Wednesday, January 21, 2015

De-Stupiding the Book of Crypts, Part... whatever.

I've been harvesting material from the Book of Crypts for my Ravenloft/Gothic Earth/Masque of the Red Death campaign. I find that I can only use the seed of an idea from the scenario. Besides the fact that I have to adapt the scenarios to 19th century Earth, I also have to shave the dumb off of them, and there is quite a bit of dumb.

The scenario my players are presently finishing is "The Living Crypt," which is about a lich and a living wall and not much else. The lich is also named Nightblood, which would have been really cool...when I was thirteen. He apparently has no other agenda than being eeeeeeeeeeeevil. 

So here's what I did: (Meghan, if you happen upon this blog entry, kindly read no further. I'd hate for you to spoil it for yourself)

The scenario is the aftermath of the Poe short story, The Cask of Amontillado. Nightblood is now Signore Claudio Montresor, a powerful sorcerer from a line of powerful sorcerers with a vindictive streak a mile wide. (From the story, the Montresor family crest bears the text "I will not be insulted with impunity.") 
Montresor did  immure Silvio Fortunato in the catacombs beneath his palazzo, but Fortunato was neither the first nor the last such victim. The northernmost wall of the catacombs is a cursed thing that absorbs anyone who has been walled alive within it's confines, adding them to a horrific living wall. In turn, the vital essence of these tortured souls extends the lifespan of Montresor. Indeed, the fell sorcerer is centuries old, using spells to gradually change his appearance over the years and posing as the latest heir to the Montresor estate.

While investigating Montresor in Italy, one of the members of the Vigilance (an organization dedicated to fighting the influence of the supernatural) vanished without a trace. Doctor Frank White dispatched two of his most capable agents, "Madame Zoltara" and Dr. Corrigan, to locate him. They were given contact information for a semi-retired monster hunter, Ugo Augusto, one of the nearly defunct Oculi Dei, an European order of monster hunters.

The PCs are currently smack in the middle of this scenario. Highlights have included creepy ass catacomb exploration, and extremely well-managed battle against an advancing horde of undead house staff, and an epic battle with Montresor at the top of a clock tower. Presently the PCs are trying to locate Montresor's phylactery so they can stop him from just reviving. In the meantime, they can't seem to locate their colleague, the one they were sent to find in the first place...

Hopefully we will finish off the scenario this Sunday. I'm pretty damn pleased with it and pleased with the skilled play that Meghan and James have been rocking.

Oh, and they may get out of a scenario with their NPC pal alive for once. (It's a bit of a running gag in this campaign that their NPC "third wheel" is pretty much doomed to die.) 

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