Exploring Character Creation for Ravenloft: Mist Hunters

Ravenloft: Mist Hunters is the newest Alternate campaign for the D&D Adventurers League, and it begins with a non-traditional means of character creation: a guided, group experience that utilizes a deck of Tarokka cards as a narrative aid.

When players are ready to create their Mist Hunters characters, whether during a convention, at a store, or in a home game, one player (or their DM) leads the group through a scripted set of guidelines: drawing cards (or rolling dice, if access to a deck of cards is limited), presenting them to the table with a brief explanation of their meaning, and allowing the players to determine and share how that card may relate to aspects of the character they are building.

Through use of the cards of the Tarokka deck, the players develop facets of their character—including their class, ability scores, personality traits, and their domain of origin. Upon completing this process, each player will have a completed character with a basic backstory and motivation for adventuring. 

In addition to material presented in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, players will be able to choose from options in the following resources when creating their Mist Hunters character:

Basic Rules

Player's Handbook 

Volo's Guide to Monsters 

Xanathar's Guide to Everything 

Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes 

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything 

While characters may be created together, that does not mean that they must adventure together. Any characters created though the group guided experience may be played at any Mist Hunters table.

The Cards Guide; They Don’t Direct 

While the cards of the Tarokka deck have meanings, they’re subjective and abstract at best. They don’t direct or illuminate a path so much as provide hints and clues that suggest where that path might lead. 

The cards aren’t to be taken literally; for example the Necromancer needn’t mean that the character had aims of becoming a powerful necromancer, but rather might signify someone who follows an unhealthy path, as loose or strong as the player prefers. Further, it may very well symbolize an aversion to it as well. A character whose background is represented by the Necromancer might be a Sage who was searching for the clues to unlife, a Folk Hero or Soldier who saved their village from a horde of zombies, an Acolyte with aims of becoming a cleric or a paladin. The player alone decides how the card influenced their character. 

In addition to the group experience, a self-guided experience will be an option for players who prefer to create their characters on their own. Both character creation resources will be publicly available when the first Mist Hunters adventures are published to the DMs Guild on August 10, 2021.

Wondering how these characters will advance in level? In another unique aspect of the Mist Hunters storyline, characters will begin each adventure at a specific level, regardless of what adventures they may have played previously. For example: RMH-02 Back to the Front  is a four-hour adventure for 3rd-level characters. Even if it is the first Mist Hunters adventure that a character will be participating in, they will play at 3rd level. If the player then decides to play RMH-EP-01 The Grand Masquerade, an adventure for 1st-level characters, the character will complete the adventure at 1st level. While the Mist Hunters storyline is intended to be played in a linear fashion, there will be no penalty to characters who do not play in an adventure, or who play them out of story order. Questions regarding character advancement and adventure outfitting (allocating resources such as equipment and magic items) will be answered by the specific adventure that a table sets out to play. 

Additional Resources

On the Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft product page, you can find two additional resources that may be helpful when creating a character for Mist Hunters:

- A Ravenloft-themed, form-fillable character sheet PDF (located at the bottom of the product description)

- A web-based Tarokka card generator (located at the bottom of the web page)

See you in the mists!
...or will we?