Domain of the Month
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
Created in 691
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.
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...
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.
- 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!
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.
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?
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