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The mists of Ravenloft can appear anywhere in the multiverse and anyone venturing into them will find themself hopelessly lost before maybe arriving in Ravenloft with no means of escape.

I've been trying to find some information about the mists online, but can't seem to find much information.

This fan-wiki claims

The Mists appear to be nothing more than a manifestation of the Border Ethereal. They surround the demiplane at all times, creating The Misty Border. They radiate no aura of magic, nor reveal any alignment or sign of life. To all eyes they appear to be normal fog, yet they are anything but "normal."

The wikipedia page on Ravenloft is quite comprehensive, but doesn't seem to contain any more information about the nature of the mist. It does talk a bit about where Ravenloft is located (the deep ethereal plane in 2nd edition, Shadowfell in 5th).

Having summed up what little I have found about the mists so far; is there any information about what exactly the mist is, and how it brings people to Ravenloft? Or is it just supposed to be a mysterious force without any in-universe explanation, furthering the horror aspect of the setting?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It is, as we say in latin, a plot device \$\endgroup\$
    – ikegami
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 23:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does my answer solve your problem well enough for a green check? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ It does give some good information, but e.g. this answer seems to suggest that there is some more lore relating to them than what is included in your answer. If you don't mind, I'd prefer to leave it open, and see if that helps in attracting more answers. @ThomasMarkov \$\endgroup\$
    – eirikdaude
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @eirikdaude That’s fair, I’ll do some more research and keep working on it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Thanks for the effort you've already put in :-) In digging around on this SE, I also came across this answer which references a 2nd edition module dealing with the nature of the mists. Might be useful for an answerer if they can figure out which module it is. I haven't had much luck myself =/ \$\endgroup\$
    – eirikdaude
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 21:45

1 Answer 1

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The Mists are inscrutable.

Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft contains a somewhat detailed description of the mists, and in some sense answers your question directly:

The Mists can always be found at a domain’s borders but can also appear in dense banks that rise wherever adventures demand. Such banks might veil strangers or hidden foes, or they can transport those who enter them to distant lands, other domains, or even beyond the Domains of Dread. The Mists are inscrutable, but they ever serve the schemes of the Dark Powers, delivering creatures wherever these wicked forces desire.

Dictionary.com gives these two definitions for "inscrutable":

  1. incapable of being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized; impenetrable.
  2. not easily understood; mysterious; unfathomable:

So the direct answer to your question is something like "it is impossible to know what the mists are". We can only observe what they do and to some extent understand their function.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Mist are dark matter? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 12:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Who's to say? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 12:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Frankly, even stating that the Mists “serve the schemes of the Dark Powers,” is something of an overstatement, at least for what’s known in-setting. They seem to serve the Dark Powers, but we don’t really have any way of knowing. Honestly, Van Richten’s greatest flaw, by far, is trying to define the Dark Powers. Trying to combine them with Tome of Magic’s vestiges makes zero sense in light of previous canon, and makes each less interesting. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 13:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Observing 5e’s divergence from previous canon would make a great contribution to this Q&A if you’ve got the info. I’m not too familiar with editions prior to 5th. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 13:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov I do, but I don’t have remotely the interest required to find the source of each statement. Ultimately, it amounts to “the only things we can even guess about the Demiplane of Dread are extremely circumstantial and suspect, based only on what seems to be happening to us.” \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 14:03

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