In the Heart of Clockwork: Factions and more for Alza’um

Typical Mayhem in the Streets…

The smoke bomb, particularly the toxic vapor.  Only one group could produce something like that in such short notice, the Chymists!  How desperate someone must be to turn to terror, such inadequate rubble will be eliminated from the city in due time.  Mark my words, the Consortium shall rightfully reign over the future. – Gelzeer, Assistant Lead Mechanic for the Consortium of Machine, at Primus Security Foundation HQ

Despite splitting off from the world above, internal politics breeds their own issues; whether in the splendorous city proper or its bayside proxy.  Various guilds vie for dominance, whether through honest or underhanded means.  That’s not to safe that attempts at sales within the market can’t be a front for devious sabotage and spying… if not acts far worse.  Some could argue that those who protect the city from these biased extremists are biased and extreme in their own right, favoring a repressive status quo and neutrality that inhibits both progress and tradition alike.

Even before these new issues had arisen, turmoil stewed within the city since early days.  Wicked cults that twist the worst of ancient tradition, cruel slavers and exploiters masquerading as market movers and shakers and general violent madmen.  None the less, the city boasts quite the strange history for one that is otherwise pretty young.

Author’s Note: I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, create a timeline as well as faction related stuff for my mini-setting.  Plus, maybe an extra monster or two in an update.  Also, the factions, alongside the monsters, can easily be repurposed for a more steampunk-oriented setting.  Though, there’s no need to have the setting a dark and gritty urban setting deep within the ground.

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Alza’um, Land of High Artifice Part 2. Alza’um City

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Welcome. Please, step into the elevator chamber at the end of the hallway.

Alza’um, the true city beneath the smoke and mirrors. Life is far more controlled than in the port city of mysteries and merchants. However, that doesn’t make life any easier. Only the lucky and the blessed get their way in, without tricky maneuvering. Stowaways and thieves don’t make out too well. For those who make it? It’s a long way down the ladder and back up. Life in the city is a climb towards excellence. Of course, too many refuse to let others into their station.

In the beginning, a large caravan of outcasts, tinkerers, mages and artificers came together with a common goal.  They wished to craft and hone their abilities in peace, trading and sharing knowledge within their enclave.  For a while, it was a place of common ground and unity.  Racial differences of these sages and inventors mattered little, but rather their devotion to their creations and the quality of their work.  An ideal lead to a city, which fled underground after conflict with the outside world.  This racial harmony ideal lasted… until the denizens of the darkness below found themselves in inevitable conflict with the city dwellers.

Author’s Note: Part 2 continues with the namesake city! In addition, I might make some extra crunch bits soon too. Needless to say, I’m having tons of fun with this.

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Threshold Magazine – The Egg be Dammed

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Return to the dark mirror that is Returned Blackmoor!  While issues remain in more populated lands, an ancient conspiracy has been unearthed in a zone far detached from prying eyes.  The Cootsbane Dam, a derelict turned military grounds, has had rumors of weird activity and stranger trespassers.  Investigate into the dark secrets and keep them from being unleashed upon the world at large!

Check out the current issue and “The Egg Be Dammed” Here!

Author’s Note: I wrote an edition neutral adventure for Threshold Mystara.  Admittedly, this was because I didn’t know what version of the game to tackle and Threshold tends to focus more so on BECMI, which I don’t have too much exposure to (outside of reading setting information of The Known World and beyond.)  I might update things for 5E or AD&D, maybe ask for a hand with BECMI for the next issue.

Alza’um, Land of High Artifice Part 1. Bashar

scifi desert landscape by Bawarner

Just a normal colony, nothing to see here…

 

Bashar.  It’s a city of splendors!  A glowing beacon amidst sloshing sea and dead desert.  Beyond it?  A wasteland riddled with pillaged tombs, booby traps and a rare village or two.  Those who do make the voyage are treated to a gathering place of delights and fancies.  The bazaar attracts and sells some of the finest wares in the world, as well as domestic items beyond words.  It is here that new forms of magic have been unveiled as well as incredible forms of technology dubbed “magitech”.

However, life in this metropolitan hub is not what it seems.  While a paradise for the discerning buyer or the exotic seller, a sinister shadow is caste upon those who live within the dusty streets and winding alleyways beyond the market.  Few care or look out for each other.  While backstabbing is rarely literal, there isn’t much trust between neighbors.  Help is looked upon with a sense of dishonor and ascension up the social ladder is rife with self-sacrifice or betrayal.

Your ship is closing in fast to the docks ahead.  Greetings traveler, welcome to the Bazaars of Bashar!

Author’s Note: I’m back at trying my hand at world building once more!  And like always, I bend things away from typical pseudo-euro high fantasy and towards other genres and ideas.  I’ve always been fascinated with massive urban hubs, even in fantasy fiction.  One of the earlier cases of this was the setting of many Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, which provided a level of inspiration.  Beyond Lankhmar, Planescape’s Sigil, Conan the Barbarian, Arabian Nights and Magic the Gather’s Ravnica have proved to be fair resources for ideas.  Anyway, this is what I have so far!  Enjoy!

 

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Dark Descent into Dawnsveil

F._Marion_-_LOptique

I wanted to expand on the previous post.  While the domain offers a fair bit of flavor to run Ravenloft games of your own, it still requires a few more things: stats for the domain lord, as well as stats for his nemesis, other monsters common to the area.  Take note, some of these monsters will be very deadly for a lower level party.  However, the more dangerous creatures are often brought upon by specific circumstances relevant to the setting.

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Domain of Dread – Dawnsveil

Tombstone

During the 4th Edition era of Dragon magazine, I recreated an idea for a 2E domain that I never got to run. Only a few notes were ever made, so it’s not like I got too much done in terms of progress.  This was mostly because Wizards advertised an article search, including the domains of dread column.  While I didn’t care too much for the 4E Shadowfell take on domains, I was more than eager to more or less make my own mark on Ravenloft.  Needless to say, the concept was rejected and has long since stayed on numerous hard drives over the years.  However, I’m gonna pilfer this grave and unleash the contents within!  Here’s my attempt at fleshing out this concept for your enjoyment.
Note: This post will focus on the lore of the area.  Stats are provided in a separate post coming shortly after.  This will include the Darklord, his foil and various other creatures native to the realm.  Also, I found out that my domain’s name shares the name of an expansion to MapleStory more or less.  Granted, I don’t know if my idea predates it or not (2011, I have the rejection date from Wizards of the Coast somewhere!) Also included is a modest attempt at a map, albeit without more in depth tools.

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The Ground is Sour – Resurrection gone Wrong

Image result for pet sematary jud

“Sometimes, dead is better.”

In particularly cursed places, the very ground itself rebukes death and damns the souls of whoever is buried there.  This could be from the sight of a great war, a disturbed burial grounds or more.  No matter the case, the land is tainted.  And for those who dare to gamble against the forces of life and death within these corrupted lands?  They may become something equally as wicked.

In other cases, the world may just have stacked odds against the heroes.  The world may be kept in the clutches of dark forces that conspire to corrode and twist all in their path.  Malevolent entities are challenged by heroes of horror, those who take a stand against the darkness at all costs.  They too may face trauma when losing an ally… and having them come back wrong.

Author’s Note:  This RPG Blog Carnival post came out of a few things.  In a game I was part of, the DM wanted to make resurrection a risk.  In that world, that sort of art is lost and things tend to not work always right when this is tried.  The idea was also going to be used in a Gothic Earth one-off I wanted to do at some point too…  Plus, I watched the original Pet Sematary recently.  So, here’s my revised take on risky resurrection! 

Learn more about the October RPG Blog Carnival theme here!

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