D&D General Reading Ravenloft the setting

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
This...


...doesn't lead to this.

If Jacqueline loves some NPC, that has nothing to do with the PCs trying to build a lightning rail. No PC can make an NPC love Jacqueline back, so that's off the table and it seems extremely unlikely that her desire for an NPC would actually interfere with a PC's plans. If that NPC was integral to the PC's desire to build a railroad, having her fall in love with him would actually be a boon, because she's so politically powerful she could get the NPC whatever funds he needs in an effort to woo him.

Now, if the PC and the NPC were in a romantic relationship, that might be a thing, but so far I've never had that sort of relationship come up. And it would be so obnoxious--"she wants your boyfriend and is gonna do bad things to you if she doesn't get him"--that I wouldn't want to run that plot anyway.
You mentioned not watching much tv & didn't volunteer anything about books earlier. There are an absurd number of tropes that fit with it, like different flavors of what I expected to be one general trope. Just to start with a couple....
Jaqueline loves bob... bob loves collecting butterflies... can't do that there or it will hurt the butterflies
Jaqueline loves Andy... Andy is really into the circus because of that one performer & now the PCs have two problems
PCs are trying to build a damn in the river, Jaqueline loves Chuck... Chuck is a merman.... oooops
Jaqueline loves Dave... Dave is the BBEG.... oooops

Any number of crazy spawned problems can spin off from her being in love with some other NPC & the worst part for the PCs is there is literally no way to predict it since she can just find some new NPC to stalk
 

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And yet only (failing at) finding love and being horrible to people because she can't are the only motivations given.

If we are talking about Jacqueline Renier, this simply isn't true. It says in the black box pretty clearly that she is power hungry and cunning (she killed her own father after being trained by him in order to seize control of the domain). Love is not her only motivation. We simply know that she does fall in love, and when she does, she is cursed to revert to her rat man form in the presence of her lover. But there are plenty of other motivations going on with that character. You guys are ignoring tons of details in these entires in order to make a narrow case that the npc is only about love and treating people badly because they can't attain it (or because they want a baby, or whatever the argument is). Renier was described a shining star in her family, her father tutored her for a reason. We know Jacqueline is domineering, manipulative and mean. We don't really know why though. Her personality seemed to be like that prior to becoming lord, and the curse only took effect after she took control (at least that seems to to be what the entry says). I don't think it is as simple as 'she can't have love, so she is therefore cruel to people'. I think the cruelty would be there without the curse (the curse probably just makes it especially bad to be on the receiving end of her cruelty when it is related to love). I find this to be a stark villain that works great in pay, YMMV
 

Remathilis

Legend
If we are talking about Jacqueline Renier, this simply isn't true. It says in the black box pretty clearly that she is power hungry and cunning (she killed her own father after being trained by him in order to seize control of the domain). Love is not her only motivation. We simply know that she does fall in love, and when she does, she is cursed to revert to her rat man form in the presence of her lover. But there are plenty of other motivations going on with that character. You guys are ignoring tons of details in these entires in order to make a narrow case that the npc is only about love and treating people badly because they can't attain it (or because they want a baby, or whatever the argument is). Renier was described a shining star in her family, her father tutored her for a reason. We know Jacqueline is domineering, manipulative and mean. We don't really know why though. Her personality seemed to be like that prior to becoming lord, and the curse only took effect after she took control (at least that seems to to be what the entry says). I don't think it is as simple as 'she can't have love, so she is therefore cruel to people'. I think the cruelty would be there without the curse (the curse probably just makes it especially bad to be on the receiving end of her cruelty when it is related to love). I find this to be a stark villain that works great in pay, YMMV
MY point is that Renier didn't need the love-curse at all. Were it me doing a ground-up design, I'd have made her domain very political with rival factions always fighting for favor, and Jacqueline's family being an old and respected faction. Jacqueline is a scion of the family and very cunning, shrewd and duplicitous, but she is ignored, overlooked and not taken seriously because she IS a woman and her role in the family should be litter-bearer. She is the darklord if the Domain with all the power that confers, but forever forced to live in the shadows of her incompetent male family who take credit for HER ideas and get her glory. She uses her bitterness and her power to lash out at her rivals, but she can't risk attacking her family (the source of her pain) for fear of her family losing status and honor (what good is it to be the matriarch of a forgotten family?) You can even keep duBois by making him a scion from a rival house who she tried to forge a alliance with only to have him flee when her and her families nature was discovered, leaving him a loose end who knows a secret scandal that could end get family AND possibly a wererat who could become a rival.

You keep the basic essence of the character and emphasize her as a Crime boss/political shark without needing the "curse" of love gimmick.
 

MY point is that Renier didn't need the love-curse at all. Were it me doing a ground-up design, I'd have made her domain very political with rival factions always fighting for favor, and Jacqueline's family being an old and respected faction. Jacqueline is a scion of the family and very cunning, shrewd and duplicitous, but she is ignored, overlooked and not taken seriously because she IS a woman and her role in the family should be litter-bearer. She is the darklord if the Domain with all the power that confers, but forever forced to live in the shadows of her incompetent male family who take credit for HER ideas and get her glory. She uses her bitterness and her power to lash out at her rivals, but she can't risk attacking her family (the source of her pain) for fear of her family losing status and honor (what good is it to be the matriarch of a forgotten family?) You can even keep duBois by making him a scion from a rival house who she tried to forge a alliance with only to have him flee when her and her families nature was discovered, leaving him a loose end who knows a secret scandal that could end get family AND possibly a wererat who could become a rival.

You keep the basic essence of the character and emphasize her as a Crime boss/political shark without needing the "curse" of love gimmick.
That sounds even worse. Way, way worse. And it isn’t even the same character anymore (the essence is lost). People do take Rdnier seriously, because she had the cunning and strong personality to be a leader. She is already essentially a powerful boss. At least Jacqueline as written is a competent lord and not dismissed because she is a woman. The love curse adds a layer of complexity but otherwise she is a powerful figure in command of a domain with interesting politics. I am not saying you couldn’t have a lord like that but this post is exactly the kind of thing I have in mind when I say these kinds of simplistic and reflexive critiques throw the baby out with the bathwater
 
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Shadowedeyes

Adventurer
Just my two cents, maybe worth less because I'm not exactly a Ravenloft expert, but the love curse thing sounds extremely tacked on. As discussed, it doesn't have anything to do with Jacqueline's evil deeds, pre darklord motivations or backstory. It literally feels off, and it seems like it's there simply to add a romance angle to character who frankly doesn't need it. It's narratively jarring, and that's before considering if it happened because the character is a woman.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
If we are talking about Jacqueline Renier, this simply isn't true. It says in the black box pretty clearly that she is power hungry and cunning (she killed her own father after being trained by him in order to seize control of the domain). Love is not her only motivation.
Being power-hungry isn't the same as being deliberately cruel to people out of jealousy are two very different things.

She became DL after killing her father. She currently is motivated primarily by her need for love--which she was cursed to feel.

We know Jacqueline is domineering, manipulative and mean. We don't really know why though.
Because it's an informed attribute. The only bits of her story that are actually detailed are her need for a man.

With most of the male Darklords, their evil is shown. Godefrey was shown to be abusive to his wife and child even before he killed them. Dominic was shown to have been manipulative, even as a child. Ivan was shown to be sociopathic, capricious, malicious, and demanding, even as a child.

All we know about Gabrielle's childhood was that she was (A) lonely and (B) wanted a man--in this case, her father--to take her away and give her happiness. All we know about Jacqueline's childhood is that she was taught to be manipulative by her grandfather. All we know about Ivana's childhood is that (A) she was taught to hate men and (B) still wanted a man.

Her personality seemed to be like that prior to becoming lord, and the curse only took effect after she took control (at least that seems to to be what the entry says). I don't think it is as simple as 'she can't have love, so she is therefore cruel to people'.
She murders or disappears her sister's love interests entirely out of jealousy.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Jaqueline loves bob... bob loves collecting butterflies... can't do that there or it will hurt the butterflies
Jaqueline loves Andy... Andy is really into the circus because of that one performer & now the PCs have two problems
PCs are trying to build a damn in the river, Jaqueline loves Chuck... Chuck is a merman.... oooops
Jaqueline loves Dave... Dave is the BBEG.... oooops
Those all make Jacqueline (or whatever female Darklord you wish to substitute for her) into a very passive, man-centric character.

And seriously, what are the PCs supposed to do? PCs are trying to dam a river but Jacqueline doesn't want them to. Are they going to actively fight Jacqueline over it? A person who basically has an army at her command? And would Jacqueline, who, like many other Darklords (of either gender) is fairly shallow about looks, actually be interested in a Ravenloft merfolk?

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I could have gone a lot worse with the picture.

(Also: Butterflies??? Are they at least related to vampire moths?)
 

Being power-hungry isn't the same as being deliberately cruel to people out of jealousy are two very different things.

She became DL after killing her father. She currently is motivated primarily by her need for love--which she was cursed to feel.

She is motivated by power and by love. Many possible motivations are described in the entry. The entry does not say she is only or primarily motivated by a desire for love, nor does it say that is the reason for her cruelty.
 

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