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Nerdarchy > Roleplaying Games  > Campaign Settings  > Unleash 5E D&D Horror with Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft
5E D&D horror Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft

Unleash 5E D&D Horror with Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft

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Creatures of the night can rejoice (in a dark and brooding way) when Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft releases on May 18. Arguably fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons’ most popular adventure Curse of Strahd pulls adventurers into the Mists of Ravenloft where they contend with supernatural horror in Barovia. The campaign reimagines one of D&D’s most beloved settings and Wizards of the Coast revisits the dark realm along with many others in the newly announced 5E D&D book.

Preorder as a digital unlock through D&D Beyond here or get your physical copy of Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft here

Slasher horror, macabre fairy tales, zombie apocalypse and more

Curse of Strahd introduced 5E D&D players to the horror themed setting of Ravenloft but the domain of Strahd von Zarovich is only one of many Domains of Dread. Adventurers brave enough to plunge into the mists once again may discover more than 30 Domains of Dread beyond Barovia within the pages of Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. Dungeon Masters can find tools for creating their own horror themed campaigns including details on each domain’s Darklord, new adventures and monsters, lineages and subclasses.

“I’m a huge fan of all things horror, so it was an absolute thrill to frame this book around bringing frightening elements like mummy lords, cosmic terrors, and urban legends to more D&D tables. Working with exciting new voices in horror and visual artists like D&D concept artist Shawn Wood was essential to make sure we’re updating the aesthetic for today’s fans while staying true to the roots of Ravenloft.”

— Wes Schneider, senior game designer and lead designer of Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft

Heroes of Ravenloft like Rudolph Van Richten, Ezmerelda d’Avenir and the Weathermay-Foxgrove Twins introduce a new generation of monster hunters to the Lands of the Mists. Through their correspondence players learn of eerily familiar Domains of Dream like Lamordia where Dr. Viktra Mordenheim creates undead beings from deceased body parts while exploring the horror of experimentation. Other realms interpret the horror in their own unique ways like the surreal, fairytale masquerades of Dementlieu, war torn rain forests of Kalakeri where treachery reigns and Falkovnia’s endless hordes of zombies. Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft also provides tools for creating new domains and Darklords.

Horror themed heroes can take advantage of Dark Gifts tied to the Domains of Dread and use the realm’s dread power for their own purposes — if they’re willing to pay the cost of such benefits. Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft comes with other new character options too like the Gothic Lineages from a recent Unearthed Arcana. [NERDITOR’S NOTE: This batch of playtest material does not seem to have undergone the same process as previous 5E D&D material. The playtest document released followed very quickly by the feedback survey, which did not remain open long.] There’s also the College of Spirits subclass for bards and The Undead subclass for warlocks plus new backgrounds and trinkets.

Explore 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.

• 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

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft contains macabre resources for 5E D&D

  • New subclasses — College of Spirits for bards and The Undead for warlocks
  • New character lineages including dhampir, hexblood and reborn
  • Dark Gifts for characters
  • New backgrounds and trinkets themed specifically for a horror setting
  • Rules and advice for building custom domains and Darklords using established horror tropes or your own sinister blend
  • More than 30 new and familiar Domains of Dread beyond Barovia like Lamordia, Dementlieu, Kalakeri and Falkovnia appearing for the first time in 5E D&D
  • New haunted adventure
  • A horrific assortment of creatures and monsters like carrionettes, vampiric mind flayers and other nightmares
  • New story hooks, character options and campaign customization

“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? The mists of Ravenloft are rising. Overcome your dread or forever be its prisoner!”

*Featured image — The standard and alternative cover art for Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft for 5E D&D, by Anna Podedworna and Scott M. Fischer respectively. [Images courtesy Wizards of the Coast]

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Doug Vehovec

Nerditor-in-Chief Doug Vehovec is a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio, with D&D in his blood since the early 80s. Fast forward to today and he’s still rolling those polyhedral dice. When he’s not DMing, worldbuilding or working on endeavors for Nerdarchy he enjoys cryptozoology trips and eating awesome food.

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