The Next Dungeons And Dragons Book Focuses On Horror, Introduces Two New Subclasses

Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft puts horror in the player's hands.


Dungeons & Dragons is going full-on horror with its next book. Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft arrives on May 18, and will allow DMs to create a story steeped in scares while players can add dark gifts to their characters and choose from two new subclasses.

The 256-page book is the perfect addition to any D&D player who loves horror, but wants to step away from gothic horror--traditionally what D&D has leaned into heavily. However, this new book will feature various types of horror, appeasing many fans of the genre. There is also a 20-page adventure contained within the book titled, "House of Lament."

Ravenloft will feature various Domains of Dread, some contained within the book, and some that can be created by the DM. For example Strahd is from Barovia, a vampire-infested gothic horror domain. However, that's not the only type of horror Ravenloft, as it will be "expanding out from there into other Domains of Dread and beyond just gothic horror," explained Van Richten’s

Main cover by Anna Podedworna
Main cover by Anna Podedworna
Alternate cover by Scott M. Fischer. Other art by Paul Scott Canavan.

Guide to Ravenloft senior game designer and lead designer Wes Schneider during a press briefing of the upcoming book. "We'll also be seeing cosmic horror, ghost stories, dark fantasy, [and] psychological horror."

There's a lot of creative opportunity for DMs within the new book. And it's laid out, step-by-step, on how to do it. "What is this specific secret sauce for making your own domain of dread?" Schneider asked. "What we ended up doing is going through a variety of genres of horror just being like, 'Alright, these are what some settings in this genre might look like. These are what ghostery villains look like. These are what body horror settings look like,' so on and so forth. So, to an extent, you can use that as inspiration or you can mix and match your own elements, put them all together and then have a unique experience that you've randomly generated. You've got all the tools that you need."

The power isn't all in the hands of the DM. Players will get new choices as well. There are two new subclasses in Ravenloft: The College of Spirits for the Bard and the Undead Patron for the Warlock. The bard subclass is all about your character telling horror stories. You can tell stories from the past and bring heroes to life to battle for you. Or you can use a Tarakotta deck to tell these stories.

The Undead Patron subclass may be one of the coolest subclasses to date. An otherworldly being is giving your Warlock powers, but at the cost of your own mortality. You're basically becoming this puppet for a Lich or a Dark Lord or some uber-powerful being.

No specific details were given about either subclass. For those who don't want to commit to the subclass, there are Dark Gifts you can apply to your new characters. This is how your characters connect with a Domain of Dread, and there will be mechanical benefits from picking one. Additionally, players can make dhampir, hexblood, or reborn character, and these explore the vampire, hag, and undead lineages.

Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft arrives on May 18, and it is available for preorder on Amazon for $50.

D&D's next book is Candlekeep Mysteries, an adventure book made up of stories you can complete in one or two sessions. That comes out on March 16. If you're looking to add a little bit of magic to your games, WizKids has some highly-detailed miniatures. Its dragon minis are that mini, but they do look amazing. And keeping in tone with Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, WizKids' Icons of the Realm: Boneyard minis are grotesque and horrifying, so you may want to check these out for yourself.

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