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D&D 5E Returning to Horror With Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft

February 23, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons will make its return to gothic horror in its latest book, exploring the many Domains of Dread in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. Wizards of the Coast announced on Tuesday that their next sourcebook will be the Van Richten’s Guide, which releases on May 18th.

The book will explore the many other domains in the horror-themed setting outside of Barovia, which was previously explored in Fifth Edition through the Curse of Strahd campaign in 2018. Ravenloft has long been associated with Strahd Von Zarovich, the vampire lord of Barovia, who debuted along with the settling in 1983’s Ravenloft adventure for First Edition. But there is much outside of Barovia to explore, as seen when the settling was expanded into a full campaign world in 1990’s Ravenloft: Realm of Terror boxed set.

That setting introduced additional domains, each ruled over by a Darklords who are both empowered and trapped by the dark forces that govern the world. Those domains included Lamordia, ruled by a Frankenstein’s monster-like creature named Adam; Falkovnia, a sinister military depotism overseen by the Vlad Tepes-like Vlad Drakov; and even Sithicus, which is ruled by the iconic Dragonlance death knight named Lord Soth.

The Van Richten’s Guide title was previously used for a host of sourcebooks exploring supernatural creatures such as ghosts, liches, werebeasts, vampires and more, told through the perspective of the Ravenloft-set monster hunter known as Rudolph Van Richten.

The new book will feature several of the previous domains as well as new ones, along with rules for DMs to build their own domains and Darklords. The setting book will also feature a new subclass each for Bards and Warlocks, new character lineages in the dhampir, hexblood, and reborn, and (of course) new monsters. The setting will also include a new adventure.

Pre-orders are available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, D&D Beyond, and Roll20, as well as local game stores. The full announcement is below:

Unleash the horrors of Ravenloft in this campaign sourcebook for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

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.

Discover the mysteries of Ravenloft, mist-shrouded lands where infamous Darklords lurk among ageless vampires, zombie hordes, cosmic terrors, and worse. 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?

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft contains everything you need to craft a horror-themed campaign for Dungeons & Dragons. Unleash a treasure trove of new story hooks, character options, and campaign customization to bring one of the most exciting Dungeons & Dragons settings to life!

Travel (perhaps even by choice) to familiar domains and discover new ones—as Ravenloft’s expanded Domains of Dread return for the first time in fifth edition! Includes rules and advice for building custom domains and Darklords using established horror tropes or your own special blend.

* Discover a host of new backgrounds and trinkets themed specifically for a horror setting, as well as new character lineages, including the dhampir, hexblood, and reborn.
* Find two new subclasses, the College of Spirits for bards and the Undead pact for warlocks.
* Explore Dark Gifts for characters that flesh out your place in the Domains of Dread.
* Encounter a horrific assortment of creatures from the monstrous bestiary.
* And includes a brand-new adventure!