Domain of the Month
Isle de la TempÍte
Darklord: Captain Monette
Captain Monette is a character that I enjoy using. I had Monette set up an Inn on his island and later its' grown into a small town. He's learned to control his feedings and has expanded his domain. Much of the water is treacherous and Monette usually wrecks with his storms that he's gained the ability to create in order to have "another ship tragically lost at sea."
The townsfolk of my revised Island are a bunch of individuals whom are cursed with the same hunger that Monette is, except its not for blood. There's hundreds of ships that Monette has sank with gold and gemstones while the waters are filled with great amounts of fish, there's even whales to catch but Monette can't make any of the wealth his own because he gets incredibly dizzy and ironically, seasick if he ever steps foot on a boat.
The Old Seaman is now cursed to either fly or walk but he can never sail again and he cannot stand the wealth the people on his island reap even as his curse affects them too and the town has become a place of violence, treachery, and piracy. One thing I did like in the write up for Stu's campaign, I believe where Sir Caine Shadowborn successfully killed Monette (any chance that campaign was ever finished) and it became a realm united with their gods. I think the Lighthouse should have something sinister about it. Maybe it's actually a temple or contains something sinister?
Captain Monette Roleplaying: I find the best way to Play Captain Monette is a stereotypical pirate that is so obviously trying to be so. I put on my best pirate accent, gave him a peg leg and eye patch and a serious drinking habit (he has a still).More than anything, he wants off the island and the only thing that enrages him more than the fact the PCs can leave is the loneliness so he'll WANT to speak with them first before he does so.
David of the Frat
I like the idea of sunken treasure so:
After picking at the bones of a wreck, while idly awaiting the next, the good captain found a bottle of wine, which he promptly drained, and was about to hurl it against the rocks when its potential struck him. He now scours wrecks for parchment and bottles and wiles days away composing messages to the unwise. These are becoming increasingly artful, and cover the gamit of treasure maps, ancient ruins, kidnapped noblewomen, lost refugees, oracles, fantastic lands, and even portals to other worlds. So the next time you find a bottle washed up on the shore, bidding you to seek out the light in the mists, be sure to decline its invitation to high adventure. Even having such a bottle in your possession when out of sight of land, dramatically increases your chances of coming face to face with the good captain.
These are various comments and author notes on the FoS report about őle de la TempÍte:
cureWell done. A lonely Monette who is eager to talk is a great improvement. His character development is excellent as is his relation with bats and their variants.
I find a skull, even or especially a disembodied one, to be, however, unappealing as the source of the light.
I am only slightly more sympathetic towards the nephew and his murder. Is the rationale that Monette's evil was somehow lacking for Darklord status in their absence?
Speaking of the light, I am not sure there is an advantage in stating that it can reach into other planes only once a year.
Given that Monette has no way of policing undersea monsters and given the rich prey he offers up in terms of ships' crews, there should be consequential predators. Not krakens but certainly scavengers that rob Monette of his prey from time to time, and perhaps drive him to drink or even send visiting adventurers after them. Would this be best tackled with an encounter table for the shore and immediately surrounding sea?
It seems to be a prosperous place for reavers, aquatic trolls and aquatic ghouls, creatures that can climb aboard a stricten ship. A crew of sea zombies from a ship that broke up and scattered along one of the shores would not be unbecoming. Ravens are a nice touch, to remind sailors that, if lucky, they are destined to become carrion, rather than being carried off in the night by 'something.'
I have serious doubts that reefs were conceived by the Dark Powers to line up ships at high tide but to spare them at low tide. Why wouldn't there be reefs all the way down? At best, when the tide is high, there might be no reefs visible. So at low tide, one would have a warning that the area is reef infested, but certainly not hope that all the reefs of consequence are now visible.
The ships are remarkably durable. Vessels caught in rocks that a moderate sea would destroy in days are described as lingering for years if not decades. This seems largely unnecessary. Unless one insists on including the full complement of offered wrecked ships at any one moment, there is little need to artificially preserve the life of the ships. On any given revisitation of the island, two or three new vessels can be added, and the previous ones can be reduced, save for exceptionally, to skeletons or planks on the shore. I believe that it was suggested that the light may even reach across time, so old ships can be simply plucked up as need be rather than lingering on.
As to the necromancer who slew Monette, would that be the run away clone from Todstein?
Other author notes by JoŽl
I liked the description of the sunset Ė eerie long shadows, mix of black and golden orange (rocks), and later when the sun sets, itís very dark. I saw this as very helpful in atmospherics. Ravenloft is often a mix of horrors set in beautiful landscapes. Since the islandís top surface is mainly rocks and shrubs, I thought of a way to create dread with these long shadows where anything could hide.
The first time PCs see it, itís beautiful. After, since Monette likes to hunt by night, the survivors see this sunset as dread: he will be coming back soonÖ
Monette and Óle de la TempÍte have French names. So I suggested that Monette come from French Caribbean pre-GE, so the Port-of-the-Prince port where he comes from (Haiti)
Before Chris Nichols reminded me that he already had a first name in Darklords, I had him named Archibald Monette
Sharon suggested the ďnervous habitsĒ Monette developed as a werebat lycanthrope, i.e. tilting his head and similar.
Chris suggested decimation as a way top punish his crew, hence the card drawing for hanging.
Another idea that didnít make the final cut: if Monette is killed, what happens to the light house beam while he is dead or in the regrow phase? Sharon suggested the beam could turn to illuminate Monette's corpse. That is very eerie. And it can be creepy after a long battle, to see the beam reaching for him...
And I forgot to say the main designer for Monette's stat was Giamarga! It was a fun cooperation.
This was a very straightforward and tidy chapter. The domain description did a good job of recapping the information found in the Darklords accessory and expanding it just enough to make the island more interesting.
A Permanent Colony
I know this was suggested on the message boards before, and Iím glad it made it into the book. Itís a good way of drawing players to the island without running the standard shipwreck adventure. It also makes sense that someone would eventually try this. The idea of someone trying to establish a permanent settlement on the island (perhaps peasants from Nova Vaasa, who decide to set sail for a new land free from their old masters) is rife with possibilities.
Counting them up, there were 28 entries in this sidebar. While I like the detail given to each ship, I think this section could have been tightened up. Some descriptions were too generic, and some ideas seem to be repeated. But I guess thereís no law saying anyone has to use them all, so having a variety to choose from is a good thing.
I liked the in-text meeting with Captain Monette. It was a good way to illustrate how an encounter with this particular darklord would go. The description of the lighthouse was also well done.
Iím not sure why there needs to be two different species occupying the domain. Is this a plot point Iím missing? That being said, I like the attention given to the islandís dominant species. The sidebar about the Afflicted Bats is an interesting addition, but Iím not sure a lot can be done with them.
Cure:Two possible and slight contradictions:
Monette has developed a hatred of spellcasters but proceeds to hail one flying about. Perhaps it was specified that the hatred was directed at necromancers, but is he really likely to know the difference?
The dread possibility has Monette gathering pen, paper and bottles to dispatch 'invitations' to the unwary. The description of the ship wrecks have pen and paper untouched.
On the chapter as a whole, I found it worked quite well. One thing seemed odd to me, however:
It's made quite plain, both from the people snatched from the shipwrecks and from the individual sailor stolen from the Black Pelican, that Monette has a considerable ability to fly out across the waters and attack. However, in my mind, this seems to conflict with his Landlocked (Su) quality (p307) that makes him weaker and weaker the further he gets from shore...
Are those shoals a lot closer to the shore than I imagined upon my reading of the chapter?
And, with the Black Pelican being "just a tiny point on the horizon" when Monette sees it (p99) and yet Monette loses -1 from Con and Str for every 300 ft from shore, how was he strong enough to pull a full-grown man from the ship, much less cross the distance to the ship to begin with?
Honestly, why are we trying to come up with reasons to change a perfectly good story (the fluff) when the problem is really with a silly bit of crunch from way back in 2nd Ed?
I mean, really, Monette's curse should be all about 1) creating isolation and loneliness for M and 2) keeping M from engaging in his true love, sailing, ever again. How exactly does M's physical proximity to his island make any difference whatsoever, considering that there is no habitation to visit within his domain's borders and that flying to the edges of his domain wouldn't give him the exuberance that sailing to those same edges would have? How exactly does that change if a shipwreck or functional ship is 1000 ft away from shore as opposed to 100 ft away?
I say we scrap the old Landlocked drawback that originated from Darklords as it doesn't really fulfill the requirement.
In its place, I say we give Monette an allergy to seaworthy vessels: if Monette ever steps foot on any part of a functional ship (decks, masts, rigging, etc), he immediately takes 1d10 points of damage (or whatever it is that vampires take when hit by sunlight).
If Monette wishes to visit a wreck, that's completely fine since he can't sail it. If Monette wishes to fly over a seaworthy vessel like the Black Pelican and attack or snatch a crewmember, he's perfectly welcome so long as he doesn't land on it (or get knocked from the air by a lucky shot and crash onto the deck or get caught in the rigging). If he wishes to use his (IIRC) Current Control power to beach the ship, he can then walk on it normally since it's lost the ability to sail. (Think of the horror checks as the crew thinks it's at least safe in the hold, since the monster can't land on the ship, and then learns that this is no longer the case once they run aground...)
I'd also extend this as a change of his vulnerability to silver: if anyone strikes Monette with an implement that is part of a functional ship (whether it's a bit of the bannister that's been ripped off, a fully functional oar, a piece of rigging used as a garrote, or what-have-you), this will bypass Monette's damage reduction or act as a +1 weapon or whatnot.
Of course, there'd be nothing stopping Monette from destroying the ship and thus making the weapons powerless... But then, if the heroes created so much as a seaworthy raft by lashing together wreckage from other ships, those weapons would regain their power...
Anyway, this would then resolve my issue with the fluff while also giving Monette a more fitting curse, not to mention making him more dangerous by allowing him to attack vessels still at sea (well, actually JoŽl is the one that made him more dangerous; I'm not trying to take credit for that). Additionally, that may make Monette even more isolated as he can now fly far enough to smack into the borders of his domain, finally learning for sure that no matter how hard he tries to make it further and further before passing out that there is nowhere to escape to... (Better might be, at the border, he can just see another island, outside his grasp...)
While that's a cool idea, I think it almost makes it a little too easy. In the same way that I made my vulnerability (above) apply only to items that are currently part of a functional ship, I'd originally thought to make it as anything that had once been part of a ship until I realized that the raw quantity of shipwreck material made that vulnerability almost irrelevant.
Similarly, with how easy it'd be to knock Monette into the sea during encounters on either functional ships or on the shipwrecks or on the beach or in the seaside caves, it seems to me that the vulnerability would be a bit too common. Not to mention, IMHO your description would also apply to flasks of seawater working like flasks of holy water, which again gives Monette too wide of a vulnerability.
Additionally, while I might need to reread the Darklords entry again, I don't recall Monette having a huge love for swimming or for the concept of the sea itself. As far as I recall, he was only really big about boats and sailing. If my recollection is true, denying him access to the water in general would not actually deny him anything that he cares about and so would not be a fitting curse in my eyes.
Of course, considering my taste on what to deny and what to allow curse-wise, I might not be good Dark Power material.
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