Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

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Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Havard » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:49 pm

Whats the general consensus on how Arthaus Games did with their Ravenloft lisence? From what I understand, Arthaus Games held the lisence for Ravenloft between 2001(?) and 2005 and published the 3.5 Ravenloft books through White Wolf/Sword & Sorcery during that time.

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Boneguard » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:08 pm

I'm not a big fan of 3rd edition, but they seem to have done a descent job, IMO. From what I've seen they evolution/novel/etc. was respected.
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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by kristhomas » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:50 am

While I only play using 2nd ed I find the later stuff useful for fleshing out the setting particularly the gazeteers

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:48 pm

Havard wrote:Whats the general consensus on how Arthaus Games did with their Ravenloft lisence? From what I understand, Arthaus Games held the lisence for Ravenloft between 2001(?) and 2005 and published the 3.5 Ravenloft books through White Wolf/Sword & Sorcery during that time.
I had a look at the ArtHaus website (which got absorbed into the White Wolf website by 2005) and just one month after White Wolf and its partners got the most nominations for the 2005 ENnies, ArtHaus reverted the rights to both Ravenloft and Gamma World back to Wizards of the Coast. (You might need to highlight all the text - CTRL + A or CMD + A - to read it.)

I'm not sure what was going on there, but ArtHaus also did the D&D branded Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game line, which got replaced by Sword & Sorcery's d20 Sytem branded World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game line. I don't have the ArtHaus products for Ravenloft, but I know there are some people that feel the ArtHaus version of Warcraft was better than its replacement.

Someone asked about "The fate of Arthaus Games?" at the White Wolf forums, but the answer doesn't really explain why ArtHaus was wound up, when they seemed to be doing a great job.
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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by agathokles » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:11 pm

Quite simply, Arthaus was always a branch of White Wolf, IIRC it was specifically created to manage the licenses from Wizards of the Coast. When the licenses expired, there was no reason to keep a separate company (which I think was there mostly for legal reasons, like keeping IPs clearly separate).

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:45 pm

I think the timing of the ENnies and the expiration dates of the licenses were just an unfortunate bit of serendipity; it was known to many (such as the folks at Paizo) that WotC wasn't planning on allowing third parties to renew their licenses on WotC IPs, presumably in preparation for 4E.
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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Boneguard » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:26 am

Big Mac wrote: but I know there are some people that feel the ArtHaus version of Warcraft was better than its replacement.
[Off topic]
Owning both the Arthaus and the Sword and Sorcery version, I don't really see the Arthaus as 'better' since it's basically D&D3.0 in the Warcraft Setting and need the D&D Core books to be usable.

The Sword and Sworcery is a Stand alone d20 game with it's own corebook.
[/Off Topic]
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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by rabindranath72 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:28 am

I have the two 3.0 books (core setting and monsters) and they are fine; they provide a neat conversion and compendium of all the previous 2e stuff. Not a fan of Ravenloft as a stand-alone setting, though.

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by kristhomas » Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:36 am

I don't think Ravenloft was playable as a stand alone setting until the Arthaus stuff, at least not the sandbox style play that I enjoy, I only play in 2nd ed but I'm constantly referring to the gazeteer series (which was tragically never finished) and the later van richtens guides, while not compatible with the previous guides are still rich with ideas

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:22 pm

kristhomas wrote:...I'm constantly referring to the gazeteer series (which was tragically never finished) and the later van richtens guides, while not compatible with the previous guides are still rich with ideas
Has anyone ever attemped a fanon gazeteer for the areas that got missed out?
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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Lightning Lord » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:50 am

I enjoyed the addition of Ravenloft specific religions.
rabindranath72 wrote:I have the two 3.0 books (core setting and monsters) and they are fine; they provide a neat conversion and compendium of all the previous 2e stuff. Not a fan of Ravenloft as a stand-alone setting, though.
I'm not sure what you mean, since Ravenloft has always been a standalone setting. Yeah, it's tied into the D&D cosmology, but it's not like it required that you owned the Forgotten Realms box or something to play.

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by rabindranath72 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:56 pm

Lightning Lord wrote:I enjoyed the addition of Ravenloft specific religions.
rabindranath72 wrote:I have the two 3.0 books (core setting and monsters) and they are fine; they provide a neat conversion and compendium of all the previous 2e stuff. Not a fan of Ravenloft as a stand-alone setting, though.
I'm not sure what you mean, since Ravenloft has always been a standalone setting. Yeah, it's tied into the D&D cosmology, but it's not like it required that you owned the Forgotten Realms box or something to play.
No it didn't require other settings, but the focus was on escaping Ravenloft, and the assumptions that characters were not native to it. Things changed later on, I suppose from the latest 2e products, and into the 3e line. I found that the setting is stronger when used in conjunction to an "home" setting.

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by robertneaves » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:58 pm

rabindranath72 wrote:No it didn't require other settings, but the focus was on escaping Ravenloft, and the assumptions that characters were not native to it. Things changed later on, I suppose from the latest 2e products, and into the 3e line. I found that the setting is stronger when used in conjunction to an "home" setting.
That's how we ran it. It was a nice detour mini-campaign.

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by rabindranath72 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:26 pm

robertneaves wrote:
rabindranath72 wrote:No it didn't require other settings, but the focus was on escaping Ravenloft, and the assumptions that characters were not native to it. Things changed later on, I suppose from the latest 2e products, and into the 3e line. I found that the setting is stronger when used in conjunction to an "home" setting.
That's how we ran it. It was a nice detour mini-campaign.
It's fun indeed. I ran a multi-setting campaign, in which the characters from the different settings (Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Dark Sun) would meet in Ravenloft, and each group "solved" part of the Grand Conjunction. It was epic fun! Unfortunately I never got to run the last module of the campaign as I moved to a different country :( But my friends to this day still curse the Mists :D

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Boneguard » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:51 pm

kristhomas wrote:I don't think Ravenloft was playable as a stand alone setting until the Arthaus stuff, at least not the sandbox style play that I enjoy, I only play in 2nd ed but I'm constantly referring to the gazeteer series (which was tragically never finished) and the later van richtens guides, while not compatible with the previous guides are still rich with ideas
Actually I disagree with you. It's certain that a lot of 2nd ed module or GM prefer the Escape approch -where you get drawn by the Mist and you need to find a way out- but a full fledge, sandbox, Ravenloft campaign can offer fun RP challenge quite easily...especially with the Hardcover Domain of Dread book. You pick a starting province and let them explore the Evil that is their land. The minimal description allowed me more flexibility if Fleshing out the World.

Obviously it's a type of game that require more Brain and more Rectitude than brawn, otherwise the PC can quickly slip into the Embrace of the land. In a way it reminds me of L5R for that aspect.
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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by rabindranath72 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:44 am

Boneguard wrote:
kristhomas wrote:I don't think Ravenloft was playable as a stand alone setting until the Arthaus stuff, at least not the sandbox style play that I enjoy, I only play in 2nd ed but I'm constantly referring to the gazeteer series (which was tragically never finished) and the later van richtens guides, while not compatible with the previous guides are still rich with ideas
Actually I disagree with you. It's certain that a lot of 2nd ed module or GM prefer the Escape approch -where you get drawn by the Mist and you need to find a way out- but a full fledge, sandbox, Ravenloft campaign can offer fun RP challenge quite easily...especially with the Hardcover Domain of Dread book. You pick a starting province and let them explore the Evil that is their land. The minimal description allowed me more flexibility if Fleshing out the World.

Obviously it's a type of game that require more Brain and more Rectitude than brawn, otherwise the PC can quickly slip into the Embrace of the land. In a way it reminds me of L5R for that aspect.
The shift definitely started in the late 2e era of the setting.

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by blackaeon » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:53 am

Personally, I feel that the Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft elevated it from 'that setting everyone dips into for a couple months' to a full-fledged setting in its own right. I have a file, somewhere on my computer, or at least had one, where I ended up doing a timeline for the entirety of the series, 2.0 and Arthaus combined, that I'd piggybacked off of the Fraternity of Shadows stuff. I really hope that I can find it at some time.
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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Knightfall » Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:41 am

I have all three of the core books for Ravenloft v.3.5 and all 5 of the gazetteer books (v.3.0/3.5) produced by Arthaus (*). (I'm almost finished reading the first gazetteer. I didn't start reading it until I had all 5 books.) The gazetteers have a lot of setting background and they are told from the point of view of a character in service to one of the darklords. Each book has an appendix of rules material. The last two were for v.3.5.

* Plus, a copy of the Ravenloft Numbered Limited Edition [v.3.0], Legacy of the Blood: Great Families of the Core, and the free Van Richten's Guide to the Mists download. The Ravenloft PHB is basically the same book as the numbered limited edition. I've only skimmed the monster book and I've yet to delve into the Ravenloft DMG.

All of the books are excellent. I highly recommend them.
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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:55 am

Knightfall wrote:The Ravenloft PHB is basically the same book as the numbered limited edition.
Actually the Ravenloft 3.0 Core Rule book and the numbered Limited Edition book are exactly the same.
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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Knightfall » Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:04 am

The Angelic Dragon wrote:
Knightfall wrote:The Ravenloft PHB is basically the same book as the numbered limited edition.
Actually the Ravenloft 3.0 Core Rule book and the numbered Limited Edition book are exactly the same.
Yes, the 3.0 core book is the exact same version as the numbered book. However, the PHB is designed with v.3.5 in mind. I'm sure it's basically the same book with v.3.5 changes since I haven't really looked at it closely. I read the Number Edition cover to cover, I believe. It was a while ago.
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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by combatmedic » Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:30 am

Big Mac wrote:
kristhomas wrote:...I'm constantly referring to the gazeteer series (which was tragically never finished) and the later van richtens guides, while not compatible with the previous guides are still rich with ideas
Has anyone ever attemped a fanon gazeteer for the areas that got missed out?
Yes.

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Re: Arthaus treatment of Ravenloft?

Post by Alzrius » Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:48 pm

combatmedic wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
kristhomas wrote:...I'm constantly referring to the gazeteer series (which was tragically never finished) and the later van richtens guides, while not compatible with the previous guides are still rich with ideas
Has anyone ever attemped a fanon gazeteer for the areas that got missed out?
Yes.

http://www.fraternityofshadows.com/Library.html
I've only skimmed the fan gazetteer for the Nocturnal Sea, but I'm pleasantly surprised by just how good it seems. The write-up of Meredoth, in particular, changed him from one of the blandest domain lords in Ravenloft to one of the most evocative, to my mind. I've re-read his description several times, and it never ceases to impress me.

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