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Musings on "Expedition to Castle Ravenloft" 
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Lore Drake

Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 7:00 am
Posts: 1102
Post Musings on "Expedition to Castle Ravenloft"
Since I could not find a good review of the book, I decided to buy it. And my worst fears were reality: 111 pages of the book are just tactical encounter pages. I guess no further comments are necessary to show the utter madness that running 3.x has become, and the fact that at WotC they know it.

Of these 111 pages about 30 are of completely duplicate information.

The content of the book does not reflect neither the original Ravenloft module, nor the subsequent campaign setting, except in the names. Some examples:

1) The Vistani have lost their interesting cultural background; now they are just a band of smugglers and cutthroats. And there are halfling Vistani. I am surprised they did not make "Vistani" a template or a class. How smart.

2) Madam Eva is an annis hag. The old, frail woman with seer powers has become a combat monster. I guess this is in keeping with the general outlook of the "adventure".

3) Even the priest Danovich, which could be used in I6 as a very nice role-playing tool to convey the desperation of Barovia, has simply been reduced to a combat encounter. He is accompanied by a "glorified" zombie of 18HD. Nice.

4) The gothic horror theme which was a staple of the series has been (subtly) transformed into a kind of survival horror. If someone wants to play Resident Evil with D&D, this book is ideal.

5) Practically all encounters in the adventure resolve or are designed to be resolved in a combat, and the PCs are literally thrown into every one of them (not much parleying with wraiths, wights, zombies etc.). This is not what one might expect from Ravenloft, where the rule was to "never call a goblin a goblin", and avoid combat if possible.

6) Practically all interesting NPCs (like Lief Liepsiege, formerly a simple accountant) have become combat monsters.

7) The "mists" of Ravenloft have lost their poisonous effects. One of the most strong and characterising element of Barovia (and quite effective plot hook) has been removed. If the charcters are lucky with their rolls (and nothing prevents them from trying over and over) they can leave Ravenloft.

So, is this a worth buy for a C&C campaign? If you can find the book at less than half its price, it MIGHT be good. Otherwise, try to find an original I6 on eBay, or buy a pdf.

I could go on, but I will stop here. I am deeply disappointed (I will say enraged); I feel I have been literally stolen of my money. I should have known best to buy again from WotC.

If anyone is interested in buying this "masterpiece" from me despite my review, can contact me by PM. I am selling it faster than lightining.


Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:02 am
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