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Domain of the Month


Adventure Hooks


The land of the fey, and the inquisition chasing them ... Does it hide something else?

Second edition: Black Box (Realm of Terror), Red Box (RL Campaign Setting), Domains of Dread, Darklords
Third ed. info: RL3E / RLPH, Gaz 5
Adventure: Chilling Tales (Through Darkened Eyes), Servants of Darkness
Novel: Tapestry of Dark Souls
Other selected interesting source: USS 2003 (The Inquisition Trials)

Created in 691
Part of the Core
Darklord: The Three Hags - Laveeda, Leticia, Lorinda


Joel of the Fraternity

Tepest is only used in my experience for campaigns revolving around the Araks of the Shadow Rift but even so, that is due to the proximity of Tepest to the Shadow Rift and Keening. I am toying with the idea of Tristessa snapping out of her insane funk to start a war on the Araks of the Shadow Rift to avenge herself on Loht and Tepest would figure in this campaign as usual, but only as a stopover for the adventurers.

Poor Tepest suffers from having too many things that the domains around it have in better and richer shades, IMO. The shadow fey? There are more in the Shadow Rift nearby. The undead? Keening is just nearby and are far more suited for adventures involving the undead. The Inquisition? Why Tepest when Elena Faith-hold is waiting in Nidala?

Sure, Tepest has the three hags and the Lady in the small Castle domain but so far they are just developed as standard us-versus-the-monsters hooks rather than compelling Darklords with ambitions and sinister plans like Strahd, Azalin, and even Dominic. IMO, the Darklords of Tepest and the Lady have been overlooked completely in the makeover of Ravenloft since the GC. Even Alfred Timothy and von Kharkov are better developed than the three hags and these two are also often overlooked Darklords of the Core! Poor Tepest has been overshadowed by its neighbors.

Having said that, I'd love to hear from anyone who has ideas about making Tepest a more exciting place to set a campaign in!



Tepest in my games is more the place for very generic low fantasy RPG.

Things like: A child vanishes in the woods...

A magic fountain devours everyone who tries to take a wish coin from its ground...

Things like this, but nothing really worth to be named *plot*...


Rotipher of the FoS

The way I see Tepest, it's the "Little Red Riding Hood" domain. If Darkon is for Tolkeinesque elves-and-dwarves fantasy (with a scary twist), then Tepest is for classic fairy tales -- the original versions, before prim Victorian sensibilities cut out all the sex and gore -- with a little seasoning from Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery".

On the one hand, that makes it a relatively low-level domain -- something that Ravenloft needs -- and requires a level of isolation and insularity that unavoidably makes it seem "neglected" by the rest of the Core. OTOH, if you feel it's necessary to have the Hags' influence spread beyond their own domain, it's not that difficult to do so within the bounds of the fairy-tale format: plenty of classic tales involve wicked witches setting terrible events in motion -- laying curses, spreading lies, planting poisoned apples and baneful items where they'll cause harm -- without necessarily being on the scene, when those events come to a head.



To my mind, Hags are a remarkably effective and sadly underused villain (along with Ancient Dead). Vampires and Werewolves get all the fame (with due cause I will admit), and Liches and Fiends seem to be setting malignant events in motion all over the place, but think about the Hag.

You have life spans potential equivalent to those of vampires (Up to a thousand years I believe), a really nice creepy stereotypes (witches), sheer evil, a great deal of magic that can easily be as effective as that of a Lich...

I need to make a Hag the center of a campaign.


vipera aspis

I love the backwoods feel of this land. Tapestry of dark souls gives a good feel for the domain. very much cut off from the outside world. Good for concerns of demihuman relations. a good way to do it would be think of a party searching for a missing demihuman from Darkon on it's way to Nova Vaasa who took a wrong turn and was caught by the witch hunters. And was taken off kicking and screaming. Ever since then strange and horrible things are happening in a small village in Tepest. people disappearing, horrible screams in the dead of night, goblins making more daring raids; that sort of thing. while searching for the missing demihuman they come across this village and are begged to help with the horrible activities taking place lately. not wanting to tell of the run in with the demihuman (fey consort) for fear of being abandoned in their hour of need or not actually seeing it happen; they avoid questions concerning it's disappearance. Or white rumors/lies "must have fallen prey to the beasties, old man Willis saw him headin' towards the rift, he came in and left to the mountins' never said a word, and of course" never saw no strangers round these parts for years" eventually they could tie up both loose ends and come to a number of answers or more questions...

  • Elf, with a weight tied round the ankles and hurled into a river to see if drowning would expose the evil hidden they brought on a ghost, water logged vampire influencing the goblins that sort of thing.
  • Dwarf, taken to a near cliff he was launched or asked to take a leap of faith for his stone gods of old. Falling to his doom he unleashed a horrible curse on the close minded town. His terror and screams and cries of revenge and honour have awoken a great evil buried in the side of the cliff. An ancient dead or alhoon long ago trapped or slumbering now walks again.
  • Halfling/gnome, given as sacrifice to the goblins or burned alive in a cage over a fire ala' ToDS for good harvest. The Halflings talk of improving the local greens or the gnomes dark and morbid jokes rubbed the priests the wrong way. cursing them for quenching the sweetness of life it's death cry (and fantastic smell) gathers the attention of a group of gremishka. "what kind of goblins are those? what the hell happen to my cat?"
  • Calbain, beaten, dragged though the woods and hung in the woods. discovered by the hags or Blackroot and sent back to replace itself with the ones who condemned it to death. Many templates can be used on for this. and it could lead to future evils.

Sadly, you could also use a redheaded human druid for this one.



I was listening to a CD in my collection, Ballads of England, Scotland, and Wales. It's a Smithsonian recording of actual old folk singers [made in the 30's I believe] from the British Isles. There was a song [Scottish] about a false knight who is actually the Devil in disguise. He confronts a small boy, coming home from school, and demands propitiation. The boy refuses and stands his ground. He stalls till the church bells ring, calling the fiend back to hell. Anyhoo, I thought that sounded cool, so maybe we can adapt it?

The false knight might be a fey with the fiendish template added. He is vulnerable to being turned by clerics, and is unable to enter holy places or abide the sound of church bells. Perhaps it is a sort of allergen for him? He haunts the roads of Tepest, seeking whom he may seduce or cow into his service. Mortals who accept his protection or do him homage may find themselves enchanted to his service. What does he do with them? I don't know yet. This idea needs more work. Does it sound like a promising start to anyone else?

His background [always very important with Ravenloft NPCs/monsters] might be that his mother was a shadow fey and his father a demonic being drawn into Ravenloft by Gwydion, or else summoned by some foolish sorcerer, then trapped in the Demiplane. If his mother was of the upper castes of the Fey, that might explain his predilection for appearing as a knightly figure. Perhaps his half fiend status made him an outcast from Fey society, so he alternately preys upon and seduces mortals to gain the respect he so desires, but was denied in his mother's court? I know that is very sketchy, but it's been a long day for me.

Where are you going now
said the Knight on the Road?
I go to meet my God
said the child as he stood.


And he stood, and he stood-
And 'twere well that he stood.

I go to meet my God
said the child as he stood.

How will you go by land
said the knight on the road,
With a strong staff in my hand
said the child as he stood.


With a strong staff in my hand
said the child as he stood.

And how will you go by sea said the knight on the road.
With a good boat under me said the child as he stood.


With a good boat under me
said the child as he stood.

Methinks I hear a bell
said the knight on the road.
Aye it's ringing you to hell
said the child as he stood.

- this is the song, as much as I can remember anyway.


Nathan of the FoS

Tepest would be a good domain for an adventure or character based on "Tam Lin", too. (Tam Lin is a human knight ensorcelled by the queen of Faerie who is saved by his lover--it's one of those stories with about a zillion variations, so you could use it as a starting point for all kinds of adventures leading from Tepest to the Shadow Rift or vice versa.



"La Belle Dame sans Merci" by John Keats- now there is a poem for Tepest!

La Belle Dame sans Merci

by John Keats

'O WHAT can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

'O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest 's done.

'I see a lily on thy brow
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.'

'I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful-a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

'I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look'd at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

'I set her on my pacing steed
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sideways would she lean, and sing
A faery's song.

'She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said,
"I love thee true!"

'She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept and sigh'd full sore;
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
With kisses four.

'And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dream'd-Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream'd
On the cold hill's side.

'I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried-"La belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!"

'I saw their starved lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill's side.

'And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.'

Baduin9 added: And a kind of sequel

The Enchanted Knight

by Edwin Muir

LULLED by La Belle Dame Sans Merci he lies
In the bare wood below the blackening hill.
The plough drives nearer now, the shadow flies
Past him across the plain, but he lies still.

Long since the rust its gardens here has planted,
Flowering his armour like an autumn field.
From his sharp breast-plate to his iron hand
A spider's web is stretched, a phantom shield.

When footsteps pound the turf beside his ear
Armies pass through his dream in endless line,
And one by one his ancient friends appear;
They pass all day, but he can make no sign.

When a bird cries within the silent grove
The long-lost voice goes by, he makes to rise
And follow, but his cold limbs never move,
And on the turf unstirred his shadow lies.

But if a withered leaf should drift
Across his face and rest, the dread drops start
Chill on his forehead. Now he tries to lift
The insulting weight that stays and breaks his heart.


Joel of the Fraternity

I love the idea of a Gothic fairytale-like setting of doomed knights for Tepest. Already I have a mind of adapting a dark version of Sleeping Beauty for a next campaign set in Tepest. Haunted woods, a dark castle with a wicked witch and a magic mirror, and seven... um, something (I'll think about this later).



Goblins work, especially if you add the folkloric fey template to them.

Joel of the Fraternity asked: But aren't goblins native to Forlorn though?

Nathan of the FoS: That's "goblyns". One of the more famous cases where they changed the spelling and called it a new critter (see also vampire/vampyre). "Goblins" are Tepesti and (usually) use the Monster Manual stats, unless you take NeoTiamat's suggestion. "Goblyns" are bigger and less natural and are famous (in Forlorn) for their weird imitation of the original Forlorn culture (because the human inhabitants except for a few druids were transformed to goblyns when the domain entered the Mists) and also famous (everywhere) for biting people's faces off, which, to do ordinary goblins justice, is not something they usually do.



So precisely what are the hags up to? Do they have any long range, core or at least realm shaking schemes? A genocidal goblin war against the Tepestani? Do they resent the Fey, living and dead, on their borders and, occasionally, within their land? Do they manipulate adventurers to act against these enemies of Tepest?

Do they fume about the Stigos road project and the Nova Vaasan attitude generally? Do they care about defending the land against the Nova Vaasans? Or are they simply a source of persistent, or perhaps even only intermittent, evil, stealing babies, seducing lone hunters, inferring in goblin politics, ever on the prowl for druids and witches of Hala. Are they also sought out by the foolish and the powerful for love potions and other magic items (as Azalin curiously did for his crystal ball) and eldritch services? What sort of relations do they have with evils other than the goblins? Blackroot? Black unicorns?

Joel of the Fraternity: I think the hags are just happy to stay in the background as long as they have babies to eat and men to seduce/eat. I do wonder though, why the Dark Powers would keep them as Darklords when they ditched Nathan Timothy and Jack Karn. Apart from the hags being hags, are there anything interesting about them? I'm not complaining that the hags aren't diabolical schemers like Azalin, although my initial post may understandably give that impression. I find the hags rather boring though. They're just one dimensionally evil, evil, evil. If I have my way, I'm inspired by the posts about fallen knights to replace the three hags with an evil stepmother queen living in a castle for the Darklord of Tepest, a la the queen in Sleeping Beauty and turn Tepest into a land of dark nightmarish fairy tales come to life. Or maybe I can do that as a new domain altogether, hmm...

Matthew L. Martin: I've been considering that concept for Sithicus, myself, with the "Black Rose" (fairy tale characters are often more effective when they don't have names and are painted in broad strokes) at the center of a realm of fey and dark fantasy. But part of that's because what you say about the hags above, I apply to Inza.

cure: The sisters bake ginger bread, make up their cottage as a ginger bread house, and try to lure children into willing throwing themselves into the oven. Perhaps they compete among themselves as to who can invent the most amusing schemes. Their evil, although petty, is not boring. They are ever trying to top one another, only willingly participating in the most fun of each other's projects.

Mangrum: Don't forget that they're purposefully egging the Inquisition along to ensure a steady supply of condemned criminal corpses for use as material components.

cure: Has there ever been any serious attempt to individualize the three hags beyond them simply being of different species? And how do the Dark Powers see that the hags are constantly reminded of their curse? Are the Tepestani exceptional beautiful? Is there never a lack of pools in which a hag make glimpse her ugliness. Here is a theme that should be played up.



For one of RL campaign I created a secret society in Tepest. Just in short:

This society was established by Ambros Kalighi - mul gladiator/psionicist NPC from Athas, that many years ago was drawn to Kalidnay. He gathered a party of adventurers and some time they strived to cope with whatever Mists brought to them. They traveled through several domains and annoyed some of local dark lords. Finally they had to hide in an inconspicuous domain of Tepest. Only two of the party withstood the plots of Ravenloft - Ambros and half-elf Monika. (Unfortunately, even Ambros was already struck by Dark powers.)

He and Monika found a male and female cloister that was open to any human or humanoid. They pretend to lead a cloister as a father Ambros and a sister Monika and this face they showed to outer world as well as to the monastics. In fact, they carefully observe each novice and if they discover some natural talent in any of novices, they begin to prepare him/her for to "ordain" to a priest. If the novice passes all necessary tests, he is offered to become a secret society member.

The secret society concentrates to magical items and information about them. Ambros sends out the "holy crusades" of his adherents, as he is scared to leave Tepest himself (and rarely leaves the walls of his cloister).

This secret society, named The Chain Circle, was designed as an opening setting for PCs.

It is up to DM what will be the purpose of collecting magical items - Ambros could either use them for finding way out of RL and rescue his followers or he could search for a magical item that will help him to defeat some of dark lords. Another possibilty is that he could be so deeply affected by Dark powers that his LN alignment will switch to LE and he will try to get ahead as a new evil force in RL.


To contribute to the Domain of the Month, post on the forum.

Send your adventure hooks to Joel@fraternityofshadows.com

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