A lil' Campaign Help.



Aug 09, 2006 18:37:19
So I've just started a 12th level Ravenloft (2nd Ed.) Campaign. I was starting out with a module, but the players hated it, leaving me with very little to work with. I tried to do some campaign plots, but i was never satisfied with them. Right now I am just going through, adventure-by-adventure, and so i need a little help. Any suggestions?


Aug 10, 2006 2:15:29
A little more info would go a long way..

Party composition?

Is it a "week-end in Hell" campaign or a "native" campaign?

What module did you play and what did they hate?


Aug 11, 2006 20:49:32
A little more info would go a long way..

Party composition?

Is it a "week-end in Hell" campaign or a "native" campaign?

What module did you play and what did they hate?

Party Comp.= one 12th level cleric, one 12th level fighter, one Dual class wizard.fighter the equivolent of 12th level.

My Campaigns so far have been "week-end in hell" type.

And we started playing "From the Shadows" (Grand conjunction #5) but the players (lookinjg for XP rather than Role-playing) decided they were bored by the time they got to the seventh room.

Now, i am just going adventure by adventure, which is OK, but i'd like to have osme kind of plot underlying the adventures, to somehow tie them together.

Also, my group have reverted to treating Ravenloft like any other Campaign Setting. It's lacking the Horror Elements. Part of this is my fault, as I don't really try too hard to make the players crap their pants,becuase every time i try to add a little "flavor" to the advenutre by describing things and such, they get angry and tell me to stick to the simplest explanation of whats going on at the time. Another part is that the players don't think of Ravenloft as a Horror campaign just more like "that place filled with vampires and were-wolves."

:breath: So. thats my predicament.


Aug 12, 2006 8:40:23
Not all campaign settings are suited to all player styles. It sounds like your players are not interested in the deep descriptions, plot characters backgrounds, and emotional engagement that Ravenloft is best for.

They don't like lengthy descriptions of their challenges, they "got bored" with From the Shadows by room 7 because they were more interested in levelling up than solving puzzles, and (by your own admission) the fear/horror element of this game has not been emphasized.

It may be worth taking some time to step out of storyteller mode character and talk to them as a DM to his players. Tell them about Ravenloft and why you like the campaign setting, and then tell them about how it's not hack and slash - also stress to them game mechanics like the Fear/Horror/Madness save and how you can get around having to make a save if you have your character act realistically for the situation.

But personally, to me it sounds like you, the DM, think Ravenloft is a great idea, and pretty much your entire gaming group does not like it. This is usually the recipe for A Lost Cause, in my experience.

Part of this may be remedied by sitting down and talking out of character about the campaign setting. But from what you've told me, your players don't seem like the type who would naturally enjoy Ravenloft's strengths. Always leave the choice open with them where they would like to adventure - if Ravenloft is not their cup of tea, then find another place that's better suited to them.


Aug 13, 2006 4:29:53
I quite agree with HuManBing.

I would add that, perhaps, starting with From the Shadows wasn't the wisest of choice, especially if that was their first RL experience.

Sure, to the DM it's nice. But put yourself in your players' shoes for a minute. No matter where/who/what they are, they are beheaded within minutes of the adventure starting and then end up searching a lich's castle room by room. No offense but how more tedious can it get? Not to mention they are thrown into a plot they haven't the faintest idea about since they didn't get to play the previous mods of the story arc.

Essentially, this reduces RL to its two worst stereotypes: incomprehensible dungeon crawl & omnipotent killer-DM.

Plus, starting a RL campaign with 12th lvl players is tough because RL is ill-adapted to high-lvl challenges. It's not that it can't be done, but it's darn difficult given the level of magical power adventurers from that category usually wield.

Were I you, I would have started a brand new campaign with 1st lvl characters - if possible natives - and a "mood-heavy" mod. such as Night of the Walking Dead. Remember, RL is all about the dichotomy between the appearance of normality and the horrible reality hiding underneath. Too often, DM throw their players in another monster-infested dungeon with the weird idea that, RL monsters being different, it will somehow make the experience better. From a player's point of view, that amounts to "You're out to me!"


Aug 13, 2006 6:52:59
If they don't respond well to "horror through description," perhaps you should try to catch them off-guard by violating their expectations. For instance, if the mage casts a spell in front of common people, have the villagers organize a witch-burning lynching. This sort of mob works best if the group have met some of the people and know that they are moral individuals and that most of what they could do to disable the mob would result in the loss of innocent human life.

As far as a unifying plot, given that the group is fairly high level for Ravenloft, most of the nomadic dungeon crawl scenarios aren't going to be very engaging. I assume that they have made something of a name for themselves already. If so, have a secret society contact them and ask for help when some of their members are ending up missing. I think a Night Hag or some sort of half-fiend could make a potent villain and avoid the vampire/werewolf cliches the players might expect. To spice things up, you could make the secret society be led by evil creatures (vampyre maybe). Maybe they should get caught up in a struggle between two evil forces. If they are sympathetic to rebellions against people like Strahd, Azalin, or Vlad Drakov, then through lies and deception have them set up by the secret society to infiltrate and attack a good-aligned rebel group. If they insist on recklessness and move at a hurry, then things could get ugly for the players. Note: the idea, of course, would not be to frustrate the players by setting them up for disaster, but rather, to surprise them when they realize that they are being used as pawns. If done correctly, you could give the players the fast-pace they enjoy while simultaneously introducing intrigue and perhaps the horror of realizing that they have already done some evil acts unknowingly (or were close to doing so).

You could also make a villain who is a sort of false prophet (a cleric granted spells by the dark powers) leading a large number of innocents into what will end up being a doomsday cult. If so, the group would have to find some way to discredit the leader without putting his innocent followers at risk. Or, perhaps he is actually a really pure-hearted individual who is simply a little off-the-rocker and his charisma is putting his followers into jeopardy because the dark lord of whatever domain sees him as a threat. The group may have to repeatedly defend the innocent while trying to shake the loyalty of a number of innocents who are blindly leading a morally pure, yet doomed, spiritual leader.

I don't know what sorts of quests you have put the characters on up to this point or what motivations the characters have, but with a little information, I think we could help come up with something interesting for the players.


Aug 13, 2006 13:36:53
The characters have already played one Campaign in Ravenloft (starting at 1st level), and finished it. So this isn't thier first time in Ravenloft. But as the history of this Group is Hack N' Slash, i can see the problems now.

So I started out DMing From the shadows, then had to tweak the ending a little, so the players could stay in ravenloft w/o having to go through Roots of Evil. The ending entailed Azalin being "Captured" (after he was in phylactery) by demons. So The PC's went off to save Azalin. They killed the demons, but found Azalin gone (he escaped). in his cell they found a map of IL Aluk with a building marked in Red. Thats where we stopped.

I have thought up a couple adventures using a Villian from a different world (Cyndre) who is gaining followers. One of his followers(posing as a police Constable) will meet the PCs in this building and tell them to kill off a majority of a counsel of Wizards who are "imposters"(so Cyndre can "control" part of the City thorugh them). The PCs have no idea the Constable works for Cyndre, so they will tihnk this guy runs the operation. they go off killing the wizards, and the more wizards they kill, the more clues they get that the follower wants to take over the counsel by appointing his own wizards. The PC's will end up either killing the constable, or, leaving him alive. the contable will then send assasins after them to kill the PCs.

This is where i stopped. Probably one way of another the PCs will figure out the constable sent assassins after them and they will kill him and find a link of the constable to Cyndre.

I want to use Cyndre as a central figure, and i tinhk Cyndre's plan will be to use the City's resourses to fund a way (of course) out of ravenloft.


Aug 14, 2006 2:36:04
I want to use Cyndre as a central figure, and i tinhk Cyndre's plan will be to use the City's resourses to fund a way (of course) out of ravenloft.

You'll want to use Styrix the Night Hag and her Rift Spanner then as she is already in Darkon.


Aug 16, 2006 1:16:24
Look at my other post and you will find more information on this, but i will basically say the same thing here.

Ravenloft and the twilight zone have a lot in common. They are places that are fun for the viewer, but troubling for the character. Ravenloft should be fun for your players, but tough and scary on your PC's.

Just remember one thing in Ravenloft and for that matter all DMing. Is it good for the Story? It doesn't really matter what lvl your PC's are there is something there for everyone. Just remember don't over do it. Ravenloft should be used as kind of a trip down the rabbit hole every once in a while, not a real build them up kind of a campaign. Ravenloft is a demi-plane and you can make it appear and dissappear when ever you want and theoretically it can change every time your PC's go there. There could be other people stuck in this plane trying to get out. There could be monsters trying to get out or in.

A great way to get there is always the old Twighlight Zone trick. When you go in you are in Waterdeep, when you come out your are in the middle of a ghost town on the edge of Strahd's kingdom. You could walk through a portal in a mirror. You could go for a bath in the lake and end up in Strahd's moat. You could fall asleep and have a dream sequence. There are so many things one can do to take PC's to Ravenloft and even keep them there for a couple of sessions. Maybe even allow Strahd to get to know them and show up in their closet and just as he is going to bite they wake up. The problem is that they don't know if it was a dream or the real thing. When they go back 5 or 6 sessions later they see wanted posters all over the place and they realize that they really were there and it wasn't all a dream. OR....Was it?

Use it sparingly, but have fun with it. Turn it in to an old Bela Lugosi movie if you want. It is your story. And when you are questioning yourself about what to do or say next just remember the only important question.

Is it good for the story?