[RPG] What are the “Dark Powers”


What are the dark powers in Ravenloft?

I'm not asking for a list, but rather a description of these entities.

Best Answer

They are some form of super-deities, or perhaps a personification of some multiversal axiom about true evil. They are never described in character/deity terms, and in fact have imprisoned some impressively powerful beings, including a couple deities from other D&D game worlds. (Vecna, specifically, being the most noted, but there was another.)

The Dark Powers are noted only by what they do, and that is, they reward evil acts with more power, but at a price of less freedom. Sufficiently corrupt individuals find a chunk of the demiplane altered to become their own personal hell... LOADS of power, but trapped forever there, and unable to get whatever it is they truly desired in life.

The Dark Powers also search the multiverse (or at least the Prime Material Plane) for certain "worthy" individuals, and set the Mists upon them. If they don't flee the Mists, anyone near the victim also is transported. The area is removed from where it was, and attached somewhere in the demiplane.

It is worth noting that they control the demiplane, and can affect all within it. They can not, however, prevent Vecna from granting spells nor communing with his clerics, but they can prevent him from making personal appearances. They have moved regions about, deleted regions, and made and deleted borders on an apparent whim.

The Dark Powers do not use manifestation forms, do not reveal themselves if they use mortal forms, do not grant spells, are not subject to commune spells. Even calling them entities or an entity is a stretch.

Source Note: It is worth noting that the nature of the Mists grabbing parts of the Prime Plane was the focus of one of the TSR Retail Play modules for AD&D 2E; in that same module, PC's who do not flee the Mists wind up in Ravenloft as well. The demi-plane does not provide inhabitants; it captures them with the evil being.

In the 3E materials from S&S, it's noted that at least one domain dark-lord was originally from the Demi-plane. Another was in the demi-plane already when the Dark Powers noticed them.