Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft for D&D is adding new subclasses, with Bards that can conjure heroic ghosts and Warlocks with the power of the dead.
The next Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting is a blast from the past, as Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is bringing back the Domains of Dread from Ravenloft. Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft isn’t just about statting out undead behemoths for the players to fight, as it’s also adding two new subclasses to the game: the College of Spirits for Bards and the Undead Pact for Warlocks.
Ravenloft started out as the name of an adventure module and Count Strahd’s castle, and eventually became a whole horror-themed D&D campaign setting. There is a good chance that players have experience Ravenloft in the current edition of D&D, as it’s where the Curse of Strahd campaign setting takes place. Strahd is the ruler of a realm called Barovia, which is filled with undead and has a Hammer Horror movie vibe. In the old version of Ravenloft, Barovia was just one of the Domains of Dread, and each of them had a powerful Darklord that was Strahd’s equal in power.
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Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft might seem as if it’s meant for DMs, but there is also content available for players. The book will include two new D&D subclasses for players to use. These subclasses have powers that are tied to the dead in drastically different ways. One subclass has the ability to call on the aid of spirits, while the other can command the living dead with their own supernatural powers.
New D&D Subclass: College of Spirits Bards
Bards in D&D will soon have access to the College of Spirits subclass. These are Bards with the ability to tell grand stories of heroes from the past, in such a way that it conjures their spirits, in order to help out the party. These can operate in a traditional sense, with Bards using their storytelling abilities to call on their spirits, but it’s also possible to tie them into the Tarokka Deck.
The Curse of Strahd campaign used a set of Tarokka cards that was similar to a tarot deck. These cards can be used to determine the location of magic items, the enemies the players will face, or even when Strahd himself will show up. The Spirit Bards can draw cards from the Tarokka deck, and summon spirits that reflect the stories that they each tell. The exact details of the College of Spirits Bards have yet to be revealed, but they sound like the D&D equivalent of a Persona protagonist.
New D&D Subclass: Undead Pact Warlocks
The Warlocks in the Player’s Handbook gain their power from a contract forged with an otherworldly being that exists on another plane, such as a powerful fey, a fiend, or a Lovecraftian horror. Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is adding the Undead Pact for Warlocks. These spellcaster have forged a pact with a powerful undead being, such as a lich, a dracolich, or a vampire. It’s also possible for them to forge a pact with a Darklord of Ravenloft.
It could even be possible for Strahd himself to offer power to a Warlock. This would make for an interesting dynamic in a Ravenloft campaign, as the player might be opposing the very source of their power, which will cause all kinds of conflicts of interest. The Undead pact will give the Warlock power over undead beings, but they become less mortal over time.
Next: Why The Original D&D Cavalier Class Was Unplayable
Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft will be released on May 18, 2021
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