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Dragon Magazine #416

Authors: various

Illustrators: various
Type: Magazine
Format: .pdf
Release date: October 2012

Summary of content:

Special issue devoted to Ravenloft. Includes the articles:

  • Misty Memories - by Stan!
  • History Check: Strahd and Van Richten - by Sterling Hershey
  • Twisted by Darkness - by Doug Hyatt
  • The Life of Soth - by Claudio Pozas
  • In a Vampiric Vein - by Walter Kammerer
  • Rak Tulkhesh, The Rage of War - by Heith Baker
  • The Awakener of Golems - by Ed Greenwood
  • The Withering Ones - by Rodney Thompson



Now let me state that I am only going to cover two of the articles in this Dragon rather than the whole thing as the third Ravenloft article is more game mechanics than fluff. Now on with the review.

Strahd and Van Richten
Now this starts with the history of Strahd, and while it is good, it lacks details. Those interested in a better and more in-depth version of his background would be better advised to read the novel: I, Strahd. However the Van Richten side of the article, while informative of his early history, falls down spectacularly at the end by omitting the most important detail of his history, the fact that he died. Instead it tries to make seem like he is still alive and kicking. Shame, but not an unexpected attempt to make him someone that the players could meet, but they could have given his full history and then allowed the DMs to decide how they want to deal with it. Really, calling the article a history check and then missing the fact that he died is a bit like ripping out the last few pages of a mystery novel because you donít want it to end.

2 blood drops out of 5

The Life of Soth

Ah, Soth, one of the biggest bones of contention between Ravenloft and Dragonlance fans, and I am no exception to it, however I do suspect it had more to do with the fact that both wanted to use the character, rather than because of anything Weis and Hickman had to say. I fact, I suspect that the Dragonlance fans were equally miffed when they got him back just for Weis and Hickman to kill him in the most pointless fashion possible. (Oh the hell with it, Rant on. Seriously, how Weis and Hickman can justify killing the character that they barely used to full effect because other people used it better than they did is beyond me. Donít believe me, just check the books as to what role Soth played in Dragonlance. For the most part he plays the ominous danger behind Kitiara to make her seem more dangerous and evil than she was. He rarely does anything, but he has such a great and tragic background that it was not surprising that he just overwhelms her character. She is just a rather bland character compared to him, but she was one of the starting characters so she take centre stage. And after she is gone, he does nothing according to Weis and Hickman, come on, at least in Ravenloft, someone used him to full effect and I think they would have been equally angered if someone had used him to full effect in Dragonlance because they just didnít want him used in any way but theirs i.e. the big bad henchman to what ever weak assed villain they wanted propping up. Rant over.)

OK, so the article itself starts off with the long and detailed background of the character, before it enters the first two Dragonlance trilogies. Finally we get to the Ravenloft section, a single grey box section, for the time when he was used the most! And then the final section, his death (or more correctly Weis and Hickman say we killed him so you canít have him).

This is followed by a quick set of stats for both versions, Dragonlance and Ravenloft.

2 drops of Blood out of 5

It's basically just a rehash of his background and heavily tilted to the Dragonlance side rather than the Ravenloft, despite it being for a Ravenloft issue.


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