Sunday, September 11, 2022

Maximilian's Waxworks

Here's an adventure location I wrote up for Strahd Loves, Man Kills issue eight. Only about fifteen copies left, by the way!

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Maximilian's Waxworks
Maximilian's Waxworks is a wax museum attraction that can appear in any domain you wish. Run by the changeling Maximilian Drear, the waxworks features a number of grisly displays for paying customers to gawk and gawp at on their tours of the premises.

Each Domain of Dread in Ravenloft is represented among the wax museum’s displays by a tableau re-enacting the downfall of its Darklord. For example, the Barovia exhibit shows a wax sculpture of Strahd von Zarovich lusting after Tatyana, making a pact within the Amber Temple, and ultimately murdering his brother in a fit of jealousy and rage.

Visitors to Maximilian’s Waxworks claim that the wax figures seem to move slightly, or flash a hellish grin, when glimpsed out of the corner of their eyes. Indeed, Maximilian has endowed his creations with the power of animation and malign intelligence. Anyone trespassing within the museum at night will find themselves stalked by waxen duplicates of the Land of the Mists’ Darklords.

Each display is also intimately tied to the domain it replicates. If a character brings a Mist talisman to a domain’s display in Maximilian’s Waxworks, the Mists will pour forth from the museum’s floor and transport that person and their companions to the domain in question.

The wax figures and props that Maximilian Drear uses to tell the sordid tales of Ravenloft’s Darklords are crafted by ghouls in 
his employ who labor in the building’s basement. As payment, the ghouls are offered the flesh of any wayward visitors to the museum who overstay their welcome. With no need for sustenance, the wax figures are happy to drag the corpses of interlopers into the cellar for the delectation of the ghastly artisans below.

Adventures in Maximilian's Waxworks
Consider the following adventure seeds when including Maximilian’s Waxworks as part of your campaign: 

Having fallen in love with a dying woman, Maximilian Drear stole her body from the morgue after her demise and has preserved it in wax within his museum. One of the figures in the waxworks contains the woman’s corpse; the characters are offered a generous reward by her family to enter the museum at night, determine where her body is hidden, smuggle it out of the waxworks, and return it to them for a proper burial.

The souls of visitors to Maximilian’s Waxworks are being harvested for use in animating a colossal wax replica of Gravedrinker. This creature is in the process of being fashioned by Maximilian’s ghouls in the museum’s basement. If its construction is not stopped, this gargantuan horror will be unleashed and allowed to rampage.