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 [RavenLoft]Has anybody adapted or used this in 4e?

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PostSubject: [RavenLoft]Has anybody adapted or used this in 4e?   Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:30 pm

I am not actually that familiar with RavenLoft I am kind of wondering how you might approach it using 4e?

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PostSubject: Re: [RavenLoft]Has anybody adapted or used this in 4e?   Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:31 pm

Ravenloft got some 4e love in Dragon #416, and Dungeon #207. I know Ravenloft is very stereotypical in terms of it's approach to horror. It steals lots of the classic monster movie style tropes and all that. But I'm not too super familiar with Ravenloft either, so the best I could do would be to point you to those issues.

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PostSubject: Re: [RavenLoft]Has anybody adapted or used this in 4e?   Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:44 am

There is plenty of room in Ravenloft for combat, and in fact while the original settings focused on much gothic horror type elements ( and even in some cases cheesy effects ) make no mistake your characters mainly tried to deal with or outright kill the domain lords in order to try or escape from that domain, in some cases even wanting to explore or move into other domains of dread.

With that said and with the cosmology of 4e, ravenloft more or less ( or I should say the domains of dread ) exist in the deeper parts of the shadowfell itself, since I was naturally attracted to the shadowfell box set and heroes of shadow, I would highly recommend getting this and making use of the cards within, they are very interesting and atmospheric in terms of some of the horror rules and ideas presented in the original setting, instead of vistani tarot what we have is a semi deck of fear and horror and paranoid cards that once you overcome these things, they grant you a sorta boon as it were.

I personally feel this is a good tool for running ravenloft games in 4e, I think you would naturally also have to develop some house rules but this would be more geared toward the heavy rp elements and with skill checks and such, I would in fact say having a healthy balance of skill checks and combat would be able to do ravenloft some justice in 4e.

If I was going to give some guildlines for a homebrew or tailored ravenloft 4e campaign I would suggest this:

Open Grave

The Shadowfell along with making full use of the cards included

Having a healthy mixture of dungeon tiles from the wilderness and shadowghast manor, I think alot could be done with this for creating many undead and bleak filled type areas that the pc's could explore, having some smaller like town or city type maps or tiles would also be advised.

I mention this because many "Strongholds" of dark lords are often mansions, keeps or even castles so alot of descriptive elements when exploring maps like this could really do a ravenloft setting in 4e justice.

Along with adapting past lore into it and alot of heavy roleplaying surrounding exploration and combat itself.

I would heavily limit non human player characters also, or if they are non human make life as hard as possible for them, ravenloft at it's core was mainly about gothic horror...and while demi humans did exist in the domains of dread, they were RARE and with keeping with the settings theme it would be a good idea to advise this to players also. So I'm saying watch a bunch of old hammer and vincent price yada yada flicks, use alot of those for inspiration and atmosphere ( as much as these flicks suck in terms of realistic gore and acting today, many of them blow away many modern movies in terms of detail put into the sets ), I mean I really can't imagine many dragonborn or tieflings running around the domains much personally, I suppose they could be added but it would make things alot more like a mix of fantasy generic d&d with ravenloft mixed into it too, not really my thing.

Since neither of you are too familiar with it, I would explain it like this...consider most cookie cutter STORIES in terms of classic horror or monster movies, ie from the black n white era to late 70s, also consider many gothic horror type books, then think of mini isolated domains where each one has a cruel evil tyrant selfish bastard damned there till whenever or forever, and it mostly being about GOOD characters or parties being sucked to one domain and becoming captives, which usually ends up with them somehow making it to so and so's lair and defeating them in order to leave that one domain ( this does not always mean they can literally leave ravenloft itself to return home sometimes this happens sometimes they simply wander into another lords domain ), a typical domain can range anywhere from a mid sized city or county right down to a literal mansion with only a small courtyard floating in the mists ( or in this case the deeper parts of the shadowfell ), I remember one adventure from 2nd e that basically had the party transported to a bards mansion and I think they were literally stuck in his room only, they were fed and did not need food anymore or something but they had to eventually destroy his piano or lute or something like that to win and leave.

In terms of npc's and say village/city interaction keep in mind something important here, most npc's are basically prisoners just like the party, the only difference is they are very much like any backwater real life small town, ie non trusting of outsiders and close knit, on top of this consider what life is like for humans within a demiplane, they might be used to for generations their sons or daughters being murdered or snatched up by whatever dark lord rules over them and there is not a thing they can do about it, the domains of dread are NOT a nice place, in fact they are downright depressing and full of evil upon evil upon evil, the shadowfell in some ways actually has some hope and some minor places that characters might feel some relaxing or safe feeling, that's not something you will find often in ravenloft outside of maybe someone like van richten.

If you were to follow this, I feel strongly it would be quite similar to 2nd ed experiences in terms of what made it stand out or unique vs typical d&d like games. Ravenloft itself presents some interesting things to consider, as I said combat is part of the living there ( I mean you are assaulted by all sorts of undead and even mental assaults on your own sense and need to survive that and be strong willed and brave ), some of the events ( translated to "entertainment of the domains rulers ) that go on in the domains of dread and the islands of terror in alot of respects might be similar to the kinds of entertainment devils and demons indulge in within the nine hells or the abyss also. I think it's a great setting that can also help both players and dm's become better at the roleplaying side of rpg's due to the fact its heavily influenced by horror and atmosphere.

It's important also to really flesh out and understand the villains or dark lords too, what motivates them ? these are not always mindless murdering freaks that only exist to kill ( although some are ), but tragic villains who are more or less damned living in a plane that reflects alot of their own world they came from, for example lord soth eventually had his own domain in ravenloft called sithicus which was sorta a mirror of his own keep on krynn only it was changed and darkened ( much like how the shadowfell is a mirror to the material plane which is why I think it was somewhat fitting to add domains into the deeper parts of that plane ) even more so, I think he was tormented nightly by multiple elf banshees mocking him and such, it's not a nice place in a way it's an example of what a private hell might be like.
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PostSubject: Re: [RavenLoft]Has anybody adapted or used this in 4e?   Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:14 pm

Lots of good points in Vaegard's thread. I pretty much agree with it.

I'm currently running a Paragon Tier campaign set in the Shadowfell and centered around the city of Gloomwrought. But a lot of my inspiration comes from the original Ravenloft adventure. I'm not sure yet, but I may steer the story towards a Domain of Dread and have the players become enveloped into the mists and stuck there until they can earn their escape.

Another great thing about the Shadowfell is that just about any horror themed story stuff can drop right in and do well. I've run a few horror themed stories already and the players really enjoyed them. The setting of the Shadowfell lends itself to any sort of dark and oppressive mood.

I would, as previously mentioned, look into some of the older Lore of the Ravenloft setting. It should fit in nicely in a deep part of the Shadowfell.

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PostSubject: Re: [RavenLoft]Has anybody adapted or used this in 4e?   Sat Apr 26, 2014 10:01 am

That's an excellent point: Ravenloft stuff fits really well into the Shadowfell. I've had the same experience with running locations inspired by Ravenloft material.

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