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1->"''It's like hell... but it's not hell for '''you'''.''"˛-->-- [[WebVideo/CounterMonkey Noah Antwiler]] summarizing the setting.˛˛[[quoteright:220:]]˛˛''Ravenloft'' is a campaign setting for the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' tabletop roleplaying game, invoking themes of GothicHorror and DarkFantasy. The events take place in a pocket dimension called the "Land of Mists". The enigmatic Dark Powers have cobbled together a patchwork land of diverse kingdoms, each hiding their own foul secrets and held in thrall by a hideously corrupt being--its [[EvilOverlord darklord]]--for whom each domain is both a sovereign territory and a prison. The name "Ravenloft" is actually the name of the castle which looms over the Land of Barovia, one of the most famous dark dominions of the setting.˛˛Many of the individual domains of ''Ravenloft'', along with their inhabitants, are directly inspired by classic {{horror}} and [[GothicHorror Gothic literature]], infamous historical figures, and twisted versions of FairyTales and other stories. ''Literature/{{Dracula}}'', ''Literature/TheStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde'', the works of Creator/HPLovecraft, ''Literature/{{Pinocchio}}'', ''Literature/TheIslandOfDoctorMoreau'', Creator/{{Shakespeare}}'s ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'', and the historical Borgia family among many others comprise only a few examples. ˛˛''Ravenloft'' began as the sixth adventure in the "I" series of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules, published in 1983, where a party of adventurers end up in and around the eponymous castle. It received a sequel, ''Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill'' (I10), in 1986. It was turned into a full-fledged campaign setting for AD&D 2e in 1990 with the publication of ''Ravenloft: Realm of Terror'' (nicknamed the Black Box). The ''Ravenloft Campaign Setting'' boxed set (the Red Box), released in 1994, revised and updated the setting to include developments in the metaplot. In 1997, the hardcover ''Domains of Dread'' updated both setting and rules, and was the first version to include rules for the demiplane's natives. The setting was licensed for Third Edition D&D to Creator/WhiteWolf, who released supplements through their Arthaus imprint, starting with 2001's ''Ravenloft'' hardcover. They updated it for 3.5 with 2003's ''Ravenloft Player's Handbook''. Plans to publish a fourth edition version of the setting were cancelled, but a number of Domains of Dread were introduced to 4e's [[TabletopGame/NentirVale default setting]], thus integrating Ravenloft into fourth edition's core. The setting and some of the characters are also mentioned in the 5th Edition manuals, and an expanded UpdatedRerelease of the original I6 campaign titled ''TabletopGame/CurseOfStrahd'' was released on March 15, 2016.˛˛There is also a {{Spinoff}} setting, ''TabletopGame/MasqueOfTheRedDeath'', released in 1994, which takes place on an alternate version of Earth that has been under the influence of some entity called [[Literature/TheMasqueOfTheRedDeath the Red Death]]. It features many of the above mentioned classic characters that ''Ravenloft'' drew inspiration from as villains.˛˛For a long while, getting hold of any ''Ravenloft'' books was basically a matter of KeepCirculatingTheTapes, but with Creator/{{Wizards of the Coast}}'s return to the PDF market, the AD&D ''Ravenloft'' books were made available as official [=PDFs=].˛˛The webcomic ''Webcomic/StarcrossedRavenloft'' is set in Ravenloft (The domains of Souragne and Dementlieu, specifically). ''Roleplay/ElementalDoom'' is in a setting where characters can become trapped in Ravenloft. ˛˛!!Works that are set in ''Ravenloft'' include:˛[[index]]˛[[foldercontrol]]˛˛[[folder:Board Games]]˛* ''Castle Ravenloft''˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Choose Your Own Adventure]]˛* ''Master of Ravenloft''˛* ''Castle of the Undead''˛* ''Night of the Tiger''˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Comic Books]]˛* ''Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows of the Vampire''˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder: Modules]]˛* ''I6: Ravenloft''˛* ''I10: Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill''˛* ''Feast of Goblyns''˛* ''Ship of Horror''˛* ''Book of Crypts'' (module anthology)˛* ''Touch of Death''˛* ''Night of the Walking Dead''˛* ''Thoughts of Darkness''˛* ''From the Shadows''˛* ''Dark of the Moon''˛* ''Roots of Evil''˛* ''The Created''˛* ''Web of Illusion''˛* ''House of Strahd'' (I6 remake for 2e)˛* ''Adam's Wrath''˛* ''The Awakening''˛* ''Hour of the Knife''˛* ''Howls in the Night''˛* ''When Black Roses Bloom''˛* ''Circle of Darkness''˛* ''A Light in the Belfry'' (boxed set)˛* ''Chilling Tales'' (module anthology)˛* ''The Evil Eye''˛* ''Neither Man nor Beast''˛* ''Bleak House'' (boxed set)˛* ''Death Unchained''˛* ''Death Ascendant''˛* ''The Forgotten Terror''˛* ''Servants of Darkness''˛* ''The Shadow Rift''˛* ''Vecna Reborn''˛* ''Die, Vecna, Die!''˛* ''Ravenloft Silver Anniversary Edition'' (I6 update for 2e)˛* ''Expedition to Castle Ravenloft'' (I6 remake for 3e)˛* ''TabletopGame/CurseOfStrahd'' (I6 remake for 5e)˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Novels]]˛* ''Vampire of the Mists''˛* ''Knight of the Black Rose''˛* ''Dance of the Dead''˛* ''Heart of Midnight''˛* ''Tapestry of Dark Souls''˛* ''Carnival of Fear''˛* ''I, Strahd''˛* ''The Enemy Within''˛* ''Mordenheim''˛* ''Tales of Ravenloft'' (anthology)˛* ''Tower of Doom''˛* ''Baroness of Blood''˛* ''Death of a Darklord''˛* ''Scholar of Decay''˛* ''King of the Dead''˛* ''To Sleep with Evil''˛* ''Lord of the Necropolis''˛* ''Shadowborn''˛* ''I, Strahd: The War Against Azalin''˛* ''Spectre of the Black Rose''˛* ''Heaven's Bones''˛* ''Mithras Court''˛* ''Black Crusade'' ([[ free pdf]])˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Sourcebooks]]˛* ''Ravenloft: Realm of Terror'' (2e core boxed set)˛* ''Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix''˛* ''Darklords''˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to Vampires''˛* ''Islands of Terror''˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts''˛* ''Forbidden Lore'' (boxed set)˛* ''Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix II: Children of the Night''˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to the Lich''˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts''˛* ''Castles Forlorn'' (boxed set)˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to the Created''˛* ''Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III: Creatures of Darkness''˛* ''Ravenloft Campaign Setting'' (revised 2e core boxed set)˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to the Ancient Dead''˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to Fiends''˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani''˛* ''The Nightmare Lands'' (boxed set)˛* ''Forged of Darkness''˛* ''Children of the Night: Vampires''˛* ''Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendices I & II'' (collects Appendices I & II)˛* ''Requiem: The Grim Harvest'' (boxed set)˛* ''Domains of Dread'' (revised 2e corebook)˛* ''Children of the Night: Ghosts''˛* ''Champions of the Mists''˛* ''Children of the Night: Werebeasts''˛* ''Children of the Night: The Created''˛* ''Carnival'' (boxed set)˛* ''Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium Volume One'' (collects the Guides to Vampires, Werebeasts, and the Created)˛* ''Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium Volume Two'' (collects the Guides to Ghosts, the Lich, and the Ancient Dead)˛* ''Van Richten's Monster Hunter's Compendium Volume Three'' (collects the Guides to Fiends and the Vistani, and adds the Guide to Witches)˛* ''Ravenloft Campaign Setting'' (3e corebook)˛* ''Secrets of the Dread Realms''˛* ''Ravenloft: Denizens of Darkness'' (3e corebook)˛* ''Van Richten's Arsenal Volume I''˛* ''Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume I''˛* ''Champions of Darkness''˛* ''Heroes of Light''˛* ''Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume II''˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead''˛* ''Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume III''˛* ''Ravenloft Dungeon Master's Guide'' (3.5e corebook)˛* ''Ravenloft Player's Handbook'' (3e ''Ravenloft Campaign Setting'' update to 3.5e)˛* ''Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume IV''˛* ''Ravenloft: Denizens of Dread'' (''Denizens of Darkness'' update to 3.5e)˛* ''Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume V''˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to the Shadow Fey''˛* ''Legacy of the Blood: Great Families of the Core''˛* ''Dark Tales and Disturbing Legends''˛* ''Van Richten's Guide to the Mists'' ([[ free pdf]])˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Video Games]]˛* ''VideoGame/RavenloftStrahdsPossession''˛* ''Ravenloft: Stone Prophet''˛* ''Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft''˛[[/folder]]˛[[/index]]˛----˛'''As [[LongRunner the setting has been around since 1983]], some spoilers are unavoidable.'''˛%% And other mysteries from the Land of Mists are best hidden, so don't forget to add spoiler tags.˛----˛!!This tabletop game provides examples of:˛* AchillesHeel: Every Darklord (and most villains in general) has one, usually associated with the curse that made him or her a Darklord (For example, in Strahd's case, it's Tatyana; the mere sight of her - or someone who looks just like her - is enough to make him take risks he would never otherwise take). The rulebooks emphasize that in order to have ''any'' success challenging - let alone defeating - one of these villains, a hero would have to learn this weakness and exploit it. Not that it makes it easy, but in order to make the chance remotely possible, one has to learn it.˛* AdaptationExpansion: The game-setting itself is an expansion of an extremely well-received 1st edition adventure, also called "Ravenloft", and its sequel, "Ravenloft 2: The House on Gryphon Hill".˛* AffablyEvil: ˛** Some of the Darklords can be like this, most likely so the [=PCs=] can sympathize with them, even if just a little.˛** Many evil-aligned secret societies, in particular the Fraternity of Shadows, the people who write the netbook Gazetteers (they're genteel and wise wizards who completely lack in FantasticRacism...and each and every one of them is a NeutralEvil ManipulativeBastard who truly believe that most other people aren't actually real, thus it doesn't matter what happens to them).˛* AllThereInTheManual: Like most other D&D settings, most of the setting info is in the sourcebooks.˛* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Even if 3rd edition ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' moved a lot of monsters from the ''always'' ChaoticEvil to ''usually'' Chaotic Evil, the ''Ravenloft'' setting adamantly keeps its critters and other nasties in the ''always'' evil section. Don't look for FriendlyNeighborhoodVampires. Enforced even, for lycanthropes -- normally nonevil lycanthrope types (such as werebears, who in other settings are AlwaysLawfulGood) are evil in the Land of Mists. Even the likes of [[WhenTreesAttack treants]] and {{unicorn}}s are evil there.˛** Amazingly, it's also subverted; Ravenloft is home both to one of the few ''non-evil'' species of werebeast, the Wereraven, and to the Bruja, which are Hags[[note]]a WitchSpecies embodying the WickedWitch archetype[[/note]] that have turned to good.˛* AncientOrderOfProtectors: The Order of the Guardians are a monastic sect which keeps cursed artifacts sealed away in hidden locations, keeping them out of the hands of innocent bystanders and villains alike.˛* AncientTomb: Har'Akir and Sebua, being twin counterparts of AncientEgypt, have mummy-filled tombs all over the place.˛* AndIMustScream: Victor Mordenheim's wife is kept alive hooked up to his machines. She wants to just die but he won't allow it. Or to be more exact, the ''Dark Powers'' won't allow it. In one module, the party can try freeing her and letting her die, but the Powers will resuscitate her and hook her back up shortly afterwards.˛* AnimateDead: Spells that do this are much more powerful in Ravenloft... however, undead are also significantly harder to keep ''under control''.˛* ArcWelding: The six-module Grand Conjunction StoryArc was belatedly welded together into one apocalyptic plotline, using a poorly-worded Vistani prophecy as solder.˛* ArmedWithCanon: James Lowder wrote ''Knight of the Black Rose'', the novel that brought Lord Soth from TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}} to Ravenloft. Tracy Hickman complained incessantly until Creator/{{TSR}} had ''When Black Roses Bloom'' made, removing Soth from Ravenloft. Despite that, Hickman still insists that Soth never went to Ravenloft, even plugging a non-action, non-dialogue cameo into ''Dragons of Summer Flame'' for the sole purpose of conflicting with the Ravenloft timeline, necessitating a fair amount of FanWank to reconcile the two.˛** The most common theory was that Soth really did get sucked into Ravenloft, where he spent several decades having one of the worst [[HeroicBSOD Villanous BSOD]]s on record. After about a decade continually locked in his "happy place" caused his realm to literally begin falling apart around him, the White Rose appeared in Sithicus to snap Soth out of his reverie. Once he recovered, the Dark Powers let the White Rose take Soth back with her to Krynn, realizing that there was nothing they could do to Lord Soth that his own memories and haunting spirits couldn't do worse. When he came back, he returned to Krynn only an hour/a day/five minutes after he left, leaving him available for any Dragonlance events that came along in the meantime.˛* ArtifactCollectionAgency: The Guardians are a monastic order dedicated to collecting and locking away the Land's many cursed and/or malign magical artifacts.˛* AttackOfTheMonsterAppendage: Gwydion, an EldritchAbomination, has only been given stats for his tentacles, not his body.˛* AudioAdaptation: ''I, Strahd'' got an audiobook release read by [[Film/FrightNight1985 Peter Vincent himself]], Roddy [=McDowall=]!˛* AxCrazy: This is actually very rare among darklords. Insanity would suggest that they aren't responsible for their actions, something which, as emphasized frequently, they ''are''. The only one that truly fits the Trope is Easan the Mad of Vechor. A few of them do show some leanings towards the Trope, such as the Hive Queen, Tristessa, Malken, and Duke Gundar, as do quite a few non-darklord villains like the Midnight Slasher.˛* BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind: What happens if the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Nightmare Court]] decides your mind looks tasty.˛* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: The "wish" spell is dicey even on more benign worlds. Here it will ''always'' be perverted while fulfilling the ExactWords, no matter how carefully you phrase your request. Unless you're evil, in which case the Powers may decide you've already taken care of that part for them.˛* BedlamHouse: Dr. Heinfroth's asylum on the domain/island of Dominia.˛* BeingEvilSucks: If one trope holds true on Ravenloft, it's this one. Do evil things (or use necromantic spells) and you may attract the attention of the Dark Powers. They'll give you some neat ability, but with a generous side of BlessedWithSuck and RedRightHand. Be ''really'' evil, and they'll turn you into a Darklord - the all-powerful ruler of a domain struck with a curse that keeps them trapped and miserable forever.˛* BestServedCold: Revenge was the original motive for Dr. Rudolph Van Richten's career as a vampire hunter, which he later expanded to monster hunter in general. After his son was turned into an undead slave by a cruel vampire named Baron Metus, he was forced to kill his son via MercyKilling, but the Baron retaliated by murdering Van Richten's whole family. The doctor swore revenge against vampires in general, and his first victim was Baron Metus. Sadly, this had unfortunate consequences that lasted his whole life; see DoomMagnet below.˛* BigBad: The Darklords in their various Domains.˛* BigBoosHaunt: Castle Ravenloft, Necropolis even more so, and given the nature of the setting, probably some other places as well.˛** The House of Lament oh so much.˛* TheBigEasy: Souragne is a SouthernGothic FantasyCounterpartCulture version of New Orleans/Louisiana.˛* BigFancyCastle: Castle Ravenloft. Although some parts are pretty much falling apart from age and neglect.˛* BilingualBonus: True of several domains' {{Meaningful Name}}s, sometimes to the point of giving things away (e.g. "Richemulot" = [[spoiler: "Rich Mouse"]], home domain of [[spoiler: aristocratic wererats]]).˛* BizarreAlienPsychology: Reading the far-too-alien mind of an aberration, golem, undead, lycanthrope... really, just about any actual monster, will force humanoid characters to make a Madness check.˛* BlackKnight: Lord Soth. It even becomes his moniker when references to him pop up after he's been ExiledFromContinuity.˛* BlackMagic: Almost every spell that even tangentially relates to the dead is evil and can attract the Powers' notice, including objectively benign ones like [[BackFromTheDead Raise Dead]] and Death Knell[[note]]senses whether or not somebody is dead[[/note]].˛* TheBluebeard: Bluebeard and Urik von Kharkov.˛* BroughtDownToNormal: Werewolf darklord Alfred Timothy's curse causes him to revert to human form if he ever starts cutting loose in his furred shape, forcing him to restrain his own feral impulses or else expose this weakness to his pack. This is particularly sucky (for him) when you realise he's a high priest for a ReligionOfEvil whose main tenet is that lycanthropes must indulge in their bestial urges.˛* CainAndAbel: Strahd and Sergei.˛* CameBackWrong: While resurrection magic ''can'' be performed in Ravenloft, it's ''very damn hard'', and if you were an evil bastard in life, you might instead come back as a [[KingMook zombie lord]]. [[CursedWithAwesome Admittedly, that sounds like a good reason to be evil]], but still...˛** The ''Curse of Strahd'' adventure includes "resurrection madness": when people who've been dead for at least 24 hours are returned to life, either by spells or supernatural means, they are driven insane by the knowledge that their souls are trapped in Barovia.˛* CanonDisContinuity: The novel ''Lord of the Necropolis'' explicitly stated the nature of the Dark Powers; both book and explanation were stricken from canon, as the Dark Powers are intended to be left undefined. Of course, one can always interpret that LOTN did happen, but Azalin only ''thought'' he discovered the true nature of the Dark Powers and he was mistaken at the time.˛** Also, the novel ''The Enemy Within'', and the backstory of an NPC (Desmond [=LaRouche=] in ''Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix II: Children of the Night'') were declared non-canon because they contradicted the origin story for Malken. The backstory for [=LaRouche=] had Malken as even more of an expy of the scientist in ''Literature/TheStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde''.˛* CanonImmigrant: In its early days, Ravenloft was designed as a catch-all holding cell for villains across the multiverse. This even included the player characters, when early adventures were designed to have the Mists take them to Ravenloft, let them complete the plot, and then whisk them back home. It wasn't until the ''Domains of Dread'' revision that more emphasis was made on making Ravenloft an actual "home base" campaign setting, with rules and ideas for creating native player characters.˛* ChildrenAreInnocent: Subverted in a number of modules. Played straight by the True Innocent PrestigeClass.˛* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Felix from ''Neither Man Nor Beast''.˛* CircusOfFear: Subverted with the eponymous boxset "The Carnival" and played straight by the original Domain of The Carnival l'Morai.˛* ClassicalMovieVampire: Count Strahd von Zarovich, and likely a few dozen others too.˛* CleverCrows: Just about the only potentially good-aligned creatures in Ravenloft, they sometimes help TheAtoner.˛* ComicBookFantasyCasting: Dr. Rudolph Van Richten looks exactly like Van Helsing as portrayed by Creator/PeterCushing.˛** Doctor Victor Mordenheim looks exactly like ChristopherLee from the mid-Seventies.˛* ConstructedWorld: The world is a construct of the Dark Powers, who can rearrange it however they please.˛* CorruptChurch:˛** The Church of Ezra has... issues. The Borcan branch has a strict official policy of staying out of politics and willfully turns a blind eye to the depredations of the nobility; this is how they avoid incurring the local darklord's wrath. The Darkonese sect is a fundamentalist sect with an apocalyptic doctrine, willing to conduct ColdBloodedTorture both to interrogate "monsters" and to convert members of other religions, which they see as heathens who are dooming themselves to hell.˛** Zhakata is a fake religion whose god only exists inside the head of its demented high priest.˛** The Church of the Lawgiver has an extremely strict and stratified worldview in which social mobility is impossible and not only has no restrictions on the power of those in authority, but actively encourages leaders to do whatever they want.˛* CraniumChase: In a non-comedy example, Jacqueline Montarri was cursed by the Vistani to live on without her head. She murders victims to appropriate their heads, then wears them to pass for human as she scours the Land of Mists for her missing original.˛* CreepyChild: The supplement ''Darklords'' has Merilee Markuza, a vampire child similar to Claudia from Literature/TheVampireChronicles. The feral children of Sebua can also evoke this trope, if seen watching from a distance.˛* CreepyCrows: Zigzagged. On the one hand, Barovia is home to both Wereravens[[note]]the only Good aligned species of werebeast in Ravenloft[[/note]] and to Ravenkin[[note]]giant, spellcasting, talking ravens who are Good aligned, have some mysterious connection to the lost Barovian sun god Andral, and are dedicated enemies of vampires in general and Strahd in particular[[/note]], which thoroughly subvert this trope, although the Ravenkin's ability to spy through the eyes of normal crows can be used to play this trope straight. Played thoroughly straight with the Corvus Regis ("King's Ravens"), who are intelligent, talking ravens bred as as spies by the lich-king of Darkon, Azalin.˛* CreepyDoll: Doll golems and the Carrionettes.˛* CreepySouvenir: One of the villains (Jacqueline Montarri from CraniumChase above, natch) collects the still-living heads of her victims.˛* {{Crossover}}: Many of the darklords originated in published campaign settings, plus there were a few novels and adventures that bridged the gap with other settings.˛** ''Knight of the Black Rose'' crossed ''Ravenloft'' and ''TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}}''.˛** ''Die, Vecna, Die!'' was an epic crossover between ''TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}}'', ''Ravenloft'', and ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}''.˛** ''Castle Spulzeer'' was a ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' module that ended with [[spoiler: both the [=PCs=] and its villain]] being swept up by the Mists, kicking off a follow-up adventure in the Ravenloft module ''The Forgotten Terror''.˛** Averted in the case of ''TabletopGame/{{Spelljammer}}'': although one SJ module ended with the option of having its villain swept up by the Ravenloft Mists, the Ravenloft design team never followed up on this, probably because Spelljammer's style of gaming was so much goofier than Ravenloft's as to be thematically incompatible.˛*** Also, though it wasn't official, [[WordOfGod Keith Baker]] said on his Twitter that the most likely ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'' NPC to become a darklord would be Erandis Vol or Merrix from the tie-in novel ''Son of Khyber''.˛** The domain Odiare is from [[TabletopGame/MasqueOfTheRedDeath Gothic Earth.]]˛** Meanwhile, Kalidnay comes from [[TabletopGame/DarkSun Athas.]]˛** At the start of the video game ''Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession'', a man manages to travel from Ravenloft to [[TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms Faerun]] to steal an artefact which can kill Strahd. After his pursuers kill him, the Mists envelop them all and bring them to Ravenloft. [[spoiler:At the end of the second game, ''Ravenloft: Stone Prophet'', they manage to find a portal back to Faerun.]]˛* CrossoverCosmology: The slate of deities worshiped in Ravenloft is a grab-bag of historical pagan deities ([[Myth/CelticMythology Belenus]], the [[Myth/EgyptianMythology Akiri]] and [[Myth/HinduMythology Rajian pantheons]]), deities imported from other game-settings (the Morninglord (Lathander) and Lawgiver (Bane) from the TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms, the Eternal Order's death-gods from TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}}), and deities made up for (Ezra, Hala) or even ''by'' (Zhakata, the Wolf God, the Overseer) natives of the Land of Mists.˛* CrystalDragonJesus: The Church of Ezra worships a Cristal Dragon Virgin Mary figure.˛* CultureChopSuey: Crops up now and then. For example, Tepest is TheThemeParkVersion of premodern Ireland, mixed with Witch Trials era New England, garnished with just the ''tiniest'' sliver of Spain during the Inquisition (in the form of the Inquisition itself and a forest called ''Brujamonte'').˛* CurseEscapeClause: Cursing someone with undeath or another torment is very easy to do as long as you include one of these. A lot of modules revolve around figuring out and fulfilling a clause.˛* DarkFantasy: Of course, as this is ''Dungeons and Dragons'' with GothicHorror running through its veins.˛* DarkIsNotEvil: The Dark Powers are known to reward some people that pass their tests. They also are suspected of powering clerics' and paladins' class abilities, as it's unclear whether or not gods can influence events within the setting in that way. Of course, the Dark Powers also torment people who don't remotely deserve it. Dark is not ''good'', but may be closer to ChaoticNeutral. Or [[BlueAndOrangeMorality blue]].˛* DayOldLegend: Happens to entire ''countries'' in the setting, where new realms that coalesce out of the Mists upon a new darklord's arrival come complete with their own "ancient" legends and histories.˛* DealWithTheDevil: Strahd claims that a bargain like this that he made was what made him a vampire and the Darklord of Barovia, which in turn, led to the creation of the whole Demiplane. He says that he made the bargain with Death itself, but most think it was actually the Dark Powers.˛* DeathIsTheOnlyOption: The setting has some adventures that require ''someone'' to die, although often you can foist this onto an NPC. In addition, it has several evil beings and magic items which offer PowerAtAPrice, gradually entrapping a character until dying is the only way to escape.˛* DeathWorld: Ravenloft has this reputation from what little bits people not living there have learned. The 2nd Edition products played up how dangerous Ravenloft is, but the 3rd Edition products eased off of this and even stated that a person can live their whole life without encountering any horrific monsters. There are some locations, like Necropolis, that still play this trope straight (any living creature that tries to enter Necropolis is immediately killed), and necromantic magic is much stronger in Ravenloft than it is elsewhere in the [[TabletopGame/{{Planescape}} multiverse]].˛* DecadeDissonance: Each domain being tailored to its Darklord, the Demiplane of Dread is composed of a patchwork of small countries of very different civilization levels. Some are medieval, others Renaissance, and some even display a touch of VictorianLondon.˛* DeliberateValuesDissonance: The sourcebook "Van Richten's Guide to the Created", the {{golem}} sourcebook, takes a firm attitude that the Created are [[AlwaysChaoticEvil inherently evil due to the circumstances of their creation]], depicting them as soulless abominations against the natural order that should only be destroyed. Whilst this is in keeping with a number of Frankenstein movies (which present the secular version of this, with the Monster as inherently evil due to Dr. Frankenstein using a criminal's brain to create him), it's at odds with Mary Shelley's original novel, where it's the Monster's continued rejection by humanity that makes him a villain, and with modern audiences, who nowadays regard the Monster as a TragicVillain at worst and believe that Victor Frankenstein is the true "monster" of the story. ''The Created'', a supplement which introduces several golems, also conflicts with this, introducing some golems that aren't evil (yet.)˛* DetectEvil: Averted, as such spells don't work in the Land of Mists. Subverted in the case of ex-paladin darklord Elena Faith-hold, who ''thinks'' she can still Detect Evil, but actually senses any strong emotion (fear, outrage, or even love) directed at her.˛* DiseaseByAnyOtherName: The population of Valachan is regularly plagued by a mild "disease" they call White Fever. In reality, it's anemia caused by the vampire dark lord taking controlled sips from his subjects. (Not so much out of mercy as because he doesn't want rivals for the food supply.)˛* DisproportionateRetribution: The Dark Powers grant vengeful curses as a sort of hobby, and only require that the punishment fit the crime ''in the perception of the one invoking it.'' Whether it's actually appropriate from an objective viewpoint (or for that matter whether the curser has correctly identified the guilty party) is less important.˛* DoesNotLikeMagic˛** Lamordians even [[FlatEarthAtheist deny that magic exists at all]], despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And their land follows suit, draining power from magical items and causing spells to be more likely to fail just for starters.˛** The Church of the Lawgiver falls under this too; their doctrine teaches that arcane magic is an abomination created by Mytteri, their religion's equivalent of {{Satan}}, and is an embodiment of pure rebellion and nihilism. Any arcane spellcaster, no matter how devoted they may be to the Lawgiver's tenets, is destined for the Hell of Slaves.˛** Practicing arcane magic in front of Tepestanis isn't a good idea, unless you'd like to play out the BurnTheWitch trope. Or rather, Burn The [[TheFairFolk Fey]], but that's hardly an improvement.˛* DoggedNiceGuy: Strahd in ''I, Strahd'' acts like this toward Tatyana, even though he knows she is already his brother Sergei's fiance. Later, this descends in the [[LoveMakesYouEvil worst way possible.]]˛* DoomMagnet: For most of his career as a monster hunter, almost ''all'' of Dr. Rudolph Van Richten's friends and allies who helped him in this pursuit died horrible deaths. As it turned out, [[spoiler: this was due to a Vistani curse that had been placed on him early in his career. The curse was eventually lifted, but he disappeared soon after, and was presumed dead.]]˛* DownTheRabbitHole: Oftentimes the earliest adventures have player characters being plucked up from their world by stumbling into the fog or somehow sailing into the Tractless Sea.˛* DrawSwordDrawBlood: Rumor has it that Ba'al Verzi daggers cannot be sheathed before having killed someone.˛* DyingCurse: Curses laid in dramatic circumstances such as by a dying character are more likely to work, the 3rd edition rules actually provide a specific additional bonus for curses laid by a dying character. ˛* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The map of Ravenloft's Core in the first boxed set was very... {{patchwork|map}}, to say the least. For starters, Bluetspur, a lightning blasted wasteland filled with underground tunnels of Mind Flayers, was directly adjacent to domains with temperate forests. The [[IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace Nightmare Lands]], an almost completely featureless desert ''(as long as you're awake)'' and Vechor, a domain ran by an insane RealityWarper whose terrain changes by the hour, were right next to relatively normal domains filled with wheat fields. Another domain centered around a religion based on starvation as holy was smack dab in the middle of the Core's breadbasket, surrounded by lands of plenty on all sides. The opportunity to fix this came with the [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Grand Conjunction]], which, as a side effect, rearranged domains to correspond with roughly similar ecologies and created Islands and Clusters, domains separate from the Core that correspond with each other without seeming ''too'' out of place.˛** That said, the weirdness was merely somewhat reduced, not removed entirely; see PatchworkMap below for examples.˛* EmptyShell: The "Lost Ones," people who have been driven catatonic through horrible encounters with Ravenloft's many horrors.˛* EpiphanicPrison: At least in theory, this is what each domain is supposed to be to its resident Darklord. Few, if any, have learned the lesson being taught.˛* EscapedFromHell: ˛** Lord Soth, one of D&D's favorite villains, escapes the Land of Mists in the most bizarre way possible not giving a crap. He basically 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, realising that it's pointless to keep him around since he won't respond to anything they do, the Dark Powers release him from Ravenloft.˛** Vecna's escape was chronicled in ''Die, Vecna, Die!'' and in the 4th edition of ''D&D'' he's still wandering around.˛* EvilAlbino: The bakhna rakhna are a breed of deformed, albinistic goblins. Not all that tough as villains, but they're nasty, thieving little creeps.˛* EvilerThanThou: Fiends play this role to the Darklords. The Darklords usually tend to have a few redeeming characteristics, whereas Fiends are wholly evil.˛* EvilVersusEvil: Many published Ravenloft adventures involve feuds between darklords, or lesser villains' attempts to seize power from an incumbent lord. Strahd and Azalin have been feuding for centuries, and several other rivalries (Sodo vs. the Hive Queen; Ivan vs. Ivana) are well established. Plus, the Dark Powers are considered evil by many gamers, making their imprisonment and tormenting of darklords an example of this trope as well.˛* ExpositionOfImmortality: Dr. Van Richten realized that the fiend Drigor had been manipulating a particular family for generations when he looked at the family journals, and realized their writing styles hadn't changed for the past two hundred years.˛* {{Expy}}: Though they're not direct analogues, many of the darklords take direct inspiration from popular gothic literary figures. Strahd is {{Dracula}}, Mordenheim is Literature/{{Frankenstein}} and Adam his Monster, Tristan Hiregaard and his alter ego Malken are [[Literature/TheStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde Jekyll and Hyde]], Markov is [[Literature/TheIslandOfDoctorMoreau Dr. Moreau]], Rudolph Van Richten is based on Van Helsing, and so on. As well as [[SherlockHolmes Alanik Ray and Doctor Arthur Sedgewick]].˛* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: Initially, ''Ravenloft'' was a one-adventure module with Strahd as the BigBad, whose defeat by the hands of the [[PlayerCharacter [=PCs=]]] was the conclusion. Since then, the setting evolved and Strahd is still alive and well (or should we say ''undead'' and well). The {{Canon}} timeline of ''Ravenloft'' even says "528: powerful heroes assault Castle Ravenloft and are killed".˛** Also in keeping with this theme, certain aspects of the rules tended to make victory nearly impossible or at least very, very difficult. Most darklords had various means of resurrection that were almost guaranteed to succeed (Azalin's phylactery, Strahd's contingency spell to teleport to a hidden coffin in the mountains if he was ever killed, Harkon Lucas' mind jumping to any nearby wolf when his domain is covered in them, etc) unless the players were extremely clever. Likewise, a closed domain border meant the players were trapped, and any mundane or magical attempts to get out would fail automatically.˛*** Finally, a trend that ran through many of the adventures involved the deaths of [=PCs=] as integral parts of the plot, usually as an excuse to resurrect them later as monsters or so the villain could force them to do something. Hour of the Knife involved any player who wandered away from the group getting killed 'off camera' by dopplegangers who promptly replaced him, Adam's Wrath forced the [=PCs=] to die so their brains could be transplanted into golems, From the Shadows had Azalin behead the [=PCs=] to fulfill a prophecy...the list goes on.˛** This applies to the Dark Lords themselves as well. An integral part of their curse is that the Dark Powers keep giving them hope of gaining what they most desire, only for them to fail each and every time.˛* TheFairFolk: The shadow fey, of the Shadow Rift. These range from benign pixies to savage redcaps to cruel sidhe lords, all psychically manipulated by an EldritchAbomination.˛* FantasticRacism: Demihumans get a lot of mistrust, alienation and prejudice in the setting, to the point the third edition rules introduced an "Outsider Rating" that posed an increasingly high penalty to most diplomatic-focused skills. Sadly, it's kind of justified by the fact that Ravenloft is officially crawling with all manner of monsters that look ''almost'', but not ''quite'', like normal human beings. These include several varieties of AlwaysChaoticEvil [[OurWerebeastsAreDifferent werebeasts]], [[OurVampiresAreDifferent multiple types of vampire]], and even weirder creatures ("Red Widows" are an [[OneGenderRace always female]] race of sapient {{Giant Spider}}s that can shapeshift into [[EvilRedhead always-redhaired humanoid forms]] and which reproduce by mating with humanoids, paralyzing them, and then [[FaceFullOfAlienWingWong laying the eggs into their bodies]]).˛* FantasticScience: The Van Richten's Guides are presented as being written by Dr. Rudolph Van Richten (or later the Weathermay-Foxgrove Twins, his heirs) and are written to be scientific sounding.˛* FantasyCounterpartCulture: Apart from Darkon, which looks like (almost) a standard Elves-and-Dwarves Fantasy setting, each inhabited Domain is based on a real-world historical or literary country, as summed up on [[ this webpage]].˛* FantasyGunControl: Averted, because it just wouldn't be a classic werewolf hunt without a SilverBullet or two. Though it depends on the Domain, those with a high enough Culture Rating have primitive guns, those without do not. But you can bring a gun from a high-Culture Domain into a low-Culture Domain and it still works, you just won't be able to buy shot, powder, or spare parts.˛* FantasyKitchenSink: Ravenloft could be considered a "Horror Kitchen Sink". It was originally meant to be a GothicHorror setting, and for the most part mostly is, but it also incorporates elements of CosmicHorror and other horror genres as well.˛* FisherKing: Each Darklord is intimately tied to his or her domain. They have limited ability to sense things going on or when something's really out of whack with their land. This most notably manifests with the disruption of reality caused by demons and other supernatural outsiders.˛* FisherKingdom: Darkon will, over the course of three months, [[FakeMemories rewrite your memories]] so that you think you are a native. It's easily reversible though - one day outside its borders, and one migraine later, your ''real'' memories will come back. This is a lesser version of [[EvilSorcerer Azalin's]] curse, which prevents him from learning new spells.˛* FlatEarthAtheist: Literally. The demiplane is a pocket dimension consisting of a single continent and a number of "islands" floating in the Ethereal Plane. Entire domains have been known to appear, disappear or move. Yet a fair number of people, especially in the more technologically advanced domains (with special mention going to Lamordians), are strict rationalists to the point of willful denial of the supernatural nature of their world. Ironically, the Dark Powers that are effectively the "gods" of the demiplane help preserve this mindset.˛* FluffyTamer: Paladins and other good-aligned people with Familiars or bounded mounts normally get good-aligned Familiars or bounded mounts. In Ravenloft, they get [[EvilCounterpart Dread Companions]], who personify their master's id. They're slavishly devoted and friendly, but a Dread Companion paladin's mount may not grok why its master may not want it to kick people he dislikes or considers beneath him when they get too close.˛* FlyingDutchman: Several, most notably Captain van Riese (a CaptainErsatz of the original).˛* FogOfDoom: The Dark Powers use the Mists to pluck people from other worlds and deposit them into Ravenloft.˛* ForTheEvulz: Averting this trope was one of the setting's original selling points, as most of its villains were among gaming's most complex, three-dimensional [=NPC=]s of their era. Played straight in a few cases, such as Falkovnia's Vlad Drakov or Tepest's Three Hags.˛* FriendlyNeighborhoodVampire: Jander Sunstar may be the only one in the entire setting. A couple of adventures feature NPC vampires that are newly-created and haven't been corrupted below neutral alignment yet, but the setting is pretty firm that all vampires turn monstrous eventually. ˛* FunctionalMagic: Wizardry operates under Rule Magic and VancianMagic, Clerics use Theurgy (which may or may not be granted by the Dark Powers themselves) and Vancian Magic, Sorcerers have an Inherent Gift, and Psionics can be considered...[[ShapedLikeItself Psionics.]]˛* GeneralFailure: Vlad Drakov. The first time he launched an invasion, his armies were devoured by the undead. He's launched at least three more, with [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption similar results]]. It's part of his curse as a Darklord to want to be a great conqueror and to be surrounded by those too strong to conquer.˛* GeniusLoci: The Demiplane itself may or may not be sentient.˛** In the 3rd Edition rules, certain places could get so saturated with evil that they could spontaneously awaken to sentience. These places were known as Phantasmagoria. The House of Lament in Borca is so strongly evil that it's actually a tiny Domain.˛* GhostPirate: Captain Pieter van Riese, Darklord of the Sea of Sorrows. (Well, technically he was a greedy merchant when he was alive, not a pirate, but he haunts the sea on a GhostShip and he was crueler than even most pirates, so he probably qualifies.)˛* TheGMIsACheatingBastard: The opening of House on Gryphon Hill; If the players haven't played the original Ravenloft, they are put up against Strahd. The DM is encouraged to do whatever it takes to kill the players, including summoning banshees and fudging dice rolls. [[DreamIntro And then they wake up]].˛* GoMadFromTheRevelation: Fail a Madness save provoked by a "malign paradigm shift" (the revelation that something you thought you knew is not only wrong, but terminally harmful to your prolonged well-being) and that's exactly what happens.˛* GothicHorror: The foundation of the game's genre. Many of the Darklords are outright pastiches of famous Gothic Horror monsters, most notably Strahd (Dracula), Mordenheim and Adam (Frankenstein and his Monster), Malken (Jekyll and Hyde) and Markov (the Island of Dr. Moreau).˛* GraveHumor: The tombs under Castle Ravenloft in the original adventure have a number of funny inscriptions on the individual crypts.˛%%* GreatDetective: [[{{Expy}} Alanik Ray]].˛* GreaterScopeVillain: The Dark Powers can play this role depending on what type of game the DM is running. Just as many people say that the Dark Powers are not evil at all, but may actually be good. After all, each domain is an IronicHell for its ruler, who is an eternal prisoner of it, making Ravenloft a prison of the damned. Seeing as the Dark Powers punish evildoers, it is very possible that they are good. On the other hand, their [[ThePunishment methods]] hurt the innocent just as much as they damn the guilty, making them just as likely to be candidates for enemy forces.˛* TheGrimReaper:˛** The minor darklord Death claims to be this, [[spoiler: but in reality, it's a former servant of Azalin's]].˛** Grim Reapers are also a form of monster that appear to collect the life force of the dying and powerful. [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu Defeating one]] causes the target in question to have a miraculous recovery.˛* GypsyCurse: This is a big part of the plot of a ''lot'' of stories. (In fact, here's a good safety tip if you end up here: Do NOT make the Vistani angry at you. They won't kill you, but eventually, you'll ''wish'' they had.)˛* HauntedCastle: Castle Ravenloft itself, to start with, but there's plenty others.˛* HauntedHouse: Several of them, the module ''Bleak House'' being the best example.˛* HaveYouSeenMyGod: Religion and faith exist in Ravenloft, but (like in RealLife) people expect their gods to be distant and inscrutable as a matter of course. Godly intervention or communion with followers (almost) never happens. Clerics and paladins receive their spells/powers, but this may actually be the Dark Powers filling in.˛* HeadlessHorseman: There's one haunting the roads of various domains, trying to decapitate travelers. The heads of his past victims assist in these attacks.˛* HereditaryCurse: Some of the noble families are saddled with these, such as the propensity to madness displayed by the Hiregaard clan in ''Legacy of the Blood''. One of the most powerful spells introduced as part of the setting allows the caster to inflict this trope upon an enemy and their descendants.˛* HeWhoFightsMonsters: The heroes of Ravenloft always run the risk of becoming what they have set out to destroy, if they commit enough acts of evil along the way to draw the attention of the Dark Powers.˛** Rudolph Van Richten, author of the guides to Ravenloft's monsters, is a subversion: He started out angry and vindictive, but mellowed out as time went on, even learning to forgive the Vistani who had stolen his son. He still has nothing but vitriol for liches and willing vampires, but in those cases, they were evil ''before'' they became monsters.˛*** Although one of the possible endings for the final module suggests that Van Richten [[spoiler: finally became a darklord in his own right]].˛*** [[spoiler: Or was locked in an oubliette within the Mists, if the 3E product-line is accepted as canon.]]˛* HeWhoMustNotBeNamed: Lord Soth became such because of the copyright issues and is mentioned only as a "Black Knight" or a Blackguard. In ''Secrets Of The Dread Realms'', it is said that "no Sithican will speak his name for fear of calling him back from whatever abyss claimed him".˛** To a lesser extent, many of the gods such as Bane and Lathander got renamed to the more generic The Lawgiver and Morninglord.˛* HopeSpringsEternal: This is exploited by The Dark Powers, who made it the crux of their Punishment for the Darklords. See FailureIsTheOnlyOption and YankTheDogsChain.˛* HornyDevils: The setting has relatively few demons (well, for D&D anyway) but one of the more prominent, the Gentleman Caller, is an incubus who has fathered one pseudo darklord and a couple of younger villains of the setting...˛* HumanlikeHandAnatomy: In a non-cartoon example, the darklord Markov is cursed to always have the body of a beast and the head of a man, but can invoke this trope on himself at will. He favors primate forms anyway, but can opt for hands instead of paws or hooves in his other shapes also.˛* HunterOfMonsters: Dr. Rudolph Van Richten. The [=PCs=] may also take on this sort of role depending on how the [=GM=] is running the setting.˛* IdentityAmnesia: Do ''not'' stay in Darkon longer than a few weeks. You did? Oh, never mind, of course you can stay, because you're suddenly convinced you were born there.˛* IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace: Many of the lands. Convincing prospective tourists to visit beautiful "Darkon," "Dementlieu" or "Ghastria" is probably something of a challenge.˛* IgnoredEpiphany: Lord Soth faces this in ''Knight of the Black Rose'', and it is one of the basic requirements to become a darklord in the first place. Someone capable of acknowledging their own faults automatically has too much humanity left to qualify (ironically, it's likely the in-universe reason why Soth was eventually released from the Mists was his eventual subversion of the trope when he eventually [[DespairEventHorizon hit rock-bottom]]).˛* InfantImmortality: Averted, there are {{undead child}}ren here and there, and plenty of monsters eager to steal infants for the dinner table or worse.˛* InnocenceLost: A game mechanic. "Innocent" is an attribute which gives some limited protection from evil magic, but also makes a character more vulnerable to fear effects -- it's also very easy to lose, what with the nature of the plane.˛* IronicHell: Each domain is tailored to its darklord. All are given great power but at the cost of what they truly desire. Strahd is an immortal warrior-wizard and unquestioned ruler but can never possess the woman he loves. Azalin rules the largest domain in Ravenloft and is probably the most powerful Darklord there is, but cannot learn new magic. Others include a werewolf who hates his human side but will become human if he acts like an animal, a sadistic killer whose presence removes pain and whose touch cures all ills (including death), and a wolfwere who wants to rule his domain but whose people acknowledge no ruler. A particularly "fun" example is ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'''s description of the way Sithicus changes after Lord Soth returns to Krynn: the domain was originally all about lack of consistancy and twisting memory, because Soth's thing was clinging to who he used to be. Once Inza, whose flaw was self-deception, became the darklord, it changed into a realm where nobody can forget their past.˛* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: Most of the ''Van Richten Monster Hunter Guides'' are supposedly authored by Van Richten himself. (He is the {{Narrator}} in each of them.) However, he never claims he wrote them for profit, but to aid those who would, like him, fight the evils of Ravenloft.˛** This also applies to those Guides written by his heirs, the Weathermay-Foxgrove twins.˛* JerkassGenie: The MO of the Dark Powers is to grant a person's wish in the most horrible manner possible, landing them in an IronicHell. They will corrupt any ''Wish'' spell cast in Ravenloft, unless the caster is evil, and wishes for something horrible, in which case they may decide the wish is already corrupt enough. ˛* JerkassVictim: A number of people in this setting have bad things happen to them, but are such bad people it's hard to feel sorry for them. For example, the Vistani being eaten alive by zombies after selling an innocent man's son to become a vampire.˛* KarmaHoudini: In theory, the plane is hard-wired to avert this. In practice, the Dark Powers' "justice" is very capricious, and probably depends more on [[ItAmusedMe what would entertain them]] at this particular moment.˛* KillTheLights: In ''Adam's Wrath'', while the {{PC}}s are infiltrating the underground caves, Adam will touch the luminescent fungus that provides the only light in the area. When he does this, the light will immediately turn off throughout the area, leaving the {{PC}}s in darkness. Adam knows the area much better than the {{PC}}s and will take less of a penalty while fighting in darkness than the {{PC}}s will.˛* KnightInSourArmour: The demiplane might as well have a Cynical [[MessianicArchetype Messiah]] Factory.˛* KnightTemplar: One darklord, Elena Faith-hold, is a former paladin who fell due to hitting this trope. If anything she's gotten even worse since.˛* KryptoniteFactor: Virtually any monster is likely to have one, and identifying the Factor of an individual creature is often the only way to defeat it.˛* LaserGuidedAmnesia: The Dark Powers do this to people a lot. For example, most residents of Darkon believe that they have always lived there, and newcomers likewise quickly develop imagined family histories. ˛* LighthousePoint: Monette, the werebat darklord, resides in a lighthouse on a tiny isle in the Nocturnal Sea.˛* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: Van Richten's monster guides are presented as documents written by Rudolph Van Richten (and later his heirs, the Weathermay-Foxgrove twins). The Gazetteer series, spotlighting the demiplane's domains, is presented as a research project by the scholar 'S' for a mysterious patron. Both of them have OutOfCharacter side bars explaining the (admittedly very few) factual errors.˛* LivingStructureMonster: The House of Lament.˛* LoadBearingBoss: Depending on how the GM wants to run things, the Darklords could end up being load bearing bosses for their whole domain.˛* LooksLikeSheIsEnjoyingIt: Cover of Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts.˛* LoveMakesYouEvil: Strahd loved Tatyana so much that [[MurderTheHypotenuse he murdered his own brother, who she was set to marry]], in the definitive Act of Ultimate Darkness.˛* MadDoctor: Doctor Mordenheim (an {{Expy}} for Doctor Frankenstein), and Doctor Heinfroth (keeper of the resident BedlamHouse). Darklord Frantisek Markov (an {{Expy}} for Doctor Moreau) has no medical training, but he doesn't let that stop him experimenting on any animals-- or humans-- unfortunate enough to cross his path.˛* MagicalLibrary: The lich-king Azalin Rex has a giant book which houses the self-updating life stories of every sentient being who has ever been born in his domain of Darkon, or who's entered it and stayed long enough to lose all memory of their previous life, in addition to Azalin's continuously updating biography. Crossing out or rewriting your lifestory are among the few ways to recover from Darkon's insidious IdentityAmnesia effect, as is asking Azalin to rewrite said lifestory to your benefit.˛* MagicCompass: Compasses ''do'' point north, but this is presumably a magical effect because the Land of Mists is not a globe, so doesn't have poles. Just what force it is that attracts compass-needles there is a bit of a mystery.˛* MagicPoweredPseudoscience: It is possible for non-magic-using characters to create Dread Golems or even Undead, but it is stated that these creations gain their dark lifeforce from the Dark Powers granting it to them.˛* MagicVersusScience: As a rule, the more technologically advanced a given domain is, the less the natives are prone to put much faith in magic, even though the level of magic is fairly consistent throughout the demiplane. For example, magic is not taken very seriously in Dementlieu, Mordent or especially Lamordia, despite the dominance of nearby Darkon in the northern Core.˛* MainliningTheMonster: Vampires from the Kargat secret police dole out their blood to human minions, the Kargatane, as a means of increasing their strength and delaying their rate of aging.˛* MeaningfulName: Many of the domains' names, and some of the characters.˛* MicroMonarchy: Ghastria, until the Great Upheaval. Most domains whose overt ruler is a monarch or noble of some sort would count in any other setting if the official population numbers and geographic dimensions are used (Darkon, for example, is the largest and most populous Domain, yet barely has over 100 000 inhabitants and at its widest can be crossed in a few days at most).˛* MonsterMash: There are lots and ''lots'' of different monsters in the Demiplane of Dread.˛* MonsterShapedMountain:˛** In the adventure "Neither Man Nor Beast", the beach where the player characters become marooned on Markovia is covered with [[EenieMeenieMinyMoai giant stone figures]] buried waist-deep in the sand or just offshore.˛** Graben Island is shaped like a three-clawed monstrous hand.˛* MoralEventHorizon: The InUniverse term for this is an "Act of Ultimate Darkness", and it's required to become a Darklord -- an act of such great and horrible evil that it is all but guaranteed to draw the attention of the Dark Powers, a near-perfect blend of {{hypocrisy}}, [[ThisIsUnforgivable depravity]], [[KickTheDog cruelty]], and [[ItsAllAboutMe selfishness]]. The clincher, though, [[ObliviouslyEvil is absolute refusal to acknowledge that what they did was wrong]]. Indeed, that's part of ThePunishment for Darklords -- that if they worked up the moral strength to admit that what they have done is inexcusable and that they reaped what they sowed, their curse would be [[CursedWithAwesome moot]]. Then again, the books say that if they were the sorts of people who'd be able to do that, they would never have become Darklords in the first place.˛* MorePredatorsThanPrey: Many, many gamemasters adjust the population figures and sizes of the domains up by a factor of ten or more to avert this trope. Especially JustForFun/{{egregious}} is the Domain of Verbrek, which quite literally has more werewolves than humans living in it.˛* {{Mummy}}: Mummies got their own rules supplement back in 2E called ''Van Richten's Guide to the Ancient Dead.''˛* MundaneMadeAwesome: The process for electing a new mayor of Skald, capital of Kartakass. The whole thing basically consists of several minutes of the candidates all explaining their platforms and issues, followed by several ''hours'' of a battle royale singing competition that's eventually decided by voice vote ''(read: applause)''. The fact that Harkon Lukas has won every "election" for the past few decades doesn't preclude, say, a PC from throwing their hat into the ring. Say what you will about it, it's still the closest thing to democracy in the Core by a long shot.˛* MyRulesAreNotYourRules: Madame Eva is statted in 3.5, but she explicitly ignores most of Ravenloft's constraints, even the ones other Vistani are subject to. She casts cleric spells without worshiping a deity (including ones that don't work in Ravenloft), never suffers powers checks, and laughs at closed domain borders. There is some implication she may be an avatar or manifestation of the Dark Powers themselves.˛* {{Necromancer}}: Strahd is a [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons Necromancer Specialist Wizard]], as are the darklords of I'Cath and the Nocturnal Sea. Azalin, while technically a generalist wizard, naturally has vast knowledge of necromancy (and was, in fact, Strahd's wizardly mentor before their falling out). There are likely tons of others lurking around, due to the nature of the setting.˛* NeverMyFault:˛** Almost all Dark Lords are constantly confronted with their misdeeds simply so they can ignore or rationalize them away.˛** One of the big flaws of the Vistani, as a whole, is this; it's all but outright said that it's only a crime if it's done by a giorgio (outsider) to a Vistani, not the other way around. The absolute perfect example of this is the Vistani wise woman cursing Van Richten to bring a horrible death to anyone who comes to consider him an ally for destroying her tribe... not once considering the fact they brought it on themselves by kidnapping his son and selling him to become, essentially, a vampire's catamite. Making things worse, the Vistani who died while under Van Richten's medical care and was used as an excuse to kidnap van Richten's son? He got his injuries in a failed attempt to kidnap somebody else's son.˛* NewPowersAsThePlotDemands: [=DMs=] are explicitly advised not to let the stats limit what the darklords can do. If, for example, it is thematically appropriate to an adventure that a given darklord can control the weather in their domain, then go for it. Conveniently, since the powers that darklords possess beyond those normal for their race and character class are granted by the Dark Powers, who delight in tormenting them, [=DMs=] can also feel free to limit these to one-off special occasions.˛* NiceDayDeadlyNight: Ravenloft is based on GothicHorror, so as you'd expect the night is always more dangerous than daytime.˛** 1st Edition module I6 ''Ravenloft''. At night, the citizens of Barovia bar their doors and tremble in terror. Strahd attacks the {{PC}}s at night with wolves and bats. Not only could the attacks easily kill them, but party spellcasters can forget relearning their spells. Random encounters at night are much more dangerous: not just wolves, but a deadly variety of undead monsters.˛** 2nd Edition ''Domains of Dread'' supplement. In the domain of Kartakass, wolves roam the streets of the cities at night and are strong enough to break down barred gates.˛* NightmareSequence: Depending on whether or not the players have played the original I6 Ravenloft, the opening of I10 Ravenloft II: House on Gryphon Hill can be this. The DM is told, if the players have fought Strahd before, to retell their battle so that it ends in the death of the heroes. If they haven't, they find themselves in a battle against Strahd, a battle the DM is encouraged to have Strahd win, no matter what. When they die, they wake up.˛* NoCampaignForTheWicked: Even if there is no strict obligation for PlayerCharacters to always be [[LawfulGood goodie do-gooders]], morally questionable actions tend to attract the attention of the Dark Powers. After five failed "Power Checks", the character becomes an {{NPC}}; the sixth sends them headlong into darklord territory.˛* NotSoDifferent: The setting goes to pains to describe that, as often as (insert group here) is regarded with distrust and suspicion by others, they are often just as bad and may genuinely give their neighbors reason to treat them the way they do. The Vistani are a great example of this. On the one hand, the "giorgio" are clearly shown to be xenophobes. On the other hand, the Vistani are, in many ways, just as xenophobic, as well as being smugly self-righteous, indifferent to cultural differences, and prone to blithely committing acts of theft, kidnapping and worse against giorgio simply because "it's not a crime if we're doing it to them".˛* NotSoExtinct: In ''Scholar of Decay'', a wizard exploring some underground passages in Richemulot has a brief encounter with a [[BlobMonster black pudding]], a D&D monster not at all typical of the Gothic Horror-style Land of Mists. He avoids it, then pauses to marvel at its presence, as they're considered to be extinct.˛* OminousFog: The Mists of Ravenloft are iconic setpieces, and are out and out said to work for the [[PowersThatBe Dark Powers]]. The Mists are often used to block various domains from each other, and to transport unsuspecting characters to wherever the GM pleases.˛* OneWingedAngel: ''Everyone'' has a chance of doing this--ding the local KarmaMeter too often, and you'll find yourself turning into a literal monster. [[ThePunishment Too bad it's a real curse though...]]˛* OnlyShopInTown: Bildrath's Mercantile is this for the village of Barovia.˛* OurDemonsAreDifferent: All evil outsiders usually come to the demiplane by possessing someone, or by being summoned in by powerful spellcasters. They become trapped like everyone else once they are in. A powerful Incubus named the Gentlemen Caller is trying to escape by creating a child capable of escaping from the Demiplane. Fiends even got their own rules supplement dedicated to them called ''Van Richten's Guide to Fiends'' in 2nd Edition. Due to their rarity, Van Richten himself is under the impression that ''All'' Demons Are Different, i.e. every one is unique in its powers and appearance.˛* OurGoblinsAreDifferent:˛** A local variant are called gobl''y''ns: they are humans mutated into monsters by dark magic, and all {{Violent Glaswegian}}s to a Goblyn.˛** There are also plenty of conventional D&D goblins in Ravenloft. Even they are Different from most game goblins, being closer to their fairy-tale roots.˛* OurMonstersAreDifferent: The iconic creatures, as described by Rudolph van Richten in his monster hunters' guides, have unique features that must be researched in order to properly fight them.˛* OurOrcsAreDifferent:˛** To set it apart from traditional fantasy settings, there are actually no orcs in Ravenloft at all. There's a record of one single orc who was brought to the Land of Mists as part of a twisted carnival, but the Dark Powers warped him into a grotesque ape-man.˛** The setting thus doesn't have half-orcs as PlayerCharacters, but Calibans -- humans deformed in their mothers' wombs by curses or evil magics -- fill that role.˛* OurVampiresAreDifferent:˛** Although individual vampires' powers can vary, ''Ravenloft'' for the most part plays the "standard" vampire as close to the (Hollywood) archetype as possible, at least where the strict avoidance of FriendlyNeighborhoodVampires is concerned.˛** The setting also has literally TONS of variants (even though the regular ones are most common): a racial variant for each race (e.g. elven vampires kill vegetation and are harmed by moonlight), [[LooksLikeOrlok nosferatu]] that can walk around in the daytime, vampyres (who aren't undead but living creatures that suck blood), and about a zillion others.˛* PatchworkMap: Justified by the very nature of the world. The [[PowersThatBe Dark Powers]] have even been known to add, subtract, or rearrange the patches from time to time. JustForFun/{{Egregious}} examples include the Shadow Rift (a huge, seemingly bottomless chasm in the middle of the Core's landmass where two other Domains used to be) and Todstein (an island in the southern Nocturnal Sea with an arctic climate whereas both the coast at the same latitude and the islands to its north are temperate).˛* PathOfInspiration:˛** The Eternal Order, Darkon's official religion, is a ReligionOfEvil in disguise and a tool of political control of the population in the hands of Azalin.˛** In G'henna, the Church of Zhakata was constructed by its insane, inbred darklord.˛* PhlebotinumInducedStupidity: As with LaserGuidedAmnesia, the Dark Powers do this to people, including the darklords, so as to preserve the "theme" of the domains. For example, even though a number of nations in the Core near to Falkovnia have firearms technology, Vlad Drakov will never adopt the use of these by his army even though it would certainly help in his attempted conquests (especially against Darkon).˛** Although the above is actually justified InUniverse by the fact that Drakov's pride and arrogance outweighs his common sense, and always has; he hates guns because they're "cowards' weapons" and so he refuses to use them. It's the same reason why he refuses to train spellcasters to fight alongside his troops, despite the fact that LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards applies as much in Ravenloft as it does in any other D&D setting, instead enslaving them to churn out enchanted armor and weapons for his elite soldiers.˛* PocketDimension: The Demiplane of Dread is a seemingly finite space shaped in the Ethereal Plane by the will of the Dark Powers. Though it is generally considered the biggest of all demiplanes in the Ethereal.˛* PoisonousFriend:˛** Wizards can summon a familiar and paladins can summon a war horse, like in other settings. However, these companions are AlwaysChaoticEvil (or lawful evil or neutral evil, depending on the law/chaos alignment of the summoner) in Ravenloft. They are loyal to their master, but lack a conscience, and aren't averse to carrying out evil deeds to "help" their master behind his back. This is bad enough for wizards, but potentially devastating for a paladin, who now has to deal with a pet that constantly puts him in danger of losing his paladinhood. ˛** Druid and Ranger animal companions aren't intrinsically evil, but if a domain's darklord commands animals, this includes their pets. They can resist a command to directly harm their master, though.˛* PopularityPower: In ''Knight of the Black Rose'', Count Strahd lures Soth into attacking Gundarak, a neighboring domain, on the promise that a portal there [[WeaselWords may]] lead him back home. Soth singlehandedly breaks into Duke Gundar's castle, murders his son, and uses his blood to open the portal while the Duke, supposedly an all-powerful Darklord in the seat of his power, takes one look at Lord Soth and vanishes until the scary man goes away. When the portal doesn't work as advertised, Soth intends to do the same to Strahd, but gets sidetracked by the Sorting Algorithm of Revenge and trapped in his own domain before he gets the chance. Partially justified in game stat terms as Soth was both higher-level and a Death Knight, a very powerful type of undead warrior who as such was impervious to most of a vampire's bag of tricks.˛* PowerfulAndHelpless: Count Strahd von Zarovich is an immortal DomainHolder of a considerable chunk of the multiverse, but his one true wish—gaining the love of the only woman he has ever loved—is kept forever just out of his reach by the PowersThatBe. ˛* PowersThatBe: The Dark Powers. No one is sure what they want, or why. Only that they tend to do dramatic things, and stay strictly off-camera.˛* PrematurelyMarkedGrave: In module I6, an NPC named Ireena Kolyana is accompanying the {{PC}}s so they can protect her. Deep in the crypts under Castle Ravenloft she (and they) will discover an empty crypt with her name on it - her intended resting place after Strahd turns her into a vampire.˛* ProtagonistJourneyToVillain: The Dark Powers find this very entertaining, and are only too eager to facilitate it.˛* ThePunishment: Premise of the entire series. The Darklords are given incredible power for their crimes that make people around them suffer. But it's their punishment as well.˛* {{Railroading}}: A lot of early ''Ravenloft'' adventures forced the party to go from Point A to Point B. Some even recommend the party ''die'' in order to get where they need to go. Also, the nature of the setting makes this very, very easy for a GM. Characters going in the wrong direction? Have undead hordes keep attacking them out of nowhere -- it happens all the time here. They want to visit another domain? Just close it off, problem solved. Want the party in a specific place? Have the Mists envelop them, and when they emerge, they're somewhere else, even the opposite side of the world ''in the opposite direction they were traveling in!'' It's given the setting something of a bad reputation.˛* RapidAging:˛** Malocchio Aderre, the feared Dukkar, aged from infancy to near-adulthood in about six months, then began aging normally; however, his ''emotional'' development wasn't accelerated, so he acts very much like a child despite his physical maturity. This does not make him any less of a threat, as shown by the many dead Vistani his troops have left in their wake.˛** The Lady of the Lake's daughter Katherine was created with accelerated aging so that she could help enact the Lady's vengeance. Unlike Malocchio, however, Katherine's rapid aging didn't shut off, meaning she went from infancy to old age in a few years. Katherine's son inherited his mother's rapid aging, becoming a hulking brute less than a year after birth.˛* RazorFloss: Spider-like monsters called Head Hunters spin razor-sharp near-invisible webs that can decapitate the unwary.˛* RealityIsOutToLunch: Vechor and the Nightmare Lands' Forest of Everchange.˛* RedemptionEqualsDeath: In general, once a character has reach advanced corruption levels from powers checks, only a HeroicSacrifice is enough to redeem them.˛* RedRightHand: Those who fail Powers checks and get the attention of the Dark Powers usually end up physically deformed in some way that reflects on the nature of their evil deeds (a thuggish violent character becomes large and brutish-looking, etc). Also, the Vistani like to do this to people who annoy them, such as turning a thief's hands black.˛* ReligionOfEvil: The setting has quite a few of them, evil cults and dark religions being quite a natural aspect of gothicism, but the most notable one is the Church of the Lawgiver, which is the state religion of both Nova Vaasa (which is generally regarded as a self-centered backwater, even in Ravenloft) and Hazlan (where the Mulan desperately cling to it as a further way to control the Rashemani who they persist in treating as subhuman chattel despite the slaves outnumbering the masters by about nine to one). Being that the Church of the Lawgiver is basically the worship of Bane, [[Franchise/ForgottenRealms Faerunian]] God of Tyranny, with the serial numbers filed off, it's not surprising that its membership is comprised solely of LawfulEvil and LawfulNeutral types -- its dogma revolves around preaching that StatusQuoIsGod, those who are socially inferior must obey, and rebellion against one's superiors in even the slightest way warrants eternal damnation in the Hell of Slaves.˛* TheRenfield: Naturally, since the setting has every classic vampire trope, there's plenty of these running around.˛* ReplacementGoldfish: There's an unfortunate {{Dhampire}}-like creature called a ''vorlog'' that is created when someone is in the process of being turned by the UnholyMatrimony ritual, but the vampire is slain before the victim is fully transformed. They keep trying to recreate the aborted bond with the vampire through (non-vampire) surrogates. [[TragicDream It never ends well.]]˛* RiddleForTheAges: The true nature of the Dark Powers is this trope, both among scholars in-universe and among gamers.˛* RoaringRampageOfRevenge:˛** A lot of these get mentioned in the background lore, and it's possible to portray a campaign as basically an extended one of these against the darkness.˛** Van Richten himself had one of these. When the Vistani kidnapped his son because he was unable to keep their fatally wounded tribesmember from dying, he went charging off into the night in blind pursuit of them. A chance encounter with Azalin Rex, the Lich King of Darkon, saw Van Richten find himself leading an army of zombies, because the lich was amused by it. These enabled Van Richten to trap the Vistani and force their leader to tell him where his son was. When she gloated they had sold him to a vampire, who had already transformed the boy by now, Van Richten set the zombies on them and slaughtered the lot of them.˛* SafetyInMuggles: In the module Death Ascendant. While the religious service in the temple is going on the Kargat members take aside worshippers one at a time and drain them of their life force. When they try to do this to a PC, if the PC protests the Kargat member backs off because they don't want to make a scene.˛* SaharanShipwreck: Why sailors traveling via Mistways prefer to avoid the Jackal's Ruse.˛* SamusIsAGirl: Most fans assumed that S was a man until Gazetteer III, when she mentioned trying to wear all the corsets, skirts, and petticoats that were popular in Dementlieu.˛* SceneryPorn: It is mentioned in the 3.0 setting book that the Demiplane of Dread is actually a beautiful land filled with lots of pretty scenery.˛* ScrewDestiny: When Tatyana's latest reincarnation was born, a Vistana warned her father who she was and that she wouldn't live to be 20. He promptly packed up and got her the hell out of Barovia and she's made it to her thirties so far. Unfortunately, she keeps having to fight an urge to head back there. Also, Strahd has realized she's not in Barovia and is likely to send minions hunting for her soon. ˛* SealedEvilInACan:˛** The Order of Guardians was founded to seal a ''lot'' of evil artifacts into cans, and to keep them there.˛** All darklords are trapped inside their own domains, which are effectively Cans the size of a country. Darklords such as Gwydion or Tristan [=ApBlanc=] are also sealed into cans ''within'' their domains.˛** The Amber Temple from TabletopGame/CurseOfStrahd is dedicated to this, with vestiges of evil entities trapped in giant blocks of amber. Their shenanigans still affect the world, but it otherwise seems to have worked remarkably well, with only one having escaped.˛* SecretPolice: The Kargat who serve Azalin.˛* ShadowDictator: The Dark Powers.˛* ShesAManInJapan: Kalid-Ma, portrayed as female in early Ravenloft appearances, is a ''male'' sorcerer-king in TabletopGame/DarkSun and in his/her corrected later appearances.˛* SinsOfOurFathers: Entire bloodlines can be cursed. In one or two realms, Darklord status is passed on generation to generation.˛* SmallSecludedWorld: The entire demiplane.˛* SoBeautifulItsACurse:˛** More literal than usual - if a Ravenloft woman is gifted with unusual beauty, it's generally so the Powers can torment her with particularly vile suitors that think NoMeansYes. Or, alternatively, torment her by gifting her with supernatural beauty that causes her to kill or repel potential soulmates.˛** Inverted for the darklord of Dementlieu, who is (literally) cursed to appear uglier and uglier to any woman the more strongly he's attracted to her.˛* StatusQuoIsGod: While world-shaking events like the Grand Conjunction have rocked the demiplane, the Dark Powers tend to quickly "fix" people's memories so that there is no lasting cultural impact. Likewise, even though domains in the Core vary wildly in levels of technology and use of magic, their cultures are nonetheless preserved as distinct and separate. Thus, even though Lamordia is adjacent to Darkon, Lamordians are not great believers in the power of magic, despite the massive wizard-ruled nation on their border.˛* SuperSoldier: The ermordenung of Borca have gone through a process that grants them SuperStrength and a [[PoisonousPerson poison touch]], as well as implicitly increasing their beauty and charisma to superhuman levels. In Third Edition, this is explicitly shown to be an overall physical and mental enhancement. They're HoneyTrap assassins rather than soldiers, however.˛* TailorMadePrison: The entire setting is just a grouping of Oubliettes for the Darklords, along with all of the people who have to live in the domains, or those who get pulled in by the Mists from other worlds.˛* TarotMotifs: Tarot exists in Ravenloft as "Tarokka", which is used for fortunetelling by the Vistani. "Real" Tarokka decks have been released to support the game.˛* TechnologyLevels: Most domains fit very neatly into a single specific era, corresponding roughly with the real world ranging from the Stone Age up to about the early 19th Century. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Dark Powers, the fact the population lives in a blatantly supernatural world does not alter the fact that people in the more advanced domains tend to be skeptical of magic. Exceptions are domains like Darkon and Hazlan, which are openly ruled by wizards.˛* TigerByTheTail: Wyan of Viktal started the Inquisition to combat TheFairFolk and those who conspire with them, but the group has become fanatical over time, and often not really interested in giving the accused due process. Wyan is a good man and not happy about this, but knows he would likely end up burned at the stake if he tries to speak out or leave.˛* TitleOfTheDead: The novel ''Dance of the Dead'' by Christie Golden.˛* TomatoInTheMirror: Darkon's effect on memory isn't a secret, just an unpleasant fact that's impolite to talk about openly. If you're a native Darkonian, you have to live with the lingering anxiety that a short jaunt across the border will reveal that you ''aren't'' a native Darkonian. Perhaps some of your most cherished friends and loved ones never existed, and perhaps there was something (or someone) very, very important you've left unattended for years. Darkonians don't like to leave Darkon.˛* TreacheryIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Count Strahd von Zarovich's infamous Act of Ultimate Darkness was the betrayal and murder of his brother Sergei on his wedding day so that he could have Tatyana, the woman both men loved, for himself.˛* TwiceToldTale: The novel ''Mordenheim'' is a re-telling of Literature/{{Frankenstein}}.˛* {{Uberwald}}: Barovia˛* UnholyMatrimony: A vampire can create a special spawn (normal vampire offspring in Ravenloft are completely in thrall to their creator), exchanging the MindControl aspect for becoming MindlinkMates. The ritual has to be done in bed. [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything With lots of panting and sweating, and both left helpless for a while afterwards]]. Strahd keeps trying to do this to the reincarnations of his lost love, but his curse keeps foiling the attempt.˛* UnstuckInTime: Castle Forlorn is an example of a ''place'' that's unstuck in time. While the wider domain of Forlorn is temporally concurrent with the rest of the demiplane, people who enter the castle can find themselves shuttled between at least three different eras in its history.˛* UnwantedAssistance: In 3.0 and above, a paladin summoning their magic warhorse or a spell-caster calling for a familiar gets a dread companion, which is exactly the same except its alignment is always evil. Rather than being opposed to its master, it is loyal to a fault and aware of its master's secret thoughts and desires, and will try to "help" him by, for instance, stealing an item he covets, or secretly murdering someone who annoyed him a bit.˛* UnwittingPawn: Darklords and especially vampires like arranging these. There's a very good chance that by the end of a module the players will end up fighting whoever asked them for help in the first place. On a larger scale, the Powers are the ones that are really "playing" Ravenloft -- all the characters, PC or not, are basically toys for their amusement.˛* UpliftedAnimal: Urik von Kharkov is a panther-turned-human-turned-nosferatu. Also, the Wildlands do this to animals that stay there for long, and Markov cranks them out via vivisection.˛* VampireRefugee: Quite a few in various modules and stories. Vamiprism in Ravenloft is explicitly completely incurable, so theirs is always a hopeless cause.˛* VanHelsingHateCrimes: Rudolph Van Richten came close to going down this path after his son was stolen and vampired, but managed to learn some empathy, and is usually quite sympathetic to monsters who honestly have no choice in the matter, saving his vitriol for ones that like what they are. At least one adventure, however, has the real villain try to convince Van Richten to commit these crimes against a group of vampire wannabes by convincing him they are real vampires, and explicitly says he will unless the [=PCs=] stop him.˛* VegetarianVampire: Averted for animal blood; even vampires from other worlds who'd previously been subsisting that way have to turn to human victims or starve. Some vampires use "shallow feeding" on multiple victims to avoid killing each night, but this is generally done for convenience (e.g. Strahd's feeding on captives in Castle Ravenloft's dungeon) rather than mercy.˛* VillainProtagonist: ''I, Strahd'' is a novel starring - who else? - Strahd.˛* ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption: Averted, in fact butchering your way through a Ravenloft adventure is usually the fastest way to be cursed by the Dark Powers. Most magical methods of determining who the real villain of a story is flat out don't function in the setting, so moral dilemmas over whether to fight or SheatheYourSword are frequent.˛* TheVonTropeFamily: Vampire darklords Strahd von Zarovich and Urik von Kharkov, for starters...˛* TheWallAroundTheWorld: The Misty Border that surrounds every domain, although they can also take the form of heatwaves or blizzards.˛* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: While Strahd and Barovia appear to have been pulled out of another D&D realm into the Land of Mists, the backstory is written to be vague on which setting he came from, allowing him to be reasonably inserted into the history of most of them. The same is true for most Dark Lords.˛* WhodunnitToMe: Ratik Ubel, a revenant who seeks to identify and take vengeance on his own murderer.˛* WickedToymaker: Toymaker Guiseppe is not actually evil, but went insane after his Disney/{{Pinocchio}} {{Expy}} turned into a serial killer. He still makes toys, but they should most definitely be kept out of reach of children (and anyone else you don't want to die or be horribly cursed.) ˛* WinterRoyalLady: Jezra Wagner, a spectre who haunts the high mountains of Barovia. She's in constant freezing pain, but can briefly alleviate it by lethally sucking the heat out of the living.˛* WolverinePublicity:˛** No fewer than a half dozen different darklords have visiting Barovia and being chased off by Count von Zarovich as part of their background. Lord Soth got around this by already having as much PopularityPower as the Count, who only escaped with his undead hide intact by kicking out one of Soth's ghostly servants who'd sought shelter with him. Soth [[BatmanGambit cared more about getting revenge]] on his disloyal servant than on repaying the insults the Count had visited on him, and so chased his servant all the way to the Misty Border, where he eventually caught and killed him ''(again)'', but not before being caught by the Mists and trapped in his own domain.˛** Played straight and averted in the ''Domains of Dread'' core rulebook, which introduced Vecna and Kas as darklords. Unlike the Lord Soth example, Vecna's entrapment was explicitly acknowledged by various TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}} sourcebooks when he was described as missing and/or trapped. Played straight as Vecna and Kas were two of the most famous TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}} characters in the setting and introduced some measure of celebrity to Ravenloft, but averted when the two were given a pair of domains adjacent to one another and in their own separate cluster where they could war against each other eternally, effectively making their appearance a sideshow that wouldn't disrupt the Core domains as a whole. Vecna, already a demigod at the very limits of the Dark Powers to hold and contain, managed to escape within a few years in an insane GambitRoulette scheme that involved luring Iuz to Ravenloft, absorbing his essence to become a true god, and using his power to warp the Mists into shunting him into [[TabletopGame/{{Planescape}} Sigil]] where, as a true God within the Cage, his very presence began breaking down the rules of reality ''(and replacing them with those of 3rd edition)''. Problematic for violating the explicit rules of three different settings? Or awesome for violating the explicit rules of three different settings? Your call.˛* WorldHalfEmpty:˛** It's the Demiplane of Dread, so this is a given. Each realm is ruled by someone the Dark Powers have judged an irredeemable monster, most of whom torment their subjects in various ways to pass the time. Heroes can sometimes foil one of their schemes, but unseating a Dark Lord is normally impossible unless the Powers allow it.˛** The ''Domains of Dread'' campaign book and 3rd Edition products from Arthaus both eased off on this trope, as these products adapted the setting for native player characters, not Mist-imports from other game settings. Rather than a blatant CrapsackWorld, they made it feel more like an entire [[EmpireWithADarkSecret Demiplane With A Dark Secret]], in which the masses are largely unaware that their world is any grimmer than normal, the average person never knowingly meets a monster, and the existence of darklords is unknown to all but a handful of occult scholars.˛* WorldsMostBeautifulWoman: Tatyana to Strahd, to the point that he wants nobody else, despite attempts at trying to find a substitute.˛* WritingAroundTrademarks: White Wolf received the rights to publish the third edition version of ''Ravenloft'', but not any other properties, so that edition strictly avoids naming the worlds the darklords come from when describing their histories. Lord Soth also became "the Black Knight" with the excuse that everyone fears to speak his name. On the whole, this isn't regarded as a bad thing, since it increases the sense that Ravenloft is completely cut off from the rest of the multiverse.˛* YankTheDogsChain: The Dark Powers' favorite ''modus operandi''. They especially love tormenting the Dark Lords by repeatedly ''almost'' letting them attain their desire.˛* YearInsideHourOutside: Time in the Shadow Rift flows much more quickly than it does in the rest of the Land. Also, Baron Evensong's curse is to be trapped in his parlor every night, which lasts 100 years for the room's occupants.˛* YourMagicsNoGoodHere: Many spells don't function or have altered effects, to prevent players from circumventing the domain's rules. BlackMagic, on the other hand, is greatly enhanced but will quickly turn you into a plaything of the Dark Powers.˛* ZeroPercentApprovalRating: Almost all Darklords that openly rule their domains are hated and feared by their populace. The few that are liked/respected (such as Bluebeard) generally have blanket CharmPerson powers over their citizens.˛** Amusingly subverted with Jack Karn, darklord of Farelle. His people love him, and shower him with adoration and praise. He, however, hates humans more than anything, but can't do anything against them without suffering.˛* ZombifyTheLiving: One of the nastiest powers of the zombie lord is its ability to cause the instant death and re-animation of living opponents.˛----


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