Ravenloft Campaign: Woven Fates

Tonight, I relate the story of a group of strangers that met here in the Land of Mists and, forced by destiny, wandered its roads in formidable adventure. Join us as I lead you from their first meeting along through their travels, their misfortunes and their shining moments. Grace them with your compassion in their losses; bless them with your support when the sky is dark and bleak. Do not forget to bestow your praise upon them as they vanquish terror and hold back the minions of darkness. Raise your arm to cheer for their victories!
And above all, share your glass with us for them, both in sorrow and elation, as you accompany them in the thorny road from lost adventurers to heroes of the mists.

Come, huddle with us by the fire here in the dark. The night is cold, but within the ring of Vardos, its evils cannot touch us. Tonight, you are a guest of the Vistani and nothing will harm you. Come, the Prastonata is over and now is time for the Doroq. Let the tales now unfold, let the revelations begin...

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Some starting points regarding this campaign.

First and foremost, I want to make some comments regarding the campaign per se. This campaign started at a time Ravenloft was technically dead, this means, the line had finished and no more products were being published. The planning of it all was done using rules of the AD&D 2nd Edition and the beginning of the campaign was set for 751 BC, the default date set in Domains of Dread.

Meanwhile, Ravenloft was kind of ressurrected, being the line taken up again by Arthaus, and a number of products are currently being published under this label using the rules D&D 3E, D20. Technically, though, Ravenloft is no longer a WotC product, for the rights of publication have been sold, so the new books can not make direct references to characters whose copyright is still propriety of WotC. For instance, Lord Soth, the former ruler of the domain Sithicus, is now referred by some oblique quote, like Black Knight or something similar.

Anyway, this change of editions happened still before the actual beginning of the campaign, in time for all the characters to be done directly in 3E. At the same time, the new books advanced the time line and the new default date for starting campaigns was now 755 BC. I, however, decided to keep my campaign starting at 751 BC.

There are some changes I had to make in canon. According to Bleak House, Van Richten died or disappeared in 750 BC, but I find the character so interesting that I've kept him alive thus far. Also, the Grand Conjunction has happened, but I plan to reuse some of the modules of 2Ed that detailed it. As such, events that in canon history happened between 736 BC and 740 BC may not have happened after all.

But the biggest change is, no doubt, the domain where the adventurers start. At the time I was planning everything, I was rather unsure and unknowing of Ravenloft lore. I knew nearly to nothing, having only Domains of Dread and the Van Richten books, so I felt safer carving my own domain, named Irvanika, letting the players in there, and forgetting the rest of the Core. Alas, the appeal of the published material is too great. What is the fun of taking the players to Ravenloft if you cannot show them what is Ravenloft? Who are Strahd, Azalin, Drakov, Van Richten, Weathermay, etc? Ravenloft is teeming with interesting characters and plots, with compelling storylines and adventure hooks, and I was anxious to let these show. And slowly, gradually, I came to understand that the creation of Irvanika had been a mistake. But it was done, and I was loath to go back. And so it was that Irvanika was placed in the very southernmost part of the Shadow Rift, bordering Barovia to the South, Borca to the West, Nova Vaasa to the East and Tepest and the Shadow Rift to the North. Snuggling right in the core of the Core, it was to be the departing point for the players. The main story is still focused in Irvanika, but the stories of the PCs will take them to travel a significant part of the Core (if their players allow for it, which we can never be sure of) and in the end, the fate of Irvanika itself may have a direct and large influence into the lands of the Core. And so you're now warned that not everything you'll find here accords to what you may have read in Ravenloft books, but is a selection of what I like most about them.


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