In all the cases I can remember in which somebody got taken by the mists to become a Dark Lord, it happened to an unwilling subject (which makes sense, given the torment they suffer there).

Let's imagine the situation where somebody knowledgeable about Ravenloft lore would try to get the Dark Powers to kidnap him, along with his domain, into Ravenloft on purpose. To make the situation even worse, his ultimate motives might be honorable - he knows that if his castle stays in the Prime Material plane for another month, the entire plane will get destroyed (or at least very seriously damaged, a mass extinction kind of event). Let's assume no frame challenges on this point - destroying the castle itself is not an option (it won't help and moving to other plane than Ravenloft is also not possible).

From a very good description about Dark powers, we can read:

The Dark Powers seek those who transgress. Those who become Darklords are guilty of deliberate, passionate evil, often done in full knowledge that the deed was wrong. Whether the nascent Darklord is a deluded oathbreaker like the Lady of Nidalia (Islands of Terror), a power-hungry tyrant like Azalin or the lord of Falkovia (Ravenloft Campaign Setting) or simply a murderous monster like Harkan Lucas (Ravenloft Campaign Setting), the Dark Powers seem driven to find deliberate evil and punish it in their own peculiar fashion. Dispassionate or accidental evil does not have a history of attracting the attention of the Dark Powers, and there is no Darklord capable of communication that is not canonically shown to be fully aware of the sin(s) that lead to their damnation (some Domains have unknown Darklords, like the Nightmare Lands, or alien Darklords that may or may not be capable of meaningful communication with humanoids, such as the Elder Brain that serves as Darklord of Blutspur).

The villain in question is completely amoral - he has no issues with performing bad things, including sacrificing people in cruel ways - but he has, let's call it, a pro-ecological mind, which wants to avoid the destruction of entire world due to the event he has originally triggered.

Is there, anywhere in the lore, a way to convince Dark Powers to pull out a piece of land towards Ravenloft? Will they be swayed by 'being evil' when your ultimate motive is kind of proper? Can you think about any smart way to fool them ? (last question might be better for WorldBuilding forum, so ignore it if it is too much off topic)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could this be tagged with a game system? It may differ significantly by system and edition. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 14 '18 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'll be personally doing it all in Savage World's based mechanic, just porting Ravenloft setting. Maybe I can tag it with 'lore' rather than specific system? 2e tsr or 3e white wolf is same good if any of them can support the premise \$\endgroup\$ – Artur Biesiadowski Dec 14 '18 at 15:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the question is about the metaphysics of the Dread Realms and the activities of the Dark Powers, and it seems it is, I don't think specifying a system or edition is helpful. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Dec 14 '18 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you a GM looking for justification of why your villain(?) has been put in Ravenloft, a PC group trying to get them moved, or just curious about that specific aspect of the setting for academic reasons? \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Jan 18 '19 at 13:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso GM looking for justification ;) Ended up with just preserving few of the RL-like elements as easter eggs for players, so they would be properly scared (in-game characters have no idea about RL), but didn't put full setting in as the core idea seems to be not really compatible with how Dark Powers work, thanks to very good answer from T.J.L. \$\endgroup\$ – Artur Biesiadowski Jan 18 '19 at 13:30

The Dark Lords are all about punishing people. They would be considered sadistic, if they demonstrated any pleasure in administering these punishments. It is the need for punishment that drives their selection of Dark Lords.

Take Strahd von Zarovich himself...

His crime is murdering his brother to take the brother's place in the heart of a woman. Strahd constantly, repeatedly finds the soul of his one true love in the form of another. He seeks to possess the woman, sometimes successfully, but almost immediately is defeated by adventurers every time.

This cycle repeats ad infinitum. The torture, the punishment, is in getting oh so close but never being successful.

In your example case, the Dark Powers would not take this person or his castle into the Dread Realms to save his home. There is no level of evil, no degree of wickedness, that would encourage the Dark Powers to make anybody's personal goals successful.

If he is truly terrible enough to earn a Dread Realm, it's entirely possible they might bring him in after his world has been destroyed. He knows it has happened, he knows it is his fault, and more importantly... he knows it will happen again. How is that, you ask? Because when they create the Dread Realm, it's just after he's taken whatever action will inevitably lead to his ruin, but before that ruin comes. And that ruin always comes... every... single... time.

That's how the Dark Lords punish people.

In truth, if you want to "bring your game into Ravenloft", the question you should be asking yourself is this:

Isn't it already there?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Eventually all my games get dragged into Ravenloft. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Dec 14 '18 at 15:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras Do they? Or... were they already there the whole time? :) \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Dec 14 '18 at 15:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ My players will never know. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Dec 14 '18 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras Nor should they. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Dec 14 '18 at 15:56

Ideally, your protagonist should do something absolutely horrific in an attempt to do something so evil that his/her domain is brought into Ravenloft. Then, their domain should still be destroyed, painfully and horribly because of whatever evil act they did. Then time resets and they can try again.

For example, they genocide a race of goblins, only for their domain to be wiped out be a painful plague that goblins could have cured. Then, as the last person in their domain gurgles his last breath, time resets and their domain is again under threat from whatever it was that they were originally trying to save their domain.


On top of everything already suggested, it would probably be a necessity that being trapped in Ravenloft would be a form of emotional torture for the villain. If the villain wanted to be there or would be indifferent about it, it probably would never happen.


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