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Thread: The Shadow World and Ravenloft
09-17-1998, 04:10 AM #1VikusX@aol.coGuest
The Shadow World and Ravenloft
Blasphemy you might say....
But I have used quite a few Ravenloft settings in my campaign in Cerilia. Now
do not get me wrong, I have made many changes to the modules to match my
vision of the Shadow World. With most Ravenloft modules in Cerilia... I do
not even need to trap characters in the mists or other game mechanics like
that. The fact that the module is usually tied to their domians, regency, or
property, serves very nicely to keep them "attentive" to rectifying the
problem at hand.
Why Ravenloft? There are three reasons:
1. Ravenloft adventures are so well written! (kudos to Lisa Smedman on the
one I describe below!:) Now there are some that are not, but for the most
part, they are so well detailed. A powerful central villain to boot:)
2. Subtlety..... with a casual random event tied to the module, a small,
seemingly annoying Random Event or setup adventure blossoms into a horrifying
story. The pace of Ravenloft scenario events works so well.... that I just
chuckle with delight.
3. TERROR -- For the powerful and the meek..... Ravenloft scenarios provide
the DM with a vehicle to provide terror filled scenarios that demand a regents
attention. I have watched player characters.... fail to save towns or whole
provinces when they know that I am running a Ravenloft scenario in THEIR
domain! Their fear paralyzes them.... and their character they so dearly
love. Can you say PC Attitude adjustment?
Once every 5 to 10 scenarios adds just the Spice I need. My players have a
very healthy respect for the Shadow World, and since the "domain lords" or
major characters are Awnsheigh of varying power.....serving the Cold Rider or
Azrai, they serve as FANTASTIC villains. Just change the names, and a little
of the history..... outfit with some blood powers .... and *poof*!
Characters become wary of every idol, medallion, magic item, and coin they
come by. Thieves, don't skulk around in the shadows.... as a conjunction
with the shadow world approaches... NO! they carry stones and the like covered
with continual light spells.... and everyone comes "ready for bear". I
seldom need to roll for horror and fear..... insanity, however..... can be
expensive to recover from.;).
FOR EXAMPLE: My running of The Awakening by Lisa Smedman
Domain Turn 1 - Spring
In Ilien, a group of scholars wanted to set up an Archivists Guild (covered
in detail in an issue of Dragon Magazine), with donations to the Regents
coffer, access to the guilds expanding library of ancient tomes, access to
some strange new NWPs, and an offer of a seat on the directorate council...
what wizard regent could refuse!
Domain Turn 2 - Summer
Quarrying in Mieres has turned up a hidden cache of "artifacts" from some
type of burial chamber.... The module is "The Awakening" (It is the one with
Sachmet minion of Bast (now an aspect of Azari)). The archivists offer a
goodly sum of money to the PCs to go to Mieres.... bribe some local
officials.... get clearance to bring back one very large marble statue of a
cat .... some ancient writings (indecipherable until the next conjunction
with the shadow world begins.... near winter) a few chests of cheap baubles,
pottery, some ornate carved coffins with some dried up remains of cats in
them.... etc. If your PCs are like mine.... those coffins will be chained
closed and guarded over like hens watching eggs about to hatch ;). A well
timed "thump" from the coffin.... will send them scurrying for knives etc.
Anytime the characters touch anything associated with the crypt... roll a
couple of dice.... soon the "leather workgloves of curse and poison
prevention" will be broken out along with tongs and other contraptions.....
But nothing remarkable happens. (Detect magic/curses/posions etc. reveal
nothing at all.... for a few months.... when the conjunction of the shadow
world takes place.... and triggers everything). Do not let the characters
explore the rest of the tomb..... because it is just not there to explore.....
it comes into phase with the Conjunction. I paid them real well.... to get
them thinking the Archivist Guild would be a little cash cow for them :) Of
course I was just baiting the hook....
Domain Action 3 - Fall
Safe in the city.... the characters are down town at a festival.... when they
catch a glimpse of a local hawker selling trinkets "that ward off evil
spirits". You guessed it! The chest of "baubles" that the characters brought
back from the crypt.... somehow has gotten out of the archivists guild (either
through a robbery..... or some poor archivist named Ebeneezer who was short on
funds.... and skimmed a little from the guilds coffers and sold them to people
around town as oddities) . Now as the shadow world nears.... these baubles
are scattered around the city, and the curse begins to take effect..... boils,
sickness, and the like break out.... and begin to run rampant.... News
reaches the Archivists Guild of strange happenings in Mieres...
Domain Round 4 - Winter.... the Conjunction
Now run the scenario with your own modifications. The characters will
eventually find out that the "sickness" is really a curse. A cure disease by
Paladins and clerics will cure up the affliction for a few days... but it
returns with a vengeance. People begin to die.... (threaten province
population reduction/loss of regency etc.) the Brecht Fortune teller (a
vistani of sorts) in the River Ward riddles the Regent with prophecies of
Armageddon.... and casts "the bones" or draws from the "deck of fortunes" if
you have that material (Forgotten Lore).... each time revealing.... a bit of
advice, or a riddle etc. Research at the Archivists guild can reveal as much
or as little history as you want. In the end.... the PCs must vanquish the
When I first read this scenario.... I didn't think much of it. But it as
this whole scheme unfolded it literally took on a life of its own! It has
become a favorite of mine. Now my PCs had to run away "bravely" the first time
they assaulted the crypt ( a Sinkhole of Evil if you use those rules)...
winter (and the conjunction) had passed before they could get back. One
character has a stone eye, and some others have some minor curses.... that
linger (aggravatingly so). They all have a healthy hatred of cats (much to
the chagrin of the Baroness of Roesone... a party member).... they are all
plotting revenge on Sachmet... and have sworn to defeat her or die trying....
when the next conjunction occurs.... next winter. For now they spend their
days hunting down and destroying all the remaining "relics" from their very
For them it is not a matter of treasure now. They already feel that there is
nothing to gain... "financially" from the crypt. They all "just owe
Sachmet... Big Time!"
BTW.... if you have read this far. That's why I like Ravenloft scenarios....
they come with ATTITUDE. They come with a central, well defined villain that
my PCs love to hate!. It will be interesting to see if my PCs take anything
at all from the crypt the next time.... but they have already informed me that
they WILL be going back. They are going back... because she .... played them
like mice..... she made them afraid.
P.S. No Im not on the TSR staff.
I hope you enjoyed... and maybe got some ideas yourself. I am scheming a
little with Feast of Goblyns now.... and I can't wait to see the Return to The
Tomb of Horrors! LOL
Ciao for now
09-18-1998, 09:58 PM #2
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
The Shadow World and Ravenloft
Wow...cool idea. Is that module still in print?
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