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Ravenloft setting. It contains all the guidelines you need to play in a Ravenloft campaign or to apply its Gothic atmosphere to any setting of your own creation. Ravenloft Player's Handbook () - Step into the Darkness Within the PDF + Hardcover Color Book (Premium Heavyweight) The Ravenloft campaign setting is an officially licensed Dungeons and Dragons property. [D&D ] Eberron - Campaign scretch.info Uploaded by. Raymond Michaud. TSR Van Richten's Guide to the Ancient Dead. Uploaded by. Nick Andrews.
Step into the Darkness Within the darkness, terror reigns. Vampires rule the night. Shapeshifters howl beneath the gibbous moon. Ancient evil and new-made ghosts and ghouls prey upon a populace ruled by fear. Yet within the darkness glows a light - a few brave souls who stand against the evil. Have you the courage to join their struggle? Gothic Adventure in the Domain of Dread The Ravenloft Player's Handbook updates both rules and source material for the popular Ravenloft campaign setting.
Dungeon Masters are encouraged to use scenes that build apprehension and fear, culminating in the eventual face-to-face meeting with the nameless evil.
One exception is the 'phlogiston' of the Spelljammer setting. Their exact nature and number are deliberately kept vague, allowing for plot development in accordance with the Gothic tradition of storytelling - where the heroes are frequently outclassed and outnumbered by unknowable evil forces beyond their control.
The Dark Powers most frequently serve as a plot device for Ravenloft, especially concerning the Dark Lords, the de facto visible rulers of the Ravenloft Demiplane. Where the player characters are often tormented and opposed by the Dark Lords, the Dark Lords are themselves tormented and opposed by the Dark Powers.
Vecna and Lord Soth "escaped" Ravenloft, but are the only two Dark Lords known to have done so; Vecna by attaining the status of Greater God and thus becoming too powerful for the Dark Powers to contain and Lord Soth by simply ignoring his domain and punishment, causing the Dark Powers to lose interest in imprisoning him. Most frequently, the Dark Powers make their wishes and intentions known through subtle manipulations of fate.
Thus, Barovia 's vampire lord Strahd von Zarovich 's many attempts to win back his love, Tatyana, are doomed to failure, but the Dark Powers arrange such that he never truly loses hope. Each time, for example, Strahd's own actions may be partially culpable for his failure, and as such he may go through crippling self-recrimination, rather than cursing the gods solely and giving up.
Most other Dark Lords have similar tales of frustration, kept all the more unbearable because the flicker of the possibility of success is never truly extinguished.
Not all Dark Lords acknowledge the Dark Powers directly, however. Strahd, for example, in his own memoirs, speaks only of a force known as "Death," who mocks him with the voices of his family and former colleagues throughout his life. Vlad Drakov , the Dark Lord of Falkovnia whose military expeditions are doomed to constant failure, seems even to be totally oblivious of any non-mortal factors in his repeated defeats.
The Dark Powers also seem capable of non-evil manipulations. Although their machinations are often directly responsible for the misery of many of Ravenloft's inhabitants, they also appear to play a role as dispensers of justice.
Some tales of innocents who have escaped Ravenloft for happier environs are attributed to the Dark Powers, who have judged a being worthy of reward and release from their misty domain.
Constructed on the sheer side of a thousand-foot cliff, the terrible fortress was occupied by something ancient and evil. A blot of night detached from the shadowed walls of the castle and moved out onto a narrow balcony.
Lightning revealed the sneering countenance of Count Strahd von Zarovich.
His eyes, burning with a never-satisfied hunger, took in the drizzling twilight, the looming peaks, and the few sad lights of the village below. He clutched one hand to his chest and muttered, as if making a promise, or perhaps delivering a curse, a single name: "Ireena.
A bitter wind spun dead leaves about him, billowing his velvet-lined cape. Another fit of lightning burst from the storm's underbelly, casting stark light across Strahd's face.
The angular muscles of his visage and the taut lines in his hands revealed a man accustomed to exercising complete authority. In that face, no pity lived -- but, perhaps, hints of growing madness?
His eyes narrowed as he spied the newcomers. A group traveled down Old Svalich Road toward the village. His grimace transformed into a hideous smile.
He knew they were coming, knew why they came, and relished what would be their ultimate fate. No plan could be called good unless blood was spilled during its execution.
All the pawns were finally assembled; all the pieces, prepared for so long, were in place and waiting to play their parts. Even from where he stood on the balcony, Strahd heard the unceasing pulse of the Dayheart; its beat throbbed up through the castle stone into his rigid flesh.
Its horrid semblance of life sustained Strahd with a vigor even more potent than the unholy existence he had enjoyed these many centuries. Precious few weapons could permanently harm him anymore. Soon enough, Strahd would personally attend the newcomers.