The mists of Ravenloft are about as iconic as it gets when it comes to horror and D&D. But where does Ravenloft come from? Let's find out.
Vampires have been around since 1st Edition in Dungeons & Dragons, but right up until the latter days of the mid-80s, they hadn't really made as big a splash as some of the other undead creatures. Liches and skeleton lords and demiliches offered a much more creative challenge for the early D&D writers. So why, then, is the most famous vampire in D&D also responsible for the birth of a whole horror world? What changed?
When Ravenloft was born it was the confluence of a number of factors--not the least of which was the goldmine that TSR had struck with their campaign setting supplements. Players were hungry for new worlds to adventure in, and Ravenloft was exactly that. People love horror and all its trappings no matter what--but Ravenloft begins some eight years before its first publishing, when one of the co-creators of Dragonlance, Tracy Hickman, comes to work for TSR.
Tracy and Laura Hickman first started working on adventure modules. These were the grist that kept the mills of TSR turning, and the Hickmans were no strangers to producing adventures, but where the Hickmans stand out was in what they wanted out of Dungeons & Dragons. The game was, as you might imagine, quite popular within the ranks of TS...