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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Mythos Monsters – Creatures of H.P. Lovecraft

Demon form the Deep by Sapiento

Welcome back, my cultists.  Back for more horrors from beyond the void and beyond reason?  I’m more than happy to provide.  Here are some classic creatures, as seen in the stories of H.P. Lovecraft.  Be sure to check out my other post about Lovecraft inspired monsters from last week.  They’re updated versions of earlier posts on my blog.  While they needed a new coat of paint, I’ve been eager to bring them up to date.  And, if this proves popular, I might continue to bring Lovecraftian monsters into D&D 5th Edition…  Hell, I might compile them for DM’s Guild or the like.

As for using the content in other worlds, the easiest solution is The Far Realm, a weird demiplane just outside of reality that has been messing with the multiverse since late 2E!  Barring that, there’s always the classic method of weird and aberrant things in dungeons and the underground depths (like the Underdark). And with that, here is my take on The Deep One, the Nightgaunt, the Mi-Go and the Shoggoth.

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June Blog Carnival – Bizarre Bazaar – Magitech!

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Why hello-li-lo-li-lo!  The name is Jermaine!  Funny name for a guy like me, I know, but I’m the one and only!  I know what you’re about to say… What am I?  Don’t worry, I am not offended, not in the very least!  I love to talk about myself!  I am of the Arcane and I am here to serve you.  These robes I wear, they are ceremonial, for the high holy act of commerce and trade; a sacred practice among my people.  My people have scoured wild space, the planes, the multiverse, you name it; we have visited it!  Many like me collect all sorts of oddities for my “bizarre bazaar”.

Unlike that barmy star berk, I assure you that my wares are much safer… and much fairer of a price.  My associates procure a wide variety of simply marvelous items from all over all known realities, the price you pay matches the story and the piece!  Now, what is my specialty?  Why, I collect and craft technological crafts empowered by The Art…  That’s “magic” for the clueless out there.  I’ve rambled far too long…  So my lovely observers, do you see anything you like?  Hmmm?  …  Oh, and one more thing!  No refunds, a merchant has to make a handful of jink somehow.  Ya hear me, baby?

Author’s Note: I’m back with another contribution to the RPG Blog Carnival!  This month’s theme is gonzo cross-genre gaming, hosted by Cross-Planes!  Find out more HERE.  Also, stay tuned for my theme post next month!

If there is one thing I love, it’s magitech!  Sure, most of my planar items count as this already, but I wanted to try something new.  In fact, I made a new shopkeeper narrator for the occasion as well!  (Don’t worry, Zam’dul isn’t going anywhere, Jermaine promises this!)  Here’s a sampling of technomagical devices for your games!  And yes, Scaramouche from the Samurai Jack miniseries inspired Jermaine the Arcane.  I also went a little crazy on these, so they might be a tad unstable.

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Smokepowder Shootist – A Gun-Focused Fighter Archetype

Fantasy Rifleman by BrotherOstavia

Time for a change.

Smokepowder, a powerful substance that has changed the landscape of battle, has become more and more popular as its name spread throughout wildspace and beyond.  This powder can ignite and produce a powerful explosion.  Many have sampled its alchemical properties for a new weapon, the firebrand.  In some realms, this projectile weapon is revered in religious circles as both a sacred artifact and testament to their craft.  For the less religious, many soldiers and warriors have trained in the art of the firebrand.  Honing their talents with these advanced weapons, a new breed of ranged combatant was born.

The smokepowder shootist is a fighter or ranger whose focus is melding firing of guns with sophisticated martial techniques.  While a rival to the battlemaster, this type of fighter is far more focused on perfecting their gunslinging.  Understandably, their knowledge of this school of fighting has caused ire among other classes of warrior and martial tactician.  Some harrumph in disdain, for they find no honor in these new weapons.  Some seek the very same weapons for power or fortunes, hoping to pry it from the fighter one way or another.  As such, the order of the shootist is a rare and secretive one in many lands.  In places more adept to firebrands, or “firearms” as they’re likely known there, some orders are willing to train other warriors deemed responsible enough to handle guns.

For those that have banded together, the firebrand is a symbol of many things; technological advancement, futurism, terrifying new grounds in warfare, liberation from the elite, power to the people and more.  Their order wields this weapon with intense precision and finesse, pulling off elaborate displays that are equal parts tactical gun fighting and martial arts.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m still not fully content with my shootist sub-class and I’ve received requests to have it branch out to other classes.  I’ll likely expand this over the next week to do just that, once I really figure out what makes classes like The Ranger tick.  To be fair, even WIZARDS OF THE COAST doesn’t know!  (Yeah, I know, low blow.)  In the meantime, I’m willing to test this as is for Rangers and see what breaks down in the process.  Lemme know if you try! 

ALSO, this sub-class assumes that firearms are considered martial weapons or that your character is trained in them already.  If not, there is a campaign option to become proficient in a kind of firearm upon taking the sub-class.

Also, to answer a quick question of what’s with the name…  Well, a “Shootist” is a term dating back to the American Old West.  It refers to an expert hunter or gunfighter, often outside of the law.  In fact, infamous gunman and cattleman Clay Allison originated the term in the mid 1800s.  So, there you go.

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Rise of the Machines – Robotic Options for D&D 5th Edition

Solace Rising by BobGarvinArt

Technological advances at some rate, as long as there are enough minds to push it.  When thrust into a full blown revolution, new types of machines seemingly appear out of no where.  Old tasks die as new tasks replace them, old technologies become obsolete as new ones replace them.  Many praise the future of tomorrow where the fruits of innovation and creation are rewarded.  Others fear a darker future where the machine takes over us, one way or another.

Whether or not the future is a bright one, there is one inevitability; we will share space with thinking machines that are capable of thinking independently.  Some of these robots will only do certain tasks, while others are capable of more advanced tasks.  From security robots to physical trainers, the machine will find its place without a society of tomorrow.  Some become corrupted by a very human enjoyment of violence.  These become bounty hunters or psychopaths, driven mad by the contradictory moralities and ideals of sentience.  Those who don’t aspire to be paragons of righteousness or wretchedness are forced to deal with a world they don’t quite understand; they are inorganic beings in an organic world.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: ROBOTS!  I’ve been wanting to make something with that for a while.  I was hoping to make rules for using mechs, but I sadly never got around to that.  I have a feeling I might do a follow up, using my vehicle rules from a ways back.  Who knows?  Also, I wanted to make a Sci-Fi race as well, so I made my own take on the Android (as seen in Pathfinder.)  Now, this version will need some modification, as I don’t think it’s particularly interesting or balanced at the moment.

Also, want more robots?  I’ve made some via conversions as well as some homebrew of my own recently.

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Horrors of Myth and Folktale – Classic Terrors for D&D 5E

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Tales of wretched beasts, disturbing men and unspeakable evils pierce our ears and chill our souls.  Countless villages, kingdoms, continents have stories of sinister monsters that seek to end us at any moment.  Their motivations might differ or be strangely similar.  Likely born of pure wickedness, these dark spirits haunt those who get too close to their very brand of malevolence.

Many of these monsters are often accompanied by tales of caution and woe.  Those who drift too far off a righteous path are often victims of these horrors.  Those who feel they’re too good for the morals of a realm or a certain way of life should always stay careful and alert, lest they fall prey to the evil that lurks nearby… waiting, stalking, preparing…

Author’s Note:  Here’s another list of monsters, taking inspiration form creatures around the world.  Also, here’s another case where I have 2 creepy horse-themed creatures… for some reason.  Maybe I just find horses to be creepy?  I don’t know.  Perhaps it’s pent up horror caused by seeing that disturbing Archie McPhee horse mask?  I don’t know.

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Modern Myths and Local Legends – Contemporary Horrors

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Hello.

Stories of monsters changes through the ages, adapt to different societies and views.  Some tales and creatures alike die out, while new ones are born.  These can be from new developing trends or even tragedies.  Wherever they’re spawned from, their dastardly ways will terrorize much like their predecessors before them.

In a world closer to our own, when the stories truly connect to us on some level, we truly begin to think about it… and when we dwell on the thought, then we get scared.  This is the true effect of horror.  Now please, look behind you so we can be properly acquainted…

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