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)!
The Spelljammer Ward
Have you heard of it? Unlikely. While there are rumors of spelljammer activity in Sigil, it never takes place within the city… usually. However, there is a well kept secret in a supply shop and club called “The Docker’s Catch”, exclusive for spelljamming enthusiasts in Sigil. The funny thing is, while you never see one in the city, the members all dock their ships elsewhere. Access is simple, a member must wear a badge and perform the “member’s knock” on the marina dock doorway. Done right, you find yourself in a shipyard within a demiplane-like bubble. Done wrong, you get one of two things. In Sigil, a storage closet and a privy, the latter to keep nosy outsiders disengaged. In the demiplane, you find an assortment of provisions and travel supplies. As to little shock, the owner of the Black Sail Tavern is a member of this group. It’s said the staff are looking to purchase an active spelljammer of their own at some point. Should one seek membership, they’re the easiest bunch to approach on the matter. One needs to ride a spelljammer to begin initiation rites. As to what those rites are? It varies and also depends how nice your organizer is feeling. For the most part, challenges are thematic and relevant to a newbie’s potential spelljamming skill sets.
As for the demiplane? It is a floating marina of sorts, all connected to a central hub of several buildings. All of them carry an unabashed Sigil aesthetic, with the denizens keeping much of that as well. For the average jammer traveler, it’s quite jarring to see. But, compared to much of what exists out there, it’s nothing that abnormal. As to its location and its functions? It is stuck within an ethereal pocket. The space used to utilize a connection with the Quasielemental Plane of Vacuum to get to Wildspace, but the stabilized void anomalies cut the need for the elemental plane. Now travelers simply need to exit to void a stable rift to and from Wildspace. The point of exit/entrance is always a short distance from Realmspace, the Crystal Sphere housing Abeir-Toril. As such, many Torilians can be found in the Dockers demiplane. A mix of Torilian, Cager and Bral influence have leaked into the burg inside the port. All means of trade, communication and then some are known to occur. Known names like Elminster of Shadowdale and Zaren the Innkeeper have even been spotted from time to time. In terms of trade, it’s mostly composed of in-the-know Indeps, Merchants, Guild members and others wanting a break from the bustle of faction-filled life in The Cage. Common things from within the city can be found here. However, influence from the two other stops can be seen. Want Waterdhavian whiskey, Maztican peppers or a Lantanese clockwork? This burg is more than happy to provide. Likewise, ornate crafts and resources hailing from all points within Wildspace have made their way here as well. For the most part, this is the bridged gap between the space beyond and the planes. In fact, it proves far more reliable than the Vacuum measures people have had to use in the past. As long as the stabilized rifts can be magically utilized, business continues. And given how measures constantly improve, it’s a good bet.
The Magma Hopper
Want a place to lay low for a while? Should one brave Primordium, there is a curious ship that sails along eternal lava-based waterfalls. The owner of the vessel, Brigadier General Agrotorx, is a retired member of The Starting Point Armada, the standing military of the colony. This naval power boasts several elemental ships that patrolled the space around the city, while officers weren’t busy bolstering the guards in urban limits. Due to its attractiveness as a safe point for outsiders to enter, many elemental forces like the armada have been assembled to not only ensure the city’s safety from outsiders, but attacks from hostile locals who aren’t keen on the metropolis. Ground and ship forces remain constantly vigilant and active, as they rarely tire. Many outside recruited forces tend to keep a single-track mind and have proved useful in the name of security. These elemental troops are far less intelligent, preferring the orders and company of more capable superiors. Agrotorx was one of those. Agrotorx became disgruntled and disheartened with military life, leading up to his retirement from the service. Now, he trowls and travels the magma stream in search of strange creatures to catch. Beside him are a troop of mercenaries that have taken a liking to the former leader. To him, he’s “Big Brig” in elemental tongue. Agrotorx himself is nine feet tall, composed of a hardened red shell with flaming energy underneath. His features are squashed, almost amphibian-like; with four pudgy and crag-like arms extending from a plump torso.
When not attending to his own matters, he can be found deep in thought, pacing around the vessel. It’s not often that he’ll be direct with any visitors. The rare exception is when they overstep boundaries or cause trouble. He offers brief safe haven, but he won’t be taken advantage of. That said, diplomacy and reason are the first methods of dealing with incidents. Barring that, an old fury from the service days will show up in full. It’s very much an attraction to see an “instigator” removed one way or another by an enraged Agrotorx. His means of repayment often amounts to helping out on the ship or helping other guests. Life aboard the ship is meant to be brief, but soothing. One can stay for 1 week Primordium calendar at most. For many Primers, that’s well over their standard week. As for what one can do? Leisure, rehabilitation and light work tend to be typical. Following his career, the Brig himself turned towards methods of aiding veterans and civilians alike. However, nothing truly grabbed his passion until he went out on an adventure. Magma fishers ultimately caught his attention, resulting in his current pursuits now. Only those he trusts will know his tale, in which the Armada found themselves facing off against an Eldritch Elemental awakening from slumber. The experience was one of utmost horror and madness, tearing through much of the crew before the horror was put down… hopefully for good. It’s said that when the vessel is devoid of guests, Agrotorx will visit the creature’s grave to ensure that it’s truly gone.
The Shattered Void
The Overlord of Carcosa, he travels to a broken dominion. Perhaps this realm has been taken to the dimension of the decaying city as well. The Void was a project that exploited the folly of Vecna’s enemies. While they attempted to overthrow the divine lich, they ignored the consequences of their wicked act. As such, multiple layers of reality distorted and collapsed, creating a hellish labyrinth composed of countless possibilities and concepts fused together. However, a plucky band of multiversal heroes assembled to stop this threat to known existence. Ultimately, a strange man with a blunderbuss like weapon dispelled the Yellow King and helped cause reality to right itself. However, The Void didn’t die. It merely went home, while its caretaker waits and lingers in frustration. The creation of this dimension did create some new rules that the cosmic king can exploit. When a reality totally shatters or dies, he may still collect it and reap it for all it has to offer. And by all means, many already have. And as such, the heinous king has gained much in power.
Much like before, clusters of whirling matter circle around the room he calls his rightful throne. Chunks of debris and dead worlds act as both barriers and trophies to his dark aims. However, what the latter is remains a mystery, besides some morbid fascination with entropy and doom. In light of the old Void’s dissolving, the new void is patrolled by other creatures of nightmarish realms. This strange beings seem to act as protective guardians of the otherworld, focusing on ensuring the safety of The King. Other entities are curious guests given chance at experimenting with the salvaged pieces of cosmic forms that are pulled in. They’ll mess with chunks, try to invent something new all the same. However, these assembled pieces remain prisoners of the King’s grasp. As for the King and his “subjects”, all free to go at any time. Something about that sounds eerily familiar, akin to the dark Mists. But, I assure you, these Carcosan prisons work much differently. All things bend and break at the Yellow King’s mad will. And those who risk oblivion? Potential subjects at his disposal in the near future.
The true center of this dimension, there is no doubt about it, it is the fabled city of disaster. It is Carcosa, the place where he watches… The King in Yellow, the Forbidden One. The evil city has been acknowledged by me before, a decadent and collapsing realm that will never experience the finality of death. All who are stuck here toil, well aware of their dark and curious master. His ambitions and motives are strange and alien, the city very much reflects this in its seemingly nonsensical designs. The buildings have a swaying quality at time, as if they too are alive. But, for those in deep knowledge of Mythos beyond what mankind was meant to know, the Yellow King has a different alias. It is a truly forsaken name that spells doom to all who say it. Beware the Byakhee hoards from uttering the name… “Hastur”.
The Dark of the Kargatane
The Kargatane, a name unheard of beyond The Lands of the Mists. They are a shadow-police force for Azalin, Darklord of Darkon. Specifically, they serve the powerful entities known as Kargats, serving allies of the dread lich. Many do not know the full power of either masters, but serve them as a powerful secret society within Darkon and beyond. They seek to unravel mysteries of immortality and observe both the harsh rule of the land’s leader and the dogmatic diction of their respective Kargat. They are primarily found on Darkon, however the Darklord has crafted missions for gathering information, sabotaging a rival and other acts of espionage. Some agents have traveled to completely far off domains for various insidious deeds. Azalin desires to know all and eradicate all who oppose him. This isn’t to say that this is all to the Kargatane.
Indeed, their role in the undoing of reality dives much deeper. It seems the Entropic Gloom is fueled by “escapees” of The Mists. What does this mean and how does it relate to the Kargatane? A secret of The Mists, indeed! The Entropic Gloom are experts in binding and creating portal rituals, as well as utilizing dark magics. In their pursuits, they learned of the trickery of The Dark Powers. Azalin seeks escape from his domain, while the Mists have found new ways to torture him. In this case, his very agents let loose into the Prime and beyond. Doing this accidentally created a cabal that somehow resists the Demiplane’s pull. A society of undead creatures formed around the idea of binding secrets and twisting reality away from the planes. Their plans to foil Vecna were the beginning, the sheer rift in space and time caused by their attacks against him even caused echos in the Domains of the Mists themselves. Whatever Dark Powers that be used the opportunity to torment their darklords and tease them with false hopes, releasing random devotees and others. This random practice lead to some of the most cunning and destructive being displaced.
Gaining power and momentum, they took across the planes to plot their grand masterwork, the pursuit of their mad king, Azalin Rex. A small band found themselves in the Demiplane of Evernight, where they took to fighting back and replacing members of the Dread Law sector. Eventually, they created controlled doubles to continue to spy while they surveyed the planes beyond. The Tribunal were none the wiser of their infiltration, beyond the initial attack by “outsiders”. Beyond there, the Demiplane of Shadows, negative-touched elemental planes and others became outposts and alcoves for them to continue to plot and prepare. The Chant says the City of Doors hosts a cell or two. Countless defectors were intrigued by their proposition of ripping reality to unite their home of The Mists with a new home. They sought a new Grand Conjunction, through the guise of stable uniting gates.
What of the displaced spies who found themselves among the then-small cult? One might say, mortal pawns of undead generals created the scariest legion of undead in the multiverse. Were it not for their knowledge of other beings and promise in wider cosmos, they would have been annihilated like any other foolish mortal interloper. But, trust grew to intrigue to investment. A small cult into large cabal formed around the strange extraplanar visitors. In time, their role took a background vizier approach. They still maintain power, but from the sidelines. And indeed, there was a moment of success. Using Citadel Cavitius as an anchor, its strange powers and forces were used to tear the space between planes asunder and begin the portal process. However, it resulted in a vacuum space between The Multiverse as we know and The Mists, before much around it collapsed into The Void, in which an Elder God seized the opportunity. What of the Mists between Mists? Well, talk to the Darklord of the Shadow Rift. It seems more exists in the pocket void that claims his home now. And to an extent, the Entropic Gloom succeeded. Through a convoluted procedure, one can go in and out. But, the rules for Darklords still apply. Azalin has yet to test the discovery of his devout, but no doubt The Dark Powers have tampered with it to further his misery.
It would seem they have caught on that I’m no Kargatane member. And with that, they have a living mortal to test their elaborate ritual. Should I succeed, I would be the first victim to be pulled in and out of The Mists by outside force. Of course, I wouldn’t be the first willing subject. This is done through The Mist Gate, the foul ritual that nearly destroyed all in the name of vane profanities of existence. And yet, the end result stands within a compound. The Legion guards their little prize with expertise and fanatical zeal. After all, this is proof of the Kargatane exiles’ mission. After a dunking into the madness beyond, it proves a success. And with that, I act as an “escorted guest” back to the dread leader of Darkon… Or so it would have been, for I’m more crafty than some haughty soldiers who think they’re master spies. A few ruses of feigning illness and pain were enough for a dropped guard and into the Mists themselves I run! With any hope, something will show on the other side.
Domain of Dread: Glensburough
Cultural Level: Renaissance (9)
Darklord: Clement Weir Jr. A lonely and wiry man, he suffers delusions of grandeur instilled by the fame of his father. Much like him, he is an author within a town that greatly reveres literature. His Mordentish upbringing has made him accustomed to various traditions and mores. Much like the other citizens, he attempts to be contemplative and refined, rather than boisterous or brash. However, his ill-minded temper often gets the better of him. When encountering someone who refuses to acknowledge his talent or when someone only speaks of his father, it sets him off into an angry tangent. He has been known to froth at the mouth during his tirades. However, his cursed speeches literally carry a curse, as he is sometimes haunted by the works of his father as a result… quite literally.
The Mists part, as they have before. But, I am not in some mucky marsh. No, I find myself in a quaint coastal town. In a sense, it reminds me of that Asbury place upon Gothic Terra. This is the town of Glensburough. Despite its proclaimed distance from Mordent, there is much in the way of cultural similarities and values. However, there are several quirks that feel wholly unique, as if they were composed in a series of books. The town is home to a local legend, Clement Weir, a renowned writer. His son, Jr., still strives to live in the same level of fame but always fails. None the less, the reclusive author will inform wanderers on the feats and wonders of his father’s legacy. But, all of this attention has gathered some unwanted consequences. The town is haunted by vigillantes and copycat killers also obsessed with Weir Sr.’s works. Among his creations is the Cheerful Stalker, a slash happy villain who has been emulated in recent years within territory limits. Most imitators have been captured and executed, but incidents still arise. The populace is starting to wonder if their interest in Weir’s works was such a good idea, rather than inspecting what has caused these murderers to arise in the first place.
Oddly enough, Jr. is the cause. This petty and insignificant darklord is rejected by his own domain. Glensburough is a showcase dedicated to his father, one that constantly forgets any contributions made by him. In truth, his father’s death was enacted by his very hands. The town was once a fragment of Mordent, ignored by that domain’s Darklord a ways before the Grand Conjunction reworked how the land operated. Life was tranquil, outside of the rumors caused by a burned down art colony. The residents all carried some appreciation for the arts, especially fine literature. Several “dynasties” of prominent literally geniuses started in and near the town… at least, so say propaganda pamphlets detailing Mordent. Try as he may, Jr.’s attempts to be as good or relevant as his father always fell flat. His works were seen as either pretentious or devoid of the very spark that made his superior’s works so much more magical and enjoyable. Jealousy, depression and anger pushed him over the edge. After a writer’s conference organized within the town, he offered to take his father home, where he bludgeoned him to death with his own award. The dying man was then finished by his own ink quill pen, which was impaled through his chest as he gave his final breaths. The Mists soon split the town away from the rest of the domain, where it found itself in a new cluster.
Glensburough is no longer a town of dreams. Now, it lies in mourning not only for Weir Sr., but its future. A rise in crime has deterred many from casting favor upon the writer’s utopia. Plus, tales of paranoia and suspicion have arisen behind closed doors. People suspect that more than one act of backstabbing has occurred for some to climb above others. The town is still filled with stuck up academics, eccentric antiquarians and other pompous folk of high society. However, their contempt for outside “common folk” has also shifted towards each other. While nothing is as drastic as the roving maniacs that appear at night, the denizens find ways to one up neighbors by creating more elaborate and breathtaking works than the last. However, one of the few times Jr. is noticed is when other creatives make superior versions of his own, in attempt at mockery. But, woe to those who push too hard. His rage and anger manifests in the darkest works of his father’s creations, including the Stalker. Pages will literally come to life and many will be found dead the next morning. These aren’t merely people in costumes, but actual conjurations from books! And for those who escape without the Darklord’s approval, you’ll only find yourself in the streets of a gruesome tale of death instead!
As mentioned, this domain is but one of several in a mass of land called the “Fell Crafts Cluster”, a series of domains dedicated to various works of The Arts gone horribly wrong. Even the abandoned artist colony mentioned above has a home here. Merely saying its name, “Bohemian”, is enough to send terror into the otherwise snobbish Glensburoughites. As for myself, the night draws near and evil cackles can be heard in the alleyways. I must find a place for the night. The Havenstide Bed and Breakfast is particularly inviting. Curiously, they are holding an exhibition for new writers. A man who looks suspiciously like Weir Jr. can be found there… Spend the night safely, my friends, darker tidings await all of us.
IMAGE CREDIT: John Lloyd Williams – Stormy Weather; Robh Ruppel – Planescape Campaign Setting; NationalParks Photos – Lavafall; Lukasz Jaskolski – Carcosa; Village Cannibals – Bud Cook; Philly Voice – Angel of the Sea