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MC15 Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix II: Children of the Night (2e)
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MC15 Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix II: Children of the Night (2e)

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The moon is full. The mists have risen. The terror is upon you.

Step into these swirling clouds of fog, and you will come face to face with creatures more terrible than you can imagine. Be careful, for those who are embraced by the mists seldom live to tell the tale.

Children of the Night presents complete descriptions of 20 unique individuals for use in the RAVENLOFT campaign setting, Ideal for use as important NPC or major villains, these creatures are certain to linger in the nightmares of player characters for year to come.

Product History

MC15: "Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix II: Children of the Night" (1993), by William W. Connors, is the second monster manual for the Ravenloft line. It was published in November 1993.

Continuing the Ravenloft Line. As it neared the end of 1993, the Ravenloft line was focusing on standalone adventures and Van Richten monster splatbooks. However, the line was now mature enough that the powers-that-be decided it was due a second Monstrous Compendium, to supplement MC10: "Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix" (1991).

Continuing the Monstrous Compendiums. The second Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium began life as a massive 128-page book, which would have made it the line's longest book since the release of the first two Monstrous Compendiums in 1989. However, while Connors was still writing notes for the longer book, it was bumped back a year, to be replaced by a more typical 64-page book. He handed off the notes he'd been working on, and dove into the new challenge.

While considering the new design, Connors asked for something unusual: he wanted to write a book that featured "only unique villains". Further, these villains wouldn't be the lords of Ravenlofts domains, as had been seen in RR1: "Darklords" (1991), but instead would be lesser foes, who wouldn't limit GMs in the way a Darklord might. The idea of unique foes was something that the Ravenloft Kargat had focused on often in campaigns and seminars, but it wasn't represented in the line proper. The Darklords of TSR agreed, and "Children of the Night" became an entirely unique entry in the Monstrous Compendium line.

"Children of the Night" was also the last of its kind: the final set of perforated monsters, meant to be housed in three-ring binders. Though the idea had been innovative, it has faced numerous problems in execution. Afterward, TSR continued to publish monster manuals at its highest rate ever, but they would now be perfect-bound books, the first of which were the Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994) and the Planescape Monstrous Compendium (1994), both of which appeared in July 1994.

Expanding Ravenloft. The unique villains of "Children of the Night" reveal backstories and secrets of a number of domains, including: Barovia, Borca, Bluetspur, Darkon, Dementlieu, Falkovnia, Har'Akir, Invidia, Kalidnay, Lamordia, Nova Vaasa (sort of), Souragne, Sri Raji, Tepest, and Vechor.

Monsters of Note. The monsters in "Children of the Night" are arranged into three broad categories: unique examples of existing races, unique examples of new monster types, and totally unique weirdnesses. The most successful monster, fitting into the last category, is doubtless the Brain in a Jar. A non-unique version later appeared in Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead (2004).

Whoops! The entry for Desmond LaRouche, the half-golem from Nova Vaasa, was later ruled non-canon by the Ravenloft Kargat because it contradicted the history of Tristen Hiregaard that appeared several months later in the Ravneloft Campaign Setting (1994). White Wolf eventually brought LaRouche back in a new canonical form in Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume V (2004).

Two novels were also declared non-canonical in Ravenloft's 2e era. The Enemy Within (1994) offered a third, also contradictory, take on Tristen Hiregaard, while Lord of the Necropolis (1997) gave solutions to Ravenloft secrets that were never meant to be answered. Various groups of fans wish that Spectre of the Black Rose (1999), Champions of Darkness (2002), and Heroes of Light (2002) were non-canon … but they're not.

Future History. Connors' ideas for a 128-page Monstrous Compendium eventually became Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III: Creatures of Darkness (1994). "Children of the Night" was afterward reprinted as part of Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendices I & II (1996). To confuse matters, Wizards of the Coast later published a quartet of NPC monster books in a series called "Children of the Night" (1997-1999).

About the Creators. Connors was a member of the Ravenloft Kargat who oversaw the setting and was sometimes called Mr. Ravenloft for his deep involvement in the setting in the '90s.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Pages
63
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1.0
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TSR 2139
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File Last Updated:
August 04, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on August 05, 2014.