The upcoming Dungeons & Dragons setting book Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft will bring the Domains of Dread into the fifth edition of D&D, including the Frankenstein-inspired Domain of Lamordia. The new iteration of Lamordia appears to have a few changes from its original incarnation in second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but the original themes of hubris and experimentation taken too far are still present.
Ravenloft began as a stand-alone 32-page adventure module in 1982, and was expanded into its own campaign setting in 1990. The Ravenloft: Realm of Terror campaign box set extended Ravenloft beyond the domain of Barovia, ruled by the infamous vampire Strahd von Zarovich, adding new horror themed domains each controlled by their own Darklord. Whereas the original Ravenloft module, and the Barovia domain, was inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Lamordia paid homage to Mwry Shelly’s Frankenstein.
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In its original incarnation, Lamordia was a coastal domain with two small settlements. The Darklord of Lamordia was Adam, the Frankenstein’s monster analogue of Ravenloft. Adam was created by Victor Mordenheim, a scientist obsessed with resurrection and creating life, much like Victor Frankenstein from the novel. With the gods being very real in the worlds of D&D, they took offense at Mordenheim’s hubris, and imbued his creation with an evil soul that would take away everything the man loved.
D&D’s Original Lamordia Stayed Close To Frankenstein
Mordenheim initially sent his wife, Elise, away while he worked on creating Adam, but after giving life to his creation, she returned to their manor. Adam frightened Elise, as he showed more capacity for intellect than ethics. Elise was unable to have children, so she and Victor adopted a sick orphan girl who Victor nursed back to health, and named Eva. The couple hoped the presence of the innocent young girl might help Adam develop a capacity for empathy and goodness.
As the mists of Ravenloft crept towards Mordenheim’s manor, Adam grew more agitated. Victor recorded in his journal the fateful night where Adam brutally injured his wife Elise, and when Eva went missing. It was also the point where their land crossed over into Ravenloft, and became a new Domain of Dread, with Adam ruling as Darklord. While the citizens of Lamordia believed its ruler was a nobleman named Baron Von Aubrecker, Mordenheim and others knew it to actually be the resurrected corpses that formed Adam, who took up residence on the Isle of Agony. The game also noted a strange link had formed between Adam and his creator: So long as Adam lives, Victor Mordenheim cannot die.
While the original Lamordia stays close to the roots of Shelly’s gothic horror classic, SYFY Wire’s recent interview with game designer Wes Schneider indicates fans can expect some changes to the new Lamordia in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. The interview states Lamordia will now feature Viktra Mordenheim, a woman who is an “amoral genius whose scientific masterpiece is an artificial heart that conveys non-magical immortality.” Shneider notes the heart is “bound within the body of her former companion, Elise.”
D&D’s Lamordia Now Adds Reborn Race And More Body Horror
The second edition D&D Lamordia’s Victor Mordenheim was described as working to save the life of his grievously injured wife Elise, following Adam’s attack. It is unclear whether the change is a simple gender swap for the Victor/Viktra character, or if there are additional tweaks to the tragic story. The interview also makes no mention of Adam, so it is unclear whether Mordenheim’s monster will remain the Darklord of Lamordia, if the scientist herself will be the new Darklord, or if it’s a different entity altogether.
Rather than simply existing as antagonists and NPCs, the resurrected corpses pioneered by Mordenheim will also be playable with the release of Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, as it introduces the Reborn race, a character composed of one or more reanimated corpses. Beyond its tributes to the story of Frankenstein, the Lamordia domain may lean more into the body horror genre than the gothic horror of hubris and its repercussions. Schneider teases “lots of fantastically twisted ideas – many of which go far beyond Frankenstein,” and the possibility that “characters might find their very bodies held hostage while Mordenheim tasks them to fulfill her heartless whims.” Players will be able to discover all the changes to Lamordia for themselves when the new horror-themed Dungeons & Dragons supplement releases later this month.
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Source: SYFY Wire
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