Ravenloft

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TitleRemovedJinRoh.pngIn the Grimdarkness of the far future, a brief life burns brightly. This article or section is a work of Grimdark. Expect a copious amount of depression, existentialism, hopelessness with a sprinkle of edge. So what can we say but exclaim: I LOVE BIG BROTHER!

"What is hell? Hell is oneself, / Hell is alone, the other figures in it / Merely projections."

– T.S. Elliot

Trapped in another world, each area of the world is its own little plane of existence, ruled by the baron! Vampires, ghouls, zombies, wights, undeads, witches, horrible gypsy curses, and no way out - DUN DUN DUUUUUN

Ravenloft is a campaign setting made of lofts and ravens... well, ok, it's a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting that replaces the shiny high fantasy heroism cliches with 19th century Gothic literature cliches. Ravenloft itself is a demiplane, divided into several domains, each ruled by a different "Darklord" and inspired by traditional horror tales. While "Castle Ravenloft" is the home of Strahd von Zarovich, this article will refer to the entire plane/setting as Ravenloft for convenience.

For a list of all the domains in Ravenloft, see Demiplane of Dread.

For a list of all the rulers of those domains, see Darklord.

History[edit]

Ravenloft began as a 1e D&D module officially titled I6: Ravenloft, created by the Hickmans fresh off the I3-4-5: Desert of Desolation series. Their reason for Ravenloft was that they believed that vampires had become trite, overused and mundane, so they sought to go back to classic Gothic Horror novels and Universal Horror films to make a "truly scary" vampire (it was 1983 when they published it). Module I6 was later followed by the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons module I10: Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill, which was based on outlines that the Hickmans had written before leaving TSR and was officially credited to them; this introduced the rudiments of the later domain of Mordent and the future darklord Azalin the Lich.

Both modules were huge successes, which inspired TSR to build upon lore from the two modules and craft the entire Ravenloft campaign setting. In AD&D, the setting's nature as a patchwork of prisons was played up; the default assumption was that it would be for "Weekend in Hell" games (a term the setting coined), where players would be outlanders swept up in the mists and jerked around by the DM before managing to escape. Ravenloft was loaned out to White Wolf's Sword & Sorcery sub-company as part of 3rd edition, and Arthaus Publications drastically expanded the Ravenloft setting, making it into a more cohesive setting that functioned on its own, rather than being so cross-over defined; Ravenloft D20's assumption was that PCs should aim to be natives, and they toned down the grimdark to further facilitate that. Unfortunately, probably because of the fact it wasn't Wizards of the Coast who did the expanding, the D20 version of Ravenloft has been ignored by WoTC. It's not like they followed on from 2e-3.5 anyway in the 4e and 5e Ravenlofts. To note, the expedition to castle ravenloft module for 3.5 by WoTC is not canon (citation needed), and is simply a remake of the original adventure, the 2e demiplane of dread being the active plane of interest still rings true.

Ravenloft was reduced to just a few token mentions in the 4th edition, where Strahd appeared in the Open Grave splatbook and Domains of Dread were boiled back down to their "Weekend in Hell" idea as cursed realms within the Shadowfell, but received a royal treatment in 5e with the release of Curse of Strahd, an updated, rewritten release of the original I6 module. Or, this was the case until a new book was announced, see below.

Ironically, the Hickmans are notorious for hating the setting they ultimately created, in one part because of their notorious disdain for "crossovers" between D&D settings and for another because a different author for TSR wrote a very well-written novel - Knight of the Black Rose - in which Lord Soth of Dragonlance was made into a Darklord. Fans loved the idea, but in the end, he became the only Darklord ever to escape the Land of Mists when they first drew him back to Krynn, then killed him off so no one could have him.

The most important parts of Ravenloft are probably the contents on lich and vampire lore provided by professor Rudolph Van Richten, the now deceased monster hunter of the demiplane, Ricky dick is known for getting back-stabbed by Vistani and being maybe too generous with the information he supplied in his works, on account of nearly getting his heart carved out by one of his best friends because he thought it was a good idea to detail almost all of the lich ritual requirements. In 3.5, you will find some of the salient abilities he wrote for Liches in Monsters of Faerun updated. He also literally wrote the book on several other Gothic monsters, namely werebeasts, mummies, golems, fiends and witches - see Van Richten's Guide.

When horror themes started becoming popular again in the years around 2010, people remembered again that Ravenloft existed. Wizards of the Coast reintroduced the world to the mainstream D&D cosmology by saying that its domains lie within a mirror-plane of the Prime Material, making the aforementioned connection device canon. There were also a bunch of imitators in settings and games where you really wouldn't expect it.

So, yeah. If you like Wuthering Heights, Ethan Frome, or Castlevania, you'll probably love Ravenloft. Fun fact; the Japanese version of the original NES Castlevania's cover art was basically ripped straight from the first Ravenloft cover art.

What's Ravenloft Like?[edit]

The setting has been described (by Noah Antwiler) as "Hell, but not for you."

Contrary to popular opinion, detect evil does actually work in Ravenloft, but the world returns an integer and the spell expects a boolean.

The first rule of Ravenloft is not to touch anything, ever. Assume everything is cursed unless you saw someone pick it up and put it down without becoming a zombie, and even then that's no guarantee. Second, alignment-detecting magic can only say if something is lawful or chaotic, so you can't use those spells to check if anything is safe. Third, beware of curses, as they're especially powerful and anyone can place them if they're angry enough and get the Dark Powers' notice when they speak the curse. Any deed that could be considered "evil," like unprovoked assault, murder (especially of family), oath-breaking, or using specific naughty spells (usually necromantic) pings the Dark Powers' attention and calls for a "Powers check," a percentile roll against a number determined by the act committed and the victim. Roll above the number and you're safe (for now). Roll below and the Dark Powers like what they see, "gifting" you with something that seems beneficial, but pushes you to commit more nefarious deeds, which prompt further Powers checks. Soon, the Dark Powers' gifts come with obvious curses and debilitating drawbacks that end in either your death, transformation into something inhuman, or "ascension" to the rank of Darklord.

Basically, every evil deed is punished by karma. This means that it's entirely possible to lie, cheat, and steal your way into power, only to find yourself ironically cursed in a way that you can never have what you wanted that power for in the first place. Standard operating procedure is for you to be cursed to be alone or separated from one specific loved one - a wife, a son, etc. This is something detrimental in D&D, where the likes of good, evil, law, and chaos are tangible cosmic forces, case in point: outsiders who have good or evil as a subtype come into the place with "reality wrinkles," regions centered on themselves that have their own laws of reality, effectively their own portable domains that overwrite the local area.

Also, you can't leave unless the Dark Powers let you. There are rumors of other ways out, but they are always unclear and extremely dangerous to attempt. Attempting to use plane shift or other dimensional magic never get you out of Ravenloft; each domain is treated like its own plane, so you'll likely end up in a different domain instead. 3.5 allows to get in and out via OP1's World Serpent Inn, which shows up in the Demiplane of Dread at certain set intervals. The WSI fistula pisses the Dark Powers off to no end to the point they immediately threaten and scare anyone away from the door that leads to the inn as and when it appears in their domains. This whole "You can't get out unless we let you" schtick gave birth to so called Weekend in Hell adventures, where the players act like the unwitting pawns of the Dark Powers to torment a Darklord and are magnanimously granted a ticket out if they succeed without being corrupted themselves.

At the hands of a bad DM, 3.5's security-breach allows spells and powers unique to the plane to seep elsewhere, like into the Forgotten Realms. One of the prime reasons that make the Demiplane of Dread so dangerous is that it's home to spells so broken and dangerous that if they became planes-wide knowledge, everything could get screwed in a mere matter of days. A good example of this would be Strahd's unkillable zombies in the hands of a Dread Necromancer with the right feats, resulting in zombies that never die, endlessly heal if limbs are severed, only to turn into more undead that also explode and heal other undead in an endless cycle. But the seepage problem wasn't a new one; it's long been known to any worldbuilder, since Pizarro first stepped into Peru. DMs with three neurons to rub together can rule that the spell or ability in question simply ceases to function anywhere outside its domain of origin - so restraining Strahd's super-groovy zombies, in our example, to Strahd's prison.

Incidentally, as a result of the "no one can leave" thing, using conjuration magic is an extremely bad idea, as most summoned entities will be quite upset when they realize they can't go back home when the spell expires - and they will usually take their anger out on the conjurer with lethal results.

Fun fact: Only three prisoners have ever managed to escape from Ravenloft permanently. One is Vecna, of interest because the PCs can track his career in a series of adventure modules, culminating in that more-Planescape-than-actual-Ravenloft module Die, Vecna, Die!. Another was Lord Soth, formerly of Dragonlance. One more was Jander Sunstar, but he eventually killed himself out of guilt. Soth's case is the most interesting: he escapes by not giving a crap. To explain: Soth eventually accepts that he deserves to be tormented by the Dark Powers and admits his failures. He refuses to rise to anything they present him with, be it despair or hope; eventually, realizing that it's pointless to keep him around since he won't respond to anything they do and that he's reached a state resembling repentance the Dark Powers release him from Ravenloft after manipulating events so his downfall would be re-enacting in a way that he could no longer numb himself to the evil of his actions by living in the past. One final thing worth mentioning on the subject of things leaving Ravenloft is the Red Death of Masque of the Red Death. An early preview and a developer state it was a Dark Power banished by the others for some violation of their code of conduct.

The Darklords' Dark Secret[edit]

Those Dark Lords we keep mentioning above? They're the rulers of each land (most of them in fact as well as in spirit), but also prisoners of them as well. The entire plane is composed entirely of innumerable prisons, each one for something that really deserves it, and is caught in some kind of ironic hell as a result. The DM could connect this plane into your regular adventure just by saying, "thick mists rise up around you," and this meant you were royally fucked. The Dark Powers that control Ravenloft can steal people, places, and objects from other planes and trap them within the Demiplane of Dread. If somebody somewhere in the planes commits a particularly heinous crime (for example, Strahd von Zarovich, the first Darklord, became a vampire and murdered his brother to take his fiancee Tatyana for himself, who committed suicide rather than submit to him), they will reach out with the Mists to claim that person, create a little pocket realm for them, using a copy of their current surroundings, brand new scenery, or even just abduct the surroundings as well. In any case, the person is bound to that new realm as its Darklord.

Darklords have power, yes, but it's all ash in their mouths. The Dark Powers torment them by continuously dangling what their heart wishes for the most and they could have had just out of their reach. For instance: every generation, Strahd discovers a young woman who he believes is the reincarnation of Tatyana, but he always ends up responsible for her death. Azalin Rex, a powerful lich, is rendered incapable of learning new spells, utterly defeating the purpose of his undead transformation. One of Victor Mordenheim's creations nearly killed his wife, whom he cannot save from the brink of death, instead using an array of complicated machinery to keep her just barely alive, yet in constant agony while he continually fails to resuscitate her; his creation Adam on the other hand seeks acceptance from the world but the very land rejects him. Vlad Drakov, once a feared mercenary leader on Krynn, is surrounded by lands ruled by women and fops rather than the great military leaders he seeks the respect of, while the only real enemy he can see continually defeats him on the field of battle and he doesn't know that he can't even set foot on that soil if he should conquer it. Etc, etc...

The Darklords can also close the borders of their realms through some thematic means, preventing anyone from entering or leaving their domain; for example, Strahd can raise a choking fog along his borders, the same one that surrounds the village of Barovia, through which only creatures that do not breathe or have a special antidote can pass safely. If used right, this ability can increase the tension and raise the stakes for the game; used poorly, it smacks of railroading.

Races[edit]

The complete cast of races, as depicted in the 3e Ravenloft Campaign Setting.

As a Dungeons & Dragons setting, most of the classic neo-Tolkien races are playable options in a Ravenloft campaign. Human, Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling and Half-Elf are all present and accounted for. But, its "Gothic Horror" slant does lead to a few tweaks, particularly in 3rd edition.

Firstly, this is the setting that introduced the concept of Outsider Rating, which is literally a stat to govern how much you spook the ignorant peasant-folk; this idea began in 2nd edition, but it was codified in 3rd edition.

Secondly, the setting gave us the Half-Vistani, one of the most pointless races ever, literally because the pure Vistani were deemed to be too important as a race of Plot Device Gypsies to make them playable.

Finally, in 3rd edition, the half-orc was removed under the explanation that the orc itself did not fit a Gothic setting. Instead, its place was taken by the Caliban; cursed, deformed, wretched mutants. Okay, they were literally just cosmetic reskins over the half-orc's statblock (which was widely considered the shittiest in 3rd edition) and it took a fan to actually explore their full potential in Quoth the Raven, but hey, at least you gotta give White Wolf credit for trying!

Despite the fact that the setting was literally made by a horny vampire lusting for a human woman, dhampirs never appeared as a PC race in Ravenloft until 5th edition. This may not be as big of a mistake as some of the ones made in Planescape, and certainly doesn't compare to the existence of Kender and Tinker Gnomes (but then, what can?), but it shows how badly TSR could fuck up when it came to making an interesting setting.

5th edition also added the Hexblood, essentially a spookier Half-Elf with drippings of the Pathfinder Changeling and 3e Hagspawn, and the Reborn, a generic Revenant meets Frankenstein's Monster type race.

Families of Darkness[edit]

One of the 3rd edition splatbooks for Ravenloft was Legacy of the Blood, which contained mechanics for playing a party member who was actually related by blood to one of several of the Darklords of the Core. Technically, these all require you to be human or human-touched; a Caliban, Half-Vistani, Half-Elf may or may not be able to claim membership, with it largely depending on the family. A big part of the issue is whether or not the family will actually recognize you as a legitimate member. Whether Planetouched or Deathtouched could claim membership isn't addressed because, y'know, Ravenloft tried to downplay the fantasy elements a lot.

Being a member of one of the Great Families of the Core can score you some pretty nifty bonuses, ranging from custom ability score modifiers to access to unique family prestige classes and magical paraphernalia, but can also come with some pretty nasty curses too.

Boritsi: Being related to the noble family of Borca gives you +2 Intelligence and +2 Charisma, the "Graceful Aging" racial trait (you live longer than average and only suffer -1 to physical stats are Middle and Old Age, but then -4 at Venerable Age, whilst you get +1 to all mental stats at the first two categories and then -2 at venerable), and an unusual take on the Favored Class mechanic. Not only is your favored class Aristocrat, but you must take your first level in the Aristocrat class, and your Aristocrat levels must never be less than one-quarter of your total class levels - so a 20th level Boritsi must ber at least 5 levels in Aristocrat. This lineage accepts human, half-elf and caliban members.

d'Honaire: Suffering a -2 penalty to Constitution, members of the d'Honaire lineage gain a +2 racial bonus to Heal and Hypnosis checks, and have the Natural Aptitude racial trait (pick a Knowledge skill of your choice; it's always a Class Skill for you). d'Honaires born in Dementlieu are also immune to all mind-affecting spells or effects, including drugs and Hypnosis (but not booze), so long as they are within the borders of Dementlieu.

Dilisnya: Canonically, only humans of the Dilisnya line are brought up to as part of this dynasty's shadowy organization of spies, thieves and assassins. Those "born to the family trade" are forced to spend their 4 free skill points on Knowledge (History and/or Local), but treat Knowledge (History) and Knowledge (Local) as always being class skills. They gain the racial trait "Family Bond", which lets them make a Knowledge (History or Local) check at a minimum DC of 15 to track down a family member in the current area who may be able to help them out... so long as they haven't been, y'know, actively working against the family or selfishly exploiting their connections.

Drakov: Whilst the Drakovs are prolific and their bloodline certainly cursed, only apparently pureblooded humans are recognized as official members of the dynasty. Once this happens, they gain the racial trait National Pride (+2 to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks in Falkovnia, -1 penalty against non-Falkovnians) but also the Family Curse. This lets them Rage as if they were a Barbarian 1 time per day (stacks with existing Rages), but forces them to require a DC 15 will save to not attempt to kill a foe who attempts to flee or surrender; if they do succumb to this murderlust, then they need to pass another Will save (DC 12 + 1 for every other death caused in this way in the past 24 hours) or shift Alignment one step towards Chaotic Evil.

Godefroy: Technically, the pureblood Godefroys are extinct, but there are any number of unclaimed bastards and byblows, as well as legitimate heirs born to the still-surviving Foxgrove and Weathermay families of Mordent. Whether human, half-elf, half-vistani or caliban, a Godefroy gets +2 Charisma, -2 Constitution, and rhe racial traits Spirit Sensibility (+2 to Sense Motive with spirits and ghosts, -1 to Sense Motive with living people), Spiritual Magnetism (all free-ranging incorporeal undead within 1 mile must pass a DC 15 Will save or be compelled to approach the Godefroy and tell them their story), Haunting Curse (if the Godefroy kills a member of their own race, their victim can automatically become a Ghost with the Draining Touch salient power by passing a DC 15 Will save) and Ghostly Afterlife (upon death, a Godefroy automatically becomes a ghost).

Hiregaard: The blood of the not!Russian rulers of Nova Vaasa is only found in pureblooded humans, as the family is literally cursed with xenophobia. Hiregaards gain +2 to Diplomacy and Gather Information checks, and use the Half-Elf aging tables, but suffer a -1 penalty to Madness rolls and have the Blood Curse racial trait, which causes them to roll on a unique Madness table whenever they fail a Dark Powers check, with different tables corresponding to different levels of corruption.

Mordenheim: The book admits it's kind of cheating with this one, since Mordenheim never had biological kids, but mad science can always find a way around that. A member of the "good doctor's" family gains +2 Intelligence and a +2 bonus to one Knowledge skill (other than Religion) of their choice, but suffers -2 Charisma and the Curse of Godlessness; they can never take levels in any class that grants access to Divine spells. So no Cleric, Druid, Ranger or Paladin, just to start with.

Renier: Perhaps the most prolific bloodline in this list... being largely made up of wererats will do that to you. If you want to justify a shifter in Ravenloft, playing a Renier is a pretty good justification! A Renier gets +2 Charisma, but suffers from -2 Wisdom, the Curse of the Rat (-8 penalty to Fortitude saves made to resist contracting wererat therianthropy), and the Allergen racial trait (you are lethally allergic to a specific substance, like beef, jade, gold, silver, pears, dandelions, sugar, etc).

DuBois: Unlike the others on this list, the DuBoises have no infamous history of their own; they were included for their noted interactions with the Renier family. A DuBois suffers a -1 penalty to all Charisma checks made against natural therianthropes, and has the racial trait Therianthropy Resistance; as well as giving them a +5 bonus to Fortitude saves to avoid contracting therianthropy, if they do become an infected werebeast, only their first transformation is uncontrolled. After that, the DuBois gains total control over their shapeshifting abilities as if they were a natural therianthrope.

Von Zarovich: What more needs to be said? These poor bastards gain +2 Intelligence, but suffer the racial trait Taint of the Blood, which gives them one (or more!) of several family curses, from a +1% bonus to all Dark Powers Checks to being afflicted by Nightmares (Will save to sleep each night), from risking flying into a murderous frenzy in battle to potentially bring stunned by horrifying visions if wounded.

Religions[edit]

Religion in the Demiplane of Dread is a strange thing indeed. While there are many religions present, the Demi-Plane of Dread seems to have been specifically isolated from any kind of divine intervention beyond the absolute minimum needed for faith to exist. Nobody's entirely sure how clerics get their spells in light of this, but some believe they are granted by the Dark Powers themselves, who choose to impersonate the gods for reasons nobody can fathom.

Established faiths of the Demiplane include:

Benevolent Faiths:

Malign Faiths:

Pantheons:

  • Akari Pantheon (Egyptian)
  • Forlorn Pantheon (Celtic)
  • Rajian Pantheon (Hindu)

Spin-Offs[edit]

Do you think that Ravenloft doesn't double down on its Historical Fantasy roots hard enough? Do you think spellcasters need even more nerfing? Are you just so masochistic that you think Ravenloft is too soft? Then TSR has you covered with Masque of the Red Death, a full-fledged Gothic Horror Historical Fantasy setting using the D&D crunch that manages to twist and contort its rules into something almost as punishing and depowering as Call of Cthulhu.

The Inevitable 4e Controversy[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition was an... odd time for Ravenloft. On the one hand, the setting largely went untouched by Wizards of the Coast, who never brought the setting back as a fully fledged playable setting the way they did the Forgotten Realms, Eberron, and Dark Sun. In fact, 4th edition is notably as literally the only edition in D&D's history thus far that lacks an adaptation of the original I6: Castle Ravenloft module.

But, on the other hand, many elements of Ravenloft were also mainstreamed in this edition by being folded into the new World Axis cosmology. The Demiplane of Dread didn't appear, but also wasn't overtly forbidden from appearing; demiplanes do exist in the Axis and Sigil made it, so nothing stopped fans from dropping the Misty Realms into the Axis if they wanted - it's not like the old lore about it being tucked away in the Deep Ethereal Plane ever had any meaningful impact on it. What did appear was the fundamental concept of the Demiplane of Dread, now applied to the new Shadowfell plane; in the Axis, beings who commit uniquely terrible sins may find their souls punished by being trapped in personalized Shadowfell-based hellholes called "Domains of Dread" as "Darklords".

The two big differences are that a) if you can get out of a Shadowfell DoD, you can freely escape into the greater Shadowfell (though talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire!) and b) these Shadowfell DoDs focus on Dark Fantasy over Gothic Horror, resulting in such realms as a twisting plane-spanning road haunted by a vengeful headless horseman, and a jungle valley full of traitors ruled over by a Silver Dragon dracolich.

Also, Strahd von Zarovich got an official statblock in the undead Monster Manual "Open Grave".

Old-school Ravenloft fans reacted to this edition largely with a shrug and a "meh". They didn't generally like the Shadowfell domains of dread, which were perceived as too fantastical and too soft compared to traditional Ravenloft's focus on penalizing players and Low Fantasy, but they didn't really hate them, either. Plus, as the Ravenloft setting lore had escaped anything akin to the Spellplague just from the existence of the World Axis, there was always the possibility that a more "proper" Ravenloft revival could come along and be more faithful to what was; to Ravenloft fans, what defines the setting is largely the existence of the Core and the notable characters in it, rather than just the broad-strokes existence of the Domains of Dread as a concept.

5th Edition Revival[edit]

It wouldn't be until Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition that Ravenloft would get its first official revamp at the hands of Wizards of the Coast. In fact, it would be the first TSR setting that wasn't the Forgotten Realms to get any real look in D&D when WotC launched Curse of Strahd, a 5e adaptation of I6: Castle Ravenloft and the very first adventure in 5e that wasn't set in the Realms.

In hindsight... Curse of Strahd should have been a big warning signal.

The adventure wasn't so bad itself; the 3e adaptation Expedition to Castle Ravenloft is widely panned by old-school Ravenloft fans for too many lore changes and too many overtly fantastical elements, but Curse of Strahd is relatively faithful. There were some contentious elements, such as the official stance that 90% of all "people" in Barovia are actually soulless constructs just aping human existence, Strahd having a Dracula-esque harem, and the changing of the Vistani from "morally ambiguous" plot devices to "Strahd's gypsy servants" in another direct Dracula homage, but in general Ravenloft fans considered it a step up over Expedition.

The sudden screaming from the usual crowd about how the Vistani were all harmful racial caricatures and WotC responding by releasing a censored version of Curse of Strahd was largely ignored by the Ravenloft fan community... poor, sweet, ignorant souls.

The hype train came in 2021, when it was officially announced that Ravenloft would return as a fully-fledged setting in May, under the title Van Richten's Guide To Ravenloft. Excitement grew amidst the old-school fans, and even the non-Ravenloft old-schoolers were happy that to see another old setting make the jump into the new edition... and then it actually came out.

It would be fair to say that Ravenloft fans generally regard Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft in much the same way that Forgotten Realms fans regard the Spellplague.

The setting was mangled; whether from political pressure, a desire not to pay White Wolf for all the cool stuff they did to bolster the setting in 3e, or entirely other reasons, the decision was made to completely rewrite the setting as a whole. Gone was the Core, and gone was the idea of playing a native inhabitant: it was all about the Weekend in Hell narrative, with the focus being on Islands of Terror that somehow move about through the Shadowfell and DMs being encouraged to handwave logistics as the setting now official ran on "nightmare logic" - aka, it doesn't matter if it makes sense, so long as it's spooky. Many domains were blatantly rewritten without even an attempt to preserve their former lore, which only becomes more jarring when certain other domains are officially supposed to be their 3e incarnations with the time moved on. Controversial lore from Curse of Strahd, such as defining the Dark Powers, was carried over.

The mechanics were also harshly criticized; 5e is the least punitive and most overtly fantastical edition of Ravenloft to date.

And let's not even talk about the obvious political changes...

In fairness, there are some elements of the 5e Ravenloft that are recognized in a positive light by the community. The effort to provide a way to tweak the tone of Ravenloft to be more flexible depending on if you want a combat-heavy or roleplay-heavy game is appreciated... however grudgingly by some, since Ravenloft built its fanbase largely on the idea of being the "roleplay heavy" D&D setting alongside Planescape. Also, many of the new Darklords and Domains are actually pretty decent... they just should have been given their own names or actually had some effort put into fleshing them out, depending on which you're talking about.

Seriously, how do you come up with an idea as cool as "a magitek train screaming through the mists in an effort to escape an apocalypse that it was already destroyed by" and then deem it unworthy of more than one damn paragraph of detail?!

Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Settings
Basic D&D: Mystara (Blackmoor) - Pelinore
AD&D: Birthright - Council of Wyrms - Dark Sun - Dragonlance
Forgotten Realms (Al-Qadim - The Horde - Icewind Dale
Kara-Tur - Malatra - Maztica) - Greyhawk - Jakandor
Mystara (Hollow World - Red Steel - Savage Coast)
Planescape - Ravenloft (Masque of the Red Death)
Spelljammer
3rd/3.5 Edition: Blackmoor - Dragonlance - Eberron - Forgotten Realms
Ghostwalk - Greyhawk (Sundered Empire)
Ravenloft (Masque of the Red Death) - Rokugan
4th Edition: Blackmoor - Dark Sun - Eberron
Forgotten Realms - Nentir Vale
5th Edition: Eberron - Exandria - Forgotten Realms
Greyhawk - Ravenloft - Ravnica - Theros - Strixhaven
The Cosmology of Planescape
Inner Planes Ethereal Plane Prime Material Astral Plane Outer Planes
Elemental Planes Energy Planes Demiplane of Dread Plane of Shadow Plane of Mirrors
World Serpent Inn Tu'narath Sigil Demiplanes Ordial Plane?
Far Realm