Bizarre Bazaar – Beyond the Infinite Staircase

Sigil

Even during your travels through the rather alien hub known as Sigil, your eyes latch onto a few familiar sights; goods and magicks from your prime material, creatures and cultures you have encountered in your travels and one very familiar and eager merchant that seems to follow you wherever you go.  Zam’dul too has seemed to appear in this fantastical city of doors.

“Hoohoohoo, traveler!  Zam’dul knows you to be an excellent customer!  Fear not, there is no stalking happening here, but simply travel to the places that adventurers go to!  As always, wares find their way to Zam’dul and prices remain fair.  Plus, a rather intriguing guild known as “The Fated” seem to have Zam’Dul’s interests in mind, should ruffians appear.  In the meantime, please sit upon a meditative cushion.  It is fluffed for long term discussions over philosophies and trading.”

Author’s Note: Magic items are always fun to make.  In fact, they might be the most fun thing for me to make.  So simple, yet there’s potential to create truly fantastical things!  Read onward and continue your adventure.

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Gloomy and Gothic Story Hooks

Endless tomes tell tales of brooding beings locked in wretched crypts, of things we are not meant to know dwelling beyond the skies, of shocking creatures that terrify as they stun, of punishment for grievous sin and decedent folly.  These stories of old have fueled events to come for generations.  History has a habit of repeating, especially the negative…

Author’s Note: What?  Something non-crunch related???  That hasn’t happened in a long time, I know.  I prefer the mechanical bits, myself.  That said, I wanted to do something a little different.  I’ve made backgrounds, NPCs, monsters, class options, a race and then some with a gothic theme… why not stuff on the campaign itself?  Plus, this example is literally about literature.  So, here are some hooks inspired by various stories.  I’ll post something else later in the week, I promise.

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Lovecraftiana – More Items & Monsters from the Cthulhu Mythos

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Upon a distant plateau lies foul denizens of Leng.

While many horrors beyond our reaches have found their way into the material, other things creep into reality and bring chaos with them in more subtle ways.  Some lurk just beyond the veil, while others find others to do their bidding.  Whether they seek to destroy us or take over, eldritch powers are slowly becoming more pronounced.  It is unlikely that we’ll ever be ready for them. – Finnemin Cobblertoe, Halfling Archivist

Author’s Note: I wanted to make another contribution to the December ’17 blog carnival.  So, true to Doc tradition, here’s some more H.P. Lovecraft creations for 5E!  You can find more cosmic horrors throughout my blog via relevant tags like ‘lovecraft‘ and ‘cthulhu mythos‘.  Read more about the RPG Blog Carnival Blog here.

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Spirit of the Festive Season – The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

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It is not certain if these spirits are of the deceased or the emotion of yuletide joy that persists after one is lost.  Perhaps they’re not even ghosts at all, but a powerful embodiment of the season itself!   Perhaps they’re divided courts of the fey, likely a Winter Court.  It is quite likely that they’re spiritual manifestations of Celestials and Fiends, who take a different role in good and evil.  No matter their origin, these beings are dedicated to their cause of taking part in a yuletide celebration.  All of these spirits are decorated with assorted garb.  Crowns of wreaths, fanciful ball costumes, monk robes, simple cloth, peasantry garments, regal/noble outfits, etc.  It’s rare that any two spirits at all resemble each other.  In fact, they often go out of the way to look different from each other.

Their other reason for appearing, beyond overseeing festivities, is to visit those in dire need.  In the case of good spirits, they lead the subject on the right path through showing them the error of their ways.  In other cases, they give rewards to the just and noble.  In the case of bad spirits, they torment souls who have dared to stray away from the spirit of the season, rendering them horrified or mad.  Or even worse, they might even further a victim’s descent into damnation.  No matter the case, they materialize during season festivities and carry a certain power allowing them to perform incredible feats.

All are tied to a point in time, capable of incredible feats of divination and conjuration.  Memories of the past, mirrors of the present and visions of the future.  When such abilities prove to be not enough, they are even capable of gathering more spirits to aid them.

Author’s Note:  Faith from Brynvalk is hosting RPG Blog Carnival and I’m more than happy to contribute again!  Last year, it was all about the faerie folk.  This year?  Literature.  So, with a dash of “novel inspiration”, I’m focusing on Gothic literature (and some related genres and authors, like more Lovecraft!)  For starters, I’m going to do something in the name of the yuletide season and make a semi-modular creature based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.  I might do one more entry to fit the general season, who knows?  (That said, I’m busy with work being a real pain, so it’s hard to say.  Hopefully, I won’t delay too much.  We’ll see!!)

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Bizarre Bazaar – Even More Strange Items Return

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“Are you still here?  It is good to be a dedicated shopper, but closing hours draw near.  A busy body must always prepare for the next day’s wave of customers and curators.  But, Zam’Dul is patient!  You shall be helped in finding what you seek.  Rest assured, the store likely has it.  Now, do follow and be shown many fine wares!  But, please do so quickly…  Pushing customers after closing is such a bother.”

Welcome back to another revisiting of the bizarre bazaar!  As always, Zam’Dul awaits customers with a fine assortment of majestic and obscure magical treasures.  Sure, he’s looking to close down for the night, but mark my words, he has plenty of oddities to showcase as always!  Sure, some seem familiar, but others are new sights to behold.

Author’s Note: It’s kinda ironic and hypocritical of me.  I’m not too content with reprints of spells and whatnot in the currently-new Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.  And yet, here I am, posting updates of older items I made in the past.  Not really a statement, just an observation.  Anyway, I hope these updates address some mistakes I made in the past, while highlighting which items I really liked a lot!

Also, I hit 250 posts!  Hooray!

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Bizarre Bazaar – Strange Magical Items Revisited

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A familiar face comes into view as patrons briefly part into a narrow opening, it’s a cloaked humanoid with a strange helmet!  The creature gets up from a meditative stance, acknowledging your presence.  His relaxed and idle stance changes into a beckoning yet inviting gesture.

“Ah, Zam’Dul has not forgotten you, traveler!  Many of my old wares are gone… The rest?  Well, a bored mind tries to see what can be done with spare parts.  You’ll see some older oddities as well as some new creations.  Please, relax and observe what the shop has to offer!  Never be afraid to ask questions, Zam’Dul knows all!”

He lifts a curtain beyond his little stand to reveal a massive archive of the wonderful and weird, seemingly infinite space is filled with encased treasures and incredible artifacts.  The helmed monk shuffles to a counter, seemingly observing you wherever you go.

Author’s Note: These were always fun to do!  Also, I’ve been messing around with some of my magic items.  Some needed a fair bit of overhaul, while others weren’t developed enough.  Plus, I have a few ideas I’ve been kicking around in general.  So, let’s get shopping!  (Or something!)  Keep an eye out for the Tomb of Annihilation nods, for any gamers eager to run the major adventure book for Fall 2017.  Also, this post was made in support of the November 2017 RPG Carnival with the theme “The Past, Revisited“.  Check out the post and its contributors!

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Murderous Maniac – A Slasher Villain Template

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The act of killing by itself is a heinous thing, something adventurers often have to cope with on a common basis.  Often it’s self defense against monsters and bandits, other times it’s for more insidious reasons.  Some snap amidst the violence, losing any attachment to empathy or reason.  Such people degenerate into cold blooded killers, driven by the thrill of slaying whatever prey comes into their clutches.  After a while, it becomes less about adventure and discovering lost treasure as it is an unrelenting bloodlust and hatred for all who oppose your goals.

This path of bloodshed and psychosis is a chilling and horrid one, the basis for many stories of terrifying villains and disturbed madmen.  Much of the time, these evildoers prefer to scare their prey as much as possible before causing them to meet their untimely end.  Such tactics are more than butchery and savagery, as the power of psychological terror is essential for weakening their foes.  Often, they’ll do whatever to take away their power and isolate a target as much as possible, finding impossible ways to stalk them as well.  And when all hope is lost, the killing strike is unleashed!  Few have survived the wrath of a murderous maniac… and they usually die in the sequel anyway!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I’ve rediscovered an awesome expansion for World of Darkness known as Slasher.  It’s built on the Chronicles era Hunter game, in which Hunters succumb to their own inner darkness and become the very villains of horror cinema lore…  essentially.  Of course, there’s more to it than that, but whatever.  Anyway, here’s a template that borrows heavily from slasher cinema, in an effort to translate the idea into D&D.  Enjoy!  (I might update with a “Supernatural Slasher” in the near future!  Who knows?)  Also, as for the picture?  I’ve always loved this scene from the original Halloween.  Something about that shot highlights a character’s seeming futile attempt to hide from a masked madman… and said murderous pushing into a claustrophobic space, where everything seems lost.  Did I mention that movie is one of my all time favorite films?

Also, this one will probably be revised once I get more accurate math for this one, maybe swap out one thematic ability for another.  I’ll see what people say first.

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