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Brainstorming Rules for a Ravenloft Crossover (the Nightmare Lands)

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  • Brainstorming Rules for a Ravenloft Crossover (the Nightmare Lands)

    For those of you who don't know what Ravenloft is, Wikipedia has you covered, Before you ask-the reason it's here is that I'm focusing on the Nightmare Court and their backstory for this idea.

    Basically, I plan someday to run a Halloween game where a bunch of changelings find that their minds keep on being drawn into the Demiplane of Dread to match wits with the co-overlords of the Nightmare Lands (who actually are separate darklords in my view-part of their curse is that they need to work together to accomplish anything, but all despise each other for their eternal turf war for dreams-part of the Nightmare Lands' weirdness is that it's actually several overlapping domains fighting for dominance). Eventually, it's revealed the Nightmare Man is a true changeling from CofD Earth, which is why he's the unofficial leader-he designed the Web of Dreams and is the expert on dream ecology (his curse is really that he can't do much more than dream ride on his own-his Act of Ultimate Darkness involved using his expertise in dreamcrafting to drive an entire town insane, so the Dark Powers have stolen his ability to do anything but that, and even that requires hobgoblins he bullies. He wants so desperately to craft beautiful dreams again and to paint things the world would love, but all he has are nightmares, and not even ones of his own design).

    Thing is, I'm also invoking a lot of Changeling imagery-such as the idea that soon, the troupe's minds end up accidentally using the Court's Web of Dreams to explore the actual Demiplane, and slowly realize this strange, shared nightmare is actually a whole 'nother world. Why they don't realize it is that, as what is technically a cabal of Outsiders (being the astral forms of otherworldly hybrids of Gentry and human), they all have reality wrinkles-and the ability to use dreamcrafting to effect their personal dominion in small ways individually, large ways as a group (a deliberate test by the Dark Powers-give an ex-slave godlike power and the capacity to escape personal responsibility, let's see what happens!). Naturally, this really does not sit well with the actual darklords upon discovering the "invaders". And then the Nightmare Man realizes he's a changeling too...

    So, any ideas on how to pull this off rules-wise?



  • #2
    What game system are you using D&D 5e or Changeling 2e?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Omegaphallic View Post
      What game system are you using D&D 5e or Changeling 2e?
      Changeling 2e. That's why I am asking for help with the rules. I suppose I could switch systems per world...but would induce migraines real fast.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Leliel View Post

        Changeling 2e. That's why I am asking for help with the rules. I suppose I could switch systems per world...but would induce migraines real fast.
        What's the ambiguity points?


        Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
        Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

          What's the ambiguity points?
          What a changeling with completely different base assumptions in their core game switches to in a D&D world, mostly.

          Vancian magic versus spell points (and ways to get around that) are just the smallest problems. There's also how Clarity works in crunch terms, alignment, the fact that combat is something avoided in CofD...to say nothing of Ravenloft's eccentricities (there, necromancy=bad, in CofD, necromancy is the core power of a completely normal caste of mages and a particular kith). It's best to adapt the setting to CofD rules and use powers checks as the closest thing to an alignment system there is (and rejiggered for sanity-who here honestly thinks ray of enfeeblement is a spell so dark and vicious it is worthy of the attention of the black gods of the demiplane? ...Actually, that leads to the homebrew I have that most nonevil necromantic spells aren't powers checks, but add bonus percentages to the check if used to commit a worthy act of one).

          So yeah. Using a changeling's reality wrinkle to dreamcraft reality and interaction with the Mists is what I'm after. Also, do you think Mist-born deserve their own ephemeral category?
          Last edited by Leliel; 08-06-2017, 09:37 PM.


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          • #6
            Also, I just realized; the arrival of an entire motley of outsiders suddenly appearing and disappearing all around the Land of Mists and involving it in an ever-escalating war with a man made of spiders is probably Yet Another Apocalypse in Ravenloft terms. One wonders how many cults to the troupe will pop up, especially if they humiliate/dethrone a darklord or two. Given how divine magic works there, they may even grant divine spells ("Uh, how? I don't even know how to HOLY SHIT HE BOUGHT THE DEAD BACK TO LIFE!").

            Also, I just love the idea of a bunch of fiend hunters showing up, trying not to seem terrified...and the players just invite them to tea and explain they aren't fiends, they're fairies. No. not bogeymen. Not the Arak. No, elves aren't even fae you goddamned racists.

            Hunters: "So...you're just a bunch of humans who spent too much time in a fae world and you came back as mostly fae. You didn't lose your soul or become capricious sociopaths, you're just otherworldly beings?"

            Changelings: "More or less."

            Hunters: "...What do we do now? This is kind of new for us."

            Changelings: "...<Think telling them about the Keepers would be a powers check? It's kind of a death sentence.>"
            Last edited by Leliel; 08-06-2017, 10:09 PM.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Leliel View Post
              Also, I just realized; the arrival of an entire motley of outsiders suddenly appearing and disappearing all around the Land of Mists and involving it in an ever-escalating war with a man made of spiders is probably Yet Another Apocalypse in Ravenloft terms. One wonders how many cults to the troupe will pop up, especially if they humiliate/dethrone a darklord or two. Given how divine magic works there, they may even grant divine spells ("Uh, how? I don't even know how to HOLY SHIT HE BOUGHT THE DEAD BACK TO LIFE!").

              Also, I just love the idea of a bunch of fiend hunters showing up, trying not to seem terrified...and the players just invite them to tea and explain they aren't fiends, they're fairies. No. not bogeymen. Not the Arak. No, elves aren't even fae you goddamned racists.

              Hunters: "So...you're just a bunch of humans who spent too much time in a fae world and you came back as mostly fae. You didn't lose your soul or become capricious sociopaths, you're just otherworldly beings?"

              Changelings: "More or less."

              Hunters: "...What do we do now? This is kind of new for us."

              Changelings: "...<Think telling them about the Keepers would be a powers check? It's kind of a death sentence.>"


              To be fair (no pun intended) the changeling "soul" is implied to have holes as consequence of their tribulations (Hedge´s thorns, piece stolen in order to make the Fetchs, Keepers´ "tender caring", etc..) and replaced by wyrd stuff.
              Also, in Changeling the Lost revealing your nature to a non ensorcelled mortal is a Clarity breaking point. Not sure if is so in Second Edition too.

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              • #8
                So, do you just want the flavor/setting of Ravenloft, or do you want D&D's as well? What is essential (in your mind) for converting that background and theme cannot cover (Powers Checks, for example. Is Vancian magic really a requirement? Could you just run it as X Contracts per day? Are you keeping it low-Level or do you need to model Levels 12-15+?).


                Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                  So, do you just want the flavor/setting of Ravenloft, or do you want D&D's as well? What is essential (in your mind) for converting that background and theme cannot cover (Powers Checks, for example. Is Vancian magic really a requirement? Could you just run it as X Contracts per day? Are you keeping it low-Level or do you need to model Levels 12-15+?).
                  Converting the setting to CofD. There is not a lot of mechanics that depend on being in a D&D context, and it spares me the mucking about with CR and the like. We have a much better system for non-combat mysteries anyway, and Horrors make the combat that much more uncertain.

                  Really, the only rules that need converting are curses and powers checks this way. We have dreamwalking rules, Integrity is a good combination of Fear Horror and Madness saves, and the Mists are just a Condition.

                  Mist-Led (Tilt)
                  Your character is currently in the middle of a conjunction or the strange proto-reality that is the unbound Mists beyond the borders of any domain. Either way, they are currently lost among the obscuring, spacewarping fog that may or may not be sentient. Everyone with this Tilt also has the Lost Condition, takes a -3 penalty to perception, and can use their Defense against ranged attacks (the Mists obscure and twist in the presnce of killing weapons, giving those within warning of attack).


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                  • #10
                    Actually, here's a reason why I'm using Changeling's rules: Easy conversion of monsters.

                    Boowray

                    Quote: You're not going to let the bastard get away like that? Take it from your caring friend, he deserves this.

                    Description: A hobgoblin unique to Ravenloft, a boowray is in many way emblematic of the corruption the land is built on. Resembling tiny young children with an elfin quality, boowrays are actually products of the darklords' own repeated desire to find some way to minimize their moral culpability in their own actions; these subconscious urges, like many other thoughts from the dread lords, seep into the very fabric of their domains and are eventually hacked up like an animal expelling toxins in its vomit (an analogy not to be used around free boowrays). This gives rise to many varieties of wicked fairy whose purpose it is to make everyone as miserable as the darklords are, in particular boowrays-living incarnations of self-serving cynicism. Their purpose is to lead people into actions that lead into powers checks, serving as invisible tempters and shoulder demons-in other words, to symbolically "prove" that everyone else, deep down, is just as twisted and cruel as their unknowing parents. They are common in domains with a high presence of fae, like Falkovnia, Tepest, and the Shadow Rift, but can show up anywhere where people quietly fantasize about cruel actions; boowrays can smell these simmering cauldrons of resentment and if desperate to satisfy their nature will travel miles to these ripe places for despoilment.

                    Storytelling Hints: Boowrays are the ultimate pushers-the typical story involving them is ultimately a story about people they influence. Boowrays are not fighters, and the domains they plague all have no shortage of recognize the cruel imps for what they are, being quite eager (and with justification) to burn the miserable little jerks at the stake. Rather, they prey on the vulnerable and traumatized, those so desperate for a friend that they will listen to anyone who seems to be offering a helping hand. In addition, boowrays are master gaslighters-because of their natural abilities with invisibility, they are good at making their victims think they're insane, and in their traumatized state convincing them that since they're already crazy anyway, well. If nothing else, they can force the issue with Implant Mission-while actions mandated by a boowray's Dread Powers do not cause powers checks (as it is not made of free will), they do convince the victim that she cannot control her evil nature or that the people around her mean her harm and it's best to get them before they get her. The good news is that boowrays are cowards. As soon as they're discovered, they immediately run for the Mists, and while they desire vengeance, most of them are too chickenshit to go beyond angry grumblings and rude gestures from afar-unless they are thwarted multiple times...

                    Best At: Tempting, Psychological Manipulation, Gaslighting (5 dice)

                    Worst At: Understanding Altruism, Keeping Composed When Directly Threatened, Will To Overcome Enemies (Chance die)

                    Virtue: Spiteful

                    Vice: Petty/Coward

                    Willpower/Scene: 2

                    Aspiration: Cause powers checks, ruin lives

                    Dread Powers: Numina (Implant Mission), Mist Form, Know Soul

                    Bane: Hex symbols

                    Ban: A boowray must manifest in response to a powers check being redeemed or its schemes being uncovered and remain physical and visible for a scene.


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                    • #11
                      Actually, why am I converting that. I need dream morphs. Will do tomorrow.


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                      • #12
                        Here I go:

                        Dream Spawn

                        The dominant "species" of the Nightmare Lands, Dream Spawn are also a quiet warning against those who would let the Court run amuck; while it is believed by Dr. Illhousen that they are the cast of any given dream between roles, any changeling knows the human mind is more than capable of conjuring its own actors. They are, in fact, what remains of the original populace of the Terrain Between that, unlike the ancestors of the Abber, were not able to adapt to the madness with their identity intact. They have since degenerated into entities that, while technically perfectly adapted to their chaotic, amorphous environment, do not exist in a state anyone sane would call "living."

                        In their true forms, the majority of dream spawn are "morphs"-pale, gray humanoids with few features apart from the suggestion of a face and mouth. They usually are not in this form, however-morphs, as the name suggests, they change to fit the environs the Nightmare Lands have currently been warped into. There is no particular limit on their shapeshifting- the same morph can be a merchant, a wolf, and a walking tree, all in the same hour if Morpheus is feeling restless. They are not masters of this ability, though-their minds change to fit their forms, always aware they are not quite real but unable to comprehend what that might mean. Their general personalities remain intact, however-gray morphs are meek and subservient, while shadow morphs are insightful bullies. Gray morphs do not have much of a personality beyond that, apart from occasionally admitting that they despise being an underclass. Shadow morphs are those who stood up for themselves...to become part of the oppressors, gaining permission to assume powerful, monstrous forms (the Nightmare Man ruthlessly culls morphs who show too much compassion, as he rightly feels they might object to the abuse of dreamers).

                        Some shadow morphs go a step farther, gaining access to the Dreamtime Abber shamans summon their spirit guides from. The exposure to this primal source of knowledge and spiritual power unlocks their capacity for strong emotion-and it drives them quite mad. Or perhaps they become sane, and they are unable to deal with individuality. Those who maintain cohesion and have a strong enough will to deal with the shifting of their form become even more vicious versions of their shadow morph selves, not only enjoying the mental torture of dreamers but devising new and ever more personalized ones. These "dream demons", the ennui, are initiated into vassalage of the Nightmare Court and made petty tyrants of fear and trauma, the supreme overlords of the morphs and the generals in the Court's war on free thought. Ironically, the ennui all despise each other-the Court sets them against each other for their own amusement and egos. Every ennui's success is a mortal threat to his peers-a failed ennui is nothing more than raw material for the Nightmare Man to make into his personality-less personal agents, and they all know it.

                        (Rules later-you like this spin?)
                        Last edited by Leliel; 08-08-2017, 04:47 PM.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Leliel View Post

                          Converting the setting to CofD. There is not a lot of mechanics that depend on being in a D&D context, and it spares me the mucking about with CR and the like. We have a much better system for non-combat mysteries anyway, and Horrors make the combat that much more uncertain.

                          Really, the only rules that need converting are curses and powers checks this way. We have dreamwalking rules, Integrity is a good combination of Fear Horror and Madness saves, and the Mists are just a Condition.

                          Mist-Led (Tilt)
                          Your character is currently in the middle of a conjunction or the strange proto-reality that is the unbound Mists beyond the borders of any domain. Either way, they are currently lost among the obscuring, spacewarping fog that may or may not be sentient. Everyone with this Tilt also has the Lost Condition, takes a -3 penalty to perception, and can use their Defense against ranged attacks (the Mists obscure and twist in the presnce of killing weapons, giving those within warning of attack).

                          People have been adding D&D Bestiary to this thread.

                          For Dread Power Checks feel free to use the Atrocity/Personal Bane system in my Frailty Chronicles which tempts and both rewards and punishes those doing evil, with Permanent Atrocity 10 being Dread Lord territory if they enter the Mists. Those rules could apply only while within the Ravenloft Setting if you didn't want to make objectively enforced morality a universal setting aspect.
                          Last edited by Pale_Crusader; 08-08-2017, 01:41 PM.


                          “Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ~ Aristophanes
                          "Virescit Vulnere Virtus" ~ Stewart Clan Motto

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pale_Crusader View Post


                            People have been adding D&D Bestiary to this thread.

                            For Dread Power Checks feel free to use the Atrocity/Personal Bane system in my Frailty Chronicles which tempts and both rewards and punishes those doing evil, with Permanent Atrocity 10 being Dread Lord territory if they enter the Mists. Those rules could apply only while within the Ravenloft Setting if you didn't want to make objectively enforced morality a universal setting aspect.

                            Excellent plan. The overall idea is that while the Court can't escape, they can send dreams-and later, monsters infused with them. They want the troupe to fall to their level because doing so would trap the motley in Ravenloft-and possibly turn their waking bodies into portals they can exert their influence through...

                            Also, note how I said the Court wants to destroy free thought? That actually was inspired by how their predominant alignment is Lawful Evil, and all their natural servants are likewise Lawful. Thus, I've decided to mine The Invisibles for inspiration-they're not Freddy Krueger, they're the Outer Church, using fear and madness as tools of social control to create a clockwork world of perfect control and where stasis is a good in-and-of-itself. Progress, but no change. In fact, their proper name isn't even the Nightmare Court, it's the Oneiric Collegium of Justices, with the Nightmare Man being the Advocate General.

                            Yes, the main antagonist is a demigod lawyer. Insert bad jokes here.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Leliel View Post


                              Excellent plan. The overall idea is that while the Court can't escape, they can send dreams-and later, monsters infused with them. They want the troupe to fall to their level because doing so would trap the motley in Ravenloft-and possibly turn their waking bodies into portals they can exert their influence through...

                              Also, note how I said the Court wants to destroy free thought? That actually was inspired by how their predominant alignment is Lawful Evil, and all their natural servants are likewise Lawful. Thus, I've decided to mine The Invisibles for inspiration-they're not Freddy Krueger, they're the Outer Church, using fear and madness as tools of social control to create a clockwork world of perfect control and where stasis is a good in-and-of-itself. Progress, but no change. In fact, their proper name isn't even the Nightmare Court, it's the Oneiric Collegium of Justices, with the Nightmare Man being the Advocate General.

                              Yes, the main antagonist is a demigod lawyer. Insert bad jokes here.
                              You know, this sounds like it might make a decent Hell for some Unchained.

                              I mean, to the point they'd offer to trade, if they could.


                              Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                              Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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