Traversing the mists with Mistfactor Press

I’ve been in chats with the fine creators at Mistfactor Press, a group effort to properly update the Ravenloft Campaign Setting for the D&D 5th Edition DM’s Guild. Despite my misgivings towards the current edition, they’ve done a fantastic job and are more than deserving of a look over. They’ve even made 400 page volumes examining said domains in great detail. By all means, consider at least the digital copies. You can find more on their user page, looking under Van Richten’s Encyclopedia of Darklords and Domains.

And with the project leader’s permission, I’m also helping to launch an effort to convert mechanics to 2nd and 3rd Editions. This will only cover things not found in each respective edition, not the entirety of the books (as much of Volume 1 alone can be found in each respective edition). Furthermore, this project will not include any lore that isn’t tied into the mechanics somehow (such as the Darklord’s curses). And as a slight disclaimer, this project is not meant to take away energy or success from Mistfactor, but only help to spread interest and attention by opening the gates to classic fans who might not otherwise be interested in 5th Edition. Stay tuned as always, including for Threshold Mystara Magazine #29. This too will involve Ravenloft.

Dark Visions of Ravenloft – Madame Eva’s Tales from the Time of Unparalleled Darkness

The prophecy foretold!  A Grand Conjuncture was only the beginning, the mad priests speak of the true sundering!  But, these visions of realms are just vague and inconclusive.  Only the lost Dukkar can reveal more, but Hyskosa is or will at some point be gone… supposedly.  I heed you to listen to this prophecy before going forward.  To have an audience of the Vistani, let alone hear the words of one such as I, is an honor you should not soon forget.  You take interest in the fates, let me tell you more.

First stance: The Forsaken Legion shall make their stand against The Darkest Son and The Original Tragedy, as The Wizard laments his Failed Doorway.Twilight's Children - Session 27

Second stance: The striking down of maidens shall break the dark messiah from a witch, so he may glorify a new King.  The King shall enact true change.

Third stance: He who Knits Life and He who is Scorned shall face each other’s fears, a new sin arises from love and another sin is invented.

Fourth stance: Nightmares will take flesh, courts will merge with the horrors of the mind.  Those who can’t fight it will be devoured.

Fifth stance: The Warlord will claim great victory, only for holy light to thwart him when it is too late.  A guiding angel will emerge for revolution.

Six stance: The Witch Daughter shall unravel the war plan, spiraling campaigns of death into a grim peace.  But, the Darkest Son shall gain new family.

Seventh stance: Only The Original Tragedy will endure and face a final test, after a father’s sins are resolved.

Know this, Giorgio, you gain a privilege granted to no others of your kind.  Heed the warnings and prepare loved ones around you…  End Times are upon us, perhaps even the Vistani.

Author’s Note: Nukes, All Out War, Skaven, The-Flood-meets-the-Eldrazi, Holy Vengeance, the Bride of Frankenstein and the Army of the Damned!  Here’s my take on an end all be all for The Mists.  Of course, none of it is said in stone and prophecy can be subverted… like with the Grand Conjunction.  Should you wish to make adventures out of the Time of Unparalleled Darkness, sample my ideas all you like.  After all, I can’t call mine wholly original.  Once again, major thanks to the Kargatane and Fraternity of Shadows for being an excellent font of inspiration.  Also, I remembered recently that the subject of “Dukkar” shouldn’t be brought up to “Giorgio”.  Though, thanks to the Grand Conjunction, the term might be more widely known.

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More Words in The Mists

On Playing 'Dangerous' and Evil in D&D – Digital Ephemera

The shop has closed and the storekeeper ushers you out.  Along the way, he hands you a note though.  As you find yourself under the clammy evening following an afternoon shower, the letter seems to unfurl itself by magic.  The writing is unlike that of the scribe’s.  “For your service, allow me to provide some insight by my own eyes.  After all, any new information broker under my service should be given a proper welcoming present.  And yes, this means you.”  Lowering the letter, you notice a button materialize upon the right breast pocket of your shirt.  It’s a symbol, one swearing allegiance to Azalin.  Frantic, you continue reading.  “Now, please review this information.  It shall be relevant to your next assignment.  And please, don’t think of betraying me.  The last one who tried never made it to the domain’s border.  Now, inform yourself.  I shall test you the following evening. – A”

Welcome to Darkon.  You are from here, you have always been here, you will find your roots here and you shall always serve Azalin Rex.

Author’s Note: I forgot that I wanted to revisit Odiare. I never really liked that domain and the adventure that went with it felt too hokey. So, time to make Maligno’s existence a true nightmare. Mangiafuoco, a cruel puppet master from the original story, becomes his ultimate foil.  Big thanks to the Fraternity of Shadows forums for inspiration. Other than that, let me further rip off Thief.  Also, no one tries to get something out of the mighty lich without him getting something in return.  That said, as much as I love Azalin as a magnificent bastard, I’m done with him… save for one more thing.

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Lost Chapters of The Mists – More Domains of Dread Part 2

Forgotten Lands & Dark Seas

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“Of course, I have more notes.  It’s the least I can do for your glorious donations to our information treasury.  Of course, these are copies.  The originals reside with my master, or at least his own private resources.  Enjoy what I have to offer and don’t hesitate to ask questions.  But, be careful what you ask.”  The scribe continues to pour through his acquisitions, before giving a satisfied nod and granting you access to another set of information.  “This begs the question, since you’ve done so much for our fair liege, surely you have shown interest in recruitment?  He has sensed the future and knows one thing for certain…  Doom awaits.  Only his land and his hand can protect you.  But first, the Blighted city must be dealt with.  This “Death” is only an obstacle for greater victory.”

Author’s Note:  A look at more aspects of the Demiplane of Dread.  I never got around to this originally, as my focus was on the journey to Darkon more than anything.  Enjoy my take on some more canon domains of Ravenloft, reaching beyond the Core and into the Nocturnal Sea and Sea of Sorrows.  Also, since not much fleshed out Bluetspur, I got creative!  Surprise, it’s a Spelljammer inspired domain now!  Also, yes, I always thought Professor Arcanus was a stupid character.

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More Misty Rumors

Thief 3: Deadly Shadows", full walkthrough + 100% loot, Mission 1 -  Checking Inn, Cashing out - YouTube

 

“Don’t worry, I have more to offer. After all, this trade appeases my true master. So, just as before, present your trade.”

Rustling into your pockets, you feel crumpled pieces of parchment, a cold sweat drips from your fingers to nearly stain the hidden papers. You realize what else you can offer, things far more taboo than prior offerings. Hesitant, you remove your clenched hand to reveal more documents. The scribe taps his fingers, quietly chortling to himself in dark glee.  “Ah, now there we go.  I’m a man of my word.  When you deliver good content, I will supply far more.  Ready yourself, more things we prepare for here within our great Darkon.”

Author’s Note: My first set of rumors and happenings were enjoyed, let me craft some more.  For the time being, there is no marked time on the Barovian Calendar.  As an aside, this isn’t my first reference to the Prisoners of the Mist server for Neverwinter Nights.  My hints of Gundarakite rebellion took notes from there too.  I should really get back into that, it was good fun!

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Lost Chapters of The Mists – More Domains of Dread Part 1

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If you have found these notes, then I am still most assuredly lost to somewhere else. I am not sure when I catalogued these notes, but apparently some facet of me did very recently. Perhaps I continued to work for the dread lich without realization. None the less, may these notes prove most useful to you. Within the Lands of the Mists, the power of knowledge can sometimes be damning. However, it is often very, very useful. Stay well and ultimately stay alive.  And should you find me, you too are likely doomed.

Author’s Note: I had more domains of the Core to cover and I honestly didn’t have much other direction at the moment. I still feel a little sick and that sucks. You would think you could trust your own neighborhood to get itself together, but sometimes that’s asking too much. No matter, I’m feeling better. So, with that, here is my look at those other domains. And should I feel up to it, I might toss in an Island of Terror or two. Many of them were cool after all. Hell, some were once part of the core.  Either way, I have more to ramble on in due time.  We’ll probably see another post with lost bard entries on The Mists.  Also, happy 2021.  May it lead to good things for all.

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Bloody Dark across the Planes – The Editor’s Grim Findings

Dear reader, I admire your dedication to my works.  But take heed, such dedication also puts your life in danger.  No doubt, when these scrambled notes become an elaborate codex, such books will see ban in no time.  You wouldn’t believe the among of jink offered to hack my head and serve it on a Lady’s grade platter.    As always, their hunt continues.  Mine continues in the expanse of knowledge.  Plenty of conflict bubbles and oozes beyond your surface.  Ready and prepare, the safety of the multiverse always hangs in the balance.  Let me serenade you with many tales.  But, these aren’t tales of joy or triumph, no!  Tales of woe await you.

Author’s Note: “The Editor” is back, not content with simply The Factol’s Manifesto!  Plenty of things going on, the fall and rise of deities, more on the fey, dark conspiracies of intrigue, a look at my old table’s post-2008 take on the Forgotten Realms, a further looks at my zany Ravenloft-Planescape crossover and more!  And of course, Baby Vecna!  And as always, The Editor proves an ever unreliable narrator, as some details might be fabricated or stretched for his convenience.

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Misty Rumors – Dread Tales of Ravenloft

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A clamminess completes the foggy night sky of Karg, refuge of Il Aluk’s intellectual schools of thought.  But your journey has lead you to a simple building, hiding place of a scribe in service to Azalin Rex himself.  In lieu of recent events, Toubirj the Quickened Hand has found himself waiting the darklord returning to “normalcy”.  But, a network of underground thieves, vindictive academics and disgruntled mages has lead you to an otherwise humble abode.  A short, meek and disheveled looking man answers, his ill-fit body frame moving like a tower of junk ready to topple.  A gangly left arm extends to usher you inside quickly, as he soon slams the door and closes several locks.  And with a few muffled words and motions, a spell further seals the way out.  Shuffling to a chair, he lurches over while placing his head upon his hands.  He studies you, inquisitively before cracking a smile.  Rather than speaking, he simply hands over a piece of parchment.

“Hail to you, reader.  You sought this scroll expecting that strange bard, yes?  Pity, he still has not been found.  I am but a humble scribe, commissioned by his mighty majesty, Azalin.  Divination boons have gifted me with the joys of deeper knowledge, if only to satisfy my liege.  While he has returned to a period of deep contemplation, I continue to collect and gather.  Times in Darkon have been an overflowing cauldron, bubbling and dripping, awaiting tipping point.  That time is passing, as my master returns to dark recesses.  Should you have particularly juicy information, less vulnerable information can be extended in trade…  Just, do it quick.  I know he listens, my arcane senses have made this known!  But, you care for Ramon.  Luckily, I have a few of his journals in my possession.  Allow to extend some of his knowledge to you.  But first, I simply desire to know what you offer in return.”

The frail and strange man finally opens his mouth, “Well, I’m waiting.  If you’re here, you have good information to share.”  He taps his fingers together, expectantly.  Reaching into your bag, you open a carrying case for various parchments, handing them in the direction of the squat man.  His grin widens as he gracefully accepts the documents.  Scanning them in rapid pace, he quickly jumps between pages of notes.  “Ah, this will do well.  First edition notes from the bard.  Let me offer some fine bits of my own in return.  And mark my words, we are safe from interlopers.  Do not fear these secrets being overheard… save for by his highness.  That isn’t an issue, is it?”

Author’s Note:  Am I done with Ramon?  What does the future hold in general?  I’m still not sure with either.  In the meantime, let’s return to various domains of dread.  And with that, plenty of secrets and rumors!

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Monsters of even more Forbidden Realms (Raven-scape Monsters Part 2)

15 Best Cosmic Horror Movies Inspired By Lovecraft | Cultured Vultures

You awaken to find yourself chained against a damp and musty cave wall.  What you see before you was likely once a man, but his flesh sways and twitches in ways not befitting a natural creature.  As he glances at you, several copies of his face seem to project, as if to magnify his speech. Multiple uncanny smiles form in disjointed succession, as the space-warped thing speaks.

“You thought you escaped?  What a foolish notion!  The Mists are eternal and you are a puppet!  A wise adventurer would best research on things that dwell in darkness, lest they be another story of the Dark Powers.  In the end, you are all the same.  But, a fighting chance is too irresistible to ignore.  So, fight on and fight well, mortal.  If you were wiser, you could have read onward about the awful things that sprawl and crawl.  I was once like you, but then I was chosen to be beyond human.  The cosmic eternity takes the worthy, granting them a new story.  But first, allow me to do the honor of ending yours.” 

Shadowy projections of his hand reach over, to simply touch your forehead.  Protrusions and mockeries of the flesh extend from the tainted thing’s arm.  The mass plants itself upon your head, as you feel its horrid pull.  The force of a thousand realities tries takes your essence.  All goes black, the alien void has won.

Author’s Note:  I had more planned, I just wanted to space them out instead of cram it all into one post.  I’m still pondering where to go next.  But, the Stars are Right for… something.  And yes, The Thing was one of the inspirations behind The Paradox.  But, how would you conduct a blood test for it?

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Monsters of Forbidden Realms (Raven-scape Monsters Part 1)

The Mists have spawned all manner of atrocities and abominations to traverse its foggy murk.  These creatures are usually the physical embodiment of either a darklord’s sins or the horrors of our very existential condition.  Some are merely pulled into the Demiplane of Dread and enhanced into something so much more, even replicated to bring new methods of terror to the native populace of the lands.  No matter the origin, they stand in opposition to heroes who challenge the everlasting darkness.  Whether they are pawns of the dark powers or operating on their own accord is up for debate, but their haunting presence shall be known to those unfortunate enough to encounter them.  In fact, some creatures are capable of removing you from known reality.  All the more reason a monster hunter be readied and prepared for such evils.

Author’s Note: Nightmare Fuel, Body Horror, Terrors of the Cosmic and more!  Yes, Halloween is done and plenty of real life horror may get in the way, but nothing a little pretend horror can’t distract from. So, let’s take a moment to enjoy the monsters of some chilling tales.  After all, it doesn’t matter if it’s Halloween, they always lurk and await new victims.  Here are a bundle of monsters inspired by the Planescape/Ravenloft posts, from various domains or dimensional spaces.  Also, the inclusion of the Wolfwere was done in support of the November RPG Blog Carnival, hosted by Faith of Pratfalls and Pixies.  Find more here!  Also, look out for part 2 soon.

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