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QumullusTheNimblest
03-20-2007, 12:26 PM
How about a forum thread where we can ask/give advice on struggling campaigns or tweaks? I'll start:

Would like to run a fairly powerful party (D&D, 6 characters, 10-12 Lev + numerous animal companions) thru the Expedition to Castle Ravenloft adventure as a year-long campaign (it fits really well into their onogoing storyline and I LOVE Ravenloft). Problem is, the book/module is design for characters 6-10. Thoughts? I've already done some work in swapping out monsters for higher CR challenges, added charcater levels to main baddies, and jacked Strahd up in Necro levels. They've played a session and waltzed thru the initial encounters barely scratched... Any advice welcome.

Ed Zachary
03-20-2007, 11:04 PM
Would like to run a fairly powerful party (D&D, 6 characters, 10-12 Lev + numerous animal companions) thru the Expedition to Castle Ravenloft adventure as a year-long campaign (it fits really well into their onogoing storyline and I LOVE Ravenloft). Problem is, the book/module is design for characters 6-10. Thoughts? I've already done some work in swapping out monsters for higher CR challenges, added charcater levels to main baddies, and jacked Strahd up in Necro levels. They've played a session and waltzed thru the initial encounters barely scratched... Any advice welcome.

I played Castle Ravenloft when it first came out... long ago. Like your group we were six players, above the recommended levels. And like you, the DM jacked up levels and added monsters. But what makes any campaign memorable is the character development and the role playing.

Each of us had at least one tie-in to the castle beforehand, and a mission to accomplish beyond just destroying Strahd and looting his treasure. My Wizard was tasked with bring back the staked vampiric body of a member of my guild who had been captured by Strahd a year ago. I recall our group starting to fight against that vampire when we encountered it, and me getting pissed at them for using excessive force. We made a few attempts to trap it, but failed, and we had to destroy it. I don't recall how the others did with their missions.

We signed a blood contract that we would not leave the castle until we destroyed Strahd and all his minions. We took the castle after a few days, but failed to get Strahd. With us not being able to leave, Strahd and his surviving minions attacked our group hit and run as if they were the adventurers and we were the dungeon monsters. By having our dwarven engineer examine every square inch of the castle stonework, we found where they had their hidden coffin chamber, 30 feet below the floor. Once we found that, we prevailed in a final battle.

The DM knew that we would need some Restoration to recover from level drain (1st edition), so the powers that sent us on the mission loaned us a Rod of Restoration. The catch was that we would have to pay a small fortune for every charge used. We agreed beforehand to split the costs, to pay out of the communal treasure taken. We wound up having to pay about half our treasure for charges used. One Fighter who made a stupid mistake and wound up needing two charges because of it was berated by the group for costing us a fortune. It was humorous, we didn't care about him, just our treasure take.

You may want to consider not allowing your party to destroy Strahd right away, but make them believe they did. Then use him over time to hunt party and turn some of those attached to it (allies and mercenaries) into vampires.

And make sure that your players are running unique characters, not just killing machines with statistics. Play Strahd as an ancient undead genius, not a mindless monster. How would such a creature attack your party which appears to be more powerful than his defenders? Perhaps by trying to make the party believe that they have a traitor in their midst? Be devious, the castle defense shouldn't be a street brawl with small numbers of monsters taking their turn attacking the superior party.

gdmcbride
03-21-2007, 02:10 AM
I presume that by D&D you mean D&D 3.5. The secret to advancing the monsters quickly and easily is adding levels, both character levels and advancement levels. A commonly missed rules fact that is the monster levels don't add to CR on a one for one basis. The rarely read appendix of the Monster Manual provides details.

Of course, as monsters increase so does treasure... but instead of adding loot to lots of minor creatures, instead consider adding a horde that the PCs get when they defeat a major baddie. A single memorable horde adds more to a game than scattered forgettable baubles acquired piecemeal.

For a good example of a vampire crypt scaled to that level I recommend Goodman Game's Dungeon Crawl Classic #25: The Dread Crypt of Srihoz. It details the last redoubt of a vampire. That complex could easily serve as Strahd's last line of defense beneath his castle with relatively little modification. It is intended for 9-11th level characters and should at least be inspirational. And at $12.99 retail (and of course less online) it's pretty reasonable.

Gary

QumullusTheNimblest
03-21-2007, 04:48 PM
I appreciate those suggestions, you've both given me GREAT stuff to work with! I will definitely play with the party-infiltration/distrust issue and will fiond a way for more Strahd "guerilla-tactic" encounters, vs so many "minion-battles". Thanks, again. Any other thoughts are welcome, too! ~Q