BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

D&D: Domains of Dread In The New Ravenloft Book

3 Minute Read
Feb 24 2021

The upcoming Ravenloft book will feature 30 different “Domains of Dread” what’s a Domain of Dread, and what’s in the book? Take a look for yourself.

Ravenloft is a unique setting from among D&D in that it isn’t a contiguous world like Faerun or Eberron. Instead it’s made up of semi-related pocket dimensions, called Domains of Dread. These are self-contained ‘demiplanes’ that can encompass an area as small as a castle and its village, or might span a continent. The one thing that connects them all are the Mists of Ravenloft, which act as a barrier to exit–once you’re in, you’re in until you do whatever the dark powers around Ravenloft want you to do.

And in the newest book, Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, thirty of these Domains of Dread are being brought to 5th Edition for the first time. As mentioned before, we’ll see the return of some old favorites from 2nd Edition, but we’ll also find some brand new Dread Domains inspired by more modern horror stories, including, as you’ll see here, a Zombie Apocalypse one and a Battle Royale inspired one. But more information has dropped about some of the Domains of Dread in the book, let’s take a look at what you’ll find.


First up is Dementlieu, a dark faerie tale style realm full of regal courts and elegant dresses, alongside ghoulish footmen and so forth. This is as White Wolf a Domain of Dread as it gets. If you’re looking for a mix of the Feywild, Aristocracy, and the Shadowfell, this is the one you’ll want.


Falkovnia is one of the OG Domains of Dread. It once was kind of Barovia-lite, home to Vlad Drakov, who was basically just like a slightly different vampire like Strahd. There’s a new Darklord, Ladesca Drakov, who is somehow responsible for the outbreak.


This is a Domain inspired by Indian folklore and mythology, which immediately raises some eyebrows, but looking at the writer list for this book is one of the most diverse crews yet–and WotC has said they’re working with sensitivity consultants heavily this time around, so we’ll see.


What’s interesting about this Domain of Dread is that it involves multiple factions at war for control, including multiple Darklords trying to take control. It’s an unending war between evil factions.


This is the Battle Royale Domain of Dread. It’s a deep, lush forest where you immediately are being hunted by the Domain’s Darklord–but there’s also another adventuring party out there, trying their best to survive.


This is the classic Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Zone. It’s run by Dr. Viktria Mordenheim, and she’s stitching together a creature out of undead parts. Which one is the real monster, the monster, or the doctor? Oh the humanity. Etc. This should be fun times.


An Egyptian-folklore inspired realm, you better believe Mummies are here. Once again, it’ll be interesting to see what writer they’ve tapped to create this, becuse while a mummy as a classic horror monster is a nod to the old Universal Horror monsters, it’s also drawn from a real-world culture and given past excursions into this realm, those sensitivity consultants have their work cut out for them.

All that said, the domains and types of horror on display look to be a diverse range indeed. It’s interesting to see D&D tackling a wider variety of genres than usual…perhaps this is indicative of the changing nature of the game.

Either way, what domain of dread are you excited to explore?


Author: J.R. Zambrano
  • D&D: The Newest Book Is Van Richten's Guide To Ravenloft