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Baron_Samedi
05-26-2009, 04:27 PM
This is a thread started for anyone and everyone who has questions about Ravenloft. Whether you're curious about the setting and its origins, how it relates to the Dungeons and Dragons cosmology, or how to incorporate elements of the Demiplane of Dread into ANY campaign setting, shoot me a line...and i'll get to you in turn...

in the meantime you might want to checkout the following sites.

www.fraternityofshadows.com (http://www.fraternityofshadows.com) - the foremost site in regards to Ravenloft and Gothic Earth settings. Contain plot hooks for the domains, as well as publishing an annual ezine called 'Quoth the Raven' that has fan fiction, alternative rules, classes...all around good times.

www.gryphonhill.com (http://www.gryphonhill.com) - Mordent Cartographic Society provides fan-created maps of most of the Domains and Clusters found in the Mists, in addition to gazeteer information as well...

Tamerath
05-26-2009, 05:57 PM
I haven't been keeping up that well it seems. I knew of fraternityofshadows.com (http://www.fraternityofshadows.com) - but didn't know of the other. I've gotten most of my original material through the Domains of Dread sourcebook they came out with at the end of 2nd Edition and the Ravenloft campaign setting published by White Wolf games...(mostly for the time line itself)...Awesome

Baron_Samedi
05-26-2009, 08:09 PM
The Gazeteers I-V are a great source of information, they go into the flora, fauna, people and their cultures, even religions and local cults...they also include plot hooks in the form of 'dread possibilities'. The Fraternity also has a companion to the Gaz. in the Mausoleum section which is in the odds and ends part of the site, as well as an unofficial timeline in the same section...all free for download.

Tamerath
05-28-2009, 03:08 PM
Wow, I've REALLY been out of the loop...I didn't know what the 4th Edition Ravenloft "Patches" you were speaking about on Fraternity of Shadows, because last I saw it they had pretty much closed down the site with no updates or anything from late 3.5 edition...but I went on there today and I was surprised...someone took a lot of initiative for 4th Edition and kept the torch burning...I really like what they did with the fear, horror, and madness stuff as well...NEVER occured to me to make them like a disease or poison template....AWESOME..thanks for posting this

Baron_Samedi
05-28-2009, 06:44 PM
Yeah, I was suprised about the Fraternity too. They had been posting consistantly up until about a year or two ago. There was an email they sent out to their contacts saying that one of their seven members was unable to continue working on their site, and so they had stepped down for the greater good of the site. The newest member, Jester, is the one who authored the patches for 4e. Some of the material really doesn't go along with canon, but serves as a great guide to get the ball rolling, but the best thing is that, unlike some other conversions, it doesn't consist of hundreds of pages. I think the entire set of patches, being 4 in all, may have 50 or 60 pages if that. They also published a companion to the gazetteers listing points of interest, mistways, etc. and the page numbers for those sites as well. Most impressive are their homebrew gazetteers for the Nocturnal Sea, Souragne, and Zherisia domains...Kargatane.com shut down some time back, but Fraternity picked up their Ravenloft Catalog and has posted it on their site. One thing I will say about Ravenloft fans is that there is incredible solidarity and willingness to cooperate and share info...

Arkhemedes
05-28-2009, 10:41 PM
Hey, just checked out the Fraternity site. Never heard about it before but there is some good stuff there. Thanks for the tip. Question (this may be off track a bit but the mention of mistways made me think of It): At the back of VR's Guide to the Shadow Fey there was mention made of an upcoming supplement VR's Guide to the Mists which was slated to be out in December of 04. This never saw the light of day from what I know but does anyone know anything about what was suppose to be in it? I was so looking forward to this book hoping it might answer some other questions I had. For example: One of my player's characters was a Knight of the Shadows who are suppose to meet once a year in Avonleigh. When the player asked me how he was suppose to get there, at first I made it difficult for him and made him travel to the Church of Ezra in Levkarest where he had to pay a high level anchorite to guide him there. As the years went by however, this ended up making thinks difficult for me. So to simplify the matter a bit I told him that after a few of these trips that he had become familiar enough with a mistway that led to and from his home domain of Mordent that he was able to make these trips on his own. I'm sure some of you out there have encountered this kind of situation. I'm curious - how did you handle it?

Baron_Samedi
05-29-2009, 06:46 AM
I have a copy, it is scanned, (pause for boo's) but its from swordandsorcery.com...it is written from the perspective of Laurie Weathermay and contains a grouping of articles describing in laborious detail the history of the Mists, its effects on the perception of the passage of time, Mistways, physiological effects, eludes to using psionics in relation to the mists, you get the idea. Its like reading stereo instructions, much of it is theory that has a lot of three dollar words that conclude that the Mist is the Mist and no one knows how or where they do what they do. Page 71 of the VR Guide to the Mists states,' The Via Corona is a two-way mistway between Eastern Nidala from Northeaster Darkon.' Although the reliablity is good and it is well traversed, it is travelled by a dragon that is from Nidala that is never seen in Darkon, that hunts travellers on occasion. If that weren't bad enough, its entry point is very VERY north in Darkon, near where the mists form the Northern border. If I were to stay true to the game, knowing that Azalin knows everything that the inhabitants of his kingdom know, and knowing that the way to Nidala is reliable, and knowing the knights travel there, he would in all probability put up difficulties for the pilgrims, if not have them arrested by the Kargatane. Not to mention, that such a religious pilgrimage is an affront to his Eternal Order. Even if he doesn't put much creedence in his own religion, he still has appearance to maintain...It would be highly difficult for the knights to make a pilgrimage. And considering that there doesn't seem to be another route in or out of the Shadowlands...but there was a tidbit i read years ago talking about the sword Ebonbane, the Darklord of Shadowborne Manor being a gateway key....could be a plot hook for the knights of shadow...maybe a quest.
As for your solution, remember that the Mists can and will do anything they want. It is highly possible to explain away that there is a mistway from an anchorite church to where ever. It is arguably the most beneficial tool in the D&D universe...'Well, the Mists do (X)...and you're face to face on the Lonely Road with the Headless Horseman.) :D

Excellent Question....

hope i helped.

Arkhemedes
05-29-2009, 10:13 PM
Thanks again for the tip. Did not realize that swordsorcery.com actually had the book on its website and that you can download it for free. Kickass! I am now the proud owner of my own scanned copy (boo if you want - apparently its the only way to get your hands on it). A couple of notes however on what you said: About this dragon from Nidala - the book actually reads "Some say the dragon from Nidala hunts along its length..." We've had some experience with this supposed "dragon". Does it really exist, or is this dragon just a cover story for a certain overzealous warrior (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)? No need to reply to this. We already know the answer. The other thing I wanted to comment on was what you said about Azalin. It's true that Azalin would have a number of reasons for wanting to hinder or even stop the annual pilgrimage to the Shadowlands and certainly has the means to try it. But I would suggest that perhaps the reason he has not done so yet is the same reason he has allowed so many good guys and monster hunters to roam about his lands - and that is because he would rather use them to his advantage as a source of information, since it is easy enough for him to spy on them, and as a means to weaken more formidable enemies (ie. other Darklords) since these good guys can often be duped and manipulated by someone of such superior intellect. Just a thought to try and make sense out of something that doesn't seem to make sense. As for the bit about Ebonebane - Well, that won't work in my campaign cuzz he's already toast! Come to think of it, so is the Darklord of Nidala! Haven't decided what to do about these realms just yet because so far I haven't really needed to (Hmm...create new Darklords or just give these realms to the Darklord of Avonleigh?...decisions, decisions).

Baron_Samedi
05-29-2009, 10:57 PM
Glad i could be of help. Sword and Sorcery under the management of White Wolf Games bought the Ravenloft line, to bury it i guess. No one knows for certain, and everyone you ask has a different reason.
As for the pilgrimage, i did have a brief thought. Considering Elena Faith-hold is so zealous, it would serve her well to try and use the knights to her advantage, and barring that, Azalin in his scheming ways would try to manipulate her. You could also use the woods of Avonleigh as a plot hook for adventurers, maybe Azalin is using them to gain a foothold since he can't physically leave his realm. In any case its all speculation...just remember the number one rule listed in the Dungeon Masters Guide....You are the Dungeon Master, ultimate control is yours...baring anything else, this is the number one rule. Keep those questions coming...

Tamerath
05-30-2009, 03:34 PM
Thanks again for the tip. Did not realize that swordsorcery.com actually had the book on its website and that you can download it for free. Kickass! I am now the proud owner of my own scanned copy (boo if you want - apparently its the only way to get your hands on it).

I actually didn't know VR Guide to the Mists existed till your post...so thanks for that! :) I wasn't to up on the products after I got the Ravenloft for 3.5...I felt all they did in that book was recopy a lot of what Domains of Dread had...unfortunately I think I missed out on some stuff that happened in the Dread Realms. I am actually using the Weathermay-Foxgrove sisters in my campaign and now I can flesh them out further than before (which is a damn shame I didn't know this before I started the campaign because I could have done so much more with their characters).

Oh one of your thoughts were about Dead Domain Lords...and what to do with their realm...I've been toying around with this myself...and I don't know if it's something you want to tackle yourself or not but I'm planning to redesign the Domains of Dread, new Domains, new Domain Lords, etc...but still have the old classics there like Darkon, Mordent, Lamordia, Barovia,.....crap....I love all the classics....maybe I'll just add to those lol :)

Baron_Samedi
05-30-2009, 08:18 PM
It is always a possibility to reorganize the core, or take Islands and/or Clusters and attach them to the Core. Remember that Markovia, G'henna, and Bluetspur were once apart of the Core, prior to the Great Upheaval. Just remember that the Mists created a copy of Barovia from its original realm and recreated it in what would be the Core. Only after a few hundred years did other realms begin to appear. I had the idea many moons ago, to have a Ravenloft: Origins campaign. The adventurers would start with the campaign of the von Zaroviches against the Gundaraks in the war that would see Strahd ascend to the throne of Ravenloft...after time, they would experience the conjunction of other realms, and explore acordingly...with this the DM could alter the order of conjuction, change or re-vamp the Darklords, etc...even toyed around with the adventurers running into a young Hazlik, a boy with interest in the arcane...

I've been researching the cosmology of 4th edition, and the fact that they label the Domains of Dread in the Shadowfell is contradictory. Each realm, Faerun, Khorvaire...etc...has its own individual connection to its own Shadowfell realm, but each one is insular to its own plane of existance. There is possible travel between the Shadowfell planes via the overall connective plane, but there isn't a realm in the Shadowfell, or outside of it on the calibre of Ravenloft...Of course this is a course in advanced cosmology, and can be dismissed as DM preference, but i thought i'd add that in there.

Arkhemedes
05-31-2009, 01:43 PM
Speaking of reorganizing things and getting back to the thread of cosmology and the origins of Ravenloft, several years ago I wrote a paper about 5 pages long, mostly for my own benefit, in an attempt to explain the events of the module Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill and how they relate to the rest of the setting. Anyone who has looked closely at the situation should know the paradox presented by the module, and for those who haven't, I give you fare warning: it might make your head spin. The main problem I think stems from the fact that when Tracy and Laura Hickman wrote the sequel to their Ravenloft module they probably had no idea that these two modules would be the start of a vast campaign setting. In the second module an alternate beginning is given for Strahd the Vampire - he is basically the evil half of Strahd the Alchemist which has been seperated from him by his invention the Apparatus. The module suggests a number of ways to make sense of and make use of both modules by combining them in various ways, including making one of the modules a reality and the other one a sort-of dreamworld. The campaign setting however, assumes that both modules are a reality but does not explain how this is possible. So the question here is: How can Strahd the Alchemist create the Apparatus in the Prime Material version of Mordent in the year 578 of the Barovian Calendar and one year later, use the devise to split his personality, thus creating Strahd the Vampire, who according to the timeline, already has a history of being a vampire and the Darklord of Barovia for the previous 229 years, as well as a human warlord for 51 years before that!?! I'm sure I'm not the only one who has pondered this dilemma and I'm sure its been discussed somewhere sometime before. But I've never seen anyone try to tackle the problem. So I came up with my own solution. It's a bit lengthy, possibly controversial, and has some interesting ramifications. But I'd like to hear other ideas or opinions on it. So I've considered starting a new thread on it if anyone is interested.

Baron_Samedi
05-31-2009, 03:10 PM
Well, the one thing that i could tell you, and the one thing that most Ravenloft-ies who know the know will tell you, it that the Mists make space-time very maleable. Consider the fact of the Island of Liffe, in the Nocturnal Sea. The island consists of segments of many lands, across many planes, from varying timeframes. One could theorize that when the Mists brought its version of Barovia over from its original realm, maybe Strahd's persona was split and blah, blah, blah...They mention this as a dread possiblility in the Gaz...But the alchemist is not aware of who is original persona is.

Just another one of those wacky things...

Tamerath
05-31-2009, 04:54 PM
Personally if you want to start a new thread on the subject of Gryphon Hill I'd love to hear your theories...I don't even care how debatable they are because I was planning to run House on Gryphon Hill after Expedition to Castle Ravenloft and frankly I didn't know how I was going to tackle this subject (especially if they did indeed beat Strahd in the adventure before).

I've heard somewhere prior to this conversation that perhaps Strahd WAS the Alchemist all along in "disguise" but I haven't read much of the original campaign enough to know how that would play into the game.

Baron_Samedi
05-31-2009, 07:54 PM
Tamerath-

Just for clarification, are you going to be running the House of Gryphon Hill in 4e, as a continuation from the Expedition to Castle Ravenloft?

Just curious...if you need any help, you know where i roam...

Arkhemedes
05-31-2009, 08:00 PM
Yeah, the whole space-time thing in Ravenloft IS very maleable - in fact, my "solution" to the paradox uses this fact in order to try and make sense of it. However, pulling people or chunks of land from one point in space or time and placing them in another is one thing - but creating two completely different and simultaneous backgrounds for the same character is quite another. I think I will start a new thread on this because I could go on and on about this subject. However I won't have time to post it for a few days (got to get ready for my game night in a couple of days). Look for something having to do with the Apparatus.

And to Tamerath, good luck with The House on Gryhpon Hill and the continuation of your Ravenloft campaign. I know when I ran the original Ravenloft module 16 years ago I got lucky - my players foolishly left Strahd staked to the table in his reading room without cutting his head off so they could return to the village and convince some of the villagers to go to the castle, where they would see for themselves that Strahd was indeed the vampire that the group claimed he was. The end result was that, after the adventuring group mysteriously disappeared (or rather, were taken away by the Mists), the poor villagers went to the castle and discovered that Strahd had been freed by one of his minions which the group had missed. The villagers and the group were never seen again and, of course, they were all presumed dead. I'm glad I never had to figure out what to do about a dead Strahd because there wouldn't have been much of a Ravenloft campaign if he had been killed long before the other domains appeared. But I'm sure you'll think of something. You're going to have to I guess if you like running Ravenloft. Perhaps my Apparatus thingy can give you an idea or two.

Baron_Samedi
05-31-2009, 10:17 PM
One thing about Strahd you should know is that its nearly impossible to kill him. In any combat situation, where he is vulnerable, he has the ability to teleport himself away to his 'safe zones' where he is entombed until he recouperates. Unfortunately, no one but he and a few undead minions know where they are. In theory, a party of adventurers could strike, then when he jumps away, get him in his sleep, but given the fact that the entire plane is almost modelled around him, it seems unlikely. Not to mention the fact that he bound himself to the land of Barovia...who knows what kind of consequence there would be to his Domain, if he were to fall.

Tamerath
06-01-2009, 02:30 PM
And to Tamerath, good luck with The House on Gryhpon Hill and the continuation of your Ravenloft campaign. I know when I ran the original Ravenloft module 16 years ago I got lucky - my players foolishly left Strahd staked to the table in his reading room without cutting his head off so they could return to the village and convince some of the villagers to go to the castle, where they would see for themselves that Strahd was indeed the vampire that the group claimed he was. The end result was that, after the adventuring group mysteriously disappeared (or rather, were taken away by the Mists), the poor villagers went to the castle and discovered that Strahd had been freed by one of his minions which the group had missed. The villagers and the group were never seen again and, of course, they were all presumed dead. I'm glad I never had to figure out what to do about a dead Strahd because there wouldn't have been much of a Ravenloft campaign if he had been killed long before the other domains appeared. But I'm sure you'll think of something. You're going to have to I guess if you like running Ravenloft. Perhaps my Apparatus thingy can give you an idea or two.

Thanks for the good wishes! That's a pretty awesome story with your adventures in Ravenloft as well...I think my players are a bit paranoid and will dismembering him and burning him to ash, as well as staking him..lol...I can't wait to see how it all pans out honestly. And as Baron said...even if they kill him....he's not dead for good...The Dark Powers in my game aren't finished with him yet so he will be returning...

For the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind and the Sunsword I've made into Artifacts...and even when they awaken their power (because as of now they just have a blade and a usless symbol)...they will still have to prove their worth to the entity of the item itself...so I figure till they actually have them "powered up" they will still not be killing Strahd off for good...

Also not only Strahd, but most domain lords need special conditions met before you are either able to lift their curse or kill them off for good...and as what happens after that when the Dark Powers and the Mists decend upon the land and change it in some way is usually not a good thing to stick around for.

I'll be looking forward to your House on Gryphon Hill info for sure.

Baron_Samedi
06-01-2009, 04:41 PM
I know that every Darklord that i've run into, the system makes it nigh impossible to destroy them. And it usually involves something along the lines of...if you destroy the darklord, and only if you do (X), then (X) happens when the darklord does (X) and then, the darklord only dies if you do (X) simulataneously...but even if you do that, then (X)...etc, etc, etc...I did have a group on a whim try to kill Strahd, but three of the eight, died on the way up the path, two more at the poison fog at the perimeter of Ravenloft...two more at the gate, but the last character did manage to get all the way to the chapel screaming like a little girl before he was captured to be someone to be fed upon. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I wasn't going to let them kill Strahd...but its good to let them have hope...:D