A couple days ago we’ve mentioned that currently it doesn’t seem like there’s a single week without another hint at Module 14. This week doesn’t disappoint in that regard, and we possibly even have a big one today! A member of the Russian community tipped us off over the weekend about some intriguing additions to the game files. Specifically some ZEN art and icons for a “Module 14 Founder Pack” drew our attention.
First of all this obviously means that Cryptic for now will continue their approach of releasing founders packs for new modules. The one for the next update seems to include Coalescent Wards, Blood Rubys, a VIP subscription (probably the usual 30-day), a recolored Stag Mount and a Fashion set.
What might be even more important however is the setting you see in the picture. It’s a foggy, gothic atmosphere that shows a castle in the background. We’ve shown it to some players that are way more into D&D lore than we are and all of them immediately came up with “Ravenloft”, which is a campaign setting originally released in the 90s.
[su_quote cite=”Wiki” url=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravenloft”]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. 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.[/su_quote]
As independent campaign setting it’s not directly attached to the Forgotten Realms, which Neverwinter uses. But Wizards of the Coast has actively been trying to connect some old modules to the current story of the 5th edition. Tomb of Annihilation and Acecerak for example originate from the Greyhawk campaign setting, but were ported to Chult and the Forgotten Realms.
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Official Storyline Curse of Strahd Not yet in the Game
The Ravenloft setting was likewise picked up by an official storyline released in 2016. “Curse of Strahd” revolves around the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich, who resides at Castle Ravenloft in a Demiplane of Dread called “Barovia”.
[su_quote cite=”WotC” url=”http://dnd.wizards.com/dungeons-and-dragons/story/curse-of-strahd”]Heroes from the Forgotten Realms and other D&D worlds can easily be drawn into Strahd’s cursed land. Once there, they must contend with the horrors of Barovia. Its people are melancholy, misshapen and grotesque, living in fear of the wolves and other creatures that serve Strahd’s evil will. The only hope for the trapped adventurers is to heed the warnings of a mysterious fortune-teller named Madam Eva. Drawing random cards from her tarroka deck, she directs adventurers to search Strahd’s domain for artifacts and allies to help the master of Castle Ravenloft.[/su_quote]
Although already released two years ago, “Curse of Strahd” is the only official storyline that’s not yet in the game. All the others (Tyranny of Dragons, Elemental Evil, Rage of Demons / Underdark, Storm Kings Thunder, Tomb of Annihilation) are. So Module 14 could actually fill this void, especially since some possible links to Barovia are already in the game. Minsc has been to the demiplane as well as Volo.
A Couple More Hints
The datamined pictures are able to deliver a couple more hints. The Stag Mount is called “Zombie Stag” and the Fashion set “Highwayman”, both terms that fit the setting. Coming back to the castle in the background, it also looks like it could show “Castle Ravenloft”. It’s different angles, but the towers match those of other pictures. The tallest one has that conical roof and the lowest one the biggest diameter. It’s only bits and dots right now, but adventurers could certainly visit the village of Barovia in Module 14 and fight Strahd in his castle.
When it comes to Cryptic you also always have to factor in resources. There’s already plenty assets for a gothic / horror / undead theme. Just think about the Neverdeath Graveyard adventure zone, or the Evernight village from Shroud of Souls. For Castle Ravenloft it’s probably even possible to use the parts of the old Castle Never design that didn’t make it into the Module 9 revamped version, like the Shadowfell area. The only mandatory new mobs are probably vampires.
Overall, this could really be a first hint at Ravenloft as Neverwinter’s next module setting. What’s your take on the presented information? Does it make sense or don’t you share our conclusions? Would you be excited to adventure the “Curse of Strahd” in the game? Let us know on our social channels, in the comments below, or the corresponding thread on our message board!
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