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D&D 4E Book of Vile Darkness: What do you want in it?

Barastrondo

First Post
I'm a fan of subtle fantasy horror. One of the reasons that I think Tharizdun sticks neatly in our collective imaginations is that he's so damn weird, at least in his original incarnations: four bizarre sort-of-kind-of-class incarnations, unusual symbols, black fruit, things like that. I like mystical evil that's strange and unsettling in its implication. The King In Yellow and stories of lost Carcosa. I like evil that manifests in forms we don't automatically expect: Clark Ashton Smith's "The Dark Eidolon" uses horses very effectively, for instance, instead of just keeping with snakes and scorpions and spiders and the like. I like decadence and decay and a sense of wrongness.

I realize that for a book of darkness that is depicted as vile, lurid is somewhat to be expected, but I just really like the peculiarly "off" stuff so much more.
 

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beej

Explorer
I, for one, liked 3e BoVD. There was certainly talk of sex, but it definitely wasn't the main idea of the book (outside of the art direction). Over the course of our 3.5 gaming, we've come to use the sacrifice rules, souls as power, and a bunch of the spells. Sure, there were times when a character wanted to become a thrall of Orcus and thus needed to get the lichloved feat. But as a rule we faded to black whenever sex is involved, whether it's with the chaotic good barmaid or the chaotic evil mohrg.

With that being said, I don't want 4E to just be an update. I want it to be it's own book, and my preference is to keep it as a DM book in the likes of Demonomicon. Technically, 3e BoVD was also supposed to be for DMs only, but as player-NPC rules were the same back then, there was a natural overlap that players could take. With 4E things are more clear-cut, and as such a purely-for-DMs BoVD becomes possible. A focus on fluff regarding the DnD brand of evil (I don't need RL evil personally, because it's still a resource I'll use for a game), some new monsters, monster themes, a few delves, and a few "really evil NPCs" like the dread emperor would be nice.

I would also like to echo the sentiments to tone down the art. The main flaw of the 3e book IMO was that there were exposed boobies in just about every chapter opening art. And in most cases, they didn't even have to do it - they just wanted to shock and awe. It was sex for sex's sake.

At the same time, I don't want them to shy away from sex for the sake of shying away from it. If Fierna's the archdevil of lust, then by all means, her space in the book should be about evil sex and its implications.

In short, for the art and fluff text:

Sexy Fierna, and Belial's "roots," -> Makes sense. That's their evil shtick, after all. (Hehe, stick)

Naked sorceress with amputated mammaries -> No if it's not in context

Hag Countess cleavage -> Why, WotC, wwhhhyyyyy??? (thank the gods she's dead)

PS. A "mature" treatment of Malcanthet would have been nice, but since succubi are devils now, I doubt we'll see her in this edition. :-S
 
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Dausuul

Legend
I want it to be it's own book, and my preference is to keep it as a DM book in the likes of Demonomicon. Technically, 3e BoVD was also supposed to be for DMs only, but as player-NPC rules were the same back then, there was a natural overlap that players could take. With 4E things are more clear-cut, and as such a purely-for-DMs BoVD becomes possible. A focus on fluff regarding the DnD brand of evil (I don't need RL evil personally, because it's still a resource I'll use for a game), some new monsters, monster themes, a few delves, and a few "really evil NPCs" like the dread emperor would be nice.

See, I would like it to contain a player section, because 4E to date has been relentlessly focused on the heroic party. The designers have bent over backwards to make sure every PC class, race, and other option is portrayed in a heroic light. Heroic assassins, fine, there's a legitimate niche for that. Heroic drow have been a D&D staple since Bob Salvatore came on the scene. Heroic liches? Uh... if you say so, boss. Heroic blackguards? Okay, now you're just being silly.

I would like to see Dark Side PCs get some love for a change. And if they can't get it in the Book of Vile Darkness, where else is there?
 
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Pour

First Post
I like the above as a FRAMEWORK for the "fluff" of the new BoVD. It needs to have more than fluff, though. If WotC puts out a book with JUST the above, it ought to be a coffee table book and not something targeted for the game itself.

But, that said, I like the idea of having chapters open with some Vecna backstory (or some other villain's backstory) and then commence with the game mechanics or plot idea material. So, let's say Chapter One: True Evil starts with a story about how Vecna became a lich. After that, the chapter discusses plot ideas, hooks, or even full tier-by-tier rundowns for an evil campaign (I believe WoTC has printed these tier-by-tier rundowns in the DMG2 and maybe elsewhere). Chapter Two: Evil Origins starts with a story of Vecna corrupting someone (Kas?) and then the chapter continues with some sort of backgrounds for evil characters, evil organizations, and so forth.

I agree entirely. I envisioned Vecna's life story being how fluff can justify crunch, or rather take us through a narrative journey with relevant mechanics along the way.

Say near the start of chapter one they explore Vecna's mortal childhood and what inspired him to value knowledge and secrets, and eventually turn evil. Now to go along with that fluff, give a crunch section of evil backgrounds and themes. Later on in the book, when Vecna poisons his rival for apprenticeship under a master wizard, go into some new poisons, curses and diseases. When he delves into the forbidden sections of the wizard's library, offer new magic items, rituals and artifacts. When he eventually kills his first wizardly mentor and usurps his knowledge, elaborate on Vecna's first dungeon. I imagine clearly-differentiated sections of what amounts to journal entries and then cleanly-written crunch for easy reference. And as we go through his life, corrupting Kaz, watching as he made deals with whichever demons, devils, dragons, primordials, fey and far realm entities, we get more crunch relevant to 'Vile Darkness' and appropriate for Heroic, Paragon and Epic in correlation with Vecna's progression of power (human, lich, god). And as he comes into possession of other profane texts, we can have asides from other villains adding bits of their own life stories or knowledge, create Vecna's grimoire.
 

Lancelot

Adventurer
What I'd like to see:

  • Rules for vile elixirs (or drugs, if you will). Mechanically, I like potions and elixirs... and there just aren't enough of them. Apart from the 4 "healing" potions in the PH, and the section in Adventurer's Vault, there are few consumable potions in the game. I'd like to see more - especially if they are a "mixed blessing" (powerful effects, but also possible powerful drawbacks).
  • More archfiends, particularly the Lords of the Nine. If there are any archfiends, I suspect we'll see Mephistopheles at least (given his mini was released in the last DDM set). There are at least 9 demon princes statted up for 4e, and only 1 archdevil. Dispater needs some company.
  • Channel Divinity powers for evil clerics, and possibly a few feat/power options for arcane spell casters, similar to Dark Sun defiling.
  • A few nostalgic adventure locations (maps, encounters, creatures, fluff). Tomb of Horrors has already been done for 4e, but there are many vile locations that could yet be mined: the tomb of Sakatha the lizard-king (and his vampiric brides), the pit of one-eyed Zargon (and his drug-crazed cultists), the forgotten temple of Tharizdun, the sacrificial altars of the yuan-ti in the Forbidden City, etc.
  • A gratuitous cheesecake portrait of either Fierna or Glasya. Malcanthet or Shami-Amourae would also be acceptable, but you can keep your pictures of Zuggtmoy or the hag-countess Malagard...
 

beej

Explorer
See, I would like it to contain a player section, because 4E to date has been relentlessly focused on the heroic party. The designers have bent over backwards to make sure every PC class, race, and other option is portrayed in a heroic light. Heroic assassins, fine, there's a legitimate niche for that. Heroic drow have been a D&D staple since Bob Salvatore came on the scene. Heroic liches? Uh... if you say so, boss. Heroic blackguards? Okay, now you're just being silly.

I would like to see Dark Side PCs get some love for a change. And if they can't get it in the Book of Vile Darkness, where else is there?

Heroic blackguards? Really, that's how they're fluffing that cavalier build in HoS? :uhoh: Wow, and I was so psyched up when I first heard about it.

Well, at least there will be a blackguard. Since 4E removed smite <alignment>, detect <alignment> et al, it would be easier at least to just pick up the blackguard and ignore all that heroic shenanigans.

Still, I get where you're coming from, Dausuul. I just thought HoS will be the player counterpart of BoVD. If I'm wrong (and it's very probable), then sure, player options for 4E BoVD would be cool. I would still prefer DM materials as the focus, though.

  • A gratuitous cheesecake portrait of either Fierna or Glasya. Malcanthet or Shami-Amourae would also be acceptable, but you can keep your pictures of Zuggtmoy or the hag-countess Malagard...

Here, here! I would much prefer Fierna to Glasya, though. Not because I like Fierna more, but because she's described as an actual archdevil of lust. My preferred depiction of Glasya, otoh, is a highly seductive, yet white-robed virgin devil (I think I first read that depiction in Dicefreaks, I'm not sure). Basically the evil counterpart of the sacred virgin archetype. Besides, she fits the "I'm hot, but my daddy has a huge [slash]shotgun[/slash] ruby rod" stick as well.

Of course, the two have been somewhat described as BFF's as of Fiendish Codex 2. How about an artwork that depicts both of them...? XD

In any case, I am very optimistic about the 4E BoVD, as someone who enjoyed the 3E one a lot.
 
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Shroomy

Adventurer
Heroic blackguards? Really, that's how they're fluffing that cavalier build in HoS? :uhoh: Wow, and I was so psyched up when I first heard about it.

Well, at least there will be a blackguard. Since 4E removed smite <alignment>, detect <alignment> et al, it would be easier at least to just pick up the blackguard and ignore all that heroic shenanigans.
.

I got the impression that its being postioned more as an anti-hero type class.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
From thalmin`s 2011 Fall Catalog thread in general...

Book of Vile Darkness a D&D Supplement by Robert J. Schwalb

The Book of Vile Darkness has existed since the dawn of the Dungeons & Dragons game, but only the most indomitable minds dare to look upon the malevolent thoughts and forbidden secrets bound therein!

In addition to showcasing characters and locations featured in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness SyFy Original Movie, this roleplaying game product game product is intended for Dungeon Masters looking to broaden their campaigns to include dark subject matter and truly evil threats. It features a detailed look at the nature of evil and the complex challenge of confronting the many dilemmas found within the deepest shadows.

It includes:
  • A 32-page book of character options, filled with malignant secrets and musings to inspire players;
  • A 96-page game supplement for Dungeon Masters that includes an extensive toolkit to create and use truly evil villains, guidance for running games with evil adventures, and game statistics for some of the most despicable creatures to infest any campaign world;
  • A full-color, double-sided poster map presenting iconic evil sites for heroes to explore.
December 20, 2011 $29.95
 


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