Bizarre Bazaar – Fantastic Items from the Planes for D&D 5th Edition

Here’s the first of a new series I hope to tackle, quite simply an assortment of strange and wonderful items (both magical and mundane).  For this first post, I thought I’d return to an extraplanar theme.  Without further ado, Zam’dul the Plane Traveler will be your guide.

AH!  I see you’ve come across my humble assortment of wares, scattered throughout countless realities.  While many of my items are things an amateur can find, here is a handful of trinkets that are found by the more adventurous thrill seeker!  Please, take a look at what I have to offer and don’t be afraid to ask me a question about anything specific.  I love to help out a discerning shopper!

Author’s Note:  This series of items was made in support of the RPG Blog Carnival.  To be more exact, this was made as part of the December 2015 event, “Homebrew Holiday Gifts.”  Enjoy and please check out the other posts from other users during the month.

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Meles – The Mutated Results of Dwarven Explorers for D&D 5th Edition

“Few will admit it, but our people were once great and powerful dwarves, not talking fuzzy forest animals!” – Torg Stoneforger, Meles Warrior

In ages past, a huge colony of dwarves sought out to adventure the planes beyond.  While many establishments were temporary, they settled on a mountainside and forest that reminded the colony of their material plane home.  Many planar explorers know such a place, the Fae World of Arcadia.  However, the powerful spirits of this wilderness plane took ire of their presence in a relatively short time.  As such, they placed a hex upon them.  At first, nothing seemed off; the dwarves had a stronger sense of smell, they gained a taste for new things, they became more active at dusk through night time.  In the weeks following, they began to take on physical traits of badgers, as panic set in.  As time went on, the explorers became less like dwarves and more like badgers.  Revolts against the fey and attempts to escape happened less and less as their minds faded into something somewhat sentient but beastly at the same time.  Their newly formed badger bodies and minds became comfortable with the dens they built as they truly became a part of their strange extraplanar home.  Only a rare few had their minds kept intact enough to inform any willing to listen about their dwarven heritage.

Meles, to the untrained eye, appear to be awakened badgers.  However, they are semi-humanoid creatures that look like badgers.  While most of them argue they are badgers given expanded minds by their gracious hosts, the ones that know the truth are stubborn about it, despite not valuing intellect as much as their descendants.  Ironically, these “Dwarf Minded” are typically viewed as social outcasts and oddities by their people.  That doesn’t stop them from trying to seek a way to become dwarves again.  No matter, they often send out adventurers to explore the boundless reaches of reality and bring new information back.  In a sense, their drive to explore and learn hasn’t left since the colony first arrived.  In fact, the some explorers have encountered their old clans from the Material Realm.  Sadly, neither of them were able to recognize each other, beyond a sense of comradery they re-established.  In a sense, they’re outsiders for choices that their ancestors made.  For that reason, many “Dwarf Minded” go on quests to become dwarves, in hopes of reintegrating into the societies their ancient explorer families hailed from. Majority of Meles are deemed the “wild” social caste, living as beasts given some semblance of thought and guidance.  However, they use their somewhat intact minds to bolster their instincts and savage fury. The “Throwback” caste have done all in their power to rekindle their lost heritage by any means possible.  To them, balancing the past and the present is the only way to stay sane.  They are typically more aware and knowledgeable than their more bestial relatives.  However, they are still aliens among dwarven society, friends at best.  However, more sinister wild Meles have taken notice of this, channeling dread spirit magicks in an effort to infect other planar dwarves with the same power that created them.  Most extarplanar Meles that aren’t Dwarf-Minded explorers or feral scouts were likely created this way.

Author’s Note:  I had a discussion about stupid D&D races and among them was the Wildren.  They’re dwarf spirits that bump uglies with celestial badgers.  Yeah, that’s kinda weird and something I wouldn’t plan on using.  So, I babbled about how I could create a better race. Instead they’re ex-dwarves cursed by fey magic, some embrace their wild status while others try to desperately try to remain dwarven in some way.  Plus their name comes from Meles Meles, the name for the European Badger.  Also, I stumbled across a cool reiteration by Dungeon Hacking, which you should check it!

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A big thanks and a brief break.

Dare I say, this Halloween season (and beyond) has been my most successful and fulfilling yet!  I’m really happy that lots of people are just as eager to read my work as I am to create it!  However, I’m still trying to figure out possible angles for the future with this blog.  Do I focus solely on conversions/homebrew/variant rules?  Do I wrote posts on in-depth examination on the game itself (as well as the criticisms it has), in an effort to make my own fixes?  Do I jump into another theme?  (Return to science-fantasy, perhaps more modern fantasy instead?  Arthuriana?  Sword & Sorcery pulp?  Non-European themed options?)  I guess all information will come in due time.  As much as I hate doing this, the blog will take a relatively brief break while I contemplate some new ideas.

Horrors of Hell – Monsters from the DOOM series

“From a whirling vortex of vile energy, beings beyond comprehension emerge.  Their properties and proportions are both impossible and demonic looking.  Each are sculpted into grotesque and morbid forms, some of which brandishing relics and artifacts of incredible power.  They glare at all of you with wicked malice, as they ready their rampage.”

In part due to the Blood War, knowledge of fiends has slowly traveled the multiverse.  However, different dimensions entirely have introduced new sorts of fiends ready to wreak until havoc upon the planes, for whatever reason.  These horrors come in shapes not seen by planar and clueless alike.  Their daemonic nature implies siding with the daemons of Abaddon, Hades, Carceri and Gehenna; but time will tell where their allegiances truly lie.  However, some assume that these creatures are recent additions to the Lower Planes.  It is likely these “xenoforms” plane shifted from another universe entirely.  In fact, less magical realities have had fateful incursions with their kind.  The most prominent case was a base on Mars, which was quickly overwhelmed by atrocious creatures.

Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean the waves of nightmarish monsters will cease!  Here’s a sampling of underworld monsters from the DOOM series of video games.  Specifically, I’m referring to the Demon, Imp and Cacodemon.

Author’s Note:  Some time a ways back, I created my own take on the Cyberdemon, albeit with a Yugoloth theme to it.  With that, here’s my ensemble of gruesome terrors from the DooM universe, reinterpreted as monsters of the Lower Planes.

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Rambling, musings, Halloween and some other stuff.

First off, I’d like to thank everyone for encouraging me to do another horror theme once more, as well as being the force to keep me going.  Balancing tons of projects, personal drama and work isn’t easy; trust me on that one.  Somehow, I managed to crank out a fair share of neat stuff. And to be honest, I’m not quite done with Halloween/horror themed content!  Now, I usually do darker fantasy themed work to begin with, but I’m eager to continue such posts for at least another week or two.  So, expect a handful of spooky posts for a little bit.  And after that?  Maybe some science-fantasy like last year, maybe something completely different!

Besides that, I think this blog might be in need of an overhaul sooner or later; themed posts, deeper looks into gaming as a whole, some other ideas I’m tossing around.  I also think it’s time to expand into games beyond D&D.  Sure, I love D&D a bunch!  It’s the game that introduced me to tabletop RPG experiences as a whole.  Although, rules aren’t everything…  So, I suppose there’s always the chance to expand the game to fit other genres and ideas as I have before.  And who knows?  If I polish them in time, I can put ’em out for sale too (once Wizards releases details on OGL, of course.)  So, onceI finish my current block of posts I want to work on, then it’s time to start pondering about the future.