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The Demiplane of Dread, commonly known as the Valley of Barovia or simply Ravenloft, is the best known of the Domains of Dread, a series of demiplanes on the far reaches of the Shadowfell. It is similar to the plane that contains the city of Union in that many worlds and planes connect to it but it is still independent of them all. Someone on the demiplane would be forgiven for thinking that it was made out of some supernatural mist as the stuff borders every domain and entering the mists transports one to another location on the demiplane. These mists occasionally form on the Material Plane to bring individuals, buildings and even entire countries into the demiplane.
The Demiplane of Dread is controlled by the almost completely unknown Dark Powers and sections of the demiplane are ruled over by Darklords. The Powers have no goals that anyone can confirm but seem attracted to people and creatures that commit evil acts or suffer from some terrible loss. They regularly inflict despair on the residents of the demiplane by simultaneously granting them boons and inflicting curses. Each curse is tailored to the individual and inflicts the greatest amount of emotional harm or distress upon them. This often spurs those individuals to commit greater acts of evil. It seems that the more heinous the deed, the greater the power and the worse the curse granted/inflicted upon the individual until a new land is generated on the demiplane and the individual is trapped forever within that land. These are the Darklords and they can never leave their domains whereas others may be able to leave but only if they have no great desire to as the powers almost always intervene to dash the hopes of those trapped within their realm.
In relation to the Forgotten Realms, Castle Spulzeer in Tethyr was sucked into the demiplane by a magical gem set in the hilt of the dagger Aggarath. Jander Sunstar suffered a similar fate after he swore revenge for his dead love, and the Lost King of Cormyr, Gondegal, has gained a position of power as the leader of the Knight of the Shadows order, a secret society dedicated to the protection of the helpless and oppressed.
Several residents of Faerûn have even risen to the level of Darklord. Harkon Lukas the cormyrian wolfwere, Hazlik, a red wizard, Urik von Kharkov, an escaped magical experiment, Draga Saltbiter, a Sword Coast pirate turned wereshark and Tsien Chiang the reknowned sorceress from Kara-Tur.