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My Savage Worlds-Ravenloft redu 
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Agent of the Fraternity
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Post My Savage Worlds-Ravenloft redu
I am working on a campaign for January, using the Ravenloft setting but with the Savage Worlds rules. It is intended to be more of a full Hammer Studios version of the demi-plane so I think the SW will work well. I also plan to make a number of changes, the biggest being that I will advance the core to a 19th century cultural level. Because it is Ravenloft, and because of the nature of domains and darklords, this will present some challenges:

-I want a railroad, but having tracks cross over multiple domains could present issues with local lords disrupting the rails. To remedy this I will make a new lord, who is essentially in control of the rails and trains (a sort of railroad tycon domain lord).

-Where do the advances in tech come from and what change allows them to spread? Mordenheim has been advanced for ages now, but his technology has never really spread much beyond Lamordia. Domains have a fixed cultural level. So what might allow electrocity, guns and photography to spread to places like Barovia? I think I may have a few pockets where the domain lord is strong enough, that the change doesn't take hold (Barovia being a good example). Ravenloft will have some backwaters that are naturally resistant to progress or just not important enough to attract development. Still I am thinking I need a big event to explain the shift. And not sure ehat that ought to be yet.

-how does this change the shape of ravenloft? I have advanced ravenloft to wwii level tech before and that was pretty easy to picture. 19th century is giving me more trouble. How would roads, cities, and society in ravenloft in particular change if 19th century culture were to spread? What would be some key differences between Ravenloft (due to its nature, geography,etc) and the real 19th century earth?

-mechanics. I have to sit down and stat out domain lords. But I also need to fit powers checks and fear/horror/madness to SW. I may just adopt the ravenloft powers checks as they are a simple percentile system. But the others may require some alteration (there are rules for that stuff in the horror companion but havent really looked at the yet).

-this is not gothic D&D, it is meant to play more like Hammer movies or films like Black Sunday. So I will be stripping out a lot of the D&D elements. This means much more low key magic for example (even more low key an traditional ravenloft).


Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:52 am
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Evil Genius
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Post Re: My Savage Worlds-Ravenloft redu
If you haven't already, I highly recommend you check out the Deadlands game. While the game as a whole may not fit with what you are doing, a number of the NPC's, monsters, or spells would fit in very well with your changes. If you check out any part of it at all, check out the section in the Marshall's Handbook on the rail wars: a five way battle for control of the railroads in North America between two armies, a houngan, a feminist-cultist-organized crime gang, and a Chinese sorceror crime-lord. There's a lot of inspiration to be had there, I think. Personally, I think that the themes that go along with railroad stories (stealing land from the locals, building around inhospitable lands or making underhanded deals to go through them) might work better without the Darklord of the Tracks. I think that a small handful of rail barons controlling a web of tracks would make for some great storytelling, especially since the railroad offers certain Darklords an opportunity to reach beyond their borders. Azalin, Malkin, and Lukas would certainly get some decent mileage out of that. Other Darklords would deny the train's right to go through, sure, but that gives you, as the writer, the opportunity to have some unusual developments pop up. (Linking the Core across the south will inevitable require going through Forlorn, Hazlan, or Barovia, and I don't see any of the lords of those lands as being particularly open to the idea. Someone is going to have to do a shady favor, make some kind of devil's deal, or get something to hold over the Darklord's head to build through their land.)

If my advice is totally unwelcome, I understand, but there it is nevertheless. I hope it helps.


Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:02 am
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Post Re: My Savage Worlds-Ravenloft redu
Read this topic: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3261
There were some pretty good ideas there.

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Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:17 pm
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Post Re: My Savage Worlds-Ravenloft redu
BedrockBrendan wrote:

-I want a railroad, but having tracks cross over multiple domains could present issues with local lords disrupting the rails. To remedy this I will make a new lord, who is essentially in control of the rails and trains (a sort of railroad tycon domain lord).


The Mournesworth family (Gaz III) just up and vanished. I don't know if the family was detailed any further than this, but you could easily write their comeback. They disappeared, lived in some sort of accelerated timeline, came back and have upped their services to include a train. The London Necropolis Company (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Necropolis_Company), and the London Necropolis Railway/funeral trains (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Necropolis_Railway) would be a good basejump I think.

As to the placement of the tracks, why not have them run directly along the borders of the domains? A sort of pocket/crease domain. No interference with the other lords, and no extra work having to mishmash domain technologies.

In theory the Mournesworth family receives payment from mourning family members (or religious emissaries) to transport the deceased to their land of birth. In practise the Mournesworths receive money from anybody willing to pay the handling fee and deliver the deceased to the agreed upon location. Further still, one Mournesworth employee is more than willing to take payment to deliver living bodies, which they induce a deathlike (zombi) state on the individual in question and deliver them to their nefarious paymasters.

Most domain lords would be willing to "allow" such a business arrangement I think. It's both harmless and harmful, depending on one's needs, or, use of the railway. Simple transactions to political labyrinths. DM's wet dream.

Also, as an alternate idea, the terminal could very well be Necropolis (scaled down from undead city to religious mecca with some undead characters placed in the various stratas of society). The Mournesworth have made a deal with Death (or have somehow assumed its mantle) and forgot to cross their t's and dot their i's...


Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:06 pm
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Post Re: My Savage Worlds-Ravenloft redu
BedrockBrendan wrote:
-Where do the advances in tech come from and what change allows them to spread? Mordenheim has been advanced for ages now, but his technology has never really spread much beyond Lamordia. Domains have a fixed cultural level. So what might allow electrocity, guns and photography to spread to places like Barovia? I think I may have a few pockets where the domain lord is strong enough, that the change doesn't take hold (Barovia being a good example). Ravenloft will have some backwaters that are naturally resistant to progress or just not important enough to attract development. Still I am thinking I need a big event to explain the shift. And not sure ehat that ought to be yet.


That's a tough one. Consolidating the CLs of Ravenloft is in some ways a dealmaker, and in others a dealbreaker. A generally universal CL would "gel" the setting, but at the same time it would lose that backwoods charm. As you've mentioned, some domains would be resistant to change (IC), but most I think would go with the flow. Barovia, I agree, should remain as medieval as possible. First man in, last man standing sort of thing. But the spread of technology should really be inevitable. Otherwise it's just too awkward/choppy. All the same, A DM could always rule that a domain has outlawed guns, in an attempt to keep the "rural" in (a domain of) Ravenloft...

Big event to explain the shift? Maybe through the signing of the Treaty of Four Towers. Vlad finally launches a new campaign against whomever he feels is the weakest link (a military "morale booster" to get the boys' blood and pride boiling). It's lightning quick and a sick spectacle to behold once the troops have moved on. Use your imagination. Word gets passed along and the Treaty gets waved in the signatories' faces. Troops, if you could call them that, are assembled and it's war. At the end of the day, Vlad's stubborness to keep up with the times costs him yet another victory. Gunpowder from a lesser force decimates his troops and a big hooah gets thrown around.

It's obvious to even the simplest of peasants that gunpowder (technology) is the way of the future. Religious institutions raise an eyebrow and begin a shift in sermons. Tinkerers become local celebrities (many of the most talented having studied in Lamordia), and travellers begin to spread word of the battle to other domains. Gunpowder becomes common knowledge, and then the guns start showing up thanks to preemptive merchants and charlatans (selling faux weapons of war heroes). People buy them (the concept) because they can use them. Advance a generation or two...

The rest of technology will follow the gunpowder. Gunpowder being the pinnacle of technology (war is the ultimate newscaster that overrides happy days' news but will create/force a Core-wide glimpse into what these domains are really about). And once people are forced to think outside the box, then they exist outside the box. 1,2,3, electricity. And so on.

That's one event (that makes sense to me anyway).


Last edited by Five on Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:47 am
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Post Re: My Savage Worlds-Ravenloft redu
BedrockBrendan wrote:
How would roads, cities, and society in ravenloft in particular change if 19th century culture were to spread? What would be some key differences between Ravenloft (due to its nature, geography,etc) and the real 19th century earth?


Economics being the drive behind the spread of technology (keep up/work with with the fat cats for a bigger piece of pie, or be left behind), roads would change according to traffic importing goods and exporting goods. Obviously those domains with monopolies on 19th century wants and needs would change the most drastically. As a direct result, some domains will climb the ladder while others will slide down a few rungs (the power shift alone would be interesting to see!).

Cities would follow suit as the housing capitals of boom towns, and mirroring that will obviously be social change. Initially, probably through wanting to stay in favour with their strongest "ally". Pick one of the Four Towers Treaty co-signatures and model the catch-up domains after them. Just tighten or loosen the mimic as you see fit, depending on the political power brokers of the domain in question. After that loose model, and several scripted political maneuvering, most will probably find their own niche in this new world (ie: the Dark Lord "reflection" will still exist). Essentially, social bastard children of the "Power Four".

I have to think some more about the key differences between this Ravenloft and it's real world 19th century phantom double. Got nothing right now.


Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:51 pm
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