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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Notes and Whatnot on UA: The Ranger, Revised

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So, I never actually got around to seeing the revised ranger in play until recently.  With that, here’s a few concept I propose for fixing a couple of (what I perceive to be) bugs.

UA Revised Ranger – Proposed House Rules List

  • Natural Explorer. This MUST tie to a type of environment.  At Level 1, choose two environment types.  At levels 6, 11 and 16, choose another.  Benefits are granted in that environment.  Meanwhile, the Advantage to attack enemies only works for ONE ATTACK while in that environment.
  • Natural Explorer (ALTERNATE). Add proficiency bonus to initiative checks while in your terrain.  1/Short Rest gain advantage on an attack against a favored enemy.
  • Beast Conclave – Companion’s Bond. Companion only gains proficiency in Strength and Dexterity saving throws, not proficiency in ALL saving throws.  Alternatively, choose two saving throws instead.
  • Deep Stalker Conclave – Underdark Scout. You do not get the extra attack on your first turn.  Possibly grant 1d6 sneak attack damage instead.

IMAGE CREDIT: Sojourn by Todd Lockwood, copyright 2015.  Drizz’t Do’urden is copyright of Wizards of the Coast and R.A. Salvatore.

Bizarre Bazaar, Back from the Grave! – More Horror Items for D&D 5th Edition

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You see an eerily familiar sight; a sinister cottage building with a poorly written”antiques and oddities” sight nearby.  As you draw nearer, a dreadful sense of deja vu pours over you.  You’ve been here before.  Upon entering the door, all comes back to you as you see a hunched over sales person, obscured by a cloak.  The humanoid creature cracks a smile from underneath the cloth, as if it recognizes you.

Welcome to Rare and Magnificent Antiques and Wares!  I haven’t seen you in quite some time.  Hopefully you learned from last time you foolishly made a purchase without heeding warnings.  Or perhaps you’re a new customer, no… you’ve been here, I sense it!  Unlike other curio shops and antique specialists, I focus on the morbid and bizarre; artifacts found no where else in the world!  But remember this, all sales are final.  If you fear obtaining something, let me enlighten you on all there is to know.  Granted, you already knew the rules, didn’t you?

Sadly, we’ve sold the wears that you’ve seen last time.  But fear not, thanks to various benefactors as well as generous adventurers, I have replenished my stock with a satisfying assortment of new items to examine.  Also, do be careful when handling the items.  You don’t want to activate or awaken something by accident, do you?  Of course not!  And so, simply point to something and I’ll be right over to get it for you.

Author’s Note:  The Hunched Over Salesman is back with all sorts of creepy magic items to dive into!  I wanted to do a followup to my Gothic items from back in April, so here we go!

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Expedition to Barrier Peaks Creature Masterpost

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.

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