[WotC] Epic 4E Ravenloft: How Would You See It Working?

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[WotC] Epic 4E Ravenloft: How Would You See It Working?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:23 pm

This topic is being archived from the Ravenloft forum at Wizards of the Coast, prior to that forum being deleted. It was posted on Oct 13, 2008 17:33:02.
leliel wrote:By the time a party reaches level 20 in a game, you can pretty much see that they would be able to destroy most darklords without losing so much as a healing surge.

Naturally, this is not conducive of the atmosphere of dread that one hopes to evoke in Ravenloft, so I was wondering:

How would you run an epic 4e Ravenloft game?

Being fascinated with the Nightmare Court, I have always liked them as the main antagonists of a campaign-You can't fight a dream very easily, you know.

By the time the PCs reach level 20, the NC has finally started viewing them as a serious threat. As a result, they try a more direct approach, sending night terrors to torment their friends and allies in an attempt to scare them off. When that doesn't work, and the PCs tharwt a scheme to gain power in the waking world, the NC go berserk, sending dream spawn after dream spawn in a final attempt to destroy this problem once and for all. This turns out to be a mistake, as the weakening of their powers to send the spawn into the world allows an opening for the PCs to strike at their core, trapping a member of the Court and engaging them in an epic battle of courage versus fear (I was thinking Mullonga, but I was keeping the Rainbow Serpent in mind).
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Re: [WotC] Epic 4E Ravenloft: How Would You See It Working?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:24 pm

jandrem_von_zarovich wrote:My honest idea about Epic 4e in Ravenloft is that the Mists would "release" the players once they reached a sufficiently powerful level. I know, kind of a copout, but if you read closely about the "Dark Powers", they do whatever is necessary to keep things "in check". Once the players got so powerful that they were walking all over Darklords, they are no longer appropriate for the setting unless you scaled up the Darklords and monsters to be challenges. Once the game reaches that point, you really have to ask yourself if Ravenloft is the right setting. The basis of the setting is fear, and what would epic level characters really be afraid of?
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Re: [WotC] Epic 4E Ravenloft: How Would You See It Working?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:25 pm

The_Jester wrote:90% of the things you're expected to be able to do in epic play aren't do-able in Ravenloft. While you can have games in epic levels, the adventures will be little more than sexed-up paragon adventures at best, perhaps with a touch more world-ending drama.

Adventures in the aberration-heavy Blutespur or in the dreamscape might work, as would possible new epic lands. But it might be easier to just wrap things up at level 23 or 24 rather than just stretch things out for a full ten-levels of epic play.
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Re: [WotC] Epic 4E Ravenloft: How Would You See It Working?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:26 pm

riddling-reaver wrote:I disagree. There are many ways for the Land of Mists to challenge, mystify, and terrify an overconfident group of Epic-level PCs

The key to running high-level Ravenloft games is not ever-increasing threats, but tailored ones. Play on the party's pride, powers, and weaknesses.

Remember that in the Land of Mists, the normal rules simply do not apply. A werewolf can shrug off the bite of a silver blade. The undead laugh in the face of the divine. Magic is less than useless when it comes to divining secrets and motivations, or to escaping the shadowed realm, but all too temptingly useful when it comes to black necromancy. Play it right, and even the most overconfident players will become nervous when they find their powers ineffective, their magic useless, and everything they know to be proven utterly wrong.

Never forget the omnipresent influence of the Dark Powers, who are so far beyond the might or even comprehension of any mere mortal. Perhaps they will allow the PCs to escape. Or perhaps they will grant their Darklord pets the power to destroy them. Who can know their whims?

The Darklords should never be limited to their mere stat block. They are rulers with armies to call upon. They have powers that are subject to change at the whim of the Dark Powers. And those powers may be overwhelming - no mere PC spell can calm a storm called up by a Darklord. And finally every one of the Darklords is cursed, imprisoned within their own domain, condemned to suffer eternally. No Darklord can be slain without first lifting their curse. Never an easy task, even for demigods.

Alternatively, you could also take the example of Sunderheart in the new Dragon article - epic-level PCs could destroy the Darklord, and fairly easily, too, but doing so would lead to the loss of thousands of innocent lives. That example can be taken for other domains - destroying the Darklord in simple battle would only lead to some greater evil. Make it clear to them in the story somehow, then allow them to choose. Only by investigating the mystery of the domain and lifting the Darklord's curse can true victory be gained. This is a challenge for all levels, even epic.
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Re: [WotC] Epic 4E Ravenloft: How Would You See It Working?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:26 pm

The_Jester wrote:The text I was refering to:
In the epic tier, your character’s capabilities are truly super-heroic. Your class still determines most of your abilities, but your most dramatic powers come from your choice of epic destiny, which you select at 21st level.
You travel across nations in the blink of an eye, and your whole party might take to the air in combat. The success or failure of your adventures has far-reaching consequences, possibly determining the fate of millions in this world and even planes beyond. You navigate otherworldly realms and explore never-before-seen caverns of wonder, where you can expect to battle savage pit fiends, the ferocious tarrasque, sinister sorrowsworn deathlords, bloodthirsty lich archmages, and even demon princes.
The dragons you encounter are ancient wyrms of truly earthshaking power, whose sleep troubles kingdoms and whose waking threatens the world.
PHB page 29.

To repeat: you travel across nations in the blink of an eye (impossible as you cannot traverse domain borders), the success or failure of your adventures has far-reaching consequences (said far-reaching consequences affect an area the size of Nentir Dale from the DMG), possibly determining the fate of millions in this world (only hundreds of thousands in all the lands of Ravenloft) and even planes beyond (possible), you navigate otherworldly realms (nope, no otherworldly travel here), where you can expect to battle savage pit fiends (you can count the number of fiends in 'Loft on two hands), the ferocious tarrasque (nope), sinister sorrowsworn deathlords, bloodthirsty lich archmages (okay, maybe), and even demon princes (see the fiend comment). The dragons you encounter are ancient wyrms of truly earthshaking power, whose sleep troubles kingdoms and whose waking threatens the world (yeah, not so much).

The style of 4e play is an odd peg for Ravenloft at best, and epic level really is an odd fit. You CAN do it, but you might be better off moving elsewhere. Have them leave the Core for Sigil and chase after Drigor or Ebonbane who have ruptured the Mist to cause chaos elsewhere.

If you're just going to have paragon-style adventures and hamper the players with rule-handcuffs... why bother?
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Re: [WotC] Epic 4E Ravenloft: How Would You See It Working?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:27 pm

gnarfflinger wrote:I'm going to say difficult but not impossible. If they do as I think they will, they could leave the stat blocks out for the Darklords, so the DM can tailor them to suit his needs. Yes, Strahd should be a Warlord with the Vampire Lord template and something Ravenloft specific to bump him to elite status, but the level you choose might vary based on what you need him to do for the story you want to tell.

And for some of the things that Epic tier PC's can do, you can always bring in the monster you need, tweak it to represent the twisting effects of Ravenloft, and turn it lose...

All things considered, you would likely have more work to do for a Ravenloft campaign than you would for a normal campaign, but what else is new?
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