A fantasy world created by TSR to support the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game. It combines traditional fantasy with gothic horror. Key themes include uncertainty, the fine line between good and evil, and the entrapment of powerful evil people in prisons of their own devising. Ravenloft is a main 'land' and several island surrounded by a malevolent Mist. Based on the Castle Ravenloft module.

Wizards of the Coast has discontinued a number of the AD&D campaign settings, including Ravenloft, effective with AD&D 3rd Edition. Some Ravenloft characters and concepts will be incorporated into the main game. Gaming materials are becoming rare, however, as long as significant interest remains the Ravenloft campaign setting it will be supported in some capacity. Until 2003 it was supported through the "official" Ravenloft site, www.kargatane.com, but that site has since ceased updating.

A successful Ravenloft campaign is different from your typical AD&D slash and hack. It focusses more on character development and role-playing in the gothic setting of Ravenloft. Ravenloft rekindled my interest in AD&D, allowing me to explore the themes of corruption, betrayal and redemption in an RPG setting.

Among the tools in the Ravenloft DM's kit is good mood music. I recommend the soundtracks to Conan the Barbarian, Sleepy Hollow and Bram Stoker's Dracula , and Midnight Syndicate's "original soundtrack" CDs.


2016 update! A Dungeons & Dragons Sourcebook for 5e (fifth edition), Curse of Strahd was released in March 2016. Further updates once I obtain a copy...

In 2001 the rights to the Ravenloft campaign setting were obtained by Arthaus, an arm of White Wolf makers of the World of Darkness games. White Wolf produced a completely updated campaign setting. Ravenloft 3rd Ed is not run on White Wolf's famous storyteller system as used in games such as Aeon and Vampire but uses the d20 system. This should allows easy backwards compatability so you can still use all the old modules etc with just a few tweaks. Ravenloft d20 will be 100% D&D 3rd Ed compatable. It's not that hard to move your PCs over to d20, Str:15=Str15, just look up the new abilities on the tables, 'twas the work of but a moment.

All the core domains have their histories advanced to take into account the later novels and modules. Azlain the Lich Lord has returned under mysterious circumstances. Lord Soth is no longer around, as hinted in the Dragonlance novel "Dragons of Summer Flame" and "Spectre of the Black Rose" he has actually managed to escape to his home world of Krynn. Poor Krynn.

While the previous writeups correctly mention that Ravenloft is a campaign setting for AD&D, what it fails to mention is that it originated as a humble module for 1st Edition AD&D.

Ravenloft was in the "I" series of module, as I6. It was 32 pages, not including the map, and written by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman, the interior art was done by Clyde Caldwell. It was geared towards levels 5-7, but I think that a party of that level would have had to have been pretty large to survive. It was released in 1983 and became the best selling AD&D module.

I think most of its allure was the fact that it was one of the first modules to convince you that you were in a movie and not just in the middle of a dungeon crawl, which always felt like a board game. This was despite the fact that most of the module was a disguised dungeon crawl. It also contained a memorable bad guy, whom the players were unlikely to just roll a natural 20 and finish off: Count Strahd. (Yes, the center of the Ravenloft universe.)

I've owned this module twice, and had it "borrowed" twice, never to return. It's considered highly collectable, but if you just want to purchase the module for its contents you can pick up House of Strahd, which contains the entire module (converted to 2nd edition rules). (It is missing the cool cover art.)

There was later a sequel to the module made, Ravenloft II (House on Gryphon Hill), but that later module didn't quite seem to flow as well. (The first Ravenloft was such a hard act to follow.) Those two modules together, though, are the foundation for much of the campaign setting of Ravenloft.

And to return to the campaign setting: The limited edition of Ravenloft, the campaign setting, was just released. Reviews are good, and I plan on picking it up when the Unlimited Edition hits the shelves, so it appears that the new d20 publishers are definitely producing some quality materials.

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