I love Ravenloft, ever since it first came out as a module.It's brooding, dark atmosphere and mixture of tension and dread makes it one of the most unique and engaging settings ever concieved in the entire gaming industry. I was receptive to Ravenloft 3E, but wasn't very impressed. Until now.
The Ravenloft gazetteer combines alot of esoteric trivia from countless supplements and adventures and compiles them into a single sourcebook. I've just only gotten a chance to skim through the Barovia chapter, and it's packed with material from the old boxed sets, the adventures House of Strahd and Roots of Evil, and the Monstrous Compendium appendices. It's terrific! For the old-school DM like me who just wants 3E stats of the older material, it's exactly what I needed. I run an I6 game every year, and this year I'll finally be able to do it in 3E without having to dedicate a week or two to converting the module. Great job, Sword & Sorcery Studios!
So why only 4 stars? Two major reasons. The artwork isn't exactly the most gothic in the world, I miss the older illustrations with alot of blackness in the illustrations and alot of shadows and darkness. The new art is mostly line drawings with alot of "white space." Secondly, the book has no maps of the towns it discusses. A rather crude pencil sketch on page 37 shows the area around Castle Ravenloft itself, but maps of the towns really should have been included. SSS makes great maps, as anyone who has seens the Scarred Lands Campaign Setting: Ghelspad hardcover can attest to. If such maps of the towns had been included, the book would be a straight 5.
But it's still a great buy, even essential I would say, to run canon adventures in Barovia.