Ramon’s Guide to Places Eerie and Sinister

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“They’re already dead, they just don’t know it yet!”

Instead of a normal lecture, I figure I’ll just chronicle my own travels and recant later.  The realms of dream proved invigorating, mortifying, thrilling and so much more!  However, my desire for adventure has taken me to far more chilling places.  Lands of Death, Darkness, Disaster and so on!  As always, I am forever devoted to pursuits of knowledge.  And through my travels and magical catalogue of thoughts and sights, you too may travel with me to parts unknown and dreadful.  Should anything unfortunate happen to me, let this document be a word of warning!

Author’s Note: I did an old school reorganizing of 4e’s (and I guess 5e’s) Feywild, I figure it’s the Shadowfell’s turn.  Many of its ideas were appropriated from past sources already, so that makes things a little easier.  As for the other stuff?  Well, once again, time to improvise!  Also, keep an eye out for some crunch that relates to this post.

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We Aren’t Alone – Horrific Alien Entities

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The stars carry their own ill omens.  Sometimes, they are not always distant sleeping beings, but terrestrial creatures of a different sort.  This doesn’t stop them from being completely alien in other ways.  Sometimes, these things are from our own world and remain just as frightening as things from beyond the stars.  The borders between dimensions falter, as a dark matter begins to traverse into our own realm.  All means of xenoforms manifest as a result, with us ill prepared for what is to come.

Author’s Note:  War of the Worlds, Alien’s Xenomorph, Classic Conspiracy Theories.  Those are the subjects of this post.  Also, remember when I said I was done butchering German?  Well, I guess I lied…  Also, I wanted to fit a few references to the Alternity RPG’s Dark*Matter setting.  Also, please don’t hate me for poking fun at the recent Aliens universe…

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Ramon’s Guide to Realms of Dream and Nightmare

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Dream big.

“Hark!  Dear scribe, should you find this letter, I have likely been lost to The Dream.  A dream, you ask?  Preposterous!  But, not at all!  The Demiplanes of Dream and Nightmare are more than true.  To find them, one must traverse into the depths of the fair folk dominions, already a deadly task.  In truth, the dream creatures are primordial entities, predating even the sylvan folk.  They’re something raw, primal, coalescing into parallel creatures far more detached from logic.  Tread carefully, friend.  Even within the confines of this letter, its eldritch energies stir.  Do not try to look for me, lest you become stuck too.” – A letter from Ramon DeLeon, planar traveler and bard.

The Dream, an essence of energy so wild we can never truly ponder it.  It’s far more morphic than even Limbo!  This energy is neither chaos nor law, but something perhaps beyond it.  Scholars speculate its relation to a distant void known as “Far Realm”.  Currently, the forces of darkness are on the warpath to completely control all that is light within the Dream.  Should this happen, no one shall sleep soundly again.  Already, the Dream is a strange place full of the impossible, with logic far beyond anything akin to reality.  However, shaping dreams comes with its own dangers.  Particularly powerful minds are sought out… and not necessarily by forces for good.

Author’s Note: A mashup of faerie mythology and H.P. Lovecraft Mythos!  Would you expect anything less than me?  Plus, I figure this is a way to drag things into my yearly horror theme while revisiting my Planescape Fey lore by request!  (Also, no more robots for a while!  I promise!)

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Revenge of the Sheens – More Mechanical Horrors!

Revenge of the Sheen

“Metal things, metal things, why do you get in my way?  My favorite ditch, destroyed!  They ate my gold!  One of them stole one of my axes!  Tin can bastards are going in my book, my book of grudges!  Blasting that damned fox into near-dust was entertaining, but I still hate them!  Back to the chained islands with all of you!  A cursed land, of course it’s the place they crawled out of!  I’ll make them crawl back!” – Boron, Unhinged Dwarf Warrior/Rune-Crafter, “Ally” of Geber, survivor of The Massacre of Ignis

Lesser Sheen models have proved to be quite destructive.  However, far worse ones wait for their chance to strike.  Some seek to hack through organic like, while others harvest whatever secrets they have to further help the sheen agenda.  Their mechanical terror knows very few limits, expanding and changing at rapid rates.  In fact, new forms of sheen have emerged from their studies of the prime material plane itself.

Author’s Note: Here are the rest of the Sheens from both articles.  These baddies should prove to be far more formidable than the previous post, especially the massive power tree!  That’s an end campaign boss, more or less!  With the Sheen out of the way, I think I’ll slowly move towards my horror/dark fantasy theme I do every autumn.

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Mage Vs. Machine – The Sheens

Todd Lockwood - Mech Hunter

Rumors tell of impossible machines, constructs built by the bashers of an exceptionally accursed prime space.  Such a place was long buried deep in the dead book by its own hubris and acceleration, despite the warnings of their Powers.  The barmies kept on going, crafting up one of the most heinous things to pollute the multiverse.  I speak of the Sheens.  Baator-fed buggers seem to self-replicate and thrive, despite attempts to wipe them out.  They’re not just constructs either, but true thinking machines!  They lack souls, but have the mind and bone-box alike to surpass most eggheads.  Needless to say, this place burned down hard.  The Land of Blackmoor was no more!  However, their creation escaped far beyond its Crystal Sphere and beyond.  So, go ahead and kill one, multiple will show up out of no where to take you down!  The Metal berks burnt my tail bad too! – Geber Reynardt, Kitsune Alchemist and Sensate, survivor of The Sheen Invasion of Ignis

Who says sci-fi and fantasy don’t mix?  It’s been a thing for decades, eons, at least a century!  Even in D&D, we’ve had all sorts of strange crossovers.  The aforementioned Blackmoor has been around since the beginning.  That setting was a somewhat dirty and gritty medieval world that contended with a crashed alien space ship.  The result was an AWOL officer starting an uprising with a “frog cult”, as well as the ship thrown into other forms of turmoil.  The end result of the mess caused Blackmoor to experience technological leaps before ultimately blowing itself up.

And in the case of the Sheen, one of my favorite articles from Dragon Magazine (complete with a follow-up), they’re very much science-fantasy too.  The articles tell of the sheen, a strange and mysterious menace.  These constructs were made by a society more advanced in technology and probably magic too.  Their genuine origins are a mystery to most, but their desire to consume and conquer makes them a massive threat.  Plus, they have numerous forms that can adapt to different situations.  And while the sheens tear through organic life, they don’t do so out of malice or hatred, but a survival for their own “machine kind”.  Fortunately, countless defenders have learned enough to fend them off and even reverse engineer some of their own contraptions too.  In a sense, think like Horizon Zero Dawn!

Author’s Note: This one has been a long time coming!  The Sheens are by far one of my favorite obscure D&D monsters (or set of monsters).  Beyond two magazine articles, there hasn’t been too much buzz around them.  Hopefully, I can help to change that!  Here’s the first part of that, with a mix of both articles.  Sure, I’ve made robots already, but I really love these ones too!  Plus, should I find the time, I might be interested in converting the Kits and Spells introduced by the article too… eventually… hopefully.

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Old Style Musings: SKILLS MUST DIE!

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“Excuse me, kindly assassin!  I do not take kindly to being used in this visual analogy!”

I haven’t really done an informal post in a while.  The last one was quite a few years ago.  Anyway, I’m feeling kind of tired with how character skill is handled and the builds around it.  I won’t deny that I have fallen back in love with a more classical approach.  I like to egg players on for details with their actions, even awarding silent boons for their descriptions and general ideas.  Hell, sometimes I’ll outright ignore a roll.  While I haven’t gone all out yet, I feel like I’ll get there soon enough.  So, rather than a super codified skill system, I have thought of a few ideas beyond that.  It’s nothing really groundbreaking.  Hell, the DMG has made all sorts of alternatives already, but I think they’re good for something.

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Death Machines! – Killer Robots

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“Automatons.  Blasted things keep ruining my day.  They killed my grandpa ages ago, took over our jobs, destroyed life as we knew it!  Darned things gotta be taken down, by the peoples’ wrench!  We’ll unite to give the metal monsters a clobbering!  We ain’t gonna take their inorganic presence any longer!” – Gristle Pete III, current proprietor of The Cascading Ridge Saloon

Not all “thinking machines” are friendly.  In fact, many prove to be outwardly malicious.  Many were built for war, while others are simply experiments gone awry.  Either way, there is a danger when building an automaton to think and fend for itself.  While many cases can lend it to building a positive life, other cases can turn out far more grim.

Author’s Note: Have some evil robots!  This is an expansion of my previous post.  Enjoy.

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