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D&D General Reading Ravenloft the setting

Because it's an informed attribute. The only bits of her story that are actually detailed are her need for a man.

No they are not. The killing of her father is detailed. That she was a rising star in the family is detailed. It doesn't even say she needs a man. It simply says she is cursed to fall in love and that she reverts to rat form in that person's presence. Which is clearly important. But it isn't the only thing going on with this character. I have pointed to numerous examples of other things
 

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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.

This seems like reaching to me. And again you continue to reduce these characters to things like wanting a man, when it's been shown again and again that isn't what the characters are all about at all. You can take any well down character and reduce them to some point in their background to make them look stupid and make people feel dumb for liking them

The women's entries were certainly not as numbers and a lot of the male entries are overly long (but I think the long entries actually suffer because they don't have the conciseness of an entry like Gabriele Aderre's). I understand why they are longer, it was pretty common at the time, but I think in hindsight that is one area of the boxed set that could have been trimmed, which would have made more room for detailing other dark lords.
 

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.

I don't think that is why it is there though. I really don't. The type of character who leaps to mind when you read about someone who is in love but rejected because they are too monstrous, especially at that time, would be male. Not to sound like a broken record, but phantom of the opera or beauty and the beast. There are plenty of examples of male characters who suffer that kind of affliction. As another poster pointed out, her curse mirrors the curse of Dominic D'Honaire, who is cursed to become ugly and unappealing to any woman who becomes attracted to. It is also worth noting both had paternal figures named Claude. Both have vaguely French domains. The mirroring is probably intentional. And Dominic, to me is a compelling character on the page but doesn't pop off the page the way Gabrielle or Jacqueline do. Just personal preference I think. He was also simply born evil. Again, I think with these entries, for what they were trying to do, not every curse needed to tightly align with the background. I'd have to sit down and think and the Renier entry to see if there is a visible reason in her background for that entry (there may be something you can intuit through theorizing). But the other female lord detailed in the book, Gabriele Aderre's curse does tie perfectly to her background. I think the one part I agree on is there were not enough female entries in the original boxed set. A few of the entries are extremely long and I think trimming these, probably could have made more room for them. They also have a lot of characters in who's doomed (a couple female) who are not lords). I am sure they were working in a word count limitation that hindered how many entries they were able to do (and the stock cards pick up some of the slack) but it would have been nice to have a full entry for Ivana Boritsi (especially since she became one of the more popular dark lords) and to have more female domain lords. At the same time, there are female characters in there. There are a number of female darklords (most don't get NPC entries). And in my opinion they are all really well done and fit the tone of the book quite well.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
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?


I could have gone a lot worse with the picture.

(Also: Butterflies??? Are they at least related to vampire moths?)
Not at all, I've done similar with strahd as described earlier, & other patron types over the years like Merrix/Erandis/Etc. They are all living breathing people with interests desires & goals of their own that are not simply waiting around to jump at the PC's call. They don't need to fight Jacqueline over it & doing so would be a bad thing the Dark Powers along with other powerful individuals as lowly as simple nobles could get involved with. Damming a river being a problem might not be as simple as not damming it... The PCs wanted to build a dam for a reason & now a straightforward goal is complicated much as doing so in our world is often complicated by endangered species & local industry needs. Finding an acceptable solution that lets the damn get built to accomplish the initial goal or finding an alternate way of accomplishing the initial goal is the challenge. If you can't think of a work around in those kinds of problems it usually works great to have some powerless NPC (like a secretary mayor or whatever) who "knows" the issue explain the problem(s) with the plan to the players & let the players figure out something good enough for said npc to say "that might be acceptable" simply because you can think of ways to make doing that fun.

Take the hotspring/vinyard/lightningrail between towns barovia example from the campaign I mentioned. The people of argenvostolt(the city in it's shadow not keep) were suffering from severe depression that ended all efforts from the cannith artificers to function or get their laborers to work with irrelevant plot reasons... PC solution "lets find a way for them to throw a regular after shift party">artificer in charge"siiiiiighhhhhh..... that mighhhhht work.... but there's no more alchohol since the vinyard & brewery shut down" >PCs proceed to clear the blighted trees & such and help the "I'm almost ten billion percent sure these guys are werewolves given x y & z so be verrrrrrrry polite" staff who don't seem to actually live anywhere i the area & are more than a little off but friendly enough> NPC:"The booze helps but the lightning rail needs raw materials, we think there is a mine filled with monsters here">PCs:"lets go clear out a mine, cool a new town"> worn out rail workers/miners are getting too drunk & strahd basically setup a "papers please"type TSA looking for tatiana so we need something that lets them recover> PC"wait.. :didn't we go through that thing acouple campaigns ago with those artificial manifest zones setup to mine something planar?... can we make a fernia manifest zone to start a hotspring?">PC2:"wow I love that idea> NPC:"maybe but we would need you to go take some measurements so we can calibrate the planar anchors & I have a feeling it would be dangerous"
 

She murders or disappears her sister's love interests entirely out of jealousy.

That is introduced after the black box. This is her twin sister, I think. And anyone who has a sibling knows jealousy over what a sibling has is pretty normal. That doesn't mean she acts that way towards other people who find happiness. And it doesn't mean she is only motivated by that. So my interest is mainly defending the early line (black box the early supplements: I think the line like a lot of TSR lines suffered from some of the meta plot and canon changes as it went on). But even then, I think this detail is fairly harmless, they are elaborating on the character how they think it ought to go. It wasn't my take on the character (and the new art for Jacqueline Renier also feels a move away from the cunning and domineering rat-like leader we got. I think making her affraid to be alone though wasn't a great addition to the entry (not because it is sexist, but because it takes away from the ruthless, domineering manipulative character introduced in the black box).
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
No they are not. The killing of her father is detailed. That she was a rising star in the family is detailed. It doesn't even say she needs a man. It simply says she is cursed to fall in love and that she reverts to rat form in that person's presence.
Which is exactly the same as saying she needs a man. Unlike all of the other wererats, she has been cursed to be able to fall in love.

Criminy, do you need a giant neon sign here?

Which is clearly important. But it isn't the only thing going on with this character. I have pointed to numerous examples of other things
when it's been shown again and again that isn't what the characters are all about at all.
No, it hasn't been shown, and you haven't pointed out much of anything. We've been told that she's manipulative but the only thing we've been shown is that she is desperate for love and is willing to kill her sister's lovers/boytoys out of jealous spite (since her sister has not been cursed to fall in love, I will assume that she doesn't truly love the men with whom she has relationships). The Gazetteer outright states

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and (re duBois)

1616783009036.png


Hell, her "monophobia" (should be autophobia) isn't even an actual curse, just a result of her curse--it's something she could get over if actual therapists who weren't connected to the Nightmare Lands existed in-setting.

Show me how she manipulates and dominates the aristocracy and peasantry. The closest I can find is she kills off any relative (save her sister) who threatens her position.

And guess what? Even if there's some trove of canonical backstory about Jacqueline that I don't know about it that shows her as a three-dimensional woman, there's still all the other female Darklords who are desperate for a man, or who hate all men, or who love hurting women who are prettier than they are.
 



No, it hasn't been shown, and you haven't pointed out much of anything. We've been told that she's manipulative
I don't think this critique is a good one. This is an NPC entry, not a novel. We don't need to be shown anything, all we need is the information about her character. I want to know what happened to them, what they are about, what their motives are, etc. I don't want entries that follow a 'show don't tell' approach (especially when this is information I may need to be obtaining during play). It clearly states she is manipulative. It is also strongly suggested by the fact that she studied under her grandfather claude and killed him, that she is manipulative and ruthless:

1616783464476.png
 

Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
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.
I agree that not only is it just there as a lazy curse, but pretty boring. I don't run Ravenloft often, but after reading more about her and seeing the blandness of it, I probably wouldn't ever try to touch upon the domain. Hopefully, it gets rewrote in that upcoming product and some new and better life is breathed into her and her domain.

Though, and I say this without trying to disparage anyone, Ravenloft's domains to me have always felt too samey. There are a few that I like, that stick out, but others that just feel there to fill out pages.
 

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