Spirit of the Festive Season – The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

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It is not certain if these spirits are of the deceased or the emotion of yuletide joy that persists after one is lost.  Perhaps they’re not even ghosts at all, but a powerful embodiment of the season itself!   Perhaps they’re divided courts of the fey, likely a Winter Court.  It is quite likely that they’re spiritual manifestations of Celestials and Fiends, who take a different role in good and evil.  No matter their origin, these beings are dedicated to their cause of taking part in a yuletide celebration.  All of these spirits are decorated with assorted garb.  Crowns of wreaths, fanciful ball costumes, monk robes, simple cloth, peasantry garments, regal/noble outfits, etc.  It’s rare that any two spirits at all resemble each other.  In fact, they often go out of the way to look different from each other.

Their other reason for appearing, beyond overseeing festivities, is to visit those in dire need.  In the case of good spirits, they lead the subject on the right path through showing them the error of their ways.  In other cases, they give rewards to the just and noble.  In the case of bad spirits, they torment souls who have dared to stray away from the spirit of the season, rendering them horrified or mad.  Or even worse, they might even further a victim’s descent into damnation.  No matter the case, they materialize during season festivities and carry a certain power allowing them to perform incredible feats.

All are tied to a point in time, capable of incredible feats of divination and conjuration.  Memories of the past, mirrors of the present and visions of the future.  When such abilities prove to be not enough, they are even capable of gathering more spirits to aid them.

Author’s Note:  Faith from Brynvalk is hosting RPG Blog Carnival and I’m more than happy to contribute again!  Last year, it was all about the faerie folk.  This year?  Literature.  So, with a dash of “novel inspiration”, I’m focusing on Gothic literature (and some related genres and authors, like more Lovecraft!)  For starters, I’m going to do something in the name of the yuletide season and make a semi-modular creature based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.  I might do one more entry to fit the general season, who knows?  (That said, I’m busy with work being a real pain, so it’s hard to say.  Hopefully, I won’t delay too much.  We’ll see!!)

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Bizarre Bazaar – Even More Strange Items Return

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“Are you still here?  It is good to be a dedicated shopper, but closing hours draw near.  A busy body must always prepare for the next day’s wave of customers and curators.  But, Zam’Dul is patient!  You shall be helped in finding what you seek.  Rest assured, the store likely has it.  Now, do follow and be shown many fine wares!  But, please do so quickly…  Pushing customers after closing is such a bother.”

Welcome back to another revisiting of the bizarre bazaar!  As always, Zam’Dul awaits customers with a fine assortment of majestic and obscure magical treasures.  Sure, he’s looking to close down for the night, but mark my words, he has plenty of oddities to showcase as always!  Sure, some seem familiar, but others are new sights to behold.

Author’s Note: It’s kinda ironic and hypocritical of me.  I’m not too content with reprints of spells and whatnot in the currently-new Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.  And yet, here I am, posting updates of older items I made in the past.  Not really a statement, just an observation.  Anyway, I hope these updates address some mistakes I made in the past, while highlighting which items I really liked a lot!

Also, I hit 250 posts!  Hooray!

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Bizarre Bazaar – Strange Magical Items Revisited

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A familiar face comes into view as patrons briefly part into a narrow opening, it’s a cloaked humanoid with a strange helmet!  The creature gets up from a meditative stance, acknowledging your presence.  His relaxed and idle stance changes into a beckoning yet inviting gesture.

“Ah, Zam’Dul has not forgotten you, traveler!  Many of my old wares are gone… The rest?  Well, a bored mind tries to see what can be done with spare parts.  You’ll see some older oddities as well as some new creations.  Please, relax and observe what the shop has to offer!  Never be afraid to ask questions, Zam’Dul knows all!”

He lifts a curtain beyond his little stand to reveal a massive archive of the wonderful and weird, seemingly infinite space is filled with encased treasures and incredible artifacts.  The helmed monk shuffles to a counter, seemingly observing you wherever you go.

Author’s Note: These were always fun to do!  Also, I’ve been messing around with some of my magic items.  Some needed a fair bit of overhaul, while others weren’t developed enough.  Plus, I have a few ideas I’ve been kicking around in general.  So, let’s get shopping!  (Or something!)  Keep an eye out for the Tomb of Annihilation nods, for any gamers eager to run the major adventure book for Fall 2017.  Also, this post was made in support of the November 2017 RPG Carnival with the theme “The Past, Revisited“.  Check out the post and its contributors!

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Murderous Maniac – A Slasher Villain Template

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The act of killing by itself is a heinous thing, something adventurers often have to cope with on a common basis.  Often it’s self defense against monsters and bandits, other times it’s for more insidious reasons.  Some snap amidst the violence, losing any attachment to empathy or reason.  Such people degenerate into cold blooded killers, driven by the thrill of slaying whatever prey comes into their clutches.  After a while, it becomes less about adventure and discovering lost treasure as it is an unrelenting bloodlust and hatred for all who oppose your goals.

This path of bloodshed and psychosis is a chilling and horrid one, the basis for many stories of terrifying villains and disturbed madmen.  Much of the time, these evildoers prefer to scare their prey as much as possible before causing them to meet their untimely end.  Such tactics are more than butchery and savagery, as the power of psychological terror is essential for weakening their foes.  Often, they’ll do whatever to take away their power and isolate a target as much as possible, finding impossible ways to stalk them as well.  And when all hope is lost, the killing strike is unleashed!  Few have survived the wrath of a murderous maniac… and they usually die in the sequel anyway!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I’ve rediscovered an awesome expansion for World of Darkness known as Slasher.  It’s built on the Chronicles era Hunter game, in which Hunters succumb to their own inner darkness and become the very villains of horror cinema lore…  essentially.  Of course, there’s more to it than that, but whatever.  Anyway, here’s a template that borrows heavily from slasher cinema, in an effort to translate the idea into D&D.  Enjoy!  (I might update with a “Supernatural Slasher” in the near future!  Who knows?)  Also, as for the picture?  I’ve always loved this scene from the original Halloween.  Something about that shot highlights a character’s seeming futile attempt to hide from a masked madman… and said murderous pushing into a claustrophobic space, where everything seems lost.  Did I mention that movie is one of my all time favorite films?

Also, this one will probably be revised once I get more accurate math for this one, maybe swap out one thematic ability for another.  I’ll see what people say first.

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Therianthropes! – A Collection of Werebeasts for D&D 5th Edition

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Hey, ghosts and ghoulies!  Doc is back at it again!  This time around, I have an assortment of werebeasts at your disposal.  The document includes new content including: a werebeast never posted on the blog, new NPCs inspired by each animal stock, cleaned up versions of two previously existing sub-classes and more!

You may find the document HERE!

HALLOWEEN SPELL UPDATE

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Greetings, goblins and ghouls.  I added a small handful of spells to my Planar Grimoire document.  It’s a heaping helping of darker spells throughout the multiverse, as detailed below.  Enjoy.

  • Jutting Bones – Conjure bones from the ground to pierce foes
  • Sylvan Soul – Sample an aspect of the fair folk for a brief moment
  • Psychic Projectile – Reach into the Far Realm and pull out some power to hurl at a foe!
  • Rolling Skull Army – An entourage of skulls come from seemingly nowhere and slam into all in their way
  • Abyssal Kiss – You blow a deadly kiss to a foe, possibly destroying their very soul
  • Visions from the Stars – Everyone around you sees a horrific vision from the cosmic depths
  • Shadow King’s Drain – A draining magical effect, crafted by a dreadful lich

Also, I tied up some loose ends.  I dunno why this one stumped me!

  • Detect Portals – Does what it says on the tin!  Admittedly, I had a similar idea to the Horizon Walker Ranger.  The only difference was involving size and distance.

Spawn of Death – Creatures born and reborn from the dead

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You are a creature created from the impossible, either unnatural life given back to a body or from a birth most foul.  In either case, the death infused are considered abominations by many.  In some cases, they were created from revival rituals and necromatic magic gone awry.  In other cases, merely the results of trying to achieve immortality… with horrific results.  Arcane experiments in general are the source of the half-undead, either to crossbreed horrors or to create a new form of unlife entirely.

While the Death-Spawn are tainted by different forms of negative energies and dark power, they tend to share similar aspects in traits.  They convey a sense of lifelessness or at least an uncanny sense of life.  They typically lack the warmth of a living body, feeling clammy and/or cold to the touch.  Some are lucky enough to have bodies perfectly intact, looking indistinguishable from other average humanoids.  The unlucky look akin to shambling corpses and disheveled zombies.

Author’s Note: I wanted to take a crack at races again.  So, here’s a new race of undead-touched creatures inspired by a handful of resources: The Raven Queen, The Crow, Pathfinder’s Dhampir, the Half-Undead from Dragon Magazine and so on and so forth.  Just a heads up, this is a rough draft and none of these have been tested yet.  I am likely to revisit this at a later time though.

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