Domain of the Month
Forlorn info in 3e: RL3E / RLPH, Gaz 1 (and its web enhancement).
Goblyn fiance campaign
This is a game I ran for about 20 game sessions and the epic finally was set in Forlorn. Here it is!
Background of the story
About 100 years ago in Forlorn, lived a druid named Kain Asthon-Smith. He was a druid who was all for the destruction of all goblyns and led many raids upon them with his comrade in arms, another druid named Connor Noitide. Both felt like brothers and they swore never to betray one another.
Unfortunately, the daughter of Kain was captured by goblyns so Kain set about to rescue her. Connor followed his friend and swore not to return unless it was with the young girl. But, the goblyns had took her deep into their territory near castle Tristenoira and never had the two adventurers set foot so deep into goblyn territory.
A terrible fight followed as the two were assaulted from all parts by goblyns. Despite their fighting prowess and magical skills, they couldn't win and Connor fled knowing it was a useless battle. Kain wouldn't run away, not without his daughter. Upon seeing his friend betraying him he cursed him: "You coward! Everyone of your kin on this cursed land shall strike you down like I am here!" The darks powers heard and Connor was cursed.
When he returned to his home with other druids, Connor didn't feel like he betrayed his friend. He felt he simply couldn't save him and that he also should have returned. The last time he saw him, Kain was cleaving goblyns with his mighty scimitar but one of the beast finally grabbed his face and the feast began as the others ran down the druid. Then Connor ran for good.
A few years passed and no one held Connor any resentment so it was forgotten. He took a wife and soon she was pregnant. When the nine month came to term, his infant was born goblyn. Believing some faul magic from the land caused this, he slew the child with no after thought. Two years later, another child was born goblyn. His wife wanted to know if it was her fault and using magic, they discovered a cursed was upon him. His wife was horrified and wanted to betray him to other druids so he silenced her forever.
Connor, fearing the other druids would find out and knowing the curse only worked in the Dread Realms, managed to find a way out of Ravenloft and on a Prime Material world. He began a new life, took a wife and became a father and died peacefully. His great-grand-child would also become a druid.
Enters the PCs
Now this descendant of the druid was a PC. This whole backstory was created long after the character for the player didn't give his druid a proper background so I took advantage of it. The druid was half-elven and named Snomur Noitide. He and other PCs entered Ravenloft and he survived through many adventures within the Mists. He survived Feast of Goblyns and killed Duke Gundar to name a few of his accomplishments.
Then, in between two adventures, Snomur was in the forests north of Forlorn and heard a calling in the wind. He followed his instincts and discovered a woman druid going by the name of Viviane. She was born in Dementlieu but used to be a druid in another life. She was in love with one another druid who Snomur used to be (in other words, she has the Reincarnated feat). Love soon once again united the two former lovers. She told him about the druids fight against evil in Forlorn and Snomur followed her back there. For three years, he live a harsh life with other druids but was happy with Viviane.
Then struck the Grand Conjonction and Snomur like many others was briefly sent back from where he came. He returned to the Prime and found his old home abandoned. And upon visiting his ancestor's grave, he realized that Connor, the first Noitide, came from Forlorn. Before he could find out more, the Conjunction collapse and he was taken to Hazlan. After about a year of wandering, he reach Forlorn again and found his beloved Viviane transformed into a goblyn. Other druids did all they could to discover how it happened but to no avail. Snomur took her with him to find how to cure her.
For eight years he wandered until he found his old adventuring companions (other PCs) and a few swore to help him get his wife back. After a few treks through Darkon, Cavitius, Nova Vaasa and Barovia, he discovered she labored under a self-inflicted curse. He had to go back to Forlorn to find why.
Having fought the cold barovian nights of winter, they arrived (Snomur, two PC fighters and a gypsy NPC) within Forlorn and had to fight Death Head trees, poisonous plants and goblyns hunting packs. All the way with Viviane in chains behind them. After a perilous journey, they reached two druids who gave them shelter.
Now with the help of an hermit seer, they discovered the truth about Snomur's ancestor and how Kain died. Not knowing what to do, they investigated where Viviane went during the Grand Conjunction and they discovered she was trying to find Snomur when something happened. No one knew what exactly. The last man to have seen her claimed she searched some ruins nearby. Investigating, they discovered that a powerful known as the King of Worms (Daggerfall ripoff!) lived their. He did see Viviane 10 years ago and made her into a goblyn. He agreed to change her back. Snomur found her Viviane back to her original self but learned the truth.
When the GC struck, she was with child. Despite that, she set to search for Snomur and soon the infant was born but goblyn. She found the Worm and convinced him to switch the curse which he couldn't lift. So wherever his son was, he was back into goblyn form. When Snomur had returned, Kain's cursed once again took into effect and any Noitide ancestor born would be a goblyn. Snomur and the others set to find him and they found him. He had been cared for by a druid and he suddenly turned into a goblyn. They took him back to safety from zealous druid who slaughter all goblyns they find.
Now, how to lift the curse. Snomur had but one choice, find the remains of Kains and use evil necromantic spells to talk to him. Despite the risks of doing that, they set about to find his corpse. They managed to go unnoticed (it was 1 am, I didn't feel like putting more encounters) near castle Tristenoira.
They found that were Kain fell, a huge cavern had been dug by the water and that no goblyn, plant or animal was to be seen anywhere near. They entered and soon found that he was a Restless Dead. He wanted to be left alone and when Snomur introduced himself, Kain went mad, treating Snomur like COnnor.
I made Kain quite powerful, he was customized using the VRGttWD and had the Dead Zone aura surrounding him. He also had a huge damage reduction from all save druids and his dire enemy was any of Noitide blood. But he was killable, which wouldn't have lifted the curse.
They fought but it was almost useless in their minds. But the other PCs told Snomur to talk to him and he did. The trick was to prove to Kain that he wasn't Connor and needed the curse lifted. He had to tell him that unlike Connor, he didn't flee the curse and did all he could to save his loved ones like Kain tried to do with his daughter. When Snomur managed this, Kain stopped to attack and asked that they kill him so that he rest in peace.
Then, they returned and indeed, Kain made peace with Snomur and his wife and son were both humans.
Forlorn is easy for hack and slash adventures in a haunted forest! You can throw almost anything at the PCs and still maintain the atmosphere.
For low levels (2-4): A Barovian herbalist hires the PCs to delve in Forlorn and bring back a rare plant that can be used to make healing salve (instantly heals 1 hp and doubles the normal healing rate for one day). She promises to pay 10 gp for each root of the plant.
The plants' roots aren't very small however weighting 1/4 of a lb. and 8 of them taking up 1 cubic foot of space. There can be found 30 - 40 healthy plants in one place. So if the PCs want to make the trip profitable they should spend much time searching Forlorn.
Well, something weirder: How you enter Forlorn.
Let's imagine you are in the Highlands. I mean, the real Highlands (see 7thSea / Swashbuckling Adventures or just a history book for details) and you roleplay there. And then there are some bandits driving you away from the street while you were heading west, you follow them and you are lost in to the never-ending mists. And when you find some druid in a Forest you ask him "where am I?" "In the Western Highlands". Everything seems ok. Even the first goblyns attacking you could be just some unseelie.
Until you realize you cannot find the city you were searching for and you cannot go back.
An idea involving Arawn's cauldron from which goblyns are created (ripped from the Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander), is that it can only be destroyed when someone willingly descends into the Cauldron, sacrificing himself to destroy the cauldron. Or, even better, only an Innocent who willingly puts him/herself into the Cauldron can destroy it.
An unseelie nymph enchantress has taken up residence in Forlorn (she could either have been unseelie and brought here by the mists, or been corrupted by the land, or even a combination of both). In the time that she's been there, she's managed to enchant several weak minded young druids and started her own faction called the mushroom faction. The mushroom faction believes that evil corruption is the natural state of the land and as such should be condoned and even encouraged. They are still members of the two main factions on the surface, but meet in secret to undermine the efforts of their infiltrated groups. The nymph has not yet had to deal with Tristen but is frustrated by her inability to affect the goblyns. It is however only a matter of time before the two come to a head. Will they work together? Or will they work toward each other's mutual destruction.
To contribute to the Domain of the Month, post on the forum.
Send your adventure hooks to Joel@fraternityofshadows.com