Passing the Mantle of Death
A newcomer to the Dungeons and Dragons scene as of fourth edition, the Raven Queen is the God of Death, Winter, and Fate. Once a mortal who fell to an insidious plague, she was taken as a queen by the then God of the Dead, Nerull, and she overthrew him.
Although his mantle passed to her, the job description was changed by the other Gods. Nerull had been known by many names, including “Reaper”, “The Bringer of Darkenss”, “The Foe of All Good”, and “The Hater of Life”. Nerull was the God of the Dead, Darkness, Murder, and of the Underworld. He was determined to become the king over all other gods, and to that end he harvested souls to strengthen his power. The other Gods decided that no god should have claim over the dead. The Raven Queen was named a God, provided that she would be the God “of Death”, not “of the Dead”. She would be charged with giving souls safe passage from death to whatever fate their soul was bound.
Raven Queen PDF
When Wizards of the Coast put out Fourth Edition they included the first information tidbit the world had ever seen of the Raven Queen in the Player’s Handbook (page 22). It was a brief, modest introduction in which they say her real name “is long forgotten, but she is called the Raven Queen. She is the spinner of fate and the patron of Winter. She marks the end of each mortal life." This precious little bit of information, while clear and definitive lacks detail.
The role playing community, left with this vague taste on their lips and nothing else, began to call out for more. The call was finally answered in October 2009 in Dungeon Magazine #171. Page 23 began a seven page article about The Raven Queen. The Raven Queen PDF can be downloaded in PDF format from Wizards of the Coast, for subscribers to D&D Insider.
This PDF contains all the details over her rise to power, as well as all the information you would need to create a whole campaign based on the Raven Queen.
Raven Queen: D&D PDF Review
This article explains that there are many tales of who the the Raven Queen was in life, but the most common say that she was a Queen, (though no one knows where of over whom she ruled), or a warrior or some other figure of power. Regardless of what she truly was, she had within her great strength and cunning. Enough to catch the eye of Nerull when she died.
It explains how she won the mantle of Winter, and of Fate from their previous patrons, and tells of her intentions to unbind herself from the new restrictions placed upon her by her peers.
Later in the article it details the lives and views of her followers who do her work, such as priests, as well as foes, including a sect who fears that her greed and ambition knows no bounds, and is bent on find the remains of Nerull and restoring him to power before The Raven Queen’s power lust spells the end of humanity.
The information in this PDF is more than enough for any DM to make any campaign exciting.
Other Information Sources
Although The Raven Queen is a character in Dungeons and Dragon’s, her creation seems to hold ties to many other characters of myth and legend from many cultures. Here is an excellent write up of all the possible roots from which the designers of The Raven Queen could have drawn inspiration.
Story-Games.com has available a map of The Raven Queen’s throne room in 7x10in tiles, downloadable as a PDF.
Currently there does not appear to be a likeness of the Raven Queen in Miniature, however, her arch nemesis Orcus is available. Not sure I’d call him mini though, he is in fact “gargantuan” according to their scale.
If I had to speculate, based on the amount of information that is now available about The Raven Queen, and the obvious interest the D&D community has in her, not to mention the fact that she is Orcus' sworn enemy and goes about stamping out followers of his… I’d have to say smart money is on a Raven Queen Miniature sometime in the near future. One can hope, at least!
I will keep my eyes open, and post a comment if one becomes available. Should I miss it, please let me know in the comments!