DMs Guild Review – Oddities & Odysseys: The Night Fiend of Ravenloft

Hunt a ghostly, kidnapping Oni in this 3rd level Ravenloft adventure.

A review copy of “Oddities & Odysseys: The Night Fiend of Ravenloft” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Kerry Jordan

The Night Fiend of Ravenloft is a quick mini-adventure (almost an encounter) for 3rd level characters. It fits perfectly within Curse of Strahd, but could be used for any horror-themed scenario, as the party are tasked with destroying a kidnapping Oni, who may already be dead.

The adventure begins when a young girl is kidnapped from a rural village. Several adventure hooks are provided to tie into Curse of Strahd, such as putting it in the village of Krezk, or learning of the kidnapping from Morgantha the night hag.

At night the party is drawn to a screaming woman, whose cottage has been ransacked, husband has been killed, and child has been kidnapping by a monstrous beast, which she’s unable to properly identify.

A good old fashioned monster hunt is an easy way to start an adventure, but things quickly turn weird as the players follow the icy trail left by the creature into the forest. There they find the Night Fiend, a ghostly Oni, defiantly clutching the child.

A year ago the Oni terrorized the area, snatching children and eating them. He was eventually defeated by the knight-errant Lady Rowan Wiggend, though the two ultimately perished in the battle. Due to Ravenloft’s spectral magic, both arose as ghostly spirits to continue their fight, but eventually the Night Fiend was able to draw power when the nights were darkest, broke free of Lady Wiggend’s attacks, and began to hunt again.

It’s an intriguing backstory that sets up an already powerful CR 7 creature with more resistances and abilities due to its ghostly nature, like having damage resistance and the ability to shift into the Ethereal realm.

Awkwardly, the players aren’t meant to win the first encounter. In fact, the Night Fiend is supposed to completely wipe them out. TPK. Donzo. Yikes!

As they drop to zero hit points, the ghostly from of Lady Wiggend appears to stabilize them. Purposefully TPKing the party is a very difficult task to pull off well, and the adventure doesn’t allow for any deviation or alternate paths.

(My own suggestion: Allow Lady Wiggend to approach the party after they’ve escaped and offer to separate their spirits to help defeat the ghostly enemy, giving the players the choice rather than forcing it upon them).

night fiend pic

When they wake up from their “death,” they regain all hit points, gain the benefit of a short rest, and acquire several new abilities due to their new ghost forms, such as flight, damage resistance, and immunity (including cold damage, protecting them from the Oni’s terrible Cone of Cold).

Lady Wiggend seems like an interesting NPC, but she’s relegated to holding off the waves of specters drawn to the PCs’ bodies. This brief scene might’ve worked better as a more action-packed combat encounter, with more and more enemies approaching until she gives the classic, “Go, I got this!” line.

The ghost party’s only task is to re-fight the nearby Night Fiend, but this time empowered by their ghostly traits. That should give them enough of an edge to destroy the creature, though there’s also Lady Wiggend’s sword, still lodged in the creature’s original body, which can be used to deal some extra damage.

When the creature is slain, the party wakes up, fully recovered. The child is safe, and both Lady Wiggend and the Oni have been put to rest – or have they? Disappointingly, there’s no epilogue for Lady Wiggend, other than the option to make her spirit into a dangerous spirit of vengeance. Although her sword appears back in the party’s possession, it’s not magical at all (just silvered). Big misstep for what could have been a fun magic item – or even a sentient one containing her spirit.

For such a short adventure (just 15-pages total), The Night Fiend of Ravenloft manages to tell a decent little story. The background between the Oni and the knight is intriguing, and the ghost powers are a neat twist to temporarily empowering the party – but at the cost of a forcible total party wipe, which should always be treated with a delicate touch.

Pros:

  • Tells a satisfying story in a very short amount of time.
  • Gain ghost powers to defeat a previously unbeatable foe.
  • Includes creepy .mp3 nursery rhyme.

Cons:

  • Part 1 ends with a fight you’re designed to lose (TPK).
  • Conclusion misses meaningful ending with Lady Wiggend and her sword.
  • No maps.

The Verdict: If you can get past purposefully wiping out the entire party with a single villain, The Night Fiend of RAvenloft features a great opportunity to temporarily powerup the PCs as they exact their heroic revenge.

A review copy of “Oddities & Odysseys: The Night Fiend of Ravenloft” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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