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Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales: Ravenloft Campaign Adventure:

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Masque of the Red Death is a new variant of the Ravenloft rules that allows players to explore the macabre world of the 1890's. From the brave cavalryman with his trusty revolver to the mysterious spiritualist and her store of secret knowledge, no one is safe from the horrors of the night. Masque of the Red Death contains everything you need to adventure in the fictional wor Masque of the Red Death is a new variant of the Ravenloft rules that allows players to explore the macabre world of the 1890's. From the brave cavalryman with his trusty revolver to the mysterious spiritualist and her store of secret knowledge, no one is safe from the horrors of the night. Masque of the Red Death contains everything you need to adventure in the fictional worlds of Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Arthur Conan Doyle. CONTENTS: * A Guide to Gothic Earth: A 128-page book by the author of Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts and Forbidden Lore that gives you all the rules and information you'll need to run adventures on Gothic Earth. Included are 16 character kits, a revised spellcasting system, complete rules for firearms and explosives, and a proficiency system especially designed to reflect life in the Victorian Era. * Red Tide: A chilling 32-page adventure in which PCs must face one of mankind's oldest enemies while exploring the gloomy waterfront of San Francisco. * Red Jack: The most frightening figure ever to stalk the streets of London is on the loose in this 32-page adventure. This time, Jack takes his unique brand of terror to Boston. * Red Death: An isolated mansion hidden in the mountains of eastern Europe is the setting for this 32-page drama in which the PCs must face death itself. * A full-color, poster-sized map of Gothic Earth. * A bonus full-color poster of the cover painting by renowned artist Robh Ruppel. * A three-panel DM Screen that places all essential reference charts at your fingertips.


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Masque of the Red Death is a new variant of the Ravenloft rules that allows players to explore the macabre world of the 1890's. From the brave cavalryman with his trusty revolver to the mysterious spiritualist and her store of secret knowledge, no one is safe from the horrors of the night. Masque of the Red Death contains everything you need to adventure in the fictional wor Masque of the Red Death is a new variant of the Ravenloft rules that allows players to explore the macabre world of the 1890's. From the brave cavalryman with his trusty revolver to the mysterious spiritualist and her store of secret knowledge, no one is safe from the horrors of the night. Masque of the Red Death contains everything you need to adventure in the fictional worlds of Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Arthur Conan Doyle. CONTENTS: * A Guide to Gothic Earth: A 128-page book by the author of Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts and Forbidden Lore that gives you all the rules and information you'll need to run adventures on Gothic Earth. Included are 16 character kits, a revised spellcasting system, complete rules for firearms and explosives, and a proficiency system especially designed to reflect life in the Victorian Era. * Red Tide: A chilling 32-page adventure in which PCs must face one of mankind's oldest enemies while exploring the gloomy waterfront of San Francisco. * Red Jack: The most frightening figure ever to stalk the streets of London is on the loose in this 32-page adventure. This time, Jack takes his unique brand of terror to Boston. * Red Death: An isolated mansion hidden in the mountains of eastern Europe is the setting for this 32-page drama in which the PCs must face death itself. * A full-color, poster-sized map of Gothic Earth. * A bonus full-color poster of the cover painting by renowned artist Robh Ruppel. * A three-panel DM Screen that places all essential reference charts at your fingertips.

30 review for Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales: Ravenloft Campaign Adventure:

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kelvin Green

    There is a half-decent idea here. Let's take Ravenloft... Wait, what's a Ravenloft? Right, so it's Dungeons & Dragons does Universal -- or if you have good taste, Hammer -- horror. It's a patchwork world in which each of the classic horror archetypes rules over a little fiefdom, terrorising the locals, and the players go around staking vampires and shoving silver up werewolves, while trying not to draw the attention of the evil Darklords. The twist is that the bad guys are trapped there too, for Re There is a half-decent idea here. Let's take Ravenloft... Wait, what's a Ravenloft? Right, so it's Dungeons & Dragons does Universal -- or if you have good taste, Hammer -- horror. It's a patchwork world in which each of the classic horror archetypes rules over a little fiefdom, terrorising the locals, and the players go around staking vampires and shoving silver up werewolves, while trying not to draw the attention of the evil Darklords. The twist is that the bad guys are trapped there too, for Reasons, so if you wanted to you could examine concepts of destiny, responsibility, and enforced roles, but it's D&D so of course you don't do that. Anyway. Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales backports the Ravenloft mechanics and setup to Earth in the 1890s, so instead of Tesco Value Dracula, you can fight actual Dracula, which is nice. All of the classic bad guys -- and some good guys, like Sherlock Holmes -- are running about, and ruling over the whole lot is the Red Death. What the Red Death is or does is not defined, which as we will see, is a bit of a recurring problem. (The Red Death is more or less Nyarlathotep, but is never named as such, probably because of licensing reasons.) I like the basic idea, I even admire the attempt to use AD&D2 for a near-modern setting, but the whole thing is a mess, veering from cack-handed to half-hearted. It's a shame. Some examples: It's unwieldy from the start. To play you need the AD&D2 books, this boxed set, plus the Ravenloft boxed set, and the Ravenloft: Forbidden Lore boxed set. The latter two you need for a couple of rules mechanics that could have been reprinted here -- as we will see, it's not like the space was needed for anything else -- but ah, then you'd be buying only one box, not three and how then would TSR avoid going bust? Oh. Imagine playing this in 1994, before everyone had pdfs. Imagine you were the GM but you were running the game at someone else's house, and you'd need to lug three boxes plus rulebooks plus whatever else over there. Crikey. The setting-specific rules -- the ones that you don't have to go and find in other boxes -- are a bit of a mess too. AD&D2 for the 1890s was always going to be a fudge but it feels like they just gave up after a first draft. Fighters/soldiers are the only viable character type; magic use has interesting drawbacks -- corruption, insanity, attracting the Red Death -- but they are also probably too punitive, although I love that sort of thing in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay so (shrugs). Thieves become "tradesmen" and lose their thief skills, but get them back as Non-Weapon Proficiencies, the effectiveness of which are based on the character's -- random -- statistics, and must be bought from a pool of points of which the magic users will in most cases get more, AND the tradesman doesn't in fact get default access to the thief skills -- no one does -- so has to spend more of that pool of points to get them. "You can play these other classes," TSR seems to say, "But they are crap, so don't bother." Soldiers for everyone! Which is fine, I suppose, if that was the intent, but if so why bother with the other classes -- the tradesman in particular, who is crippled by these rules -- at all? I can imagine that further development could fix the issues with the other classes, but that didn't happen. There's an explosives table, because blowing monsters up is great! It has three entries, two of which are identical, and the last is different in only one place. Why does this table exist? I'm not picking on one table; it's all like this. In fairness some parts work better than others. You could probably fix the rules, but once you've done that, what do you do in Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales? How are you supposed to play? Excellent question. You can't use most D&D adventures because it's Earth in the 1890s. You could use Ravenloft adventures because they at least have the right mood, but for some odd reason that's never floated as a possibility. There are three adventures in the box, one of which isn't bad, one is an interesting idea executed as a linear series of fights, and one is dead in the water (literally) and wastes a major character. Well, you don't need example adventures, not if the setting guide is full of evocative plot seeds and compelling adventure ideas. (Spoiler: it is not.) The setting is vague and underwritten in that annoying style that was everywhere in the 90s, all "rumours" this and "unconfirmed" that. It's all quite terrible, but this is perhaps the best/worst example, from the Australia section: The arrival of the Europeans has resulted in the violation of old taboos and the disruption of countless traditions. The exact nature of these trespasses and their repercussions may not be known for decades to come. Interviews with the native population of Australia tend to be less than informative, for many of the taboos forbid even the discussion of them. Whahuh? I can see words there, but I see no actual content. Someone was paid money to write that. This idiot paid money to read it. Look, I know you can't cover everything in an introductory box, but this sort of non-committal nothingness is of no use to anyone. I would have put in some concrete examples, perhaps mentioning specific D&D monsters that could be used for the basis of an adventure, even mentioning published adventures that could be slotted in. Anything other than the "I dunno, you sort it out" we get. (There is one weird exception. Singapore gets a few lines about a very specific incident involving tiny creatures that make people disappear. There's not much more than that, and no suggestion of what the things are, but it's something.) The Red Death, the Big Bad of the setting, is left completely undefined, except that it might be living in Vienna, except that's probably just a rumour. Okay, fair enough, I understand not specifying what the Red Death is, but maybe offer three examples, Dracula Dossier style, of what it could be. That way the GM can take one and use as is, or use the three as examples to develop their own Red Death. This is not difficult, and my gosh, it's not as is the space is being used for anything important. I'm not sure why this box exists. I can't imagine fans were clamouring for a Ravenloft-but-the-1890s product and it seems like an odd thing to release as a boxed set, although this was the era of TSR spaffing out as many boxed sets as they could. My guess is that it's an unfortunate confluence of someone making a joke pitch over lunch in the TSR canteen, and a sudden boxed set shaped gap in the production schedule; the pitch got commissioned and then everyone scrabbled to get the thing out. It feels like an initial idea shoved out the door before it was ready. Perhaps it was an attempt to compete with Call of Cthulhu, but if so it's the most lacklustre attempt imaginable. Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales is a broken product that requires umpteen other products to use, it feels unfinished, and what is included is of little use, so I wouldn't recommend tracking this one down. All that said, there is still something compelling about the basic concept, something that got me to buy it in the first place. (I think; I don't remember when I got my copy or even if I bought it at all. It may have been a gift.) With quite a lot of further development -- which it is obvious never happened with the published box -- Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales could work. Maybe. Ish.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Francisco Becerra

    Fabulous from beginning to end. The best of TSR's campaign expansions and one of the best historical settings. The rules expansion are great, and add marvelous realism. If you have Ravenloft, this is a must. Fabulous from beginning to end. The best of TSR's campaign expansions and one of the best historical settings. The rules expansion are great, and add marvelous realism. If you have Ravenloft, this is a must.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tiina Susanna

    Taattua Poe kauhua

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mlarson

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ilker Ozbilek

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Soucy

  9. 4 out of 5

    Saturnberry

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Ford

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  12. 4 out of 5

    Γιώργος Λαγκώνας

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Brashear

  14. 4 out of 5

    Denis Bozic

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bert Janssens

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Nareau

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dale Donovan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Noah Antwiler

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kingcrowley

  20. 4 out of 5

    Curtis Hay

  21. 5 out of 5

    H A

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chris Nichols

  23. 4 out of 5

    James Bowman

  24. 5 out of 5

    David TheDM

  25. 4 out of 5

    Theodoros Theodoridis

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jason Valletta

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rafael

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carl Lavigne

  29. 5 out of 5

    Todd Roboltou

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christopher “Calstaff” Lerch

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