Domain of the Month
Darklord: Wilfred Godfrey
Other selected interesting sources: Darklords and Book of Secrets (Merilee Markuza)
ScS of the Fraternity
Perhaps a case of misdirection?
A wealthy nobleman gathers togther an army of mystics, mediums and monster hunters. Who ever can drive the ghosts from his newly inherrited estate gets a massive payoff.
What is not known is the former owner of the manor was a diabolist. Just before his death, the owner summoned a demonic entity into the house and trapped it in a pentagram, hidden in a secret chamber beneath the manor's dilapidated chapel.
Little did the socerer know, but the demon possessed powers that could extend beyond the summoning circle. The creature used its vile sorcerery to slay the summoner while he slept. But, his attempts to free himself caused the servants to flee the manor.
Now trapped in the secret chamber, the demon must somehow lure the witless band of ghost hunters to his prison and free him.
Yet the sorcerer still has the last laugh - the network of traps and keys required to unlock the chamber will confound and kill all but the most resourceful dupes.
Don Fernando: Excellent. But what if, the Fiend escaped the pentagram and possessed someone in the Diabolist Family, perhaps the young daughter, an Innocent. However things are not so easy for the fiend, and since the soul of the young woman is pure, it is really difficult to corrupt her. So it can only take control of her at a certain time in the day. With this control it managed to kill the Diabolist and his family. And now it lured another victim, less pure (the nobleman) and more influential along with his family to the manor.
But in order to be free, the pentagram that still holds the Fiend bound to the manor must be erased. In which case the soul of the young woman will be lost, the family killed and a major Fiend set loose. This is where our heroes enter the scene....
A local family seems to be tormented by a strangely elusive ghost, plagued by strange noises and flying objects. This ghost seems to follow them no matter where they go, or what they do. In truth, there is no ghost. The families youngest child is a budding sorcerer/psionic wild-talent. How will the heroes deal with this once they learn the truth. Furthermore, what shall they do should word of this childs abilities get out, and angry men with torches and pitchforks appear.
David of the Frat
DeepShadow: That last one was intriguing, but how could you get the ghost out without Godefroy's permission? Only he can release a ghost from the Vortex. On a similar note, the Vortex only affects ethereal beings, not all incorporeals. An unusually intelligent and clever shadow (perhaps a Necropolitan version) could prove a powerful fly in Godefroy's ointment, a rogue agent running favors for the undead under the DL's thumb.
David of the Frat: Well, they might be supplied with an item that could render the Vortex weakened. Or they may have to petition the local Guardians for use of the item they're guarding that is rumoured to make ghosts solid if not flesh, or they may simply 'borrow' it. Or they may perform a mercy killing in the manor freeing her soul.
Emily Morgault, a powerful Mordentish seer, was one of the first to witness the inexorable pull of the House on Gryphon Hill. Morgault consulted those who visited her on how to help the departed avoid this compulsion, and her suggestions started many of the Mordentish funeral traditions. Morgault's visions were accurate, but her remedies to free the spirits of the departed from the house's influence were invented solely for profit. Later in life she entered into the service of Wilfred Godefroy, and upon her death she remained in his employ, as a diabolical spectre who led other spirits into the House's grasp.
The PCs are hired by an elderly cleric of Ezra to sabotage the researches of a mysterious foreigner who has set up a private laboratory in one of Mordent's many abandoned estates. In particular, they are to destroy a cursed figurine which this individual is alleged to possess: an evil icon of a terrifying death-god.
In reality, the item they are sent to destroy is an unique wondrous item similar to a Figurine of Wondrous Power, which the researcher (a budding necromancer specializing in incorporeal undead) is using to capture souls of the dying in Mordent. Once per week, the "icon" can be used to send a grim reaper (DoD) to collect the soul of a person on their deathbed, which is trapped within the reaper's scythe and delivered to the researcher, who stores the souls in an enchanted crystal.
The twist? The person who hires the PCs -- who is too frail to accompany them, but is utterly convinced by prophetic dreams(despite her Order's skepticism) that the foreigner intends to found a dark cult in the heart of Mordent -- is actually being manipulated by a dream-warping ghost in the service of Lord Godefroy. The ghost darklord has become concerned that spirits he'd long been looking forward to terrorizing have not turned up at his manor when their bodies die. The researcher, though spooky and strange, is actually working for a Mordentshire-based spiritualists' club, which knows a little about the Vortex, and whose members needed a way to shield their dying loved ones' souls from captivity on Gryphon Hill. The researcher's figurine isn't useable all that often -- certainly not enough to save every soul in Mordent -- so the spiritualists keep their knowledge of the Vortex and their dealings with the foreign necromancer confidential, reserving the crystal's shelter solely for their own ailing loved ones.
The researcher, himself, is a Mist-napped outlander who can't speak the local languages, and his homeworld's culture is very different from that of the Core (e.g. necromancy isn't considered scary there). This, combined with oaths of secrecy he's sworn regarding the figurine's true purpose, means it'll be quite a challenge for PCs to negotiate with him enough to learn what's really going on... or to make amends, if they go through with their assignment and destroy the figurine before its work of collecting the designated loved ones' souls can be completed. To make matters worse, the figurine -- an item the foreigner brought with him from his own world, where it was used routinely as a first step in preparing the dying for the afterlife -- may be developing some nasty side effects its owner isn't yet aware of, due to Ravenloft's subtle corrupting influence over necromantic magics: if he brings the soul-filled crystal to another domain, outside the Vortex's range, as he'd been hired to do, and releases the souls there, it may well be that they'll emerge as corrupted, hostile undead, rather than passing over peacefully!
A female spellcaster, in search of a being that might end the suffering of her family, attempts to summon a being from another plane. This being, distinguished by his coat and large, floppy-brimmed, hat or foreign styles quickly turns on her and reverses her wishes. He makes her immortal by binding her spirit in a mirror and using the mirror to show her how he tortures and torments her family. The man loses the mirror though, in a mansion and since then the woman has been struggling to use her magic to let her escape. All that she has been able to do is use her spells in a small range from the mirror or possess mortals that maintain possession of the mirror in which she is trapped. She desperately seeks to avenge herself and her family and her opportunity comes when the mirror finds its way into the hands of an unwitting adventuring party...
I could bet that a bard from Mordent would be able to scare the witts out of people with his/her ghost stories. Like the scary stories to tell in the dark childrens books. not sure if anyone remembers those.
These elements were used IMC after the DP's left RL, but there's little here that can't be put into any campaign.
During one of his visits to Daniel Foxgrove, Godfrey became convinced that the aging Jules Weathermay could see him and knew of his relationship with Daniel. Knowing Daniel would never harm his father-in-law, Wilfred decided to handle the matter himself. Catching Jules alone late one night, Wilfred vicously assaulted the helpless old man, taking great pleasure in beating him with his ghostly cane. His sadism got the better of him, however, for he let Jules live, but rammed the cane down the old man's throat to scar his tongue and vocal cords. In the morning the servants found Jules on the floor of his bedroom and concluded a stroke had robbed him of speech.
Godfrey now takes great pleasure in teasing the old man, often insisting on meeting with Daniel right in front of Jules, and bringing Alice to meet her sobbing father before sending her to reward Daniel for betraying his countrymen. For his part, Daniel has confessed everything he knows to Jules, treating the mute old man as a confessional of sorts to whitewash his conscience. Jules now knows more of Godfrey's nature and plans than he ever wished to, but is unable to tell anyone at all.
Nine days ago, well after the assault on Jules, George Weathermay returned home to Mordentshire, accompanied by his nieces. His return was ill brought, however, for it wasn't Heather House that the twins wanted him to visit: George Weathermay was mad, and has been institutionalized in Saulbridge Sanitarium since his return. The Weathermays have managed to keep the situation hushed up, but as George's madness has escalated into violence, there is no telling how long they will have to keep the situation under wraps. Dr. McClintock had reached a dead end in George's treatment until the arrival of a Lamordian scholar and student of Dr. Illhousen. Karl Bauer's assistance was simple yet invaluable: he entered George's dreams to discover what had brought him to where he was.
Through the dreams and the twins, Bauer has managed to piece together the source of George's mental instability. After his decade-long hunt for Natalia, George had finally seen her dead. Natalia had discovered Gennifer's infection, and had reunited the nieces and their uncle in the hopes of infecting George through his niece. Just as Natalia realized that "Gennifer" wasn't changing, her progeny pulled out a Falkovnian revolver with silver bullets. The last thing the werewolf heard was Laurie saying, "You forgot: we're twins."
Seeing his nemesis destroyed in such a wickedly clever scheme by the very people he was protecting was too much for poor George. With Natalia dead and the twins not needing his protection, he now questions the point of his hunt for Natalia. His dreams are haunted by Hypnos, who recreates his humiliation at Natalia's hands ten years ago and mirrors it with Natalia's death at Laurie's hands. In both cases, George stood horrified, unable to move, stunned by the real or apparent transformation of a loved one. Karl Bauer has called in another dreamwalker (a PC) to assist in driving off Hypnos before the glass coffin slams tight around George's heart and he turns on the twins to soothe his injured pride.
Saulbridge Sanitarium--Mara, a ten-year old girl, arrived only two days ago, admitted to the Sanitarium for horrible nightmares. While the child is fluent in Mordentish, her mother speaks only Lamordian, and has become increasingly upset upon being separated from her child. Katrina von Brandthofen accidently broke one orderly's arm after he tried to retrain her from entering a treatment room, and in conversation with Dr. Maclintock she explained that her daughter was not supposed to stay here longer than one night, though she won't say why. Doctors are beginning to suspect that the mother's derangement may be connected to her daughter's nightmares, which reportedly are full of blood, death, cannibalism and a strange phobia of bright light.
A number of people all over Mordent have been overhearing parts of the Mournsworth slogan whispered in their ears, and the Mournsworth graveyard has been the scene of eerie lights and thunderous rumblings of late. Having fled Mordent for other parts just before the Mists arrived, the Mournsworths may be trying to return now that the Mists are gone, but what could be preventing them?
In truth, this is a hoax of incredible proportions perpetrated by a spellcasting doppelganger, leader of a clan that fled Paridon after a wicked blood feud. Sir Marcius Galta is a most resourceful and cunning doppleganger who sports considerable skills as a wizard in addition to his race's natural abilities. His "whispering wind" spells to public places all over Mordentshire have been laying the foundation for his next identity: Sir Felix Mournesworth, who was sent forward in time to complete the spells that will bring his family back. After he has finished contacting enough of his doppleganger kin, Marcius will appear formally at Heather House to announce the return of his family, followed by a masterful performance at the Mournesworth estates.
The Hon. James Martigan (BoSecrets, Lights in the Fog)--died of heart failure after a Vistani seer revealed that his daughter might still be alive. Already in failing health, the shock was just too great for James when a seer showed turned over the "artifact" card from her deck and said that it represented the object his daughter had become, lying forgotten in the hoard of her "collector." Martigan expired even as the old woman turned over the Horseman card, but his last moments were so traumatic that his spirit lingered. It attached to his old friend Sir William Canifax (BoShadows), who broke down under Martigan's deathless dogged persistence and promised to recover the girl from the Phantom Lover. Canifax (and Martigan) are now seeking heroes to accompany them to Leederick...and the trophy room of the Black Dragon himself!
Shorter and perhaps a bit more familiar to us fellow mist-dwellers than the verses of Lord Byron, this week's poem was written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1839 and, IIRC, included in The Fall of the House of Usher. Creepy and atmospherical, this poem reads like a preliminary to the current Domain of the Month: Mordent thread.
The player characters are approached by the civil authorities, low-ranking personages concerned with the day-to-day details of the administration of justice. They are deeply concerned. A warrant for the arrest and trial of the Richemulot traitoress Bernadine Le Dontecu has been sworn out for some time now. They were awaiting the outcome of her trial in Mordent, where she was apprehended after fleeing the border towns which had harbored her and her seditious ways. There was no point in extraditing her if she was to be decapitated.
However, the local authorities lack leverage over the more powerful Mordentine nobles and information has not been forthcoming. Could the player characters, as personages of good standing and experienced travellers find out the status of Le Dontecu and insist upon the legal rights of the area?
Dontecu's crimes, borne of madness inflicted upon her as a child by cruel and legally untouchable nobility, led her to a reign of sabotage and terror, degrading eventually into, it is whispered, debauchery and even the cannibalistic witchery to absorb the power of the noble blood she hated into herself. Poor conditions and inhuman treatment by local leaders against the populace led many to help her hide and prosper as a revolutionary. When a reformist leader and his men came, however, and exposed her insanity, her previous associates turned on her in return for lenient treatment. All the crimes of her followers would be laid at her feet.
The players travel to Mordent and discover that Le Dontecu was convicted, but before she could be sentenced to death, and the warrant the players possess discharged, the prison where she was held was assaulted by a mob intent on vigilante justice. In the confusion, she escaped. Embarrassed and mortified, the Mordentine nobility have tried to keep her escape quiet, in order to keep the political situation from spiraling out of control.
The player characters will fairly easily pierce the curtain of silence, as those perpetrating the coverup are more nervous about exposure than they are uncooperative with the attempt to bring her to justice. Indeed, the player characters are welcomed to try to find the escapee, although the Mordent leadership has already paid a princely sum to the implacable bounty hunter Aldrich Belden, a keen-minded investigator who tracked her via the very few contacts who remained loyal to her to the docks, where she bribed her way onto a smuggler's sloop. Belden gave pursuit in a small Mordentine naval vessel he commandeered for the purpose. Neither has been heard from in some days.
The player characters may investigate Le Dontecu's contacts and intimidate them into giving up her eventual destination - an island in the Finger known for harboring pirates and scoundrels. Investigating there or in nearby ports will reveal neither the smuggler's ship, The Coppinger nor the Mordentine cutter Hayle's Health has been seen, sidewise looks and muttered rumors note that the Devil's Lighthouse has been spotted...and that a ship matching the Coppinger's description was silhouetted raised high up on the rocks, at a great distance...
In reality, the Coppinger smashed on the rocks, killing everyone aboard but Le Dontecu herself and the Health barely survived a deadly scrape with a reef.
Now on the island, Bernadine Le Dontecu plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with her unstoppable pursuer, while the sailors guarding the one ship that can get them back off the island are picked off one by one in the night. Mutiny and flight seems inevitable...
Obviously there are many opportunities for adventures along the way, travelling from place to place, but in the end...
Can the players find the fugitive? Has she hatched a diabolical scheme with the cursed darklord of L'Ile? Will anyone escape...or will Belden's obsession with his prey lead him to plunge into the darkness forever?
Bernadine Le Dontecu
Female Human Rogue 8
Strength 10 (+0)
Total Hit Points: 42
Armor Class: 10
Initiative modifier: +0
Dagger (1d4, crit 19-20/x2, range inc 10 ft., 1 lb., light, piercing)
Feats: Athletic, Leadership (Bernadine has been deprived of the advantage of her followers due to being arrested and hunted. She may regain them over time.), Persuasive, Point Blank Shot
Skills: Appraise +6, Balance +4, Bluff +16, Climb +2, Decipher Script +3, Diplomacy +18, Disguise +8, Escape Artist +8,
Forgery +1, Gather Information +14, Intimidate +18
Special Bonuses: Her level in the Bluff skill gives +2 on disguise checks to act in character. Her level in the Escape Artist skill gives +2 on Use Rope checks for bindings.
Bernadine's story is actually quite sad. A fiery passion for justice in her youth was exploited by a vampiric lover who tormented her into insanity, inadvertently creating a bloodthirsty political revolutionary from an idealistic young woman. She may, at the GM's discretion, have evidence of being a vampire's thrall at various points in her life, or still carry evil blood-driven magical items that she can unleash when cornered. Adept with a shortbow, she prefers hiding and striking from darkness to direct confrontation, especially with superior forces. Her weakness is that she does not know the island and lacks even basic wilderness survival skills - which is why she must keep Monette loyal to her at all costs, even though she fully intends at some point to backstab him, or to drink his blood and take his power for herself.
Male Human Ranger 4 / Rogue 4
Strength 12 (+1)
Total Hit Points: 42
Speed: 30 feet
Initiative modifier: +0
Club [1d6, crit x2, range incr. 10 ft., 3 lb, one-handed, bludgeoning]
Longbow [1d8, crit x3, range inc. 100 ft, 3 lb, piercing]
Feats: Combat Expertise , Endurance [free to rangers], Iron Will, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot [ranger archery track], Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Net), Track [free to rangers]
Skills: Balance +5, Diplomacy +5, Gather Information +11, Handle Animal +7, Heal +6, Hide +7, Intimidate +11, Listen
+12, Move Silently +7, Profession (bounty hunter) +8, Ride +10, Spot +12, Survival +12, Swim +3, Use Rope +4
First-level Ranger spells: 1 (0+1) per day
After his family was tormented by a bandit king, Belden gained a great appreciation for law and order, turning his natural hunting talents towards brigands and highwaymen. Celebrated by several rather exaggerated and popularized stories of his exploits, none of which he had anything to do with, he found himself drawn into the intrigues of politics, where his talents as a bounty hunter were put towards more and more elaborate and sensitive tasks. Now he hunts primarily for the challenge of catching the prey - although he continues to talk, in his quiet way, about justice, deep inside himself he is starting to wonder if perhaps he is addicted to the chase more than satisfied by delivering them to gaol. His weakness in this adventure is that he has no mount and can't use the superior mobility he is used to to get ahead of his prey. His hawk is a masterful advantage on the stony island, driving Bernadine to hide where the hawk can't see, at least until she kills it...
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