Ramon’s Guide to the Inner Planes

The inner planes | Fantasy map making, Sigil, Astral plane

Details on more comes later!

Circling the prime are realms where natural life is abundant, even the opposite is present too! This is the circle of the Inner Planes. Looping forms of elements dancing endlessly, the fabric of natural matter locked in a glorious display. So, why not explore them? A novel idea, and what better host for such an adventure? If I do say so, myself. Follow my mad scribblings and even madder musings as we quest to see the workings of the Inner Planes, uncovering many secrets and hidden goodies along the way.

A word of warning, many of the inner planes are truly primal. You feared the forces of the Outer Planes, but many of these are broken into base primordial essences. And no, I don’t mean like Primordium; such a strange place is still rather dangerous in its own right. I talk of the place that gave the inspiration to build Primordium in the first place! It’s amazing how something so simple can be so awe inducing. To me, those are the Elemental Planes. Let us not dally.  Admittedly, my venture to the Upper Planes lasted quite a while, the better part of many primer yearly calendars. So, do stay close and protect yourself against the correct force, one of many elemental vortexes are just a jump away!

Author’s Note: Before we continue, because I don’t say it enough, a big thanks to Todd Stewart for being a huge inspiration.  His work in pathfinder’s planar content gets a nod from me partially because of it!  While I doubt I’ll ever really jump back to Paizo, I can appreciate the work the some of the people over there are doing.  Besides, I’m more so feeling Cyberpunk 2020 or one of many other seemingly relevant dystopian games for this day and age…  Anyway, jokes and other topics aside, the Inner Planes always felt like they needed more to them.  The Inner Planes book itself jokes about this while giving some neat suggestions, but I want to add my own touch.  Hell, it calls out the people who aren’t imaginative enough to make those planes work.  I’ve seen too many silly complaints about the Inner Planes too, in part because it puts your mind in a challenge…  Anyway, here are the results of my own elemental plane challenge.  Well, part of them.  I have much more where this came from!

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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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We Aren’t Alone – Horrific Alien Entities

Image result for alien abduction painting

The stars carry their own ill omens.  Sometimes, they are not always distant sleeping beings, but terrestrial creatures of a different sort.  This doesn’t stop them from being completely alien in other ways.  Sometimes, these things are from our own world and remain just as frightening as things from beyond the stars.  The borders between dimensions falter, as a dark matter begins to traverse into our own realm.  All means of xenoforms manifest as a result, with us ill prepared for what is to come.

Author’s Note:  War of the Worlds, Alien’s Xenomorph, Classic Conspiracy Theories.  Those are the subjects of this post.  Also, remember when I said I was done butchering German?  Well, I guess I lied…  Also, I wanted to fit a few references to the Alternity RPG’s Dark*Matter setting.  Also, please don’t hate me for poking fun at the recent Aliens universe…

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The Mechanical Bits of Alza’um

Image result for victorian factory machine

While Alza’um secludes itself in secrecy, the land is still quite populous.  While the population is predominantly made of humans, gnomes, dwarves and even ratfolk; it’s still bristling with its own unique vibrancy and charm.  Much like the machines that operate on clockwork, so do the denizens.  Life is a chaotic schedule balanced under the facade of order.  This insular technical revolution is made under the assumption that the outside world isn’t ready, but they’re more than enlightened.  Whether this is truth or unaware foolishness hasn’t been determined yet.  Either way, strange adventures and even stranger locals await those granted the proper access.

Author’s Note:  It’s a pun!  But seriously, I felt like I was leaving out a lot of goodies.  At some point, I’ll want to flesh this out for say an OGL product or something, once I can get help with maps, layout and artists eventually.  In the meantime, here are some underground dwellers of this outlandish city of high magical technologies.  Of course, many can be repurposed for more steampunk oriented games.

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Alza’um, Land of High Artifice Part 2. Alza’um City

File:London Bridge Underground tunnel (33466504566).jpg

Welcome. Please, step into the elevator chamber at the end of the hallway.

Alza’um, the true city beneath the smoke and mirrors. Life is far more controlled than in the port city of mysteries and merchants. However, that doesn’t make life any easier. Only the lucky and the blessed get their way in, without tricky maneuvering. Stowaways and thieves don’t make out too well. For those who make it? It’s a long way down the ladder and back up. Life in the city is a climb towards excellence. Of course, too many refuse to let others into their station.

In the beginning, a large caravan of outcasts, tinkerers, mages and artificers came together with a common goal.  They wished to craft and hone their abilities in peace, trading and sharing knowledge within their enclave.  For a while, it was a place of common ground and unity.  Racial differences of these sages and inventors mattered little, but rather their devotion to their creations and the quality of their work.  An ideal lead to a city, which fled underground after conflict with the outside world.  This racial harmony ideal lasted… until the denizens of the darkness below found themselves in inevitable conflict with the city dwellers.

Author’s Note: Part 2 continues with the namesake city! In addition, I might make some extra crunch bits soon too. Needless to say, I’m having tons of fun with this.

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Alza’um, Land of High Artifice Part 1. Bashar

scifi desert landscape by Bawarner

Just a normal colony, nothing to see here…

 

Bashar.  It’s a city of splendors!  A glowing beacon amidst sloshing sea and dead desert.  Beyond it?  A wasteland riddled with pillaged tombs, booby traps and a rare village or two.  Those who do make the voyage are treated to a gathering place of delights and fancies.  The bazaar attracts and sells some of the finest wares in the world, as well as domestic items beyond words.  It is here that new forms of magic have been unveiled as well as incredible forms of technology dubbed “magitech”.

However, life in this metropolitan hub is not what it seems.  While a paradise for the discerning buyer or the exotic seller, a sinister shadow is caste upon those who live within the dusty streets and winding alleyways beyond the market.  Few care or look out for each other.  While backstabbing is rarely literal, there isn’t much trust between neighbors.  Help is looked upon with a sense of dishonor and ascension up the social ladder is rife with self-sacrifice or betrayal.

Your ship is closing in fast to the docks ahead.  Greetings traveler, welcome to the Bazaars of Bashar!

Author’s Note: I’m back at trying my hand at world building once more!  And like always, I bend things away from typical pseudo-euro high fantasy and towards other genres and ideas.  I’ve always been fascinated with massive urban hubs, even in fantasy fiction.  One of the earlier cases of this was the setting of many Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, which provided a level of inspiration.  Beyond Lankhmar, Planescape’s Sigil, Conan the Barbarian, Arabian Nights and Magic the Gather’s Ravnica have proved to be fair resources for ideas.  Anyway, this is what I have so far!  Enjoy!

 

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Strange Things in Bloodied Wyvern Peaks Adventure Report: Part 1

The Orvaldt Sanctuary Sanitarium

Greetings and well met!  Welcome to the realm of Qvosfeir, a land of frigid tundra and hardy folk.  Under normal circumstances, the Kingdom of Orvaldt would be a thriving hub of trade and travel, overseen by King Orvaldt; proud head of the clan as well as ruler.  A thriving internal economy of mining helped to establish the kingdom’s presence far before modernizing into the city of today.  Forged by an ancestor of Orvaldt, as well as House Emberbeard, the small mining town grew until it had earned its place as a proud and powerful land.  The nearby land proved lush and fertile, as the rocky crags and fields gave way to refreshing springs and favorable hunting grounds.

That was, until the “strange things” began to occur.  A general term, the strange things marked a series of events over the course of a year; people vanished, the soil turned bad and crops withered, plague began to emerge from no where, strange poisons leaked into the water, reports of horrible monsters overwhelmed locals and travelers alike… especially the miners.  The far most odd were two incidents witnessed by residents.  The first being tendril-covered ball creatures attacked a nearby homestead, dissolving what prey they could find and absorbing it into their mass.  Upon being slain, attempts to study them only brought confusion as they had no discernible anatomy from quick glance and they melted and vaporized not long after death.  The other incident was an airship jumping out of a planar portal over the mountain, before a pillar of incredible light shot up from one of the peaks and destroyed the vessel, as it crashed somewhere in the mountains below.

Attempts to discover the cause or end it outright have been failures, with the remainder of each exploration group returning insane or deathly sick.  Those who didn’t die were sent to a converted sector of the Physician’s Ward of the city that was converted into an asylum.  Meanwhile, much of the populace has been evacuated with the help of much of the kingdom’s army, as bandits and other opportunistic folk have seized the chance at picking at the desperate kingdom.  Attempts to gather heroes from the inside and outside have been mostly fruitless.  Those who survived the raiders and bandits have managed to push into the city, in hopes of an audience with the king.

Hello again!  For a slight change of pace, I wanted to chronicle my expanded take on the D&D adventure I wrote a little ways back.  Don’t worry, more homebrew is on the horizon.  In fact, I have a prospective DM’s Guild project that’s almost done as well.  While I’ve had fun running modules over the years, even running organized play events, I wanted to jump back into creating my own campaigns.  I hope you enjoy reading this as I did running the campaign!  In addition, I hope to have some uploaded audio logs of the campaign as well, for your entertainment.  I’ll probably post an announcement on that, but in the meantime, the FlumphCast YouTube channel is where the videos will be found.

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Monsters IN SPACE – Sci-Fi twists on Classic Monsters

Vampire by Saindoo

Even vampirism has evolved alongside growing technologies…

“Magick…” he grumbles in a hoarse whisper to himself, “the force we all thought would hamper progress.  And here we are, traveling the stars with it.”  Letting out a sigh, he pushes his hovering seat away from a messy desk.  “If we were truly destined to separate ourselves from magick, the horrible monsters would have been vanquished long ago… not terraforming entire planets.”  The man slightly grips his teeth as he rises from the floating chair, joints popping from ache and wear.  The spacefaring man gazes into a mirror before continuing to shuffle.  The marks of fatigue and age on his face contrast the shining gleam of his badges, reflecting light from the ‘glow panels’ dotting the ceilings and hallways throughout the vessel.  Over towards a huge glass pane, the elder military man observes systems of stars with planets seemingly nestled in perfect viewing spots by ancient giants or celestial creatures.  “And this ship, it has served more of a home for me than it deserves.  But, through the mad crusades and bloody combat, it has served me well.”  The tranquility of an empty space fades as ships pull into view, built with alien geometries and operating through impossible physics, they charge weaponry for an epic battle.  The man cracks a faint grin as similar weaponry opens fire on the enemy crafts.

The worlds of magic and monsters don’t need to end when civilizations have advanced themselves into new eras; feudal worlds give way to industrial, which give way to information, which give way to hypothetical new technologies that Earth can only speculate about.  Even a world of fantasy can and should advance and change with the flow of time.  All too often do these worlds stagnate in the endless mush of quasi-medieval high fantasy.  Now, this isn’t to say that such a thing can’t be good and doesn’t still have a place.  It’s just that for many fans of the genre, such things have grown stale and resistance to change.

In a fantasy future, adventurers will continue to carry on their business.  Perhaps new sanctions are in effect and new regulations are in place.  However, there are still dens filled with malicious monsters and strange sights to behold.  There are gnoll raiders who operate miniguns instead of wield war-axes, elementals from a plane composed of radiation, beholders who bolster their psychic power through cybernetic enhancements, orcish biker gangs terrorizing the streets through their “hover hogs” and much more.  Granted, most of these will not be appearing in the article below.  However, they are ideas on how someone can twist a classic monster for a more Modern/Sci-Fi inspired setting.

Author’s Note: I figured this is a great way to close out the theme, a look at some classic monsters transferred to a new genre.  And by this, I mean transferring classic D&D monsters into classic (as well as some less standard) science fiction.  Also, please don’t mind the cheesy space-opera-meets-D&D blurb from up above.  I’m not quite what I’d call a writer, but I figured it would be a fun change of pace.

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