Dungeons & Dragons Announces Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft

Dungeons & Dragons is returning to Ravenloft with Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft. Wizards of the Coast announced that a new 256-page campaign setting book focused on the horror-inspired world of Ravenloft will be released on May 18, 2021. Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft will not only update the various Domains of Dread that make up Ravenloft, but also provide players with three new lineages and two new subclasses to use in any campaign. Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft will also include a new Dark Gifts mechanic, which provides players with various benefits but at a potentially deadly cost.

dark gifts
(Photo: Wizards of the Coast)

Longtime fans of Ravenloft will be pleased to know that many of the world's most iconic characters will be featured in the book. In addition to the titular Rudolph Van Richten and the vampire hunter Ezmerelda d'Avenir, Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft will also feature other iconic D&D characters like the Weathermay-Foxgrove Twins and Alanik Ray. Tatiana, the woman doomed to be the perennial object of the vampire Strahd's desire, will also get a spotlight in the book.

Thirty Domains of Dread will appear in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, providing a bevy of different kinds of horror archetypes. Some Domains are instantly iconic, such as the grim world of Lamordia populated by flesh golems created by Dr. Viktra Mordenheim. Other domains have received updates to better embody different genres of horror. Falcovia, for instance has become the site of an endless zombie apocalypse, kept at tide by cruel Vladesca Drakov. Likewise, Valachan now embodies the horror featured in genres like The Most Dangerous Game or Hunger Games, where the populace is hunted for sport. Several new domains and domains only mentioned in passing also appear in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, including Kalakeri, which features an endless war between two factions inspired by Indian folklore.

van richten alternate art
(Photo: Wizards of the Coast)

In addition to tons of lore, the book will also include three new lineages, providing players with options for playing as a dhampir, a hexblood, and a Returned. These lineages use the alternative rulesets for races found in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, which removes Ability Score Increases and focuses only on physical and magical abilities rather than those learned due to culture. Two new subclasses - a College of Spirits for bards and an Undead patron for Warlocks, are also included. Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft also includes tools for building homemade Domains of Dread and darklords, as well as safety tools for running a horror-themed campaign at home.

During a press call about the book, Wizards of the Coast confirmed that sensitivity consultants were hired to look at the Vistani, an itinerant culture that have appeared in many Ravenloft stories. Dungeons & Dragons has previously received criticism for portraying the Vistani using negative stereotypes associated with the real-world Romani people, and a recent errata of Curse of Strahd removed some of the more egregious negative depictions.

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Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft will be released on May 18th. The book will come with two covers - a standard cover and an alternative cover available only at local game stores. Pre-orders are live on Amazon now.

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