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Campaign Help? 
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Conspirator
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Post Campaign Help?
Hi guys, I hope I'm posting this in the correct space (I don't normally use forums, but I'm learning to enjoy them). If this is the wrong place, would it be possible for a mod to move it instead of deleting it? I'd appreciate the help since I'm new here (and to forum posting in general).

I'm starting up a Ravenloft game using the Pathfinder RPG, and the excellent netbooks by Ryan Naylor (reading them over as I have time, they're great). As for the campaign itself, I'm trying for 1/2 of the party to be "outlanders" and the other 1/2 to be native to the demiplane of dread. I want to set it in a newly created domain, so that eventually the "natives" will learn that they didn't really exist before it was created (hopefully cueing existential crises). I'm toying with the idea of the main story being a power struggle being between a ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf vying for control of the new domain, each believing one of the others is the darklord. What they don't know is that the darklord is actually a cannibalistic dragon (Ravener, or Wyrmwraith, or some other type of undead dragon) that lives in some nearby mountains. There are a few issues I need help with, and I was told this was the place to get expert advice on all things Ravenloft, so here goes:

1) Names. I'm not good at naming things. Usually I try to find a closely related earth culture, and pick words from that language to name things (Like "Lou" for a french themed villager who is actually a werewolf). I'm thinking of maybe some Transylvanian names, any suggestions? Someone already suggested Balauria for the Domain name; balaur being the Romanian word for "dragon." That's exactly the kind of thing I like for names. Any other naming conventions people use that you're willing to share?

2) The Darklord. I'm not sure if dragons can even be darklords, or if it makes (logical/thematic) sense to have a dragon darklord. Do you think it would ruin the feel of gothic horror to make a dragon a darklord? Right now I'm thinking it was a brass dragon (or other traditionally good aligned dragon) that betrayed a higher calling (like being the guardian of a draconic graveyard), and in his madness thought he could escape his "curse" (his duty/higher calling) by eating other dragon's hearts to gain their power. Well, it "worked" as the mists closed in around him and "freed" him. They even gave him a new home; too bad it's infested with those filthy lesser races... Would a Darklord like this be better used as a dormant sleeping threat, or actively manipulating events? What would scare you more?

3) The Domain. Domains are made to fit the darklord right? So he's got a fairly large domain, but there are elves, dwarves, and humans "infesting" it. Should they be allied, or fighting each other; what would you guys do for the different races? Should there even be different races in the domain? I'm going to try and nudge my players towards human (and near human) characters, but I don't want to outright "NO" a few of my players that may want to be elves/dwarves so the xenophobia rules may get some flexing.

4) Alternative Darklords. If a dragon doesn't fit Ravenloft/gothic horror, I'll use one of the other antagonists as the darklord, but which one? Also, the domain will change from a fantasy styled land/kingdom to a victorian era themed domain (think the Bram Stoker's Dracula movie from the early 90's). I'll still need to take away some of the more advanced firearms and things like cameras. Any suggestions for alternate Domain themes that work well with Ravenloft besides "victorian era" flavored?

5) Introducing the Players. I may have a, "I'm a hero! CHAAAARGE!" style player. I don't want to run a combat heavy game, but I also don't want to throw level 1-2 characters up against CR 20 baddies in the first session to make a point. What tricks have you done to get new players to take the game a little more seriously, and to create a bit of anxiety (apart from the mature thing of talking to them before the game)?

6) What's your favorite low level/introductory module for Ravenloft? I'm looking for something to help with the first couple of sessions, and cannibalizing a module, like my Darklord cannibalizes other dragons, may be the thing I need.

Thank you guys for your expertise ahead of time. I look forward to hearing from you, and being a part of your community here in the mists. :Strahd:


Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:22 am
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Evil Genius
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
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Post Re: Campaign Help?
Clark wrote:
Hi guys, I hope I'm posting this in the correct space (I don't normally use forums, but I'm learning to enjoy them). If this is the wrong place, would it be possible for a mod to move it instead of deleting it? I'd appreciate the help since I'm new here (and to forum posting in general).

I'm starting up a Ravenloft game using the Pathfinder RPG, and the excellent netbooks by Ryan Naylor (reading them over as I have time, they're great). As for the campaign itself, I'm trying for 1/2 of the party to be "outlanders" and the other 1/2 to be native to the demiplane of dread. I want to set it in a newly created domain, so that eventually the "natives" will learn that they didn't really exist before it was created (hopefully cueing existential crises). I'm toying with the idea of the main story being a power struggle being between a ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf vying for control of the new domain, each believing one of the others is the darklord. What they don't know is that the darklord is actually a cannibalistic dragon (Ravener, or Wyrmwraith, or some other type of undead dragon) that lives in some nearby mountains. There are a few issues I need help with, and I was told this was the place to get expert advice on all things Ravenloft, so here goes:

1) Names. I'm not good at naming things. Usually I try to find a closely related earth culture, and pick words from that language to name things (Like "Lou" for a french themed villager who is actually a werewolf). I'm thinking of maybe some Transylvanian names, any suggestions? Someone already suggested Balauria for the Domain name; balaur being the Romanian word for "dragon." That's exactly the kind of thing I like for names. Any other naming conventions people use that you're willing to share?

2) The Darklord. I'm not sure if dragons can even be darklords, or if it makes (logical/thematic) sense to have a dragon darklord. Do you think it would ruin the feel of gothic horror to make a dragon a darklord? Right now I'm thinking it was a brass dragon (or other traditionally good aligned dragon) that betrayed a higher calling (like being the guardian of a draconic graveyard), and in his madness thought he could escape his "curse" (his duty/higher calling) by eating other dragon's hearts to gain their power. Well, it "worked" as the mists closed in around him and "freed" him. They even gave him a new home; too bad it's infested with those filthy lesser races... Would a Darklord like this be better used as a dormant sleeping threat, or actively manipulating events? What would scare you more?

3) The Domain. Domains are made to fit the darklord right? So he's got a fairly large domain, but there are elves, dwarves, and humans "infesting" it. Should they be allied, or fighting each other; what would you guys do for the different races? Should there even be different races in the domain? I'm going to try and nudge my players towards human (and near human) characters, but I don't want to outright "NO" a few of my players that may want to be elves/dwarves so the xenophobia rules may get some flexing.

4) Alternative Darklords. If a dragon doesn't fit Ravenloft/gothic horror, I'll use one of the other antagonists as the darklord, but which one? Also, the domain will change from a fantasy styled land/kingdom to a victorian era themed domain (think the Bram Stoker's Dracula movie from the early 90's). I'll still need to take away some of the more advanced firearms and things like cameras. Any suggestions for alternate Domain themes that work well with Ravenloft besides "victorian era" flavored?

5) Introducing the Players. I may have a, "I'm a hero! CHAAAARGE!" style player. I don't want to run a combat heavy game, but I also don't want to throw level 1-2 characters up against CR 20 baddies in the first session to make a point. What tricks have you done to get new players to take the game a little more seriously, and to create a bit of anxiety (apart from the mature thing of talking to them before the game)?

6) What's your favorite low level/introductory module for Ravenloft? I'm looking for something to help with the first couple of sessions, and cannibalizing a module, like my Darklord cannibalizes other dragons, may be the thing I need.

Thank you guys for your expertise ahead of time. I look forward to hearing from you, and being a part of your community here in the mists. :Strahd:



To be perfectly honest, from what I've read, dragons tend to be super rare in Ravenloft. We know that at one point Strhad had a young red one working for him (that Soth killed) and that there's this weird Shadowy dragon called Ebb that worked with Azalin once upon a time I believe, and of course Bonemaw "exists" so the people of Ravenloft are aware of the concept of dragons, but there are probably only about a handful of them in the entire demiplane.

That said if you wanted to make your dragon concept work as a darklord, to have him be able to interact with the PCs/setting around him, maybe he should have at some point for reason X transformed himself into a human/elf/etc as dragons tend to do, but due to the influence of the Dark Powers, now he can't transform back. Just as he gave up on his duties as a dragon, now he has lost all his physical powers/prowess as a dragon, maybe he's even aging slowly, in the sense that humans age growing weaker rather than stronger (or at least believes himself to be) the concept of growing infirm with time rather than stronger with it would no doubt be a horrific and personal punishment to a dragon, exactly the kind that the Dark Powers like to hand out.

Maybe he/others can see his true reflections in mirrors, so the dragon he wants to be is always there taunting him just outside of his reach? Maybe he can turn back into dragon form for an hour/day/short period of time... and in his hunger, desire for power he is now exterminating the dragon population (hires adventures to go kill evil or "evil" dragon have them bring him its heart as proof) meaning that when he does run of out dragons... then he'll be really stuck and it'll be entirely his own fault....

As for what adventure to start from I'd highly suggest "Neither Man Nor Beast". It's a good adventure for low level characters with lots of challenges/situations that can't/won't be resolved by brute force, and brings up a lot of interesting roleplaying set ups. It also can easily bring people from a normal setting into Ravenloft since all it requires is that they start the adventure out in a port town in any plane and wind up getting on a ship to preform task X before the Mist ends up swallowing up the ship and they end up shipwrecked.

That said, I'll admit the adventure would have a little bit of trouble working as an opening when one half of the party is native to Ravenloft and one half who comes from other planes... possibly youc ould have two different halves end up being on different ships that both get ship wrecked at the same time... but that is convoluted and would require awkward juggling of the party since there is a fair portion of the adventure that can take place before their ship is wrecked...

Hmm, are you planning to have the people who hail from Ravenloft be natives of this new domain your creating or from all over/different domains?


Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:56 am
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Evil Genius
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Post Re: Campaign Help?
Clark wrote:
Hi guys, I hope I'm posting this in the correct space
Yes, you are! please feel free. This area is for any and all discussion of Ravenloft. We're happy to help!

Quote:
1) Names. I'm not good at naming things. Usually I try to find a closely related earth culture, and pick words from that language to name things (Like "Lou" for a french themed villager who is actually a werewolf). I'm thinking of maybe some Transylvanian names, any suggestions? Someone already suggested Balauria for the Domain name; balaur being the Romanian word for "dragon." That's exactly the kind of thing I like for names. Any other naming conventions people use that you're willing to share?
If you have access to the Ravenloft Gazetteers, they have some great sample names for each domain. In this case, Barovian names (from Gaz I) would be the closest to Transylvanian/Romanian names. But also, Google and Wikipedia are your friend. Search for "common romanian names" and you'll get a lot of options.

Quote:
2) The Darklord. I'm not sure if dragons can even be darklords, or if it makes (logical/thematic) sense to have a dragon darklord. Do you think it would ruin the feel of gothic horror to make a dragon a darklord? Right now I'm thinking it was a brass dragon (or other traditionally good aligned dragon) that betrayed a higher calling (like being the guardian of a draconic graveyard), and in his madness thought he could escape his "curse" (his duty/higher calling) by eating other dragon's hearts to gain their power. Well, it "worked" as the mists closed in around him and "freed" him. They even gave him a new home; too bad it's infested with those filthy lesser races... Would a Darklord like this be better used as a dormant sleeping threat, or actively manipulating events? What would scare you more?
Well, there are two dragon darklords in the canon. One was transformed from a human, and of the "dormant sleeping threat" variety
http://fraternityofshadows.com/wiki/Kalid-Ma
The other is in a 4th Edition Shadowfell Domain of Dread, Arantor, darklord of Monhadan, from Dragon Magazine #378. http://fraternityofshadows.com/wiki/Arantor
And several fans on this forum and elsewhere have made their own dragon darklords too. So it's certainly possible from a metaphysical standpoint. The issue, as you said, is the feel of gothic horror. The themes of gothic horror are usually very human-centric, with a generous helping of "there but for the grace of the gods go I..." The vast majority of darklords were once human, or at least can appear human. With that said, there are exceptions (looking at you, Gwydion...), and if you want to play in that area, go right ahead. You just need to find a way to fit the framework. It looks like you've already got a decent framework of a backstory, which is the number one thing you'll need. A holy guardian gone mad and turned cannibal would be a perfectly fine darklord, if human. If you have a good reason to make him a dragon, then fine, though do you really need to? If you do stick with a dragon, I would go subtle with him. As you said, dormant and sleeping is fine (works for Gwydion and Kalid-Ma) and much like Lovecraft, the horror could be in the followers that are trying to wake him, perhaps influenced mentally by their dreaming patron, and the horror that would ensue if the darklord were ever free. Alternately, if you want to go the manipulator path, I would take a cue from Inajira, and have him shapechange into human form most of the time. There the horror is the alien inhumanity and vast power lurking behind the human facade. If you do have him active, and he's a dragon cannibal, you'll have to figure out what that means for him now in Ravenloft, where there are barely any dragons. (Other than Kalid-Ma, and Arantor and his dead daughter, I count about 9, and 6 of those are actually fake in one way or another. If you include netbooks, you'll pick up 2 or 3 more, but still, not enough to feast on.)

But this is a new domain, so you could populate it with a bunch of dragons if you like (you'd have to make it pretty big to give them enough food, though). Alternately, you could have some of the humanoids have "the heart of the dragon" so to speak, whether they be actually descended from dragons or not. It could manifest as sorcerer powers, or go nuts and use the half-dragon template, or <shudder> Dragonborn. (or nab the draconians from Dragonlance..) These people could be hunted for their hearts, either by the forces of the darklord, the darklord himself, or just the general populace.

Quote:
3) The Domain. Domains are made to fit the darklord right? So he's got a fairly large domain, but there are elves, dwarves, and humans "infesting" it. Should they be allied, or fighting each other; what would you guys do for the different races? Should there even be different races in the domain? I'm going to try and nudge my players towards human (and near human) characters, but I don't want to outright "NO" a few of my players that may want to be elves/dwarves so the xenophobia rules may get some flexing.
Most of Ravenloft is human-centric, but if the darklord is going to be a fantasy creature, I could see the more fantasy races being there as a representation of that. Your domain is going to skew a little more dark fantasy and less pure gothic than most, but that's fine. As for the domain itself, I would focus on the darklord's crime and personality. If he's curse for betraying his holy duty, that's got to factor in somehow. There would likely be a strong central church, but perhaps a corrupted one, with either a lot of political backstabbing and hypocrisy within, or a shadowy "true faith" lurking within a benign exterior. Perhaps one that worships the darklord himself. And the cannibalism should play a role, somehow. Perhaps it's become part of the culture (either overtly or secretly), this sense that eating another's heart can convey power. If the races are at war, that may be part of the goals of the conflict: to eat the hearts of their enemies. And maybe the warring faux darklords might each lead one of the race factions?

Quote:
4) Alternative Darklords. If a dragon doesn't fit Ravenloft/gothic horror, I'll use one of the other antagonists as the darklord, but which one?
Well, I do like the idea of the warring bad guys, each thinking the others are the darklord. And I like the idea of it being none of the above, unbeknownst to them. I would keep that, rather than pick one as the darklord. By the way, keep in mind that very very few people in Ravenloft even know about the darklords or what it means to be one. So these three would either not know exactly what sort of power they were fighting over, or else have stumbled on this secret somehow that very few people know. But I would like to see these three somehow linked to the darklord, whether they know it or not. Otherwise, where did they come from?
Quote:
Also, the domain will change from a fantasy styled land/kingdom to a victorian era themed domain (think the Bram Stoker's Dracula movie from the early 90's). I'll still need to take away some of the more advanced firearms and things like cameras. Any suggestions for alternate Domain themes that work well with Ravenloft besides "victorian era" flavored?
That's quite a drastic change. Which setting do you feel more comfortable in? I would let that dictate the darklord choices, rather than the other way around. Honestly, I prefer not to involve the darklords as much as possible, so who is the darklord isn't the most important thing. It's what style of play and what kind of setting you want. With that said, some domains in canon Ravenloft do a sort of "faux-victorian" where the tech isn't quite so advanced, but the styles and feel is there. (See Dementlieu, Paridon, and Mordent for examples)

Quote:
5) Introducing the Players. I may have a, "I'm a hero! CHAAAARGE!" style player. I don't want to run a combat heavy game, but I also don't want to throw level 1-2 characters up against CR 20 baddies in the first session to make a point. What tricks have you done to get new players to take the game a little more seriously, and to create a bit of anxiety (apart from the mature thing of talking to them before the game)?
I would be upfront with the type of game you're planning on playing and what Ravenloft means to you. I like to send a little intro blurb to my players before we start to convey the mood. But it's also important that the players have fun. So if you have someone who likes smashing things, let them smash things every now and then.

Quote:
6) What's your favorite low level/introductory module for Ravenloft?
The standard answer is usually "Night of the Walking Dead." As a bonus, it features some ghouls, which plays into your cannibalism theme. Another good one is "The Created", but unless you go the victorian route, this urban-based adventure doesn't seem to fit the dark fantasy version of the domain as much. Another one I've become fond of recently is the (non-Ravenloft) Pathfinder adventure "Murder's Mark." Again, it's more on the modern side of things than classic fantasy, though. "Hangman's Noose" is another good Pathfinder adventure that feels "Ravenloft-y" but is somewhere in between. It's a setting modern and urban enough to have a Courthouse but still populated by a lot of fantasy races.

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Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:43 am
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Conspirator
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Post Re: Campaign Help?
Thank you for the help guys, I do appreciate it. Also, sorry it's been awhile since posting, but I've got some info to share, and a few questions about handling Fear/Horror/Madness checks. Also: Wall of Text incoming.

I've decided that I'm going to change up the Darklord a little: A young paladin named Sir Aldeth Novak dreamed of the glory he would receive if he were to slay a dragon. He became obsessed with finding a mighty wyrm to defeat, and began searching through all of his order's lore on known dragons. When he wasn't adventuring with friends, or on a quest for his order, he was pouring over tales of dragon raids, dragons that helped or hindered armies, or possible dragon lair locations. What he discovered was that in a valley in the middle of a mountain range far away, a dragon had been sighted hunting from time to time. Surely it posed a danger to the surrounding villages, so he needed to destroy the beast as quickly as possible. The valley was nearly impossible to reach, and he was now getting older, so he called on some of his friends from his time adventuring to help him on his quest. He convinced them it was a preemptive strike against a dangerous dragon. So determined was he to fulfill his lifelong dream of joining the ranks of dragonslayers, that he saw every obstacle as a challenge to be overcome, instead of a warning from his deity. He became more frustrated with every setback, but also more determined. When he finally scaled the mountains concealing the beast's lair what he discovered shocked him and his party. The valley was full of the skeletal remains of dragons long dead. Torqothdein (dragons must have long, difficult to pronounce names right?) was the guardian of a dragon cemetery, and posed no threat to the surrounding areas. Still, Sir Aldeth was determined, and his party found Torqothdein's lair while the dragon was out hunting. Being a party of (mostly) good aligned adventurers, the wards against evil did not stop them from entering. Inside, Sir Aldeth discovered unhatched eggs the dragon was fostering, and, outraged that his prey wasn't in the lair, destroyed them instead. When Torqothdein returned, he was immediately able to smell the presence of some mortal adventurers, and smashed dragon eggs. Torqothdein flew into a rage and killed all of the intruders except for Sir Aldeth, who finally managed to complete his lifelong desire (despite the loss of his status as a Paladin). Having learned much of dragon lore in his obsession, and being outraged at the loss of his Paladinhood, Sir Aldeth ate Torqothdein's heart in a (blasphemous) ritual that stole the dragon's essence. When the ritual was done, an angel came to Sir Aldeth, and explained that he had also inherited the dragon's duty along with its power, and that if he ever wanted to redeem himself, he would have to guard the dragon graveyard for the rest of his life (which would last another 1,500-2,000 years). Aldeth laughed and looted the valley for everything he could carry. Unfortunately for Sir Aldeth, the dark powers had been watching him as he led his friends to their deaths for his own glory, as he murdered defenceless unhatched (and Lawful Good) dragons, and has he defied his deity's wishes. They took him to Ravenloft, crafted for him a new domain, Balaur, and made him its Darklord.

I think the curse is going to take the form of dragon bones/skeletons being constantly unearthed every few months by farmers or adventurers, maybe even pushing themselves up from the ground from time to time. Basically, Balaur sits on top of a draconic mass grave, and people keep finding bodies. This keeps reminding Aldeth of what he's lost (his Paladin Card), and makes it impossible for him to not feel like he is carrying out Torqothdein's duty unwillingly since he can't leave. Also, everyone in Balur "knows" dragons died out over a thousand years ago, so no one will ever believe he has killed one, making it impossible for him to experience the glory and admiration he believes is his due as a dragonslayer.

So far I've ran two games. The wolves of the domain have been growing bold lately (because there is a vampire hiding in the deep forest hunting packs and turning some of them). The first game had 3 players make characters, and they fought a pack of wolves (led by a wolf that was also a vampire spawn). They made it to their destination and were hired to escort a carriage to another town.

The carriage driver is a Skeletal Champion disguised with full plate armor and helmet, and the passenger is a Barovian noblewoman, Lady Liliac Sclipire (that happens to also be an afflicted werebat, and possessor of an item that gives her control over the undead bodyguard). When Liliac was young, she came across some literature that was written by Strahd (maybe he's some sort of distant uncle? Doesn't matter much, I'm not planning on using him in my game, just his distant niece). It spoke of some of his (failed) attempts to leave the Demiplane of Dread, and of other planes of existence. Her curiosity led her to seek out more information on her home plane, and how it relates to the Prime Material, Astral, Ethereal, etc. Then Balaur appeared next door to Barovia, and Liliac had to investigate this new domain (after all, how often do new domains pop up?). It should be noted that her search for knowledge of the Demiplane of Dread led her to three things, first was to a werebat nest that she destroyed, but lycanthropy from. Second was to an amulet that controls Marko Harman, her Skeletal Champion bodyguard. Third, to Balaur, a brand new domain.

The second game had 1 player missing and another player show up and make a character. This session is where it started getting interesting. Halfway to the town, they met up with the new player, and as they got within two miles of town, they found some town watch (They call themselves "lamplighters" they're police/investigators/literal lamp lighters after the sun goes down) in a skirmish with a larger group of skeletons. After everyone passed their Fear checks, they charged in and ruined the skeleton's day while the carriage raced into town. After some role playing and getting to know some locals, the next day had the Cleric check the town hall's history records (looking for information on past skeleton/undead attacks). He was able to figure out that everything except the last month was too vague, too imprecise, too bland to be real. On questioning a party member (native of Balaur), he learned that Balaur had a false history, and no one from the domain was likely to have existed before last month (smart players playing smart characters). Unfortunately the party member failed a Madness check (went into a fugue state, and went to his "fake" home). Not realising how bad it could be, the Cleric went to a local barkeep to confirm. The barkeep suffered a Catastrophic Failure, and went to the back. The Cleric followed, and rounded the corner just in time to watch the barkeep commit suicide (prompting a Horror check that made him think running for a few minutes seem like a good idea). The Fighter of the group walked in and also failed his (much easier) roll and became obsessed with it. So now the Cleric hates thinking about the suicide, but the Fighter can't stop obsessing over it (good times :lol: ). Anyways, after discussing it with the leader of the local Lamplighters (who made his save), they went to talk to Lady Liliac Sclipire about her undead bodyguard (the Cleric cast detect undead thinking she was possibly a vampire in the carriage hiding from the sun, and the Skeletal Champion failed his save). After some very good Diplomacy checks she told the party about the Demiplane of Dread existing on the Ethereal plane instead of the Prime Material, confirmed that Balaur was a new domain, and told them that the mists sometimes created/copied/stole people and places. She didn't know why it happened, and one of the players asked how to defeat the evil mists. She didn't know and asked how someone could defeat the ground they walked on, or time, or fate. She did hire them to investigate a few things that she doesn't have the time or inclination to, and she's looking for the Darklord (whoever and wherever it may be). It may be a necromancer in town, or the local king, or whatever is riling up the wolves, or something else entirely.

That brings me to my main concern. Where do I put my Darklord? He doesn't have to be the king (probably isn't). I have been thinking that he found himself the curator of a museum of the sort that collects all the dragon bones that are going to pop up all over the place, but he might just be a knight in a keep somewhere. I don't know for sure where to put him yet. Also, how did I handle the Horror/Fear/Madness checks? I made a couple of them Madness checks because people were confronted with the fact that their reality, up to that point, was fabricated. I thought that might have been sufficient enough for a Madness check instead of Fear or Horror. Any advice would be appreciated.

Finally: I think I'll start using this thread to keep track of my campaign as it progresses. I'll just leave a post after every session for people to critique or ask questions about. If I need to do that in another thread or on another part of the Forums, that's cool, I can start again.


Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:32 am
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Invisible Menace
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Post Re: Campaign Help?
I have certainly used dragons and a lot. But in far less Ravenloft-feel parts of my Ravenloft domains. Generally, I got a dragon and struck him with a curse to fit his crime. And left him be, and had the PCs interact with his offspring.

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Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:58 am
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Evil Genius
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Post Re: Campaign Help?
Looks like you're well on your way, nice! I like the overzealous dragonslayer as darklord. I'm just not sure about his sudden turn to eating the heart. Up until that point, he was misguided and obsessive, but still acting in a way that he could convince himself was Good. But that's a pretty bizarre jump, to start eating the heart. It feels like there should be something more, pushing him to that point. Maybe a cultural thing. You described him so far in a sort of standard Arthurian Knights kind of setting. But maybe behind that is something more primal. Some lingering berserker/druidic influence with a dead or dying culture that would see eating the heart of prey in a totemic way as normal. I dunno...

You've also let your party "behind the curtain" regarding darklords and domains a lot faster than most people do, but that's fine if it's the way you want to launch your campaign. They've discovered this massive secret, and are spurred into action by it. But as they've seen, most people can't handle the truth, so they should be careful about spreading the word. I would agree that finding out you world, your memories, and maybe yourself aren't real is certainly grounds for a "Malign Paradigm Shift" Horror check and/or Madness check. Don't be too reliant on F/H/M checks, though. If your PCs react to these things well in character, you can skip them.

OK, so where the darklord is now depends a lot on what his goals are now. He refused to take on the Dragon's duty, so I don't see him working with the Dragon skeletons in any way to preserve them. (Maybe to DESTROY them..) Maybe he is searching (fruitlessly) for a live dragon to capture to show people that they are still real and that he did kill one. Or travelling around telling his tale, looking for anyone to believe him. Or maybe he thinks he was cursed by that angel and is looking for an angel to destroy this time? That could put him in some kind of church hierarchy like I'd said before (he was once a paladin, after all), in a position that lets him research angels, while secretly researching how to summon them, using the same methods as one might summon a demon. So he could have become a sort of exorcist, but one who's secretly not fighting demons, but learning about them for his goal of killing an angel.

(Note that there is one celestial in canon Ravenloft. Her name is Isolde, he leads a traveling Carnival, and she's stuck in human form, so it's not obvious. We can give you more info on her if you go this route.)

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Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:23 pm
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