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Ravenloft is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. It is an alternate time-space existence called a "pocket dimension" with the name "the Demiplane of Dread", which consists of a collection of land pieces called "domains" brought together by a mysterious force known only as "The Dark Powers". Each domain is mystically ruled by a being called a "Darklord", which is a person or monster who has committed an act or acts of evil so foul as to attract special attention from the Dark Powers. The darklords are imprisoned within the borders of their domains and cannot escape by any means, although most can seal their domain borders with a thought. Within their domains, the darklords are forever tormented by the objects of their desire (often the objects they committed their crimes to achieve), which the Dark Powers dangle before them like the fruits of Tantalus. Each darklord's desires and motivations differ; some desire love, others hunger for glorious victory, or one might envy the defeat and humiliation of their enemies like another rival darklord.



Ravenloft is primarily a Gothic horror setting. Dungeon Masters are encouraged to use scenes that build apprehension and fear, culminating in the eventual face-to-face meeting with the nameless evil.[1] Characters have a much greater significance attached to their acts, especially if they are morally impure, as they risk coming under the influence of the Dark Powers (through the game process called "dark powers checks") and gradually transforming themselves into figures of evil.

The magical mists of Ravenloft could appear anywhere in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, drawing evil-doers (or player characters) into the Ravenloft setting. One exception is the 'phlogiston' of the Spelljammer setting.[2] The phlogiston blocks all planar travel, but the mists can appear in deep space inside crystal shells, according to the Complete Spacefarer's Handbook.[3] Another exception is in the Inner and Outer Planes, which for some reason they never appear in.[4]

The Dark Powers

The Dark Powers are a malevolent force who control the Demiplane of Dread. Their exact nature and number are purposely kept vague, allowing for plot development in accordance with the Gothic tradition of storytelling—where the heroes are frequently outclassed and outnumbered by unknowably evil forces beyond their control.

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