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Masque of the Red Death Player's Guide
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Masque of the Red Death Player's Guide

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Gothic Earth was first revealed in 1994 with the release of the Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales boxed set, allowing D&D players to enter a dark vision of our own world in the 1890s. Now, this classic setting comes to 5th Edition with the release of the Masque of the Red Death Player's Guide!

Everything you need to create a Gothic Earth character or campaign waits within the pages of this tome, which explores the core themes of the setting and provides rules to implement them in the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Discover a benighted mirror of Earth at the end of the 19th Century, where nations old and new arise beyond the reach of Europe’s fading empires. Railroads, firearms, electric power, and other wondrous inventions spread across the globe, while magic is a lost secret, tainted forever by an ancient evil.

Thousands of ago, an alien force invaded Gothic Earth: the Red Death. It manipulates and corrupts humankind, while its minions—vampires, werewolves, doppelgangers, and worse—thrive in the shadows. Now, this terrible entity’s carefully-woven plans come together. A few brave investigators risk their lives against the darkness… Will you be one of them?

These rules usher you into the tales of Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, and Bram Stoker. Here you will find tools to oppose the Red Death’s agents, from Jack the Ripper and Professor Moriarty to Mr. Hyde and Count Dracula himself. Join hidden qabals, rediscover forbidden lore and spells, and explore the most dangerous D&D campaign setting of all with the Masque of the Red Death Player's Guide.

Email redmasquefeedback@gmail.com if you have any questions about this product, or to inquire about discounted or complimentary PDFs for reviews or other purposes, or if you find yourself unable to purchase at full price due to financial hardship.

Just as the original boxed set provided new classes, character options, and other rules that brought the world's most popular roleplaying game into this unique era, this 5E conversion presents a whole new way of playing D&D, including:

  • 5 new classes—ranging from the highly observant, mystery-solving Sleuth to the unmatched combat expertise of the Soldier—designed for versatility and customization, allowing you to portray any Gothic Earth character concept you can imagine;
  • 16 new archetypes, all usable with any Masque of the Red Death character class, including  spellcasters such as the Adept, Medium, and Mystic, alongside fierce investigators like the Artifact Hunter, Gunslinger, Outrider, and Spy;
  • New rules for firearms, explosives, and other 19th Century gear, as well as expanded combat options that model everything from brutal urban firefights to subtle battles of will between rivals in high society;
  • A custom character sheet specially designed for making your own Gothic Earth heroes;
  • Updated versions of the classic Ravenloft rules for Fear, Horror, and the temptations of Dark Powers—as well as new rules for Resolve, the personal reserve of willpower you rely on to resist these influences and achieve heroic exploits;
  • A whole chapter on qabals, secret societies that preserve the secrets of magic in a world where spellcasting risks corruption, madness, and supernatural transformation;
  • A guide to 1890s London, the bustling center of both the British Empire and a dark web of supernatural conspiracies;
  • A separate file with a collection of printer-friendly pre-generated Masque of the Red Death characters, which includes all the rules players need in a quick-and-easy format, to allow play with minimal reference to the book itself at the table;
  • New feats, spells, backgrounds, and more...

Developed over years of design and revision, the mechanics in this product take great care to weave Gothic Earth elements such as firearms, explosives, rare spellcasting, and more while still maintaining the balance between characters and encounters established in the base D&D 5E ruleset. The text has been edited by R P Davis, and proofread by other prominent DMsGuild creators, and the rules were the subject of a massive playtest by DMs and players all over the world.

A new world of D&D horror beckons. Enter freely and of your own will, and prepare to face some of literature's most iconic evils with the Masque of the Red Death Player's Guide for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons!

Table of Contents from Masque of the Red Death Player's GuideMasque of the Red Death Player's Guide IntroductionThe Scion class from Masque of the Red Death Player's GuideArchetype List from Masque of the Red Death Player's GuideAdept archetype from Masque of the Red Death Player's GuideExpert archetype from Masque of the Red Death Player's Guide


Content Warning: While this book emphasizes fantasy horrors like vampires and evil curses rather than real 1890s issues like bigotry and colonialism, some elements may still be sensitive for some readers. Violence is frequently mentioned (as in most D&D games), especially gun violence, and there is also discussion of extreme poverty, traumatic injuries, real-world religious traditions, and certain (fictionalized) mental health conditions. In most cases, the amount of attention these subjects receive here is equivalent to their treatment in the D&D fifth edition Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide. Tools for handling sensitive subjects are discussed in the text.


If you enjoy this product, please check out these and other DM's Guild titles by author Jeremy Forbing, whose Ravenloft Archetypes product prompted praise from Critical Role creator Matt Mercer as being "Really grand content! Well thought out, well presented, and a fantastic supplement to any campaign... Highly recommended!"

Cover of Unearthed Archetypes ICover of Ravenloft Archetypes IICover of Eberron Archetypes


If you think this product could be improved, please Review or at least leave a comment-- all input is read and considered, and feedback often results in new updates!

 
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Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Thomas W December 05, 2019 1:21 pm UTC
How do the Fear and Horror rules work? Are they based on will save like 5e or more like the 2e and 3e saving throws? (Are there madness rules linked to horror saves?)
Also what about Resolve? Is it like action points?
Customer avatar
Thomas W December 05, 2019 2:39 pm UTC
Actually, it looks like the preview provides some answers to the questions. Although I'm still curious to see how madness is treated.
Customer avatar
Jeremy F December 08, 2019 6:24 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Thomas. The basic approach is somewhat similar to the optional Madness rules described in chapter 8 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, but there are some key differences. We try to draw a very clear line between the fictionalized states of mind on the Red Death Madness Effects table and real-world mental health issues, so all the entries on our table are original to this document. Each is filtered through the flawed understandings of "alienism" (the 1890s equivalent of psychology).

These madness effects are also partly described as supernatural conditions. On Gothic Earth, evil and horror are tangible cosmic forces, and the Red Death uses its supernatural influence over these forces to inflict these effects, as consequences of confronting the unreal terrors of fantasy horror. There is also some advice related to discussing the use of the madness rules before play and getting the consent of every participant, with rules options for not using this part of the book at all.

When...See more
Customer avatar
Tom C December 04, 2019 1:30 am UTC
PURCHASER
Do you need the 1994 book for setting fluff to properly use the 5e Guide?
Customer avatar
Jeremy F December 05, 2019 12:05 am UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for the question! While the details in the original boxed set or the classic Gothic Earth Gazetteer (which is a steal on DMs Guild for just $4.99 in PDF!) can greatly inform a Masque of the Red Death, I think the Player's Guide for 5E tells you enough about the setting to run a campaign with a lot of lore coming in the Qabals chapter and a whole appendix detailed London in the setting. And realistically, with a setting that is a variant of our own world, the most useful information is actually recorded history, and so can be found online via Wikipedia and other free resources.

Let me know if that answers your question. Happy to clarify further!
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File Last Updated:
December 04, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on December 02, 2019.