Van Richten’s Guide To Ravenloft PDF

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Countless mysteries pervade the Domains of Dread, but these strange truths underpin the setting:

1 Ravenloft Is Not a World. The lands and characters of Ravenloft don’t share a planet. Rather, the Domains of Dread consist of innumerable demi planes hidden amid the Plane of Shadow.

Mysterious Mists surround each of these island realms. The bravest souls might creep from one domain to another, but doing so involves considerable danger, and many who enter the Mists are never seen again.

2 The Dark Powers Control All. Sinister entities known as the Dark Powers manipulate the Domains of Dread and all who dwell within. Immortal, unknowable, and omnipotent, the Dark Powers revel in sowing terror and subtly manipulating their captives over the course of generations.

3 Domains Imprison Darklords. Ravenloft’s demi planes range in size from solitary structures to vast regions.

These domains serve as the prisons of Darklords, villainous beings trapped and tormented by the Dark Powers. The specifics of each domain exist to ironically twist its Darklord’s desires, capturing them and their lands’ residents in cycles of dread and despair.

4 The Mists Encompass All. Supernatural haze suffuses the Domains of Dread. These are the Mists of Ravenloft, ominous fogs that gird each domain, rising and falling as the Dark Powers desire.

Tales attribute ominous powers to the Mists, from cloaking monsters to causing entire villages Har and La to vanish. The Mists are not bound to Ravenloft and slip across the planes, potentially dragging anyone into the Domains of Dread.

5 Nowhere Is Safe. The Mists of Ravenloft are notorious for kidnapping innocent souls and trapping them within the Domains of Dread, but they also collect characters to participate in specific terrifying adventures.

Ravenloft can claim a soul for one night of terror or an inescapable nightmare, whichever suits the needs of your adventures.

6 Heroes Confront Horrors. Ravenloft is not a land of heroes. SW seeks out danger in the Mists or challenges Darklords.

Fear and forces within characters themselves-potentially in the form of rare lineages or Dark Gifts threaten personal dooms. Yet those who face these terrors shine as lights amid the Mists, beacons to attract other heroes but also greater threats.

7 Only Fear Is Certain. The Domains of Dread provide malleable settings for any kind of horror adventure. As domains are unmoored from conventional reality, anything can happen within their borders.

Normal people undergo terrifying transformations, whole villages disappear unnoticed, and the Mists bar every method of escaping a threat.

Any surreal development you desire is also the will of the Dark Powers, assuring that the most terrifying possibilities come to pass.

As a result, even the most familiar races, magic items, and monsters in the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual have places in Ravenloft, but with twists that make them creepy or mysterious.


Unfathomable, hidden forces manipulate life, death, and reality within Ravenloft. These mysterious, deathless beings are the architects of the Domains of Dread and have secreted these pockets of terror deep within the Plane of Shadow.

The Dark Powers watch and influence events within their dominion. When their gaze drifts, they reach into other planes to collect heroes and villains to add to their terrifying menagerie. To what end, no one knows.

The Dark Powers don’t move in the shadows of Ravenloft; they are the shadows. They’re the Mists and the darkness.

They’re the reason water manifests as rivers and stars appear in skies divorced from universes. They are the wardens that hold the Darklords prisoner.

Ever-present and inscrutable, the Dark Powers are akin to gods in Ravenloft, but they are unknown to mortals and desire no worship.

Despite the control the Dark Powers exert, these beings remain distant from the domains they manipulate. Although some of their names whisper through sinister lore-names like Osybus, Sha mi-Amourae, and Tenebrous-domain inhabitants know almost nothing of the Dark Powers.

While some Darklords realize they’re imprisoned by antagonistic entities, discourse regarding the Dark Powers remains the province of soothsayers, obsessed scholars, and otherworldly beings.

Anyone who spreads tales of sinister forces manipulating reality is ignored or worse. For residents of Ravenloft, ignorance provides a well-defended shelter against unfathomable truths.

AuthorWizards RPG team
Language English
No. of Pages260
PDF Size65 MB

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