Darkon: Domain on the Brink of Destruction

It’s the end of the world as we know it

Darkon is one of the Domains of Dread of Ravenloft. It was once ruled over by the lich, Azalin Rex, but through extensive, magical experiments, he has escaped his domain and now Darkon is crumbling. Once a large landmass between 2 oceans, mists have begun to creep inwards, consuming the land and its people into some unknown state.

Information About Darkon

CharacteristicInformation
DarklordPreviously Azalin Rex, now no Darklord rules this land
Domain CharacteristicDomain on the Brink of Destruction
GenreDark Fantasy and Disaster Horror
HallmarksFractured realm, magical ruins, ongoing supernatural catastrophe
Population117,300
RacesMainly humans but also many halflings and gnomes and some elves, half elves, dwarves and other races
SettlementsCastle Avernus
Il Aluk
Martira Bay
Rivalis
Nartok
Neblus
Viaki
Mayvin
Maykle
Delagia
Vradlock

Characteristics of Darkon

Before Azalin Rex left Darkon, he ruled apathetically, focused only on his own escape from the wretched place. Now that he is gone, 3 people vie for the right to rule the domain though none of them are the actual Darklord of the land. The land itself contains many gothic cities as well as towers and monuments to forgotten wizard tyrants whose potential hoard of wealth might still lie within some abandoned location or another.

Darkon had already been tarnished by the magical atrocities subjected upon is by Azalin causing the land to remain fractured. But even more terrifying than this are the ever encroaching mists known locally as “the shroud”. No-one knows the fate of those caught in the shroud, and most are too afraid to find out. Many report disappearances of those caught by the shroud, others report of seeing shapes moving within it. The truth is, unless someone can stop the shroud from creeping inwards, then this will become the fate of all in Darkon.

When Azalin left Darkon, a strange golden star appeared in the night sky that became known as the King’s Tear. Locals have also noted increased activity of the Kargat, the nation’s secret police, since Azalin left. People have noticed particular activity in Martira Bay and Il Aluk and some wonder if the secret to Darkon’s salvation might lie near those cities.

Aspiring Darklords

Since Azalin Rex’s death, Darkon has had no Darklord, though 3 evil individuals stake a claim to rulership over Darkon and the title of Darklord. None of them have the powers or influence over Darkon that a Darklord might have.

Alcio “Baron” Metus

A long time ago, Alcio and her brother Baron were turned into vampires by a Kargat vampire. Neither was happy with their new state of undeath and killed the vampire that turned them before going their separate ways, having never been particularly close.

Alcio later learned that while on their separate paths, Baron had been killed at the hands of Rudolph Van Richten, a doctor from Rivalis. She furiously sought revenge only to discover that Van Richten had moved on from Rivalis and Darkon itself to another domain. She did, however, find the ghost of Rudolph’s dead wife, Ingrid, at the Richten estate. Despite imaginative bargains and threats, Alcio could not discover the whereabouts of Rudolph from Ingrid, only bemused mockery and psychological evaluations of her state of mind.

Alcio sought other avenues to discover her brother’s killer which led her to Martira Bay. There she found her brother’s old gang of criminals who worked against the Kargat vampires. Feigning a stronger connection to her brother than she really had, she adopted his name and his rank within the organisation and led them to slay the Kargat vampires, taking over their Black Tower.

Now Alcio spreads her agents far and wide in search of information on Van Richten’s whereabouts with Il Aluk her next target for takeover. She is now the leader of a large criminal underworld with great influence and a violent streak (even for a vampire) and continues to stake her claim as Azalin’s replacement.

Darcalus Rex

Darcalus Rex was once the Darklord of Darkon prior to Azalin until he was killed. That is until the elder mystic of Nevuchar Springs, Cardinna Artazas, determined that Darcalus is the key to saving Darkon. Cardinna received a vision from the sacred springs that she interpreted to mean that Darkon required not just a ruler, but a heart and that required a Darklord of Darkon. With Azalin gone, Cardinna’s only option was to Darcalus back from the dead.

Despite the more altruistic nature of Cardinna’s order, they set about resurrecting this tyrannical wizard in order to bring about the greater good for Darkon and rescue it from the apocalyptic shroud. Having raised Darcalus to his necrichor form (a bodiless, undead entity that seeks a body to help it regain its true power) from the dead, the Eternal order now set about nurturing and bringing back to vitality, the dark king through ever increasing demands of evil that test Cardinna’s resolve.

While Darcalus cares only about his own power and little for the survival of Darkon and its people, Cardinna is motivated by saving Darkon, even at the expense of her own virtue.

Madame Talisveri Eris

The Eris family are proud aristocrats from Il Aluk with a noble history spanning many generations. Despite this, they are heavily in debt but this is kept secret from everyone else through layers of lies and deceit.

Madame Talisveri herself is an elderly woman of about 80 who once imbibed a faulty invisibility potion that has made her permanently invisible. This has both its perks and its problems, least of all, that if she does want to meet with people and be seen, she must use copious amounts of make up and clothing. Because of all this practice with dressing up, she is a master of disguise and can adeptly take on the appearance of others.

Ever engaging in elaborate ruses to maintain appearances, Talisveri enjoys putting on elaborate balls, despite her debt, to tempt and exploit her guests. Every full moon however, she holds a private event for her loyal inner circle whom she refers to as the family. This group work to restore the Eris family to its former glory. At the end of each of these meetings, the group will all drink “The Spirit of Nobility”, an elixir of greater invisibility. Once drunk, the guests will indulge in acts of violence until dawn in order to push further the family’s agenda. The residents of Il Aluk believe that during the full moon, vengeful spirits walk the streets, though it is just the family.

Locations in Darkon

Castle Avernus

While Azalin still reigned, Castle Avernus was his fortress and home. It also housed his deadliest servants including the black dragon, Ebbasheyth. When Azalin left Darkon, he blew up Castle Avernus in the process, but at the point of explosion, the entire castle was magically frozen meaning that rooms and sections of the castle now hang suspended in the air, separate, but stable.

The people of Darkon believe that Azalin’s servants must have been killed in the blast but that isn’t true, the frozen blast has not harmed Azalin’s servants and they continue to haunt the rooms and corridors of Castle Avernus, presumably, protecting the treasure and powerful items Azalin left as well.

Il Aluk

A city of pointed spires and leering gargoyles, Il Aluk’s surface grandeur is a deception to the underlying debt and poverty of its noble classes who have passed on their poverty to the starving populace. This has naturally led to uprisings and rebellions with Madame Eris being the beneficiary of the change of power as someone the people hope will act in their best interests. She’s certainly willing to act, though its doubtful she has any interests but her own in mind. She is certainly quite happy to kill any that might get in the way of her plans for power.

Martira Bay

Martira bay is a foggy port town that houses many odd looking ships whose mirculous nature take attention away from the oddities of its people. The Kargat, Darkon’s secret police, are particularly active in this area, conducting their investigations from the Black Tower, a notorious and foreboding fortress.

Martira Bay is also home to an unsual number of notorious serial killers that prey upon the population including the Midnight Slasher, the Spider and the Weeping Woman. Unfortunately, their true identities are not known meaning that the local constabulary have had to resort to private detective and spiritualist groups to help find these individuals like the Ray Agency and the Dusklight Detectives.

Nevuchar Springs

The Nevuchar Springs are famous, cavern pools, that are home to the Eternal Order who study alchemy, magic, and the rare properties of these amber springs. Those who enter the waters certainly do enjoy its healing properties, though the reasons why are veiled by the Eternal Order in layers of secrecy. However, those that do bathe in these pools, sometimes return somehow psychologically changed.

Rivalis

Rivalis is a quaint town that appears pleasant. Though dangers do come to Rivalis, such as brigands and lake monsters, they rarely remain a danger. Attempting to discuss how the quaint lifestyle is maintained in a place surrounded by such danger won’t get you very far in Rivalis as the subject is often changed very quickly. Rivals is also the home of Doctor Rudolph Van Richten.

Published by DM Ben

Ben is an experienced dungeon master and player who's been immersed in the D&D universe since he was a teenager over 20 years ago. When he's not writing for Dungeon Mister, Ben loves creating fiendish puzzles and devious dungeons for his players. He's an especially big fan of the Ravenloft and Dragonlance settings.

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