Of the Astral and the Sylvan – More Planescape Lore

Domovoi – Solntsa Roshcha

All of you look so shocked.  Why?  You see something out of place in this bookstore?  Ah, yes.  You see, Boskov have new task!  Offering you many pieces of lore, some from bardic employer!  No feelings of animosity towards him, he only does what he always does.  But fear not, Boskov has been given permission to share secrets to keep one safe.  Excerpts from books, yes, you shall have them.  Boskov offers tales of the Astral and of the Fair Folk, remember the Fair Folk?

Author’s Note: Once again, things were cut… so long ago!  Here are some things involving the fey that weren’t included before.  Needless to say, I think I’ve done enough fey stuff for a while.  Time for other things!  And once again, huge salute and thanks to Mr. Welch for helping to push the fey into something even cooler.  If you haven’t already, please subscribe to his channel on YouTube.  Likewise, the Astral Plane really needs more love.  So with that, another instance of plane-stranded Athasians and some other curiosities of the astral.  So, this one is about 1/2 Fey, 1/2 Astral.  Also, stick around for a reference to a fun episode of the D&D cartoon.  Enjoy.

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Of Lands beyond Castle Ravenloft: Forgotten Domains and other Tales

These 5 Haunted Libraries Will Give You the Heebie Jeebies

“Bard’s tales for sale!  Scripted and sold by an honest book keeper!  All of the stories in these tomes are completely real!  I offer tales of bravery, terror, exploration and more!  Please, step inside for more!”  A familiar Darkonese man hocks various loud proclamations in the light of day, a fine market square acts as his stage.

Author’s Note: The setting is no stranger to B-Movie trash and neither am I…  So, there is plenty of that here too.  You have blobs of rotten food, plant hybrids, murderous ball ghosts and more.

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Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – Mad Plots and Grim Conspiracy

https://zru9o3ijb9-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/IMG_5621.jpg

Sitting around a polished oaken table, an assortment of well-dressed individuals act locked in place upon simple chairs.  Only when one shadowy figure emerged into dim lamplight do the other figures seem to respond.  A woman clad in red finery more suited to a special gathering or wedding emerges forward, the wrinkles on her face accentuated through her sneering expression.

“I’ve long awaited this gathering here.  Influences of the supernatural want to have their way with the villages, precious cities, establishments of higher learning.  Such things are abominations that attack Reason itself.  Despite my origins elsewhere, you know my dedication to Lamordia.  My aspirations of Ludendorf Academy of Science cannot occur without your aid, even with its rivals.  While nestled in a quiet land, the school would bring enlightenment to those who seek it.”

She glances around, none of the other members of this meeting look in particular disagreement or contradiction.  One figure arises to meet her gaze, raising from his chair.  His garb is far less ornate, but still of quality and professionalism.

“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Natalya Bogdanoff, former headmistress of Kantora University.  Fear not L’Académie des Sciences of Dementlieu either.  We are researching them as we speak…  But, where are my manners?  We welcome you to our organization and acknowledge your concerns wholeheartedly.  You are a friend here in Lamordia, and a friend of the Syndicate of Enlightened Citizens.  The Academy has had our backing since its announcement.  Should you be concerned about suspicious influences among staff and students, say no more.  We’re happy to provide you assistance.  And everyone else in attendance, let us please applaud our newest member.  No longer are you merely a guest of honor.”

The gathered company arise to clap for Natalya, who clasps her hands and twists her face into a devilish smirk.  After an appreciative nod, everyone returns to their seats.  Natalya unveils documents from a case, one of which entailing plans for the Academy of Science.  Passing the documents around, the members of the syndicate nod and chatter with each other in excitement.  As the papers make their way back to their owner, the mood turns from welcoming excitement to a sinister cabal of shadowy plots.

Author’s Note: 4 posts in a row?  I guess my disappointment and frustration is a good motivator after all.  Not a long-term one, but I’ve certainly felt pretty damn creative.  But in all seriousness, I’ve been more motivated to read the books I do like and it has inspired me.  Also, let me bring in some more Dawnsveil content from my prior DM’s Guild version.  And on a final note, let’s explore some of the motivations behind past weirdness, shall we?

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Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – Of Awe and Contempt

Horrific Facts About Bedlam, History's Most Notorious Mental Institution

“I tell you, we are prisoners!  There is no such hope for us!  The governor holds us in an endless war against an eternal foe.  There can be no salvation in this doomed colony!  There is no hope and the divine has abandoned us!  Lock me up all you wish, in time you all will know the grim reality that you suffer from!  May the rats eat your eyes!  I am now lost to your cause, the darkness comes!  IT WILL DAMN US ALL!!” – Eustace L. Flanagan, Scholar within the colony of Dawnsveil, upon being sent to  Trinity’s Passing Hospital for the Mentally Ailing.

The Demiplane of Dread is a grim place, but its darkest secrets are indeed hidden for the better.  Even the doomed and imprisoned are largely unaware of the full details.  And those who are?  They are drawn into madness and obsession, in hopes of escaping or destroying the demiplane as a whole.  However, there is something to be said for ignorance being bliss.  While life in the Lands of the Mists is hard, those who don’t know full truth exist within their own lives and internal dramas.  But, what is known is that the strange and supernatural lurk just beyond reach.  And from those places, eyes stare back at you.  Dare you stare too long, you might see even more eyes.

Author’s Note: I’ve been thinking about ideas for the future, but I always do that.  If I get ambitious enough, maybe I’ll get around to making an OSR bootleg of some “Dominions of Darkness” or something.  I wonder what that would be?  But for now, just mad musings.  In the meantime, I give you more gothic goodies to greatly enjoy, including my own take on new ideas.  By the way, Dawnsveil is a custom domain.  Check the Doc’s Multiverse tab above for more.  Also, more looks into the future of the Time of Unparalleled Darkness, as potential plot hooks in time are fun.  Also, I was waiting to squeeze a reference to Eternal Darkness somewhere.

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Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – Realms of Secrets

https://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/99147/anchorite.png“These notes, they are pulled together by a strange outlander. And yet, they make perfect sense. Why? Because it is part of the greater mysteries of Ezra! Consider that the wandering bard was sent to help us make sense of everything, a gift of the goddess to prove that we can prevail.  Perhaps even, he is an aspect of our goddess to help provoke thought and revelation!   We shall not fear the Mists of Death and their grim esoterica. A breakthrough is upon us!” – Brother Mellick, priest of the Dementlieuse Sect of the Church of Ezra

The Darkonese sect preaches of certain doom, but that is far from true.  In fact, many of these strange places can help preach hope.  But, this hope is hidden and requires diligent minds to seek it out.  Life in these realms is one of mystery and only in cracking that mystery can we achieve a brighter tomorrow.  Flickers of life in dying lands, a grim machine used in revenge against a corrupt system, the ways of planes beyond, cautionary tales of warfare.  All of these and more can give us vital insight into ourselves and our actions, they are lessons that Ezra can teach us.

Author’s Note: Split from a previous post.  Have some more concepts for domains.  I won’t turn down an opportunity to do a better ghost train idea than WotC.  And well, the same goes for an Eberron domain too!  I already made one, but Snaking Trenches were basic.  Let’s pull a city from Cyre instead!  And while we’re at it, cool new lady darklords and their own new domains.  Anyway, that’s enough petty jabs at the new book.  As always, please enjoy.

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Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – More Domains and Dread

“I must apologize for speaking to you on such short notice, my Count. Please take whatever comfort in my quarters that you require. My scheduled appointment was far later and I must thank you for willingly meet me within my own home. You are likely aware of why I’ve requested to see you. The crazed arcanist, known as ‘Azalin’, has-“

At the mention of his nemesis, Strahd twists like a gust from his seat, staring at the Burgomaster in contempt. A stare of shock and rage quickly transforms into the cool and collective grin shown to friend and foe alike. “Do understand,” Strahd calmly verbalizes, “such a name causes contention within my land. You should know that more than anyone. But, I rudely interrupted you by my reaction. Please… continue.”

His commanding words pierced the burgomaster harder than arrows or even the count’s hidden fangs could. As if he too was hit with a shocking statement, the burgomaster jerks back a bit. He sighs, trying to cover it up as the airs leaves his lips. Eyeing Strahd, the count simply raises an eyebrow after casually reclaiming his seat. After a few seconds of stammering, leading to the count’s arched eyebrow rising further, he continues with a hint of shakiness.

“-has been seeding the lands with spies to gather any information possible. He is plotting something big, but I shall rally the land to your aid. I am a patriot to Barovia first, and thus I shall heed any call to action. I know these matters cause a great deal of grief to you, but I hope to take some of the strain off of your shoulders.”

The count leans in, like a predator readied to pounce. “Yes, very fair. Now, out with it.”

The burgomaster visibly gulps his own spit while refraining from further stutter. “Several informants have reported to me, currently stationed at makeshift barracks by the village. They’re recanted some strange activity that might relate to Barovia and that other figure of contention. Fortunately, the rebellions of the subdued rival populations have been met with appropriate force. The rumors of their ruler’s return are grossly overstated, a mere distraction as an attempt to scare us.”

The Burgomaster twitches and fiddles in his seat, sweat drops gathering in more number like the growing armies he promised. The Count stares deathly upon the simple false ruler of the village, before his intrigued expression flattens into something more playful and cruel, “the active vigilance of a patriot should be rewarded. The call to action will begin soon, but first these informants of yours need my acquaintance. I must thank you for your service.” The Burgomaster shudders, while attempting to stiffen his stance in pride. Without further word, Strahd lifts himself to his feet and leaves toward the home’s wooden door. “And another thing, you would do best to find any spies and eliminate them quickly. I *shall* keep my trust in you.” As the door slowly shuts behind Strahd, the Burgomaster deflates into his seat from his received threats.

Author’s Note: Big thanks to P.N. Elrod, who inspired the intro blurb after a good rereading of “I, Strahd.” Likewise, big thanks to Ari Marmell for a reinvented version of Winding Road. Here’s my more constrained take, a pocket domain that links to Barovia… and possibly other domains as well. And a thought experiment gone wild, The Rule of Threes Cluster. One of the concepts is a call-back to a Planescape creation that felt right at home in the Mists, so here we are! As for the original Chaotic domain, Point Barmy was going to be it, but I was dissatisfied with it… and thus it was my April Fool’s post for how crazy it was. So, instead, here’s a domain inspired by the bank collapse of Florence. Also, I know I said I’d stop using Barovia, Gundarak, Darkon and Invidia… and yet here I am, haha.

Also, let me respond to a request I’ve gotten a few times. I won’t do a review of the new “Ravenloft” book for 5e; it’ll be dismissive, biased and angry. I’ve seen enough of it, I won’t enjoy it. Even pirating doesn’t feel like it’s worth my time.

Continue reading “Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – More Domains and Dread”

Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – Gundarak

“Ah, there you are” chimes a snide and sneering scribe, “I was hoping you weren’t too distraught from your assignments.  As it turns out, something of a thorn in the side of His Highest’s rival has resurfaced.  You know of whom I speak, the Devil Strahd of the County Barovia.  Tales tell of an enemy, Duke Gundar, that he has returned in revenge.”  The scribe lays out an assortment of maps, parchments and sealed documents.  “Be a good adventurer, by the master’s decree and look into it.  I suspect someone is imitating that bumbling lord who gave The Devil Strahd a hard time.”  The mysterious scribe rubs his hands, giggling madly as you are supernaturally compelled to gather the supplies and head out.  For some reason, you can’t remember what lead to your arrival at that building, save for that you were returning to Darkon.  You were always returning to Darkon.  But, what matters now is another land.  What matters is Gundarak.

Author’s Note:  Behold, more details to the underdeveloped Gundarakites, Gundarak and Duke Gundar.   My plan was to have plenty of things involving other domains, as well as a Planescape-inspired Cluster to build off of Reality’s End.  Anyway, that will be another post.  My stuff on Gundarak took over.  Also, once again a huge shout out to the Prisoners of the Mist community!  A minor character in this whole mess has its roots from there.  But, hopefully this will be my last post on that domain, so I can focus on other things?   Also, why was Jacques Renier never really brought up in canon after the Realm of Terror boxed set?

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Terrific and Terrifying Tales of the Fair Folk – Planescape and the Fey

Of Faeries Great and Small

The Spiderwick Chronicles – Tony DiTerlizzi

Behold, notes on the faerie kind!  Yes, Ramon DeLeon did much in the ways of researching these fine folk, but there is still more to unveil.  So, let me show you some notes from the planar guild.  After all, you’re paying, so who am I to say ‘no’?  Just remember that some information might be dangerous to know, but I respect an inquisitive and curious mind.

So, where to begin?  The divisions of the Wyld Faerie lands have been covered, the politics of the Seelie and Unseelie, a tenuous truce that would risk all fae should it be broken?  All of these have been covered, you desire something different.  I can’t guarantee that overlap will not happen, but I’ll try my best.  Let us journey forward, back into the Deep Ethereal and into the pocket dimensions of the sylvan kind.  And from there, brief treks to both Seelie and Unseelie Courts.

Author’s Note: This somehow evolved into its own post!  This was supposed to be part of the previous one, but it was quickly getting too long.  Also, I found myself coming up with more and more ideas.  In addition, sampling bits from the fey wild articles for dragon magazine.  Special thanks to Matt Sernett and Will Doyle there.   So, that’s why similar names show up.  But hey, this is the planescape version.  Also, have some callbacks to earlier ideas as well.  Likewise, I sneak in a few more Spelljammer references, though I have yet to focus on Spelljammer.

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Quiet Ramblings and Sinister Tidings – A Return to Planescape

ThePlanarDM on Twitter: "#DND #Planescape Image of the Day Sure your PCs  have won battles and tournaments, but have they ever won a debate contest?  Let them wage a war with words
The Harmonium will always get their word out, making sure that you listen.

In which we explore most horrific occurrences and rather surreal surroundings within The City of Doors and beyond. 

But, who might I be?  Call me Garrick, a humble Tout at your service and former Guild of Planar Exploration member, depending who you ask.  But first, let’s get away from that Hardhead speaker, yes?

You’ve given me more than a helping of jink, so if want The Chant…  I can help!  If you want the Real Dark of the Matter?  Well, best find a cloaked alley and keep your senses about.  The Cage is never a friend to its visitors, especially Prime-based folks such as yourselves.  But, that’s why you have me.  Call me chummer?  Not so sure of that, but I owe you assistance and provide the work I shall.  Particularly juicy topics, that might cost extra.  But, I assure you, I have heard it all… and yet, here I am to tell you about them today.  Also, cough up more jink and I’ll subdue The Cant… as best as I can.  Trust me, it’ll make understanding me be a whole lot easier!

As for topics, I know plenty of things within the Cage and without.  Do you want to talk Inner Planes?  Perhaps planar misconceptions across various worlds?  Maybe a good conspiracy or two?  In all cases, I have plenty to spare.  Of course, such a business takes time and time costs.  You understand of course.  So, let us do commerce so I can share whatever it is you might need for your journeys.

Author’s Note: This one is partially a shout-out to Mr. Welch!  I have, to an extent, enjoyed Mystara.  However, I never knew too much until I had the chance to delve deeper not only through carefully examining more books, but through his channel and chatting with him.  One of his recent teasers for a book, exploring the Knights of Ebony, helped to inspire this return to the planes!  Also, if you haven’t checked out his channel, please do!  (He’s one of the few gaming channels I openly recommend.)   Also, yes, I didn’t just rewrite the newer planes, I just rewrote the internal logic of the 4e universe a bit… even if that means literally killing off aspects of it.  But, my focus was on making things work more for Planescape anyway… even an April Fool’s Joke from ages back.  One can still sample those 4e locales and settings, but information here would supersede any conflicting details.  And as always, I bring plenty of pop culture references.

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This is a Palladium/RIFTS Blog Now

As has been said, I’m mostly done with D&D 5th Edition. And ever since I started winding down on related posts, I’ve been shopping around for the perfect game. The choice was narrowed down to Rolemaster, GURPS and Palladium. In the end, Kevin’s masterwork ultimately prevailed. Likewise, the meta universe of RIFTS is now a part of my own setting. Why? Because I can, that’s why. If you thought the Glitterboy got crazy, you’ve seen nothing yet!