The Gate of the Mist Lure – Machinations of Darkon

Frankenstein, Vats | Mad scientist lab, Environment concept art, Mad  scientist

A prisoner of Azalin, how could this be?  And worst of all, the darklord is eerily happy about this.  He has been quite dour towards other “guests”, but I’m different.  He knows I’m the “Mist Lure” for his gate device.  But, this begs the question, what horrors await once he breaks free with his Entropic Gloom cult?  What horrors will the planes face?  I can’t think of a way to stop him, not now at least.  In the meantime, I’m simply one man against the forces of an all-powerful lich.

Author’s Note: I’ve been holding onto this idea for a year now! Ever since Ramon “escaped” Gothic Earth, I wanted to toy with something that popped into my head. I already had a “metaplot” of sorts bubbling in my head, with Azalin once again trying something. I figure this is a way to wrap this all together. Also, as to a previous reference to “Set Wands to Warpdrive”? That came before, but I wanted to tie it all together.  Hell, I’ve been teasing and referencing these ideas for a while.  And with that, let’s end this crossover of Planescape and Ravenloft with a domain that’s a literal crossover.  But, with the truth finally out on Ramon, what to do with him next?  Should he be doomed to The Mists with a successor taking over for The Planes and Wildspace?  Or will he be released once more, living with a horrible guilt of his dark truth?  Perhaps I should leave that to all of you.  In the meantime, look out for at least one more 5th ed monster post soon!

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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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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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Forgotten Souls: A Tomb of Annihilation + Dark Souls mashup

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The so-called Death Curse seemed like a contradiction at first… we were robbed of our ability to die! Oh, how wrong we were! – A tattered letter from Camp Righteous

A dark shroud has enveloped fair Toril, it is not of this world. A powerful force of raw necrotic energy has made its way into this world. What was once a mere Lich is slowly becoming something more, in part from his Death Curse. Worse yet, a powerful artifact is making the effects of this hex far greater and far more widespread too. But, for what purpose? Perhaps to empower him or possibly provide an endless font to create feats of magic locked away from even the gods! Adventurers are needed, as always. Many have fallen to the madness of the curse, becoming little more than empty husks who attack anything with a semblance of life force left. Go forth and bring life back to this world and don’t you dare go hollow on me!

The world of Abeir-Toril is fairing poorly against a strange incursion by a powerful entity known as “Acererak”. Stories travel around other prime material planes. These stories tell of foul magic, undeath and annihilation. Not long after the monster’s arrival, people found themselves somehow alive when they should have been dead. At first, people rejoiced! But soon, they caught on. Their hearts had stopped, their complexion faded, they began to look more like walking corpses. Many lost their mind, aimlessly attacking those who still show some signs of life. Some fear that this Acererak is not alone, aided by a far more malevolent force.

Author’s Note: Sure, the new adventure is coming soon or whatever. That said, here’s an idea I’ve been bouncing around for a while! What if, instead of merely wasting away from the Death Curse, victims would lose themselves to a slowly spreading and corrupting undeath. Then it hit me, this is Dark Souls! So, I mashed the two together in a sense. Below are a retooling of my Curse of Undeath as well as how to mesh it with Tomb of Annihilation. View the original here. Also, find more content for Chult here.

One final thing. This article contains major spoilers for much of the module. Do not read on if you plan on playing this module!

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Expedition to Barrier Peaks Creature Masterpost

EDIT 2019: The math on this gets wonky and requires rebalancing.  To be honest, I don’t think I’ll get around to it.  However, I don’t wish to remove content featured in the RPG Blog Carnival.

Here is a complete list of monsters and hazards from the module, in alphabetical order.  I figured this post would be useful, since I separated monsters into tons of categories to make conversion easier.  So, here’s a handy list of creatures from the module.  This post could be used in tandem with Part 5 for running the module in 5E!

NOTE: This does not include the optional new monsters I added to the adventure.  Those can be found here.  This is meant as an index for pre-existing monsters converted over.

 

 

Expedition to Barrier Peaks – D&D 5th Edition Conversion (PART 5) – Technological Artifacts, Exploration, Odds ‘n’ Ends

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“I want to go somewhere nicer, like The Tomb of Horrors…”

There is much more to the Barrier Peaks than a romp against alien monsters.  The mechanics and workings of the downed ship are far more complex.  Access cards, radioactive hallways, infested hives, among other things await our heroes as they make an… Expedition to Barrier Peaks!

Author’s Note:  This is probably the longest post in this series.  It’s a bunch of notes on running the module itself, as well as the technological artifacts you’ll find.  The cards are in the first part, as they don’t really have much mechanical depth aside from a McGuffin.

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Expedition to Barrier Peaks – D&D 5th Edition Conversion (PART 1) – Robots and Androids

RPG Blog Carnival LogoTo kick off the August 2016 RPG Blog Carnival theme of “Super-Science and Sorcery”, I thought I’d show a part of a conversion I’m working on.  This module has always been a special one for me.  Not only was it a crazy fun house dungeon crawl, but it’s a bizarre crossover of D&D elements with the likes of Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha.  Plus, I’ve always loved conspiracies revolving around Ancient Aliens.  With that, I’ll be hoping to transfer Barrier Peaks to 5th Edition to the best of my abilities.  After it’s complete, it might go up on the DM’s Guild.

To kick things off, we’ll start the conversion with an assortment of robots and androids.  Now, you may be wondering, what do robots have to do with D&D?  I’m not entirely sure, as I’m running on coffee and sheer determination.  Granted, that hasn’t stopped me from finding a way!  Needless to say, the rest of the module is being converted in chunks, to be collected in a megapost in the end.

Author’s Note:  You read that correctly!  More or less, I’m going to be dumping some time into converting this module.  It’s very likely that this will take up a chunk of the month, itself.  Luckily, the Playtest made work a lot easier on me.  I’ve found help from other bloggers as well, thus making the journey a non-arduous one.  Plus, I’ve made a helping of techno goodies in the past too.

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Curse of Undeath – A Dark Souls-inspired mechanic

EDIT April 2018:

Check out my updated take on this alongside some neat ways to change up Tomb of Annihilation (again) here!

“Yooou who reeeekindle the Flaaaame, embraaaaccceee deeaatttthhhh!”

Sometimes, the sweet embrace of death is all but impossible for countless damned souls.  They are forced to continue to walk a dark path.  For them, they seek to regain an essence of life and restore their shattered minds, lest they be lost to an abyss of emptiness and madness.  Such a curse can be from a variety of sources; an exploitation of a life source at a deific level, exposure to/using evil magics for too long, a hex brought upon by a powerful caster or even a destructive force bent on draining life from all reality.

The Curse of Undeath is a vile magical power that breaks the soul and leaves the body as little more than a husk.  These drained husks share little with their once living counterparts.  They are merely corpses controlled and warped by dread energy.  Any remnants of mind left in these creatures are stretched to madness and driven to violence.  While many of them retain enough knowledge to fight as though could in life, it is impossible for them to engage in rational dialogue let alone interact peacefully.

Author’s Note:  Dark Souls III is out and I love it!  With that, here’s an optional rule for handling a curse similar to the Undead of the Dark Souls universe.  If you don’t want to literally be running Dark Souls, it shouldn’t be too hard to reflavor this into a different dread curse of sorts.  If you’ve ever played Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, Anthony’s chapter certainly comes to mind.  One last disclaimer, these are mostly random ideas in my head, in an attempt to make a Dark Souls inspired mechanic.  As such, it’s more than likely that this idea is a bit clunky.  It will probably receive a revision in the future, if reader interest is there.

An Affliction of Body, Mind and Soul

As the last of life’s flames extinguish, you become less and less human.  For every time you die, a piece of you is lost when you’re brought back.  Only through restoring your humanity can you truly become whole.  Even before the curse has truly taken hold of you, its dark power has tainted you indefinitely.  You may currently look like one of the living, but heinous power seeks to transform you into one of many mindless and angry dead.

The source of the curse can be from one of several horrible events.  Perhaps the Gods attempted to prolong the life of themselves and their followers by draining life essence from the planes.  Perhaps an entire area was desecrated by overuse of necromancy.  No matter the cause, the results will turn apocalyptic in the long run as people without souls begin to wither into deranged husks.  Even before before truly becoming one of the Undead, the cursed already suffer greatly.  Upon being afflicted by the Curse of Undeath, you automatically fail death saving throws when brought to 0 HP.  You must still roll a Death save.  Upon failure, you receive two failed saves instead.  Getting a natural 1 causes three failed saves instead of two.

Image Source: Revenant – oevrlord

Based off of Dark Souls, which belongs to From Software.  Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.