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Thoughts of Darkness

Author: David Wise
Type: Adventure
Format: 64 pages paperback, plus maps
Release date: September 1992

Other notes:

Level: 12-15
Domain: Bluetspur
Contains two colour maps (Mt Makab, and Yathazor - City of Calamity)
New monsters: Remnant; Vampire, Illithid; Shattered Brethen

Note: This module first introduced Madness Checks to the Ravenloft setting.


Charles Phips

Summary: The PCs wake up in Bluetspur and are assaulted by lightning, forcing them into the Illithid caverns below where they discover a plot by the Illithid High Master and Lyssa Von Zharovich to create a host of Illithid Vampires to massacre the God Brain. Then they intend to try and take over Ravenloft.

Hey! Do you want to send your PCs to the Hell? Then play A Paladin in Hell. If you want to come damn close, play Thoughts of Darkness.

Thoughts of Darkness is a big ass Dungeon that the PCs face a damn near unkillable foe in Bonespur during along with illithids, drow, duegar, broken ones, and finally Vampire Illithids (?!) along with Lyssa Von Zharovich (!?!?!) with a side order of a gigantic brain (!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!). Unless you're PCs are combat monkeyed to the max then they are going to be tested to their limits by this adventure and the sheer alieness of the region should drive any halfway decent role-player insane by player's reactions to it really. There's some damn weird choices in this module honestly. I mean, the most dangerous foe the PCs will face by far in a domain inhabited by Illithids is a human being? What's up with that?

Weirdly, the adventure isn't a total loss and I reluctantly recommend it for the simple fact that it is one of the few adventures that can scare the Hell out of my PCs by it's mere mention. Simply put, the twisted nightmarish mockeries of people that the PCs come across along with the implicitness of the fate that likely awaits them is something that should terrify even the hardiest players. Properly played; exhaustion, nightmares, and the hallucinatory nature of the atmosphere should wear on the hardiest souls.

My solution was a somewhat simple one and I thank Clive Barker and Hellraiser. Instead of the "you wake up in Hell" (which actually might work for this adventure because it fits the chaotic and alien nature of the place), I used a "Puzzle box" that according to the notes of a 'missing person' is an object that has passed through the hands of hundreds of Core residents who subsequently disappear but for some reason is still passed along as people want the Ebony Box. Of course, the object is a tool for bringing people to Bluetspur and I listed Bonespur, Lyssa Von Zharovich, an Order of Guardians (who were guarding the apparatus), The paladin who investigated their disappearance, and others amongst them. Effectively ditching much of the background of their reasons for being here.

I also made the plot a bit different by making the High master an Alhoon (because when am I ever going to use an Alhoon again) and wanting to make an Army of Vampire Illithids to take over the domain and thus the rest of the world. I never personally thought that making Illithids into Vampires (Or Liches for that matter) was particularly scary though.

Nevertheless, the adventure played well and the PCs escaped the Puzzle box (that was made to bring people to their "pocket Dimension" which is the only time I've ever described an island of terror like this rather than a distant land) with the devil at their heels. Scary stuff and they had nightmares even in real life.

2.5 Blood drops out of 5 but potential for 4.


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