to 4 sessions, where non-adventurers have to survive a horrifying situation. Two of them have a little too much magic to really work as “everyday people” but it’s nice to have as an option. You could also use these really well in a flashback or aside, where the PCs get to experience the horrible thing they’re investigating rather than just having you describe it to them. After all, the first rule of RPG storytelling is “experience don’t tell.”

Using the House of Lament of the included adventure was inspired. This haunted house was always more of an adventure than a domain or darklord. This is the full description and spotlight it always deserved. 

There’s a few new monsters. The bagman is creepy and evocative, and seems to be a favourite around the WotC office. And the canonical inclusion of “nosferatu” as ugly and aged vampires is appreciated. I always preferred this to using the name “nosferatu” for 2nd Edition’s daywalker vampires inspired by the Dracula of the book (and Francis Ford Coppola movie).

There’s a spirit board template at the back of the book you can photocopy for personal use. And Wizards of the Coast was cool enough to provide this online in both a black-and-white and colour version, so you can more easily print out the board without the crease of the book being visible in the scan. 

Final Thoughts

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is a Ravenloft campaign setting for people who liked the idea of Ravenloft but disliked the past execution. It’s a Ravenloft book for people who hated Ravenloft.

It’s certainly possible to reconcile the old and the new. I’ve seen several threads and discussions in various Ravenloft communities where they try to pretend the next book is an update and force the old lore into it. Or suggest taking the best ideas and incorporating them into the old setting. I’m less a fan of this approach because it requires you to heavily rewrite the entire setting; which is a lot of work, and defeats the purpose of purchasing a pre-written world (i.e. saving time and energy). If I had wanted to write my own custom version of Ravenloft, I would have done so a decade ago. (Heck, when I wrote Heroes of the Mists, I purposely chose NOT to rewrite the world and make as few changes as necessary.) 

Reading the book, I was reminded of the 4th Edition update of the Forgotten Realms; Wizards of the Coast also radically reworked that setting to arbitrarily fix the authors’ pet peeves. Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft feels very similar in terms of being a revision rather than an update. Only moreso, because instead of having the changes be the result of a Realm Shaking Event they just rolled back the timeline and declared that the world was always that way; instead of having Chessenta in the Realms replaced by Akanûl, Chessenta was always a land of earthmotes populated by genasi. It’s the year 1357 DR again, but Drizzt and the original Companions of the Hall are running around alongside Havilar and Farideh of Brimstone Angels, as well as Minsc & Boo.

All the old continuity, novels, and adventures? No longer canon. That time you spent learning the lore? Wasted. (Well… it was always arguably not time well spent. But now it’s extra useless.) 

For established Ravenloft fans, this book offers little. There are no darklord stat blocks. No new races. Only a handful of monsters, with a full third of the 23 new types being brand new. It offers very little to convert the content you already own, instead providing replacement lore altering the content you already own. Skip the book and just buy individual options on dndbeyond. 

If you’re a classic Ravenloft fan who loves Victor Mordenheim and were looking forward to updating Adam’s Wrath to 5e, well your taste in darklords is bad and you should feel bad. 

For readers who never owned or consumed any of the old setting material then NONE of the above matters. Not remotely. For you, this book is the only Ravenloft. If you want a horror themed version of Dungeons & Dragons, then this is fine. Adequate. It provides plenty of tools for horror one-shots where your party is snatched up by the Mists, confronts a darklord (although not necessarily in combat), and then escapes. You could even try a campaign in the Mists, bouncing from domain to domain, confronting the major menaces of each before fleeing into the Mists. There’s ample tools and advice for creating horror campaigns as well as giving your characters a touch of corruption. It has cool additions like the survivor rules, fear seeds, curses, and haunted traps. However, it is really dragged down by the lack of stat blocks for darklords who should be unique monsters with lairs and legendary actions but instead might just be a CR 5 wraith who can cast a single mid-level spell.

Shameless Plugs

If you liked this article, you can support me and encourage future reviews. My disposable income—which is necessary to buy RPG products—is entirely dependent on my PDF sales.

I have a number of PDF products on the DMs Guild website. Completely coincidentally, this includes Who’s Doomed, a book of 5e stat blocks of darklords for the classic version of the Ravenloft campaign setting. Which is a huge passion product but also really handy for anyone who wants actual darklord statistics. If it continues to sell, I might add some of the new darklords to the product. There’s also the companion product Allies Against the Night, which takes classic Ravenloft heroes and makes them into sidekicks (based on the rules from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything).

Others include the Blood Hunter Expanded, my bundle of my Ravenloft books, the Tactician class, Rod of Seven Parts, TrapsDiseasesLegendary Monsters, and a book of Variant Rules. Phew.

Additionally, the revision of my book, Jester David’s How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding is on DriveThurRPG, available for purchase as a PDF or Print on Demand! (And now in colour!) The book is a compilation of my worldbuilding blog series, but all the entries have been updated, edited, and expanded to almost two-hundred pages of advice on making your own fantasy world.

Plus, I have T-shirts available for sale over on TeePublic! The art of which can also be put on cloth masks.

Image Copyright Wizards of the Coast