Ravenloft Returns To D&D

Monday morning, Wizards of the Coast announced that the popular Ravenloft setting would make a return to D&D, with a new 5th edition adventure called Curse of Strahd. This is something for old fans to celebrate, since there were no official 4th edition materials for Ravenloft (Other than stats for Strahd), and even the 3rd edition version of the gameworld was made less threatening thanks to the wealth of power 3rd edition gave to players – enabling them to bypass much of the purposeful tension-increasing gimping Ravenloft once gleefully laid down upon PCs.

Though it’s unknown if the Ravenloft setting will be the fear-inducing, character-destroying, “My-powers-don’t-work-anymore” land of empowered undead that it was loved for being in 2nd edition is unclear, but there’s always hope:

    “Revisiting the land of Barovia with the creators of the original Ravenloft adventure has been a highlight of my professional career,” said Chris Perkins, principal story designer at Wizards of the Coast. “Tracy and Laura Hickman created a timeless villain whose faults reflect the darkest traits of humanity. I can’t begin to describe what it’s like to walk through the halls of Castle Ravenloft with its creators as your guides.”
    Heroes from the Forgotten Realms and other D&D worlds can easily be drawn into Strahd’s cursed land. Once there, they must contend with the horrors of Barovia. Its people are melancholy, misshapen and grotesque, living in fear of the wolves and other creatures that serve Strahd’s evil will. The only hope for the trapped adventurers is to heed the warnings of a mysterious fortune-teller named Madam Eva. Drawing random cards from her tarroka deck, she directs adventurers to search Strahd’s domain for artifacts and allies to help the master of Castle Ravenloft. That is, before he orchestrates your demise for his amusement and feasts on your terror.

So what does a tabletop RPG have to do with niche games? As is often the case with the tabletop game of D&D, whatever new settings or lands are featured in new modules often make it into their computerized versions as well. Much like how Neverwinter added the Rage of Demons storyline to their game, it’s highly likely we’ll see Ravenloft (eventually) return to PC gaming for the first time since the 1994 classic Strahd’s Posession.

Curse of Strahd‘s release is set for March 15th.

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Carl is both a JRPG fan and a CRPG'er who especially loves European PC games. Even with more than three decades of gaming under his belt, he feels the best of the hobby is yet to come.

  1. dogmentation
    January 19, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    “What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets. But enough talk, roll for initiative!”

  2. SpecialK
    January 19, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Is it sad I’m looking forward to this just for the Tarokka card deck? Heh. Old school 2nd Edition AD&D’r here, but I didn’t mind the 3rd edition-era Domains of Dread sourcebooks, they weren’t that bad.

    That Tarokka card deck’s been long out of print, obviously since the original campaign settings went out of print.

    Beyond glad they recently released the Strahd’s Possession & Stone Prophet games on GOG.com. Great stuff, there.

  3. chaoguy
    January 19, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    How does a tarokka deck differ from a tarot card?

  4. SpecialK
    January 19, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Pretty much identical in concept, but it’s in-character/in-continuity, with cards themed around classes/races/D&D-concepts, which looks much cooler. Like how they make customized “mainstream” playing card decks.

    It’s meant to fit into the in-game continuity, where the traveling Vistani Gypsies in-game use these to tell characters’ fortunes, or see the future, and such.

    Here’s an example/concept: http://imgur.com/a/4GLiX

    The original card deck that came with the campaign setting core rulebooks years ago are, similarly, long out-of-print, and command pretty high prices. Basically like in-game props.

  5. Sebastian Mikulec
    Sebastian Mikulec
    January 19, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I do hope it’s proper 2E style Ravenloft. It’s supposed to be punishing.