Traversing the Mists – Ramon’s Research of Ravenloft

Castle Avernus | Tertius: Ravenloft Redux | Obsidian Portal

The journeys through the lands of the mists continue.  I find myself lost after leaving the dark clutches of Inza.  It wasn’t my place to fully stop her.  While the Black Rose is distant and gone, maybe someone else will thwart the usurper.  In the meantime, the strange powers that be seem to carry me, as if they too wish to see my quest for knowledge fulfilled.  But, they have an ulterior motive, for they never help one for free.  Perhaps I can be of use to help put Darklords in their place?  Given how I haven’t done much of that before, this is likely not the case….  But, something to ponder about later.  Something to deeply ponder about.

The meddlings of displaced Kargatane is most disconcerting.  Tales tell of Azalin’s meddling in an attempt to escape.  And yet, I have successfully escaped… all the more reason to use me in an experiment.  I’m not sure if I’m at the agenda of the dread lich or the Dark Powers.  Either way, it’s likely that little good will come from this, save for me documenting these awful places for posterity.  With any luck, I will be granted the same courtesy as before.  Every time though, it feels like escape was from sheer luck of nothing bad happening or just the smallest window of survival.  We shall see what awaits me then.  With any hope, I can evade these agents of the lich for as long as possible.  If I benefit with learning along the way, that’s certainly a positive, no?

Author’s Note: Ravenloft had a tendency to make crossovers with other settings.  So, let’s pull from their dip into Dark Sun as well as Spelljammer, even examining a possible domain from Eberron!  In addition, I look at a cluster I very much enjoy.  Also, what is Ramon seeking?  Why does he hide from Azalin?

 

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Drawn back to The Mists – Ramon’s Return to Ravenloft

The Ravenloft (setting) thread | RPG PUB

The Demiplane of Dread, house of the Castle Ravenloft and the prison of countless conniving souls.  It called to me once more.  I find myself not in the known lands, but a different cluster set.  Words and people tell of creatives whose processes lead to their own dooms.  Tales of toy makers, playwrights, sculptors, painters and even bards…  All of these haunt me more than they would the layman.  But, what goes beyond this troubled region?  Whose to say?  With any luck, I’ll find my escape beyond the Lands of the Mists in due time.

Author’s Note:  I wanted to bring things back to Ravenloft, as last post showed.  Like before, I wanted to bring in a mix of my own content and the classic domains of the campaign setting.  In time, I might supply more from my own, fleshing them out much like I did for Dawnsveil.  In the meantime, take a look at a domain cluster dedicated to artists and other crafting geniuses gone horribly wrong.  And on top of that, my summary of some other domains that I love.  Also, another shout-out to Knott’s Berry Farm!  2020’s Scare might be cancelled, but you remain an amazing inspiration for me.  Some day, I’ll actually be able to attend the Halloween seasonal attraction…

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Ramon’s Multiversal Adventures, Continued!

The darkness envelops once more…

As always, my travels take my throughout the known reaches of reality and beyond.  Time time around, I have a few more places to examine once again.  As always, there are familiar places and there are very much new ones.  Travel along as we make our way through the elements and into raw darkness itself.  As always, make proper preparations, as even I’m liable to find myself in danger.  For a less experienced traveler, it would mark certain doom.  But, for those ever brave in their desire to quest along the known and unknown planes, venture on and find unending wonder to behold.  But, be warned, there is always an evil darkness lurking right around the corner.  Should you tread foolishly, it will take you.  And even then, I only seek it out of curiosity and study.  I’ve been lucky once, surely I can escape in tact once more.

As always, I chronicle all means of places and people one might find within all know reaches of reality.  Should one tip me off of some thrilling new adventure to seek, I am far from shy.  As it is, I ready myself for a true journey through wildspace some day soon.  However, the planes occupy the majority of my interests.  As it is, I sense something I need to examine now.  Or rather, I feel there is something I need to face soon.  I can’t quite describe it, but I can attain that it is quite ominous.  May I see you once again after it has concluded.

Author’s Note:  Work and other things have held me back.  But, hopefully, I’ll be able to keep myself going pretty strong during the autumn.  I always seem to.  So, I’m doing a return to mutilating the newer planes for classic usage via Primordium and the Entropic Gloom.  Likewise, it might be fun to see what exists of The Void after its reality ensnaring tendrils are broken.  Also, Planescape – Ravenloft Crossover?  It must be October (or near it)!

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Blackmoor Week 2020: Blackmoor, Into the Future

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Blackmoor week celebrates the birth of Dave Arneson and his creation of the Blackmoor setting.  As the co-founder of the game and other grandfather of roleplaying games, he deserves some love as well, hence this week on the web.  You can click the image above to see more of what Blackmoor Week has to offer.  But, should you be interested in my own mad ramblings and homages to Arneson’s setting and beyond, do continue here as well!  Doc’s Laboratory awaits!

Since its inception, there have been a number of iterations of the lands of Blackmoor.  The ones most tied to Arneson were the first and last incarnations.  And to an extent, even the alteration into Mystara’s history counts.  My experience with Blackmoor started mostly with the final versions, the 3rd edition and 4th edition source books provided by Zeitgeist Games at the time.  While I knew it was put into the distant past of The Known World and beyond, I never had a chance at the Mystara friendly version of it for a while.  None the less, I favor a blend of the classic vision with the Mystaran one.  It even factored into a game friends took part in long ago.  Said game was a multiple campaign arc in Mystara, with tons of crazy time travel and other antics with reality.  The last game ended after our travels back and forth into Blackmoor’s history.  For numerous games, we were called to deal with progressively evolving threats in the kingdom-turned-empire.  However, our final threat was something we weren’t prepared for, a Blackmoor in the modern age.  Sadly, the campaign ended as we caught a glimpse of an imposing and bleak city over the horizon.  Mind you, this was during the days when many of us still thought Blackmoor would be fit in the Broken Lands, before we realized that later developments changed that.

This isn’t the end of Returned Blackmoor, just it in active campaign form.  Years and years passed, before the Mystara Reborn Facebook group became the encouragement I needed to give life back into this new Blackmoor.  With old notes in hand and scrambled bits from the rest of the old table, I cobbled together an image of what a Blackmoor might look like if it used time powers to survive its doom in the Mystaran world.  It turns out, having your land rotated into a frigid wasteland can massively throw one off.  This, combined with plague and political instability lead to a trusted member of the military staging a coupe and establishing a harsh dictatorship.  While the arcane-infused high technology of Blackmoor recovered and developed anew, the culture became far more stagnant and stale, as leadership forbid it to develop further.  As the decades passed since it leapt into the near-present, the leader began to lose a grip on reality as well as physical health.  Ultimately, he would become something of a quasi-undead cyborg, a major campaign reveal.  (A brain-in-a-jar piloting a robot body, a staple science fiction trope.)   Meanwhile, movements arise in the shadows to oppose him, some more extreme than others.  Other forces stir, many of which driven by wicked ends.  All sorts of enemies roam this new Blackmoor: wasteland raiders, rogue robots, mutant animalmen, atomic undead, acolytes of new dark Immortals or even the slumbering Egg of Coot!  Those are only a few examples.

Now, how does this involve the players?  Well, many games could involve them in the mayhem and wonder of this forbidden land.  For starters, they could help shape an uprising against the corrupt usurper state.  Heroes may choose to help remnants of the old ways help restore classic order within the realm.  They might consider radical change instead, favoring one of several other factions, ranging from reformists to new potential overlords.  They might even earn the trust of the regime and become ambassadors to the greater world.  Over time, the current ways of Blackmoor may become less extreme in their own way.  For the more Arneson approved old school experience, there are a number of dungeons both classic and infused with gonzo science-fantasy, even Castle Blackmoor has received modifications over the eons.  It seems with time that many of the kinks that caused Blackmoorian tech to go haywire are more properly ironed out too.  Or at least, more attention to potential sabotage.  Potential for larger plots exist too:  Blackmoor trying to integrate safely into the greater world, the Immortals having none of it and punting the land into the Hollow World (alongside the Blacklore Elves), a massive war risking a Greater Rain of Fire, the rise of a new Blackmoor Empire and much more.

To dive more into Returned Blackmoor, check out Threshold Magazine!  Issues 20, 22 and 26 (Coming Soon) have articles by me.

Ramon’s Continued Notes on the Multiverse

Means of transport in Sigil by Deusuum on DeviantArt

Allow me to recant and give you words of caution.  Remember, only take jobs that you can verify first.  If you don’t, you might find yourself bound, gagged and stuffed in a warehouse in the Lower Ward…  And from there?  Well, read on and find out.  Take it from a personal experience, at least I got some jink from a Sensate interview out of it.  But, if you are more streetwise than I, then you will ahead of whatever challenges and traps lurk behind every corner.  And yes, this includes the countless wonders of Sigil, the City of Doors.

Warning bashers and berks isn’t the purpose of this little session for today.  No!  Rather, I’m picking up where I left off from before.  I’ve continued to take notes of all sorts of wonderful places and things in the multiverse.  As always, revisiting a few places while finding new ones.  So, let us find old friends and seek out new ones.  Off I go, to places unknown and places barely known.

Author’s Note:  As always, I love adding places to Planescape and beyond.  One of my creations was actually a series of notes from years ago.  If I found it before, something would have been said on it in the past.  But, here’s my cobbled together take on developments on top of The Slags, the most infamous part of The Hive Ward!  Joining that is a return to some previous concepts that I failed to really flesh out.  And as always, a few other ideas are tossed around.  Enjoy!  As always, reference nods usually get a tag.

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The Editor’s Expansive Sigil Expose – Part 2

The Factol's Manifesto | Forgotten Realms Wiki | Fandom

Not satisfied the first time, eh? Well, I have things for you. Not all sects made the glorious jump into our Cage. But, far more exist on the planes than you know. Let me tell you of a new list of sects that fill plenty of planes; Olden Glory, Moving Progress, The Burned, Front of Greatness, Glorious Subversion, Positivists, Educatorium and The Guardian Primers. Mind you, the last one is more of a guild. But, technicalities are important! You want details on the inner workings of these people, after all.

So, with a careful glance around and ducking into the right alleyway, please read onward and discover more things to know about the many Factions and Sects that hover around our spheres of influence and beyond. After all, you read the scribed words of a very banned author. And as such, you only place yourself at risk here. Stay safe, friend. And always, and I mean always, watch yourself for onlookers. And with that, do enjoy.

Author’s Note: So, besides the previous faction, only two other concepts here came from games themselves. One of them is just a nod towards a classic work of fandom, while another is based on said classic work. The rest? Additional philosophies through a fantastic and tongue-in-cheek window mostly.

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The Editor’s Expansive Sigil Expose – Part 1

The Factol's Manifesto | Forgotten Realms Wiki | Fandom

Greetings, reader.  There is no Ramon to worry about this time around.  He is fine, my cohorts have seen to that.  However, his journal is just too valuable to fall into the clutches of some grabby faction or offended primer.  By all means, let me contribute!  For the purposes of this document, this is an addendum to a magnificent tome that will damn you just by thinking about it.  I speak of the most infamous tome in Sigil and maybe beyond, The Factol’s Manifesto!  The pages within, adorned with flavour and flare by yours truly, describe the deeper details and dim dark on the factions that populate the Cage!  Read no further, lest a basilisk of the mind take you!  Once you go in, your mind will never go out.

Good, you’re still with me.  Let us speak more of the infamous Factols’ Manifesto!  The following pages are but supplements to inform you on some background groups attempting to politic and tinker with the workings of wider society all the same.  I sense that you’ll ask a question, “Editor, how do I know you’re from Sigil when you don’t speak in Cant?”  Well, my scrutinizing friend, one can choose to take a break from such slang terminology.  Doing so can allow even the most oblivious of Primers to comprehend forbidden things that could either save them or… well… see above.  So, take heed that all you see before puts your life on the line much like it does my own!  With that dire warning, continue and be educated!

Author’s Note: Writing in the style of the Factols’ Manifesto, what fun!  I’ve made a number of sects and the like over the years, also playing with other ideas.  Plus, here’s a chance to spill the rest of the beans on the Acts of Balance “Faction” I’ve been teasing for a while.

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Ramon’s Guide to The Chant of Sigil

2016 366 Project #153: Sigil, City of Doors — Elisa Shigehiro Art

Well met, primers!  Oh, I mean, friends.  When in Sigil, do as the Cagers do.  You’ll have to forgive such tone, being a long time resident, myself.  I’ll spare you little in The Cant, the strange dialect of the city.  But please, blame me not if a bit of it leaks into my mannerisms and speech.  You see, Sigil is a place unlike many others.  The anomalous city hovers inside of a ring-like formation that floats just above the peak of the Outlands Spire.  While the spire is quiet dangerous, especially to forces of the supernatural; these threats don’t necessarily affect those who make it here.  But, these are replaced by a trove of new potential dangers.  After all, this is the meeting place of the multiverse.  So, let us take our journey into that wondrous center of countless realities.  I speak of none other than Sigil, the City of Doors.

It has been far too long since I’ve actively returned home.  Too much has happened, including the scrambling of reality itself!  Thanks to that strange man in the machine cart, I’m here now though.  With any luck, that fading city found its peace too.  In the meantime, I’ve found mine.  Of course, both dangers and delights line the streets, so one must always stay aware of their surroundings.  And if you are from the Prime, do your best to not look too lost.  Too many prey on “The Clueless”, whether through scams or more direct means.

Author’s Note: Good old City of Doors!  Few things have inspired me more within the realm of D&D than Planescape.  That setting has affected me when I tinker with other systems too!  And by all means, Sigil is a center of that.  So, here are a number of ideas that have come up either through various games or just ideas of my own.  And, it was from said games that the Gamma World/Planescape crossover ideas spawned.  Also, please pardon the fact that a tropical storm knocked out my power for a few days.  My data wouldn’t even let me use my phone to edit things.  Time to save up for a generator, right?

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More on the way.

Things have been a bit slow, yes.  But, I’ll whip up some more creations of weirdness.  Perhaps more monsters sooner or later.  I’ve been pondering how to handle a switch-up in games or the like too.  I’ve been thinking of jumping OSR, converting a number of my creations as well.  I think I’m done trying to keep up the “O5R” flavor, personally.  I find myself at odds with the rule set and disinterested in what the main company offers.  But, I’ve already made that known.  Anyway, enough complaining and speculating, I think I’ll do another exploration/adventure post.  Those have been quite fun.  After all, there is still more in Planescape to play with!  Maybe Spelljammer in the future too.