Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

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Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Havard » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:04 pm

As Night Druid pointed out to me, the Bloodstone module series feature both Orcus and Demogorgon. This what was first gave me the idea that these modules would be worth investigating further. I then realized that the modules are authored by Doug Niles, who while he has worked on many settings, I strongly associate with the Norwold region due to his authorship of CM1 and CM3.

I had previously ignored the module series because of their link to the Forgotten Realms setting. Upon reading through H4 however, I found the following:

H4 wrote:We should also point out that the BLOODSTONE PASS saga takes place in the FORGOTTEN REALMS Fantasy Game Setting, new from TSR, Inc. A certain amount of retrofitting was needed to integrate this series into our new official game world,


Only the last module displays the FR logo on the cover and the fact that the rest needed to be retrofitted into the FR does suggest that it is even more open to adaptation.

My initial idea is to set Bloodstone Pass in Norwold, given Niles' connection to that part of Mystara.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Seethyr » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:59 pm

Havard wrote:As Night Druid pointed out to me, the Bloodstone module series feature both Orcus and Demogorgon. This what was first gave me the idea that these modules would be worth investigating further. I then realized that the modules are authored by Doug Niles, who while he has worked on many settings, I strongly associate with the Norwold region due to his authorship of CM1 and CM3.

I had previously ignored the module series because of their link to the Forgotten Realms setting. Upon reading through H4 however, I found the following:

H4 wrote:We should also point out that the BLOODSTONE PASS saga takes place in the FORGOTTEN REALMS Fantasy Game Setting, new from TSR, Inc. A certain amount of retrofitting was needed to integrate this series into our new official game world,


Only the last module displays the FR logo on the cover and the fact that the rest needed to be retrofitted into the FR does suggest that it is even more open to adaptation.

My initial idea is to set Bloodstone Pass in Norwold, given Niles' connection to that part of Mystara.

Any thoughts?

-Havard


Unfortunately I don't know Mystara as well as I should, but I think the series could be adaptable to other settings easily. You will need a region where two nations, one frontier, and the other decidedly wild, are separated by a small mountain pass. I'm sure even this could be changed, but that situation would be ideal.

Also be prepared for some ultra-high level adventuring. The prerolled characters in H4 (oddly named after Greek mythological heroes and gods) were level 100. They had an interesting take on "100th level characters are not ten times as powerful as 10th level character" however.

If you really want a good understanding of the region I would pick up a copy of the 1e supplement Bloodstone Lands as well. It is one of my favorite 1e products to date.
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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Cthulhudrew » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:28 pm

Interesting. I've never really looked at them closely enough to think about it. I'm going to have to give them another look now.
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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby ripvanwormer » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:41 pm

The Bloodstone Lands weren't even part of Ed Greenwood's original campaign; the TSR designers carved away a big chunk of the Great Glacier in order to make room for them. The first module in the series refers to the planet as Oerth. So while it is firmly integrated into Realmslore at this point, the original adventures were generic and could easily be spliced into another world. In Mystara, Norwold would probably be most appropriate for reasons of climate and culture.

Note that H4 had two sets of pregenerated PCs. One set was 100th level, but the primary set (Gareth Dragonsbane, Kane the Monk, and so on) were considerably lower, no more than 30th level. This set is the group that became part of Realms canon, while the 100th-level party was subsequently ignored.

It doesn't seem very plausible for a group of mortal PCs to fight against Eternals, so you'd probably either have to make it an Immortal-level adventure or assume the PCs do more sneaking around, fighting minions rather than the big bads.
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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Seethyr » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:09 pm

Definitely true. I don't want to spoil the end of H4 for you, but please note that they are some rather well known big baddies that need to be killed. You are repleneshed in between battles but two of them must be fought in a row. The players will certainly have to be ultra high level to get past them.
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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Cthulhudrew » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:09 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:It doesn't seem very plausible for a group of mortal PCs to fight against Eternals, so you'd probably either have to make it an Immortal-level adventure or assume the PCs do more sneaking around, fighting minions rather than the big bads.


Or use lesser powered avatars of Orcus and Demogorgon- or something similar (see The Savage Tide Adventure Path, final chapter.)

EDIT: Note that I'm not sure if they are actually who you are supposed to fight at the end or not, having never read the ultimate chapter of that series of modules.
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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby ripvanwormer » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:53 pm

Well, part of that's already been officially retconned; the final battle with Tiamat has been established in 3rd edition to have actually been with Tiamat's avatar.
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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Havard » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:23 am

One question that arises with defeating avatars is what would the consequence of that be? Although Immortals are near impossible to kill, I think DM's should be prepared to illustrate some visible positive consequences of such a feat. Rivalling immortals will be watching such events carefully and should be ready to move in; some for good and some for bad. While the PCs will gain many enemies from sticking their heads up like this, they should also have been able to gain favors especially if behaving honorably along the way.

At the same time I think the God of War type scenario should be hard to accomplish for a PC since all Immortals will likely see what's unfolding and team up agains any upstart who is seen as a threat to Immortal society as a whole.

Some consequences of the defeat of an avatar on Mystara should be things like cults disappearing, or being replaced by other groups. Monsterous races perhaps diminishing etc. Defeated Immortals may decide to lay low for a century or something. IMO it is important to play up these things or the PCs are left with a sense of having accomplished nothing.

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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Seethyr » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:06 am

Havard wrote:One question that arises with defeating avatars is what would the consequence of that be? Although Immortals are near impossible to kill, I think DM's should be prepared to illustrate some visible positive consequences of such a feat. Rivalling immortals will be watching such events carefully and should be ready to move in; some for good and some for bad. While the PCs will gain many enemies from sticking their heads up like this, they should also have been able to gain favors especially if behaving honorably along the way.

At the same time I think the God of War type scenario should be hard to accomplish for a PC since all Immortals will likely see what's unfolding and team up agains any upstart who is seen as a threat to Immortal society as a whole.

Some consequences of the defeat of an avatar on Mystara should be things like cults disappearing, or being replaced by other groups. Monsterous races perhaps diminishing etc. Defeated Immortals may decide to lay low for a century or something. IMO it is important to play up these things or the PCs are left with a sense of having accomplished nothing.

-Havard


SPOILER ALERT for H4:

After slaying Tiamat and stealing the Wand of Orcus in H4, the PCs are instructed by none other than Bahamut to place the wand in Tiamat's black heart blood. This interaction destroys the want and leaves behind a new artifact for good called the Tree-Gem. Planting this gem in Damara effectively bans (I don't remember which) either all evil dragons or demons from the land as long as its people remain good. That is certainly a pretty powerful effect and a nice reward for slaying the two avatars.
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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Havard » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:37 am

Seethyr wrote:SPOILER ALERT for H4:

After slaying Tiamat and stealing the Wand of Orcus in H4, the PCs are instructed by none other than Bahamut to place the wand in Tiamat's black heart blood. This interaction destroys the want and leaves behind a new artifact for good called the Tree-Gem. Planting this gem in Damara effectively bans (I don't remember which) either all evil dragons or demons from the land as long as its people remain good. That is certainly a pretty powerful effect and a nice reward for slaying the two avatars.


I hadnt gotten that far in my reading of H4. I definately think this is a good example of the kind of reward I am thinking of.

This gets us back to the topic of location for the Blooodstone Lands on Mystara. How would Norwold work, or even just parts of it?

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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Khedrac » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:58 am

Picking up this from the Layers of the Abyss thread...
Havard wrote:Indeeed, we talked a bit about the 100th Level PC concept in this thread about adapting the Bloodstone Modules to Mystara.

I really like this idea of playing demi-god like heroes in an epic module, but from what I understood they didn't really take it seriously enough. I wonder if the BECMI Immortal Rules or 3E's Epic Level Handbook would have been more appropriate for the style H4 aimed at.

-Havard

Looking at H4, it is certainly not aimed at Immortal level characters, I would say it is aimed at Master level characters - it's actually very similar in feel to M1 to M4 - characters responding to a threat to their kingdom (i.e. the one they rule) and, as per the Masters rules suggestions, going to the outer planes to do something about it.
The problem with working out the levels for 3rd Ed is that imo characters level too fast, especially at low levels, I think though H4 should sit sub 20th (rather like the end of the Savage Tides AP) but low epic might work.

Now while I agree that H4 did suggest the demi-gods play, I would disagree that it aimed at a style of it; the adventure is written for the conventional high level party and the extra levels are just tacked on (in fact I wonder if that is what happened - someoen said "we're never going to release a higher level moduel than this, let's extend it upwards"). In fact, since for dual classing you need your second class's levels to exceed your first class's to get full benefit, playing a level 100/100 character is going to be very, very frustrating - and the party has 2 of them!

So, for doing this properly, which system? I think that Epic D&D (3.0/3.5) should be the better system, but it is so poorly written that using low level immortals rules BECMI characters will be the better option.
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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Havard » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:16 pm

Khedrac wrote:Looking at H4, it is certainly not aimed at Immortal level characters, I would say it is aimed at Master level characters - it's actually very similar in feel to M1 to M4 - characters responding to a threat to their kingdom (i.e. the one they rule) and, as per the Masters rules suggestions, going to the outer planes to do something about it.
The problem with working out the levels for 3rd Ed is that imo characters level too fast, especially at low levels, I think though H4 should sit sub 20th (rather like the end of the Savage Tides AP) but low epic might work.

Now while I agree that H4 did suggest the demi-gods play, I would disagree that it aimed at a style of it; the adventure is written for the conventional high level party and the extra levels are just tacked on (in fact I wonder if that is what happened - someoen said "we're never going to release a higher level moduel than this, let's extend it upwards"). In fact, since for dual classing you need your second class's levels to exceed your first class's to get full benefit, playing a level 100/100 character is going to be very, very frustrating - and the party has 2 of them!


I think you are right. Perhaps Master Level characters is closer to what the designers of H4 had in mind. Of course the definition of demi god is probably fluid and there is no reason why Master Level characters could not be considered "demi gods", at least in terms of being characters of legendary power.

I think it woud be very interesting to try to convert these 100th level characters to BECMI. Want to have a go at it? :)


-Havard

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Re: Adapting the Bloodstone modules to Mystara

Postby Khedrac » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:22 pm

Havard wrote:I think it woud be very interesting to try to convert these 100th level characters to BECMI. Want to have a go at it? :)

-Havard

Personally, no, too many other things to do. More generally I don't think they would convert very well - they just are not well enough written (they come from the just assign bigger numbers and all it a good character design school).
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