Forgotten Souls: A Tomb of Annihilation + Dark Souls mashup

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The so-called Death Curse seemed like a contradiction at first… we were robbed of our ability to die! Oh, how wrong we were! – A tattered letter from Camp Righteous

A dark shroud has enveloped fair Toril, it is not of this world. A powerful force of raw necrotic energy has made its way into this world. What was once a mere Lich is slowly becoming something more, in part from his Death Curse. Worse yet, a powerful artifact is making the effects of this hex far greater and far more widespread too. But, for what purpose? Perhaps to empower him or possibly provide an endless font to create feats of magic locked away from even the gods! Adventurers are needed, as always. Many have fallen to the madness of the curse, becoming little more than empty husks who attack anything with a semblance of life force left. Go forth and bring life back to this world and don’t you dare go hollow on me!

The world of Abeir-Toril is fairing poorly against a strange incursion by a powerful entity known as “Acererak”. Stories travel around other prime material planes. These stories tell of foul magic, undeath and annihilation. Not long after the monster’s arrival, people found themselves somehow alive when they should have been dead. At first, people rejoiced! But soon, they caught on. Their hearts had stopped, their complexion faded, they began to look more like walking corpses. Many lost their mind, aimlessly attacking those who still show some signs of life. Some fear that this Acererak is not alone, aided by a far more malevolent force.

Author’s Note: Sure, the new adventure is coming soon or whatever. That said, here’s an idea I’ve been bouncing around for a while! What if, instead of merely wasting away from the Death Curse, victims would lose themselves to a slowly spreading and corrupting undeath. Then it hit me, this is Dark Souls! So, I mashed the two together in a sense. Below are a retooling of my Curse of Undeath as well as how to mesh it with Tomb of Annihilation. View the original here. Also, find more content for Chult here.

One final thing. This article contains major spoilers for much of the module. Do not read on if you plan on playing this module!

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Bizarre Bazaar Forever – Even More Planar Items!

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Welcome back, weary traveler!  Please, as always, you are more than welcome to observe my inventory.  Should anything be particularly fascinating to you, signal me and I’d be happy to tell you more!  Of course, some of these artifacts are VERY dangerous and should be handled with care.  Fortunately for you, the GREAT Zam’dul is happy to provide assistance!

Author’s Note: Making magic items from around the planes remains to be one of the most fun topics for me to tackle.  As such, I really wanted to return to it so soon.  With that, enjoy another sampling of weirdness from many a reality.

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Bizarre Bazaar Returns from the Planes! – More Planar Items

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The hustle and bustle of the market gives way to something you’ve seen before.  Ahead lies a familiar tent and sitting underneath is a figure wearing spacefaring gear over robes.  Their head tilts in your direction, acknowledging your presence and expecting reaction.  Upon getting closer, the creature straightens its back as it lifts from the ground with seemingly little effort.  Facing you, they extend a cloth covered arm in greeting, it is Zam’dul the Plane Traveler.  The thick breathing from a chamber in his mask lightens up as you can hear sounds like a throat being cleared.

“Hail, friend!  It has been a while, has it not?  Please, do not shy away.  Since your last visit, I have procured many new items from the distant cosmos and beyond.  I open my collection for you, if you can handle a potentially steep price.”

The dusty, wrinkled merchant shuffles over as an arm extends to highlight various wares.  Much like before, you bare witness to a wide variety of truly odd looking crafts and artifacts.  Some resemble items you’ve seen in your travels, others are far too alien for you to fully comprehend.  Zam’dul surveys the crowd while ringing a strangely shaped bell, hoping to garner interest.

Author’s Note: We’re slowly closing out our planar theme for the time being.  However, I figured it would be fun to return to another installment of Bizarre Bazaars!  This time, I’m going back to my roots and doing another planar theme, including the truly bizarre and perhaps even horrifying aspects of the planes.  But, if you wanted normal items, you wouldn’t have come here.  As a bonus, I’ve converted over some items from Planescape Torment.  No matter, take it away, Zam’dul.

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Diseases and Plagues – Sinister Sickness for D&D 5th Edition

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Journal Entry 183

Illness.  A force capable of wiping out an entire city, if not civilization, if left unchecked.  My superiors theorize that it is the result of the machinations of the lower planes.  I know better though, I’m well aware that life so evil need not come from other planes, but from our prime material.  Sicknesses come from small germ-like creatures, accidentally bred through hosts and environments, but that’s as far as I can gather on my research.  By all means, I’m sure fiends can create their own diseases though… and I shudder at the thought.

That said, I will never rule out an element of the supernatural in plagues.  I’ve witnessed many things while acting as a physician: pustules emitting acidic vapor, coughing fits leading to burning alive, previously rotting and wasting victims returning as the undead, demonic incubation.  The list continues onward.  In fact, some of these cases I plan on covering more in depth, in addition to some new discoveries I’ve made.  I must go back into plagued lands to dive deeper.  However, one can’t venture into these dark depths without proper protection.  As unnerving as it may be to the public, the plague suit has proved quite effective.  Aromatic contents treated with protective wards is helpful enough, after all.  Now, I ready myself for travel throughout the planes, in hopes of understanding disease throughout all realities.

Author’s Note:  My avatar on many of my pages tends to be a plague doctor.  So, what could be more appropriate than analyzing diseases with such a character.  Also, I guess this marks a return to planar and sci-fi content, right?  Plus, one of the things that inspired this was Russet’s Mold and Vegepygmies from Expedition to Barrier Peaks… a module I had previously converted!

Also, be warned!  If you do not like Body Horror or other forms of Medical Horror, I do not recommend continuing.  While I don’t go into grotesque detail, I’ve still tried to capture both to the best of my ability.  And even then, many of the diseases here are quite deadly and have the capability to kill an entire party.  As such, use them sparingly.

Also, please pardon the lateness of this post.  I’ve been under immense stress for the past month and a half.  Things haven’t been going too well for me and I’m doing my best to manage.  That said, things are getting better and I’m trying to make things go back to normal.  As always, thanks for understanding.

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Bizarre Bazaar Addendum – More Spooky Items

“Haven’t had enough of the ol’ hunchback shopkeeper’s wares, huh?  Well, there’s more where that came from!”

Here is a small helping of even more magical items for Halloween.  Enjoy.

Author’s Note: I wanted to make a few more magical items in addition to what I made before.  Also, more JoJo references?  I figured why not, since Part 1 is airing on U.S. television.  I had to hold myself from making anything Vento Aureo, Stone Ocean, Steel Ball Run or Jojolion because not enough people read the manga… and they should.  Also, be on the look out for how many Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem references I can squeeze into one item.

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Oath of the Blasphemer – A Blackguard Oath for D&D 5th Edition

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For some, the antipaladin and the oathbreaker represents a fall from grace.  These are the exiles and the heretics whom must be stopped at all costs!  But, what happens when an entire oath is distorted by gradual influence of the darkness itself?  The Order of the Blasphemer is one such atrocity that arises.  These distorted paladins have lost their way much like the blackguard, but are convinced they serve a divine or holy cause.  This could be from sheer madness or from a dark revelation that the order itself is corrupt.

While many devotees of dark forces are aware of how far from grace they have fallen, the blasphemer order is tragic and ironic in their ignorance.  Driven mad by their past oaths and ideals, they have become delusional in the corruption they carry.  Many mad blasphemers have reached a level of insanity typical in the most devout of abyssal followers as a result of their broken minds doing all they can to refute their wretched existence.  Those who manage to break free of their mania typically become oathbreakers.  Some try to atone and become cynics.  The rest die from despair or failure to absolve themselves of their sins.

Author’s Note: Ah, deconstructing the Paladin… it’s always fun!  As written above, I’ve done this before with the Cynic.  Here, I have a new twist on the antipaladin/blackguard, a reluctant one who clings onto their old hopes and views while unwittingly (or perhaps willingly) committing great evil.  Also, take note!  This concept was an experimental idea I came up with to expand the oathbreaker archetype.  Some of the ideas are volatile and will be patched up in the weeks following.  Also, the original idea was far closer to Artorias from Dark Souls, but I figured it would have been too much of an homage.  But enough from me, subscribe today and a faustian bargain can be yours!

 VIEW THE UPDATED VERSION HERE!

Horrors of Gaming Past – Video Game inspired Evils for D&D 5th Edition

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The Stuff of Childhood Nightmares

 

While we have all grown up and have faced many of our fears as youth, that haunting sensation of encountering fear as a child always rings true.  That dreadful encounter with the grotesque, the macabre, the evil, the horrifying.  Many the psyches of many children, the experience can be outwardly traumatizing.  For some, that’s just part of the adventure.  Many adventures alone came with twists that surprised and shocked us in ways we would never forget.  In creative and interactive mediums, the chance to experience a story first hand allows us to take it further.  Tabletop games enable us to experience the truly wretched and twisted; inducing madness, terror or revulsion.  One medium grew out of the tabletop hobby, video games.

The world of the video game shows us visuals to help capture the world, allowing us to see a world and interact with it.  While more limited than humans, as computers are the game master, they still give us that illusion of freedom.  Back to the original idea, they can help to instill horror through a variety of creative visuals and audio.  Maybe the intent was to scary us like crazy, perhaps it was something the developers thought they made an amusing gag… and it turned out wrong.  (WARNING: TV TROPES LINK)  No matter the intention, these interactions stick with us, they fascinate us, they disturb us, they chill us.  Something that truly scared us leaves us not only horrified, but in awe.  With that, I thought I’d break the usual take on things and revive some classic horrors from the gaming world that stuck with many of us.  Or at the least, revive some encounters that stuck with me.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Have a little classic gaming nightmare fuel.  I wanted to do a theme like this for a while, so here we go!  Also, I’ll put up a disclaimer here.  I wanted to get a little more experimental with this, meaning I’ll have to clean up the resulting mess I make.  I was more eager to make homages to classic baddies, so this will probably be polished over the next couple of days.  Stay tuned!

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