R4 4

RQ3: From the Shadows (1992)

RQ3: From the Shadows picks up the Grand Conjunction metaplot in 1992, almost a full year after RQ1, which is good because it is gauged for levels 9-12, a big leap up. It is the length of both RA3 and RQ1 put together and, honestly, is the point where, for better or worse, the metaplot really kicks in. Azalin the Lich, the coolest character in the Ravenloft campaign setting, is revealed as the prime mover of the plot — he is hoping to exploit the Grand Conjunction to escape the Demi-Plane of Dread.

This one is interesting. It starts with a string of event-based encounters, the first of which was bound to be a controversial one: the headless horseman runs the players down and chops off all their heads. Azalin then revives them and sends their spirits back in time to the wedding of Strahd’s brother (not a great day for the von Zarovich family). The lich wants them to steal an artifact necessary for the Grand Conjunction and if they fail, he sends them back over and over again, Groundhog’s Day-like. That’s only the start! Once they get back, they have to navigate Azalin’s (very large) castle, during which they are manipulated into taking the lich’s dragonskull phylactery with them to destroy in a shrine beyond his realm. Once they escape, they confront the lich and destroy him, which sticks him in the phylactery, which the players then carry out of his domain, which starts the Grand Conjunction going. Boom.

It’s a lot and it is kind of dumb. But Azalin is cool and his castle is fun to explore. Sad that there is no Fabian art here, tho.

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