5E Enhancing "Curse of Strahd" (and DDAL adventures) - Page 13
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  1. #121
    Quote Originally Posted by Sloblock View Post
    I was wondering how others have played this, did you add anything extra? did you hand wave the empty rooms?
    I hand-waved a huge chunk of it, yeah. By the time my players got there, they were all about level 8 and nothing was really a challenge, so they mostly explored it and got a lot of flavor text and not much else. Plus there is oddly about 4 or 5 different ways for them to figure out about getting the dragon bones and foolishly I didn't cut any of them so by the 3rd or 4th time I was just summarizing things - I would definitely cut all the extra clues once the players figure it out and have acknowledged the quest.

    If your players are lower level you could use it as a pretty decent mini-dungeon but it really depends on how much your group enjoys dungeons, especially given the castle is just one famously huge dungeon.
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  2. #122
    Quote Originally Posted by evilbob View Post
    I hand-waved a huge chunk of it, yeah. By the time my players got there, they were all about level 8 and nothing was really a challenge, so they mostly explored it and got a lot of flavor text and not much else. Plus there is oddly about 4 or 5 different ways for them to figure out about getting the dragon bones and foolishly I didn't cut any of them so by the 3rd or 4th time I was just summarizing things - I would definitely cut all the extra clues once the players figure it out and have acknowledged the quest.

    If your players are lower level you could use it as a pretty decent mini-dungeon but it really depends on how much your group enjoys dungeons, especially given the castle is just one famously huge dungeon.
    My players are 8th level now, and yeah there aren't alot of challenges for them. They will be meeting Strahd in the next few sessions, but other than tht, they are rolling through pretty much what is there
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  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sloblock View Post
    after a bit of a break we are heading into Argynvostholt, and the joy that a spooky mansion brings. so far my PCs are outside of the mansion and just about to go in....

    I was wondering how others have played this, did you add anything extra? did you hand wave the empty rooms?
    One of my groups had Sir Godfrey as their 'Ally', so I really wanted to make the location one to mess with their heads. So I turned Argynvostholt into a deathtrap for the revenants, as though Strahd was like Jigsaw and locked them all in this house of death. So I filled it with every sort of magically animated object or deceptive masked creature I had available, all ready to snap and trap any creature that wandered through the house. Rugs of Smothering, Animated Armor, Flying Swords, Bags of Devouring, Helmed Horror statues, Brooms of Animated Attack, Grey Oozes, Mimics, so on and so forth.

    The theory being that Strahd was playing and torturing the revenants by locking them in this building (I also had a magical ley-line cage surrounding the house that zapped any non-living thing that passed through it) and filling it with things that the undead couldn't tell were real or not. As a result, the revenants basically have remained stationary in their respective locations because if they moved anywhere they were liable to trip up an item/creature and have their corporeal body destroyed (and would then have to wait a certain amount of time before they could inhabit a new body eventually.)

    The group were experienced D&D players so as soon as they entered through the front door of Argynvostholt and saw a large carpet in the center of the front hall with a body-sized lump underneath it, they kind of expected it to come alive (which it did, and which they dealt with)... but they just didn't expect every else to come alive as well as they explored. Yeah, most of the items/creatures were more speedbumps than actual threats (based upon the party level), but it was just that it happened so many times to them that they were royally pissed off when they finally got to Horngarde and Sir Godfrey, which then made the roleplay with them even more fun. Trying to negotiate when you are tired and angry makes for some enjoyable repartee.

    Now granted... doing what I did is in some ways a duplicate of what is written in the Castle Ravenloft section so if you were going to have brooms and rugs and swords there too then doing it in Argynvostholt might be a repetitive slog. But for me personally, I use the Castle for more NPC interaction and combat than using the animated objects, so I had no issue moving all of it to the manor house instead.
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  4. #124
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    Has anyone ever fleshed out what exists at the bottom of the cliffs off Castle a Ravenloft? One of my PCs was kicked off the bridge by Strahd while unconscious, so he fell to his death. But he had taken the Amber Temple dark gift that causes him to automatically reincarnate, so a new body appears for him to inhabit 10 feet away. I want something interesting down there for him. He also took the gift that granted him the power of flight, so he can just fly up back to his companions, but he has to at least spend the time to recover his items (Sunsword!) from his former body. So what features/inhabitants/challenges would you put at the bottom of the cliff?

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  5. #125
    Quote Originally Posted by texastoast View Post
    Has anyone ever fleshed out what exists at the bottom of the cliffs off Castle a Ravenloft?
    This is sort of a boring answer, but according to the map it's just forests, and then after a short ways you can get to the village or to the pool encampment. So really any forest encounter would be appropriate: werewolves, dire wolves, a trinket, bandits, a revenant, etc.

    If you're asking for ideas to make it interesting, maybe there's a cave with Tatyana's original skeletal remains, still in her wedding dress, that was somehow covered up until this PC's body fell through and opened it up again. I'm sure Strahd would give pause at least for a moment upon seeing those. Maybe you could rip off the (terrible, horrible) movie version of Sleepy Hollow and there's an ancient twisted tree where the skeletal rider lives and where he comes out to ride the valley. Or if you wanted to be short but creepy, the character fell into a shallow grave with a gravestone that already had their name on it. Maybe the new body was someone who had been digging the grave. (The Amber Temple never promised the body wouldn't already be inhabited... It IS sort of pure evil...)

    Oh, what if the new body 10' away was Tatyana's original body? HA! That would make for a bizarre and potentially gratifying twist! Or it could make it super creepy. YMMV!

  6. #126
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    You're much better at this than I am! At least when it comes to horror tropes. I leaned into the dense fog that fills the ravine and made the bottom into a bone strewn wasteland of cold, clammy, visibility impairing fog. That made it harder to locate his previous body's (scattered from the 1000 foot fall) equipment. I put some will-o-wisps down there, which led him to a cave with a young black dragon. Which he tried to befriend, because he has a 7 intelligence. He had to beat a hasty retreat (good thing he has wings from the Amber Temple too, and I forgot about the dragon's blindsight). They haven't realized it yet, but they'll have to go back down there, because he didn't find the sunsword he'd been carrying. Better believe the dragon will by then!

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