The Demiplane of Dread

Setting Overview

Ravenloft is not the name of the world, or even necessarily a land. It is the name of an ancient castle in the land of Barovia, deep in a collection of domains known as the Core. It has also been adopted as the name of the city built by outworlders known as the Seven Saints around this castle, and the county that surrounds it. The world itself has no name, being merely "the world", though it is occasionally spoken of poetically as "our Land of Mists". Rare, strange travelers claiming to come from distant worlds sometimes call it the "Demiplane of Dread", but most locals laugh at their hyperbole and many doubt their sanity.

There are many "nations" within the Mists, called domains. Some are located in clusters, closely bordering other nations, but most exist as isolated "islands" entirely surrounded by the Mists.

10 Facts of Common Knowledge
  1. Magic is Real: Though most folk may never see true magic, they are aware that it exists. Attitudes vary from region to region, though suspicion and outright fear are among the most common.
  2. Magic is Unreliable: Magic cannot detect morality, accurately divine the future, or cross into other worlds. It cannot be used to travel between nations reliably. Many spells that do work, such as those that raise the dead, often have unintended and dangerous consequences.
  3. Monsters Exist: Most people die a natural death never having encountered a creature of the night, yet it is widely known that very real dangers lurk in the shadows.
  4. Superstitions Abound: Adherence to rituals helps people feel safe. No doubt many of these traditions have a meaningful impact, yet not all tales or "knowledge" may be entirely accurate…
  5. People Are Isolated: The average person lives their entire life within thirty miles of where they were born. The farthest most folk travel is the neighboring town or village.
  6. Humanity is Predominant: The various inhuman races are rare, almost unknown in many lands outside of the City of Ravenloft. At best they are viewed as "demihumans", and at worst they are seen as animals or monsters.
  7. Technology Advances: The progress of science has created modern wonders, such as clockworks, firearms, gaslights, and some steam power, though not all realms have access to this technology.
  8. The Gods Are Silent: While prayers are sometimes answered, the gods themselves do not talk to mortals. Those who claim to hear the voices of gods, are called madmen as often as prophets.
  9. Respect the Power of the Vistani: Once considered little more than wandering vagabonds, the now unified Houses of the Vistani control passage through the Mists and command awe and respect in civilized domains, using their curses and Evil Eye to maintain their power.
  10. Beware the Mists: The Mists act as border and boundary. One may easily become lost, and many are the tales of the Mists displacing travelers in faraway lands or even other times.

The Demiplane of Dread

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