Ramon’s Guide to Gothic Terra

Masque

“I came to, a willingness to survive kicked in.  When I swam above the waterline, I wasn’t greeted by Lamordia, by a mist-cloaked land anew.  Surely, this was but a trick of The Dark Powers, once more?” – Ramon DeLeon, wandering bard and planes traveler

Planet Terra.  It has been referenced in many planar logs.  Many worlds tell of a mythic world of great humans who fled the oppressive horrors of their old world of many names.  LaTerre, Uerth, Gothic Earth.  These names and more have been given to this world by many a scholar of Wildspace and The Planes.  Despite its mythic past, much of its fantastical glory days are over, with only dark shadows looming over the present.  The present, according to the widely used calendar of its people, is 2012.  The common people either mistranslate old calendars as prophecy or completely brush off any fear.  The reality of the matter is so much worse…

Author’s Note: Credit where credit is due!  A big thanks to Rucht Lilavivat of the Fraternity of Shadows community for his creation of Gothic Earth Eternal, a pathfinder mod that brings Masque of the Red Death into the Modern Age.  In my case, this is my means of highlighting a variety of chilling tales.  In the world of Gothic Earth, they’re most likely true!  Also, this is not the Earth you are used to, but one more akin to the gothic settings of the World of Darkness roleplaying game.  Life is deadlier, the aesthetics are grimmer and the world in general is far more sinister. Plus, I have an excuse to tie in Alternity Dark*Matter RPG’s Hoffman Institute and the forces of Shadow from D20 Urban Arcana, which are both canon in D&D.  I know Masque of the Red Death doesn’t traditionally have standard Domains, but this concept takes place over 100 years after the main campaign.  Anything can happen, right?

Also, this gives me the chance to showcase some disturbing stories through a supernatural lens!  The fate of the SS. Morro Castle, Jane and the Starving Period of Jamestown, fell curses in the Payton Randolph house, the murder of George Wythe, tavern tales of devil pacts and their supposed results, government conspiracies, southwestern ghost towns, real life camp killers and the infamous murder hotel.  Now, save for a tavern tale or two; the majority of the topics mentioned in this are real or are based on real events.  I don’t mean any offense or disrespect when adapting these events to horror fiction.  If anything, reality is far scarier than any fictional tale we could come up with.  None the less, I realize this one will be rather controversial.

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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

CHANGE OF PLANS!

Due to a recent announcement, my Gaslamp/Gothic/Weird Western theme is temporarily semi-suspended.  I plan on releasing a mixture of more monsters as well as some player options, (possible) alternate rules and magical items.  I’ll release what I have in a few days before this train goes from steam to lightning.  That’s right, Eberron content!  Also, I say semi-suspended because Eberron kinda channels that gaslamp setting sensibility in a few ways.

DOC’S WRITING SPELLJAMMER!

Image result for spelljammer: ad&d adventures in space

Wizards gave the A-OK to drop their news early, so I figured I’d help share the fun.  In short, I’ve been contacted by Wizards of the Coast to help craft their latest product, a world-related expansion book as well as tie-in adventure.  While I can’t say too much, all I can say is that Spelljammer is indeed confirmed.  On top of that, I’m helping the write the sections on it.  As for plot, it will be an overarching multiverse story, akin to the previous modules… but on a much grander scale.  I’m not allowed to disclose further on that though.

If you wanna see more, hop on over here to check the entire announcement on the D&D Youtube page!

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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