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  1. #1

    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
    ancient Sachmet!
    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
    first trip.
    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

  2. #2

    The Shadow World and Ravenloft idea. Is that module still in print?

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