Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Ads of Dragon: Ravenloft

Issue #78 came out in October 1983 and contained the following ad obviously that used the month's association with Halloween to its advantage:
My qualms about Ravenloft to the contrary, it's a very well-done advertisement, even if it shows that extent to which D&D in 1983 was casting off its origins. At the time, though, I didn't much care and I was very excited about this upcoming release. Whatever one's feelings about the module -- and the change it heralded -- you've got to give the marketing at TSR some credit in crafting something that grabbed one's attention.

11 comments:

  1. And $6 was so expensive! I could get two paperbacks for that price, with something left over.

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  2. I remember this ad. I knew this was a module I had to get and I was not disappointed.

    Today I still like it, I just like to run it with systems other than AD&D like True20 or Unisystem.

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  3. As a kid I was shocked by the cover of Castlevania 2 which brazenly plagiarizes the cover of Ravenloft. http://www.castlevaniadungeon.net/Images/Scans/CV2/box-cv2.jpg
    Kids are more sensitive about these things.

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  4. Played the hell out of Catslevania. Hadn't still picked up a copy of Ravenloft. Homebrew enthusiast.

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  5. Heh. Behind the scenes at old TSR, this was a major thing for the designers, as it was an ad for an adventure module (as opposed to, say, a campaign or rule set), and was done in-house. Designer Tracy Hickman was deeply involved (up to providing the header and text) in making this happen.

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  6. Jones, Konami did this again with the cover of Metal Gear, which features Solid Snake... or is it a shot of Michael Biehn from The Terminator?

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  7. Loved this module and still do. For a somewhat-scripted adventure, it's exceptionally well done.

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  8. I'm not sure why the ad (as opposed to the module) shows D&D casting off its origins. It seems to have always had a strong horror movie influence.

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  9. Even after all this time whenever someone says 'vampire' to me, this is the first image that pops into my head...

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  10. I'm not sure why the ad (as opposed to the module) shows D&D casting off its origins.

    Maybe I'm reading too much into it ex post facto, but the ad strikes me as both very focused on a pet NPC -- Strahd -- which is quite different than most earlier modules, where there were antagonists, yes, even memorable ones, but they weren't what sold the module.

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  11. Ravenloft: a module I remember with great fondness, though I never had the opportunity to either play or run it (though I still dream from time to time). Unlike most of my other RPG purchases, I read this one cover to cover several times.

    When they first appeared I thought the Hickman adventures were a quantum leap forward in terms of adventure modules. In many ways, this adventure and the somewhat earlier I3: Pharaoh, still represent for me masterpieces of adventure design.

    On a peripherally related note, I was quite surprised to discover on the latest trip to my FLGS (Toronto’s Legends Warehouse, formerly Sci-Fi World) that in the new “Essentials” re-envisioning of 4E (a topic about which I’m still quite ambivalent) the Shadowfell – which as a dark echo of the mortal world was an idea I thoroughly liked – has suddenly morphed into a new version of Ravenloft, complete with Domains of Dread and Darklords. Not a development I expected or really wanted, even though I always liked “Ravenloft” as a campaign-setting concept.

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