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Domain of the Month

Isle de la TempÍte

Adventure Hooks

 

Darklord: Captain Monette
Domain info in 3e: none yet
Second edition: Darklords, Domains of Dread

 

Willowhugger

Captain Monette is a character that I enjoy using. I had Monette set up an Inn on his island and later its' grown into a small town. He's learned to control his feedings and has expanded his domain. Much of the water is treacherous and Monette usually wrecks with his storms that he's gained the ability to create in order to have "another ship tragically lost at sea."

The townsfolk of my revised Island are a bunch of individuals whom are cursed with the same hunger that Monette is, except its not for blood. There's hundreds of ships that Monette has sank with gold and gemstones while the waters are filled with great amounts of fish, there's even whales to catch but Monette can't make any of the wealth his own because he gets incredibly dizzy and ironically, seasick if he ever steps foot on a boat.

The Old Seaman is now cursed to either fly or walk but he can never sail again and he cannot stand the wealth the people on his island reap even as his curse affects them too and the town has become a place of violence, treachery, and piracy. One thing I did like in the write up for Stu's campaign, I believe where Sir Caine Shadowborn successfully killed Monette (any chance that campaign was ever finished) and it became a realm united with their gods. I think the Lighthouse should have something sinister about it. Maybe it's actually a temple or contains something sinister?

Captain Monette Roleplaying: I find the best way to Play Captain Monette is a stereotypical pirate that is so obviously trying to be so. I put on my best pirate accent, gave him a peg leg and eye patch and a serious drinking habit (he has a still).More than anything, he wants off the island and the only thing that enrages him more than the fact the PCs can leave is the loneliness so he'll WANT to speak with them first before he does so.

 

David of the Frat

I like the idea of sunken treasure so:

  • The Iron Fist was a Darkonian merchantís vessel sailing back to home laden with gold and Vassan currency as well as the goods of the adventurers / archaeologists emigrating to Darkon. Then the vessel went down with all hands. Included in the sunken goods are several small lockboxes of treasure and rumours of enchanted items owned by the heroes.
  • The Iron Fist has become a legend attracting many treasure seekers who are inevitably sunk adding to the bounty surrounding the treacherous waters.
  • The treacherous waters and isolated nature of the island are a benefit to some, such as the monastic order of the Guardians who wish to set up a hold there. They plan on anchoring the ship close to the island (or purposely beaching it) and building a stronghold. They plan enough to keep away from the lighthouse but need guards with strong stomachs and firm arms to help. During the day with carrying supplies and building materials and during the night to watch over the site. Can it be built in time or is the undertaking doomed from the start?
  • Madrox is not a native to the Core instead being a sailor from another land. One night he followed a phantom light and found himself surrounded by Mists. Now ten years have past and he has an idea. He has heard many tales of the Phantom light and over the course of some charting he has found the source. He believes if he finds the light again he can head away and sail back home. Failing that he has the plan that if he can track it back to its source he reverse it so it leads home. But regardless he needs brave souls to help him.
 

cure

After picking at the bones of a wreck, while idly awaiting the next, the good captain found a bottle of wine, which he promptly drained, and was about to hurl it against the rocks when its potential struck him. He now scours wrecks for parchment and bottles and wiles days away composing messages to the unwise. These are becoming increasingly artful, and cover the gamit of treasure maps, ancient ruins, kidnapped noblewomen, lost refugees, oracles, fantastic lands, and even portals to other worlds. So the next time you find a bottle washed up on the shore, bidding you to seek out the light in the mists, be sure to decline its invitation to high adventure. Even having such a bottle in your possession when out of sight of land, dramatically increases your chances of coming face to face with the good captain.

 

These are various comments and author notes on the FoS report about őle de la TempÍte:

cure

Well done. A lonely Monette who is eager to talk is a great improvement. His character development is excellent as is his relation with bats and their variants.

I find a skull, even or especially a disembodied one, to be, however, unappealing as the source of the light.

JoŽl of the FoS : Oh. Well, I tried to warp it all together into one story, and thought interesting the idea that his nephewís skull, being the skull of the person that made him a darklord, was the beam attracting people to the island.

By the way, I also thought for a moment of this dread possibility idea: perhaps Monette knows his beam can also sent people elsewhere (but not himself of course). He have seen a few people "sucked" into the beam on whatever condition (new moon?). But similar to the Gundar blood gate in Hunadora, Monette doesn't know / care where they go (even if he could lie that he does.). I thought this could be a good way to get rid of powerful / annoying visitors?

I am only slightly more sympathetic towards the nephew and his murder. Is the rationale that Monette's evil was somehow lacking for Darklord status in their absence?

JoŽl of the FoS: The Darklords entry was extremely short (a few paragraphs at the most) in that we had to extend this a lot for the FoS Report (where one would expect detailed background). I had something with Monetteís fiancťe, but Sharon came with this idea of adding his nephew to the mix, and making his slaying the thing that made him go over the top to darklordship. That was the choice he made.

I also toyed with the idea of removing him from darklordship and simply make him a one-shot cursed human.

Rotipher of the FoS: Frankly, we thought the Darklords description of Monette's crimes as a human was a bit skimpy. Yes, he was a brute, but there would've been literally thousands of other sea captains with an equally bad attitude on his world of origin. Obviously the Dark Powers didn't claim any of the others, so there needed to be something darker in his history, that made Monette stand out.

There's canon precedent for potential darklords' being subjected to a test of their nastiness, when they first attain a domain. Both Azalin and Von Kharkov went through a transition period when they entered the Mists -- Azalin, split into two facets of his identity in King of the Dead; Von Kharkov, confronting visions of old enemies in his Tales of Ravenloft short story -- and only became full-blown darklords when they responded to their circumstances with ruthlessness and violence. Had Monette not murdered his nephew on sight, and out of human wrathfulness rather than werebat hunger, he might well have remained as an ordinary (albeit lycanthropic) outlander, not a darklord.

Joel's fiancee idea was good too, BTW, but there's already been so many darklords whose love lives messed them up that it's a bit stale as a plot device. Plus, one of the Nocturnal Sea's running themes was loneliness -- Evensong trapped in his parlor for centuries, the Lady wishing the ravens would speak to her, Meredoth so antisocial he can barely relate to his own familiar, Easan suspecting everyone around him is a figment of his imagination -- and proclaiming that one of its darklords had been married or engaged in the past would violate that theme.

Speaking of the light, I am not sure there is an advantage in stating that it can reach into other planes only once a year.

JoŽl: I found it a nice touch of having it reach the planes on the anniversary of Monetteís arrival on RL. Indeed, but as a DM tool, it means it can be ďonĒ any time when needed

Given that Monette has no way of policing undersea monsters and given the rich prey he offers up in terms of ships' crews, there should be consequential predators. Not krakens but certainly scavengers that rob Monette of his prey from time to time, and perhaps drive him to drink or even send visiting adventurers after them. Would this be best tackled with an encounter table for the shore and immediately surrounding sea?

Rotipher: Mundane scavengers such as sharks or eels, certainly. Scouts from Virundus's undersea empire have probably also begun sniffing around Tempete, looking for potential prisoners or salvagable surface-crafted items, although the unpredictable currents would make this difficult. (Just because you breathe water doesn't mean you shouldn't fear being swept up by the waves and dashed against sharp rocks! )

It seems to be a prosperous place for reavers, aquatic trolls and aquatic ghouls, creatures that can climb aboard a stricten ship. A crew of sea zombies from a ship that broke up and scattered along one of the shores would not be unbecoming. Ravens are a nice touch, to remind sailors that, if lucky, they are destined to become carrion, rather than being carried off in the night by 'something.'

I have serious doubts that reefs were conceived by the Dark Powers to line up ships at high tide but to spare them at low tide. Why wouldn't there be reefs all the way down? At best, when the tide is high, there might be no reefs visible. So at low tide, one would have a warning that the area is reef infested, but certainly not hope that all the reefs of consequence are now visible.

JoŽl: One way to see it, indeed, but then it means the near only entry point to the island is by getting your ship wrecked. See my next point too.

The ships are remarkably durable. Vessels caught in rocks that a moderate sea would destroy in days are described as lingering for years if not decades. This seems largely unnecessary. Unless one insists on including the full complement of offered wrecked ships at any one moment, there is little need to artificially preserve the life of the ships. On any given revisitation of the island, two or three new vessels can be added, and the previous ones can be reduced, save for exceptionally, to skeletons or planks on the shore. I believe that it was suggested that the light may even reach across time, so old ships can be simply plucked up as need be rather than lingering on.

Rotipher of the FoS : Considering how there's been a spoiled wedding cake sitting in Castle Ravenloft's dining hall for 400+ years, never quiiiite collapsing into dust, I wouldn't place too much weight on natural decay-rates' being consistent in the Land of Mists. Certainly not when the shattered reminders of a darklord's greatest crimes and failures can linger indefinitely in place, to mock them....

JoŽl: Well Sharon answered this, but Iíd like to add that one design goal I was pursuing was to make the island something more that ďhey, thereís a lighthouse, oh, we are wreckedĒ. So having these wrecked ships there gave plenty of adventure hooks, which was a design choice very different from the Darklords entry. I thought that having all these different wrecks there could give DMs many ideas for their PCs to visit the island, or to find other adventure hooks by plundering wrecks for parts.

Or a reason to go there more then once, to move away from the ďletís kill the DL and get away from this placeĒ scheme that was in Darklords.

I asked for wrecks ideas on Enworld, and got many suggestions. I had to reset these for RL, but I kept most of them.

But a DM could also select just a few wrecks at any given time, instead of the whole area filled with old wrecks.

As to the necromancer who slew Monette, would that be the run away clone from Todstein?

Rotipher of the FoS: Could be, although we hadn't actually discussed that possibility! Feel free to make Thedmore the culprit IYC, if you like.

IIRC, Joel'd initially meant for the killer to be Meredoth himself, testily blasting the werebat out of the sky at long range, but that option was largely ruled out once we started integrating the domains' timelines. (Monette's temporary death preceded his island's incorporation into the Nocturnal Sea, so they wouldn't have shared a border at the time.) Nonetheless, it does give Monette considerable cause to hate his necromantically-inclined neighbor ... assuming he ever realizes he has one, that is.

JoŽl: Indeed, as Sharon answered, that was my intention IIRC, but we let this as a mystery later. The spell caster mistrust was to give another personality trait to Monette.

Other author notes by JoŽl

I liked the description of the sunset Ė eerie long shadows, mix of black and golden orange (rocks), and later when the sun sets, itís very dark. I saw this as very helpful in atmospherics. Ravenloft is often a mix of horrors set in beautiful landscapes. Since the islandís top surface is mainly rocks and shrubs, I thought of a way to create dread with these long shadows where anything could hide.

The first time PCs see it, itís beautiful. After, since Monette likes to hunt by night, the survivors see this sunset as dread: he will be coming back soonÖ

Monette and Óle de la TempÍte have French names. So I suggested that Monette come from French Caribbean pre-GE, so the Port-of-the-Prince port where he comes from (Haiti)

Before Chris Nichols reminded me that he already had a first name in Darklords, I had him named Archibald Monette

Sharon suggested the ďnervous habitsĒ Monette developed as a werebat lycanthrope, i.e. tilting his head and similar.

Chris suggested decimation as a way top punish his crew, hence the card drawing for hanging.

Another idea that didnít make the final cut: if Monette is killed, what happens to the light house beam while he is dead or in the regrow phase? Sharon suggested the beam could turn to illuminate Monette's corpse. That is very eerie. And it can be creepy after a long battle, to see the beam reaching for him...

And I forgot to say the main designer for Monette's stat was Giamarga! It was a fun cooperation.

Giamarga : Well there isn't that much to say about his stats. I followed the description and stats from 2E source closely. His backstory provided many of the feats and skills. (Diehard because he survived the keelhauling, courageous because he was said to be fearless, etc.) I also consulted with the seabased netbook a lot for his build. Applying the werebat template was a bit tricky, but between the FR werebat, the SRD and Sean Reynolds Were-progression classes we persevered.

His equipment and tactics are a bit inspired by the Robinson Crusoe movie with Pierce Brosnan. (I think the Crusoe angle should be played up a bit more in his story, after all Ravenloft is all about amalgamating different pastiches.)

Jeremy16

This was a very straightforward and tidy chapter. The domain description did a good job of recapping the information found in the Darklords accessory and expanding it just enough to make the island more interesting.

A Permanent Colony

I know this was suggested on the message boards before, and Iím glad it made it into the book. Itís a good way of drawing players to the island without running the standard shipwreck adventure. It also makes sense that someone would eventually try this. The idea of someone trying to establish a permanent settlement on the island (perhaps peasants from Nova Vaasa, who decide to set sail for a new land free from their old masters) is rife with possibilities.

Shipwrecks

Counting them up, there were 28 entries in this sidebar. While I like the detail given to each ship, I think this section could have been tightened up. Some descriptions were too generic, and some ideas seem to be repeated. But I guess thereís no law saying anyone has to use them all, so having a variety to choose from is a good thing.

Captain Monette

I liked the in-text meeting with Captain Monette. It was a good way to illustrate how an encounter with this particular darklord would go. The description of the lighthouse was also well done.

The Bats

Iím not sure why there needs to be two different species occupying the domain. Is this a plot point Iím missing? That being said, I like the attention given to the islandís dominant species. The sidebar about the Afflicted Bats is an interesting addition, but Iím not sure a lot can be done with them.

Lord Cyclohexane : Since I wrote the portion in question, I suppose I ought to provide an answer. It'll be a bit round-about, so please bear with me...

The meta-purpose of my one-page Tepetian bat entry was to answer that lingering question, "How is it that Monette became a werebat simply by eating bats?" Since this isn't a normal vector for lycanthropy, it seemed to beggar an explanation.

When I wrote the article, it was in the middle of the summer and there was another outbreak of the West Nile virus. That got me thinking about the mosquito and how it can take a disease from one victim, store the virus/bacteria within itself in a way that doesn't infect itself, and then pass that still-active disease on to a new victim. Could that method be applied to bats?

Monette obtained the dread disease of lycanthropy by eating a bat. As such, my submission needed to cover predators eating such infection-carrying bats and getting infected, so as to compare with Monette's eating and getting infected. Unfortunately, though, L'Ile de la Tempete is pretty barren and can't support much in the way of life, so finding a predator for my bat wasn't really working... And so I looked to see if some bat species are predators for other bat species. I found a few and so went with that, thus putting two different bat species in my submission.

So, to answer your question, did there need to be two types of bats? No, but I did need one type and a predator for that one type, and having bats prey on bats just seemed to work. In retrospect, though, I wish I'd done some more research and found an appropriate raptor to be the predator... Oh, well, so it goes.

The submission failed as a whole, anyway. My main points (and why they didn't work out):

  • 1) Why did eating a bat change Monette? (Wasn't that important, and didn't get the point across to the in-game Gaz writer that he shouldn't eat the wildlife)
  • JoŽl of the FoS : You can also add that the Watchers helped a bit too. They had brought him to RL at that point, and they needed to give him a curse too.

    Also, it's not only eating bats. Note that some of them were lapping the blood on him when he awoke in the cave. Their saliva could be a way the Watchers used to curse Monette.

  • 2) Link to the Becoming Plague, a Dread Possibility in the Richemulot section of Gaz III, as both deal with using normal animals as carriers for lycanthropy. (My reference to Dr. Milhavet was a little too oblique and so I think it failed)
  • 3) Create a specie of demihuman-eating aquatic humanoids, the Ikosik, which was a reference to my Liffean submission (ALTO) regarding Armeikos as Arme and Ikos, with Ikos falling into the ocean for its citizens' crime of rampant cannibalism -- the Ikosik are the cursed descendents of Ikos's cannibals, cursed to search for but never find their lost city of Ikos. (This was *way* overshadowed by Virundus, which I had no idea was coming; if I did, I would have linked the Ikosik to Virundus and wouldn't have been so coy about the idea of an aquatic humanoid specie)

Cure:

Two possible and slight contradictions:

Monette has developed a hatred of spellcasters but proceeds to hail one flying about. Perhaps it was specified that the hatred was directed at necromancers, but is he really likely to know the difference?

JoŽl of the FoS : No, it's more of a "darn, now this one is casting spells... I hate those... Better meet him ASAP to see what kind... Better an evil you know... Closer I can battle him, from a distance they cast spells"

He wanted to assess the threat, and if it goes bad, he flees in bat form.

The dread possibility has Monette gathering pen, paper and bottles to dispatch 'invitations' to the unwary. The description of the ship wrecks have pen and paper untouched.

Lord Cyclohexane

On the chapter as a whole, I found it worked quite well. One thing seemed odd to me, however:

It's made quite plain, both from the people snatched from the shipwrecks and from the individual sailor stolen from the Black Pelican, that Monette has a considerable ability to fly out across the waters and attack. However, in my mind, this seems to conflict with his Landlocked (Su) quality (p307) that makes him weaker and weaker the further he gets from shore...

Are those shoals a lot closer to the shore than I imagined upon my reading of the chapter?

Rotipher of the FoS : Well, most of the shipwrecks he raids are only a few hundred feet from shore. If he's hungry enough, Monette can put up with a little weakness and nausea to snatch up a victim from a rock-hung derelict. Most sailors would be low-level experts, hence wouldn't be able to defend themselves against him even if he's not at his physical peak. Given how dangerous the waves and currents are among the shoals, they don't need to be all that far from shore to trap shipwrecked victims on the derelicts.

JoŽl: That is how indeed I saw it. The currents bring the boats very close to the islandís side, may be 500 feet at the most when they wreck.

So for Monette, it's a minor disgust to get there, to search a wreck or to snatch victims.

And, with the Black Pelican being "just a tiny point on the horizon" when Monette sees it (p99) and yet Monette loses -1 from Con and Str for every 300 ft from shore, how was he strong enough to pull a full-grown man from the ship, much less cross the distance to the ship to begin with?

Rotipher of the FoS : As for the "tiny dot" reference, you're right, that's a bit of a discrepancy. Perhaps Captain Howe took his ship farther offshore for a time, the better to keep clear of the rocks and to watch the whole island for Viktor's signal? Then, when it got dark(er), he took Black Pelican closer to the isle to find a secure anchorage for the night.

JoŽl of the FoS: Good one, Lord C. I saw that too but by then the book was out. I admit it needs more explanation, but you can easily explain/retcon it by saying Howe took his boat closer indeed, at one point during the night. It could be for any reason you need in game (Sharonís proposition is good; a trickery by Monette Ė false light signal (he spied on Viktor and saw him signal the ship every few hours); the currents brought him closer at one point; during Howeís sleep, the nightwatch fell for the beam but Howe somehow realizing they were now very close took the wheel and moved the ship farther, etc.)

Honestly, why are we trying to come up with reasons to change a perfectly good story (the fluff) when the problem is really with a silly bit of crunch from way back in 2nd Ed?

I mean, really, Monette's curse should be all about 1) creating isolation and loneliness for M and 2) keeping M from engaging in his true love, sailing, ever again. How exactly does M's physical proximity to his island make any difference whatsoever, considering that there is no habitation to visit within his domain's borders and that flying to the edges of his domain wouldn't give him the exuberance that sailing to those same edges would have? How exactly does that change if a shipwreck or functional ship is 1000 ft away from shore as opposed to 100 ft away?

I say we scrap the old Landlocked drawback that originated from Darklords as it doesn't really fulfill the requirement.

In its place, I say we give Monette an allergy to seaworthy vessels: if Monette ever steps foot on any part of a functional ship (decks, masts, rigging, etc), he immediately takes 1d10 points of damage (or whatever it is that vampires take when hit by sunlight).

If Monette wishes to visit a wreck, that's completely fine since he can't sail it. If Monette wishes to fly over a seaworthy vessel like the Black Pelican and attack or snatch a crewmember, he's perfectly welcome so long as he doesn't land on it (or get knocked from the air by a lucky shot and crash onto the deck or get caught in the rigging). If he wishes to use his (IIRC) Current Control power to beach the ship, he can then walk on it normally since it's lost the ability to sail. (Think of the horror checks as the crew thinks it's at least safe in the hold, since the monster can't land on the ship, and then learns that this is no longer the case once they run aground...)

I'd also extend this as a change of his vulnerability to silver: if anyone strikes Monette with an implement that is part of a functional ship (whether it's a bit of the bannister that's been ripped off, a fully functional oar, a piece of rigging used as a garrote, or what-have-you), this will bypass Monette's damage reduction or act as a +1 weapon or whatnot.

Of course, there'd be nothing stopping Monette from destroying the ship and thus making the weapons powerless... But then, if the heroes created so much as a seaworthy raft by lashing together wreckage from other ships, those weapons would regain their power...

Anyway, this would then resolve my issue with the fluff while also giving Monette a more fitting curse, not to mention making him more dangerous by allowing him to attack vessels still at sea (well, actually JoŽl is the one that made him more dangerous; I'm not trying to take credit for that). Additionally, that may make Monette even more isolated as he can now fly far enough to smack into the borders of his domain, finally learning for sure that no matter how hard he tries to make it further and further before passing out that there is nowhere to escape to... (Better might be, at the border, he can just see another island, outside his grasp...)

JoŽl of the FoS : That's a pretty cool option, IMHO: it gives Monette more miles to act. It is a different approach to the limits set on Monette than the canon one.

I would put the same limitation on water in general. He could fly over it, but touching the sea he loves/craves, or a ship would hurt him.

While that's a cool idea, I think it almost makes it a little too easy. In the same way that I made my vulnerability (above) apply only to items that are currently part of a functional ship, I'd originally thought to make it as anything that had once been part of a ship until I realized that the raw quantity of shipwreck material made that vulnerability almost irrelevant.

Similarly, with how easy it'd be to knock Monette into the sea during encounters on either functional ships or on the shipwrecks or on the beach or in the seaside caves, it seems to me that the vulnerability would be a bit too common. Not to mention, IMHO your description would also apply to flasks of seawater working like flasks of holy water, which again gives Monette too wide of a vulnerability.

Additionally, while I might need to reread the Darklords entry again, I don't recall Monette having a huge love for swimming or for the concept of the sea itself. As far as I recall, he was only really big about boats and sailing. If my recollection is true, denying him access to the water in general would not actually deny him anything that he cares about and so would not be a fitting curse in my eyes.

Of course, considering my taste on what to deny and what to allow curse-wise, I might not be good Dark Power material.

 

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