Neverwinter sure has faced some troubles. A chasm full opened during the Spellplague, spewing out twisted creatures and harboring some of the most ancient evils of the Realms: the Abolethic Sovereignty. Orcs ran rampant in one district, and dragon cultists infested the Neverdeath graveyard. Now, the Mist of Ravenloft beckon.
No one is beyond Strahd’s reach.
Neverwinter’s Ravenloft module launches today on PC. Publisher Perfect World and Cryptic Studios’ Dungeons & Dragons-based online role-playing game just concluded the celebrations of its fifth anniversary over the weekend, and now it’s diving into its 14th module. This regular beat of content updates doesn’t just help keep its player base engaged and coming back — it provides the momentum for growth, as Cryptic announced last week that Neverwinter is closing in on 18 million registered players.
But this time, it doesn’t start with the mists. It begins with the Lord Neverember, the ruler of Neverwinter, to handle a problem he faces. Turns out a duchess has some people on her land, and her guards are too superstitious to talk to them. “She doesn’t want to hurt them, she just wants to get them off the land,” Neverwinter lead designer Thomas Foss said.
It turns out these people are a group of Vistani (the Roma of Ravenloft). “The Vistani tell tale of Strahd,” Foss said, looking for heroes. Once you agree to help, “They take you through mists into borders of Barovia.” This is a land of Gothic horror, where dark powers dominate. Its ruler is Count Strahd von Zarovich, a vampire lord (though not everyone there knows this about him). Ravenloft is an adaptation Curse of Strahd storyline from D&D in 2016, though Foss said that it contains callouts to the classic AD&D module by Tracy and Laura Hickman.
“Are we going room-for-room to the module? No. Because of our action-oriented combat, we’re going to build the dungeon out, the castle out, more like an actual dungeon,” Foss said about adapting Curse of Strahd for Neverwinter. “We definitely have lots of story points that hit the book … and the old module.”
“We wanted to pick out the best parts, the essence of Ravenloft,” Neverwinter designer Randy Mosiondz said.
Ravenloft brings some new goodies to Neverwinter:
- A day-night cycle with some consequences — it determines what creatures and objects spawn in the zone.
- Tarokka Card collections and readings
- Castle Ravenloft, an endgame dungeon
- Heroic encounters and Monster Hunts
- The Vistani, Roma-like people with a special connection to Ravenloft
Neverwinter modules tend to release on PC first and follow on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at a later date.