The Ravenloft Campaign is meant to have a theme of growing dread. The DM guidelines on running “Curse of Strahd”, suggest using the optional Fear rules from the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

I don’t think these represent the kind of growing menace and rising panic that the games need, so we’ll be using my homebrew FEAR SCORE and PERMANENT FEAR SCORE.

These effects only occur while the character is in the Domains of Dread.

In general, there will be more situations that invoke Wisdom (Fear) saves – more monsters evoke Fear, more NPCs will have the Fear Spell, undead in particular will exude horror – even some that don’t normally have Fear-based attacks. There could also be a Wisdom (Fear) Save if you see a particularly brutal murder or other grisly scene or a particularly violent shock.

Every FAILED Fear Save adds 1 to your Fear Score.

The Fear Score becomes a penalty on future Wisdom (Fear) Saves and is also the minimum duration of the Frightened Condition before you can even start making saves and even if you become outside line of sight you can’t shrug off the fear for a number of rounds up to your current Fear Score.

How to reduce FEAR – It will reduce when…
• you successfully complete a significant mission, reduce FEAR SCORE by 1
• you level up, , reduce FEAR SCORE by 1
• after you have a PANIC EPISODE, reduce FEAR SCORE to your PERMANENT FEAR SCORE

If your FEAR Score gets to 5, you will add 1 to your PERMANENT FEAR SCORE and then suffer a Panic Episode for a period of 5 rds x PERMANENT FEAR SCORE (so your first episode will last for 5 rounds, second one for 10 rounds etc.)

After the Panic Episode, your FEAR SCORE will be reduced to your PERMANENT FEAR SCORE. Over a long campaign in the Domains of Dread, characters will have increasing problems with fear and shorter times between Panic Episodes.

PERMANENT FEAR SCORE can never be reduced.

Typical effects for Panic Episodes (roll d6)…
1. Blindness,
2. Loss of voice
3. Effects of a Confusion Spell for the duration (no Save and roll again if an option to Save is rolled)
4. Effects of a Phantasmal Force Spell
5. The Frightened Condition (but with no particular source, so it isn’t based on line of sight)
6. Roll Two effects (but roll again if you get another 6)


Dragons of Blackminster MickH666