Being the impatient fellow I am, I have no interest in awaiting Wizards attempts (if any; we have no guarantees) to make a 4E version of Ravenloft. Instead I am jumping straight in to develop a few rule systems which would "layer over" the current 4E game to create the appropriate feel and tenor of a Ravenloft campaign.

This thread is for discussing Fear, Horror and Madness. I welcome all substantive feedback on the quality of the rules suggestions, including wholly replacing my suggested mechanics with all new mechanics if you have a potentially superior idea.

There will be future threads for discussing other mechanics necessary to run a RL campaign (such as Dark Powers checks).


Fear, Horror and Madness (Meta)

My first question is whether FHM checks should be based on the Will Defense. Does it seem right to you that Fighters or Rogues would be more susceptible to FHM saves than Wizards or Clerics? Perhaps it does, thematically. But what about class balance? Given how often FHM may arrive in a RL campaign, would this be an unnecessary burden on the characters who normally have poor Will Defense? Just looking at by Character Builder portfolio shows a same-level range of Will Defense of 6 points. That's pretty big.

(It's also sort of bemusing that my big, violent Minotaur Barbarian would be the PC most likely to run away screaming)

Perhaps for consistency (rather than making a new Defense category) we do base FHM checks on the Will Defense but compensate certain classes by providing them a bonus to their Will Defense solely for purposes of making FHM checks?

Proposed Rule: Classes without a +2 to their Will Defense receive a +2 to FHM checks and another +1 if their build choice de-emphasize both Charisma and Wisdom.


Fear is the easiest rule to implement because there is no lasting effect. There are also a number of Fear-based effects in the 4E PHB to serve as examples.

Example triggers (these are largely taken verbatim from S&S's 3E RLCS and the AD&D 2e Boxed Set):
The group is facing an encounter apparently 6+ levels higher than the party.
Half of the group's members are killed.
An opponent has demonstrated a one-hit-kill ability.
A menacing creature is immune to the group's attacks.
A menacing creature is at least two size categories larger than the biggest member of the group.
A menacing creature has a Fear inducing special attack.
The character is helpless and threatened by immediate death (trapped underwater, for example).

Fear Attack: Chr vs. Will (If the trigger is inanimate the Attack would be determined as a Trap of an appropriate level.)

Action Type: Free (basically everyone exposed to the Fear Trigger is "attacked" by the triggering creature's Chr. If the Trigger is a Fear-inducing Power than the action type becomes the same as the Power.)

Area of Effect: Burst (range would depend on the type of threat (can the threat actually reach you in 1~2 rounds?), and certain types of barriers may grant a bonus or immunity to the check, such as iron bars that physically prevent a creature from reaching PCs on the other side).

Effect: The PC must spend at least one Move Action each round to move its speed + Trigger's Charisma away from the center of the Burst. The PC avoids unsafe squares and difficult terrain if it can. This movement provokes opportunity attacks. If the PC cannot flee it suffers a -2 to Attacks and Defenses. No Save first round, then Save Ends.

Horror & Madness

Well, it's getting too late here for me to continue. Must sleep. But I will say that since both Horror and Madness induce lasting conditions it is my intention to use a Condition Track similar to the Disease Track in the DMG. I will post the details later. Your thoughts on whether this course is a wise one are welcome.