Monsters of the Elements: Creatures of the Inner Planes

Planescape Finders: Planes

The Inner Planes provides a host of habitats, sites and niches; all teaming with all means of elemental lifeforms… and not-so-lifeforms.  These creatures exist to feed, fight and survive in their respect realms; some on a level more intelligent than others.  Among these more intelligent organisms, alien parallels to society exist within their respective home planes; drawn from the motifs and energies of the equally respective plane.  Some thrive from mixtures of the elements; some are new creations, while emerge from calamities that clear the way for something new.  From what I understand, natural scholars refer to this as a “secondary succession” of sorts.

Author’s Note: I wanted to do a fair number of things, since it’s been a while.  I haven’t done much in terms of mechanics, even beyond D&D 5th Edition and onto other games.  I’ve been rereading Cyberpunk 2020, in part because it somehow feels more relevant in some ways than it did all those years ago.  Granted, there’s enough 3rd party and custom stuff from a 25 Yr.+ range to never warrant me making my own things.  Anyway, I’d rather keep these little blips pertaining to the page itself rather than personal gripes and issues.

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A Collected Look at the Inner Planes

The inner planes | Fantasy map making, Sigil, Astral plane

My stuff on the Inner Planes somehow became four separate posts!  This is mostly to collect the links of all four pages in one place, for ease of sharing.  Included are brief previews as well.

The Four Main Elements

  • Air – In which we look at living clouds, flying humanoids and a fallen angel.
  • Earth – The exploits of Clan Strickensteel, Planting Initiatives and the sick arts of a Mad Mage.
  • Fire – A funerary funnel gone wrong, a secret efreeti prison, a traveling circus and a lumbering beast await.
  • Water – Water holds a forest of underwater dryads, connections to eldritch mythos and a sinkhole of evil.

The Quasi-Elements/Pseudo-Elements

  • Ice – Beware of sloping peaks, brain freeze and a temple of certain doom.
  • Magma – A shockingly calm community overseen by a territorial dragon, plus a remnant of the Hag Countess await.
  • Ooze – In which a School of Evil, displaced Refinery and wretched hive of rodent-things dwell.
  • Smoke – Of substance-trafficking air pirates, hidden smoke enclaves and trapped fireliches.
  • Sand – Home to a camel salesman, an Athasian army and the nefarious dread worm.
  • Vapor – Holder of a holy retreat, a deathly temple and an immortal killer.

The Positive Energy

  • Positive – In which an animated wonderland, a fallen deathless and positivity cult are known.
  • Lightning – Where an inventive company, terrifying portal to Pandemonium and proud Oni are found.
  • Minerals – The gem guardians fiercely protect the rich resources of the realm, while the Ore Creatures create elaborate but racist and alien societies.
  • Radiance – In which one uncovers a Glantrian conspiracy, a cosmic horror and an eclectic art society.
  • Steam – Tales of divergent gnomes, an eerie trade ghost town, an attraction for Sigil’s elite and a ninja’s school of stealth.

The Negative Energy

  • Negative – An evil secret society, an abandoned fortress and the original gateway of death await.
  • Ash – In which warmth-seeking husks, religious sites of magma pools, artifacts of ancient Oerth and the infamous Citadel Cavitius are explored.
  • Dust – Seeking out self-restoring ruins, reconstruction from dust and a community of the miserable.
  • Salt – Journey to the spire of salt, healing shamans and the graveyard of flavors.
  • Vacuum – Behold the origins of Erasure, void vampires and an unnatural Spelljammer haven.
  • Pseudo-Pocket of Radiation – A recent experiment containing wayward mutants and super-weaponry.

Ramon’s Guide to More Elemental Planes

Cloud Elemental ∙ Magic: The Gathering ∙ R. MICHELSON GALLERIES

The search for all that the elements have to offer continues.  To put things simply, the elemental planes converge into their own realms of sorts.  These fusions act as elemental planes in their own rights, the para-elemental as they are known.  In addition, I can’t help but research some hypothetical planar fusions that come up in various lectures and notes across the planes.  Someone’s idea of a practical joke?  A sinister piece of the chant?  Who knows?  Either way, there is knowledge to find!

Author’s Note: The Inner Planes.  Yeah, you gotta stretch the imagination a bit.  All the same, I hope this thought exercise proves you can mold something out of a tough template.  Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration too.  Though, not necessarily references to say /tg/ classic lore, DOOM or Warhammer or many other things either.  Also, shout out to The Pathology Guy, whose take on the Inner Planes has been a large inspiration for me.

 

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Ramon’s Guide to the Inner Planes

The inner planes | Fantasy map making, Sigil, Astral plane

Details on more comes later!

Circling the prime are realms where natural life is abundant, even the opposite is present too! This is the circle of the Inner Planes. Looping forms of elements dancing endlessly, the fabric of natural matter locked in a glorious display. So, why not explore them? A novel idea, and what better host for such an adventure? If I do say so, myself. Follow my mad scribblings and even madder musings as we quest to see the workings of the Inner Planes, uncovering many secrets and hidden goodies along the way.

A word of warning, many of the inner planes are truly primal. You feared the forces of the Outer Planes, but many of these are broken into base primordial essences. And no, I don’t mean like Primordium; such a strange place is still rather dangerous in its own right. I talk of the place that gave the inspiration to build Primordium in the first place! It’s amazing how something so simple can be so awe inducing. To me, those are the Elemental Planes. Let us not dally.  Admittedly, my venture to the Upper Planes lasted quite a while, the better part of many primer yearly calendars. So, do stay close and protect yourself against the correct force, one of many elemental vortexes are just a jump away!

Author’s Note: Before we continue, because I don’t say it enough, a big thanks to Todd Stewart for being a huge inspiration.  His work in pathfinder’s planar content gets a nod from me partially because of it!  While I doubt I’ll ever really jump back to Paizo, I can appreciate the work the some of the people over there are doing.  Besides, I’m more so feeling Cyberpunk 2020 or one of many other seemingly relevant dystopian games for this day and age…  Anyway, jokes and other topics aside, the Inner Planes always felt like they needed more to them.  The Inner Planes book itself jokes about this while giving some neat suggestions, but I want to add my own touch.  Hell, it calls out the people who aren’t imaginative enough to make those planes work.  I’ve seen too many silly complaints about the Inner Planes too, in part because it puts your mind in a challenge…  Anyway, here are the results of my own elemental plane challenge.  Well, part of them.  I have much more where this came from!

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Ramon’s Guide to Realms of Goodness

At long last, an expedition I can embark on without fear of certain demise at every corner!  Salvation, at last?  Perhaps.  As it is, several forces and powers would practically salivate at the chance of stopping my addle-coved quest to document taboos and forlorn places.  I’m surprised The Mists, as the denizens of Dread call them, haven’t taken me back and rubbed me out of planar existence.  Know-how of the Demiplane of Dread is something the best greybeards can speak little on.  And, the forces below!  The Lower Planes would thrill at the chance of claiming a chronicler, either to enforce their own propaganda or a glorious poaching prize.

But, no matter.  That isn’t to say that the Good planes are inherently easy to traverse.  No, friends, quite far from it.  Shadow wars and clashing ideologies still rear their heads.  However, the planars within these realms tend to be more discreet and friendly about it.  That isn’t to say that a leather-headed move won’t be costly.  Plus, there is an inherent trap within the allure of the Upper Planes.  It’s easy to get as lost as one would within the Sylvan Realms.   But, matters could always be worse.

Author’s Note: Hmmm, what do I do from here?  I was hoping I could wait out isolation by writing tons of blurbs on the Great Wheel?  I suppose I could tackle the Inner Planes and bring more ideas to that.  Primordium is just the beginning of that, I guess.  Also, I always felt like the Upper Planes could use a little more umph in some spots.  The Lower Planes are much cooler to adventure in.  And to be honest?  The Upper Planes need the most improvement, especially the top middle three!  Let’s see if I can’t come up with a few cool ideas, huh?  Also, don’t mind the many squeezed in references to things…  D&D has been guilty of it throughout time.

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Creatures of Law and Chaos

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Law, Chaos, diametrically opposed forces!  Is it not splendid?  To me, this is the true clash in the end.  People speak of the everlasting fight of Good vs. Evil, but just look at The Blood War!  It is multiple ideologies of badness competing for supremacy!  Simply fascinating!  But, of places less outwardly malicious, what of them?  Well, I would be happy to pop up this nice bestiary, which can be yours for simply a handful of jink-jink, chummer! – Gilbert Marazmus, Gnome scribe and former ghostwriter

The multiverse as plenty of mysterious forces, the forces of darkness and the light have already been discussed at length.  The means of order, disorder and everything in between.  These things can be quite concrete but also vague in other areas.  Here’s a sampling of monsters that exemplify the planes (and demiplanes) they call home.

Author’s Note: I know everything is taking a long time, I’ll do what I can to get back on track.  Recent times haven’t been easy.  That said, I hope many of you have found ways to still play from a distance.  Even if it’s through a digital space, doing things with people matter.  Stay connected and stay cool!

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Ramon’s Guide to Realms of Order vs. Anarchy

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“Law and Chaos, two diametrically opposed sides, no one will refute this.  However, what oddities and secrets do they hold?  Why, I’m happy to show you.  While I have covered a little on Pandemonium and Acheron, it’s only fair to look at the other mostly-neutral planes of Law and Chaos… plus a few looks at other related realms, and a few returns to some less than savory burgs and blights.  But, all in the name of granting knowledge to you, fair scholar!” – An introductory speech for Ramon’s Lecture on Planes of Law and Chaos, at the Civic Festhall, in the Clerk’s Ward of Sigil

Planes of Law, rules taken physical form!  While Acheron has shown the order of war at its most harsh, there is far more to explore within the possibilities of Law.  One must account for concepts of atruism, unity, conformity and direction.  While these topics can overlap between planes; they all have their respective places.  Likewise, their inevitable counterpart is the eternal testament to disorder.  The Planes of Chaos are a lack of rules turned physical.  Chaos need not be just madness, like Pandemonium.  Plenty of free thinkers are driven by many other passions.  These don’t have to be completely selfish either.  Some people just want a good time, consequences be damned!  Others just want free reigns to express themselves, judgements be damned.  So, as these two forces butt heads, let’s take a deeper look at some overviews as well as some of my own dug up finds.  Join me as I return to the planes once again!

Author’s Note: More Planes!  This time Law vs. Chaos.  This was a fun chance to revisit my fey post from last Summer!  (Shout out to Brynvalk for partially inspiring this brief revival!) Also, yes, Augmental probably won’t see use in MOST sane campaigns, considering it’s supposed to be a blend of Phyrexia, Hellraiser and H.R. Giger art in a blender.  Though, I can hope some more tongue-in-cheek segments make up for my usual delves into grimdark.

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ZOMBIES! – Variants of the Dead (Reanimated)

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The living dead.  What brings about such perversions of life?  Rituals derived from dark sorceries imbue a dreadful force into corpses, creating a puppet bound in necromantic power.  These zombies are crafted by the spells and rituals of adept necromancers, aiming to create a slave or build an army.  Plagues created by the most vile of creatures corrupt and sicken victims, eventually overwhelming them and turning them into walking diseases of their own right.  These are often accidents, potentially prevented by proper preparation rather than giving into hysterical campaigns.  Even alien horrors have their means of parasitically bonding to a host, creating their own version of zombie.  Some of these victims aren’t just alive, they have some level of consciousness.  However, not all origins are evil.  Some were created as punishment at the hands of powerful spiritual priests.  However, the zombie created by necromancy is by far the most common sight.

No matter their sources, the terror of the zombie is a known one.  Shuffling corpses, either confused by their existence or enraged by it, find themselves at odds with the living.  Some of these abominations are at the whims of a mad master.  Others are distorted by outside forces, left to rampage against all in their wake.  And even worse, the zombie will never give up.  While it is devoid of emotion or any ideology, the zombie is relentless until it’s impossible for it to continue.  Some will fight until literally falling apart.  Converted into killing machines, these mockeries of life are a blight to all who are haunted by their presence.

Author’s Note: I’m back.  Pardon these disappearances.  Things have been a little rough, I’ll spare the details.  In addition, I haven’t been happy with a lot of things, hobbies included.  That’s made it a little harder to work on these posts.  Admittedly, one of things keeping me going is created content for settings that WotC has forgotten.  The people deserve to learn at least a little about these cool places!  Anyway, here’s my updated take on some variant zombies!  Ooooh, spooky!  Also, to the one of my friends who wanted me to tack on a tacky coronavirus reference on this?  You’re welcome.

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Ramon’s Guide to more Incredible Planes

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Some planar experiences are weird.

Salutations, friends.  Following my excursion into the depths and chronicling unseen sights of the lower planes, I return once more!  Consider this entry and future presentation and addendum to many previous treks across many realities.  At this point, I have become rather adept to the dangers beyond.  But, for the enterprising primer looking to handle all that the planes can offer, hopefully I can pass plenty of advice and knowledge on.  So please, travel with me (in spirit) as I unravel more mysteries and wonders floating beyond the prime material plane.

Author’s Note: More planes abound!  I wanted to return to my idea of the Hag Countess ascending, what an aftermath would be like.  Also, I recalled that 4th Edition touched on Evard a few times, so it’s worth taking some notes from various later creations (such as a somewhat obscure Dungeon adventure) for inspiration.  Hopefully, I can find myself back in the swing of things as well.  I haven’t been nearly as motivated in the new year, but I’ll see what I can do.

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Horrors of Xoriat – Daelkyrspawn

Xoriat, a realm of unspeakable evil. The native Daelkyr reside here, experts of sickening fleshcraft. Among their works were legions of warped and disfigured abominations, the daelkyrspawn. These things were once captured forces of Material plane fleets, the very races that attempted to repel the nightmarish plane. While Xoriat’s connection was ultimately severed from the list of coterminous planes, countless creatures were abducted and transformed into the sickening puppets of today. While many are simply stranded in the Prime Material, some seek methods of returning the tether to Xoriat and continuing the invasion from so long ago. Many of these atrocities prepare for battle in the depths of the dark realm of Khyber. From this hideaway, they all ready for an onslaught in the name of their aberrant creators.

Some, like the dolgaunt, for monastic cells to prepare a tactical strike. Other abominations are far simpler and mindlessly assault all creatures that may move too close to their grasp. Either way, their psychologies are far too detached from the mortal realm to properly figure what their current goal or aspiration is.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: More Eberron once more. Here is an updated take on my version of the Daelkyrspawn from a ways back. Also, if I may hop on my soap box. Please, support Exploring Eberron over Rising from the Last War. The former is purely Keith Baker’s voice, not the sanitized version released by Wizards of the Coast. So much was watered down to fit their new market model, but the guild allows fans to recapture what WotC decided to leave behind.  Back to this post, I realize an official Choker was published, but I always found them neat and weird… so they’re remade here too from their original days.

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