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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  13:49:29  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
So I got my copy of Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft... I've not had a lot of time to read it, yet, but I'd read a few bits.

I read the entry on Darkon. I'll give them credit, I liked this one.

I read the entry on Barovia... And I was irritated. They retconned how Strahd became a vampire, they made him the first vampire in the multiverse, and other than a single mention of spellcasting, they don't even reference him being a wizard as well as a vampire. Sure, the vampire thing is what defines him more, but since his introduction in I6, him having wizard levels on top of being a vampire was one of the things that always set him apart.

I also found and read the entry on Jander Sunstar. And they retconned him, as well, making him less of a tragic character and more him more of a monster.

On top of that, I don't get why the designers just keep using him -- he was introduced in a novel that ended with him waiting to watch the sun rise. The novel didn't address what happened after that, but as a vampire, watching the sun rise isn't exactly a good idea. This book ignores that, makes him more of a monster with the retcon, and -- as so often happens, of late -- utterly ignores the chance to make a new character and do something with them, rather than mangling an existing one. They actually double down on refusing to create something new, here, by tossing in an explanation for how Jander can turn up elsewhere whilst still being in Ravenloft. I'll give them points for that explanation, but it doesn't forgive the retcon or their insistence on re-using a one-off character over and over and over again.

And we've already previously discussed how the designers decided to change Falkovnia by chucking its Darklord out the window to get rid of a similarity that literally did not exist, and then hit the domain with an overdone cliché...

It's probably a good thing that I'm not overly attached to Ravenloft, or this stuff would piss me oft as much as the pointless retcons and manglings they've done to the Realms.

I'm beginning to fear the idea of a proper FR campaign book -- at least by this bunch.

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Baltas
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Poland
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  16:06:07  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, to be fair, with Jander Sunstar, it's a bit debatable if they made him more monstrous - remember Jander originally feed on people in a mental asylum (exploiting specifically vunreable people), and murdered all of the other inhabitants of the asylum, after Anna died due to an illness (and not accepting the posibility of "survive" though vampirism). In that, as opposed to Anna's adventuring companions, the people he murdered weren't even connected to why he lost Anna.

They make his conflict with Strahd less heroic, though this could be seen as summarizing it, and can be expanded latter uppon. They did show Jander's benevolent traits, like being very willing to help people, and caring for Savra.

It also did retcon him being stuck in Baator and possible death from Descent to Avernus.

With Retcons of Ravenloft lore...there were quite a lot of those over the years. The second Ravenloft's module "The House on Gryphon Hill" was retconned, including "The House on Gryphon Hill's own retcon of Strahd's backstory (were Strahd was just the dark-side of the true good Alchemist Strahd)- which was retconed multiple times by this point, even outrside these instances. His most known backstory is basically a retcon. Strahd being the first vampire retcon, was I think first mentioned in the 5E Monster Manual. The House on Gryphon Hill also introdced Azalin, who also got retconed from that apperance, quite imidatelly. Drow were retconned into the Arak/Shadow Elves. Hazlik's backstory got retconned twice - first adding a love triangle element, and then retconing the gender of his lover he killed (from female to male - also changing Hazlik's sexuality), and it factoring into why he got his humiliating tattoos. (And this change also affecting Faerun, as this happened in Thay). The reveals about Dark Powers were retconned to make keep them enigmatic. Death was retconned as a creation (clone) of Azalin, then retconned to that being an unrelated entity etc.

I understand your frustrations, and I don't like all the changes, but Ravenloft is a setting among the more prone to retcons.

Edited by - Baltas on 16 Jun 2021 17:00:13
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  17:33:17  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So 5e has gotten so careless they now cannot even be bothered to stick to the kewl stuff they made up themselves.

When products are inconsistent it makes me think they are poorly conceived and produced, I wonder if others will feel the same.

If in a movie or tv series one of the characters suddenly changed race,name,gender personality it would be viewed as poor quality and ratings would suffer.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  18:24:30  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Baltas

Well, to be fair, with Jander Sunstar, it's a bit debatable if they made him more monstrous - remember Jander originally feed on people in a mental asylum (exploiting specifically vunreable people), and murdered all of the other inhabitants of the asylum, after Anna died due to an illness (and not accepting the posibility of "survive" though vampirism). In that, as opposed to Anna's adventuring companions, the people he murdered weren't even connected to why he lost Anna.


It is worse, though, in my opinion.

Jander murdered all those people in the asylum because he'd spent years loving Anna, and then she was forever taken from him -- there was no way at all he'd get her back.

The retcon is that some people got between him and her, so rather than try to work around them, he just slaughters them.

Sure, it's mass murder, both ways, but the original story has him mindless with grief and acting out; he didn't choose to kill the inmates, they just didn't have any place to go. This new story, he had options for trying to reunite with Anna, and instead gave into anger and slaughtered people just for being in his way.

quote:
Originally posted by Baltas

It also did retcon him being stuck in Baator and possible death from Descent to Avernus.


Actually, the Apparatus bit means that's not a retcon -- but the fact remains that it's a clumsy explanation and it still doesn't negate them failing to create a new character when given the option. And his appearance in Descent to Avernus is still problematic, Apparatus or no.

quote:
Originally posted by Baltas

With Retcons of Ravenloft lore...there were quite a lot of those over the years. The second Ravenloft's module "The House on Gryphon Hill" was retconned, including "The House on Gryphon Hill's own retcon of Strahd's backstory (were Strahd was just the dark-side of the true good Alchemist Strahd)- which was retconed multiple times by this point, even outrside these instances. His most known backstory is basically a retcon. Strahd being the first vampire retcon, was I think first mentioned in the 5E Monster Manual. The House on Gryphon Hill also introdced Azalin, who also got retconed from that apperance, quite imidatelly. Drow were retconned into the Arak/Shadow Elves. Hazlik's backstory got retconned twice - first adding a love triangle element, and then retconing the gender of his lover he killed (from female to male - also changing Hazlik's sexuality), and it factoring into why he got his humiliating tattoos. (And this change also affecting Faerun, as this happened in Thay). The reveals about Dark Powers were retconned to make keep them enigmatic. Death was retconned as a creation (clone) of Azalin, then retconned to that being an unrelated entity etc.

I understand your frustrations, and I don't like all the changes, but Ravenloft is a setting among the more prone to retcons.



I don't see how Strahd's most well-known story could be a retcon. His intro in I6 and the info in the original Ravenloft boxed set pretty much line up. The latter adds more info, but doesn't change anything -- unlike this new version. And like with Jander, there's no point at all to this change. They had all the original info, and still decided for no readily apparent reason to change it.

Prior retcons or no, there was no reason to introduce more of them.

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Baltas
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Poland
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  19:06:37  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well I maybe should be more specific - all the changes I mentioned, expet those with Jander Sunstar, happened in 1e-3.5e (1986 - when Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill was published and the first retcons happened, to 2006).

Which do include changing of race and personality (ie Drow becoming Arak/Shadow Elves of vastly different characterization and origin), characterization and backstory (Hazlik's backstory including a love traible, then making him homosexual and trying his humiliating tattos to it - the last being from the 3E era), for example. About gender changes - in 2E, Kalid-Ma was originally a Sorcerer Queen (even following athe same name convention of two parts as fellow Sorcerer Queens Abalach-Re and Lalali-Puy,), and her templar was the male Thakok-An. But also within 2E, Kalid-Ma became a male Sorcerer King, and Thakok-An became a female Templar.

Some of the changes to Strahd's backstory are just those retained from earlier 5E era- him being the first vampire is from the 5E Monster Manual; the Amber Temple, and it's role in Strahd's transforation, is from the Curse of Strahd. There other changes though.


Edited by - Baltas on 17 Jun 2021 00:51:23
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keftiu
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  19:46:11  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I’ve never been a Ravenloft fan, but I enjoyed this book well enough on its own merits. I think the Vistani changes are clever and well-done, and I like the nod to Eberron with one of the brief domains. I’m sad Kalidnay didn’t make the cut.

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Baltas
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Poland
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  20:34:31  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert


It is worse, though, in my opinion.

Jander murdered all those people in the asylum because he'd spent years loving Anna, and then she was forever taken from him -- there was no way at all he'd get her back.

The retcon is that some people got between him and her, so rather than try to work around them, he just slaughters them.

Sure, it's mass murder, both ways, but the original story has him mindless with grief and acting out; he didn't choose to kill the inmates, they just didn't have any place to go. This new story, he had options for trying to reunite with Anna, and instead gave into anger and grief, slaughtering people just for being in his way.




Well, the situation with Jander and Anna's companions is a bit complicated - they are stated to have assisted Anne in fleeing" Jander when he revealed his nature, and kept them apart. How do you stop a vampire from pursuing someone? You fight one. With intent to kill, or at least harm. As I doubt they just held him in place. If they indeed attacked Jander to allow Anna to flee (which a very probable reaction for discovering someone is a vampire). So it's at least very probable Jander there was an alteration between them. It's ambigious in wording, and proably intentionaly so.

Originally Jander slaughters a bunch of people, who didn't attack, in grief and rage. Many the same people he abused earlier by feedng on them.

quote:
Actually, the Apparatus bit means that's not a retcon -- but the fact remains that it's a clumsy explanation and it still doesn't negate them failing to create a new character when given the option. And his appearance in Descent to Avernus is still problematic, Apparatus or no.



It's actually still falls into the cathegory of retcon - people were sure it was Jander in Baator, and that was pretty certainly the creators of Descent to Avernus.


quote:
I don't see how Strahd's most well-known story could be a retcon. His intro in I6 and the info in the original Ravenloft boxed set pretty much line up. The latter adds more info, but doesn't change anything -- unlike this new version. And like with Jander, there's no point at all to this change. They had all the original info, and still decided for no readily apparent reason to change it.



Well, the Dark Powers were added, and they pulled Barovia to the Demiplane of Dread. And it's suggested even stated Death is one of the Dark Powers. Strahd's connection with Madame Eva was established - just from my memory.

Dunno, maybe I'm just more tolerant of retcons (and reboots/remaginings), due them being present in other franchises I like.

Edited by - Baltas on 16 Jun 2021 20:44:57
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  20:50:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

I’ve never been a Ravenloft fan, but I enjoyed this book well enough on its own merits. I think the Vistani changes are clever and well-done, and I like the nod to Eberron with one of the brief domains. I’m sad Kalidnay didn’t make the cut.



I liked that there was a nod to Eberron, but not the way they executed it. I would have loved to have seen an actual land, not just a train. And the train number being 1313 was overkill.

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keftiu
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  20:54:34  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

I’ve never been a Ravenloft fan, but I enjoyed this book well enough on its own merits. I think the Vistani changes are clever and well-done, and I like the nod to Eberron with one of the brief domains. I’m sad Kalidnay didn’t make the cut.



I liked that there was a nod to Eberron, but not the way they executed it. I would have loved to have seen an actual land, not just a train. And the train number being 1313 was overkill.



Keith has a standalone Domain coming out soon for the capital of Cyre, if you want something a little more toothsome.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  21:19:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu



Keith has a standalone Domain coming out soon for the capital of Cyre, if you want something a little more toothsome.



That does sound like something of interest. Is that going to be a DM's Guild thing?

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keftiu
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Posted - 16 Jun 2021 :  22:11:03  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by keftiu



Keith has a standalone Domain coming out soon for the capital of Cyre, if you want something a little more toothsome.



That does sound like something of interest. Is that going to be a DM's Guild thing?



Yup! His Guild projects are done under the “KB Presents” label, and stand head and shoulders above most 5e stuff out there, as well as being the ‘real canon’ to a lot of the Eberron fanbase. Exploring Eberron is incredible, and both Dread Metrol and Frontiers of Eberron: Threshold are shaping up nicely.

Eberron may not have an advancing timeline, but we still get new content fairly often, as previously-undetailed stuff gets fleshed out. EE added a ton of info on underwater civilizations that was all entirely new, including a sahuagin empire built around sleeping giant sea dragons that dream portals to the planes that people nearby can be caught up in - it rules.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  00:01:27  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
“Many of the domains get a modern-day brush up. We took the setting’s characters, locations, monsters, and other pieces, shook them up, and took some new directions. For example, in the ’90s, the domain of Falkovnia was a totalitarian regime ruled by a Darklord named Vlad Drakov, who had a Vlad the Impaler vibe. Well, we already have a Vlad-type figure in residence at Castle Ravenloft in Barovia, so we saw this as the perfect opportunity to give the domain a stronger identity and embrace a different brand of horror. In its new form, Falkovnia is ruled by a Darklord named Vladeska Drakov, a notorious military commander who’s struggling to defend its last surviving city against a domain-wide zombie apocalypse.”

I just read the Falkovnia entry. Not only does it act like Falkovnia didn't exist until Vladeska Drakov showed up, she's still the same character. They added "-eska" and tweaked the backstory, but it's essentially the same story and she's pretty much the same person. She may not sit back and watch the impalements like the original did, but the book says that the only punishment for crime is impalement. So they got rid of the "Vlad the Impaler vibe" by replacing it with a Vlad the Impaler vibe, and added a zombie apocalypse on top of it -- one of the horror shticks I most strongly can't stand.

So half of their big change was a retcon for a genderflip, and the other half was another horror cliché.

Oh, and Gondegal the Lost King is now a woman, it seems.

I continue to be quite underwhelmed.

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Baltas
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Poland
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  00:39:30  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, they do kinda differenate Vladeska Drakov, by focusing more on her being an evil military commander in style of antagonist like Captain Henry Rhodes of Day of the Living Dead III, Major Henry West from 28 Days Latter, Colonel Sinclair of Return of the Living Dead, or Governor of The Walking Dead. Which kinda fit's the idea of "Humans (Mortals?) Are the Real Monsters" trope present in zombie movies, that was present with Vlad Drakov.

The undead also fitting, as they are essentially all people Vladeska caused death of, the undead having their faces (or reshaped to look so by the Dark Powers), hounding her specifically, and her knowing deep down, that in realiy the undead are after her, and all this is her fault. The zombies also being given a possibility of having a humanizing element, - possibly trying to return to their former lives, or at least following the memories of their life.

It's also suggested the zombies can be exchanged with other undead, or even other non-undead creatures, like giants.

Though I can see why people like you (who dislike the zombie genre) would dislike it, even with changing of creatures, as the tropes/motives kinda stay the same can dislike it.

I also admit the gender change for Vlad and Gondegal wasn't really needed.

Edited by - Baltas on 17 Jun 2021 01:47:57
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keftiu
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  01:09:15  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Having not read the original, Falkovnia was one of my favorite parts of the book. “Lawful Evil military commander crumbling in the face of a horde of undead” is a fun way to do D&D horror.

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  01:52:26  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wait, they used Jander in the Descent to Avernus and ignored it in this Ravenloft product? What?

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  02:06:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Baltas

Well, they do kinda differenate Vladeska Drakov, by focusing more on her being an evil military commander in style of antagonist like Captain Henry Rhodes of Day of the Living Dead III, Major Henry West from 28 Days Latter, Colonel Sinclair of Return of the Living Dead, or Governor of The Walking Dead. Which kinda fit's the idea of "Humans (Mortals?) Are the Real Monsters" trope present in zombie movies, that was present with Vlad Drakov.

The undead also fitting, as they are essentially all people Vladeska caused death of, hounding her, the zombiesies of people whose faces she knows (or reshaped to look so by the Dark Powers), hounding her specifically, and her knowing deep down, that in realiy the undead are after her. The zombies also being a possibility of having a humanizing element.

It's also suggested the zombies can be exchanged with other undead, or even other non-undead creatures, like giants.

Though I can see why people like you (who dislike the zombie genre) would dislike it, even with changing of creatures, as the tropes/motives kinda stay the same can dislike it.

I also admit the gender change for Vlad and Gondegal wasn't really needed.



The original Vlad Drakov was a falcon-themed military commander, too, who kept trying to attack other domains. All they've done here is remove having Falkovnia's Darklord enjoy watching impalements during dinner. They acted like they were making some major change to this domain, but all they did was swap the bad guy's gender and tweak his backstory, and then throw a cliché on top of it. They didn't even remove the Vlad the Impaler vibe that they claimed was such a problem.

I can tolerate the zombie apocalypse if it's done well (I really enjoyed the aforementioned 28 Days Later, and I love the Ex-Heroes novels), but this wasn't a case of doing it well.

I likely wouldn't have been nearly as bugged by it if they didn't retcon the Darklord and the domain's origin, and then throw in the zombies. Rename "Vlad but as a woman!" and have them overthrow the original, and you've got something there. Have the zombies originally under the new Darklord's control, but then they lose that control. Or Maybe after being overthrow, the original Darklord comes back with his own zombie army. Do something to avoid the "everyone's gonna die!" trope, and you've got something a lot more interesting.

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Baltas
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Poland
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  02:07:52  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well not really - it is aknoweleged, but it suggested it might be a "splinter" of Jander Sunstar that got imprisoned in Avernus in Descent into Avernus. Jander tried to use Apparatus in Mordent to cure his vampirism by splitting it from him, among many methods of trying to free himself from vampirism. But it went wrong and split him into many versions/copies of himself, and sending them scattered across the planes.

It's actually not clear that the Jander who remained trapped in the Domains of Dread is the original (if it's suggested) - each copy/version thinks they are the original (and to some level, they are, seeing they are essentially parts of the same being). Jander in Descent into Avernus, is either indeed the original, or more probably one of the splinters/copies of Jander.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  02:16:13  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Wait, they used Jander in the Descent to Avernus and ignored it in this Ravenloft product? What?

-- George Krashos



Well, what they did was say that he used the Apparatus to try to cure his vampirism, and it "created myriad copies of him, scattered across the planes."

So they give themselves a way to just keep using the same character over and over and over again, because creating new characters is just too hard.

They also say that the one in Ravenloft is "seeking a peace he'll never deserve." You know, because remaining a good guy even after becoming a vampire, hunting other vampires, helping people work against evil -- yeah, that is so very much not deserving of any reward!

In my headcanon, Jander was destroyed at the end of Vampire of the Mists -- slain by the sunrise he stayed up to watch, knowing it could mean his end. Given the nature of Ravenloft, it's perhaps the best ending he could hope for.

I would entirely redesign, if not just remove, any of these cheap Jander knockoffs that the current design crew seems so enamored of torturing.

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Baltas
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Poland
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  02:36:53  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

The original Vlad Drakov was a falcon-themed military commander, too, who kept trying to attack other domains. All they've done here is remove having Falkovnia's Darklord enjoy watching impalements during dinner. They acted like they were making some major change to this domain, but all they did was swap the bad guy's gender and tweak his backstory, and then throw a cliché on top of it. They didn't even remove the Vlad the Impaler vibe that they claimed was such a problem.




Well yes, but I think the zombies, do give her a nice foil in the way of zombies, them being a literal result of her atrocities. That despite Vladeska Drakov not being (as of now now at least) a rapist and bigot, she is present as throughfully evil character (even if she justifies her actions to herself, it is presented as empty). She is still an impaler, but it's proobably to not divorce her completelly from the original. Again, even quote about Vlad Drakov was not that some of his traits like impaling being neversarily bad, just that to differente him/her more from Strahd, with both being kinda based on Vlad III Tepes Dracula (again, parts of Strahd's life, especially those elaborated in 2E-3E were visibly inspired by the reall Vlad Tepes). As opposed to Vlad originally, she was also at cusp of attaining her ambitions fully, before being taken by the Mists. Making her punishment that more painful (and appropriate). An there is also the fact, the players are forced to work with Vladeska, for their and others survival, if also possibly try to subvert her cruelty, while maintaining this fragile alliance.

[EDIT]
Also, dunno the zombie lord story, or fight of Darklords story, would undermine the dead coming for revenge motive. I also think the fact people in Falkovnia struggle directly with the treat of extinction, which makes it different from other domains. Though the implications are that the strugle itself will probably theoretically last forever, at least for Vladeska.

But of course, on all of it YMMV.

quote:
They also say that the one in Ravenloft is "seeking a peace he'll never deserve." You know, because remaining a good guy even after becoming a vampire, hunting other vampires, helping people work against evil -- yeah, that is so very much not deserving of any reward!


Yeah, I agree that part of Jander's entry is bad, or at least badly worded.

Edited by - Baltas on 17 Jun 2021 05:30:47
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  15:10:37  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So after reading the Lamordia entry, I am forced to conclude that my expectations were wrong, on this book.

With the SCAG, we got an updated setting -- they moved the timeline forward, and made the necessary changes to accommodate a new ruleset.

With the Eberron book, we got an adapted setting -- no changes to the timeline; we got a new version of a prior book.

This one is neither of those things. It's not giving us a prior version of Ravenloft, modified for 5E. It's not providing updates for a prior version, with a timeline that has moved forward.

Instead, this is a new Ravenloft, disconnected from anything that came before.

I'm not sure I would have bought it, had I known that. For me, continuity is hugely important. I like a setting where things happen, and I like that these things have an impact on later events and are not ignored. Any setting that is static and/or that doesn't adhere to its own continuity loses a lot of the potential appeal, for me.

Because I love continuity, all these retcons just bug the crap out of me -- even in cases like Lamordia, where the new version is actually an improvement. I'd rather see how A became B, rather than this approach of "It was always B! A never existed, despite all the material that says otherwise!"

Lamordia was always something of an issue, because even though we had other horror rip-offs in the setting, those rip-offs were more than just filing the serial numbers off. Strahd is the literary Dracula, sure, but there have been so many others like him that another spin wasn't really that much of a thing. And tying him to the land and having Tatyana continuously respawn changed it up somewhat. Vlad Drakov was a blatant rip-off of the real Dracula, but playing up the military angle helped differentiate it, and the real Dracula isn't as well-known as the literary one (and he was more known for the impalements than his military prowess). Lamordia, though -- Frankenstein is tough to recreate without being a blatant rip-off.

But this new version does work well for that. They changed it enough that it's no longer just a direct lift, and it's actually a more interesting background, now.

However, this is still frustrating: it shows that there is some creative ability, here, when the designers choose to use it. Knowing that these folks can be creative, but seeing them choose to do things like continuously mangle and re-use Jander Sunstar rather than make a new character, makes it worse: it makes it look like they are either too lazy to or just don't care about creating something new, instead of stomping all over older material.

Lamordia's Darklord was originally Adam, Ravenloft's version of Frankenstein's monster. Now it's Viktra Mordenheim. I think they should have made the risen Elise the Darklord, but had her stay in the shadows -- or maybe some other construct that was supposed to have been destroyed or that turned out to be more powerful than expected. Viktra is more of a mad scientist type, and while she's certainly evil, it doesn't seem like the kind of evil that should appeal to the Dark Powers. Strahd chose to slay his own brother. Viktra? She's just too wrapped up in science to worry about morals.

And oh gods, while I'll let the genderflip slide on this one (because it is a better story), why Viktra? Why throw out old material and then make a point of keeping the name? It would have been better to go all in and come up with another name entirely.

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Gelcur
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  16:09:57  Show Profile  Visit Gelcur's Homepage Send Gelcur a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Huh I was unaware that a new Ravenloft project had been in the works.

Reading through all this I have mixed emotions. Mainly with the changes made that reach beyond Ravenloft. Though I am a stickler for canon 99% of the time, Ravenloft feels like it falls under that 1%. I used to use the setting every Halloween to run a yearly one shot. I took my time as I did before running my first FR campaign and read all the 2E material and then the 3E. The picture that was painted for me was the Demiplane of Dread and the Dark Powers gave me the ability to do whatever I wanted.

The first thing that came to mind was Ravenloft was the focus on personal horrors. And I thought what better than allow players to bring ANY PC from ANY quest into a one shot. They get to run that character they loved and I got to "Torture" their favorite characters. My players were shocked when I told them this they know how much I'm a stickler for continuity. Slew of questions followed, what about dead characters, what about non-D&D settings, etc, etc. They didn't know we were going to play in Ravenloft. Way I saw it the mists can literally pluck anyone out of any place, it reaches into places that normal travel can't often reach Athas, no problem, the Phlogiston, yep. And it can very well places them back with no one being the wiser, snatch someone a moment before death, place them in Ravenloft for ages and plop them back.

Then I decided some of their character needed to be altered a bit. And I had mixed feelings, de-leveling was fine, they could have been snatched from an earlier part of their adventuring career. But then I remembered the part where Domains often changed locations and came in and out of being. And it occurred to me inside these Domains nothing could be real, a grand simulation. Maybe Barovia is sitting nicely on some prime still and a template of Barovia was lifted into Ravenloft OR maybe not. Maybe only certain things or people were taken. That's the great thing, unlike the gods, the Dark Powers are so "alien" that anything can happen with no reason.

I wonder if someone at WotC was thinking the same thing when they worked on this book? Ravenloft can be anything and multiple things at once, no reason why there can't be two version of Falkovnia or anything else existing at the same time, going back to how I envisioned my home setting as a computer simulation, unload Falkovnia 1.0, load 2.0, revert changes, see what happens, load both, etc. Maybe I'm giving WotC to much goodwill that they haven't earned in the last decade or two...

Sorry for the rambling, just felt oddly reminiscent.

The party come to a town befallen by hysteria

Rogue: So what's in the general store?
DM: What are you looking for?
Rogue: Whatevers in the store.
DM: Like what?
Rogue: Everything.
DM: There is a lot of stuff.
Rogue: Is there a cart outside?
DM: (rolls) Yes.
Rogue: We'll take it all, we may need it for the greater good.
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sleyvas
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  17:12:12  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Regarding continuity and Ravenloft.... just something to consider.... and I guess my continual questioning of whether what we're told for the realms is true (and that includes anything that's presented as "known fact") leads me to think this way.... in Ravenloft, history subjectively changes. Memories of people change. So nothing that's presented is necessarily "true". Its just what is "believed" at that time. Only mentioning it because from a game perspective, it should be believable that the story changes over time and the players don't even realize the changes.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 17 Jun 2021 18:10:12
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Baltas
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Poland
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Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  19:11:58  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So after reading the Lamordia entry, I am forced to conclude that my expectations were wrong, on this book.

With the SCAG, we got an updated setting -- they moved the timeline forward, and made the necessary changes to accommodate a new ruleset.

With the Eberron book, we got an adapted setting -- no changes to the timeline; we got a new version of a prior book.

This one is neither of those things. It's not giving us a prior version of Ravenloft, modified for 5E. It's not providing updates for a prior version, with a timeline that has moved forward.

Instead, this is a new Ravenloft, disconnected from anything that came before.




Yeah, I thought about adressing this is a reboot, as I was not sure if it was clear when we discussed.

The reboot kinda started with the Curse of Strahd, though they creators and WoTC did decide to continue it in this book.

quote:
Lamordia's Darklord was originally Adam, Ravenloft's version of Frankenstein's monster. Now it's Viktra Mordenheim. I think they should have made the risen Elise the Darklord, but had her stay in the shadows -- or maybe some other construct that was supposed to have been destroyed or that turned out to be more powerful than expected. Viktra is more of a mad scientist type, and while she's certainly evil, it doesn't seem like the kind of evil that should appeal to the Dark Powers. Strahd chose to slay his own brother. Viktra? She's just too wrapped up in science to worry about morals.

And oh gods, while I'll let the genderflip slide on this one (because it is a better story), why Viktra? Why throw out old material and then make a point of keeping the name? It would have been better to go all in and come up with another name entirely.


Well, with Viktra Mordenheim, many argued Victor Mordenheim should be the Darklord, and Adam part of his curse, which probably influenced the decision for Viktra to be Darklord of Lamordia.

Viktra could be seen as quite evil, though I agree her evil is not really from malice, but being amoral, and killed many, many people, if largelly to save a person she loved. Still, I can see it could be seen as not a type of person who interests the Dark Powers.

I'm glas you like Viktra (as she's also one of my more liked parts of the book). I agree though they could be more imaginitive with her name.
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Baltas
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Poland
886 Posts

Posted - 17 Jun 2021 :  20:54:47  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Regarding continuity and Ravenloft.... just something to consider.... and I guess my continual questioning of whether what we're told for the realms is true (and that includes anything that's presented as "known fact") leads me to think this way.... in Ravenloft, history subjectively changes. Memories of people change. So nothing that's presented is necessarily "true". Its just what is "believed" at that time. Only mentioning it because from a game perspective, it should be believable that the story changes over time and the players don't even realize the changes.



Yup, one of the more intersting things about House on the Gryphon Hill (and suggested in 2E Domains of Dread campaign setting book and 3E Ravenloft Gazetter Volume 1), was the idea the whole events of events of I6-Ravenloft, were a dream the PCs had, reliving the last adventure of doomed heroes from past.:
https://www.reddit.com/r/CurseofStrahd/comments/88xy87/when_in_the_timeline_should_curse_of_strahd/

Edited by - Baltas on 17 Jun 2021 23:41:45
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Lord Karsus
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Posted - 18 Jun 2021 :  03:35:12  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Jander Sunstar is one of my favorite Forgotten Realms characters. Every time I see anything new that involves him, my mind immediately goes to The Simpsons scene "Stop! Stop! He's already dead!" (and in this case, literally and figuratively)

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 18 Jun 2021 :  03:50:31  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Jander Sunstar is one of my favorite Forgotten Realms characters. Every time I see anything new that involves him, my mind immediately goes to The Simpsons scene "Stop! Stop! He's already dead!" (and in this case, literally and figuratively)



Jander was a really great character -- perhaps my favorite character from the Ravenloft setting.

And because I like the character so much, that's why my headcanon is that he was destroyed in that sunrise he decided to watch. It's not as happy an ending as somehow regaining his mortality or anything like that, but it's a good ending, and a true death is pretty much the best thing anyone in Ravenloft can hope for.

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