Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft


Unleash the horrors of Ravenloft in this campaign sourcebook for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Terror stalks the nightmare realms of Ravenloft. No one knows this better than monster scholar Rudolph Van Richten. To arm a new generation against the creatures of the night, Van Richten has compiled his correspondence and case files into this tome of eerie tales and chilling truths.

Discover the mysteries of Ravenloft, mist-shrouded lands where infamous Darklords lurk among ageless vampires, zombie hordes, cosmic terrors, and worse. Then make your choice. Will you create your own Domains of Dread, settings to host endless terrifying adventures? Or will you join the ranks of haunted heroes who embrace macabre lineages, dual-edged Dark Gifts, haunted subclasses, and other forbidden powers?

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft contains everything you need to craft a horror-themed campaign for Dungeons & Dragons. Unleash a treasure trove of new story hooks, character options, and campaign customization to bring one of the most exciting Dungeons & Dragons settings to life!

  • Travel (perhaps even by choice) to familiar domains and discover new ones—as Ravenloft’s expanded Domains of Dread return for the first time in fifth edition! Includes rules and advice for building custom domains and Darklords using established horror tropes or your own special blend.

  • Discover a host of new backgrounds and trinkets themed specifically for a horror setting, as well as new character lineages, including the dhampir, hexblood, and reborn.

  • Find two new subclasses, the College of Spirits for bards and the Undead pact for warlocks.

  • Explore Dark Gifts for characters that flesh out your place in the Domains of Dread.

  • Encounter a horrific assortment of creatures from the monstrous bestiary.

  • And includes a brand-new adventure!

Scheduled for a May 18, 2021 release.

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I kinda like this book idea - something more than an adventure set in a setting, but more of an actual setting book.

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Agreed. I always did like the various Domains of Dread and alongside those, we’re getting a toolbox to build our own as well. That excites me.

I thought this was an odd choice. On one hand I get why they’d want to expand upon, arguably, 5e’s best campaign module. On the other, I don’t know how much of a following the Domains of Dread had compared to Greyhawk or Dragonlance. If this is the first of 3 campaign books scheduled for release I think those who were hoping for Spelljammer could be out of luck!

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That’s the thing though . . . with 5e sales, they aren’t reselling to the same crowd of existing D&D fans nearly as much as they were in 3rd or 4th edition era. This is aimed as much as new D&D players that enjoyed Curse of Strahd as it is anyone that remembers the campaign setting from the 2e era.

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Regardless of how I feel about this book - it gave me a laugh because I have a friend who … every time a D&D release is teased … crosses his fingers, squints, and whispers to himself “Dragonlance. Dragonlance. Dragonlance” for 24 hours straight before being disappointed … again.


I am/was a DL fan but I’ve yet to really be attracted to any of the setting books/systems that have been put out for it. Just never seem to “get it right” to me.

My favorite Dragonlance sourcebook is still Legend of the Twins from the 3.5 era, because it had a whole section on alternate history Krynns for different campaigns.


D&D 3/3.5 has so many great campaign books. I still believe the 3E Forgotten Realms campaign book is the best Forgotten Realms product we have seen since WOTC took over D&D.

@rayotus Yeah, I’ve got two of those folks in my group. One even named his son Raistlin. Both were cursing up a storm when they found out this is not a Dragonlance book.

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Very true. If that’s the case, I wonder what choices/considerations will drive the selection of the other two campaign settings?

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The surveys?!?

I keep crossing my fingers for Dark Sun but I would be happy to discover Dragonlance or even SpellJammer.

It’s kinda cool that they came out with Ravenloft… But I already play CoC and that takes care of “scary horror” way better! But hey, a “Van Helsing” adventure can be fun too.


Ha. My friend named his son Cameron - but only because his wife wouldn’t go for Caramon. He didn’t even try for Raistlin. That took guts.


If it was surveys then they didn’t use my response. Because I also pushed Spelljammer and Dark Sun.

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For years, my Pin number for my bank card was the name of a character from a D&D setting. :shushing_face:


Part of me is “ugh, I don’t want any more D&D books”. And the other part of me is “Curse of Strahd still appeals to me and this would probably compliment it pretty well.”


I’m in a group playing through Curse of Strahd right now. … Eh. My biggest issue is that D&D 5e fighting type characters are meant to be able to find/buy magic weapons. But in CoS they (or at least my GM) is heavily limiting our ability to even get silver stuff let alone magic stuff. So here I am, a fighter trying to do damage to a bunch of monsters, humanoid and otherwise, that are resistant to mundane damage. I actually retconned one level and switched to Paladin because a straight fighter wasn’t really fun to play anymore. (Don’t get me wrong, I love being a goof, but I was totally dragging the party down and sucking up healing without doing much.) Anyway, this underlines a problem for me in crossing D&D and Gothic Horror. Either just let the two genres mash into each other and be fully themselves or don’t even try it. Paring back D&D to fit in a Gothic Horror world kinda sucks.

I don’t think this is a CoS thing, it’s a 5e thing. The magic weapon piece has been toned down, so unless a DM takes it upon themselves to dole it out…

Yeah, you’re probably right. I’d love to know if those results ever get fully released.

Instead of magic items there has been a definite shift to class abilities. It’s a shame. A lot of story opportunities surrounding magic items are lost as a result of that shift.

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I completely agree.