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The Domains of Dread, sometimes collectively known as the Demiplane of Dread or Ravenloft, were a series of demiplanes located in a remote corner of the Shadowfell and hidden from the rest of the plane by thick walls of mist.
In some versions of the Great Wheel cosmology, the Domains of Dread were considered part of the Ethereal plane, while other versions and the World Axis cosmology acknowledged them to be located in a remote, but easily accessible region of the Shadowfell.
The mists that surrounded the domains prevented anyone caught inside from leaving through conventional means. In particular, many of the individual domains that made up the demiplanes had originally been locations in worlds of the Prime Material plane, dragged and bound to the Shadowfell by the mists over a period of several centuries. Other locations, on the other hand, routinely collapsed or disappeared entirely. For that reason, it was impossible to determine the exact size of the domain.
The Demiplane of Dread was controlled by the almost completely unknown Dark Powers and sections of the demiplane were ruled over by dark lords. The Powers had no goals that anyone could confirm but seemed attracted to people and creatures that committed evil acts or suffered from some terrible loss. They regularly inflicted despair on the residents of the demiplane by simultaneously granting them boons and inflicting curses. Each curse was tailored to the individual and inflicted the greatest amount of emotional harm or distress upon them. This often spurred those individuals to commit greater acts of evil. It was apparent that the more heinous the deed, the greater the power and the worse the curse granted/inflicted upon the individual until a new land was generated on the demiplane and the individual was trapped forever within that land. These individuals became the Darklords, and they could never leave their domain. Others might be able to leave, but only if they had no great desire to, as the powers almost always intervened to dash the hopes of those trapped within their realm.
When Shar created the Shadowfell, the Demiplane of Dread fragmented and each Darklord's realm settled into a spot somewhere within the newly created plane, possibly attracted by the plane's sinister nature. Within the Shadowfell, these realms became known as the Domains of Dread. Despite Shar's dominance of the Shadowfell, the Dark Powers still had control over each of these Domains.
In relation to the Forgotten Realms, Castle Spulzeer in Tethyr was sucked into the demiplane by a magical gem set in the hilt of the dagger Aggarath. Jander Sunstar suffered a similar fate after he swore revenge for his dead love, and the Lost King of Cormyr, Gondegal, has gained a position of power as the leader of the Knight of the Shadows order, a secret society dedicated to the protection of the helpless and oppressed.
Several residents of Faerûn have even risen to the level of Darklord: Harkon Lukas, the cormyrian wolfwere; Hazlik, a red wizard; Urik von Kharkov, an escaped magical experiment; Draga Salt-Biter, a Sword Coast pirate turned wereshark; and Tsien Chiang, the renowned sorceress from Kara-Tur.
Sometime in the late 15th century DR, reports of werewolf attacks and Vistani sightings in Daggerford and surrounding areas indicated that a passage into one of the Domains of Dread might have been present somewhere in the Misty Forest.
- Barovia, the oldest and best known of the Domains of Dread. It was the domain of the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich and had been visited by numerous inhabitants of the Realms, including Jander Sunstar as well as Minsc, Delina, Krydle, Shandie, a Kelemvorite cleric named Nerys and the famed explorer Volo.
- Forlorn, the smallest of the Domains of Dread, and Jander's place of residence after he left Barovia.
- Hazlan, the domain of Hazlik.
- I'Cath, formerly a kingdom in Kara-Tur and the domain of Tsien Chiang.
- Kartakass, the domain of Harkon Lukas after he fled from Barovia.
- Saragoss, the domain of Draga Salt-Biter.
- Valachan, the domain of Urik von Kharkov.
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 51–52. ISBN 978-0786965622.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). “Realm of Terror”. Ravenloft Campaign Setting (TSR, Inc.), p. 12. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 5, 9. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
- ↑ Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). “Realm of Terror”. Ravenloft Campaign Setting (TSR, Inc.), pp. 13–15. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Dale Donovan (July 1998). Villains' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), p. 36. ISBN 0-7869-1236-7.
- ↑ William W. Connors, Steve Miller, Cindi Rice, David Wise (1998). Champions of the Mists. Edited by Cindi Rice. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 47–49. ISBN 0-7869-0765-7.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). “Domains and Denizens”. Ravenloft Campaign Setting (TSR, Inc.), pp. 70–72. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). “Domains and Denizens”. Ravenloft Campaign Setting (TSR, Inc.), pp. 66–67. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W. Connors (1994). “Domains and Denizens”. Ravenloft Campaign Setting (TSR, Inc.), pp. 94–97. ISBN 1-56076-942-4.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Colin McComb, Scott Bennie (1992). Ravenloft: Islands of Terror. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 38–50. ISBN 1-56076-349-3.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Colin McComb, Scott Bennie (1992). Ravenloft: Islands of Terror. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 32–37. ISBN 1-56076-349-3.
- ↑ Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 19–22. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
- ↑ Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
- ↑ Christie Golden (September 1991). Vampire of the Mists. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-56076-155-5.
- ↑ Jim Zub (May 2016). “Shadows of the Vampire 1”. Shadows of the Vampire #1 (IDW Publishing). ISBN 9781684060856.
- ↑ Jim Zub (October 2016). “Shadows of the Vampire 5”. Shadows of the Vampire #5 (IDW Publishing).
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (Feb 2016). Travel Talk: Volo's Visit to Barovia. In Matt Chapman ed. Dragon+ #6. Wizards of the Coast. p. 7. Retrieved on 2017-11-15.