Domain of the Month
Adventures: The Evil Eye
Mohj Redmaw (NE Caliban Fighter 5/Wizard 1/Warrior of Darkness 1- the latter is from the Book of Vile Darkness) is one of the most feared generals in the armies of the Dukkar. Mohj and his unit of degenerate Calibans (mainly Brutes and Cannibals- see Brutes and Banshees, QtR 8) are tasked with the "cleansing" of the Vistani (he often works alongside the Vistani Killers- see QtR 9), breaking the morale of Gabrielle's men and putting the Dukkar's more troublesome generals and nobles in line through sheer terror. Thus, he is known as the Dukkar's Rabid Dog.
Mohj and his army can be used to emphasize the vile nature of the Dukkar and enemies for lower-level PCs in Invidia (because reaching Mallochio is near-impossible).
Note: If you're using my Caliban rules from Brutes and Banshees, Mohj is a Cannibal with the following Deformities: Material Vulnerability (Silver), Forked Tongue and Sharp Teeth. Mohj is also featured in more detail in my upcoming article "Brutes and Banshees II", which will (hopefully) appear in QtR 11.
Wiccy of the Fraternity
- Now for something a little different to play on the power struggles in the domain.
With the continuing power struggle throughout the domain and the ever changing border on who controls what, one village is constantly finding themselves supporting a different side in the conflict and forever paying taxes two or three times over the odd of anyone else. In a solution they claim independence form the rest of the domain and the right to self govern. When news of this reaches Malocchio and Gabriel, neither are happy with the result this is having on other small communities and periodically switch control between the feuding sides and begin to claim their own independence. While Malocchio is first settled in raising a couple of these villages as an example to others, Gabriel sends emissaries from Hunadora for negotiation. Finding the idea somewhat novel, he also sends in his emissaries, accompanying them personally.
When arriving at one of the villages he intrudes on the delegations as the yare reaching their height and claims the right to enter the proceedings as the true controller of Invidia, only to find his own mother present with several of her guards.
Now the players stumble in. They are employed by the village council to protect the interests of the village and that they are not simply overwhelmed if they win their argument. But with both the Dark Lord and the Dukkar present, tensions are climbing steadily higher and it will only be a short time before all out war rages across the area.
Knowing that she is unable to harm her own son for his vistani heritage, Gabriel sends a messenger for support again any attack that Maloccio might command and perhaps to remove his thread forever. Likewise Malocchio is seeking further assistance from his own forces, not wishing to miss the opportunity in bringing his mother to her knees and making her suffer for the rest of her days.
- Karina's nights are becoming more deadly, more brutal killings are occurring at night and the Midnight Slasher is receiving all of the blame. However, several of these latest killings differ from the Slasher's usual practice. Some have been found strangled, other with their throats cut or show signs of great physical torture prior to their demise. Has the Slasher changed her ways after all of these long years or is there a new killer on the prowl? Perhaps a victim of the Slasher's killings risen in the same way as the original killer? A copycat? Or has someone already established in their ways come to the area? Commander Regess blames the Slasher and has no doubt in his mind over, though others leans toward another brutal killer in the area when several witnesses rise up, only to begin disappearing from sight. Who is the killer? Who is taking the witnesses? Is Regess responsible for these acts to blacken the Slasher's name even further?
- A band of rebels from Hunadora have been captured, among them they carry information vital to the continuing existence of the rebellion led by Gabriel Aderre. Malocchio has not yet received word on this capture, those who captured the group may not be truly aware of the importance of these individuals. Gabriel goes into hiding in her castle while Matton sends out his scouts in all directions seeking for news of these brave people, or hoping to find aid to help him recover them before all is lost.
- Malocchio has decided that the best way to destroy his mother once and for all would be not to strike at her directly, but take what is most precious to her, his very own sister Lucita. The child is nearing her third birthday and Gabriel's worries continue to grow by the day. Is the child wolfwere or human? Malocchio wants to know these things also and wishes to use them as a weapon to destroy his mother, he rebellion and whatever aid granted by others who have sided with her. Hearing word from a spy within Castle Loupet, Gabriel has Lucita taken to safety in a secret location. But if one side can get a spy inside they're opponents circle of lies and secrecy, why can't the other? Now a power play of spy networks rises up secretly within both factions, each trying to outwit the other.
Meanwhile, Lucita and her entourage of protectors disappears from Gabriel's sights, even the powerful tarokka give only cryptic clues to her location, clues that not even Gabriel can find answers to. The heroes stumble upon the remains of a small caravan of wagons and carriages bearing the likelihood of Gabriel's faction, bodies and blood litter the area and not one of them is a child. What happened to Lucita during the slaughter?
- The Slasher is brought to justice! Anton Regess declares this to all of Karina and parades his captive through the streets. However, his captive is a young caliban woman to which the Falkovnian commander has pinned a network of circumstantial evidence and lies to. To make matters worse, no one seems able to see the truth blatantly hung before their eyes. Regess plans to hang the caliban in five short days and by the phase of the moon the true Slasher will not strike for nearly a fortnight. How can this caliban be proven innocent of the charges brought against her or will Regess' form of cruel justice be served.
A Present Darkness
While the PCs are in Karina, a series of murders breaks out. The natural suspect is the Midnight Slasher, but none of the Slasher's usual calling cards are found at any of the scenes, which are particularly bloody and terrible. In each case, the trail of clues leads to a different person, inevitably someone close to the victim, with no reason to commit murder. After each crime, the perpetrator clearly remembers what was done, but not why, and as with any crime of passion in Invidia, a conspiracy of silence prevents them from admitting the truth willingly. As the case progresses, the PCs themselves are targeted for murder, with several previously friendly NPCs trying to kill them. What is the truth?
- The victims are all witnesses to a crime, possibly unknowing witnesses, and the true killer is using a magical means of dominating their loved ones into "removing loose ends.
- Now that the Dukkar has come, the Gentleman Caller has returned to Invidia and is killing off his less worthy offspring. Using his mind-influencing powers, he has convinced his childrens' friends and family to kill them for him.
- An odem moves through the community, impelling otherwise normal folk to horrible atrocities in order to feed off of the psychic energy released.
Storm on Castle Hundadora
(Year: late 750 (autumn/winter)
Gabrielle Aderre hires the pc's to help her (and her rebels) storm Castle Hundara. First of all a secret entrance rumoured to exist to the castle must be found, then the rebel forces must be informed of its location.
When the rebel army attacks, the pc's enter the fortress through the secret entrance. Their main target is opening the gates and lowering the drawbridge for the rebel forces, so that they can enter the fortress.
When the rebels win the battle, the fight isn't over - Malocchio will not let them have the fortress so easily. He will send an army to get it back (at the head a certain General Mohj Redmaw (thanks Shadowking)). So a final battle for the fortress is about to be fought.
This kind of adventure is clearly more combat oriented, as the two forces (Gabbi's rebels and Malocchio's soldiers) fight over the fortress. Nevertheless the pc's get possibilities to understand some of the longterm goals of Gabbi and Malocchio.
In the Western Invidia, a rain of fire destroys a camp of Malocchio's mercenaries. Their tents, bodies and equipment, were found scorched, but the ground around them isn't marked at all. A werewolf druid, charmed by Gabrielle is the source of this, and the PCs must locate him before Malocchio does and avoid the bloodshed.
The day after the winter solstice, a strange apparently empty temple (with wings, rooms, chapels etc) appears in a rural area near a couple villages (under Malocchio's control) in Invidia. Some Talons and Falkovian soldiers go there to investigate. They don't return, but the next day, their mauled bodies are discovered in the wells of the nearby villages.
Malocchio is ready to accuse the resistance for this and send his armies to interrogate the villagers to tell him what happened, who are in the resistance and if the resistance managed to summon the temple or just found it first and conveniently used it as a trap.
The PCs should solve the mystery and save the villagers from the violent treatment.
The temple is NOT a pocket domain. There is no darklord present. It is a minor conjunction, bringing a 3rd magnitude mummy lord and a few 1st magnitude followers in Ravenloft. The remains of a strange cult of a distant world. They have misinterpreted the teachings of their religion and became undead in an attempt to serve their God eternally. The Dark powers brought them there as a test. The 3rd magnitude mummy is well in its way to Darklordship, but not yet. They killed the "unfaithful" because they "defiled" the temple with their "unholy" presence. To bring any kind of iron in the temple is considered sacrilege, and the punishment is death.
The Famous Tommy Z
Reading the Gazetteer's made me want to use Invidia sometime...and I get a fairly big plot idea for it. Either Strahd, or more likely, Strahd through the Vistani, decide to enlist the PCs to strike out at the Dukkar...not to try to assassinate Malocchio, but to try to assassinate Gabrielle Aderre and trap Malocchio in Invidia. Of course, the extra complications come when they manage to get past Malocchio's men and Gabrielle's insurgent allies, only to find agents of Azalin Rex impeding their path: After all, he does want the Dukkar to complete his work. I dunno...any thoughts? Any glaring flaws? Any discussion at all?
JoŽl of the Fraternity:Wow, that's a domain shattering idea. With Matton and Ardonk running around with Gabrielle to make her safe. Alternatively, they could be hired by Gabrielle against assassins.
The Famous Tommy Z: well, since metaplot appears to be pretty much dead, for better or for worse, in 3e Ravenloft, I was thinking of setting the domains alight with war in my game if/when the players start creeping into higher levels...outright warfare with various factions as Azalin puts his finger on another plan that stands a serious chance of getting him free.
Wiccy of the Fraternity: Strahd sends players off to kill Gabby, Gabby disguises herself after hearing of the plan and charms several in the party to protect her against assassinations while she remains in disguise, players get really confused and have no idea what is going on. Gabby is later revealed to be who she truly is, but not until after at least 2 of the party fall in love with her and face a true test of loyalties. I like that idea, I may have to use it myself.
On a side note, Malocchio is trapped within Invidia, the Vistani cursed him to never be able to leave the domain during the events of The Evil Eye, so he doesn't need to become a Dark Lord to be trapped there. Of course, if the DP's made him a dark lord, would the victani curse be lifted? If that is the case he could leave the demiplane and his own domain whenever he wishe to. He can already take other dark lords out of their domains if he was able to leave Invidia.
The Famous Tommy Z: Hm...then why did they seem to stress in Gaz IV that the only reason Gabrielle was alive was because Malocchio didn't want to be the Darklord? Maybe he understands enough about Darklords that he figured the Dark Powers would then actively intervene in his Vistani hunt?
AH...there it is...he's currently bound by a spell that may yet be broken...but to become a DL, he's bound forever. Maybe that's the kicker...the Vistani find out that he's almost found a way out (good way to work in Azalin, I'm thinking...perhaps some spell or something that he's had tucked away would benefit, something like that, this is al still raw in my head)...they go to Strahd. Strahd directs the Vistani to bring him the PCs, who will by this time have given him some reason to believe that they are at least capable enough to assassinate Gabrielle. I don't think that him being a DL would solve his problem, as the DL curse would simply bind him even tighter than the Vistani curse.
Although, in the Layers Upon Layers catagory, I like Gabrielle making a couple of PCs fall for her along the way...just makes things that much messier...=) Of course, one resolution is that Malocchio breaks the curse while this is going on, and one of Gabrielle's suitors get jealous of a PC and in a rage (try to) kill them both, succeeding with at least her.
Wiccy of the Fraternity: Games within the boundaries of Invidia can get very messy with politics and intruigue. They tend to get alot heavier on the emotional side of things where Gabby is involved. One of the fiew moments where I was roleplaying Gabby in a romantic scene with a player that didn't get any giggles was when the player was a woman playing a male character, the complete role reversal captivated the entire group. That character was then charmed by Gabby to use as bait to lure in another player she had her eye on all that was going on while Hunadora was under siege from Malocchio in my Hunadora campaign (guys, I will stop mentioning one day I promise, I have already cut down on how often I bring it up, lol). Malocchio has already staged a couple of attempts on Gabby's life, being the Dukkar he may not fall under the sway of the DP's, so he may hope the domain will be absorbed by thsoe around it, allowing him to escape the curse That is how I work it at least. He has killed Gabby once in my games and the domain was left without a DL, a player brought Gabby back to life and she became the DL of Invidia once again.
The Famous Tommy Z: Hm. I'm looking at Invidia's neighbors, and I'm hardpressed to find one of them that I actually think of as more evil than Malocchio...=) I think if I am to seriously pursue this line of planning, I need to get The Evil Eye. Probably couldn't hurt, anyway.
Wiccy of the Fraternity: I took the nature of the fact that he is the Dukkar and made him a person the DP's could have no influence over, they are hard pressed enough to conmtrol the Vistani, who can leave the demiplane via mist navigation even when they arein a domain that has closed its borders. If Inividia vanished or was absorbed, so would the curse on Malocchio. It makes sense to me.
tec-goblin: Lovely. In my campaign, Malocchio is freed. Muhaha! Extremely different perspective, but still lovely! He's actually the Fourth Prophet (for those who have read Sophia's Daughters 7thSea book) and the PCs run to save the world. At this moment, they try to make the Lady of the Lake sane and free again, because in fact, the Lady of the Lake is THE Lady of the Lake - one of the three sidhe queens. The whole Avanc plot was a plot to make her crazy and leave her out of the Unseelie-Seelie war (yes, I am straying far into 7thSea metaplot here), but now the Unseelie have gained Maab's Occulus and will win the war if the Lady of the Lake doesn't come back! Then, the PCs will involve themselves with Malocchio. It doesn't make much sense, heh?
Invidian Civil War, Part II
Okay, our previous Ravenloft campaign that involved the war in Invidia drew to a close. Not having anyone play, plus we were in another campaign, I decided to plan things out ahead of time when my players eventually begin another Ravenloft game.
Malocchio and Gabrielle Aderre are dead. Ardonk Sezerria is the true father of Gabrielle's daughter. Dromir the Necromancer is now the new Darklord of Invidia. He turned against his allies and now controls western Invidia. The Gundarakites, under Ardonk Sezerria, control northeast and north-central Invidia, the Wolfweres of Matton Blanchard have been suffering heavy losses and have very little territory, mostly around northwest Invidia. Karina and Curriculo have become city-states with their own governments. The Lord's Men and the Falknovian mercs have all been slaughtered by Dromir's hordes of ghouls.
Karina is a war zone, being closest to Dromir's territory. Murder and mayhem is a daily occurrence in the former capital city. Hordes of skeletons battle Invidian soldiers under the power of soldiers who used to be under Malocchio's rule. Dromir sent agents out to Invidia's borders to construct military garrisons to prevent anyone from entering or leaving the country without his or his superiors' direct orders. This program has met with little success. Nathan Timothy's werewolves in Verbrek are using this as an oppurtunity to gain revenge on Malocchio's troops for killing their brethren that have infiltrated the society.
Word of the slaughter of the Falknovian troops has reached Lekar, and Vlad Drakov is furious. He would like to perform military action to kill this "Darkonian magician," but this would mean crossing through Borca or Richemulot, which would involve an all-out war between the Four Towers. Azalin has also gotten word of the death of the Dukkar. This displeases him greatly, and he has found out that the new Darklord is a Darkonian, nonetheless!
I have a lot of plans for the changes in Invidia for my next campaign, but I have a few questions:
- Would Vlad Drakov be stupid enough to send his army to Invidia to gain revenge for the slaughter of his troops, even though it would cause a war with four countries against him?
Cole Deschain: Drakov's pretty damned stupid... But inciting a multi-front war just to punish a distant foe wouldn;t pan out. He'd be more likely to send a few idio- I mean Mercenaries... like PCs, for example.
- How will the Vistani react at the death of the Dukkar? How will treat Dromir? Dromir was smart enough to see the power of the Vistani, and offered them asylum from their Invidian oppressors and what remains of Malocchio's loyalists. Would it be typical of the Vistani to take up his offer, even though western Invidia is literally crawling with death, disease, famine, and undead?
- What would Azalin do when he realizes that someone killed the Dukkar, disrupting whatever plans that he had? Also note that Dromir is now a full-fledged Darklord in his own right!
- What would be a proper poetically-justified curse, as all darklords must have, for a death-obsessed Cleric of the Eternal Order, who is addicted to Necromancy?
Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!
Who knew that such a rural country with so few people could become the largest war-zone in the Core?
It is kind of sad, really. While Malocchio and Gabrielle are dead, the country is far worse off. Is there hope for the Invidian spirit?
Rotipher of the FoS wrote: Whoa... Yugoslavia, eat your heart out.
Nathan: WRT the curse--why did Dromir become a necromancer? What does he enjoy about it, or hope to gain from it?
Gwenfloor: Basically, he likes total and complete control over others, and what better way than to control the bodies, and sometimes, souls, of your enemy? That gives me a great idea for a curse! Loss of control!
Spiteful Crow: Make any undead he creates randomly gain free will and rebel against him. And make it so that there's always a community of living people somewhere in the domain fighting him, no matter what he does.
Rotipher of the FoS: Simply having the undead he creates turn against them is kind of drab, IMO. At least as VRGttWD has it, that sort of thing can happen to any necromancer who keeps the Obedient Dead around to long; it's just not unique enough for a darklord's curse, IMO. Instead, perhaps the undead he creates are so servile and eager to please him, they cause problems by their very enthusiasm to serve. He tells some zombies to build an impregnable wall around his lair, and the zombies build one so impregnable that it doesn't even have a door. He demands that his ghouls serve his needs, and they lovingly redecorate his bedroom with the nicest accoutrements they can think of: rotting organs and flesh. He orders his minions to help him create an army of undead, and they oblige by trying to trigger another Requiem, with Dromir's home as ground zero.
Isabella: Going off Rotipher's premise, and since Dromir is being described as a real control freak, maybe all of his undead are semi-intelligent and free-willed, even the zombies and skeletons. They could very well be loyal to him and do what ever he says, but they act like normal people and can't be commanded on a moment to moment basis. That means they screw up like normal people too. They might even bug him with questions and alternate plans. It could get really annoying after a while.
It could even provide interesting ways for PCs to escape the Darklord's wrath. They don't have to outsmart him, just his undead.
Of course, that brings up the question of why he'd stick with necromancy if they did that all the time.
Creepy Old Woman
I am confused about Gabrielle Aderre. More specifically, why she is a darklord in the first place and why she is still a darklord.
As far as I know, she inherited the mantleship of darklord from Bakholis in what was essentially an act of self-defence. But until then, I wasn't aware of anything really dire that she had done to gain the mantleship. Even more confusingly, now her son is running rampant, but she is still the darklord?
The DPs had stripped the likes of Nathan Timothy and arguably Lord Soth from their darklord mantle, so why didn't they do the same with Gabrielle whose sins were actually one of the most inconsequential for a darklord? Even before that Grazzt wannabe came and knocked her up, all she did was to break hearts, toy with people, act cruelly and capriciously, but not exactly darklord material, no?
I love Gabrielle and I think she is one of the most fascinating darklords in canon material. All that pathos! But I am confused about why she is still the darklord of Invidia, or why she is one in the first place. Anyone has any ideas?
Zettaijin : Because her creator(s) felt strongly about women who break hearts?
I'm not entirely kidding here. Had Gabbie been a guy, would people feel as strongly about her... err him holding the mantle of darklord?
At least she was given some interesting potential as time went on instead of being the token evil gypsy enchantress.
'Sides, if gothic fiction laments the erosion of good ol' fashioned values and RL is to adhere to the slanted views of said fiction on morality, then Gabbie is a cinch for darklorddom. Not the only seducer of men? No, but I'm guessing she's the one chosen to be made an example of by the DP. She has to bear the sins of her kind.
Why shouldn't the DP be backwards and sexist? They already seem to suggest that punishment will lead to atonement, so their values already tend toward the conservative side apparently...
The issue of overlap isn't exactly new, in fact, it's been debated before that some Darklords seem rather useless because others are doing a better job then them. It's just that some archetypes have received so much attention the world over that variants are bound to pop up and not all of these variants are compatible with each other, different socio-historical contexts and all that. Thing is, if all these seductive evil ladies were aristocrats, we'd be tempted to believe that only the wealthy and powerful can seduce and corrupt - we might even start to believe that social classes have something to do with it. Can't have that in a patriarchal society bent on portraying women as dangerous and untrustworthy.
Men seducing women just don't have the same historical and mythical weight as the female seductress. Again, male dominated societies and all that jazz.
Taken out of their respective contexts and costumes, there's little Gabbie has done that Ivana herself hasn't and the same holds for Jackie in Richemulot. So that's three female Darklords with loads of overlap and only a costume and setting to differentiate them.
Obviously the female Darklords suffer from worse typecasting than their male peers. But, that's Gothic fiction for ya. Hell, I'm sure plenty of contemporary fantasy fiction still typecast women into pretty hard archetypes as well and do so frequently.
I guess what I'm saying is that Gabbie is a Darklord because the staff at the time didn't really see sinful women as being able to escape the societal norms of Gothic fiction and thus forced to be whores, witches or mothers. I'm sure giving her the reins of power was a show of good will to prove that women could be Darklords too and a chance to put more attention on a potentially interesting character. Alas, these roles have the unfortunate weight of time imposed upon them, meaning that even the most well meaning individual will have to make a conscious effort to break free of their hold. Oh and it also means going against the Gothic standards, but whether we accept the rigidness of Gothic fiction or not is another issue altogether.
That Gabbie continues to be a Darklord might just be a sign of just how heavy those archetypes really are. Pretty sad state of affairs that her status as Darklord has yet to be questioned while the slightest overlap in male Darklords can raise eyebrows.
Rotipher of the FoS : I think that Gabby's evil was never really about seducing men per se, but about spoiling others' happiness. She's essentially a figure of spite: if she can't have a happy home life -- the one thing that first her mother, then her half-fiend son, and finally her political circumstances, have always denied her -- then neither can anyone else. Remember how most of her spells are enchantments? Gabby doesn't use those spells to compel folks to follow her, but to make them turn against each other: their spouses, their siblings, their friends. The Gaz IV description of her history may have downplayed that facet of her personality, given how her other problems have taken precedence in recent years, but it was certainly a big factor with her retaining darklordship, early on.
Not every darklord needs to be so flagrant in their villainy as Drakov, and some evils work their ill effects by subtle means. Gabby is a saboteur of the love that makes human relationships work, much as doppelgangers are saboteurs of the trust that enables human society to function. She's the reason Invidians acquired such a reputation for hot tempers and violent passions, because she'd spent years inflaming their grudges and stoking the fires of their rage. Remember, we're not just talking about reducing folks to tears, here; she's provoked blood-feuds, death-duels, and suicides by her sabotage. And IMO it's no coincidence that Invidia started to split, politically, right when its darklord found, not one, but two men she might potentially find contentment with, yet couldn't take sides between.
If you're worried about her seeming too much like the other seductresses (Ivana, Jacqueline, the Hags in disguise), the best solution for that is to realize that Gabrielle's not one. Yes, she's bedded a few powerful guys, but more for personal needs (i.e. yearning for security) than for malice, jealousy or lust. That may seem like a subtle difference, but it's a vital one: unlike the others, she's not toying with her paramours, she needs them. She actually cares for Matton -- something strictly verboten for a seductress-archetype -- and it's only his wolfwere nature and Invidia's politics that bar her from choosing him over the other men in her life. Deep down, she wants one man, not crowds of them, and that's what really makes her different from (and more human than) the other female Core lords. She longs for the very happiness she spent so many years denying to others ... which makes her a hypocrite, as well as a sour, spiteful creature, spoiling what she can't have.
As for why she hasn't lost darklordship to Malocchio, or someone else, who says the Dark Powers aren't planning to arrange such a shift in the future? There's no rule that says they have to oust a darklord instantly if he or she starts to slack off -- they certainly gave Soth a reprieve from being demoted, the first time he lost interest in his domain, in When Black Roses Bloom -- and it'd be consistent with other darklordly downfalls if they were to wait until some appropriately-cataclysmic event to boot her out and/or kill her off. Until that time, they'll keep mucking with her hopes and fears, and see which way she jumps (i.e. towards or away from greater evil).
DilisnyaRevenge : I just recently re-ran Evil Eye and with this in mind, I was really able to take it to another level. By just subtle manipulations between the slightly pro-visanti and slightly anti-vistani factions of the party, I was able to have Gabrielle sow discord in the group. (No charms or enchantments needed.) Gabrielle saw them as a happy group of friends and a successful team (something she hated), with one small disagreement and she wanted amplify it to destroy their group. By the time she vanished, the characters were near coming to blows! The PCs recovered, but suddenly to them all the stories of hot blooded Invidians and their tragedies carried a lot more resonance, because it had almost been done to them.
High Priest Mikhal : Mallochio has certainly earned the title and would make for a warlike DL as hinted at in Gaz I, regarding the "Invidians" that invaded Kartakass. I wonder if the hinted-at war between him and his neighbors (Barovia and Borca, for his intrusions while chasing Vistani) could be the event that makes him DL?
Rotipher of the FoS : Before Malocchio gets promoted to darklord, I'd like to see the guy become a wee bit more mature. He's essentially a spoiled brat at heart -- spoiled, and nothing more -- which strikes me as rather trite and petty for a darklord, no matter how homicidal his temper tantrums might become. He just doesn't have the depth for it, IMO, at least as he currently stands.
Ah, but note the pattern involved in new darklords inheriting domains upon the deaths of old darklords:
Claude Renier was murdered by Jackie R.
Duke Gundar was betrayed by Daclaud Heinfroth.
Camille Dilisnya's assassination was masterminded by Ivana Boritsi.
Bakholis was killed by Gabrielle Aderre.
Radaga was slain in a convoluted battle involving the Crown of Souls, and
upon her death Daegon's soul was released from the crown and took the
darklordship of Daglan.
In short, in the event of a darklord's death, one inherits a darklord's domain by (a) qualifying for the position and (b) being involved in the previous darklord's death. Admittedly, Heinfroth and Ivana did not personally strike the killing blows, but in both cases they were actively involved and present; they watched their predecessors die. Gabby doesn't even necessarily have to have failed a powers check when she killed Bakholis; as long as she was already "qualified" for the position, all she had to do was be involved in his death.
The Evil Eye further supports this - it gives the option of Malocchio becoming the new darklord of Invidia. The condition? Gabby has to die during the climactic battle due to his machinations. As long as she lives, he cannot inherit Invidia.
In theory, the DP's could pick Malocchio up and grant him his own domain, but that happens very rarely for individuals already in Ravenloft. Most of the time, they enter the Mists of their own accord before being granted a domain (off the top of my head, Dominic d'Honaire, Camille Dilisnya, Harkon Lukas, and Azalin all headed into a misty border before their domains appeared before them.)
WolfKook : Completely agreed on Malloccio being immature. Indeed, I have always wanted to retcon Malocchio into being a tragic being. Someone who is destined to become someone of great evil, but who grows up completely oblivious of that.
As I see this, Malocchio would have been kidnapped from early childhood, to Gabrielle's despair as she seems the only one who knows his dark future, and who goes to great lengths to find him and kill him before he becomes the monster she know he will (Thus commiting the henious acts that would keep her firmly in her darklord seat).
In the meantime, he would grow up as a normal child (i.e. At a normal rate), with nothing unusual about him, except for the strange accidents that start to happen around him, when he feels threatened or is angry for some reason.
From then on, his story could develop a lot, don't you think?
A lot of good ideas in this thread. Gabrielle Aderre has always been one of my favorite darklords.
To get more of an idea of the depth of her evil, you really need to look at some of the older 2E works. The Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium II introduced the Midnight Slasher, a serial killer who was unthinkingly created by Gabrielle. When the Slasher was a young girl, Gabrielle seduced and provoked her parents into killing each other in a crime of passion, simply out of spite because of how loving the couple were to one another. The child witnessed this, her mind snapped, and she eventually grew up to prey on Karina's prostitutes, who in her mind stood for the seductress who destroyed her family.
As far as Malocchio inheriting the mantle of darklord from her, according to the Invidia Gazetteer, he is fully aware and fearful of the possibility. Right now, the only thing binding him to Invidia is Madame Eva's spell, which can still possibly be thwarted. If he becomes a darklord, he will be trapped forever, so he is currently allowing Gabrielle to live.
I could be wrong, but I've never heard of the mantle of darklord passing to another without the death of the prior lord. The closest I've seen is Nathan Timothy, but A) he didn't so much pass on the mantle as his domain ceased to exist/became part of Verbrek, B) it was the result of the Grand Conjunction, and C) his curse continues to function; he is no longer confined by the borders of a domain, but is still tied to the water.
I do agree that Malocchio is more evil than Gabrielle, but is lacking the tragic depths that she has. Malocchio is more "BWAHAHAHA TWIRL MY MUSTACHE AT YOU" evil, while Gabrielle's longing for acceptance brings her closer to the Gothic ideal. I mean, if evil acts alone were enough to determine the darklord of a domain, Mordenheim would be Lamordia's lord instead of Adam. Adam may have plenty of dark deeds to his name, but all of his crimes can arguably be laid at the feet of Mordenheim for his hubris and insanity.
Rotipher of the FoS
That brings up an interesting question: how could we make Malocchio feel more tragic, without retconning his background and trashing The Evil Eye? Can we come up with some personal experience -- being ousted from power, getting chewed out as a failure by the GC, falling in love as a true fiend never could, etc -- that could bring his human side to the fore, and so make him three-dimensional/Gothic enough to cut it as a darklord?
Gonzoron of the FoS :
What about meeting a cambion or tiefling that isn't evil, forcing him to confront the fact that he did have a choice, and wasn't destined to be evil. (maybe a meetup with his half-sister, the Beast of the Hills?)
I'm not sure that would work, given that Malocchio's evil is as much a result of his being a dukkar as being a half-fiend. Certainly, the fact that the Vistani call him a dukkar, and his late grandmother's warnings to his mother, both suggest that Gabrielle's son really was fated to be evil at heart ... even if his sire had been human.
That being said, there's no reason we couldn't give the overgrown brat a reason, now that it's too late to make amends, to belatedly rail against that fate.
I have toyed with this idea for a while, with a Malocchio doomed to be something he doesn't really want to be, and perhaps discovering about such destiny along the way, each step he takes away from it taking him further down the path, in a greek tragedy kind of way.
Malocchio has always been for me one of the characters with greatest potential in RL, and one of the poorest executions ever.
...Maybe the Dukkar's position as the doom of the Vistani race also means (In some sort of obscure way) liberation from the dark powers for the people of Ravenloft, in a final war that's to be fought in the Time of Unparalleled Darkness...
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