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Tweaking Modules to fit you Homebrew World


Man, I'm back with a vengeance!

In this thread, I tell you a bit more about my campaign world, and how I tweaked Curse of Strahd's (which becomes Curse of Drazhan for me) story and characters to fit in it.

Alright, so, Ravenloft, the demiplane of Dread. In the official fluff, the Dark Powers make the valley into a demiplane to trap Strahd in and torture him for eternity; I don't like this: let me explain.

Name Conversions:
-Drazhan Von Dingradini = Strahd Von Zarovich
-Obsidian Temple = Amber Temple

The valley of Barovia lies within the territory of the world's largest empire, Klastor (basically Russia+the 40k Imperium). It was conquered by Drazhan and his father (at first allies, then vassals of Kalstor) while it was still in its period of dynamic expansion. Drazhan and Barov were in the valley on a punitive expedition against the Tergs (same name here) when the king was slain in an ambush. Drazhan swore vengeance and, invoking his ally, the Emperor, proceeded to smash the Tergs to bloody bits. After this, he moved into the valley, as per the normal fluff. Unbeknownst to him, a silver dragon (Argynvost) resided here, along with an order of knights loyal to him. They were here not to protect the valley itself (though they would have intervened if Drazhan had started brutalizing the population, which he did not do during the conquest -the Tergs were semi-nomadic, and all of them fought), but to protect something far more dangerous, the Obsidian Temple.

The most ancient sign of civilization, after the monoliths erected by the primitive inhabitants of the valley, the Obsidian Temple, is the founding place of one of the greatest organizations the world has ever known: the Imperial Inquisition. When the empire was only just being born, the Emperor (an immortal construct of immense techno-magical power) ordered his best and brightest mages to gather here, where the particular composition of the mountain would allow for the containment and study of Vestiges (the souls of devoured gods from previous multiverses, for a little more detail check http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?594617-Origins-of-your-Game-World). Obsidian is able to damage entities, although it is not as effective as Voidstone (which looks like obsidian with purple veins shooting through it and forms from the crystallization of dead entities). So the mages were able to trap the vestiges in the obsidian coffins within the temple, but over the course of years, as the Inquisition grew and propagated its training and research centers further and further away, the corrupting influence of the vestiges seeped through the obsidian and into the minds of the researchers. The rest is basically the same as the base fluff.

Drazhan became obsessed with Tatyana, but with a twist. You see, when I started designing my world, I wanted to include a powerful vampire lord somewhere, and as the whole thing wants to have a dark and almost maniacal feel to it, most of my villains have obsessions they will go to any length to fulfill Drazhan Von Dingradini (originally Denis Dingradini, then modified to fit the module better) had his own, very particular obsession: he was undead and gave little or no value to life, but at the same time would do anything to have the most beautiful garden in existence: if he heard of a master gardener, he would have him kidnapped, if he heard of a stunning garden he would have it destroyed, or even transplanted onto his own property. I didn't want to lose this feel, so I gave Drazhan a reason to have this obsession himself: Tatyana found gardens irresistible; she would spend hours at a time in pretty gardens, reading, singing, brushing her hair; she would even gladly sleep there on warm summer nights. Thus Drazhan has, to this day, an immaculately cared for garden of stunning beauty inside Castle Ravenloft, hoping that if he makes it pretty enough Tatyana's soul will be drawn here of its own will (Ireena will, in fact, adore this place if she ever sees it). However, Sergei, as well as being more innocent because of not participating in the war, had had time to practice gardening back home (the family name literally means "of gardens" in... Romanian I think? Transylvania is in Romania, so that's what I think I used). So he had to go. Que Baba Lysaga telling Drazhan about the Obsidian Temple, Drazhan going there in secret (screened by Lysaga's spells as to not alert Argynvost), then going back to kill Sergei and later wage war upon the dragon, killing him.

At this point, the Dark Powers were basically giggling with anticipation as they waited for Drazhan to continue his conquest, spreading death and destruction upon the world. But they were disappointed. Sorely disappointed. You see, the God-Emperor of Klastor had just finished his greatest project: a crisscross of magical wards that calculated the risk level of each region, and enclosed that region in an inescapable demiplane once the danger in it went over a certain level. Upon killing Argynvost, the one balancing factor was removed, and the Obsidian Temple+Drazhan now being a vampire justified the banishing of the region.
Now, specified in the incantation was the fact that: if the threat level descended back, the demiplane would return to its original place; the "ruler of the land" could specify who was and who wasn't able to travel to and from the demiplane.
At the time, the ruler of the land was the Emperor. The system was thought so that the demi-planing would give the empire time to muster the resources necessary to crush the evil within each region without allowing it to spread in the meanwhile. But there was no time: the Sky War (a catastrophic event of godly proportions) broke out, drawing the Emperor away from the cleansing of Barovia. And after the Sky War, the world and all its magic lied in ruins, making an expedition impossible. Over time, the Emperor resigned himself to the fact that the valley would stay entrapped forever, and "gave up rulership", or rather recognized the fact he had no control over Barovia anymore. So now Drazhan is the only one who can control who comes or goes from Barovia.
There's another catch. Magic in Barovia works as in most D&D worlds, while magic in my world is rare and dangerous. This is because my "layer" of the Material Plane is the one that most felt the effects of the Sky War (which culminated in something akin to a god-hydrogen bomb, which in turn generated something akin to a magic EMP, blowing out most magic across the world). Now. The wards keeping Barovia banished are in Barovia itself, so are unaffected, but if Drazhan is killed, the threat level goes down enough that they deactivate and Barovia comes back to the real world. When that happens, the god-EMP's effects are felt in Barovia, blowing out the wards, as well as most magic in the valley. This means, when Drazhan returns (which he will, because his soul is now tied to the demiplane and will travel to it when he dies -it takes some time, but he reforms) the valley will not again be banished, and Drazhan will be free. :) Well done adventurers!

So, any comments on that? Do you also enjoy modifying modules to fit your world or do you run them straight out of the box? What are some tweaks you yourself have implemented?

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