Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft (Dungeons & Dragons)
(as of Nov 26,2022 11:41:10 UTC – Details)
Terror stalks the nightmare realms of Ravenloft. No one knows this better than monster scholar Rudolph Van Richten. To arm a new generation against the creatures of the night, Van Richten has compiled his correspondence and case files into this tome of eerie tales and chilling truths.
• Travel (perhaps even by choice) to Ravenloft’s expanded Domains of Dread—each domain with its own unique flavor of horror, thrilling story hooks, and grisly cast of characters
• Craft your own D&D horror settings, add tension with optional rules, and get advice for running a game that’s ghastly in all the right ways
• Create characters with lineages tied to vampires, undead, and hags, horror-themed subclasses, the Investigator background, and “Dark Gifts” that may be a double-edged sword
• Unleash nightmarish monsters from an expanded bestiary, and browse a collection of mysterious trinkets
• Explore Ravenloft in the included Dungeons & Dragons adventure—play as a stand-alone adventure or drop it into your current game for a bit of sinister fun
From the Publisher
The Mist Beckons
In a far-flung corner of the plane of Shadow drifts a hidden expanse of roiling mist and vague semi-reality. At this eerie edge of the multiverse lie the Domains of Dread, nightmare demiplanes that form the Dungeons & Dragons setting of Ravenloft.
Discover the mysteries of Ravenloft, then make your choice. Will you create your own Domains of Dread, settings to host endless terrifying adventures? Or will you join the ranks of haunted heroes who embrace macabre lineages, dual-edged Dark Gifts, haunted subclasses, and other forbidden powers?
The Mists of Ravenloft are rising. What mysteries will you discover among the Domains of Dread? What nightmares will you shape? And once you enter the Mists, will you ever escape?
Whether for a night or an eternity, Ravenloft seeks heroes of all sorts and pits them against their greatest nightmares.
Face Your Fears
This book introduces options for designing characters well-suited to horror adventures and encourages players to embrace their own role in creating tales of terror.
Whether the work of witchcraft, the blood of a curiously fanged ancestor, or an unnatural return from the grave, characters may be, or become, transformed by a lineage that alters them in fundamental ways. Special traits and abilities manifest shortly thereafter—a vampire’s life-draining bite, a hag-like ability to beguile the senses, or the lingering presence of death in their touch.
Bards of the College of Spirits channel powerful effects drawn from the long-forgotten tales of the spirits they summon. And warlocks who dare make a pact with an Undead Patron may be gifted the power to defy death itself.
Two background options are also included—the Haunted One with a harrowing past and the Investigator, driven by the need to hunt down even the most elusive clues.
Warlocks are not the only adventurers tempted by whispered promises and sinister bargains. During character creation or over the course of an adventure, characters may be granted Dark Gifts—mysterious powers that come at the cost of an insidious influence.
A crumpled drawing of an old, imaginary friend, a ring of keys to forgotten locks, or a porcelain doll’s head that always seems to be watching you—characters can also start their adventure with a curious trinket that may lead to dreadful revelations or be nothing more than grim keepsakes.
Flesh is Lamordia’s most abundant natural resource.
A Tour Through the Mists
Dare your players to enter the wandering carnival or a perilous ancient tomb. Draw them into lands full of zombies, werewolves, and mind-bending cosmic horrors. Each Domain of Dread is a perfect expression of a particular flavor of the macabre.
Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft takes Dungeon Masters on a tour of Ravenloft’s most infamous locales, with special introductions to each Domain’s Darklord, themes, key sites, characters, and tables full of adventure ideas.
Create Your Own Domains
DMs will also find advice for creating their own Domain full of sinister sites, unexpected monstrosities, a unique culture, and the perfect villain at the center of it all.
Genres of Horror
Folk horror, cosmic terrors, body horror, dark fantasy, and more—bury players alive inside your favorite horror genres. This book includes an overview of each genre’s defining features and tables full of ideas for genre-appropriate monsters, villains, settings, and adventure plots.
Ominous shadows rise beyond the campfire’s light. Steps echo through the halls of a supposedly empty house. Something whispers from under the stairs. Such details fill horror tales, but what place do they have in your D&D game?
Strike fear in the heart of even the boldest adventurers, with advice and optional rules for making your D&D adventure truly terrifying.
Create Tension & Inspire Terror
Encourage your players to roleplay fear by letting them choose something their character finds frightening from the “Seeds of Fear” table. Or have them track a Stress Score that increases during tense, frightful encounters. Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is full of tools and tips for transforming your D&D game into a unique horror experience.
Haunted Traps & Curses
A sudden drop in temperature, a distorted reflection in the mirror, or a sound of distant, mournful music—the observant may recognize the signs of a haunted trap before setting it off. This book includes a selection of horror-themed traps that reveal grim histories and frightening tales, plus rules for creating your own.
Rules and examples of curses are also provided—ominously poetic consequences that may befall characters after fateful choices, whether it be defiling a tomb or the spilling of innocent blood.
This book introduces stat blocks for “survivors”—simple, premade characters that represent everyday people with just a hint of talent. Survivors can be used to recapturing the tension and fear that arises without access to the power and resources available to higher-level characters. Or they may let players witness first-hand events they might otherwise only hear about—whether it’s front-row seats to an important historic event or a part to play in a character’s ominous dreams.
A Nightmarish Bestiary
Creepy “carionette” dolls, floating undead heads, and a relentless killer straight out of a slasher film—this book contains a bestiary of monsters ranging from beloved horror classics to creative terrors that will haunt your nightmares. It also includes tips for restoring mystery and menace to creatures players may find too familiar to be frightening… or so they think.
One D&D Horror Adventure
Take players on a chilling journey with the included horror adventure, “The House of Lament.” A spirit board in the appendix can be photocopied for use as a prop, and the climax of the tale may serve as a springboard into future adventures in the Domains of Dread, if you dare enter.
Playing Dungeons & Dragons
Become an Adventurer
Adventurers come in all shapes and sizes. Find one that’s fun for you.
An elvish cleric, driven from society for trespassing on tradition. A dwarven paladin, atoning for an ignominious past. The Player’s Handbook provides the skeleton for your characters. Flesh them out however you choose.
Join the Party
D&D brings people together and forges new friendships. Silly moments spawn inside jokes; moving battles leave treasured memories—whether in the heat of battle, embroiled in social intrigue, or solving clever puzzles, your party has your back.
Choose Your Own Path
The woods are growing dark. Behind a mass of ivy, you see the stones of a crumbling castle. What do you do?
In D&D, your options are limitless. Because the Dungeon Master, as narrator of your tale, can improvise in reaction to any choice you make, what happens next is entirely flexible. Do you dare go on?