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RQ2 Thoughts of Darkness (2e)
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RQ2 Thoughts of Darkness (2e)

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Fall the inhospitable domains in the Ravenloft campaign world, Bluetspur is the cruelest and most gruesome. Nothing grow in the endless night, and lightning periodically falls like rain. The only place to escape those storms is inside the mind flayers' complex under Mt. Makab, but that is the last place where any sane person would want to go.

The High Master Mithid has been hatching black plots by hatching vampiric mind flayers in his laboratories! His prodigies are horribly insane, but if he can complete his plans, he will achieve a new level of dark immortality. A pair of heroes has stolen the key to his success, but they have paid a heavy price for their bravery and are in desperate need of aid unlooked for.

Meanwhile, the Lord of the Realm watches over the proceedings and plays havoc with the wits of both sides, sapping strength and will with all-powerful thoughts of darkness. A party of adventures will need all of their skills to escape this black domain without the loss of life, power, or sanity!

Product History

RQ2: "Thoughts of Darkness" (1992), by David Wise, is the fifth Ravenloft adventure. It was published in September 1992.

Continuing the Ravenloft Adventures. When RQ1: "Night of the Walking Dead" (1992) was published early in 1992, it was shockingly short at just 32 pages. Fortunately, "Thoughts of Darkness" jumped that page count to 64 pages — a number that would be matched by most future adventures. Meanwhile, "Thoughts of Darkness" was setting a record of its own: it was the highest-level Ravenloft adventure to date, supporting levels 12-15 — and one of the higher-level adventures available for the entire AD&D line.

"Thoughts of Darkness" ties into to the next major Ravenloft release, the Forbidden Lore (1992) boxed set; since "Thoughts of Darkness" is full of mind flayers (and their psionic powers) the psionic rules of Forbidden Lore are a nice (and intentional) complement.

Not Necessarily Plotting Along. If players were expecting the fifth part of the Grand Conjunction metaplot in this fifth Ravenloft adventure, they were to be disappointed. There's no mention at all of Hyskosa and his signs. Instead, Grand Conjunction players would have to wait for the sixth and seventh adventures — RQ3: "From the Shadows" (1992) and RM1: "Roots of Evil" (1993).

Adventuring Tropes. "Thoughts of Darkness" is an encounter-based adventure that carefully leads players from one event to another. Even when players flee into the caverns of Mt. Makar to survive, the result isn't really a dungeon crawl: instead, the adventure remains encounter-based, though a few of the encounters feature a couple of different locations to delve through.

Love It or Hate It? The domain of Bluetspur was well-received as an evocative and original Ravenloft domain — a horror setting that could only arise from the D&D game. However, the actual adventure was not as well-lauded.

Expanding Ravenloft. "Thoughts of Darkness" is the biggest resource for Bluetspur in the Ravenloft line. However, since it's an encounter-based adventure, it doesn't offer any gazetteers that could be used elsewhere. Nonetheless, it does a good job of revealing the tone and the politics of the domains. It also reveals for the first time how "night" and "day" work there.

"Thoughts of Darkness" is also the biggest resource on integrating mind flayers into Ravenloft. It actually took some work to get them admitted in the first place. The TSR marketing department didn't want to allow their usage, because they thought of mind flayers as part of the Spelljammer setting. The Ravenloft designers thus had to prove that the mind flayers had existed before the crystal spheres.

Monsters of Note. Three words: vampire mind flayers. Mixing and matching the two sorts of horrific monsters was an original idea, but also another love-it-or-hate-it moment.

About the Creators. Wise is an author and game designer who was just getting his start at TSR in 1992, the same year that he co-designed the introductory Dungeons & Dragons: Dragon Quest Game (1992).

About the Product Historian

This history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Product Information
Author(s)
Pages
76
Edition
1.0
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9364
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File Last Updated:
August 18, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on August 19, 2014.