Threshold Magazine # 29 Now Available

As I’ve posted before, I have an article in the current issue of Mystara’s greatest fan magazine, Threshold. The article, “Beyond Nebligtod: Mystara in the Mists” explores three new Domains of Dread that have a distinctly Mystaran influence/perspective. Likewise, check out the other amazing contributions as well. Also, shout-out to the editors and layout designers for their amazing work.

You can find Issue # 29 here.


“Open for Business!”

So, what gives? I vanish from you fine people for a long time with barely a word.  Well, I owe at least some explanation.  In short, things have not been exactly exemplary, tearing me away from creative stuff.  Lots of personal problems I may divulge in another post.  On top of that, being hardcore burned out on D&D has made things a bit rougher in general.  Either way, I’m back with a bit of an announcement.  Without telling you too much about my life, things have been a bit hectic during my semi-hiatus from the page here.  But, I’ve still kept busy with at least something.  

So with that, I’d like to inform that my contribution for Threshold Magazine is nearing completion.  The theme?  More victims of the Dark Powers hailing from the world of Mystara.  Read the frantic notes of the Black Rajah of Jaibul as he tries to make sense of his own situation.  Dare to seek more on other prisoners of the mists, even a word on Meredoth of Nebligtod!  While two of these domains are based on previous creations seen on my blog, this article expands a little on Vasfar and Ylar.  Joining them is a domain that connects to the mysterious pocket domain of Acotlaza.  This is the Scarred Crags, a mockery of Tiger Clan attempts to conquer their siblings of the Atruaghin Clans.  While the themes of fighting lycanthropy, colonization and oppression are no strangers to the Demiplane of Dread, hopefully this new Darklord’s pain pleases the Dark Powers.  And likewise, I hope that those reading this are just as eager as I am to make some more mad creations for the Demiplane of Dread.  Should things prove popular enough, this might continue.  Beyond Threshold, I might make a follow-up for Fraternity of Shadow’s Quoth the Raven or perhaps Threshold once more.  Likewise, musings on converting Ravenloft content to BECMI.  The Darklords and related creatures get only minimal mechanical considerations in the current article though.  In the meantime, the mists are parting once more and something dark lingers nearby.

Holly Jolly … something

So, I would have had a post readied for this friday, but I’m going to find out if I got the virus first. Plus, a lot of other things are happening. This isn’t the normal mayhem from the holiday season or whatnot, but it’s certainly an issue all its own. I’ll be back and doing things in no time. But, as per tradition with this page, things always have a habit of slowing the page down around this time of year. Inspiration and motivation become harder for me and personal issues seem to become an obstacle to overcome. But, like always, I’ll manage and pull through.

As for other news, I’ve continued to read a whole bunch of other games. Information overload isn’t per se what’s bugged me a bit, so much as so many choices and ideas to choose from. As I’ve said before, I don’t really care for D&D 5th Edition anymore. I mostly did my monsters update to keep a tradition from before going.  But hey, Daemons & Deathrays v 0.5 was a Pathfinder blog on Tumblr, before I fled that Layer of The Abyss and relaunched here not long after 5E came out.  I’m still wrestling over all sorts of choices. All in all, this has been a year of problems, a whole block of time wasted with little in the way of progress or expansion.  Still, I keep going. Turning Ramon into this quasi-ARG metaplot thing was a lot of fun though. Kudos to the people that pieced it together (to various degrees) pretty early; whether here, patreon, facebook, thepiazza (I think?) or wherever!

And in other news, I have been talking to various people again about potential ambitious projects. Should one begin to sail, my motivations will probably shift towards that. I will say that several of these projects involve game creation to some degree. What will that mean for here? Will posts change gears? Perhaps updates on various things, discussing what’s acceptable to mention to the public? Maybe. All I’m saying is I’m hoping for 2021 to make up for this year, at least in accomplishments. As always, any future steps will keep all of you in the radar. And should things not work as planned? You keep working at something, one way or another. Stay safe out there, everyone. And as always, see ya soon. Should I be kept from doing that for some reason, thanks for staying awesome!

Blackmoor Week 2020: Blackmoor, Into the Future

Blackmoor week celebrates the birth of Dave Arneson and his creation of the Blackmoor setting.  As the co-founder of the game and other grandfather of roleplaying games, he deserves some love as well, hence this week on the web.  You can click the image above to see more of what Blackmoor Week has to offer.  But, should you be interested in my own mad ramblings and homages to Arneson’s setting and beyond, do continue here as well!  Doc’s Laboratory awaits!

Since its inception, there have been a number of iterations of the lands of Blackmoor.  The ones most tied to Arneson were the first and last incarnations.  And to an extent, even the alteration into Mystara’s history counts.  My experience with Blackmoor started mostly with the final versions, the 3rd edition and 4th edition source books provided by Zeitgeist Games at the time.  While I knew it was put into the distant past of The Known World and beyond, I never had a chance at the Mystara friendly version of it for a while.  None the less, I favor a blend of the classic vision with the Mystaran one.  It even factored into a game friends took part in long ago.  Said game was a multiple campaign arc in Mystara, with tons of crazy time travel and other antics with reality.  The last game ended after our travels back and forth into Blackmoor’s history.  For numerous games, we were called to deal with progressively evolving threats in the kingdom-turned-empire.  However, our final threat was something we weren’t prepared for, a Blackmoor in the modern age.  Sadly, the campaign ended as we caught a glimpse of an imposing and bleak city over the horizon.  Mind you, this was during the days when many of us still thought Blackmoor would be fit in the Broken Lands, before we realized that later developments changed that.

This isn’t the end of Returned Blackmoor, just it in active campaign form.  Years and years passed, before the Mystara Reborn Facebook group became the encouragement I needed to give life back into this new Blackmoor.  With old notes in hand and scrambled bits from the rest of the old table, I cobbled together an image of what a Blackmoor might look like if it used time powers to survive its doom in the Mystaran world.  It turns out, having your land rotated into a frigid wasteland can massively throw one off.  This, combined with plague and political instability lead to a trusted member of the military staging a coupe and establishing a harsh dictatorship.  While the arcane-infused high technology of Blackmoor recovered and developed anew, the culture became far more stagnant and stale, as leadership forbid it to develop further.  As the decades passed since it leapt into the near-present, the leader began to lose a grip on reality as well as physical health.  Ultimately, he would become something of a quasi-undead cyborg, a major campaign reveal.  (A brain-in-a-jar piloting a robot body, a staple science fiction trope.)   Meanwhile, movements arise in the shadows to oppose him, some more extreme than others.  Other forces stir, many of which driven by wicked ends.  All sorts of enemies roam this new Blackmoor: wasteland raiders, rogue robots, mutant animalmen, atomic undead, acolytes of new dark Immortals or even the slumbering Egg of Coot!  Those are only a few examples.

Now, how does this involve the players?  Well, many games could involve them in the mayhem and wonder of this forbidden land.  For starters, they could help shape an uprising against the corrupt usurper state.  Heroes may choose to help remnants of the old ways help restore classic order within the realm.  They might consider radical change instead, favoring one of several other factions, ranging from reformists to new potential overlords.  They might even earn the trust of the regime and become ambassadors to the greater world.  Over time, the current ways of Blackmoor may become less extreme in their own way.  For the more Arneson approved old school experience, there are a number of dungeons both classic and infused with gonzo science-fantasy, even Castle Blackmoor has received modifications over the eons.  It seems with time that many of the kinks that caused Blackmoorian tech to go haywire are more properly ironed out too.  Or at least, more attention to potential sabotage.  Potential for larger plots exist too:  Blackmoor trying to integrate safely into the greater world, the Immortals having none of it and punting the land into the Hollow World (alongside the Blacklore Elves), a massive war risking a Greater Rain of Fire, the rise of a new Blackmoor Empire and much more.

To dive more into Returned Blackmoor, check out Threshold Magazine!  Issues 20, 22 and 26 (edited) have articles by me.

Yes, We’re Open!

This site is still operational, even though things are still a bit slow.  Needless to say, things in the world don’t exactly inspire a mind to be creative, short for generating a work of dystopian fiction…  But, not enough people take the warnings of those seriously, usually.  Anyway, I’ll try to get something up relatively soon.  And, once I’ve had enough of the Great Wheel (or at least my take), we’ll see what happens from there.  As I’ve said, I’m sick of D&D, especially 5th Edition.  I’ve played many games and systems over the years, especially in the past.  Whether through Patreon or through here, I’ll see what other systems catch people’s interest in another post.  Maybe this year will be that blog relaunch I’ve been planning after all?

I couldn’t think of a title…

So, I promised monsters.  I’ll still work on something, I promise.  As for filling in gaps by converting Guardinals, Gehreleths and then some?  Hopefully, I can get around to that at some point.  I might put those up on the Guild though, I’m not sure.  I’m hoping to back port many of my homebrew ideas to 2E as well, for the sake of original Planescape.  Such idea is probably madness though.  That said, I’ve continued to explore other games outside of D&D, including things from outside of its usual genre…  Well, far more since quarantine.  I’ve played plenty outside of it, but now I’m taking the time to actively binge read.  So, how will that affect things as the year progresses?  Not sure!  Also, while I’m a bit tired of 5E, I still like it to a degree.  A good break from it might actually rebuild my interest in it.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, I wanna finish up my stuff on the Inner Planes.  From there?  Maybe a quick thing or two on the Astral and the Ethereal… Maybe?

New Year, New Me?

We made it to Cyberpunk 2020!  Happy New Year!  Happy New 20s!  Anyway, I needed a break from gaming stuff.  I’ll be back soon enough.  Plus, I’ve been rereading some other RPGs.  I think for a new year and new decade, considering other systems might be in order after all.  To be pretty honest?  I’ve been feeling a bit tired of D&D 5th Edition.  Will 2020 be the finale for 5E content?  I’m still deciding.  In the meantime, I will roll out a few neat posts about the glories of the Lower Planes, maybe something else when they reveal the Spring 2020 big adventure thingy that I won’t buy…  Who knows?  It’s a new year/decade of possibilities!