[MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

"And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all." — Edgar Allan Poe
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[MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:22 am

Has anyone got Masque of the Red Death?

Have you played it? Did it feel different to conventional Ravenloft?

Did you think there any advantages or disadvantages to the new Ravenloft campaign setting?
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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:59 am

Got it.

Not played it. Wouldn't know about differences, never played it.

I think the biggest disadvantage is that wasn't D20 Modern compatible. Another disadvantage was the spell system. It is way too clunky IMO. I love the way that Grim Tales approached spellcasting. TBPH, Grim Tales could easily be used as the basis for the crunch of MotRD, and the fluff from the MotRD D20 book would be a fantastic amalgamation for a role-playing experience.


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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by kristhomas » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:44 pm

got it tried to play it players didn't like it (damn them don't they know how much this stuff costs?)

For me it was all about fighting dracula, meeting sherlock holmes, a young winston churchill, fu manchu and other league of extraordinary gentlemen stuff, the group thought the PCs under powered (but coming from ad&d 2nd ed most others seem weak) and the magic system a bit slow

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:47 pm

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:Got it.

Not played it. Wouldn't know about differences, never played it.
How come you didn't play it? Did you get it to raid, or did you try to play it and not get a chance?
Twin Agate Dragons wrote:I think the biggest disadvantage is that wasn't D20 Modern compatible. Another disadvantage was the spell system. It is way too clunky IMO. I love the way that Grim Tales approached spellcasting. TBPH, Grim Tales could easily be used as the basis for the crunch of MotRD, and the fluff from the MotRD D20 book would be a fantastic amalgamation for a role-playing experience.

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I believe this came out before 3e, but I've heard that the 3e Ravenloft product line was actually Masque of the Red Death, rather than the core Ravenloft. I'm not sure if that is true or if I misheard it, but I do think a Horror SRD would have really made things easier for the 3e Era.
kristhomas wrote:got it tried to play it players didn't like it (damn them don't they know how much this stuff costs?)
Buying stuff that you can't use (because nobody wants to play it with you) is one of the problems with tabletop gaming.
kristhomas wrote:For me it was all about fighting dracula, meeting sherlock holmes, a young winston churchill, fu manchu and other league of extraordinary gentlemen stuff, the group thought the PCs under powered (but coming from ad&d 2nd ed most others seem weak) and the magic system a bit slow
Sounds like there is a hook in there somewhere that your players didn't see. I wonder if looking for selling points might make it easier to get another group to give this a go. What sort of things do you think the PCs could achieve in the MotRD setting that they could not do in a conventional RPG?

Do you think that they could fly WWI bi-planes and try to machine gun vampires or stuff like that?
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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:24 am

Big Mac wrote:How come you didn't play it? Did you get it to raid, or did you try to play it and not get a chance?
I didn't play it because I bought it after my gaming group fell apart and I pitch it to the next two groups I hooked up with but the interest was nil. I also bought it for raidability. I'd still love to play/GM it. I think it would provide a good core for a Castlevania D20 game.
Big Mac wrote:I believe this came out before 3e, but I've heard that the 3e Ravenloft product line was actually Masque of the Red Death, rather than the core Ravenloft. I'm not sure if that is true or if I misheard it, but I do think a Horror SRD would have really made things easier for the 3e Era.
There was the MotRD 2E Box Set, I think I still have the poster (with the box cover art on it) that came with it somewhere around here. I'd love to get that framed. The 3E MotRD hardback was printed in 2004 which makes it 3.5 compatible. It requires the Ravenloft Player's Handbook and the Ravenloft Dungeon Master's Guide, which are also 3.5 books. OGL Horror is as close as the gaming community is going to get to a Horror SRD. Grim Tales came out July 2004 so that is 3.5 compatible too.

EDIT: I found the Grim Tales online SRD archived here.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:10 pm

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I believe this came out before 3e, but I've heard that the 3e Ravenloft product line was actually Masque of the Red Death, rather than the core Ravenloft. I'm not sure if that is true or if I misheard it, but I do think a Horror SRD would have really made things easier for the 3e Era.
There was the MotRD 2E Box Set, I think I still have the poster (with the box cover art on it) that came with it somewhere around here. I'd love to get that framed. The 3E MotRD hardback was printed in 2004 which makes it 3.5 compatible. It requires the Ravenloft Player's Handbook and the Ravenloft Dungeon Master's Guide, which are also 3.5 books. OGL Horror is as close as the gaming community is going to get to a Horror SRD. Grim Tales came out July 2004 so that is 3.5 compatible too.
Hmm. So if Masque of the Red Death is an add-on setting for 3e, what is the core setting? Is it the 2e Ravenloft with the connections to other D&D campaign settings retconned away?
Twin Agate Dragons wrote:EDIT: I found the Grim Tales online SRD archived here.
Interesting. Hard to navigate, but interesting. I've never heard of this. I see a "~" in the URL, so it looks like a personal website. Is this someone creating a Grimm Tales conversion for the MSRD or someone copying the Grimm Tales SRD from some sort of offiical website? :?
Last edited by Big Mac on Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:00 pm

Big Mac wrote:Hmm. So if Masque of the Red Death is an add-on setting for 3e, what is the core setting? Is it the 2e Ravenloft with the connections to other D&D campaign settings retconned away?
The core setting is Ravenloft.

It is the 3.XE of Ravenloft that retconned connections to other campaign settings, I think with the exception of Dragonlance. IIRC, Azalin was originally from Dragonlance.
Big Mac wrote:Interesting. Hard to navigate, but interesting. I've never heard of this. I see a "~" in the URL, so it looks like a personal website. Is this someone creating a Grimm Tales conversion for the MSRD or someone copying the Grimm Tales SRD from some sort of offiical website? :?
Just to be clear, there are two 'Grim' rpgs; Grim Tales and Grimm.

The Grim Tales SRD is a collection of all the Open Content that the book produced. And it looks like it isn't even complete. I may have to make it a personal project to compile it into a free distributable PDF. I don't know jack squat about making websites. Maybe in the future The Piazza might host the Grim Tales SRD.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:10 pm

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Hmm. So if Masque of the Red Death is an add-on setting for 3e, what is the core setting? Is it the 2e Ravenloft with the connections to other D&D campaign settings retconned away?
The core setting is Ravenloft.

It is the 3.XE of Ravenloft that retconned connections to other campaign settings, I think with the exception of Dragonlance. IIRC, Azalin was originally from Dragonlance.
Azalin is from Oerth. White Wolf's Ravenloft license precluded them from mentioning any other settings (they had a license for Ravenloft, but not Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Mystara, Dark Sun, or Forgotten Realms), but the idea that the Dark Lords originated in other (unnamed) worlds wasn't retconned away.

Everyone in the Masque of the Red Death setting is, of course, from Gothic Earth, except perhaps the Red Death itself (who strikes me as an obvious fit as an avatar of Nyarlathotep).

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Havard » Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:31 pm

I always wanted to play in this setting, but AD&D always struck me as a poor fit for it. I toyed with the idea of using BRP with the setting, but nothing ever came of it.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:49 am

ripvanwormer wrote:
Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Hmm. So if Masque of the Red Death is an add-on setting for 3e, what is the core setting? Is it the 2e Ravenloft with the connections to other D&D campaign settings retconned away?
The core setting is Ravenloft.

It is the 3.XE of Ravenloft that retconned connections to other campaign settings, I think with the exception of Dragonlance. IIRC, Azalin was originally from Dragonlance.
Azalin is from Oerth. White Wolf's Ravenloft license precluded them from mentioning any other settings (they had a license for Ravenloft, but not Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Mystara, Dark Sun, or Forgotten Realms), but the idea that the Dark Lords originated in other (unnamed) worlds wasn't retconned away.
Great! That means I've been mislead about 3e Ravenloft being different - absence of information is not information - and 3e Ravenloft material would be useful to people playing with the 2e universe. :)
ripvanwormer wrote:Everyone in the Masque of the Red Death setting is, of course, from Gothic Earth, except perhaps the Red Death itself (who strikes me as an obvious fit as an avatar of Nyarlathotep).
Is the Nyarlathotep connection mentioned anywhere (either in 3e or 2e)?
Havard wrote:I always wanted to play in this setting, but AD&D always struck me as a poor fit for it. I toyed with the idea of using BRP with the setting, but nothing ever came of it.
What made you think that Masque of the Red Death didn't fit AD&D?

Did you think the 3e version was a better fit?
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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:00 am

Big Mac wrote:Great! That means I've been mislead about 3e Ravenloft being different - absence of information is not information - and 3e Ravenloft material would be useful to people playing with the 2e universe. :)
I'm sorry if that is partially or completely my fault.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Havard » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:14 am

Big Mac wrote:
Havard wrote:I always wanted to play in this setting, but AD&D always struck me as a poor fit for it. I toyed with the idea of using BRP with the setting, but nothing ever came of it.
What made you think that Masque of the Red Death didn't fit AD&D?

Did you think the 3e version was a better fit?
AD&D/D&D is designed for heroic fantasy in a medieval environment.

I always felt that the level mechanic especially was ill suited for Ravenloft/the horror genre in general, but MotRD also happens to be set in a world with 19th Century technology.

Not saying that cannot be done with AD&D/D&D/D20, but perhaps another system could do it better. At least it would create a very different atmosphere, which could be interesting to some of us.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:32 am

Havard wrote:Not saying that cannot be done with AD&D/D&D/D20, but perhaps another system could do it better. At least it would create a very different atmosphere, which could be interesting to some of us.
Which is why I brought up Grim Tales.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by agathokles » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:07 pm

I would suggest using Alternity with Masque -- it is similar enough to D&D as to preserve the D&D-esque aspects without the "heroic fantasy" limits. Besides, the Dark*Matter setting and the FX book cover horror and magic fairly well, so you only need minor adjustments. BRP would make it into something like Cthulhu by Gaslight (just with Red Death instead of Cthulhu), but is certainly a viable choice, as are Unisystem (Conspiracy X 2e, especially, since the magic rules and implied setting of other Unisystem games don't fit with the Masque setting) and D20 Modern.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:46 am

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Great! That means I've been mislead about 3e Ravenloft being different - absence of information is not information - and 3e Ravenloft material would be useful to people playing with the 2e universe. :)
I'm sorry if that is partially or completely my fault.
That wasn't a complaint. The "great" wasn't ironic.

I've picked up the impression that 3e Ravenloft was not compatible with 2e Ravenloft from a number of sources. So it isn't anything for you to apologise for.

The fact that the 2e references are omitted (rather than totally overturned) means that I should be able to use 3e Raveloft books with the 2e Era multiverse (i.e. I can use the 3e Ravenloft as part of the 2e Planescape/Spelljammer cosmology). That increases its usefulness to me. So for me this is really good news. :)
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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:55 am

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
Havard wrote:Not saying that cannot be done with AD&D/D&D/D20, but perhaps another system could do it better. At least it would create a very different atmosphere, which could be interesting to some of us.
Which is why I brought up Grim Tales.
...and...
agathokles wrote:I would suggest using Alternity with Masque -- it is similar enough to D&D as to preserve the D&D-esque aspects without the "heroic fantasy" limits. Besides, the Dark*Matter setting and the FX book cover horror and magic fairly well, so you only need minor adjustments. BRP would make it into something like Cthulhu by Gaslight (just with Red Death instead of Cthulhu), but is certainly a viable choice, as are Unisystem (Conspiracy X 2e, especially, since the magic rules and implied setting of other Unisystem games don't fit with the Masque setting) and D20 Modern.
Here is where I think that Wizards of the Coast missed a trick.

They brought out d20 Modern (and the Modern SRD) and it was not quite compatible enough with 3rd Edition D&D to allow for bits to be interchanged.

If they had gone for a modern, future and past system that was more compatible with the (fantasy) SRD, it would have been a lot easier for them to have brought out a Horror SRD.

A Horror SRD is something that really should have happened during the 3e Era. Ravenloft and Masque of the Red Death could both have been compatible with a HSRD and if it had generated a 3rd Party Publishing market, it could possibly have captured the userbase in the same sort of way that the SRD-compatible products did.

Horror gaming is an important subgenere and WotC have not really done enough to support it.
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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:37 am

It is a damn shame that the content from Heroes of Horror wasn't made open. There is a lot in it that is fantastic for running a Ravenloft game.

I'm really going to have to look into getting the Mongoose OGL Horror book/pdf. The spellcasting mechanic from Grim Tales was utterly fantastic, I am surprised that Bad Axe never made the book available as a PDF.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by ripvanwormer » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:30 pm

Big Mac wrote:Great! That means I've been mislead about 3e Ravenloft being different - absence of information is not information - and 3e Ravenloft material would be useful to people playing with the 2e universe. :)
I think so. The difference is that 3rd edition treated Ravenloft as more of a self-contained setting. Escaping it was no longer the point; it was the world, as far as the PCs were concerned, a fully-developed campaign setting rather than a place to travel to and find a way out of. Other worlds are treated as vague hypothetical possibilities, and the PCs are assumed to be natives who don't know for a fact that they even exist.

However, the d20 line did mention these worlds. For example, the Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume I has the in-universe narrator saying "Occultists in some circles have posited the existence of other worlds... I once scoffed at such wild theories, but... I have reluctantly come to accept them, at least on a theoretical basis..."

While 2nd edition's Domains of Dread said the inhabitants of Gundarak primarily worshiped Nerull (with a small but growing cult of the Morninglord Lathander), the d20 Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume I names the ancient god of the Gundarakites as "Erlin." The Gazetteer states that "In reality, the god is a perverted version of the death god worshiped on the world where Nharov Gundar once dwelled," which suggests to me that perhaps Erlin is a memory of Nerull altered by centuries of living on the Demiplane of Dread, cut off from the true deity's essence. I think that might also mean that Nharov Gundar was originally from Oerth, though Oerth isn't the only world where Nerull was known and feared, so the evidence for that is scant.
Is the Nyarlathotep connection mentioned anywhere (either in 3e or 2e)?
No, that's just my theory.

My theory is that the only reason they went with inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe instead of Lovecraft is copyright. While Lovecraft's works are now in the public domain, for a long time Chaosium claimed exclusive rights to the use of HP Lovecraft's writings in roleplaying games, threatening to sue anyone else who tried to use them without permission (which is why the Lovecraft mythos was removed from later printings of Deities & Demigods). Still, the Red Death is associated with ancient Egypt, as Nyarlathotep is, and fits the "active source of evil and temptation in the world" role that Nyarlathotep holds in Lovecraft's mythos.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by kristhomas » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:29 am

My understanding is that Masque is Cthulu by Gaslight using the AD&D rules, where i think they miss a trick is they underpower the players to make what are pretty standard AD&D monsters challenging, by sticking to a four class system in which two classes have access to magic that is less face it much less useful than it could be, they have basically created a rule set that could have been achieved by applying the alternate primes rules from manual of the planes, rather than creating a genuine setting where the challenge facing the group was as much a world turned against them as any individual monster, in a marketplace where vampire lords come thick and fast, i could not have my players face off against Dracula and come away saying "Strahd would have kicked his arse" which they would have done if they'd faced Masque's version of the greatest vampire in fiction.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Bonetti » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:44 pm

I always wanted to try MotRD but never had a system that fit or group to play it with. I had toyed with converting it to Dangerous Journeys: Unhallowed (the unreleased horror genre rules for Dangerous Journeys -- only Mythus ever saw print as a product), GURPS, or possibly as the setting using Amazing Engine's For Faerie, Queen, and Country. I, too, would love to pull it into League of Extraordinary Gentlemen territory, and there is such a rich set of source material to work with...

Without having actually tried it, my read of the magic classes (at the time) was that D&D players would be unhappy at the severe loss of power.

Mind you, this was 2e era, so a lot of the newer rules options weren't available.

Kristhomas, I'd love to hear what adventure(s) you did manage to run before the players decided they didn't like it :-)
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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by kristhomas » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:48 pm

bonetti, got about half way thru the jack the ripper adventure from the boxed set

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by kristhomas » Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:04 am

i'm trying something on the Masque of the Red death fb page if anyone wants to have a look and join in, not looking for any commitment any contribution would be fun

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Darkanth » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:39 pm

kristhomas wrote:i'm trying something on the Masque of the Red death fb page if anyone wants to have a look and join in, not looking for any commitment any contribution would be fun
Have requested entry to the Group on Fb. My box set arrived from Amazon on the 14th, and am currently working thru the booklet to ascertain what alterations I need to make to stuff. I'm using a mishmash system from a number of disparate, yet allegedly compatible :roll: , retroclones and 2e. A lot of the fluff is easily adaptable to other settings with low magic levels imo, and would sit well with many Steampunk settings too. Was toying with the idea of Space 1889/MotRD a while ago myself.

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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by BPIJonathan » Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:36 pm

I hate to bring my own work into this, but have you tried looking at Gaslight Victorian Fantasy? It was inspired by Masque of the Red Death, and while it is stand alone, it is designed similar to d20 Modern. I think it might have what you are looking for, but I could be wrong. It came from an idea I had while I was running MRD, and between that and other influences we have a new Victorian game, that seems to emulate the feel of the old MRD box set. Im not saying you should buy a copy, but you might like it if you want to play something like that in d20/3.5 and not have to hunt down something that is currently out of print.
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Re: [MotRD] Anyone play Masque of the Red Death?

Post by Darkanth » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:45 pm

BPIJonathan wrote:I hate to bring my own work into this, but have you tried looking at Gaslight Victorian Fantasy? It was inspired by Masque of the Red Death, and while it is stand alone, it is designed similar to d20 Modern. I think it might have what you are looking for, but I could be wrong. It came from an idea I had while I was running MRD, and between that and other influences we have a new Victorian game, that seems to emulate the feel of the old MRD box set. Im not saying you should buy a copy, but you might like it if you want to play something like that in d20/3.5 and not have to hunt down something that is currently out of print.
:cool: Forgot I had this. Elements of OGL Steampunk mix nicely with the genre too.

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