My Heavily-altered Grim Harvest Campaign



Mar 20, 2004 2:49:06
Currently my RL Friday group are into my own version of the Grim Harvest: it has NOTHING to do whatsoever with the canon Harvest (because I don't have the modules), and goes almost directly against any and all Ravenloft standards in history.

How the story goes:
It is 749 BC. Strange dreams have brought certain people together (the party) in the lone hamlet of Gilleach a Duinn, in Keening. After exploring the town they realize that strange visitors from "up North" (Darkon) have descended upon this lazy hamlet. Further exploration underneath Gilleach a Duinn by the group reveals a secret experiment conducted by Azalin's agents, using an Hourglass of Souls which gathers souls within the immediate vicinity. After battling the people involved (and setting off the Hourglass, thereby turning the surface town of Gilleach a Duinn into a town of undead--the City of the Dead), the group learns that certain artifacts of great power are needed to create a "supramechanism" called the "Machina Ascentia," with the Hourglass being a prototype device. Azalin has sent agents around the continent to gather these ancient artifacts and bring them back to Darkon for something the players could not possibly comprehend. From certain clues they'd pick up, they surmise that whatever this Machina Ascentia is, it would involve the death of half the Core's population.

Their goal now is to collect the other artifacts before the Kargat get ahead of them. So far they've gathered two of the six artifacts (including the Hourglass), and are now on their way to gather the rest.

One of the players is under the service of Azalin, and has been planted by Azalin to retrieve the artifacts. They have entrusted her with the artifacts (she has a Portable Hole), and whenever downtime arrives she secrets herself to Darkon to give Azalin the artifacts. He in turn gives them "Made in Taiwan"-type counterfeits enveloped in powerful magic so they look and feel exactly like the real things. (Thanks to the BOOK OF VILE DARKNESS for the idea to create evil and scheming PC's)

Another one of the PC's is a secret informant for an ex-Kargatane who has sensed some momentous event to happen within the next year or so.

The Machina Ascentia is, of course, Azalin's Doomsday Device. I have altered the abilities of these relics to suit the needs of the campaign. The artifacts that make up the device are:

THE HOURGLASS OF SOULS: Suspends up to 1000 persons' souls within the material, tangible plane as long as the sands run;

THE SKULL OF TYRAC: A crystal skull that contains the preserved brain of a powerful outlander psion with knowledge of the planes;

THE ADERRE GYROSCOPE: A device that can pinpoint anything in any direction as the holder desires;

THE KYTON DEVICE: Transposes a person as a Kyton to the plane where Kytons live, as mentioned in CotN: Demons;

THREE POWERFUL STATUETTES: Either the statues of Jupiter/Minerva/Pluto or (three Aztec gods each representing Power, Wisdom and Death), all magnify mystical energies;

THE MAGNETIC CARPET: A carpet made entirely of magnetic material that converts normal energy into mystical/vile energy.

How the Machina Ascentia works:
For the Machina Ascentia theory to work, the device will need a hundred thousand stolen souls. In my campaign the Doomsday Device is deep under Il Aluk (as with the canon story, I think) The Kyton Device hovers above the person willing to escape. The chains of the Kyton Device are connected to three pillars which each support the three statuettes, which in turn negate the Kyton Device's transposition powers. Across from the person is the Hourglass, augmented in ability by the Magnetic Carpet beneath the whole device (now suspends 100,000 souls instead of 1000). The Skull of Tyrac, grafted within the Hourglass, determines where the person wishes to go, while the Gyroscope directs the Kyton Device to what the Skull desires.

The heroes are to stop turning half of Ravenloft into undead beings. Hopefully they would destroy the Machina Ascentia, prevent Azalin from escaping Ravenloft. However,as consequence of their actions, the City of Il Aluk is destroyed (as with the canon material).

A bit complicated and outlandish at first, even by RL standards. What do the rest think?


Mar 23, 2004 8:24:22

I enjoyed reading your ideas for the Grim Harvest. In terms of a long-term campaign, it would provide a great backdrop to show the Lands of Mist to the players and their characters. Also, if your spy characters can pull off their roles subtly, they could grow and change, either becoming beloved by their companions or even learning to appreciate their companions over the course of the campaign. One of the coolest things is when an evil character learns the value of human lives through adventuring with good characters...and then turns on his former employer rather than follow through on his original mission.

I really like the introduction. It's some nice sleight of hand, and an effortless way of convincing the characters that they have "discovered the master plan" of Azalin Rex, while in reality they are the master plan. From there, they are willing to go to any lengths to ensure that the villain is stopped...and always with a band of Kargat just behind them to keep them from getting complacent.

I would wager that the Kargat also serve a dual function: If the heroes bite off more than they can chew, and perish, then the Kargat can sweep in while the enemy is still week and claim the artifact much more easily!

Reading through your ideas brings to mind an episodic series of adventures, kind of like the old Friday the 13th TV series, or even the more recent Brimstone. The heroes have a finite number of objectives, and they have to get them before something terrible happens. I like the artifacts you have decided to include...Anything with the Kyton device is bound to be fun! Also, incorporating the Aderre line is a nice touch. It's a little interesting that you've chosen Aztec deities for the statues, though, considering how the Lands of Mist have such a unique pantheon already. Maybe they could be angelic/demonic servants of the Morninglord / Lawgiver / Wolf God, what have you?