Planar Explorations, by [REDACTED] or “The Narrator”

“I hate this Ramon DeLeon, barmy liar has brought many to their dooms!  My brothers feel it’s in best interest to visit the bard, as well as his monastery friends in due time.  I lack the muscle of some compatriots, but I can only hope my word craft and reason is enough to get this menace to stand down.  And if he doesn’t, may his long ears be ripped off his head!  Now, where’s my wine?” – Gerard Claude Dupois, Renardois-folk Lupin of Petite Renardie

Where’s a primer to go to learn all there is upon the planes?  Why, to Sigil of course!  And where from there?  Well, competition has floundered in the claws of a beast named Ramon!  His biased words paint a different story of the planes, bringing glory to some and chastisement to others.  But, be assured there are far stranger truths than those cooked up by some hairball hacking mutant with a knack for storytelling.  And within such stories, many things are best left alone.  Because of his foolish idealism, a racial war begins to boil… not unlike that of the gith.  But, enough tearing of one’s fake character.  It’s time to explore the planes with a tighter focus and sense of scrutiny.  Dare you discover what truly happens within realities beyond?  Of course you do, that’s why you’re here!

Now, who might I be?  Why, the Narrator, of course!  Do you think I’m like the Editor?  Because you shouldn’t!  I’m far more charming and more elaborate.  No cryptic absurdity here, only the upfront truth and the deepest of dark you can muster.  Besides, he seems to have given the city the laugh for a while.  Good for him, I say.  You work hard, you eventually catch a break.  So, why can’t you see me?  Well, disclosing such information is dangerous.  Surely, you can understand this.  So, let us not waste too much time.  Turbulence and conflict bubble and ooze around the cage, especially in these trying times.  Methinks another age of upheaval is upon us.  But, whose to say?  I surely can’t, I’ve moved onto other business after ages of merc blood-work.  But, onto other matters then.

Author’s Note: Yup, split post.  Unrest still hovers over the greatest city in the multiverse.  And as one can assume, not all like the traveling bard.  Some think he’s a foul swindler even!  But, what other stories can be told of the planes?  Plenty, I can tell you!  Also, I wanted to explore an even darker look at the fey.  I don’t care for Disney takes on Faeries, give me gothic style aliens any day!  And yes, it overtook the post.  And once again, The Evil Dead inspired something for me to work with.  In addition, we have strange elementals, trade war, a sentient astral pocket and a drifting piece of New Jersey!  Also, as the name might imply, one of my greatest inspirations for Planescape content is the Grimjack/Mundens/Cynosure universe.  Science-fantasy hodgepodge, multiversal antics, a grim mercenary tone often used, lots of it already felt Planescape, even if it predates the setting by around a decade.

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Barmy Kips and Dark Locales – More Curiosities of Sigil

door at end of dark alleyway | Dark alleyway, Dark street, Anime background

Oh, so you’re in need of a tout?  Yeah, I could do that.  What’re in the need for, chummer?  You gave the jink tip, so I’m all bone box gab.  Juggling Monk Way holds the chant on good eats and bub, little cost.  You gots yourself 3 different taverns, all good options.  What’s next, yes?  Oh, Easy workin’s.  Aye.  You can help patrol against Cranium Rats.  Yeah, office right down where I’m pointing.  There’s also the labor yard, a bit more north in the Hive here.  They need bashers to haul bunches o’ junk, probably for trade.  But, real thrills?  Follow me down this burned alley, I gots something that’s a real once in a lifetime treat!  Promise ya that!  Haha.

Author’s Note: Continued influence from Eberron, the High Society and the near-end of the Antorek metaplots.  And just below, things deep in UnderSigil.  I know I brought that blasted mad dragon and his fey helpers back, but this is what happens when you port Mutant Plants and Mutant Animals from Gamma World into AD&D… among other things from Gamma World.  The Bathysphere is from that too, as well as some planar weirdness.  More is on the way, as things have been split up once again.

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Grim Rumors Eternal – More Ravenloft Plots and Places

The Darkness lasts forever!  Don’t think the Light is still your friend though.

Author’s Note: Mystaran homage, more lands based on Philippine folklore, more on the undead of Rockbaecche and a native of Kalidnay experiencing Abaddon.  Also, two more references to the excellent Prisoners of the Mist server for Neverwinter Nights.  If you love the Campaign Setting, it’s one of the best sources that keeps it alive.  Also, I’m aware that referencing Abrahamic religion in D&D is controversial, but thanks to Prisoners of the Mist, it could be a fascinating thing to examine in brief.  I should really pick that up again, it was good fun.

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Gazing upon a Misty Void

TAE _ - Sea Zombie-2

“This is the Alleigosto Exploration Team, is anyone out there?  Anyone on the Cog Auditory-Wave Line, please respond!  We are lost on the Ichthyan Sea.  We’ve observed and overheard terrible creatures.  Send help immediately.  These waters are dangerous, arm yourselves by all means.  I repeat, arm yourselves.  Air waves will remain open, in hopes of response.” – The distress signal of Her Heavenly Embrace, sunken wreck

It is time once again to gaze into the mists and see what gazes back.  I bring you tales and people traversing the mists, woes of the occult, crime never paying, schemes of a warmonger and rising spirits assembling a demonic gallivant.

Author’s Note: More ambitious conquering for Drakov, Victorian spiritualism, Japanese ghosts and more on a thieves haven homage to Yojimbo.  That is what to expect from this post!  Also, I know I’ve griped about it before, but I feel like I should cover and flesh out my own worlds.  I don’t really want to play D&D anymore, even though I like pondering about the settings.  It’s this weird paradox for me.  I have more posts I want to do, so we’ll see how quick I can get over this funk.

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Further Glimpses Upon The Mists

Tristram In Skyrim - A Homage To Diablo -- Project Shelved at Skyrim Nexus  - Mods and Community

Problems, we all have problems.  Day to day life is riddled with them.  This is nothing to say of toils beyond town walls, behind closed doors and just outside of the naked eye.  There are things that bring deeper problems, rooted in our own deepest fears.  Attempts to banish them are fool’s errands, adaptation and readiness is a more apt truth.  So, do not fear the problems of what lies beyond, but prepare.  The darkness always lingers and waits, so too must you.

Author’s Note: My continued take on Eberron meets Ravenloft, more Thief love, More BLOOD inspiration in the multiverse, ongoing agonies of new domains and more.

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Lost Chapters of the Mists – More Domains of Dread Part 5

Ghost ship (Stephen Fabian, Ravenloft module RA2: Ship of Horror, TSR, 1991)
Dead Men Tell No Tales

“Ah, setting sails on the high seas?  Well, let me tell you of grim tall tales.  I speak of ghostly vessels rising from watery graves.  I have witnessed water beasts infused with the deadliest poisons known to man.  I have seen angered spirits more than capable of sinking your ship, even from a distance.  And this is to say nothing of the strange island you will find along the way.  The ones I fear the most are controlled by wicked sorcerers who reject the divine in favor of their own prospects.  And that’s to say nothing of the pirates.  Even in distant lands, the brigands will emerge.  One such heinous gathering caused me crew to run aground.  And that was to say nothing of the horrors to come.  I speak of flying creatures that resemble women, but only their top half!  The accursed harpies had slain too many good men.  I speak to you today, only thanks to some priests who witnessed the carnage.  The life of a sailor is no kind one.  Pray that it’s only nature you have to worry about!”

The old man, beleaguered by his past, sits back down.  However, for the rest of the evening, he maintains a glassy stare that is equal parts ominous and worried.  His staring is only interrupted by the loud slurping of grog from his mug, most of which staining his mostly white beard.  Even as you ready to depart, the solemn and sorrowful figure remains haunted and scarred through the terrors of his own past.  Pray that you do not suffer much like him.

Author’s Note: I’m back once more, since my previous post split off into another part all its own.  I wanted to tackle a look at Sri Raji, as well as stealing from the new book to make their new domain feel more Ravenloft (though that’s a common complaint I have with the book).  As a whole, I give my own remake to The Steaming Lands, now the Steaming Wrath, with the addition of two wholly new domains (one based off of a Bruce Heard article for Dragon of course).  Likewise, I have returned with more Ravenscape crossover, detailing the fate of Antorek and how it relates to the Wildlands.  Also, PIRATES!  I love me some stuff with pirates.

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Lost Chapters of the Mists – More Domains of Dread Part 4

Alanik Ray - Dungeons & Dragons Board-Game Campaign (house-rules)

“Alanik, come quickly! I have found yet another one.”

A man in physician’s finery beckoned another to his side. A well-dressed man of elven descent followed, emerging from the darkness and into the lantern light. The two gazed down, a crumpled body laid at their feet, hastily disposes upon a cobblestone street corner. Alanik hunched closer, while reaching for a small viewing glass. His gaze met a symbol etched into the body’s shoulder, revealed through a series of gash marks.

“Indeed, it’s the same accursed occult symbol. But, what does it mean? All of these victims have similar traits in common. Each body was struck down in some means of brutal combat, holds torn up or destroyed parchments and carries this accursed mark upon their flesh. From what I can gather, they are some sort of messengers. Given the common origins of the clothing styles and some adorned belongings, they all likely share a common ancestry in Darkon.”

Joining Alanik the detective, the physician stoops forward with tools at the ready.  With tools in hand, he too examines the corpse and does so with medical precision.

“Astute observation, detective. But, the deaths. I must know. From a glance over at the wounds, it seems to follow yet another trend. All of these bodies faced similar slashing wounds from a particularly long blade. The marks indicate a similar fighting style or means of combat. Or at least, it would seem someone is good at replicating them. Did you know I’ve taken up a fair bit of swordplay in my youth? I’ve even had some goes at fencing. And… what’s this? A parchment that hasn’t been destroyed! It’s hidden in an insular breast pocket.”

The physician’s face rapidly changes from excitement to a rather grim shock. The letter addresses a Dr. Arthur Sedgewick, that the body before him was once compelled into the service of a scribe who serves the mighty Wizard-King Azalin. Even when not under control, he feels the tugging presence of magic upon his mind and that he isn’t alone. Countless other glorified slaves have found themselves gathering information in the name of a mad wizard and his lackeys. In the night before his death, he desired to seek the doctor out in hope that non-magical means could break his curse, since attempts from spellcasters have failed.

Author’s Note: Alas, poor scroll trader, now another victim of The Mists. And with that, let’s look at some more canon domains within the setting. Many of these are ones typically overlooked to some degree.  Joining them are some new domains, fit around various fan ideas as well.  Also, big thanks to the Fraternity of Shadows community as always, especially Ryan Naylor and John W. Mangrum.  Likewise, the extra eyes who brought a Philippines horror inspired domain to life.  And on that note, this is probably the longest concept for a domain I’ve made.  And yes, I used the silly trading card over the goofy looking new art, I’m aware.

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More ramblings in the Cage – A collection of letters and notes

Welcome to the Hall of Records. Surely, you have business, right? As well as rightful good means of being here. We’re quite busy, we don’t want free-lookin’ eyes peering and bobblin’ about! So, speak quick and have the right goods ready. Yer jink’s no good here, so don’t bother with that. As is, we’re in the midst of something rather heavy. Last thing we need is some busy-bustin’ basher bouncing about.

Author’s Note: This was fun, let’s do it again!  Ravenscape crossover, Simpsons references, all sorts of strangeness.

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In Which Calamity Reigns – More Planescape Lore

Street Riot | MTG Arena Card Library
“To the Armory, CHAAAAARGE!.”

“Those Anarchist twits, sparking more violence within The Cage.  They think they’re turning the people against the factions, all of them…  Not quite.  It all plays into our hands.  Besides, this has lead to our greatest dabbling, remote shops to distribute weapons from The Armory better!  Tuck them under the Legals’ noses, give ’em the laugh at the right moment!  The smell o’ fresh blood wafting along the Lower Ward smog, ain’t it just grand?  Besides, nasty things are brewing in the planes, it’s best for the locals to arm themselves.  Bloody shame with those pirates though, I wish they were working for us…” – From the letter of a Sinker, commenting on recent “acceleration” within Sigil

Horrible things transpire across the planes, but what do they mean?  Likewise, dread things from realms unknown have found their way into The Cage.  The few paranoid greybeards within The Dark point towards The Demiplane of Dread and its machinations.  But, they can’t say for sure and can’t say why.  Through the Prime Fabric, a version of Terra languishes at the wrath of the planes beyond too, something that should be impossible.  As it is, rising tensions within Sigil point to something grim.  Some figure that Factol Darkwood is up to something, but he has been on the hush since violence against any faction/non-guild has been on the rise.  Even laws passed and enforced by the “lawful three” have been subverted and sometimes abolished by outside forces.  The Lady, as always, has remained silent until her call to action draws near.  In the meantime, both Anarchists and Indeps are getting much of the heat of the blame, alongside various Guilds of the Guildhall and Market Wards.

Author’s Note: This post is all about two themes: darker things in the planes… and war.  By war, I mean urban warfare, world war, proxy war, war of ideals/words and war over technology.  But also, we have more Planescape content, as well as potential “Ravenscape” material.  As always, references galore!  This includes some personalities in real life.  Shout-out to The Foxy Bard of Renaissance Faire performance fame.  I still say if you toss on a monocle, you could rock a Harkon Lukas cosplay!  Mind you, Lukas was an inspiration for my character too.  Also, this one is a smidge rougher based on looks at an apocalyptic Earth, as well as uproar in the Cage.  Keep an eye out for many, many callbacks throughout the post.  I love to self-reference.

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Letters, papers and scribbles of the Cage – Words throughout Sigil

The Cage brings plenty of types, from all walks of life. If they can actually take the time, they drop being Clueless and are one of the regulars… so to speak. Those who complain otherwise are quick to forget that their ancestors were likely Primers. None the less, take a walk around and you’ll see and read plenty. It’s more than enough to tell one where the Chant may lie or where one can get a solid bub glass, maybe a cut of quick jink. So, welcome fair travelers. And welcome to my services as a faithful Tout.

Author’s Note: I wanted to do a quick one-off. Basically, letters, ads and more from Sigil in the style of stuff seen in the books.

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