Domain of the Month
This week's domain is the Carnival. Not so much a domain, as a nomadic organization, the Carnival is a troupe of freaks and geeks who travel the demiplane putting on shows. The mysterious Isolde protects the performers and leads them on a secret quest. The carnival is a safe refuge for travelers, but be warned; everything within the carnival is afflicted by the dreaded Twisting, a dangerous force that slowly transforms everything within the Carnival into a distorted freak.
The dreaded Puppetmaster (see the novel Carnival of Fear) is back?
The Carnival received letter threats from a person, signing as the Puppetmaster! He mentions his will of taking over the Carnival again, decades after the Carnival left I'Morai. For the first time, Isolde is anxious as the Troupers are paralyzed by fear of the former Carnival master, and ask the PCs to inquire on these letters….
The truth? Your choice!
Note: when looking for Carnival adventure hooks, be sure to check out the Ravenloft Mailing List Carnival contest: /a> http://www.gryphonhill.com/carnival/index.htm
And ‘Carnival, the Ballyhoo’ in the Book of Secrets (www.kargatane.com, of course).
Something often forgotten regarding the Carnival is that their mobility and Isolde's protection make them ideal smugglers, and they have few qualms about taking advantage of this ability. IMC, they served as the couriers between a Borcan gunsmith and Gondegal's Shadow Insurrection in Falkovnia.
Since the gunsmith's death, Gondegal hasn't seen them. He doesn't know if they are still looking for another source, of if the gunsmith's killers caught them too. Perhaps the PC's can find out.
Grip of the Hawk
A recent arrival at Carnival, an unassuming, seemingly normal teenage boy (or girl), is actually a Sorcerer (or Psion) of incredible might who was subject to terrible experiments by the Ministry of the Arcane in Falkovnia to further unlock his Arcane potential, in an effort to create a living super-weapon. While he became incredibly powerful (at least 10th level) he was also driven mad in the process.
However, he somehow escaped before he could truly control his powers or was fully subjected to the mental control of the Ministry.
Vlad Drakov wants his toy back so that the experiments can continue, and sends his men to capture the Sorcerer alive. The PCs must either protect the young Sorcerer, help him control his powers and fight off his madness, or work for Drakov to capture the Sorcerer and bring him back to Falkovnia alive.
The Tinker's Flute
A tinker has recently joined the Carnival for safety after being chased out of a number of towns for practicing witchcraft. In truth, the culprit is his flute, a minor magical item he inherited from his father without knowing of its nature. The flute can, when played, make especially strong desires in the vicinity (both negative and positive) become real, at least to a small extent. This means that strong, negative emotions and their consequences often happened when the tinker was near, causing the superstitious peasants to blame the poor fellow (of course, positive emotions also occurred, but they tended to be overlooked).
The PCs may be hired by a town official to arrest the tinker, or someone might have noticed strange things about the flute, requesting it brought to him so that he may use it, for good or evil, depending on the person desiring the flute.
A Twisted Crop
The carnival is ever moving, as Isolde relentlessly tracks down her quarry. But there is another reason Isolde can not settle down. As the troupers well know, the Twisting seeps into everything nearby, even the very earth itself, if the Carnival stays in one place too long. But none save Isolde knows just how long too long is. Once, when she was near catching her quarry and the troupers were resupplying she was too distracted to notice she had stayed too long. The carnival left with noone the wiser.
But now, its harvest time and some people are reporting strange crops, plants the like of which have never been seen before, while others think their crop is perfect and untouched, until they sink their teeth into them and discover nasty surprises. Of course since the twisting wears off this would probably only affect one year worth of crops, and with a time delay between carnival and harvest people might never realise the link. That is until it happens again...
A group of werecreatures heard of the fate of Raja Singh, the Carnival's 'hideous man beast'. They decide that exhibiting one of their kind like this is contrary to their shared code, and try to have him released .
Reginald de Curry
While the Carnival travels through Lamordia, they come to the attention of Dr. Mordenheim, who is very interested in Ronin Thunder's ability to attract lightning. Thinking that the Ronin would be useful when powering his experiments, he hires local mercenaries to "borrow" him and escort him to the manor (See the Kargatane's Book of Secrets, pages 62 - 64, for more info on Renchi Futo, aka Ronin Thunder).
The PCs attempt to stop the kidnapping as it happens.
The mercenaries are killed out of hand by Renchi, and the PCs investigate who hired them and why.
The mercenaries successfully capture Renchi, and the PCs attempt to rescue him (with or without aid from other Carnival members).
The PCs are the mercenaries, and may or may not care about why Mordenheim wants the Ronin.
Igor the Henchman
A mysterious illness has overcome Isolde, making the Twisting go wild. Benign creatures have become horrible monsters and attacked the townsfolk on the Carnival's last performance. It is possible that the PCs themselves have been turning into monsters, and curing Isolde is the only way to set things aright.
The source of the disease must be identified before a cure can be found. Perhaps it is the Gentleman Caller's doing, or perhaps Pacali and his experiments on incapacitating and destroying powerful outsiders are to blame. Unless Isolde is simply being poisoned by the very soil of Ravenloft, in which case she would need some essence of Heaven itself to recover.
Igor the Henchman
One by one, some of the troupers, apparently chosen at random, begin to disappear. Investigations reveal the work of a phantasmal kidnapper. Rumors of the resurfacing Puppetmaster begin to simmer among the terrified troupers. Possible solutions include
The kidnappings are the work of a vengeful ghost of a recently deceased trouper who blames the Carnival for his disfigurement
One of the troupers used a Mist Horror (or some other magic incorporeal creature) as part of his act, but the beast escaped
A mad wizard kidnaps troupers to make them his experiment subjects
The "kidnapped" troupers were willing victims. A mysterious stranger has come to the Carnival, convincing them of his being capable of curing the effects of the Twisting in exchange of their loyalty
Igor the Henchman
A new trouper has joined the Carnival: a Dementelieuse stage magician. One of his most popular acts is to make people disappear by making them lie inside his crystal coffin. Though he makes them all "reappear" at the end of the act, these people are in fact evil clones of the originals. The clones, in turn, kidnap new victims to be replaced by the evil device. The magician might use these clones to commit acts of robbery and crime, or he might be himself unaware of his stage tools' evil powers.
To contribute to the Domain of the Month, post on the forum.
Send your adventure hooks to Joel@fraternityofshadows.com