If the Positive Energy Planes were a delight, then surely the Negative Energy Planes will be just as delightful… But really, one cannot describe the planes without a fuller picture. So, keep your life sources handy, as this is a place devoid of them.
Author’s Note: Okay, that about wraps things up. With that, I’m gonna try to tackle some monsters! I would have made a list for the Upper Planes, but I’ve already tackled a fair number of celestials. Also, I might just convert all of the Guardinals later, perhaps for a DM’s Guild related thing. Though, I want to port over my take on the Gehreleths/Demodands too… Maybe at some point?
Mordent, considerably more progressive than other domains by a distance. Curiously, its presence in the Mists is the fault of Strahd and Azalin. They devised a scheme to exploit an apparatus within the realm to free themselves from their imprisoned domains. This failed, sealing Mordent’s fate as well.
A fair share of oddities drift in and around the domain. The Darklord himself, Lord Wilfred Godefrey, certainly counts. Once a backstabbing aristocrat, he slew his own wife and daughter. He covered the incident up as it were an accident. But, their vengeful spirits drove him to suicide, forcing him into the ironic fate of a trapped spirit too. Since then, he has collected the souls that are beckoned to his house on Gryphon Hill. He has even used the trapped souls to his advantage at times, creating networks of informants and spies within his domain.
A ways off the path was an off beat enclave of artists, creatives and non-establishment people who failed to fit in with the norm. Save for the waxworks, there is no more life here. No true life. Despite much of it burning down, wonders of art are mixed with the macabre to unveil an art show unlike anything before.
Author’s Note: This is essentially an edited copy of an old post. 5E-related crunch has been removed, save for my creation of Bohemia before it joined the Fell Crafts Cluster.
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.
“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!)
Just beyond the veil of reality exists an entire bestiary worth of wretched things. These monsters and entities lie beyond our grasp, waiting for the right moment to strike. Many of these creatures are quite similar to the everyday and mundane aspects of life we take for granted, while others are incomprehensibly alien. While in the comfort of our homes, we take much for granted. But, on the road? We are much more vulnerable. The elements, wildlife and even fellow people can prove to be potential hazards. But, even more troubling is the strange and supernatural sights that we all hope to never encounter…
Author’s Note: If there’s one thing I love in a ghost story, it’s encounters on the road; when you’re traveling, far away from home and quite vulnerable. And worse yet? Many of the things stalking you take up the guise of something far from insidious at all. While some predators will fight head on, others are bit more crafty. And some? They’re just quasi-mindless masses of hunger.
Also, special thanks to Ian for helping to create the Haunting Traveler. I shall inform you on how many people it kills, I promise!
“The job is clear. You shall escort my caravan through the brutal and harsh beast lands, then aid me in distributing these medicinal creations to the people of my tribe. The latter is easy, the former is likely to kill you if you lack the knowledge. As it is, some buffoon who followed me around nearly died, but I taught him some of my ways. But, he’s not important. Are you up for this task? If not, stand aside. And please, direct questions for my caravan’s scout. He is knowledgeable on almost all travel matters. Also, don’t mind the living dead.” – Moonlotus Fadingdusk, a human witch from the Seeking Mind tribe… Or so she says.
There’s a handful of beastly creatures out there in the weird western frontier. A few varmints aren’t overly harmful, while others are truly malicious. The vast wilderness requires one on their toes at all times, lest they get torn apart by the seems, some quick snack for a cunning predator. It’s this reason why rangers and trailblazers join caravans, to minimize casualties outside of civilization.
Author’s Note: More weird critters, yeah! I decided a few obligatory folk tales were a necessary add-on, because fur bearing trout and jackalope are truly fun stories. While it was supposed to be in another post on native inspired folk beasts, I added the accursed wendigo here. Warning, this one is quite strong!
Check out my updated take on this alongside some neat ways to change up Tomb of Annihilation (again) here!
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.