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RR1 Darklords (2e)Click to magnify
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RR1 Darklords (2e)


Within this volume are sixteen dark lords and ladies, each a prisoner of Ravenloft. Some are new to the setting, yet all may seem hauntingly familiar, for they have been lurking at the edge of your nightmares, waiting for the chance to emerge in your campaigns.

The Headless Horseman, the Phantom Lover, the Vampire Panther—these and other malignant forces await. You'll read ghastly tales of their past and grim accounts of their present. You'll visit their dark domains and tour the horrid sites portrayed in ten full-page maps.

The Shadows are lengthening; the air is growing chill. The Darklords are calling. Their voices are carried by the Mists of Ravenloft, and you have little choice but to answer.


Product History

RR1: Darklords (1991), by Andria Hayday (with some additional design by William W. Connors, Bruce Nesmith, and James Lowder), is a 96-page Ravenloft accessory detailing 16 doomed, tragic, and/or evil villains for your game of gothic horror. They're designed to be used both center stage, as the primary antagonist, and off-camera, as the evil genius in the background who manipulates people and events toward some dark end. Use them to throw a few surprises into your D&D campaign; as inspiration for truly interesting and loathsome bad guys; or as a second, unsuspected opponent whenever your players think they've completely figured out your adventure's plot.

Heavy with Flavor. As is traditional for Ravenloft, this accessory is heavy on flavor and light on game statistics and rules. That's good if you're mining the book for ideas or plan to convert the villains to a different system—which is a great option, since the darklords fit any number of iconic or archetypal roles, and their backgrounds and motivations translate fairly easily to multiple game systems.

The “headless horseman,” for instance, slows his prey with waves of disembodied and reanimated heads (including medusa heads, which you'll want to watch out for). The “house of lament” is a sentient, evil building, haunted by ghosts and reminiscent of something in Poe. Child vampires, lycanthropic pirates, phantom lovers, magical and accursed paintings, mummified pharaohs, jealous murderers, evil swords, cackling and ancient hags, each has a full backstory and a reason for its evil existence.

Terrifying Needn’t Mean High Level. A notable aspect of this book is that most of the darklords aren't particularly powerful, even by 2nd edition AD&D standards. They average is around 8 HD, with several at 5 HD and none above 13. That makes this book useful as a low-level supplement, and significantly expands its utility. It's also a nice reminder that just because someone is evil and despicable, they aren't necessarily particularly tough or good at combat. They may have other abilities, assets, or assistance.

And of course, if you need your villains to be tougher, that’s an easy fix too, or you can just give them really tough henchmen. Keep it simple.

Maps and Adventure Hooks. Accompanying each of the darklords is one or more maps, whether of countries, towns, buildings, or specific adventure locales; in each case, though, the author makes it easy to drop a darklord into a ready-made adventuring locale in case the heroes come a-calling. Just be aware that there's an emphasis on isometric mapping, a style that was popular in Ravenloft and that lent itself more to beautiful maps than it did to useful ones.

Overall, this is a book filled with classic and iconic villains out of ghost stories and legend. I'll argue it's worth it for the little girl vampire alone: "I'm scared," she'll tell the heroes, "Can you protect me?" And after she gives them a hug, it's all over but the feeding.

About the Creators. Andria Hayday was a RPG designer and editor, described by John D. Rateliff as "quite possibly the industry's best editor." She worked primarily on Ravenloft and Al-Qadim properties for TSR and on West End Games' Star Wars d6 line.

About the Product Historian

History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to



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 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (5)
Discussions (0)
May 1st, 2021
Lots of great details to fill in the blank sopts of any Ravenloft game. [...]
June 15th, 2014
A good supplement even for those who aren't interested in Ravenloft. The good: Details several darklords who were never detailed again in later products. The background for a couple of darklords (Zolnik, House of Lament) is better and more det [...]
Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
November 15th, 2013
Originally posted at: [...]
June 17th, 2006
great book! good variety for adventures and unique adversaries. had it once and it's worth getting again. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: variety for games in a world where vampires can get old.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</ [...]
May 14th, 2004
This product is hard to rate, as many different factors must be taken into account. The first thing that must be admitted is that with regard to overall atmosphere, Darklords is relatively bland. It's a sourcebook, and reads as such. Released re [...]
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Gold seller
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9331
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42.47 MB
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File Last Updated:
November 12, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on November 12, 2013.