The Mechanical Bits of Alza’um

Image result for victorian factory machine

While Alza’um secludes itself in secrecy, the land is still quite populous.  While the population is predominantly made of humans, gnomes, dwarves and even ratfolk; it’s still bristling with its own unique vibrancy and charm.  Much like the machines that operate on clockwork, so do the denizens.  Life is a chaotic schedule balanced under the facade of order.  This insular technical revolution is made under the assumption that the outside world isn’t ready, but they’re more than enlightened.  Whether this is truth or unaware foolishness hasn’t been determined yet.  Either way, strange adventures and even stranger locals await those granted the proper access.

Author’s Note:  It’s a pun!  But seriously, I felt like I was leaving out a lot of goodies.  At some point, I’ll want to flesh this out for say an OGL product or something, once I can get help with maps, layout and artists eventually.  In the meantime, here are some underground dwellers of this outlandish city of high magical technologies.  Of course, many can be repurposed for more steampunk oriented games.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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

File:London Bridge Underground tunnel (33466504566).jpg

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.

Continue reading

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!

 

Continue reading

Divine World Building – Arothe

Image result for azathoth

Say hello to the “Overgod”

The RPG Blog Carnival for January 2019 is more or less concluded, but I wanted to return to it once more with my own home setting.  I’ve talked about tons of aspects of the world already, but not too much in terms of “the divine”.  Though, to be fair, that’s a bit of an odd subject for my universe.

Similar to Mystara, deities are much closer to the “Immortals” of that world.  Heroes train, prove themselves and ascend beyond the prime material.  Out of a pact with other “Ascended”, interaction with the mortal plane is rare and only in dire emergency, where it can’t be helped.  Upon ascending, they become the embodiment of the ideals that they believe in, empower those who follow such beliefs and ethos.  Unlike the traditional D&D worlds, believers connect on a level of domains and ideology.  Those who try to directly connect to an Ascended usually go insane, as they’re unable to comprehend the sheer power and form that such beings wield.  Most religions of the world have adapted to fit this harsh truth.  In fact, most religious revolve around various metaphysical concepts as well as ideals.  Like with other traditional worlds, one could still see various religious groups inspired by a cause.  However, this world will not have them tied to a deity, unless they’re a mad cult.

But, what came before the ascended?  And what helps them move beyond mere mortality?  To answer both questions, one must look at what came before.  Arothe was created from an experiment on another world, trying to use transdimensional technology to create a wholly new universe.  The same laboratory reached out to countless realities (including a few versions of Earth).  Something terrible resulted in multiple malfunctions in the experiment at once.  Multiple old realities collapses and folded on themselves, while being absorbed into the new one.  A strange energy was discovered thanks to the experiments though, psychic power.  The power preserved the millions of minds of the victims, binding and bonding them to a single entity.  The mad hivemind eventually formed into a chaotic and discordant entity within the new universe.  Basically, a psychic powered Azathoth that’s too confused and lost to be fully aware of what it does.  However, this doesn’t mean that the Ascended escape its wrath.  Those who ascend are tethered to this mighty being.  And, in the off chance that they are slain, they can be eaten by this star horror should it desire more power and minds to sustain itself.

As for reality building itself anew, the hive at the center of the universe mostly shaped things from afar.  Terrain shaped itself naturally, as forces and energies of life spurred on evolution.  However, the hive itself influenced sentient life forces through subtle implanting of thoughts to outright bizarre visions.  As much of the hive is composed of former Earth humans, subjects of the world are slightly pushed in a direction similar to Earth’s many cultures.  Some mortals feel that they’re being manipulated by something, but few can ever prove it.  Many take the visions, strange dreams and signs as their own creations and go from there.  But all along, distant thoughts from Earth from equally distant sources find their way into the life of this strange, but oddly familiar world.

So there you have it, a little insight into how divinity works in the weird world of Arothe.

IMAGE CREDIT: Azathoth – Andy Tantowi

Things of the Multiverse – Even More Planar Creatures

Image result for civil Festhall sigil

“Endless planes, endless ideas, endless possibilities!  That doesn’t mean a berk should go sniffing out any planar out there.  Tons of nasties will pen you real good in the book, but all of you have the common marbles to listen to the dark beyond!  For starters, some planars will want you for supper, others will ask you pay the music and enjoy a good garnish, some are just barmy psychotics!  And with that, we begin.  Don’t worry, the good scrape comes later!  Also, no interruptions.  I’m very hungry and not against eating poor listeners!” – Geber Reynardt alias “Pew Pew”, Chaotic Evil Foxfolk Lupin Alchemist Sensate, Lecturer at the Civil Festhall in Sigil

As always, one must be careful when wandering the planes.  Beyond the beautiful and scary sights to behold, there are denizens that are much like their surroundings.  Some can be invaluable allies, while others are the most fearsome of foes.  Great good and evil have there places in reality, places you can find if you look hard enough.  But, it begs the question, is it worth wandering too far off the beaten path?

Author’s Note:  What’s an homage to Planescape without Planescape Torment!?  Besides the usual planar beasties, I tossed in a reference or two to one of my favorite games.  On top of that, a creature inspired by my Bloodied Wyvern Peaks adventure and more!  Plus, some obligatory gothic horror that is one part Frankenstein, one part The Golem and one part Doppelganger.  Also, a twist on a Lower Planes classic!

Continue reading

RPG Blog Carnival: All of these Worlds

RPGBlogCarnival

Worldbuilding.  It’s a chore, it’s a craft, it can be great fun!  From a young age till now, I’ve always loved it.  Whether my eyes scrawl over the many fantastical and wonderful realms of countless authors or I concoct my own strange dimensions from even stranger depths!  For November 2018, Nuketown is hosting the RPG Blog Carnival with the theme “All These Worlds…“, a nod towards the classic novel, 2010.

So, it got me thinking about the world I’ve used for quite a few games.  From the gritty to the gonzo, from the mystical to the mundane, from the distant past to the distant future.  This world is known as Arothe.  It’s a quirky and bizarre little world hooked up to many strange eons.  In a sense, it’s a high-gonzo, high-planar setting.  For the passing glance, it’s what happens when a kid from the 1990s plays too much Planescape and RIFTS.  And, well, you’re not exactly wrong.  Throw in a lot of ’80s and ’90s sci-fi and fantasy in general, while we’re at it.  But, there’s nothing wrong with talking about your inspirations.  Inspiration helps to shape the tropes, genres and more that makes up pop culture today!

Author’s Note: So, my previous post with some Zelda themed magical items?  Admittedly, I was mostly interested in doing that for the Blog Carnival, albeit it was more so as homage to Peanut Butter Gamer’s Zelda Month videos.  Whether this month or early next month, I’ll probably make another LoZ themed post, as I promised I’d do something in some capacity!  In the meantime, I want to do something for the November Blog Carnival again.  This time, I wanna talk about the home setting I’ve mostly isolated from my very blog.  My earlier posts were tied into my own world’s lore, but insecurity and anxiety got the best of me and these references were mostly removed.  That said, I wanna welcome people back to my delightful labyrinth of weird, dark, gonzo and crazy that embodies what I do!  Also, be warned!  Long winded ramblings lie ahead!  Tread at your own risk!

Continue reading

Therianthropes! – A Collection of Werebeasts for D&D 5th Edition

Image result for DM's Guild logo

Hey, ghosts and ghoulies!  Doc is back at it again!  This time around, I have an assortment of werebeasts at your disposal.  The document includes new content including: a werebeast never posted on the blog, new NPCs inspired by each animal stock, cleaned up versions of two previously existing sub-classes and more!

You may find the document HERE!