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Thread: Spectre of the Black Rose

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    Spectre of the Black Rose

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    It is the beginning of the Winter of the 38th year in the reign of the Black Rose, Lord Soth of Sithicus. Long has his form rested upon the Throne of Nedragaard, leaving the realm to its own devices; rarely does he intercede on anyone's behalf, seemingly turning a blind eye, even to those who break his laws.
    The elves of Sithicus, deep into their sorrows are slowly descending into a quiet madness, with the Sorrow of Sithicus gradually bringing them to apathy, even their most basic needs falling by the wayside. Their attitudes toward outsiders, even other non-humans has degenerated from passive agression, to outright violence.
    Trade with the bordering realms has diminished, even with the most friendly of commercial partners of Kartakass and Invidia...it is here amongst these trials that out attention turns to the small settlement upon the Little Musarde River to the far west...Mal-Erek.
    The town of less than 800 inhabitants has seen better days. The stone of its structures lay foundered with the the rains that continue almost non-stop. The dock that lay built into the river for commercial use is rotten and on the verge of collapse. But hope remains with the deeds of the ruling House of Veier.
    Lord Veier, a half-elf noble has come into prominence during the reign of the Black Rose...originally hailing from Kartakass as a travelling bard and vagabond, he rose up from a storyteller to a low-ranking officer, serving abroad with the mecenaries of Falkovnia under the banner of Vlad Drakov. Taking command of a non-human legion, who were abused and ill-paid, he sought refuge in a new home...Sithicus.
    After being granted audience with Lord Soth, he was granted lands to the west, upon the border with Verbrek. After a generation, he still continues to improve upon the condition of his people and the lands under his stewardship.
    But with all things, Winter conquers all...Veier is quickly succumbing to age...his lay conflicted with no clear heir...and mysterious markings of bloodied hands lay on the trees to the north and west of Mal-Erek...

    This thread will be a ongoing log of our campaign that will start early in june...

    Character creation:
    All characters will begin at level 1, and ability scores will originate with the following array...16 14 13 12 11 10, then add the appropriate racial modifiers.

    Playable classes:
    Druids, Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, and Wizards.

    Additional Rules:
    Trekking through Sithicus: Due to the influence of the Black Rose over the land, and the whole of the Realm seemingly strange and unfamiliar, almost shifting at all times...all survival checks made to get bearings in regards to direction or orientation are at -2.

    The Sorrow of Sithicus: 1d3 hours after entering the realm of Sithicus, adventurers suffer a -1 morale penalty to Initiative, Search, Listen and Spot checks during the duration of their stay. Outsiders find themselves reliving the most painful, and guilt riden incidents of their lives over and over in their mind until apathy takes hold.

    Nuitari: The Unseen Moon effects spellcasting in the realm of Sithicus. The DM rolls a d4 to determine the phase of the moon, which lasts two days and two nights exactly. The phases have the following effects.

    New Moon:Evil arcane spellcasters gain a +1 profane bonus to all spellcasting checks and to saving throws vs. all spells and spell like abilities. Those of Good or Neutral alignment suffer a -1 penalty to these saving throws and spellcasting checks.
    Crescent Moon: No effect.
    Half Moon:Evil arcane spellcasters suffer a -2 penalty to all spellcasting checks and to their saving throws vs. all spell and spell like abilities. Those of Good or Neutral alignment get a +2 bonus to these saving throws.
    Full Moon:Evil arcane spellcasters gain a +3 bonus to all spellcasting checks and to saving throws and checks against all spells and spell like abilities and effectively cast spells at one level higher than normal. Characters of Good or Neutral alignment suffer a -3 penalty against all spellcasting checks and saving throws against spells and spell like abilities and cast spells at one level less than normal.

    E'naess loth...


    'Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear.'

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    Are you doing this game in 3.5 edition? I really like your premise my friend. If I were doing it in 4th I'd add the primal heroes from the PHB2. that'd really mix it up. Or seeing the elves you talked about have powers based on those classes...a tainted shaman-like elf would be a killer villian.

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    Hmmm...

    Yes, i'm running it in 3.x..

    BUT...

    You can run it in 4e, however i've found that 4e runs their characters with too much power in the earlier levels. I tried running a 4e ravenloft game, but i had two characters playing as children take out a dread scarecrow on their own...

    Domain Summary...
    Sithicus is an interesting mix of everything...the elves are extremely xenophobic, and intolerant of non-elves, but are too afraid of the Black Rose to do anything about it, not to mention that is senechal is a dwarven werebadger. The realm overall has a medieval cultural level, but there are several tribes of wild elves that have only a stone age culture. One must also be aware of the Bitterkinder, vampiric halflings that haunt many of the woods within Sithicus. The realm itself was pulled from Ansalon in the Dragonlance campaign setting and the elves of Sithicus are of Qualanesti descent. There are three castes in the Domain. The Nobility, the Artisans, and the Wardens or rangers. There is little love lost between the castes, each favoring their own objectives over any potential alliances that may be fostered. There is much darkness in the souls of the elves, leaving many that die, bound to the land...in order to find peace from an unresolved life. The entire realm has a population of about 3800, and much of the land lies in ruins, with abandoned villages, and fortifications...even in areas that are inhabited look to be deserted. So there is plenty of opportunity for delving into ancient ruins and scouting out the forests...Clerics and paladins would have a hard time casting magic simply because that Lord Soth doesn't believe in deities...therefore divine magic doesn't really work well. (Cast at two or three levels down from caster level, base of level 1.)

    Let me know if you have any other questions...

    E'naess loth
    'Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron_Samedi View Post
    You can run it in 4e, however i've found that 4e runs their characters with too much power in the earlier levels. I tried running a 4e ravenloft game, but i had two characters playing as children take out a dread scarecrow on their own...
    In 4th you could have had the characters use a "basic" human villager stat block as an npc (like designing a monster in a way)...it doesn't need to be over the top powers and the like...I had played around with the idea of a game where the PC's would all die..and come back as various forms of undead...I made them based on their role in the party...for example the fighter would be a brute or soldier npc etc....and for their powers I looked at the undead I'd model them after...It was a really good idea...who knows perhaps I'll use it later on down the way in the campaign but it's food for thought for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baron_Samedi View Post
    Clerics and paladins would have a hard time casting magic simply because that Lord Soth doesn't believe in deities...therefore divine magic doesn't really work well. (Cast at two or three levels down from caster level, base of level 1.)
    I don't this would work in 4th Edition (or maybe it can, but not in my game)...I'd rather say that if you were to have a game there that "divine" powered classes aren't native to the Domain. It still gives you access to "primal" or "martial" powered heroes...or even just martial. The Warlord is a leader and decent enough with "healing" the party. Personally I've never had a "themed" party but I think an all martial party would be awesome..a Fighter, Rogue, Ranger, Warlord

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    What happens to your 'Inner Light' when you don't pay the electric bill?

    The problem with eliminating the Divine Class completely is the fact that the Gods do exist within the Demiplane of Dread, albeit very, VERY far away. The only place that no divine class would exist is in Bluetspur, where the Illithid God-Brain resides. By knocking down the divine spellcaster level, they are not totally de-powered, just brought down a peg. The only setting i remember without the presence of a divine class-proper is Dark Sun. The Gods of Athas left it behind. There are clerics, but they act in accordance with elemental magics, as opposed to divine. And the Templars, closest to being Paladins, are granted their spells from the Sorceror-Kings...but as always, DM discretion applies...
    'Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear.'

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    Player Options

    HEhehe...I like your headings btw, I always get a chuckle out of them. To continue on in the realm of player classes, I'm not sure how familiar you are to the 4th Edition system, but It's really nothing like 3.5 mechanically. I don't know how successful it'd be to ask a player "Okay, but if you are a going to play a cleric know your at will, encounters, dailies, and utilities would be cast as if you are x levels lower than the rest of the party. The other option would have them being "ACTUALLY" x levels lower than the rest of the party.

    In my experience playing in about 4 long time groups and the players...usually if you put restrictions on a class "especially in some groups where NO ONE wants to be the cleric anyway" then they'll just say screw it I'll play another class. I know how Ravenloft was in 2nd Edition...how a lot of your spells didn't function...or were muted in some way, but when you sit to play a 4th Edition game your spells are powers just like everyone else has around the table...and if you were the "divine" class and you lost or had your powers edited, lowered, muted....then frankly it'd make the point that you should just be a "Warlord" which is frankly like a cleric or bard wrapped up in a nice martial powered class that the Domain Lords wouldn't be able to touch as easy.

    I have warned my players ahead of time though about items and rituals...I told them straight up before they even picked out their gear for 10th level since most of them have never played a Ravenloft game that while I wouldn't change their class or race powers in any way...that rituals and items (especially ones that allowed plane travel would either not work or would be up to me to decide the end result)....which to solidify my statement earlier...none of those items and/or rituals were chosen and they went on to find other gear.

    Also I think it's perfectly acceptable to talk to your players about class/race limitation by saying, "Okay, Magic has no function here...as a result...I'm going to restrict the option to create "Arcane" powered classes here.....but the people of "whatever" Have made up for the fact that they don't have magic with cold hard steel and their beliefs in their gods...so feel free to make any martial, or divine classes if you come from this domain....in that since you aren't limiting them, because you can talk with them about the campaign, get them interested in your ideas (or see that they are firmly against your ideas) and what it does open up for both DMs and Players alike is options...

    Also, in my Expedition to Ravenloft game I have a guy that multiclassed cleric and uses his powers to full effect, and a guy that choose a sunblade as his weapon and I'm going to be honest with you....their radiant powers/weapons might "seem" overwhelming and would wade through a game where they are fighting boatloads of undead and creatures of darkness...but in play...if something is vulnerable to radiant...they only do 5 more points of damage on an attack...and to a creature with 200+ hp - whoopy do - if they do 5 more points. It's not like 3.5 or before where they are doing double damage if they have a vulnerability. Even if the monster is over 11+ level that usually just goes up to Radiant vulnerability 10....hell even if it was 20 at Epic tier...the creature has over 800hp! lol what does it really care if you do 20 more to it...AND..most of those creatures have a healing factor or power of some sort and can heal that damage back!

    Just something to think about when designing 4th Edition games.

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    I don't mind what they may say, I don't care what they may do....but Jesus is just alright...

    As much as I hate to stall the debate of divine and arcane classes, especially one that i sort of started, without malice, i did find something interesting...Yes, the magic value of some wizards, clerics and paladins vary from Domain to Domain...No, it doesn't have to be two to three levels down from caster level...Yes, this system works better in 3.x than in 4e...

    BUT!!!!

    I read something very interesting in my 3.x players guide...It states that there are two very distinct possibilities when it comes to divinity in Ravenloft. One, that the Mists have muted or severed the connection between the Gods and the Realm of Dread, causing the variance with some divine magics.

    OR
    (and this is what i think would be most applicable for the purposes of debate...)

    That the Mists have severed the connection to any of the native Gods, and have instead supplanted themselves as those Gods, and when patrons of said Deity pray to them the Dark Powers answer...(hehe hehe)

    That in a nutshell would distinctively conclude the divinity debate...

    As always its up to the DM...

    Although, in light of this information, i think that the divine classes would effectively be unlocked across the board...given the Dark Powers are the Gods...(potentially, hehe.)
    'Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear.'

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    hehehe, I always like a good debate but honestly any of the things we said reguarding classes really would be fine, in the end, as Baron said, it's up to the DMs and their groups.

    Besides, back in the day, it was all those added Challenges that made Ravenloft different from the more traditional settings. So whether it's the Fear, Horror, Madness, power checks, special rules for certain classes, or the story itself, you really have a treasure trove of information at your fingertips.

    Oh, By the Way, Baron you really gave me an interesting idea talking with you over this discussion...think I might incorporate it into the next ravenloft campaign I'll run. Thank You

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    Tell me more, tell me more, did he put up a fight?

    (I really hate that movie, but its all i could come up with.)

    Tamerath-

    What idea did i give to you that was so interesting? Are you going to incorporate it into your Expedition adventure or are you saving it for Gryphon Hill. By the way, I started a thread for that late last night...enjoy.
    'Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron_Samedi View Post
    That the Mists have severed the connection to any of the native Gods, and have instead supplanted themselves as those Gods, and when patrons of said Deity pray to them the Dark Powers answer...(hehe hehe)
    That's a brilliant idea, good thing the player that I'm going to run this idea with doesn't use p&p games forums...I knew as soon as he said Correllon brought him to Ravenloft to "combat" the horrors that dwelled there I thought to myself and asked him, "You sure it was your god?" He said yes...but of course...the Dark Powers can take any form they wish and have done so throughout ravenloft...So I thought...hmmm..in the next campaign I run for ravenloft I'm definately going to have to explore that little idea a bit more. heheheh...God, I love us shifty thinking dms...lol

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