Ravenloft is returning to Dungeons and Dragons in a big way! Tracy and Laura Hickman, the creators of the original Ravenloft Module called… well… Ravenloft… , is helping Wizards of the Coast writer Chris Perkins with his latest release: Curse of Strahd. This signifies the first stand alone Ravenloft product (not counting the retroclones) since White Wolf’s product in 2003.
Tracy and Laura Hickman brings a unique perspective to the campaign that has been missing from the horror genre for awhile. In Geek and Sundry’s article on the product’s release, Tracy and Laura were quoted saying:
The message behind Ravenloft is very important to us. “It’s a cautionary tale. As we both think all good vampire stories would be…We think that very deep female archetype message has gotten lost in recent years. Or at least terribly muddied [by] the idea that it’s okay to be with the monster. [Or] become like the monster to make it all work (source: Geek and Sundry)
This is Wizards of the Coast first move towards rebuilding the D&D multiverse that was lost in 4th edition. It is very welcome. Back in AD&D 2nd edition, we had Planescape, Dragonlance, Mystara, Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, Birthright, Ebberon, Greyhawk, and so much more. 3rd edition de-emphasized the multiverse (aka – did not publish many modules on all the various campaign worlds outside of core books), focusing much more on the rules (in an effort to simply them in response to player concerns). 4th edition simplified the world setting even further by putting everything into one world: Forgotten Realms. Now, the multiverse may be returning!
On a personal note, I have great memories of Ravenloft. I played in a 4 year campaign focusing on the Hyskosa prophecy. The DM had us plane shifting quite a bit, moving from the various higher planes in Planescape down into the Demiplane of Dread. When I ran my own Hyskosa campaign, I had the PCs jump between Mystara, Forgotten Realmns, and Ravenloft. The heroes struggled against a fallen hero, Klorr, who was attempting to save the world from the gods that betrayed him.
I look forward to seeing how Ravenloft will be presented to a new audience. Hopefully, it will not attempt to retread old ground, but explore and expand on what came before…