View Full Version : (3.5) Optimizing the Ravenloft Darklords

2009-09-29, 11:25 AM
Hey ya'll, once my first campaign comes to a close, i plan on having my players run through The Ravenloft setting, but reading through my Gazetteers and books, i've seen that the Darklords are fairly underpowered, especially concerning that my group has currently 11th to 9th level characters that are quite powerful. So here's what i'm requesting from the more experienced optimizers, how would you optimize the Darklords to make them so powerful and so utterely frightening that the PCs won't even think of trying to screw with them, i'm not just talking about adding new levels and stuff, i mean a total revamp and revision, and since i'm wanting to start the new game in Borca, Ivana Boritsi is going to be the first Darklord in mind (in my vision of the world, i've had her kill her cousin Ivan, and while it gave her more power, it sent her over the edge into madness), so here's what i'm looking as a general feel for each enhanced Darklord.

-CR rating around 26 to somewhere in the 30s. Darklords are powerful and meant to be terrifying to behold, and people should think twice about opposing them.
-New abilities or enhancing older ones. Basically making them very difficult to harm or resist while either in physical or magical combat.
-Adding new Darklord abilities, of course those tying in with the land. Possibly even able to warp and control the domain itself at will.
-Enhancing the curse of the Darklord to match their newfound power, reflecting that even though they are more powerful than anyone can ever imagine, they are still helpless to the Dark Powers
-Anything else you think that would fit a revised Darklord is also appreciated.

I can't wait to hear from ya'll, take care.

Doc Roc
2009-09-29, 12:27 PM
They're PLOT powered. I think giving them stats is bad, frankly. I'll help if you think you really need stats, though, I guess.

2009-09-29, 12:29 PM
They're PLOT powered. I think giving them stats is bad, frankly. I'll help if you think you really need stats, though, I guess.
I agree with this. It's the Lady of Pain argument all over again. Some things don't NEED stats, since that defeats the whole idea of the thing to begin with. The Darklords are fine just being invisible entities that you can never deal with, never hope to confront in any real way, and will only deign to speak with you when they so choose to do so for their own reasons.

Doc Roc
2009-09-29, 12:53 PM
It's more than that.

Darklords don't get to die. Even if someone could kill one, the Dark Powers aren't interested in allowing it. These poor gits are too much fun. Just.... Too.. much.... FUN.

2009-09-29, 01:13 PM
The only darklord stat worth noting is:

* Deadly in a fight: Kills 1d6 PCs per round.

Seriously, the other guys have it right. You aren't supposed to best these guys in a fight. Even if you "kill" them, the dark powers will just resurrect them. Or if appropriate, somehow make the PCs into the new darklord of that realm, provided the DM can find a way to actually twist the realm into that PC's personal hell.

2009-09-29, 01:50 PM
Having cut my teeth GMing in Ravenloft, i think that the Darklords aren't meant to be powerful. Those that are intended for combat are unkillable anyway [Adam, Molkanov etc] and the rest aren't there for fighting.

If you feel that you need to make them more powerful, you should go back are read the GM sections of either the original Ravenloft set or the White Wolf, much poorer versions. Either way, hopefully you'll come to understand that hitting power is not frightening in the least.

2009-09-29, 04:01 PM
I'll toss in that if the PCs are strong enough to ride roughshod over the Darklords in the first place there is trouble. I won't say "you're doing it wrong," but I would point out that the powers that control the demiplane make a habit of humbling the prideful and putting chains on the mighty. We're talking about a place that successfully imprisoned Lord Soth and Vecna. The Dark Powers basically have the Strength of Plot to see that things go their way.

Take Vlad Drakov. He's a powerful military leader who wants to conquer the surrounding territory. While some of his neighbors are powerful themselves, others are not - yet he has never succeeded. The man is described as a brilliant general and a powerful warrior, yet he cannot expand his domain by so much as a yard. That has nothing to do with his stats, and everything to do with the Demiplane.

PCs attempting to slay a darklord in any permanent sense will find a million obstacles in their path, and even if they succeed it would likely be through such tactics as would make them suitable replacements for the position.

2009-09-30, 12:11 AM
Ah yes, i see your points. It probably just comes from me worrying about what my ambitious little PCs want to do, and some part of me hopes that they attempt to, just so i can throw everything (including the kitchen sink) at them. Guess i'll have to restudy my books and try to get some more info on them. If anyone's got any links to the older Ravenloft stuff, please send it and it would be greatly appreciated.