I LIVE… AGAIN!

“Open for Business!”

So, what gives? I vanish from you fine people for a long time with barely a word.  Well, I owe at least some explanation.  In short, things have not been exactly exemplary, tearing me away from creative stuff.  Lots of personal problems I may divulge in another post.  On top of that, being hardcore burned out on D&D has made things a bit rougher in general.  Either way, I’m back with a bit of an announcement.  Without telling you too much about my life, things have been a bit hectic during my semi-hiatus from the page here.  But, I’ve still kept busy with at least something.  

So with that, I’d like to inform that my contribution for Threshold Magazine is nearing completion.  The theme?  More victims of the Dark Powers hailing from the world of Mystara.  Read the frantic notes of the Black Rajah of Jaibul as he tries to make sense of his own situation.  Dare to seek more on other prisoners of the mists, even a word on Meredoth of Nebligtod!  While two of these domains are based on previous creations seen on my blog, this article expands a little on Vasfar and Ylar.  Joining them is a domain that connects to the mysterious pocket domain of Acotlaza.  This is the Scarred Crags, a mockery of Tiger Clan attempts to conquer their siblings of the Atruaghin Clans.  While the themes of fighting lycanthropy, colonization and oppression are no strangers to the Demiplane of Dread, hopefully this new Darklord’s pain pleases the Dark Powers.  And likewise, I hope that those reading this are just as eager as I am to make some more mad creations for the Demiplane of Dread.  Should things prove popular enough, this might continue.  Beyond Threshold, I might make a follow-up for Fraternity of Shadow’s Quoth the Raven or perhaps Threshold once more.  Likewise, musings on converting Ravenloft content to BECMI.  The Darklords and related creatures get only minimal mechanical considerations in the current article though.  In the meantime, the mists are parting once more and something dark lingers nearby.

Traversing the mists with Mistfactor Press

I’ve been in chats with the fine creators at Mistfactor Press, a group effort to properly update the Ravenloft Campaign Setting for the D&D 5th Edition DM’s Guild. Despite my misgivings towards the current edition, they’ve done a fantastic job and are more than deserving of a look over. They’ve even made 400 page volumes examining said domains in great detail. By all means, consider at least the digital copies. You can find more on their user page, looking under Van Richten’s Encyclopedia of Darklords and Domains.

And with the project leader’s permission, I’m also helping to launch an effort to convert mechanics to 2nd and 3rd Editions. This will only cover things not found in each respective edition, not the entirety of the books (as much of Volume 1 alone can be found in each respective edition). Furthermore, this project will not include any lore that isn’t tied into the mechanics somehow (such as the Darklord’s curses). And as a slight disclaimer, this project is not meant to take away energy or success from Mistfactor, but only help to spread interest and attention by opening the gates to classic fans who might not otherwise be interested in 5th Edition. Stay tuned as always, including for Threshold Mystara Magazine #29. This too will involve Ravenloft.

A break and a promise

I need a break from this for a bit, plain and simple. But, am I done writing entirely? Nah. I’m gonna be doing things here and there. Likewise, I’m contributing to Threshold Magazine #29: Vampires and the Undead horror. My article in particular is “Beyond Nebligtod: Mystara in the Mists”. It will be a crossover of Mystara and Ravenloft, looking at each darklord’s history before and after being taken by the mists. Likewise, a breakdown on the current sketch and curses that haunt each domain respectively. We look at the near present and slight past of the setting, as well as the Blackmoorian distant past. Beyond that, I’ll be back to do something, at least to the best of my ability. Stay tuned for more.

January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival Wrap Up

Major thanks to everyone who joined in for this month.  The intrigue of hushed whispers, agenda pushing papers, courtly arguments, clashing of factions and more proved appealing to a number of you.  Let’s do a recap, shall we?

  • Gonz gave two looks at the workings of Ravnica, from their factions to the everyday political grind.  He also expanded by looking at how MtG style alignment can facilitate drama, politics and more.  Find both here and here!
  • SeaofStarsrpg reflects on campaign politics and how it will affect things as time goes on.   In particular, this looks at how dragons are involved.  Find more here.
  • I’ve made another return to the Fey in Planescape.  In particular, I break down how various Courts and Cults function within the traveling Outer Planes courts and the neutral Fair Kingdom in the Deep Ethereal.  You can find more here, here, here and here.

Stay tuned for Sea of Stars, with the theme of “Something, Something, Dragons!”

Sylvan Strangeness – Weird Courtly Business

I've Seen Your Tears Before by Eriyal on Newgrounds

This is all I have to offer for now.  I assure you that much more lurks beyond.  There is much yet that they fair folk would prefer to presently keep hidden.  Is there something worse than a nightmare conspiracy, cross planar war or the elimination of countless lives?  Hard to say.  The fey will remain an eternal enigma to even most planars.

Author’s Note: Special thanks to King Corn and ripvanwormer of thepiazzaforums for some incredible ideas!  Anyway, that’s it for me in terms of fey politics, intrigue and factions.  Additional thanks to everyone who participated in the January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival!  More after the jump.

Continue reading “Sylvan Strangeness – Weird Courtly Business”

More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 3

Outlaws, Oddballs and Cultist Fanatics

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Seelie, Unseelie, Four Seasons and a few minor houses.  There is more from there.  And by all means, all of them scheme and dream.  All of them seek to triumph over the rest.  And worst of all, to see one of them fully succeed would spell the end of the fey.  Even those devout to Rhiannon would bring about their queen’s deepest fear.  In the end, the politics and ways of these creatures are too alien to fully understand.  How would they avoid absolute destruction?  How would they rebuild?  It would take a lot of speculation to imagine how pieces would be picked up by such truly unique creatures.  But, a mix of Real Speak and Chant alike has been formulated into some well crafted notes.  So, by all means read ahead and dare to discover how much of it is actual truth.  Normally, I strive for truly gripping information that holds the tests of scrutiny.  But, for cabals and corridors this deep, such endeavors are impossible.  Perhaps I have been mislead by rivals?  It is the fey way, after all.

Author’s Note: The last of them, at least for now.  These remaining sects, like the three before, hold less overall political power and tend to be less centralized.  However, most of them are some level of crazy, even by fey standards.  Also, huge shout-out to The Piazza forums.  Their ideas helped really bring this to life.

Continue reading “More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 3”

More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 2

“We are friends, come join us.”

Your journey went as well as ours?  Good, good.  At the very least, you have gained a larger understanding of the mainstream political groups that dwell within the so-called Good Kingdom, Wyld Realms and many other a name.  Regardless of what they courts may call themselves in that moment, they still hold sway and much command.  Do not let their chaotic forces fool you, those who fully oppose them can for the moment unite in near legion.  That Narrator is certainly not welcome within their grounds, letters within Sigil have made that clear.  Though, I’m not sure that this mysterious figure is as insensitive or cruel as many make them out to be.  That’s a matter that shall be discussed later.  In the meantime, let us form a lecture around more looks into the fey.  For the time being, we shall continue to look at the major power groups found within their realms, who they cooperate with and how they maintain a very tenuous cease fire.  After all, tales of the epic sylvan war resulted in no winners and no conclusion.  Fully realized organizations and groupings came from the schism.  But in the end, none came to a common consensus or attempted to reconcile in full.

What has been stated before covers the 4 primary courts of the seasons within the Deep Ethereal pockets belonging to the Fair Folk.  Many fey exist beyond the bickering of four seasons.  Once one leaves the Ethereal and reaches for the Outer Planes, they may witness conflict over two distinct “newer” courts.  The two so-called “traitor courts”, as they are called by the traditional fey of the Ethereal, act within Upper and Lower Planes.  They are the Seelie and Unseelie respectively.  For the Seelie, they are often found in Arborea, but not always.  Likewise, the Unseelie typically dwell within the most wicked pits of Pandemonium.  But, who are they?  Likewise, the Seasonal Courts aren’t alone in the Ethereal.  There are those who are not aligned with mainstream fey politics?  Why certainly!  There are tales of outsider societies as well as religious sects dedicated to ancient ways, ancient even by sylvan standards.  From obnoxious rebels to the fey equivalent to heretics, many divisions and groups have formed.

Author’s Note: Part 2 of my look at fey factions, politics and the like.  As I’ve said before, spirit type creatures needed more umph for the Planescape setting.  So, this is my way of accomplishing that.  So, let’s look at Upper Planes, Lower Planes, outsider societies and cults.  By all means, most of this is supplementary (and some minor degree of altering) to what has been written about Seelie and Unseelie via the Monstrous Mythologies as well as Planes of Chaos and Planes of Conflict.  In terms of outsiders and cults, that’ll need another post too.  Stay tuned for that!  This does not cover everything in detail, much like with part one.  Consider looking under this link for much more.

Continue reading “More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 2”

More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 1

Kips in the Cage: Custom Lifestyle Expenses for Planescape's Sigil - The  Planar DM

Ah, here we are again!  The Civic Festhall!  Some time ago, I was here to deliver my information on the fair folk, after a wondrous trip to Ecstasy.  Since then, I have been criticized and lambasted with an incomplete or biased take, especially by the mysterious Narrator.  After all, focusing on such matters can deeply upset the fey.  And that can cost one an eye *tap*… or even your entire being.  Just look at me, I’m a one-eyed cat man now.  But, I am not here to defame or bring attention to various characters.  Likewise, my own association to a bookshop should not paint any bias either. Let us speak on more joyous occasions, the realms of knowledge.  And specifically, let us study more on society and politics of the fey.  For you see, they are far more complicated and organized than we could initially fathom.

I speak of the faerie kind that span the many planes.  We know to some degree what they are, but how do they operate?  What can we learn from their daily directions and general politics?  Let us dive a little further into their own planes, as well as their own takes on our fair City of Doors.  I shall await all to seat and properly get comfortable.  I assure you that once I start my lecture, I shall continue through conclusion.

Author’s Note: The ways of the fey!  Why not?  I keep coming back to this topic one way or another, so let’s go!  At this rate, I may as well be making my own fey content for a new setting.  Also, it happens to coincide with the January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival!  Should you be interested, please jump on board.  Also, if you’re curious about my writing process, let this video explain it for you.  Also, accompanying each part is some artwork from DiTerlizzi.  This is mostly because I love his style and it’s perfect for this, considering he did artwork for Planescape, Spiderwick, Changeling and more.

Continue reading “More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 1”

January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival – Political intrigue, Courtly drama and Factions

Drama takes many forms.  And by all means, politics is no exception.  There is no denying the power of factions vying for dominance, tricky games of diplomacy that seek a common goal, the fear of relations failing in the event diplomacy isn’t enough, the relief of different groups joining under common goals, the behind the scenes backstabbing and trickery that pulls the strings and the front and center conflict that comes from all of it. Of course, gamers are no stranger to politics either, in or out of game. But, for the purposes of this blog post, we shall focus on the in-universe topics. And on the subject of setting, you’re bound to find something to pull from. Ranging from the meeting room drama mixed with warfare found in A Song of Ice and Fire to the escalating fire pit that is the Factions of Planescape, one can pull something from anyway. But, perhaps you want to start on something from scratch?

So, where to start? First, one could create a plethora of different perspectives for your worlds and examine how they contend with each other. As with all ideas, they will attract their followers. Sooner or later, one set of ideals will likely take the crown. But, not everyone is happy, nor should they be. And from there, lines become drawn as plans too are drawn. How does one procure power? Why is your faction more worthy than another? What lengths will you go to ensure control and relevance? Who are your allies and who are your enemies? Is there hope for cooperation? Why do you remain dedicated to your cause? Do conflicts stay to the shadows, building something of a cold war? Have they heated up, unable to sustain themselves through deception and intrigue? All of these are viable questions for building the politics and groups of your world. And by all means, they aren’t the only ones. These are just a few ways I’ve mused on these matters. If you find another way that works for this sort of worldbuilding, please use that! In fact, please share too!

So, who operates what in your games? What groups vie for what spots? What conflicts have bubbled from all of this? Game stories, mechanics, ideas and more are all welcome!  But, due to the controversial nature of such a topic, I do again request you maintain this within an in-game universe.  Last year was already rough.  Let’s leave our own baggage at the door and roll some dice together…  And bash each other’s heads in over who killed the Crown and who will take their place!

Image Credit: Ofdiceanddragons – RPG Blog Carnival Logo