Ravenloft became Shadowfell?

10 posts / 0 new
Last post
Please forgive me if this reads as a stupid question to you.  I've not touched D&D since second ed and I've just come around to it again in 4rth, but I'm catching up fast!

I picked up a campaign suplement today for Shadowfell and the guide is talking about domains of dread filled with domain lords who are bound to the land and can't leave etc. etc.

This sounds oddly close to the Demi Plane of Dread AKA Ravenloft -to which Vecna was a domain lord in second ed.

So... did D&D just scrap the Ravenloft setting for this new one or is the Demi Plane of Ravenloft still a seperate entity onto itself?
That's pretty much the gist of it - gone but not forgotten. There's nothing to say that "Ravenloft" doesn't exist however. It would simply take the form of a series of linked domains of dread somewhere in the Shadowfell. Nothing about that contradicts the original setting IMHO. It's easy enough to simply say that the original scribes/scholars etc. just had the whole "Demiplane of Dread" idea wrong, and that the domains described in the campaign setting have always been just one corner of the Shadowfell. Compared to past iterations of the game, 4E cosmology is fairly easy to slot new (or old) things into. 

Man, I gotta use that myself sometime! I haven't run any Ravenloft games since 2nd Edition, and a new Ravenloft campaign would be awesome... 
4e in general just doesn't have as many campaign setting books as 2e.  In that sense, most of them got "scrapped".  Ravenloft got a lot of its stuff slipped into the default 4e world, as though the horrors of Ravenloft are always lurking just around the corner.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
Several things were folded into the 4E Shadowfell, the "domains of dread" among them. They aren't necessarily assumed to all exist in a single geographical region, but nothing says they can't be if that works better in a given circumstance. (That said, there's no need for them to be geographically connected, since it's perfectly possible to assume that, in the right circumstances, you move directly from one to the other.)

4E also operates on the premise that the world-like planes (the World, the Feywild, and the Shadowfell) as strongly interconnected, to the point that it's possible to move between them without needing special magic or portals if you find yourself in the right (or wrong) place, and the concurrent areas of each even resemble one another on a general level. (IE, walking down this particular forest path will result in you crossing over to that particular copse in the Feywild or vice versa.) This is a big change from the 3E Wheel, which assumed that even 'near' planar crossings were relatively difficult to pull off. Hence, you don't really need a separate demiplane to accommodate the the Ravenloft-style concepts.
So... did D&D just scrap the Ravenloft setting for this new one or is the Demi Plane of Ravenloft still a seperate entity onto itself? 

They pretty much stole the elements of Ravenloft to flavour and pad the core setting and new planes, releasing Ravenloft-esque content (new domains and darklords) but not really any established content. 

It's a little like if they folded the Forgotten Realms into the Core but only ever detailed brand new small islands off the Moonshaes or small heretoforth unmentioned towns in the Heartlands.  

Technically, since every world has its own Shadowfell, and thus domains are unique to each world, Ravenloft no longer exists in the default cosmology, as the idea of a mosaic world no longer fits the cosmology.

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

As it happens, I wrote an FAQ for this exact question on my Ravenloft site a few months back...

Isn't Ravenloft supposed to be located in the Shadowfell now?

Possibly; the Manual of the Planes (p51) refers to 'Domains of Dread' located in the Shadowfell, which are a very similar concept to Ravenloft, but also covers demiplanes (p8), which are arguably more in line with the original Ravenloft concept. 
If memory serves correctly, one of the last adventures printed for 3E had Vecna leaving Ravenloft the demiplane of dread ( that should have been impossible for him ) then Vecna went to Sigle the city of doors ( that should have been impossible for him ).

That one eye, one handed @#$%! shreaded reallity as it used to be.

It would make sense in setting for the existing domains of Ravenloft to be left floating in the Shadowfell with some vague conection to each other and the real world.  

Also, now the Dread Domains of 4E as well as the event known as shadowfall are a bit more like all the classic horror tv shows.
Tales from the Drakside-
The Twilight Zone-
The Outer limits- 
And any others I am forgetting where the opening credits describe a more sinister world beside our own that people sometimes step into.
The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.

This is a list of all the material released so far on the Shadowfell and notes where Ravenloft material is included. They seem to have been holding off for a full Ravenloft book, so the important sites, Castle Ravenloft and the other well known domains of dread never got statted out. Vecna has left for the Astral Sea, rumored to be lurking in Pandemonium the former dominion of Tharizdun.

Even as a fan of the setting, the normal world that suddenly gives way to a bleak expanse of haunted terrain I think lends itself to a better gothic horror drama, rather than the bizarre Dracula meets Frankenstein feel of Raveloft. I picture Barovia as a village that appears in the world but whose inhabitants don't even know they live in the Shadowfell, perhaps they even claim that Strahd's magic moves the forests beyond the hamlet.
I've sorta mashed the two together.  I got rid of the GRIMDARK and shadows = scary stuff and replaced it with pure Ravenloft-esque flavor, creating a true demi-plane of dread of isolation and terror.  Anyway, the guys over at Fraternity of Shadows have tampered with the 4e Domains in an attempt to put them in Ravenloft.  Have a look.  www.fraternityofshadows.com/wiki/The_Hub

An undead spectre occasionally returning to remind the fandom of its grim existence.



Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

We have a map of Barovia, which is now in the Shadowfell.  We have adventures there.  We have Vistani.  We have Count Strahd himself statted out.  We have Kas the Betrayer statted out.  We have Ravenloft character themes.  We have an idea of the nature of the Dungeons below Ravenloft through the board-game. 

All these together allows for everything except an original conversion.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?


A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Sign In to post comments